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had to encounter the authority of this law through almost all the most important stages in the history of man.

It has opposed it amidst the horrors of a licentious barbarism in which passion and impulse, rather than reflection, were the arbiters of popular usage, and even then has rescued its chosen few to vindicate the ways of God, and to soften and humanize the world. It has resisted it under the blandishments of a chivalrous honour which, with professions apparently the most exalted and generous, still was exclusively worldly in principle, and worldly in its sanctions and rewards.

. It has contended with it in ages of philosophical refinement, when the creations of a self-sufficient reason have been set up in defiance of the decrees of Omniscience. And even in our own times, and in a country universally Christian, at least in name, this law of human opinion is too often made an instrument of Satan for obstructing the progress of truth. Christianity is the popular religion, but still it cannot be pretended that the standard of popular thought and sentiment is formed upon a Christian model. It may often wear, indeed, the external semblance, but the motives and the objects it inculcates, the prospects and rewards it has in view, are essentially different. And at the present day, it must be acknowledged, we are too often compelled to witness the prevalence of, what may be called, a religion of the world, totally independent and distinct from the real religion of the gospel.

On the subject referred to in the text, however, those who implicitly obey this law of opinion, have not only reasoned on contrary principles, but have too frequently been wont to misrepresent the state of the question at issue between the gospel and the world.

Resolution, courage, and manliness of spirit,—those essential virtues of the code of honour,-have been absurdly supposed to have no counterpart in the Christian scheme, as it is understood by its most zealous and devoted adherents. And there is a very prevalent disposition, arising in a great measure, perhaps, from a conceit of superior wisdom, to charge those persons with weakness, or an abject and unmanly spirit, who evince a real concern and seriousness about their spiritual interests. Enthusiasm doubtless, in many cases, indulged to a vicious excess-is much more cautiously guarded against even than the fatal error of indifference; and there are many persons who are content to stake almost the whole of their religious character on the position that they are not saints or zealots. Humility itself is sometimes artfully decried as derogatory to the dignity of human nature, and the attributes of true magnanimity. The influence


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of religion, in general, on the heart, is very frequently ridiculed as an unpardonable weakness, a concession to the infirmities of humanity, and an undue indulgence of emotions unworthy a reasonable creature. And many of that large and numerous class of persons, who, while they call themselves Christians, are not content to take their Christianity from the bible, but subject it previously to certain maxims of human policy or worldly wisdom, -are wont, too indiscriminatey, to stigmatize all really earnest and pious Christians with the opprobrious charges of hypocrisy, superstition, or abject prostration of mind.

Now, when we know how directly Christianity,- with its doctrines of humility, meekness, and resignation to the divine will-is opposed to the pride of nature, we shall not find it difficult to account for the origin of these false accusations. That fanaticism and hypocrisy have very frequently obstructed the truth, and seduced weak minds from the sober faith, cannot be denied. And we might, perhaps, account for the misconception which led to this charge of weakness and dejection, from the fact that, as the sick, or the aged, or the unfortunate, are often more especially driven, from the evident and overwhelming sense of their helplessness, to seek the resources of

religion, those infirmities have become, in some degree, associated in men's minds with that

gospel which supplies their remedy. But the words of our text will abundantly help us to shew that the charge is mistaken and erroneous in the highest degree. The gospel, indeed, does not profess to make any cold or systematic classification of the virtues; courage and resolution therefore may not, perhaps, stand forth in that scheme clothed in all the pomp of adventitious splendour which they are made to wear in the code of honour. But there is a stedfastness and a firmness in the Christian character which has a far more decided tone, and is founded on an infinitely stronger basis. It asks not, like worldly courage, the stimulants of resentment or revenge to rouse it into action. It seeks not for its recompense the passing triumphs of temporal honour or applause. It has its source in principles far more permanent and unchanging than can be found in the feeble nature of man.. It derives its origin and support from heaven itself, and therefore is imbued with some portion of the stedfastness of that law which “cannot be moved," and of the immutability of that faithful Saviour who, in the midst of all the changes of nature and humanity, is still “the same, yesterday, to day, and for ever."

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To proceed then to some proofs of what has been already stated ;-we shall find, on examination, that there is a volume of truth and of meaning in the words of our text—“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men,

be strong.” This, I would have you observe, is one of the many practical precepts which the apostle had deduced from the important doctrines which he had been previously discussing in the earlier chapters of this very beautiful and excellent epistle. Long and ably had be been expatiating to his converts on the sinfulness of man, the atonement of Christ, the terrors of the judgment, and the glories of immortality. The very chapter immediately preceding this contains that most eloquent account of the resurrection from the deed which is read in our burial service, - with all its striking and concomitant pictures of the clothing of the mortal with immortality, of the corruptible with incorruption, the triumph of faith over the victory of the grave, and the blunting of the sting of death ;--and it is a deduction from this, and such like doctrines,essential features in our pure religion (and therefore a precept that addresses itself to us with no inconsiderable authority) that we are told to be watchful and vigilant, to adhere firmly to our

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