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case, the requisitions of duty should be less severe? , Is it probable that the same God who made it so hard a task, in this our state of proba ! tion, to wrest a scanty subsistence, by the sweat of the brow and the labour of the hands, from the bosom of the earth; and who has not sup: plied us with the enjoyments of this life save at the cost of long and reiterated toil, nor committed even our interests to our own keeping without exacting, as it were, in return, the unwearied exercise of our constancy and resolution, and all the manly energies of the soul ;-is it probable that he should, in the same probation, leave the blessings of eternity to be attained without a struggle? Or is it reasonable to expect, free as the gift is, and unworthy as ourselves are to receive it, that it will be forced upon us without any exertion of our own ? Nay, believe me, Christ must be imitated in his stedfastness of purpose, and his firmness under trials, as well as in other points, or he is not imitated aright. If we are really his followers, we must be so, like i he apostles, “ by honour and dishonour,” “by evil report and good report,” “in much patience, in labours, in watchings.” We must be so in spite of the world, in spite of our own rebellious 1:earts, in spite of the machinations of the enemy.
• 2 Cor. vi. 8.
God indeed girds our arms with strength for the battle, but still our arms must fight. It is he that giveth the prize, but we must run that we may receive it.
Vigilance, stedfastness, a manly and undaunted spirit,-none, even the greatest of human exertions, can be superfluous, to ensure the co-operation of God's holy spirit in effecting the great work we have to do. And we know little of the value of the Christian graces in ibis life -- we know little of the triumphs it can obtain here, and we shall know little of the glories it will procure hereafter, unless our lives, as well as our lips, shall re-echo the spirit of stedfastness, vigilance, firmness, and resolution mentioned in the apostle's charge ;-"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." KSITY 14 x
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1 Corinthians xiii. 12.
Now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
I. In the passage from which these words are taken, St. Paul had been comparing the present and the future conditions of mankind to two different stages in our earthly existence. For “now,” he says,
"we know in part, and prophecy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
" When I was a child,” he continues, “I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child ; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Gradual and full of change as the growth of the mind of man from childhood to its full maturity, is the progress of the soul from the narrow views and the limited conceptions of the present state, to the high perfections of the future. The life of this world, it is the constant object of religion to assure us, is but the childhood of our existence, the dawn of our immortal being. Children as we are now in knowledge, we see only with a partial and distorted view, those eternal truths which the more expanded intelligence of a perfected spirit shall discern with a clear and comprehensive glance. And, what is a still more essential part of the comparison, we are children too in our moral, as well as our mental incapacity; children, in the weakness and fluctuation of our obedience; children, in the scanty mea. sure of
grace we are enabled to receive; children, in the strictness of that probationary discipline by which we require to be trained up unto the perfect man, that is, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."* 1... This world then, with all its hopes and its fears, with all its pomps and pageantry, cits covetousness and its ambition, sinks into utter insignificance when contrasted with that greater one on which have been more abundantly lavished
• Ephesians iv. 13.