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heaven you will check every murmuring thought, and learn continually to say, “ Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
Finally, These petitions should be offered up in a spirit of co-operation. By this I mean, that while we pray that God's will may be done in earth as it is in heaven, our own efforts should not be wanting toward the accomplishment of this glorous object. God condescends to act through our humble instrumentality. He is building up the Redeemer's kingdom on the earth ; but how ? Not as he called the world into existence-not as he destroyed the cities of the plain-not as he parted the waters of the Red Sea, by his simple word-not as he saw fit to do in the first age of the church, by investing his servants with the power of working miracles—but in a way more natural, more gradual, more silent; by the influence of Divine truth upon the hearts and conduct of men, accompanied, as it always must be, with the operation of his Holy Spirit. Now, my hearers, the dissemination of this Divine truth has God committed to our care. Much may be done to promote its salutary effect by the humblest individual. His family, his friends, his neighbourhood, his town may all reap the benefit of his exertions. Something even of his earthly substance he can contribute for the promotion of charitable and pious objects. Now and then he can cast a mite into the treasury of God, that his holy word may be sent to those who are perishing for lack of knowledge. He can lend his influence, however small, and his
example, however few may observe it, for the suppression of vice, for the promotion of good order and of good morals, and of what is worth more than these, and without which they have no stable foundation-evangelical holiness of heart. But he, to whom Providence has entrusted more talents, will have a more strict account to render. Shall he dare to pray, that God's will may be done in earth as it is in heaven, and yet make provision for the flesh alone to fulfil the lusts thereof?. How can he cast his eye over the miseries of the human family, and learn from the light of God's word, that these miseries are the wages of sin, and that this sin will yield to no power but that of the Cross, and yet do nothing for the promotion of the Redeemer's kingdom on the earth ? How can he pray that this world may become like heaven, and yet sit still, and see the powers of darkness toiling to carry on their work of devastation and woe, without so much as lifting a finger against them? What inconsistency! I had almost said, what blasphemy! The language of his lips is—“ Carry on, Almighty God, the purposes of thy redeeming love; gather in thy elect; save mankind from their awful state of wretchedness and sin; proclaim the glad news of salvation to the distant corners of the earth; send forth the ministers of thy Word, and the missionaries of thy Cross; give thy Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.” The language of his conduct is• Excuse my remissness in thy service; leave me to
amass wealth, to feast on pleasure, to shine with distinction, and to say to my soul, ' Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease ; eat, drink, and be merry." My hearers, would you avoid this dreadful inconsistency of conduct, and its most awful consequences ? Then let your spirit of prayer be accompanied with a spirit of co-operation. To piety toward God, join a prudent zeal in his service. And let your industry in doing good, prove that you are indeed longing, and hoping, and praying for the approach of that happy day when the kingdom of God shall be fully come, and his will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
JOHN i. 12.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power
to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
our conceptions of a future state, and of our present relation to it, are obviously very inadequate and imperfect. For we have no direct intercourse with the invisible world; we see it only by the eye of faith : we think of it only through the assistance of analogy: we speak of it only in language origin: ally appropriated to the objects of time and sense.
Hence it is that the sacred Scriptures, in accommodation to our weak and limited understanding, abound so much in metaphor and allegory. The character of God himself, that awful and mysterious Being; all bis majestic works in the kingdoms of Nature, Providence, and Grace ; and all the various and important relations which he sustains to his intelligent creatures, are there 'expressed in terms borrowed from the present state and circumstances of our being. A judicious reference, therefore, to this state and to these circumstances often affords
the best, and sometimes the only solution of the figures of holy writ.
Believers are, in this manner, called “God's husbandry ;" because the seeds of holiness originally implanted in their hearts by his hand, cherished by the dews of Divine Grace, and invigorated by the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, grow up, under this culture, into that mature perfection of beauty which they will eternally exhibit in the paradise above. Believers are called 6 God's building; because, like a wise architect, he forms, and fashions, and disposes their spiritual graces into a divine symmetry and proportion, so as to render their hearts fit temples for the residence of his Holy Spirit. Believers are also called " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ;" all of which metaphors derive their significancy from that course of God's providence in this world which falls within the scope of human observation and experience. What a variety, and, I had almost said, redundancy, of figure is here employed to denote the relation between Christians and their God. Strong, indeed, is the tię which binds their temporal and eternal destiny to the Throne of Heaven, securing to them the perpetual guidance, protection, and friendship of Jehovah.
But our text exhibits this relation in language still more animating and affecting to the pious heart. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name ;'--sons of God; of that" high