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ness is most becoming. I know that in natural abilities there are great differences between one and another, yet still the great difference which strikes me in you is not nearly so much one of natural ability as of thoughtfulness. Some seem to think of themselves and of God, others seem not to think; and this is a difference great, very great now, and which by and by will be infinite. Pray for a thinking and serious mind; one not always giddy and foolish and vain, one not blind to its own faults, and always quick in making excuses for them, but one humble and sensible, one which may know what it is to say, "I have sinned," and "Lord pardon me for my sin." sin." And as you pray for a thoughtful mind, resolve also, with God's help, that you will contrive to make opportunities for uttering such prayers after the confirmation is over; for I am quite sure that if you do not pray to become thoughtful, you will not become so; whereas if you do pray to become so, you will even by that very prayer be thoughtful sometimes, I mean so often as you utter it, and there is hope that you will become so oftener.
Thirdly, pray for a loving and obedient spirit. "God is love, and he who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." So said the blessed apostle St. John. You do not dwell in hatred, God forbid; I can well conceive that many of you will find but little difficulty in that part
of the preparation for the communion, which consists in putting ourselves into a state of peace and charity towards all men. But still, there may be no hatred in us, in the common sense of the word, and yet nothing of a loving spirit. For while we love ourselves so very much there is no room for the love of others. Pray very earnestly for a loving spirit both towards God and man. It is but too true that love waxes cold. Whom do we love truly? Is it our parents, against whom we sometimes murmur, to whom we often give pain, to whom we still oftener neglect to give pleasure? Is it our brothers and sisters, whom, when we are amongst them, we sometimes feel jealous of, sometimes tease them, sometimes are unkind to them? Is it our friends here, with whom also we sometimes quarrel on slight grounds, whom in absence we often think nothing of, and for whose highest or real good we never care at all? Where is our love then, and who are the objects of it, if it is cold even towards these? May I name more indifferent persons, companions or common acquaintance? May I name the poor? May I dare to say that we love Him who so loved us that He laid down His life for our sakes? Or if we talk of loving God, St. John tells us at once that we are liars, "For he who loveth not earnestly his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
Alas! who or what is it that we do love heartily and constantly except that vile and worthless thing, for most vile and worthless it must be in such a case, that most vile and worthless and hateful thing, our own self? Pray then earnestly for the spirit of love to God and to man, for that which is above all others, the spirit of freedom. Pray for that greatest of all blessings, a loving heart; that you may love your parents heartily, and your other relations, and your friends; and that your love may not stop there, but may flow on wider still, that you may love your companions, love your acquaintance, love the poor; love, in short, all for whom Christ died, and whom God made, because you have learned to love God and Christ.
Pray for these things, and watch together with your praying for opportunities of acting according to your prayer. What a changed place would this become if the spirit of love possessed it; if we all felt kindly to one another, shrinking from giving pain, happy to give pleasure. No cruelty then, nor evils much short of cruelty; no roughness, nor bitterness, nor clamour, nor evil speaking, nor coarse jests, nor wanton annoyance. And if the spirit of thoughtfulness were here, and the spirit of honesty towards God and our consciences, what should we say then? Or would not God's ordinances then be seen indeed to have
their appointed fruit? And would the language of the text be then any other but full of happiness and of truth? Our bodies would be indeed Christ's members, His Holy Spirit would abide in us, we should not be our own, but bought with a price, bought by Christ once with His own blood, and never to be cast away.
May 23, 1841.
THE DANGER OF RELAPSE.
ST. JOHN, vi. 67, 68, 69, 70.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then
to whom shall we go And we believe and are
Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, Thou hast the words of eternal life. sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
For the last month or six weeks this congregation has been divided in some manner into two classes, at least there was felt to be a division among you, however little there was one in fact, or how far greater soever were the points which we all had in common, than those in which there was a difference. But now what difference there might have been between some of us and others, inasmuch as some were on the point of receiving the rite of confirmation, and others were not so, either from having received it before, or from not being