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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
Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are 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
old enough yet to receive it, what difference of this sort there was felt to exist amongst us, is now all over ; we are become as it were one body, and what we have in common now appears to be much more than the minuter circumstances in which we may differ.
To those who were confirmed this morning, no less than to those confirmed formerly, their confirmation is become a thing past ; and all of us therefore who have been confirmed at all, stand towards it in the same position. So again it is with the holy communion, which so very large a portion of our congregation have this day received together. The preparation is past,
. and the receiving is past, and what remains for us all, both those who had partaken of the communion before, and those who partook of it for the first time this day, but to be earnest in laying hold of the grace which we have received, lest by any means we should allow it to slip.
Experience has so often proved that men have not laid fast hold on the grace which they had received, but have let it pass away from them, that we may well conceive our Lord to say to each successive congregation who have professed to be His disciples, Will ye also go away?
?? For eighteen hundred years I have accomplished the work of man's redemption ; your salvation has been purchased, the door of the kingdom of heaven has been set open, but yet age after age and year after year, men have refused to be saved, and the way to eternal life has been thrown open to thousands in vain. Will ye also go away?
go away? Will ye also despise the riches of God's goodness, and the precious blood of Christ which purchased your salvation, and will ye go after your own devices, each man after the idols of his own heart, and be not saved but lost?"
Now I trust that there are a great many amongst us,—may I not dare to say all ?-whose hearts are as yet warmed with the good resolutions which they made this morning, and who would answer in sincerity to our Lord's question, “ Will ye also go away?” “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” But what was our Lord's reply?
“ Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ? fess to be very zealous to follow me, to be fully persuaded that there is no salvation to be found elsewhere. And yet out of the number of your own selves, out of twelve only whom I have chosen out of all the people to be the apostles of my church, out of your number, I say, one is a devil. How then can I expect to find unshaken faith elsewhere, when in one of you it will fail altogether, and in another, even in him who now has so earnestly declared that he can go to no one but to me, it will be sorely shaken in the hour of trial, and only my grace will save it ?”
You proI think that these last words of our Lord, illustrated as they are by the story of St. Peter's fall afterwards, furnish us with one of the most important subjects of thought that could be presented to our minds this day. Surely they must be well fitted to dispel all confidence in our own strength. We stand here this day with a ready will, but the enemy is ever at the door, and before many days or many hours are past, he may find some unguarded point at which to enter, and the will which now seems so ready to do Christ's service, will becoine first sluggish and careless, and then treacherous and false.
For when this day and its services are over, there will come, it may be, upon some of us, a sense of relief and deliverance. Does it seem shocking to
Is it a monstrous thing to feel relief from the reproofs of conscience, deliverance from the burden of serious thought and prayer? Yet shocking as it is, the feeling is in human nature, and it has an innocent side as well as a sinful one, and by that innocent side it beguiles us.
For after our Lord's long fast in the wilderness, the tempter did but say to Him, “Command these stones to be made bread; thy nature must need refreshment, painfully stretched for forty days, let it now taste permitted relaxation ; and He who gave bread, and flesh, and water out of the stony rock to His people of old in the wilderness, will be most