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opportunities for an imitation of our pattern. The eye is not to be withdrawn from the copy for a moment, nor the work of imitation intermitted, till the transcript is complete; and that will not be till, following “the blessed steps of “ His most holy life," we have followed Him through the valley of the shadow of death into His kingdom. For He hath not only shewn us how to live, but also how to die. With Him we must cry, « Father, into thy hands I com5 mend my spirit," before the course of obedience will be finished.
Reader, is Christ your pattern ? Are you endeavouring daily to copy it in your own life? Do you pray for grace that you may be enabled to do so? All who embrace His sacrifice endeavour to imitate His virtues, and these shall all partake of His glory.
If indeed you are engaged in this arduous work of imitating your Lord and Saviour, you mourn because you resemble Him so little; for while gazing at His ensample you cannot but discern the imperfection of your attempts. If so, the words of our collect will be strongly recommended to your hearts, and your prayer for “ grace through Jesus Christ our Lord” will ascend with fervency to the mercy-seat. Be encouraged by remembering, that when you see Him as He is, you shall then be perfectly like Him.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
Almighty God, who shewest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
CHRISTIAN experience is often paradoxical,
s and to those who are unacquainted with its nature must appear contradictory and absurd. With respect both to the law and the gospel it contains mysteries which itself only can unravel. A believer, through faith in Christ Jesus, is freed from the law; and yet is bound by cords, which the same faith entwines around him, more strongly to the law than he was before he believed. By the gospel of Christ he is emancipated from slavery ; and yet, by the same gospel he is brought under more powerful obligations to an unremitted obedience than any which nature had imposed on him. The Christian is dead and alive, bound and free, at the same time though in different respects. He ceases from his own works, and yet has work to do which requires constant aitention and laborious exertion.
The work of a Christian is described in our collect. It is to “eschew all those things which « are contrary to his profession, and to follow all " those things which are agreeable to the same."
It is to conform his conversation, or course of life, to the gospel of Christ :* to act as a good citizen of the new Jerusalem where he is now naturalized, being adopted into its community and invested with its privileges. He is to frame his life according to the laws and usages of that new society to which he is introduced, and these are totally distinct from, and in direct opposition to, those of the society which he has quitted. For no two societies can be more opposite to each other in all their rules, maxims, and manners, than the world and the church of Christ.
But " who is suslicient for these things ?” who that has considered the gospel of Christ—the obligations which it imposes--the dignities which it bestows—the privileges with which it endowsthe requisitions which it makes and the duties which it enjoins-but must feel his own utter inability to walk worthy of it? To the man indeed who considers Christianity only in its creed and forms—who views it as a system of worldly policy, or at best as a scheme of refined morality
the task may appear easy. But the inan, who examines it closely, and finds that it is designed to regulate the heart as well as the life, and to give an entirely new tendency to both, will despair of succeeding in an attempt to practise its duties by his own strength. He might as well endeavour to change the laws of gravitation, to make a rapid stream ascend the side of a steep mountain, or the falling rock mount upwards. He will therefore discern the necessity of continual prayer to God for the aids of His grace, that he may be enabled to “ adorn the doctrine of “ God his Saviour in all things."
* Phil. i. 27. 11.26 EUSTÍE,
With the dictates of that wisdom which cometh from above we comply, while we offer up the collect which is appointed for our use on this day: It consists of a preface and a prayer. The preface gratefully records the grace of God in communicating Divine knowledge to sinners with a view to their salvation. The prayer, founded on a supposition that this knowledge has been imparted to our souls, implores further grace, in order that our conversation may be conformed to our profession.
We have for some time past been engaged in tracing the stream of salvation to its rise. And if the adventurous and laborious Bruce thought himself amply repaid for all the fatigues and dangers of a long and painful journey by a discovery of the object which he sought, the sources of the celebrated Nile, though they proved to be inconsiderable springs, how much more must the Christian, who, under the conduct of our church, has been led to the fountain of the river of life which proceedeth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, be gratified and delighted with the discovery that he hath made! Is it to be wondered at, if, in the company of his conductor, he has lingered on the margin of that stupendous spring, from which those streams originate which make glad the city of God-if, lost in wonder and adoring gratitude, he has been for a while fixed to the spot, and unable to pursue his way? Having surveyed the fountain of life, we are now however called to contemplate the method of grace; to follow the stream, as it flows in the channel of Christian experience through the course of a holy life, beautifying and enriching in its progress the church of God. Our collects for several successive Sundays that are past, have related chiefly to the person and work of Christ, and the love of God as it is manifested in Him. Those that follow to Ascension-Day describe the work of His Spirit, and the practical effects which are produced by faith in Christ on the heart and life of a believer. In these we implore grace that we “ may walk worthy of the Lord unto all “ pleasing.”
It is the prerogative of “ Almighty God to s shew to them that be in error the light of truth.” Whether we consider the external manifestation of the light of truth which is made in the Divine word, or the faculty of mental vision by which we derive benefit from that external manifestation, the work is of God. He created the material sun whose light is the means of its own visibility, and of the discovery of all other objects; and He created the corporeal eye which receives and uses that light. * In like manner all information respecting God, His will, ourselves, and the way of salvation, is from God. The doctrine of innate ideas is justly exploded. The involuntary instincts of our animal frame can be no inlets to the knowledge of Divine truth. Sensation and selfreflection, independent of instruction, can furnish us with no knowledge of spiritual objects.* Philosophy leaves us in the dark. For some thousand years God suffered its disciples to make a trial of its powers. The result is fully satisfactory. Instead of eliciting new light on Divine subjects, they extinguished that which tradition from the original revelation afforded them,
* On this subject see Ellis's “ Knowledge of Divine « things from revelation, not from reason or nature,"