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" the dead?" If they really did, could they live as they do? But how many there are who profess the truths contained in the creed with their mouths, and yet in their hearts deny them! Such is the self-justiciary, who, while he pretends to believe in Jesus Christ, trusts in his own righteousness for his acceptance and salvation: and such-also is he who objects to the necessity and reality of a Divine and spiritual influence on the souls of men, while his tongue hypocritically professes faith “ in the Holy Ghost.”
The truth of our profession, if indeed it has been made with unfeigned lips, will be proved by the tenor of our lives. If we live habitually without prayer and praise; if we walk after the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; our lives manifest the insincerity of our declarations. For “ he that “ hath this hope in him,” which the Apostles' creed suggests," purifieth himself, even as
- Faith without works is “ dead." + If it be not the labour of our lives to glorify Him whom we call “ our Lord,” and to conform our hearts and conduct to His will, we prove nothing by a recital of the creed but our own gross hypocrisy before God.
The Apostle exhorts us to “ hold fast our
" Christ is pure.
profession,” implying, that great opposition to it may be expected. The rain will descend, the floods come, and the winds blow and beat on our house, and, if it be not founded on the rock, it must fall, and great will be the fall of it. Satan hates Christ, the holy faith, and them who profess it. He will try, o believer, to shake thy confidence, either by flattering thy
1 John iii. 3.
† James ii. 20.
pride, or by exciting thy fears. The frowns and the smiles of the world will be employed against thee. Thy own evil heart will be ever ready to parley with the enemy, and to open the gates of the citadel to his temptations. Are you aware of all this, and anxious to “ hold fast the pro“ fession of your faith without wavering ?”? Then be constant in the use of all the means of grace. Labour to maintain secret communion with God every day. Consider the "
great “ cloud of witnesses" to the truth with which you are encompassed, and “ lay aside every
weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset
you, and run with patience the race that is “ set before you, looking unto Jesus the Author “ and Finisher of our Faith, who, for the joy " that was set before Him, endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the “ right hand of the throne of God."
How deplorable must be the state of those, who, with all the advantages enjoyed under the meridian blaze of Gospel truth, make no profession of Christianity! Such persons are apt to congratulate themselves on their exemption from the guilt of hypocrisy, in not professing what they do not practise; as if a freedom from the palpable duplicity of the unrighteous professor would be admitted at the bar of God in excuse for irreligion. If a tree be alive, at the proper season it will produce leaves, blossoms, and ripe fruit. Where spiritual life exists in the heart, it will manifest itself in the practice. Who would venture to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ with such an apology as this? “ Lord, I made no profession of faith in
Thy name, because I felt no attachment to " Thy person, nor love to Thy ways. I lived
“ in friendship with the world and with sin, and “ felt no desire after deliverance from it. “ however, free from the charge of avowing “ with my lips what my conduct did not justify. “ I was openly profane, and made no preten“ sions to sanctity." What must such a wretch expect from the lips of the Judge, but that tremendous sentence, « These mine enemies, who “ would not that I should reign over them,
bring hither and slay them before me?"*
On the Second Collect in the Morning Service,
THEN the great Apostle of the Gentiles
is addressing himself to the saints at Rome, in the very beginning of his epistle he pronounces his blessing on them in these terms: “ Grace and peace be with you, from God our “ Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." In the sequel of the letter we find another solemn form of benediction and supplication: “ Now the “ God of hope fill you with all joy and peace “in believing, that ye may abound in hope “through the power of the Holy Ghost.' And towards the conclusion of it he repeats the same pious wish, “ Now the God of peace be “ with you all. Amen.” of the Apostle's affectionate regard for the brethren at Rome, who were “ the called of Christ Jesus, and “ beloved of God," no doubt can be entertained, since the whole of his conduct manifested the warmest attachment to, and zeal for all those who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. That his fervent love for them would prompt his heart to wish them the best of blessings, is equally unquestionable. We must therefore conclude that peace from God is an inestimable good. When our blessed Lord was taking His leave of His dear disciples, to whom he was united in the bonds of everlasting love; when. we find Him solemnly making, as it were, His last will and testament in their favour, what is the legacy He bequeaths to them? Not worldly grandeur, riches, or pleasures, for He knew the emptiness and dangerous tendency of all these things too well to wish His beloved followers a large participation of them; on the contrary, He tells them plainly, that in the world they should have tribulation. Peace is the blessing He devises to them: “ Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you.” Surely then we have reason to conclude that peace is a benefit which we cannot too earnestly desire, nor too highly prize. And indeed it is of so great importance, that none of the comforts of the present life can be enjoyed without it, nor, without it, can we entertain any pleasing hope of happiness which is to come. For this comprehensive good our church teaches us to pray in the following excellent words.
“ O God, who art the Author of peace and “ Lover of concord, in knowledge of whom “ standeth our eternal life, whose service is
perfect freedom; defend us, Thy humble ser“ vants, in all assaults of our enemies, that we, “ surely trusting in Thy defence, may not fear “ the power of any adversaries, through the
might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Are we sensible of the importance of an acquaintance with this amiable inhabitant of the heavenly world Are we earnestly desirous that the Dove should bring the olive-branch, and plant it in our bosoms? To whom should we apply but to God? For He is “the Author “ of peace.” In whatever point of view we