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tion?" It is in these respects that they fail. What is matter of opinion they will allow what is practical and spiritual-the life of faith in the soul, the sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience, the imitation of Christ as their example -here they halt between two opinions; yet without this they cannot follow God; without this they can not be Christ's disciples.

Inquire yet again concerning their views of the Holy Ghost? They will admit that there is such a person, and that He is the Spirit of God they will allow that from Him all holy desires are derived, and that it is His office to sanctify the heart, and to communicate every spiritual blessing. But then they do not seek for that Spirit to cleanse and sanctify their own hearts they see nothing of the beauty of holiness, and they have no right desire for the possession of it. Their notions are in a great measure correct; the evil lies in their dispositions and affections; their hearts are not right with God: they acknowledge generally the scriptural standard of doctrine and practice; but in every particular case they follow their own.

It is true that they may some times appear to be much in earnest: they are visited, perhaps, by some affliction, or the apprehension of evil: they are reminded, by some domestic calamity, of the uncertainty of life, and they are softened under the chastisement of God: some signal Providence calls them to reflection: some awakening sermon terrifies their consciences: then, for a season, they appear determined, whatever others do, to serve the Lord: they search the Scriptures; are diligent in prayer; and devout in attendance upon the means of grace; but the impression is soon effaced; all their good purposes vanish, like the dew of the morning, and indecision of character becomes again predominant, both in their principles and in their conduct.

Instead of dwelling longer upon this point, let me request you to pursue these reflections for yourselves. I would simply ask, before I pass on, whether some of you are not conscious of halting in this way between two opinions? You are willing to hear the truth; you partly approve of it; you do many things which it enjoins: but one thing is needful; and without an earnest desire for true religion in the heart, for the love, and faith, and obedience of the Gospel, whatever be your professions, you do not follow God in the way which He has commanded; there is a want of decision in your character, which exposes you to the full force of the appeal of Elijah.

II. Let us then consider the grounds and causes of this indecision.

The source of all this evil is the deceitfulness of the human heart: among the subordinate causes which may be adduced, I shall notice merely the following: The love of the world, the fear of the world, and the fashion of the world.

1. The love of the world.-The Apostle St. John has left it upon record, that this disposition is totally inconsistent with the love of God. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him :" and so wide is the Apostle's interpretation of the term world, that he includes in it every worldly object, which is suited to gain our affections and to occupy our time: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The subject is illustrated by the evangelists in the instance of a young man, who came to Christ and demanded, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Our Lord repeated to him the substance of some of the commandments: the young man said to Him," All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet!" He was speaking to one who knew the heart, and who detected, under all

this show of outward obedience, à secret principle which was fatal to his pretensions. Jesus therefore said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." He seems to have been in some measure persuaded that Christ was the Messiah; but he did not follow Him: he seems to have concluded it to be the will of God that he should acknowledge his Son, but the love of the world was in his heart; and, although sorrowful, he went away. How carefully, and especially would I say it to those young persons before whom the world is now opening with all its prodigality of promises, how carefully should we guard against the influence of a worldly spirit! You are not called to give up your property, and to walk, like these ancient disciples, after a despised Galilean: but unless you are willing to make every worldly sacrifice, which the spirit of the Gospel demands, you cherish a principle which is destructive of true religion: "Know ye not," saith St. James, "that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?"

2. The fear of the world.-Nothing is more certain, than that the dispositions and habits of the great majority of mankind, even in a Christian country, are totally and radically opposed to the precepts of the Gospel; and the world loves its own and if any are not of the world, it beholds them with aversion. It is true, that in this age, those that will live godly in Christ Jesus do not, as in the primitive times, suffer the violence of persecution; yet a real Christian must, doubless, be a man of courage. He will be exposed to the obloquy of some persons, and to the ridicule of others: and he must be prepared, under any emergency, to adopt the language of the Apostle;

"I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." But this is a lesson not easily to be acquired; and many who are in a degree persuaded of the value of eternal things, and of the necessity of a humble and holy conversation, and of a heart renewed by the operation of God's blessed Spirit, are still so much under the influence of the world's opinion, and are so much afraid of coming out and being separated from multitudes around them, that they shrink at the very thought of singularity: they would wish to follow God, but it is their desire also to obey men: they hope to accomplish both objects; and the consequence is that they fall short of true religion: they fear men, when they ought to fear God only.

3. The fashion of the world.Under this term, I include the example and authority of those with whom we are conversant; or to whom it is customary to appeal. With respect to example, we can hardly persuade ourselves that so many persons, on every side of us, can be ignorant of the real nature of religion. "Surely," we are ready to say, "it is not to be supposed, as the strict letter of Divine revelation would seem to imply, that in a Christian country such multitudes should be halting between two opinions. Is it likely that the gate of heaven should be so strait, and the way so narrow, as to allow only a small number to enter and walk in it?" And then comes the argument of authority,-an argument as old as Christianity itself. The doctrine of the primitive teachers was in substance, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:" the reply was, "Have any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees believed on Him?" In conformity with the example of our Lord and his Apostles, the ministers of the Gospel in this day insist upon the importance of spiritual religion, and from the express de clarations of the holy Scriptures

expound and illustrate the doctrine which is according to godliness: but how often are they met, as in old times, by an appeal to some human authority! Let us not be supposed to undervalue such authority: give to it all the attention which it deserves; but suffer it not on any account to lower the tone, or to explain away the clear statements, of the word of God. "If the Lord be God, follow Him: " if the Scriptures be a Divine revelation, believe them. Many are to be found, who, under the sanction of some favoured name, are speaking peace to their consciences, while a prophet like Elijah would thunder' in their ears, "How long halt ye between two opinions?"

These and many similar causes, by drawing the attention from the truths of the Gospel, or effacing the impression already produced upon the mind, lead naturally to that indecision which was visible in the Israelites, and which is so common in our own day. But although they serve to explain how it arises, they by no means excuse it. We proceed then to shew,

III. The unreasonableness of this principle.

1. It is unreasonable, on account of the great importance of the subject.


In matters of inferior moment we may be allowed to retain considerable doubt and hesitation, with out much prejudice to ourselves or to others and in some points it is our wisdom to hesitate. But in this instance, it is folly in the extreme. For if the Scriptures be true, if the Christian religion be not altogether delusive, the question is beyond all human calculation or conception momentous. Take the simplest view of Divine truth which can be given, it yet involves the relation between Almighty God and his accountable creatures. Now, whatever were the revelation which might be made to us from Heaven, and whatever the service required of us toward our Creator, would

any reasonable man be careless and indifferent about it? would he not be very diligent to become acquainted with his duty, and very anxious to discharge it? "A son honoureth his father," saith Jehovah by the prophet, "and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" But the vast importance of the subject is to be seen in the condition of a future world. If the soul were doomed to perish with the body, it might be comparatively of little moment what doctrines we believe, and what rule of conduct we follow the favour even of God, should it terminate with this state of existence, might be a matter of inferior consideration; but how stands the case when we look at futurity; when we know that there shall be a resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of the unjust; that a separation will then take place between "him that served God, and him that served him not?" That whilst the righteous-those who repented of their sins and were justified by faith in the Redeemer and were sanctified by his Spirit-will go into life everlasting; the men who knew not God, nor obeyed him in the Gospel of his Son, will be cast into everlasting fire? Is this a subject to be trifled with? Would any man that is in the slightest degree capable of reasoning and reflection, commit interests like these to an uncertain issue?

2. Something, perhaps, might be said in vindication of indifference and indecision, if these things were only obscurely revealed; but the fact is, that as we are more interested in the knowledge of salvation, than of all other things, so is the will of God most distinctly made known in respect to it. There is much to be learnt concerning the Supreme Being from the works of nature and the ways of Providence: but our great appeal is to the revelation of light and truth by the Lord Jesus Christ. God deals

with us as with reasonable creatures: He has given us a revelation, which it has pleased Him to recommend to us by evidences the most convincing and conclusive. Men may easily be found who pay no attention to these evidences. Such is the depravity of the heart that some persons will not come to the light, and therefore do not see the clearest demonstration on religious subjects. But this is no argument against the evidence itself: it may prove that they are blind, but it proves nothing more. No reasonable man who has candidly examined the question, can doubt the inspiration of the Scriptures: if he pretend, therefore, to hesitate whether he will follow the God who revealed them by believing in that Saviour whom they announce, and pursuing that holiness which they enjoin, he stands plainly and completely without excuse.

But of this class, I presume that among us very few are to be found. We all believe that religion is of supreme importance, and that the Scriptures are the revelation of God. I would ask then, thirdly, what can be more absurd and unreasonable, than to allow this in principle, yet in practice to deny it?

If we admit the Lord to be God, the necessary consequence should be, that we act upon the persuasion. Many of you are probably conscious of the inconsistency which exists between your creed and your practice; although you endeavour to conceal it as much as possible, even from yourselves. But we press these subjects upon you that they may be fairly brought under consideration; and that you may be led to feel concerning them, as reason and the Scripture would require you to feel. What should we think of a person, who deliberately tells us that he is responsible to Almighty God for every act of his life, and yet expresses his determination to live as if there were no God? who professes to believe that he must hereafter appear be

fore the judgment seat of Christ, and yet avers that he will live as if there were no day of retribution ; no second death to be suffered; no life beyond the grave? Yet what is all this but the practical language of every one among us, who on the great subject of religion is halting between two opinions?

Permit me, in conclusion, to press more distinctly upon you the question and admonition of the text.

1. The question: "How long halt ye between two opinions?" How long? Till you shall have clearer evidence of the truth of revelation and the value of religion? Have you some reason then to be dissatisfied with the kind of evidence adduced? or is the importance of true religion so doubtful in itself, that you cannot decide upon it? Some, perhaps, are waiting till they shall find a better opportunity; till the troubles of life shall have ceased to harass them, and they shall have obtained leisure for serious reflection. But is it usual then for cares and troubles to diminish as we increase in years? Every successive period of existence, from youth to old age, has its own disquietudes; and what was in early life only doubt, and indecision, and delay, too frequently terminates in hardness of heart.

And will a wise man defer till tomorrow, in relation to such matters, the duty of to-day? Alas! alas! how delusive are the promises of future years! To convince us of the uncertainty of all earthly enjoyments, and earthly prospects, we have no need to recur to ages which are past: the events which fall under our own observation, proclaim with a voice not to be misunderstood, the vanity of all expectations which are founded upon the morrow. They warn us as with the sound of a trumpet, Prepare to meet thy God. This opportunity is your own; another you may not possess; and even if life should be prolonged, what advantage can you reap by the delay? Who shall

secure to you hereafter the possibility of repentance? Who can promise that the mercy which has been deliberately slighted, shall not eventually be withheld? that God will not at length, according to his own awful declaration, "laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh?"

2. The admonition: "If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." Think not to unite the pleasures of sin with the hope of the Gospel; to be at the same time the servants of righteousness and of iniquity; if it be right that you should take this world for your portion, be at ease in the pursuit of it: let no apprehensions of futurity, no alarms of conscience, check you in your course. But" if the Lord be God," let it be your determination to serve him; not with a mixed, and doubtful, and partial obedience, but with the undivided purpose of the heart; honouring him in the means of grace, obeying him in the Gospel of his Son, seeking earnestly for the blessings of his Spirit, repentance unto life, the remission of sins, the purifying of the mind, the quickening and effectual power of that grace, which God alone can bestow, and which, through faith in Christ Jesus, he is willing to impart to every one who sincerely and diligently seeks it. Do not err, my beloved brethren: do not deceive yourselves by the persuasion that you follow God aright when your service is merely nominal, however fair; let it be the worship and devotion of the soul. "Serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind." Such was the dying advice of David to his son; and the argument by which he enforced it may be addressed with equal propriety to every one among us: "If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee: but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.".

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Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer,

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IN reference to the discussion in your Number for last October, p. 389, the argument in my mind, has never been-" Did our Lord eat the Passover at the usual time appointed by the Jewish Law, or did he anticipate that great national type by eating it the day before ?" but, "Was the memorable supper which he eat with his disciples the Passover Supper, or was it not? Or did he eat it the night before his passion, or did he never eat it? Was the correct Passover-day the day on which He suffered, or was it the day before?"

On points like these, I agree with! your correspondent A. B. C. that it is not so material that we should satisfy our minds, either for the negative or the affirmative, as that we should forbear citing as a fact, what we are not reasonably assured is such, for the sake of some inference, however pleasing or useful, that we purpose to ground upon it.

For the arguments that Christ suffered on the day and hour of eating the Passover, I refer your readers to Kennedy's Chronology. The direct text against Kennedy's view of the subject, "With desire I have thus desired to eat THIS Passover with you before I suffer," his arguments thus paraphrase :"I have greatly desired to institute THIS my Passover instead of the legal one before I suffer;" and the course of his reasoning is the same as we use against transubstantiation, X. Y. Z,

Tothe Editor ofthe Christian Observer,

I HAVE no disposition unnecessarily to prolong the discussion on Gal. i. 7; but your correspondent I. O. Z. having, in your Number for March, cited various authorities in answer to certain philological objections urged by me against our common version of the clause & 8k és adλo, it

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