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If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

SELF-KNOWLEDGE is to be acquired by honest and habitual examination. We may deceive ourselves as well as others, we may be reserved in our confessions when no ear hears them. There are favourite faults which may escape, from being the companions of our virtues; there are vices to which we may be lenient because they have in them something of refinement and amiableness and the errours of weakness we may pity rather than condemn ; when a good quality, which is congenial to our natural disposition, has grown into a defect, we may be insensible to it; and from various motives by which we are actuated we may select those that are good, and imagine that they are the only ones which influence us, when they would be lost to a closer inspection in the crowd of unworthy inclinations. It is not unnecessary then to say that this examination should be honest, or to be impressed with the importance of sincer ity and openness in our intercourse with ourselves. Truth, without any of the drapery of prejudice or opinion, must be the test of our ́actions, and we must reverence our judgment too much to attempt to deceive it, or suffer it to be misled.

There may be seasons of despondence when desperation makes us acquiesce in vice-there may be periods of scepticism, when, doubting the danger, we may not fear to err; when the mind cannot discern between good and bad—and amid the tumult of passion no voice can be heard but that which prompts us to indulgence; we may gaze with delight upon the leopard's spots or the adder's skin, and forget the venom and the fang; in the delirium of guilty feelings, the sting of conscience may be unfelt, and we may be unable to judge of our conduct. At such times we should banish thought from our minds, we should seek safety in flight, rather than by combat, we should strive to forget, rather than recollect our feelings, fearing to deepen impressions which may otherwise soon disappear.

There are many, who, from the constitution of their minds, are incapable of these vicissitudes who are not liable to the disturbing influence of strong emotions, and there are none who can always remain in such states of mind as have been described. In most persons the passions and feelings are not usually in powerful operation. They rouse themselves and are violent for a season, and then leave the soul harassed by their invasion to recover its exhausted vigor, so that, for the most part, reason may possess her rightful sway, and then is the period favourable to an impartial estimation of one's own character.

This exercise must be habitual: not merely an unfrequent and occasional inquiry into our characters, to which circumstances peculiarly favourable may excite us, but a constant and unremitted attention to every action, and to each whisper of conscience. We should uniformly reflect whether we do what we ought. We should determine what we will do by considering the great rules of life, which religion affords, and we should judge of what we have done by reference to the same guide. We must search minutely into our own hearts; we must detect the motive which would conceal itself, and lay open to our inspection the principles by which we governed.




Lover and friend hast thou put far from me.

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WHAT is called natural affection, is an acquired habit. The ties which have happily bound two together in conjugal fidelity and love, have often proved stronger than all other attachments.-Has death taken from your side, the chosen partner of your life, and left you, as it were, alone, without the solace, support and friendship which you have so long felt? Has existence lost its chief charm, and do you feel perfectly prostrated at the thought, that you cannot look on that face again, and that you must pursue the weary way of life without this endeared and venerated object?-Your case is one which demands peculiar condolence. But, remember that God, who "tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," will not forsake you in this hour of your greatest need. There can be no waste in his spiritual universe; and in keeping safely what he takes, he leaves the richest consolation for those who remain. The religion of Christ is filled with comfort for you. A God of light and grace dwells above the incumbent cloud which now overshadows you. May your affliction be sanctified to you; and it is sanctified to you, when you are sanctified by it, when you are so profited, as to be made a partaker of God's holiness. The best way of mourning for your departed friend, is by following that friend's good examples.

Let those who have been called to part with the friend of their bosom, ask themselves how they have conducted under the bereavment? Let each ask from the heart-Have I see the emptiness of creatures, and recalled my hope and confidence from every thing below God? Have I, in this severe trial, felt my heart bow in quiet subjection to the Father of spirits? Have I showed that I loved God above the dearest creature enjoyments, so that I could willingly acquiesce in his sovereign pleasure, and give up my beloved friend at his demand? Have I, by this affliction, been led into a more thorough acquaintance with my own heart, and been made truly humble and penitent for those inordinate, those idolatrous, those rebellious affections, which lurk there? Have I been led to a serious review of my past behaviour towards my relatives deceased; and do I feel thankful to God for whatever kindness and duty he has enabled me to perform to them, and penitent for every instance of neglect and unfaithfulness? Am I quickened hereby to greater zeal and fidelity in discharging my duty to my surviving friends? Do I feel my heart more disengaged from earth, more weaned from life, more reconciled to death, and more attracted to the world of spirits, now another beloved object has gone thither before me ? Do I feel and live more as a borderer on the eternal world, since a part of me has fled to it? And am I ready to follow, if I should quickly receive the summons? Happy, thrice happy, those mourners, who are taught to improve the death of friends to such noble purposes! The temporal loss, in this case, is converted into infinite, immortal gain. But if any of us are not engaged in making this improvement, we have reason to mourn with emphasis; for we have lost not only our dear relatives, but likewise the whole spirit and benefit of the affliction. We have cause to weep, not merely over the dead bodies of our friends, but over our own untouched, dead, miserable souls, which are a thousand times more shocking spectacles.




Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

By "our debtors" are intended those, who, in any respect, injure us, either in our persons, reputation, interest, or comfort. The christian duty of forgiveness does not require a stoical or affected insensibility of such injurious treatment; for the gospel aims to regulate, not to extinguish the innocent feelings of our nature. Nor does the duty forbid our expressing to the injurious party, a proper indignation and grief at his misconduct, and prudently attempting his conviction and amendment ;-on the contrary, the scriptures enjoin us to go to our offending brother, and privately tell him his fault its direction is, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart; but thou shalt in any wise rebuke him, and not suffer sin upon him.” -Nor does the duty, in question, prohibit us seeking satisfaction from those who have injured us. The laws of God, of self preservation, and of civil society warrant us, in such cases, to do justice to ourselves. The laws of christianity require the injurious person to go and make satisfaction to his offended brother, and even to defer the performance of religious worship till he has honestly attempted this reconciliation.

The duty of forgiving offenders, implies, in the first place, that we really love them notwithstanding their pernicious conduct. We are to distinguish between the person and the fault; and to feel that he may become a good man, and then a good friend. Christ says "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; and do good to them that despitefully use you." The indulgence of an angry, sullen, malicious disposition towards an offender, is strictly forbidden. It is as remote from christian forgiveness, as darkness is from light.

Secondly--this duty implies, a sincere desire and a resolved pursuit of the welfare of those who have injured us; and a heartfelt satisfaction in their amendment, and in their temporal and spiritual prosperity. He who thirsts for revenge; or exults at the misfortunes of an offender, has not the christian spirit.

Thirdly-this duty requires a readiness of mind to confer with the offending party, to be reconciled to him on mild and equitable terms; and on his offering due satisfaction, to comfort him with the swift and frank assurance of our forgiveness and kindness.-He who is only forced into reconciliation, betrays dark symptoms of latent enmity. The gospel requires a forgiving spirit; and this spirit must be fixed, habitual and ready-not blind, and yet without wrath; not precipitate and yet free.

There are two kinds of forgiveness, benevolent and complacential. The first is always our duty, as it embraces the general principles of loving our neighbour. It requires our treating our debtors with tender compassion, with cordial and active good will.-The second is not always our duty; that is, we are not always bound to restore or receive the offender to our bosom, as a christian brother and friend. His offence may be such, as shall lead us to doubt his sincerity; and we may wait until we see fruits of his repentance. If the offender merely says, I repent, must I forgive him seventy times in a day? No-unless he complies with the condition which our Saviour attached to this text, viz. "if he turn again unto thee." His turning means evangelical repentance, and where this actually exists, there we must pardon.

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With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation

THE appellation of Christian, is not now, as it was at first, any disparagement. But are you ashamed, permit me to ask you,-are you ashamed to be known as a believer and abettor of the religion of Christ-those doctrines which the men of this world esteem foolishness? When such a thing is asserted or insinuated, do you feel disposed to blush, and to hide your head ?—I do not mean from timidity and self-diffidence, but from the secret consciousness of shame? Does this tempt you to shift and prevaricate-to hesitate, and qualify, and varnish, as if you were sensible there was a degree of weakness, and want of spirit, in admitting the charge, and avowing the sentiments imputed to you ?-Do you feel ashamed of the world's scorn, and of its various epithets of contemptuous reproach,―a saint, an enthusiast, a fanatic, a well meaning but weak minded man?—Or, on the other hand, whilst you do not court and invite reproach, do you count it your honour when it comes upon you ;-a participation in the sufferings of a worthy Master, and deriving glory from the excellence of the cause in which it is endured?-Remember what is said of the apostles, when they had been publicly reprimanded, and beaten, and charged to desist from preaching Christ: "They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name !"-A portion of the same noble spirit is possessed by every one who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian, professing as you do, the moral courage which accompanies true faith, let your soul delight itself in God and in Christ. Mingle, by imagination, in the future scenes of your glory. Let your hope enter within the veil, in the full and delightful anticipation of your speedy admission. And is this the only grace which should enter it? No. Let love enter within the veil and say, "whom have I in heaven but thee;" and let faith enter it and say, "I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living :" let patience enter and behold the good resting from their sorrows : let gratitude enter and take up its song and its harp; and let humility enter and see how all its honours are devoted to Jesus : let charity enter, and mark how, amidst all the varieties in character, origin, and glory among its inhabitants, there is but one heart let desire enter and say, Ō when shall I come and appear before God! and let joy enter and drink of its rivers of pleasure. Soon shall the period of your actual admission arrive. The forerunner has entered for you; and as you would wish that your entrance should not. be with fear and trembling, with doubt and hesitation, "give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, and then there shall be administered to you an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of your Lord and Saviour." There you shall find a temple without a veil, a church without spot, day without night, worship without hypocrisy, youth without decay, happiness without measure, and glory without end. Manifest a respect, high, constant and universal, to the commandments of God. "Blessed are they who do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city."




And they that feared the Lord spake often one to another and the Lord hearkened and heard it.

SOME years since religious conversation was less common than any other. Now, it is an all engrossing topick. Too much joy cannot be felt for this salutary change. Who that feels any interest in the destination of his being, can refrain from making this a theme of frequent and delightful conversation? The language of religion is the language of man's higher nature, the language of heaven's inhabitants, the language of our Father's house.

But there are errours connected with religious conversation, against which we must guard, if we would not expose christianity to derision. It must be timely, temperate, enlightened, and charitable.-We must avoid all display of regard to religion, which is ostentatious and offensive. He has little acquaintance with human nature, who does not know, that the affectation of any virtue is one of the worst proofs of its existence, and is very commonly a sign of its being wanted. It is not common for a man of humanity and benevolence to talk much of his humane and benevolent feelings, nor for a man of courage to assume the air of a braggart, nor for a man of honesty and truth to make many professions of his honesty and assertions of his veracity. The case in respect to religion is indeed somewhat different from what it is in respect to the social virtues; as it is not so strongly as these supported by the opinion of the world. It becomes therefore the duty of men of virtue and influence, a duty very different from that ostentatious display, of which we have been speaking, openly to profess their respect for it, and on various occasions of life in a particular manner to manifest this respect.

We deem the family circle, and the hours of friendly intercourse, as the place and season for religious conversation. Perhaps it is objected to us, that we do not make our religious feelings a common subject of remark. To this we answer, that there are subjects not to be talked of except in a very serious state of mind and with an immediate sense of their importance; and that there would be much danger of their losing their solemnity and their awfulness, if too frequently or familiarly introduced. We answer, that it is in a high degree offensive to a man of correct mind to make his deepest feelings and his strongest affections a subject of common discourse-to borrow the fire of the altar for the common uses of life. He, who commanded us to enter into our closets to pray, did not intend that we should come forth to announce, with what dispositions we may have performed the duty. For that man therefore we should feel our highest respect, whose conversation should be habitually regulated by religion and morality; who should imply his sense of their obligations much oftener, than he directly expressed it; who should be always ready to converse on those subjects, which require the most serious state of mind, when his advice, his warnings, his encouragement, or his consolation might be of any value; but who for the most part in the common intercourse of life should "silent let his morals tell his mind."

Under proper restrictions, social circles may statedly discuss the various topicks of religion. The number should generally be small, and confined to those who have full confidence in each other. Any parade about such a meeting is offensive.

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