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charged. With the most fervent gratitude, then, let us thank him for his compassion, and our Redeemer for his vast and unmerited mercy. Let us implore that Saviour to help our unbelief; to fill our souls with love to himself; to strengthen our trust in his promises ; and to shed apon our hearts the inspiration of his grace. And let us remember, that if he does so visit us, and we may rest assured he will, if we ask in truth and sincerity, such an outpouring of his Spirit will incline us always to do his will: and though we may often err, yet our humble endeavours will still be “to let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.” In such a faith as this the just shall live; live in this world, my brethren, though poor and afflicted and bereaved, yet in joy and hope ; looking forward to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith : and they shall live hereafter, shall live through never ending years of happiness, in the presence of that Saviour, in whose intercession they humbly trusted on earth, and who now reigns on high, as he himself has mercifully declared, to welcome his good and faithful servants into the joy of their Lord.


James ii, 14.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he

hath faith, and hath not works? Can faith save him?

THERE has been no more fertile source of error amongst men, than that which has arisen from perusing God's written word, without that deep and solemn reverence for its contents, with which every contrite sinner should approach these sacred records. There are many who read the scriptures in order to support opinions previously conceived ; and in the fulfilment of their mistaken purpose, wrest and pervert the text of revelation, until they make prophets, and Saviour, and apostles, utter doctrines totally at variance with the plain import of their language, and subversive of the first principles of the Christian faith. The Sadducees of old bore something of this character; they had determined beforehand

that there could be no resurrection from the dead, and they drew their scriptural argument for the truth of this theory; from the silence observed concerning it in the writings of Moses. But because the other parts of the Hebrew scriptures contained strong intimations of this blessed truth, the Sadducees refused to receive their evidence, and admitted, as standards of faith, only the first five books of the Old Testament. In like manner there have been, in all ages of the church, persons who, having thus mistaken the principles of true religion, have formed their creed on the fallible basis of human reason, and supported it by partial views of the declarations of Holy Writ. Others, again, who do feel a reverence for the truths of the bible, who do believe it to be a great and perilous sin to alter one tittle of God's law, fall into an error not so dangerous perhaps as that to which we have just alluded; but still full of hazard, and apt to bring great discomfort to their own souls. They build their faith upon parts of the bible, rather than upon the whole; they select particular passages from which they deduce certain articles of belief, without considering how far such a belief is warranted by the general tenour of the inspired writings. So obstinate, too, are they frequently in their prepossessions, that although texts be brought forward, decidedly contradictory to the sentiments they have formed, they seek not to reconcile opposing testimonies, but cling to their first opinions, as though nothing could be alleged to invalidate them.

It is to the misconceptions of this latter class of persons, that I wish more particularly to direct your attention on the present occasion; and that you may avoid their fallacies, I would lay down a few plain rules, before we proceed to consider more closely the words of the text. First, then, we should remember that the bible is the word of God, and that since "He is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent;" we may rest assured, that every word which it contains is true, and that every part of it is written for our instruction. Secondly. This reflection should induce us ever to bear in mind, that we are to receive, as articles of faith, all that the scriptures reveal; and that we are not, therefore, to found our religious belief upon one portion of them alone, to the exclusion of the rest; much less are we to array the precepts of one writer against the precepts of another. Thirdly. When we meet with passages from different parts of the sacred volume, which seem to be at varience in their signification, we must consider that such contradiction exists only in appearance, and not in reality; and that although we may not here be able to remove the difficulty,

yet that, in another state of being, these mists will be cleared away—the crooked paths will be made straight, and the rough places plain.

There are, indeed, mysteries in God's revelations, which it would be vain and presumptuous in us to attempt to penetrate ; and no result probably would follow from such useless curiosity, but greater perplexity and uncertainty. When, however, we observe rules of duty apparently opposing each other; feeling persuaded, as we must do, that such oppositiou can arise solely from our own misapprehension of the meaning of the inspired penmen, and not from any difference of sentiment in the minds of the writers themselves; we shall act only the part of sincere and prudent men, if we endeavour, with God's help, to reconcile these seeming discrepancies, and by so doing, strengthen and confirm our own faith.

The words of the text afford us a striking illustration of this seeming disagreement in opinion upon the same truth, between two of the first preachers of the gospel ; and an examination of them will also shew, how little real contradiction there is in those parts of the sacred volume, which are sometimes in controversy arranged on opposite sides of the argument. And I am the rather induced to dwell somewhat at large upon them today, in order to redeem a pledge which I made some weeks since, that I would endeavour, with

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