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54

SERMON IV.

THE CHRISTIAN A CHANGED MAN.

2 CORINTHIANS 5. 17.

“ If

any man

in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new.”

WE come now to the third subject, which I proposed to bring before you in my few opening sermons. I have already spoken to you of Man's state as a siriner before God; also of The great means of our recovery, namely, the atonement of Christ.

Our subject to-day will also be a very important

see

one; namely, Our need of a change of heart.

In every Christian country, in every parish, in every congregation, there are two great divisions. We

some living altogether for this world. Their desires and feelings are all earthly. They have no love for God. They have no inclination for his service. Religion is a cold, dry, matter with them. They have no heart for it.

It is all against the grain. It is a thing just put on for the Sunday, and then thrust aside, and forgotten. Talk to them of the world, of its business, or its pleasures, and you will find them ready enough, and eager enough, to dwell upon the subject. But talk to them of God, and of the things of God, and you soon see that they have no taste for it. They read God's word, perhaps,

because they know it to be their duty ; but they have no real appetite for such food. They go to church, and sit through the prayers, and listen to the sermon; but they do not come here to pray earnestly; they do not hearken to God's truth, as if they felt it to be His message to their souls. The little, trifling, perishing, affairs of the day occupy their attention, far more than the great concerns of eternity.

Such is the case with a very large class, not in this place merely, but in every place. I might say, such is the case with the great mass of men generally.

But there is another class, altogether different. With them religion is everything It is the first, the chief, the leading object of their lives. They live in this world, but their hopes are in heaven. Their hearts, their desires, their affections are set on things above. The service of God is not a mere task with them ; but it is their delight, and their greatest enjoyment. They are living for another world, and they already seem to have some foretaste of it. There is something in God's word, which seems to answer to the wants in their own souls, and they thankfully exclaim, This is truth ; we feel it, we believe it, we know it to be so! To such persons Christ is very precious. They love to talk of Him; and whilst they speak one to another on spiritual subjects, their very hearts burn within them.

Now, I ask you, do we not find this difference among men ? sure, you have observed it yourselves, and you have sometimes wondered,

I am

perhaps, how it is that one man is so religious, and another so worldly ; how it is that one man seems to find the greatest enjoyment in religion, and another finds none whatever; one man feels a real pleasure in doing God's will, and walking in his ways, and another only follows the bent of his own selfish inclination.

How can we account for this? What makes the difference? Is it that some men are born with better dispositions than others? It is true, they are so; but this will not account for the difference. No, this cannot be the reason, because we find some who are naturally ill-disposed, becoming thoroughly changed and altered characters. Is it then that some have greater advantages than others ? No, it cannot be this either. For we often see two persons brought up by the

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