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ON A PILGRIM.
The weary pilgrim oft doth ask and know,
WE ARE PILGRIMS.
It is most true, that eyes are bound to serve
Sir Philip Sydney.
TIIAT FROM WHICH WE CANNOT FLY.
Men change the air, but seldom change their care.
NO SINGLE FLOWER IN GOD'S GARDEN.
This man stands under Cain's gibbet with the halter of Judas, to his own thinking, fastened around his neck. And now he cries, " Great mercy, or no mercy; for little mercy will do me no good!" To such as these, good wishes, tender fingers, or compassion, without great mercy, can do nothing. But God's mercy is great and tender. Things may be great in quantity, and of little value. A diamond as little as a pea is preferred to a pebble, though big as a camel. God's mercies are rich and great. They are manifold as well as a multitude. There is no single flower in God's Gospel garden. They are all double or treble. There is a wheel within a wheel, a blessing within a blessing, in all his mercies.
Our Lord himself came as a peasant, lived as a pilgrim, preached under persecution, and died the death of a slave. The sanguine temperament of a mere man would have dazzled his disciples with the future, inflamed their imaginations with dreams of wealth, or consoled their privation with prophecies of sovereignty to come. But Jesus told them that their mission was to be like his
that the disciple was not to be above his master; that his sufferings were to be their example, and their history. They were not even to have the popular praise of a bold resistance, or the personal solace of a lofty retribution. Persecuted by all, still they were to be the servants of all; pursued by the anathema, they were to return it only by the prayer; in exile and chains, they were only to answer by benedictions. Under the Jewish scourge or the Roman axe, they were only to rejoice that they were thought worthy to suffer for their cause. The sole appeal of Christianity must be to the heart, through the understanding. The temptations of the passions and the
senses were to be kept aloof from that sacred circle, in which the Christian did homage to the majesty of the Crucifixion.
All may of thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean,
Will not grow bright and clean.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold,
THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF RELIGION AND GODLINESS.
Now let us show ourselves men and manly Christians, not swayed by trifles and little things, as children by this or that dress, or mode or form of our religion, which may, perhaps, please some the more for its real indecency; but know, that if we continue picquering about forms, the life be lost, and we come to bear the character of that church, "thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead," we may, ere long (after all the wonders God hath wrought for us), expect to hear of our candlesticks being removed, and that our sun shall go down at noonday. The true serious spirit and power of religion and godliness, will act no man against his conscience, or his rule understood, but will oblige him in all acts of worship (as well as of his whole conversation) to keep close to gospel prescription, so far as he can discern it. And that, he will find, requires that, in subordination to the divine glory, he seriously design the working out the salvation of his own soul, and take that course in order thereto, put himself under such a ministry, and such a way of using God's ordinances; as he finds most profitable and conducing to that great end, and that doth his soul most real good. If you are religious, or of this or that mode or way of religion, to serve a carnal design for yourself or your party, not to save your soul, you commit the most detestable sacrilege, and alienate the most sacred thing in the world, religion, from its true end; which will not only lose that end, but infer a heavy vengeance. Yea, and 'tis too possible to transgress dangerously, by preferring that which is less, though never so confidently thought to be divine, before that which is greater, or separately from its true end. You greatly prevaricate, if you are more zealously intent to promote Independency than Christianity, Presbytery than Christianity, Prelacy than Christianity, as any of these are the interest of a party, and not considered in subserviency to the Christian interest, nor designed for promoting the edification and salvation of your own soul. But that being your design, living religion will keep your eye upon your end, and make you steady and constantly true to that, and to your rule, without which you can never hope to reach your end.