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“Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment : and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”—Matt. v. 22.
OW severe is the morality of the Gospel ! How
high the standard of Christian holiness! The rule of Christ is not lowered in order to be accommodated to the infirmities of His people, but the infirmities of our nature must be purified so completely, that every disobedient thought must be brought into subjugation to it. Many persons who make a high profession of religion, and possess a considerable reputation for sanctity, seem to regard, as of very trifling consequence, the irregularities of the temper and tongue. But let such persons remember, that however religious we may seem to be,"if we bridle not our tongue, our religion is vain;" “ that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God ;” and, above all, that “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." Not, indeed, that all anger is sinful, for our text presupposes some instances and degrees of it to be lawful, as the words of St. Paul also imply. “Be ye angry, and sin not.” (Eph. iv. 26.) It is certain, therefore, that where a just cause exists, we may “be angry” and yet “not sin,” as we know
that our Lord was angered on more occasions than one. But whensoever anger is allowed without a reasonable cause, or to any degree beyond the weight of that cause, it cometh of evil, the sinner is in danger of the judgment, and must be accounted as a trespasser against the royal law of love. Such being the measure of our judgment, what reason for watchfulness have we all; and constant recurrence to the throne of grace, that the spirit of meekness may be formed in our hearts, and the charity which “believeth,” “hopeth,” and "endureth all things.” For the line of distinction is difficult in most cases to define-and least of all is it competent for an excited man to feel what is, and what is not, a legitimate cause of anger. None but the eye which has been opened to the breadth and purity of the law, can discern the value of the Atonement; and none but the soul which has felt the intolerable amount of its debts to the tables of the covenant, can view with interest the last embers of the burnt-offering as it consumes on the altar. The more we review in our cooler moments the circumstances which dictated our passion, the more we shall be induced to acknowledge, in many instances, how frivolous and inadequate they have too often been. The
very best of us, upon such an impartial examination, would find reason to be startled at the amount of the debt incurred, and the sum of the liabilities which have continued to accumulate against the day of account. There is surely no means of escape, but through our great High Priest; as He was encompassed with our infirmities, He can make allowance for the shortcomings of those who come unto God by Him, and who, though they delight in His law after the inner man, to their grief perceive a law in their members rebelling against the law of their minds, and too frequently “bringing them into captivity to the law of sin which is in their members." “ Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord !”
Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly dove,
Conduct us safe, conduct us far
The light of truth to us display,
Lead us to holiness, the road
The Sebenth Sunday after Trinity.
LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of Thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ onr Lord. Amen.
“What fruit have ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ? for the end of those things is death."-ROM. vi. 21.
YUCH St. Paul states to be the end and issue of a
misapplication of our powers. These were given to us for useful and beneficent ends, and are so arranged that their abuse eventuates in punishment to the pos
Let us look around, and see the various forms of vice. Are not such their own tormentors? The voluptuary, the ambitious, "each bears his cross "--a decayed body, or a haggard face. So much for the gross prostitutions of our energies. But parity of justice requires, and parity of experience confirms, that the traces of proportionate retribution appear in cases of less culpable abuse. He who does not set himself to work mischief, but lets his faculties rust, or uses them only for selfish ends such as for ostentation, lucre, vanity-will find the end of these things to be death; if not here, hereafter, or at the closing scene, when all things appear in their true colours. What a pitiful thing, upon the margin of this life, to look back and see what we have been, and what we might have been! The work which was appointed lies unfinished before us, and we must quit without provision for a land where we are unknown! Where is the fruit of our many plans—our late resting, our early rising, our perplexing thoughts—which robbed us of repose ? Our large returns of gain are useless now; like dishonoured notes, they will not pass current in the land for which we are bound. The labour of our life is spent in vain. Herein consists the advantage of the conversion of our faculties to their right purposethe service of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ