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religious or not, can detect them without attentive study of them. But, after all, say they are few, such high Christians; and what follows? They are enough to carry on God's noiseless work. The Apostles were such men; others might be named, in their several generations, as successors to their holiness. These communicate their light to a number of lesser luminaries, by whom, in its turn, it is distributed through the world; the first sources of illumination being all the while unseen, even by the majority of sincere Christians,-unseen as is that Supreme Au-i thor of Light and Truth, from whom all good primarily proceeds. A few highly-endowed men will rescue the world for centuries to come. Before now even one man has impressed an image on the Church, which, through God's mercy, shall not be effaced while time lasts. Such men, like the Prophet, are placed upon their watch-tower, and light their beacons on the heights. Each receives and transmits the sacred flame, trimming it in rivalry of his predecessor, and fully purposed to send it on as bright as : it has reached him; and thus the self-same fire, once kindled on Moriah, though seeming at intervals to fail, has at length reached us in safety, and will in like manner, as we trust, be carried forward even to the end.

To conclude. Such views of the nature and history of Divine Truth are calculated to make us con

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tented and resigned in our generation, whatever be the peculiar character or the power of the errors of our own times. For Christ never will reign visibly upon earth ; but in each age, as it comes, we shall read of tumult and heresy, and hear the complaint of good men marvelling at what they conceive to be

the especial wickedness of their own times. 1 Moreover, such considerations lead us to be satis

fied with the humblest and most obscure lot; by showing us, not only that we may be the instruments of much good in it, but that (strictly speaking) we

could scarcely in any situation be direct instruments ; of good to any besides those who personally know

us, who ever must form a small circle; and as to the indirect good we may do in a more exalted station (which is by no means to be lightly esteemed), still we are not absolutely precluded from it in a lower place in the Church. Nay, it has happened before now, that comparatively retired posts have been filled by those who have exerted the most extensive influences over the destinies of religion in the times following them; as in the arts and pursuits of this world, the great benefactors of mankind are frequently unknown.

Let all those, then, who acknowledge the voice of God speaking within them, and urging them heavenward, wait patiently for the end, exercising themselves, and diligently working, with a view to that day when the books shall be opened, and all the disorder of human affairs reviewed and set right; when “the

last shall be first, and the first last;" when “ all things that offend, and they which do iniquity,” shall be gathered out and removed; when “the righteous shall shine forth as the sun," and Faith shall see her God; when “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars, for ever and




Preached April 8, 1832.

Jer. viii. 11. “ They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people

slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”

THERE will ever be persons who take a favourable view of human nature, as it actually is found in the world, and of the spiritual condition and the prospects of mankind. And certainly the face of things is so fair, and contains so much that is interesting and lofty, that the spectator may be pardoned if, on the first sight, he is disposed to believe them to be as cheerful and as happy as they appear,—the evils of life as light and transitory, and its issue as satisfactory. Such easy confidence is natural in youth ; nay, it is even commendable at a time of life in which suspicion and incredulity are unbecoming; that is, it would be commendable, did not Scripture acquaint us from the very first (by way of warning, previous to our actual experience) with the deceitfulness of the world's promises and teaching; telling us of the opposition between Sight and Faith, of that strait gate and that narrow way, the thought of which is to calm us in youth, that it may enliven and in vigorate us in old age.

Yet, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that even the information of Scripture results in a cheerful view of human affairs, and condemns gloom and sadness as a sin, as well as a mistake; and thus, in fact, altogether sanctions the conclusions gathered from the first sight of the course of the world. But here is an instance, such as not unfrequently is found, of an opinion being abstractedly true, and yet the person who holds it wrong in his mode of holding it; so that while the terms in which he conveys it approach indefinitely near to those in which the true view is contained, neverthless men who maintain the very reverse may be nearer the truth than he is. It often happens that, in pursuing the successive stages of an investigation, the mind continually reverses its judgment to and fro, according as the weight of argument passes over and back again from the one alternative of the question to the other; and in such a case the ultimate utility of the inquiry does not consist in the conclusion finally adopted, which may be no other than that with which the inquiry was commenced; but in the position in which we have learned to view it, and the circumstances with which we have associated it. It is plain, too, that the man who has

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