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EPHESIANS ii. 4, 5, 6.

God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

HAVING given a few preliminary advices re

lative to my subject, I went on to justify the accuracy of the apostle's idea, by shewing, that the Christian is quickened, raised up, seated in heavenly places, together with Christ.

I. By the reasons which persuade him of the certainty of the exaltation of Jesus Christ. I now proceed to justify St. Paul's idea, by shewing:

II. The Christian's participation in the glory of Jesus Christ, by the means with which he is fur

And without

nished of knowing himself, and of attaining assurance that he is fulfilling the conditions under which he is enabled to promise himself an interest in that exaltation. I do not mean to insinuate that this knowledge is of easy attainment. I maintain, on the contrary, that it is one of the most difficult which can be proposed to a man. entering here into a detail of the reasons which evince the difficulty of it, it is sufficient for me to adduce a single one; it is the smallness of the number of those who know themselves. The judgments which men form of their own character, is an inexhaustible source of ridicule, The world is crowded with people totally blind, especially where they themselves are concerned..

What illusion do they practise upon themselves, with respect to the body! How many are there whom nature has sadly degraded in point of person: forms which you would say were only blocked out, and of which, if I may use the expression, God seems only to have erected the first scaffoldings, conceive of themselves ideas directly opposite to the truth. Talk of the corporeal qualities of such and such persons: they will be among the first to make them an object of derision, and discover this to be too slim, that to be too gross; falling foul of the whole human race, and shewing tenderness to no one but themselves. If we are thus subject to blindness, where things sensible, palpable, are concerned, how much greater must be the danger where matters of a very different complexion address themselves to our self-love?

We practise illusion upon ourselves, on the score of our understanding. How many ignorant, dull, stupid people, betray a conceit that they are intelligent philosophers, profound politicians; that they possess a judgment accurate, enlightened, uncom


and are so powerfully prepossessed with the belief of this, that the combined universe could not drive them out of it. Hence it comes to pass, that they are for ever taking the lead in society, exacting attention, courting admiration, pronouncing, deciding peremptorily, and seeming to say at every turn, Am not I a 'most extraordinary personage? But you have never had the advantage of a course of education, or of regular study. No matter; talents supply every deficiency. But no one presents incense to you, yourself only excepted. Still it signifies nothing: it is the wretched taste of the present age. But you are actually a laughing-stock to mankind. No matter still; it has always been the lot of great men to be the object of envy and calumny.

We practise illusion upon ourselves in favor of our heart. Should you chance to be in the circle of slanderers, and bear your testimony against slander, the whole company will instantly take your side. side. The most criminal will endeavor to pass for the most innocent. They will tell you that it is the most odious, abominable, execrable of vices. They will tell you that the severest punishments ought to be adjudged againt the offender; that he ought to be excluded from all human society. And the very persons who are themselves actuated by this detestable poison, who are themselves diffusing the baleful poison of their malignity, apprehend not that they are, in the slightest degree, chargeable with such a vice. Have you no knowledge, my brethren, of such a portrait ? Have I been depicting to you manners which have no existence in real life? If there be any among you incapable of discovering himself under such similitudes as these, it is a demonstration of what I

wished to prove, that it is a very difficult thing for a man to know himself.

But though this knowledge be extremely difficult, it is by no means of impossible attainment. The believer employs two methods, principally, to arrive at it. 1. He studies his own heart. 2. He shrinks not from the inspection of the eyes of another.

1. First, the believer studies his own heart. Let it not appear matter of astonishment that the generality of mankind are so little acquainted with themselves. They are almost always from home: external objects engross all the powers of their mind; they never dive to the bottom of their own conscience. Does it deserve the name of searching the heart, if a man employs a rapid and superficial self-examination, by reading a few books of preparation, on the eve of a communion solemnity if he devote a few moments attention to the maxims of a preacher, much more with a design to apply them to others, than to make them a test of his own conduct? How is it possible, by means of an examination so cursory, to attain a knowledge which costs the most eminent saints so much application?

A real Christian studies himself in a very different manner. With the torch of the gospel in his hand, he searches into the most secret recesses of conscience. He traces his actions up to their real principles. When he has performed an act of virtue, he scrupulously examines whether he had been actuated by some merely human respect, or whether it proceeded from a sacred regard to the law of God. When he unhappily is overtaken, and falls into sin, he carefully examines whether he was betrayed into it by surprise, or whether, from the prevalence of corruption in his heart, and from

the love of the world still exercising dominion over him. When he abstains from certain vices, he examines whether it proceeded from real self-government, or merely from want of means and opportunity; and he asks himself this question, What would I have done, had I been placed in such and such circumstances? Would I have preserved my innocence with Joseph, or lost it as David did? Would I, with Peter, have denied Jesus Christ, or have endured martyrdom in his cause, like Stephen?

2. The second method which the believer em. ploys to arrive at the knowledge of his own heart, is to permit others to unveil it to his eyes: this is done particularly, either by the public instructions of the faithful ministers of the gospel, or by the private admonitions of a judicious and sincere friend: two articles very much calculated to explain to us the reasons why most men attain such an imperfect knowledge of themselves.

It is with difficulty we can digest those addresses from the pulpit, in which the preacher ventures to go into certain details, without which it is impossible for us to acquire self-knowledge. We are fond of dwelling on generals. Our own portrait excites disgust, when the resemblance is too exact. It is a circumstance well worthy of being remarked, that what we admire the most in the sermons' of the dead, is the very thing which gives most of fence in the sermons of the living. When we read, in discourses pronounced several ages ago, those bold strictures in which the preachers unmasked the hypocrites of their times, reproved the vices of the great as freely as those of the little, attacked adultery, extortion, a tyrannical spirit, in the very presence of the offenders, we are ready to exclaim, What zeal! What courage! What firmness! But

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