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beyond our rules of reason and our in- , supreme love of things present, in tellect, yet, we are implicitly to ac- which the great mass of mankind live." quiesce notwithstanding : our faith Now this spirit is perfectly consistent must operate ; we must first say to with an outward form of religion. It ourselves, “it is the undoubted word is not necessary that men should be of God, therefore it must be true”- grossly immoral, in order to be of the then ask ourselves, “why do we not world. To seem religious and to be comprehend the doctrine?”—because so are two very different things. To we are not in possession of the mate- have the grace of God at our baptism rials for judgment; or even if we and to use it ; to take the sacrament were, these materials may depend, in and to act up to it; to bear the cross their operation, upon principles with of Christ on our foreheads, and to which we are and shall, nay, more, have it engraven on our hearts, are far must be, totally unacquainted, as long from being always united in one and as we are here below in the flesh! the same thing; and it is from a preLastly, we should reflect, that God will, sentiment of this frequent inconsistenin his own good time, justify his ways cy, that our Saviour, at the conclusion to man; that every valley shall then of two of his parables, uses twice be raised, and every hill brought down these remarkable words, “For many to our own level; then, we shall know are called but few chosen." And in in whom we have trusted, and that the history connected with the text, our confidence has not been in vain in as you will find it given in the thir. the Lord.

teenth chapter of St. Luke, we have Having laid down these rules of a specific question put to our Lord proceeding, I shall now go on to con- upon this very point.

“ Then said sider the words of our Lord in the one unto him, Lord, are there many text. It is possible that the terms that be saved ?" there used may strike some of you, at Now

you

will remark here, that our first, as appalling and terrifying and Saviour does not give a direct answer melancholy; they may appear harsh to this : and he hereby reads us this and discouraging and irreconcilable to important lesson, that we should not other accounts in the Bible; to those, endeavour to be wise beyond practical for instance, which describe the ways benefit. Whenever we can draw a of religion to be pleasant and peaceful, good influence upon our hearts and or to those which assert, in general lives from any doctrine, however abterms, Christ's love for sinners, and struce or metaphysical, then, up to that his suffering disgrace and death for the point, it is fair and allowable to pursue sins of the whole world.

and search it out: but we should most Upon this head I shall only, at pre- cautiously be aware of a vain and rude sent, say what St. Paul said to the curiosity, that, in the absence of facts, Romans, respecting human laws :- would deal in surmises; and which, “ Rulers are not a terror to good after all, tends to unsettle, rather than works but to the evil. Wilt thou, confirm, the faith which is delivered to then, not be afraid of the power? Do us. that which is good, and thou shalt have Upon another occasion, however, praise of the same.”—My brethren, our Lord speaks upon the subject in man is fallen from God; and when we plainer terms—“Enter ye in at the talk of the spirit and course of this strait gate ; for wide is the gate and world, we mean the collected force broad is the way that leadeth to deof that habitual neglect of God, and struction, and many there be which go.

was

in thereat: because strait is the gate | broad is the way that leadeth to de.' and narrow is the way that leadeth struction, and many there be which' unto life, and few there be that find it." go in thereat : because strait is the

Now, from these passages it strikes gate and narrow is the way which me, as a certain inference, that the leadeth unto life, and few there be number of those who are walking in that find it.” Such are the words of the way of truth and life, with the the evangelist. probability of eventual salvation, is far I remember, almost in my infancy, less than those who are pursuing the to have seen what made, and still conpaths of sin and of error. I grant that tinues to make, a strong impression on this is awful ! But what then? is my mind, a picture descriptive of this God the author of sin ? is it his de- very scene of our Lord. On one side crees that thus decide the fate of his stood a massive gate and castle, ornacreatures ? Is He, who willeth not mented on every part with the most the death of a sinner, thus to send so beautiful proportions of architecture ; many souls (the value of which is, by the pillars were at a great distance his own account, beyond all descrip- from each other, and the entrance tion or price) into wretchedness and grand, spacious, and noble. This led punishment? God forbid, my bre- to a high road within, broad and thren. Never for a moment suffer beautiful ; surrounded by verdant your minds to suppose that God arbi- meadows; ornamented with blooming trarily decrees for death. It is all the flowers, gently sloping with the most fault of man.

There never a delightful declivity. The gate was single sinner lost but he brought de- thronged with eager visitants, and the struction upon himself. If not, the road was covered with joyous, and whole Gospel is a fable “your faith is many of them gorgeously drest travain, and our preaching is vain ;' nay vellers. Some were sporting in the more, I contend that the doctrine of fields-others refreshing in the streams the text is a doctrine full also of hope, -others in parties singing, and dancand comfort, and support, that while ing, and banquetting—and all appait shows the wicked this awful truth, rently delighted at the ease with which that if they persevere, die they must; they were pursuing their luxurious there is no escape—no false hope in journey. Further on, however, the the mercy of God—no chance—that road began to get less beautiful, and heaven will relax from its declarations, signs of a rocky and barren soil to apso often, so fully, so plainly given in pear. Just round the angle of the the Bible. So, on the other hand, it prospect, unseen by them, there was shews the humble and willing disciple, situated a deep and dismal gulph; in that if he comes up to the terms he is this the journey ended; and to this, sure of the reward ; that so far from all who were travelling, imperceptibly fighting uncertainly—so far from beat- declined. ing and buffetting the air, that the On the other side, what a contrast crown of glory most indubitably will existed to this splendid scene. There be ready for him, who, through grace, stood a low, humble, unpolished enendureth to the end.

trance, so close, as scarcely to allow Let us now then examine fairly the room to pass, that led to a small state of these two entrances, through straggling, solitary looking pathway, one of which we must all pass, and of winding up the side of a steep and which the descriptions appear so very craggy mountain ; no flowers, no different. “Wide is the gate, and splendours, no' crowds ! A few poor

or a desire to be thought liberal and unshackled by narrow prejudices; one or more of these, operating upon the natural inclination and depravity of his own sinful heart, brings the man thus to the "broad gate."

abject tottering figures were seen here and there toiling up the precipice, too inconsiderable to excite notice, or at all events, only raising the contempt of those who were journeying in a different direction. But mark their progress; the higher they ascended, the easier became their march. The road grew more and more verdant and cheering; the sun brightened upon their course; the flowers began to enliven the prospect, and they were at last lost to the view amidst groves and bowers and temples. Such was the picture, and such also is the fact, in life and in religion. Look at the multitudes of the world, and at the tenor of their practice. There stands the gate of sin, wide, spacious, open, inviting. Dressed off in the most beauteous colour-it tempts every one, and escapes no one's observation. Every attraction is there. Music and gaiety, and title, and equipage, and wines, and feasts, and lusts, and passion. There they are, fluttering around the gateway, beckoning and smiling, and using every artifice of seduction. And what is the consequence? Why exactly the one which the text declares, "Many there be which go in thereat." The road is crowded-for how easy is it to enter-examine your own hearts -trace the progress of any one sin inviting, and required no trouble nor

O sinner! whoever you are, stop for one moment before you enter, and ask yourself, "What is it I am about to do?" You are about to pass that barrier which you shall never repass, but with tears, and sighs, and agony of heart. Stop while there is time. But no-thoughts like these may, and in fact do, constantly arise in the failing transgressor; for I will venture to say there never was a beginning of sin made by any one: but the holy Spirit of GoD offered many a whispering warning, and many a forcible remonstrance; but still they are too often heard only to be disregarded— onwards he goes-he is borne along with the crowd-and he passes the fatal gateway. Look in the same way at the liar, the swearer, the profaner of the sabbath, the miser, the man of pleasure, and the man of fraud. There they are all in the crowd—and how came they there? Why, most of them in the very way I have just been describing, imperceptibly, gradually; because the road was broad, and easy, and in

labour; because it was crowded, they floated with the stream-they went with the "multitude to do evil." Companions give courage.

your lives, with what facility has it grown upon you-from what small, and sometimes accidental, beginnings has it derived its origin with us! to what a degree has it arrived, before almost we are aware of our danger, or its magnitude!-take any sin. Look at the drunkard for instance. He began, perhaps, by indulging the good humour of his disposition. The idea of becoming the character he has at last assumed, was the farthest from his thoughts and intentions; but pleasant company, delightful entertainments, or fascinating music, or a want -f fortitude to refuse a hospitable host,

But there is not a more destructive mode of reasoning than this; namely, that the danger is none at all, or at all events not so great, because so many in the world, besides, are in the same predicament. And yet how frequently is this done! men cheer themselves with this very circumstance. They look around, and behold so many of their neighbours doing like themselves; many, whom they respect for their talents, their in

A great man of our own times once publicly declared, that he had met with such uniform success in life, that he began to be afraid that GOD was angry, and had forsaken him. The sincerity of such a sentiment might, perhaps, have gone some way in working out his salvation.

fluence, their general habits; many, | in religious error; and that when you to whom they are possibly attached by find yourself going on too prosperously the ties of love and of respect, and with in life-when you have no lets, or whom they would almost be content hindrances, or crosses, or troubles, then to share some danger; that at last is the very time to hesitate, and tremble, they begin to take courage; they sup- and examine, lest, haply, you may have pose that religion is not so strict as it got into that declivity which blinds the is represented, or else why should so eyes while it destroys the soul. many considerate persons not conform to it? that it is not so difficult, or else why should the world not take more pains about it? that the majority of men look happy, and cheerful, and easy, and that therefore the conduct which allows that, so far from being so culpable as some formal persons who deceive themselves, and others pretend to assert, must be right and sufficient; that GOD is merciful, and therefore that he will not punish so many of his creatures for a little failure in the rigours of his service; and that he would not have made the common way of life so delightful and pleasant as it is, if it were so surely to lead to the destruction of the soul. I say these excuses, either directly or indirectly, are very frequently urged by us; and no man present can fairly say, but that, in any thing he does, right or wrong, it is a great source of consolation to him to find the majority of the world on his side.

But it is time now to turn to the narrow roof of the Gospel entrance. Observe, first, then, it is a strait gate : it will not admit us easily; money will not open it-stratagem will not unbar it-the crowd (for there is no crowd there) will not bear us in whether we will or no. Alas! I wish not unfairly to alarm any one here present; but the bolt of this gate turns comparatively but seldom, and it can be opened only by repentance and tears! We must kneel, and weep, and pray: the only price here is penitence and faith-the best passport is a sincere heart. But I wish to make a remark here upon the terms of the text; "Few," says our Lord, "few there be that find it." What does this shew? Why, undoubtedly, that it must be searched for: carelessness will never make or preserve a Christian. It will not do to sit down and fancy that religion will come and force herself upon us, or that we shall be brought, as if by a miracle, to her strait, but friendly portal. No, we must inquire, and reflect, and seek diligently, and compare, and prove; we must not be Christians merely because our fathers were; or belong to any particular church or department of Christianity, only because it has been the custom of our family and household, but we must search and prove for ourselves; and then (as the

are

But, my brethren, whenever you are inclined to feel consolation from the practice of the world, whenever you begin to doubt that you in any jeopardy, because you see others walking by your side in ease and security, turn to the seventh chapter of St. Matthew, and read there these words of the text: "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction; and many there be that go in thereat." There learn, that insensibility is no argument of a good conscience; that splendours are no proofs of a safe road; that the friendship of the world is enmity against GOD; that the greater multitude are

Apostle enjoins) “ hold fast that which | pediments to remain. My brethren, is good.” We must read, or rather this also is literally the case : the broad study the Bible ; that is, read it re- road of the world is rendered smooth gularly, attentively, with prayer, and by the number of those who are in it: with a candid and teachable mind; and they are all going the same way; they then the grace of God will guide us keep up each other's spirits ; they reinto all truth, and bring us in safety to move each other's difficulties; they dethe sure, though narrow, way of sal- fend, countenance, support, and apvation.

plaud, with mutual attention.

But May the Lord that made us thus the poor solitary Christian is too often preserve us. But, observe, the next left, in his lonely but pious journey, to remark: The gate is not only “strait,” provide for himself; he is thwarted by but “the way is narrow.” Admission the world, slighted and misrepresented to Christianity does not immediately by the multitude, frequently without secure to a man, as a matter of course, the least social advice or intercourse, all its privileges. “In my Father's and subject to moments of despondhouse are many mansions :" and this ency, when nothing but God's grace applies to religion upon earth, as well can help or reinstate him. But the as to happiness in heaven. There are road is still further to be called nardifferent degrees of Christian perfection row, because it confines us within cerfrom the first dawning of penitent tain limits. Christianity does not alobedience; and of babes in Christ, to low excursive flights, and wanderings the noonday manhood of the confirmed by the way side, at our own will and saint. Difficulties, therefore, must be pleasure, nor that pursuit (so common expected, especially at first, in the to the other party) of every gleam of Christian course. Nature and sin will pleasure that flits across our path ; but not part with us without a consider it bounds our course; it draws about able struggle. “Narrow is the road.” us the impassable line of God's comAnd why is it narrow? I will mention mandments ; it subdues the roving one reason, which will shew a cause, propensities of sensual appetite, and among others, for the different pro- points only to the goal that is fixed portions of the two ways. You will ob- before us. serve that the broad way is made It now only remains for me shortly broader by the continued crowd of its to apply the subject to our personal travellers : they prevent the verdure improvement. I take it for granted, from growing; they beat it down with then, that in this congregation there their footsteps, and make the path are two kinds of persons—some who wide, and smooth, and dusty; whereas are proceeding through the spacious the narrow way is contracted for the gate of sin, and others who are walkvery opposite cause—it is little fre- ing along the narrow track of humble quented, so little, as to allow the grass religion. I shall address a word of and the briars to grow, and the im- advice to both parties.

(To be continued.)

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