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s strength which renders a man superior to all those " things which the people either hope or dread, de“ scends from him. So lofty a structure cannot “ stand unsupported by the Divinity.” These, my friends, are the words of a heathen, and express a doctrine equally agreeable to reason and to revelation. In consequence of our corrupted nature, we are unable of ourselves to produce the virtues and graces of the Divine life. But we are not left without a remedy. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, aids are promised from above, to repair the ruins of our nature, and to restore the powers of the soul. God hath not forsaken the earth. As at the first of days, the Divine Spirit is still moving over the world to produce life. The Lord is ever nigh to them who call upon him in the sincerity of their heart. While we strive against sin, we may safely expect that the Divinity will strive with us, and impart that strength and power which will at last make us more than conquerors. As he who continues in wicked devices shall be sure to find Satan standing at his right hand ; so he who begins a good life, shall find God befriending him with secret aid. He will allist the spirit that is struggling to break loose from the bonds of its captivity; he will aid the flight of the foul that is taking wing to the celestial mansions ; he will support our feeble frame under the trials and conflicts to which we are appointed, and lead us on from
grace to grace, till we appear in Zion above. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their “ strength ; they shall mount up as on eagles' wings;
" they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, ." and not be faint."
I come now to the last thing proposed : to exhort you to a life of progressive virtue.
In the first place, then, it is your duty to make progress in the ways of righteousness. In your
sanctification enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. It is not enough that you continue stedfast and immoveable ; you must also abound in the work of the Lord, if you expect your labours to be attended with success. It is not fufficient that you continue in well-doing ; you must also grow in grace, and increase with all the increase of God. This progreslive nature of righteousness is implied in all the figures and images by which a good life is represented in Sacred Scrip
It is compared to the least of all seeds, which waxes to a great tree, and spreads out its branches, and fills the earth. It is compared to the morning light, at first faintly dawning over the mountains, by degrees enlightening the face of the earth, ascending higher and higher in the heavens, and shining more and more unto the perfect day. We are faid to be here at the school of Christ ; and in order to attain the character of good disciples, we must not only retain what we have acquired, but also add to the acquisitions we have made. The christian life is represented as a warfare, and in this warfare we shall never gain the victory, unless we not only maintain the ground we have got, but also gain upon the foe. It is represented as a race set before us, and in running it we must continually press forward, or we shall never gain the prize. Every degree of grace which you receive, and every pitch of virtue to which you attain, is a talent for which you are accountable : a talent which if you only retain, but not improve, you will receive the doom of a flothful and wicked fervant, and be cast into outer darkness. The christian life is a life of continued exertion. At every stage in our pilgrimage on earth, new scenes will open ; new situations will present themselves; and new paths to glory will be struck out. The sphere of action varies continually. We have, one while, to support adversity ; another while, to adorn profperity; sometimes to approve ourselves to God in solitude ; at other times to cause our light to shine before men in society. Different situations in the world, and different periods of life, require the exercise of different virtues. What is accepted from the young soldier will not be excused in the veteran ; what is an“ ornament of grace" to the youthful brow will not be a “ crown of glory" to the hoary head.
Secondly, Let me exhort you to this life of progressive virtue, from the pleasing consideration that you will be successful in the attempt. In the pursuit of human honors and rewards, the successful candidates are few. In a race many run, but one only gains the prize. But here all who run may obtain. *In the career of human glory, time and chance hap-, pen unto all, and many are disappointed. “ The “ race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to “ the strong ; nor riches to men of understanding ; " nor favour to men of skill.” There is a concurrence of circumstances required to raise a man to reputation ; and when these circumstances concur, if the moment of opportunity be not embraced, the field of glory may be loft for ever. In human life there is a favourable hour which never returns, and a call
to fame which is repeated no more. Even in its best estate, men ought to lay their account with difappointment and vexation. What thou hast set thy heart upon from thy youth ; what has been the aim of all thy labours ; what has been the object of thy whole life, accident, artifice, ignorance, villany, caprice, may give to another whom thou knowest not. When thy ambition is all on fire ; in the utmost ardour of expe&ation, in the very moment when thou stretchest out thy hand to grasp the prize, fortune may snatch it from thy reach for ever. Nay, thou mayest have the mortification to see others rise upon thy ruins, to see thyself made a step to the ambition of thy rival, and thy endeavours rendered the means of advancing him to the top of the wheel, while thou continueft low.
In the pursuits of ambition or avarice, you may be disappointed ; but if by a progressive state of righteousness, you seek for glory and honor and immortality, I in the name of God affure you of success. Never was the gate of mercy shut against the true penitent ; never was the prayer of the faithful rejected in the temple of Heaven ; never did the incense of a good life afcend without acceptance on high. Liberal and unrestricted is the Divine benigty : free to all the fountain flows. There is no angel with a flaming sword to keep you from the tree of life. At this moment of time, there is a voice from Heaven calling to you, “ Come up hither.” And if you are obedient to the call, God affifts
you with the aids of his Spirit; he lifts up the hands that hang down ; he strengthens the feeble knees, and perfects his strength in your weakness. You are not left alone to climb the arduous ascent. God is with you, who never suffers the spirit which rests on him to fail ; nor the man who seeks his favour, to seek it in vain. Your success in the path of the just will not only be pleasing to yourselves, but also to all around you. In the struggles of human ambition, the triumph of one arises upon the sorrows of another; many are disappointed when one obtains the prize. But in the path of the just, there is emulation without envy, triumph without disappointment. The success of one increases the happiness of all. The influence of such an event is not confined to the earth : it is communicated to all good beings; it adds to the harmony of the Heavens ; and is the occasion of new hosannahs among the innumerable company of angels and spirits of just men made perfect, who rejoice over the finner that repenteth.
Thirdly, Let me exhort you to make advances in the path of righteousness, from the beauty and the pleasantness of such a progress. Whatever difficul. ties may have attended your first entrance upon the path of the just, they will vanish by degrees ; the steepness of the mountain will leffen as you ascend; the path, in which you have been accustomed to walk, will grow more and more beautiful ; and the celestial mansions, to which you tend, will brighten with new splendour, the nearer that you approach them. In other affairs, continued exertion
may occasion lassitude and fatigue. Labour may be carried to such an excess as to debilitate the body. The pursuits of knowledge may be carried so far as to impair the mind ; but neither the organs of the body, nor the facultics of the soul, can be endangered by