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Personal Religion.


The issuing of the first Number of a New Year awakens in our bosoms more than the usual measure of solemnity which always attends that service. Divers circumstances have united of late to bring very near to us that Eternity which we are all approaching and must shortly enter. We every day see more and more the importance of living by the hour, or rather the minute, and in everything of setting the Lord always before us. The children of this world are still wiser in their generation than the children of light. The close of a year among them is always accompanied with great labour, in order to ascertain the state of their temporal affairs. This is the dictate alike of reason and experience, and in the highest degree praiseworthy, since neglect would inevitably prove fatal to the interests of commerce, and fill the world with ruin. Mercantile concerns which, from adverse circumstances, are in peril, by the adoption of timely measures may not only be saved, but restored to prosperity. Wherever danger is possible, the extent of it ought immediately to be ascertained; rather to shun than to search for it betrays something improper, or bespeaks the most culpable infatuation.

Now the principle here set forth applies in the fullest extent to the concerns of the soul. Whatever be a man's spiritual state, no evil can arise from the discovery of it; while to remain in ignorance may be to sink into perdition ! Even where all is right, it is a great matter to be assured of it, and correctly to



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is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law, and becomes clothed with the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus.

This change of state is always accompanied with a change of character: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away, and all things are become new." He is “born again;" he has become “an heir of God and a jointheir with Christ.”.

This is the religion of the Holy Scriptures—a thing experienced in the heart and visible in the life. All profession which comes short of this, and is opposed to it, is to be rejected as not in harmony with the Divine standard. Salvation comprises both justification and sanctification. Justification is a change of state, sanctification a change of character; the former imparts a title and the latter a meetness for heaven. These are the great constituent elements of the Gospel salvation; and both are

realized by means of faith in the Divine testimony—that faith ! which is wrought by the Divine Spirit. The faith which justifies

is the faith which sanctifies; the latter is the sole proof of the former. In the absence of holiness there is no proof of pardon.

The practical bearing of all this is, then, obvious; it behoves each of us to examine ourselves whether we have been the subjects of this repentance and this faith. The Scriptures nowhere represent this as a matter of difficulty; on the contrary, men are exhorted to it as alike easy and indispensable. If a man has realized his position as a transgressor of the Divine law, apprehended wrath, and sued for mercy, he knows it. If he hates and abhors sin, and follows after holiness with his whole heart, he knows it. If he has believed in the Lord Jesus, and relies on the Father's mercy through the blood of the Son, he knows it. If faith in that blood has brought peace to his conscience, and worked purity in his heart, he knows it. If the enmity of his mind against God has been slain, and the love of the Father been shed abroad in his heart, he knows it. The Apostle says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” If we love the people of God as such, this is proof positive that we are the children of God, and that to us there is no condemnation.

Such, then, is the religion of Jesus Christ, as set forth in his own word, and our concern is to inquire whether it be ours. Happy, thrice happy, all who possess it. They are ready for

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both worlds, for earth or heaven. To them, personally, it is of no moment when their course shall finish; for while to live will be Christ, to die will be gain. Absent from the body, they will be present with the Lord. They will rest from their labours, and their works will follow them. Let such continue to abound in the work of the Lord, as if this year were to be their last.

But, ah! there is another class, the impenitent and the unbelieving : “ The wrath of God abideth on them.” They are “in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity." Woe, woe is unto them! They trample under foot the Son of God, and treat the Blood of the Covenant as a common thing! Reader, is this your case? Are you entering the year condemned? Are you to go through it condemned ? Should you be cut down in the course of it, are you to descend quick into hell? Are you to spend eternity amid everlasting burnings ? No, you answer, No! Flee then to the cross of Christ! " Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.”


I do so unless prevented by illness and lead him to suppose that his or circumstances :

visits and sermons are useless. 1. Because God has blessed the 5. Because, if his hands fall Sabbath day, and hallowed it, through weakness, I shall have making no exceptions for rainy Sab- great reason to blame myself unless baths.

I sustain him by my prayers and 2. Because I expect my minister presence, as I should do. to be there, and should be surprised 7. Because God has blessed me if he were to stay at home for the with the means of obtaining such weather.

precautions against the weather that 3. Because, although he has been I am in no real danger. faithfully present through many 8. Because, by staying away, I storms, I see that his health is as may lose the sermon that would good as mine, who have so fre- have done me great good, and shall quently been absent.

| lose the prayers which invariably 4. Because my absence for slight bring God's blessing on the true reasons will lead him to think that heart. there is some personal objection to 9. Because, whatever station I him, when, perhaps, he is devoting hold in the church, my example all his energy to the salvation of his must influence others; for if I stay charge.

away, why not they ? 5. Because my non-attendance is 10. Because, on any important calculated to paralyze his exertions, l business, bad weather does not keep

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