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of friendship, he makes but little distinction between his friends and his foes, scattering around him "fire brands, arrows and death.”
Is he hasty in forming his opinions? He will not subject his spirit to the dictates of wisdom till a knowledge of facts shall enable him to judge correctly, but will readily give to an idle report that consequence which is due only to truth. He condemns the innocent, and regards as enemies his warmest friends. Had he waited patiently for the truth, he might have spared himself the pain and the mortification of censuring without cause and he would not have planted his own bosom with thorns.
Has he no restraint over his depraved inclinations? Every temptation will lead him into sin. If any thing delights the eye he will be overpowered-if any thing charms the ear he will listen-if he meets with any thing that gratifies the taste he will indulge himself.
Thus the man that has no rule over his own spirit, very aptly resembles a city broken down and without walls. That self-government which might have defended him like the walls of a city is broken down and he is exposed to every enemy. Every enticing companion, however despicable his character, may lead him away to the haunts of dissipation. Every suggestion of the great enemy of righteousness will urge him forward to the ruin of his character, his reputation, his soul. He has no security from the assaults of his foes. The walls of defence are broken down-the enemy rushes in at every avenue, and the man himself leagued with his enemies is fatally doing their work-he surrenders almost without the shadow of defence, for he is under the dominion of his own ungoveruable passions, and has no power to make resistance. He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down and without walls.
But we may consider in another point of view, the comparison be
tween a city broken down and with out walls, and the man who has no rule over his own spirit. The traveller who turns aside to view the desolations of a once flourishing city, is filled with a train of the most painful and melancholy reflections. While he surveys the broken walls and mouldering columns, he is carried back to the scenes that preceded the devastation, and as he rebuilds in imagination the ruins, he hears the hum of business, and beholds a throng of happy people.-But the scene is changed. The beautiful city is reduced to a heap of ruins-the voice of music and of mirth have ceased; and worth, and innocence, and beauty and loveliness have fallen by the sword, or are carried away captive. Turn now from this desolated city and contemplate the ruins of an im mortal being.
The degrading effects of jealousy, of envy, and of every species of unrestrained passion illustrate the justness of the comparison in the text; but there is one other vice one which is becoming more prevalent, and more alarming than any other, by which it is most awfully illustrated. Let us fix our eyes then upon the victim of intemperance: and we shall have a more melancholy appeal to our sympathies than can be presented by a city in ruins an immortal mind, created in the image of God, and destined to eternity, led captive at the will of Satan.-Reason is lost in the whirlwind of passion.the limbs totter, but not with age— the eye is dim, but not with yearsthe countenance is deformed, but not with pain. Had some unforeseen calamity produced this wreck of all that was lovely, we could have borne it. Had the eye that once sparkled with intelligence been robbed of its lustre by the hand of time-had the limbs been lopped away in the defence of his country-had the fair, expressive countenance been changed by disease, we could have wept over the ruins in the meekness of
like a brand from the burning!This hope alone keeps from the bitterness of despair your weeping friends. Tear not away from them, this solitary hope.
There is another class of men, who have not yet wholly lost that selfsubjection which resembles the walls of a city, but they are like a city whose walls are impaired and which is in danger of being broken down by an enemy. To such, I would say-advance not a step farther in the high road to ruin-begin immediately to repair the walls of defence -resume that self controul which you have in a great measure lost and which is your only safe-guard. Abandon the haunts of dissipation— tear yourselves away, while it is yet in your power, from the murderers of your peace. Repulse from your bosom every enticing companion, and thunder in his ears the curse that Jehovah has denounced against the man that putteth the cup to his neighbour's lips.
submission. But alas! the unhappy victim has been his own destroyer. No unseen enemy has fallen upon him by surprise—with his own hands he has thrown open the gates, and broken down the walls of defence. He has welcomed the murderers of his peace and bared his bosom to the fiery darts of his enemies. He is broken down, not by invincible enemies, but by the force of his own inclinations,- -himself has given the death-blow to his character, his happiness, and probably his soul! And he has done this against prayers, reHe has monstrances, and tears. done this, in view of the wrath of God, and the lake of unquenchable fire. Nor has he fallen alone. He has thrown upon the walls which should have defended his unprotected family-he has plunged them into disgrace, and brought them down with mourning to an untimely grave. A son perhaps is ruined by the example of an ungodly father. A daughter distinguished by all that is praiseworthy and lovely, is doomed to weep over blasted prospects and withered hopes. But the more melancholy part of the picture is not yet unveiled. Enter the dark, disconsolate dwelling, and there an affectionate wife collecting around her a group of wretched children, waits with a heavy heart the approach of a tyrannical, intoxicated husband. Wretched man! have you the semblance of humanity? Does not the reflection that you are the author of this distress, in the rationa! moment plant thorns in your bosom ? -But I will not treat you with severity. You have a claim upon my tenderest sympathies. From the watch tower, I survey your ruin with an aching heart, and weeping eyes! To your welfare I will devote the ardent prayer, the sleepless night, the midnight tear.-Your case although nearly hopeless, is not altogether desperate. There remains for you one solitary hope-the prayers and tears of your pious friends may prevail-an almighty armn may descend from heaven and pluck you
But there is another class of men whom I wish chiefly to address upon this melancholy subject. It is that class, who are just taking the incipient steps to ruin. They are the more exposed, because they are not aware of the danger. This class is constituted chiefly of young men— inexperienced, and artless adventurers in the paths of vice. They imagine themselves like a city surrounded by impenetrable fortifications, which may bid a proud defiance to every enemy,-But, “let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."-Integrity of character is assailed by a host of subtle enemies, and the first step towards ruin, is a feeling of security. Let the walls of defence be ever so strong, they are liable to be broken down unless the sentinel be kept at his post to give the alarm. Every avenue should be guarded with the utmost vigilance. An enemy doubly superior may be repulsed as long as they are kept without the walls of a fortified town, but if the walls are
broken down, and the citadel is taken, there is little hope of regaining the victory. My young friends, indulge no careless feeling of security. The passions, and inclinations once indulged, acquire strength, and they will soon bear you along with an almost irresistible force. At the same time, you are injuring your reputation and influence, and diminishing that self-regard which is necessary to decision of character. You are throwing down the fortifications around you, and exposing your selves to every enemy. Go survey the ruins of all that was praiseworthy and lovely, ́ask the unhappy victim what dire calamity has fallen upon him, and reduced him to this wreck of desolation. He will tell you that he once possessed a character, and a reputation as fair as yours: but he yielded to the criminal indulgence of unholy propensities, he listened to the enticing voice of ungodly companions-he followed the steps that you are now pursuing.-Will you say there is no danger, with such a beacon before you? Will you fearlessly dash upon a rock, around which are scattered the fragments of a thousand wrecks? Take the alarm while there is safety. Listen while there is hope.-Begin early to command yourselves-subject every unholy propensity to the dictates of heavenly wisdom, and seek for power from on high. Associate with the worthy, the intelligent, the refined, the pious. Regard every enticing companion as the destroyer of your peace. If you will realize your danger, and guard yourselves against the indulgence of every depraved inclination, you may live, the happiness of your friends, and the benefactors of mankind. You may die lamented, and your worth shall be had in lasting remembrance. And while, through the riches of grace, your ransomed spirits may ascend to heaven, the hand of affection shall renew the turf upon your grave, and memory will drop a tear at the recollection of your virtues. But if you feel that there is no VOL. VI.-No. 8. 51
danger, and begin to form a habit of criminal indulgence-I survey the path before you with trembling.— I see you abandon the society of the worthy and sink into a degraded circle. I see you fast approaching the quicksands, and the whirlpools of death-I see a father brought down with mourning to the grave-I see a mother wasting away in the anguish of despair. I hear the disconsolate sobbings of an affectionate wife—I see her pale, emaciated, broken-hearted-I see a pious circle mingling their prayers and their tears together before a throne of grace-I see an affectionate watchman weeping over the ruins of a soul committed to his charge-I see-1 see the grave closing upon an object, distressing and appalling to humanity, and an immortal soul sinking into a lake of unquenchable fire! O that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
In the application of our subject, we shall consider briefly the importance of ruling our own spirits, and the means by which this can be effected. When we consider the relations which a man sustains to his family, to society, to the world, to the universe, to eternity and to God; the importance of self-government will appear sufficiently obvious. If this be disregarded, domestic happiness is destroyed, the peace of society is invaded, God is dishonored, and the soul is lost. It is unnecessary therefore to dwell more fully upon the importance of subjecting ourselves to the dictates of wisdom-this is obvious to every reflecting mind. I proceed to consider the means by which this momentous object may be effected. In the first place, the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of grace. This is the only effectual safe-guard against the practice of iniquity. The natural heart is at enmity with holiness, and will always be liable to break out into acts of immorality. The depraved pas
sions, and affections, must be subdued, and transformed by the Holy Spirit, before we can be prepared for heaven, or be safely defended from contracting habits of criminal indulgence. But there are other means which tend far to the preservation of external character, and these means are important, because morality is important and has some connexion with the hope of spiritual reformation. We have a more rational ex
pectation that the moral man may be saved than we have of the man "who has no rule over his own spirit, and is like a city broken down, and without walls."
We observe in the second place, that self-knowledge has an important influence in aiding a man to rule his own spirit. From an acquaintance with ourselves, we learn the strength of our passions, and the dangers that await us, and feel the necessity of keeping the heart with all diligence.
3. Intercourse with the refined, intelligent, and pious, has a salutary ellect. While a man moves in such a circle he has a character to support. He has a regard for his repu tation which is not easily destroyed, and he is under the powerful restraint of his worthy and elevated associates. But if he forsakes this society, and makes the degraded and the vicious his companions, he has taken the first step towards ruin.
4. Enlarged views of ourselves, and the momentous relations which we sustain. Let every man reflect that he is destined to eternity—that if he becomes a holy being, he is to be associated with angels and seraphs and to be admitted into the presence of God and the Saviour. Let him explore the depths of his own immortal mind, and send his thoughts down the line of endless duration, and enquire what be will be, when the sun and the stars shall be blotted out, and millions of millions of years shall have rolled away, and his capacities of enjoyment or suffering shall have expanded beyond the present dimensions of the highest seraph. Let
him consider the godlike greatness of ruling his own spirit-that the victory over himself is immensely greater than the conquest of armies, or the kingdoms of this world.-Now survey, from this elevation, the haunts of dissipation, and hear the shoutings of profane mirth, and listen to the creaking sounds of the viol. With you descend from this eminence, and forget that you are immortal beings? -Will you be so very a slave, as to yield to every temptation, and be trampled down by every enemy ?— Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon.
5. The wise and the virtuous may do much by combining their influence in the cause of humanity. They may take a promising youth by the hand, and lead him away from the scenes of dissipation, to the circles of refinement and morality. They may unite their persevering efforts, for the suppression of immorality, and by persuasion, example and kindness may aid their fellow men in the government of their passions. Still we are to remember in view of all these means, that little can be effected without the blessing of God. The seat of iniquity is the heart, and the heart must be renewed by the Holy Spirit before we can expect any lasting reformation even of external character. This reflection should arouse every follower of Christ, to vigorous and prayerful exertion. It should be his constant, ardent prayer that the Spirit of grace may descend, and breathe upon the dead. now as I close this solemn subject, let me once more lift up the warning voice, to those who are in danger of losing that subjection of themselves which is sure to terminate in disgrace, and which may prove the ruin of the soul. Advance no farther till you have deliberately surveyed the dangers that await you. Indulge no idle dreams of security. You may easily stop a rolling rock upon the top of a mountain, but when it has half descended to the valley, it will resist a mighty arm. Beware then
how you trifle with the strength of your inclinations-add no fuel to the fire. Pause and tremble lest you become" like a city that is broken down and without walls," and leave your disconsolate friends to mourn for you without hope.
To the Editor of the Christian Spectator. THE example of Christ is a high theme of discourse, and matter of most pleasing contemplation. The imitation of that example is a high and difficult duty, and to be urged continually on all who bear his name. The following passage from Barrow's sermon, "of walking as Christ did," has pleased me so much, I have persuaded myself it would please your readers. E. R. "Our Saviour's example is especially influential upon practice, in that it was, by an admirable temperament more accommodated for imitation than any others have been; that the perfect copy of his most holy life seems more easy to be transcribed, than the ruder draughts of other holy men for though it were written with an incomparable fairness, delicacy, and evenness; not slurred with any foul blot, nor any where declining from exact straightness; yet were the lineaments thereof exceeding plain and simple; not by any gaudy flourishes, or impertinent intrigues, rendered difficult to studious imitation; so that even women and children, the weakest and meanest sort of people, as well as the most wise and ingenious, might easily perceive its design, and with good success write after it. His was a gentle and steady light, bright indeed, but not dazzling the eye; warm, but not scorching the face of the most intent beholder; no affected singularities, no supercilious morosities, no frivolious ostentations of seemingly high, but really fruitless performances; nothing that might deter a timorous, discourage a weak, or offend a scrupulous disciple, is observable in his practice: but, on the contrary, his
conversation was full of lowliness and condescension, of meekness and simplicity; apt to invite and allure sweetness, of openness and candid all men to approach towards it, and with satisfaction to enjoy it. He did not seclude himself into the constant retirement of a cloister, nor into the farther recesses of a wilderconversed freely and indifferently ness, (as some others have done) but with all sorts of men, even the most contemptible and odious sort of men, publicans and sinners; like the sun, with an impartial bounty, liberally imparting his pleasant light and comfortable warmth to all. He used
diet; but complied, in his garb, with uncouth austerities in habit or ordinary usage, and sustained his life with such food as casual opportunity did offer; so that his indifferency in that kind yielded matter of obloquy against him from the fond admirers of a humorous preciseness. sprightful and fervent) were not usuHis devotions, (though exceedingly ally extended to a tedious and exhausting durance, nor strained into ecstatical transports, charming the natural sense and overpowering the reason; but calm, steady, and regular, such as persons of honest intenendued with high fancy, or stirring tion and hearty desire (though not passion) might readily imitate. His zeal was not violent or impetuous, except upon very great reason, and extraordinary occasion, when the honour of God, or good of men, was much concerned. He was not rigorous in the observance of traditional rites and customs, (such as needlessly burdensome, or which contained in them more of formal show than of real fruit,) yet behaved himself orderly and peaceably, giving due respect to the least instituinnocent customs of men; thereby tion of God, and complying with the pointing out unto us the middle way between peevish superstition and boisterous faction; which as always the most honest, so commonly is the most safe and pleasant way to walk