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listless, is not only imperfect, but insincere)-but I would save him from despair at the view of his own weakness, by directing him to that which is his sure and only strength.-We feel that the pure and holy principles of the Gospel, which have been preached to us, do not operate upon our hearts with consistent uniform efficacy.-They never will do so in this life, while we have this treasure in earthen vessels.-But we are not, therefore, to be lightly reconciled to our infirmities, but to endeavour daily more and more to supply what is weak in nature, by what is strong in grace.
Lord, I believe," must be still our cry— "dead as is my heart to the wonders of thy Gospel, inconsistent too often as is my practice with the pure precepts of thy law, still I believe, I acknowledge no other Master,-" Help thou mine unbelief,"―stablish, strengthen, settle me, by the assistance of thy free Spirit."
Appeals such as this, my brethren, will not be made in vain.-To those who employ the means of grace aright, grace
will be given.
"When he was come
into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?—And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."-And without the employment of these means, nothing will be effected now.-Prayer must be made always to draw down upon us the aid of the Spirit. Self-denial must be practised, the body must be kept under, and brought into subjection, that the Spirit may have room to act.
"Have you faith," therefore, my brethren ?-Pray that it may be increased.Pray that he who of his own free will has given you his word, would also give you understanding, that you may know and keep it.-There is but one man in the world to be really envied, and it is that happy individual, who can say in sincerity and truth-" Lord, I believe."
Or do you feel within you any thing of the evil heart of unbelief? Are your souls
1 Mark. ix 28, 29.
troubled, and your spirits overwhelmed, by a sense of the many imperfections and inconsistencies, which mark your course?-See, in the first place, whether they do not arise from some unmortified lust, some unchastised passion. And then do not sit down in inactive despair, saying, "the enemy hath persecuted my soul, he hath smitten my life down to the ground1;"-" will the Lord cast me off for ever, and will he be no more entreated?"-do not, I say, fall into a train of idle complainings.—It is thine own infirmity.-Seek out the sin that is besetting you, and implore the grace of God, that you may be empowered to cast it out. Pray, "Lord, help thou mine unbelief."
And, in the last place, although upon a candid examination you feel constrained to confess that you are "of little faith"that the life of God is but commencing within you-despise it not, neither neglect it. It may be the seed from which shall
1 Ps. cxliii. 3.
2 Ps. lxxvii. 7.
spring, by due cultivation, an abundant harvest-the dawn which shall continue to shine more and more unto the perfect day." The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds-but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof'."-If you have faith therefore, but as a grain of mustard seed now, yet cherished and cultivated by all care and diligence of your own, and nourished by the dew of God's blessing-it may increase daily more and more, till it become a tree of life-affording a defence from the heat, and a shelter from the storm.-If we are not wanting to ourselves, we may be "confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in us, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ 2."
1 Matt. xiii. 31-33.
2 Phil. i. 6.
RELIGIOUS FIRMNESS AND CONSISTENCY.
DANIEL iii. part of ver. 16, 17, 18.
O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
IT must have been a grand and imposing spectacle which the plains of Dura exhibited, when in obedience to the mandate of him whose word was life or death, all people, nations, and languages, in the vast empire of Babylon, "were gathered together," on the banks of the Euphrates, " unto the dedication of