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some exceedingly zealous. There is a zeal too which is pure in its nature, but too violent in its operation; and this is often found in young converts. Nothing is more common than for such to imagine they can easily confront the infidel, si. lence the scoffer, and convert the ungodly; and with hasty steps they set about the performance of great things before they have ever sat down and counted the costs : hence they often meet with a defeat, and return confounded that they could not accomplish their object. But, my dear reader, you must ever remember, that whatever have been the mistakes and imprudence of such, this will form no apology for our indolence and carelessness. In proportion to your knowledge, so yður energy and activity ought to advance. “ It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing."* The service of Christ is the most inter. esting in which you can be employed. Be zealous, therefore, in the discharge of all the duties of this service. Be zealous in the defence of it from all the attacks of the ignorant and the wicked. Be zealous in an open and constant profession of it be. fore men. Be zealous in using all the means you possibly can for the extension of it through the world.† You have a thousand arguments and motives pressing upon you to be up and doing.
Think of the zeal of others. The man of business requires no incentives to excite him to acti. vity for his worldly interest. The man of pleasure actually goes through many difficulties and hardships to attain his end. The ambitious man wearies himself with many circuitous steps to ascend the summit of fame. The man of letters toils and labours, and wastes his constitution to add a little more to his intellectual riches. Shall these men exhibit such unwearied exertions for that which is not? shall they even expose them. selves to the most imminent dangers in order to obtain a shadow ? And what! shall we not be zealous for objects infinitely momentous ; for principles divine and pure ; for a cause heavenly and eternal; for happiness sublime and unspeak. able ? Consider, too, that here we are only walk. ing in the footsteps of an illustrious company gone before. They travelled, they fasted, they prayed, they wept, they suffered, they died in the glorious cause! Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, primitive christians, hastened with ardour to bear a testimony to the truth, and pluck sinners as brands from the burning. Not to be zealous, to be frigid, to stand still, to be indifferent, is to insult the memory of these noble men. Behold, too, at the head of all, the mighty Saviour, incessantly employed, patiently enduring, affectionately engaging in our behalf, despising the shame, and pressing through innumerable difficulties to do good to men. Not to be zealous is to be un. like him whom we profess to follow. Think, too, of the vast multitudes who are still in ignorance, and filled with rebellion against God. What if by your zeal you should be the instrument of converting but one of these; what honour to you; what a mercy to him; what joy to the church; what a triumph to heaven. Labour, therefore, after this spirit of zeal: look to God, that he may constantly keep it in a flame. Watch against ali those things which tend to damp it; so shall it be your monument to tell to others that your are numbered amongst a Moses, a Phinehas, a Caleb, a David, and a Paul, the zealous promoters of religion and truth, and whose activity and energies shall be felt to the end of time. .
* Gal. iv. 18.
+ It is a pleasing employ for young christians to be engaged in diffusing tracts, teaching ignorant children to read and understand the principles of christianity.
Another great and important direction necessary to be attended to, is that of stedfastness. Many have gone on well for a season, have been the joy of their friends, and bid fair to become a blessing to the church; but, alas ! in time of temptation they have fallen away! Judging, perhaps, from your present feelings, you may be ready to imagine this will never be the case with you. " What,” are you ready to say, “shall I renounce or deny my religion; give up that which I now find of all things to be dearest unto me? Can I ever think of deserting that which is my happiness, my glory, my surest hope? Can these privileges, now so profitable unto me, be ever slighted? Can these people, the excellent of the earth, my choice companions, be ever abandoned by me? Can this inestimable book the Bible, the delight of my soul, be treated with neglect and indifference? Can this service, in which I feel such superior pleasure, be ever relinquished even for a season? That be far from me. Let the world look upon me with contempt; let me be driven from society into the wilderness, to be the companion of the beasts of the field ; let me bear the most accumulated reproach, let me fall a victim to the most pungent distress, rather than such
a day as this should appear, wherein it should be said, Ah! he has cast off the fear of God; he has returned to the world; he is no longer the amiable, promising professor, he has been unmindful of his God, and forgotten the rock of his salvation." This, my dear reader, may be now the language of your heart; but it is necessary to remind you, that though it is certain God will never forsake his own, yet, that you live in a world of dangers; that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; that our feelings are subject to change; that we have had too many instances of professors, who, trusting to themselves, have gone back like Ephraim in the day of battle. This, therefore, should excite the best of us to watch; but especially those who have not been actually tried. The young mariner, who has hardly ever been from the coast, may dream of perpetual serenity and a pleasant voyage ; but the more expe. rienced puts into his vessel the requisites for a storm. Thus, though it may be pleasant with you now, yet you must make preparation against the tempests that will rise, and the difficulties that may come upon you.
We said you were surrounded with dangers. The world, the flesh, and the devil, will be constantly aiming to draw you from the path of duty: in the strength of God, therefore, you must stand stedfast. 66 Be sober, be vigilant,” says the apostle, “ because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, .walketh about, seeking whom he may devour., Whom resist, stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are ac. .complished in your brethren that are in the
world."* Remember, the Great Captain of your salvation demands your utmost exertions, while at the same time he promises you all that succour and relief of which you stand in need. Consider how much his authority should soutweigh every argument proposed to you by your enemies. It was Pompey's boast, that at a word of his he could make his soldiers creep up the steepest rock on their hands and knees, though they were beaten down as fast as they went up. Thus you: should consider Christ's word as enough, whatever difficulties and temptations are in the way : besides, you are not left like a poor defenceless soldier without any means of security. Every thing is provided for your support and defence, so that you may be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Your happiness consists also in resisting. “ All the armour (as one observes) provided, is to defend the christian fighting; none to secure him flying: stand, and the day is ours; fly or yield, and all is lost. Great captains, to make their soldiers more resolute, sometimes cut off all hope of a safe retreat to them that run away. Thus the Norman Conqueror, as soon as his men were set on the English shore, sent away his ships in their sight, that they might resolve to fight or die. There is not a piece to be found for the back in all God's armoury. Stand, and the bullets light all on your armour; fly, and they enter into your hearts.”+ It is of importance, too, that while you are sted
* 1st Peter v. 8, 9.
+ See Gurnall's Christian Armour, an admirable book on experimental and practical divinity.