tempers are sanctified, their evil propensities mortified, their selfish hearts enlarged, and their characters sound, pure, and holy: all who knew them before will be constrained to notice the change, to wonder at the effects, and to inquire into the

•What hath transformed the brier into a 'myrtle, the lion into a lamb, or the swine into

a sheep?' and the persons who have experienced this change, by professing their faith in Christ, give him all the glory. Thus the nature and tendency of the gospel, and the excellency of its fruits, are manifested : the Lord, as it were, challenges men to come and examine the work, which he has wrought, and to say, whether it be not worthy of admiration and honour. This is by far the best and most effectual method of confuting infidelity, and constraining iniquity to stop her mouth ; and “ the fruits of righteousness," which believers abundantly produce, prove, “ Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God," as they tend to make known his glorious perfections, and promote the cause of his holy religion, among mankind. But "

wo be to the world because of offences; and wo be to him by whom the offence cometh !” The crimes of professed Christians render our holy religion odious and contemptible to millions in all the quarters of the globe, and give infidels their most plausible arguments against it. The crimes of hypocrites, who contend for the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, prejudice the minds of vast multitudes in every part of this land: and, alas! the misconduct of true believers, who do not feel sufficiently the necessity of growing

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in grace, produces in a measure the same lamentaable effects. We ought therefore to pray more frequently and earnestly, for ourselves and each other, that the Lord, who hath set us apart for himself, would make us to be " unto him for a name and a “ praise;" “ that our conversation may be such as “ becometh the gospel of Christ ;" “ that we may walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his

kingdom and glory;" and that we may put “ those to shame” and silence “ who would speak

against us as evil-doers.”

The Apostle instructs Titus, to“ exhort servants “ to be obedient to their own masters, and to please “ them well in all things, not answering again, not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity: that

they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things :” and the same argument is equally cogent in respect of every instance of good behaviour in relative life, and in all the transactions of life, in those who profess the gospel. Nothing indeed can add to the beauty and glory of divine truth, as it is in its own nature: but this glory and beauty can be discerned by the spiritual mind alone: to the world in general it appears foolish and absurd, and the misconduct of such as profess evangelical truth confirms despisers in their proud contempt of it. There is however an excellency in a truly Christian temper and conversation, which they are not hardy enough to deny, and of which they frequently have the fullest demonstration, in the advantage or comfort which they themselves derive from it.

One talkative, imprudent, and inconsistent zealot for the doctrines of the gospel, who neither knows nor practises the duties of his station, but is habitually guilty of manifest crimes, or glaring improprieties, will expose the cause of truth to the contempt of a whole family, a village, or even a neighbourhood. But a single Christian matured in grace according to the sketch here given, notwithstanding incidental failures and manifold infirmities, of which he is humbly conscious, will obtain a testimony in the minds of all his connexions, and win upon their hearts; he will soften the prejudices, silence the reproaches, and live down the contempt of the circle in which he moves; and evangelical truth will acquire such a respectability in a neighbourhood, where consistent Christians are numerous, as none can properly conceive who have not actually witnessed it.

III. The same tenor of good behaviour must be allowed to have a powerful tendency, to make known the salvation of Christ. All who love the gospel desire to promulgate it: but many attempt it in a very improper manner, thinking that they ought to dispute for the truth with everyone to whom they have access, or that at all events they must become preachers of the word. No doubt it is very commendable to contend earnestly for the truth; and what zealous Christian does not pray, that the Lord would increase a hundred fold the faithful ministers of the gospel, how many soever they be? But perhaps the cause of truth would be no loser, if we had much less disputing, and even rather less preaching of some kinds; provided we had more of those, who preach to all around them in the silent energy of a holy life; after the manner in which Peter exhorts wives to preach to their un

believing husbands. * Every word that persons of this character drop, whether of serious reproof and exhortation, or in ordinary discourse, and every persuasion to read a book, or hear a sermon, would have great weight, and in some instances success : whilst, “ Physician, heal thyself,” is a sufficient answer to the most zealous unholy disputer.—Nay, it may reasonably be supposed, that a faithful minister of very slender talents, who lives consistently with the holy doctrine which he delivers, and is attended by a few persons whose conduct do credit to the gospel, will in the event be more solidly and durably useful, than the most popular speaker, who is either remiss and inconsistent in his own conduct, or surrounded by admirers who are a reproach to his doctrine.

It pleases God, on some occasions, to revive religion by numerous apparent conversions, and in a very rapid manner ; yet this will soon die away, or continue, at most, only for a single generation, if holiness do not shine in the lives of those concerned. But more commonly, the cause of God diffuses its influence like the leaven, and like the grain of mustard-seed, almost insensibly, from small beginnings to great increase. When the work is genuine, and the profession accords to the specimens given in the New Testament, the holy flame kindles from heart to heart, in families, and neighbourhoods: and one after another is won over, even without the word, by the conversation” of friends and relatives, while they behold and benefit by their consistent conduct. This

- 1 Pet. iii. 1-6.

we should desire and pray for in our several circles ; and would we adopt the right method of succeeding in it, we must “ let our light shine before

men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our heavenly Father.”

IV. It is also most desirable, that the knowledge of the gospel should be continued to our posterity. Holy men of God have always paid a great regard to the religious interests of succeeding generations; and with this view redoubled their diligent and zealous endeavours, when they were about to leave the world. Thus, Moses, Joshua, David, Paul, and Peter, had “the same mind in them, which “ was also in Christ Jesus." The true believer longs especially, that his children and children's children, with those of his relatives and friends, may from generation to generation be the supports and ornaments of the gospel. In condescending regard to such desires, the Lord hath mentioned these blessings in the covenant which he makes with us, assuring us that it is intended “ for our

good and for that of our children after us : none, but such Christians as have been described, can reasonably expect to be thus favoured. Their example and instructions; their testimony for God and his truth, living and dying; and the reputation which they often acquire after death, however slighted before ; plead powerfully in behalf of religion, in the consciences of those whom they leave behind. As they have “ honoured God,” he thus “ honours them,” by answering their prayers and prospering their endeavours : and, if they leave any of their children, or beloved relatives, in an unconverted state, they may even at their departure

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