directions; and they frequently, and sometimes sud. denly, shift their course. They make great noise and bustle, disturb the atmosphere, and, by their violent motions, they spread confusion and ruin. Light bodies are easily taken up and driven about

and driven about by every wind that blows. The galę which cleanses the wheat, disperses the chaff. The deep rooted oak stands firm in its place, while the dry leaves beneath it are caught up, wafted around, and made the sport of every gust. So the sincere Christian, rooted and grounded in the truth, and grown up to maturity in faith and knowledge, is stedfast in his religion, whatever storms may assault him. He remains in his place, whatever winds may blow. But the light and chaffy Christian : the hypocritical, unprincipled professor, is easily carried about by divers and strange doctrines. He shifts his course and changes his direction, as the wind of popular opinion happens to drive.

If we would be constant in our religion, we must be rooted in faith and love.

4. The Apostle warns us, that we are in danger from the sleight of men, and the cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

The true ministers of Christ use great plainness of speech, and by manifestation of the truth commend themselves to the consciences of men. Corrupt teachers use sleight and craft, that they may ensnare the simple, and decoy the unsuspecting, and thus make prose. lytes to their party.

Christians should beware of evil workers, and watch against their dishonest arts. That they may escape the dangers to which they are exposed in corrupt times, they must attend to the plain and obvious precepts and doctrines of the gospel, make these their rule, and con, sent to no opinion, or practice inconsistent with them, however plausibly it may be recommended. They must furnish themselves with such knowledge in diving things, as to discern the designs, and escape the artifice of evil men and seducers.

That Christians may the better secure themselves from seduction, the gospel has warned them of the various crafts of those who lie in wait for them.

Deceivers come in sheep's clothing ; with an osten. tation of uncommon humility, meekness and heavenliness; but inwardly, they are ravening wolves, whose real aim is to scarter and devour the sheep.

They are deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness; and thus corrupting men from the simplicity that is in Christ; even as Satan transformed himself into an angel of light, and through his subtlety beguiled Eve from her fidelity to God. Like him, they make cautious advances, not alarming men, at first, by the grossest errors ; but leading them along, step by step, from smaller errors to greater. Thus they wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

They practice not their arts directly on those, who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil ; but they beguile unstable souls, deceive the hearts of the simple, creep into houses and lead captive the more tender sex, and, by their means, subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Such teachers discover a peculiar malignity against the true ministers of Christ. Paul 'speaking to the Galatians concerning the deceivers who were among them, says, “ They zealously affect you, but not well; they would exclude us, that you might affect them.” These crafty and designing preachers appeared among the Corinthians. There they represented Paul as making the gospel bụrdensome, while they preached it freely, and without a reward. And yet the reverse

They, by their insidious arts, devoured those among whom they went, and even brought them into bondage, while Paul preached the gospel without charge ; and though he asserted his right to live of the gospel, yet he waved the right, or used it with such moderation, as to give no cause of complaint.

was true.

Deceivers are confined to no sphere, and governed by no rule ; but stretch themselves beyond their line, en. ter into other men's labors, and build on another man's foundation. Thus they cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine of peace and unity which the churches have received.

They pretend to superior sanctity, and say to others, “ Stand by yourselves, come not near to us ; for we are holier than you ;" when, in reality,“ they who thus separate themselves, are sensual, and have not the Spirit."

They are watchful to take advantage of any unhappy circumstance in a church, such as the discipline of an offender, the death of a minister, or accidental contention, and, by such means, to introduce and establish themselves. Paul says to the Ephesians, among whom he had preached for several years, “I know that, after my departure, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock ; yea, even of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

Such teachers labor to unsettle men's minds from the established order of the gospel, and to prejudice them against the regular maintenance of the ministry, representing all order in churches as tyranny, and all stated provision for the ministry, as oppression. They promise men liberty ; but are themselves the servants of corruption. They speak evil of things which they understand not, and allure through the lusts of the flesh, those who were clean escaped from them who live in error.

The gospel has thus particularly informed us of the cunning crastiness of those who lie in wait to deceive, that we may not be led away by the error of the wicka ed, nor fall from our own stedfastness.

We have considered the negative part of the description given of the mature Christian.

We will now, secondly, attend to the positive part. The Christian, “speaking the truth in love, should grow up in all things into Christ.”

1. We must “ speak the truth in love ;” or “ be sincere in love ;" as the margin reads. The word is of an extensive signification. It imports, to receive, retain and obey the truth, as well as to speak or profess. it. Particularly ;

We should acquire a good doctrinal knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. We should examine the evidences of our religion, that we may be able to give an answer to every man who asks the reason of our faith; and we should acquaint ourselves with the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, that we may discern things . which differ, and approve those that are excellent.

We should be well established in the truth. The Apostle tells the Corinthians, “ His preaching was not with enticing words of men's wisdom, but in de. monstration of the Spirit and of power, that their faith might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the POWer of God." He expresses his desire for the Colossians, “ that they might attain to the full assurance of understanding in the acknowledgment of the gospel, lest any man should beguile them with enticing words." He rejoiced to.“ behold their order, and the stedfastness of their faith in Christ." And he exhorts them to " walk in Christ, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as they have been taught.”

We should see that our hearts are conformed to the truth. One may have a good knowledge of the evidences and doctrines of the gospel, and yet be a stran. ger to the power of it. Such a man is liable to be car. ried about with every wind of doctrine, and to make shipwreck of his faith, in tempestuous seasons. Our best security against this danger, is a heart established

« Take heed," says Saint Peter, “ lest,

with grace.

being lcd away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness ; but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” One who has felt the transforming power of the gospel, has a witness in himself, that it is true, he knows it must be from God, because it inculcates that purity, righteousness, benev. olence, humility, meekness, temperance and universal rectitude, which must always be approvable in the sight of a holy and perfect Being; and in proportion as he finds more of these tempers in himself, he has clearer evidence, that the gospel has come to him with divine power. He will not be persuaded to renounce a dispensation, which God has so manifestly owned. He will not suspect those doctrines to be false, which have so powerful a tendency to make him like to God. He will not receive as truth, any thing which he perceives to be of an opposite tendency, He loves the commandinent, because it is holy-he loves the truth, be. cause it gives power to the commandment.

We must walk in the truth. The reason why some so easily turn from the truth, and run greedily in the ways of error, is because they are not governed by the truth which they profess to believe. Though in words they acknowledge it, they deny it in practice : and finding themselves condemned by it, they conceive an enmity against it. When they have begun to depart from the order, and the doctrine which is after godliness, they find new temptations to depart farther still. One error introduces another, and they wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

2. As we must adhere to the truth, so we must

grow up in all things into Christ, who is the head."

Christ is the head of believers. They must be con. formed to him ; have the same mind, which was in him ; and walk as he walked.

They must grow up into him. They are here in a state of imperfection. They, at present, fall much be

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