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was needless to say that which had been well said already; and the object was not repetition, but to be strictly supplemental to what had been written before. This Essay, therefore, is only to fill up what was lacking in others; nec fungar inani munere, if no other effect is produced by it, than that of causing them to be more read.
Something of the kind was required, for it is not uncommon to hear persons, in every rank of life, speaking as if religion were a thing separate from duty; that is, as if it consisted in the belief of a proper creed, and in the performance of acts of mercy and charity; but that all the business of life was a hindrance to the proper spiritual practice of a Christian man. So far, indeed, as religion consists in, or rather is to be acquired by, reading God's word, and meditation thereon, so far is the business of life a hindrance to religion ; but so equally is visiting the sick, or any other act of social intercourse with our fellow creatures. We find a labourer hasting to get his daily task finished, in order that he may resume some other occupation
which he calls more religious; he fancies that his religion has been left when he quitted his home and his Bible, and that he is not a religious man until he returns to it. The lawyer hastens to get through his causes, because he thinks that a court of law is not a place in which it is possible to be religious: and the merchant leaves his counting-house to attend a committee of a society, supposing that the latter is in performance of a religious duty which the former is not. But digging a field, pleading a cause, and sitting behind a counter, are as much religious duties to persons in those respective classes, as any other employments can be. Religion means a system of obligations ; of bindings of man to God, and of man to man : the bands which hold are the ordinances of God's appointment; and every individual is religious or otherwise, according as he sees God in the sphere in which he is moving, and fulfils to Him the purpose for which he was placed in it. The Bible or Word of God, gives indeed an account of God; and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by the Evangelists, and his operations detailed in the Apocalypse, shows God in act; but it is only in His ordinances that the Christian can walk with Him-have fellowship with Him-live with Him. The Bible does not make the ordinances, but reveals them, in order that the servant of God may understand their meaning, and conduct himself in them as unto his Master which is in heaven.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work ; but it was man whom Jehovah formed in the image of Himself. In the likeness of God made He man. Man is the image of God; the representative of creation's universal Lord. Dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, was given into his hands. Man is the vicegerent of God over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.
But man has higher destinies still. He is to show in the ages to come, the exceeding riches of God's grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. (Eph. ii. 7.) Man
is ordained to set forth throughout eternity the being, attributes, and character of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. God will gather under the headship of Christ, all things which are in heaven and in earth. (Eph. i. 10.) They who are born, not of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God, by the Spirit, thereby united to the Son, constitute the body of Christ, which, under Him as their Head, do form the kings and the priests, who are to carry on the rule, and conduct the worship of the regenerated creation. The Holy Spirit is shed abroad in the hearts of Christ's members, as the earnest of the inheritance, until they enter into the promised possession; and in order that they may be made to know Him, and through Him know the Father, that God may be honoured, loved, and worshipped aright: likewise, that they may discern, by comparing themselves with Christ, and with the written word, how far they are removed from that standard of holy manhood in which alone God delights; how unholy,