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work of grace. Yea, from inattention, or from prejudice, from the manner in which it commences, or from some peculiarities in the subject-you may suppose God has done nothing, where he has been doing much.
Guard against this. And remember, also, that it is not enough that you do not despise the day of small things-you must cherish it. Ministers should cherish every promising impression made upon the minds of their hearers. Parents should cherish every tender and pious disposition in their children. Friends should cherish every favourable appearance in their acquaintances. And "Ye that are strong, should bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please yourselves.-Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Now, we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men."
But it is necessary to mention, thirdly, a caution-and it is this: Let not the subject we have been considering, cause remissness in duty, or lead any to settle upon their lees. Were you, from what has been said, to rest satisfied with any present attainments, it would be an abuse of encouragement. It would be an evidence that you know nothing of the power of divine grace in reality. For
Those who have seen the Lord, will always pray, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.
have once tasted that the Lord is gracious, will always cry, Evermore give us this bread to eat.
Besides, more is attainable. There is a fulness from which you may receive, and grace for grace. There is a command: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. There is a promise: Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
And more is desirable. There are particularly two reasons why you should seek after a growth in grace. The first is taken from usefulness. For supposing you are safe-ought you to have no concern for the welfare of your fellow-creatures, and the spread of the Saviour's cause around you? Ought you to wish merely to creep to heaven, without doing any good upon earth? Should you not wish to recommend religion every step of the way; and to honour God, who has done such great things for you, both in the life that you live, and in the death that you die?—And the other is drawn from comfort. It is with grace as it is with other things; when little, it is not easily seen. but, by growing, it becomes more visible. There are richer and higher consolations in religion, of which some never taste; they see them-but are not tall enough to reach them. For these depend -not upon the existence, but the degree of grace. In a word, to use the language of an old divine, "A little grace will bring us to heaven hereafter, but great grace will bring heaven to us now. Weak faith may be compared to a small, infirm, leaky vessel, which does indeed carry the passenger safely over, but subjects him to many a restless anxiety, and many a dreadful fear-while strong faith is a firm, and well constructed ship, that enables him to smile at the waves, to defy
the storm, and gloriously enter the desired haven.
"Wherefore, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For, if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for, if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Amen.
MARTHA AND MARY.
Now, it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village; and a certain woman, named Martha, received him into her house: and she had a sister, called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word; but Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her, therefore, that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. -Luke x. 38-42.
BIOGRAPHY is a species of history peculiarly interesting and useful. And in this the bible excels. The sacred writers describe to the very life. They fear no displeasure; they conceal no imperfection; they spare no censure.
And while they discover their impartiality, they equally prove their wisdom and prudence. This appears from the examples they delineate. What are philosophers, politicians, heroes, to the generality of mankind? They may excite wonder, but they cannot produce imitation. They may indulge curiosity, but they cannot furnish motives, encouragements, cautions. But here we are led into private life; we contemplate ordinary scenes; we see goodness in our own relations and circumstances; we behold blemishes which we are to shun, excellencies which we are to pursue, advantages which we are to acquire.
Thus, the scripture becomes not a glaring comet, but "a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path."
Pass we to the narrative before us.-But previously to our advancing some general reflections from the whole passage, it will be necessary to take notice of the characters here mentioned; and to see wherein the one was to be censured, and the other to be commended.
Perhaps it is needless to premise, that both these females were good women. It is expressly said, that Jesus loved Martha, as well as Mary. And we are informed, that when our Saviour was coming to Bethany, after the death of Lazarus"Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him; but Mary sat still in the house." These two sisters did not differ in their religious character, as Jacob and Esau; Saul and David; Peter and Judas-but only one of them was less influenced by her principles in this instance than the other-for our Lord does not condemn her general conduct, but her present action; and even this not absolutely, but comparatively. Some things may be said in commendation of Martha, and others in extenuation.
She discovered a noble freedom from the fear of man-she received him into her house: when it was well known that he was pursued by the heads of the Jewish nation. His entrance could not be hid; he had many with him. She also discovered her kindness and hospitality in her concern to provide for our Lord and his disciples, and in deeming nothing too good for them.-I like also her attention to the affairs of her own household: though she was a woman of some consequence, she does not deem it beneath