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between the discernment of the most learned physician and that of the humblest patient, as to medical science, compared with that which must divide between the knowledge of man and that of his Maker on the momentous questions of good and evil? Shall we presume to put our faint perceptions, our worse than slumbrous feelings, on such matters, into comparison with infinite intelligence and purity? Enough is known, in regard to such things, to make the path of duty plain; and the man who will not learn respecting them in a spirit of teachableness at his Maker's feet, may not belong to the sensual or the covetous; but as surely as the passions of such men have little influence upon him, there must be in him the elements of that proud nature which first lifted up itself against the supremacy of the Most Holy.
III. It has been intimated that the course which we are thus required to pursue from a sense of duty, should be not a little attractive to us from the Excellence of its Objects. These are such, considered in THEIR OWN NATURE, as to be worthy of our utmost effort; and they exceed all other objects, inconceivably, in their duration.
It is one of the Saviour's admonitions, that the life of man does not consist in the abundance of the things he may possess. Did it so consist, the most. opulent, the most mighty, the most intellectual, would invariably be the most happy in themselves, and the most honoured of their Maker. But we
see the reverse of such consequences generally attendant on such distinctions. Wealth, and power, and fame, and pleasure,-these are all things of which men may possess themselves, and still be devoid of life: - our meaning is, that in the midst of this kind of abundance they may be aliens from that state of mind which is strictly necessary to their well-being; - the term 'life' being used by the Redeemer, in the passage we have quoted, as referring, not to existence itself, but to its true ends-to our improved capabilities of dignity and blessedness. The love of external things may increase with the possession of them. Every new acquisition, instead of conferring satisfaction, may produce a greater restlessness, and place the mind at a continually increasing distance from happiness. The eye is not satisfied with seeing; and the heart is often as little capable of saying 'It is enough,' amid the largest accumulations of external good.
In all the gradations of society we see the same passions at work, slightly varied in their manner of development by the difference of circumstances. With respect to a large number, it is evident that the more they have laboured, and the more they have obtained, the more have they become estranged from their promised rest. It may be said that there are not a few exceptions to this rule— men who, possessing moderate means, are therewith content. But there are many little things which frequently serve to show that the contentment of such persons is more apparent than real ;
and it is to be remembered, that were these limitations of desire as manifest and as complete as they are said to be, an immortal being, content to live in unmindfulness of his immortality, must be, at best, a pitiable creature. The ardent passions of the former class, may lead them into many foolish and hurtful lusts, and at length to perdition; while the feebler nature of the latter, may allow them to sink to the level of those who would almost seem to have been created for no higher end than to be troubled about what they shall eat, or what they shall drink, or wherewithal they shall be clothed. Often the whole secret of such instances of contentment as we have now adverted to, consists in the fact, that it is found much easier to luxuriate than to labour. The language of moderation is assumed, because it would be a greater sacrifice of selfishness to seek the increase of present wealth, than to live in the enjoyment of what is secured; and a course of life, which really proceeds from no better source than a proneness to indolent self-indulgence is often applauded as virtuous, and sometimes as religious!
Now one great advantage of the course in which the Christian is called to labour is, that it does not take from these worldly matters anything of their real value, nor prohibit a proper use of them. There is nothing evil in such things as power, or fame, or wealth, considered in themselves. The believer is not required to look on such gains as worthless; but simply to use them, should they
become his, according to the injunctions of the gospel, remembering that these injunctions have been framed by infinite wisdom and compassion, so as to render these things tributary, as far as they may be, to his own welfare, and to the Divine glory. The gospel does not tell him that his outward estate is a matter of no consideration; but it does tell him that it is a matter of small moment compared with the state of his soul. It does not insist that he should abstain from seeking, or from using, the richest gifts in heaven's treasury; but it does insist that these should be so sought, and so used, that they may conduce to the Divine honour in his salvation, and not to his destruction. It does not teach that the earth has no value; but it affirms that heaven is far better.
Thus it is the design of the gospel to enable us to derive good from present things, avoiding much of the evil attaching to them; and, at the same time, to raise our mind to the unseen and eternal, as to the objects before which our deepest homage should be paid, to which our strongest love should be given, and on which our dearest hopes should be placed. It proposes nothing less than that our understanding may find its great employment in the contemplation of His nature and ways who is the Only wise; and that all our susceptibilities of love or hatred, hope or fear, joy or grief, may be regulated by that good and perfect will of God, which confers the Divine image and blessedness on all who are fully conformed to it. And what are
the loftiest achievements of human genius now, compared with that state of pure intelligence to which the humblest believer must soon be raised? And what are those feverish pleasures which beguile us here for so short a season, in comparison with that joy unspeakable and full of glory, which is ' sometimes the lot of the believer even on earth, and must be his for ever in heaven? The gospel looks not to mere circumstances, but to the man; and its aim is to do a work upon the nature of man which must infinitely transcend whatever might possibly be done with regard to his external condition. It would make him rich; but it is with a treasure of which no spoiler can deprive him, which no rust may corrupt. It would raise him to a place among the splendid and the powerful; but it is to the splendour and the power of those whose greatness consists in their nearness to the Eternal, and whose thrones are set up in heaven. It would make them wise; but it is with wisdom from above: and it would lead them to rivers of pleasure; but it is to rivers which flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Surely that warfare, the effect of which is to raise our poor nature from its ruins, and thus to ennoble it again; which can render even our polluted earth none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven, may well be attractive to us on account of the excellence of its objects.
Nor must we forget, that while the objects which the Christian soldier has in view are thus transcen