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Seek, with my full approbation, the esteem of your fellow

This is a valuable possession. To be esteemed, is beyond measure more desirable than to be admired. The path which conducts to it is more safe, more honourable, more delightful; and the reward which is achieved is widely different, and wholly superior. Prize the good name which the Scriptures prize, and you will escape both from error and sin.

Especially seek the approbation of wise and good men. The approbation of all others, even of those who have abandoned their duty and conscience, will follow theirs. The great reason why you may safely pursue this object is, that it can be gained only by wisdom and virtue. So long as you can aim at it, your designs and your measures will all pass view before the eye of conscience, and will be either adopted or rejected, as they shall be approved or disapproved by this tribunal. Your duty here will, of course, become the commanding object : for, by the performance of your duty only, can the reward be acquired.

With still more watchful and earnest solicitude, labour to acquire the approbation of your own minds.

Conscience is the guide given you by God himself to direct your moral conduct. Enlightened by the word of God, its decisions may, in all ordinary circumstances, be confidently relied on as just, safe, and happy. In every plain case, the first dictates of the mind are far more safe than those which follow a train of reasoning. The very act of deliberating, in such cases, will prove that your hearts are unsound, and yourselves in danger. But the supreme danger lies in balancing between conscience and passion, between sober judgment and ardent feeling. Conscience is your friend : passion is your enemy. Conscience is sincere : passion is deceitful. Conscience is patient, sober, watchfui, awake to every danger, and guarded against every sin : passion is thoughtless, headlong, sottish in its wishes, infatuated in its decisions, blind to danger, and pal

sied to the sense of guilt. Conscience brings peace in hand, and points your eyes to immortal glory in reversion : passion conducts you in this world through a wilderness of thorns and briars, and hurries you to woes inexpressible and endless in the world to come.

But among all the passions which mislead, endanger, and harass the mind, none is more hostile to its peace, none more blind, none more delirious than the love of distinction.

Still more fervently seek for the approbation of God. Had the miserable Jewish rulers mentioned in the text, loved the praise of God, and disregarded the praise of men, they had never practically denied the Redeemer, nor failed of a blessed immortality. In the favour of God lies all your welfare and all your hope. If he is your friend, it is of no consequence who is your enemy. If he is your enemy, you will have no friend. But his friendship can be obtained only in his own way; and that way is but one. You are sinners, together with all your fellow-men, and can become reconciled to him only by faith in his Son. He is the only, the true, the living way of access to God—to the world of life—to endless glory. Give

up yourselves, therefore, to him with a cordial confidence, and the great work of life is done.

If this be not done, you will have lived in vain.

The world in which you are, is proverbially, as well as justly, styled a vale of tears. Far from me be

wish to embitter or to lessen the hope of happiness which you may find in the present life, by unnecessary predictions of disappointment, trouble, and sorrow. But you ought to know, you ought to be told, that the bright views and ardent anticipations which youth form of worldly good, are deceitful and visionary; that, by promising too much, they lessen such enjoyments as will be actually found; and, by concealing the sorrows of life, enhance its anguish when they arrive. You will meet with many troubles, many temptations, and many enemies, as you pass onward towards the grave; and, before you have gone far, may end your course in that melancholy mansion. Sooner or later you must die. Your souls must take their fight into eternity; must appear before the bar of God; must be judged and rewarded. Think of the amazing nature of this trial ; of the infinite importance of this reward.


Who, amid all these distresses and dangers, this troubled and difficult progress of an immortal mind towards its final destiny, can be a guide on which it may safely rely, a friend in whose bosom it may repose with consolation and hope ? Who can direct, support, comfort, and deliver you amid the perils and sufferings of the present life? Can your earthly friends ? They will be far from you. Can your parents ? They will be in the grave. Can the multitude ? They will not even know your calamities; and, if they should, will disregard them. Can the great? Alas! their hands are ice, and their hearts adamant.

But were all these present; were they affectionate; were they friends indeed; how little is the relief which they would be able to give. Where is the balm with which they could sooth a wounded spirit; blunt the stings of conscience; and charm to peace the fears of an approaching retribution ? What physician can heal the last sickness? Who can redeem his brother, and give to God a ransom for him, that he should live for ever, and not see corruption ? Who can console the poor departing spirit, when it stretches its wings for the final flight? Who can accompany it to the last tribunal ? How mighty, how acceptable, how prevailing, ought to be the advocate who shall there plead its cause ! a cause of more importance than all those which have been decided in this world from the beginning, and on the issue of which more will depend than on the fate of all the empires which have risen beneath the sun. These things, infinitely interesting to every one of you, He only can perform who speaks in righteousness, and who is mighty to save; who hath said, “ Look unto me, and be ye “ saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is

none else.”

To him, therefore, give up yourselves with the whole heart in that covenant which is ordered in all things, sure, and eternal. Fear not. He will in no wise cast you out.

He will never leave you or forsake you. His eye, before which the night

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shineth as the day, will watch over you with unceasing care ; and his hand, which nothing can resist or escape, guard you , with infinite tenderness. In every sorrow he will comfort in every danger he will deliver. The bed of death he will spread with down; the passage into eternity he will illumine with the light of his own countenance. In the judgment he will acquit you of all your guilt ; and in his own house, the mansion of eternal light, and peace, and joy, he will present you to his Father as trophies of his cross, and monuments of his boundless love. There he will raise you to a distinction which no ambitious mind ever conceived or coveted. I say, a distinction which no ambitious mind ever conceived or coveted. What comparison can be formed, not by a votary of ambition

-a mere worldling—a creeping thing, whose path through life has been made in mire and dirt; but by a sanctified mind, whose thoughts wander daily into the regions of bliss; between robes of state and the fine linen, which is the righteousness of the saints; between a wreath of laurel and a crown of immortal glory; between an earthly monarch and an heir of God; between a hero and him who has triumphed over sin, and death, and the grave? What likeness can you find between earth and heaven, time and eternity ; frail, sinful, dying, worms of the dust, and the spirits of just men made perfect, purified from every stain, informed with endless life, and lovely in the sight of God ? If you covet distinction, let it be the glory, honour, and immortality of angels. Let the name for which you sigh, and toil, be that which is written in the Lamb's book of life. Let the praise to which you aspire be the approbation of Jehovah.

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Be strong, and of a good courage ; for unto this people shalt

thou divide for an inheritance the land which I sware unto their fathers, to give them. Only be thou strong, and very courageous, that thou mayst observe to do according to all the law, which Moses, my servant, commanded thee. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left; that thou mayest prosper, whithersoever thou goest.

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THESE words were addressed by God to Joshua, the great captain of Israel, who led that nation into the promised land. He was now immediately to enter upon this mighty undertaking, and was promised the most absolute success. Every

place,” said God to him, “ that the sole of your foot shall “ tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Mo

There shall not be any man that shall be able to stand “ before thee all the days of thy life. As I was with Moses,

will I be with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake 66 thee.”

To these promises, however, was inseparably annexed the condition expressed in the text which immediately follows the


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