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teft. He prays for grace to walk agreeably t that will of God, which he finds revealed in th several parts of the holy Scriptures, and th very knowledge of his redemption constrains h. heart to obedience. Still, indeed, his best fer vices are imperfect, and he understands í well the great extent of his duty, that he dit covers much corruption in himself, where ano ther man would not at all discern it. He there fore does not trust in his good works, though he is diligent in them, and sees the necessity of per forming them. The language of his heart may be well expressed by a quotation from a ju
dicious and eminent divine of the last century .66 We can do nothing," said he, " that is merito
rious and worthy to be rewarded. God, in deed, doth liberally promise whatever pertaini to a blessed life, to as many as sincerely observe his law, though they be not exactly able to keep it. Wherefore, we acknowledge a dutiful ne cessity of doing well, but the meritorious dig. nity of doing well we utterly renounce. We see how far we are from the perfect righteous. ness of the law: the little fruit which we have in holiness is, God knoweth, corrupt and unsound: we put no confidence at all in it; we challenge nothing in the world for it; our continual sui: to God must be, to bear with our infirmities and pardon our offences."
OR THE RIGHT WAY OF REJOICING AT CHRISTMAS.
Shewing the Reasons we have for Foy at the Event of our
THERE are two it much in the their feast
I HERE are two ways of keeping Christmas: some seem to keep it much in the same way in which the unbelieving Jews kept their feast in honor of the calf which they had made. 66 And
they made a calf in Horeb in those days, and the | people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to
play." But what a sad fort of Christianity is this! I am no enemy to mirth of a proper kind, and at proper seasons; but the mirth I now speak of, is the mirth of inconsideration and of folly, and it is often mixed with much looseness of conduct and drunkenness. Is this, then, the fort of mirth proper for Christians?
Let us suppose now, that a man was to choose a church as the place in which he was to fit and fing his jolly song, and to drink till he i was intoxicated, surely this would imply that he was a person of extraordinary wickedness. But this you will say is what no body is so bad as to be guilty of; well then, let us suppose, that instead of choosing a church as the place, he should
choose Christmas as the time for the like acts of riot and drunkenness; methinks this must imply no small degree of the same kind of wickedness; for, as he that should get drunk in a church would insult the church, so he that gets drunk at Christmas, which is the season for commemorating the birth of Christ, insults Christ and his religion
I know it may be said, that those who take these liberties at Christmas do not mean to insult Christ, and that they act from inconsideration; to which I answer, that they are then very guilty in being so inconsiderate; for I would just re. mark by the way, that these people, who are so very inconsiderate in some things, are apt to be very considerate in others; for instance, they are very considerate about their pleasures, but very inconsiderate about their duty; they are of. ten, perhaps, very considerate about this world, always very inconfiderate about eternity; very considerate for themselves, and very little so about other people; extremely considerate on their own side of a bargain, but as inconsiderate about the side of the other party; and when they have committed a fin they are apt to be very considerate in finding out excuses for it, but very inconsiderate in tracing out the guilt and milchief of their wickedness. In short, then, let it be remembered, that inconsideration is often neither more nor less than another word for wickedness, and that the inconsiderate way of spende
ing Christmas, which has been spoken of, is only in other words, the wicked way of spending it.
But now let us come to the true way of keeping it. First, then, in order to know how the time of Christ's birth ought to be remembered by us, I would observe, that it is necessary to understand well who Christ was, and for what purpose he came on earth. How absurd would it be to celebrate the 5th of November, with. out knowing that, on that day, the Houses of Parliament were saved from fire, and our happy Constitution, as well as our Religion, was preserved to us. Again: how absurd would it be for any man to celebrate the King's Birthday, or Coronation Day, who did not feel within his heart loyalty and affection towards his so. vereign, and who did not think that any blessings were derived from our kingly government.
Let every one, therefore, who wishes to spend Christmas aright, get acquainted with the benefits which have followed from Christ's coming into the world. We will endeavor, now, to fhew, very shortly, what these benefits have been. The world, at the time of Christ's appearing, was divided into Jews and Gentiles. The word Gentiles signifies nations, that is, all the nations except the Jews. Let us speak of the Gentiles first, and of the Jews afterwards. The Gentiles vere worshippers of false gods, some of one k nd, and some of another. They all, however, a reed in this, that they thought one god as good a another, and no one among them had an
anxiety to bring his neighbor over to his reli gion, which is a plain proof that they had no true religion among them; for, whoever is pof sessed of true religion, is possessed of a grea comfort and blessing, which he will therefore be glad to convey to other people also. It was the custom of some of these Gentiles to worship stocks and stones; others bowed down to living animals, such as bulls or goats, or lizards; and others paid their stupid adoration to the sun, instead of the author of it. Many of them worshipped their deceased fellow-creatures, and the dead men who were thus turned into gods, had been, in general, fome of the most wicked and abominable of the hman race,
Now this ignorance of the true God was fol. lowed (as all ignorance of him is apt to be) by great wickedness in their practice. They were “ given over on this account (as St. Paul, the inspired apostle declares) to a reprobate mind; to work all uncleanness with greediness.” They learnt to confound good and evil-vices were then commonly practised, such as are not named among Christians. False principles, and falfe maxims of every kind, abounded. Slavery pre.. vailed even in the most civilized lands, for almost all servants were slaves in those days. The earth was filled with violence. He that had killed the greatest number of his fellow.creatures got usually the greatest praise. Wars were carried on with dreadful ferocity, and multitudes were massacred at the public games, in battles