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no person who refuseth instruction, can love his neighbour as himself; for, towards himself he has - no regard. And thus, it follows, that whosoever loveth iniquity, and refuseth instruction, and hateth his own soul, cannot keep the second commandment.” Vide Origen: in S. Matt. Edit. Bened. Tom. iii. p. 832. • (5) Page 32. Irreconcileable warfare with all the Hosts of darkness.]. It was the excellent advice of Saint CHRYSOSTOM, “ Have but one enemy, the devil: to him be never reconciled.” Ad Pop. Antioch. Hom. 20. 85. · The advice of a great worthy of our own church, is not less valuable. Thus speaks the learned Joseph Mede: “ Renounce all kind of peace, till thou hast found the peace of conscience. Discard all joy, till thou feelest the joy of the Holy Ghost. Doe this, and there is no calamity so great, but thou maist undergo; no burthen so heavy, but thou maist easily bear it. Doe this, and thou shalt live in the fear, dye in the favour, and rise in the power, of God the Father; and help to make up the heavenly concert; singing with the saints and angels, hallelujah, hallelujah; all glory, and honour, and praise, be ascribed to the Lamb, and to him that sitteth upon the throne, for evermore !”
MEDE's Works, Vol. i. p. 398. (6) Page 33. The kindly feeling, the tender affection, &c.] “One word,” says Dio Prusæus, “spoken from benevolence and friendship, is more valuable, than all the gold, and the crowns, and the splendid distinctions, which are coveted among men.” See the original, cited by Gataker; Oper. Critic. Vol. ii. p. 335. At the same place, Gataker also cites, as illustrative of the present text, the answer of the Ammonian Oracle to the Athenian ambassadors. 66 That the prayer of the Lacedæmonians was more acceptable to Jove, than the sacrifices of all the other Grecians. See the second Alcibiades of Plato, vol. ii. p. 149. of Serranus's edition. On such a subject, however, it is more suitable to conclude, in the words of St. Augustine, “ Pietas cultus Dei est: nec colitur ille, nisi amando.” “ Piety is the worship of God; nor is he worshipped, except where he is loved.” Epist. cxl. § 45.
(7) Page 35. The first returning prayer of a sinner is delightful unto God.] “ Such,” says Saint Chrysostom, " is the philanthropy of God, that he never rejecteth sincerity of repentance. Though a person had reached the very summit of iniquity, and thence should desire to return to the path of virtue, God will both receive and meet such a person, and omit nothing, which may restore him to his former stability and comfort.”
66 For, if the Devil hath so far prevailed, as to depress thee from so lofty a pinnacle of virtue, to the lowest depth of wickedness; much more, is God able to restore thee to thy former virtue. And not only this, but to make thee far more happy than before.” S. CHRYSOST. ad Theod. laps. tom.vi.61.63.Ed. Sav.
(8) Page 38. Intercession for enemies.] “ What is the perfection of love ? To love our enemies; to love them to that extent that they may become our brethren. So love thine enemies, that thou mayest wish them to become thy brethren. So love thine enemies, that they may be called into thy society. For thus did he love, who, as he hung upon the cross, exclaimed: Father, forgive them ; they know not what they do!". S. AUGUSTINE on the first Epistle of S. John. Tract. 1.
ROMANS, xii. 2.
BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD; BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND.
IT was the great object of our blessed
Lord, to make his followers eminently holy, and thereby, eminently happy. He came, to enlighten their understandings, that they might know what is true; to engage their affections, that they might love what is good; to invigorate and exalt their active powers, that they might, in all things, be conformed to the pure and perfect image of their Maker. Provision was thus made, for all the essential interests of man. In this brief, yet boundless compass, are contained wisdom, and happiness, and holiness, and salvation.
Salvation, it is true, is very commonly restricted to the future world; to an escape from everlasting misery, and a participation of eternal enjoyment. Not such, however, is the salvation of the Gospel. We are there instructed, that sin itself is misery, and its dominion, even in this life, a beginning of hell; that righteousness is happiness, and its habitual mastery an anticipated heaven ; that peace below, is the path to blessedness above; that salvation is of a spiritual nature, at once requiring and imparting spiritual attainments, to conduct us through time, and prepare us for a blessed eternity.
Carelessness of these truths, always dangerous, is often fatal. It induces a compromise with the spirit, principles, and practices, of the world around us. It represses all the nobler tendencies of our nature; and prevents many an application to the throne of grace, for tendencies and powers yet more noble and exalted. It makes men rest contented in a low, slavish, unaspiring mediocrity, without any effort to become morally victorious, because they deem moral victory impossible at this side of the grave.
But the serious Christian, though an humble, is a hopeful being; conscious, indeed, of infirmity ; but confident, also, of assistance from the highest power. And what is the consequence ? Difficulties but call forth his energy; dangers but provoke his vigilance ; temptations but give depth and feeling to his prayers. And, such energy, such vigilance, such prayers, are precious in the sight of God. From Him they flow, to Him they return, by Him they are unspeakably rewarded. Difficulties vanish, and dangers flee away, and temptations issue in the triumph of the tempted. Cheered by the presence, and conducted by the hand, of an almighty, though invisible Protector, he advances from stage to stage, he ascends from strength to strength, till finally, all enemies are subdued beneath his feet. He acquaints himself with God, and is at peace. He loves God, and all things