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riches of his goodness in Jesus Christ. Let them who are in af.

, fliction, be patient and establish their hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and he will admit them to inherit a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

If you have good evidence, that you shall inherit the kingdom, keep your evidence bright, and brighten it more and more. Walk by faith in unseen things-keep the eyes of your faith fixed on the future world—strengthen your faith, and enliven your heavenly affections by attending on the instituted worship and ordinances of God-be not conformed to this world, but be ye, more and more, transformed by the renewing of your minds, proving what is acceptable in the sight of God-be followers of them, who by faith and patience inherit the promises, and thus give diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end.

If any find the evidences which have been stated, inapplicable to themselves, and are led hence to conclude, that the inheritance described is not their's; let them not continue in so unsafe and unhappy a state. The inheritance is glorious; it is offered to all without distinction; but the conditions must be complied with, before any can know that they shall obtain it. The conditions are such, and only such as are necessary to the possession. They are such as imply a meetness to partake of it.

Go to God, and implore his grace for the renewal and sanctification of your souls--renounce the ways and manners of the world-devote yourselves to God to serve him in newness of life

-converse with his word-attend on his worship-yield yourselves servants to him-commit yourselves to the guidance of his Spirit and to the protection of his grace, and place your hope in his faithfulness and promise. Go, like the returning captives, mourning your past sins; seek the Lord your God-ask the way to Zion with

your
faces thitherward stand in the

way

and ask for the old paths, where is the good waywalk therein and ye shall find rest to your souls.

see

SERMON XXXI.

THE DANGER OF OFFENDING CHRIST'S LITTLE ONES.

MATTHEW XVIII. 10.

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones ; for I say

unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Such a race of beings as we are, attended with various infirmities, subject to innumerable wants, probationers for future happiness, and soon to quit the present scene and enter upon an eternal state of existence, ought to feel for each other in every calamity and danger, and by prudent offices of kindness and love, to assist each other's safe passage through this world, and happy entrance into the other.

All pride in the contemplation of ourselves—all contempt of others for their supposed inferiority—all such treatment as would injure their feelings, corrupt their minds, or endanger their future felicity, is utterly inconsistent with the condition in which we are placed, and our relation to one another; and highly offensive to the benevolent Creator whose impartial providence extends its care to small as well as great.

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Benevolence is the principle which should dictate our social 'conduct. And this principle must be founded in humble thoughts of ourselves.

When the disciples, aspiring to a worldly superiority, asked their master, who should be greatest in his kingdom, he rebuked their ambition by placing before them a little child, as an emblem of that humility, which should distinguish his disciples from the men of the world. Except ye be converted,” says he, “and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Having taught them humility as the first virtue in his religion, he next inculcates benevolence, as a virtue connected with it. “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me; but whoso shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

From the danger of offending these little ones, Christ takes occasion to give the general caution in the text. Take heed that ye despise them not—that you entertain not such indifferent and contemptuous ideas of them, as to be careless how you treat them. Think it not a small matter to cast in their way offences and stumbling-blocks, because they are little ones. For this reason you must rather encourage, strengthen and support them. To enforce this caution he represents little ones as God's peculiar care. He has given the angels charge of them; and their angels do always behold His face in heaven, and stand ready to execute His commands in their defence, or in the punishment of their enemies.

We will consider,
1. Who are intended by these little ones.

II. What is that contempt of them which is here forbidden, and

III. The force of the argument against despising them.

I. The persons, whom we are cautioned not to despise, are called little ones. They are said to have believed in Christ-and are compared to the little whild whom Christ placed before his

.

disciples, as an example of that character which he requires in

us all.

The persons thus primarily intended, are pious children and youth. Those who, impressed with a sense of religion, commit themselves to the grace and to the service of their Redeemer.

There were, in our Saviour's day, some who believed in him while they were but little ones. From the womb of the morning he received the dew of the youth. Out of the mouths of babes, flowed praises to his name. The children in the temple sang, Hosanna to the Son of David. John speaks of little children who knew the Father, and who had obtained forgiveness by faith in Christ.

The tender minds of the young are more susceptible of, serious impressions, than those in riper age; but these impressions are more easily effaced by the sensible objects which surround them.

They may form virtuous resolutions, but they meet with numerous temptations which divert them from these resolutions. Inexperienced in the dangers of the world, they are liable to be entangled in unseen and unsuspected snares. They need more frequent cautions, counsels and encouragements, than those who are habituated to the practice, and confirmed in the purposes of piety and religion. They are thus entitled to our particular attention and care.

The Saviour expressed a special concern for them; and has enjoined on us a tender and cautious treatment of them, lest we cause their feeble feet to stumble in the path of virtue, on which they have newly entered.

Besides children in years, there are many who, according to the style of scripture, may come under the denomination of little

ones.

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There are new-born babes—those who have but lately been begotten through the gospel; and though they may, in a natural sense, be men, yet they are but children-but babes in Christ Jesus. Their powers, as men, may be great; but as christians, their experience is but short, their strength small, and their resolution weak. These are exposed to many of the same dangers, and therefore need the same cautious and tender treatment, as chil

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dren in age. Christ would not call to the severer and more rigorous exercises of religion, those disciples, who had but newly engaged to follow him. He treated them with tenderness, lest he should discourage their hopeful beginnings, and divert them from their good resolutions. New wine, he said, inust not be put into old bottles, lest the bottles burst, and the wine be lost; but new wine must be put into new bottles that both may

be

preserved.

There are some, whom the apostle calls weak brethren. These must be sustained and assisted by such as are strong.

Men of honest hearts and virtuous aims, may be weak through a natural inferiority of mental powers--or through the want of education and an opportunity to enlarge the mind by the acquisition of knowledgem-or through certain prejudices early imbibed and long indulged or through infirmities of body which affect the mind-or through the difficulty of their worldly circumstances which subjects them to peculiar temptations. From these and similar causes, we may often see those whom we esteem as upright men, still betraying, in matters of religion, much of the weakness, injudiciousness, and instability of children. These, therefore, may be comprehended in the appellation of little ones who believe in Christ.

Now the treatment which elder and stronger christians owe thein, our Saviour,

II. Expresses in our text, by not despising them; and in the preceding verses, by receiving them, and not offending them.

The same language, the apostle uses in the fourteenth chapter to the Romans. “ Him that is weak in faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. One believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not, and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth, for God hath received him." “Why dost thou judge thy brother, and why dost thou set at nought thy brother ?” If thy brother be grieved by thy meat, thou walkest not charitably. Judge not one another, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall, in his brother's way.” Do nothing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is

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