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is now under consideration; and they would insure, as they do with every Christian, a real and habitual progress in the virtues and accomplishments of the new creature. But just in proportion as the desire after spiritual excellence is nourished into greater force and intensity in the one department of his now complex nature-so must be the detestation that is felt for every degree or remainder of evil, that exists in the other department of it. And not till the union of the two is terminated by death -not till that tabernacle is broken up, which festers throughout with the moral virus, that entered at the sin of our first parent, and was transmitted to all his posterity-not till these bodies have mouldered in the grave, and are raised anew in incorruption and in honour-not till then shall the desire and the doing, the principle and the performance be fully adequate the one unto the other ; and then, emancipated from the drag and the oppression that here encumber us, we shall be translated into the glorious liberty of the children of God.



ROMANS, vii, 16, 17.

"If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

It might save a world of illustration in the business of interpreting this passage, were we sure of addressing ourselves to the experience of all our hearers. But we fear of some of you, that you have no internal conflict in the work of your sanctification at all—that you are under the dominion of but one ruler, even of self, that ever lends a willing ear, and yields a ready obedience to its own humours and appetites and interests; and that, living just as you list, you feel no struggle between your principles and your propensities-even because you live without God in the world. And furthermore we fear of others of you, that you have taken up your rest among the forms of an external religion, or among the terms of an inert orthodoxy, which play around the ear, without having reached a practical impulse to the heart; and which lead you to solace yourselves with the privileges of an imaginary belief, instead of landing you in the prosecution of a real and ever-doing businesswhich is to cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, and to perfect your

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holiness in the fear of God. It is only the man who has embarked upon this work in good earnest -it is only he whose conscience will thoroughly respond to the narrative which the apostle here gives, of the broils and the tumults that take place among the adverse powers which are in the bosom of

every true Christian. For Christian though he be, he is not yet a just man made perfect; but a just man fighting his way onward unto perfection, through the downward tendencies of a corruption that is present with him, and cleaves to him even till death shall set him free. And again, a fallen and depraved mortal though he be, he is not now of the wholly carnal and corrupt nature that he once was; but a spirit has been infused into him, wherewith to make head against his rebellious affections which still continue to solicit, though not permitted to seduce him, to that degrading slavery, against which he has now entered into a war of resistance, that will at length conduct him to freedom and to victory. The passage now before us is taken up with the history of this war. It is a narrative of that battle which arises from the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh -a process of unintelligible mystery, we doubt not, to those who have not personally shared in it; but coming intimately home to the experience of those, who have learned to strive and to run and to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Yet, as we have said before, it were well if by

any means we could give a plausible though distant conception to those who are without, of a matter wherewith every established and well-exercised Christian is quite familiar. It looks, I have no doubt, an apparent puzzle to the understandings of many, that a man should do what is wrong while he wills what is right; and, more especially, that he all the while should be honestly grieving because of the one, and as honestly aspiring and pressing forwards, nay making real practical advances, in the direction of the other. And yet you can surely figure to yourself the artist, who, whether in painting or in poetry or in music, labours, yet labours in vain, to do full justice to that model of high excellence which his imagination dwells upon. He does not the things that he would, and he does the things that he would not. There is a lofty standard to which he is constantly aspiring and even constantly approximating—yet along the whole of this path of genius, there is a perpetual sense of failure; and a humbling comparison of what has been already attained with what is yet seen in the distance before it; and a vivid acknowledgment of the great deficiency that there is between the execution of the hand, and those unreached creations of the fancy that are still floating in the head: And thus an agony and a disappointment and a self-reproval, because of indolence and carelessness and aversion to the fatigues of watchful and intense study-all mixed up you will observe with a towering ambition, nay

with a rapid and successful march along this walk of scholarship. How often may it be said of him that he does the things which he would not, when one slovenly line or one careless touch of the pencil has escaped from him; and when he falls short of those pains and that sustained labour, by which he hopes to rear a work for immortality. Yet is he making steady and sensible advances all the while. This lofty esteem of all that is great and gigantic in art, is the very step in his mind to a lowly estimation of all that he has yet done for it; and both these together are the urgent forces, by which he is carried upwards to a station among the men of renown and admirable genius who have gone before him. Now what is true of the scholarship of art, is just as true of the scholarship of religion. There is a model of unattained perfection in the eye of its faithful devotees, even the pure and right and absolutely beautiful and holy law of God; and this they constantly labour to realize in their lives, and so to build up, each in his own person, a befitting inhabitant for the realms of eternity. But while they love this law, they are loaded with a weight of indolence and carnality and earthly affections, which cumber their ascent thitherward; and just in proportion to the delight which they take in the contemplation of its heaven-born excellence, are the despondency and the shame wherewith they regard their own mean and meagre imitations of it. Yet who does not see, that, out of the believer's will pitching so high, and the be

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