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can teach us to understand the nature of that faith, by which only we are saved, better than the very passage before us :-" Take up your "cross and follow me." It makes Christ, and Christ alone, the object that we are to keep constantly, unremittingly in view, as all we can depend upon for hope, and blessing, and salvation; but it shews that in order to this we must follow him, we must tread in his steps, we must imitate his example. In fact, faith (that word upon which so many stumble) includes in its signification what we all perfectly well understand by a word very like it, fidelity; -the fidelity of a servant to his master, of a disciple to his teacher. We look to him for every thing; for hope, for example, and for strength. For hope-to his atonement, through which only we must look for every spiritual blessing which our Heavenly Father bestows; for example-to his life of purity, and holiness, and charity; for strength-to his Holy Spirit, without which our feeble struggles against the guilty nature within us would be all useless and unavailing.

Thus the text before us shews us, as it were, in a beautiful picture, the connexion between

faith and its practical effects upon our lives and our feelings. It represents us following Christ humbly, yet indefatigably, under the burden of the cross; keeping him in view as the only ground of our hope and our reliance; and, in order to keep in sight, we must toil on in our journey, bearing the cross, treading the path he has gone before us. The moment we cease to tread in his footsteps,-the moment we halt in the way in which he has preceded, he has got out of sight, and our faith and practice fail at the same instant.

SERMON X.

MATTHEW, Xi. 30.

My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It is almost always by comparison that we judge of the ease or the hardship of our situation. You will generally find, that any man who complains of the severity of his lot, compares it either with some happier state that he had himself formerly enjoyed, or with the more prosperous circumstances of those by whom he is surrounded; at least you would think him entitled to very little pity, if he continued to murmur and repine when his situation was neither worse than what it was before, nor worse than that of most of his neighbours.

If you should attempt to reconcile him to his situation, what would be the most natural method of proceeding? By comparison: by showing him how much worse it might have been. Now this is the best way of estimating the ease of the Christian yoke, and of weighing

the burden that our Redeemer lays upon our shoulders; and thus shall we soon discover how gracious are those commandments which we think it hard to fulfil; how indulgent are those laws which we often neglect and despise : then, when we have compared them with other yokes and other burdens, shall we learn how easy is that yoke to which we often refuse to submit ; how light that burden which we often fling with impatience to the ground.

Let us first look abroad for matter of comparison. The greater part of the world have never yet been visited by the Gospel of Christ; have never yet heard the message of love and salvation. Now it may be curious to observe what are the religious yokes and burdens which these people have imposed upon themselves; that is, in other words, what are the religious duties by which they hope to become objects of the Divine favour, and partakers of the blessings he bestows,-to turn away his anger, to purchase his favour, to escape his vengeance, and conciliate his mercy. Perhaps it would be impossible to invent a new kind of bodily torture which many among these wretched people have not willingly undergone for these

objects. All those who are anxious to render themselves acceptable in the sight of God actually devote themselves to misery, and go in search of some new kind of suffering, by which they think they can become more worthy of his approbation. It would be a kind of punishment to us even to hear some of them described. Death, in its ordinary shape, appears much too easy, and would be a relief to their sufferings; but they contrive to lengthen out its agonies, so that many of them are dying for half their lives in lingering torments, in which they conceive the Supreme Being takes peculiar delight. Sometimes these miserable men offer their children, their relations, or their friends, as a sacrifice to appease his fury; and at other times they fly from the company of men, and all the comforts of society, to devote themselves to the service of the Almighty in caverns and wildernesses. Now observe, this arises from no command of God,-no revelation from Heaven; it is the sentence of man upon himself the yoke and the burden that he has laid upon his own shoulders.

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Suppose God had said to us" Wear the yoke which you find your fellow-creatures

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