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lives and characters of these two Christian apostles, whom the church has thought proper to couple together as objects of our pious meditation. The scanty materials, however, with which either the Scriptures or ancient writers have supplied us for this purpose, altogether preclude the possibility of effecting it. And by such a reason has the church herself been prevented from making any direct allusion to them in the service of this day, except in that portion of it which she has selected from the short catholic or general epistle of St. Jude. It would, therefore, be equally vain and presumptuous in me to endeavour to overcome a difficulty to which the compilers of our excellent liturgy have been compelled to submit: I shall rather follow the example which they have given, by taking a portion of the epistle, which has been selected by them, as a groundwork for such observations and reflections as I am now about to offer, which, under the blessing of our Saviour Christ, will I trust be such as to induce you to encourage, as much as in you lies, and to“ pray for, the good estate of the Catholic Church; that it may be so guided and governed by God's good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.”

By a reference to the epistle it will be perceived, that the first two verses contain the apostle's salutation to the Christian Church, and it concludes thus: “ Mercy unto you,

and love be mutiplied;"

and peace


an exhortation, brethren, this, which I lament to say is too frequently disregarded by many who call themselves disciples of Him to whom the divine attributes of mercy, peace, and love, are peculiarly and preeminently applicable. It afforded, nevertheless, an excellent introduction to the words of our text, which states the reason of the apostle's writing his epistle. “ Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that

ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Now look again at the two passages we have just quoted, and you will perceive that while people are earnestly counselled to contend for the pure faith of the Gospel, as it was formerly delivered unto the saints by its divine founder, yet at the same time that they do this, are they to be merciful, peaceful, and loving towards one another. Inasmuch as mercy, peace, and love are the peculiar attributes of Christ, so are they likewise the distinguishing features of his gospel. We are indeed, brethren, to contend for that faith in virtue of which we love one another even as God has loved us; yet are we not, nor indeed are we enabled, to contend for this faith, at the same time that we neglect and set at nought its most earnest injunctions. Such an exhortation as this, based as it is upon the precepts and example of the Saviour, and enforced by the subsequent addresses of his apostles, ought never to be beyond the range of our view while we lift up our voices in behalf of the crucified Jesus, and endeavour to propagate his gospel among men. It is evident that mercy and peace are both implied in the attribute of love, and the commandment that we have from God, is none other than this: “ That he who loveth God love his brother also."

Enough, brethren, must have been said to convince you that love, in its most unlimited and comprehensive sense, is the true and only test of the purity and genuineness of the religion of him who calls himself a Christian, and that the opposite of this enmity, or hostility of any kind, or evil-speaking against a brother, is an equally correct and decided proof of the inefficiency of that man's religion to whom this opposite, whatever name it might assume, applies. It is God, recollect, and God alone, who judgeth the “ hearts” and the “reins;" hatred, therefore, for such for brevity's sake at least is the the name which I give to this opposite of love, is not to be excused even on the plea that we do not consider this or that individual to be sincere in his Christian profession. If, indeed, the practice of any professed member of Christ's Church be such as militates against the precepts of the gospel, in such a case, most assuredly, should the advice of St. Paul be followed, and we ought to hold no communion with such a person—to “purge out the old leaven,” lest the whole lump should become affected. Such an act, however, it must be admitted, is far different from that of resorting to the unchristian

a 1 John, iv, 21.

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like expedient of vilifying, or withdrawing our love from a brother Christian, simply because he may not “contend for the faith” in such a manner as may be approved by us. We must know full well, or we ought to know full well, that perfect unity of sentiment cannot exist amongst the various individuals of which the human race is composed. Every one may, and every one ought to believe in the great and saving truths of the gospel of Christ, yet cannot all people agree as to the precise method in which these should be proclaimed to the world, or as to the method by which wandering sheep may be the most effectually brought back to the fold which they have deserted. The habits, and dispositions, and the education of men, are by far too varied to admit of such an idea. It should be remembered, moreover, that though men may differ in sentiment or in opinion, yet in principle may they concur to the fullest and most complete extent. А very considerable number of our countrymen, for example, allow,—would I could say all of them,-that education, I mean Christian education, is necessary for all ranks and degrees of men. Yet are they not all agreed as to the best method by which this education may be effected. So is it, I conceive, in respect of the great and fundamental doctrines of Christ's gospel. These ought to be made known, and in such a manner that faith and practice may go hand in hand with each other. Yet how they may be the most effectually made known in this manner, is a question in which many equally conscientious

Christians may differ, though they may do this, and ought to do this, with perfect love and charity towards each other. The apostle St. Jude instructed, and now instructs, the members of the Christian Church, “ that they should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints;” he at the same time, or rather immediately before, that they may not be guilty of any mistake or inconsistency in this their contest for the faith, expresses himself unto them thus :

Mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied.”

It may now, brethren, be worth our while to look a little into the nature of that faith, on account of which the apostle exhorts us to contend. In respect of this, we are elsewhere thus instructed in the word of God: “ Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And, in reference to this faith, St. Paul afterwards thus expresses himself: “ Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”* Now what says the prophet, whose writings are so celebrated for their frequent and direct allusions to the advent of the Messiah, and to the character of his gospel ? “ Seek ye

the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his

and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly par


* Hebrews, xi. 1. 6.

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