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If the Apostle had enforced the cultivation of moral qualities in one passage only; or if he had entirely postponed all mention of them, till he was near the conclusion of his writings; in either of those cases it might with more reason have been supposed, that in his estimation moral qualities were of little consequence. But, what is the fact? In the very first chapter of his second Epistle, we find this earnest exhortation :

Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue ; to “ virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to “temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to

godliness, brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kind“ ness, charity.”* This summary is in its terms brief ; but in its contents it is weighty ; in its application, wide. If enlarged according to its fullest import, it might be thus interpreted :-“ The miracles wrought and the “ discourses delivered by me and the other Apostles “ induced you to believe the Gospel ; amidst all the “ trials to which you are exposed, be animated with

heightened courage to maintain your faith. That your conviction may be strengthened, and that you

may be ready to give an answer to every man who “ asketh a reason for your being Christianst, advance in

knowledge of the ground on which your religion “ stands, and also of the purposes for which Christianity “ has been preached. Show that you have a just con“ ception of the influence, which the Gospel was de

signed to produce on your hearts, by continually be

coming more temperate in yourselves ; more patient “ towards your persecutors ; more pious towards God ; “ more kind towards those who are near you: more “ benevolent to all mankind.”

This exposition will properly be followed, by the compendious system of morality which St. Paul recommended to the Philippians : “ Finally, brethren, what“soever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, “ whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, “ whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of

* 2 St. Pet. i. 5–7.

t i St. Pet. iii. 15.

good report ; if there be any virtue, if there be any “ praise, think on these things.”*

Having merely noticed, that in the doctrines taught and practical inferences drawn, St. Paul and St. Peter perfectly accord with each other, we may proceed to observe that two passages have already been adduced for the purpose of proving, St. Peter never meant that Christian converts should deem it sufficient for the work of salvation, if they did but believe. On the contrary he was anxious that they should think, act, and live in a manner conformable with their professions of faith. That the correctness of this assertion may be demonstrated, there shall now be laid before you the substance of what he inculcates respecting duties personal, duties relative, duties social, duties civil. For this various texts interspersed throughout the two epistles must be combined; but when they are brought together and examined, the substance of them will be as follows:

1. Individuals are to be no longer malevolentt, deceitful, intemperate, sensual, dissolute; but kind, sincere, beneficent, forgiving, pure, and holy. They are to be vigilant against the assaults of their spiritual adversary, and to persevere in the habitual exercise of prayer for Divine assistance.

For this purpose,

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2. Uniform observance and mutual return of those

* Philipp. iv. 8.

+ See 1 St. Pet. ii. 1.- iii. 8–11.- ii. 11. - i. 15. — iv. 2, 3.i, 5. 8. - i. 4. 7.

conjugal attentions, which ensure domestic harmony, are enjoined on all who are in the marriage state.*

3. In every situation of life we are to conduct ourselves with that unassuming deportment which constitutes Christian humility.t

4. We are dissuaded not only from fraud, violence, and all actions punishable by law, but also from an evil, which with impunity creates uneasiness in social life ; that evil is a prying curiosity, busy intrusion and officious intermeddling in the concerns of others. I

5. The temporal means and spiritual gifts, which by the blessing of God are bestowed upon us, must be employed for the benefit of others, according to the ability with which we are furnished. g

6. We are to pay universally that degree of respect which every person may reasonably think due to him as suitable to his condition. For all our Christian brethren, we must entertain in our dispositions and exert in our practice kind regard. To magistrates who have authority from the supreme ruler of the state, to the supreme ruler himself, whatever may be his denomination, we are on religious principle to show deference and yield obedience, in proportion as each is placed in rank and invested with power. Il

You have now heard the moral instructions which pervade the writings of this distinguished apostle. The result should be most perfect conviction, that according to his understanding and his view of the Christian religion, we should each of us regulate our passions and direct our conduct in such a manner as may show we are indeed the disciples of Christ. In other words, we should in heart believe, in practice obey.

* See 1 St. Pet.iii. 1-7.
† i St. Pet. iv. 15. § 1 St. Pet. iv. 9, 10.

t i St. Pet. v. 5.
ll i St. Pet. ii. 13–17.

Does this doctrine correspond with what was taught by Christ; our liglit, our guide, our lawgiver? The question is important, it should therefore be met, examined, and answered. For not only if St. Peter, but if even an angel from heaven should preach in contradiction to the purport of our Lord's discourses, he is not to be acknowledged as a true preacher of the Gospel.* What then does our Lord intimate on the necessity of practical obedience ? For information on this essential point, let us refer to the Gospels ; observing the occasions on which they were spoken, and then reciting in express terms the words of our Lord himself.

At an early period of his appointed ministry, our Lord pronounced that those should be blessed who would cultivate the spiritual graces, which were to be the sig. nal marks of his religion. He then adverts to the character for purity and holiness, which his disciples would be bound to sustain in the world ; since public attention would be fixed on them, as persons who by their actions were to exemplify the good effects of their having been called and instructed by Him in the knowledge of revealed truths. His admonition to them on this subject is forcible and clear, “ Let your light so shine “ before men that they may see your good works, and

glorify your Father which is in heaven.”+ Having thence proceeded to interpretation of the Mosaic law, to prohibition of encouraging even vicious thoughts; to various precepts delivered with such energy and with such authority as became his divine nature ; he cautions his disciples against the fatal error of thinking mere profession of his religion would constitute real Chris. tians, and be acceptable in his sight; he declares thus : “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall

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“ enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth “ the will of my Father which is in heaven.”. This declaration should continually be remembered, for it comprises in a short compass the sum of a volume. The commencement implies the necessity and presupposes the existence of Christian faith ; but condemns a faith which is only nominal. The sequel intimates that the faith which leads to sincere endeavours for the fulfilment of Divine law, is the Christian faith to which approbation will be given in the heavenly kingdom of our God and Lord.

That intermixture of good and bad men apparent in the world, that collection of Christians among whom some are such in reality, some in title only, are compared by our Lord to the growth of wheat and tares promiscuously blended in the same field.t The seed profitable, and the tares unprofitable, do indeed spring up together ; but mark the difference in the time of harvest ; the wheat is carefully gathered into the barn ; the tares are bound up and thrown into the fire. The parable in which we meet with this similitude receives from our Lord an interpretation so plain, that the infer. ence to be drawn from it cannot be mistaken. “ The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the " wicked one.

The enemy that sowed them is the “ devil, the harvest is the end of the world, and the “ reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are “ gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the “ end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth “ his angels, and shall gather out of his kingdom all “ things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and “ shall cast them into a furnace of fire ; there shall be

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