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The Causes of Inconstancy in Religion,

The Causes of Inconstancy in Religion,

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BY Dr. James Inglis


Ye did run well; who did hinder you, that ye should not
obey the truth?"
BY Dr. James Inglis


Ye did run well; who did hinder you, that ye should not
obey the truth?"

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 19, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CAUSES OF ICOSTACY I RELIGIO, BY Dr. James InglisGALATIAS, V. 7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth?" It must be evident to every attentive observer of biiman nature, as exhibited in real life, that steadfastness, fixed- ness, and perseverance in the practice of piety and virtue, is an excellence extrcjmely rare. Impressions of truth and goodness too generally become faint, where they are not to- tally effaced; religious zeal languishes, where it is not ex- tinguished; the purposes of virtue are broken off in the midst; and to multitudes, the apostle's expostulation is not inapplicable, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth?" There is a particular refer- ence in these words, it is true, to a mischievous interference with the faith of the Galatians, in consequence of which they had stepped aside from the simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus; endeavouring to connect it with the obsolete ri» tuals of Judaism. But in the very same style, with the very same earnestness of address, ministers of Christ may re- monstrate against every aberration from sound doctrines once received; against every deviation from the course of duty; every intermission of pious activity; every dereliction of good and lioly undertakings. "Ye did run well; who did hinder you, that ye should not obey the truth?" Men are mutable in that which is good; they permit 252
I themselves to be hindered in their upright course, and di- verted from it. Assuming this as afact^ I propose to trace it to its sources; to expose the springs of an evil so hostile to the peace and salvation of tlie soul. These are not to be found either in deficiency of means, or in deficiency of motive. ot in dejicienctf of means. God demands nothing of his creatures which they are not ca]mcitated to perform. They know him not who imagine him to be ''a hard master, reap- ing where he has not sown, and gathering where he has not strawed." They know him not who discern any likeness between him and that tyrant of Egypt, who exacted more toil of an enslaved people, without removing or alleviating the difficulty which retarded their compliance with his will. The claims of the divine Majesty are a|; once just and mer- ciful. They are always proportioned to the ability of his subjects, who receive from him strength equal to their day of trial and service. Much is required of him only to whom much is given; much asked of him only to whom much is' committed."* And if you can suppose a moral agent alto- gether powerless, you may be satisfied that, from him, nothing is expected. If, then, having run well the race of duty, your career be unhappily arrested, say not that it is arrest- ed by deficiency of means. either may you ascribe it to defciency of motive. Mo- tives abound. Every thing that can confirm; every tiling that can justify; every thing that can inspirit, quicken, and impel, is presented to the soul. What more can be desired for this purpose, than is contained in this noble scripture? "The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and world- ly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and religious- ly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and_ the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Clirist."f All to whom the gospel is preached, and
* Luke, xii. 48. fTit. ii. 11— X3. 253 they to whom it is entrusted, are commanded, as far as they may find it practicable, to preach it to every creature; all are taught, not feebly to attempt the restriction of evil pro- pensities, but resolutely, laboriously, manfully, and totally to resist, renounce, and deny the gratification of them; to habituate themselves carefully to self-respect, to justice to- wards their neighbour, and piety towards God. And as an inducement of ample weight and power, all are directed to anticipate with triumphant certainty the crown of their hopes and struggles in the glorious advent of the Redeemer, which shall be without sin unto eternal salvation. It is life and immortality that invite you to persevere. The very genius of the evangelical constitutions is, work, for God worleth in you; and if you improve the grace al- ready received, more shall be imparted. Tliat spirit shall descend upon you in seven-fold energy, whose province and whose delight it is to sanctify the depraved heart; purify the troubled conscience; succour tlie helpless; encourage the diffident; quicken the dull; and establish, strengthen, and settle the unsteady. , Exceedingly great and precious are the promises, both of present favour, and everlasting glory and felicity, held out to allure mankind into patient continuance in well doing; to purify them from the corruption that is in the world through lust; and to elevate them to the dignity of a parti- cipation of the divine nature.- "Omnipotence hath given unto them all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called thcili to glory and virtue."* If, then, having run well the race of duty for a time, yon

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