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parent and the child, the master enced the baneful influence of , and the servant. It gives rules such books. But wbere is the for our conduct at home, and least appearance of such uncer. abroad, in company, and alone, tainty in the Bible ? Every thing at our table, and on our pillow. there is sure and stable. And It teaches our tongues, our eyes, the attentive, derout reader of our ears, our hands, and our feet that infallible book must in some ; their proper work. It is a faith- measure imbibe the spirit of inful monitor in prosperity, and spiration, and learn to think and faithful friend in adversity. No speak on every great subject. state is so depressed, that the Bi- with modest docision, and sacred. ble cannot raise it ; none so confidence. troubled, that the Bible cannot Inspired men, beside speaking compose it ; none too dark, to with confidence and certainty be illuminated by its heavenly themselves, represent the saints light. The Bible is equally full in general, aş firmly established respecting points of belief. It is in their religious sentiments, as as profitable for doctrine, as it is knowing the truth, as being sure. for reproof, for instruction, and Yea, they teach the absolute for correction in rightcousness, necessity of that full conviction The Bible is perfect. With this of the truth, which is properly plain, this perfect book in your called knowledge or assurance of hand, how can you be doubtful? belief. They inculcate such a What new advantage can you use of the infallible rule of faith desire for obtaining a satis- which they furnish, as issues in factory, and certain knowledge a pleasing certainty. Now where of divine things?
is the propriety of all this, unless Consider thirdly, that the Bible scripture clearly distinguishes speaks on every subject of religion between truth and error, and afwith perfect certainty. Christ fords light sufficient to determine and his apostles speak of the every candid mind? truths of God without any hesi. After all the light given us, is tation or indecision. Open the it not, my brother, an offence to NewTestament, my brother, in the author of the Bible, to be full any part, and see, what doctrine of doubt respecting religious of religion is mentioned in a du, things ? After Christ's resurrec. bious manner. When inspired tion had been proved by satis men discourse on the most im, factory evidence, the doubting of portant, and most mysterious Thomas was reprehensible. Je subjects, it does not appear, that sus reproved his disciples for bethey feel the least degree of un- ing slow to believe, and of a doubt. certainty themselves, or mean to ful mind, upon the principle, that inculcate it upon others. There they had been furnished with are books, which, by representing sufficient evidence to remove almost every subject, as envelo every doubt, and to establish ped in uncertainty, tend to un; their faith. Had not this been hinge the mind respecting the the case, they would not have whole system of religion. You, deserved reproof. To doubt, if I mistake not, have experi. where satisfactory evidence is . wanting, betokens a sound mind. I suggest one more thought, But what a dishonour to the God which is capable of being easily of truth, to doubt, where he has established by an appeal to facts. given us abundant evidence. A habit of doubting, as far as it
Shall we, who are favoured extends, prevents the good infiuwith the light of the sun, meet ence of divine truth. When the with darkness in the day time, and truths of religion have any good grope at noon day, as in the night? influence, it is by being firmly Shall we say, that the sacred vol- and cordially believed. He, who ume, which divine wisdom dicta. is taught of God, sees the objects ted and divine goodness bestow- of religion to be realities, yea, ed, does not give us satisfactory certainties. He believes and is information on those very sub- sure. He no longer regards the jects, which it professes to teach? truths of the gospel, as dispuWhat should we think of a hu- table. He has, as Mr. Edwards man author, who should write a expresses it, a reasonable and book on a political or philoso- spiritual conviction of judgment, phical subject, and yet leave his of the reality and certainty of di. readers entirely in the dark, as to vine things. The truths of the his own meaning, and as to the gospel, thus believed with all the subject he undertook to explain ? heart, will, it is evident, have To say that God has done so, is great influence upon the affecto sink him below every respec- tions and conduct. But without table human author. What, my an unwavering belief of revealed brother, has God given us satis- truth, this good influence will be factory instruction respecting the wholly unknown. How can a ordinary concerns of life, but sinner, doubtful of his own dewithheld such instruction respec pravity and guilt, be the subject ting the great truths of religion? of Christian humility and peniHas he spread dark clouds over tence? And how can a sinner, us, where we most need light, duly sensible of his own criminal, and where he has expressly helpless state, confidently trust undertaken to furnish us with in a Saviour, whose character he light? Has he spoken at large of knows not; or ground his eterhis own perfections and purposes, nal hopes upon an atonement, the of Christ's character and work, reality of which he doubts? of man's moral state, of regenera- Prevailing uncertainty respecting tion, and of the final condition of the being of God would destroy the righteous and the wicked; the sincerity, the fervour, and the and yet, has he said nothing comfort of devotion. He who satisfactory on these great sub- can say to God, “thou art my jects? Has he mentioned them rock, and my deliverer, my God, to occasion perplexity, uncer- in whom I will trust," feels as tainty, and disunion? Who will certain of God's being and pere dare thus to charge God? And fection, as he does of his own yet all this is implied in that reli- existence. The same obsergious scepticism, which you un- vations are applicable to every happily indulge, and which many part of the gospel scheme. studiously vindicate.
How great then, is the worth of
an assured belief of the truth?
For the Panoplist. And how pernicious the practical
THE TRIFLER. influence of a doubtful mind ?
Behold the apostles, and primi- It is a serious question, which tive Christians. See them will the prophet asks, and a questioni ingly suffering the loss of all which thousands are unable to things, for the excellence of the answer, “ Wherefore do ye spend knowledge of Christ Jesus. See money for that which is not them preaching, writing, living, bread, and your labour for that suffering, dying, to propagate which satisfieth not?” the truths of revelation. Did The immediate end of worldthey act like men of a doubtful, ly labour is to procure such wavering mind? Do men of this things as are needful for the age, who are unsettled in their body. The use of money is to religious opinions, and make a purchase those necessaries or boast of their philosophical conveniences which we cannot doubts, show such Christian zeal, procure immediately by our lasuch sublime piety, such exem- bour. But how many apply plary goodness, as belonged to their labour and their money to those ancient worthies? And do objects, which contribute noththey enjoy equal happiness? I ing to the real purposes of life? appeal to you, my brother, wheth- We smile at the folly of chiler a doubting turn of mind is not dren, who spend their little hostile to enjoyment. To the gains merely to gratify a playful pious it is certainly so. Every fancy. This folly we excuse in doubt respecting those excellent them, because it is congenial to truths, which they so highly their age. But if tops, rattles prize, must be painful ; while an and hobby-horses should be their unwavering belief of their cer- principal pleasures through life, tainty is attended with holy satis- we should certainly pronounce faction.
them idiots. And are there not Arise then, my brother, and many such idiots? Are there not assert the dignity of the freeborn thousands who would be as much mind. Put off the shackles of at a loss to assign a reason for prejudice. Scorn to be in bond- their pursuits, as the boy is for age to the opinions of the world. the pleasure which he takes in Be not enslaved by the fear of his baubles ? man. Think for yourself. With We pity the indiscretion of an ardent desire to find the truth, the giddy youth, who consumes enter upon the study of God's in diversion the precious fruits word. Be not in haste to decide. of his industry, and wastes in an Take time for examination. Let evening the solid earnings of no business or pleasure keep you days and weeks. We well know from a thorough search of the that his money might be more scriptures. Above all, open wisely applied. His expensive your soul to the influences of hea- amusement gives him no real ven, remembering that none can satisfaction. It gratifies the pas. teach like God.
sion of the moment, but leaves CONSTANS. the mind more vacant and restless than it was before. To sus- This is justly said. But now pend his uneasiness, he returns let us look on the temperate to his favourite amusement, as and industrious part of man. soon as opportunity occurs, and kind. Perhaps among them we the means are in his power. shall find some, who fall under Thus bis time is divided between the same censure which they so the indulgence of his pleasure liberally bestow on the improvi. and the labour which must fur. dent and dissolute. If nothing nish him with the means. What farther is in their thoughts, than a foolish and ridiculous life is the acquisition of worldly prothis! We hope experience and perty, they, like the fools whom reflection will make him wiser. they condemn, are labouring for And yet we fear, that a growing that, which will not satisfy them. habit will baffle experience and Man was made for another silence reflection.
world. He cannot obtain hapBut while we pity this young piness in this, for there is nothman's indiscretion, can we noting here commensurate to his see the same in many who are desires. If his views stop short older? Are there not heads of of that eternal state, which is be. families, who, in the most literal fore him, and if his labours are sense, spend their money and la- not applied to the means of prebour for that which satisfieth not? paring for that state, he, with all They have useful occupations, and his worldly fore-thought and inhealth and skill to labour;and neve' dustry, is but a trifier. The er are out of employment when man, who in health makes no they wish to be in it. But to provision for sickness and age, what purpose do they apply their is guilty of great folly. But earnings? It is to gratify an in- more egregious is the folly of temperate appetite, whose im- the man, who in life makes no portunate calls consume the best provision for eternity. fruits of their labour, and reduce Riches are desirable, so far their families to want. If you as they relieve our wants and inreprove them for the neglect of crease our usefulness. A little God's worship, the want of de will supply our wants ; less will cent apparel is a ready excuse. satisfy our desire to be useful. But why do they want apparel ? Few can be found, whose chariIt is because they spend their ty is equal to their ability. In moncy and labour for that which the hands of a wise man, riches will not clothe them. And still may be a blessing ; in the hands this is a circumstance which of a worldling, they are a vexanever hinders their appearance tion. When they increase, de. in some sorts of company. sire increases with them ; and
When we look upon such whether he has little or much, men, we say, What a pity it is still he is unsatisfied. It is with that they are not more frugal toil that he acquires them ; with and temperate! They do busi- perplexity that he preserves ness enough to live comfortably them ; with reluctance that he and reputably, if they used the expends them ; with regret that same economy as their neigh- he parts with them. bours.
Every man, even the most
prosperous, may be referred to What then are riches? They his own experience, whether are the creatures of imagination. there is any satisfaction in the Things, which, in their nature, things which he possesses. He are immediately useful, cannot * is prompted to labour by the be riches, for they are perishhope of gain. But when he has able. Things perinanent canobtained his object, he is much not be riches, for they have no in the same situation as before, intrinsic value. Our riches still unsatisfied with his condi- then must be something, which tion, and still seeking to mend we can exchange for something
else ; and this second something Yet men are fond of riches. must be that, which we can ex. And what are those fine things change back again for the first, 'which they call by this name? or some third thing, which may It is imagination which gives also be exchanged. And do we them their value. They have thus become rich? Why then no intrinsic worth. We call a are not our children rich, man rich, who has a large and when they can exchange one well cultivated farm. But its bauble for another; or when value is in the produce ; not in they can toss a ball and see a the soil. And this produce is per- number eager to catch it; and ishable. Farther then, than he he who catches it can toss it needs it for his consumption, it again; and when the game has is of no value, unless he can gone round, they can all sit down exchange it for silver or gold. a little more weary than they And these again have no real were when they began ? worth, farther than they can be To enjoy the comforts, and exchanged for something better; escape the mortifications of the for they will not serve for food, world, we must live above it, raiment or necessary utensils. place little dependence upon it, Perhaps with the surplus of his and direct out thoughts and afmoney, he can purchase a terri- fections to greater and better tory in some remote wilderness. things. The man who lives But if he is never to occupy it, without religion, however wise or even to see it, what is it bet. and industrious he may be in re, ter to him, than as many acres lation to this world, is, at best, of sky ? Or he may exchange but a trifler.. his silver for small scrips of pa- And there are some pretendper, which promise him the ers to religion, who are triflers same again with a small addi- too. tion. If the man who makes They are convinced, that the the promise to him, should im- world cannot satisfy them, for mediately fulfil it, his gain is pre- they have tried it ; or cannot vented and his end defeated; or satisfy them long, for they must if the man should prove unable leave it. They resolve to apply 10 fulfil the promise, the scrips themselves to religion as tha are but waste paper. Their means of present hope and fuvalue then lies in the debtor's ture felicity. But they frame a supposed ability, with an actual religion of their own, so differdelay, to perform his promise..ent from that, which God has