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aims at, which was to secure a place in men's esteem, that he might more successfully prosecute his selfish ends. The hypocrite is often the most successful of all men. When others fail, he is triumphant. His arts obtain the most immediate reward. It often happens, indeed, that before the end of his days the mask is stripped from his face, and he stands revealed in all his naked deformity. His hopes are then blasted even in this life; for however tolerant men may be of the crime in themselves, they are ready enough to see and condemn its odiousness in others.

The hypocrite's success is greatest and surest, however, when he superadds to his professions of brotherly-kindness for his neighbour, the profession of religious zeal. When he obtains a standing as a member of the church, and assumes, it may be, a prominent place in it-when he becomes signalized by all that fervour which can be exhibited in words, but which is never carried into action, his reputation is more secure-his detection less easy-his success more certain. He then wears a double mask, and his real character is more effectually concealed. He mocks God by his false profession, but he is regardless of the crime, so long as by means of it he can obtain what he desires on earth.

The supposition of the text is, that the acts of the hypocrite have been successful-that by false professions before God and men he has gained his end. But the question put is, even on such a supposition, What is his hope when God taketh away his soul? This form of expression is just a strong way of declaring that no hope can be more delusive and vain than that which the hypocrite cherishes. He may, under false pretences, add abundantly to his stores, and become rich in this world's goods; but what shall it profit him though he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? He may stand high in the world's esteem, and men's praises may be sounded in his ears, giving him the credit of virtues he never possessed, and of good deeds he never purposed in his heart to accomplish. He may pass away from this scene, having the savour of a good name-tears may be shed over his grave—and a monument erected to his memory, but what will all the incense of men's adulation avail him in the

world to which he has gone. He must appear unveiled before the throne of God-stripped of all disguises-an object of loathing and disgust. No anguish is greater than that which shame inflicts upon the detected hypocrite, and when he and those with whom he companied on earth stand together before the dread tribunal of God, this shame will be his, to bear the loathing and

contempt of those, to secure whose praise he made shipwreck of all things.

"Great day of revelation! in the grave

The hypocrite had left his mask, and stood
In naked ugliness. He was a man
Who stole the livery of the court of heaven,
To serve the devil in; in virtue's guise
Devoured the widow's house and orphan's bread;
In holy phrase, transacted villanies

That common sinners durst not meddle with.
At sacred feast he sat among the saints,

And with his guilty hands touched holiest things:
And none of sin lamented more, or sighed
More deeply, or with graver countenance,
Or longer prayer, wept o'er the dying man,
Whose infant children, at the moment, he
Planned how to rob. In sermon style he bought,
And sold, and lied; and salutations made
In scripture terms. He prayed by quantity,
And with his repetitions long and loud
All knees were weary. With one hand he put
A penny in the urn of poverty,

And with the other took a shilling out.
On charitable lists, those trumps which told
The public ear who had in secret done
The poor a benefit, and half the alms

They told of, took themselves to keep them sounding,—
He blazed his name, more pleased to have it there
Than in the book of life. Seest thou the man!

A serpent with an angel's voice! a grave

With flowers bestrewed! And yet few were deceived.
His virtues being overdone, his face

Too grave, his prayers too long, his charities
Too pompously attended, and his speech
Larded too frequently, and out of time,
With serious phraseology,--were rents
That in his garment opened in spite of him,

Through which the well-accustomed eye could see

The rottenness of his heart. None deeper blushed
As in the all-piercing light he stood exposed,
No longer herding with the holy ones.
Yet still he tried to bring his countenance
To sanctimonious seeming; but, meanwhile,
The shame within, now visible to all,

His purpose baulked. The righteous smiled, and even
Despair itself some signs of laughter gave,

As ineffectually he strove to wipe

His brow that inward guiltiness defiled.
Detected wretch! of all the reprobate,
None seemed maturer for the flames of hell,
While still his face, from ancient custom, wears
A holy air, which says to all that pass
Him by, 'I was a hypocrite on earth.""


For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness,' 1 Thess. ii. 5.

FLATTERY is one of the most insidious, as it is one of the most common forms of falsehood, and there is reason to apprehend that the sinfulness of it is not felt and perceived as it ought to be. When a man tells a falsehood which is disagreeble to the hearer, and with a directly malignant purpose, his conduct is at once reprobated; but it

is frequently different with the judgment which is pronounced upon the soft and soothing language of flattery. And yet this form of falsehood is not less wicked, not less dangerous and destructive than any other. If we represent the character of our neighbour in higher terms than his conduct deserves, if we tell him that he has done well when we know that he has done ill, we encourage and harden him in sin, and to the utmost of our endeavour help to bring ruin upon his soul. If by our flattering words we seek to persuade him that he is highly gifted in bodily or mental capacities, that his endowments are such as enable him to walk with safety when others would certainly fall, we thereby betray him into temptation, and he falls, just because he thinks he stands securely. Pride, or self-love, in some of its various forms, has been often and justly represented as lying at the root of all the sins of which we can be guilty. It is plain, therefore, that whatever tends to strengthen and foster this feeling must be in the highest degree dangerous. But there is not a more direct and successful method of creating and stimulating pride than by speaking the language of flattery. He who employs it, ought to know, that he is acting the part of a subtile and dangerous tempter, that he is labouring to lead the thoughtless and unsuspecting into sin. He cannot escape from the guilt of this crime, by the excuse, which may often be justly pled, that he had no such design. He ought to know the character of the weapon he employs before he makes use of it, and his own judgment and reflection might have informed him, that as humility is the best guardian of virtue, so pride cometh before a fall. The love which he bears to his neighbour therefore should have constrained him to encourage humility, and to check pride; but by the use of flattering words he acts a part directly the reverse, and is on that very account a chief promoter and encourager of sin.

It is the curse especially of those who occupy a high station, or upon whom God has bestowed abundant wealth, to be surrounded by flatterers, whose object it is to destroy all sense of sin, to smooth and paint the face of iniquity, to quell the alarms of conscience, to speak not what they know to be true, but what they think will gratify. There is an inexpressible meanness, as well as hideous guilt, in the discharge of such a vile function. It is assumed for purposes so nakedly selfish, that it is wonderful it should escape letection, and thrive. But, in truth, in every instance in which the voice of flattery is heard, there may be detected the same vileness. The rewards which flattery promises and receives,

may not be so great as when the flatterer is a courtier, and the victim a king, but some purpose of worldly gain prompts the words wherever they are employed. The law of God requires that we use the words of truth and soberness, and the flattering lips he abhors. No excuse will be found sufficient to vindicate, or even to palliate the crime. It is alike destructive to him who receives, and to him who employs it. It converts the latter into a hypocrite, who uses the subtilest acts of the tempter; the latter it betrays to guilt and ruin, fosters thoughtlessness, films over the ulcerous places of the soul, and speaks peace where there is no peace.

Flattery is especially wicked when resorted to by the ministers of the gospel. It is opposed to the whole object and end of their office. It is opposed to the whole tenor and spirit of the gospel, to the example furnished by the Saviour, and by the apostles who walked in his footsteps. In the verse immediately preceding the text the apostle thus testifies to his own use of the ministry with which he was intrusted: 'But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts.' The first object of the gospel is to destroy self-righteousness, to bring down every high thought, to teach men their own vileness. It does not address them as deserving creatures, by whose goodness God was induced to bestow the highest favour he could confer. It assumes their utter helplessness and depravity. Its call is not to the righteous, but to the sinner, There is not a doctrine it sets forth which the self-righteous can fully and heartily embrace. The lessons it teaches are the most humbling a man can learn. The wise of this world are told to renounce their wisdom, and become as little children, before they can receive it. It levels all earthly distinctions, knows no lordship or mastery, all are brethren in Christ; titles, rank, wealth, learning, win not its favour, for God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of his kingdom, and hath declared that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The minister who uses flattering words, then, perverts the very nature of his office; he preaches another gospel than that intrusted to him, and of such the apostle says, 'let him be accursed.' He was set to watch for souls, and he betrays them. He warps the counsel of God, and lessens the fear of him. Instead of showing the vileness of sin, he seeks to disguise its deformity. He would mitigate the evil not by destroying it, but by conferring upon it sweet and alluring names. One

office of the divine Spirit is to convince the world | placency, and we speak to him as if his own of sin; he countervails the Spirit's agency by estimate of his own character were quite just making the sinner pleased with himself. Within and true. God's own house he contends against him, he violates the most sacred and solemn trust, and brings an incalculable load of guilt upon his own head. Thus saith the Lord, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them for me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine

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It is lamentable to reflect upon the great prevalence of the sin of flattery. In its more gross and hateful forms, it may be comparatively rare; but there are few, if any, who could acquit themselves of all participation in it. The lesson may have been learned in the halls of princes, but it has now pervaded all ranks, and almost become a part of polite social intercourse. Let a party meet for the sake of showing their esteem for a distinguished friend, and the exhibition they make will in all likelihood be an expression of fulsome and disgusting flattery. Nor is it only on such occasions that this sin manifests itself. As men meet in the marketplace they employ the language of flattery. The simple unvarnished truth has become too plain to suit the taste of the age. They must have it seasoned with flattery, and the vanity which courts it, and feeds upon it, will not wait long in want of it. In this the disposition to bestow is nearly proportioned to the disposition to receive. Hence there is a hollowness, and want of sincerity in our social intercourse. We seek something real, and we are doomed to converse with shadows.

The temptations to a crime so general must be very powerful, and they are sufficiently obvious. They assail us through our benevolence. We are reluctant to give pain, which will often be the result of plain speaking, and we hide the evil we should expose and condemn. We feel it a hard thing to set a man at war against himself, to rouse him from his easy com

We are tempted to flattery by our social affections. There are comparatively few who will at all times bear with the simple and honest truth. It is not desirable that we should excite this resentment against us by faithful dealing. We wish to live on good terms with our neighbours, and we know they will meet us with a smile if we speak smooth words to them. Thus again truth is sacrificed, and flattery encouraged.

We are tempted to the same sin by our own vanity. Flattery is seldom, if ever, all on one side. It is the most venal of all commodities. We give it out as we lay out money to usury, expecting a profitable return. No man will long indulge in flattering his equals, if he receives no flattery from them. Our vanity prompts us because we expect the same deceitful words to to bestow it at the expense of honesty and truth, be spoken to us. Or still more frequently, the vain man tells our friends how highly he esteems us, and speaks of our excellent and amiable qualities, that they may repeat to us his flattering report. We study to return his compliments in the same way-perhaps through a different channel. This is the more delicate resource which vanity suggests to flattery, and it is the most eligible investment for it, because it thus yields the largest return. It puts our praises into many mouths, and reconciles many minds to the commission of the sin.

We are tempted to flattery by self-interest. There is not an easier or more open path to success in any scheme of earthly ambition, than that which flattery provides. It obtains access when honesty is shut out. By its skilful ministry we gain the favour of those who occupy the platform above us, we secure their good offices, and by them are raised a step in the scale of society. We have but to look a little above us again, and by the same means we may raised a step higher. It may be termed the ladder of social life. He who would ascend must climb up upon its steps. For the same reason flattery speaks its smooth language to inferiors, for they can help to lift us up.


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Our strongest resolutions will be required to resist its influence. If we patiently and willingly listen to it when directed to ourselves, we have already yielded to the sin. Nothing will henceforth restrain us from bestowing it upon others. If, on the other hand, we check and rebuke it when offered, men will cease to expect it from us, and our victory over it is certain.

Let us be animated by the good resolution expressed in the text, and in the preceding verse: 'Let me not accept any man's person; neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away.' Here is a very weighty reason to restrain us from flattery; a reason stronger far than all the temptations to indulge in it. It is a reason which speaks to our interests-to the best and dearest interests of immortal beings. For what shall it profit us to gain the fleeting favour of men-to raise ourselves in the world's esteem-to become possessed of its wealth, if in the acquisition of these coveted enjoyments we forfeit the favour of our Maker, peril the interests of our souls, or bring upon them eternal ruin? What though all men should unite together to uphold us, because by flattery we court their favour, if our Maker should determine to cut us off? What an awfully solemn lesson, on this subject, does the prayer and declaration of the Psalmist furnish: 'Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour; with flattering lips, and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things; who have said with our tongues will we prevail; our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?' This suggests the true cause of the prevalence of flattery, and the radical cure of it. We flatter, because we forget that God is Lord over us; that he hears and marks every thing we say; and that to him we must render an account for every idle word we speak. The tongue of flattery would be silenced, could we but remember, in all our intercourse with men, that the God of truth hears us.


· All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death,' Rev. xxi. 8.

THIS is a fearful doom which is threatened, and which awaits all liars. It is not directed only

against those who have been notoriously guilty of the crime of falsehood, but against every one who has in any form or to any extent departed from the truth. Such is the plain meaning of the expression, 'all liars. Not only he who has been guilty of perjury, but he who has concealed a truth which it was his duty to make known, stands exposed to this doom. The man who invents a falsehood, and the man who retails it— the lover of scandal, and the backbiter—he who stirs up strife by evil reports, and he who cajoles and flatters, that strife may be kept down-he who assumes the guise of friendship while hatred lurks in his heart, and he who robes himself in the garb of religion, for selfish ends—all shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. He who is not in all respects what he seems to be, and who does not represent things as they are, is guilty of falsehood in word or deed, and is liable to the second death. No matter what cunning guises falsehood may assume, or what fair names in some of its forms it may bear in the vocabulary of human morality--he to whom all things are naked and open will judge it righteously, and visit it with the punishment he has declared. It is enough to make every man tremble for his own state, when, with the help of that law which is holy and just and good, he regards his own conversation and conduct. How often, alas! will all be obliged to acknowledge, that in the keeping of this law they have come far short. If they have not directly lied, they have not been careful enough to maintain the truth. If they have restrained their tongue, they have not possessed and been animated by that fervent love of truth which God requires in the inward parts. If they have not for selfish ends deceived their neighbour, how often have they wished to appear in his eyes better than they are, and acted the hypocrite's part. Alas! how little is there of real truth in the world, how much guile-how little godly sincerity. And O what a warning does the aspect which it every where presents furnish to us to search our own hearts, to abhor ourselves and to repent in dust and in ashes.

By natural inheritance we have a heart that is deceitful above all things-a heart which suggests to ourselves lying devices, making us the willing subjects of self-deception, and which leads us readily to impose false pretences upon others. Let us not too readily assume then, that we cannot be numbered by God among the liars. There are comparatively few who are ready to acknowledge and who really believe themselves to be liars. The real character of a man is often more apparent to others than it is to himself. Let

us guard then with all diligence against the deceitfulness of our own hearts. Let us strive, instead of trying to forget our sins, to keep them ever before us. Let us, as it were, on every occasion, compel our hearts to bear faithful testimony, and let us in all earnestness pray God to search and try us, and see if there be in us any wicked way, and lead us in the way everlasting. Blessed be God that he has opened up for us a door of repentance. He has written, and all his words are truth, that all liars shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. But he has also said: Come now and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be made white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.' He is now calling upon all men every where to repent, and he joins with this call the promise that He will cleanse us from all our filthiness and from all our unrighteousness. Oh! that we were induced to hear and to obey his voice, in this the day of our merciful visitation. The time will come when we shall be compelled to hear it, but then it will be addressed to us in this wise: 'Because I have called and ye have refused, because I have stretched forth my hand and no man regarded, therefore I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.' That voice we shall certainly hear in all its terrors, if we continue liars to the end. Death will come, we know not how soon and how suddenly, and as our frame is sinking under his power, awakened conscience will testify that we are liars, and must abide the liar's doom. All fond deceits shall then perish, hypocrisy shall drop her ample robe, and all that is false and unreal, the unsubstantial pageants of a wicked world, will be seen in their hollowness, and everlasting despair and death will seize upon us. And these are but preludes of the second death-intimations sent from the abyss to warn the living, and which speak with a voice as decisive and emphatic as if the disembodied spirit were to return from its torment to utter it, declaring the unutterable woe which awaits the impenitent sinner. There is a deeper despair than the deepest which can seize upon man in this world, and it is found in hell. All liars shall become its victims. Theirs is a remediless woe-the portion of the fallen spirits. They stand foremost among those that deserve hell; they are the most declared and undisguised servants of the devil, and their appropriate and inevitable doom is to be made the companion for evermore of the father of lies.


Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another,' Eph. iv. 25.

THERE are many strong reasons for the injunction here laid down. The law of God expressly enjoins it, and his character confirms his law. He is known as a God of truth, and he has threatened his heaviest judgments against those who violate it. The sin of lying is very hateful in itself. It manifests a character most opposite to God, and most nearly resembling the devil, who is characterized as the father of lies. It is incumbent on us therefore to put away lying—to tolerate it in no form, in no place under no circumstances.

We are required to put away lying from ourselves. Let all our conversation be conducted in truth and soberness. We must shun all idle and boastful language. What we dare not openly declare, we must not insinuate. The feeling which we do not possess, we must not pretend to. The form in which the injunction is delivered, shows that lying is a sin which we must not only guard against, but one to which we have been subject. We are not told merely not to lie, but we are told to put it away. Such a statement as this is fitted to awaken our utmost vigilance. It shows falsehood to be a sin to which we not only stand exposed, but which we have already committed. It becometh us therefore narrowly to scrutinize our conduct—to watch every word and every feeling, that we may attain not only the perfection of that man who offendeth not in word, but the perfection of him who has truth in the inward parts.

We are required to put away lying from our families. We are bound not only to watch for ourselves, but for those whom God has committed to our trust. The guilt of their iniquity will be upon us, the blood of their souls will be required at our hands, if we do not warn them against this sin, and use all our power and influence to check and to destroy it. In the case of Eli the priest we have a very striking example of the way in which God punishes parents who neglect the proper training of their children. The cause of the sore calamities which befel him and his house, is expressly stated to be that his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. Such judgments indicate the method of God's procedure, the principles of his judgment; and every parent may be assured that if he suffers the members of his household to lie, without such restraints as he has it in his power to impose, he will be visited

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