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them seeketh after God. It is, that he is for all that is manly in the accomplishdeposed from his rightful ascendency. It ments of nature, disjoined from the faith of is that he, who in fact inserted in the hu- Christianity. They take up a separate man bosom every one principle that can residence in the human character from the embellish the individual possessor, or main- principle of godliness. Anterior to this retain the order of society, is banished alto-ligion, they go not to alleviate the guilt of gether from the circle of his habitual con- our departure froin the living God; and templations. It is, that man taketh his way subsequently to this religion, they may in life as much at random, as if there was blazon the character of him who stands out no presiding Divinity at all; and that, against it; but on the principles of a most whether he at one time grovel in the depths clear and intelligent equity, they never can of sensuality, or at another kindle with shield him from the condemnation and the some generous movement of sympathy or curse of those who have neglected the great of patriotism, he is at both times alike un- salvation. mindful of him to whom he owes his con- The doctrine of the New Testament will tinuance and his birth. It is, that he moves bear to be confronted with all that can be his every footstep at his own will; and has met or noticed on the face of human society. utterly discarded, from its supremacy over And we speak most confidently to the exhim, the will of that invisible Master who perience of many who now hear us, when compasses all his goings, and never ceases we say, that often, in the course of their to pursue him by the claims of a resistless manifold transactions, have they met the and legitimate authority. It is this which man, whom the bribery of no advantage is the essential or the constituting principle whatever could seduce into the slightest of rebellion against God. This it is which deviation from the path of integrity-the has exiled the planet we live in beyond the man, who felt his nature within him put limits of his favoured creation and whether into a state of the most painful indignancy, it be shrouded in the turpitude of licentious at every thing that bore upon it the characness or cruelty, or occasionally brightened ter of a sneaking or dishonourable artificewith the gleam of the kindly and the honour- the man, who positively could not be at able virtues, it is thus that it is seen as afar rest under the consciousness that he had off, by Him who sitteth on the throne, and ever betrayed, even to his own heart, the looketh on our strayed world, as athwart a remotest symptom of such an inclinationwide and dreary gulf of separation. and whom, therefore, the unaided law of
And when, prompted by love towards his justice and of truth has placed on a high alienated children, he devised a way of re- and deserved eminence in the walks of calling them-when, willing to pass over honourable merchandize. all the ingratitude he had gotten from their Let us not withhold from this character hands, he reared a pathway of return, and the tribute of its most rightful admiration; proclaimed a pardon and a welcome to all but let us further ask, if, with all that he who should walk upon it-when through thus possessed of native feeling and constithe offered Mediator, who magnified his tutional integrity, you have never observed broken law, and upheld, by his mysterious in any such individual an utter emptiness sacrifice, the dignity of that government, of religion; and that God is not in all his which the children of Adam had disowned, thoughts; and that, when he does what he invited all to come and be saved happens to be at one with the will of the should this message be brought to the door Lawgiver, it is not because he is impelled of the most honourable man upon earth, to it by a sense of its being the will of the and he turn in contempt and hostility away | Lawgiver, but because he is impelled to it from it, has not that man posted himself by the working of his own instinctive senmore firmly than ever on the ground of re- sibilities; and that, however fortunate, or bellion? Though an unsullied integrity however estimable these sensibilities are, should rest upon all his transactions, and they still consist with the habit of a mind the homage of confidence and respect be that is in a state of total indifference about awarded to him from every quarter of so-God? Have you never read in your own ciety, has not this man, by slighting the character, or observed in the character of overtures of reconciliation, just plunged others, that the claims of the Divinity may himself the deeper in the guilt of a wilful be entirely forgotten by the very man to and determined ungodliness? Has not the whom society around him yield, and rightly creature exalted itself above the Creator; yield, the homage of an unsullied and and in the pride of those accomplishments, honourable reputation; that this man may which never would have invested his per- have all his foundations in the world ; that son had not they come to him from above, every security on which he rests, and every has he not, in the act of resisting the gospel, enjoyment upon which his heart is set, lieth aggravated the provocation of his whole on this side of death; that a sense of the previous defiance to the author of it ? coming day on which God is to enter into
Thus much for all that is amiable, and judgment with him, is to every purpose of practical ascendency, as good as expunged by oceans and by continents; when he fixes altogether from his bosom; that he is far the anchor of a sure and steady dependence in desire, and far in enjoyment, and far in on the reported honesty of one whom he habitual contemplation, away from that never saw ; when, with all his fears for the God who is not far from any one of us; treachery of the varied elements, through that his extending credit and his brighten- which his property has to pass, he knows, ing prosperity, and his magnificent retreat that should it only arrive at the door of its from business, with all the splendour of its destined agent, all his fears and all his susaccommodations—that these are the futuri-picions may be at an end. We know nothing ties at which he terminates; and that he finer than such an act of homage from one goes not in thought beyond them to that human being to another, when perhaps the eternity, which in the flight of a few little diameter of the globe is between them; nor years, will absorb all, and annihilate all ? do we think that either the renown of her In a word, have you never observed the victories, or the wisdom of her councils, so man, who, with all that was right in mer- signalizes the country in which we live, as cantile principle, and all that was open and does the honourable dealing of her merunimpeachable in the habit of his mercan-chants; that all the glories of British policy, tile transactions, lived in a state of utter and British valour, are far eclipsed by the estrangement from the concerns of immor-moral splendour which British faith has tality? who, in reference to God, persisted, thrown over the name and the character of from one year to another, in the spirit of a our nation; nor has she gathered so proud deep slumber? who, in reference to the a distinction from all the tributaries of her man that tries to awaken him out of his power, as she has done from the awarded lethargy, recoils, with the most sensitive confidence of those men of all tribes, and dislike, from the faithfulness of his minis-colours, and languages, who look to our trations? who, in reference to the Book agency for the most faithful of all managewhich tells him of his nakedness and his ment, and to our keeping for the most unguilt, never consults it with one practical violable of all custody. aim, and never tries to penetrate beyond There is no denying, then, the very exthat aspect of mysteriousness which it holds tended prevalence of a principle of integrity out to an undiscerning world ? who attends in the commercial world; and he who has not church, or attends it with all the life-such a principle within him, has that to lessness of a form ? who reads not his Bible, which all the epithets of our text may or reads it in the discharge of a self-pre- rightly be appropriated. But it is just as scribed and unfruitful task ? who prays not, impossible to deny, that, with this thing or prays with the mockery of an unmean- which he has, there may be another thing ing observation ? and, in one word, who which he has not. He may not have one while surrounded by all those testimonies duteous feeling of reverence which points which give to man a place of moral dis- (upward to God. He may not have one tinction among his fellows, is living in utter wish, or one anticipation, which points forcarelessness about God, and about all the ward to eternity. He may not have any avenues which lead to him ?
sense of dependence on the Being who susNow, attend for a moment to what that tains him; and who gave him his very is which the man has, and to what that is principle of honour, as part of that interior which he has not. He has an attribute of furniture which he has put into his bosom ; character which is in itself pure, and lovely, and who surrounded him with the theatre and honourable, and of good report. He on which he has come forward with the has a natural principle of integrity; and finest and most illustrious displays of it; under its impulse he may be carried for- and who set the whole machinery of his ward to such fine exhibitions of himself, as sentiment and action agoing; and can, by are worthy of all admiration. It is very a single word of his power, bid it cease noble, when the simple utterance of his from the variety, and cease from the graceword carries as much security along with fulness of its movements. In other words, it as if he had accompanied that utterance he is a man of integrity, and yet he is a by the signatures, and the securities, and man of ungodliness. the legal obligations which are required of He is a man born for the confidence and other men. It might tempt one to be proud the admiration of his fellows, and yet a man of his species when he looks at the faith whom his Maker can charge with utter dethat is put in him by a distant correspon- fection from all the principles of a spiritual dent, who, without one other hold of him obedience. He is a man whose virtues have than his honour, consigns to him the wealth blazoned his own character in time, and of a whole flotilla, and sleeps in the confi- have upheld the interests of society, and dence that it is safe. It is indeed an animat- yet a man who has not, by one movement ing thought, amid the gloom of this world's of principle, brought himself nearer to the depravity, when we behold the credit which kingdom of heaven, than the most proflione man puts in another, though separated gate of the species. The condemnation, that
he is an alien from God, rests upon him in said, that prosperity, with some occasional all the weight of its unmitigated severity. variations, is the general accompaniment of The threat, that they who forget God shall that credit, which every man of undeviatbe turned into hell, will, on the great day ing justice is sure to draw around him. But of its fell and sweeping operation, involve what reward will you tell us is due to him him among the wretched outcasts of eter-lon the great day of the manifestation of nity. That God from whom, while in the. God's righteousness, when, in fact, he has world, he withheld every due offering of done nothing unto God? What recompence gratitude, and remembrance, and universal can be awarded to him out of those books subordination of habit and of desire, will / which are then to be opened, and in which show him to his face, how, under the delu-he stands recorded as a man overcharged sive garb of such sympathies as drew upon with the guilt of spiritual idolatry? How him the love of his acquaintances, and of shall God grant unto him the reward of a such integrities as drew upon him their re- servant, when the service of God was not the . spect and their confidence, he was in fact a principle of his doings in the world; and determined rebel.against the authority of when neither the justice he rendered to heaven; that not one commandment of the others, nor the sensibility that he felt for law, in the true extent of its interpretation, them, bore the slightest character of an ofwas ever fulfilled by him; that the pervad-fering to his Maker? ing principle of obedience to this law, which But wherever the religious principle has is love to God, never had its ascendency taken possession of the mind, it animates over him; that the beseeching voice of the these virtues with a new spirit, and when Lawgiver, so offended and so insulted—but so animated, all such things as are pure, who, nevertheless, devised in love a way of and lovely, and just, and true, and honest, reconciliation for the guilty, -never had the) and of good report, have a religious importeffect of recalling him; that, in fact, he ance and character belonging to them. The neither had a wish for the friendship of text forms part of an epistle addressed to God, nor cherished the hope of enjoying all the saints in Christ Jesus, which were him, and that therefore, as he lived without at Philippi; and the lesson of the text is hope, so he lived without God in the world; matter of direct and authoritative enforcefinding all his desire, and all his sufficiency, ment on all who are saints in Christ Jesus to be somewhere else, than in that savour at the present day. Christianity, with the which is better than life, and so, in addition weight of its positive sanctions on the side to the curse of having continued not in all of what is amiable and honourable in huthe words of the book of God's law to do man virtue, causes such an influence to rest them, entailing upon himself the mighty on the character of its genuine disciples, aggravation of having neglected all the of that, on the ground both of inflexible jusfers of his gospel.
tice and ever-breathing charity, they are We say, then, of this natural virtue, whatever sure to leave the vast majority of the our Saviour said of the virtue of the Phari- world behind them. Simplicity and godly sees, many of whom were not extortioners, sincerity form essential ingredients of that as other men-that, verily, it hath its re- peculiarity by which they stand signalized ward. When disjoined from a sense of God, in the midst of an ungodly generation. The it is of no religious estimation whatever; true friends of the gospel, tremblingly alive nor will it lead to any religious blessing, to the honour of their master's cause, blush either in time or in eternity. It has, however, for the disgrace that has been brought on it its enjoyments annexed to it, just as a fine by men who keep its sabbaths, and yield an taste has its enjoyments annexed to it; and ostentatious homage to its doctrines and its in these it is abundantly rewarded. It is sacraments. They utterly disclaim all felexempted from that painfulness of inward lowship with that vile association of cant feeling which nature has annexed to every and of duplicity, which has sometimes been act of departure from honesty. It is sus- exemplified, to the triumph of the enemies tained by a conscious sense of rectitude and of religion; and they both feel the solemn elevation. It is gratified by the homage of truth, and act on the authority of the saysociety; the members of which are ever ing, that neither thieves, nor liars, nor exready to award the tribute of acknowledg-tortioners, nor unrighteous persons, have ment to those virtues that support the in- any part in the kingdom of Christ and of terests of society. And finally, it may be God.
The Influence of Christianity in aiding and augmenting the mercantile Virtues.
" For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”- Romans xiv. 18.
We have already asserted the natural ex- | scenery of an ordinary landscape? Would istence of such principles in the heart of not you look for a gladder acclamation man, as lead him to many graceful and to from the fertile field, than from the arid many honourable exhibitions of character. / waste, where no character of grandeur We have further asserted, that this formed made up for the barrenness that was around no deduction whatever from that article of you? Would not the goodly tree, comorthodoxy which affirms the utter depravity passed about with the glories of its summer of our nature; that the essence of this de- foliage, lift up an anthem of louder gratipravity lies in man having broken loose tudė than the lowly shrub that grew befrom the authority of God, and delivered neath it? Would not the flower, from himself wholly up to the guidance of his whose leaves every hue of loveliness was own inclinations; that though some of these reflected, send forth a sweeter rapture than inclinations are in themselves amiable fea- | the russet weed, which never drew the eye tures of human character, and point in their of any admiring passenger? And in a effects to what is most useful to human word, wherever you saw the towering emisociety, yet devoid as they all are of any nences of nature, or the garniture of her reference to the will and to the rightful more rich and beauteous adornments, would sovereignty of the Supreme Being, they it not be there that you looked for the deepcould not avert, or even so much as alle- est tones of devotion, or there for the tenviate that charge of ungodliness, which may derest and most exquisite of its melodies? be fully carried round amongst all the sons: There is both the sublime of character, and daughters of the species; that they fur- and the beauteous of character exemplified nish not the materials of any valid or satis- upon man. We have the one in that high factory answer to the question, “ What hast sense of honour which no interest and no thou done unto God ?" and that whether terror can seduce from any of its obligathey are the desires of a native rectitude, or tions. We have the other in that kindlithe desires of an instinctive benevolence, ness of feeling, which one look, or one sigh they go not to purge away the guilt of hav of imploring distress can touch into liveliest ing no love, and no care for the Being who sympathy. Only grant that we have noformed and who sustains them.
thing either in the constitution of our spirits, But what is more. If the virtues and ac- or in the structure of our bodies, which we complishments of nature are at all to be did not receive; and that mind, with all its admitted into the controversy between God varieties, is as much the product of a creatand man, instead of forming any abatement / ing hand, as matter in all its modifications; upon the enormity of our guilt, they stamp and then, on the face of human society, do we upon it the reproach of a still deeper and witness all the gradations of a moral scenery, more determined ingratitude. Let us con- which may be directly referred to the operaceive it possible, for a moment, that the tion of him who worketh all in all. It is our beautiful personifications of scripture were belief, that, as to any effectual sense of God, all realized; that the trees of the forest clap- there is as deep a slumber throughout the ped their hands unto God, and that the isles | whole of this world's living and rational were glad at his presence; that the little generations, as there is throughont all the hills shouted on every side, and that the diversities of its mute and unconscious mavallies covered over with corn sent forth terialism; and that to make our alienated their notes of rejoicing; that the sun and spirits again alive unto the Father of them, the moon praised him, and the stars of light calls for as distinct and 'as miraculous an joined in the solemn adoration; that the exertion of the Divinity, as would need to voice of glory to God was heard from every be put forth in the act of turning stones into mountain and from every water-fall; and the children of Abraham. Conceive this to that all nature, animated throughout by the be done then-and that a quickening and a consciousness of a pervading and presiding realizing sense of the Deity pervaded all the Deity, burst into one loud and universal men of our species-and that each knew song of gratulation. Would not a strain of how to refer his own endowments, with an greater loftiness be heard to ascend from adequate expression of gratitude to the unthose regions where the all-working God seen author of them-from whom we ask of had left the traces of his own immensity, all these various individuals, would you look than from the tamer and the humbler for the halleluiahs of devoutest ecstacy?
Would it not be from him whom God had above all control, and that refuses all rival-
It is by argument such as this, that we themselves to all the excesses of riot and would attempt to convince of sin, those festivity, and are therefore the last to admire who have a righteousness that is without the puritanic sobriety of him whom they godliness; and to prove, that, with the pos- cannot tempt to put his chastity or his temsession of such things as are pure, and perance away from him; though the same lovely, and honest, and of good report, they God, who bids us lie not one to another, in fact can only be admitted to reconcilia- also bids us keep the body under subjection with God, on the same footing with tion, and to abstain from feshly lusts which the most worthless and profligate of the war against the soul. Again, there are species; and to demonstrate, that they are some in whose eye an unvitiated delicacy in the very same state of need and of naked- looks a beautiful and an interesting spectaness, and are therefore children of wrath, cle, and an undeviating self-control looks a even as others; that it is only through faith manly and respectable accomplishment; in the preaching of the gospel of our Lord but who have no taste in themselves, and Jesus Christ that they can be saved; and no admiration in others, for the more direct that unless brought down from the delusive exereises of religion; and who positively eminency of their own conscious attain-hate the strict and unbending preciseness ments, they take their forgiveness through of those who join in every ordinance, and the blood of the Redeemer, and their sanc-on every returning night celebrate the tification through the spirit which is at his praises of God in their family, and that, giving, they shall obtain no part in that in- | though the heavenly Lawgiver, who tells heritance which is incorruptible and unde- us to live righteously and soberly, tells us filed, and which fadeth not away.
also to live godly in the present evil world. But the gospel of Jesus Christ does some-| And lastly, there are some who have not thing more than hold out a refuge to the merely a toleration, but a liking for all the guilty. It takes all those who accept of its decencies of an established observation; overtures under its supreme and exclusive but who, with the homage they pay to direction. It keeps by them in the way of sabbaths and to sacraments, nauseate the counsel and exhortation, and constant su- Christian principle in the supreme and reperintendence. The grace which it reveals, generating vitality of its influences; who, is a grace which not merely saves all men, under a general religiousness of aspect, are but which teaches all men. He who is the still in fact the children of the world-- and proposed Saviour, also claims to be the therefore hate the children of light in all alone master of those who put their trust that is peculiar and essentially characterisin him. His cognizance extends itself over tic of that high' designation; who underthe whole line of their history; and there is stand not what is meant by having our connot an affection of their heart, or a deed versation in heaven; and utter strangers to of their visible conduct, over which he does the separated walk, and the spiritual. exernot assert the right of an authority that is cises, and the humble devotedness, and the