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2. Christian churches should strictly investigate the conduct of their members in relation to the portion of wealth they devote to religious objects:

Those members of a Christian church whose incomes are generally known, and who are remiss on this point, ought to be calmly reasoned with as to their duty in this respect, on scriptural grounds, and in accordance with the principles and obligations they admit as Christians. And, if they obstinately resist every argument and admonition addressed to them, and refuse to give a fair proportion of their substance to the service of Him from whom they derived it, they ought to be suspended from the peculiar privileges of Christian society. The church of Christ has undoubtedly a right to take cognizance of its members, as to this point, as well as when they are chargeable with a breach of duty in any other respect, or found guilty of a direct violation of the laws of God. We are too apt to imagine, (and custom has too long sanctioned the opinion) that the censures of the church are only to be inflicted on those who are guilty of what the world terms scandals; and many professors of religion are thus led to consider themselves as acting a dutiful part in Christian society, if no such scandals can be proved against them. But, the non-performance of duty is equally sinful, and as regularly denounced in scripture, as the direct commission of vicious actions. “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; doth not He who pondereth the heart consider it?” Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him. The unprofitable servant who hid his talent in the earth, is not accused of drunkenness, uncleanness, licentiousness, or any similar crime, yet, because he misimproved the talent committed to his trust, he is doomed to the same punishment as the most flagrant workers of iniquity. “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It is by the regular performance of duty more than by freedom from vicious practices that the reality of Christian principle is displayed. There is perhaps nothing that brings a man's Christian character to a more decisive test, both to his own conscience, and in the eyes of others than the circumstance of his voluntary and perseveringly devoting a fair proportion of his wealth to the service of God, and the benefit of mankind. A worldly minded man may continue for a considerable time to attend Divine ordinances, and make a fair profession of religion, while no regular demands are made upon his purse; but, were he called upon to contribute regularly, at least the tenth part of his income, it is more than probable he would display the latent avarice of his heart by mustering up a host of carnal arguments against , such a demand, and would soon take his station, where he ought to be, among the men of the world. But, if a man of wealth devote one-third, one-fourth, or even one-tenth of his riches to the cause of God and religion, and act a consistent part in other respects, a Christian church possesses, perhaps, the most tangible evidence they can demand of such a man's religious principle. -

"There is a certain false delicacy which some religious communities seem to feel in meddling with the pecuniary affairs or allotments of individuals, and especially of those who are wealthy, or who move in the higher spheres of society. They are afraid lest the pride of such persons should be hurt by such plain dealing— lest they should fly off at a tangent from their community, and lest the funds of their society should be injured by their withdrawment. But, although it is proper to use the greatest prudence and delicacy in such matters, yet, if such persons refuse to listen to calm reasoning and scriptural arguments and admonitions, they give evidence of a spirit which is inconsistent with Christian principle ; and it is no honor to any church to have such enrolled among the number of its members. A church of Christ is a society whose members are

animated by holy principles and affections; but most of our churches require to be sifted and purified—to be purified from the communion of those who are actuated by a worldly spirit, and who have little more of religion than the name; and, I know no better external test that could be applied for this purpose, than that which is stated above. A church composed of eighty “right-hearted ” Christian men, generous, ardent, harmonious, and persevering in their efforts to promote the extension of Messiah's kingdom, would do far more to advance the interests of true religion, than if they were mixed up with 500 men of a carnal spirit, who are chiefly guided in their religious professions by the opinions of the world. Such a select band would move onward in harmony and peace, without interruption from men of proud and carnal dispositions, “their light would shine before men,” and others would “take knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus,” and might be induced to follow their example and walk in their steps. - -

As Christian churches should be zealous in inculcating the duty of liberality, so they ought to take special cognizance of Acts, and general conduct, which display a spirit of avarice. - , - *

When a church member has been found guilty of uncleanness, of an act of drunkenness or of pilfering an article from his neighbor, a hue and cry is instantly raised; and he is separated from the society, or at least, brought under the discipline of the church. And the purity of Christian communion requires that censure should be inflicted on all such delinquencies, and the offender, if possible, brought to a sense of his guilt, and to the exercise of repentance. But, it is not a little strange and unaccountable, that while strict attention is paid to such insulated acts of moral delinquency, which in some instances, are only exceptions to the general character of the individuals, and not habits of vice; men should be permitted to remain in the church, without the least censure or admonition, who are guilty not only of acts which indicate the predominance of avarice, but go on in a systematic course of such conduct. Although there is scarcely any thing that so clearly designates the character of an individual, as habitual avarice, yet in many cases, it is scarcely considered as a scandal, because general society is disposed to wink at it—as if an avaricious Christian were not a contradiction in terms. .. For example, a member of a church becomes bankrupt and compounds with his creditors, some of whom are poor people, for seven shillings in the pound. He resumes business, lives as luxuriously as formerly; and, in the course of eight or nine years, purchases property and enlarges his domestic establishment; but never thinks of paying off even a fraction of his former debts, because he knows that the civil law cannot compel him. Yet, he may hold his states in Christian society, and even in churches that profess a peculiar strictness as to Christian communion. Take another example: A person who enjoyed a lucrative trade, and who was known to be possessed of a certain portion of property or wealth, went to a friend, when lying on her death-bed, in the absence of her husband; and, instead of conversing with her on the important , realities of religion and the eternal world—endeavored to inveigle her to subscribe an instrument, conveying to his family the whole of her property; which would have reduced her husband to something approaching to absolute poverty, although they were aff members of the same religious community. What shall we think of such a person going from one attorney to another,” to

* A friend of mine lately informed me, that when conversing with a young lawyer of an upright disposition, on a late occasion, he remarked to him, “that he had never been so deeply impressed with the evil dispositions which abound in society, as since he commenced business as a legal practitioner. He had been applied to by persons of all ranks, and of almost all religious persuasions—by persons who rank as respectable characters in society, for the purpose of ascertaining whether, by any legal quirk or manoeuvre they could manage to get wills altered or cancelled, and deeds and contracts broken or evaded, in order to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and in violation of natural justice.” So little moral and Christian principle is yet to be found even in religious society; that many who name the name of Christ,

endeavor to ascertain, whether he could by legal means, inflict an act of injustice on his Christian friend and brother, and rob him of his worldly substance, and so far as in his power, reduce him to a state of indigence 7 Or, what shall we think of one who has a flourishing business, in conjunction with a certain degree of wealth, who is extremely fastidious about cer. tain disputed points of religion, and who assumes an air of peculiar sanctity, yet will condescend, in the . course of trade, to sell over his counter gills of ardent spirits to emaciated and debauched females and others, merely for the sake of the paltry gains which such a demoralizing practice procures? The instances of avarice, as displayed among members of the Christian church, are so numerous, that volumes might be filled with the details. What should we think of a clergyman selling a quantity of victuals to a baker; and finding immediately afterwards, that prices were rising, importuned the purchaser to give up the bargain, under pretence of his requiring the whole of it for seed—which was no sooner done than he immediately sold it for an advance of several pounds! What should we think of the same individual receiving from a friend an article of dress, and immediately offering it for sale to gratify his disposition for hoarding? pilfering quantities of nails from the workmen employed on his premises—cheapening every article he intended to purchase, till he could acquire it, if possible, at halfits value, and manifesting duplicity and falsehood in many of his transactions ! Yet, although such conduct was somewhat notorious, and even talked over throughout all the country around, no public notice was ever taken of it by the judicatories of the church to which he belonged. - Many who make the most glaring profession of religion and are extremely fastidious in respect to evangel

think all is right, if the civil law cannot interpose to punish their deceitful and nefarious practices. A gentleman who is an elder in a Presbyterian church, lately averred to me, in strong language “that no man should be considered as acting improperly or unchpistianly, if he acted in accordance with the civil law.”

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