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sarily contrasting from daily use a little dust and defilement, require occasional purificationAll religious warmth, all active zeal for the glory of God, he decries as enthusiasm; and vindicates his coldness by declaiming against fanatics. Every degree of exertion for the salvation of men which surpasses the scantiness of his own standard, he eyes with suspicion, as the symptom of a heated brain: and eagerly seizes every pretence for censuring the strenuous and faithful Christian, in whose affectionate diligence he reads a reproach of his own inactivity and deadnefs. In lukewarmness every thing tends to deterioration. The heart grows inert, the con. science dull of feeling. Penitence becomes shallow, prayer languid, religious meditation uninteresting, faith feeble and indistinct and unproductive. Sin loses its heinousness. Every thing is stagnant, and verges towards corruption. The vivifying principle seems extinguished.

Against such a frame of mind do you wonder that a woe is denounced? Are you astonished that Jesus Christ speaks of the lukewarm with abhorrence: declares his wish that they were either cold or hot: and while they boastfully proclaim themselves rich and increased with goods and having need of nothings affirms them to be nakedy and miserable, 12 and

and poor ^ andblind, and naked; counsels them -to buy.'.of him gold tried in the fire that they may be rich, aud white raiment that they may be clothed; and forewarns them that, unless they repent and become zealous, they shall be utterly cast out for ever? He that hath an ear, let him hear. <what the Spirit faith to the lukewarm in the churches (d)! Against you, if you are lukewarm, has the Spirit denounced this woe by the mouth of St. John. Against you, if you are a patron of lukewarmness in others, if you vilify religion and discourage the true servants of the Lord Jesus by attaching to fervent and active piety, to found and enlightened faith, the denomination of enthusiasm; if you thus call evil good and good evil, thus put darkness for light and light for darkness; against you has the Spirit denounced an additional woe by the lips of Isaiah. Look up to the impending judgement. Be zealous, and repent I

III. Another illustration of the text is furnished by persons, who represent a partial conformity to the commandments of God as meriting the appellation of religion: and thus also by implication stigmatise the true .Christian as righteous over-much.

(</) Rev. iii. 15—15. 22.

It is not on the dedication of the heart to God that men of this description rest their confidence. In their religion the devotion of the heart, and the consequent surrender of the affections to holiness, have no share. It is on the practical observance of one or more of the moral virtues, and on a practical abstinence from some particular sins, that they ground their pretensions to the kingdom of heaven. "We do not profess to be eminent "saints: nor will we aver that we have been '". as religious as we ought to have been. But "neither are we gross offenders. We defy "the tongue of calumny to fix on us any "scandalous vice. Or if we have been be"trayed into gross transgression, it has been ** accidentally and by surprise. We are con"cerned for the instance: and we doubt not ** that God, who knows that man is frail, will *' make reasonable allowances. Nay, though "we may have fallen into an evil habit; we "trust that in the eyes of our equitable judge "it will have been compensated by the exer"cise of many virtues. We are unwilling ** to commend ourselves. But the fuperci"liousness of rigid moraliscrs requires us to "do justice to our characters. Our integrity "has been through life unimpeachable. We "have injures no man. We forgive every

"jnaa "man who has injured us; and are at peace "with all the world." Such is the language which the fullness of the self-sufficient causes to echo throughout the dwellings of health and prosperity. Such are the sentiments, expressed perhaps in a moderated tone, which the minister of the gospel too frequently hears when sitting by the side of the bed of death. Is this religion? Is this to live unto Christ? Is this to serve God, through a Redeemer, by sandification of the Spirit, with gratitude and love and holy fear? Is he religious, who deliberately perseveres in the habitual gratification of any unhallowed temper or desire? "Not so religious," you reply, " as he ought « to be." Not so religious as he ought to be! In the sight of his Judge he has no true religion. As surely as the Scriptures proclaim the decisions of eternal wisdom, he is with©ut the first elements of religion: he is without that which constitutes the basis of religion, the unqualified surrender of the heart to God. As surely as the Scriptures reveal,the decrees of Omnipotence; the portion reserved for him is everlasting woe {e). - Is he religious who rests on the observance of the rules of integrity, or^of temperance, or of liberality, M 1 Cor. vL 9, 10. Gal. v. 19—zi. James, ii. 10, i».

or of some other favourite preceptress selected from the band of moral virtues: an observance too which proves itself by standing thus insulated to have originated from worldly motives, not from that genuine solicitude to please God, which draws around it the whole assemblage of Christian graces? Is he religious, who, proudly sustaining himself on the staff of some imaginary merit, bows himself not down at the foot of the cross displayed before him} feels not his knees tremble under him j feels not the radical corruption of his heart; the enormity of eyery offence against his Heavenly Benefactor and King; " the inestimable love of God in the ** redemption of the world by our Lord Jefes. V Christ;'? the riches pf the mercy which exchanges his helpless depravity, his prospects of eternal death, "for the means pf grace, "and the hope of glory?" Woe be unto them ivho thus call evil good: who put a withered branch for a living tree: who trust to that which they have done, and look not to that which they have left undone : who regard that which they have done as though it were perfect, and wrought by strength of their pwn; and wilfully perceive not that every good work is the fruit of the Spirit of God,


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