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himself, and is able to perform it,-and if over my organs of sense, as to command a he can read much of his Bible, and utter liking, or a taste for the performance. The many prayers in private, that he can do it, illustration is homely; but it is enough for
--and if he can assemble his family on the our purpose, if it be effective. I may acmorning and the evening of every day, and complish the doing of what God bids, but go through the worship of God along with have no pleasure in God himself. The forthem, that all this he can do,—that all this cible constraining of the hand, may make lies within the compass of human agency. out many a visible act of obedience, but the
Let any one man do, then, what all men relish of the heart may refuse to go along think it possible for him to do, and he will with it. The outer man may be all in a wear upon his person the visible exhibition bustle about the commandments of God, of much to recommend him to the favoura- while to the inner man God is an offence ble judgment of his fellows. He will be and a weariness. His neighbours may look guilty of no one transgression against the at him, and all that their eye can reach may peace and order of society. He will be cor- be as clean as snow-water can make it. But rect, and regular, and completely inoffen-| the eye of God reaches a great deal farther, sive. He will contribute many a deed of He is the discerner of the thoughts and inpositive beneficence to the welfare of those tents of the heart, and he may see the foularound him; and may even, on the strength ness of spiritual idolatry in every one of its of his many decencies, and many observa- receptacles. The poor man has no more tions, hold out an aspect of religiousness to conquered his rebellious affections, than he the general eye of the world. There will has conquered his distaste for wormwood. be a wide and most palpable distinction of He may fear God; he may listen to God; character between him, and those who, at and, in outward deed, may obey God. But large from the principle of self-control, re- he does not, and he will not, love God; and sign themselves to the impulse of every while he drags a heavy load of tasks, and present temptation; and are either intem-duties, and observances after him, he lives perate, or dishonest, or negligent of ordi- in the hourly violation of the first and nances, just as habit, or the urgency of their greatest of the commandments. feelings and their circumstances, máy hap-1 Would any parent among you count it pen to have obtained the ascendancy over enough that you obtained a service like this them. Those do not what they might, and from one of your children? Would you what, in common estimation, they can do ; be satisfied with the obedience of his hand, and it is just because the man has put forth while you knew that the affections of his all his strenuousness to the task of accom-heart were totally away from you? Let plishing all that he is able for, that he looks every one requirement, issued from the so much more seemly than those who are chair of parental authority, be most rigidly beside him, and holds out a far more en- and punctually done by him, would not the gaging display of what is moral and praise- sullenness of his alienated countenance turn worthy to all his acquaintances.
the whole of it into bitterness? It is the II. I will not be able to convince you heart of his son which the parent longs afhow superficial the reformation of all these ter; and the lurking distaste and disaffection doings is, without passing on to the 31st which rankle there, can never, never be verse, and proving, that in the pure eye of made up by such an obedience, as the God the man who has made the most co- yoked and the tortured negro is compelled pious application in his power of snow- to yield to the whip of the overseer. The water to the visible conduct, may still be an service may be done; but all that can iniobject of abhorrence; and that if God enter nister satisfaction in the principle of the into judgment with him, he will make him service, may be withheld from it; and appear as one plunged in the ditch, his though the very last item of the bidden perrighteousness as filthy rags, and himself as formance is rendered, this will neither mend an unclean thing. There are a thousand the deformity of the unnatural child, nor things which, in popular and understood soothe the feelings of the afflicted and the language, man can do. It is quite the general mortified father. sentiment, that he can abstain from stealing, God is the Father of spirits; and the and lying, and calummy,--that he can give willing subjection of the spirit is that which of his substance to the poor, and attend he requires of us. “My son, give me thy church, and pray, and read his Bible, and heart, and is the heart be withheld, God keep up the worship of God in his family. says of all our visible performances, “To But, as an instance of distinction between what purpose is the multitude of your sacriwhat he can do, and what he cannot do, let fices unto me?” The heart is his requireus make the undoubted assertion, that he ment; and full, indeed, is the title which he can eat wormwood, and just put the ques-prefers to it. He put life into us; and it is tion, if he can also relish wormwood. That he who hath drawn a circle of enjoyments, is a different affair. I may command the and friendships, and interests around us. performance; but have no such command | Every thing that we take delight in, is min
istered to us out of his hand. He plies us quiesce in what he reckons to be the exevery moment with his kindness; and when aggerations of orthodoxy upon this subject; at length the gift stole the heart of man nor can he at all conceive how it is possible away from the Giver, so that he became a that, with so much of the semblance of godlover of his own pleasure, rather than a liness about him, there should, at the same lover of God, even then would he not leave time, be within him the very opposite of us to perish in the guilt of our rebellion. godliness. It is, indeed, a difficult task to Man made himself an alien, but God was carry upon this point the conviction of him not willing to abandon him; and, rather who positively loves the Sabbath, and to than lose him for ever, did he devise a way whom the chime of its morning bells brings of access by which to woo, and to welcome the delightful associations of peace and of him back again. The way of our recovery sacredness, who has his hours of prayer, is indeed a way that his heart was set upon; at which he gathers his family around him, and to prove it, he sent his own eternal Son and his hours of attendance on that house into the world, who unrobed him of all his where the man of God deals out his weekly glories and made himself of no reputation. lessons to the assembled congregation. It He had to travel in the greatness of his may be in vain to tell him, that God in fact strength, that he might unbar the gates of is a weariness to his heart, when it is atacceptance to a guilty world ; and now that, tested to him by his own consciousness; in full harmony with the truth and the jus- that when the preacher is before him, and tice of God, sinners may draw nigh through the people are around him, and the prothe blood of the atonement, what is the fessed object of their coming together is to wonderful length to which the condescen- join in the exercise of devotion, and to grow sion of God carries him? Why, he actually in the knowledge of God, he finds in fact beseeches us to be reconciled ; and, with a that all is pleasantness, that his eye is not tone more tender than the affection of an merely filled with the public exhibition, and earthly father ever prompted, does he call his ear regaled by the impressiveness of a upon us to turn, and to turn, for why should human voice, but that the interest of his we die? if, after all this, the antipathy of na- heart is completely kept up by the succesture to God still cleave to us; if, under the sion and variety of the exercises. It may power of this antipathy, the service we be in vain to tell him, that this religion of yield be the cold and unwilling service of taste or this religion of habit, or this reconstraint; if, with many of the visible out-ligion of inheritance, may utterly consist works of obedience, there be also the strug- with the deep and the determined worldliglings of a reluctant heart to take awayness of all his affections,--that he whom from this obedience all its cheerfulness, is he thinks to be the God of his Sabbath is not not God defrauded of his offering? Does the God of his week; but that, throughout there not rest on the moral aspect of our all the successive days of it, he is going character, in reference to him, all the odious- astray after the idols of vanity, and living ness of unnatural children? Let our outer without God in the world. This is demondoings be what they may, does there not stration enough of all his forms, and all his adhere to us the turpitude of having deeply observations, being a mere surface display, revolted against that Being whose kindness without a living principle of piety. But has never abandoned us? And, though pure perhaps it may serve more effectually to in the eye of our fellows, and our hands be convince him of it, should we ask him, how clean as with snow-water, is there nothing his godliness thrives in the closet, and what in our hearts against which a spiritual law are the workings of his heart, in the abmay denounce its severities, and, the giver stract and solitary hour of intercourse with of that law may lift a voice of righteous ex- the unseen Father. In church, there may postulation ? " Hear ye now what the Lord be much to interest him, and to keep him saith: Arise, contend thou before the moun- alive. But when alone, and deserted by all tains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear the accompaniments of a solemn assembly, ye, O mountains, the Lord's controversy, we should like to know with what vivacity and ye strong foundations of the earth: he enters on the one business of meditating for the Lord hath a controversy with his on God, and holding converse with God. people, and he will plead with Israel. 0 Is the sense of the all-seeing and ever-premy people, what have I done unto thee, sent Deity enough for him; and does love and wherein have I wearied thee? testify to God brighten and sustain the moments against me."
of solitary prayer ? The mind may have It is not easy to lay open the utter naked-enough to interest it in church; but does ness of the natural heart in reference to the secret exercise of fellowship with the God; or to convince the possessor of it, Father bring no distaste, and no weariness that, under the guise of his many plausi- along with it? Is it any thing more than bilities, there may lurk that which gives to the homage of a formal presentation? And sin all its hideousness.
when the business of devotion is thus unThe mere man of ordinances cannot ac-l peopled of all its externals, and of all its accessaries; when thus reduced to a naked | pentance, and called upon the people 10 exercise of spirit, can you appeal to the frame their doings, he told them of one longings, and the affections of that spirit, as mightier than he, who was to baptize with the essential proof of your godliness? And the Holy Ghost and with fire. do you never, on occasions like this, dis- And, Secondly, That you may be concover that which is in your hearts, and de- vinced of the utter necessity of such a baptect their enmity to him who formed them?tism, let us affirm the inadequacy of all Do you afford no ground for the complaint the fairest virtues and accomplishments of which he uttered of old, when he said, nature. God has, for the well-being of " Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, and society, provided man with certain feela land of darkness?" and do you not per-ings and constitutional principles of action, ceive that with this direction of your feel- which lead him to a conduct beneficial to ings and your desires away from the living those around him; to which conduct he God, though you be outwardly clean, as by may be carried by the impulse of these the operation of snow water, he may plunge principles, with as little reference to the you in the ditch, and make your own clothes will of God, as a mother, among the into abhor you.
ferior animals, when constrained by the We shall conclude this part of our sub sweet and powerful infinences of natural ject with two observations.
affection, to guard the safety, and provide First. The efforts of nature may, in point for the nourishment of her young. Take of inadequacy, be compared to the applica- account of these principles as they exist in tion of snow water. Yet there is a practical the bosom of man, and you there find come mischief here, in which the zeal of contro- passion for the unfortunate; the shame of versy, bent on its one point, and its one detection in any thing mean, or disgrace principle, may unconsciously involve us. ful; the desire of standing well in the We are not, in pursuit of any argument opinion of his fellows; the kindlier chariwhatever, to lose sight of efforts. We are ties, which shed a mild and a quiet lustre in not to deny them the place, and the im- over the walks of domestic life; and those portance which the Bible plainly assigns to wider principles of patriotism and public them; nor are we to forbear insisting upon usefulness which, combined with an appetheir performance by men, previous to con- tite for distinction, will raise a few of the version, and in the very act of conversion, more illustrious of our race to some high and in every period of the progress, how- and splendid career of beneficence. Now, ever far advanced it may be, of the new these are the principles which, scattered in creature in Jesus Christ our Lord. We, various proportions among the individuals in speak just now of men, previous to con- of human kind, gave rise to the varied hues version, and we call to your remembrance of character among them. Some possess the exainple of John the Baptist. The in-them in no sensible degree; and they are judicious way in which the doings of men pointed at with abhorrence, as the most have been spoken of, has had practically monstrous and deformed of the species. this effect on many an inquirer. Since do- Others have an average share of them; ing is of so little consequence, let us even and they take their station amongst the abstain from it. Now the forerunner of common-place characters of society. And Christ spake a very different language. He others go beyond the average; and are unceasingly called upon the people to do; singled out from amongst their fellows, as and this was the very preaching which the the kind, the amiable, the sweet-tempered, divine wisdom appointed as a preparation the upright, whose hearts swell with honfor the Saviour. “He that hath two coats, ourable feeling, or whose pulse beats high let him impart to him that hath none; and in the pride of integrity. he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”- Now, conceive for a moment, that the “Exact no more than that which is ap- belief of a God were to be altogether expointed.”_"Do violence to no man; neither punged from the world. We have no doubt accuse any falsely, and be content with that society would suffer most painfully in your wages." Was not John, then, it may its temporal interests by such an event. be said, a mere superficial reformer? Had But the machine of society might still be he stopped short at this, he would have kept up; and on the face of it you might been no better. His teaching could have still meet with the same gradations of chadone no more than is done by the mere racter, and the same varied distribution of application of snow water. But he did not praise, among the individuals who compose de stop here. He told the people that there it. Suppose it possible, that the world could was a preacher and a preaching to come be broken off from the system of God's adafter him, in comparison of which he andministration altogethen; and that he were to his sermons were nothing. He pointed the consign it, with all its present accommodaeye and the expectation of his hearers full tions, and all its natural principles, to some upon one that was greater than himself; far and solitary place, beyond the limits of and, while he baptized with water unto re-l his economy-we should still find ourselves
in the midst of a moral variety of character; upon your compassion ? and, instead of a and man, sitting in judgment over it, would desultory instinct, excited to feeling by a say of some, that they are good, and of moving picture of sensibility, and limited in others, that they are evil. Even in this effect to a humble fraction of your expendidesolate region of atheism, the eye of the ture, he call upon you to love your neighsentimentalist might expatiate among beau- bour as yourself, and to maintain this prin
ous and interesting spectacles,-amiable ciple at the expense of self-denial, and in mothers shedding their graceful tears over the midst of manifold provocations? You the tomb of departed infancy; high-toned love your children -still indispensably integrity maintaining itself unsullied amid right. But what if he should say, and he the allurements of corruption; benevolence has actually said it, that you may know plying its labours of usefulness; and patri-how to give good gifts unto your children, otism earning its proud reward, in the testi- and still be cvil ? and that if you love father, mony of an approving people. Here, then, or mother, or wife, or children, more than you have compassion, and natural affec-him, you are not worthy of him? The lustion, and justice, and public spirit-buttre of your accomplishments dazzles the would it not be a glaring perversion of lan-eye of your neighbourhood, and you bask guage to say, that there was godliness in with a delighted heart in the sunshine of a world, where there was no feeling and glory. But what if he should say, that his no conviction about God..
glory, and not your own, should be the In the midst of this busy scene, let God constant aim of your doings ? and that if reveal himself, not to eradicate these princi- you love the praise of men more than the ples of action—but giving his sanction to praise of God, you stand, in the pure and whatsoever things are just, and lovely, and spiritual records of heaven, convicted of honourable, and of good report, to make idolatry ?. You love the things of the world; himself known, at the same time as the and the men of the world, coming together Creator and Upholder of all things, and as in judgment upon you, take no offence at the Being with whom all his rational off-it. But God takes offence at it. He says, spring had to do. Is this solemn an- and is he not right in saying ?-that if the nouncement from the voice of the Eternal gift withdraw the affections from the Giver, to make no difference upon them? Are there is something wrong; that the love of those principles which might flourish and these things is opposite to the love of the be sustained on a soil of atheism, to be Father; and that, unless you withdraw your counted enough even after the wonderful affections from a world that perisheth, you truth of a living and a reigning God has will perish along with it. Surely if these, burst upon the world? You are just ;-right, and such like principles, may consist with indispensably right. You say you have as- 'the atheism of a world where God is unserted no more than your own. But this thought of and unknown,-you stand conproperty is not your own. He gave it to victed of a still deeper and more determined you, and he may call upon you to give to atheism, who under the revelation of a God him an account of your stewardship. You challenging the honour that is due unto his are compassionate;-right also. But what name, are satisfied with your holding in if he set up the measure of the sanctuary l society, and live without him in the world.
SERMON V. The Judgment of Men, compared with the Judgment of God. "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment—he that judget
me is the Lord."-1 Corinthians iv. 3, 4.
III. WHEN two parties meet together on ferent case of man's entering into judgment the business of adjusting their respective with his God. Job seems to have been claims, or when, in the language of our aware of this difference, and at times to text, they come together in judgment, the have been humbled by it. In reference to principles on which they proceed must de- man, he stood on triumphant ground, and pend on the relation in which they stand often spoke of it in a style of boastful vindito each other: and we know not a more cation. No one could impeach his justice. fatal or a more deep laid delusion, than that No one could question his generosity. And by which the principles, applicable to the he made his confident appeal to the rememcase of a man entering into judgment with brance of those around him, when he says his fellow-men, are transferred to the far dif- of himself, that he delivered the poor that 148
(SERY cried, and the fatherless, and him that had | if there be any emphasis in the consideranone to help him; that the blessing of him tion, that he is God, and not man; or any that was ready to perish came upon him, delusion in conceiving of him, that he is and he caused the widow's heart to sing altogether like unto ourselves,-may not for joy; that he put on righteousness, and it all that ready circulation of praise, and of clothed him, and his judgment was as a acknowledgement, which obtains in society, robe and a diadem ; that he was eyes to the carry a most ruinous, and a most bewitching blind, and feet was he to the lame; that he influence along with it? Is it not possible was a father to the poor, and the cause that that on the applause of man there may be he knew not, he searched out. On these reared a most treacherous self-complacency? grounds did he challenge the judgment Might not we build a confidence before of man, and actually obtained it. For we God, on this sandy foundation? Think are told, because he did all this, that when you not, that it is just this ill-supported corithe ear heard him, then it blessed him, and fidence which shuts out from many a heart when the eye saw him, it gave witness unto the humiliating doctrine of the gospel ? Is him.
DEPRAVITY OF HUMAN NATURE.
there no such imagination as that because There is not a more frequent exercise of we are so well able to stand our ground mind in society, than that by which the before the judgment of the world, we shall members of it form and declare their judg- be equally well able to stand our ground bement of each other-and the work of thus fore the judgment-seat of the great day? Are deciding is a work which they all share in, there not many who, upon this very prinand on which, perhaps, there is not a day ciple, count themselves rich and to have of their lives wherein they are not called need of nothing? And have you never upon to expend some measure of attention met with men of character, and estimation in and understanding and we know not if society, who, surrounded by the gratulations there be a single topic that more readily of their neighbourhood, find the debasing engages the conversation of human beings- views of humanity, which are set before us and often do we utter our own testimony, in the New Testament, to be beyond their and hear the testimony of others to the comprehension; who are utterly in the dark, virtues and vices of the absent-and out of as to the truth and the justness of such reall this has arisen a standard of estimation presentations, and with whom the voice of and it is such a standard as many may God is therefore deafened by the voice and actually reach, and some have actually ex- the testimony of men ? They see not themceeded—and thus it is, that it appears to re- selves in that character of vileness and of quire a very extended scale of reputation guilt which he ascribes to them. They are to take in all the varieties of human charac- blind to the principle of the text, that he is ter-and while the lower extremity of it not a man; and that they may not be able is occupied by the dishonest, and the per- to answer him, though they may be able fidious, and the glaringly selfish, who are to meet the every reproach, and to hold out outcasts from general respect; on the higher the lofty vindication against every charge, extremity of it, do we behold men, to whom which any one of their fellows may prefer. are awarded, by the universal voice, all the And thus it is, that many live in the habitual honours of a proud and unsullied excel-neglect of a salvation which they cannot lence and their walk in the world is digni- see that they require; and spend their days fied by the reverence of many salutations in an insidious security, from which nothing --and as we hear of their truth and their but the voice of the last messenger, or the uprightness, and their princely liberalities, call of the last trumpet, shall awaken them. and of a heart alive to every impulse of To do away this delusion, we shall adsympathy, and of a manner sweetened by vert to two leading points of distinction all the delicacies of genuine kindness; between the judgment of men and that of who does not see that, in this assemblage God. There is a distinction founded upon of moral graces and accomplishments, there the claims which God has a right to preis enough to satisfy man, and to carry the fer against us, when compared with the
admiration of man? and can we wonder if, claims which our fellow-men have a right · while we gaze on so fine a specimen of our to prefer against us ;-and there is a dis
nature, we should not merely pronounce tinction founded upon that clearer and more upon him an honourable sentence at the elevated sense which God has of that holltribunal of human judgment, but we shouldness without which no man shall see his conceive of him that he looks as bright and face, of that moral worth without which we faultless in the eye of God, and that he is are utterly unfit for the society of heaven. in every way meet for his presence and his The people around me have no right 10 friendship in eternity.
complain, if I give to every man his own; Now, if there be any truth in the dis- or, in other words, if I am true to all my tinction of our text; if a man may have the promises, and faithful to all my bargains; judgment of his fellows, and yet be utterly and if what I claim as justice to myself, unfit for contending in judgment with God; I most scrupulously render to others, when