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ministers of religion, those, at least whe cordially enlarge their views to the extent of their duty, to the unequivocal import of the vows which are upon them, ceateinot to-labour from house to house; and privately to impress on each individual, as prudence and opportunity may allow, the injunction, the warning, or the encourage ment, of which he more especially stands in need. Thus, to all throughout the Chriftian world is the gospel of salvation sent. How is it received ? As it was among the Jews at Rome : Sorne believe the things which are spoken ; and some believe them not. If there be any diffetence between the two cases, it is thisi Among the Jewish nation, collectively considered, there was, on the one hand; more open unbelief; and, on the other, more fincerity in christian profeffion, than exifts at present. They who did not believe that Jesus Christ came from God, feeling no worldly motive to induce them to dift semble their unbelief, avowed it, and acted upon it. They who were convinced of the truth of the gospel, and embraced the Christian faith, having no worldly motive to lead them to profess a religion which was every where spoken against and perse
cuted, usually became Chriftians under the influence of decided piety. But in these days, when to be a declared unbeliever, is commonly regarded as disgraceful; there are to be found within the pale of the Chrif tian Church many persons who have no stedfast belief in the gospel. And as in these more mild and enlightened countries, no danger hangs over the head of any man in confequence of his being outwardly a disciple of Chrift; there is seen among profeffed Christians á far greater proportion of the careless and the lukewarm than was to be discerned by the Apostles among their converts. Now let it be always and ftedfastly remembered, that the Scriptures universally represent as unbelievers not only thofę whofe blindness and impiety treat the Christian revelation as a falsehood, as a cunningly devised fable, as an invention of men; but those also who hold the truth in unrighteoufnefs; those who believe abftractedly, but not practically; those who believe, and do not obey ; those who bem lieve with the understanding, but believe not with the heart unto justification *. A dead faith is no faith. It has no claim through Christ to the rewards of faith. It
* Rom. 1. 18.-X. 1o, i
Imay become veven more finful and dan gerous than open unbelief... Te fin against knowledge may be, under possible circumstances, more flagitious than to offend through wilful ignorance. Not to believe in Chrif may sometimes be owing chiefly to guilty unconcern. To believe that he came from God, and despise his commandments, must be in the language of the Pfalmift, the great offence, must be presumptuous fin. Why are the Gentiles pronounced to have been Atheists, without God in the world* Because though they knew God, they glorified himo not as God. He is the worst of Atheists, who acknowledges that there is a God, and will not obey him. He who outwardly confesses Christ, and practically denies Him, may be the worst of unbelievers. 100) tti Isosbourg -UConsider the characteristic o features of
the two.cłasses, into which the multitudes to whom the gospel is now preached are divided., si Some believe the things which are Spoken, and some believe them not..IU 916 - I. Advert primarily to those who believe.
When you cast your eyes upon the mass of professed Christians, you observe among -02:00 .591 luct01 ID : 1 : . .: * Eph, ii, 12, AREOL EV TW Xpouw. I ?
them a set of men manifefly separated and distinguished from the crowd.o:You fee them separated from the pollutions by which they are surrounded ; and distin guished by views and principles different from those which govern the world that lieth in wickedness. These are they which belicve. - Approach them more nearly, and examine them closely. Inspect their conduct; contemplate their objects inyettt gate their motives. What is the refult of your observation and inquiry? Youperceive these persons more cassiduous than others in frequenting public worship; not like others, glad to catch at 'excuses, and to fabricate pretences for being absent, but contriving leisure, and submitting to worldby inconvenience, and even lofs, that their attendance on the House of God may not be interrupted. You perceive them foruopulously regular in presenting themselves ac the facramental table. You perceive them dedicating those parts of the fabbath, which are unoccupied by public devotion, not to idleness, not to trifles, not to the adjustment of domestic concerns, but, to pious nieditation, to religious reading,n to edifying discourse, to works of mercy; not cribbing off corners and portions for secular
employments ; not fluctuating with an internal struggle between conscience and Mammon; not weary and impatient like the Jews, who turned again and again their eyes to the dial, and exclaimed, “When « will the Sabbath be gone, that we may fet " forth wheat * ?. not purloining the afternoon for festivities of the table; nor, under the scanty semblance of devotion, pro-" stituting the evening to musical recreation; but faithfully conceding the whole pericd of sacred reft to such occupations as befit the day which God has hallowed unto himfelf; such occupations as comport with a special preparation for eternity ; such oC. cupations as are consistent with the trana: quillity, leisure, and edification of their households ; such occupations as are adapted to cause the day to be a blessing to their souls. In the midst of this their christian strictness, you behold no oftentation, no superstition, no fourness, no gloom. You see something in their manner
and deportment which shews that this fer'vice is not a matter of form, but that it
comes from the heart: that the man does not render it by constraint, but that he would be unhappy if he did not an. . Amos, viii. s...*... Bir