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the tonduct of religious men; is it not evident that you have not a warm and cordial love for religion? Your heart is not right with God. Delude not yourselves by whispering to your consciences that, although you must admit the truth and the relevancy of the preceding observations, you occasionally make respectful mention of religion, and pay a decent regard to her ordinances and to many of her injunctions. The Scribes and Pharisees talked, according to their own views of the subject, largely of religion; and in some points were punctilious observers of the law. But you know that their religion was not the religion of the Scriptures. You know that in body and soul they were devoted to wickedness.
See that your religion be the religion of - Christ Jesus. See that you love that reli
gion. If you do not feel pain when it is contemptuously treated, if you are not grieved when its followers are calumniated:
in the bottom of your heart you love it · not.
Secondly: If, through the influence of divine grace, you have been brought to the love of religion, wonder' not, nor be discouraged, when you hear the truths of the gospel slandered, or yourself made the theme of evil speaking for their fake. Thus it always has been; and thus, until Christianity shall have established a more general dominion over the hearts of those who avow themselves her subjects; it always will be. Evil men, conscious that their neighbour is a far more religious character than themselves, will feel his superiority as a reproach, and will assuredly be on the watch to contrive opportunities of degrading him in public esteem, of fixing some name of obloquy upon him, and of disparaging those views of religion which have conducted him to excellence in holi. ness. If you are a zealous servant of God, prepare to behold many of your purelt intentions misconstrued; prepare to hear yourself reproved and vilified for actions, which, according to a more equitable interpretation, would have been deemed worthy of praise. Prepare yourself to hear principles ascribed to you the reverse of those which you hold, the reverse of those which you publicly maintain. Prepare to hear epithets and appellations borrowed from obnoxious sects ; fects, it may be, from whose errors you may have been the instrument in the hand of God of rescuing or guarding weaker brethren ; prepare to
hear them borrowed for the purpose of fixing the odium of those errors upon yourself. What is the leffon which this expectation should teach you? It should teach you how great is the folly of solicitude for the applause of men. When you deserve it not, it may be copiously poured out upon you: when you have the faireft claim to it, you may be repelled with censure and contempt. Wo unto you, said our Lord to his disciples, when all men Speak well of you : for so did their fathers unto the false prophets *. If you are praised by the world, is it not because you are conformed to the evil principles and practices of the world? Is it not because you live to the world, not unto Christ? The world will love its own. Men will praise thee, faith David, when thou dost well to thyself t. If you are successful in your worldly plans; if you give the reins to vanity and pleasure; if you devote your riches to splendid and luxurious enjoyment; then it is that the world will flatter you and proclaim you happy. Live to the world, and the world will applaud you. Live to Christ, and an evil world cannot but revile and
* Luke, vi. 26.
+ Pfalm xlix. 18.
condemn you. How righteous, how rational, is the judgement of Holy Writ! How equitable is the condemnation which the Scriptures pronounce against those who love the praise of men more than the praise of God! Christ is not like the world, an undiscerning, a capricious, an unjust, a forgetful master. Be ye His servants : seek His favour. Give no real occasion to others to speak evil of you. Abstain even from the appearance of evil. There let anxiety cease. Be not uneasy as to the opinions of men. Be not depressed by the loss of human approbation. Be not elated nor ensnared by poffeffing it. Let it be your main solicitude to be found among those whose praise is not of men, but of God. The Lord will come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart ; and then mall every man, every true Chriftain, have praise of God*. That praise is praise indeed. That praise . endureth for ever.
Thirdly ; Justify wisdom, justify true religion, by manifesting yourselves to be her children. Draw not from the preced
Rom. ii. 29. 1 Cor. iv. 5. *
ing observations à conclusion which they do not warrant. If you are censured by the world on account of your opinions, or your conduct respecting religion, imagine not that the censure is a proof that you are religious. The cenfure of the world, though often misplaced, is not always misplaced. If you are charged with having judged erroneoully, it may be that you have judged erroneously. If you are accused of having acted amiss; you may have acted amiss. If enthusiasm or fanaticism be imputed to you; perhaps you more or less deserve the imputation. Let the censure and the praise of others equally send you to your Bible. Search the word of truth. Compare your religious opinions, your religious pra&tice, with the doctrines, and commandments of your Lord. Consult him, in his revealed word, with an humble, contrite, and teachable heart, as a child listens to its instructor. It was in vain that John the Baptist preached to the scornful and hardened Pharisees; that generation of vipers, who, though desirous to escape the wrath to .come, would not abandon their fins, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. It was in vain that Jesus Christ addressed himSelf to that felf-righteous race, who trusted