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not? If it does; then hc, who most exactly and strictly adheres to the truth of God, is undoubtedly the truly liberal man.

If it does not; then liberality is inconsistent with Christianity. the law, and to the testimony," says Isaiah : “ if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Does it consist with paring away the meaning of the Scriptures ? If it does, the Infidel, who cuts them all away at once, is undoubtedly an eminently liberal man; and is entirely justified, when he heaps upon those, who style themselves rational and liberal Christians, the very names of bigotry, superstition, and fanaticism, which they cast so freely upon others. Moses thought differently concerning this subject. “Thou shalt not add unto his words,"? said this divine writer, “nor diminish ought from them.” St. John was of a different opinion. “If any man add unto the words of this book ; God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in it. If any man take away from the words of this book ; God shall take

away his part out of the book of life.” St. Paul was of a different opinion. • Let God be true; but every man a liar:'' i. e. every man, who opposes the truth of his Maker.

Liberality is a term, which was forinerly used to denote a branch, or exercise, of real virtue. If it be now thus used; the most virtuous, the most strictly religious, man is undoubtedly the most liberal man. It was formerly used, with respect to the subject in hand, to denote a fair, candid construction of the Scriptures ; an equitable openness to argument and evidence; a disposition to receive the truth readily, and to adhere to it faithfully. Liberality, in this sense, is an honour to human nature.

At the present time, both these terms are extensively used in a very different sense. Rational Christianity, so far as I can understand most, who deal in this language, denotes, with respect to its doctrines, such a construction of the Scriptures, as shall make them accord, not with themselves, not with the plain and obvious meaning of their words, but with a pre-conceived, and pre-determined, religious system ; with a philosophical scheme of religion, formed by the human mind, to which the Word of the infinite God, however opposed, is forced to bend. As rational Christianity respects the disposition, it really denotes a decent, cold, heartless conformity to this system, without any visible regard, or pre

tension, to the Evangelical character. All affection, all zeal, for the cause and kingdom of God, all concern of the heart in the interests and duties of Religion, are, so far as I have had opportunity to observe, not only laid aside, but disclaimed, opposed, and contemned.

Liberality, in modern language, denotes a general indifference to truth and righteousness; a general opposition to all that is awful in the Scriptural declarations, to all that is spiritual and heavenly in the divine doctrines and promises, and to all that is strict, exact, and just, in the meaning of Scriptural language, when construed according to the same rules, by which men interpret every other book. Modern liberality is charitable towards all'errors, and all licentiousness, except that which is openly scandalous; and wonderfully uncharitable towards sound doctrines, and Evangelical virtue.

You my young friends, are yet in a great measure to learn, that very good names may be given to very bad persons and things; and very bad names to those which are very good. Of John the Baptist, it was extensively said, “ He hath a devil ;" of Christ, that he was “a gluttonous man, a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." If, then, they have called the master of the house Beelzebub; how much more must they be supposed to call them of his household? The disciple ought certainly to think it enough, if, in this respect, he finds himself in no worse condition than his Lord. To you it is indispensable for your comfort, peace, and salvation, that you be not allured to error, and sin, by the flattering titles given to both ; and that you be not terrified away from truth, and righteousness, by the hard names, profusely lavished on them. Burst the thin veil of words; and make your way directly to things. You will then find, and find with complete conviction, that he, who is styled a fanatic, an enthusiast, and a bigot, is often incomparably a wiser and a better man, than he, by whom he is thus styled ; that no man is, ordinarily, more irrational, than the rational Christian; and that there is no greater bigot, than the man of professed lîberality.

Be not, therefore, conformed to the world in the things, here mentioned ; nor in any others, like them: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Aim in every thing at Evangelical

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soundness in your doctrines, and at scrupulous, Evangelical ex-in
actness in your duty. Motives, countless in their number, and
infinite in their moment, you cannot want, to force your compli-
ance with these precepts. Among them, the superior ease, safe-
ty, and certainty, with which in this way you will perform your
duty, ought never to be forgotten. It is impossible to be a balf
way Christian. Try as much, and as long, as you please, to serve
God and Mammon; and you will find the trial fruitless. To the
one you will certainly hold, the other you will as certainly despise.
The bare supposition, that it may be safe, and proper, to change
the tenor of the divine declarations, to lessen the demands of the
divine precepts, or to lower the terms of acceptance with God,
ought to terrify him, 'by whom it is admitted. A man may, I ac-
knowledge, do this, and still be a Christian. But let all men re-
member, that whosoever shall break one of the least of these com-
mandments, and shall teach min so, he shall he called the least in
the kingdom of heaven. The straight course of truth and right-
eousness is a highway, in which way.faring men, though fools, need
not err. A winding path is always seen to vary from the point,
originally proposed. He, who wanders in it, will often be in
doubt, and often perplexed, concerning his course; generally
wearied, and frequently discouraged by its length; and not unfre-
quently hopeless of arriving at tiie place of his destination.

At the same time, he will be in extreme danger of turning aside into a by-way, which, though seeming direct at first, will wind continually farther and farther and farther about, and will finally conduct him away from eternal life.

Whatever others may say, or do; to you there is, there can be, but one thing needful. It is, to choose that good part, which shall never be taken from you. All things else are dross and dirt: and, however desired by mankind, are unworthy of being compared with this, even for a moment. God has smiled upon you from the dawn of your being. He has given you your birth in a Christian land. He has educated you in knowledge and understanding. He has called you to wisdom, and glory, and virtue. Let not these blessings be given to you in vain. Receive them with unceasing and unspeakable gratitude. Employ them to the inestimable purpose, for which they were given by your divine Be

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nefactor. Remember, that each of you has a soul to be saved, or to be lost; that the world, that the universe, weighed against it, is the small dust of the balance; that the Son of God died, to purchase for you salvation; that the Spirit of God waits with infinite kindness, to renew you unto eternal life ; that heaven has

opened its doors to receive you into its delightful mansions ; that all things are ready ; that the Spirit and the bride say to each of you, “ Come, and take the water of life freely.;'S and that it will be a transporting, a rapturous, sight, to behold all of you, without one missing, assembled in the kingdom of the blessed. But to this end, you must resolve not to be conformed to this world. If any man love the world ; remember, that the love of the Father is not in him. Boldly, therefore, meet its frowns; and steadily despise its smiles. Disregard alike its hard and its soft names, its flatteries and its censures. Resolutely and invariably, reject its loose doctrines; and abhor its licentious practices. It may be more pleasant, but it will not in the end be more profitable, to go decently to perdition, than to go scandalously. It is your business to do neither. Heaven is your proper home. Point your course to that glorious and happy world; and let every step, which you take here, advance you towards immortal life. Let angels behold your progress, and rejoice over your repentance ; and the spirits of the just prepare to welcome you to their divine assembly.

SERMON XXIV.

ON THE PARENTAL CHARACTER OF GOD.

PREACHED TO THE CANDIDATES FOR THE BACCALAUREATE

IN 1809,

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Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear Children.

There is probably no scene in the present world, which presents a more interesting prospect to the eye, or which is usually described in terms of more ardour and animation, than a well regulated family.

The natural Relations come more easily, uniformly, and directly, to the heart, than any other: and among these the domestic relations excite peculiar interest. There is nothing in this world, which is so venerable, as the character of parents ; nothing so intimate and endearing, as the relation of husband and wife; nothing so tender as that of children; nothing so lovely as those of brothers and sisters. The little circle is made one by a single interest, and by a singular union of affections.

Children are born with a thousand circumstances of endearment. The anxiety and distress, with which the dawn of their being is attended, make them objects of peculiar tenderness from their birth. They are then absolutely helpless; and live only on the care of others. Every moment, both when awake and when asleep, they demand of their parents, with irresistible claims, the protecting hand, the watchful eye, and the ever attentive heart. If neglected, they suffer: if forgotten, they perish. How rarely are they forgotten : how rarely even in poverty, sickness, or prosligacy; which, especially the last, so effectually harden the heart

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