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ter of him who adopts it. There is nothing tends | courts confidence in order to betray it. None to keep men sinning so much as the neglect of a are so loud in commendation of sincerity as he. full and special confession, in the presence of God It is essential to his character to have a truthful of all the sins of which they are conscious. air. He is the vilest and basest of all liars. His outward appearance is uniformly fair, while in his heart every malignant and hateful passion lives and operates. He is the painted sepulchre, full of all uncleanness within. His whole life is a lie. He is not merely guilty of falsehood when he states what is untrue, but his whole conduct and conversation, being assumed and not real, is false. Every outwardly good deed he does is a falsehood, every profession he makes is hollow and insincere. When he appears most in earnest he

It is more difficult confessedly for a master to deal in this way with a servant. But were opportunities watched for with that care which the importance of the case demands, it might be possible to elicit confession, and to encourage it. Masters for their own sakes should, at all events, make the experiment patiently and perseveringly, for it is a source of constant vexation and uneasiness when no confidence can be reposed in a servant's truth. On the other hand, there is nothing from which greater comfort may be derived, nothing in itself more morally beautiful, than unsuspecting confidence, the basis of which is truth. All that unites men together in society, that associates them as friends, that binds them in families, the obligations which arise from such compacts, and the virtues which the discharge of these obligations originates, and gives occasion for,—all that is lovely and of good report in life, is based upon truth, and hence truth combines in itself the excellence and loveliness of all virtues. They that deal truly are God's delight, he delights in such, because he recognises in them his own image. They are conformed to his Spirit, and it is by them alone that the honour of his name can be upheld. When truth falls, religion falls with it.



Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron,' 1 Tim. iv. 2. EVERY liar is, in a certain sense, a hypocrite. It is presumed, unless there be manifest reasons to the contrary, that a man is what he appears to be, and that he speaks as he thinks. He that is guilty of falsehood, therefore, wears an aspect different from his real character. But the special crime indicated in the text is of a more base character than that perpetrated by the common liar. He who speaks lies in hypocrisy, assumes a character precisely the reverse of what he really bears. The common liar, though he state what is precisely contrary to the truth, does not think it necessary to profess that his object in making the statement is the most praiseworthy with which a man can be actuated. This is the very aggravation of the hypocrite's guilt. In his intercourse with his companions he wears the mask of friendship. He veils the most malignant purpose with a cover of affectionate interest. He

is least so. The kindness he shows is to serve some wicked or selfish purpose. He converts truth itself into a lie, for he converts it from its legitimate uses, and employs it only for the advancement of his own ends.

Such is the character of the accomplished hypocrite as exhibited in his relations to men. His crime appears yet more vile when we reflect that he acts the same part in his relation to God, as if he could deceive him who searcheth the heart. The pattern of the character is presented to us in the history of the ancient Pharisees. There were none among all the Jews who made such a profession of zeal for religion as they did. They were most scrupulous in their observance of the outward rites of religion. They imposed upon themselves many observances which God had not commanded, in order that they might more effectively display their sanctity. They did much that was in itself good-they fasted, they prayed, they gave alms; but such acts were converted by them into crimes, from the purpose for which they were done. The heart had no share in all their religious observances. If they fasted, it was not because they wished to chastise the body and keep it under subjection, or because they were contrite in heart, but that they might establish a reputation for themselves. If they prayed, it was not because they were thankful, or because they felt in need of those things which God had promised to bestow, but in order to exhibit their own righteousness. If they gave alms, it was not because they had compassion on the poor, but in order to gain the reward of men's praise. There was not among all the Jews, blinded and hardened as they were, a class of men who showed such bitter and persevering hostility to real and vital religion as the Pharisees did. Him who was the impersonation of all that was lovely and glorious in religion, they hated, and persecuted to the death.

The character of the ancient Pharisees has been

Let us
Let us

is: keep thy heart with all diligence.'
then keep watch over our own hearts.
ever study to ascertain whether there be motives
and affections within corresponding to our exter-

realized in all ages of the world's history; there is too much reason to believe that it is, in some of its most marked features, very common in the Christian church at the present day. All who bear the form of godliness are not under the in-nal demeanour-whether our outward professions, fluence of its power. All profession among us is and our inward sentiments harmonize. Withnot real. There are to be found, perhaps in every out such watchfulness, united with prayer to him congregation, some who statedly wait upon public who knows the heart, and who alone is able to ordinances, who never yet have worshipped God search out and make manifest its errors to our in sincerity and truth. There are many who own consciousness and observation, we are sure speak lies to God in hypocrisy, and what renders to fall into the error of the hypocrite. Our their character more detestable is, that it becomes deceitful hearts will betray us into the hateful essential to its maintenance, not to be satisfied crime, unless we maintain constant and earnest with the exhibition of that cold indifference to watchfulness over them. Let us also guard those divine things which too many nominal Chris- whom we have in charge, against its first begintians manifest. The hypocrite in religion is not nings. Let us teach our children to walk in the a common, he becomes an extraordinary professor. truth-let us train them to examine and watch He not only presents himself in the public assem- over their own sentiments-expose and punish bly, but he wears an aspect of extraordinary every false and hypocritical profession which solemnity and seriousness. He cannot relish the wears the mask of kindness to veil some cruel society of the really godly, but he adopts much design. Above all, let us deal with them faithof their language, and expresses their sentiments fully to guard them against speaking lies in hypoin his intercourse with men. Wherever he is crisy to God. When they have been engaged in seen, he has the same religious air. His object any religious duty, let us examine them, and is to deceive men into the belief of his piety, and teach them to examine themselves whether their the issue of his endeavours is to persuade himself hearts have entered into it, that we may detect, of the reality of his own imposture. This was and check at the very outset, a corruption so gross the case with the Pharisees of old. They began and odious and fatal in its character. by seeking to persuade the multitude that they were righteous, and they ended in hardening their own hearts into the belief of it. This is manifest from the parable of the Saviour, regard

ing the Pharisee and the Publican who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not as other men, and this language is put into his mouth to show his own conviction of his own righteousness. Such is the common event with those who speak lies in hypocrisy.

The hardening influence of such a practice is strongly set before us in the text, when is is said of them that they have their conscience seared as with a hot iron. They have so long and so steadfastly resisted the warnings of that inward monitor-they have in all that they said and did acted so contrary to its dictates, that at length it ceases from the discharge of its functions, and that most dreadful and hopeless of all punishments—a hardened heart and a seared conscience, is inflicted upon the hypocrite as the appropriate award of his guilt. When we consider how prevalent such guilt has become, and how awful the punishment which God has awarded to it—let us be stirred up to diligent and faithful self-examination. The testimony of God is that the heart is deceitful above all things, and his commandment


For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he

hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?' Job xxvii. 8.

THE hope of the hypocrite, so far as regards this world, is frequently successful. If the mask he wears be close enough to secure him against detection, he seldom fails in the attainment of his objects. He wishes to obtain a good repute among men, and he succeeds. He has upon his lips the language of love, and his neighbours become his dupes. If he manifest, what in other men would be called hatred and enmity, he seeks to disguise it under the form of some virtue. If he stir up strife by evil insinuations, he professes to do so because he loves the truth so well that he cannot reconcile his mind to any concealment. If he is envious, and seeks revenge upon his neighbour, he professes great regret that he is constrained by a sense of justice to do what seems so opposite to brotherly-kindness. Thus, while his heart is full of hatred, he speaketh the language of kindness and affection, and men are often weak enough to believe him. He reaches the end he

"Great day of revelation ! in the grave

The hypocrite had left his mask, and stood
In naked ugliness. He was a man
Who stole the livery of the court of heaven,
To serve the devil in; in virtue's guise
Devoured the widow's house and orphan's bread;
In holy phrase, transacted villanies

aims at, which was to secure a place in men's contempt of those, to secure whose praise he esteem, that he might more successfully prosecute made shipwreck of all things. his selfish ends. The hypocrite is often the most successful of all men. When others fail, he is triumphant. His arts obtain the most immediate reward. It often happens, indeed, that before the end of his days the mask is stripped from his face, and he stands revealed in all his naked deformity. His hopes are then blasted even in this life; for however tolerant men may be of the crime in themselves, they are ready enough to see and condemn its odiousness in others.

The hypocrite's success is greatest and surest, however, when he superadds to his professions of brotherly-kindness for his neighbour, the profession of religious zeal. When he obtains a standing as a member of the church, and assumes, it may be, a prominent place in it-when he becomes signalized by all that fervour which can be exhibited in words, but which is never carried into action, his reputation is more secure-his detection less easy-his success more certain. He then wears a double mask, and his real character is more effectually concealed. He mocks God by his false profession, but he is regardless of the crime, so long as by means of it he can obtain what he desires on earth.

The supposition of the text is, that the acts of the hypocrite have been successful-that by false professions before God and men he has gained his end. But the question put is, even on such a supposition, What is his hope when God taketh away his soul? This form of expression is just a strong way of declaring that no hope can be more delusive and vain than that which the hypocrite cherishes. He may, under false pretences, add abundantly to his stores, and become rich in this world's goods; but what shall it profit him though he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? He may stand high in the world's esteem, and men's praises may be sounded in his ears, giving him the credit of virtues he never possessed, and of good deeds he never purposed in his heart to accomplish. He may pass away from this scene, having the savour of a good name tears may be shed over his grave-and a monument erected to his memory, but what will all the incense of men's adulation avail him in the

world to which he has gone. He must appear unveiled before the throne of God-stripped of all disguises an object of loathing and disgust. No anguish is greater than that which shame inflicts upon the detected hypocrite, and when he and those with whom he companied on earth stand together before the dread tribunal of God, this shame will be his, to bear the loathing and

That common sinners durst not meddle with.
At sacred feast he sat among the saints,

And with his guilty hands touched holiest things:
And none of sin lamented more, or sighed
More deeply, or with graver countenance,
Or longer prayer, wept o'er the dying man,
Whose infant children, at the moment, he
Planned how to rob. In sermon style he bought,
And sold, and lied; and salutations made
In scripture terms. He prayed by quantity,
And with his repetitions long and loud
All knees were weary. With one hand he put
A penny in the urn of poverty,

And with the other took a shilling out.
On charitable lists,-those trumps which told
The public ear who had in secret done

The poor a benefit, and half the alms

They told of, took themselves to keep them sounding,—
He blazed his name, more pleased to have it there
Than in the book of life. Seest thou the man!

A serpent with an angel's voice! a grave
With flowers bestrewed! And yet few were deceived.
His virtues being overdone, his face

Too grave, his prayers too long, his charities
Too pompously attended, and his speech
Larded too frequently, and out of time,
With serious phraseology,--were rents
That in his garment opened in spite of him,
Through which the well-accustomed eye could see
The rottenness of his heart. None deeper blushed
As in the all-piercing light he stood exposed,
No longer herding with the holy ones.
Yet still he tried to bring his countenance
To sanctimonious seeming; but, meanwhile,
The shame within, now visible to all,

His purpose baulked. The righteous smiled, and even
Despair itself some signs of laughter gave,

As ineffectually he strove to wipe

His brow that inward guiltiness defiled.
Detected wretch! of all the reprobate,
None seemed maturer for the flames of hell,
While still his face, from ancient custom, wears
A holy air, which says to all that pass
Him by, 'I was a hypocrite on earth.""


• For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness,' 1 Thess. ii. 5.

FLATTERY is one of the most insidious, as it is one of the most common forms of falsehood, and there is reason to apprehend that the sinfulness of it is not felt and perceived as it ought to be. When a man tells a falsehood which is disagreeble to the hearer, and with a directly malignant purpose, his conduct is at once reprobated; but it

is frequently different with the judgment which is pronounced upon the soft and soothing language of flattery. And yet this form of falsehood is not less wicked, not less dangerous and destructive than any other. If we represent the character of our neighbour in higher terms than his conduct deserves, if we tell him that he has done well when we know that he has done ill, we encourage and harden him in sin, and to the utmost of our endeavour help to bring ruin upon his soul. If by our flattering words we seek to persuade him that he is highly gifted in bodily or mental capacities, that his endowments are such as enable him to walk with safety when others would certainly fall, we thereby betray him into temptation, and he falls, just because he thinks he stands securely. Pride, or self-love, in some of its various forms, has been often and justly represented as lying at the root of all the sins of which we can be guilty. It is plain, therefore, that whatever tends to strengthen and foster this feeling must be in the highest degree dangerous. But there is not a more direct and successful method of creating and stimulating pride than by speaking the language of flattery. He who employs it, ought to know, that he is acting the part of a subtile and dangerous tempter, that he is labouring to lead the thoughtless and unsuspecting into

sin. He cannot escape from the guilt of this crime, by the excuse, which may often be justly pled, that he had no such design. He ought to know the character of the weapon he employs before he makes use of it, and his own judgment and reflection might have informed him, that as humility is the best guardian of virtue, so pride cometh before a fall. The love which he bears to his neighbour therefore should have constrained him to encourage humility, and to check pride; but by the use of flattering words he acts a part directly the reverse, and is on that very account a chief promoter and encourager of sin.

It is the curse especially of those who occupy a high station, or upon whom God has bestowed abundant wealth, to be surrounded by flatterers, whose object it is to destroy all sense of sin, to smooth and paint the face of iniquity, to quell the alarms of conscience, to speak not what they know to be true, but what they think will gratify. There is an inexpressible meanness, as well as hideous guilt, in the discharge of such a vile function. It is assumed for purposes so nakedly selfish, that it is wonderful it should escape detection, and thrive. But, in truth, in every instance in which the voice of flattery is heard, there may be detected the same vileness. The rewards which flattery promises and receives,

may not be so great as when the flatterer is a courtier, and the victim a king, but some purpose of worldly gain prompts the words wherever they are employed. The law of God requires that we use the words of truth and soberness, and the flattering lips he abhors. No excuse will be found sufficient to vindicate, or even to palliate the crime. It is alike destructive to him who receives, and to him who employs it. It converts the latter into a hypocrite, who uses the subtilest acts of the tempter; the latter it betrays to guilt and ruin, fosters thoughtlessness, films over the ulcerous places of the soul, and speaks peace where there is no peace.

Flattery is especially wicked when resorted to by the ministers of the gospel. It is opposed to the whole object and end of their office. It is opposed to the whole tenor and spirit of the gospel, to the example furnished by the Saviour, and by the apostles who walked in his footsteps. In the verse immediately preceding the text the apostle thus testifies to his own use of the ministry with which he was intrusted: 'But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts. The first object of the gospel is to destroy self-righteousness, to bring down every high thought, to teach men their own vileness. It does not address them as deserving creatures, by whose goodness God was induced to bestow the highest favour he could confer. It assumes their utter helplessness and depravity. Its call is not to the righteous, but to the sinner, There is not a doctrine it sets forth which the self-righteous can fully and heartily embrace. The lessons it teaches are the most humbling a man can learn. The wise of this world are told to renounce their wisdom, and become as little children, before they can receive it. It levels all earthly distinctions, knows no lordship or mastery, all are brethren in Christ; titles, rank, wealth, learning, win not its favour, for God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of his kingdom, and hath declared that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The minister who uses flattering words, then, perverts the very nature of his office; he preaches another gospel than that intrusted to him, and of such the apostle says, 'let him be accursed.' He was set to watch for souls, and he betrays them. He warps the counsel of God, and lessens the fear of him. Instead of showing the vileness of sin, he seeks to disguise its deformity. He would mitigate the evil not by destroying it, but by conferring upon it sweet and alluring names. One

office of the divine Spirit is to convince the world | placency, and we speak to him as if his own of sin; he countervails the Spirit's agency by estimate of his own character were quite just making the sinner pleased with himself. Within and true. God's own house he contends against him, he violates the most sacred and solemn trust, and brings an incalculable load of guilt upon his own head. Thus saith the Lord, 'O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them for me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine



For I know not to give flattering titles; in 80 doing my Maker would soon take me away,' Job xxxii. 22.

Ir is lamentable to reflect upon the great prevalence of the sin of flattery. In its more gross and hateful forms, it may be comparatively rare; but there are few, if any, who could acquit themselves of all participation in it. The lesson may have been learned in the halls of princes, but it has now pervaded all ranks, and almost become a part of polite social intercourse. Let a party meet for the sake of showing their esteem for a distinguished friend, and the exhibition they make will in all likelihood be an expression of fulsome and disgusting flattery. Nor is it only on such occasions that this sin manifests itself. As men meet in the marketplace they employ the language of flattery. The simple unvarnished truth has become too plain to suit the taste of the age. They must have it seasoned with flattery, and the vanity which courts it, and feeds upon it, will not wait long in want of it. In this the disposition to bestow is nearly proportioned to the disposition to receive. Hence there is a hollowness, and want of sincerity in our social intercourse. We seek something real, and we are doomed to converse with shadows.

The temptations to a crime so general must. be very powerful, and they are sufficiently obvious. They assail us through our benevolence. We are reluctant to give pain, which will often be the result of plain speaking, and we hide the evil we should expose and condemn. We feel it a hard thing to set a man at war against himself, to rouse him from his easy com

We are tempted to flattery by our social affections. There are comparatively few who will at all times bear with the simple and honest truth. It is not desirable that we should excite this resentment against us by faithful dealing. We wish to live on good terms with our neighbours, and we know they will meet us with a smile if we speak smooth words to them. Thus again truth is sacrificed, and flattery encouraged. We are tempted to the same sin by our own vanity. Flattery is seldom, if ever, all on one side. It is the most venal of all commodities. We give it out as we lay out money to usury, expecting a profitable return. No man will long indulge in flattering his equals, if he receives no flattery from them. Our vanity prompts us because we expect the same deceitful words to to bestow it at the expense of honesty and truth, be spoken to us. Or still more frequently, the vain man tells our friends how highly he esteems us, and speaks of our excellent and amiable qualities, that they may repeat to us his flattering report. We study to return his compliments in the same way—perhaps through a different channel. This is the more delicate resource which vanity suggests to flattery, and it is the most eligible investment for it, because it thus yields the largest return. It puts our praises into many mouths, and reconciles many minds to the commission of the sin.

We are tempted to flattery by self-interest. There is not an easier or more open path to success in any scheme of earthly ambition, than that which flattery provides. It obtains access when honesty is shut out. By its skilful ministry we gain the favour of those who occupy the platform above us, we secure their good offices, and by them are raised a step in the scale of society. We have but to look a little above us again, and by the same means we may raised a step higher. It may be termed the ladder of social life. He who would ascend must climb up upon its steps. For the same reason flattery speaks its smooth language to inferiors, for they can help to lift us up.


Amid so many fearful and constantly recurring temptations to this sin, and considering its alarming prevalence in a community professedly Christian, we cannot surely be too watchful against it. It assails us by the inward promptings of a vain and selfish nature, and by the outward example of a world subject to the same corruptions. We cannot too determinedly set our faces against it.

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