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yourself gladly snatching at pretexts for depreciating the principles and censuring the conduct 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 occafionally make respectful mention of religion, and pay a decent regard to her ordinances and to many of her injunctions. The Scribes and Pliarisees talked, according to their own views of the subject, largely of religion; and in lome 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 religion. 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: Jf, through the influence of divine grace, you have been brought to the love of religion, wonder not, nor bę
discouraged, discouraged, when you hear the truths of the Gospel flandered, or yourself made the theme of evil-speaking for their fake. Thus it always has been ; and thus, until Chriftianity shall have established a more general dominion over the hearts of those who avow themselves her subjects, it always will be. Evil men, whether regarding the man of piety as a fool and a fanatic; or • conscious that he is a far more religious character than themselves, and feeling his superiority as a reproach; 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 holiness. If you are a zealous servant of God, prepare to behold many of your purest intentions misconstrued; prepare to hear yourself reproved and vilified for actions, which, according to a more equitable interpretation, might 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 yourfelf. What is the lesson 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 blame, · encomiums may be poured out upon you;
when you have the fairest claim to approbation, you may be repelled with censure and contempt.
But let the servant of Christ not only be indifferent as to general applause. Let him be jealous over himself, if it should fall to his lot. Wo unto you, said our Lord to his disciples, when all men speak well of you: for fo did their fathers unto the false prophets*. If you are thus praised by the world; examine yourself. Is it not be. cause 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, whin thou dost well to thyself t. If you are successful in your worldly plans; if you give the reins
* Luke, vi. 26. + Pfalm, xlix. 18.
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 will not fail to revile and 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!
Be ye, my brethren, servants of the Most High. 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 possessing it. Let it be your main solicitude to be found among those whose praise is not of men but of God. Christ is not like the world, an undiscerning, a capricious, an unjuít, a forgetful master. 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 shall every man, every true Christian,
bave praise of God*. That praise is praise indeed. That praise endureth for ever.
Thirdly: Juftify wisdom, justify true religion, by manifesting yourselves to be her children. Draw not from the preceding observations a 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 censure of the world though often misplaced, is not always misplaced. If you are charged with having judged erroneously, 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 cenfure and the praise of others equally fend you to your Bible. Search the word of truth. Compare your religious opinions, your religious practice, with the doctrines and commandments of your Lord. Consult him, in his revealed word, with an humble, and teachable heart, as a child liftens to its instructor. It was in vain that John the Baptist preached to the scornful and hardened Pharitees; that generation of vipers, * Rom. ii. 29. 1 Cor. iv, 5.