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streets. Hear him boasting of extraordinary communications with the GoD of all knowledge, and, at the same time, offending against the common rules of his own native language, and the plainer dictates of common sense.--Hear him arrogantly thanking his GOD, that he is not as other men are ; and, with more than papal uncharitableness, very liberally allotting the portion of the damned, to every christian whom he, partial judge, deems less perfect than himself to every christian who is walking on in the paths of duty with sober vigilance, aspiring to perfection by progressive attainments, and seriously endeavoring, through a rational faith in the Redeemer, to make his calling and election sure.

There have been no sects in the christian world, however absurd, which have not endeavored to support their opinions by arguments drawn from scripture, misinterpreted or misapplied.

We had a melancholy instance of this in our own country, in the last century,- when the church of CHRIST as well as the government, during that period of national confusion, was torn asunder into various sects and factions ;—when some men pretended to have scripture precepts, parables or prophecies, to plead, in favor of the most impious absurdities that falshood could advance. The same spirit which prevailed amongst the fanatics, seems to have gone forth among these modern enthusiasts.-Faith, the distinguishing characteristic of a christian, is defined by them, not as a rational assent of the understanding, to truths which are established by indisputable authority, but as a violent persuasion of mind, that they are instantaneoutly become the children of GoD-that the whole score of their sins is for ever blotted out without the payment of one tear of repentance :-Pleasing doctrine this to the fears and passions of mankind!-promising

fair to gain proselytes of the vicious and impeni


Pardons and indulgencies are the great support of papal power;--but these modern empirics in religion have improved upon the scheme,-pretending to have discovered an infallible nostrum for all incurables,—such as will preserve them for ever; and notwithstanding we have instances of notorious offenders among the warmest advocates for sinless perfection,-the charm continues powerful.-Did these visionary notions of an heated imagination tend only to amuse the fancy, they might be treated with contempt ;-but when they depreciate all moral attainments ;-when the suggestions of a frantic brain are blasphemously ascribed to the holy spirit of GoD ;-when faith and divine love are placed in opposition to prattical virtues, they then become the objects of aversion. In one sense, indeed, many of these deluded people demand our tenderest compassion,whose disorder is in the head, rather than the heart--and who call for the aid of a physician, who can cure the distempered state of the body, rather than one who may sooth the anxieties of the mind.

Indeed, in many cases, they seem so much above the skill of either,-that unless Gon, in his mercy, rebuke this spirit of enthusiasm which is gone out amongst us, no one can pretend to say, how far it may go, or what mischiefs it may do, in these kingdoms.Already it has taught us as much plasphemous language,-and, if it goes on, by the samples given us in their journals, will fill us with as many legendary accounts of visions and revelations, as we have formerly had from the church of Rome. And for any security we have against it, when time shall serve, it may as ef fectually convert the professors of it, even into popery itself, consistent with their own princi

ples;-for, they have nothing more to do, than to say, that the spirit which inspired them, has signified, that the pope is inspired as well as they, and consequently is infallible.After which, I cannot see how they can possibly refrain going to mass, consistent with their own principles.

Thus much for these two opposite errors ;-the examination of which, has taken up so much time, that I have little left to add, but to beg of Gop, by the assistance of his holy Spirit, to preserve us equally from both extremes, and enable us to form such right and worthy apprehensions of our holy religion,.......that it may never suffer, through the coolness of our conceptions of it, on one hand,-or the immoderate heat of them, on the other ;....but that we may at all times see it,....as it is, and as it was designed by its blessed Founder,.......as the most rational, sober, and consistent institution that could have been given to the sons of men.

Now, to Gop, &c.

Eternal Advantages of Religion.

ECCLES. xii. 13.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter,-Fear GOD, and keep his commandments: For this is the whole duty of man.

HE wise man, in the beginning of this book,

it as a query to dis

cussed, "To find out what was good for the sons "of men, which they should do under the heavens, "all the days of their lives?"-That is, what was the fittest employment, and the chief and proper business, which they should apply themselves to in this world.....And here, in the text, after a fair discussion of the question, he asserts it to be the business of religion,....the fearing GOD, and keeping his commandments...... This was the conclusion of the whole matter,....and the natural result of all his debates and inquiries.....And I am persuaded, the more observations we make upon the short life of man,....the more we experience,....and the longer trials we have of the world,....and the several pretentions it offers to our happiness ;....the more we shall be engaged to think, like him,- -that we can never find what we look for in any other thing which we do under the heavens, except in that of duty and obedience to God. In the course of the wise man's examination of this point, ....we find a great many beautiful reflections upon human affairs, all tending to illustrate the conclusion he draws; and as they are such as are apt to offer themselves to the thoughts of every serious and considerate man,....I cannot do better than renew the impressions,....by retouching the principal arguments of his discourse....before I VOL. III.


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proceed to the general use and application of the whole.

In the former part of his book he had taken into his consideration those several states of life to which men usually apply themselves for happiness;first,-learning-wisdom ;—next,— mirth-jollity and pleasure ;-then,-power and greatness,-riches and possessions..... All of which are so far from answering the end for which they were at first pursued,that, by a great variety of arguments,he proves them severally to be so many sore travels which God hath given to "the sons of men to be exercised therewith ;". and instead of being any, or all of them, our proper end and employment, or sufficient to our happiness, he makes it plain, by a series of observations upon the life of man,.......that they are ever likely to end with others where they had done with him ;.......that is, in vanity and vexation of spirit.


Then he takes notice of the several accidents of life, which perpetually rob us of what little sweets the fruition of these objects might seem to promise us....both with regard to our endeavors and our persons in this world.

1st, With regard to our endeavors,.....he shows that the most likely ways and means are not always effectual for the attaining of their end :....... That, in general,.......the utmost that hman counsels and prudence can provide for, is to take care, when they contend in a race, that they be swifter than those who run against them ;.......or when they are to fight a battle, that they be stronger than those whom they are to encounter.......And yet afterwards, in the ninth chapter, he observes, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong......neither yet bread to the wise,....... nor yet riches to men of understanding,......nor fayor to men of skill ;.............but time and chance hap

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