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“ behaviour of that man was disponourable : yes, ,
in another bis bonour was impeached." Of the preceding picture I mean not indiscriminately to affirm that there are not exceptions to the likeness. But let any person, who has assigned even a slight measure of attention to the subject, pronounce whether, in each of the cases described, the representation be not accurately conformable to the general features of the original. Has the pulpit escaped the contagion? Comparatively it has preserved itself pure.
Would to Heaven that in some of its compositions the public eye had not discerned traces and mixtures, which preclude me from ascribing to it unsullied purity! The lips of the priest should keep knowledge; and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hofts (8). Never may the pastor feed his flock with an intermixture of poisonous herbage! „Never may he lead them to drink of streams, which flow from an unhallowed fountain !
Whence is this jargon? Has it founded its dominion on the application by St. Paul of the term honourable to marriage (b); on the testimony of approbation borne by the same apostle to things of good report (i); and on those passages of the Scriptures in which holiness is described as entitled to respect and praise? Very different are the foundations of its sway. It reigns, because inultitudes love the praise of men more than the praise of God. It reigns, because they receive honour one of another; and seek not that honour which cometh from God only (k).
(8) Malachi, ii. 7.
(5) Heb. xiii. 4.
What is this idol, which men worship in the place of the living God? What is this principle, which they enthrone in degradation of his sovereign word? Honour implies the favourable estimation entertained of an individual by others of his own line and place in fociety. The votary of honour may delude himself with the idea that, whatever be the ordinary expressions of his lips, his heart is dedicated to religion. But his heart is fixed on his idol, human applause. In the place of the love and the fear of God he substitutes the love of praise and the fear of Thame. In the place of conscience he substitutes pride. For the dread of guilt he substitutes the apprehension of disgrace.
My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, faith the Lord. That wbich is bighly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (l). Woe unto you, (1) John, v. 44. xii. 43. (1) Isaiah, lv. 8. Luke, xvi, 15.
whothus put darkness for light, and proportionally thrust aside into darkness the light of the world, the oracles of the Most High. re are they, like the Pharisees of old, who justify yourselves before men. Te are they, who teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Ye are they, who make the commandments of God of none effect by your traditions (m). Ye are they who-uphold the duellift. Ye are they who take the sword out of the hands of the law; and commit to every man the vindication of his real or imaginary wrongs. Ye are they who prefer the discharge of a gaming debt to the payment of the just demand of the familhed tradesman. Ye are they who establish a principle of morality, baseless because not founded upon religion ; scanty in its comprehension, because tolerant of many crimes and indifferent to numerous virtues; and however highly esteemed among men,
abominable in the sight of God, because exalted in neglect or in contempt of his word, regardless of his service and his glory.
My brethren! The professed object of this discourse is now fulfilled. You have distinctly surveyed a sufficient variety of examples felected to display the fin, which in the passage (m) Luke, xvi, 15. Matth. xv. 6.9.
of Scripture before us the prophet had in contemplation. And your consciences attest the justice of the woe denounced against every instance of that sin by the Spirit of God. What is the warning voice which, while we ponder on these examples singly or collectively, resounds in our ears? To the law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Thus faith the Lord: stand ye in the ways, and fee, and ask for the old paths where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye swall find rest for your souls (n). Let not the fumes of a heated imagination bewilder you into enthusiasm. Let not the natural aversion of the heart from religion chill you into lukewarmness. Conceive not that it is religion to obey fome of the commandments of God, and knowingly to persevere in disobeying one.. Conceive not that it is charity to explain away the heir ousness of fin; or. çenforiousness, to pronounce that to be guilt which God has pronounced to be guilt, that to be the subject of punishment which God has averred that He will punish. Let not your minds be corrupted from the fimplicity which is in Cbrift into a habit of referring to that unauthorised and miserable arbiter of
(*) Isaiah, viii. 20. Jerm. vi. 16.
morals, that ideal power before which the world bows down in senseless adoration, the principle of honour. My fon! Give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God. Woe unto you, if in any of the instances which have been specified, or in any analogous example, you are deluded to call evil good and good evil, to put darkness for light and light for darkness, to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe unto you if you wilfully become the niftrument of seducing others into similar delufions ! Stand fast on the sure rock, the facred Word. Let ignorance misunderstand the gospel : let indifference strip it of its energy: let pride, let sensuality, let worldly mindedness frame to themselves schemes of religion conformable to the corrupt principle in accommodation to which they are severally framed.
Let the language of ignorance, of indifference, of pride, of sensuality, of worldly mindedness, on topics of piety and morality, be unrighteousness, be folly, be madness.
In God, in His counfels, in His recorded law, there is neither variableness nor adorei of turning. Jesus Christ, the Judge of all, is the same yestera day, and to-day, and for ever. Measure thou all things by that standard, by which thou fhalt thyself be measured. Weigh all things Сс