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he makes religion his earliest care, and renders all his worldly pursuits subservient to it. Another maxim of. the world is, that we should suffer no man to insult us with impunity. Under the influence of this false maxim, how many valuable lives have been sacrificed, in duels, and in the vain worship of the idol of worldly honour. But how different is the maxim of the Christian on this point. It is this, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, love your enemies. · Do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”
3. The Christian is not conformed to the world in its
The sorrow of the world is generally produced by the immediate loss of some earthly object. If a fair fame. have been tarnished by reproach; if a fine fortune bas taken 10 itself wings, and fled as an eagle toward heaven; if blooming health has faded under the influence of pining sickness; or if friends, whom we have loved as our own souls, have been removed from us by the hand of death; men of the world become almost inconsolable, and are ready with Micah to say, "ye have taken away my gods, and what have I more?”.
But though a Christian is not insensible to the nature of earthly comforts, nor unaffected by the loss of them, he sorrows not as those who have no hope. He knows that the praise of men may be lost, when the man is bappy who sustains the injury; for he knows how it is written, “if
ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.” He knows that riches may sometimes be made to take their departure, when mere competence, or perhaps even poverty is best adapted to promote the Christian's highest interests. He knows that sickness may be sent as a bitter medicine, to produce soundness of mind in the Zion traveller. And he is aware, that the removal of a friend, however dear, may be intended to disentangle his affections from earth, as well as to remove the individual to a better country, even an heavenly. Hence his feelings are moderated on these subjects, and he is enabled to submit and say, “not my will but thine be done.”
While a Christian thus differs from the world in the extent of sorrow for mere earthly things, he has matters, over which to mourn, and to which worldly men are strangers. He laments the coldness of his love to his beavenly Father; rivers of waters run down his eyes, be.
cause men keep not the law of his God. He sincerely bemoans the slowness of the progress of religion in the dark and dead world by which he is surrounded.-And when he contemplates the misery into which the great mass of mankind are running by sin, he is ready to say, “O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”
4. A Christian is not conformed to the amusements of the world.
The very principle on which the men of the world re. sort to their pleasures to kill time, is in direct opposition to the law of God, which enjoins on man to be “redeeming the time.”—Eph. v. 16. It is not strange that the amusements themselves, as well as the principle, should stand in opposition to the Christian's mind. The card-table, the ball-room, and the theatre, constitute the idols which the world worship. These amusements dissipate the mind, excite evil passions, and are in direct opposition to that holy composure of soul which man is called to cultivate. It matters not in judging of the tendency of these amusements that vain persons say, they feel no injury from them. A dead man feels no injury from a wound; but it is because he is past feeling. And the man who is dead in trespasses and sins, is in a similar state of insensibility. Before a man's feeling or not feeling can afford any argu. ment on the subject of amusements, it must first be proved that he is quickened by the Spirit of God. We would as soon take the opinion of a deaf man, in regard to sounds, or of a blind man, with regard to colours, as that of an unconverted man, with regard to pleasures. But we would ask every awakened and watchful Christian, who is striving to keep his heart with all diligence, whether his watchfulness must not be dissipated, and his soul be unfitted for the private and the active duties of devotion and religion, by an approach to the unballowed scenes to which we have referred. Surely they must; and why then should such an one touch, or taste, or bandle! Than such amusements there is scarcely any thing in which a Christian has greater need to guard against conformity to the world. The man that can look on them with indifference, is already half
gone over to the army of the aliens. 5. A Christian must not be conformed to the world in their manner of observing the sabbath
Many, even moral men, have no proper idea of the sanctity of the sabbath. They see no harm in an unusual indulgence in sleep on that day, nor in visiting their friends in health, nor in entertaining them at their iables, as a time favourable to festivity, nor in reading an ordinary newspaper, nor in conversing with others on the common occurrences of business or politics. But could a Christian conform to the world in these matters ? Certainly Bot. He will feel that he might as well cultivate his farm, or transact his every day mercantile affairs, as indulge in the sloth or the worldliness which such scenes promote. He feels that these practices are opposed to that sacred word which enjoins him to “turn away his foot from the sabbath, and from doing his pleasure on God's holy day;" which tells him that he must call “the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and must 'honour him, not doing his own ways, nor finding his own pleasure, nor speaking his own words.”—Isaiah lviii. 13. He knows that he has a great work to do on the sabbath, a work of religion, a work calculated to absorb his whole time and attention; and he perceives that this work must cease, if he come down from it to those unnecessary and consequently unholy.customs, which we have already mentioned
6. The Christian must not be conformed to the general practices of the world.
There are some of the practices of the world so grossly immoral, that any man laying claim to common decency of character, would be ashamed to be found indulging in them. Filthy conversation, lying, swearing, and drunkenness, are of this description. The direction of God to his children is, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of these things which are done of them in secret."
But a Christian is not only bound to shun evil, but the very appearance of evil. When matters wear a doubtful appearance, he is called to stand at a due distance, and neither to endanger bis conscience nor his Christian profession by any act of conformity. The flattery, the false pretences, the faith and truth which the ungodly pledge, The foolish talking and jesting which are not convenient, the restless pursuit of gain, and the intermitted or carelessly performed attention to sacred things, which worldly men evidence without being ashamed, are quite incon
sistent with the Christian character. A pious man cannot sometimes omit private prayer, any more than he could sometimes omit breathing. To instruct his chil. dren and pray with them as a family, he dares not neglect any more than he would decline to feed or to clothe them. Public worship he will regularly and constantly attend, not as a mere drudgery or duty, but as a happy privilege, healthful and refreshing to his soul. And in all this conscientious and constant attendance to divine things, he steers a different course from the world at large.
7. Nor is it in the practice only, but in the principle of his actions also, that a Christian is not conformed to the world. He loves the praise and approbation of God, rather than the praise of men, and from love to his great Redeemer, and a regard to the promotion of his glory, he steadily pursues the path of duty. Hence the people of God are a peculiar people, zealous of good works. They are steadfast and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as they know that their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
QUESTIONS ON THIS ESSAY. What is the subject of it ? What is the text? What will be the difference between men at last? Why should they reason from analogy, that there must be a difference now? What is the first point in which there is an essential difference? What is the promise ? What is the spirit of the world ? What is the second point of nonconformity ? What are some of the Christian's maxims as contrasted with those of the world? What is the third point of difference? For what does a Christian mourn? What is the fourth point of nonconformity? Why shun the amusements of the world? What is the fifth point of nonconformity ? Quote Isaiah lviii. 13. What are the sixth and seventh points of nonconformity ?
A PRAYER ADAPTED TO THIS ESSAY. GREAT and gracious Lord, who lovest righteousness and haiest iniquity, leave us not under the influence of the spirit of the world, but a new heart give to us, and a right spirit put within us. Let us no longer be governed by worldly maxims, but by the unerring dictates of thy word. Let not earthly troubles move us, but let us mourn for sin after a godly sort. Teach us to shun worldly pleasures, and to delight in fellowship with God, and with his chil. dren. May thy day be ever esteemed by us, as the holy of the Lord, honourable; and may we on it neither find our own pleasures, nor speak our own words. Make us a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and grant that, saved by grace, we may at the last day stand accepted in the beloved, and be received into thine eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.-Amen.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE MĘTRICAL VERSION OF THE PSALMS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. SIR,
You have already afforded me the opportunity of laying before your readers, in several letters, a brief history of the Metrical Version of the Psalms used by the various sections of the Presbyterian Church in this country. In the conclusion of my last letter, I observed that this version was susceptible of considerable improvement; and I promised, with your permission, to subjoin the observations of Dr. Beattie on the subject contained in his letter to the celebrated Dr. Blair, of Edinburgh. This promise I shall now fulfil. The letter from which I quote was printed in 1778, but never published; and what is singular, it does not appear to have been known to Sir William Forbes, the friend and biographer of Beattie. Recommending the following observations to the candid attention of your readers, I remain
Your obliged Servant, Dr. Beattie thus writes :
BEN-Ezra. “The point in view is to compose a translation in verse of the Psalms, that shall be more plain, smooth, and agreeable to the text than any heretofore;' so simple as to be understood by all; so elegant as to give no reasonable offence to any; as literal as the present state of the English tongue and the laws of English versification will permit; and adapted to the tunes usually sung in our churches. To make it altogether new, is, in my opinion, not necessary, and would be very difficult. It should, I think, be compiled from the best passages of former translations, with such amendments of the style and measure as may be requisite to give the whole an appearance of uniformity. A strict uniformity should not be attempted. The original Psalms themselves are by different authors, and differ greatly in the style ; and the version now sung in Scotland is itself a compilation, many passages being taken from King James, a few from Sternhold and Hopkins, and some, no doubt from authors whom I have not seen.