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abhorrence: and there are some modes of attack, and of injury mere execrable than others.
We need not spend any time in convincing you, for every one must feel it, that a shew of friendship, in an enemy, renders him peculiarly odious. He who speaks respectfully of our faith, of our holy religion, while he attempts to subvert it, is the aflassin who smiles, and offers the cup of pleasure, in the one hand; and, with the other, draws a murderous dagger: the cup of pleasure, too, is the soporific draught that lulls asleep, and affects our vitals, should the weapon of death be kept from its more immediate destruction. With what sentiments do we regard, and ought we to regard, the man to whom this character belongs?
"The words of his mouth are smoother "than butter, but war is in his heart: his "words are softer than oil, yet they are 4' drawn swords."
For rude and gross abuse, for the sneer of wit, for the song of drunkenness and deA a bauchery, bauchery, we feel pity mingled with disgust; but they are not so detestable or mischievous as the interesting story and dispassionate eflay, that imperceptibly leads on to vice and atheism, and blasphemy.
Like the apostle addressing himself to the church of Christians at Corinth, I exhort you, my Christian brethren, to hold the character and the attempts of the enemies of religion in abhorrence. Addressing you who believe and rejoice in the Gospel, with him, I might think it enough simply to aver, that regarding them with abhorrence is a part of the character of Christians, and an essential part too: I might roundly assert that, to be a • Christian, is to hold in abhorrence those who, in a Christian country, oppose and blaspheme the Gospel; who, directly or indirectly, sap the foundations of the faith, and endanger and destroy the purity, the peace, the fouls, of men.
It is never, however, improper to cherish, and to justify, the sentiments of Christians I very much suspect that, in these days, there is too much reason, and too many calls, to excite and heighten this sentiment, detesting and abhorring the friends and supporters of infidelity and irreligion. Suffer me, therefore, my Christian friends, to remind you, if we have no need to prove to you, how justly they are the objects of detestation and abhorrence.
We have not to look far for considerations to awaken and preserve these sentiments. They rise up on every hand. You fee them, you feel their influence in contemplating the truth of the Gospel: God hath spoken: God speaks by his Son from heaven: You fee them and feel their influence in musing on its superior and unrivalled excellence, in its effects ; in the happiness it imparts, in the happiness it promises. You fee them and feel them, when man is viewed as an individual, when he is viewed as a member of society: when he is considered as passing through this world; and as destined for immortality.
Independently, indeed, of such considerations, you must allow that respect and deference cannot belong to those who are active A a 2 and and zealous to shake or overturn the faith of Christians. Do they seek to promote the honour of Deity? do they labour to increase the happiness of their fellow creatures? Piety, or due regards to Deity, is not promoted by those who undermine or reject revelation, for some leave God out of their system altogether: some treat of the very existence of the Creator and Governor of the world, without the least interest, with a torpid and benumbing indifference: but if any of them are desirous of promoting piety, where have we so sublime and august, so affecting and interesting discoveries of God, as in the holy Scriptures? God is at once the object of reverence and love, of trust and hope, and joy.
And if we ask, Is it true excellence of character; is it the best interests of men they would forward?
Surely the purest philanthropy is exhibited, is required, is supported in the Gospel of Jesus. No where have we such maxims of generosity, liberality and exertion for the happiness of mankind j no where are exhi
bited such models of benignity; such encou^ ragements, rewards and honours of goodness. In a word, all that is amiable, respectable and venerable, all that adorns and endears the human character, all that diffuses and increases human happiness. is the natural and certain consequence of the prevalence of the principles, and conduct and character, of Christians.
But perhaps suppositions, and expostulations founded on them, to those who oppose or undermine religion, are not so proper on this subject, and from this place For we know that they are not employed uselessly only, and therefore are contemptible; but wickedly and mischievously, and therefore are abominable. The text holds them up, not for ridicule, as idle, presumptuo^IPnsolent; but as detestable, the enemies of God and of man. Let them be Anathema Maranatha.
My Christian brethren! This day we keep holy to the Lord. On this day of sacred rest and holy joy, we rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, and glory in his cross and