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it is abfolutely impossible they can impose on God, who searches the heart,- and tries the reins, who sees through all their disguises, and has expressly declared, that an hypocrite shall not come before him. It is certainly, then, of th« highest importance, even as we value the favour of God, and would be p.ccepted of him, to attend to our Saviour's important admo^ nition in the text: "Beware of the leaven of the *\Pharisees, which is hypocrify."' The Pharisees were a sect among the Jews who

?retended to an extraordinary degree of fanctity. 'hey were very exact in the external parts of religion, and, by their distinguished zeal, they were in nigh esteem and reputation with the people. But, notwithstanding their pretended strictness, they were nothing but proud and designing hypocrites, who held no character in estimation beyond the limits of their party ; for they were spitesul raid malicious, sull of selt-conceit, and unmercisully cenforious. In a word, it is hard to determine whether insupportable pride, or deep hypocrify, was the most prominent failing in their character.

By their leaven, we are fometimes, in scripture, to understand their doctrine, as in Matt. xvi. 6, 12. But here, you see, our blessed Lord explains it, as meant of their hypocrify; and this he very sitly compares to leaven : for, as leaven insinuates itself through the mass, till the whole be leavened, fo hypocrisy spreads through the hearts and lives of men, and corrupts and spoils the very best of their duties; and, therefore, he gives us an express caution against it, " Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, ** which is hypocrify a caution highly necessary to be given at all times, and, more especially, when we are called to keep the gospel-seast of the holy Supper with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

In discoursing, then, on this subject, I shall endeavour, by Divine assistance, Firjl, 'so point out to

you you a sew distinguishing characters of the hypocrite, as so many marks by which he may be known. .Secondly, Show you the evil and danger of hypocrisy j and then conclude with some practical application. And, may the Spirit of truth, who has the hearts of all men in his hand, bring the observations which I shall make, home to your consciences, for the conviction of hypocrites,.and the comfort of sincere believers.

- L I am to point out to you a sew characters of the hypocrite, as so many marks by which he may be known. i

't. The hypocrite is actuated by a principle of vain-glory. He frequents the church, and performs the other duties of religion; but it is not with the view of rendering to Cod that homage and worship to which he is entitled; no, it is to be seen os men. He partakes of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, not to get his corruptions mortisied,. and the principles of grace strengthened within him, bat that, thereby, he rriSy cover his sins, and acquire a name to live among his sellow-proseflbrs. He gives alms to the poor; but it is not from love to God, and with a design to imitate the example of Christ, but merely, that he may be thought a charitable person. This is what our blessed Lord teaches us concerning the hypocrite: "Moreover," says he, "when ye "sast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenf* ance j for. they dissigure their saces, that they "may appear to men to sast (a).". "When thou doit "thine alms, do not found a trumpet before thee, "as the hypocrites do in the synagogues, and in the ** streets, that they may have glory of men (£)." The hypocrite performs his religious duties with the utmost diligence in the eye of the world; and is equally industrious in concealing his saults. When you are obsirving him, he does wellj but when you R 2 are

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are not observing him, he allows himself in that •which is evil. He may justly. be compared to an actor on a stage; for he appears in a habit, and with ornaments, which do not belong to him. To look at him, he has the air of an exceeding good Christian; take off the mask, he is a very monster. In a word,. the hypocrite does not care for religion- or virtue, considered in themselves: the object of his attention is, to obtain the honour and respectability which men bestow on a religious character. Hence,

2. He is, in a particular manner, caresul to perform those duties of religion,. which are chiefly connected with the external service, and make the greatest appearance in the eye of the world. Thus we sind our Saviour describes the Pharisees: "They sast** ed very often j. far a pretence, they made long "prayers; they caused a trumpet to be sounded be"fore them, when they were about to give their "alms to the poor j they prayed standing in the "synagogues* and in the corners of the streets-, "they paid the tythes. of anise, mint and cummin, "while they neglected• the weightier matters of the "law (c)." Accordingly, pur blessed Saviour compares them to whited walls and painted sepulchres, that are beautisul indeed without, but, Within, are sull of uncleanness and rotten bones. We may justly compare the hypocrite to. fruits that appear sair to the eye, but are very bitter to the taste, and sometimes poisonous and deadly in their operation; ot tff those: who paint their- saces, who, having no native beauty, endeavour to supply, by art, what nature hath denied. In a word, the hypocrite affects a demure look, cast-down eyes, a mortisied visage, and a great appearance of zeal; he can pray with much seeming servour, and external devotion; but, at bottom, he is a wicked person, that entertains sinsul lusts and paffions in his heart*

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3. A hypocrite is very often determined to act, inu matters of religion, by a regard to worldly interestand advantage. Thus, our Saviour tells us, that the Pharisees, for a pretenee, made long prayers, that they might devour widows houses. And the apostle; speaks of fome, f that were men of corrupt minds,. 4* and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is "godliness (a)" And, indeed, it is too frequently/ seen, that men put on the mask os religion, and take up the prosession and outward practice of it, merely from secular views; fome to make a livelihood of it,others to promote their trade and business; and others, to conciliate the favour and friendship of those from whom they have expectations of worldly advantage. - Nay, fome are such abandoned hypocrites, that they .affect to be thought religious, merely that, with the less suspicion, they may cheat and defraud their neighbours. And, alas! it is much to be lamented, that, by those means, they too often accomplish their ends ;. for men of candour and integrity arc apt to judge of others by themselves, and think them equally sincere in their prosessions. But, how justly may that character be applied to such covetous perfons; "They "come before thee as thy people cometh, and they "sit before thee as thy people, and they hear thy H words, but will not do them; for, with their"mouth, they shew much love, but their heart goeth. "aster their covetousness (d)."

4. Another part of the hypocrite's character that he has a great opinion of himself, of his own; merit, and of his own piety and devotion* lie thinks himself fomething, when he is nothing; .and hence, - he takes a great deal of pleasure and . fatisfaction in hearing himself commended; Sometimes, indeed, he seems to despise praise; but: this is only in appearance; his thoughts and his. words do no: correspond: For he ' is fond of

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(*3 I'Tim. vi. 'J. (*') Ezek'. sxsXSt j*..

applause in his heart; and if he pretend to shun, or fly from it, it is only that you may reckon him to deserve it the. more. Nay, fometimes, by a resined stroke in deceit, the hypocrite will speak with hesitation of his own merit and actions; but, if you contradict him not, he is greatly difappointed, and discovers manisest indications of uneasiness: a plain proof, that his censures against himself are only fo many baits to catch the praises of others. But, if you go farther, and tell him of his faults, you will not fail to kindle his resentment; and though, for the fake of his own reputation, he may conceal it for a time,. yet he secretly indulges intentions of revenge, and only waits for a favourable opportunity of gratifying that malignant passion on the man who had presumed to offend him by his counsels. In a word, whatever religious duty the hypocrite performs, hia secret. boast is that of the Pharisee: "God, I thank thee, ** that I am not as other men are;" or, like those whom the prophet Ifaiah speaks of, he fays, " Stand by, ** come not near me, for I am holser than thou (a)." And this brings me to observe to you,

5. That the hypocrite is very partial to himself, and makes great allowances for his own faults; 'while he is severe in censuring the- character and conduct of his neighbour. Thus we sind there were fome in the days of our Saviour, who could observe a mote in their brother's eye, but took no notice of the beam in their own. These our Lord severely reproves, " Thou hypocrite," fays he, " sirst cast the ■* beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou ** see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's ** eye (q)" This then you sind is a distinguishing mark of the hypocrite: He observes the conduct of •others with a jealous eye; not that he may imitate what is good, or avoid what is evil, but merely to spy out their faults, and raise his own reputation at

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{a) If. lxv. j. Matt. vii. j.

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