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PRACTICAL VIEW 

PREVAILING RELIGIOUS SYSTEM 



PROFESSED CHRISTIANS, 

BIGHIR AND MIDDLE CLASSES IK THIS COUrlTRT, 
I " eoto.m. with 

REJL CHRISTIANITY. 

Bt WILLIAM WILCERFORCE, Esq. 



Search the Scriptures ! Joan, t. 39. 

How charming u DIVINE PHILOSOPHY 1 
Not bush, ud crabbed, as dull Foola auppaie. 
Bat iu usicsl as is Apollo's lute, 
And a perpetual feast of ncctar'd streets, 
Where no crude .surfeit reigns. Miltuk, 



THE NINTH EDITION. 



JUnOon i 
Printed 01T. Cum and W. Dmit, in the Strand. 



°8 k ' 




London : Printed by L»k B Han»rd & Sw* 
new LiMoloWnn Fields. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction. — Authors Apology, Design of 
the mark ------ page* 



Inadequate Conceptiotu of the Importance of 
Christianity. 
The popular notions concerning the importance of Christi- 
anity extremely inadequate - - - - 5 to J 
Religious ignorance criminal - 9 

Unreasonable to expect to became proficients in Christi- 
anity without inquiry and pains - - 10 
Scripture rspWBtntationB ofthe importanceof Christianity 
Aid. 
The maxim, that iris of 00 importance what a man believes, 
exposed --■--..,- - - - m 
Also the maxim, that aineefityis aS in all . ibid. 
True sincerity, what included in it 15 
Concluding reflections - - - - - 16 

CHAt.n. p.l% 

Corruption of Human Nature. 

Sect. I. — Inadequate Conceptions qftheCorruption of Human 
Nature - ->.■--■- - - hj 

Popular notions concerning Unman eorruptioa - 17 

The different lessons on this subject which Christianity 

teaches, proved by the contrast between what we mi^ut 

expect from man ami what wefind Inrrrin practice 18-15 

First, hi the-mostpohsbed nations of antiquity - 19 

Next, in the inhabitants of the (lew World on its fi>st 

discovery. -.-"- - - -So 

A3 H«t, 

.Google 



»» CONTEXTS. 

Next, in the general state of the Christian world . ai 

Lastly, even among true Christians - - - 94 

The argument summed up and enforced - - 25 

The Scripture representation of human corruption 27 

Sect, H Evil. Spirit. —Natural State of Man - < 26 

Existence and agency of the Evil Spirit, though plainly 

taught in Scripture, generally exploded - 37 

Nothing unreasonable in this doctrine - - ibid. 

Scripture representations of the Supreme Being calculated 

to inspire awe --._-_ 38 
The same awful impressions excited by the divine tbrea- 

tenings and punishments recorded in Scripture, and by 

the moral order of the world ■- -29 

Christianity breaks in ----- 31 
Practical importance attd uses of the doctrine of human 

corruption - - - - - - ■ ibid. 

Practical advice in relation to this subject - -32 

Sect. III. — Corruption of Htanan Nature. — Objection - 35 
"J 'he objection, that our 1 corruption and weakness being 
natural to us, will be excused or allowed for, stated and 
considered - - - - 7 , ■ ■•> ' - 33 
The objection how best treated . - . - - 34. 
Fallacy of this objection proved by Scriptune - 35 

. Danger of admitting the above objection - 36 

Humility becomes man . - - . - - - 37 
Folly of busying ourselves with what is above our compre- 
hension, and neglect what is plain and practical 38 

C-H A P. III. p. 39. 

Chief Defects of the Religious System of the Bulk 
of ■professed Christians, ijt what regards our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and the holy Spirit — «4th a Dis- 
sertation concerning the Use of the Passions in 
Religion. 



Sect. I. Inadequate Conceptions concerning our I 

and the Holy Spirit - - - - ■ - 39 

Leading doctrines concerning Christ and the Holy Spirit, 

as stated in Scripture ----- ibid. 

Inadequate 



CON TINTS. ■» 

Inadequate conceptions in the above respects -charged oh 

the bulk of professed Christians, and enforced - 41-43 

Great ingratitude hereby evinced - - - 44 

Inadequate notions concerning the Holy Spirit - 45 

Language of one who objects against the religious affections 

towards our Saviour ----- ibid. 

And against the Holy Spirit's operations - - 46 

Reply to the above; unreasonableness of arguing from tba 

abuse of a thing against its. use 48 

Religious vulgarity, not to be too much disgusted by it, 50 

Sect. II. On the Admission of the Passions into Religion, 5 1 
The opinion that the affections misplaced in religion, dis- 
cussed and refuted - • - 51-61 
By the reason of the thing - - - - 5a 
By the nature of man ----- 53 
By the authority of the Scriptures and of Scripture charac- 
ters ibid. 

True test and measure of the religious affections - 55-57 
Religious affections, different according to natural temper, 

&c. - - - 57 

The affections not merely allowable in religion but highly 
necessary, proved by analogy ... 58-fii 

Christ the just-object of our warm affections - 61 ' 
The objeciion, that we are not susceptible of affections 
towards an invisible Being, discussed 63 

Close contact between subject ami object, necessary to pro- 
duce affection ------ 65 

And sufficient to produce affection without sight - 65-67 

This explains why public misfortunes affect us less than 

private or personal ' 1 - - - - 67 

Means of strengthening our affection towards any ob- 
ject -- ------ ibid. 

Special grounds for the affections towards our Saviour, 58 
Divine help promised for producing religions affections- 69 
Unreasonable conduct of objectors in this instance - 70 
Appeal to tads, in proof of the reality of the religious 
affections. — The martyrs of our own church, and the 
apostles - - - ■ - - - - 71-72 

Sect. III. — Inadeqvate Conceptions concerning the Holy 

Spirit's Operations - - - - - 7a 

A3 Scripture 



Scripture doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit's operations 

7*-74 

Sect. IV. — Mistaken Conception! entertained by nominal 

Christians, of the terms of acceptance with God • 74 

Inference afforded by the inadequate conceptions already 
noted, that mistaken conceptions commonly entertained 
of the means of a sinner's acceptance with God 74-75 

Different degrees of error ----- 75 

Nature and proofs of this error - ■- - 76 

Their fundamental misconception of the scheme and essen- 
tial principle of the Gospel - 77 

Practical consequences and confirmation of the above mis- 
conception - - - . - - - - 78-80 

Condemnation ofthose who abuse the doctrine of grace, 81 

Believing in Christ, what really implied in it - ibid. 

Answer to objection, that we insist on metaphysical niceties, 
82 

The atonement and grace of Christ farther pressed, as the 
subjects of our habitual regard - , - - 83-86 

Advantage justly taken by the Sociman, of the above 
defects 84 

Practical application end address ... 86-88 

Chap. IV. p. 89. 

0» the prevailing inadequate Conceptions concern- 
ing the Nature and the Strictness of Practical 
Christianity. 

Sect, I. p. 89. 
Inadequate conceptions of the practical strictness required 
by Christianity, generally prevalent - - 89-91 
Strong- presumption against their notions - - 91-93 
Practical strictness of Christianity, as stated in Scrip- 
ture - 93-9* 

Essential practical characteristic of true Christians - 94 
Excellence of this principle - """.*' °5 
The principle farther opened, and shewn to include the 
love of God • ■ - - - - - 95-97 

The above principle of general application proved by the 
general terms of Scripture precepts - - ibid. 

Because resulting from relations common to all Christians, 



costhhti. vii 

From God's requiring the heart - 10* 

From the glory of God being prescribed to us its our great 

object, and from the criminality of idolatry - 101 

Extreme importance of the above con side rations - ic*2 

SscT. II. p. 10 J. 

Notions of practical Christianity generally prevalent, ibid. 
They allow to religion only a partial jurisdiction - 104 
Mischievous consequences of the above error - 105 
The preceding statement confirmed by an appeal to 
various classes of nominal Christians, particularly of tha 
higher order - - - - - - 106-7 

To trie idle and dissipated - 107-8 

To the votaries of sensual pleasure - 108-9 

To the votaries of pomp and parade - 109 

To the votaries of wealth and ambition • - 110 
To other classes - - ... . 111-19 

Conclusion from the preceding review, and general fault - 

in principle of all the above classes, that of transferring 

the heart from God to some other master - 1 12-14 

Effects of the fundamental error above-mentioned, on om 

judgments and practice in the caseof others - 114 

Farther effects; religion degraded into a set of statutes, and 

quibbled away accordingly - llfi-iB 

Another effect— Religion placed in external actions, rather 

than habits of mind .... - 118 

Yet the internal principle all in all - 119-20 

As an evil resulting from the last-mentioned error, Christian 
dispositions are not cultivated - - - 120 

Instances of the preceding position; the generality forget 
that the Christian's life is a life of faith, and the true 
Christian's character in this respect - - 121-33 
Another distinction between nominal and real Christians, 
grounded on their different tastes and relish for reli- 
gious subjects - - ■ - - - 123-34 
Proof drawn from tie different manner of their employing 
the Sunday, and hints on that head - - 134-27 
Other internal defects ; particularly in meekness and hu- 
mility ------ -. 128 

Sect. III. On tie Desire of human Estimation and Applause 

— The generality prevailing Opinion* contrasted with those 

of the true Christian ----- 128 

A 4 Universality 

. ,GoogIe 



Till "CONTENTS, ' 

Universality of the Jesire of human estimation - 129 
Common eulogiuin of this passion, both as to its natnre 
, and effects - - - - iS°-32 

Toe above vindication questioned, even by the Pagan 
moralists - ... - - - - 133 
Essentially defective and vicious nature of this passion, 
stilted and explained in Scripture - - 133-4 

The world's commendations naturally misplaced - 135 
YetChristianstaughtjn Scripture to cultivate with mode-, 
ration the good opinion of the world, as an instrument 
- of usefulness - ""."." '35-37 

But points out a higher objed of our ambition - 137 
The inordinate love of human estimation generally preva- 
lent, and the natural result - 138-9 
Proofs from various considerations j.from the House of 
. Commons - - - - . - - '39 

From, duelling. - - 1+0 

Duelling, wherein its essential guilt consist* - ibid. 

A peculiarity in respect of this vice - - - 141 
Commonly supposed value of the innrdinate love of human 
estimation, questioned and disproved - ' - 142-3 
Reasonings of Christian moralists on this head often 
Ijear tew traces of Christian morality - - 143 

Conduct of the true Christian, in what regards the love 
of human estimation - - , - - - '44"49 
The most effectual method of moderating this love 150 
The true Christian guards against it on small no less than 
on great occasions ; in religion, no less than else- 
where - - - - - - - 151 

Parting counsel to those who wish to bring this passion 
under due regulation ; particularly to cultivate love and 
humility - 153 

Sect. IV.— The generally prevailing Error, of substituting 
amiable Tempers and tuefvlLivu in tlteplace of Religion, 
stated and confuted; wiii Hints to real Christians, 157 

Amiable tempers and useful lives, their merit commonly 
exaggerated - - - . ~ . " '■™ 

Stated to be the sum of religion, in substance, if not in 
name -------- ib 'd- 

The distinction between morality and religion fatal - 158 

The worth of amiable tempers, as estimated by the 

Standard of unassisted reason, commonly over-rated 159 

Many 



Many false pretenders to them - 159 

Essentially defective nature of amiable tempers when not 

grounded in religion - .... ibid. 

Their precarious and short duration - 160 

Worth of useful lives, when estimated by the standard of 

unassisted reason, over-rated .... iGj 

The particular good of them more than countervailed by 
the general evil ------ 163 

Worth of amiable tempers and useful Htcs, when not 

grounded in religion, proved to be greatly over-rated, 

if estimated on Christian principle* - - ibid. 

Their nature essentially corrupt - 165 

The true Christian really the most amiable and useful 

character - - - - - - -167 

Admonitions to true Christians in the above respects, 168 
To the naturally sweet-tempered and active - - 169 

To the naturally rough and austere - 170 

Amiable tempers and useful lives, their just praise - 173 
Apt to be deceived by them in our own case - - 17+ 
Danger to true Christians from mixing too much in worldly 
business - - - - - • ibid. 

Advice to those who suspect this to be their case - 175 
Exquisite sensibility, its flimsy texture; school of Rous- 
seau and Sterne - - . - • - -179 
Sterne reprobated for indecency - 180 

Sect. V. — Some other grand Defects in the practical System 
of the Bulk of Nominal Christian* - - - 181 

Inadequate conceptions generally prevalent of the guilt 
and evil of sin - - - - - - ibid. 

Proofs from our common language - " - - 183 
Different standard in the word of God - - - 184 
Inadequate fear of God generally prevalent • • ibid. 
Sin, its baneful nature - - - - - 185 

The future punishments of the wicked represented in Scrip- 
ture as resulting from established relations • ibid. 
State of the world at the time of the Deluge - - 187 
Inadequate sense of the difficulty of getting toheaven, ibid. 
And of the necessity of acquiring a peculiar character, in 
order to fit us for if ..... jgg 

True Christian's efforts in this great work - - 190 

The Christian's life, represented under the character of a 

journey through a strange country - - - ibid. 

The 



X CONTENTS. 

The bulk of nominal Christians defect We in tht love of 
God - •" .... . -. jgfc 

Practical excellence of this quality - Igg- 

The stage tried by this test - - . - 193-96 

Our referring the stage to this test justified by political 

analogy ------- -jg6 

Bulk of nominal Christians defective ill love of their fellow- 
creatures - - - - - - 197 

True marks of love of our neighbour - - 198-300 
The stage tried by reference to this test - - 201-2 

Sect. VI.— Grand Defect.— Neglect of the peculiar Doc- 
trines of Christianity ... - - <jo« 

Grand defect in the practical system of nominal Christians, 
(heir neglect of the peculiar doctrines of Christianity ; 
and practical evils resulting therefrom, 111 the case of 
persons desirous of repentance and reformation - 202-5 

Advice of modern religionists to persons of tliis descrip- 
tion ..... - - ~_ 205 

Advice given to them by the Holy Scriptures, and by the 
Church of England ----- 206 

Extreme importance of this point ; nature of true holiness, 
end Christian method of obtaining it - - - 206-8 

Practical use made by the true Christian of the peculiar 
doctrines of Christianity - - - .- 208 

The same use of them jnade in llie Scriptures - 209 

Use of the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, in enforcing 
its importance - - - - - - 210 

In enforcing an unconditional surrender of ourselves to 
God ibid. 

In enforcing the guilt of sin, and the dread of its pu- 
nishment -_---, aio-ij 

In promoting the love of God - - - 111 1-13 

In promoting the.love of our -fellow-creatures - 213 

In promoting humility and meekness - 21+ 

In promoting a spirit of moderation in earthly pursuits, 
and cherfulness in suffering ... 215-17 

In promoting courage, confidence In danger, and heavenly 
mindedness ------ 217-19 

Gland distinction between nominal and real Christians, the 
place practically assigned by them to the peculiar doc- 
trines of Christianity - 310-30 

Chap- 



COKTEITTS. X) 

Chap. V. p. 220. 
On the Excellence of Christianity in certain im- 
portant Particulars. Argument which results 
thence in Proof of its Divine Origin. 

Consistency between the leading doctrines, and practical 
precepts of Christianity - - " - - - «2 1 

Between the leading doctrines of Christianity, among each 
other - - - - - -.- - ibid. 

Between the practical precepts of Christianity, among each 
other - - - - " - - - 222-25 

Higher value set by Christianity, on moral, than on 
intellectual attainments - - - - - 225-28 

Intrinsic excellence of lh« practical precepts of Christi- 
anity _.-».--- 228 

Strong evidence of the truth of Christianity, afforded by 
the number and variety ef the kinds of evidence by 
which Us divine origin is proved * - 238-39 

Chap. VI. p. 230. 

Brief Inquiry into the present State of Christianity 
in this Country, with some of the Causes which 
have led to its -critical Circumstances. Its Im- 
portance to us as a political Community, and 
practical Hints for which the foregoing Conside- 
rations give occasion. 

Tendency of religion, and especially of Christianity, to 
promote the well-being of political communities - 230 

A general standard or tone of moral practice, in every 
coinmuntity - __...- 231-* 

Christianity has raised this general standard or tone 232 

Effects mi religion, of adversity and prosperity respec- 
tively -------- 233 

Natural presumption concerning the present state of 
religion among us, afforded by the preceding conside- 
ration - - 134-5 

Causes from which the peculiarities of Christianity -slide 
into disuse ------- 236 

Still further decline to be expected ... 237 

The above presumptive statements justified by facts 237-39 
Ona 



XH CONTENTS. 

One cause assigned which has principally operated in re- 

ducingChristianity among us to a mere system of ethics, 

239 

Christianity, such as it is, stated in the present work, the 

religion of the pillars of our church ■ - • ibid. 

lis corruption accelerated by the civil commotions of the 

fast century - . . . -240-1 

The peculiar doctrines of Christianity, at length almost 

left out of the system ; this position confirmed by an 

appeal to our best novels .... 242-3 

The literati of our days, sceptically disposed - 243-4 

Consequences to he expected . - . 244 

The objection, that the author's system so strict, that if 

it were to prevail the world could not go- on, stated 

and refuted ------ 245-48 

Happy effects to us as a political community, from the 

prevalence of vital Christianity - 248-9 

The position, that Christianity is hostile to patriotism, 

opposed ...... - a^g 

Superior nature and extent of true Christian benevolence, 
250-1 
Christianity peculiarly adapted to promote the well- 
being of political communities, from its hostility to 
selfishness - - - - - -251--8 

Political expedients for preventing the mischievous effects 

of selfishness on civil communities, and superior efficacy 

of Christianity in this respect - - 252-56 

Means bywbichChristianity produces the above effect.ibid. 

Vital Christianity can alone produce them -. - 256 

In the present circumstances of this country, we must either 

have vital Christianity, or we shall have none at all, 256-7 

Appeal to experience, in confirmation of the above position, 

258 

Political good effects from the- revival of vital Christianity 

among us, and bad ones from its farther decline, 258-60 

A stale of great civilization,, no. security against great 

moral corruption - ...... - - 260-1 

Practical hints for the conduct of men in power, sug- 
gested by the above statements . - 261 
Mo time for half measures^A decided line of conduct 

called for 262-3 

Duty enforced on us, of checking open profaneness, 
and, above all, of giving religious instruction to the 
rising generation ------ 263 

Evangelical 



CONTENTS, XIII 

Evangelical Christianity alone likely to produce any real 
amendment ...... 164 

The above remark pressed on the bishops, the clergy, and 
our universities - - - . - - -264-5 

Apology fur having treated of religion so much with a 
view to its political effects - 265-6 

Chap. VII. p. 266. 

Practical Hints to variovs Descriptions nf 

Persons. 

The common sort of Christianity does not deserve the 

name - - - - --- . 366-7 

Some considerations preparatory to self-examination; one 

of them peculiarly awful - au'7-8 

Causes of stlf-deception suggested ... 26^ 

One cause of self-deception, the mistaking our merely 

outgrowing or changing our vices, for forsaking till 

sin ; appeal to life - - - ■ - 269-72 

Charge of being uncharitable repelled, and what really 

charity and nneharitableness - - - - 272-3 

Women naturally more disposed to religion than men ; 

domestic advantages therefrom - - '*73~75 
Innocent young people, the term how much abused - 275-6 
The reformation held sufficient by the world, bow much 

it falls short of true Christian regeneration - 476-78 
Practical hints to suci as having hitherto been careless 

and irreligious, wish to become true Christians, '178-80 
Excellent nature and practical benefits of humility, 281-4 

Love enforced - 282-3 

Base and mercenary nature of the religion of the bulk'' 

of nominal Christians, and opposite character of true 

Christianity 283-85 

The charge repelled, that we render Christianity a gloomy 

service - . - - - - - - 285 

Multiplied sources of pleasure lo true Christians, 286-88 
Superior situation of true Christians over men of the world, 

in point of comfort, especially in our days - 289-90 

Sect. II. — Advice to some who prof ess their full Assent tt 
the fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel - - 499 

A loose way of holding the true doctrines of Christianity 
too generally prevalent in our relaxed days - 290-9* 



o 8 k- 



xrr coxTiHts. 

Its danger and mischievous effects - - Sjjt-os 
Watchfulness and djligence enforced ; and the study of 
the lives of eminent Christians recommended - 493-4 

Sect. III. — Brief Observation* addressed to Sceptics and 
Unitarians ....... 30,4 

Presumption in favour of the truth of Christianity, from 
the grestest and wisest men having embraced it, 294-5 

Infidelity gradually growing on young men as they advance 
in years - - 295 

The above natural history of scepticism confirmed by ex-- 
perience, and by the written lives of seep tics - -197 

Infidelity, a disease of the heart rather than of the un- 
derstanding ------ 297-99 

Unitarian : sm often resorted to, from a wish -to escape 
from the strictness of Christianity - 499 

Deists and Unitarians, have possessed a great advantage 
in contending with the orthodox Christian, fown being 
the assailants ; practical hint which this suggests; 300-1 

Half unbelievers ; their system peculiarly irrational and 
criminal ....... 30a 

Increasing evidence of the truth of Christianity - 302-3 

Unbelievers must stand the issue , - - - 303 

Sect. IV. — Advice suggested bg the state of the Times to 
true Christians - . . . - 304 

Real Christians peculiarly bound to exert themselves in 
the present times ----- 304.-6 

Bound in particular to be earnest in prayer for their country, 
3»>6-7 

Avowal of the Author, that to the decline of religion, 
he chiefly ascribes our national misfortunes, and that his 
best hopes are grounded on the persuasion, that we hate 
among us many real Christians - 307 

Motives which have powerfully prompted the author to 
the prosecution of the present work - 308-9 



INTRODUCTION. 



TT has been, for several years, the earnest wish of 
the writer' of the following pages, to address his 
tcrsntrymen on the important Aubject of Religion; 
hut the varioBi duties of his jmblic station, and a 
constitution incapable of much labour, have ob- 
structed the execution of his purpose. 'Long has be 
been looking forward to soSie Vacant' season, m 
which tie might devote his whole time and attention 
to this interesting service, free from the intemiptiou 
of all other concerns ; and tie has the-rasher wished 
for this opportunity of undiamtcttd reflection, 'from 
a desire tliat what he migtrt send into the worid might 
thus be rendered lets ufldmerrmg of the public eye. 
Meaimbne lire is wearing away, and he daily be- 
eomea-more and more convinced, that he might wait 
in vain for thia season of complete vacancy. He 
most be content, therefore, to Improve such occa- 
sional intervals of leisure as way occur to him in 
the course of an active and busy life, and to throw 
himself on the Reader's indulgence tor the pardon 
of anch imperfections, aa the opportunity of tmdl* 
verted attention and mature* reflection might have 
'enabled him to discover and correct. 

But the plea here suggested is by fio means in- 
tended as an «*cuse4©r the opinions which be shall 
B express 



11 INTRODUCTION. 

express, if they be found mistaken. Here, if hebc 
in an error, he freely acknowledge! it to be a deli- 
berate error. He would indeed, account hjtn&lf 
unpardonable were he to obtrude, upon the Public, 
his first crude thought* on a subject of such vast 
importance ; and he can truly declare, that what he 
shall offer is the result of dose observation, seriout 
inquiry, much reading, and long and repeated con- 
sideration. - . " . ■ 

It is not improbable that be may be . accused of 
deviating from his proper line, and of. impertinently 

. interfering in the concerns. of a profession, to which 
he does not belong. If it were necessary, however, 
to defend himself against this charge,.. he might 
shelter himself under the authority of many most 
respectable examples. But to such an accusation 

' surely it may be sufficient to reply, that it is the duty 
of every man to promote the happiness of- his fellow 
creatures to the utmost of his power ; and that he 
who thinks he sees many around him, whom he 
esteems and loves, labouring under a fatal error, must 
have a cold heart, or a most confined notion of bene- 
volence, if he could withhold bis endeavours to set 
them right, from an apprehension of incurring the 
imputationof omciousness. 

But he might also allege, as a full justification, 
not only that Religion is the business of every one, 
but that its advancement or decline in any country 
is so intimately connected with the temporal interests 
of society, as to render it the peculiar concern of a 
political man ; and that what he may presume to 
offer on the subject of Religion may perhaps be pe- 
rused with less jealousy and more candour, from the 
very 



very'cireuihstahce of its having been written by a 
Layman, which mnat at least exclude the idea, an 
idea sometimes illiberally suggested to take off the 
effect of the works of Ecclesiastics, that it is prompted 
by motives of self-interest, or of professional pre* 
jttdice. 

But if die writer's apology should not be found in 
the worlc ittelf, and in his avowed motive for under- 
taking it ; in vain would he endeavour to satisfy his 
readers by any excuses: he will therefore proceed, 
without farther preamble, to lay before them a 
general statement of his design. 

The main object which he has in view is, not to 
convince the Sceptic, or to answer the arguments of 
persons who avowedly oppose the fundamental doc- 
trines of our Keligion ; but to point out the scanty 
and erroneous system of the bulk of those who be- 
long to the class of orthodox Christians, and to con- 
trast their defective scheme with a representation of 
what the author apprehends to be real Christianity. 
Often has it filled him with deep concern, to observe 
in this description of persons, scarcely any distinct 
knowledge of the real nature and principles of the 
Religion which they profess. The subject is of in 
finite importance ; let it not be driven out of our 
minds by the bustle or dissipation of life. This pre- 
sent scene, with all its cares and all its gaieties, will 
soon be rolled away, and " we must stand before the 
" judgment-seat of Christ." This awful considera- 
tion will prompt the writer to express himself with 
greater freedom, than he should otherwise be dis- 
posed to use. And he trusts that this consideration, 
b 3 while 



o 8 k- 



IV INTRODUCTION. 

while it justifies its frankness, will secure to him a 
serious and patient perusal. 

But it would be trespassing on the indulgence of 
the reader to detain him with introductory remarks. 
Let U ohlybe further premised, that if what shall be 
stated should to any appear needlessly austere and ' 
rigid, the writer mast lay in his claim, not to be con- 
demned, without a rair inquiry whether bis state- 
ments do or do not accord with the language of the 
■acred writings. To that test he refers with confi- 
dence- And it must tfe conceded by those who ad- 
mit the authority of Scripture, that from the decision 
of the word of Q.*id there can be no appeal. 



CHAPTER I. 

INADEQUATE CONCEPTIONS OF THE 
iMPORTANCE OF CHRISTIANITY. 

Popular Nations^— Scripture Account. — Ignorance 
in this Case criminal. — Two foist Maxims exposed. 

TJ EFORE we proceed to the consideration of 
■*-* any particular defects in the religious poputar 
system of the bulk of professed Christians, *'»*"'««■. 
it may be proper to point out the very inadequate 
conception which they entertain of the importance 
of Christianity in general, of its peculiar nature, and 
superior excellence. If we -listen to their conversa- 
tion, virtue is praised, and vice is censured; piety is, 
perhaps, applauded, and profaneness condemned. 
So far all is well : but let any one, who would not 
be deceived by these " barren generalities," examine 
a Utile more closely, and he will find, that not to 
Christianity in particular, but at best to Religion in 
general, perhaps to mere Morality, their homage U 
intended to be paid. With Christianity, as distinct 
bin these, tbey are little acquainted ; their views 
of it have been so cursory and superficial, that far 
from discerning its peculiar characteristics,- they 
have little more than perceived .those exterior cir- 
cumstances which distinguish k from other forms of 
Religion.- There are some few facts, and perhaps 
some leading, doctrines and . principles, ot which 
they cannot be wholly ignorant; but of the conse- 
quences, and relations, and practical uses of these, 
they have few ideas, or none at all. 

Does this language seem too strong in speaking 

of professed Christians ? View then their plan of life 

b 3 and 



6 Inadequate Conceptions of 'the fChap. J*. 

and their ordinary conduct ; and let ns ask, wherein 
can we discern the points of discrimination between 
them and acknowledged unbelievers ? In an age 
wherein it is confeffea and lamented that infidelity 
abounds, do we observe in them any remarkable care 
to instruct their children in the principles of the 
faith which they profess, and to furnish them' with 
- arguments for the defence of it i They would blush, 
on their child's coining out into the world, to think 
him defective in any branch of that knowledge, of 
of those accomplishments, which belong to his sta- 
tion in life; and accordingly these are cultivated 
with becoming assiduity. But he is left to collect 
his Religion as he may : the study- of Christianity 
has formed no part of bis education ; and his attach* 
went to it, where any attachment to it exists at all,: 
is, too often, not the preference of sober reason and 
conviction, but merely the result of early and ground- 
less prepossession. He was bora in a Christian 
country ; of course he is a Christian : his father was 
a member of the church of England ; so is he. When 
inch is the religion handed down among us by he- 
reditary succession, it cannot surprise us to observe 
young men of sense and spirit beginning to doubt 
altogether of the truth of the system in which they 
have been brought up, and ready to abandon a sta- 
tion which they are unable to defend. Knowing 
Christianity chiefly in the difficulties which it con- 
tains, and in the impossibilities which are falsely im- 
puted to it, they fall, perhaps, into the company of 
infidels ; where they are shaken by frivolous ob- 
jections and profane cavils, which, bad their reli- 
gious persuasion been grounded in reason and 
argument, would have passed by "them "as the idle 
wind." 

Let us beware before it be too late. No one can 
say into what discredit Christianity may hereby 
grow, at a time when the unrestrained intercourse, 
subsisting among the several ranks and classes of 
society, so much favours the general diffusionrof the 
sentiments 



Sect, t.} JapQrtance.of Ghrittipnity. 7 

sentiments of the higher orders. To annular igno- 
rance may perhaps be ascribed, in no small degree, 
the success with which, in a neighbouring country, 
Christianity has of late years been attacked. Had 
she not been, .wholly unarmed for the contest, how- 
eves she might have been forced f(om her untenable 
posts, and compelled to disembarass herself from her 
load of incumbrances, she never could have been 1 
driven altogether out of the field by her puny assail- 
ants, with all their cavils, and gibes, and sarcasms ; for 
in these consisted the main strength of their petty 
artillery. Let us beware, jest we also suffer from' 
alike cause; hoi lct.it be out crime and our re- 
proach, that in schools, perhaps even in Colleges, 
Christianity is almost if not altogether neglected. ■ - 

It cannot be expected, that they who pay so little 
regard to this great object in the, education of their 
children^ should -lie inure .attentive to it in other' 
parta of. their conduct, where less strongly stimu-. 
Iated by affection, and less obviously loaded with 
responsibility. They are of .coursej. therefore, little 
regardful of the. state of Christianity in then- own 
country; and' still more- indifferent about, com- 
municating the light of divine truth to the nations 
which "still sit in. darkness." 

But Religion, it ma? be replied, is not noisy and 
ostentatious ; it is modest ana private in its nature ; 
it resides in a man's own bosom, and shuns the obser- 
vation .of the multitude. Be it so. 

From the transient and distant view, then, which 
we have been taking of these unassuming Chris- 
tians, let us approach a little nearer,' and listen to 
the unreserved conversation of their' confidential 
hoars. Here, if any where, the interior of the heart 
is laid open, and we may ascertain the true princi- 
ples of their regards and aversions ; the scale by 
which they measure the good and evil of life. Here, 
however, you will discover few .or no traces of 
Christianity. She scarcely finds herself a place 
amidst the many objects. of their hopes, and: fears, 
and joys, and sorrows. Grateful, perhaps, as well 
b 4 indeed 



8 Inadequate. Canctptiwi of tint [Chap'. T. 

indeed they may be grateful, for health, and talents, 
and affluence, and other temporal possessions, they 
scarcely reckon in the number of their blessing* this 
grand distinguishing mark of the bounty of Provi- 
dence. Or ifttiey mention it at all, it is noticed. coldly 
and formaUyi lite one of those obsolete claims, to 
which, though but of small account in the estimate 
of our wealth or power, we think.it as- well, to put in ~ 
our title from considerations of family decorum ox 
of national usage. 

But what more than all the rest establishes th» 
point in question: let their conversation . take . a 
graver turn. Here at length their religion, modest 
and retired as we are how presuming it to be, must} 
be expected to disclose itself; here however you, 
wiH look in -vain for the religion of Jesus. Their 
standard of right and wrong is -not the standard of 
the Gospel : they approve .and oondeinn by a dif- 
ferent rule.: they advance' principles and maintain, 
opinions altogether opposite to the genius and coa- 
' wcter of Christianity. You would fiincyyourselfrather 
among the followers of the old schools of philosophy ;. 
nor is it easy to guess how any one could satisfy 
himself to the contrary, unless by mentioning the 
name of some acknowledged heretic, he should af- 
ford, them an occasion of demonstrating their zeal 
tor the religion of their country. 

TJie truth is, their opinions .on the subject of reli- 
gion are not formed from the perusal of the .word 
of God. The .Bible lies on the shelf unopened : and 
they would be wholly ignorant of its contents, except 
for what they hear occasionally at church, or for the 
faint traces which their memories . nuuy still retain 
of the lessons .of their earliest i- " xy. 

How different, nay, in many respects, how con- 
tradictory, would be the two systems of mere morals, 
of whicb the one should be formed from the com- 
monly received maxims of the Christian world, and 
the other from the study of the Holy Scriptures ! It 
would be curious to remark in any one, who had hi- 
therto 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 1 .J* Importance of Christianity. -g 

therto satisfied himself with the former, the astonish- 
men t which would be excited on his first introduction 
to the Utter. We are not left here to bare conjec- 
ture. This was, in fact, the effect produced on the 
mind of a late ingenious writer*, of whose little 
work, though it bear some marks of his customary 
love of paradox, we must at least confess, that it ex- 
poses, in a strong point of view, the poverty of that 
superficial religion which prevails in oar day ; and 
that it throughout displays that happy perspicuity, 
and grace, which so eminently characterize the 
compositions of its author. But after this willing 
tribute of commendation, we are reluctantly com- 
pelled to remark, that the work in question discredits 
the cause which it was meant to serve by many 
crude and extravagant positions, a defect from which 
no one can be secure who forms a hasty judgment 
of a deep and comprehensive subject, the several 
relations of which have been imperfectly surveyed ; 
and above all, it must be lamented, that it treats the 
great question which it professes to discuss, rather 
as a matter of mere speculation, than as one where- 
in our everlasting interests are involved. Surely 
the writer 's object should have been, to convince hia 
readers of their guilt still more than of their igno- 
rance, and to leave them impressed rather with 6 
■ease of their danger than of their tolly. 

It "were needless to multiply arguments in order 
to prove how criminal the voluntary ignorance, of 
which we have been speaking, must appear in the 
tight of God. It must be confessed by all who 
believe that we are accountable creatures, and to 
such only the writer is addressing himself, that we 
■hall have to answer hereafter to the Almighty for 
all. the means we have here enjoyed of improving 
ourselves, or of promoting the happiness of others.' 
If, when summoned to give an account of our stew- 
ardship, we shall be called upon' to answer for the 
use which we have made of 'our bodily organs, and 

•lliiaioioil lapeifluoui lomiii Mr. Soamu Jbhyiu. 

,GoogIc 



io Inadequate Conceptions of the [ Criap. T. 

of our means of relieving- the wants of our fellow 
creatures ; how much more for the exercise of the 
nobler faculties of our nature, of invention, memory, 
and judgment, and for our employment of every in- 
strument and opportunity of diligent application, and 
' serious reflection, and honest decision. And to what 
subject might We in all reason be expected to apply 
more earnestly, than to that wherein out own eternal 
interests are at issue f When God of his goodness 
hath vouchsafed to grant us such abundant means of 
instruction, in that which we are most concerned to 
know, how great must be the guilt, and bow awful 
tile punishment of voluntary ignorance ! 

And why are we in this pursuit alone to expect' 
knowledge without inquiry, and success without en- 
deavour ? The whole analogy of nature inculcates a 
different lesson ; and our own judgments in matters 
of temporal interest and worldly policy confirm the 
truth ox her suggestions. Bountiful as is the hand 
of Providence, its gifts are not so bestowed as to se- 
duce us into indolence ; but to rouse us to exertion-; 
and no one expects to attain to the height of learn- 
ing, or arts, or power, or wealth, or military glory, 
without vigorous resolution, and strenuous diligence, 
and .steady perseverance. Yet we expect to be 
Christians without labour, study, or inquiry. This 
is the more preposterous, because Christianity, be- 
ing a revelation t'rom God, and not the invention of 
man, discovering to us new relations, with their cor- 
respondent duties; containing also doctrines, motives, 
and precepts, peculiar to itself; we cannot reasonably 
expect to become proficients in it by the accidental 
intercourses of life, as one might learn insensibly the 
maxims of worldly policy, or a scheme of mere 
morals. 

The diligent perusal of the Holy Scriptures would 

.8*ript*rt discover to us our past ignorance. We 

jccDu«t. should cease to be deceived by superficial 

appearances, and to confound the Gospel of Christ 

with 



Sec. i.J Ittfpoitanee'df.Chrittianitp . ' n 

witi* tbc syatenjs of philosophers; to should become 
impressed with the weigbtty truth, so much forgotten - 
in the' present day, that Christianity calk on us, as 
we value our immortal souls, not merely mgenrral, t» . 
be religious and moral, but (penally to believe th«-. 
<loctriiH's,;knbibe -the principles, and practise th?' 
peeceph) of'Chmt. It might beta run into toc«great 
length to confirm this position > beyond dispute by 
express quotations from the word of God. And, not' 
tp anticipate wbat belongs more properly to a'stuV 
asqwent part of the work, it may tie su&ci eat here 
to remark in- general, that Christianity is always re- 1 
presented In: Scripture as the grand, tl» unparalleled 
instance of God s ! bounty to mankind. -iT'his nn- 
speakable gift was graciously: held forth in theori- 
ginal promise to our first parents.; it was predicted 
by a long-continued series of prophets; the subject 
of their prayers, inquiries, and longing expectations. 
In. a world which opposed and persecuted them, It 
was their source of peace, land hope, and consolation.' 
At length it approacbcaV>-*he Desire of all Notions 
—-The long-expected Star-announced its presence—- 
A. multitude of the heavenly host hailed its intro- 
duction, and proclaimed its character; " Glory to 
- * God in the highest, on earth peace, good- will to- 
" wards meW'i The Gospel is every where, repre- 
sented in ,-Scripturo -by' such figures as are most 
strongly -calculated toimpsess, on.' our minds' a sensa 
of its valuer it is spoken of as light from darkness, 
as. release from prison, at deliverance from captivity, 
as life from death. " Lord, now lettest thou- thy 
" Servant depart in, peace, for mine eyes have seen 
*-tby salvation l"t was the exclamation ,v»tii "which It 
was wojeorneduby .the pious Simcuaf, and it wok 
ttmyers8%!(ecet»ed among toe early- con^prts jiaah 
.than k fu 1 ne s a and ^o« ." A t d n e ti m e, -thee onn n umcatioa 
of it is promised as a reward ; at another, the, lossjaf 
it is- threatened a&riiif«niahment. t;Add) short as H 
the fona of pmysr.-taught us bjr.our'blewsd SaYior«\ 
t B-€ the 



o 8 k- 



Hi Inadequate Conception* of the.' [CKap. l.' J . 

the more general extension of the kingdom of Christ 
constitutes one of ita leading petitions. 

> With what exalted, conceptions of the importance 
of Christianity ought we to be rilled by suoh de->* 
scriptious as these I Yet, in tain have we ** line upon 
•* line and precept upon precept." — Thus predicted, 
thus prayed and longed fur, thus announced, charac- 
terized, and rejoiced in, this heavenly treasure though 
poured into our lap in rich abundance, we scarcely 
accept. We turn from it coldly , or at best possess it 
negligently, a* a thing of. no estimation. Bui a doss 
sense of its value would assuredly be impressed apou 
Us by; the diligent study of the 'word of God, that 
hkssadi repository of heavenly truth and consolations 
Thenue is. ia that we. are to learn what we ought to: 
believe and what to practise. And, surely, one would 
think that much importunity mould not he requisite 
la induce, men to a perusal of the sacred volume; 
Reason dictat e s , Revelation commands) "Faith > 
^ comes by hearing, and-hearing by the: Word of 
" God." — " Search the fleripturesi" — " Be ready to 
w give to every ene a reason; of the hope that is ia 
"you." Such are the declarations and injunctions. 
of die inspired writers; injunctions confirmed by 
commendations ef obese who obey the admonition: 
Yet, is it not undeniable ; thnt with the Bible in our 
houses, we are ignorant ef its content?; and that 
hence, in a great ineasuR^itiariaesj.taat.the balk of 
the Christian world know bo little, and mistake K* 
greatly, in what regards the religion which they 
profess i 

This ia not the place for inqjsfring at large, whence 
it is that those who assent to' the. position, that the 
Bible is the Word of God, and wWyrofcsa to »st 
shear, hopws on the Christian, basis, coatewtedly *o- 
■uiiBsee-m a state of suoh lamentable Ignorance'. 
i&» faijs But it may net be impropephere to touch 
»Mia- on two kindred -ttfitMns; from which, 
ffMi „; h» tbe«iifcdjof to*- snortthpughlfal and 
5B>. '..i serious, 



Sec. t/J Importance of Christianity. 13 

serious, this acquiescence appears to derive much 
secret support. The one is, that it signifim little whet 
a mart beli&sex ; look to his practice. The ether (of the 
same fain ily) that sincerity i% all in ail. Let a man's 
opinions and conduct be what they may, yet, pro- 
dded he be sincerely convinced that they are right, 
however the exigencies of civrl society may require 
htm to be dealt with among men, in the sight of God 
he cannot be criminal. 

It would detain as too long fully to set forth the 
-various evils inherent in these favourite positions, 
of which it is surely 'not the least, that they are of 
Unbounded application, comprehending within their 
capacious limits, most of the errors which have been 
received, and many of die meet desperate crimes 
which have been perpetrated among men. Of the 
former- of these maxims, we may remark, mat it 
proceeds on the monstrous supposition already no- 
ticed, that although accountable creatures, we shall 
not be called to account for the exercise of our in- 
tellectual and mental powers. Moreover, it is founded 
en that grossly fallacious assumption, that a man's 
opinions will not influence his practice. The advo- 
cates of this fashionable principle require to be ret 
minded, tfeafr the judgment often receives a corrupt 
bias from the heart and the affections ; that vice is 
the fruitful mrtherof prejudice and error. Forgetful 
of these acknowledged truths, aud confounding the 
most important moral distinctions, they place on the 
same level those who, carefully weeding from their 
hearts every false principle, occupy themselves in a 
sincere and warm pursuit of truth; and those who 
yield themselves implicitly to the opinions) whatever 
they may be, which, early- prepossession may have 
infused, or which passion or interest, or even ac- 
quiescing indolence may have imposed upon- their 
wrindft. 

The latter of the foregoing maxims, that Sincerity 
is all in all, proceeds- on this groundless supposition, 
that the Supreme Being has not' afforded us.' sub 



o 8 k- 



14 Inadequate Conceptions of the [Cnap. I. * 

ficient means of discriminating truth from falsehood, 
right from wrong : and it implies, that be a man's 
opinions or conduct ever so wild and extravagant, 
we are to presume, that they are as much the result 
of impartial inquiry and honest conviction, as if his . 
sentiments and actions had been strictly conformable 
to the rules of reason and sobriety. Never indeed 

. was there a principle more general in its .use, more 
sovereign in its potency. How does its beautiful 
simplicity also, and compendious brevity, give it 
rank before the laborious subtleties of Bellarmin ! . 
Clement, and Ravaillac, and other worthies of ajsiini- 
lar stamp, from whose purity of intention the world 
has hitherto withheld its due tribute of applause, 
would here have found a ready plea; and their in- 
jured innocence should now at*iength receive its lull 
though tardy vindication. " These however," it 
may be replied, " are excepted cases." Certainty 
they are cases of which any one, who maintains the 
opinion in question, would be glad to disencumber, 
himself, because they clearly expose the. unsoundness) 
of his principle. But it wilt be incumbent on such 
an one first to explain with precision why they are 
to be exempted from its operation, and this he will 
find an impossible task ; for sincerity, in its popular 
sense, cannot be made the criterion of guilt and in- 
nocence on any ground, which will not equally serve 
to justify the assassins who have been instanced. 
The conclusion cannot be eluded ; no man was ever 
more fully persuaded of the innocence of any action, 
than those men were convinced, that the horrid deed 
they were aboutto perpetrate was, not merely law- 
ful, but highly meritorious.. Thus Clement and, 
Ilavaillac being unquestionably sincere,' they were 
therefore indubitably innocent. Nay, the absurd and 
pernicious tendency of tins-principle might^be shewn 
to be even greater than what hus yet been stated, ' 
It would scarcely be going too far to assert, that 

.whilst it scorns the .defence of 'petty villains, who 

•till retain the semftiof .good aod evil,-it holds forth, 

' " lik* 



Sect, i.] Importance of Christianity. 15 

like some well-frequented sanctuary a secure asylum 
to more finished criminals, who, from long habits of 
wickedness, are lost to the perception no "less than to 
the practice of virtue; and that it selects a seared 
conscience, and a callous heart, and a mind insensible 
to all moral distinctions, as the special objects of its 
vindication. Nor is it only in profane history, that 
instances are to be found like those which we have 
mentioned, of persons committing the greatest crimes 
with a sincere conviction of the rectitude of their con- 
duct. Scriptore will afford us parallels ; and it was 
surely to guard us against the very error which we 
have been now exposing, that our blessed Saviour 
forewarned his disciples: " The lime cometh, that 
** whosoever kifleth you, will think that he doeth God 



A principle like this must then be abandoned, and 
the advocates for sincerity must be com- rrue jin- 
pelled to restore this abused term to its certy. 
genuine signification; and to acknowledge, 
that it must imply honesty of mind, a faithful use of 
the means of knowledge and improvement, a desire 
of being instructed, humble inquiry, impartial con- 
sideration, and unprejudiced judgment. It is 'to 
■these we would earnestly call you ; and to such dis- 
positions of mind, ever to be accompanied with fer- 
vent prayer for the divine blessing, Seripture every 
where holds forth the most animating promises. 
*' Ask- and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, 
" knock and it shall be opened unto you ; Ho i every 
** one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters;" such 
are the comfortable assurances, such the gracious 
encouragements held out to the truly sincere inquir- 
er. How deep will be our guilt if we slight all these 
■benevolent oners. " How many prophets and kings 
■" have desired to hear the things that we hear, and 
*<• have not heard them!" Great indeed are our op- 
portunities, great also is our responsibility. Let ws 
awake to a true sense of our situation. Every con- 
+■ lideiation 



iS Inadequate Conceptions of the [Chap. II. 

sideration is presented to us that can alarm our fears, 
or animate our industry. How soon may the bright- 
ness of our meridian sun be darkened ! Or, should 
the long suffering of God still continue to us the 
mercies which we so much abuse, this will only ag- 
gravate our crime, and in the end enhance our pu- 
nishment. The time of reckoning will at length 
arrive. And when finally summoned to the bar of 
God, to give an account of our stewardship, what 
plea can we have to urge in our defence, if we remain 
willingly. and obstii.ately ignorant of the way which 
leads to life, with such transcendent means of know- 
ing it, and such urgent motives to its pursuit f 

CHAPTER II. 

CORRUPTION" OP HUMAN MATURE. 



Inadequate Conceptions of the Corruption of 
Human Nature. 



AFT 
** im 



iFT ER considering the defective notions of the 
*■ importance of Christianity in general, which 
Papular prevail among the higher orders, of pro- 
aMMHt- leased Christians, the particular misconcep- 
tions which first come under our notice, respect 
the corruption and weakness of human nature. This 
is a topic on which it is possible that many into 
whose hands the present work shall fall, may not 
have bestowed much attention. If the case be so, 
it may be requisite to entreat them to lend a patient 
and a serious ear. The subject is of the deepest 
import. Nor are we afraid of going too far wnen 
we assert, that it lies at the very root of all true Re- 
ligiou, and is eminently the basis and ground-work 
ol Christianity. 

So far as the wri.er has had an opportunity of 

remarking, the generality of professed Christians 

among 



Sect. i.] Corruptions of Human Nature. 17 
among the higher classes, either altogether overlook 
or deny, or at least greatly extenuate, the corruption 
and weakness here in question. . They acknowledge 
indeed that there is, and ever has been in the world, 
a great portion of vice and wickedness ; that man- 
kind have been ever prone to sensuality and selfish- 
ness, in disobedience to the more refined and liberal 
principles of their nature ; that in all ages and coun- 
tries, in public and in private life, innumerable in- 
stances have been afforded of oppression, of rapacity, 
of cruelty, of fraud, of envy, and of malice. They. 
own that it is too often in vain that you inform the 
understanding, and convince the judgment. They 
admit that yon do not thereby reform the hearts of 
men. Though they know their duty, they will not 
practise it ; no not even when you have forced them 
to acknowledge that the path of virtue is also that 
of real interest, and of solid enjoyment. 

These facts are certain ; they cannot be disputed • 
and they are at the same time so obvious, that one 
would have thought the celebrated apophthegm of 
the Grecian sage, " the majority are wicked,'' would 
scarcely have established his claim to intellectual su- 
periority. 

But though these effects of human depravity are 
every where acknowledged and lamented, we must 
not expect to find them traced to their true origin. 

Cams I«te(, tu est noliausa. 

Prepare yourself to hear rather of frailty and inBrmity, 
of petty transgressions, of occasional failings, of sud- 
den sorprisaitf, and of such other qualifying tenuis 
as may serve to keep out of view the true source of 
the evil, and without shocking the understanding, 
may. administer consolation to the pride of human 
nature. The bulk of professed Christians are used 
to speak of man as of a being, who naturally pure, 
and inclined to all virtue, is sometimes, almost in- 
voluntarily, drawn out of the right course, or is 
overpowered by the violence of temptation. Vice 



i8 Ing&quaU Cem&tbm of, the ■ [CbBp.lt. 

with them is, rather all accidental and' temporary, 
than a constitutional and habitual distemper ; a nox- 
ious plant, which, though found to live and even to 
thrive in the human m-iad, is not the natural growth 
and production of the soil. . . 

Far different is. the humiliating language of Chrjs- 
Tnu ac- tianity. From it we learn that mas is am 
«ant pm- apog^^ creature, fallen from his high ori- 
Xe«fht mi g ma h degraded in his nature, and depraved 
Scripture, in his faculties: indisposed to good, and 
disposed to evil ; prone to vice — it is natural and easy 
to him; disinclined to virtue — it is difficult and labo- 
rious; he is tainted with sin, not slightly and superfi- 
cially, butradicaily and to the very core. That such « 
the Scripture account of man, however mortifying 
the acknowledgment of it may be to our pride, 
one would think, if this very corruption itself did 
not warp the judgment, none would he hardy enough 
\o attempt to controvert. I know nothing which 
brings home so forcibly to my own feehflgs the 
truth of this Representation, as the consideration of 
what still remains to us of qur primitive dignity, 
when contrasted with our present state of moral de- 
gradation, 

" Into wbit depth thoi Kutj 
"Fraattlui height fatten."' ■- ' 

Examine first with attention the natural powers 
and faculties of man; invention, reason, judgment, 
memory ; a mind " of large discourse," " looking 
" before and after," reviewing the past, thence de- 
termining for the present,, and anticipating the 
future; discerning, collecting, combining, compar- 
ing; capable, not merely of apprehending, hut of 
admiring, the beauty of moral excellence: with 
fear and hope to warn and animate; with joy and 
sorrow to solace and soften ; with love to attach, 
with sympathy to harmonize, with courage to at- 
tempt, with patience to endure, and with the power 
. of conscience, that faithful monitor within the breast, 



Sect, aj ' Ctr+uptiott cf Hitman Nature. '-. 19 
to enforce the conclusions of. reason, and direct 
and regulate the passions of the soul. . Truly we 
must pronounce him "majestic though in ruin." 
" Happy, happy, world !" would be the exclamation, 
of the inhabitant of gome other planet, on being 
told of a globe like ours, peppled with such creatines, 
as these, and abounding with situations and occa- 
sions to call-forth the multiplied excellencies of their 
nature. " Happy, happy world, with what delight 
" most your great Creator and Governor witness 
** your conduct, and what a glorious recompense 
** awaits you when your term ofprobation shaUhavc 
"_ expired." b 

" I, bone, quo firtus toa te TQCat, i pede fautto, 
" Gi*ndi« Is turns meritorum pedemia." 

But we have indulged too long in these delightful 
speculations; a sad reverse presents itself, on our. 
survey of the actual state of man ; when, from view-. 
ing his natural powers, we follow him into practice, 
and see the uses to which he applies them. Take 
in the whole of the prospect, view him in every age, 
and climate, and nation, in every condition and pe- 
riod of society. Where now do you discover the 
characters of his exalted nature? " How is the gold 
" become dim, and the fine gold changed I" How U 
bis reason clouded, his affections perverted, his con- 
science atupified! How do anger, and envy, and 
hatred, and revenge, spring up in his wretched* 
bosom ! How is he a slave to the meanest of his ap- 
petites ! What fatal propensities does he discover to 
evil ! What inaptitude to good 1 

Dwell awhile on the state of the ancient world ; 
not merely on that benighted part of it where all lay 
buried in brutish ignorance and barbarism, but on 
the seats of civilized and. polished nations, on the 
empire of taste, and learning, and philosophy : yet 
in these chosen regions, with whatever lustre the 
sun of science poured forth its rays, the moral dark- 
ness was so thick " that it might be felt." Beltold their 
sottish idolatries, their absurd superstitions, then- 
want 



o 8 k- 



SO Inadequate Conceptions of the [Chap. II. 
want of natural affection, their brutal excesses, their 
unfeeling oppression, their savage cruelty! Look 
not to the illiterate and the vulgar, but to the learned 
and refined. Form not your ideas from the conduct 
of the less restrained and more licentious ; you will 
turn away with disgust and shame from the allowed 
and familiar habits of the decent and the moral. St. 
Paul best states the facts, and furnishes the expla- 
nation ; " because they did not like to retain God 
" in their knowledge, he gave them over to a 
* reprobate mind *. 

Now direct your view to another quarter, to the 
inhabitants of a new hemisphere, where the baneful 
practices and contagious example of the old world 
had never travelled. Surely, among these children 
of nature we may expect to find those virtuous ten- 
denciesy for which we have hitherto looked in vain ! 
Alas! oursearch will still be fruitless! They are re- 
presented by the historian of America, whose account 
is more favourable than those of some other great 
authorities, as being a compound of pride, indolence, 
selfishness, cunning, fad crueltrf; full of a revenge 
which nothing could satiate, of a ferocity which 

• Eiempla dno, qu» pravitalis humane lira animn meo Inculen- 
t*r eihibent,non ptofene noil uoaram. Alleidm, decern ille Virjjilius, 
alteram Cicero, probua idem ve rique smaioim, luppedital, Virgiliuc, 
maocueoi eerie plitunim ntim Oepicturm. ita incipil. 

" Fornioinm paltor jyorydon ardetiai Aletim.** 

Cicero in iibro da OfficMs prime, uhi de adiunbbm preut inter ea 
■pie & convenfenlei lint, loci tewporia, Gc agcntit ratioiie habits, dia- 
- eerit, argument um lie illuitrat : " Turpe en enim, <nliteque vitamin]* 
in re severs, convirio dignnin, nut delicatuin, ahquem inferre aerroo- 
nejn. Bene Pe ride*, qiiiira habere! collegam iu prietura Sophocleni 
poetam, hiqoe de communi officio coiivrniueni, i* caau foriousu» puer 
prMteriret, diiisaetque Sofihuclei, O puerura pulchram Pe.rjc.le I At 
eiiim, inquit Perielei. pralurem Sophuclem decet non solum ramiui, 
ted etiaro oenl™ abstinemei habere. AtrjuJ boc idem Sophoclea, » in 
■thleiararn probatione diaiuet, junta viprehauiant caruiuet, UUUa via 
W, $ foci i temymii. " 

Quornodo sese re» habuirae neceue eft, euro vir entiqiioraiD pre- 
•tintisiimii adscribciiduj, philojophiam, Immo moiei U otfida tractan*, 
talra daceret 1 Qsaleat, sibi ipie virtutia nnrmaai propoiuerat, iBtia 
Ikpiet. Vide inter alia, jm!a rrjn-efteiuiene, iic. it tanta vis tit, kc. 

fco. 

t Kobeilscn, Vol. li. p. 139. 

nothing 



Sect. 2.] Corruption of Human Naturt- si 

nothing could soften ; strangers to the most amiable 
.sensibilities of nature*. They appeared incapable 
of conjugal affection, or parental fondness, or filial 
reverence, or social attachments ; uniting too with 
their state of barbarism, many of the vices and 
■weaknesses of polished society. Their horrid treat- 
ment of captives taken in war, on whose bodies they 
feasted, after putting them to death by the most 
cruel tortures, is so well known, that we may spare 
the disgusting recital. No commendable qualities 
relieve this gloomy picture, except fortitude, and 
perseverance, and aeal for the welfare of their little 
community ; if this last quality, exercised and di- 
rected as it was, can be thought deserving of com- 
mendation. 

But you give up the heathen nations- as indefen- 
sible, and wish rather to form your estimate of man 
from a view of countries which have been blessed 
with the light of Revelation.— True it is, and with 
joy let us record the concession, Christianity bus set 
the general tone of morals much higher than it was 
ever found in the Pagan world. She has every 
where improved the character of man, and multiplied 
the comforts of society, particularly to the poor and 
the weak, whom from the beginning she professed 
to take under her special patronage. Like her divine 
Author, " who sends his rain on the evil and on the 
" good," she showers down unnumbered blessings oa 
thousands who profit from her bounty, while they 
forget or deny her power, and set at nought her au- 
thority. Yet even in this more favoured situation 
we -shall discover too many lamentable proofs of the 
aepravity of man. Nay, the depravity will now 
become even more apparent and less excusable. 
For what bars doesit not now overleap i Over what 
motives is it not now victorious? Consider well the 
superior light and advantages which we enjoy, and 
then appreciate the superior obligations which are 

• Ibid. Boo* IV. Sect, ». Hud, Cenditiim of Wonwi, vol- "■ **». 
40,91, 

imposed 



iJ Jntdequiitt Conception of the [Chap. II. 

imposed on us. Consider in how many cases our 
evil propensities are now kept from breaking forth, 
by the superior restraints under which vice is laid 
among us by positive laws, and by the amended 
standard of public opinion ; and we may be assisted 
in conjecturing what force is to be assigned to these 
motives, by the dreadful proofs winch have been 
lately exhibited in a neighbouring country, that 
when their influence is withdrawn, the most atro- 
cious crimes can be perpetrated shamelessly and in 
the face of day. Consider then the superior excel- 
lence of our moral code, the new principles of obe- 
dience furnished by the Gospel, and above all, the 
-awful sanction which the doctrines and precepts of 
Christianity derive from the clear discovery of a 
future state of retribution, and from the annunciation 
of that tremendous day, " when we shall stand be- 
" fore the judgment-seat of Christ." Yet, in spite 
of all our knowledge, thus enforced and pressed 
home by so solemn a notice, how little has been our 
progress in. virtue? It has been by no means such 
as to prevent the adoption, in our days, of various 
maxims of antiquity, which, when well considered, 
too clearly establish the depravity of man. It may 
not be amiss to adduce a lew instances in proof of 
this assertion. It is now no less acknowledged than 
heretofore, that prosperity hardens the heart : that 
unlimited power is ever abused, instead of being ren- 
dered the instrument of diffusing happiness : that 
habits of vice grow up of themselves, whilst those of 
virtue are of slow ana difficult formation ; that they 
who draw the finest pictures of virtue, and seem 
most enamoured of her charms, are often the least 
under her influence, and by the merest trifles are 
drawn aside from that line of conduct, which they 
most seriously recommend to others : that all this 
takes place, though most of the pleasures of vice are 
to be found with less alloy in the paths of virtue: 
whilst at the same time, these paths afford superior 
and more exquisite delights, peculiar to themselves, 
■ ' and 



Sect,, i.} . Corruption of Human Naturt. tj 
and are free from the diseases and bitter remorse, 
at the price of which vicious gratifications are so 
often purchased. 

It may suffice to touch very slightly on some 
other arguments, which it would hardly be right to 
leave altogether unnoticed : one of these, the justice 
of which, however denied by superficial moralists, 
parents of strict principles can abundantly testify, 
may be drawn from the perverse and ftoward dis- 
positions perceivable in children, the correction of 
which too often baffles the most strenuous efforts of 
the wise and good. Another may he drawn from 
the various deceits we arc apt to practise on our- 
selves, to which no one can be a stranger, who has 
ever contemplated the operations of his own mind 
with serious attention. To the influence of this 
species of corruption it has been in a great degree 
owing, that Christianity itself -has been too often 
disgraced. The gospel of peace has been turned 
into an engine of cruelty, and amidst the bitterness 
of persecution, every trace has disappeared of the 
mild and beneficent spirit of the religion of Jesus. 
In what degree must the taint have worked itself 
into the frame, and corrupted the habit, when the 
most wholesome nutriment can be thus converted 
into the deadliest poison f Wishing always to argue 
from such premises as are not only really sound, but 
from such as cannot even be questioned by those to 
whom this work is addressed, little was said in repre- 
senting the deplorable state of the heathen world, 
respecting their defective and unworthy conceptions 
in what regards the Supreme Being, who even then 
.* left not himself without witness, but gave them 
" rain and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with 
" food and gladness." But surely to any who call 
themselves Christians, it may be justly urged as an 
astonishing instance of human depravity, that we 
ourselves, who enjoy the fulHi$,ht of Revelation ; 
to whom God has vouchsafed such clear. discoveries 
of what we are concerned to know of his being and 
attributes j 

-Google' 



24 Inadequate Conceptions of the [Chap. II. 

attribute*; who profess to believe " that in him we 
" live, and move, and have our being;" that to him 
we owe all the comforts we here enjoy, and the offer 
of eternal Glory, purchased for us by the atoning 
blood of his own Son ; " thanks be to God for his 
" unspeakable gift," that we, thus loaded with mer- 
cies, should be continually chargeable with f«r- 
fettiug his authority, and being ungrateful for his 
enefits; with slighting his gracious proposals* or 
at best receiving them with cold and unaffected 
hearts. 

But to put the question concerning the natural de- 
pravity or man to the severest test: take the best of 
the human species, the watchful self-denying Chris- 
tian ^ and let hhn decide the controversy ; not. by in- 
ferences drawn from the practices of a thoughtless 
and dissolute world, but by an appeal to his per- 
sonal experience. Go with him into his closet, ask 
him his opinion of the corruption of die heart ; and 
he will tell you that he is deeply sensible of its 
power, for that he has learned it from much self-ob- 
servation and long acquaintance with the wordings 
of his own mind. He will tell you, that every day 
strengthens this conviction; yea, that hourly he sees 
fresh reason to deplore his want of simplicity in in- 
tention, his infirmity of purpose, his- low views, his 
selfish unworthy desires, his backwardness to set 
about his duty, his languor and coldness in per- 
forming it: that he finds himself obliged continually 
to confess, that he feels within him two opposite 
principles, and that " he cannot do the things that 
" he would." He cries out in; the language of the 
excellent Hooker : " The little fruit which we have 
" in holiness, it is, God knoweth, corrupt and un- 
" sound : we put no confidence at ail in it, we cbal- 
" lenge nothing in the world for it; we dare not call 
" God to reckoning, as if we bad. him in our debt- 
" books; our continual suit to him , is, and must be, 
"' to bear with our imuiaities, and pandon our 

Such 



Sect, i.] Corruption of Rumen Nature.- 25 
Such is the moral history, Buch the condition 
of man. The figures of the piece may vary, 
and the colouring may sometimes be of a darker, 
sometimes of a lighter hue; but the principle! 
of the composition, the grand dutlines are every 
where the same. Wherever we direct our view, 
we discover the melancholy proofs of our de- 
pravity; whether we look to ancient or modern 
times, to barbarous or civilized nations, to the 
conduct of the world around us, or to the monitor 
within the breast ; whether we read, or hear, or 
act, or think, or feel, the same humiliating lesson 
is forced upon us, 

Jupiter eat quoiicnnqur ridci, quocunque rioverii. 

Now when we look back to the picture which 
was formerly drawn of the natural poteen of man, 
and compare this his actual- state with that for 
which, from a consideration of those powers, he 
teems to have been originally designed, how are; 
we to account for the astonishing contrast ! will 
frailty or infirmity, or occasional lapses, or sud- 
den surprisals, or any such qualifying terms, 
convey an adequate idea of the nature of the dis- 
temper, or point out its cause ? How, on any 
principles of common reasoning, can we account 
for it, but by conceiving that man, since be came 
out of the hands of Iris Creator, has contracted » 
taint, and that the venom of this subtle poison 
has been communicated throughout the race of 
Adam, every where exhibiting incontestable, 
marks of its fatal malignity? Hence it has 
arisen, that the appetites deriving new strength, 
and the powers of reason and conscience being 
weakened, the latter have feebly and impotently 
+- . C pleaded 



to* Inadequate Conception* of the [Chap. II. 
pleaded against those forbidden indulgences which 
the former have solicited. Sensual gratifications 
and illicit affections have debased our nobler 
powers, and indisposed our hearts, to the disco- 
very of God, and to the consideration of his 
perfections ; to a constant willing submission to 
his authority, and obedience to his laws. By a 
repetition of vicious acts, evil habits have been 
formed within us, and have ri vetted the fetters 
of sin. Left to the consequences of our own 
folly, the understanding lias grown darker, and 
the heart more obdurate ; reason has at length 
betrayed her trust, and even conscience herself 
has aided the delusion, till, instead of deploring 
our miserable condition, we have too often hugged 
our chains, and even gloried in our ignominious 
bondage. 

Such is the general account of the progress; 
of vice, where it is suffered to attain to its full 
growth in the human heart. The circumstances 
of individuals indeed will be found to diffei ; to 
continue a figure so exactly descriptive of the 
case, the servitude of some is more rigorous 
than that of others, their bonds more galling, 
their degradation more complete. Some too 
have for a while appeared almost to have escaped 
from their confinement; but none are altogether 
free ; all without exception, in a greater or jess 
degree, bear about them more visibly or more 
'concealed, the disgraceful marks of their cap- 
tivity. 

Such on a full and fair investigation, must be 

confessed to be the state of facts-; and how can 

this be accounted for on any other supposition, 

than that of some . original taint, some radical 

principle 



Sect. i.] Corruption of .Human Nature, *rj 
principle of* corruption ? All other solutions ate 
unsatisfactory, whilst the potent cause which 
has been assigned, does abundantly, and can alone 
sufficiently, account for the effect. It appears 
then, that the corruption of human nature is 
proved by the same mode of reasoning, as that 
which hath been deemed conclusive in establish- 
ing the existence of the principle of gravitation 
and in ascertaining its laws; that the doctrine 
rests on that solid basis oij which Newton hath 
raised the superstructure of his sublime philoso- 
phy ; that it is not a mere speculation ; .an uncer- 
tain, though perhaps an ingenious theory, but the 
sare result of large and actual experiment; de- 
duced from incontestable facts, and still more fully 
approving its truth by harmonizing with the seve- 
ral parts, and accounting for the various pheno- 
mena, jarring otherwise and inexplicable, of the 
great system of the universe. 

Here, however, Revelation interposes, and sus- 
tains the fallible conjectures of our unassisted 
reason . The Holy Scriptures speak of us as 
fallen creatures; in almost every page we shall 
find something that is calculated to abate the 
loftiness, and silence the pretensions of man. 
" The imagination of man's- heart is evil from 
" his youth." " What is man, that he should 
" be clean ? and he wfiich is born of a woman, 
" that he should be tighteous*." " How much 
" more abominable and filthy is man, which 
" drtoketh iniquity like water + ? * " The Lord 
" looked down from heaven upon the children 
" of men, to see if there were any that did un- 
" derstand, and seek God. They are all gone 

• Job. t*. 14. t Ibid. 16. 

c l " aside; 



l5* Corruption of Human Nature. [Chop, It. 
"aside; they are altogether become filthy : 

' " there is none that doeth good, no Dot one *." 
" Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I 
" am pure from my sin+?" " The heart is de- 

'" ceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, 

."" who can know it." " Behold, I- was shapen. 
" in wickedness, and in sin hath my mother 
" conceived me." " We were by nature the 
" children of wrath, even as others, fulfilling 
" the desires of the flesh and of the mind." " O 
" wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
" from the body of this death ! " — Passages 
might be multiplied upon passages, which speak 
the same language, and these again might be 
illustrated and confirmed by various other con- 
siderations, drawn from the same sacred source ; 
inch as those which represent a thorough change, 
a renovation of our nature, as being necessary to 
our becoming true Christians; or which are sug- 
gested by observing that holy men refer their 
good dispositions and affections to die immediate 
agency of the Supreme Being. 



Evil Spirit.— Natural State of Man. 

BUT the word of God instructs us that we have 
Evit Spirit, to contend not only with our own natural 
depravity, but with the power of darkness, the Evit 
Spirit, who rules in the hearts of the wicked, and 
whose dominion we learn from Scripture to he 

f Fnlm, ijr. 1,9. t Frur. i*. 9. 



Sect, a.] Dnctriuevftkt Blil Spirit. %y 

sit general, as to entitle him to the denomination of 
"the Prmce of this world." There cannot be'8 
stronger proof of the difference which exists between 
the religious system of the Scriptures, - and* that of 
the bulk of nominal Christians, than the proof which 
is afforded by the subjeet now in question. The 
existence and agency of the Evil Spirit, though so 
distinctly and repeatedly affirmed in Scriptnre, are 
almost universally exploded in ft country which 
professes to admit the authority of the sacred Vo- 
lume. Some other Doctrines of Revelation,' the 
force and meaning of which are commonly in "a 
great degree explained away, are yet conceded in 
jreDefal terms. But this seems almost oh the point 
of being universally abandoned, as a post no 
longer tenable. It is regarded as an evanescent ' 
prejudice, which it would now be a discredit- to any 
man of understanding to believe. ■ Like ghosts and 
"itches and other phantoms, which haunted the 
night of superstition, it cannot in these more en- 
lightened times, stand the test of our severer scru- 
tiny. To be suffered to pass away quietly, is as 
much as it can hope for; and it might rAther expect 
to.be laughed off the stage as a just object of con- 
tempt and derision. 

But although the Scripture doctrine concern'rhg 
the Evil Spirit is thus generally exploded, yet wdre 
we to consider the matter seriously and fairly, tve 
should probably find ground for believing that there 
is no better reason for its being abandoned, than, 
that many absurd stories, concerning spirits and ap- 
paritions, have been commonly propagated amongst 
weak and credulous people; and that the Evil Spirit 
not being the object of our bodily eyes, it Would 
argue the same weakness to give credit to the doc- 
trine of its existence and agency. But to be con- 
sistent With ourselves, we inigbt almost as well, on 
the same principle, deny the reality of all other m*- 
corporeal beings. What is there, in truth, in the 
doctrine, which is in itself improbable, or which is 
c 2 not 

, , .Un.glc 



38 Natural Staff of Man. [Chap- II. 

not confirmed by analogy ? We see, in fact; that 
there are wicked men, enemies to God, and malig- 
nant towards their fellow-creatures, who take plea- 
sure, and often succeed, in seducing others to the 
commission of evil. Why then should it be deemed 
. incredible, that there may be spiritual intelligence's 
of similar propensities, who may in like manner be 
permitted to tempt men to the practice of sin ? 
Surely we may retort upon our opponents the 
charge of absurdity, and justly dccuse them of gross 
inconsistency, in admitting, without, difficulty, the 
existence and operation of these qualities in a being 
like man, compounded of matter and spirit, and yet 
denying them in a purely spiritual Being, in direct 
contradiction to the authority of Scripture, which 
they allow to be conclusive, when they cannot pre- 
tend for a moment, that there is any thing belong- 
ing to the nature of matter, to which these qualities 
naturally adhere. 

But it is needless to dilate farther on a topic 
which, however it may excite the ridicule of the in- 
considerate, will suggest matter of serious appre- 
hension to all who form their opinions on a sincere 
and impartial examination of the word of God. It 
fills up the measure of our natural misery and help- 
lessness. Such then being our condition, thus de- 
praved and weakened within, and tempted from 
without, it may well fill our hearts with anxiety to 
reflect, " that the day will come," when " the Hea- 
M vens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the ele- 
" ments shall melt with fervent heat ;" " when ' the 
" dead, small and great, shall stand before the tri- 
" banal of God," and we shall have to give ac- 
count of all things done in the body. W'-e are 
naturally prompted to turn over the page of Reve- 
lation with solicitude, in order to discover the attri- 
butes and character of our Judge ; hut these only 
serve to turn paiuful apprehension into fixed and 
certain terror. 

First with regard to the attributes of our Jndge. 

";■"'■ As 



Sect! 2-3 Natural State of Man. eg 

As all nature bears witness to his irresistible power, 
so we read in Scripture that nothing can escape his 
observation, or elude his discovery; not only our 
actions, but our most secret cogitations axe open to 
his view. " He is about our path and about our 
" bed, and spieth out all our ways*." The Lord 
" searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the 
" imaginations of the thoughts f ." — " And he will 
" bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and 
" wiB make Manifest the counsels of the heart." 

Now, hear bis character, and the rule of his award: 
"The Lord our God is a consuming fire, even a 
"jealous God "— " He is of purer eyes than to be- 
" bold iniquity." — "The soul that sinneth, it shall 
" die." — "The wages of sin is death." — " Without 
" holiness no man shall see the Lord." These 
positive declarations are enforced by the accounts 
which, for our warning, we read in sacred history, 
of the terrible vengeance of the Almighty: His 
punishment of " the angels who kept not their 
" first estate, and whom he hath reserved in ever- 
" lasting chains under darkness unto the judg- 
" stent of the great day :" The rate of Sodom and 
-Gomorrah; the sentence issued against the ido- 
latrous nations of Canaan, and of which the execUf , 
tion was assigned to the Israelites, by the express 
command of God, at their own peril in case ot dis- 
' obedience: The ruin of Babylon, of Tyre, ofNineveh, 
•ad of Jerusalem, prophetically denounced as the 
punishment of their crimes, and taking place in an 
exact and terrible accordance with the divine pre* 
dictions. Surely these examples may suffice to con- 
found that fallacious confidence, which, presuming 
on the Creator's knowledge of our weakness, and his 
disposition to allow for it, should allege, that instead 
of giving way to gloomy apprehensions, we might 
throw ourselves, in full assurance of hope, on the in- 
finite benevolence of the Supreme Being. It is true, 
indeed, that with the threatningg of the word of God, 
there are mixed many gracious declarations of par' 
• Phlffl csisht. i. t 1 Own. uriii. 9. 

03 , - x.oo^tofit 



30 Natural Stale of Ma*. [Chap. II. 

don, on repentance, and. thorough amendment, B,ut, 
alas ! who is. there among us whose conscience must 
not reproach him with having tcifled with the long- 
suffering of.Giod, and with having but ill .kept the 
resolution*, of ajnendment, which had hem formed in 
the seasons of. recollection and ctraorae ?— And how 
is the disquietude naturally excited by such a retro- 
spect, continued- and heightened by passages like 
these? " because I base'.caUcd, and ye reused ;. I' 
" have stretched out myhandy and no man regarded; 
"but- ye have set at nought all my. counsel,, and 
'f would none of my reproof; I ; also will, laugh at- 
" your calamity ; I will mock when your, fear com- 
** elh : when, your fear oomethas desolation, and 
u your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; wbe» 
" distress and anguish cometh up an. you : then shale 
H thsy call upon me, but I will not answer.; they 
"shall, seek me early, but [hey shall, not find; nw ; 
* for that they hated knowledge, and did not oblige 
u the fear of the Lord*." The apprehensions, which, 
must be excited by thus reading the recorded judg- 
ments and awful language of Scripture, are cyiifinji- 
ed to the inquisitive and attentive mind by a close 
observation of the moral constitution of ; the world. 
In fact, all that has. been suggested of the rnial con- 
sequences of vice, is strictly analogous to what we 
may observe in the ordinary course, of human affairs i 
from a careful survey of which it will appeary that 
God hath established such an order of causes and] 
effects, as, however interrupted here below, by huj- 
drances and obstructions apparently of a temporary 
nature, loudly proclaim the principles of hjsmoiat 
government, and strongly suggest that vice and ira- 
prudence will nnally terminate in misery (a).- ■ Not 
that this species of proof was wanted ; for that which* 
ve must acknowledge, on weighing the evidence, tuj 
be a revelation from God, requires not the aid of 
■uch a confirmation : but yet, .as this accordance 
might be expected between the words and the wotka 

• Prot. i>24£5» 36, Vt, IS, ». (t&Xito Bellei'i Awlogj. 

' sic »f 



Sqcf.ft.3" Natural State of Man. 3j 

of the same Almighty Being, it is no idle speculation 
to remark> that, the visible constitution ot things in 
the world around us, fulls in with the scriptural re- 
presentations jof the dreadful consequences of vice, 
lay even of what is commonly termed inconstderate- 
ness and imprudence. 

If such then be indeed our sad condition, what is 
to be done i Is there no hope ? Nothing left for us, 
" bu( a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery 
" indignation, which shall devour the ad- r , ■„■ 
"versanes*r Jilcssed be God! we are ity break* 
not, shut up irrecoverably in this sad con- ■"■ 
dition ; " Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners 
" of hope ;" hear one who proclaims his designation, 
" to heal the broken-hearted, to preach liberty to 
" the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind." 
They who have formed a true notion of their lost 
and helpless state, will most gladly listen to the 
sound, and most justly estimate the value, of such a 
deliverance. And hence appears the importance of 
not passing over in a cursory manner those import- 
ant topics of the "original and superinduced corrup- 
tion, and weakness of man ; a discussion painful and 
humiliating to the pride of human nature, to which 
the mind listens with difficulty, nay with a mixture 
of anger and disgust; but well suited to our case, 
and like the distasteful lessons of adversity, perma- 
nently useful in its consequences. It is here, never 
let it be forgotten, that our foundation p^,;^ 
mustbelaid; otherwise bur superstructure, impart. 
whatever we may think of it, will one day mcemd 
prove tottering and insecure. This there- f " . ? , 
tore |s not a metaphysical speculation, but of Hunan 
a practical matter. Slight and superficial &»t»p- 
conceptions of our state of natural degra- " D "' 
dation, and of our insufficiency, to recover from it 
by our own unassisted powers, fall in too well with 
our natural inconstderatencss, and produce (hat fatal 
ip^eusi b'iiity to the divine thrcatnings which we 
: •Heh.i.sr,' 

; c'4_ eannot 

, , ,GoogIc 



3* ."- . Doctrine of Human Corruption. [Chap. IT. 
cannot but observe to prevail so generally. Having 
no, due sense of the- malignity oiour disease, and or 
its dreadful issue, we do not set ourselves to work m 
earnest to obtain the remedy, and it can. only be thus 
-Qbtaiired; for let it be remembered, that deliverance 
lit n«t forced .09 u», but-efferedto us; we are fumish- 
;ed indeed with every help, and are always to bear in 

' Aind, that we are unable of ourselves to will or to 
do rightly; but we are plainly admonished to "work 
<" Out our own salvation with fear and trembling* ;** 
:r— to^be watchful, " because we are encompassed 
'*, with dangers ; u — to " put on the whole armour of 

-" God," because " we are beset with enemies." 
May we be enabled to shake off that lethargy 

. which is so apt to creep'upon ua 1 For this end, a 
deep 'practical conviction of our natural depravity 
and weakness will be found of eminent advantage. 
As it is by this we must at first be roused from our 
jVociieat ftUscioOf security, so by this we must be 
advice n- kept wakeful and active unto the end. Let 
tptctiitg- us therefore make it our business to have 
.miirifciii' tn ' a doctrine firmly seated in our under- 

_ wci. standings, and radically implanted in our 

hearts. With a view to our conviction of 
the truth of this doctrine, we should seriously and 
attentively consider the firm grounds on which it 
rests. It is plainly made known to us by the light'of 
nature, and irresistibly enforced on us by the dic- 
tates of our unassisted understandings. But list 
there should be any so obstinately dull, as not to 
discern the force of the evidence suggested to our 
reason, and confirmed by all experience, or rather so 
heedless as not to notice it, the authoritative stamp 
of Revelation is superadded, as we have seen, to 
complete the proof; and we must therefore be alto- 

? ether inexcusable, if- we still remain unconvinced 
y such' an accumulated mass of argument. 
But it is not sufficient to assent to the doctrine, 
we must also /«/ it. To this end, let the power of 

* fhilj'pj.iaiii ii. IS. 

habit 



Sect. 9.} Natural State of Man. 3$, 

habit be called in to oar aid. Let us accustom oar- 
•elves to refer to our natural depravity, m to their 
primary cause, die lad instances of vice and folly of 
which we read, or which we see around M, or to 
which we feel the propensities in our own bosom* ; 
ever vigilant and distrustful of ourselves, and looking 
with an eye of kindness and pity on the faults and 
infirmities of others, whom we should learn to regard 
with the same tender concern as that, with which the 
sick are used to sympathize with those who are suf- 
fering under the same distemper. This lesson once 
welt acquired, we shall feel the benefit of it in all oar 
future progress ; and though it be a lesson which we 
are slow to learn, it is one in which study and expe- 
rience, the incidents of every day, and every fresh 
observation of the workings of our own hearts, will 
gradually concur to perfect us. Let it not, after all 
then, be our reproach, and at length our ruin, that 
these abundant means of instruction are possessed 
in vain. 

Section III. 
Corruption of Human Nature. — Objection. 
BUT there is one difficulty still behind, more for- 
midable than all the rest. The pride of Oijeau*. 
man is loth to behumbled. Forced to aban- —Thai 
don the plea of innocence, and pressed ^l*^ 
so closely that he can no longer escape . ; d««fc- 
from the conclusion to which we would y. fa- 
drive him, some more bold Objector faces J^"JT 
about and stands at hay, endeavouring to *,-« ^ „. 
justify what he cannot deny, " W halever I ™«* ***. 
" am," he contends, " I am what my Crea- "J^* 
u tor made me. I Inherit a nature, you mtnf«d 
" yourself confess, depraved, and prone to cmuM**- 
" evil : how then can 1 withstand the temp- •*■ 
" tations to sin by which I am environed i If this 
" plea cannot establish my innocence, it must excuse 
" or at least extenuate my guilt. Frail and weak as 
" i am, a Being of infinite justice and goodness will 
c 4 " oevct 



%4 Corruption of Human Nature. [Chap. I T. 

"never try me by a rule, which however equitable Iri 
" the case of creatures of a higher nature, is alto- 
M getber disproportionate to mine.''' 
: let not my readers be alarmed 1 The writer is not 
going to enter into the discussion of the grand 
question concerning the origin of moral evil, or to at- 
tempt t» reconcile its existence and consequent pu- 
nishment with the acknowledged attributes and per- 
fections of God. ' These are questions, of which, if 
one may judge front the little success with which the 
aeutest and profoundest reasoners have been ever 
- -labouring to solve the difficulties thty contain, the 
full and clear comprehension is above the intellect of 
man. Yet, as the Objection above mentioned is 
sometimes heard from the months of professed 
Christians, it must not be passed "by without a few 
short observations. 

Were the language in question to he addressed to 
ns by an. avowed sceptic, though it might not be very 
difficult to expose to him the futility of his reason- 
ings, we should almost despair of satisfying him of 
the soundness of our own. We should perhaps sug- 
gest impossibilities, which might stand in the way 
of such a 'system as he would establish: arguing 
from concessions which he would Ireely make, we 
might indeed point out wherein his pre-co iceptions 
concerning the conduct of the Supreme Being, had 
been in tact already contradicted, particularly By the 
undeniable existence of natural or moral evd : and 
if thus proved erroneous in one instance, why might 
they not be so likewise in another f But though by 
these and simitar arguments we might at length si- 
lence our objector, we could not much expect to 
bring him over to our opinions. We should proba- 
bly do better, if we were to endeavour rather to draw 
biraoff from those dark and slippery regions, slippery 
in truth they are to every human foot, and tocontenn 
with him, where we might tread with firmness ortti 
freedom, on sure ground," and in the light of da*. 
Then we might- fairly lay before kim all thevarioifs 
. ■ argumenis 



Seel. 3.] Objection answered. 35 

arguments for the truth of our holy religion ; argu- 
ments which have been sufficient to satisfy the wis- 
est, and the best, and the ablest of men. VVe might 
afterwards insist on the abundant confirmation 
Christianity receives fro m its being exactly suited to 
the nature and wants of man; and we might con- 
ciude with fairly putting it to him, whether all this 
weight of evidence were to be. overbalanced by one 
difficulty, on a subject so confessedly high and mys- 
terious, considering too that he must allow, we see 
but a part, O how small a part ! of the universal 
creation of' God, and that our faculties are wholly 
incompetent to judge of the schemes of his infinite 
wisdom.. This, it die writer may be permitted to offer 
his own jndgmen t,is at least in general, the best mode, 
in the case of the objection we are now considering, of 
dealing with unbelievers; and to adopt the contrary 
p Ian, seems BOfcrewhat like that of any one,who having 
to convince some untutored Indian of .the truth of 
the Copernican system, instead of beginning with 
plain and simple propositions, and leading him on 
to what is more abstruse and remote, should state to 
him at the outset some startling problems, to which 
the understanding can only yield its. slaw assent, 
when const raineil. by the decisive force of demon- 
stration. The novice, -instead of lending himself 
to snch a! mistaken method of instruction, would 
turn away in disgust, and be only hardened against .. 
1 lis preceptor. Jim it must be remembered, that 
the - present work is addressed to those who acknow- 
ledge the authority of the<iJoly Scriptures.. And hi 
order to convince all- these that.there.is, somewhere or 
other, a fallacy in our objectors reasoning, it will be 
sufficient to.' establish, that, though, the word of God 
clearly asserts the justice and goodness- of the Su- 
preme Being, and also the natural depravity of man, 
-yet.it no 4m clearly- lays, down, that this natural 
depravity siml) never, be admitted as an excuse for 
sin, hut that " they which, hsiye done evil, shall rise 
c 6" ''to 



36 livrmnCorntftiUiK. EChap, II. 

" to the mmxsctitm of damnation-*''—" That the 
" wicked (ball be turned into hell, ami all the peo- 
" pie tl»t forget, God." And it is worthy of remark, 
that» as if for the very purpose of more effectually 
silencing those unbelieving doubts which are ever 
springing up in the human heart, our Messed Saviour, 

-thoiifjh the mcssarigef of peace and good wtiitamau, 
baa again .and again repeated these" awful deruul- 
ciations. 

Not are the Holy .Scripture*, leu clear and full in 
guarding us against supposing oar sins, w the 
dreadful xwMeauences of them, to be chargeable 
on God.—" Let no man say when be is tempted, 

," I smtemptedof God : for God cannot be Mrtpttd 
" with e*rn> neither tempteth he any man fi" *' TTbe ' 
** Lord, if not willing that any should perish J." 
And in other passages, where- the idea U repeUad-as 
injurious to his character, — " Have I any pleasure 
" at all that the wicked should die f saith the Lord 
M God) and not that be should return from his 

:" ways, and live|ff " JPer I haveno pleasure in the 
M death of him that dieth, sailh the Lord God §." 
iBdeedabnost every page of the ward of Gedeoo- 

' tains some warning or invitation to sinners; and all 
these, to. a considerate mind, must be unquestionable 
proofs of our present position. 

It has been the more n e c es s a ry not to leave unno- 
ticed the objection which we have been now refuting, 
because, where not admitted to such an unqnaeaed 

-extent as altogether to take away the moral respon- 
sibility of man, and when not avowed in the daring 
language in which it hat been above stated ; it may 
frequently be observed to exist in an inferior degree, 
and. often, when not distinctly formed into shape, 
it lurks in secret, diffusing a general cloud of doubt 
,or unbelief; or lowering ear .standard of right, or 
whispering fallacious comfort, and producing a ruin 

" John, v. 29. ' t Jam", L IS. ft Peter, iii. 9. 

I Ek*. niii. 33. t Eatk niii. it. 

OUS 



Sect.. 3.I Qbjtctiinuiiumtrttt. > yj 

<ma tranquillity. It is. cf the almost importance to 
remark, that though . the Holy Scripture* so clearly 
state the natural corruption and weakness of man, 
yet they never, in the remotest degree, countenance, 
bat throughout directly oppose, the supposition to 
which we are often too forward to listen, that oar 
Batumi corruption and weakness wiH be admitted as 
kiwerina the demands of divine justice, and in some 
sort palliating our transgressions of ihe laws of God. 
It would not be difficult to shew that such a notion is 
at war with the whole scheme of redemption by the 
atonement of Const. Butperhaptitmay beenungh, 
whenanysuch sos-gestioni as those which wears con- 
demning force thenueleea into the imagraation of a 
Christian, to recommend it to him to silence them 
by what is their, best practical answer t that if our 
natural condition be depraved And weak, oar txmpta- 
ciauB numerous, and our Altnignty Judge infinitely 
holy ; yet that the offers of pardon, • grace, and 
hrenal a 



1 to penitent tinners are universal and anil— 
uuuhT. Let ft siot .however suroriie ot, if in all 
this there, seem to be involved difficulties, which We 
cannot fully comprehend. How many such present 
themselves on all sides I Scarcely is there anobjeet 
around us, that does hot a&oid endless" matter of 
doubt and argument. The meanest reptile which 
crawlr<en the earth, nay, every herb and flower which 
we heboid, baffles the imbecility of our limited in- 
quiries. All nature caHs. upon us to be bumble. 
Can k then be tutprisingif we ate at a loss on this 
question, which respects, not the properties of jnaf- 
ter, or of numbers, but the counsels and ways ot him 
whose* " Understanding is infinite*,'" " whose judg- 
" mentsure declared to be unsearchable, and his 
,-** ways past Ending anf\l" In this our ignorance 
however, we may cauiiry repose ourselves on bis own 
declaration, "That though clouds and darkness are 
" round about him, yet righteousness and judgment 
" are the habitation of. his Utfone X-" Letit also be 
• Pttlmcxbii. 5. tBon.xi.93, f Palm u»ii. I. 

reraern- 



-.38 guman CamptioA. [ffcap. II. 

remembered, thut if in Christianity. s©jne things 
tire difficult, tbirt wh.ich we are most/concerned lo 
■know, is plain «nn obi'ious. To this it is true wis- 
dom to attach ourselves, assenting to what is revealed, 
where it is above our cotnprehension>(wedonots*jy 
contrary to our reason), Snd believing. it on the ere- 
dit of what is clearly discerned, and satisfactorily 
established. In truth, we are all perhaps too apt to 
plungeinto depths, which it is beyond oar power to 
fathom ; 'and it was to warn us against this very- 
error, that the inspired writer, having threatened the 
people, whom God had selected as the objects of 
his special favour, 'with the most dreadful punish- 
ments, if they should forsake the law of the Lord, 
and having introduced surrounding nations as asking 
the meaning 6f the severe infliction, winds up the 
'whete wfth' this instructive admonition ; "Secret 
*' things belong unto the- I-zird our God : but those 
" which are revealed b#to tig unto us, and to orir 
"** children' for ever, thut^ve-mayrfo all theiwordsdf 
« this law •." 

To any one who is seriously impressed with a sense 
of the critical state in which we are here placed, 
a short arid uncerfairvspnee' in which to make our 
peace with God, and this nttie'spdn of life followed by 
the last judgment,' and an eternity of u'nepcakabfe 
happiness or misery, it is indeed an awful add on 
affecting spectacle, to see men thus busying them- 
selves in vain speculations of an arrogant curiosity, 
and trifling' with their dearest, then: everlasting in- 
"leres'ts". : It rs hut a feeble illustration otihisexqaisitt; ' 
folly 'to- compare it to'the etmduct of sortie convicted 
"rebel/ n+o; when broughP'iflto (he presence of his 
' 'Sovereign, instead of seizing the*oooas:on to twelfth 
mercy, should even treat with neglect arHieonteraftt 
the pardon which should be offered to. - him, anil 
insolently employ himself in: pryiuginto his So- 
vereign's designs', and criticising his counsels. Bnt 
our case, too siiaiMr as-it*** to tfaat'of the convicted 

! • £»ut. **t«l*, . * 

rebel, 



Sect. 3.] Obfectidn ajiawend. <jg 

rebel, differs from it in this grand particular, that at 
the best, hia success must be' uncertain, ours, if it be 
not our own fault, is sure ; and while, on the one 
hand, our guih is unspeakably greater than that of 
any rebel against an earthly HKi'nnvch; sic, on the 
other, we know that our Sovereign is " Long sufl'er- 
" big, and easy to be -in treated ;" more ready to grant 
forgiveness than we to ask it. Well then may we 
adopt the language of the poet : 

What belter can ire do, than pro-trite Wl 

Bgfuip hito fcvoneiit ; »nd tliere contew 

Huinblj our faults, and pardon beg 1 with Ifars 

Watering the ground, nnd with our si^bs tfi:' a : .r 

Frequenting, mbi Iran heart! ooiWrite, in sign 

Of lorrow uiifeign'd, and humiliation meek ? MitTc*. 



CHAPXEJl III. ' 

CHIEF DEFECTS OF THE HELIGJOUS SYSTEM 
Of THE BULK OF PROFESSED GHBISTIANS, 
IN WHAT REGARDS OU It LORD JESUS CHRIST, 
AND THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH A DISS E RO- 
TATION CONCEBNJNG THE USE OF TI& 
PAASION^ fS RELIGION. ' ' ,j 

.Sect. I- 
Inadequate Conceptions concerning our Sdviour and 

the Holy Spirit. 
r T 1 HAT"Gojd»o lo^d. the. world, ,as.pf his tendjr 
■*- . v meray tp give bis only §on Jesus ^wrfiwi 
" Christ for our gedenjption :" D| T" w ;' 

That our Messed Lord willingly Jeft fhe uipetahi 
glory of tbeJfajher, and ,u as made man : and §c 

That :* he was despised and rejected of . ^ f 
" men, a man f&.wttom, : ftnd a^qua^nted #%&& 
" withgoei';" ffriW 



4o Inadcqwtt Conteptkat concerning [Chap. III. 

That "he war wounded for onr transgressions.; 
" that he was bruised foe our iniquities ;" 

That " the Lord laid oh him the iniquity of us. 
"ail:" 

That at length *' be bumbled himself even to the 
" death of the Cross, for us miserable sinners ; to the 
" end that all who with hearty repentance and true 
" faith, should come to him, might not perish, but 
" have everlasting life i" 

That he " is now at the right hand of God, mat- 
ting intercession" for his people : 

That " being reconciled to God by the death of 
" his Son, we may come boldly unto the throne of 
" grace, to obtain mercy and nad grace to help in 
"time of need:" 

That «ur heavenly Father "will surely give his 
" Holy Spirit to them that ask him :" 

That " the Spirit of God most dwell in us;" and 
that " it any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he it 
" none of his :" 

That by this divine influence " we are to be re- 
" newed in knowledge after the image of 'him who 
" created us," and " to be filled with the fruits of 
." righteousness, to the praise of the glory of his 
" pace ;" — that " being thus made meet for the in- 
M fieri tance of the saints in light," we shall sleep in 
the Lord; and that when the last trumpet shall 
sound, this corruption shall put on incorruption— 
and that being at length perfected after his likeness, 
we shall be admitted into his heavenly kingdom. 

These are the leading Doctrines concerning our 
Saviour, and the Holy Spirit, which are taught in the 
Holy Scriptures, and held by the Church of Eng- 
land. The truth of them, agreeably to our genera! 
£m, will be taken for granted. Few of those, who 
ve been used to join in the established form of 
worship, can have been, it is hoped, so inattentive, 
as to be ignorant of these grand truths, which are to 
be found every .vhere dispersed throughout .our ex- 
cellent Liturgy. Would to God it could be presum- 
ed, 



Sect, v.] iwr-Savioifi-andtktfJhly Spirt*. ; 41* 
edyvnthccjtial confidence, thartaH'whoassenttfttbein 
in terms, discern in Che Understanding their force 
and excellency , and feel their power in the affections, 
and their transforming influence in the heart. What 
lively emotions are they calculated to excite in us 
of deep Self-abasement, and abhorrence of our sins ; 
together with humble hope, Mid firm faith, and 
neavemV joy, and ardent love, and active unceasing 
gratitude! •* 

But here, it is to be feared, will be found a grand 
defect in the religion of the bulk of pro- factor 
fessed Christians; a defect, like thepalsy at •#"">«♦■ 
die heart, which, while in its first attack, it change* 
but little the exterior appearance of the body, extin- 
guishes the internal principle of heat and motion, 
and soon extends its benumbing influence to the re- 
motest fibres of the frame. This defect is closely 
connected with that which was the chief subject of 
the last, chapter : " they that are whole need not* 
* physician^ bat they thai are 1 ick." Had we duly 
felt the burthen of our sins, accompanied with a 
deep conviction that the weight of them mint finally 
sink usr in ta perdition, our hearts would have danced 
at the sound of the gracious; invitation, V Come 
" untoine, all ye that-labour and are heavy laden, 
" and I will 'give you rest*." But in those who 
have scarcely telt their sins aa-aay, incumbrance* '* 
would be mere affectation to pretend to very exalted 
conceptions of the value and. accepubtenes* of the 
profifered^ deliverance. This pretence accordingly, 
is seldom now kept up; and the most superficial 
observer, comparing the sentiments and views of 
the bulk of the Christian world, with the articles 
still retained in- their creed, and with the strong 
language of Scripture, must be struck . with the 
amazing disproportion, 

To pass over the throng from whose minds Re- 
ligion is altogether excluded by the business or the 
• Bfau. si, 18. > 

vanities 



4f. Itodesvty.GvwrjitiqKMweKiim CC h fR- Qh 
vauiiie^. of life, how is it with. the more decent and 
moral?, To what criterion shall we appeal? Are. 
their hearts, reajlj tlUejt,wUli_ these tilings, .arid 
farmed by tjie l»ye vjj.icji they a^e, adapted to in-' 
spire i - Tfien.surply, theuvmind* are apt jlp. stray. Jtp 
them almost unseasonably ; ' or at least to hasten 
hack to them with eagerness, when escaped f'rorri 
the. estrangement imposed by the, necessary cares 
arid business of life. He was a masterly^deVriber 
of human nature, who thus pourtrayed the characters 
of, an undisseinbled affection ,;■_ ■ ■ 

" UniUid and fickle in all after tBin^J, - 
" Save in the emiiMiHt image ot'lbt object,! 
" That ii beloved." . . ■ . . Smakimiasi. 

- " And how," it may be perhaps replied, " do you 
'( know, but that trieminds of jthese people aie thus 
" occupied i Can yon look into' die bosoms of men ■*"* 
Let us appeal to a .test to which: we resorted in a 
former instance. " Out of the . abundance of the 
" heart:," it has been' pwmounced,' ''itUs month 
" Bpeaketh." Take these persons then in some well 
selected hour, and lead thrconversfition to the- snb- 

J'ect of Religion. - 'i'heutwiost ivKich can be effected 
9, -to bring them to talk'of ihittgs in the gross. 
They' dppear lost in generalities ;- there is nothing 
precise and. determinate,' nothing, which implies a 
mind used to the contemplation wf.jts' object. la 
♦ain you strive to bring them tospeak on that topic, 
which one might expect to be e»ex uppermost iu 
the hearts of redeemed sinners. They elude all your 
endeavours ; and it 'ypuithti'ke. mention. of it yourself, 
itia received with no very; corddal welcome at least, 
if not with. unequivocal disgust; it is at the beat 
a forced and formal idiscussioa. The excellence of 
our SaviouK's moral precepts, the' kindness and sim- 
plicity, the self-denial and unblemished purity of 
his lite, his patience and meekness in the hour .of 
death', cannot indeed be spoken of hot with admi- 
lwtidR,< -when spoken of at all, as they have orjten 
•vtorted unwilling praise from the most daring and ■ 
. v malignant 



Sect. 1 .] our Saviour and the Holy Spirit, 43 

malignant- infidels. But tire na( these men tippet! as., 
qualities in the abstract, rather than as the perfce-. 
tioDs and, lineaments; of, our patron apd benefactor, 
and friend) "who loved us, and gave himself tor 
" os;" of him " who died for otp offence*, audrose. 
" again for our justification;" " whp. is, even npiR, 
" at the risht hand of God, making intercession fpr 
" ws?" Who' would think that the. kindness and 
humanity, and self-denial, and patience' ia suffering, 
which we so drily commend, had been exerted 
towards ourselves, in acts of more than finite bene vo- 
Icnce, of which we were to derive" the benefit ; in 
condescensions and labours submitted to for ovf 
takes ; in pain and ignominy endured for our 
deliverance f 

But these grand truths are not suffered to vanish* 
altogether from our remembrance. - Thanks to thq 
compilers pi' our Liturgy, more than to top many of 
the occupiers of our pulpits, they are forced upon, 
our notice in their just bearings and connections, at 
often as we attend the service, of the church- Vet if 
it too much to affirm, that, though there entertained 
with decorum, as what belong to the day, and. place, 
and occupation, the; are yet too generally heard of 
with little interest ; Uke the legendary- tales of some 
venerable .historian, or like otlier transactions of 
great antiquity, if not of doubtful credit;, which) 
though important to our ancestors, relate to times 
and circumstances so different from urn bwn, that 
we cannot be expected to take any great concern jn 
them? We hear them therefore with apparent indif- 
ference ; we repeat them almost as it were by rote, as- 
suming by turns the language of die deepest humilia- 
tion and of the warmest thankfulness, with acahp un- 
altered composure ; and when the seryice of the day 
is ended, they are dismissed altogether from our 
thoughts, till on the return of another Sunday, 9 
firesh attendance on public worship gives occasion 
for the renewed expressions of our periodical bur 
mility and gratitude. In noticing such lukewarm.-, 
ness 



44 Inadequate Conception* concerning {Chap. III. 
ncss as this, rarely the writer were to be pardoned, 
if he were to he betrayed into some warmth of con- 
demnation. The Unitarian and Socmian indeed, 
who deny, or explain away the peculiar doctrines of 
the Gospel, may be allowed to feel these grand truths, 
and to talk of them with little emotion. Hut in 
those who profess a sincere belief in them, this cold- 
ness is insupportable. The greatest possible services 
of man to man must appear contemptible, when 
compared with " the unspeakable mercies of Christ" 
mercies so dearly bought, so freely bestowed— a de- 
liverance from eternal misery — the gift of a " crown_ 
M of glory that fadeth not away." Yet, what judg- 
ment should we form of such conduct, as is here 
- censured, in the case of any one who had received 
some signal services from a fellow creature r True 
love is an ardent and an active principle ; a cold, a 
dormant, a phlegmatic gratitude, are contradictions 
in terms. When these generous affections really 
existin us in vigour, are we not ever fond of dwell- 
ing on the value, and enumerating the merits, of 
Our benefactor f How are we moved when any thing 
is asserted to his disparagement! How do we delight 
to tell of his kindness! With what pious care do we 
preserve any memorial of him, which we may hap- 
pen to possess ! How gladly do we seize any oppor- 
tunity of rendering to him, or to those who are dear 
to him, any little good offices, which though in them- 
selves of small intrinsic worth, may testify the sin- 
cerity of our thankfulness ! The very mention of his 
name will cheer the heart, and light up the counte- 
nance t And if he be now no more, and if he had 
made it his dying request, that, in a way of his own 

Spointment, we would occasionally meet to keep 
; memory of his person, and of his services, in 
lively exercise ; how should we resent the idea of fail- 
ing in the performance of so sacred an obligation I 

Such are the genuine characters, such the na- 
tural workings, of a lively gratitude. And can we be- 
lieve, without doing violence to the most established 
principles 



Sect .1 J . our Saviour and tfe Holy Spirit. • 45 
principles of human nature, that where the effects are so 
different, the internal principle isio truth the same ? 

If the love of Christ be thus languid hi the bujji: 
of iioiniual Christians, their joy and trust in him 
cannot be expected to be 1 very vigorous. Here 
again we tint! reason to remark, that there is no- 
thing distinct, nothing specific, nothing which im- 
?lies a mind acquainted with the nature of the 
Christian's privileges, and familiarized with their 
use; habitually solacing itself with the hopes held 
out hy the Gospel, and animated .by the sense of 
its high endowments, and its glorious reversion. 

The doctrine of the sanctifying opcrationsof the 
Holy Spirit, appears to have met with still jj«<i&irift 
worse treatment. Jt would be to convey Operabau. 
a very inadequate idea of the scantiness 
of the conceptions on this head, of the bulb of the 
Christian world, to affirm merely, that they are too 
little conscious of the iuemcacy of their own unas- 
sisted endeavours after holiness of heart and Ufe, and 
that they are not daily employed in humbly and di- 
ligently using the appointed means tor the reception 
and cultivation of tne divine assistance. We should 
hardly go beyond the truth in asserting, that for the 
most part their notions on this subject are so con- 
fused and taint, that they can scarcely be said in any 
fair, sense to- believe the doctrine at all. 

The. writer of these sheets '» by no means unap- 
prised of the objections which he may ex- £—_„-, 
pect from thoie, whose opinions he has been if *« «a 
sp freely condemning. He is prepared to •$/«'« 
hear.it urged, " that often, where there have JESJ,, ' 
" been the strongest pretences to the re- iffaiuxn 
" ligious affections, there has been little or towanhtw 

nothing of the te*]ity of them ; and that, Saaaur - 

even omitting the instances, which however have 
" been but too frequent, of studied hypocrisy, (hose 
" affections which have assumed to themselves the 

name of religious, have been merely the flights of 
" ajively 

, . ,Goog|c 



■'46 " Inadequate. Conceptions concerning {C&ibp. Itl. 
" a lively imagination, or the working of a heated 
"}»raio; in particular, that this loveot oor Saviour, 
" which has been so warmly recommended, is no 
" better than a vain fervour, which dwells only 
"in the disordered mind of the enthusiast : that 
" Religion is of a more steady nature ; of a more 
" sober and manly quality ; and that she rejects 
" with scorn, the support of a mere feeling, so vo- 
'" latile and indeterminate, so trivial and useless, as 
" that with which we would associate her ; a feclirrg 
" varying in different men, and even in the same 
" man at different times, according to the acci- 
" dental flow of the animal spirits; a feeling, of 
" which it may perhaps be said, we are 'from our 
" very nature, hardly susceptible towards an in- 
" visible Being" 

"As to the Operations of the Holy Spirit," it 
. , " may probably be further urged, that it is 

agimit tht " perhaps scarcely worth while lo spend 
OfKi-nftmi M ranch- time in inquiring- into the theory, 
'J'teH'ty " when, in. practice at least, it is manifest, 
' ' " that there is no sure criterion whereby 
" any' one can ascertain the reality of them, even in. 
" his own case, much less in that of. another. All 
"We' know is, that pretenders to "these extraordinary 
." assistances, have "never been wanting to abuse the 
" credulity of the vufgarj and to try the patience of 
" the wise. From the canting hypocrites and wild 
" " fanatics of the last century, to their less dangerous, 
" chiefly because less successful, descendants of the 
" present day, We hear the same unwarranted claims, 
" the same idle talcs, the same low- cant; and We 
*' may discern not seldom the same mean artifices 
" and mercenary ends. The doctrine, to -say the 
" best of it, can only serve to favour the indolence 
" of man; while professing to furnish him with a 
" compendious method of becoming wise and good, 
" it supersedes the necessity of his own personal l a_ 
" hours. Quitting therefore all such slothful and 
* chimerical speculations, it is true wisdom to attach 
" ourselves, 



Sefcfc.i.) '! oiir Saviour and the Tlhft) Spirit. ~4j 
" ourselves t» what is mdre solid and* practical % to 
" the work, which' you will not deny to be sufB- 
" clently difficult to find us of itself full employment, 
"the work of- rectifying the- disorders 61' the pas- 
" sions, arid of implanting and cultivating the virtues 
" of the moral character." — " It is the service of the 
"understanding which God requires of us, which 
" you would degrade into a mere matter of bddily 
" temperament, and imaginary impulses. Yon rite 
"contending for that, which, hot only is' altogether 
"unworthy of our Divine Masted, but which, with 
" considerate men, has ever brought his religiftii 
" into suspicion and disrepute, and, under a sho\v- 
"of honouring him, serves only to injure and di's- 
" credit his cause." Our Objector, warming as he 
proceeds, wilt perhaps assume a more impatient 
tone. " Have , riot ' these docTrmes," he may ex- 
claim, "been- ever perverted to purposes die most 
" disgraceful to the Keligi6u'of Jestls ? If you waut 
" an instance, look to the standard of the inquisition, 
"and behbldthe pious Dominicans torturing their 
"miserable victims for the love of Christ*. Or 
" would you'ruther see the effects of yourpFiicipIes 
" on a largci* scale, and 'Ay wiio/eva/e, if the phrase 
" may be'paiidoned ; cast ydtii! eyes across the At- 
" laritic, and let your zenl be eoifted by the hefty 
" activity of Cortez and Pizarro, arid their apostles 
" of the western hemisphere. To whatelse have been 
" owing the extensive ravages of national persecu- 
" tions, and religious wars and crusades; Whereby 
" rapacity, and pride,'and cruelty, sheltering them- 
" serves' under the mask of this -specious' principle, 
" have so often afflicted the world ? The Prince of 
" peace has-been made to assume the port of irlerb- 
" cious conqueror, and, forgetting the message of 
" good-will to men, has issued forth, like a second 
" bcourgeofthefiartht, to p'laigttc ; <'ind desolate the 
"human species." ■ '' ,■•■-." 

* Thii was ihc motto on their banner. ; ! v .. .. ■'• 

t Title uf Alula king of the Huns, wbisc desolating ravages^ are 
well known. 

,Coo 8 ff>"* 



48 Inadequate ConCtptions concerning [Chap. III. 
That the sacred name of Religion lias been too 
Ktftvu often prostituted to the most detestable 
tie «t»K purposes ; that furious bigots and bloody 
AUtgatiau. persecutors,- and self-interested hypocrites 
of all qualities and dimensions, from the rapacious 
leader of an urmy, to the canting oracle of a con- 
gregation, have falsely called themselves Christians, 
are melancholy and humiliating truths, which (as 
none so deeply lament them) none will more readily 
- admit than they, who best understand the nature of 
Christianity, and are most concerned for her honour. 
We are ready to acknowledge also without dispute, * 
that die religious affections, and the doctrine of di- 
vine assistance, have at all times been more or less 
disgraced by the false pretences and extravagant 
conduct of wild fanatics and brain-sick enthusiasts.' 
All this, however, is only as it happens in other in- 
stances, wherein the depravity of man perverts the 
bounty of God. Why is it here only to be made an' 
argument, that there is danger of abuse? So is there- 
also in the case of every operative principle, whether 
in the natural or moral world. Take for an instance- 
the powers and properties of matter. These were 
doubtless designed by Providence for our comfort 
and well-being ; yet they are often misapplied to 
trifling purposes, and still more frequently turned 
into so many agents of misery and death. On this 
fact indeed is founded the well-known maxim, not 
more trite tlian just, that " the best things when 
" corrupted become the worst;" a maxim which is 
peculiarly just in the instance of Religion. For in 
this case u is not merely, as in some others, thaVa 
great power, when mischievously applied, must be 
hurtful in proportion to its strength; but that the 
very principle, on which in general we depend for 
restraining and retarding the progress of evil, not 
only ceases to interpose any kindly check, but is 
powerfully active in the opposite direction. But 
will you therefore discard Religion altogether? It 
is upon this very ground that the Infidels of a 
neighbouring country have lately made war against 
Christianity : 
.Google 



Sect. 4 J our&mwr.andlfttlioly Spirit. 4$ 

Cariatianity ; with what effects the world hat not 
now tole'ara. But suppose Religion were discarded^ 
then Liberty remain to plague. the. worjd; a power, 
which though, when welireniptoyed, the dispenser of 
light and happiness., has been often proved, emi» 
nently proved, hi -the instance off a neighbouring 
country/ to be capable, when abused, of becoming 
infinitely mischievous. Well then, extinguish Li- 
berty. Then what more abused by false pretenders, 
than. Patriotism? Well) extinguish Patriotism. But 
then the wicked career to. which we have adverted, 
must have been checked but tor Courage. Blot out 
Courage — and, so might you proceed to extinguish 
one by one, lieaton, and Speech, and Memory, and 
all the. discriminating "prerogatives of man. But 
perhaps more than enough has been already urged 
m reply toan objection, -which is built on grounds? 
indefensible, as that which would equally warrant our 
condemning any- physical or moral tacutty altogether, 
on account of its being occasionally abused, 

A* to the-poslticn of our Opponent, that there is 
no way whereby the validity ot any pretensions tp 
the religious affections 'may be ascertained ; it must 
partly be admitted. Doubtless we we not able always 
to read the. hearts of men, and to discover tbeir,real 
characters- j and hence it ia, that we in some measure 
Ueopeu to the false-and hypocritical, pretences which 
are brought forward -against us so triumphantly. 
Bnt then- these pretences no more prove all similar 
claims to be founded in falsehood and hypocrisy, 
than there having been many false and interested 
pretenders to 1 wisdom and honesty, would prove 
that there can be no such thing as a wise or an ho- 
nest man. We do not argue thus but where our 
reason is under a corrupt bias. Why should we be 
so mueh surprised and scandalized, when these im- 
postors are delected in the church of Christ? It is 
no more than our Blessed Master himself taught us 
to expect; and when the old difficulty is stated. 
D " Didst 



5o Inadequate Coiictptuu u t t mct n ting [Chap. III. 
" Didst thou not sow good seed in thy field, whence 
" then bath it tares?" bis owa answer famishes the 
beat solution — " an enemy hath done this."— Hy- 
pocrisy is indeed detestable, and enthusiasm mm- 
ciently mischievous to justify our guarding against 
its approaches with jealous care. Yet it may not 
he improper to take 1 this occasion for observing, 
that we are now and then apt to draw too unfavour- 
able conclusions from unpleasant appearances, which 
may perhaps be chiefly or altogether owing to gross 
or confused conceptions, or to a disgusting formality 
of demeanor, or to indeterminate, low, or improperly 
familiar expressions. The mode and language, in 
which a vol gat man will express himself on the sub- 
ject of Religion, will probably be vulgar, and it is 
-difficult for people of literature 'and refinement not 
to be unreasonably shocked by such vulgarities. But 
we should ai least endeavour to correct the rash 
judgments' which .we may be disposed to form on 
these occasions, and should learn to recognize and 
to 'prize' a sound texture and just configuration, 
Chough disguised "beneath a homely or uncouth dra- 
pery. It was an Apostle who declared that he had 
' come to the learned and accomplished Grecians 
, "■ not with excellency of speech, or the wisdom 6f 
** words." Prom these he had studiously abstained, 
'lest he should have seemed to owe his success rather 
to' the graces Of 6ratory> than to the efficacy of his 
"doctrines, aiid to die divine power with which they 
were accompanied. Even in our own times, when 
the extraordinary operations and miraculous gifts of 
the Holy Spirit having ceased, the necessity of 
study and preparation, and of attention to manner 
as well as matter, in order to qualify men to become 
teachers of religion, are no longer superseded, it is 
no more than an act of justice explicitly to remark, 
that a body of Christians, which from the peculiarly 
offensive grossnesses of language in use among 
them, had, not without - leason, excited suspicions of 
. . the 



Sodc.i.]. '4urS*vi9nrfti*dt/ie Hot!/ Spirit. fy 

" the TK*y worst mitire, hare siricenN-kimed their 
character (6), and have perhaps enrolled all man* 
kind *b MM and unequivocal proofs of 1 the love of 
Chpit, a»d of the nest anient, sad active, and pa- 
santteajiu bjsservico.' li is azeal tempered with 
pradencc* i softened with meekness, soberly aiming 
at. great ends by -the gradual operation of weH- 
adapted means, supported by a courage which no 
danger can intimidate, and «^aitt constancy which 
no hardships can exhaast. - i '■(■ . , > 

' 'Stp'ripti IL '•'"' '■'* 

:. Oft tie Adrntwon-of the Pmaamu tisi*, Bafigiwt,. j 

THE pbjectiqnofpiirC 
on the obligation of maty 
object Rf our affections, v 
clous ;s£ryii;e,s,aqd afe^ si 
teehncs\ in place, pf .the W 
ing,_iian objecUoij'jvtiich' 
consideratieo. If it be j'u 
must W unquestionably ' 
The Objector must mean 

tioris arc' upea£pn;itjle |r» ilWrnwilyes, '.or that ihej 
are ^ispl^ced in. Religion. M rfe can*sc4fccl^ '(iduS- 
ever, intend' that the affections are in thcur .own 
nature unreasonable. To, suppose him to maintain 
this position, we,re to suppose luni ignorant; of whaf 
every ache e mechanism of the 

human mil retake it for-gfanted, 

that'this ci 5, and. proceed' ty ex r 

amine the!: crnative, Here also 

it ,may ejl lat the affections are 

misplace^ y, or that our blessed 

Saywur .is! no^jha proper object of thiui. ,J 
. T&is nottpfi, of the: affections being put of place 
in Religion; js/indeeo! an opinion which ap'fwais'.tp 
<*) Vjdt ihe iriif maw of W«« I nl Ji" wwuant* lu lie .Moravian*, 

•Rbm.-U i; ■■'■''-,- -ii J:-.--; • .!-.- :■!-.■ 

d 2 .be 



5& O* lie Mdmwion of F_Crtap.~UI. 

be.generarry pveraient. The affections are regarded 
as the strong holds of etMhwwfcm. It is therefore 
judged most 'expedient; ;-to. not, aa iiwuAektt gtaierale 
■are «9ed -to 'do, when they. raretlie>'&tftressy-Qr«lte 
the<;anoon,wlhicbarufiltely.tofHJl-iatothe bantu of 
an enemy. < Mankind tareapt lto..he the dapeoof 
Thisapplied tarma; and'theiprc^aessofihe pcaasasion 
trow in question, has been ^ooaidwaWr aiddd by an 
ttbU6B of language nop sufficiently checked in its; first 
advances, whereby that spCtfesbf Religion tvineliis 
opposite to the warm and affectionate kind, has been 
Buffered almost withjqu^.d&urbance, to usurp to it- 
self the epithet of rational. But let not this claim 
beiff&feattii^adautwd'. feet the. posltioniiaMfieti- 
" ly and impartially discussed, Mfi it 
[nistake"not,'to'be a : gross arid per- 
■ ainpudtirdn'De'irjdeed itldlspehsa- 
nit'K i( ; butWniay WfelV expect 
patjiri<;e, c pr rather' with favbdr'Srid 
* we"tftocee<J'to"Hh'eW,'lthatdieVe it 
: ecoun* 'laf'sb' 8&pefa1e' a'tfimeVy. 
If necessarily h*raw us 'into length. 
Sift not bejjreater 'ffitfo mhtf'WeB 
he'Trboliftaiiqe, of the"subject, ei- 
bfeclafty as 'ft scarcely .seems to i hitve > 'Ritfierto SUffi- 
cfcntlMnfia^tftlte 
of Religion'.' '"' '' ' •■ " .". ' ; ■ l "'""" ■ '' 

"It' caan'ot mcttimfcBjbut WoriJ a bttttstd'eHUe Re- 
sumption ajjajflk'"the^o^PiD i e < ^K?cli We are about 
to'combd at orice from 

the ' s'er^ii t of the com- 

position, , bl£st 'efnploy- 

ment'ft ci ^,-all'tne moat 

active pr e'eahnot bdt 

■ suppose ftAdS 

elemental 

mind. wer v =,. BM ^« -» ■». .«««,„.,...,..-. 
all-wise Creator. ' Wis' indeed J o'ne r 6i' 'the 
uKaceS of our ;fdffai condjtibh, -that tliey'are nbw 
perpetually rebelling against tlit powers yf., reason 
-,.{ - a . and 



Sfect. a.] ' the J*tamm,mtii.%tkgjm. 3$ 

and" ««wen(ifl, to whrkh they should be-siifypcf-. 
Bd« even if Revelation feKt : b#e»Mifc»ty Wtjun»l,r€3r 
■m might have in. wmSrd9er.ee> frteatwjed, thlfc it 
would be the effect, of a. ReligJaa whjfll>. should, 
come ftoBj God> coniplfljtflly to repots tb« cqjise-. 
c|ueaee» of our sopejfHWuqedi deMppty, Tt« 
sohemea of m«neh«Biaii, wisdom. had indeed, taciUy, 
floufeasffdv *■>»» tto^Maftataakbeyofl-tthWirtrepath, 
Of- t^>-e two wmt ce\&H*\etk&y.iit&p4:Qf p>Wo«a>pV« 
tbcooe e-x^cessly eo»fiimed the. usurpation of ffw 
twaruoas; while the other, dt»pairipg, of heingabl^ 
to regulate' them, saw. Droihing ltft h^t th,eis . e^tiao- 
4oo- The former acted Jita a «ea&, gw«»qnf#ti 
which giw» indepetKieooe W a rebeJU^^Frff^WCfi, 
wbiiib., it cannot, xectuee> The latter foujapd 1 >« 
feo«tgd scheme merely upon the vim of' tfeat.-Wn 
bawtia policy- which, qg*ep©se9,;tljf ( tf^hj^.o^ft 
Uwboieot land, by ti» e^tenpuyifti fl ft, o£ itfl , ift^, 
bibttits.. This i8.riiecaiia,:not qfiofidafc tH^of-ii* 
action.;- it is. not wawjwift-tj!-, bst,,*hj|> aftUft*ss,.of 
death,- ' ' 1 .■ . <■--.,.'...■'■. '■ 

t^d>M.ftitg.>jranin«j>^-!ifli*fei>^ 

■pp^U- w t-0'*e-^ , T '■-,..' - ,. 1. 

Chw$i*M|ily>, wo,.iBJMb«^..ww^^-l<> ; >%iTCa 
ft a##,ajjqh wretched e^djeut*,; scr. m^ipctdoea 
abe qwdaweod W, them* 1. Xbej.o^y.tte.uflderx"*- 
Iqe lteF.afrep«ih r ujh*> naigpkc t»« t^arafiter, and are 
ip*oraw<^ W^-pwe^*>, , it (»> he* Belial gftorjL 
aadt l*qtr*K> eciai office* Wiring *#■ ■ the fatuities., of 
««% -n^uft-prtO:. their, juflt >M^«J»'WiW nd .%?«^ 
(W^;.(lvftf aotbfr : -wMe.uian r cWWr^ijftrftf^ 
fti^iQr W ,,mBff:bsj^«^,tp ^^^ehd^..^ his 
-ie»$i «i4be.4flJW|teA, e^ire i aii'4,hjpi^ip'aa f ; < f-fj 
the, service a«d #l»cy aft God.;, " t ^4jr, tap-, grfQ 
n» tfanns -♦•a*--"-^-^ Tkpu shajt -flSfi Wft V»B -by 
G»d ,Wlhi* *hy A«mt/'— Sucfe ^fr the .djrect aijd 
««nprrttWSl , »e..c>HH}| : which areitnade. Q» uain the 
feo^-Sesipte***- W« c>»«W#o^w^lpjjk infaj 
any part of the sacjetl volume without meeting 
■'■J ' b 3 tttrandaut 



°8 k ' 



54 -fkk't&-A&H»*mtf '•■: [Chap.Hf. 

abundant 'proof*, that it'is'trre religion of the Affec- 
tions which God partiwlariy requires. Love, Zeal, 
Gratitude, Joy, Hope, Trust, are each of them spe- 
cified ; and are 'not allowed to us as weaknesses, but 
enjoined ohflsasaur bounden duty,and commended 
to us aa our acceptable worship. Where passages 
are so numerous, there would be no end of particu- 
lar citations. Let it be sufficient,' therefore, to refer 
the render to the word of God. There let him ob- 
serve too;" that' as the lively exercise of the passions 
towards their legitimate object, is always spoken of 
with praise, bo a cold, hard, unfeeling heart is repre- 
sented 1 as highly criminak Lnkewarmness is stated 
to* be the object of God's disgust and aversion ;' 2*al 
and love, flfftis favour and delight; and die taking 
away of the heart of stone and the implanting of a 
Warmer and more tender nature in its stead, are spe- 
crfically promised as the effects of his returning IV 
Tour, ana the work of his renewing grace. " ft ia 
the prayer of an inspired teacher, in behalf of those 
for whom he was most interested, " that their love," 
already acknowledged to be great, " might abound 
" yet more and more * :° Those modes of worship 
are prescribed^ which are best Calculated to e&fte 
the dormant affections, and to maintain them in 



livtly exercise; and the aids of music and smging 
are expressly superadded to increase their effect, if 
we look to the most eminent of the Scripture Cha- 



racters, we shall find them warm, zealous, and affec- 
tionate. . When engaged in their favourite work of 
celebrating the goodness of their Supreme Benefac- 
tor, theft souls appear to birm within them, their 
hearts kindle into rapture; the powers of language 
are inadequate to the expression of their transports ; 
and they -call on all nature to swell the chorus, and 
to unite with them in hallelujahs of gratitude, 'and 
Joy, and praise. The man after God's tttfe'MBlt 
most of all abounds in these glowing effusion* ; end 

' ' ■ ■' "* nryp-LA - - - : ■ "**i x 
' " fau 



o 8 k- 



Sect 2.] the Pmiomjpp Jbfe**"- 55 

bis compositions appear to have been given us ia 
order to set the tone* as it were, to. all succeeding 

fenerations, Accordingly, to quote the words of a 
te excellent prelate*, who was himself warmed 
with (he same heavenly flame,, " in the language of 
" this divine book, the praises of the church have 
" been offered up to the Throne of Grace from age 
" to age." When God was pleased to check the 
future Apostle of the Gentiles in his wild career, 
and to make him a monument of transforming 
grace ; was the force of his affections diminished, or 
was it got that their direction only was cl^igcd? He 
brought his affections entire and unabated into the 
service of his blessed Master. His zeal now burned 
even with an increase of brightness; and no intense- 
ness, no continuance of sufferings could allay its 
ardor, or damp the fervor* of his triumphant exulta- 
tions. Finally— The. worship and service of the 
glorified spirits in Heaven, is not represented to us 
as a cold intellectual investigation, but as the worship 
and service, of gratitude and love. And surely it 
will not be disputed, that it should be even here the 
humble endeavour of those who are promised while 
on earth " to be made meet to be partakers of the 
" inheritance of the saints in light, * to bring their 
hearts into a capacity for joining in those everlasting 
praises. 

But it may not be unadvisable for, the writer 
here to guard against a mistaken suppo- Trm T<« 
siiion, from which the mind of our Ob- /£ "^ 
jector by no means appears exempt ; that, retttwut 
the force of the religious affections is to be,4tf*«" l "*f 
chiefly estimated, by the degree of mere animal fer- 
vor, by ardors, and transports, and' raptures^, ijif 
which, from constitutional temperament, "a person 
may be easily susceptible ; or into wliich daily ex- 
perience must Convince us, that people of "strong 
imaginations and of warm passions may wojk tliein- 
• J)r. Hr,»s«. . . 

n 4 selves 



56 thtkijtdmimmof [Chap. Hf. 

■elves without milch difficulty,, where- their hearts 
are by do means- truly or deeply interested. Every 
tolerable actor can attest the troth of this remark. 
These high- degrees of the- passions bad men may 
experience^ good men' may want. 1 They may beat 
: fected ; they may be genuine ; but whether genuine 
bi. affected, ihfey form not the true standard by 
whieh the real nature or strength of the religious 
affections is to be determined. To ascertain these 
points, we must examine, whether they appear to be 
groam+ed in knowledge, to have their root in strong 
and just conceptions of- the great' and mauintld ex- 
cellencies of their object; or to, be ignorant, unmean- 
ing, or vague'; whether they are natural and easy, 
or -constrained and forced; wakeful and apt to fix 
on their great objects, and delighting in the exercises 
of prayer, and praise, and religious contemplation, 
Which- may be called their proper nutriment ; or vo- 
luntarily omitting suitable occasions of receiving it, 
looking forward to-such opportunities with little ex- 
pectation, looking back on them, with little com- 
placency; and being disappointed of them with little 
regret-: we must observe whether these religious 
attectiona are merely- occasional' visitants, or the 
abiding inmates of the soul : whether they have got 
the mastery over the vicious passions and propen- 
sities, with which, in their origin, and nature, and 
tendency, they are at open variance ; or whether, if 
the victory be not yet complete the war is at least 
constant, and the breach- irreconcilable: whether 
ikey moderate and regulate alt the inferior appetites 
and desires which are culpable only in their excess, 
trins striving to reign in the bosom with a settled 
undisputed predominance : And we must examine 
whether, above alt^ they manifest) themselves by 
prompting to &e active discharge of the duties of 
ife, the personal, the domestic, the professional, the 
social, and civil duties. Here the wideness of their 
range and the universality of their influence, will 
generally serve to distinguish them from those par- 
' ual 



m 



$rt,.s>}v the Rasmmiki& Bdigbn. & 

£4 dfertfc't* tiltgMfcei and sciMeab^.l* -wiiiafc 

piwtf»«tbot:t^wi ibid cl«l««Al>fr«Mc«i(U»^nei& 
4e*iA defcfe* awMgitooa, 'niBiK«bi» oah> nheasMt 
we> -argue- from RmsWor fi^tScriptoirei isajanrsj 
mfaUiWe «mt»ioB( fifom tha daily ' incident* i of 
smyaglir EwxlidomejtKo lifc, me learn* that) a beafraf 
«tWetJbo oo;aMaw% v«ltemeftttjlB»t aapcrficislrutd 
tfanaMary, may caefliBt too- .watt ■ with, -mceanet trf 
conduct, exk*kiutfg"inc<mtertaW» pwwft af negleot 
and iwdciadaess. l^rtrhspassioajwlnchaloBedwkfflly 
Soripjjiwa dignify with the name of bow, it a <taep> 
BQt*,auperncial:*eeliag;: aiixed ai*t-penBanent,iioi 
ao occasional emotion. It provfe* tfee validity :of it* 
title, by aotion* tun espomimg with its naaaae; by 
practical, endeavours to sratiiy th*> wishes, awl id 
promote the Interests, of the object of affi&tNO. "If 
" UMO lave me, iic will keep my. say lags," " This if 
" the love ot-God, that we loeep bis commiadmeota*"' 
Tbit* therefore) is .the heat standard bf .whkava* 
try the quality, or, she quality being ascertained, to 
eatiwaUl thai stneagtji, of tiie- religions affections: 
Witbnvt 'suffering owsetoes to deiiMC to* atacrl 
complacency from transient fervors at dewtkiB, we 
aboiiM *atefully and frequently prove oundws,.by 
tfcia least doubtful Wat} impartially exanifuag; qrJr 
daily conduct ; and oftea^ompaiing oar; acta e& w*h 
odk possible services ; the fair aaacamt<of ous fltMt* 
t»ona,.!wJthjo»i natural or ao^airad meatus odd *f» 
poekuniiteMDf usefulness. . > . ; .u- 

: Jtfteft this large explanation,. tbs> prolixity; of 
which will, we trust, be pa*doned;n»<aiXGi>i>t; of tb* 
iaamrtBBC of the subject, and the danger of onaUbM 
betkott tar.- right baud and on tbeleft, we ate pert 
•eclry .-ready to eoowede u> the objects*, that the a* 
araaut affections must be expected ta be mora or 
]aia.lWely in.differeBt men, and in. the saaie man a* 
eKSaentti8aea,in proportion toj»tun»t temipers^agas, 
atouatqaiayfiad Jnahita of lite. B«i,.t»foiind anotv 
jectiea on thi» ground,, would, be av unreasonable, 
p j a* 



5» Ohtht A&taaim of ■' [Chap. Jft 

u it woukt be altogether to deny the obKeatfdiv *# 
tbe precepts, which command us to relieve (b% 
necessities of die indigent, because the infinitely 
varying circumstances of mankind must render it im- 
possible to specify beforehand tbe sum which each 
Individual ought on the whole to attot to 'this pur- 
pose, orto fix, in every partictrtarinstance, on 1 any de«- 

, terminate measure and mode of contribution. -To" tbe 
one case no less than to the other, we may apply the 
Inaxim of an eminent writer ; " An honest Wart is 
♦•the best casuist." He who every where both* Reli- 
gion is warm and animated, there only phlegmatic afid 
cold, can hardly expect, especially if mis coldness be 
not the subject of unfeigned humiliation and sorrow, 
that his plea on the ground of natural temper should 
be admitted ; any more than, mat of a person who 
should urge his poverty as a justification of his not 
relieving the wants of the necessitous, at the very 
time of dm lanching put into expence without re- 
stt.iinv on occasions in which he win really prompted 
by bis inclinations. In both cases, " it is the wiiline 
" miod which. is required." Where that is found*, 
f every man will be judged according to what tie 
** hath,. and not according to what he bath not*." 

After tj>e decisive proofs already . adduced from 
the word of<jod, <>£thc unreasonableness of the ob- 
jection to admitting tbe passions into Religion, all 

larther arguments may appear superfluous to any 
one who isdisposcd to bow lo scriptural authority." 
Yet die point is of so much importance, and, it ia-to 
te feared, so little regarded, that itroay not be amiss 
to continue ihe discussion. The best conclusions of 
Rosen wili be shewn to tall in with what clearly *p- 

1 pears to be the authoritative language of iQrcsttksp e 
and to call in the aid of tbe affections to the service 
of religion, will prove to be, not only what sober.Eo*- 
■pe Agcc- son may permit as in some sort ajlowahm 
*»»?•* but what she clearly and strongly dictate* 
v " rc * **" to our, deliberate j odgmenJB ai indifpensB* 
— - • t€« . Viil. UV ■ - ---, 



biy filiate fgr us, in thecircnrnslaoces ; 0100 t/ e h> 
-w&erejn we are-placed. Wehaveeve'ry one JjjSJft 
o£us aworktoacconiplisb.wbereinoure'ter- J4*w™T 



nal interests are at state j a work to whichwe 
are naturally indisposed. Welivc.inaworld abound- 
ing with objects which distract our attention and 
divert our endeavours; and a deadly enemy is eyej 
at band to .seduce and beguile us. If we persevere 
indeed, success is certain ; but our efforts must know 
no remission. There is a call ou us for vigorous and 
continual resolution, self-denial, and activity. Now, 
man is not a being of mere intellect. 

Video mtiiora prsboqoe, detti iura teq««. , 

is a complaint which, alas! we all of us might daily 
utter. Trie slightest solicitation of appetite is often 
able to draw us to act in opposition to our clearest 
judgment, our highest interests, and most resolute 
determinations. Sickness, poverty, disgrace, and 
even eternal misery itself, sometimes in vain solicit 
our notice;' they are all excluded from our view, 
and thrust 'ad it were beyond the sphere of vision, 
tiy some poor unsubstantial transient object, so mi- 
nute and contemptible as almost to escape the notice 
of the eye of reason. 

These observations are more strikingly confirmed 
ht our religious concerns than in any other; became 
tn them the interests at stake are of tramcendant 
importance : but they hold equally tn every iav 
itlance according to its measure, wherein there Is a 
tail for laborious, painful, and continued exertions, 
Srom which we are likely to be deterred by obstacle*, 
or seduced by the solicitations of pleasure. What 
then is to be done in the case of any such arduotfe 
and necessary undertaking f The answer is obvious 
— You should endeavour not only to convince the 
traders lauding, but also to affect the heart ; and for 
this end, you must secure the reinforcement of the 
ipassions. This is indeed the course which would 
dC naturally followed by every man 01 common un- 
■ »f}- derstanding, 



m fbuJuMmimmnf [Chip. M. 

dmteiMlingv who should know that some one> fo» 
wjhom he naff deeply interested, a- child, for U»* 
stance, or. a brother, 'were about to enter on- a lo»g» 
difficult, perilous,, siid critical ad venture, wherein 
success- was to be honour and affluence ; defeat was 
to be contempt and ruin. And still- more, if the 
parent were convinced, that his child possessed tia- 
qukiet, which, strenuously and unremittingly exr- 
«*cd, would prove equal to tilt the exigencies of 
the enterprise ; but knew him also to be volatile 
and inconstant, and had reason to doubt his reso- 
lution and his vigilance; hew would the friendly 
monitor's endeavour be redoubled, so to possess his 
pupil's mind with tile worth and dignity of the un- 
dertaking, that there should be no opening for the 
entrance of any inferior consideration! — " Weigh 
™ well (he would say) the value of the object tor 
" which you are about to contend, and contemplate- 
** and study its various excellencies, till your whole 
" soul be on fare for its acquisition. . Consider loo, 
** ibut if you fail, misery and infamy are united in 

* tlie alternative which awaits you. Let not the 

* mistaken notion of its being a safe and easy ser- 
"■vice; for a moment beguile you into the discon- 
f tinuance or remission of your efforts. . Be aware 
"of your imminent danger, and at the same time 

* know your true security. It is a service of labour 
w and peri) ; but one wherein the powers which you 
"posset's, strenuously and perseveringly exerted J 

* cannot but crown you with victory. Accustom 
" yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences 

* of failure ; then fix your eye on. the ' glorious 
" prize which is before you ; and when your strength 
** begins to tail, and your spirits are well nigh ex- 

* bausted,' let the animating view rekindle your re- 
** solution, and call forth in renewed vigour the 

* fainting energies of your souK" 

- It was the remark oi an' unerring observer, ""The 

* children of -this world are wiser in their generation 
" than the children of light." And it is indisputably 

tone, 

* ' ' ,GoogIc 



Sect;*} the jym — msditUKgri*. & 

true, that in. religion ice have to argue and plntf 
wiihmai ftwpriacipbs itf aciioo, the wisdom and 
expediency ofT which are unn^fisailjr, acknowledged 
in matters uf wusidly concern. So it it in the- in* 
nance before a*. The case which has been, just 
described; is an exact, but a faint representation, of 
our condition in thisilile. Frail sad " infirm of pjir* 
" pose" we hew a business to execute of su prams, 
and indispensable necessity:. Solicitations to neg- 
lect it every where abound; the ditiicalties and 
dangers are numerous and urgent; and the night of 
deatn cometh, how soon we know not, " when no 
" man can work." Ati this is grouted. It seems to 
be a state of things. wherein one should lo»k out 
with, so licit ode for. some powerful stimulants. Mere 
knowledge is. confessedly too weak. The affections 
alone remain to supply the deficiency. They pre- 
cisely meet the occasion, and suit the purposes in- 
tended. Vet, wt>en we propose to fit oui selves for 
onr great, undertaking, by calling them in to- our 
help, we ate to be told that we are acting contrary 
to- reason, is this ■reasonable, M> strip us first of our 
armour of proof, and then to send us to the sharpest 
of encounters? To summon us to the severest labours, 
but' first to. rob us of the precious cordials which 
should brace our sinews, and recruit out strength? 

Let these pretended ad . ocates for reason at length 
then confess their -folly, and do justice to the supe- 
rior wisdom as well as goodness of our heavanly In- 
structor, who. better undcrecandhug nor true condi- 
tion, and knowing our frowandnesa and inadvertency, 
has most teaausiably as well as kindly pointed out 
and enjoined on us the use of those aids which may 
counteract out infirmities; who commanding the 
effect, i has commanded also the means whereby it 
may be accomplished. 

And now, if the use of the affections in religion, 

ia- general, be at length shewn t» be con- Cln-ui uV 

fornmble to reason, it .will not require jw <&*' <f 

many words to prove that our blessed IJ^X™ - 

Saviou* 



«a .«?»>rf Miiiiin V' '■ [Chap.m. 

Savlou* is the pros^ object of, them. We kno* 
tliat love, gratitude, joy, hope, trust, have all 
their appropriate objects. Now it mart be at 
once conceded, that if these appropriate objects 
be not. exhibited, it is perfectly unreasonable .to 
expect that the correspondent passions should .be 
excited. H we ask for love, m the case of an ob- 
ject, which bas no-excellence or desirableness ; for 
gratitude, where no obligation has been conferred ; 
tor joy, where there is no just cause of self-con- 

rotation ; for hope, where nothing is expected ; 
trust, where there exists no grounds of re- 
liance; then, indeed, we most kiss the rod, and 
patiently submit to correction. This would be in- 
deed Egyptian bondage, to demand the effects 
without the means of producing them. Is the case 
then so i Arr.we ready to adopt the language of the 
avowed enemies of our adorable Saviour ; and agairt 
to say of him " in whom dwelleth all the fulness 
" of the Godhead bodily," that " he hath no- form 
" nor comeliness; anil when we shall sac him, there 

* is no beauty that we should desire him* i" - 1* it 
no obligation, that be who " thought it- not rob- 
" bery to be equal with God," should yet for our 
takes " make himself of no reputation, and take 
"upon him the form of a servant, and be made in 
" the likeness of men ; and humble himself, and 
" become obedient unto death, even the death' -of 
"the cross t ?" Is it no cause of joy, that' to us 'is' 
? born a Saviour J,", by whom weanay rt ~fce.del£: 
" vered from the power of darkness ; and be made 
'* meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the 
*' saints in liglit § i " Can there be a " hope cbini 
*! parable to that of oar calling ]"— -" Wfiicty 1* 
? ChiUriD us, tne hope of glory %?" Can ; there; 
be a irutt to be preferred to the reliance on " Christ 
A Jesus ; who is the same yesterday, to-day, and rof 
J* eter •*,?" Surely, irour Opponent be not dead tft 
every generous emotion, be cannot look, his o*ni 
•jj.M.h,iiH.k tn.il. a*, 7.B. jt«ie,M. 10,11. 

f(tei.Ll»,13. I E,.l«-». i. 18. «Cal.i.t7. 

'•JJtb. Liii. ft, ■ ' 

• * objection 



Myj^ction in Aefecr, without «Uwb of shame and 
imf ignadioUi ■' ■ - '- ■ r - 

' Bat forced at'losf. to retreat from his fsvo«rite 
position, and- competed to acknowledge TV <tftr- 
that the religions affections towards our *"■" *»*4 
blessed Saviour are not unreasonable* die " tt b ^^ 
Objector still maintains the combat, sug- MimMUr 
gearing that by the very constitution of B*»s- 
oar nature, we are not susceptible of them towards 
an invisible Being-; with, regard to whom, it a 
added, we are smut out from all those means of 
communication and intercourse, which knit and 
cement the anion between man and man. 

We mean not to deny that there iffsomething in 
this 'objection* It might even seem to ne tUtt 
plead the authority of Scripture in its fa- j-wim &>. 
▼our- — '" Mine eve afrecteth mine heart*; ° c«*«J,«iid. 
and still ntoK^ M He that ioveth not his •"""**■ 
"brother whom he hath teen, how oan be love 
" God w Bom he hath aot seen fr" Jt was indeed 
ne Mew remark ia He-race's days, . 



We receive impressions more readily from visible 
Objects, we feel theW more strongly, we retain thent 
more durably. But though ft must be granted that 
this circumstance makes It a more -difficult task to 
preserve the' affections in question m a healthful and 
vigorous state; is it thereby rendered impossible? 
TEs were indeed a most precipitate conclusion; and 
any one who should be disposed to admit the truth 
of it, might bd at least indoced to hesitate, when he - 
should reflect that the argument applies equally 
against the possibility of the love of Ood, a- duty- of 
which the most cursory 1 reader of Scripture, it he 
admit its divine authority, cannot but acknowledge 
.. . •*«. H. 51. li.Ma.ir.fft, ' 



°8 k ' 



tit »«,^h>"W*»i.«w»V : [C^Hfc 

(he-ihalspVrfsibk oMtgatrari. .Bpto we. newt ool^tXAl 
back to the Scripture proofs which haaebcsn aid 
ready adduced, to be convinced that, the religion* 
aHeetiohs Are the reiiri iiionteaeed -.oh lis,' a*- : St Butter 
of high and serious obligation. Hence we aaaji bq 
assured that- the impowibiltty Mated, by •uf iQpfMH 
nent does not exist. '" '* '■ ■ 

Let os scrutinize this matter, fcwnewr; a. little 
more briuAteh', And weahaH ■+>& i coaipeUed to> •*- 
knowledge, that th« bbjectioii'ivanisnes whet* »» 
fairly and- accurately investigate the'circumstBhcea 
of the case. Wiih this view, let us look abttje into* 
the nature of the afteetior»'of the -human mind-; stui 
endeavour to ascertain whence it-is that they derive 
their nutriment, and are round from experience to 
increase in strength. ./■ ' _ * - 

The state of man is such, that his feelings are not 
the- obedient servants or' his reason, prompt at tonce 
to follow its dictates, as to (heir direction 'and-thei* 
measure. < EsceHenee- * the just ©tijeat< af-dpvc.j 
good in expectancy, 'of hope; evil to, he.eppre- 
iended/ofiear ; the mtsSwumos' and sufferinga or" 
our fellow-creatures, constitute! itha jii*ii,objectf #< 
pity. Each, qf these passions,, it. might be thought, 
would be excited, in -on* portion' to w,bat-our reason 
should inform; us were the -magnitude and conse* 
oueo*.clajais of iWeowespondinft object.. Bat, this, 
is by.no nje*aa the case. Tal« finst for a ftc^of the 
instance utpity. ■ .-We read oi' slaughtered tgousand^ 
wMh less emoMOA, tbgn we- heai-the particulars ftf aj 
anockjog ace*dew lfthiefa.' has hftpoened In the n,es$ 
ttteet; a^dwtesseBof.^BBj^vntU^ aj'^pe !sam« 
time we know to; he fictitious, affect u^more, th*aR 
the dry narrative of-a battle. - We -became so nuicn, 
interested by these incidents of the imagination, that 
ne. cannot speedily banish theuvfrom. our, thoughts^ 
noireoaver.the tjonQof- o«i,-Biuids,;'janu. often, vg 
•Wteeiy. .bxin$'oarsetY]» tp lay down pur bog.k at tj(? 
call of real misfortune, of which perhaps we go 'to 
tb^c relief, on A principle of duty, but wmWfttle tense 



Sect. 1 .}' : the Pimtms intb ReHpttk. 6jf 

trf interest to emotion of tenderness. ; It wert : easy 
to shew that' it is much the-same in the case of the 
other affections. Whatever be the cause of this 
disproportion, which, as metaphysics fall not within 
our province, we shall not stop to examine, the fact 
k> undeniable. There appears naturally to be a cer- 
tain strangeness between the passion and its object, 
which familiarity and' the power' of habit must gra- 
dually overcome. You must contrive lo bring them 
into close contort ; they must be jointed and glued 
together by- the particularities of little incidents* 
Thus in the production of heat in the physical world, 
the ffint and the steel produce-not the effect without . 
collision; the rudest Barbarian will tell us the no. 
eessity ■ of attrition, and the chemist of mixture. 
Now, an object, it is admitted, is brought into closer 
contact with- its corresponding passion, by Wing seen 
and conversed with. This we grant is one way ; but 
does it follow tbat there is no- other I To assert this j 
woald be something like maintaining, in contradic- 
tion to- universal- experience, that objects of vision 
(done are capable of attracting our regard. Bat 
nothrrtg 1 can bs more- unrounded; than- suciv si suppo^ 
sHsom. H' thight seem; too near an approach, to the 
htdtervos, to suggest asan example- to the contrary* 
the metaphysician's- attaehment to his unsubstantial 
speculations, or the zeal-displayed in the pursuit, 
- Eitta BBuuaiintin iiitfjiiu niundi, 

ef abstract sciences, whorethere is do idea of bring- 
ing' Aero " wtthjn the visible diurnal sphere;" tt> 
the vulgarity of practical application. The instance 
«f' novel reading proves tho© we may be extremely 
affected by what we know to he- merely ideal inci- 
dents and beings. By much thinking or talking of 
any one ; by using oar minds to dwell on his excel- 
lencies ; by placing him in imaginary situation* 
which interest and affect us; we find ourselves be-) 
coming insensibly mere and more attached to hitftr 
wheieaa it wtfce rarest expedient ft» e#tingMJshing 






« On Ike Admix&m-of [Chap. III. 

an attachment which already exists, to engage iu 
such occupations or society, as may cause our casual 
tlvoaghts and more fixed meditations to be diverted 
from the object of it. Ask a mother who has been 
long separated from her child, especially if he has 
been in circumstances of honour, or of danger, to 
draw her attention to him, and to keep it hi wake- 
fulness and exercise, and she will tell you, that so 
far from becoming less dear, he appears to bare 
grown more the object of her affections.. She seems. 
to herself to- love him even better than the child 
who has been living under her roof, and has been 
daily in her view. How does she rejoice in his 
good fortune, and weep over his distresses! With, 
what impatience does she anticipate the time of his 
return! 

We find therefore that sight and personal inter- 
course do not seem necessary to the production or 
increase of attachment, where the means of clot* can- 
tact have been afforded ; but on the other hand, if 
an object has been prevented from coming into close 
Moatact, sight and personal intercourse are not suffi- 
cient to give it the power of exciting the, affections 
in proportion to its real magnitude. Suppose the 
case of a person whom we have often seen, and. may 
have occasionally conversed with, and of whom we 
have been told in the general, that he possesses ex- 
traordinary merits. We assent to the assertion. 
But if we nave no knowledge of particulars, no close 
acquaintance with him, nothing in short' which 
brings his merits home to us, they interest as less 
than a far inferior degree of Che very same qualities 
in one of our common associates. A parent has 
several children, all constantly under his eye, and 
equally dear to him. Yet if any one of them be 
taken ill, it is brought into so much ciaser contact 
than before, that it seems to absorb and engross the 
parent's whole affection. Thus then, though it will 
not be denied that an object by being visible may 
thereby^ excite its corresponding affectum with more 
!.&. facility ; 



rftKSediu 



Sopf. p-l tie Ftimoaiuti* JUHpOn. €f 

facility'; yet this it jnaoifculy Cm f torn being Xh*> 
prime consideration. And so far are we (Srom being: 
the slaws of the sense of visum, that- a familiar, ac- 
quaintance with the intrinsic escellepcies. of an 
object, aided, itmust be admitted) by the power of 
babiv will render us almost insensible to the impres- 
sions wbich its outward form conveys, and tibia 
entirely to lose the . consciousness of aa unsightly 
exterior. , .. 

. We may be permitted to «en*ai k, that the lore* 
; observations furnish an explanation, less 
Jitable than that which has been sometimes 
B „ if of an undoubted phenomenon in the human 
mind, that the greatest public misfortunes, however 
Ac understanding may lectin*, are ant really to af- 
fect our feelings less than the most trivial disaster 
which happens to ourselves. An eminent writer (a) 
scarcely overstated the point when he observed, 
" that it would occasion a man of humanity more 
"real disturbance to know that he was the next 
" moniing W lose his little finger, than to bear that 
" the great empire of China bad been suddenly 
H swajfcrwed up by an earthquake. The thoughts 
f. of .the former would keep hint awake all night; 
" in the latter case, after making many- melancholy 
" -reflections on the precariousness of human hie, 
" and the vanity or all tbe labours of man which. 
" could be thus annihilated in a moment -, after a 
" little speculation, too perhaps on tbe causes of the 
* disaster, and -its- effects in tbe political and com- 
" meroial world ; he would pursue his business or 
'* his pleasure with the' same ease and tranquillity 
** as if no such accident bad happened ; ana snore 
f at sight with the most profound serenity over the 
" ruin of a hundred million of bis fellow-creatures. 
f Setfiahassa is not the cause of this, for the most 
" uns«eaa» ibrute on earth would surely think no* 
¥ ' thing of . the loss of a finger, if he could thereby: 
<f prevent sp. dseadftfl <n calamity". This, doctrine 

(a) Dr. AM«S»nH,ip.tyi r J¥y>»fMorilSeati*enM. 
el ° £ 

, . ,GoogIc 



& On the Amission t\f -[Ctop.HKr 

of cimiucl whirfihasbeen-rtHfncfl'nbbvfr, affords a 
satwfaotoiy whitkwt; and; from till' that has been : 
said,- the ciftinmstaneegj by which the- affections of- 
the mind towards any particular object aregederated* 
and strengthened) may be easily eolleeted. The 
ehief of these appear to- Be; whatever tends to give - 

* distinct' -and; kvely impression of- thi* object, by- 
*§tting before us its minute' parts, and 1 by often 
drawing inwards it the thoughts and affections, sB- 
aft to invest it by degrees with' a confirmed 'aecen- 
aWcy '; whatever tends to- excite and' to keep it*;. 
Acercise, a lively- interest in- its behalf; in- other' 
Words, fa^kaWledgej-dtstinctand freqnent'inenttt' 
entertainment, and pathetieicontemplatioas: &apL 
posing these means to'nftve been used in- any <gweti : 
degree, it-may be expected, that they wiiiha mewe- 
«r less efficacious, m proportion as the i intiiasle* 
qualities of the objeet afford greater or less *oop# 
lor- their Operation, and rotore or -fewer materials with 
which to work. Can it then- be- eoncewed/ tttet' 
•hey will be of no<a«ail when- steadily pracwsed'-in" 
<be case of-ou.r Redeemer! If-tlie principleMiPfere 
fed gratitude and jpyi and hope,: and't«^s*,'«««'I■Dt , 

• tterJy extinct within us,- they eannakbut odbalted' 
forth by the various corresponding' ot^ects- wbaell 



■hat blessed- contemplation would gradually bring 
forth to our view. Well' might- the language of- the 
apostle be addressed to Christians, "' Whom, having 
■ ** not seen ye love ; in .whom, though now y«- Mff 1 
"him not, yet believing, ye rejoifce- with) jeywi- 
« speakablfe and full* of glory*;' 1 

Bitt-iti'thc present instance ftesfe considerattons 
Bpntiti pour in, stili more to invalidate- tb* plea 
*"*•*£" °f its ^"^'hTTpossibleto leva an -invisible 
SfeI2^' being. Oilr blessed Sanour, if we may be 
(mi'iidiioiir permitted so' to 'say, is not rftfflowed far 
*«w.v rrom u^andtfrevario^^reiationi^rtwWch 
wc stood Awards bittfj'seem'pdr^oseiy made feaftWa 



Sect, a J the Tatafota into Religfon. So 

to hb, in order to furnish so many different bonds of 
coatfecfienj with him, .so many consequent occasions 
of dontitoaj. itrtercouKie. He exhibits not himself 
to-BS;" d*ffc>wiib eKcessive brightness," but is let 
down as it 'WSre to the possibilities of. b&rnanxonr 
•verse. We -may not : tuink that he is incapable of 
-entering in!o our little concerns, and of sympathizing 
with them ; for we are graciously assured thai he is 
sot ope " who eanoot be touched with the feeling 
" of Our ■ infirmities, having been in all poiiite 
": tempted like' a» we are*.".. The figures under 
wbioblie w rapresi'Sted; arc such as cooyey' ideas of 
the uMBOBt'toodertjees, " He shall feed his flock 
" like a* shepherd ; he shall gather the lambs in his 
". ana, and: canty them; in hit- besom, and shall 
" gentry lead those that a*e> with young f"—^' They 
"■•«n# no^rhqngijrqor,i^ii-st,:ne)Uicr.sJ»ali tfeejieart 
" nor «twemjte~them.; for be that bjath' mercy on 
" thenij «bj)14ead them,. oven by. the, .springs of 
"war*?, shell, he guide themj." ' " J.wif jootleave 
" /fui) ^orphan* {«)" .was one. of 'his. last consolatory 
declarations^. The ebiWien of 'Christ are here 
•separated ^teednfrom (the -personal vie* of himj 
bqt »i>P from his (paternal affectum and paternal 
xfarev . JAl-eanwhile let them. qijkiheo. their regards 
iytiie imimmkig aHtkipation 'of ^bst blessed day, 
when he " w-ho-js gone to prepare a ; place for them, 
" will cerae again to receive them unto himself." 
-Then 'shall they> be admitted to his more immediate 
presence ; "'Now we aee through a glass darkly ; 
*' bnt then faee:tp race: 'now I know in part; but 
" theji |sha^|,ltnow,:eyeb, ap-i am *»owp|." 

Stwely -mow $b.ap .enough, has hem aow said to 
prove t^-thie particular ease,,faim its, very aaftufe, 
jy*sph4s. 'the. most abundant and pe.werfaj, epnr 
aidoraUons and means for exciting the feelings; sad 
it fnight be contended, without tear of refutation, 

•Heb.lt.13. ' ' t Ittiah, xl. 11. t lb. xliq. 1ft. 

i John, iiv. IS. 1 1 Cor.'xiii. It. 

<«> lire word CoiWpfllrw it rendered m thri mjpiin, Orpfcani. ■ 



ya On the A4*ik6tm of [Cbap. TH. 

that by the diligent and habitual Die of those Con- 
siderations and means, we "might wrth confident 
expectation of success, engage In the wot* of rais- 
ing our affections towards our blessed Saviour to a 
■tate of due force' a ad activity. But,'bte»9ed be 
God, we have a stitt better reliance ■} for the graa4 
circumstance of all yet remains behind, which the 
writer has been led to defer, from his wish to con- 
tend with his opponents on their own ground. Thi* 
circumstance it, that here, no less than in ocJMr par- 
ticulars, the Christian's hope is toauded, not on the 
speculations or the strength of man, but <tt>tfce 
declaration of Him who cannot lie, on the power of 
Omnipotence. 

Weiearn front the Scriptures ttttf itisone'mtun 
part of the operations of the Holy Spirit, to implant 
those heavenly principled m' the human, mind, And 
to cherish their growth. We are eitcdur*gt*P to 
believe that in afeawer to our- prayers, thJs aid from 
above wiH give efficacy to our- earnest endeavours, 
if used in hanac-ie 1 depettdenlceon'dfc'rnegraeel'' We 
may therefore with con fideace tafce the means w%4c% 
(Aimum- have been suggested. Bat let «s,in'<>er 
*btcom*> L -i turn, be permitted to task onr'bpptHients, 
&!Zi*iL have'tfe? humbly and 'pewerenngfjr'Kp* 
prnmtln- ftitdr'fot th» divine strength? «rdi3Cl*io>- 
t*ott: : ■ me thilt nfcsistartce, perhaps 'as tempting 
them to indolence, ; have they been : atf'mach the 
more strenuous and unwearied in the use' tof 'therr 
own unaided endeavours f or rather have they ' not 
■been equally negligent of both ? Henosmctng thtf 
one, they hovWhoiry rtrtttted the other ; But this 
is far from ■ being ahV Theyeven ■reverse BJttlre 
methods which we have reeomntaided -as-beihg-oOlf 
ciliated K» increase regard ; and exactly futtbWChat 
coarse which would be pursued by any one who 
should wish to reduce an excessive^rt'eotion. Yet 
thus leaving untried all the means, which, whether 
from Reason or Scripture, we maintain to be neces- 
sary wthe production of the end, nay using such 
as 



$ect. «.] the Patsiora iMu HUHgttm. 71 

as are of a directly opposite nature, these men pre- 
sume to talk to us of impossibilities! We may rather 
contend that they furnish a fresh proof of the sound- 
ness of our reasonings. We lay it down as a fun- 
damental position, that speculative knowledge alone, 
mere superficial cursory considerations, will be of 
no avail, that nothing is to be done without the 
diligent continued use of the appointed method. 
They themselves afford an instance of the truth of 
our assertions ; and while they supply no argument 
against the efficacy of the mode prescribed, they 
acknowledge at least that they are wholly ignorant 
of any other. 

But let os now turn our eyes to Christians of a 
higher order, to those who have actually A tpta i j 
proved the truth of our reasonings; who^^P 1 ^ 
have not only assumed the name, but who %^Zj^ 
have possessed the substance, and i'elt the ti, mt . 
power of Christianity ; who though often toiled 
by their remaining corruptions, and shamed and 
rast down under a sense of their many imper- ' 
fections, have known in their better seasons, what it 
was to experience .its firm hope, its dignified joy, its 
unshaken trust, its more than human consolations. 
In their hearts, love also towards their Redeemer has 
gloved; a Jove not superficial and unmeaning, but 
constant and rational; resulting from a strong impres- 
sion of the worth of its object, and heightened by 
an abiding sense'of great, unmerited, and continually 
accumulating obligations ; ever manifesting itself 
in acts' of diligent obedience, or of patient suffering. 
Such was the ■ religion of the holy Martyrs of the 
sixteenth century, the illustrious ornaments of the 
English church. They realized the theory which we 
have now been faintly tracing. Look to their writ- 
ings, and yon will find that their thoughts and af- 
ftctkms bad been much exercised in habitual views 
of the blessed Jesus. Thus they used the required 
mean*. What were the effects? Persecution and 
distress,, degradation,- and contempt jn vain assailed 
them; 



Jt Inadequate Conceptual concerning [Chap. III. 
them — all these evils served but to bring their affec- 
tions into rimer contact with their object ; and not 
only did their love feel no diminution or abatement, 
bat it rose to all the exigencies of the occasion, and 
humeri with an increase ut ardor ; even when brought 
forth at last to a cruel and ignominious death, they 
repined not at their fate; but rather rejoiced that 
they were counted worthy to sutler for the name 
of Christ The writer might refer to still more-recent 
times, to prove the reality of this divine principle. 
But lest his authorities should be disputed, let us go 
to the Apostles of our Lord ; and while on a cursory 
perusal of their writings, we must acknowledge that 
they commend and even prescribe to us the love of 
Christ as one of the chief of the- Christian graces; 
so, on a more attentive inspection of those writings, 
we shall ■ disco v cr abundant proofs that they were 
themselves bright examples of their own precepts; 
that bur blessed Saviour was really the object of 
their warmest affection, and what be had done and 
suffered for them, the continual subject of their g&ate- 
i'ul remembrance. , . 

Section III. 

Inadequate Conception* contenting t/te Uoty 
. Spirit f . Operation*. 

THE disposition so prevalent in the bulk of nomi- 
nal Christians, to forma religious system for them- 
selves, instead of taking it from the word of God,, is 
strikingly observable in their scarcely admitting,. ex- 
cept in the most vague and general sense, die doc- 
trine of the influence of the Holy Spirit. If we look 
.into the Scriptures for information on this particular, 
we learn a very different lesson. We are in them 
distinctly taught, that "of ourselves we can do no- 
thing;" that " we are by nature children of wrath," 
and Under the power of the evil spirit, our under- 
standings being rtaturalh/ dark, and oar hearts averse 
from 



Sect- 3.] the Holy Spirit'i Operations. y» 

from spiritual things ; and we are directed to pray 
for the influence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our 
understandings, to dissipate our prejudices, to purify 
our corrupt minds, and to renew as after the image 
of our heavenly Father. It is this influence which 
is represented asoriginMiy awakening as from slum* . 
bcr,aseiilighteniiig us in darkness, as " quickening us 
" when dead*," as " delivering os from the power of 
" the devil," as drawing us to God, as "translating 
" us into the kingdom of his dear Son +," as " creating, 
" ns anew in Christ Jesus %," as " dwelling in us, ana 
" walking in us §;" so that " putting off the old man 
" with hi3 deeds," we are to consider ourselves as 
" having put on the new man, which is renewed in ' 
" knowledge after the image of Him that created 
" him I ;" and as those who are to be " an habita- 
" tion of God through the Spirit %" It is by this 
Divine assistance only that we can grow in Grace, 
and improve in all Holiness. So expressly, particu- 
larly, and repeatedly does the word of God inculcate 
these lessons, that one would think there was scarcely 
room for any difference of opinion among those who 
admit its authority. Sometimes (a) the whole of a 
Christian's repentance and faith, and consequent 
holiness, are ascribed getierailg to the Divine influ- 
e:ice ; sometimes these are spoken of separately, and 
ascribed to the same Almighty power. Sometimes 
d liferent particular graces of the Christian character, 
those which respect our duties and tempers towards 
our fellow-creatures, no less than those which have 
reference to the Supreme Being, are particularly 
traced to this source. Sometimes they are all referred 
collectively to this common root, being comprehended 
under the compendious denomination of " the Fruits 
" of the Spirit." In exact correspondence with 

1 • Epb. n. 1. 5. I Col. i. IS. t Ephei. iL 10. 

$ 1 Cor. « 16. Col. iii. 9, 10. fl Ejjlie».ii. «. 

(a) Vide Dr. Don on 1 net's eiglit BervOiu on RcKineratmn, s 

Bost valuable conpiklwn ; and M'l«H«'i Sm«y 00 Divine 

■ E these 



74 Mistaken' Conceptions concerning ["Chap. III. 
these representations, this aid from above is pro- 
mised in other parts of Scripture for the production 
of those effects ; and the withholding or withdrawing 
of it is occasionally threatened as a punishment for 
the sins of men, and as one of the most fatal conse- 
quences of the Divine displeasure. 

The Liturgy of the Church of England strictly 
agrees with the representation, which has been here 
given of tbc insructions of the word of God. 

Section IV. 

Mistaken Conceptions entertained by nominal Chris- 
tians of the Terms of Acceptance with God. 

IF it be true then, that, in contradiction to the 
plainest dictates of Scripture, and to the ritual of 
our established Church, the sanctifying operations 
of the Holy Sph*it(the firs ifruttsof our reconciliation 
to God, the purchase of our Redeemer's death, and 
his best gift to his true disciples,) are too generally 
undervalued and slighted ; if it be also true, that onr 
thoughts of the blessed Saviour are confused and 
faint, our affections towards him languid and luke- 
warm ; little proportioned to what they, who at such 
a price have been rescued from ruin, and endowed 
with a title to eternal glory, might be justly expected 
to feel towards the author of that deliverance ; little 
proportioned to' what has been felt by others, ran- 
somed from the same ruin, and partakers of the same 
inheritance : if this, let it be repeated, be indeed so, 
let us not shut our eyes against the perception of our 
real state : but rather endeavour to trace the evil 
to its source. We are loudly called on to examine 
well our foundations. If any thing be there unsound 
and hollow, the superstructure could not be safe, 
though its exterior were less suspicious. Let the ques- 
tion then be asked, and let the answer be returned 
r with .all the consideration and solemnity which a 
question so important may justly demand, whether, 
in the grand concern of all, the means of a sinner's 
• acceptance 



Sect. 4.3 the Termt of Acceptance. 75 

acceptance Kith Gad, there be not reason to appre- 
hend, that the nominal Christians whom we have 
been addressing, too generally entertain very super- 
ficial and confused, if not highly dangerous notions ? 
Is there not cause to fear, that with little more than 
an indistinct and nominal reference to Him who 
" bore our sins in his own body on the tree," they 
really rest their eternal hopes on a vague, general 
persuasion of the unqualified mercy of the Supreme 
.Being ; or that, still more erroneously, they -rely in 
the main, on their own negative or positive merits ? 
" The}' can look upon their lives with an impartial 
" eye, and congratulate themselves on their inoffen- 
" siveness in society ; on their having been exempt, 
" at least, from any gross vice, or it sometimes ac- 
" ci dentally betrayed into it, on its never having 
" been indulged habitually ; or, if not even so," (for 
there are but few who can say this, if the term 
vice be explained according to the strict requisi- 
tions of the Scriptures) " yet on the balance being in 
" their favour, or on the whole not much against 
" them, when their good and bad actions are fairly 
" weighed, and due allowance is made for human 
" frailty." These considerations are sufficient for 
the most part to compose their apprehensions ; these 
are the cordials which they find most at hand in 
the moments of serious thought, or of occasional 
dejection ; and sometimes perhaps in seasons of less 
than ordinary self-complacency, they call in also to 
their a:d the general persuasion of the unbounded 
mercy and pity of God. Yet persons of this de- 
scription by no means disclaim a Huviour, or avowedly 
relinquish their title to a share in the benefits of his 
death. They close their petitions with the name of 
Christ J but if not chiefly from the effect of habit, 
or out of decent conformity to the established faith, 
yet surely with something of the same ambiguity of 
[principle, which influenced the expiring philosopher, 
when he ordered the customary mark of homage 
to be paid to the God of medicine. 

s s Others 

, ,GoooJe 



j& Mistaken Conceptions concerning [Chap. III. 
Other* go farther than this ; for there are many 
ahades of difference between those who flatly re- 
nounce, and those who cordially embrace the rite- 
trine of Redemption by Christ. This cass has a 
sort pf general, indeterminate, and ill understood 
dependence on our blessed Saviour. But their 
hopes, so far as they .can be distinctly made out, 
appear ultimately to rest on the persuasion that 
they are now, through Christ, become members of 
a new dispensation, wherein they will be tried by 'a 
more lenient rule than that to which they must have 
been otherwise subject. "God will not now be ex- 
" treuie to mark what is. done amiss ; bu,t will dis- 
pense with the rigorous exactions of his law, too 
strict indeed for such frail creatures as we are, to 
hone that we cen fulfil it. Christianity has mo- 
derated the requisitions of Divine Justice ; and all 
that is now required of us, is thankfully to trust 
to the merits ot Christ tor the pardon ot our, sins, 
and the acceptance of our sincere though im- 
perfect obedience. The frailties and infirmities 
to which our nature is liable, or to which our 
situation in life exposes us, will not be severely 
judged ; and as it is practice that really deter- 
mines the character, we may rest satisfied, that if, 
on the whole, our lives be tolerably good, we 
shall escape with little or no punishment, aud 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, shall be finally 
- partakers of heavenly felicity." 

iWe cannot dive into the human heart, and there- 
fore should always speak with caution aud di fnden.ee, 
when, from external appearances or declarations we 
are affirming the existence of any internal principles 
and feelings ; especially as we are liable to be mis- 
led by the ambiguities of language, or by the in- 
accuracy with which others may express themselves. 
But it is sometimes not difficult to any one who is 
accustomed, if the phrase may Le allowed, to the 
anatomy of the human mind, to discern, that gene- 
rally speaking, the persons who use the above lan- 
guage. 



Sect. 4-] tit Term* of Aceeptante. 77 

guage, rely not bo much on the merits of Christ, 
and 00 the agency of Divine Grace, as on their own 
power of fulfilling the moderated requisitions of 
Divine Justice. He will hence therefore discover 
in them a disposition, rather to extenuate the ma- 
lignity of their disease, than to magnify the ex- 
cellence of the proffered remedy. He will find them 
apt to palliate in themselves what they cannot fully 
justify, to enhance the merit of what they believe 
to be their good qualities and commendable actions, 
to set, as it were in an account, the good against 
the bad ; and if the result be not very unfavourable, 
they conceive that they shall be entitled to claim 
the benefits of our Saviour's sufferings as a thing of 
course. They have. little idea, so little, that it 
might almost be affirmed that they have no idea at 
ail, of the importance or difficulty of ithe duty of 
what the Scripture calls " submitting ourselves to 
" the righteousness of God (' or of our proneness 
rather to justify ourselves in his sight, than, in the 
language of imploring penitents, to acknowledge 
ourselves gnilty and helpless sinners. They have 
never summoned themselves to Shis entire and un- 
qualified renunciation of their own incuts, and their 
own strength ; and therefore they remain strangers 
to the natural loftiness of the human heart, which 
such a call would have awakened into action, and 
roused to resistance. All these theik several 

ERRORS NATTJBALLY RESULT FROM THE f"£*** 
MISTAKEN CONCEPTION ENTERTAINED^"™^* 
OF THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF [ion of ike . 

chbistianitv. They consider not that "'""J" 1 * 

Christianity is a scheme for "justifying ™^p ie ,*• 

"the ungodly*" by Christ's dying for the Gospel. 

them " when yet tinners -f (a) :" a scheme for re- 

conciling 

•Roa.iT. 5. tlbid. v. 6— a. 

fa) The Writer tniala he cannot be raiauudentood to mean (hat 

*nj , continuing jmueta and ungudly, can, by believing, be accepted. 

Or finally sated, i lie following chapter, particularly (he latter pait 

of it, (bed. 6.) would abundantly vindicate bint iroiii any auch ini»- 

couamwtion. Meanwhile, he will only remark, that true fcilh 

( ia which repentance is conaideied aa involved) u in Seiiptor* «•- 

>3 l.mStf"* 



y& Mistaken Conception* concerning [Chap. III. 
conciling us to God— f when enemies-" and for 
making the fruits of holiness the effect* *, not the 
came, of our being justified and reconciled :" that 
in' short, it opens freely the door of mercy, to 
the greatest and worst of penitent sinners ; who 
obeying the blessed impulse of the; grace of God, 
whereby they had been awakened from the sleep of 
death, and moved to seek for pardon, may enter in, 
and, through the regenerating influence of the Holy 
Spirit, be enabled to bring forth the fruits, of 
Righteousness. Bnt they rather conceive. of Chris- 
tianity 8e opening the door of mercy, that those, 
who on the ground of their own merits could not 
have hoped to justify themselves before God, may 
yet be admitted for Christ's sake, on condition of 
their having previously satisfied the moderated re- 
quisitions of Divine Justice. In speaking to others 
also of the Gospel scheme, they are apt to talk too 
much of terms and performances on our part, on 
which we become entitled to an interest in the suf- 
ferings of Christ ; instead of stating the benefits of 
Christ's satisfaction as extended to us freely, " with- 
" cut money and without price." 

The practical consequences of these errors are 
Son* »™c- suc h as might be expected. They tend to 
tieul tame- prevent that sense which we ought to en- 
*■*■"» jf tertain of our own natural misery and 
a* fmda- helplessness • and that deep feeling of 
gratitude 

garded as the radical principle of luiixrn. If the root eiist, the 
' |)nipet fruit* will be brought forth. An attention tu this consideration 
would have easily captained and reconciled tliose passage* uf St. 
Paul's and St. James's Epistles, which hare furnished so much matter 
of 'argument and criticism. St. James, it may be observed, all along 
■peak* not of a man, oh* hot faith, bnt who lays that he hath faith. 
He con train pretended, imperfect, dead faith, with real, complete, 
living faith. This surely must appear decisively clear to those who 
observe that t tie conclusion which be deduces from his whole reasoning 
in Kites «3 & 36, respects/aiin— Abraham btlieved God, &e. Faith 
tttfhaui -starto. Arc. Jt is his great object to assert and establish the 
right kind of faith, and only to deny the utility or value of thit which 
falsely usurps Ihe name. Vide James ii. 14, &c. 4c. 
•VideCli.it. Sect. 6. 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 4 .J the Terms of Acceptance. 70, 

gratitude for the merits and intercession wcnt*l tr- 
ot Christ, to which we are wholly indebted ™J a ** M 
for our reconciliation to God, and for the *" ""'" 
will and the power, from first to last, to work out 
our own salvation. They consider it too much in 
the light of a contract between two parties, wherein 
each, independently of the other, has his own dis- 
tinct condition to perform ; man — to do his duty; 
God — to justify and accept for Christ's sake : If 
they fail not in the discharge of their condition, 
assuredly the condition on God's part will be faith- 
fully fulfilled. Accordingly, we rind in fact, that 
they who represent the Gospel scheme in the 
manner above described, give evidence of the sub- 
ject with which their hearts are most filled, by their 
proneoess to run into merely moral disquisitions, 
either not mentioning at all, or at least but cursorily 
touching on, the sufferings and love of- their Re- 
deemer; and are little apt to kindle at their Sa- 
viour's name, or, like the apostles, to be betrayed by 
their fervor into what may be almost an untimely 
descant on the riches of his unutterable mercy. la 
addressing others also whom they conceive to be 
living in habits of sin, and under the wrath of God, 
they rather advise them to amend their ways as a 
preparation for their coming to Christ, .than exhort 
them to throw themselves with deep prostration of 
soul at the toot of the cross, there to obtain pardon, 
and find grace to help in time of need. 

The great importance of the subject in question 
will justify the writer in having been thus particular. 
It has arisen from a wish that on a matter of such 
magnitude, it should be impossible 10 mistake his 
meaning. But after all that has been said, let it 
also be remembered, that, except so far as the in- 
struction of others is concerned, the point of import 
tance is, the internal disposition of the mind ; and 
it is to be hoped, that a dependance for pardon and' 
holiness may be placed where it ought to- be, not- 
withstanding the vague manner in. which men es- 
K 4 P«*» ' 



So Mistaken Conceptions concerning [Cbap. HI. 
press themselves. Let us also hope, that he who 
searches the heart, sees the right dispositions in 
many' who use the mistaken and oangcroti a language 
to which we have objected. 

If the preceding statement of the error so gene- 
rally prevalent concerning the nature of the Gospel 
offer be in any considerable degree just, it will then 
explain that languor in the affections towards am 
blessed Saviour, together with that inadequate im- 
pression of the necessity and value of th» assistance 
of the Divine Spirit, which so generally prevail. 
According to the soundest principles of reasoning, 
it may be also adduced as an additional proof, of the 
correctness of out present statement, that it so 
exactly falls in with those pbienomena, and so na- 
turally accounts for them, roe even admitting thai; 
the persons above mentioned, particularly the last 
class, do at the bottom rely on the atonement o£ 
Christ; yet, on their scheme, it must necessarily 
happen, that the object to which they are most ac- 
customed to look, with which their thoughts ace 
chiefly conversant, and from which they most ha- 
bitually derive complacency, is rathe* their own, 
qualified merit and services, though, confessed to be: 
inadequate, than the sufferings and atoning death 
of a crucified Saviour. The alfectrons towards our 
blessed Lord therefore (according to the theory 
of the passions formerly laid dowu) cannot be ex- 
pected to flourish, because they receive not that 
which was shewn to be necessary Co then; nutriment 
and growth. If we would love him. as affectioHately, 
and rejoice in him as triumphantly, a* the: first 
Christians did ; we must learn like them to reposo 
our entire trust in him* and to adopt the language 
of the apostle, " God forbid that I should glory, save 
* in the eroiB of our Loud Jesus Christ * — " Who- 
" of God is made uuVo us wisdom, and righteousness, 
" and sonetincation, and redemption f. 

Doubtless there have been too many, who, to their 
•«<**>.«. flCor. i.». 

* . eternal 



o 8 k- 



Sec. 4-1 the Terms of Acceptance. tl 

eternal rain, have abased the doctrine of Salva- 
tion by Grace ; and have vainly trusted cWrnn*. 
in Christ for pardon and acceptance, when' *™ »/""»« 
by their vicious lives they We plainly £ £*^ 
proved the groundlessness or their pre- rf/rtt 
tensions. The tree is to be known by its Brace. 
fruits: and there is too much reason to fear 
that there is no principle of faith, when it does not 
decidedly evince itself by the traits of hoKness. 
Dreadful indeed will be the doom, above that of all 
others, of those loose professors of Christianity, to 
whom St the last day our blessed Savionr wilt 
address those words, " I never knew you ; depart 
" from me, all ye that worfc iniquity.'* But (he 
danger of error on this side ought not to render 
ns insensible to the opposite error; an error against 
which in these days it seems 1 particularly necessary 
to guard. It is far from the intention of the writer 
of mis work to enter into the niceties of controversy. 
But surely withont danger of being thought to' 
violate this design, he may be permitted to contend^ 
that they who in the main believe ;he doctrines of 
the Church of England, are bound to allow, thae 
our dependance on our blessed Saviour, as alone the 
meritorious cause of our acceptance wim God, and" 
as the means of all its blessed fruits and gloriou* 
consequences, must be not merely formal and no- 
minal, but real and substantial r not vague, qualified, 
and partial, but direct, cordial, and entire; " Re- 
" pentance towards God, and faith to- Betienint t«. 
" wards our Lord Jesus Christ," was' the'Cfc™t,'4(*, 
sum of the apostolical instructions, ft is jj/jjj' , 
not an occasional invocation of the name 
of Christ, or a transient recognition of his autho- 
rity, that (ill* up the measure of the terms, be- 
tieeing tn Jena. This we shall find no such easy 1 
task : and, if we trust that wc do believe, we; 
should all perhaps do well to cry out in the words of 
an imploring suppliant, {he supplicated not in vain)' 
"•fcord, help thou our unbelief* We must be 
e 3 deeply 

, . ,GoogIc 



8a Mistaken Conceftiaas concerning [Chap. III. 
deeply conscious of our guilt and misery, heartily 
repenting'of our sins, and firmly resolving to for- 
sake them: and thus penitently " fleeing for refuge 
" to the hope set before us," we must found alto- 
gether on the merit of the crucified Redeemer our 
hopes of escape from their deserved punishment, 
and of deliverance from their enslaving power. 
This must be our first our last, our only plea. We 
are to surrender ourselves up to him to " be washed 
"■ in his blood *," to be sanctified by his Spirit, re- 
solving to receive him for our Lord and Master, to 
learn in his School, to obey all his commandments. 

It may perhaps be not unnecessary, after having 
Aw,r tt treated so largely on this important topic, 
SL^i. t0 add a few words in onler to obviate a 
woJi« n «., cnur S e which may be urged against us, 
taphyticat that we are insisting on nice and ab- 
"'"""• strnse distinctions in what is a matter 
ofi general concern : and this too in a system, 
which on its original promulgation was declared 
to* be peculiarly intended for the simple and 
P 0OT * '* wil1 be abundantly evident however 
ok a little reflection, and experience fully proves 
the position, that what has been required is not the 
perception of a subtile distinction, but a state and 
condition of heart. To the former, the poor and the 
ignorant must be indeed confessed unequal ; but 
they are far less indisposed than the great and the 
ftarned, to bow down to that " preaching of the cross, 
2. '* to wem diat J*"* 11 foolishness, but unto 
tnem that are saved the power of God, and the 
wisdom of God.'* The poor are not liable to be 
gnfled up by the intoxicating femes of ambition 
and worldly grandeur. They are less likely to be 
fcept from entering into the straight and narrow way, 
and* when, they have entered, to be drawn back 
again, or to he retarded inc their progress,, by the 
cares or pleasures of life. They may express them- 
Wives ill; but their views may*be sunpfe, and their 
.•Beiiii 

heart* 

, . ,GoogIc 



Sect. 4.] the Term of Acceptance. 83 

hearts humble, penitent, and sincere. It is, as in 
other cases ; the vulgar are the subjects of pheno- 
mena, the learned explain them : the former know 
nothing of the theory of vision or of sentiment ; 
but this ignorance hinders them not from seeing 
and thinking ; and though unable to discourse ela- 
borately on the passions, they can feel warmly for 
their children, their friends, their country. 

After this digression, if that be indeed a digres- 
sion which, by removing a formidable ob- 
jection, renders the truth of the positions VUHt *££" 
we wish to establish more clear and less gmct tt 

nionable, we may now resume the c j*}"f'' r ~. 
d of our argument. Still intreating „ ^T^ft- 
therefoie the attention of those, who have jeet if our 
not been used to think much of the neces- ! " ,b '" iaL 
sity of this undivided, and, if it may be r ** " 
so termed, unadulterated reliance, tor which we 
have been contending; we would still more par- 
ticularly address ourselves to others who are dis- 
posed to believe that though, in some obscure and 
vague sense, the death of Christ as the satisfaction 
for our sins, and for the purchase of our. future 
happiness, and the sauitifying influence of the 
Holy Spirit, are to be admitted as fundamental ar- 
ticles of our creed, yet that these are doctrines so 
much above us, that they are not objects suited to 
our capacities ; and that, turning our eyes therefore 
from these difficult speculations, we should fix them 
on the practical and moral precepts of the Gospel. 
" These it most' concerns us to know ; these there- 
" fore let us study. Such is the frailty of our na- 
lf lure, such the strength and number or our tempta- 
" tions to evil, that, in reducing the Gospel mp- 
" rality to practice, we shall find full employment :, 
" and by attending to these moral precepts,, rathes 
" than to those high mysterious doctrines which 
" you are pressing, on us, we shall best prepare to. 
"appear before. God; ou that' tremendous da v.. 
E 6 " wht* 



14 Mistaken Conceptions concerning [Chap. III. - 
" when " He shall, judge every man according; to 

" UJ# WORKS." 

" Vain wiwfom all. Bud false phikaopbj 1* 

It wiH at once destroy this flimsy web, to reply in 
the words of our blessed Saviour, and of his beloved 
Disciple — " This iff the work of God, that ye believe 
" in him whom he hath sent *." ** This' is" hia 
" commandment, that we should believe on the name 
" ofhis Son Jesus Christ +." In truth, if we con- 
sider but for a moment the opinions of men who 
argue thus, we must be conscious of their absurdity. 
Let the modem Unitarian reduce the Gospel to a 
mere system of ethics, but surely it is in the highest 
degree unreasonable to admit into our scheme all 
the grand peculiarities of Christianity, and, having 
admitted, to neglect and think no more of them! 
"Wherefore" (might the Socinian say) " Where- 
** fore all this costly and complicated machinery i 
" It is like the Tychonic astronomy, encumbered 
u and self-convicted by its own complicated rela- 
" tions and useless perplexities. It is so little like 
*■ the simplicity of nature, it is so unworthy of the 
* divine hand, that it even offends against those 
w rales of propriety which we require to be observed 
** in the imperfect compositions of the human in- 
- tellect f a)?' 

Well may the Socinian assume this lofty tone, 
with those whom we are now addressing. If these 
be indeed the doctrines of Revelation, common sense 
suggests to us that from their nature and their magni- 
tude, they deserve our most serious regard. It js the 
very theology cf Epicurus to allow the existence of 
these "heavenly things," but to deny their connection 
with human concerns, and their influence on human 
actions. Besides the unreasonableness of this con- 
duct, we might strongly urge also in this connection 

• Jotta, t ; . 99. +■ l Join, ill S3~ 

fuJKecDcuiialeisit,Ji(;. 



Sect. 4.] tie Terms of Acceptance. %$ 

the profaneness of thus treating as matters of subor- 
dinate consideration those parts of the system of 
Christianity, which are ao strongly impressed on our 
reverence by the dignity oF the person to whom they 
relate. This very argument is indeed repeatedly 
and pointedly pressed by the sacred writers *. 

Nor is the profane irreverence of this conduct 
more striking than its ingratitude. When from 
reading that our Saviour was "the brightness of his 
" Father's glory, and the express image of his person, 
" upholding all things by the word »f his power," 
we go on to consider the purpose for which he came 
en earth, and all that he did and suffered tor us ; 
surely, if we have a spark of ingenuousness left with- 
in us, we shall condemn ourselves as guilty of the 
Blackest ingratitude, in rarely noticing, or coldly 
turning away, on whatever shallow pretences, fern 
roe contemplation of these miracles of mercy. For 
those baser minds however, on which fear alone can 
operate, that motive is superadded ■. and wa are 
plainly forewarned, both directly and indirectly, by 
the example of the Jewish nation, that God wilt 
not hold them guiltless who are thus unmindful 
•f his most signal acts of condescension and kind- 
ness. But as this is- a question of pure Revela- 
tion, reasonings from probability may not be deemed 
decisive. To Revelation therefore we must appeal ; 
and without entering into a laboured discussion of 
the subject, which might be to trespass on the rea- 
der's patience, I would refer him to thcsacred Writ- 
ings themselves for complete satisfaction. We 
would earnestly r* commend it to him to weigh with 
the utmost seriousness those passages of Scripture 
wherein the peculiar doctrines of Christianity are 
expressly mentioned ; and farther, to attend, with 
due regard, to the illustration and confirmation, which 
die conclusions resulting from those passages inci- 
dentally receive from other parts 'of the word of God. 
They who maintain the opinion which we are com- 
bating, will -thereby become convinced that their'* 
• Vide Heb. ii. 1, 4«. 

I . ** 



86 Inudequate Conceptions, 8[c. [Chap. III. 

is indeed an untcriptural Religion ; and will learn, 
instead of turning off iheiv eyes from the grand pecu- 
liarities of Christianity, to keep these ever in view, 
as die pregnant principles whence all the rest must 
derive their origin, and receive their best support*. 

Let us then each for himself so'einnly ask ourselves, 
Gmciiuimi. whether fee have fled for refuge to the ap- 
pointed hope f And whether we are habitually looking 
to it, as to the only source of consolation ? " Other 
" foundation can' no man lay :" there is no other 
ground of dependence, no other plea for pardon ; but 
here there it hope, even to the uttermost. Let. us 
labour then to affect our hearts with a deep convic- 
tion of our need of a Redeemer, and of the value of 
his offered mediation. Let us fall down humbly be- 
fore the throne of God, imploring pity and pardon- in 
the 

• Aaj one who wishes to investigate (h"u sut-ject, will do well to. 
Hud; attentively M'Lsvms's Essay on Prejudices against the Gus-. 
pel. — It may no! be amiss here 10 direct the render's sttentionto a few 
leading argument, many of them those of the work just recommended. 
Let bim maturely estimate the force of those terms, wherrby [be 
Apostle in the fallowing passages designates and characterizes the. 
whole of the Christian sysiim. "We preach Christ crucified "— ' 
" We determined tu know nothing among yon, sace Jesus Christ, and 
" Liu crucified." The vsJac of thij argitneut will be acknowledged 
by all who consider, that a system is never designated by an tinmatev. 
rial or an inferior part o! it. but by that Which constitute* lis prime con- 
sideration and essential distinction. The conclusion suggested by this 
Kmart is confirmed by the lord's Supper being the rite by which out; 
Saviour himself commanded hi) Disciples 10 keep him in remembrance; 
and indeed a similar lesson is taught by the Sacrament of Baptism, 
which shadows out nut souls being washed and purified by the blood 
of Christ, Observe neat the frequency with which our Saviour's 
death aud sufferings are introduced, and how often they are urged as 
practical natives: 

" The minds «f the Apostles seem full of Ibis subject. Every thing 
" puts litem iu mind Nil, they did not allow themselves to have k 
". longout of their view, nor did any other branch of spiritual jnstrDC- 
" lion make them lose sight of it. Consider neit that part of the 
Epistle to the Romans, wherein St. Paul speaks of some who went 
about tu establish their own righteousness, and had not submitted 
Ibe tnsel res to the righteousness uf God. May not this charge be in 
some degree urged, anil even more strongly than in the caseof the Jews, 
against those who satisfy- themselves with vague, general, occasional 
thoughts of pur Savieur's mediation; and the soured uf whose hab.lnai. 



Sect. 4.] Conclusion. $7 

the name of the Son of his love. Let us beseech 
him to give us a true spirit of repentance, and of 
hearty undivided, faith in the Lord Jesus. Let us. 
not be satisfied till the cordiality of our belief be con- 
firaied to us by that. character with winch we are fur- 
nished by an inspired writer, " that to as many as 
" believe Christ is precious ;" and let us strive to 
increase, daily in love towards our blessed Saviour; 
and pray earnestly, that" we may be filled with Jot/ 
" and Peace in believing, that we may abound in 
" Hope through the powerof the Holy Giiost." Let 113 
diligently put in practice the directions already given, 
for cherishing and cultivating the principle or the. 
Love ofChrist. With this view let us bibour assidu- 
ously to increase in knowledge, that our affection to 
the Lord who bought us, may be deeply rooted and 
rational. 

complacency, as we explained ahore, ii rather their being tolerably 
welt satisfied with their awn character; and conduct r Yet St. Pnal de- 
clares concerning those of whom he speaks, at concerning persons 
whoie sad situation could nut be loo much lamented, that be had: 
great heaviness and contuiaal sorrow ia his heart, adding (till mote 
emphatic*! Gipreaikmi of deep and bitter regret. 

Let the Epistle t» the Galarisirn be also carefully examined and' 
considered; and let it be fairly aiked, what was the particular in, 
which the Jmiaizing Christians were defective, und ihe want of which 
i) spoken of in Such strung terms as these ; that it frustrates the grace 
of God. and must debar from all the btnefiti of (he death of Jesus ? 
The Jndaiiiiig converts were nut immoral. They seem to have ad- 
mitted the chief tenets concerning our Saviour. But they appear to 
have been disposed to mist tial vholly, te it oDitiutd alia, out ™/y it' 
pert, fur their acceptance with God, to the Mosaic institution",' 
iastead of reposing entirely on the merits of Christ, 
be remembered, trut when a compliance with these insl 
nottegarded aiconveying this inference, the Apostleshewed by hit 
own conduer, that he did not deem it criminal ; whence, no less than 
from the words of the Epistle, it is clear that the ufience of the Ju-' 
■tailing Christian* whom he condemned, was what we have stated ; 
that their crime did not consist in their obstinately continuing to ad' 
here to a dispewsatinii Ihe ceremonial of' which Christianity had 
abrogated, nor yet that it arose out of Jhe sacrifices of the Levitical 
law, being from their very nature without efficacy for the blotting 
unt of sin— Vide" Hebrews, x. 4, 4c— It was nut that the foniufatiun 
on which they built was of a saniiv nature, but that they built on any 
tlhtr foundation than that which Gad had laid in the Gospel) it wis 
not, that they fixed their confidence on a false ot a defective object, 
hey did not direct it exclusively to the only line object vt 

d forth to or ■-■•>-"—' 



8$ Conclusion, [Chop. III. 

rational. By frequent meditation on the incidents 
of onr Saviour's life, and still more on the astonish- 
ing circumstances of his death ; by often calling to 
mind the state from which he proposes to rescue us, 
and the glories of his heavenly kingdom ; by con- 
tinual interconrse with him of prayer and praise, of 
dependance and confidence in dangers, of hope and 
joy in our brighter hours, let us endeavour to keep 
ilim constantly present to out minds', and to render 
all our conceptions of him more distract, lively, and 
intelligent. The title of Christian rs a reproach to 
us, if we estrange ourselves from Him after whom 
we are denominated. The name of Jesus is not to 
be to us like the Allah of the Mahometans, a talis- 
man or an amulet, to be worn on the arm, merely as 
an external badge and symbol of our profession, and" 
to. preserve us from evil by some mysterious and un- 
intelligible potency ; but it is to be engraven deeply 
on the heart, there written by the finger of God him* 
self in everlasting characters. It is our sure and un- 
doubted title to present peace and future glory. The 
assurance which this title conveys of a bright rever- 
sion, will lighten the burdens', and alleviate the sor- 
rows, of life; and in some happier moments, it will 
impart to us somewhat of that fulness of joy which 
is at God's right hand, enabling us to join even here 
in the heaveniy Hosannah, " Worthy is the Lamb 
" that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and 
" wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and: 
* blessing*." — " Blessing, and honour, and glory r 
" and power, be unto him that sitteth upon th& 
"throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and everi - ." 



CHAPTER JV. 

ON THE PREVAILING INADEQUATE 'CONGES- 
TIONS CONCERNING THE NATURE AND THK 
STRICTNESS Off PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY. 

Section I. 

jT% X E part of the foregoing title may perhaps on 
*-* the first view excite some surprise in such of 
my readers as may have drawn a nasty inference 
from the charges conveyed by the two preceding- 
chapters. It might perhaps be expected, that they 
who hare very low conceptions of the corruption or 
human- nature, would be propoition.ibty less indul- 
gent to human frail y ; and- that they who lay little 
stress on Christ's satisfaction for sin, or on the ope- 
rations orthe Holy Spirit, would be more high an<f 
rigid ia their demands of diligent endeavours after: 
universal holiness ; since iheir scheme implies, that 
we must depend ehiefly on our own exertions and 
performances for our acceptance with God. 

But any such expectations as these would be 
greatly disappointed. There is in fact a region of 
truth, and a region of errors. They who hold the 
fundamental doctrines of Scripture in their due 
force, hold also in its due degree of purity the prac- 
tical system which Scripture. inculcates. But they 
who explain away the former, soften down the latter 
also, and reduce it to the level of their own defective 
r-hettte. It is not from any confidence in the su- 
perior amount of their own performances, or in the 
greater vigour of their own exertions, that they re- 
concile themselves to their low views of the satis-- 
faction 



go Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
faction of Christ, and of the influence of the Spirit ; 
but it rather seems to be their plan so to depress 
the required standard of practice, that no man need 
rail short of it, and that no superior aid can be 
wanted for enabling us to attain to it. It happens 
however with respect to their simple method of mo- 
rality, as in the case of the short ways to knowledge, 
of which some vain pretanders have vaunted them- 
selves to be possessed ; despHng the beaten track 
in which more sober and humble spirits have been 
content to tread, they have indignantly struck into 
new and untried paths; but these have failed of con- 
ducting them to the right object, and have issued 
onlv in ignorance and conceit. 

ft seems in our days to be the commonly received 
opinion, that provided a man admit in general terms 
the truth of Christianity, though he neither know 
nor consider much concerning the particulars of the 
system ; and if he be not habitually guilty of any of 
the grosser vices against his fellow-creatures; we 
have no great reason to be dissatisfied with him, or 
to question the validity of his claim to the name and 
privileges of a Christian. The title implies no more 
than a sort of formal, general assent to Christianity 
in the gross, and a degree of morality in practice, 
little if at all superior to that for which we look in a 
good Deist, Mussulman, or Hindoo. 

Should any be disposed to -deny that this is a fair 
representation of the religion of the bulk of the 
Christian world, they might be asked, whether, if it 
were proved to them beyond dispute that Christi- 
anity is a mere forgery, this would occasion any 
great change in their conduct or habits of mind ? 
Would any alteration be made in consequence of 
wis discovery, except in a few of their speculative 
opinions, which, when distinct from practice, it is a 
part of their own system to think of little conse- 
quence? and, with regard to public worship, 
(knowing the good effects of religion upon the lower 
orders ol the people) they might still think it better 



o 8 k- 



Sect, ij • of Practical Christianity. 91 

to attend occasionally for example's sake. Would 
not a regard for their character, their health, their 
dornestic and social comforts, still continue to re- 
strain them from vicious excesses, and prompt them 
to persist in the discharge, according to their pre- 
sent measure, of the various duties of their stations ? 
Would they find themselves dispossessed of what 
pad been to them hitherto the repository of counsel 
and instruction, the rule of their conduct, the source 
of their peace, and hope, and consolation f 

It were needless to put these questions. They 
are answered in fact already by the lives of many 
known unbelievers, between whom and these pro- 
fessed Christians even the familiar associates of 
both, though men of discern men t and observation, 
would discover little difference either in. conduct or 
teinperofmind. How little then does Christiauity 
deserve that title to novelty and superiority which 
has been almost universally admitted ; that pre-emi- 
nence, as a practical code, over all other systems of 
ethics f How unmerited are the praises which have 
been lavished upon it by its friends ; praises, in 
which even its enemies (not in general disposed to 
make concessions in its favour) nave so often been 
unwarily drawn in to acquiesce I 

Was if jhen for this, that the Son of God conde- 
scended, to become our instructor and our pattern, 
leaving us an example that we might tread in bis 
steps? Was it for tins that the apostles of Christ 
voluntarily submitted to hanger and nakedness and 
pain, and ignominy and death, when forewarned too 
by their Master that such would be their treutment? 
lhat, after all, their disciples should attain to no 
n 'gher a strain of virtue than those, who rejecting 
their Divine authority, should still adhere to the old 
philosophy ? 

But it may perhaps be objected, that we are for- 
getting an observation which we ourselves have 
made, that Christianity has raised ihe general stand- 
ard of morals ; to which therefore Infidelity herself 



,oo 8 k- 



92 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
now finds it prudent to conform, availing herself of 
(he pure morality of Christianity, and sometimes 
wishing to usurp to herself the credit of it, while she 
stigmatizes the authors with the epithets of igno- 
rant dupes or designing impostors. . 

But let it be asked, are the motives of Christi- 
anity so little necessary to the practice of it, its 
principles to its conclusions, that the one may be 
spared, and yet the other remain in undiminished 
force ? If so, its Doctrines are no. more than a bar- 
ren, arid inapplicable, or at least an unnecessary, 
theory; the place of which, it may perhaps be added, 
would be well supplied by a more simple and less 
costly scheme. 

But can it be ? Is Christianity then reduced to a 
mere creed ? ts*its practical influence bounded 
within a few external plausibilities? Does its essence 
consist only in a few specu'n.tive opinions, and a few 
useless and unprofitable tenets r And can this be the 
ground of that portentous distinction, which is so 
unequivocally made by the lirangelist between those 
who accept, and those who reject the Gospel; " He 
* that beneveth on the Son, hath everlasting life : 
*■ and he that believeth m£ the Son, sttiill not see 
" life ; but the wrath of God aiuck-th on nun f This 
were to run into the very error which the balk of 

Srofessed Christians would be most forward to con- 
emn, of making an unproductive faith the ruie of 
God's future judgment, and the ground of an eter- 
nal separation. Thus, not unlike the rival circum- 
navigators from Spain and Portugal, who settingout 
in contrary directions, found themselves in company 
at the very time they thought themselves farthest 
from each other; so the bulk of professed Christians 
arrive, though by a different course, almost at the 
very same point, and occupy nearly the same station 
as a set of enthusiasts, who also rest upon a barren 
faith, to whom on the first view they might be 
thought the most nearly opposite, and whose tenets 
they with reason profess to hold in peculiar detesta- 
tion. 



Sect, i.] of Practical Chrittiwitj/. 93 

tion. By what pernicious courtesy of language is 
it, that this wretched system has been flattered with 
the name of Christianity ? 

Tlie morality of the Gospel is not so slight a fa- 
bric. Christianity throughout the whole ^,^, BeM ^ 
extent exhibits proofs of its divine origi- true prartf- 
nal, and its practical precepts arc no less ctchriiti- 
pnre than its doctrines are sublime. Can """^ : 
the compass of language furnish injunctions stricter 
in their measure, or larger in their com prehension, 
than those with winch the word of God abounds; 
" Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the 
" name oftlie Lord Jesus;" — " Be ye ho\y, for God 
" is holy :" — " Be ye perfect as your Father which 
" is in heaven is perfect: 1 We are commanded to 
* Perfect holiness," to " go on unto perfection!' 

Such are the Scripture admonitions; and surely 
they to whom such admonitions are addressed, may 
not safely acquiesce in low attainments. This is a 
conclusion to which we are led, as well by the force 
of the expressions by which Christians are charac- 
terized in Scripture,as by the radical change, which 
is represented as taking place in every man on his 
becoming a real Christian. " Every one," it is 
said? " that hath this hope, purifieth himself even 
" as God is pure :" true Christians are said to be 
" partakers ot the Divine nature;" — " to be ere;, ted 
" anew in the image of God ;" — " to be temples of 
" the Holy Ghost.' The effects of which must ap- 
pear " in all goodness, and righteousness, and 
" truth." 

Great as was the progress which the apostle Paul 
had made in all virtue, he declares of himself that 
he still presses forward, "' forgetting the things 
" which are behind, and reaching forth unto the 
" things which are before." He prays for his be- 
loved converts, " that they may bejifted with all the 
" fulness of God;" " that they may be filled with 
" the fruits of righteousness;' " that they might 
* walk 



p4 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
*" walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being 
" fruitful in every good work." And from one of 
the petitions, which our blessed Saviour inserts in 
that form of prayer which he has yiven as a model 
for our imitation, we may infer, that the habitual 
sentiment of our hearts ought to be, " Thy will be 
" done in Earth as iris in heaven." 

These few extracts from the word of God will 
serve abundantly to evince the strictness of the 
Christian morality ; but this point will be still more 
fully established, when we proceed to investigate the 
ruling principles of the Christian character. ■ 

I apprehend the essential practical characteristic 
- And iu n- °^ ^ Christians to be this : that relying 
imtiv ns- on the promises to repenting sinners ot ac- 
ture aptatd ceptance through the Redeemer, they have 
" nd * wta '' renounced and abjured all other mast?rs, 
and have cordially and unreservedly devoted them- 
selves to God. 1 his is indeed the very figure which 
baptism daily represents to us: like the father of 
Hannibal, we there bring our infant to the altar, we 
consecrate him to the service of his proper orcner, 
and vow -in hit name eternal hostilities against all 
the enemies of his salvation. After the sa:ne man- 
ner Christians are become the sworn enemies of 
sin; they will henceforth hold no parley with it, 
they wifl allow it in no shape, they will admit it 
to no composition ; the war which they have de- 
nounced against it is cordial, universal, irrecon- 
cileable. 

But this is not all — It is now their determined 
purpose to yield themselves without .reserve to the 
reasonable service of their rightful sovereign. "They 
" are not their own:" — their bodily and mental fa- 
culties, their natural and acquired endowments, their 
substance, their authority, their time, their influ- 
ence ; all these, they consider as belonging to them, 
not for their own gratification, but as so litany in- 
struments to be consecrated to the honour of God, 
and 



Sect. 1.] of Practical Christianity. 95 

and employed in his service. This is the master 
principle to which every other m03t be subordinate. 
Whatever may have been hitherto their ruling pas- 
sion, whatever hitherto their leading pursuit, whe- 
ther sensual, or intellectual, whether of science, of 
taste, of fancy, or of feeling, it must now possess but 
a secondary place ;. or rather (to speak more cor- 
rectly) it must exist only at the pleasure of its true 
and legitimate superior, and be put altogether under 
its direction and controul. 

Thus it is the prerogative of Christianity " to 
" bring into captivity even/ thought to the obedience 
" of Christ." Fhey who really feel its power, are 
resolved " to live no longer to themselves, but to 
" him that died for them :" they k now indeed their 
own infirmities .5 they know, that the way on which 
they have entered is strait and difficult, but they 
know too the encouraging assurance, " They who 
" wait, on the Lord shall renew their strength j" and 
relying on this animating declaration, they delibe- 
rately purpose that, so far as they may be able, the 
grand governing maxim of their future lives shall be 
" to do alt to the glory of God." 

Behold here the seminal principle, which contains 
within it, as in an embryo state, the rudiments of 
all true virtue; which striking deep its roots, though 
feeble perhaps and lowiy in its beginnings, yet si- 
lently progressive, and almost insensibly maturing, 
will shortly, even in the bleak and churlish tem- 
perature of this world, lift up its head and spread 
abroad its branches, bearing abundant fruits ; pre- 
cious fruits of refreshment and consolation, of which 
the boasted products of philosophy are but sickly 
imitations, void of fragrance and of flavour. But, 
Igiieua est ollu vigor At cieleitii orign. 

At length it shall be transplanted into its native re- 
gion, and enjoya more genial climate, and a kindlier 
soil; and, bursting forth into full luxuriance, with 
unfading 



o 8 k- 



$6 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV* 
unfading beauty and unexhausted odours, shall flou- 
rish for ever in the paradise of Cod. 

But while the servants of Christ continue in this 
life, glorious as is the issue of their labours, they re- 
ceive but loo many .humiliating memorials of their 
remaining imperfections, and they daily find reason 
to confess, tint they cannot do the things that they 
would. Their determination, however, is still un- 
shaken, and it is the fixed desire of their hearts to 
improve in all holiness— and this, let it be observed, 
on many accounts. Various passions concur to push 
them forward ; they are urged on by the dread of 
failure, in this arduous but necessary work ; they 
trust not, where their all is at stake, to lively emo- 
tions, or to internal impressions however warm; the 
example of Christ is their pattern, the word of God 
is their rule : there they read, that " without holiness 
" no man shall see the Lord." It is the description 
ofrealChristians, that " they are gradually changed 
" into the image of their Divine Master; ' and they 
dare not allow themselves to believe their title sure, 
except so far as they can discern in themselves the 
growing traces of this blessed resemblance. 

It is not merely however by the fear of misery, 
and the desire of happiness, that they arc actuated 
in their endeavours to excel in all holiness ; they 
love it for its own sake; nor is it solely by the sense 
of self-interest (a principle it must be confessed of 
aa inferior order, though often unreasonably con- 
demned) that they are influenced in their deter- 
mination to obey the will of God, and to cultivate 
liis favour. This determination has its foundations 
indeed in a deep and humiliating sense of bis ex- 
alted.Majesty and infinite power, and of their own 
extreme inferiority and littleness, attended with a 
settled conviction of its being their duty as his crea- 
tures to submit in all things to the will of their great 
Creatoi. But these awful impressions are relieved 
and ennobled by an admiring sense of the infinite 
perfections 



o 8 k- 



Sect. i. 3 of Practical Chritfianity. gj 

perfections and infinite amiableness of the Divine 
Character; animated by a confiding, though bum- 
ble, hope of his fatherly kindness and protection ; 
and quietened by the grateful recollection of im- 
mense and continually increasing obligations. This 
is the Christian lore of God 1 A love compounded 
of admiration, of preference, of hope, of trust, of joy; 
chastised by reverential awe, and wakeful with con- 
tinual gratitude. 

I would here express myself with caution, lest I 
should inadvertently wound the heart of some weak 
but sincere believer. The elementary principles 
which have been above enumerated, may exist in 
various degrees and -proportions. A difference in 
natural disposition, in the circumstances of the past 
life, and in numberless other particulars, may occa- 
sion a great difference in the predominant tempers 
of different Christians. In one the love, in another 
the fear, of God may have the ascendancy ; trust in 
one, and in another gratitude ; but in greater or less 
degrees, a cordial complacency in the sovereignty of 
the Divine Being, an exalted sense of his perfec- 
tions, a grateful impression of his goodness, and a> 
humble hope of his favour, are common to them 
all. — Common— the determination to devote them- 
selves without exceptions, to the service and glory of 
(jod.— Common — the desire of holiness and of con- 
tinual progress towards perfection- — Common — an 
abasing consciousness or their own unworthiness, 
and of their many remaining infirmities; which in- 
terpose so often to corrupt the simplicity of their 
intentions, to thwart the execution of their purer 
purposes, and frustrate the resolutions of their better 
hours. 

Hut some perhaps, who will not directly oppose 
the conclusions for which we have been contending, 
may endeavour to elude them. It may be urged, 
that to represent them as of general application, is 
going much too far; and, however true in the case 
of some individuals of a higher order, it may be as- 
V sated, 



$8 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
serted, they are not applicable to ordinary Christians ; 
from these so much will not surely he expected ; 
and here perhaps there may he a secret reference to 
that supposed mitigation of the requisitions of the 
divine Law under the Christian dispensation, which 
we have already noticed as being too prevalent 
among proteasing Christians. This is so important 
a point that it ought not to be passed over : let us 
call in the authority of Scripture; where the diffi- 
culty is not to find proofs, but to select with discre- 
tion from the multitude which pour in upon us. Here 
also, as in former instances, the positive injunctions 
of Scripture are confirmed and illustrated by various 
considerations and inferences, suggested by other 
parts of the sacred Writings, all tending to the same 
infallible conclusion. 

In the first place, the precepts are expressed in 
Precept in the most general terms: there is no hint 
broad term, given, that any persons are at liberty to 
conceive themselves exempted from the obligation 
of them ; and in any who are disposed to urge such 
a plea of exemption, it may well excite the most 
serious apprehension to consider, how the plea would 
be received by an earthly tribunal : no weak argu- 
ment this to such as are acquainted with the Scrip- 
tures, and who know how often God is there repre- 
sented as reasoning with mankind on the principles 
which they have established for their dealings- with 
each other. 

But in the next place the precepts of the Gospel 
TkePrcetpu contain within themselves abundant proofs 
unitena), of their universal application, inasmuch 
becaiae re- as they are grounded on circumstances and 
rdmeM™" relations common to all Christians, and of 
emmoa to the benefits of which, even our Objectors 
ail Chris- themselves (though they would evade the 
*""*"-. practical deductions from them) would not 
be willing to relinquish their share. Christians " are 
" not 



Sect. 1 .] of Practical Christianity. 99 

" not their own," because " they are bought with a 
" price;" they are not " to live unto themselves, but 
" to him that diedjbr them ■" they are commanded to 
do the most difficult duties, " that they may be the 
" children of their Father which is in heaven ;" and 
" except a man be born again of the Spirit?' (thus 
again becoming one of the sons of God) " he cannot 
" enter into the kingdom of heaven." It is " became 
" they are sons" that God has given them what in 
Scripture language ia styled the spirit of adoption. 
It is only of " as many as are led by the Spirit of 
" God' that it is declared that " tbey are the sons 
" of God;" and we are expressly warned (in order 
as it were to prevent any such loose profession of 
Christianity as that which we are here combating) 
" If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is 
" none of his." In short, Christians in general are 
every where denominated the servants and the 
children of God, and are reqaired to serve him with 
that submissive obedience, and that affectionate 

Eoraptitude, which belong to those endearing ra- 
tions. 

Estimate next, the force of that well-known pas- 
sage — " Thou shalt love the Lord thy s trm „ priie . 
" God with all thy heart, and with all ticaipn- 
" thy mind, and with all thy soul, and «*?"■ md 
" with all thy strength !" The injunction t Tm ^^ t 
is multiplied on us,, as it were^ to silence 
the sophistry of the caviller, and to fix the most 
inconsiderate mind. And though, for the sake of 
argument, we should concede for the present, that, 
under the qualifications formerly suggested, an ardent 
and vigorous affection were not indispensably re- 
quired of us ; yet surely if the words have any mean- 
ing at all, the least which can be intended by them 
is that setded predominant esteem and cordial pre- 
ference for which we are now contending. l"he 
conclusion which this passage forces on us, is strik- 
ingly confirmed by other parts of Scripture, wherein 
f 2 the 

; Ofcoglc 



ioo Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV - 
the love of God is positively commended lo the 
whole of a Christian church * ; or wherein the want 
of it f, or wherein its not being the chief and ruling 
affection, is charged on persons professing them- 
selves Christians, as being sufficient to disprove their 
claim to that appellation, or as being equivalent to 
denying it J. Let not therefore any deceive them- 
selves by imagining, that only an absolute unquali- 
fied renunciation of the desire of the favour of God 
is here condemned. God will not accept of a divided 
affection ; a single heart, and a single eye, are in 
express terms declared to be indispensably required 
of us. We are ordered, under the figure of amass- 
ing heavenly treasure, to make the favour and ser- 
vice of God our chief pursuit, for this very reason, 
because " where our treasure is, there will our hearts 
be also." It is on this principle that in speaking 
of particular vices, such phrases are often used in 
Scripture, as suggest that their criminality mainly 
consists in drawing away the heart from Him who is 
the just object of its preference ; and that sins, which 
we might think very different in criminality, are 
classed together, because they all agree in this grand 
character. Noris this preference asserted only over 
affections which are vicious in themselves, and to 
which therefore Christianity might well be supposed 
hostile, but over those also which in their just 
measure are not only lawful, but even most strongly 
enjoined on us. " He that loveth father and mo- 
" ther more .than me," says our blessed Saviour, " is 
" not worthy of ine;" " and he that loveth son or 
" daughter more than me, is not worthy of me§." 
The spirit of these injunctions harmonizes with 
many commendations in Scripture, of zeal for the 
honour of God; as well as with that strong expres- 
sion of disgust and abhorrence with which the lukt- 

• * Cor. li i. 1* 

* 1 John, ni. 17.— Bora. ivi. 18.— Compsrtd "ill Pliilip. iii. IS. 

«: w i Co.. .vs. ea. v 

t 3 Tim. iii. 4. $ Malt. i. 37. 

warm, 
.Google 



Sect. i.J of Practical Christianity. JOI 

warm, those that are neither cold oor hot, are spoken 
of as being moTe loathsome and offensive than even 
open and avowed enemies. ' 

Another class of instances tending to the same 
point is furnished by those many passages of Scrip- 
ture, wherein the promoting of the alary of God is 
commanded as our supreme and universal aim, and 
wherein the honour due unto Him is declared to be 
that in which he will allow no competitor to partici- 
pate. On this head indeed the Holy Scriptures are, 
jf possible, more peremptory than on the former; 
and at the same time so full as to render particular 
citations unnecessary to those who have ever so little 
acquaintance with the word of God. 

To put the same thing therefore in another light. 
All who have read the Scriptures must confess that 
idolatry is the crime against which God's highest 
resentment is expressed, and his severest punish- 
ment denounced. But let us not deceive ourselves. 
It is not in bowing the knee to idols'that idolatry 
consists, so much as in the internal homage of the 
heart; as in feeling towards them any of that su- 
preme love, or reverence, or gratitude, which God 
reserves to himself as his own exclusive prerogative. 
On tlie same principle, whatever else draws off the 
heart from him, engrosses our prime regard, and 
holds the chief place in our esteem and affections, 
that, in the cstimatiou of reason, is no less an idol 
to us, than an image of wood or stone would be; 
before which wc should tall dowa and worship. 
Think not this a strained analogy; it is the very 
language and.arguincnt of Inspiration. The servant 
of God is commanded not to set up his idol in his 
Heart ; and sensuality and covetousness are repeat- 
edly termed Idolatry. The same God who declares — 
" My glory will I not give to another, neither my 
" praise" to graven images," declares also — " Let not 
" the wise man glory in his wisdom; neither let the 
" mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich 
f 3 " man 



1 02 Prevailing inadequate Conception* [Chap. IV. 
" man glory in his riches*." " No flesh may glory 
" in his pretence ;" " he that glorieth, let him glory 
" iri the Lord." The sudden vengeance hy which 
the vain -glorious ostentation of Herod was punished, 
when, acquiescing in the servile adulation of an ad- 
miring multitude, " he save not God the glory," is 
a dreadful comment on these injunctions. . 

These awful declarations, it is to be reared, are 
£itmn little regarded. Let the Great, and the 
important* Wise, and trie Learned, and the Success* 
ZtoiMie*- ^^ by them seriously to heartj and labour 
timed to*- habitually to consider their superiority, 
•Mtraiwn*. -whether derived from nature, or study, 
or fortune, as the unmerited bounty of God. This 
reflection will naturally tend to produce a disposi- 
tion, in all respects the opposite to that proud self- 
complacency so apt to grow upon the human heart: 
a disposition honourable to God, and useful to man ; 
u temper composed of reverence, humility, and 
gratitude, and delighting to be engaged in the 
praises, and employed in the benevolent service, 
of the universal Benefactor. 

But, to return to our subject, it only remains to 
be remarked, that here, as in the former instances, 
the characters of the righteous and of the wicked, 
as delineated in Scripture, exactly correspond with 
the representations which have been given of the 
Scripture injunctions. 

The necessity of this cordial unreserved devotedV 
ness to the glory and service of God, as being in- 
dispensable to the character of the true Christian, 
has been insisted on at the greater length, not only 
on account of its own extreme importance, but also 
because it appears to be a duty toe generally over- 
looked. Once well established, it will serve as a 
fundamental principle both for the government of 
the heart and regulation of the conduct; and will j 
prove eminently useful in the decision *f many 1 
* Jeitn. i*. S3. 

practical 



Sect. 2 .] of Practical Christianity. 1 03 

practical cases, which it might be difficult to bring 
under the undisptited operation of anuubordinate 
or appropriate rule. ' ' """'" 




strictness, and to ascertain the essential character 
of true practical Christianity, let us investigate a 
' little more in detail the practical system of the bulk 
of professed Christians among ourselves *. 

It was formerly remarked, that the whole subject 
of Religion was often viewed from, such a Omerai 
distance as to be seen only in the gross, nciun 0/ 
We now, it is to be feared, shall find too gSSiij 
much cause for believing, that they who nmMS ,( 
approach a little nearer, and do discover the buUc rf 
in Christianity somewhat of a distinct cj^JJJ^ 
forro> yet come not close enough hi discern n*tti and 
her peculiar lineaments and conformation, ittufritcj. 
The writer must not be understood to mean, that the 
several misconceptions, which he shall have occa- 
sion to point out, will be generally found to exist 
with any thing like precision, much less that they 
are regularly digested into a system i nor will it be 
expected, they all should meet in the same person, 
nor that they will not be found in different people, 
and under different circumstances, variously blended, 
combined, and modified. It will be enough if we 
succeed in tracing out great and general outlines. 
The human countenance may be well described by 
its general characters, though infinitely varied by 
the peculiarities which belong to different indivi- 
duals, and often by such shades and minutenesses 

* It will be remembered bj the reader, that it ia not the object 
of this work tri animadvert <"> tire rices, defects, and erroneous- opi- 
nions of the timet, <eicapt so far as they are received into the pre- 
vailing religious ijstem, or are tolerated bj it, and ate not thaught 
ufllcient to prevent a man from being esteemed on the whole a very 
tolerable Christian. 



104 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
of difference, as though abundantly obvious to 
our perceptions, yet would exceed the power of 
definition to discriminate, or even of language to 
express. 

A very erroneous!notion, appears to prevail con- 
cerning the true nature of Religion, Religion, 
agreeably to what has been Already stated, (the 
importance of the subject will excuse repetition) 
may be .considered as the implantation of a vigorous 
ana active principle ;it is seated in the heart, where 
its authority is recognized as supreme, whence . by 
degrees it expels whatever is opposed to it, and 
where it gradually brings all the affections nnd 
desires under its complete control and regulation. 

But though the heart he its special residence, it 
maybe said to possess in a deejree ; theubiq«ity of 
its Divine Author. Every endeavour and pursuit 
must acknowledge its presence ; and whatever re- 
ceives not its sacred stamp, is to be condemned as 
inherently defective, ana is to be at once relin- 
quished. It is like the principle of vitality, /which, 
animating every part, lives throughout the whole 
of the human body, and' corrrmnnicales its kindly 
influence to the smallest and remotest fibres of the 
frame. But the notion of Religion entertained by 
many among us seems altogether different. They 
.begin indeed, in submission to her. clear prohibi- 
tions, by fencing off from the field of human Ac- 
tion, a certain district, which, though it in many 
parts bear fruits on which they east a longing eye, 
they cannot but confess- to be forbidden ground. 
They next assign to Religion a portion, larger or 
smaller, according to whatever may be their circum- 
stances and views, in which however she is to pos- 
sess merely a qualified jurisdiction ; and having so 
done, they conceive that without let ot hindrance 
they have a right to range at will over the spacious 
remainder. Religion can claim only a stated pro- 
portion of their thoughts, their time, their fortune, 
and influence ^.and of these, or perhaps of any of 
,. . them, 



Sect. 2.] of Practical Christianity. 10$ 

them, if they make" her any thing of a liberal allow- 
ance, she may well be satisfied: the rest is now 
their own to do what they will with ; they have 
paid their tiihcs, say rather their composition, the 
demands of the Church are satisfied, and they may. 
surely be permitted to enjoy what she has left with- 
out molestation or interference. 

■ It is scarcely possible to state too strongly the 
mischief which results from this funda- 
mental error. At the same time its con- Ci ,™£ 
sequences arc so natural and obvious, that 1n e»«* «f 
one would think it scarcely possible not '* e a ? UU( - ' 
to foresee that they must infallibly follow. "''*""'"' 
The greatest part of human actions is con- 
sidered as indifferent. If men are not chargeable 
with actual vices, and arc decent in the discharge 
of their religious duties ; if they do not stray into 
the forbidden ground, if they respect the rights of 
the conceded allotment, what more can be expected 
from them r Instead of keeping at a distance from 
ail sin, in which alone consists our safety, they will 
be apt not to care how near they approach what 
they conceive to be the boundary line ; if they have 
not actually passed it, there is no harm done, it is 
no trespass; Thus the tree and active spirit of Re- 
ligion is " cribbed an I hemmed in ;" she is checked 
in her disposition to expand her territory, and en- 
large the circle of her- influence. She must keep to 
her prescribed confines, and every attempt to extend 
them will be resisted as an encroachment. 

But this is not all. Since whatever con be gained 
from her allotment, . or whatever can be taken in 
from the forbidden ground, will be so much of ad- 
dition to that lafld of liberty, where men may roam 
at large, free from restraint or molestation, they will 
of course be constantly, and almost insensibly, 
straitening and pressing upon the limits of the re- 
ligious allotment on tne one hand; and on theothe^, 
will be removing back a little farther and forth** 
the fence which abridges- -thettt on -the- side otntifc 
i j j forbidden 



ie6 Prevailing inadequate Cuwepttonx [Chap. IV. 
forbidden ground. If Religion attemptfor a time to 
defend her frontier, she by degrees gives way. The 
■pace she occupies diminishes till it be scarcely 
discernible ; whilst, her spirit extinguished, and her 
force destroyed, she is little more than the nominal 
possessor even of the contracted limits to which she 
has been avowedly reduced. 

: This it is to be feared is but too faithful a repre- 
Thcpn- scntation of the general state of things 
ceding among ourselves. The promotion of the 
Miittmtnt glory of God, and the possession of his 
X^ap. favour, are no longer recognised as the 
fcaXtevari- objects of our highest regard, and most 
«u cinati strenuous endeavours ; as furnishing to us 
^V"™' a vigorous, habitual, and universal prin- 
ciple of action. We set up for ourselves: 
we are become our own masters. The sense of con- 
stant homage and continual service is irksome and 
galling to us ; and we rejoice in being emancipated 
nam it, as from a state of base and servilevillauage. 
Thus the very tenure and condition, by which life 
and all its possessions are held, undergo a total 
change: our faculties and powers are now our own: 
whatever we have is regarded rather as a property, 
than. as a trust; or, if there still exist the remem- 
brance of some paramount claim, we are satisfied 
with an occasional acknowledgment of a nominal 
right ; we pay our pepper-corn, and take our estates 
to ourselves in full and free enjoyment. 

Hence it is that so little sense of responsibility 
seems attached to the possession of high rank, or 
splendid abilities, or affluent fortunes, or other 
means. or instruments of usefulness. The instructive 
admonitions, " give an account of thy stewardship," 
— tf l occupy till t come ;" are forgotten. Or if it be 
acknowledged by some men of larger views than 
ordinary, that a reference is to. be had to some 
principle superior to that of our own gratification, 
« is, at best, to the good of society, or to ike wel- 
fare of out fowlisa : and even then the obligations 
resulting 



Sect, a.J ; of Practical Christianity. 107 

resulting from these relations are seldom enforce*! 
on us by any higher sanctions than those of family 
comfort, sad of worldly interest or estimation. Be- 
sides, what multitudes of persons are there, people 
without families, in private stations, or of a retired 
torn, So whom they are scarcely held to apply! and 
what multitudes of cases to which it would be 
thought unnecessary scrupulosity to extend them ! 
Accordingly we find in fact, that the generality of 
mankind among the higher order, in the formation 
of their schemes, in the selection of their studies, in 
the choice of their place of residence, in the em- 
ployment and distribution of their time, in their 
thoughts, conversation, and amusements, are con- 
sidered as being at liberty, if there be no actual 
vice, to consult in the main their own gratifi- 
cation. • 

Thas the generous and wakeful spirit of Christian 
Benevolence, seeking and finding every where oc- 
casions for its exercise, is exploded, and a system 
of decent seljiihaas is avowedly established in its 
stead ; a system scarcely more to be abjured for its 
impiety, than to be abhorred for its cold insensibility 
to the opportunities of diffusing happiness. Tht Hfc 
" Have we no families, or are they pro- «nd Din*. 
" vided for? Are we wealthy, and bred to f 1 ^- 
" no profession i Are we young and lively, and in the 
" gaiety and vigour of youth f Surely we may be 
" allowed to take o«r pleasure. We neglect no 
" duty, we live in no vice, we do nobody any harm, 
" and have a right to arouse ourselves. We have 
" nothing better to do ; we wish we had ; our time 
'' hangs heavy on our hands for want of it." 

I pity the man who can travel from Dan to 
fieer-sheba, and cry " It is alt barren^" Mo man 
has a right to be idle — Not to speak of that great 
work which we all have to accomplish, (and surely 
the tokote attention of a short and precarious lite is 
not more than- an eternal interest may well require ;) 
where is it that in such a world as this, health and 
leisure and affluancs may not find some ignorance 
16 » 

, . ,U>oglc 



to8 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Gimp. IV. 
to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to 
supply, some misery to alleviate ? Shall Ambition 
and Avarice never sleep f Shall they. never want 
objects on which to fasten ? Shall they be.sa ob- 
servant to discover, so acute to discern, so eager,' «a 
patient to pursue, and shall the Benevcleorje . of 
Christians want employment ? . 

Yet thus life rolls away with too many of us to a 
course of " shapeless idleness." Its recreations 
constitute its chief business. Watering places — 
the sports of the field — cards ! never-failing cards- ! 
- — the assembly — the theatre — all contribute their 
aid— amusements are multiplied, and combined, 
and varied, " to 611 up the void of a listless and 
* languid life;" and by the judicious use of these 
different resources, "there is often a kind of saber 
settled plan of domestic dissipation, in which with 
all imaginable decency year after year wears away 
in unprofitable vacancy. ' Even old age often finds 
us pacing in the same round of amusements, which 
our early youth had tracked out. Meanwhile, 
being conscious that we are not giving into any 
flagrant vice, perhaps that we are guilty of no irre- 
gularity, and, it may be, that we are not neglecting 
the Offices of Religion, we persuade ourselv.es thai 
we need not be uneasy. In the main we. do not fall 
below the general standard of morals, of the class 
arid station to wnich we belong ; we may therefore 
allow ourselves to glide down the stream without 
apprehension of the consequences. 

Some, of a character often hardly, to be disiin- 
in At Vb- gtdshed from the class we have been just 
toriti of describing, take op with sensual pleasures. 
***<■( The chiel happiness of their lives consists 
p tantrt*. j n one gpgpjgjj or ano ther of animal grati- 
fication; and these persons perhaps will be found 
to compose a pretty large description. It «iH be 
remembered, that it belongs not to our purpose to 
speak of the grossly and scandalously profligate, 
who renounce ail pretensions to the name of 
— . . Christians t 



Sect. 3.] of Practical Christianity. 109 

Christians ; hut of those who, maintaining a certain 
decency of character, and perhaps being tolerably 
observant of the forms of Religion, may yet he not 
improperly termed sober sensualists. These, though 
less impetuous and more measured, arc not less 
stanch and steady than the professed votaries of 
licentious pleasure, in the pursuit of their favourite 
objects. " Mortify the flesh, with its affections and 
" lusts," is the Christian precept ; a soft luxurious 
course of habitual indulgence, is the practice of the 
bulk of modem Christians: and ibat constant mo- 
deration, that wholesome discipline of restraint and 
self-denial, which are requisite to prevent the nn- 
perceived encroachments of the interior appetites-, 
seem altogether disused, as the exploded austcritiei 
0/ monkish superstition. 

Christianity calls her professors to a state of dili- 
gent watchfulness and.active services, But the per- 
sons of whom we are now speaking, forgetting alike 
the duties they owe to themselves and to their feU 
low creatures, often act as though their condition . 
were meant to be" a state of uniform indulgence, and 
vacant^ nprofi table sloth. To multiply the comforts 
of affluence, to provide for the gratification of ap- 
oetite, to be luxurious without diseases, and indo- 
lent without lassitude, seems the chief study of 
their lives. Nor can theybeclearlyexempted from 
this class, who, by a common error, substituting the 
means for the end, make the preservation of health 
and spirits, not as instruments of usefulness, but as 
sources of pleasure, their great business and conti- 
nual care. < 

Others again seem more to attach themselves to 
what have been well termed the ' pomps In tkc ,-„_ . 
1 siari vanities of this world.' Magniri- trrintf 
pent houses, grand equipages, numerous J Hm ? "«' 
ietiaues,.spl end id entertainments, high and rat ' 
fashionable connections, appear to constitute, in 
their estimation, the supreme happiness of .lite, 
.'this class too, if we mistake not, will be found 
numerous 



110 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap, IV. . 
numerous in out days ; for it must be considered, 
that it is the heart, set on these things, which consti- 
tutes the essential character, it often happens, that 
.persons, to whose rank and station these indulgences 
most properly belong, are most indifferent to them. 
The undue- solicitude about them is mora visible in 
persona of inferior conditions and smaller fortunes, 
in whom it is not rarely detected by the studious 
contrivances of a misapplied ingenuity to reconcile 
parade with economy, and to glitter at a cheap rate. 
But this temper of display and competition is a 
direct contrast to the lowly, modest,- unassuming 
carnage of the true Christian : and, wberever there 
is an evident effort and struggle to excel in the par- 
ticulars here in question, a manifest wish thus to 
rival superiors, to outstrip equals, to dazzle inferiors, 
it is manifest, the great end of life, and of all its 
possessions, it too little kept in view ; and it is to be 
feared that the gratification of a vain ostentatious 
humour is die predominant disposition of the heart. 

. As there is a sober sensuality, so is there also a 
luthtVo- sober avarice, and a sober ambition. The 
iarfti rf commercial and the professional world 
wealth and compose the chief sphere of their influence. 
ambiuon. -They aje ft en recognized and openly 
avowed as just master principles of action.' But 
where this is not the case, they assume sueh plau- 
sible shapes, are called by such specious names* 
and urge such powerful pleas, that they are received 
with cordiality, and suffered to gather strength 
without suspicion. The seducing considerations 
of diligence in our callings, of success in our pro- 
fession, of making handsome provisions for bur 
children, beguile out better judgments. " We rise 
" early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of 
" carefulness." In our few intervals of leisure, our 
exhausted spirits require refreshment; the serious 
concerns of our immortal souls are matters of 
speculation too grave and gloomy to answer the 
' purpeM; 



Met, 2.] ef Practical Christianity. lit 

purpose ; and we fly to something that may better 
deserve the name of relaxation, till we are again sum- 
mooed to the daily labours of our employment. 

Meanwhile Religion seldom comes in our way, 
scarcely occurs to our thoughts ; and when some 
secret misgivings begin to be felt on this head, com- 
pany soon drowns, amusements dissipate, or habitual 
occupations insensibly displace or smother the rising 
apprehension. Professional and commercial men 
perhaps, especially when they happen to be persons 
of more than ordinary reflection, or of early habits 
of piety not quite worn away, easily quiet their con- 
sciences by the plea, that necessary attention to their 
business leaves them no time to think on these serious 
subjects at present. " Men of leisure they confess 
" should consider them ; they themselves will do 
" it hereafter when they retire ; meanwhile tbey 
" are usefully or at least innocently employed." 
Thus business and pleasure fill up our time, and the 
" one thing needful " is forgotten. Respected by 
others, and secretly applauding ourselves (perhaps 
congratulating ourselves that we are not like such an 
one who is a spendthrift, or a mere man of pleasure, 
or such another who is a notorious miser) the true 
principle of action is no less wanting in us; and per- 
sonal advancement, or the acquisition of wealth, is 
the object of our supreme desires and predominant 
pursuit. 

It would be to presume too much on the reader's 
patience to attempt a delineation of the characters 
of the politician, the metaphysician, the scholar, the 
poet, the virtuoso, the man of taste, in all their 
varieties. Of these and many other classes which 
might be enumerated, suffice it to remark, and to 
appeal to every man's own experience for the truth 
of the observation, that they in like manner are of- 
ten completely engrossed by the oojects of their se- 
veral pursuits. In many of these cases indeed a ge- 
nerous spirit surrenders itself wholly up with the less 
reserve, and continues absorbed wjth the fuller con- 
fidence, from the consciousness of not being led to 
its 



i IB Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
its object by self-interested motives. Here there- 
fore these men are ardent, ac"tive, laborious, per- 
severing, and they- think, and speak, and act, as 
those, whose happiness wholly turns on the suc- 
cess or failure of their endeavours. When such 
is the-nndisturbed composure of mere triflers, it 
is less wonderful that the votaries of learning and 
of table, when absorbed in their several pursuits, 
should be able to check still more easily any 
growing apprehension,- silencing it by the sug- 
gestion, that they are more than harmlessly, that 
tbey are meritoriously, employed. "Surely the 
" thanks of mankind are justly paid to those more 
*' refined spirits who, superior alike to the seduc- 
" tions of ease, and the temptations of avarice, 
" devote their time and talents to the less gainful 
" labours of increasing the stores of learning or 
" enlarging .the boundaries of science; who are 
" engaged in raising the character and condition 
" of society, by improving the liberal arts, and 
" adding to the innocent pleasures, or elegant ac- 
." com pi is h men ts, of life.' Let not the writer be 
so far misunderstood, as to he supposed to insinuate 
that Religion is an enemy to the pursuits of taste, 
much less to those of learning and of science. Let 
these have their due p.ace in the estimation of 
mankind; but this must not be the highest plane. 
Let them know their just tuliorduiation. They 
deserve not to be the primary concern; for there 
is another, to which in importance they bear no 
more proportion, than our span of existence to 
eternity. 

Thus the centre to which the chief desires of the 
Conclusion heart should tend, losing its attractive 
fnmtht force, our ajfections arc permitted with- 
prtreditig OU ( control to take that course, whatever 
' mdgent- ' l m "Y !>e > which best suits our natural 
nijtikit-tif temper, or to which they are impelled by 
*£<** . -ourA'arloiis situations and circumstances. 
ttaitit. Sometime* they manifestly appear to be 
1 almost 



Sect. 2,] of Practical Ckmthnity. \t% 

almost entirely confined to a single track ; but per- 
haps more, frequently the lines, in which they move 
are so intermingled and diversified, that it becomes 
not a little difficult, even when we look into our- 
selves, to ascertain the object by which they are 
chiefly attracted, or to estimate with pre<:isiort the 
amount or' their several forces, in the different, di- 
rections in which tliey move. " I^now thyself," is 
in truth an injunction with which the careless and 
flie indolent cannot comply. For this compliance, 
it is requisite, in obedience to the Scripture precept, 
" to keep the heart with all diligence." Mankind 
are in general deplorably ignorant of their true 
state ; and. there are few perhaps w ho have any 
adequate conception of the real strength of the ties, 
by which they are bound to the several, objects of 
their attachment, or who are aware how small a 
share of their-regard is possessed by tho^e concerns, 
od which it ougtit to be supremely fixed. 

But (fit be indeed true, that, except tlie affections 
pf the soul be-supremely fixed on Uod, and unlesti 
our leading and gfjtier. iii itg desire and primary pursuit 
be to possess his favour and promote his glory,, we 
are considered as having transferred our fealty to 
an usurper, and as being in fact revoltera from our 
lawful sovereign ; if this be indeed the Scripture 
doctrine, all the several attachments which have 
been lately enumerated, of the different classes of 
society, wherever they interest the affections, and 
possess the soul in any such measure of strength as 
deserves to be called predominance, are but so many 
varied expressions of disloyalty, God requires to 
set up his throne in the heart, and to reign in it 
without a rival: if he be kept out of his right, it 
matters not by what competitor. The revolt may be 
.more avowed or more secret; it may be the treason 
of deliberate preference, or of inconsiderate levity; 
we may be the subjects of a master more or less 
creditable; we may be employed in services more 
gross or more refined ; but whether the slaves of 
avarice, 



1 14 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
avarice, of sensuality, of dissipation, of sloth, or the . 
votaries of ambition, of taste, or of fashion ; whe- 
ther supremely governed by vanity and self-love, 
by the desire of literary fame or of military glory, 
we are alike estranged from the dominion of oof 
rightful sovereign. Let not this seem a harsh posi- 
tion ; it can appear so only from not adverting to 
what was shewn to be the essential nature of true 
Religion. He who bowed the knee to the god of 
medicine or of eloquence, was no less an idolater; 
than the worshipper of the deified patrons of lewd- 
ness or of theft. In the several cases which have 
been specified, the external acts indeed are different, 
hut in principle the disaffection is the same ; and 
unless we return to our allegiance, we must expect 
the title, and prepare to meet the punishment, of 
rebels, on that tremendous day, when all false co- 
lours shall -be done away, and (there being no longer 
any room for the evasions of worldly sophistry, or 
the smooth plausibilities of worldly language) " that 
"which is often highly esteemed amongst men, 
"shall appear to have been abomination in the sight 
*ofGo55' 

These fundamental truths seem vanished from 
EffVcu of tne m * na> t and it follows of course, that 
* the fiaJa- every thing is viewed less and less through 
mtntater- a religious medium. To speak no longer 
mtntinti °*" instances wherein we ourselves are con- 
m cm- cerned, and wherein the unconquerable 
jujjfi«n« power of indulged appetite may be sup- 
tia »Tuc posed to beguile our better judgment, or 
cue of force us on in defiance of it ; not to Insist 
uthen. on the motives by which the 'conduct of 
men is determined, often avowedly, in what are 
to themselves the most important incidents of life ; 
what are the judgments which they form in the case 
of others '! Idleness, profusion, thoughtlessness, and 
dissipation, the misapplication of time ot of talents, 
the trifling away of life in frivolous occupations, or 
•unprofitable studies; all these things we may regret 

in 



Sect. 2.] of Practical Christianity. 115 

in those around us, in the view of their temporal 
effects; . but they are not considered in a religious 
connection, 01 .lamented as endangering everlasting 
happiness. Excessive vanity ana inordinate am- 
bition are spoken of as weaknesses rather titan as 
sins; even coVetousness itself, though a hateful 
passion, yet, if not extreme, scarcely presents the 
face of Irreligiott. Is some friend, or even some 
common acquaintance, sick, or has some accident 
befallen him ? How solicitously do we inqnire after 
htm-; how tenderly do we visit him; how much 
perhaps do we regret that he has not better advice; 
how apt are we to prescribe for him; and how 
should we reproach ourselves, if we were to neglect 
■ any means in our power of contributing to his re- 
covery ! But " the" mind diseased" is neglected 
and forgotten—" that is not our affair; we hope 
" (we do not perhaps really believe) that here it is 
" well with him." The truth is, we have no soli- 
citude about his spiritual interest. Here he is 
treated like the unfortunate traveller in the Gospel; 
we look upon him ; we see but too well his sad con- 
dition, but (Priest and Levite alike) we pass by on 
the other side, and leave him to the officious ten- 
derness of some poor despised Samaritan'. 

Nay, take the case 01 our very children, when 
our hearts, being most interested to promote their 
happiness, we must be supposed most desirous of 
determining on right principles, and- where there- 
fore the real standard of our deliberate judgments 
may be indisputably ascertained : in their education 
and marriage, in the choice of their professions, in 
our comparative consideration and judgment of the 
different parts of their several characters, how little 
do we reflect that they are immortal beings ! Health, 
learning, credit, theamiable and agreeable qualities, 
above all, fortune and success in life, are taken, and 
not unjustly taken, into the account; but how small 
a share in forming our opinions is allowed to the 
probable effect which may be produced on their 
eternal 

-Google 



1 16 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions JChap. IV. 
eternal interests ! Indeed die subjects of our mo- " 
tual inquiries, and congratulations, and condolences, 
prove init too plainly what considerations are in 
these cases uppermost in our thoughts. 

Such are the fatal and niflelv spreading effects, 
'Further which but too naturally t'ollow from the 
tfftcti— admission oi' the grand fundamental error 
d'»raXd before mentioned, that of not considering 
intuit iet Religion as a principle of universal appli- 
*f Statutes, cation and command. Robbed of its best 
energies, Religion now taken the form of a cold 
compilation of restraints and prohibitions. It is 
looked upon simply as a set of penal statutes; 
these, though wise and reasonable, are however, so 
far as they extend, abridgments of our natural li- 
berty, and nothing which conies to us in this shape 
is extremely acceptable : 

Aiqui miliiit ucciderc qiienitpiim, posse volunt. 

Considering moreover, that the matter of them is 
not in general very pal (it able, and that the partiality 
of every man where his own cause is in question, 
will be likely to make him construe them liberally in 
liis own favour, we might before hand have formed 
a tolerable judgment of- the manner in which they 
are actually treated. Sometimes we attend to the 
words rather than to the spirit of Scripture injunc- 
tions, overlooking the principle they involve, which 
a better acquaintance with tiie word of God would 
have clearly taught us to infer from them. At 
others, " the spirit of an injunction is all;" and this 
ivc contrive to collect so dexterously, as thereby to 
relax or annul the strictness of the terms. " What* 
f\ ever is not expressly forbidden cannot be very 
" criminal ; whatever is not positively enjoined, 
" cannot be indispensably necessary— If we do not 
. " offend against the laws, what more can be expected 
" from us > — The persons to whom the strict pre- 
" cepts of the Gospel were given, were in very dif- 
" fereut circumstances from those in which we are 
" placed 

-Google 



Sect, 2.] of Practical Christianity. 11J 

" placed. The injunctions were drawn rather tighter 
" than is quite necessary, in order to allow tor si 
" little relaxation in practice. The expressions 
" of the sacred Writers are figurative; the Eastern 
" style is confessedly hyperbolical." 

By these and other such dishonest shifts (by 
which however we seldom deceive ourselves, except 
it be in thinking that we deceive others) the pure 
but strong morality of the word of God is explained 
away ; and its too rigid canons arc softened down, 
with as much dexterity as is exhibited by those 
who practise a logic of the same complexion, in 
order to escape from the obligations of human 
statutes. Like Swift's unfortunate Brothers *, we 
are sometimes put to difficulties, but our ingenuity- 
is little inferior to theirs. If totidem verbis f will 
not serve our turn, try totidem syllabis ; if totidem 
syllabis fail, try todidein Uteris: then there is in 
our case, as well as in their's, " an allegorical sense" 
to be adverted to ; and if every other resource fail 
as, we come at last to the same conclusion as the 
Brothers adopted, that after all, those rigorous 
clauses require some allowance, and a favourable 
interpretation, and ought to be understood "cum 
" grano salis." 

But when the law both in its spirit and its letter is 
obstinate and incorrigible, what we cannot bend to 
our purpose we must break — " Oursins, we hope, are 
" of the smaller order ; a little harmless gallantry, a 
" little innocent jollity, a few foolish expletives 
" which we use from the mere force of habit, mean- 
" ing nothing by them ; a little warmth of colouring 
" and license of expression; a few freedoms of 
" speech in the gaiety of our hearts, which, though 
" not perhaps strictly correct, none but the over- 
" rigid would think of treating any otherwise than 
" as venial infirmities, and in which "very grave and 
" religious men will often take their share, when 
" tbey may throw off their state, and relax without 
-•Vide Tale of* Tub. f Ibid. _ 

" impropriety. 



1 18 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV, 
" impropriety. We serve an all-merciful Being, 
" who knows the frailty of our nature, the number 
" and strength of our temptations, and will not 
" be extreme to mark what is done amiss. Even 
" the less lenient judicatures of human institution 
" concede somewhat to the weakness of man. It 
" is an established maxim — ' De minimis non curat 
" lex.' We hope we are not worse than the gene- 
*' rality. All men are imperfect. We Own we 
" have our infirmities ; we confess it is so ; we 
" wish we were better, and trust as we grow older 
" we shall become so ; we are ready to acknowledge 
" that we must be indebted for our admission into 
" a future state of happiness, not to our own merit, 
" but to the clemency of God, and the mercy of 
" our Redeemer." 

But let not this language be mistaken for that of 
true Christian humiliation, of which it is the very 
essence to feel the burden of sin, and to long to be 
released from it : nor let two things be confounded, 
than which none can be more fundamentally dif- 
ferent, the allowed want of universality in our de- 
termination and endeavour to obey the will of God, 
and that defective accomplishment of our purposes, 
which even the best of men will too often find reason 
to deplore. In the persons of whom we have been 
now speaking, the unconcern with which they can 
amuse themselves upon the borders of sin, and the 
easy familiarity with which they can actually dally 
with it in its less offensive shapes, shew plainly that, 
distinctly from its consequences, it is by no means 
the object of their aversion; that there is no love of 
holiness as such ; no endeavour to acquire it, no care 
to prepare the soul for the reception of this divine 
principle, and to' expel or keep under whatever 
might be likely to obstruct its entrance, or dispute 
its sovereignty. 

It is indeed amost lamentable consequence of the 

Antihtr rf- practice of regarding Religion as a com- 

■fcci—lMir- pilation of statutes, and not as an internal 

' principle, 



Sect. 2.] of Practical Christianity. 119 

principle, that it soon cornea to be con- &°" pi«cn( 
sidered as being conversant about external JJJ^Jj^. 1 
actions rather than about Habits of mind, mad tf ha- 
This sentiment sometimes has even the hiil °J m ' nd - 
hardiness to insinuate and maintain itself under the 
guise of extraordinary concern for practical Reli- 
gion ; but it soon discovers the falsehood of this 
pretension, and betrays its real nature. The expe- 
dient indeed of attaining to superiority in practice, 
by not wasting any of the attention on the internal 
principles from which alone practice can flow, is 
about as reasonable, and will answer about as well, 
as the economy of the architect, who should account 
it mere prodigality to expend any of his materials 
in laying foundations, from an idea that they might 
be more usefully applied to the raising of the super- 
structure. We know what would be the fate of such 
an edifice. 

It is indeed true, and a truth never to be forgot- 
ten, that all pretensions to internal principles of 
holiness are vain when they are contradicted by the 
conduct ; but it is no less true, that the only effec- 
tual way of improving the latter, is- by a vigilant 
attention to the former. It was therefore our 
blessed Saviour's injunction, " Make the tree good" 
as the necessary means of obtaining good fruit ; and 
the Holy Scriptures abound in admonitions, to make 
it our chief business to cultivate our hearts with all 
diligence, to examine into their state with impar- 
tiality, and watch over them with continual care. 
Indeed it is the Heart which constitutes the Man ; 
and external actions derive their whole character 
and meaning from the motives and dispositions of 
which they are the indications. Human judicatures, 
it is true, are chiefly conversant about the former, 
but this is only because to our limited perceptions 
the latter can seldom be any otherwise clearly as- 
certained- Tlie real object of inquiry to human 
judicatures is the internal disposition ; it is to this 
that 



leo Prevailing Inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV, 
that they adapt the nature; and proportion the de- 
gree, or their punishments. 

Yet though this be a truth so obvioiis, so esta- 
blished, that to have insisted on it may seem almost 
needless; it is a truth of which we are apt to lose 
sight in the review nf our religions Character, and 
with which the habit, of considering Religion as 
consisting rather in external actions, than internal 
principles, is at direct and open war. This mode of 
judging may well be frmed habitual: for though 
by some persons it is advisedly adopted, and openly 
avowed, yet in many oases, for want of due watch- 
fulness, it has stolen insensibly upon the mind ; it 
exists unsuspected, and is practised, like other habits, 
without consciousness or observation.- 

In what degree soever this pernicious principle 
Eviti mult- P reVitus i m tne same degree is the mischief 
ingfromihc it produces. The vicious affections, like 
last-mentiim- noxious weeds, sprout up and increase of 
ed rror. themselves but too naturally; while the 
graces of the Christian temper, (exotics in the soil 
<"i ■ ,-_ of the human heart.) like the more tender 
dtipoiiti-ns prodnctionsot the vegetable world, require, 
natcutti- not only the light and breath of Heaven 
* ' to quicken them, but constant superin- 

tendancc and assiduous care on our part also, in 
order to their being preserved in health and vigour. 
But so far from these graces being earnestly sought 
for, or watchfully reared, with unremitted prayers 
to God for his b!e sing (without which all our la- 
bours must be ineffectual); such is the result of the 
principle we are here condemning, that no endea- 
vours are used for their attainment, or they are suf- 
fered to droop and die, almost without an" effort to 
preserve iheiu. The culture of the mind is less and 
less attended to, and at length perhaps is almost 
wholly neglected. Thus way is made for the unob- 
structed growth of other dispositions, which natu- 
rally 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 3-] of Practical &kritfiamt$. 131' 

rally overspread and quietly possess the mind: not 
is meir contrariety to the Christian spirit, discerned; 
perhaps even their presence is scarcely acknow- 
ledged, except when theit existence and their nature 
are ■manifested in the conduct, by marks 1 too plain 
to be overlooked or mistaken. ■ 

This is a point which we will now endeavour to 
ascertain by an induction of particular instances. 

Vitit then, it. is the comprehensive compendium 
of the Character of true Christians, that 
" they are walking by faith, and not •hyX*^^ 
'I sight." By mis description is meant, theCkrU- 
not merely that they so firmly believe m 'i*"?' *i# *• 
the doctrine of future rewards and punish- JJkJLj 
Rents, as to be influenced by that persua- the true 
sion to adhere in the mam to the path of ChbtM 
duty, ikoHgh tempted to forsake if by pre- ( ^£ aeUT ** 
sent interest, and present gratification 3 ™* p ' e ' 
but farther, that the great truths revealed in Scrip* 
ture, concerning the unseen world, are the thoughts 
for the most part uppermost in their minds, .and 
about which habitually their hearts are most inte- 
rested. This state of mind contributes, if the ex- 1 
pression may be alhmed, to rectify the illusions of 
vision, to bring forward into nearer view those eter> 
rial things which from their remoteness are apt to be 
either wholly overlooked, or to appear but faintly in 
the -utmost bounds of the horizon; and to remove' 
backward, and reduce to their true comparative 
dimensions, the objects of the present life, which are 
apt to fill the human eye, assuming a false magni- 
tude -from -their vicinity. The true Christian knows 
from experience, however, that the former areapt'ta 
fade from the sight, and the latter again to swell 011 
it. He'makcs it/thereforemscommuHVcaretopre- 
serre' those jtfst and erifighterted views, which 
through BiTmte : mercyhehasdbtained. .Notthathe' 
wt$ retire- firetn that station in the world'wWfch Pro- 
vidence Kerns to htrrtr appointed him to'fifr: 'hewili 
G be 



4 38 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
Be active in the business of life, and enjoy its com- 
forts with moderation and thankfulness ; but he will 
sot be " totus in illis," he will not give up his whole 
soul to them, they will be habitually subordinate in 
bis estimation to objects of more importance. This 
awful truth hat sunk deep into his mind, that " the 
" things which are seen are temporal, but the things 
" which are not seen are eternal;" and in the tu- 
mult and bustle of life, he is sobered by the still 

- small voice which whispers to him, that " the 
'* fashion of this world passes away." This circum- 
stance alone must, it is obvious, constitute n vast 

- difference between the habitual temper of his mind, 
and that" of the generality of nominal Christians, who 
are almost entirely taken up with the concerns .of 
the present world. They know indeed that they are 
mortal, but they do not feel it The truth rests in 
their understandings, and cannot gain admission 
into their hearts. This speculative persuasion is 
altogether different from that strong practical im- 
pression of the infinite importance of eternal things, 
which, attended with a proportionate sense of, the 
shortness and uncertainty of all below, while it 
prompts to activity from a conviction that ." the 

■ " night cometh when no man can work," produces 
a certain firmness of texture, which hardens us 
against the buffetings of fortune, and prevents our 
being very deeply penetrated by the cares and inte- 
rests, the good or evil of this transitory state. Thus 
this just impression of the relative value of temporal 
and eternal things, maintains in the soul a dignified 
composure through all the vicissitudes of life. It 
quickens our diligence, yet moderates our ardour ; 
urges us to just pursuits, yet checks any undue soli- 
citude about the success of them, and thereby en- 
ables us, in the language of Scripture, " to use this 
" world as not abusing it," rendering us at once 
beneficial to others and comfortable to ourselves. 

But this is not all — besides the distinction be- 
tween the nominal and the real Cluistian, which 
' results 

i ; ,£oooIc 



Sect a.] of Practical CArittidmty. i*% 

results from the impressions produced on them re- 
spectively by the eternal duration of heavenly things, 
there is another grounded on their nature, no less, 
marked, nor less important. They are stated in Scrip- 
ture, not only as entitling themselves to the notice of 
the true Christian from considerations of interest, but 
as approving themselves to his judgment from a con- 
vict ion of their excellence, and yet farther, as recom- 
mending themselves to his feelings by their being, 
suited to the renewed dispositions of his heart. In- 
deed were the case otherwise, did not their qualities 
correspond with his inclination^ ; however he might 
endure them on principles of duty, - and be comly 
conscious of their superior worth, he could not 
lend himself to them with cordial complacency; 
much less took to them as the surest source of plea- 
sure. But this Is the light in which they are h»- 
bitually regarded by the true Christian, He walk*" 
in the ways of Religion, not by constraint, •'but wil- 
lingly; they are to him not only' safe, but comfort? 
able; " ways-of pleasantness as well as of pence.!* 
Not but that here also he is from experience aware 
of the necessity of constant support, and continual 
watchfulness; without these, his old estimate of 
things is apt to return on him, and the former ob- 
jects of his affections to resume their influence* 



jeci 

With earnest prayers, therefore,* for the Divine 
Help, with jealous circumspection, and resolute self- 
denial, he guards against whatever might be likely 
again to darken his enlightened judgment, or to vi- 
tiate his reformed tafte; thus making it his unwea- 
ried endeavour to grow in the knowledge and love 
of heavenly things, and to obtain a warmer admira- 
tion, and a more cordial relish of their excel- 
lence. 

That this is a just representation of the habitual 
judgment, and of the leading dispesit ion' of true 
Christians, will be abundantly evident, if, endea- 
vouring to form ourselves after our proper model, 
we consult the sacred Scripture. But in vain are 
c-3 ChmtUu** 

: , ,Cooglc 



U4i Prevailing inadequate CancffHtfons [Chap. IV. 
Christian* there represented as having set their o/'- 
fepiupis on things above, as tordiaity rtfffjgptf in the 
service, and delighting in the worship 'of God. 
Pleasure and Religion are oontradic tory terms with 
the balk, of ' noirti nai Christian*. They may look 
back indeed on their religious offices with some- 
t£iog ot'.a secret satisfaction, and even feel it during 
the performance of .them, from the idea of being 
eagageqiin the discharge of a duty; but this is al- 
tfrgfthor, different from the pleasure which attends 
af^faaplayaient in itself acceptable and grateful to 
us. , We ate not condemning a deficiency merely in 
tty&fofixmth and vehememe of religious affections : we 
are.nqta&kirig, whether the service and worship of 
Godfare i dtiigfitful and pleasant to such persons? 
bpt, De.they diffuse, over the soul any thing of that 
calm coincilagencv, that mild and grateful oompo- 
sure, whjcp bespeaks n mind in good humour with 
itse)f and a !i around it, and engaged in a service 
suited to its taste, and congenial with its feelings? 

-Le*. us appeal to that Day which is especially 
iunOa« • devoted, to the offices of Religion: Do 
nwdiimu they joyfully avail themselves of this 
feriutm- blessed opportunity of withdrawing from 
payment. ^ b ua iness and cares of life; when, with- 
out being disquieted by any doubt whether they are 
neglecting the duties of their proper callings, they 
may be allowed to detach their minds from earthly 
things, that by a fuller knowledge of heavenly ob- 
jects, and a more habitual acquaintance with them, 
their hope may grow more " full of immortality i " 
Is the day cheerfully devoted to those holy exercises 
for which it was appointed ? Do they indeed " come 
" into the courts of God with gladness f " And how 
ape they employed when not engaged in the public 
services of the, day ? Are tttey busied in studying 
the word of God, in meditating on his perfections, 
in tracing his providential dispensations, in admir- 
ing his works, in revolving hiB mercies, (ahove all, 



Sect, a.} of Pnutiad Ckrtitiamty. \ \* s 

the transcendent - mercies of redeeming low)- ih 
singing his praises, " and speaking good of hit 
" naine?" Do their secret retirements witness the 
earnestness of thek prayers and die warmth of 
their thanksgivings their diligence and' impartiality 
in the necessary work of self-examination, then- 
mindfulness of the benevolent duty of intercession f 
Is the kind purpose &f the institution of a Sabbath 
answered by them, in its being mode to their Be»- 
vants and dependents A season of rest and comfort? 
Does the instruction of their families, , or of the 
more peer and ignorant of their' neighbours, pos- 
sess its due share of their time ? If blessed with ta- 
lents or with affluence, are they sedulously empirM- 
inga part of this interval of leisure in relieving the 
indigent, and visiting' the sick, and comforting the 
sorrowful, in forming plans for the good of theirfet- 
te-w-ereatnres, in considering how they (nay promote 
both the temporal and spiritual benefit of the it 
friends and acquaintance; or, if lheir*9 be a larger 
sphere, in devising measures whereby through the 
Divine blesBrng> they may become the honoured 
instruments of the more extended -diffusion of re- 
ligious truth ? in the hours- of domestic or ■ social 
kitercoiM'se', does their conversation manifest the 
subject of which their hearts are fall? Do their lan- 
guage and demeanor shew them to be more than 
conttnonry gentle, and kind, and friendly, tree from 
rough and irritating passions? : ' 

Surely an entire day should not seem long amidst 
these various employments. Itmightwellbedeemed 1 
a privilege thus to spend it, in the more immediate 
presence of our Heavenly Father; in the exercises 
of humble admiration and grateful homage;' of the 
benevolent, and domestic, and social feelings, and' of 
all the best affections of our nature, prompted b* 
their true motives, conversant about their proper 
objects, and directed to their, noblest end ; air sor- 
rows mitigated, all cares suspended, all fears re<- 
03 preSietf, 



o 8 k- 



190 PrtiaiBng inadequate Conception* [Chap. IV. 
pressed, every angry emotion softened, every en- 
vious or revengeful or malignant passion expelled ; 
' and the bosom thus quieted, purified, enlarged, enno- 
bled, partaking almost of a measure of the Heavenly 
happiness, ana become for a while the seat of love, 
andjoy, and confidence, and harmony. 

The nature, and uses, and proper employments 
of a Christian Sabbath, have been pointed out more 
particularly, not only because the day will be found, 
when thus employed, eminently conducive, through 
the Divine blessing, to the maintenance of the reli- 
gious principle in activity and vigour ; but also be- 
cause we all must have had occasion often to re- 
mark, that many persons, of the graver and more 
decent, sort, seem not seldom to be nearly destitute 
of religions resources. The Sunday is with them, 
to say the best of it, a heavy day ; and that larger 
part of it, which is not claimed by the public offices 
•of the Church, dully drawls on in comfortless vacuity, 
or without improvement is trifled away in vain and 
■unprofitable discourse. Not to speak of those who 
fcy their more daring profanation of this sacred 
season, openly violate the laws and insult the Re- 
ligion of their country, how little do many seem to 
enter into the spirit of the institution, who are not 
wholly inattentive to its exterior decorums t How 
glad are they to qualify the rigour of their religious 
labours j How hardly do they plead against being 
compelled to devote the whole of the day to Religion, 
claiming to themselves no small merit for giving up 
to it a part, and purchasing therefore, as they hope, 
aright to spend the remainder more agreeably! 
How dexterously do they avail themselves of any 
plausible plea for introducing some week-day em- 
ployment into the Sunday, whilst they have not the 
tame propensity to introduce any of the Sunday's 
peculiar employment into the rest of the week ! 
How often do they find excuses for taking journeys, 
writing letters, balancing accounts ; or in short doing 
■omething, which bya little management might pro- 
bably 



Sect a.y vfPrmtieat Christianity. ' •■ * ^27 
hably have been anticipated, or which, without any 
material inconvenience, might be postponed ! Even 
business itself is recreation, compared with Religion ; 
and from the drudgery- of this day of Sacred Rest 
they fly for relief to their ordinary occupations. > 
Others again who would consider business as a 
/profanation, and who still hold out against the en- 
croachments of the card-table, get over much of 
the day, and gladly seek for an innocent resource, . 
in the social circle or in family visits, where it is not 
even pretended that the conversation turns on such 
topics as might render it in any way conducive to 
religious instruction, or improvement. Their families 
meanwhile are neglected, their servants robbed of 
Christian privileges, and their example quoted by 
others, who cannot see that they are themselves less 
religiously employed, while playing an innocent 
game at cards, or relaxing in the concert room. 
. But all these several artifices, whatever they may 
he, to wthalloa the Sunday and to change its cha> 
racter (it might be almost said " to mitigate its hor- 
rors,") prove hut too plainly, that Religion, however, 
we may be glad to take refuge in it, when driven to 
it by the loss of every other comfort, and to retain 
as it were a reversionary interest in an asylum, which 
may receive us when we are forced from the tran- 
sitory enjoyments of our present state, wears to us 
in itself a gloomy and forbidding aspect, and not a 
face of consolation and joy; that the worship of 
God is with us a constrained and not a willing ser- 
vice, which we are glad therefore to abridge, though 
we dare not omit it. , 

Some indeed there are who with concern and 
grief will confess this to be their uncomfortable and 
melancholy state ; who humbly pray, and diligently 
endeavour, for an imagination less distracted at de- 
votional seasons, for a heart more capable of relish- 
ing the excellence of divine things ; and who care* 
fully guard against whatever has a tendency, to chain 
down their affections to earthly enjoyments. Let 
04 not 



*s8 TrevaiU.*g'iMgdeqnOte Go*ftpt**mi fChap, IV. 
not'wchbe discouraged. It m not tboy whorn we 
art condemning: km such as-, bowing and even 
acknowledging this to be their -ease, yet proceed 
in ft way diroetly contrary : who* BCnrceh/ seersaag 
to suBpec* ttoat any tfewg is wrong with iiiem, vo- 
luttturily, ee^aiesceift a ^te of inind which indi- 
rectly contrary to-the positive coauaandfl of God, 
which tones a perfect contrast to the represented 
tions given us in Scripture of the Christian charac- 
ter, and aeeerds but- too faithfully in one leading 
feature wirdb tbe character of those, who are states 
to be tbe objects of Diviue cfopleasitte it* this life, 
and of Divine punishment in the aoxt. 



I* is mot, however, only ia these-essential c 
Other inter- twoitts of • dtevntioBal t— that the bnik 
ntiitfuA of nominal Chrki trans are defective. This 
nrtictd. t bey^eiyo^cl^c(«eCTe%fc«ling-pCTiiara 
iodk: complacency froattbeliiraikkncsj of the avowal) 
to be a higher attain of piety, than that t& which 
they ispire. ; rheit fbcgetfulness also of some of the 
fatadwigdifiesi tions of Christianity, is undeniably ay 
parent in their alto wed want of the spirit oflrineaass, 
and meekness, and genateness, and patience, and 
tong^uffering ; and, above ab\ of last which is the 
stock en which alone these dispositions easy gfew 
and ikmrish, that humstity and kmsitHen if mind, in 
whitth perhaps more than in any oober other o«jn- 
isty may be said to consist the tmie> essence and 
vital prineipio «f the- Chsistiast temper. These diw 
pewnonsare not only neglected, bntewendiBSvowed 
and exploded, aod their opposiles, if not rising to 
any greas height, ase acknowledged and applauded. 
jfjastpritfo, apvoper ami faetming pride, me- team 
which w+ daily hear &om Christian-lips. To-possew 
(thmhtpmt, to behave with an projMr spirit when 
BtfwtHI, — bywfaich is meant a qaick feeling of inju- 
ries, mi a promptness in refuting them,— entities 
to- eeatmendwnon- ( and a meek-spwited disposition, 
the highest JJcriptaie eulogiuw, expresses ideas of 
- "i disapprobation 



Sect. 3.} 0/ Practice Ckrhticmily. »«8 

disapprobation and contempt. Vanity and rtam 
glory are suffered without interruption' to retain 
their natural possession of the heart. But here a 
topic opens upon- us of such importance, and «a 
which so many mistakes are to be found both in 
the writings of respectable authors, and in the cam- 
monly prevailing opinions of the world, that it way 
be allowed us to discuss it more at large, and for 
this purpose to treat of it in a separate section. - 

Sect. III. 

Oh the Desire of hums* Estimation and Apptau$e 
— TAe generally prevailing Opinion* contrasted with 
tkote 0/ the true Christian. 

THE desire of human estimation, and distinction, 
and honour, of the admiration and ap- Univertatity 
plausc of our fellow -creatures, if we take it rf "** P*«- 
in its full comprehension, and in all its va- "*"* - 
rioos modifications, from the thirst of gbry to the 
dread of shame, is the passion of which the em- 
pire is by far the most general, and perhaps the au- 
thority the most commanding. Though its power 
be most conspicuous and least controllable m the 
higher classes of society, it seems, like some resist- 
less conqueror, to spare neitheragenorsex, nor con- 
dition; and taking ten thousand shapes, insmnating 
itself under the most specious pretexts, and shelter- 
ing Itself when necessary under the most artful dis-, 
guises, it winds its way in secret, when it dares not 
openly avow itself, and mixes in all we think, and 
Speak, and do. It is in some instances the deter- 
mined and declared pursuit, and confessedly the 
main practical principle ; but where this is not the 
case, it is not seldom the grand spring of action, 
and in the Beauty and the Author, no less than in 
the Soldier, it is often the master" passion of the 
soul. 

This is the principle which parents recognise 

with joy in tacit infant offspring, which is diligently 

05 instilled 



igo Pretaiiittg inadequate ConcepUoits [Chap. IV. 
instilled and nurtured in advancing years, which, 
under the names of honourable ambition and of laud- 
able emulation, it is the professed aim of schools 
and colleges to excite ana cherish The wrher is 
well aware that it will be thought he is pushing his 
opinions much loo far, when he ventures to assail 
■> 7 ^ t emi _ this great principle of human- action ; " a 
■ «nw- " principle," iu advocates might perhaps 
iionj«.- exclaim, " the extinction of which, if you 
* ertrf * " could succeed in your rash attempt, 
" would' be like the annihilation in the material 
** world of the principle of motion; without it all 
** were torpid and cola and comfortless. We grant," 
they might go on to observe, " that, we never 
" ought to deviate from the paths of duty in order 
" to procure the applause or to avoid the reproaches 
" of men, and we allow that this is a rule too little 
" attended to in practice. We grant that the love 
" of praise is in some instances a ridiculous, and is 
** others a mischievous passion ; that to it we owe 
" the breed of coquettes and coxcombs, and; S 
*' more serious evil, the noxious race of heroes 
* and conquerors. We too are ready, when it ap- 
" pears in the shape of vanity, to smile at it as a 
V foible, or in that of false glory, to condemn it as 
« a crime. But all these are only its perversions ; 
** and on account of them to contend against its 
" true fotms, and its legitimate exercise, were to 
" give into the very error which you formerly youf- 
" self condemned, of arguing against the use of a 
" salutary principle altogether, on account of its 
** being liable to occasional abuse. When turned 
" into the right direction, and applied to its true 
« purposes, it prompts to every dignified and ge- 
" nerous enterprise. It is erudition in the portico, 
" skill in the lycseum, eloquence in the senate, vic- 
" tory in the field. It forces indolence into activity, 
«* and extorts from vice itself the deeds of gene- 
" rosity and virtue. When once the soul is warmed 
« by iu generous ardor, no difficulties deter* no 
" dangers 



Stct.3.3 of Practical CArutfotity. 131 

" dangers terrify, no labours tire. It is this which, 
" giving by its stamp to what is virtuous and ho- 
" noarable its just superiority over the gifts of birth 
" and fortune, rescues the rich from a base sub- 
" jection to the pleasures of sense, and makes them 
" prefer a -course of toil and hardship to a life of 
" indulgence and ease. It prevents the man of rank 
" from acquiescing in his hereditary greatness, and 
" spurs him- forward in pursuit of personal distiric- 
" Uoo, and of a nobility which he may justly term 
" his own. It moderates and qualifies the over-great 
" inequalities of human conditions ; and reaching 
" to those who are above the sphere of laws, ana 
" extending to cases which fall not "within their 
" province, it limits aud circumscribes the power 
" of the tyrant on his throne, and gives gentleness 
" to war, and to pride, humility. 

" Nor'is its influence confined to public life, nor 
" is it known only in the great and the splendid. 
" To it, is to be ascribed a large portion of that cour- 
" tesy and disposition to please, which, neutrally 
" producing a mutual appearance of good will and 
" a reciprocation of good offices, constitute much 
" of die comfort of private life, and give their 
" choicest sweets to social and domestic intercourse. 
" Nay, from the force of habit, it follows us even 
" into solitude, and in our most secret retirements 
" we often act as if our conduct were subject to 
" human observation, and we derive no small com- 
V placency from -the imaginary applauses of anideal 
" spectator." 

- So far of the tfftctt of the love of praise aud dis- 
tinction: and if, after .enumerating some of these, 
yon should proceed to investigate its nature, " We 
" admit," it might be added, V that a hasty and 
" misjudging world often misapplies coinmenda- 
* ttona and censures: and whilst we therefore con- 
" fess, that the praises of the discemirig few are 
" alone truly valuable, we acknowledge that it were 

" better if mankind were always- to act from the 
« 6 « sense 



o 8 k- 



132. Prevailing hm&quait Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
" sense «f light and the love of virtae, without re- 
" i«peaKe-.tw tjie opinions of their fellow-creatures. 
■' We even allow, that, independently of conse- 
" qneoeea, this were perhaps in itself a higher strain 
' " ofvirtae;bntitig.a.degreeof piwity which iUTowld 
" be Tain to expect dom the bulk of mankind. 
«' When the tntruwic «ccttlence of this principle, 
" however, is called: i» question, lei it be cetftem- 
" bered, that in its ragber degrees it was styled, by 
*' one who meant rather to detcaet from it* merits 
** than to aggravate them, ' the infirmity of m&le 
*' minds;' aod surely, that in such a soil it most na- 
'' turally Springs up, and nourishes, is no small 
*' proof or its. exalted origin and genewras na- 
«* tore. 

" But were these more dubious, aad were it no 
" more than a splendid error; yet considering that 
" it works so often in the right direction,- it were 
" enough to urge in its behalf, that it is a principle 
" of real action, and approved energy. That, as 
" much as practice is better than theory, and solid 
" realities than empty speculation, so much is it to 
'* be preferred for general use before those higher 
" principles of morals, which, however just aad es- 
" cellent in themselves, you would in vain attempt 
" to bring home to the ' business and bosoms of 
" mankind' at large. Reject not then a principle 
" thus universal in its influence, thus valuable in 
" its 'effects; a principle, which, by whatever 
' " name you may please to call it, acts by motives, 
" and considerations suited to our condition ; and 
'" which, putting it at the very lowest, mast be con- 
" fesscd, in our present infirm slate, to be an hate' 
" tual aid and an ever present support to the feeble- 
" nrssof virtue! In a seitish world it produces the 
*' effects of disinterestedness, and when public spi- 
* rit is extinct, it supplies the want of patriotism. 
" Let us therefore wttli gratitude avail oursclvea of 
" its help, and notpelioqtnsh the good which it.ffse- 
" ly offers,, tiom vk know not. what vain dreams of 
« impracticable 



Seel. 3-] of Practical Christianity. "• 153" 

" impracticable purity and ! unattainable perfect 

«* tJOB-." 

All this and much more might be urged by the* 
advocates of' this* favourite principle. It j^ abest 
would be, however, rm difficult task to Vm&ca- 
shew tbat it by 110 mean's merits this high 'i"" 9"*** ' 
eHlogiura. To saynotm'ng'of that larger"" '** 1 
part of the argument of our opponents, which be- 
trays, and even proceeds upon, that mischievous 
notion of the innocence of error, against which we 
have already entered out formal protest, the prin- 
ciple in question is manifestly of a most inconstant 
and variable nature-, as inconstant and variable as 
the innumerably diversified modes of fashions,' ha- 
bits, and opinions in different periods and societies. 
What it tolerates in one age, it forbids in another; 
what in one country it prescribes and applauds, rtf 
another it condemns and stigmatizes! Obviously 
and openly, it often takes' vie** into its patronsge, 
and sets itself in direct opposition to virtne. ■ ft is 
calculated to produce rather the appearance, than 
the reality of excellence; and at best not to check 
the fovt not only the comntissmti of vice.' Much of 
this indeed was seen and acknowledged 'fay 0„ JBion , „■• 
the philosophers, and even' by. the poets, j"^™ Jtfo-' 
of the Pagan world. They declaimed **** «"* ' 
against it as a mutable and inconsistent '* i,,VM * J 
principle ; they lamented the fatal effects which, 
under the name of false glory, it had produced on 
the peace and happiness of' mankind. They con^ 
demnetf-the pursuit of it when it led its fpll6wers. rfut 
of die path of "virtue, and taught that the praise of 
the wfee'and of the -good only was to be desired. ■' 

Btrt it was reserved for the page of Scripture td 
point out to us- distinctly, wherein it is apt ^ scripr 
to be essentially defective and vicious, aatia- 
and to discover ia us more fully its en--**jjjjj£ 
evoaching Mature and dangerous tenden- "tZus. 
cies; teaching us at the same time, how, being 
purified 



134 Prevailing inadequate Conception* [Chap. IV. 
purified from its corrupt qualities, and reduced 
under just subordination, it ma; be brought into 
legitimate exercise, and be directed to its true 
end. 

In the sacred volume we are throughout re- 
minded, that we are originally the creatures of 
God's formation, and continual dependents on his 
bounty. - There too we learn the painful lesson of 
man's degradation and unworthiness. We learn that 
humiliation and contrition are the dispositions of 
mind best suited to our fallen condition, and most 
acceptable in the sight of our Creator. We learn 
that to the repression and extinction of that spirit 
of arrogance and self-importance which are so na- 
tural to the heart of man, it should be our habitual 
care to cherish and cultivate -these lowly tempers ; 
studiously maintaining a continual sense, t bat," not 
only for all the natural advantages aver others 
which we may possess, but for all our moral superi- 
ority also, we are altogether indebted to the unme- 
rited goodness of. GotfT It might perhaps be said 
to be the great end and purpose of all revelation, and 
especially to be the design of the Gospel, to reclaim 
as from our natural pride and selfishness, and their 
fatal consequences; to bring us to a just sense of 
our weakness and depravity ; and to dispose us, with 
unfeigned humiliation, to abase ourselves, and give 
glory to God. " No flesh may glory in his pee- 
"sence; he that gtorieth, let him glory in the 
" Lord" — " The lotty looks of man shall be hum- 
" bled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed 
',' down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted *,". 

These solemn admonitions are too generally dis- 
regarded, and their intimate connection with the 
subject we are now considering, appears to have 
been often entirely overlooked, even by Christian 
moralists. These authors, without reference to the 
main spring, and internal principle of conduct, are 
apt to speak of the love of human applause, as 
being meritorious or culpable, as being the desire 

• Isaiah, ii. 11. 

of 

■ ■ . .Google 



Sect-^-3 of Practical Christianity. 135 

of true' or of false glory, accordingly as the external 
actions it produces; and the pursuits to which it 
prompts, are beneficial or mischievous to mankind. 
But it is undeniably manifest, that in the judg- 
ment of the word of God, the love of worldly ad- 
miration and applause is. in its nature essentially and 
radically corrupt; so far as it partakes of a dispo- 
sition to exalt and aggrandize ourselves, to pride 
ourselves on our natural or acquired endowments, 
or to assume to ourselves the merit and credit of 
our good qualities, instead of ascribing all the ho- 
nour and glory where only they are due. Its guilt 
therefore in these cases is not to be measured by its 
effects on the happiness of mankind ; nor is it to 
be denominated true or false glory accordingly as 
the ends to which it is directed are just or unjust, 
beneficial or mischievous, objects of pursuit ; but it 
is false, because it exalts that which ought to be 
abased, and criminal, because it encroaches oh the 
prerogative of God. 

The Scriptures further instruct us, not merely 
that mankind are liable to error, and therefore that 
the world's commendations may be sometimes mis- 
taken ; but that their judgment being darkened 
and their hearts depraved, its applauses and con- 
tempt will for the most part be systematically mis- 
placed ; that though the beneficent and disin- 
terested spirit of Christianity, and her obvious ten- 
dency to promote domestic comfort and general 
happiness, cannot but extort applause; yet that her 
aspiring after more than ordinary excellence, by- 
exciting secret misgivings in others, or a painful' 
sense of inferiority not unmixed with envy, cannot 
fail often to disgust and offend. The word of God 
teaches us, that though such of the doctrines and 
precepts of Christianity, as are coincident with 
worldly . interests and pursuits, and with worldly 
principles and systems, may be professed without 
offence; yet, that what is opposite to these, or ' 
even different from them, will be deemed needlesslv 
1 precise 



lgfi Prevailfog inaiktptute Conceptions [Chap. IV. 1 
precise -and strict, the indulgence of a morose and 
■glOomy humour, thjj symptoms of a contracted and 
superstitious, spirit, the marks of a mean, enslaved, 
or distorted understanding- That for these an* 
other reasons, the follower, of Christ must not onty 
make up his mind to the occasional relinquishment of 
worldly favour, but that it should even afford him 
matter of holy jealousy and suspicion of himself, 
vrhen it is very lavishly and very generally be- 
stowed. 

But though the standard of worldly estimation 
differed lessYrom that of the Gospel, yet, since our 
affettions ought to he set on heavenly things, and 
conversant about heavenly objects, and since in 
particular the love and favour of God ought to he 
the matter of our supreme and habitual desire, to 
which every other should he rendered subordinate ; 
it Mows, that the love of human applause must be 
manifestly injurious, so far as it tends to draw down 
our regards to earthly concerns, and to circumscribe 
our desires within the narrow limits of this world ; 
and, that it is impure, so far as it is tinctured with 
"a disposition to estimate too highly, and love too 
well, the'good opinion and commendations of man. 

But though, by these and other instructions and 
considerations, the Holy Scripture warns us against 
the inordinate desire or earrieet pursuit, of worldly 
estimation and honou*; though it so greatly re- 
duces their vahie, and prepares us for losing them 
without surprise, and' for relinquishing them with 
Jlttle reluctance ; yet it teaches us, that Christians 
bte not only not called' upon absolutely and volun- 
tarily to renounce or forego them, bu,t that; when, 
without our having solicitously sought them, they 
are bestowed' on us for actions intrinsically good, 
we are to accept them as being intended by Provi- 
dence to be sometimes, even in this disorderly state 
of things, a present solace, and a reward to virtue. 
Nay more, we are infracted, mat in odr gcaerat de- 
portment, drat in little partictllara Of codtfuct other- 
wise 



Svt-3.J ofPratliealCkrutiamhf. 137- 

wise indifferent, that m the c ircumstnntxs and ma»- 
iw of performing action* in themselves of a deten- 
mmf^ c^racter and indispensable obligation,,(gaardi- 
i*g however against the smallest degree of. artifice 
or deceit.) that by watching for opportunities of do* 
ing little kindnesses, that by avoiding singularities, 
and evett humouring prejudices, where it. may be 
done without the slightest infringement' of truth 01 
duty, we ought to have a due respect aad regard to 
the approbation and fevoar of men. Those how- 
ever we should not value chiefly as they ■may ad 1 - 
mioister to our owu gratification, but. ratbet at 
famishing means and instrument* of inrlMnce, 
which we may turn to good account, by making 
them subservient to the improve 01 rut and happiness 
of one fellow-creatures, and thus cond-ncive to the 
glory of God; The leraark is, almost, superfluous* 
that on occasions like these we must-ovi:* 'v&tzik 
our hearts with the most jealoas caie, lest piV> and 
self-Jove insensibly. infiu«e themselves^ ■ itM-i w-iVpt 
the purity of principles so liable to contract a 
taint. 

Credit and reputation, in the judgment of the 
true Christian, stand on ground not very different 
front riches 5 which he is' not to prize highly, or to 
desire and pursue with solicitude ; but which, when • 
they;areaiUirtedi» him by the hand of Providence* 
he is to accept -with thunfttulness, and Use with ■ 
moderalioB ; reitniftuahing them, when-' it becomes 
necessary, without a munmuV ;- guarding most t*r* 
coenspeotiy, so- long as they remain- with hint', 
against that sensual 1 and' selfish temper, and- ito -fess 
against that pride and wantonness of Mtft} wJweh 
they are too apt to produce and clierish ; thus eon*, 
sidering them ae in themselves acceptable, but, . 
from- the infirmity of his nature, highly dangerous-, 
possessions j and valuing them chiefly, not as in- 
struments of luxury or splendour, but as affording 
the means of honouring his he&venly Benefactor, 
and lessening tb© miseries of mankind. ■■ _ ■ 

. - Christianity, 



138 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV; 
'Christianity, be it remembered, proposes not to 
extinguish our natural desires, but to faring them 
under just control, and direct them to their true 
objects. In the case both of riches and of honour, 
she maintains the consistency of her character. 
While she commands us not to set our hearts on 
earthly treasures, she reminds us that " we have in 
" Heaven a better and more enduring substance" 
than this world can bestow ; and while she represses 
our solicitude respecting earthly credit, and mode- 
rates our attachment to it, she holds forth to us, 
and bids us habitually to aspire after, the splendours 
of that better state, where is true glory, and ho- 
nour, and immortality ; thus exciting in as a just 
ambition, suited to our high origin, and worthy of 
our large capacities, which the little, misplaced, 
and perishable distinctions of this life would in vain 
attempt to satisfy. 

It would be mere waste of time to enter into any 

QmermUg laboured argument to prove at large, that 
E*j"jW the light in which worldly credit and esti- 
J^d mation are regarded, by the bulk of pro- 
t* font of fessed Christians, is extremely different 
Saipiurt. ffQxa that in which they are placed by the 
page of Scripture. The inordinate love of worldty 
glory indeed, implies a passion, which from the na- 
ture of things cannot be called into exercise in the 
generality of mankind, because, being conversant 
about great objects, it can but rarely hnd that field 
which is requisite for its exertions: Bat we every 
where discover the same principle reduced to the 
dimensions of common lite, and modified and -di- 
rected according to every one's sphere of action. 
We may discover it in a supreme love of distinc- 
tion, and admiration, and praise; in the universal 
acceptable a ess of flattery; and, above all, in the 
excessive valuation of our worldly character, in 
that watchfulness with which it is guarded, in that 
jealousy when it is questioned, in that solicitude 
when 



Sect. 3-} <f Practical Christianity. 135 

when it is in danger, in that hot resentment when it 
is attacked, in that bitterness of suffering when it 
is impaired or lost. All these emotions, as they are 
too manifest to be disputed, so are they too repu- 
table to be denied. Dishonour, disgrace, and 
shame, present images of terror too dreadful to be 
faced; they are evils; which it is thought the mark 
of a generous spirit to consider as excluding every 
idea of comfort and enjoyment, and to feel as too 
heavy to be bome. 

The consequences of all this are natural and ob- 
vious. Though it be not openly avowed, that we 
are to follow after worldly estimation, or to escape 
from worldly disrepute, when they can only be pur- 
sued or avoided hy ^eelining from the path of 
duty; nay, though the contrary be recognized as 
being the just opinion; yet all the effect of this 
speculative concession is soon done away in fact. 
Estimating worldly credit as of the highest intrinsic 
excellence, and worldly shame as the greatest of all 
possible evils, we sometimes shape and turn the 
path of duty itself from its true direction, so as it 
may favour our acquisition of the one, and avoid- 
ance of the other; or when this cannot he done, 
we boldly and openly turn aside from it, declaring 
the temptation is too strong to be resisted. 

It were easy to adduce numerous proofs of the 
troth of these assertions. It is proved, in- varum* 
deed, by that general tendency in Reli- J"¥j € 
gion to conceal herself from the view, (for ™ ««- 
we might hope that in these cases she mcitum* 
often is by no means altogether extinct) •/ "** °P i - 
by her being apt to vanish from our con- "uTpXt 
versations, and even to give place to a. tf At bulk 
pretended licentiousness of sentiments and jjl"^f™' 
conduct, and a false shew of infidelity. ™ rMum - 
It is proved, by that complying acquiescence and 
participation in the habits and manners of this 
dissipated age, which has almost confounded every 
t external 



>40 Prevailing madvptatt Cmcuptions [Chap. IY. 
estewwl di«s»e*it>fi between, the Christian and the 
Infidel, and ha* nude- it so rare to find any one 
wha dares incur the charge of Christian singularity, 
-or. who can- say with. -the Apttttej that " he is sot 
fvMfrm H aahamedof the Gospel of Christ." It is 
ife s*u« c/ proved (how can this proof be omitted by 
<*"»*»>». one to whose tot it bat so often fallen to 
Indies*' and lament, sometimes he tears to afford an 
instance of it?) by that quick resentment, those 
bitter contentions, those ; angry retorts, those mali- 
■eraus triumphs, that impatience of inferiority, that 
wtifteftil sense of pact defeats, and promptness to 
Tavenge them, which too often change the character 
of a Christian- delaberatnc Assembly, into that of a 
stage for prizefighters; violating at onoe the pro- 
prieuesof pubitre conduct^ and the rules of social 
deeoretn, and renouncing and ohasnvg away all 
■the ■■charities of the Reftgiott of Jean*. • 

- Bat from aft lesser proofs, our attention is drawn 
nWDud- to one of a- Milt larger me, and more- de- 
*"f- tevrnirted' ehatacter. Surely the- reader 

will here anrteipatg oar-mention of tho practice of 
Bodling; a practice whfcrv to the disgrace of a 
Christian -society, has- iowt been suffefled to exist 
with little- restraint cvopposltion; • ■ 

This practice, whilst it powerfully supports, chiefly 
rests en, tbalt ejteeeftiva oYer-r«4u»tio> of character, 
which teaehas, that wwrldly-ewsdiE** to be preserved 
at <tny ratr, and disgrace at (Mtr-rate to-be avoided. 
The vKretnontbtenmt- of duetteng has been often 
proved, am* it bm often btcftshewir. to he criminal 
on various' principles-: sometimes it has been op- 
posed on gwuwds hardly tMMMftf particularly when 
it has been considered as an indication of malioe 
and revenge(ff). But it seems hardly to have been 
Duelling, enough noticed in what chrefty consists its 
nhcrein itt essential guilt ; that it is a deliberate pre- 

Si) Vido He /i Tract, BuuHMu'a EJoiu, and man; ptHodica] E*u$t 
Sermons, 

ference, 



Sect. 3.] if Practical (Utrktimtitg. 141 

ferenoe of the favour <ef nan, before the pna.nW^t 
favour and approbation of God, in drtk&k ™ U " M * 
mertis, in«i instance, wherein our own life, and 
that of a fellow-creature are <at stake, and wherein 
we ran the risk of rushing into tbe presence of oor 
Maker in the very act of offending him. It would 
detain us too long, and it were somewhat beside our 
present purpose, to enumerate the mischievous con- 
sequence! whiehresuk from this practice. They are 
many and great; and if regard be had merely to the 
temporal interests of men, awd to the well-being of 
society, they are bnt poorly counterbalanced by the 
plea, which most be admitted in its behalf by a can- 
did observer of Iranian nature, of a courtesy and re- 
finement in our modern mannera -unknown to ancient 
times. 

Bnt there is one observation which must not be 
omitted, and which seems- lo have-been too much 
overlooked. In the j udg ment of tfrat Religion, 
which requires parity of heart, and of that Being to 
whom,- as was before remarkedj * thought is ac- 
tion," he cannot be esteemed innocent of "this crime, 
who lives in a settled habitual deter fa mat ion to 
commit it, when circusostances shall can trpon hhn- 
sb to-do*. This is a consideration which plaices the 
crime of dueffing on a-different footing from almost 
any other; indeed there is perhaps -no cfrher, which 
mankind habitually and deliberately resolve to prac- ' 
rice whenever the temptation shall occur. Itshews 
also that the crime of dtiening is for more general m 
the higher classes than iscoffimoniy supposed, and 
that the whole sum of the .guilt which'the practice 
produces is great, beyond what has perhaps been 
ever conceived ! It will be the writer's comfort 
to have solemnly suggested this consideration, to 
the consciences of those by whom this impious. 
practice might be ■suppressed.: If soch there be, 
which he is strongly inclined to beheve, theirs is 
', liath 
the 



14* Prevailing inadequate Conceptions {Chap. IV. 
the crime, and their** the responsibility of suffering 
It to continue (a). 

In the foregoing observations, it -has not been the, 
writer's intention to discuss completely that copious 
subject, the love of worldly estimation. It would 
be to exceed the limits of a work like this, fully to 
investigate so large, and at the same time so impor- 
tant atopic. Enough, however, may have perhaps 
been said, to make it evident that this principle 
is of a character highly quationabie ; that it should 
be brought under absolute subjection, and watched 
with the most jealous care : That, notwithstanding 
its lofty pretensions, it often can by no means justly 
boast that high origin and exalted nature, which it* 
superficial admirers are disposed, to concede to it. 
Real nature What real intrinsic essential value, it 
rfinardi- might be asked, does there appear to be 
"•« fowjf in a virtue, which had wholly changed its 
maim.'"' nature and character, Of public opinion 
had been different ? But it is in truth of 
base extraction, and ungenerous qualities, it springs 
from selfishness and vanity, and low ambition; by 
these it subsists, and thrives, and acts;' and easy, 
and jealousy, and detraction, and hatred! and va- 
riance, are its too faithful and natural associates. It 
is, tosay the best of it, a root which bears fruits of a 
poisonous as well as of a beneficial quality. If.it 
sometimes stimulates to great and generous enter- 
prises, if it urges to industry, and sometimes to ex- 
cellence, if in the more contracted sphere it produces 

(a) Tbe writer cannot omit this opportunity of declaring! tint he 
should long ago have brought this subject before the notice of Pirlia- 
aunt, hut for n perfect conviction that he iboulri probably thereof 
cot; give encouragement to a system he wiiheJ to see at in end. 
The practice hat been at different period] neirly stopped by potitire 
laws, in various nation! on the Continent; and there can be litthj 
doubt of the efficacy of what has been more tliap once suggested— 
• Court af Honour, to take cogninnce, of Inch sffcncei ai would 
naturally rail within its province. The effects of toil eBaMUkrortit 
would doubtfc-ai require to be enforced by legislative provisions, 
directly punishing the practice ; and by discouraging at Court, and 
in the military and naval situations, all who ihoald directly or irtdi- 
ictfly be guilty of it, 

courtesy 



Sect. 3.] of practical Christianity. 143 

courtesy and kindness; yet to its account we muit 
place the ambition which desolates notions, and 
many of the competitions and resentments, which 
interrupt the harmony of social life. The former 
indeed has been often laid to its charge, but the lat- 
ter have not been sufficiently attended to; and still 
lesa has its noxious influence on the vital principle, 
and distinguishing graces of the Christian character, 
been duly pointed out and enforced. 

To read indeed the writings of certain Christian 
moralists, (a) and to observe how little they seem 
disposed to call it in question, except where it raves 
in the conqueror ; one should be almost tempted to 
suspect, that, considering it as a principle of such 
potency and prevalence, as that they must despair of 
bringing it into just subjection, they were intent 
only on complimenting it into good humour (like 
those. barbarous nations which worship the evil Spi- 
rit through fear ;) or rather, that they were making 
a sort of composition with an enemy they could not 
master ; and were willing, on condition of its giving 
up the trade of war, to suffer it to rule undisturbed, 
and range at pleasure. 

But the truth is, that the reasonings of Christian 
moralists, too often exhibit but few traces of the 
genius, of Christian morality. Of this position, the 
case before us is an instance. This principle of the 
desire of worldly distinction and applause, is often 
allowed, and even commended, with too few qUalifi* 
cations, and too little reserve. To covet wealth is 
base and sordid ; but to covet honour is treated as 
the mark of a generous and exalted nature. These 
writers scarcely seem to bear in mind, that, though 
the principle in question tends to prevent the com* 
mission of those grosser acts of vice which would 
injure us in the general estimation j yet that it not 
only stops there, but that it there begins to exert 
almost an equal force in the opposite direction. 

(«) Vide, in part icob'r, 1 paper in the Guardian, - by ASBllOH , 00 
Honour, V*l. ii. 

They 



t44 Prevailing inadequate Conception [Chap.1V. 
They do not consider how apt tins principle is, ■even 
in the case of those who move in a contracted 
sphere, to fill -.us with vain conceits, and-vicious pas- 
sions ; and, above all, how it tends to fix the affec- 
tions on earthly things, and to steal away the heart 
from God.' They acknowledge it to be criminal 
wben it produces mtscWmwy -effects; but forget 
h»w apt it is, by. the substitution of a false and 'cor- 
rupt motive, to vitiate the purity rf ©wgood actions, 
depriving ttaeiu of every thing which rendered them 
truly and essentially valasble. They do not consider, 
thstt, whilst they too hastily app land it as taking the 
side of virtue, it often works her ruin, while it as- 
sfflts Jiercause; «ml,4ike some vile seducer, pretends 
affection oniy die more surely to betray; 

It is the dietiftguwhmg glory of Christianity not 
Thrmus to .rest satisfied with superficial appear- 
Ca«*h™'» aoces, but to rectify the motives, and purify 
XEi„"i" **» *«wf. H»e tree "Christian, m obe- 
tk* F<nV dieoce to thelessons of Scripture, no where 
cipi*- keeps over himself a more resolute and 

jealous guard, than where the desire of human 
estimation and distinction is in question. No where 
does he mote deeply feel the insufficiency of His 1 
unassisted strength,' or ■ mere ^diligently- a«rd ear- 
nestly pcay for .Divine assistance. He may well- 
indeed watch ftndp»ay against the encroachments t>f 
a- passion, whicll, 'when suffered to -transgress its just 
limits, discovers' a peouHnr hostility to the distin- 
guishing graces of *he Christian ■temper; a passion, 
which^muet inswi&yity -acquire force', because it. is in 
continual ^MNUBsef* passion, to wftrcb. aknost every 
thine- c.-»*Ao«r administers nutriment, snd the growra 
of w«ich«rf&» is- favowredimd' cherished by such 
powerful aoxiliaiies-as-pride and serfishrress, -thena- 
«rr»t*nd pwfaaps iee* terminable inhabitants' of the 
h*«»an*«art. ' - 

, §pVR&f Hppies^dj iherefetfe, wjtka-sefls,e;pf &c 
indispensable necessity of guarding against vH&v*r»- 
» gresa 



Sect. 3.] of Practical Christianity. ;"* 14^ 
gress of this encroaching principle, in fturnbl'e re* 
Fiance on superior aid, the true Christian thankfully 
uses the means, and habitually exercises himself in 
the considerations and motives, suggested to hini .foe 
that purpose by the word of God." He is n*gch 
occupied in ' searching out, and contemplating^hiii 
own infirmities. He endeavours to acquire an4 
maintain a just conviction 0/ his great uiiworthi- 
ness ; and to keep in continual remembrance, that 
whatever distinguishes himself from others, is not 
properly his own, but that he ie altogether indebted 
for it to the undeserved bounty of Heaven. He dili- 
gently endeavours also, habitually to preserve a just 
sense of the real worth of human distinction and 
applause, knowing that he shafl covet them lees' 
when he has learned not to over-rate their value. He 
labours to bear in mind, how undeservedly they are 
often bestowed, how precariously they are always 
possessed. The censures of good men justly render 
Dim suspicious of himself, apq prompt him carefully 
and impartially to examine into those parts of his 
character, or those particulars of his conduct, which 
have drawn on him their animadversions. Tbe.fa, : 
vourable opinion and (he praises of good men,, are 
justly acceptable to him, where they accord with the 
testimony of his own heart ; that testimony being 
thereby confirmed and warranted. Those praises 
favour also and strengthen the growth of mutual 
confidence and affection, whefe it is his delight to 
form friendships, rich not less in iise than comfort, 
or to establish connexions which may last for ever. 
But even' in the case of the eominenaations of good, 
men, he suffers not himself tp be beguiled into an 
over-valuation of them, lest be' should be led to sub- 
stitute them in the place of conscience. He guards 
against this by. reflecting how indistinctly we can 
discern each other's motives, how little enter into 
each other's circumstances, how mistaken therefore 
may foe the judgments formed of us, or of oat ac- 
tions, even "by good men ; and that it is far froiri 
H improbable, 



\4§ Prevailing inadequate Conception! [Chap. IV. 
that a time may" come, in which we may 
d to forfeit their esteem, by adhering to 
of our own consciences, 
endeavours thus to sit loose to tbefavour 
; even of good men, much more to those 
I at large : not but that he is sensible of 
as means and instruments of usefulness 
:e; and, under the limitations and for 
>wed in Scripture, he is glad to possess, 
observant to acquire, and careful to retain them. He 
considers them however, if we may again introduce 
the metaphor, like the precious metals, as having 
rather an exchangeable than an intrinsic value, as 
desjrable, not simply in their possession, but in their 
use. In this view, he holds himself to be responsi- 
ble for that share of them which he enjoys, and (to 
-continue the figure) as hound not to let them lie by 
him unemployed, this were hoarding; not to lavish 
them prodigally, this vfould be waste; not imprudently 
to misapply them, this were folly and caprice : but 
as tinder an obligation to regard them as conferred 
on him, that they might be brought into action ; 
which therefore he feels not himself at liberty to 
throw away, though he is ready, if it be required, to 
relinquish them with cheerfulness ; nor, on the other 
hand, dares he acquire or retain them unlawfully, in 
consideration of the use he intends to makeof them. 
He holds it to be his hounden duty to seek diligently 
for occasions of rendering them subservient to their 
true purposes ; and when any such occasion is found, 
to expend them cheerfully and liberally, but with 
discretion and frugality; being no less prudent in 
determining the measure, than in selecting the ob- 
jects, of their application, that they may go the far- 
ther by bciiigthus managed with economy. 

Acting therefore on these principles, he will stu- 
diously and diligently use any degree of worldly 
credit he may enjoy, m removing or lessening pre- 
judices ; in conciliating good-will, and thereby mak- 
ing way for the less obstructed progress of truth ; 
and 



Sect. 3-] of Practical Christianity, • I47 

and in providing for. its being entertained with can- 
dour, or even with favour, by those who would bar 
all access against it in any Tougher or more homely 
form. He will make it his business to set on foot 
and forward benevolent and useful schemes ; and, 
where they require united efforts, to obtain and pre- 
serve for them this co-operation. He will endeavour 
to discountenance vice, to bring modest merit into 
notice ; to lend as it were his light to men of real 
worth, but of less creditable name, and perhaps of 
less conciliating qualities and manners; that they 
may thus shine with a reflected lustre, and be useful 
in their turn, when invested, with their just estima- 
tion. But while by these and various other means 
he strives to render his reputation, so long as he 
possesses it, subservient to the great ends of ad- 
vancing the cause of Religion and Virtue, and of 
promoting the happiness and comfort of mankind, ' 
he will not transgress the rule of the Scripture pre- 
cepts, in order to obtain, to cultivate, or to preserve 
it; resolutely disclaiming that dangerous sophistry 
of " doing evil that good may come." Ready 
however to relinquish his reputation when required 
so to do, he will not throw it away ; and so far as 
he allowably may, he will cautiously avoid. occasions 
of diminishing it, instead of studiously seeking, or 
needlessly multiplying them, as seems sometimes to 
have been the practice of worthy but imprudent 
men. There will be no capricious humours, no 
selfish tempers, no moioscness, • no discourtesy, no 
affected severity of deportment, no peculiarity of 
language, no indolent neglect, or wanton breach, of 
the ordinary forms or fashions of society. His repu- 
tation ia,a possession capable of uses too important 
to be thus sported away ; if sacrificed at all, it shall 
be sacrificed at die call of duty. The world shall be 
constrained to allow hira to be amiable, as well as 
respectable in other parts of his character; though in 
what regards Religion, they may account him un- 
reasonably precise and strict. In this no less than 
h 2 in 



1 +8 Prevailing ifte&tquate Conception* [ Chap. I V . 
ht other particular*, he will end eai-ou r to reduce the 
enemies of Religion to adopt the confession of the 
accusers of the Jewish ruler, " we shall not find any 
** fault or occasion against this Daniel — exceptcon- 
" eerftrng the law of his God:" and even there, if 
he give offence, it will only be where he dares not 
do otherwise ; and if he tall into disesteem or dis- 
grace, it shall not be chargeable to any conduct 
which is justly dishonourable, or even to any urt~ 
rlecessary singularities on his part, but to the false 
standard of estimation of a misjudging world. When 
his character is thus mistaken, or his conduct thus 
misconstrned, be will not wrap himself up m a mys- 
terious rottenness ; but will be ready, where be thinks 
any one Will listen to him with patience and can- 
dour, to clear up what has been dubious, to explain 
what has been imperfectly known, and, " speaking 
" the truth in love," to correct, if it may t>e, the 
erroneous impressions which have been conceived of 
him. He may sometimes feel it his duty publicly 
to vindicate his character from unjust reproach, and 
to repel the false charges of bis enemies ; bot he 
will carefully, however, watch against being . led 
away by pride, or being betrayed into some breach 
of truth or of Christian charity, when he is treading 
in a path so dangerous. At such a time he will also 
guard, with more than ordinary circumspection, 
against any undue solicitude about his worldly re- 
putation for its own sake ; and when he has done 
what duty requires for its vindication, he will sit 
down with a peaceable and quiet mind, and it will 
be matter of no very deep concern to him if his en- 
deavours should have been ineffectual. If good 
men in every age and nation have been often un- 
justly calumniated and disgraced, and if, in such 
circumstances, even the darkness of paganism has 
been able contentedly to repose itself on the con- 
sciousness of innocence, shall one who is cheered by 
the Christian's hope, Who is assured also, that a day 
will shortly come in which whatever is secret shall 
be 



Sect. 3.] qfPtwikai ChMmfy 149 

be made manifest, and the mistaken judgments of 
men, perhaps even of good, men, being corrected, 
that " he shall then have praise of God;" shall 
inch an one, J may, sink '■ shall be eves bend or 
droop under s,ueh a trial? They might be more ex- 
cusable in overvaluing hum*)* reputation, to nhuw 
all beyond the grave was dark and cheerless. They 
also might be more easily pardoned for punning, 
with some degree of eagerness and solicitude, that 
glory which might survive them ; thus seeking aa it 
were to extend the narrow span of their earthly ex- 
istence : but far different is our case, to whom these 
clouds are rolled away, and " life and immortality 
" ape brought to light by the Gospel." Not hut 
that worldly favour and distinction are amongst the 
best things this world has to offer : but the Christian 
knows it is the very condition of his calling, not to 
have his portion here ; and as in the case of any 
other earthly enjoyments, so in that also of worldly 
hopooj, he dreads, lest his supreme affections being 
thereby gratified, it should be hereafter said to hid), 
" Remember that thou in thy lifetime received** 
" thy good things." 

He is enjoined by his holy calling to be victorious 
oner the world: and ta this victory, an indifference 
to its dlseateem and dishonour is essentially and in- 
diftpeosably required, lie reflects on those holy 
men who " had trial of cruel Blockings ;" he remem- 
bers that our Utessert Saviour himself" was despised 
and rejected of men;" and what is he, that he should 
be exempted, from the common lot, or think it much 
ta bear the scandal of his profession '( If therefore 
he is creditable and popular, he considers this, if 
the phrase may be pardoned, as something beyond 
bis bargain; and he watches himself, with double' 
cave, lest he should grow over-fond of what he may 
be shortly called upon to relinquish. He meditates 
often on the probability of bis being involved in 
such circumstances, as may render it necessary tor 
hiin to subject himsejf to disgrace and obloquy; 






150 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
thus familiarizing himself with them betimes, and 
preparing himself, that, when the trying hour arrives, 
they may not take him unawares. 

But the cultivation of the desire of " that honour 
" which cometh from God," he fiuds the most effec- 
tual means of bringing his mind into a proper temper, 
in what regards the love of human approbation. 
Christian j wouldst thou indeed reduce this affection 
under just control? — sursum corda! Rise On the 
wings of contemplation, until the praises and the 
censures of men die away upon the ear, and the still 
small voiceof conscience is -no longer drowned by 
the din of this netherworld.' Here the sight is apt 
to be occupied with earthly objects, and the hearing 
to be engrossed with earthly sounds; but there thou 
shalt come : within the view of that resplendent and 
incorruptible crown, which is held forth to thine 
acceptance in the realms of light, and thine ear shall 
be regaled with Heavenly melody ! Here we dwelt 
in a variable atmosphere— the prospect is at mk 
time darkened by the gloom of disgrace, and at an- 
other the eye is dazzled by the gleamings of glory : 
but thou hast now ascended above this inconstant 
region ; no storms agitate, no clouds obscure the 
uir; the lightnings' play, and the thunders roll be- 
neath thee. 

Thus, at chosen seasons, the Christian exercises 
himself; and when,- from this elevated region he 
descends into the plain below, and mixes in the 
bustle of life, he still retains the impressions of his 
more retired hours. By these he realizes to himself 
the unseen world ; he accustoms himself to speak 
and act as in the presence of " an innumerable com- 
" pany of angels, and of the spirits of just men made 
" perfect, and of God the Judge of all." The con- 
sciousness of their approbation cheers and gladdens 
his soul, under .the scofis and reproaches of an undis- 
ceming world; and to his delighted ear, their united 
praises form a harmony, which a few discordant 
earthly voices cannot interrupt. 

But 



Sect. 3'.] of Practical Christianity. 151 

But though the Christian be sometimes- enabled 
thus to triumph over the inordinate love of human 
applause, he does not therefore deem himself secure 
from its encroachments. ' On the contrary, he is 
aware, so strong and active is its principle of vitality, 
that even where it seems extinct, let but circum- 
stances favour its revival, and it will spring forth 
again in renewed vigour. And as his watchfulness 
must thus during life know no termination, because 
the enemy will ever be at hand ; so it must be the 
more close and vigilant, because he is no where free 
from danger, bnt is on every side open to attack. 
" Some superbiam qusesitam mentis," was the 
maxim of a Worldly moralist: but the Christian is 
aware, that he is particularly assailable where he 
really excels; there he is in especial danger, lest his 
motives, originally pure, being insensibly corrupted, 
he should be betrayed into an anxiety about worldly 
favour, false in principle or excessive in degree, 
when he is endeavouring to reader his virtue amia- 
ble and respected in the eyes of others, and in obe- 
dience to the Scripture injunction, is willing to let 
his " light so shine before men, that they may see 
** his good works, and glorify his Father which is in 
" heaven." 

He watches himself also on small as well' as on 
great occasions : the latter indeed, in the case* of 
many persons, can hardly ever be expected to occur; 
whereas the former are continually presenting them- 
selves : and thus, whilst, on the one hand, they may 
be rendered highly useful in forming and strength- 
ening a just habit of mind with respect to the opi- 
nion of the world, so, on the other, they are the 
means most at hand for enabling- us to discover dirt- 
own real character. Let not this be slightly passed 
over. If any one finds himself shrinking from dis- 
repute or disesteem in little instances, but apt to 
solace himself with the persuasion, that his spirit* 
being fully called forth to the encounter, he eould 
boldly stand the brunt of sharper trials ; let him be 
' h 4 alow 



159 Prevailing inadeatmte Coiu*ption% [Chap. IV. 
•low" to give entertainment to so beguiling a sug- 
gestion^ and let him not Forget, that these little irv 
"stances, where no credit is to be got, and the vainest 
can find small room for self-coinplacency, Furnish 

St' i haps the truest tests whether we are ashamed of 
ie..GgspeI of Christ, and are willing, on principles 
jeally pure, to bear reproach for the name of Jesus. 
lue Christian too, is well aware that the excessive 
desire of human approbation is a passion of so sub- 
file a nature,, that there is nothing into which it 
.cannot penetrate: and, , from much experience, 
learning to discover it where it would lurk unseen, 
'and to detect, it under its more specious disguises, 
.he, finds, that, elsewlicre disallowed and excluded, 
ib is. apt to liBsiruiate. .itself into his very religion, 
where tt especially, delights to dwell, and obstinately 
maintains. . lis, residence. Proud piety and ostenta- 
ItSpus chanty, ami all the more open effect* it there 
produces, have been, often condemned, and 'we may 
discover, tjie tendencies to them in ourselves, witii- 
put iUrnculty. . But where it appears not so large in 
.biitkp and in shape so unambiguous, let its opera- j 
turn be, still suspected, Let not the Christian Buffer 
himself to be deceived by any external dissimili- 
tudes between himself and the world around him, i 
trusting perliaps to tlie sincerity of *he principle to 
which they originally owed their rise; but let him ' 
. .beware lest through the insensible encroachments of 
the subtile usurper, his religion should at length j 
have " only a name to live," being gradually robbed ' 
.of its vivifying principle ; lest he should be chiefly 
preserved ia his religious course by the dread pf in- 
curring the charge of levity, for quitting & path on 
■which lie had deliberately entered. ' Or where, on a 
atrict and impartial scrutiny of his governing mo- 
tives, he may fairly conclude this not to be the case, ! 
let hua beware lesthe be influenced by this principle . 
yi particular parts of his character, and. especially 
where any external singularities are .in question; I 
«k)se4y scrutinizing his apparent motives, lest he 
should 



Sect. 3.] of Practical Christianity. 153 

should be prompted to his more than ordinary P$- 
gious observances, and be kept from paiticiparjyig 
in the licentious pleasures of a dissipated age, poj so 
much by a vigorous principle of internal holiness., 4» 
by a fear of lessefting himself j^ the good opinion of 
(lie stricter circle of his associates, or of suffering 
even in the estimation of the world at large, by vio- 
lating [he proprieties of bis assumed character. 

To those who, in -the important particular which 
we have been so long discussing, wish W Pmin 
conform themselves to the injunctions of ctnwTfv 
the won* of God, we must advise a la- JJXJJJL- 
borious watchfulness, a jealous guard, a fltywS 
close and frequent scrutiny of their own «•*<«■ rfw 
hearts, that they may .not mistake their W J[""W»* 
real character, and too late find themselves to have 
been jnistaken, as to what they had conceived -to 
be thqir governing motives. Above all, let them 
labour, with humble prayers for the Divine assist' 
ance, to fis in themselves a deep, habitual, and 
practical sense of the excellence of " that honour 
" which cometh from God," and of the compara- 
tive worthlessness of all earthly estimation and pre- 
eminence. In truth, unless the affections of ihe 
floul .be thus predominantly engaged on. the aide of 
heavenly, in preference to that or human, honour, 
though we may have relinquished the pursuit of 
fame, we shall not have acquired that firm ©ontey- 
tureof mind, which can bear disgrace and shame 
without yielding to the pressure, Between these 
two states, the disregarding of Jane* and the tear- 
ing of disgrace, there is a wide interval ; (tad he whp, 
on a sober review of his conduct and motives, ftnjU 
reason to believe he has arrived at -the roc, mwt 
not therefore conclude he has reachedithe otfa/ea. To 
-the one, a little natural moderation/and quietaasa of 
-temper nay he sufficient to conduct ua; famta dje 
other, we .can only Attain by siuchdiseipUns aqd 
a 5 stu'w 

, . ,Cooglc 



1^4 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV 
elow advances ; and, when we think we have made 
great Way, we shall often find reason to confess in 
the hour of trial, that we had greatly, far too greatly, 
over -rated our progress. 

When engaged too in the prosecution of this 
Course, we must be aware of the snares which lie m 
Out way, and of the deceits to which we are liable: 
and we must be provided against these impositions, 
by obtaining a full and distinct conception of the 
- temper of mind w ith regard to human favour, which 
is prescribed to us in the Scriptures; and by con- 
tinually examining our hearts and lives, to ascertain 
how far we correspond with it. This will keep us 
from substituting contemplation in the place of ac- 
tion, and from giving ourselves too much up to those 
religious meditations which were formerly recom- 
mended; in which we must not indulge to the neg- 
lect of the common duties of life. This will keep us 
also from mistaking the gratification of an indolent 
temper for the Christian's disregard of fame : for, let 
it never be forgotten, we must deserve estimation, 
- though we should not possess it ; we most force the 
men of the world to acknowledge, that we do not 
want their boasted spring of action to set us in mo- 
tion ; but that its place is better supplied to ns by 
another, which produces all the good of their's with- 
out its evil: thus demonstrating the superiority of 
the principle which animates us, by the superior 
utility and excellence of its effects. The worldly 
principle may indeed render us kind, friendly, and 
beneficent; but it will no longer- instigate us to pro- 
mote the happiness or comfortof others. than whilst 
we are stimulated by the desire of thetr applause ; 
which desire, whatever may be vaunted of its effects 
on social intercourse, is often nothing better than 
selfishness, ill concealed under a superficial covering 
of exterior courtesy. The 'Christian principle, on 
the contrary, will operate uniformly, whether ap- 
proved or. not : it must however, in order to approve 
• ' ■ - " . itaelf 



Sect. 3*]. of Practical Christianity. 155 

itself genuine, be nerved indeed with more than mor- 
tal firmness, but at the same time be sweetened by 
love, and tempered with humility. 

Humility, again, reducing us in our own value, 
will moderate our claims on worldly estimation. It 
will check our tendency to ostentation and display j 
prompting us rather to avoid, than to attract notice. 
It will dispose us. to sit down in quiet obscurity, 
though, judging ourselves impartially, we believe 
ourselves better entitled to credit, than those on 
whom it is conferred ; closing the entrance against a 
proud, painful, and malignant passion, from which, 
under such circumstances, we can otherwise be 
hardly free, the passion of " high disdain from sense 
" of injured merit." 

Xove and humility will concur in producing a 
frame of mind, not more distinct from an ardent 
thirst of glory, than from that frigid disregard, or 
insolent contempt, or ostentatious renunciation of 
human favour and distinction, which we have some- 
times seen opposed to it. These latter qualities 
may not anfrequently be traced to a slothful, sen- 
sual, and seltish temper ; to the consciousness or 
being unequal to any greet and generous attempts; 
to the disappointment of schemes of ambition or of 
glory : to a little personal experience -of the world's 
capricious and inconstant humour. The renuncia- 
tion in these cases, however sententious, is often tar 
from sincere ; and it is even made not unfrequently, 
with a view to the attainment of that very distinc- 
tion which it affects to disclaim. In some other of 
these instances, the over-valuation and inordinate 
desire of worldly credit, however disavowed, are 
abundantly evident, from the merit which is as- 
sumed for relinquishing them ; or from that sour 
and surly humour, which betrays a gloomy ana a 
corroded mind, galled and fretting under the irri- 
tating sense of the want of that which it most 
wishes to possess. 

Bttt far different is the temper of a Christian. 
8 6 ISot 



ij6 Prevailing imuUquate Conceptions [Ciiap. IV. 
Not a temper of sordid sensuality, or laay apathy, 
or dogmatizing pride, or disappointed ambition : 
more truly independent of worldly estimation than 
philosophy with all her boasts, it forms a perfect 
contrast to Epicurean eeluslines, and to Stoical 
pride, and to Cynical brutality. It is a temper 
compounded of. firmness, and complacency, and 

Eeace, and love ; and manifesting itself m act* of 
indness and of courtesy; a kindness, not pretended, 
but genuine; a courtesy, not false and superficial,, 
but cordial and sincere. Id the hour of popularity 
it is not intoxicated, or insolent ; in the noar of 
unpopularity, it is not desponding or morose ; un- 
shaken in constancy, unwearied in benevolence, firm 
Without roughness, and assiduous without senility. 
Notwithstanding the great importance of the 
topic which we have been investigating, it will re- 
quire much Indulgence on the part of the reader, 
to excuse the disproportionate length into which 
the discussion, has been almost insensibly drawn 
out: yet this, it is hoped, may not be without its 
oses, .if the writer have in any degree succeeded in 
bis endeavour, to point out the dangerous qualities 
and unchristian tendencies of a principle, of such 
general predominance throughout the higher classes 
of society, and to suggest to the serious inquirer 
-some practical hints for its regulation and control. 
Since the principle too, of which we have been 
treating, is one of the moat ordinary modifications 
of pride ; the discussion may also serve in some 
degree to supply a manifest deficiency, a deficiency 
to be ascribed to the fear of trespassing too far uu 
the reader's patience, in having but slightly touched 
on the allowed prevalence of that master passion, 
and on the allowed neglect of its opposite, ha- 
mility. 



Sect. 4.] a/ 'Practical Christianity. 157- 

Sect. IV, 

The generally prevailing Error, of sttbttituting ami- 
able Temper* and iwe/W Lives in the plate ,©/' Jfa/i- 
?ion, stated and confuted i with Ilmtt tn real 
"kritt'tam. 

Tbeie is another practical error very j»e»o 
raUy prevalent, the eifcrts of which are Gmraihf 
highly injurious to the cause of Religion; rjmrasili»g- 
and which in particular is often -brought *«w» 
forward when upon Christian principles, any advo- 
cates for Christianity would press the practice of 
Christian virtues. 

The error to which we allude, is that -of «*ag- 
.gerating the merit of certain amiable met useful 
qualities, and of coasideriftg them as of themselves 
sufficient to compensate for the want of I he supreme 
love and fear of God. 

It seems to he an opinion pretty generally pre- 
valent, that kindness and sweetness ef temper ; 
sympathizing, benevolent, and generous affections ; 
attention to what in the world's estimation are *he 
domestic, relative, and social duties; and above all 
a life of general activity and usefulness, may well 
be allowed, in our imperfect state, to make up for 
die defect of what in strict propriety of speech is 
termed Religion. 

Many indeed will unreservedly dedase, and nose 
will hint the opinion, that "■ the difference- comami 
" between the qualities above-mentioned io*g*«grui 
" and Religion, ia rather a verbal or lc~ ■**" ****• 
" gical, than a real and essential difference; for in 
" truth what are they but Religion in substance -if 
" not in name I Is it. not the great end of Religion, 
« and in particular the glory of Christianity, to ex~ 
u tinguishi 



158 Prevailing inadequate Gotueptiota [Cbap.IVi 
" tinguisli the malignant passions ; to curb the vie— 
" lence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the 
" asperities of man ; to make us compassionate and 
" kind, and forgiving one to another ; to make us 
" good husbands, good fathers, -pood friends, and to 
" render us active and useful in the discharge of the 
" relative, social, and civil duties? We do not deny 
" that in the general mass of society, and parti- 
" cularly in the lower orders, such conduct and 
P- tempers cannot be diffused and. maintained by 
" any other medium thant hat of Religion. But if 
w the end be effected, surely it is only unnecessary 
" refinement to dispute about the means. It is 
-" even to forget your own principles; and to refuse 
" Us just place to solid practical virtue, while you 
" assign too high a value to speculative opinions." 

Thus a fatal distinction is admitted between Mo- 
rality and Religion : a great and desperate error, 
of which it -is the more necessary to take notice ; 
because many who would condemn, as too strong, 
the language in which this opinion is sometimes 
openly avowed, are yet more or less tinctured with 
the notion itself; and under the habitual and al- 
most unperceived influence of this beguiling sug- 
gestion, are vainly solacing their imaginations, and 
repressing their well-grounded fears concerning 
their own state ; and are also quieting their just 
solicitude concerning the spiritual condition of 
othen, and soothing themselves in the neglect of 
friendly endeavours lor their improvement. 

There can hardly be a stronger proof of the cur- 
sory and superficial views, with which men are apt 
to satisfy themselves in religious concerns, than the 
prevalence of the ^opinion here in question ; the 
falsehood and sophistry of which must be acknow- 
ledged by any one who, admitting the authority of 
Scripture, will examine it with ever so little serious- 
ness and impartiality of mind. 

Appealing 

, *GoogIc 



Sect. 4.] of Practical Christianity. ' 159 

Appealing indeed to a less strict standard, it 
would not ne difficult to shew that the Tftewoit* 
moral worth of these sweet and benevolent afamatit.' 
tempera, and of these useful lives, is apt "*pn* 
to be greatly overrated. The former in- £?£** 
voluntarily gain upon our affections and nawiard if 
disarm our severer judgments, by their ™«*m«i 
kindly, complying, and apparently chain- "°" m - 
terested nature ; by their prompting men to flatter 
instead of jnortifying our pride, to sympathize ei- 
ther with our joys or our sorrows, to abound in 
obliging attentions and offices of courtesy ; by their 
obvious tendency to produce and maintain harmony 
and comfort in social and domestic life. It is not 
however unworthy of remark, that from the com- 
mendations which are so. generally bestowed cm 
these qualities, and their rendering men universally 
acceptable and popular, there is many a M , tbe 
false pretender to them, who gains a credit pKtn&n 
for them which he by no means deserves j Mikae 
in whom they are no more than the pro- "*'"' 
prieties of his assumed character, or even a mask 
which is worn in public, only the better to conceal 
an opposite temper. Would you see this man of 
courtesy and sweetness stripped of his false cover- ■ 
ing, follow him unobserved into his family; and 
you shall behold, too plain to be mistaken,, selfish- 
ness and spleen harassing and vexing the wretched 
subjects or their unmanly tyranny ; as if being re- 
leased at length from their confinement, they were 
making up to themselves for the restraint which had 
been imposed on them in the world. 

But where the benevolent qualities are genuine, 
.they often deserve the name rather of SmImmn 
amiable instincts, than of moral virtues, "f ""woWe 
In many cases, they imply no mental con-.J^'^i 
flict, no previous discipline: they are apt gnmnM in 
to evaporate in barren sensibilities, and JWi#w». 
transitory sympathies, and indolent wUhes,and unprc- 
, ,' ..:, tractive 



I^o Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap, I£. 
-ducrive declarations : they possess not that strength 
ajtd energy of character, which, in contempt of 
difficulties and dangers, produce alacrity in ser- 
vice, and vigour and perseverance id action. Des- 
titute of proper ftnuuess, they often encourage 
that vice and folly, which it ia their especial 
doty to repress; and it is weH if, firow their soft 
complying humour, they are not often drawn in 
to partirijiate in what is wrong, as well as to eon- 
Turve at W. . Thus their possessors are frequently, in 
the eye of trurii and reason, bad magistrates, ban 
paw tits, bad. friends; defective in those very qua- 
lities, which give to each -of those several relatione 
its chief and appropriate *ahie. And here it may 
he observed, that persons thus defective can ill 
■establish the claim which is often preferred on their 
behalf, that they arc free, from selfishness ; for if 
are trace «uch deficiencies to their true source, they 
will be found to arise chiefly from indisposition to 
- submit to a painful effort, though real good-will 
commands that sacrifice, or from the fe.u of lessen- 
ing the regard in which we are held, and -the good 
opinion which is entertained of us. 

it should farther also be observed concemiac 
_ . , . these Qualities, when they arc not rooted 
andpreca- in reitgiora, that they are .of a sickly sad 

.rtmu4Mrm- « -short-lived nature, and want that hardy 
*""■ and vigorous .temperament, which is ic- 

qoisite for enabltog them to bear without injury, or 
-even to survive, the rude shocks and the variable 
and churlish seasons, to which in such a,.wodd as 
this they must ever be exposed. It is only a Chris- 
fHrnktveof which it is -the character, tfcat ". it suf- 
" fere* long, and yet is icuidf" ".dial it is not 
* easily provoked, that it bear&ta. all things, and 
" eodureth all things." In the spring of youth is- 

- deed, 'die blood sows freely through the veins ; •« 
are flushed with health aod -aonfideaee; hope is 

' VQsn£ and ardent, «nr 4kejc*s -ace .naaated, and 

• ■ - whateTCt 

,GaogIc 



Sect. 4.} of Practical Christianity. iS\ 

whatever we see has the grace of novelty ; we are 
the more disposed to be good-natured, -became we 
are pleased; pleased/ because universally well re- 
ceived. Wherever we cast our eyes*,' we see some 
face of friendship, and love, and gratulatian. All 
nature. smiles around us. In this season the ami- 
able tempers of which we have been speaking, na- 
turally spring up. The soil suits, the climate favours 
them. They appear to shoot forth vigorously and 
blossom in gay luxuriance. To the superficial eye, 
all is fair and flourishing.; we anticipate the fruits 
of Autumn, and promise ourselves an ample »ro* 
doce. But by and by the sun scorches, the frost 
nips, the winds rise, the rains descend; our golden 
dreams are blasted, all our fond expectations are 
no more. Our youthful efforts, let it be supposed, 
have been successful; and we rise to wealth or 
eminence. A kind flexible temper and popular 
manners have produced in us, as they are too apt, 
a youth of easy social dissipation , and unproductive 
idleness; and We are overtaken too late by the con- 
sciousness of having wasted that time which cannot 
be recalled, and those opportunities' which we con- 
not now recover. We sink into disregard ami -ob- 
scurity, when, these being a cull for qualities of 
more energy, indolent good nature- must tidt back. 
We are thrust out of notice by accident of misfor- 
tunes. We are left behind by those with whom we 
started on equal terms, and who, originally perhaps 
having less pretensions and fewer advantages, have 
greatly outstripped us in the race of honour : and 
their having got before us is often the more gaUing, 
because it appears to us, and perhaps with reason, 
to have been chiefly owing to a 1 generous easy 
good-natured humour on our part,>w4rich disposed 
os to allow them at first to pass by as without 
jealousy, and led us to give place, without a strug- 
gle, to their more lofty pretensions. Thus we suf- 
fered them quietly to occupy ■ a station to which 
originally we had as fair a claim as they ; hut, this 
station beitur. once tamely surrendered, we have fbn- 
^ ' feited 



162 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
feited it for ever. Meanwhile our awkward and 
vain endeavours to recover it, at the same time that 
they shew us to be not less wanting in self-know- 
ledge and composure in oar riper years, than in our 
younger we bad been destitute of exertion, serve 
only to make oar inferiority more manifest, and to 
bring our discontent into the roller notice of an ill- 
natured world, which however not unjustly con- 
demns and ridicules our misplaced ambition. 

It may be sufficient to have hinted at a few of 
the vicissitudes of advancing life ; let the reader's 
own mind fill up the catalogue. Now the bosom 
is no longer cheerful and placid ; and if the counte- 
nance preserve its exterior character, this is no lon- 
ger the honest expression of the heart. Prosperity 
and luxury, gradually extinguishing sympathy, and 
puffing up with pride, harden and debase the soul. 
In other instances, shame secretly clouds, and re- 
morse begins to sting, and suspicion to corrode, and 
jealousy and envy to embitter. Disappointed hopes, 
unsuccessful competitions, and frustrated pursuits, 
sour and irritate the temper. A little personal ex- 
perience of the selfishness of mankind damps our 
generous warmth and kind affections ; reproving the 
prompt sensibility and unsuspecting simplicity of 
our earlier years. Above all, ingratitude sickens the 
heart, and chills and thickens the very life*s-blood of 
benevolence : till at length our youthful Nero, soft 
and susceptible, becomes a hard and and cruel ty- 
rant ; and our youthful Tiinon, the gay, the generous, 
the beneficent, is changed into a cold, sour, silent 
misanthrope. 

And as in the case of amiable tempers, so in that 
Worth of also of what are called useful lives, it 
tutfaiUcti roust be confessed that their intrinsic 
% "tht'eiint- w ° rtn i arguing still merely on principles 
dardcfim- of reason, is apt to be greatly over-rated. 
«•"*«* "a- They are often the result of a disposition 
*"'■ naturally bustling and active, which de- 

lights in motion, 'and finds its labour more than re- 
paid, 



la 



Sect. 4.] of practical Christianity 163 

paid, either, by the very pleasure -which it takes in 
its employments, or by the credit which it derives 
from them. May further ; if it be granted that Reli- 
gion tends in general to produce usefulness, particu- 
larly in the lower orders, who compose a vast ma- 
jority of every society; and therefore that these ir- 
jeligious men of useful lives are rather exceptions lo 
the general rule ; it must at least be confessed, that 
they are so far useless, or even positively mischievous, 
as they either neglect to encourage, or actually dis- 
courage, that principle, which is the great operative 
spring of usefulness in the hulk of mankind. 

Thus it might well perhaps be questioned, esti- 
mating these men by their own standard, whether the 
particular good in mis case, is not more than coun- 
terbalanced by the general evil ; still more, if their 
conduct being brought to a strict account, they should 
be charged, as they justly ought, with the loss of the 
good, which, if they had manifestly and avowedly acted ' 
from a higher principle, might have been produced, 
not only directly in themselves, but indirectly and 
remotely in others, from the extended efficacy of a 
religious example. They may be compared, not un- 
aptly, to persons whom some peculiarity of constitu- 
tion enables to set at defiance those established rules 
of living, which must be observed by the world at 
large. These healthy debauchees, however they 
may plead in their defence that they do themselves 
no injury, would probably,, but for their excesses, 
have both enjoyed their health better, and preserved 
it longer, as well as have turned it to. better account; 
and it may, at least be urged against them, that they 
disparage the laws of temperance, and fatally betray 
others into the breach or them, by affording an in^ 
stance of their being transgressed with impunity. 

But. were the merit of these amiable qualities 
greater than it is, and though it were Btaimmh 
not liable to the exceptions which have ifa«Habu 
been alleged against it, yet could they J^K t ™ J 



164 Prevailrug inadequate Conceptions [Chap; IV. 
******* be in so degree admitted, ft* a conipensa- 
HM% m '" tioD for the want, of the supreme lore and 
rtunntkm fear of God, andof.a pt-edouiiuant desire 
ci-ritHm t promote bis glory. The observance of 
.'"'"'''* '- one commandment, however clearly and 
forcibly enjoined, cannot make up far the neg- 
lect, ot another, which is . enjoined with equal 
clearness and equal force. To allow this pica in 
the. present instance, would be to permit men to 
abrogate the first table ot the. law on condition of 
their obeying the second. Bat Religion suffers ne-t 
any such composition of duties. It is on the very 
*elis;ime miserable principle, dial tome have thought 
to atone for a life of injustice and rapine by the 
strictness of their religious observances. If the for* 
nier class of men can plead the diligent discharge 
of their duties to their fellow-creatures, the Utter 
will urge that of their'* to God. We easily see the 
falsehood of the plea in the latter case) and it isonty 
.self-deceit and partiality which prevent ils< being 
equally visible in the forme*: Vet soit is;, such is 
the unequal measure, if I may be allowed, the ex- 
pressiotj, which, we deal out to God, and to each 
other.. It would justly and universally he thought 
iatie bonndenoein the religious thief or (lie religious 
adulterer, (to admit 'for the sake of argument such a 
solecism in ter an) to: solace himself with the arm 
.persuasion of 'the -Divine favour : but it will; to uirmy, 
appear hard and precise, -to denydiU tinn pemiMtne* 
«f l>ivine approbation to the avowedly irreligious 
man of social arid-domestic usefulness. 
. Will it here be urged j that) the writer is not doing 
justice to liisloppoiiem'sargumeBt ; which is sot, (hat 
-wtdigrouB men of useful lives may be excused 'for 
neglecting their duties towards God, ia considera- 
tion of their exemplary discharge of their duties to- 
wards thetf fellow-creatures ; but that, in performing 
the latter, they perform the former, virtuaihf arid 
substantially, if not iu name ? 

Can then our oppoiwui deny, that the Holy Scrip- 
tures are hi nothing more full and unequivocal, than 



Sect 4.] tfP-ratiiial Christianity. -" i$j 
in requiring us supremely to iov4 and four God, and 
to worship and serve bira continually with humble 
and grateful hearts:; habitaatty to regard him as 
our Benefactor, and Sovereign, aud Father, and to 
abound in sentiments of gratitude and loyalty, 
and respectful affection ? Can he deny that these 
positive precepts ore rendered, if possible, still more 
dear, and their authority still more binding, by uV 
lustrations tad indirect ' confirmations almost in-, 
numerable? And who then is that bold" intruder 
into the counsels of infinite wisdom, who in palpa- 
ble contempt of these precise eomniands, thus illus- 
trated also and confirmed, will Ante to maintain 
that, knowing the intention with which they were 
primarily given, and the ends they were 'uluraatefy 
designed to produce, he rimy innocently neglect 
or violate their plain '■obligations'; on the plea that 
he conforms himself, though in a different manner, 
to this primary intention, and produces, though by 
different means, these teal and ultimate ends? ■'c ■ 
This mode of arguing (to say nothing of its indo- 
lent profaneness,) would, if onceadiratttxt, afford <ns' 
has been already shewn) the means of running away 
by tarns every mora] obligation. , : 

- But thiB Miserable sophistry deserves not tillat we 
should spend so ninth time in the refutation' of it. 
To discern its fallaciousness, requires not ttOuteltess' 
of understanding, so much as a little common 
honesty. " There is indeed no surer mark of a 
" false and hollow heart, than a disposition thus to 
" quibble away the clear injunctions of duty and 
" conscience (a)" it is the wretched resourceof a' 
disingenuous mind, endeavouring to escape from 
convictions before which it cannot stand, and to 
evade obligations which it dares not disavow. 

The arguments which have been adduced would 
sorely be sufficient to disprove >the extravagant pre- 
tensions of the qualities under consideration, though 
those qualities were perfect in their nature. But 
(••) Vide Sm i m's Theory of Moral EentiiDtoti. 

they 



loVj Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
they nre not perfect. On tbe contrary, they are ra- 
dically defective and corrupt; they are a body with- 
out a soul ; they -want, the vita! actuating principle, 
or rather they are animated and actuated by a 
false principle. Christianity, let me avail myself of 
the very words of a friend (a) in maintaining her 
argument, is " a Religion of motives." That only 
is Christian practice, which flows from Christian 
principles; and none else will be admitted as such 
by Him; who will be obeyed, as well as worshipped, 
" in spirit and in truth." 

This also is a position, of which, in our intercourse 
■withourfellowncreatures,we clearly discern tbe justice, 
and universally admit the force. Though we have 
■ received a benefit at the bands of any one, we scarce- 
ly feel grateful, if we do not believe the intention 
towards us to have been friendly. Have we served 
any pne from motives of kindness^ and is a return 
ofservice made to us? We hardly feel ourselves 
worthily requited, except that return be dictated by 

Sratitude. We should think ourselves rather injured 
lan obKged by it, if it were merely prompted by a 
proud unwillingness to continue in our debt ". 
What husband, or what father, not absolutely dead 
to every generous feeling, would be satisfied with a 
wife or a child, who, though he could not charge 
them with" any actual breach of their. Tcspectiv* ob- 
ligatioos, should yet confessedly perform them from a. 
cold sense pf duty, in place of the quickening ener- 
gies of conjugal and filial affection f What an in- 
sult would it be to such an one, to tell him gravely, 
that he had no reason to complain ! 

The unfairness, with which we suffer ourselves to 
reason in matters of Religion, is no where more 
striking than in the instance before us. It were 
perhaps not unnatural to -suppose, that, as we cannot 
see into each other's' bosoms, and have no sure way 

(«) The wViier hopes that the «ork to which he is referring is so 
veil kntimiithib in rtf-eds scarcely name Mrs. H. Mob*. 
• See Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. 

Of 

,GoogIc _ 



Sect. 4.] of Practical Christianity. 167 

of judging any one's internal principles but by his 
external actions, it would have grown into an esta- 
blished rule, that, when ,the latter were unobjection- 
able, the former were not to be questioned ; and, on 
the other hand, that in reference to a Being who 
searches the heart, our motives, rather than our ex- 
ternal actions, would he granted to be the just ob- 
jects of inquiry. But we exactly reverse these natural 
principles of reasoning. In the case of our fellow 
creatures, the motive is that which we principally 
inquire after and regard : but in the. case of our 
supreme Judge, from whom no secrets are bid, 
we suffer ourselves to believe, that internal princi- 
ples may be dispensed with, if the external action 
be performed ! . ,; I . <\ 

Let us not however be supposed ready to concede, 
in contradiction to what hasbeeuformer^ contended, 
that where the true motive is wanting, the external- 
actions themselves will not generally betray the 
defect. Who is there that will not confess in the 
instance of a wife and a child who should discharge 
their respective obligations merely from a cold sense 
of duty, that the inferiority of their actuating prin- 
ciple would not be confined to its nature, but would 
be discoverable also in its effects'? Who is there 
that does not feel that these domestic services, thus 
robbed of their vital spirit, would be so debased and 
degraded in our estimation, as to become, not barely 
lifeless and uninteresting, but even distasteful and 
loathsome I Who will deny that these would be 
performed in fuller measure, with more wakeful and 
unwearied attention, as well as with more heart, 
where with the same sense of duty the enlivening" 
principle of affection should also be associated ? 

The enemies of Religion are sometimes apt to 
compare the irreligious man, of. a temper j^ trm . 
naturally sweet and amiable, with the religi- vhrutia* 
ons man of natural roughnessand severity; «•% ** 
-the 



168 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
km ami*- the irreligious man of natural activity, with 
.bit <«d the religious man who is naturally indo- 
«<«/*(. lent; and thence to draw their inferences. 
Bat this mode of reasoning; is surely 'unjust. If they 
would argue the question fairly, they should make 
their com pari ions between persons of -similar natural 
qualities, add not in one or two examples, but in a 
mass of instances. They would then be compelled to 
confess the efficacy of Religion, in heightening the 
benevolence, wnd increasing the usefulness, of men : 
and to admit, that, even supposing a genuine bene- 
volence of disposition, and persevering usefulness of 
life, occasionally to exist, where the religions prin- 
ciple is wnaring^yet triieliehgion (which confessedly 
implants those qualities where before they had no 
place) would have given to those very characters in 
whom theydo exist, additional force in the same 
direction.' It would have rendered the amiable more 
amiable, the useful more useful, with fewer incon- 
sistencies, with less abatement. 

. Let true Christians meanwhile be ever mindful, 
Admmi- tijat they are loudly called upon' to make 
rr™c*ri»* this »rgu»eiW stia more clear, these po- 
tiowon ■ 'anions still less questionable. Yon are 
tit** kto*. e »ery where commanded to be tender and 
sympathetic, diligent and useful ; and it is the cha- 
racter of that " wisdom from above," in which 
you are to be proficients, that it "is gentle and 
" easy to be m treated, full of mercy and good 
" .fruits." Could the ■ efficacy of Christianity in 
softening the heart he, denied by those, who saw in 
the instance of "the great Apostle of the Gentiles, 
that itwas-able to transform a brgotted, furious, and 
cruel persecutor, into an almost unequalled example 
of -candour, and gentleness, and universal tenderness 
and love ? tCowW hs spirit of active "beneficence be 
denied by those, who saw its Divine Author so dili- 
gent and unwearied in bis benevolent lafbonrs, as to 
justify 



Sect. 4.] - of Practical Christianity. "> i6£ 
justify the compendious description which was given 
of him by a personal witness of* his exertions, that 
he " we/it about doing good ?" Imitate these Messed 
examples : so shall you vindicate the honour of your 
profession, and " put to silence the ignorance of 
foolish men :" so shall you obey those Divine injunc- 
tions of adorning the doctrine of Christ, and of 
"■ letting yourlight shine before men, that they may 
" see your good works, and glorify your Father 
" which is in heaven." Beat the world at its own 
best weapons. Let your love be more affectionate, 
your mildness less open to irritation, your diligence 
more laborious, your activity more wakeful and 
persevering. Consider sweetness of tern- T 
per and activity of mind, if they naturally tTirJwy 1 "" 
belong to you, as talents of special worth <«•«■•-[*-«. 
and utility, for which you will have to T* 1 ™ a 
give account. Carefully watch against " ctne ' 
whatever might impair them, cherish them with 
constant assiduity, keep them in continual exercise, 
and direct them to their noblest ends. The latter 
of these qualities renders it less difficult, and therefore 
more incumbent on you, to be ever abounding in 
the work of the Lord ; and to be copious in the pro- 
duction of that species of good fruit, of which 
mankind 'In general will be moat, ready to allow the 
excellence, because they best understand its nature. 
In your instance, the fcolid substance of Christian 
practice is- easily susceptible of that high and beau- 
tiful polish, which may attract the attention, and ex- 
tort the admiration of a careless and undiscernins 
world, so slow to notice, and so backward to ac- 
knowledge, intrinsic worth, when concealed under 
a lesssightly exterior. Know then, and value as ye 
ought, the honourable office which is especially 
devolved on you. Let it be your acceptable service 
to recommend the discredited cause, and sustain 
the fainting interests of Religion, to furnish to her 
friends matter of sound and obvious argument, and 
of honest triumph: and if your best endeavours 
1 cannot 



179 - Prevailing inedeyuitt Coweptiont [Chap. IV. 
cannot conciliate, to refute at least, and confound 
her ei 



If, on the other hand, you are conscious that you 
T* etc nix- are naturally tough and austere, that dis- 
iwaifc, appointments have soured or prosperity 
nugk mi ]iag eluted you, or that habits of .command. 
miiirrc. faye rendered you quick in expression, 
and impatient of contradiction ; or if, from what* 
ever other cause, you have contracted an unhappy 
peevishness of temper, or asperity of manners, or 
harshness and severity of language, (remember that 
these defects are by no means incompatible with an 
aptness to perform services of substantial kindness); 
if nature has been confirmed by habit till at length 
your soul seems thoroughly tinctured with these 
evil dispositions, yet do not despair. Remember 
that the Divine Agency is promised, " to take away 
« the heart oft stone, and give a heart of flesh," of 
which it is the natural property to he leader am] 
impressible. Fray then earnestly and pereeveringly, 
that the blessed aid of Divine Grace may operate 
effectually on your behalf. Beware of acquiescing 
jn the evil tempers which have been condemned, 
nnder the idea that they are the ordinary imper- 
fections of the best of men ; that they shew them- 
selves only in little instances ; that they are only 
occasional, hasty, and transient effusions, when you 
are taken off your guard ; the passing shade of 
your mind, and not the settled colour. Beware of 
excusing or allowing them in yourself, under the 
notion of warm zealfor the cause of Religion and 
virtue, which you perhaps own is now and then apt 
to carry you into somewhat over-great severity of 
judgment, or sharpness in reproof. Listen not to 
these, or any other such flattering excuses, which 
your own heart will be but too ready to suggest to 
you. Scrutinize yourself rather with rigorous strict- 
ness ; and where there is so much room for self-de- 
ceit, call in the aid of some faithful friend, and 
unbosoming 



Sect. 4.] ' of Practical Christianity , 171 

unbosoming yourself to him without concealment, 
ask his impartial and unreserved opinion of your 
behaviour 'and condition. Our unwillingness to do 
this, often betrays to others, indeed, it not seldom 
discovers to ourselves, that we entertain a secret 
distrust of our own character and conduct. Instead 
also of extenuating to yourself the criminality of ■ 
the vicious tempers under consideration, strive to 
impress your mind deeply with a aense of it. For 
this end, often consider seriously, that these rough 
and churlish tempers are a direct contrast to the 
" meekness and gentleness of Christ ;" and that 
Christians are strongly and repeatedly enjoined to 
copy after their great Model in these particulars, 
and to be themselves patterns of" mercy and kiod- 
" ness, and humbleness of mind, and meekness, and 
" long-suffering." They are to " put away all 
"bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, 
" and evil-speaking," not only, " being ready to 
* every good work, but being gentle unto alt men,' 1 
" shewing all meekness unto au men," "forbearing, 
" forgiving," tender-hearted. Remember the Apos- 
tle's declaration, that " if any man bridleth not his ' 
" tongue, he only seemeth to be religious, and de- 
" ceiveth his own heart;* and that it is one of the 
characters of that love, without' which all preten- 
sions to the name of Christian are but vain, that 
" it doth not behave itself unseemly," Consider 
how much these acrimonious tempers most break 
in upon the peace, and destroy the comfort, of those 
around you. Remember also that the honour of 
your Christian profession is at stake, and be soli- 
; citous not to discredit it : justly dreading lest you 
! should disgust those whom you ought to c. inciliatej 
and by conveying an unfavourable impression of 
your principles and character, should incur the 
guilt of putting an " offence in your brother's way ;" 
thereby " hindering the Gospel of Christ," ihe ad- 
vancement of which should be your daily and assi- 
duous care. 

It Thus 

, Google 



j 72 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap, J-V, 
Thus having come to the full knowledge of your 
disciise, and to a just impression of its malignity, 
i trive against it with incessant watchfulness. Guard 
with the most jealous circumspection against its 
breaking forth into act. Force yourself to abound in 
little offices of courtesy and kindness; and you shall 
gradually experience in the performance of these 
a pleasure hitherto unknown, and awaken in yourself 
the dormant principles of sensibility. But take not 
up with external amendment ; guard against a false 
shew of sweetness of disposition; and remember, 
that the Christian is not to be satisfied with .the 
world's superficial courtliness of demeanor, but that 
his "Love is to be without dissimulation." Examine 
carefully, whether the unchristian' tempers, which 
you would eradicate, are not maintained in vigour by 
selfishness and pride; and strive to subdue them ef- 
fectually, by extirpating the roots from which they 
derive their nutriment. Accustom yourself to endea- 
vour to look attentively upon a careless and incon- 
siderate world, which, while it is in such imminent 
peril, is so ignorant of its danger. Dwell upon this 
affecting scene, till it has excited your pity ; and 
this pity, while it melts the mind to Christian love, 
shall insensibly produce a temper of habitual sym- i 
pa thy and softness. By means like these, perse- , 
veringly used in constant dependence on Divine 
aid, you may confidently hope to make continual 
progress. Among men of the world, a youth of 
softness and sweetness will often, as we formerly 
remarked, harden into insensibility, and sharpen 
into moroseness. But it is the office of Christianity 
to reverse this order. It is pleasing to witness this 
blessed renovation : to see, as life advances, aspe- 
rities gradually smoothing down, and austerities 
mellowing away : while the subject of this happy 
change experiences within increasing measures of 
the comfort which he diffuses around him; and 
feeling the genial influences of that heavenly flame 
which can. thus give life, and warmth, and action, 



Sect. 4.J ' of Practical Chrittiamty. 173 

to what had been hitherto rigid and insensible, 
looks up with gratitude to him who has shed abroad 
this principle of lore in his heart; 

Miratoiqae ooiu frond" ct non im pom*. 

Let it not be thought that in the foregoing dis- 
cussion, the amiable and useful qualities, 
where they are not prompted and governed ^£ J !£| M 
by a principle of religion, have been (J amiable 
spoken of in too disparaging terms. Nor temper* 
would I be understood as unwilling to ^J^** 
concede to those who are living in the 
exercise of them, their proper tribute of commend- 
ation : Ineat sun gratia. Of snch persons it must 
be said, in the language of scripture, " they have 
" their reward." They have it in the inwara com-, 
placency, which a sweet temper seldom rails te in* 
spire ; in the comforts of the domestic or social 
circle ; in the pleasure which, from the constitution, 
of our nature, accompanies pursuit and action. They- 
are always beloved in private, and generally re- 
spected in public life. But when devoid of Reli- 
gion, if the word of God be not a fable, " they 
" cannot enter mto the kingdom of heaven." True 
practical Christianity (never let it be forgotten) con- 
sists in devoting the heart and. life to God; in being 
supremely and habitually goven.dd by a desire to 
know, and a disposition to fulfil his will, and in en- 
deavouring, under the influence of these motives, to>" 
** live to his glory." Where these essential requi- 
sites are wanting, however amiable the character 
may be, however creditable and respectable among 
men ; yel, as it possesses not the grand distinguish- 
ing essence, it must riot be complimented with the 
name of Christianity. This however, when the ex- 
ternal decorums of Religion are not violated,' must 
commonly be a matter between God and a man's 
own conscience ; and we ought never to forget, how 
strongly w« are enjoined to be candid and liberal in 
1 3 judging 



174 Prevailing inadeqtUte C»nceptians [Chap. IV. 
judging of the motives of others, while we are strict in. 
scrutinizing, and severe in questioning, our own. And 
this strict scrutiny is no where more necessary, because 
there is no where more room for the operation of self- 
deceit. Weare all extremely prone Io lend ourselves 
to the good opinion, which, "however falsely, is enter- 
tained of us by others ; and though we at first con- 
fusedly suspect, or even indubitably know, that their 
esteem is unfounded, and their praises undeserved* 
and that they would have thought and spoken of us 
very differently, if they had discerned our secret mo- 
tives, or had been accurately acquainted with all the 
circumstances of ear conduct; we gradually suffer 
ourselves to adopt their judgment of us, and at 
length feel that we are in some sort injured, or denied 
our doe, when these false commendations are contra- 
o«r ami. dieted or withheld. Without the most con- 
miUmim Btant. watchfulness, and the most close and 
(f fcmjw. impartial self-examination, irreligious peo- 
**»?«&, pie of amwble tempers, and still more those 
«H * «v- of useful lives, from the general popularity 
«™« -»«* of their character, will be particularly liable 
"' to become the dupes of this propensity. 
Hot is it they only who have here need to be on 
their gourd : men of real religion will also do well 
to watch against this delusion. There is however 
another danger to which these are still more ex- 
posed, and against which it is the rather necessary 
to warn them, because of our having insisted so 
strongly on their being bound to be diligent, in the 
discharge of the active duties of life. In their en~ 
M*»gtr to deavours' to fulfil this obligation, let them 
inu CJ.ru- particularly beware, lest, setting out on 
ttntfrm r ieht principles, they insensibly lose them 

mixing too . ° , r r » , ■» J , 

marjj i„ in the course ot their progress ; lest, en- 
vttritibf gaging originally In the business and bus- 
»tuinM«. 2e of toe world from a sincere and earnest 
desire to promote the glory of God, their minds 
should become so heated and absorbed in the pur- 
suit of their object, a» that the true motive of action 
should 



Sect. 4-1 of Fntctkal Christianity. 175 

should either ahogefher -eeate to be an habitual 
principle, or ibounMln|M lose ranch of its life sod 
vigour; and lest, their thoughts and affections being 
engrossed by temporal concerns, their sense of the 
reality of " unseen things" should fade away, an* 
they Stttnkl lose their rehsh lor the employment* 
and offiees of 'Keiigiori. 

The Christian 3 a path- is beset with dangers — On 
the one hand, he jostiy dreads an inactive and- un- 
profitable life ; on the of her, he aw less justly trem- 
bles for the less of that aftlrlttiat-fflindedness, which 
is the very essenee and power of his profession-. 
Taj* is not quite the place for the fall discussion of 
Ate difficult topic now before us : and if it were, the 
writer of these sheets is too conscious of bis own 
incompetency, not to be desirous of -asking, rather 
•roan of giving, advice respecting it. Yet, as it is a 
JBMter which has often engaged his' nose serious 
«j«siderfttio», and has been the" frequent subject 4i' 
has amioiie jnqii iry into the writings and opinions 
of far better instructors, he will' venture to deliver a 
few words on it, offering thetn with irnafleeted dif- . 
tsfenoe. 

Does the* the Christian discover In hiffiself, 
judging not front , accidental and occa- Aiv!et to 
sforial feeling's-, (oti which Httfe stress is MrtMtst- 
cither way to be laid) but frotn the per- i»« rt» « 
mttent and habitual- temper of bis Blind, a ** ,terc " e - 
settled, and still more a growing, coldness and in- 
disposition towattis the considerations' aed offices Of 
Religion f And has he reason to: apprehend that 
this coldness and indisposition are owing to his 
being engaged too much or too earnestly in worldly 
business* or to Hid being too keen in the pursuit of 
worldly objects i Let him carefully examine the 
state of his own heart, cmd seriously and impartially 
survey the circumstances of his situation in life ; hum- 
bly praying to ttoe Father of light and mercy, that 
he may be enabled to see his way clearly in this drf- 
I 4 • ficult 

, . ;CoogIc 



176 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IVi 
ficult emergency. If he finds himself pursuing 
wealth, or dignity, or reputation, with earnestness 
and solicitude; if these things engage many of his 
thoughts; if his mind naturally and iu advertently 
runs out into contemplations of them ; if success 
in these respects greatly gladdens, and disappoint- 
ments dispirit and distress his mind; he has but too 
plain grounds for self-condemnation. " No man 
" can serve two masters." The world is evidently 
in possession of his heart; and it is no wonder that 
he finds himself dull, or rather dead, to the impres- 
sion and enjoyment of spiritual things. 

Butthough the marks of predominant estimation 
and regard for earthly things be much less clear and 
determinate, yet, if the object which he is pursuing 
be one which, by its attainment, would bring him a 
considerable accession of riches, station, or honour, 
let him soberly and fairly question and examine, 
whether the pursuit be warrantable? here also^aek- 
,ing the advice of some judicious friend ; his back- 
wardness to do which, in instances like these, should 
justly lead him to distrust the reasonableness of the 
schemes which he is prosecuting. In such a case 
as this, we have good cause to distrust ourselves. 
Though the inward hope, that we are chiefly 
prompted by a desire to promote the glory of our 
Maker and the happiness of our fellow-creatures 
by increasing our means of usefulness, may suggest 
itself to allay our suspicions, yet let it not alto- 
gether remove them. It is not improbable, that 
. beneath this plausible mask we conceal, more sue- 
• cessfully perhaps from ourselves than from others, 
an inordinate attachment to the pomp and transi- 
tory distinctions of this life; and, as this attachment 
gains the ascendency, it. will ever be found, that our 
perception and feeling of the supreme excellence of 
heavenly things will proportionally subside. 

But when the consequences which would follow 
from the success of our worldly pursuits do not ren- 
der them so questionable, as in the case we have 
been 



Sect. 4.] of Practical Christianity. 1 77. 

been just considering; yet, having such good reason- 
to believe that there is somewhere a flaw, could we> 
but discern it, let us carefully scrutinize the whole of 
our conduct, in order to discover* whether we may- 
riot be living either in the breach, or in the omission, 
of some known duty ; and whether it may not 
therefore have pleased God to withdraw from as 
the influence or his Holy Spirit; particularly in- 
quiring, whether the duties of self-examination, of 
secret and public prayer, the reading of the Holy- 
Scriptures, and the other prescribed means of Grace, 
have not been either wholly intermitted at their 
proper seasons, or at least been performed with pre- 
cipitation or distraction? And if we find reason to 
believe, that the allotment of time, which it would: 
be most for our spiritual improvement to assign to 
our religious offices, is often broken in upon and 
curtailed; let us be extremely backward to admit 
excuses for such interruptions and abridgements. It 
is more than probable, for many obvious reasons, 
that even our worldly affairs themselves will not, on 
the long run, go on the better for encroaching upon 
those hours, which ought to be dedicated to the 
more immediate service of God, and to the cultiva- 
tion of the inward principles of Religion. Our" 
hearts at; least, and our conduct, will soon exhibit 
proofs of the sad effects of this fatal negligence* 
They who in a crazy vessel navigate a sea wherein 
are shoals and currents innumerable, if they would 
keep their course or reach their port in safety, must 
carefully repair the smallest injuries, ana often 
throw out their lineand take their observations. I-« 
the voyage of life also, the Christian who would not 
make shipwreck of his faith, while he is habitually 
watchful and provident, must often make it his. ex-, 
press business to look into his state,andascertainhia 
progress. • 

But to resume my subject ; let us, when engaged 
in thift important scrutiny^ impaxtiaUy.examiaeour* . 
1 5 selves 



o 8 k- 



1-7 B Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV . 
■elves whether the worldly objects which engross us, 
are all of them such as properly belong to our pro- 
fession, ot station, or circumstances in lire; which 
therefore we could not neglect with, a good con- 
science i If they be, let us consider whether they 
do not consume a larger share of our time than they 
really require; and whether, by not trifling over 
ear work, by deducting somewhat which might be 
spared from our hours of relaxation, or by some 
other little management, we might not fully satisfy 
their just claims, and yet have an increased over- 
plus of leisure, to be devoted to the offices of 
Religion. 

But if we deliberately and honestly conclude that 
we ought not to give these worldly objects less of 
•ur time, let us endeavour at least to give them leu 
of our hearts: striving, that the settled frame of our 
desires and affections may be more spiritual ; and 
that, in the motley intercourses of life, we may con- 
stantly retain a more lively sense of the Divine pre- 
■ sence, and a stronger impression of the reality of 
unseen things ; thus corresponding with the Scrip- 
ture description of true Christians, " walking by 
■* faith and not by sight, and having our convena- 

* tion in Heaven," 

Above all, let ns guard against the temptation, to 
which we shall certainly be exposed, ot lowering 
down our views, to onr state, instead of endeavour- 
ing to rise to<the level of our views. Let us rather 
determine to know the worst pi' our case, and strive 
to be suitably affected with it ; not forward to speak 
peace to ourselves, but patiently carrying about with 
as a deep conviction of our backwardness and in- 
aptitude to religious duties, and a just sense of oar 
great weakness and numerous infirmities. This 
cannot be an unbecoming temper, in those who ate 
commanded to " work out their salvation with 

* fear and trembBilg."- It prompts to constant and 
earnest prayer, itproduces that sobriety, and low- 
liness, 



o 8 k- 



Sect-. 4.] 9/ PrOctital Christianity. 179 

liness, and tenderness of lnmtl, that meekness of de- 
meanor, and circumspection in conduct, which are 
such eminent characteristics of the true Christian. 
- Nor is it a state devoid of consolation* — " O tarry 

* thou the Lord's leisure, be strong, and he shall 
« comfort thy heart."—'* They that wait on the 

* Lord shall renew their* Strength."— " Blessed are 
** they that mourn, for they shall be comforted'," 
These divine assurances sooth and encourage the 
Christian's disturbed and dejected mind, and insen- 
sibly diffuse a holy composure. The tint may be 
solemn, nay even melancholy, but it is mild and 
grateful. The tumult of his soul has subsided, and 
ne is possessed by complacency, and hope, and love. 
If a sense of undeserved kindness fill his eyes with 
tears, they are tears of reconciliation and joy : while 
a generous ardor springing up within him, sends 
him forth- to his worldly labours " fervent in spirit;" 
resolving through the Divine aid to be henceforth 
more diligent and exemplary in living to the Glory 
of God, and longing meanwhile for that blessed 
time, when, " being treed from the bondage of cor- 
ruption," he shall be enabled to render to nis Hea- 
venly Benefactor more pure and acceptable service. 

After having discussed so much at large the 
whole question concerning amiable tern- £ivujlit ' 
per* in general, it may be scarcely neces- semmiu 
sary to dwell upon that particular class —s&Mtlf 
of them which belongs to the head Of ^*^J ( 
generous emotions, or of exquisite sensi- 
bility. To these almost all that has been said above 
is strictly applicable ; to which it may be added, tbat 
the persons in whom the latter qualities most abound, 
are often far from conducing to the peace and com- 
fort of their nearest connexions. These qualities 
indeed may be rendered highly useful instruments, 
Wm?n enlisted into the serviceof Religion. But we 
Oaght to except against them the more strongly 
when noi under .hex coatroul ; because there is stil. 
* i. 16 greater 



1S0 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
greater danger than in the former case, that persons 
in whom they abound, may be flattered into a false 
opinion of themselves by the excessive commenda- 
tions often paid to them by others, and by the be- 
guiling complacencies of their own minds, which are 
apt to be purled up with a proud, though secret, 
consciousness of their own superior acuteness and 
sensibility. But it is the less requisite to enlarge on 
this topic, because it has been well discussed by 
many, who have unfolded the real nature of those 
fascinating qualities ; who have well remarked, that, 
though shewy and apt to catch die eye, they are of 
a flimsy and perishable fabric, and not of that sub- 
stantial and durable texture, which, while it im- 
parts permanent warmth and comfort, will long 
preserve its more sober honours, and stand the wear 
and tear of life, and the vicissitudes of seasons. It 
aaa been shewn, that these qualities often fail us 
when most we want their aid ; that their possessors 
can solace themselves with their imaginary exertions 
in behalf of ideal misery, and yet shrink from the 
labours of active benevolence, or retire with disgust 
from the homely forms of real poverty and wretch- 
edness. In fine, the superiority of true Christian 
Charity, and of plain practical beneficence, has been 
ably vindicated ; and the school of Rousseau has been 
forced to yield to the school of Chnst, when the 
question has been concerning the best means of pro- 
moting the comfort of family life, or the tempW 
well-being of society*. 

* Wtiile all are worthy of blame. who *> quititie) like these, batt 

tb-eie h one writer who, emmer.tty cnljiable in thii respect, desert**' 
. v> another account, still teicrer reprehen»ion. . Really penansed »■ 
puwers to,eijilore aid touch the finest strings ot the human heart, and 
twurid by bii wcred profcstion la devote those powers tu the *5*™* , 
•f religion and rirtue, be e»ery where di»co»eri a itudn»tn«lioii™ , i 
to, excite indecent ideas. We torn. away, our eyes with alaipn* **■ 
•pen NiMadeatj : but even this ie leaa ratschwtcus tin o. that ■*• 
measured style, which excites impure images, withuui shrieking N oj 
the prolines of the language. Never wu delicate lenMbrfliry protea j 
4* tc mora distinct from plain piaaital beaciniencsv than mltte-**"*" 



Sect. 5,] . of Practical Christianity. 



Some other grand Defects in the practical System of 
the Bulk of' Nominal Christians. 

IN the imperfect sketch which has been drawn of 
the Religion of the bulk of Nominal Christians, 
their fundamental error respecting the essential na- 
ture of Christianity has been discussed, and traced 
into some of its many mischievous consequences. 
Several of their particular misconceptions and allowed 
defects have also been pointed out and illustrated. 
It may not be improper to close the survey by no- 
ticing some others, for the existence of which we 
may now appeal to almost every part of the pre- 
ceding delineation. 

In the first place, then, there appears through- 
out, both in the principles and allowed j nadt9IIBle , 
conduct of the bulk of nominal Christians, idem of the 
a most inadequate idea of the guilt and guilt and 
evil of sin. We every where find reason ' **' 
to" remark, that Keligion is suffered to dwindle away 
into a .mere matter of police. Hence the guilt of 
actions is estimated, not by the proportion in which, 
according to Scripture, they are offensive to Cod, 
but by that in which they are injurious to society. 
Murder, theft, fraud in all its shapes, and some spe- 

iqgs of the iBtbo> to whom I allude. Instead of employing his talent* 
far the benefit of his fellow-creatures, they were applied to the per- 
nicious purposes of corrupting 1 he national lisle, and of lowering the' 
standard 0/ ir miners and morals. Ttie tendency af bit writings .is to 
vitiate that, punly of mind, intended by Punidcuce a» Ihe companion. 
and preservative of you'll fill virtue ; nnd to produce, if the expression, 
may be permitted, a morbid tentitititg tn the perception of indecency.' 
An imagination eiercised in this discipline, is never rlean, bnt seeks 
for and discovers something indelicate hi the most wmnun phrases and' 
action* of ordinary Jifc. If the general style of writing and conversation 
wets to be formed on that model, to which Sterne used his utmost en- ' 
deanonrj to conciliate the mind* of men, there is no estimating ihe erTechh 
whJKls wouiil uou be produce d.ou tbe nia.Lin.eu. and sawab u( the age. 



tSl Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Coap. IV. 
cies of lying, are manifestly, and in an eminent 
degree, injurious to social happiness. How different 
accordingly, in the moral scale, is the place they 
hold, from that which is assigned to idolatry, to 
general irLeligion, to swearing, drinking, fornication, 
lasciviousnt-ss, sensuality, excessive dissipation; and 
rn particular circumstances, to pride, wrath, malice, 
and revenge ! 

Indeed, several of the above-mentioned vices 
are held to be grossly criminal in ttie lower ranks, 
because manifestly ruinous to their temporal inte- 
rests : but in the higher, they are represented as' 
" losing half their evil by losing all their grossness,** 
as flowing naturally from great prosperity, from the 
excess of gaiety and good humour; and they are 
accordingly " regarded with but a small degree of 
" disapprobation, and censured very slightly or not 
" at all (a)." — " Non tneus hie sermo est." These 
are the remarks of authors, who have surveyed the 
stage of human life with more than ordinary ob- 
servation; one of whom in particular cannot be 
suspected of having been misled by religions preju- 
dices, to form a judgment of the superior orders 
too unfavourable and severe. 

Will these positions however be denied? Will il 
be maintained that there is not the difference' 'at-' 
ready stated, in. the moral estimation of these ' dif- 
ferent classes of vices ? Will it be said, that tne^ 
one class is indeed more generally restrained, and 
more severely punished by human laws, because 
more properly cognisable by hwman jiic*r-» tores, 
and more directly at war with the well-being of so 1 
ciety ; but that, when brought before the tribunal of 
internal opinion, they are condemned with equal 
rigour f 

Facts may be denied, and charges laughed out of 
countenance : but where the general sentiment and 
feeling of mankind are in question, our common lan- 
guage is often the clearest and most impartial wit- 
<a) Vide S«it» entire W««Ithof N*wn*f Vofcffl.- - 
lias; 

-Google 



Sect 5-] of Practical GArittuixity. 1JJ3 

itess; and the conclusions thus furnished, are not to 
be parried by wit, or eluded by sophistry. In. the 
present case, our ordinary modes of speech furnish 
sufficient matter for the determination of the argu- 
ment; and abundantly prove oar -disposition 1 to 
consider as matters of small account, such sins as 
are net held to be injurious to the community.. We 
invent for them diminutive and qualifying terms, 
which, if not, as in the common uses of language *, 
to be admitted as signs of approbation and good 
will, must at least be confessed to be proofs of our 
tendency to regard them with palliation and indul- 
gence. Free -thinking, gallantry, jollity (a), and a 
thousand similar phrases, might be adduced as in- 
stances. But it is worthy of remark, that no such 
soft and qualifying terms are in use, for expressing 
the smaller degrees of theft, or. fraud, or forgery, or 
any other of thosa offences, .which are committed by 
men against their fellow-creature*!, and in the sup- 
pression of which we are interested by our regard to 
our temporal concerns. 

The charge which we are urging is indeed unde- 
niable. In the case of any question of honour or of 
moral honesty, we are sagacious in discerning, and 
inexorable in judging, the offence. No allowance is 
made for the suddenness of Surprise, or the strength 
ef temptations. One single failure is presumed . 
to imply the absence of the moral or honourable 
principle. The memory is retentive on these occa- 
sions, and the man's character is blasted for life. 
Here even the mere suspicion of having once of- 
fended can scarcely be got over : " There is on auk- 
" ward story about that man, which must be ex- 
" plained before he and I can become acquainted." 
But in the case of sins against God, there is no such 

* Vide the Grammarians and Dialecticians on the Diminutive! of 
(be Italian and other language*. 

(a) Many more.might.be added, mthu a good follow, a good 
companion, a libertine, a tittle free, a little loose is talk, mid, pay, 
jnvial, being no man's eneoiy but fail own, ke. &c. Ik. tec, ; Mote" 
all, toning a geeti tsar*. 

watchful 



184. Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
watchful jealousy, hone of this rigorous logic. A 
man may go on in the frequent commission of 
known sins, yet no such inference is drawn respect- 
ing the absence of the religious principle. On the 
contrary, we say of him, mat " though his conduct 
" be a little incorrect, his principles are untouched;" 
—that he has a good heart: and such a man may 
go mietry through life, with the titles of a mighty 
worthy creature, and a very good Christian. 

But in the word of God actions are estimated by 
a far leas accommodating standard. There we read 
of no little sins. Much of our Saviour's sermon on 
the mount, which many of the class we are con- 
demning affect highly to admire, is expressly pointed 
against so dangerous a misconception. There, no 
such' distinction is made between the rich and the 
poor. No notices are to be traced of one scale of 
morals for the higher, and of another for the lower 
classes of society. Nay, the former are expressly 
guarded against any such vain imagination; and 
are distinctly warned, that their' condition in life is 
the more dangerous, because of the more abundant 
temptations to which it exposes them. Idolatry, 
fornication, lascivipusness, drunkenness, revellings, 
inordinate affection, are, by the apostle likewise 
classed with theft and murder, and with what we 
hold in even still greater abomination; and concern- 
ing them all it is pronounced alike, that " they 
"■which do such things shall not inherit the fcing- 
" dom of God *.* 

In truth,- the instance which we hav* lately speci- 
hattcqu.au feed, of the loose system of these nominal 
fi«T if Christians, betrays a fatal absence of the 
principle which is the -very foundation of 
all Religion. Their slight notions of the guilt and 
evil of sin discover an utter want of all suitable re- 
verence for the Divine Majesty. This principle is 
justly termed in Scripture; "'-the beginning of wis- 
•' fell y. !•—«'. Col. Hi, 5-,9, , ■_ . 



Sect. 5.] of Practical Christianity. 183. 

dom ;" and there is perhaps no one quality which it 
is so much the studious endeavour of the sacred 
writers to impress upon the human heart *. 

Sin is considered m Scripture as rebellion against 
the sovereignty of God, and every different act of 
it equally violates his law, and, if persevered in, dis? 
claims his supremacy. To the inconsiderate and the 

fay, this doctrine may seem harsh, while, vainly 
uttering in the sunshine of worldly prosperity, they 
lull themselves into a fond security. " flat tie day 
" of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ; in - 
" which the Heavens shall pass away with a great 
" noise, and the elements shall melt with fer- 
" vent heat ; the earth also and the works that are 
" therein shall he burnt up." — " Seeing then, that 
" all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of 
" persons ought we to be in all holy conversation 
"and godliness t? " We are but an atom in the 
universe. — Worlds upon worlds surround ns, all 
probably full of intelligent creatures, to whom, now 
or hereafter, we may be a spectacle, and afford an 
example of the Divine procedure. Who then shall 
lake upon him to pronounce what might be the issue, 
if sin were suffered to pass unpunished in one cor- 
ner of this universal empire ? Who shall say what 
confusion might be the consequence, what disorder 
it might spread through the creation of God ? Be 
this however as it may, the language of Scripture is 
clear, and decisive ; — " The wicked shall be turned 
" into bell, and all the people that forget God," 

It should be carefully observed too, that these 
awful denunciations of the future punishment of sin 
derive additional weight from this consideration, 
that they are represented, not merely as a judicial 
sentence, which without violence to the settled order 
of things might be remitted through the mere mercy 
of our Almighty Governor, but as arising out of the 
established course of nature ; as happening in the 



lljd Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
way of natural' consequence, jost at a cause is ne- 
cessarily connected with its effect; and as resulting 
from certain connections and relations, which ren- 
dered them suitable and becoming- It is stated, 
that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan 
are both set up in the world, and that to the one or 
the other of these we must belong. " The rlghtec-as 
" have yawed from death unto life"—" they are de> 
" livered from the power of darkness, arid are trans 
" lated into the kingdom of God's dear Son*.* 
They are become " the children," and ** the subjects 
* of God." While on earth, they love his day, 'bis 
service, bis people;, they" speak good of fais name;" 
they abound in his works. Even here they are 
in some degree possessed of his image ; by and by 
it shall be perfected; they shall awake up after his 
** likeness, and being " heirs of eternal life," they 
lhall receive " an inheritance incorruptible and nn- 
** denied, and that fadeth not away." 

Of sinners, on die other hand, it is declared, that 
" they are of their father the devil ;" while on earth, 
they are styled " his children," " his servants ;" they 
are said " to do his works," " to hold of his side, 
te be " subjects of bis kingdom :" at length * they 
" shall partake bis portion, when the merciful Sa- 
viour shall be changed into an avenging Jndge, and 
ehttU pronounce that dreadful sentence, "Depart 
" from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared 
" for the devil and his angels." 

Is it possible that these declarations should not 
strike terror, or at- least excite serious and tearful 
apprehension in the lightest and most inconsiderate 
' mind? But die "imaginations of men are fatally 
prone to suggest to them' fallacious hopes in the 
very face of these positive declarations. " We can- 
" not persuade ourselves that God will in tact prove 
" so severe." It was the very delusion to which 
our first parents listened; " Ye shall not surely die." 

Let me ask these rash men, who are thas dis- 
• Col. i. 13. 

posed 



Sect. 5-j of Practical Chmtiamty. ig* 

posed to trifle srith their immortal interests* had they 
lived in the antediluvian world, ' would they have con- 
ceived it possible that God would then execute his 
predicted threatening? Yet the event took place at 
the appointed time j the flood came and swept them 
nil away : and this awful instance of the anger of 
God against sin, is related in the inspired writings 
for oar instruction. Still more, to rouse as to at- 
tention, the record is impressed in indelible charac- 
ters on the solid substance of the very globe we in- 
habit ; which thus, in every country npon earth, fur- 
nishes practical attestations to the truth of the sa- 
cred writings, and to the actual accomplishment of 
their awful predictions. For myself I must declare, that 
I never can read without awe the passage, in which 
our Saviour is speaking of the state of the world at the 
time of this memorable event. The wickedness of 
men is represented to have been great and preva- 
lent ; jiet not as we are ready to conceive, such as. 
to interrupt -the course, and shake the very .frame 
of society. The general face of things was, perhaps, 
net very different from that which is exhibited in 
many of the European nations. It was a selfish, a 
luxurious, an irreligious, and an inconsiderate world. 
They were called, But they would not hearken ; they 
were warned, but they would not believe—-" they 
" .did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were 
" given in marriage ;" such is the account of one of 
the Evangelists ; in that of another it is stated nearly 
in the same words ; " They were eating and 
" drinking, marrying and given in marriage, and 
m KQew n t until the flood came and swept them 
M all away." 

■Again, we see throughout, m the system which 
we have been describing, a most made- bofejwtte 
quale conception of the difliculty of be- J££Jl?rf 
coming true Christians ; and an utter Jfag J/ 
forgetrutaess of its being the great business iJemwn. 
of life to secure. our admission into Heaven, and to 
prepare 



fo 



i88 Prevailing inadequate r Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
prepare our hearts for its service and enjoyments. 
The general notion appears to be, that, if bom in a 
country of which Christianity is the established reli- 
gion, wc are born Christians. We do not there- 
fore look out for positive evidence of qur really 
being of that number ; but putting the onus proband I, 
(if it may be so expressed) on die wrong side, we 
conceive ourselves such of course, except onr title 
be disproved by positive evidence to the contrary. 
And wc are so slow in giving ear to what conscience 
urges to us on this side; so dexterous in justifying 
what is clearly wrong, in palliating what we cannot 
justify, iu magnifying the merit of what is fairly 
commendable, in nattering ourselves that our habits 
of vice are only occasional acts, and in multiplying 
■ oinvsingle acts into habits of virtue, that we must be 
bad indeed, to be compelled to give a verdict against 
-ourselves. Besides, having no suspicion of our state, 
we do not set ourselves in earnest to the work of 
self-ex ami nation ; but only receive in a confused 
and hasty way some occasional notices of our danger, 
when sickness, or (he loss of a friend, or the recent 
commission of some act of vice of greater size than 
ordinary, has awakened in our consciences a more 
than usual degree of sensibility, ■ 

Thus, by the generality, it is altogether forgotten, 
that the Christian has a great work to execute ; 
that of forming himself after the pattern of his Lord 
and Master, through the operation of the Holy 
Spirit of God, which is promised to our fervent 
prayers and diligent endeavours. Unconscious of the 
obstacles which impede, and of the enemies which 
resist, their advancement ; they are naturally forget- 
ful also of the ample provision which is in store, for 
enabling them to surmount the one, and to conquer 
the other. The Scriptural representations of the 
state of the Christian on earth, by the images of " a 
race," and " a warfare ;"■ of its being necessary to 
rid himself of every encumbrance which might re- 
tard him in the one, and to furnish himself with the 
whole 



Sett- 5-3. «f Practical Christianity. 189 

whole armour of God for being victorious in the 
other,, are, so far as these nominal Christians are 
concerned, figures of 110 propriety or meaning. As " 
iittle have they, in correspondence with the Scrip- 
ture descriptions of the feelings and language of 
real Christians, any idea of acquiring a relish, while 
on earth, for the worship and service of heaven. If 
the truth must be told, their notion is rather a con- 
fused idea of future gratification in Heaven,- in rer 
turn for having put a force upon their inclinations, 
and endured so much .religion while on earth. 

But all this js only nominal Christianity; which- 
exhibits a more inadequate image of her real excel- ' 
lencies, than the-cpkl copyings, by some insipid pen- 
cil, convey of the force and grace of Nature, or of 
Raphael. In the language of Scripture, Christia- 
nity is not a geographical, but a moral term. It is 
not the being-a native of a Christian country : it is 
a condition, a state; the possession of a peculiar na- 
turt, with the qualities and properties which belong 
to it. 
. Farther than this, it is a state into which we are not 
bom, but into which we must Be translated; a nature 
which we do not inherit, but into which we are to 
be created anew. To the undeserved grace of God, 
which is promised on our use of the appointed means, 
we must be indebted for the attainment of this na- 
ture ; and, to acquire and make sure of it, is that 
great " work of our salvation," which we are com- 
manded to " work out with fear and trembling." 
We are every where reminded, that this is a matter 
of labour and difficulty, requiring continual watch- 
fuluessj and unceasing effort, and uu wearied patience, 
Even to the very last, towards the close of a long life 
consumed in active service, or in cheerful suffering, 
we find St. Paul himself declaring, that he conceived) 
bodily self-denial and mental discipline to be indis- 
pensably necessary to his very safety. Christians* 
who are really worthy of the name, are represented 
as being " made meet for the inheritance.' of the 
" Saints 



19* Prevailing inadequate Conception! [Chap. TV. 
" Saints in light ;" as "waiting for the coming of 
" our Lord Jesus Christ ;" as " looking for, and 
"hastening unto, the coming of the day of God." 
It is stated as being enough to make them happy, 
that " Christ should receive them to himself ;" 
and the songs of the blessed spirits in Heaven, are 
described to be the same, as those in which the ser- 
vants of God on earth pour forth their gratitude 
and adoration. 

Conscious therefore of the indispensable necessity, 
and of the arduous nature of the service in which 
he is engaged, the true Christian sets himself to the 
work with vigour, and prosecutes it with diligence. 
His motto is that of the painter ; " nullvs diet tine 
"linea." Fled -as it were from a country in which 
the plague is raging, he thinks it not enough just 
to pass the boundary line, but would put out of 
doubt bis escape beyond the limits of infection. 
Prepared to meet with difficulties, he is not dis- 
couraged when they occur; warned of his numerous 
adversaries, he is not alarmed on their approach, or 
unprovided for encountering them. He knows 
that the beginnings of every new course may be ex- 
pected to be rough and painful ; but he is assured 
that the paths on which he is entering will ere long 
seem smoother, and become indeed " paths of plea- 
santness and peace." 

Now of the state of such an one the expressions 
of Pilgrim nod Stranger are a lively description: 
and all the other figures and images, by wltich Chris- 
tians ore represented in Scripture, have m his case 
a determinate meaning and a just application. There 
is indeed none, by which the Christian's state on 
earth is in the word of God more frequently imaged, 
or more happily illustrated, than by that of a jour*- 
ney : and it may not be amiss to pause for a while 
in order to survey it under that resemblance. ■ The 
Christian is travelling on business through a strange 
country, in which he is commanded to execute his 
work with diligence, and-pmsuebis course homeward 
with 



Sect., 5.} q/ Practiced Christianity. ic/i 

with alacrity. The fruits- which he sees by the way- 
side he fathers with camion ^ he drinks 'of toe 
streams With moderation ; he is thankful when the 
sun sbiiies, and bis way is. pleasant; but if it be 
rough and rainy, he cares not niach ; he is but a 
traveller. He is prepared for vicissitudes ; he knows 
that he must expect to meet with them in the stormy 
and uncertain climate of this world. But he is 
travelling to " a better country," a country of un- 
clouded light and undisturbed serenity. He finds 
also by experience, that when he has had the least 
of external comforts, be has always been least dis- 
posed to loiter ; and if for the time it be a little dis- 
agreeable, be can solace himself with the idea of his 
being thereby forwarded in his course. In a less 
unfavourable season, he looks sound him with an eye 
of observation; he admires what is beautiful; be 
examines what is curious ; he receives with com- 
placency the refreshments which are set before him, 
and enjoys them with thankfulness. Nor does he 
churlishly refuse to 'associate with the inhabitants of 
the country through which he is passing; nor, so 
far as he may, to speak their language, and adopt 
their fashions. But he suffers not pleasure, curiosity, 
or society, to take up too much or his time; and is 
still intent on transacting the business which he has 
to execute, and on prosecuting the journey which 
he is ordered to pursue. He knows also that, to 
the very end of life, his journey -will be through a 
country in. which he has many enemies; that his 
way is beset with snares ; that temptations throng 
around him, to seduce him from his course, or check 
his advancement in it ; that the very air disposes to 
-drowsiness, and that therefore to the very last it will 
be requisite for him to be circumspect and collected. 
Often therefore he examines whereabouts he is, bow 
he has. got forward, and whether or not he is tra- 
velling in the right direction. Sometime* tie seems 
to himself to make considerable progress ; sometimes 
he advances but slowly ;• too often ho buds reason 



o 8 k- 



i«j2 Prevailing inadequate Conception* [Chap. IV. 
to fear he has fallen backward in his course.. Now 
he is cheered with hope, and gladdened by success ; 
now he is disquieted with doubts, and damped by 
disappointments. Thus while, to nominal Christians, 
-Religion is a dull uniformvthing, and they have 
no conception of the desires ana disappointments, 
the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows, which it 
is calculated to bring into exercise; in the true 
Christian, all is life and motion ; and his great work 
calls forth alternately the various passions of the 
soul. Let it not therefore be imagined that his is 
a state of unenlivened toil and hardship. His Tery 
labours are " the labours of love ;" if " he has need 
of patience," it is d the patience of hope;" and he 
is cheered in his work by the constant assurance of 
■present support, and of final victory. Let it not 
be forgotten, that this is the very idea given us of 
happiness by one of the ablest examiners of the hu- 
man mind ; " a constant employment for a desir- 
" able end, with the consciousness of a continual 
** progress." So true is the Scripture declaration 
that " Godliness has the promise of the life that 
" now is, as well as of that which is to come." 

Our review of the character of the bulk of No- 
ftutt of ' minal Christians has exhibited abundant 
KmiW • proofs of their allowed defectiveness in 
SfeitoL, that g"* 1 constituent of the true Chris- 
t\r hve <$ tian character, ike love of God. Many 
a °*- instances, in proof of this assertion, have 

been incidentally pointed out, and the charge is in 
itself so obvious, that it were. superfluous to spend 
much time in endeavouring to establish it. Pat the 
question fmrry to the test. Concerning the proper 
marks and evidences of affection, there can b« little 
dispute. Let the most candid investigator examine 
the 'character, and conduct, and language' of the 
persons of whom we have been speaking', fend he 
will be compelled to acknowledge, that, so far ai 
love toward* the 1 ' Supreme. Being is in question, 
<■■'■ these 



Sect. 5.] of Practical Ckratiaaih/: . tog 

these marks and evidences are. do where to be met 
with. It is in itself a decisive evidence of a com* 
trary feeling in those nominal Christians, that they 
find no pleasure in the service and worship of God. 
Their devotional acts resemble less the free-will 
offerings of a grateful heart, than that constrained 
and reluctant homage, which is exacted by some 
hard master from .his oppressed dependents, and 

r'd with cold sullenness, and slavish apprehension.* 
was the very charge brought by God against bit 
ungrateful people of old, that, while they called him 
Sovereign and Father, they withheld from him the 
regards which severally belong to those respected 
and endearing appellations. Thus we likewise think 
it enough to offer to the most excellent and amiable 
of Beings, to our supreme and unwearied Bene- 
factor, a dull, artificial, heartless gratitude, of which 
we should be ashamed in the case of a fellow-crea- 
ture, who had ever so smalt a claim on our regard 
and thankfulness! 

It may be of infinite use to establish in our mtuds 
' a strong and habitual sense of that first and great 
commandment — " Thou sbalt love the Lord thy 
" God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and 
'* with' all thy soul, and with all thy strength," ThuJ 

!>assion, operative and vigorous in its very nature, 
ike a master spring, would set in motion and main- 
tain in action all the complicated movements of the 
human soul. Soon also would it terminate rnanv 
practical questions concerning the allowableness of 
certain compliances ; questions which, with other 
similar difficulties, are often only the cold offspring of 
a spirit of reluctant submission, and cannot stand the 
encounter of this trying principle. If, for example, 
it were disputed, whether or not the law of God 
were so strict as had been stated, in condemning the ' 
slightest infraction of its precepts ; yet, when, from 
the precise demands of justice, the appeal shall be 
made to the more generous principle of love, there 
would be at once an end of the discussion. Fear 
K will 

.Google 



19.4 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV: 
will deter from acknowledged crimes, and self-in- 
terest will bribe to laborious services : but it is the 
peculiar glory, and the very characteristic, of this 
more generous passion, to shew itself in ten thousand 
little and undefinable acts of sedulous attention, 
which love alone can pay, and of which, when paid, 
love alone can estimate the value. Love outruns 
the deductions of reasoning; it scorns the refuge of 
casuistry j it requires not the slow process of la- 
borious and undeniable proof that one action would 
be injurious and offensive, or another beneficial or 
gratifying, to the object of its affection. The least 
hint, the slightest surmise, is sufficient to make it 
start from the former, and fly with eagerness to the 
latter. 

I am well aware that I am now about to tread 
Tk* stage, on very tender ground; but it would be 
an improper deference to the opinions and manners 
of the age altogether to avoid it. There has been 
much argument concerning the lawfulness, of thea- 
trical amusements (a). Let it be sufficient to re- 
mark, that the controversy would be short indeed, 
if the question were to be tried by this criterion of 
love to the Supreme Being. If there were any 
thing of that sensibility for the honour of God, and 
of that zeal in his service, which we shew in behalf 
of our earthly friends, or of our political connections, 
should we seek our pleasure in that place which the 
debauchee, inflamed with wine, or bent on the gra- 
tification of other licentious appetites, finds most 
congenial to his state and temper of mind ? In that 
place, from the neighbourhood of which, (how justly 
termed " a school of morals" might hence alone be 
inferred) decorum, and modesty, and regularity re- 
tire, while riot and lewdness are invited to the spot, 
and invariably select it for their chosen residence ! 
wbeie the sacred name of God is often profaned ! 

(a) It is almost unnecessary to remark, (hat (he wardia to be under- 
stood iu ■ Urge sense, u including the Opera, Sec. 

where 



Sect: 5;]"' ' of Practical Christianity. t§.$ 

where sentiments are often heard with delight, and 
motions and gestures often applauded, which Would 
not be tolerated in private company, but which may 
far exceed the utmost licence allowed in the social 
circle, without at ail' transgressing the large bounds' 
of theatrical decorum! where, when moral principles 
are inculcated, they are not such as a Christian 
ought to cherish in hii bosom, but such as it must 
be nis daily endeavour to extirpate; not those which 
Scripture wiirrants, but those which it condemns as 
false and spurious, being founded in pride and am- 
bition, and the over-valuation of human favour !'■ 
where surely, if a Christian should trust himself, at 
all, it would be requisite for him to prepare himself 
with a double portion of watchfulness and serious- 
ness of mind, instead of selecting it as the place in 
which he may throw off his guard, and unbend' 
without danger ! The justness of this last remark, 
and the general tendency of theatrical amusements,, 
is attested by the same well-instructed master in the 
science of human life, to whom we had before occa- 
sion to refer. By him they are recommended as the 
most efficacious expedient for relaxing, among any 
people, that " preciseness and austerity of morals," 
to use his own phrase, which, under the name of . 
holiness, it is the business of Scripture to inculcate : 
and enforce. Nor is this position merely theoretical. ' 
The experiment was tried, and tried successfully, 
in a city upon the continent (a), in which it was 

(a) Geneva — It ii worthy of remark, that, (tie ^lay-houses have 
moltipliedeitreroely in Pans since the revolution ; and tliat last win- 
ter there were twenty open every night, and all crowded. It should 
□at lie left unobserved, and it is striouily submitted to the considera- 
tion of those who regard the stage as a school of morals, that the 
Pieces which were best composer!, beit acted, and most warmly and 
ganerally applauded, were such as abounded in toadies uf delicate 
sensibility. The people of Paris have never, been imagined to be mots 
uisceptible, than the generality of mankind, of these emotions, and ' 
this is not the particular period when the Parisians hare tieen com- 
monly conceived mnsi under their influence. Vide Journal d'tm 
Voyagenr Neulre. The author nf the work expresses himself a* alto- . 
oiitied by the phenomenon, and aa unable to account fur it. 

' k * wished • 



196 Prevailing intideqyate Conpptjfitu [Cbap-.lV. 
wished to corrupt the- simple morality of purer 
timeV 

Let us try the question by a parallel instance. 
What judgment should we form of the warmth 
of that man's attachment to hjs Sovereign, who, at 
seasons of recreation, should seek his pleasures in 
scenes as ill accordant with the principle of loyalty, 
as those of which we have been speaking are with 
the genius of religion ? If for this purpose he were 
to, select the place, and frequent the amusements to 
which Democrats and Jacobins (a) should love to 
resgrt for entertainment, and in which they should 
find themselves so much at home, as invariably to 
select the spot for their abiding habitation ; where 
dialogue, and song,' and, the intelligible language'of 
gesticulation, should be used to convey ideas and 
sentiments, not perhaps palpably treasonable, or 
fajling directly within the strict precision of any le- 
gal limits, but yet palpably contrary to the spirit of 
monarchical government ; which, further, the highest 
authorities had recommended as sovereign specifics 
fpr cooling the warmth, and enlarging the narrow- 
ness of an excessive loyalty ! What opinion should 
w«. form of the delicacy of that friendship, or of the 
fidelity of that love, which in relation to their re- 
spective objects, should exhibit the same contra- 
dictions, f • * 

la truth, the hard measure, if the phrase may be 
pardoned, which we give to God;. and the very 
different way in which we allow ourselves to act, 
and speak, and feel, where lie is concerned, from 
that which we require, or even practise, in the case 
of our fellow-creatures, is in itself the most decisive 
proof that the principle of the love of God, if not 
altogether extinct in us, is at least in the lowest 
pqsiible degree of languor. 

(a) Tbe.iuthor is almost afraid of using the terras, leal lhey should 
convey an iropresUoii of pan y fadings, of which he wishes iliii book 
to cihibrt no traces; bathe he re means by Democrat* and Jacobins, 
not per sum, o a whom party Tulence fa«Mw,.lht, ejwlieft but persona 
who art really and avowedly aBctfc 

From 



Sect. 5.] of Practical Vhratidm^, ip7 

Prom examining the degree in which the bulk ot 
nominal Christians are defective in the Practical 
love of God, if we proceed to inquire t</tim rf 
concerning the strength of their love 5ff£jjj 
towards their fellow-creatures, the writer jj^^^ 
is well aware of its being generally held, «r)<ai «- 
that here at least they may rather chal- f™*^** 
lenge praise than submit to censure. And n„>y e j. 
the many beneficent institutions in which fmo-crw- 
this country abounds, probably above ****>• 
every other, whether hi ancient or modem timet, 
may be perhaps appealed to in proof of the opinion. 
Much ot what might have been otherwise urged in 
the discussion of this topic, has been anticipated in 
the inquiry into the grounds of the extravagant est 
timation, assigned to amiable tempers and useful 
Kves, when unconnected with religious principle, 
Wfaat was then stated may serve in many cases to 
lower, in the present instance, . the loftiness of the 
pretensions of these nominal Christians ; and we 
shall hereafter have occasion to mention another 
consideration, of which the effect must be, still fur* 
ther to ream, etheir claims. Meanwhile, let it suffice 
to remark, that we must not rest satisfied with 
merely superficial appearances, if we would form a 
fair estimate of the degree of purity and vigour, in 
which the principle of good will towards men warms 
the bosoms of the generality of professed Christian! 
in the higher and more opulent classes in this coun- 
try. In a highly polished state of society, for in- 
stance, we do not expect to find moroseness ; and 
in an age of great profusion; though we may reflect 
with pleasure on those numerous charitable insti- 
tutions, which are justly the honour of Great Britain, 
we are not too hastily to infer a strong principle or . 
internal benevolence, from liberal contributions to 
the relief of indigence and misery. When these 
contributions indeed are equally abundant in frugal 
time*,' or from individuals personally economical, 
the Source from Which they brigiriafc becomes let* 
k 3 questionable, 



loS Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 

Snestioiiable. But a vigorous principle of philan- 
lropy must not be at once conceded, on the ground 
of liberal benefactions to the poor, in the case of 
one, who, by hie liberality in this respect, is curtailed 
in no necessary, is abridged of ho luxury, is put to 
no trouble either of thought or of action ; who, not 
to impute a desire of being praised for his benevo- 
lence, is injured in no man's estimation ; in whom 
also familiarity with large sums has produced that 
freedom in the expenditure of money, which it 
never fails to operate, except in minds under the 
influence of a strong principle of avarice. 

Our conclusion, perhaps, would be less favourable, 

Trncmarkl uut not l eBS &**» # we were to tr J *' )e 

of bc.eve- characters in question by those surer 
te»ct. tests, which are stated by the Apostle to 

be less ambiguous marks of a real spirit of phi- 
lanthropy. The strength of every passion is to be 
estimated by its victory over passions of an op- 
posite nature. What judgment then shall we form 
of the force of the benevolence of the age, when 
measured by this standard f How does it stand the 
shock, when it cones into encounter with our pride, 
,our vanity, pur self-love, our self-interest, our love of 
ease or of pleasure, our ambition, our desire of 
worldly estimation ? Does it make us self-denying, 
that we may be liberal in relieving others ? Does 
it make us persevere in doing good in spite of in- 
gratitude; and only pity the ignorance, or prejudice, 
or malice, which misrepresents our conduct, or mis- 
construes our motives f Does it make , us forbear 
.what we conceive may prove the occasion of harm 
to a fellow- creature, though the harm should not 
;seem naturally, or even fairly, to flow from our con- 
duct, ,but to be the result only of his own obstinacy 
or weakness? Are we slow to belive any thing to 
our neighbour's disadvantage f and, when we can- 
not but credit it, are we disposed rather to cover, 
and, as far as we justly can, to palliate, tlian to di- 
--.-■■;. t Tulge 



Sect. 5-] of Practical Christianity. 199 

vulge or aggravate it i Suppose an opportunity to 
occur of performing a kindness, to one, who, from! 
pride or vanity, should be loth to receive, or to be' 
known to receive, a favour from ns ; should we ho*' 
nestly endeavour, so far as we could with truth, to' 
lessen in his own mind and in that of others the merit' 
of our good offices, and by so doing dispose him to 
receive them with diminished reluctance and a less 
painfni weight of obligation r This end, however, 
must be accomplished, if accomplished at all, not by 
speeches of affected disparagement, which we might 
easily foresee would produce the contrary effect, 
but by a simple and fair explanation of the circum- 
stances, which render the action in no wise incon- 
venient to ourselves, though highly beneficial to 
him. Can we, from motives of kindness, incur or 
risk the charge of being deficient in spirit, in pene- 
tration, or in foresight 7 Do we tell another of hit . 
faults, when the communication, though probably 
beneficial to him, cannot be made without Embar- 
rassment or pain to ourselves, and may probably- 
lessen his regard for our person, or his opinion of 
our judgment ? Can we stifle a repartee which' 
would wound another; though the utterance of it 
would gratify our vanity, and the suppression of i^ 
may disparage our character for- wit? ■ If any one 
advance a mistaken proposition, in an. instance 
wherein the error may be mischievous to him 1 ] can' 
we, to the prejudice perhaps of our credit for dis- 
cernment, forbear to contradict him in public, lest 
by piquing his pride we should only harden bim in 
bis error ? and can we reserve our counsel for some 
more favourable season, the " mollia tempore fandi," 
when it may be communicated without offence ? i£ 
we have recommended to any one a particular line 
of conduct, or have pointed out the probable mis- 
chiefs of the opposite course, and it out" admoni- 
tions have been neglected, are we really hurt when 
our predictions of evil are accomplished i ■ Is our 
love superior to envy, and Jealousy, and emulation? 
K4 Are 



aoo Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV. 
Are we acute to discern and forward to embrace any 
fair opportunity of promoting the interests of an- 
other; if it be in a line wherein we ourselves also nre 
mating, and in which we think our progress has not 
beea .proportioned to ourdeserti Can we take plea- 
sure. in bringing his merits into notice, and in obvi- 
ating the prejudices which may have damped his 
efforts, or in removing the obstacles which may 
have retarded hie advancement i If even to this 
extent yfe should be able to stand the scrutiny, let 
it be [farther asked, bow, in the case of our enemies, 
dp wCeoErespeod with the Scripture representations 
oJj'.krvd i Ate we meek under provocations, ready 
to:fojtgive f and apt to forget injuries? Can we, with 
sincerity, " bless them that curse us, do good to them 
" thftt bate us, and pray for them which despitefully 
" use us, and persecute us ? " Do we prove to the 
Searcher of hearts a real spirit of forgiveness, by 
our forbearing, not only from avenging an injury 
when, it is in our power, but even from telling to 
any one, bow ill we have been used ; and that too 
when wc are not kept silent by a consciousness, that 
we should lose credit by divulging the circumstance? 
And lastly, Can we not only be content Co return 
gur. enemies good for evil, (for this return, as has 
been nemuked by one of the greatest of uninspired 
authorities (a), may be prompted by pride and re- 
paid by self-complacency)' but, when they are suc- 
cessful or unsuccessful without our having contri- 
buted to their good or ill fortune, can we not only 
be content, but cordially rejoice in their prosperity, 
or sympathize with their distresses i 

These are but a few specimens of the character- 
istic marks which might be stated of a true predo- 
minant benevolence ; yet even these may serve to 
convince us how fer the bulk of nominal Christians 
fall abort of the requisitions of Scripture, even in 
that particular which exhibits their character in the 
most tuyosiable point of view. The truth is, we do 
(•) Loid Baccy. ,/£G53n. 

A**£tA not 



Sect. 5.] of Practical Christianity. 201 

not enough call lo mind the exalted tone of Scrip" 
ture morality ; and are therefore apt to value our" 
selves on the heights to which 1 we attain, when * 
better acquaintance with out standard Would hav 
convinced us of our falling" fax short of the elevatio n 
prescribed to ns. It is in the 1 Very instance of th*. 
most difficult of the duties lately specified, the for- 
giveness and love of enemies, that our Savrou' 
points out to our imitation the example of ou ™ 
preme Benefactor. After stating tnat, by 1 



points out to our imitation the example of our So~ 

Ereme Benefactor. After stating tnat, by being 
itfd and courteous to those, Who, even in the 



world's opinion, had a title to our good offices and 
good will, we should in vain set op a claim to Christ 
tian benevolence, he emphatically adds, " Be ye 
" therefore perfect, even as your Father which is ia* 
* heaven is perfect,* 

We must here again resort to a topic which was 
lately touched on, that of theatrical amuse- Tht Sttge. 
merits; and recommend it to their advocates to 
ce-ngider thetn hi connection with" the doty, of 
Which we haYe now been exhibiting some of the* 
leading characters 

It is afl undeniable' fact, for the truth of whicS 
We may safely appeal to every age and nation, tha'( 
Am situation of the performers, particularly Of those* 
of the female sex, is remalkaby unfavourable to flic' 
maintenance and growth of the religions and nto'- 
ra] principle, and of course highly dangerous to their' 
eternal interests. Might it not then be fairly asked, 
how tar, in all who confess 1 the truth of this position, 
it is eonsistentwith the sensibility of Christian bene- 
volence, merely for the entertainment of an idle hour, 
to encourage the continuance of any of their fellow- 
creatures in such a way of life, and to take a part in 
tempting any others to enter into it ; how flu 1 , 
considering tnat, by theif own concession, they are 1 
employing whatever they spend in this way, in Sus- 
taining and advancing the' cause of vice, and conse- 
quently in promoting misery, they are herein bestow^ 
K 5 ing 



ao2 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Cbaf. IV. 
ing this share of their wealth in a manner agreeable 
to the intentions of their holy and benevolent Bene- 
factor? how far also ihey are not in this instance 
therathercrirninal, from there being so many sources 
of innocent pleasure open to their enjoyment ? how 
far they are acting conformably to that golden prin- 
ciple of doing to others as we would they should 
do to us i. how far they harmonize with the spirit of 
the Apostle's affectionate declaration, that he would 
deny himself for his whole life the most innocent 
indulgence, nay, what might seem almost an abso- 
lute necessary, rather than cause his weak fellow- 
Christian to offend ? or lastly, how far they are in- 
fluenced by the solemn language of our Saviour 
himself; w It must needs be that offences come, 
" but wo to that man by whom the offence cometb ; 
" it were better for him that a mill-stone were 
" banged about bis neck, and that he were cast 
" into thedepths of the sea >" — The present instance 
is perhaps another example of our taking greater 
concern in the temporal, than in the spiritual inter- 
ests of our fellow-creatures. That man would be 
deemed, and justly deemed, of an inhuman temper, 
who in these days were to seek his amusement in 
the combats of gladiators and prize-fighters : yet 
Christians appear conscious of no inconsistency, ia 
finding their pleasure in spectacles maintained at the 
risk at least, if not the ruin, of the eternal happiness 
of those who perform in them! 

Sect-. VI. 
Grand Defect — Neglect of the peculiar Doctrines 
of Christianity 

BUT the grand radical defect in the practical sys- 
tem of these nominal Christians, istheir forgetful- 
Bess af all the peculiar doctrines of the Religion 
which they profess— the corruption of human na-i 
(ure — the atonement of the Saviour— and thesaacti-, 
tying influence of the Holy Spirit. 

Hei* 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 6.] of Practical Chrufiotiity,. } fog 

Here then we come again to grand distinction, 
between the Religion of Christ and that of the bulk 
of nominal Christians in the present day. The point 
is of the utmost praetiealimportance, and we would 
therefore trace it into its actual effects. : 

There are, it is to be apprehended, not a few, 
who, having been for some time hurried V** """ ■ 
down the stream of dissipation in the in- SJJJSrf. 
dnlgence of all their natural appetites, /«*. 
(except, perhaps, that the; were restrained from- 
very gross ■ vice by a regard to character, or by the 
yet unsubdued voice of conscience) ; and who, hav- 
" ing all the while thought little, or scarcely at all, 
about Religion ("living," to use the emphatical 
language of Scripture, " without God in the world,") 
become at length in some degree impressed with a 
sense of the infinite importance of Religion. A fi> 
of sickness, perhaps, or the loss of some friend or much 
loved relative, or some.other stroke of adverse fortune, 
damps their spirits, awakens them to a practical con- 
viction of the precariousness of all human things, and 
turns them to seek for some more stable foundation, 
of happiness than this world canaffqrd. Looking into 
themselves ever so little, they become sensible that 
they most have offended God. Tbey resolve accord-: 
ingly to set about the work of reformation v— Here, 
it is that we shall recognize the ratal effects of the 
prevailing ignorance of the real nature of Christ i- 
anity,and the general forgetfulness of its grand pecu- 
liarities. These men wish to reform, but they know 
neither -the real nature of their disease, nor its true 
remedy. ' They are aware indeed, that they must 
" cease to do evil', and learn to do well;" that they 
must relinquish their habits of vice, and attend more 
or less to the duties of Religion ; but, having no 
conception of the actual malignity of the disease 
under which they labour, or of the perfect cure which 
the Gospel has provided for it, or of the manner in 
which that cure is to be effected, 
... :i * 6 "They 

-Google 



fi«H Prevailing inadequate Conceptions , [Chap. IV. 



It often happens therefore but too naturally in 
this case, that, where they do not soon desist tram 
their attempt at reformation, and relapse into their 
old habits of sin, they take up with a partial and 
scanty amendment, and fondly natter themselves 
that it is a thorough change. They now conceive 
that tbey have a right to take to themselves the 
comforts of Christianity. Not being able to raise 
their practice up to their standard of right,, they 
lower their standard to their practice : they sit down 
for life contented with their present attainments, be- 

fuiled by the cbmplacenciesof theirown minds, and 
y the favourable testimony of surrounding friends; 
and it often happens, particularly where there is 
any degree of strictness in formal and ceremonial 
observances, that there are no people more jealous 
of their character for Religion. 
- Others perhaps go farther than this. The dread of 
the wrath, to come nas sunk deeper into their hearts; 
and for a while they strive with all their might to 
yesist their evil propensities, and to walk without 
(rambling in- the path of duly. Again, and again 
they resolve : again and again they break their re- 
solutions {a). All their endeavours are foiled, arid 
they become more and more convinced of their own 
rnoral weakness, and of the strength of their inhe- 
rent corruption. Thus groaning under the enslaving; 

(a) If an; one wonfd teed ■ description or this process, enlivened 
and enforced bj the poweri of the nioit eiquisite poetry, lei him pe- 
nile tue middle mid latter part of the fifth Book of Cowr-iVs Tuk - 
My warm attachment lo the beautilully natural compositions of thia 
truly Christian poet may perhaps bias my judgment ; bul the put of 
the work to which I refer appears to me Harcely surpassed by any- 
Iking in oar language. The honourable: epithet of Chriititm may 
justly be assigned to a poet, whose writings, while they fascinate the 
reader by their manifestly coming from the heart, breathe throughout 
the ipiritof that character nl' Christianity, with which she wai annoaocml 
to the world ; " GJory to Cod, peace en earth, good will tenant*: 

power 

.Google 



Sect, 6.] of Practical Christianity. 205 

power of am, and experiencing the futility of the 
utmost efforts which they can use for effectiag their 
deliverance, they are tempted (sometimes it is to be 
feared they yield to the temptation) to give up nil 
in despair, and to acquiesce in their wretched cap- 
tivity, conceiving it impossible to break their chains.' 
Sometimes, probably, it even happens that they are 
driven to seek for refuge from their disquietude in 
the suggestions of infidelity ; and to quiet their trou- 
blesome consciences by arguments which they them- 
selves scarcely believe, at the very moment in which 
they suffer themselves to be lulled asleep by them. 
In the mean time while this conflict has been going 
on, their walk is sad and comfortless, and their 
coueh is nightly watered with tears. These men 
are pursuing the right object, but they mistake, the 
way in which it is to be obtained. The path in 
which they are note treading is not that which the. 
Gospel has provided for conducting them to true- 
holiness, not will they find in it any solid pease. 

Person? under these circumstances naturally seek. 
for religious instruction. They turn over Advice tf 
the works of our modern Religionists, and ™^ er . n ™- 
as well as they can, collect the advice ad- ^h'^'ale 
dressed to, men in their situation; the dtiiriui <f , 
substance of which is, at best, of this sort ; repeniing. 
" Be sorry indeed for your sins, and discontinue 
'* die practice of them; but do not make your- 
" selves so uneasy. Christ died for the sins of 
" the whole world. Do your utmost ; discharge 
" with fidelity the duties of your stations, not neg- 
" lecting your religious- offices; and fear not, but 
" that, in the end, all will go well ; and that having, 
" thus performed the conditions required on your 
" part, you will at last obtain forgiveness of our iner-, 
" ciful Creator through the merits of Jesus Christ, 
" and be aided, where your own strength shall' be 
". insufficient, by the assistance of his Holy Spirit. 
** Meanwhile you cannot do better than read cofe- 

■ , « fully 

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zo6 Prevailing' inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV- 
" fully such books of practical divinity, as will 
" instruct y&u in the principles of a Christian life. 
" We are excellently furnjshed- with works of this 
f nature ; and it is by the diligent study of them 
* that you will gradually become a proficient in the 
'.' lessons of the Gospel. . 

Bui the holy Scriptures, and with them the 
Aiviagicea Church of England, call upon those who 
t, **""7' are in the circumstances above stated, to 
the hetti Aw afresh the whole foundation of their 
Scripture: Religion. la concurrence with the Scrip- 
ture, that Church' calls upon them, in the first 
place, gratefully to adore that undeserved good- 
ness which has awakened them from the sleep of 
death ; to prostrate themselves before the Cross of 
Christ with humble penitence and deep self-abhor- 
rence ; solemnly resolving to forsake all their sins, 
but relying on the Grace of God alone for power to 
keep their resolution. Thus, and thus only, she 
assures 1 them that all their crimes will be blotted out, 
and that they will receive from above a new living 
principle of holiness. She produces from the Word 
of God the ground and. warrant of her counsel; 
" Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt 
" be saved." — " No man," says our blessed Saviour, 
" cometh unto the Father but by ine.*-^" I am the 
" true Vine - : As the branch cannot bear fruit of 
" itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, 
" except ye abide in me." — " He that abideth in 
'* me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much 
"fruit; for without" (or severed from) " me'ye 
" can do nothing. — " By grace ye are saved through, 
'' faith, and that not ot yourselves, it is the gift of. 
" God; not ot* works,- lest any man should boast; 
*' for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus 
" unto good works."" ' 

Let me not be thought tedious, or be accused , 
Enreat of running into needless repetitions, in „ 

•*!>'«■<«"«. pressing thia point with so much -earnest- 



Sect. 6.}- of Practical Christianity; 907 

ness. It is in fact a point which can never tfthtp»iit 
be too much insisted on. It is the card i- 33au«i«i 
nal- point on which the whole of Christi- . ■" 

anity turns ; on which it is peculiarly proper in this - 
place to be perfectly distinct. Inhere have been' 
some who have imagined that the wrath qf God was 
to be deprecated, or his favour conciliated, by au- 
sterities and penances, or even by.fonnsaad. cere* 
monies, and external observances. But all men of 
enlightened understandings, who acknowledge the 
moral government of God, must also acknowledge, 
that vice must offend and virtue delight him. In 
short they must, more or less, assent to the Scrip- 
ture declaration," without holiness no man shall 
*« see the Lord.". But the grand distinction, rfhich 
subsists between the true Christian and all .othec' 
Religionists, (the class of persons in particular 
whom it is my object to address) is concerning the 
nature of this holiness, and the way in winch a 
is to be obtained. The views. 'entertained by fte 
latter, of the nature of holiness, are of all degrees of 
inadequateness ; and they conceive it is to be ofr? 
tained by their own natural unassisted efforts ; or,' if 
they admit some vague indistinct notion of the as- 
sistance of the Holy Spirit, it is unquestionably 
obvious, on conversing with them, .that this -'does 
not constitute the main practical ground of their, 
dependence. . But the nature' of that holiness which, 
the true Christian seeks topossess, is no other than the 
restoration of the image oj God to his soul: and, as. 
to the manner of acquiring it, disclaiming with, indig- 
nation every idea of attaining, it by his own strength^ 
he rests altogether on the operation iff God's Holy 
Spirit, which is promised to. all who' cordially embrace 
the Gospel. He knows- therefore that this holiness it 
not to precede his reconciliation with God, and be. 
its Cause ; but to follow it, and, be its Effect, 
That in short it is by faith in Christ only (a) that 



So8 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Cfcaf.IV, 
he is to be justified in the sight of God-, to be delivered 
from the condition of a child of wrath, and a slave 
of Satan; to be adopted into the family ofGod; to 
become an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ, 
entitled to all the privileges, which belong to this high 
relation; here, to the Spirit of Grace, and a partial 
renewal after the image of his Creator ; hereafter, to 
the more perfect possession of the Divine likeness, and 
tin. inheritance of eternal glory, 

Aad as it is in this way, that, in obedience to the 
Tht trut dictates of the Gospel, the true Christian 
Chtitfyn't (rrust originally become possessed of the 
efU* "wic" v ' ta ' s P' nl and living principle of universal 
far Vet- holiness; so, in order to grow in grace, he 
J**fy. must also study in the same school ; find- 

™tro)iift/. m ^ < n ^ consideration of the peculiar 
doctrines <>f the Gospel, and in the contemplation of 
the life and character and sufferings of our blessed 
Saviour, the elements of all practical wisdom, and 
an inexhaustible storehouse of instructions and mo- 
tives, no otherwise to be, so wetf supplied. From 
the neglect of these peculiar doctrines arise the 
main practical errors of the bulk of professed Chris- 
tians. These gigantic truths, retained in view, 
would, pat to shame the littleness of their dwarfishf 
morality, ft would be impossible for them to make 
these harmonize with their marfeotrate conceptions' 
of the wretchedness and danger of Our natural state, 
which is represented in Scripture as having so power-' 
fully called forth the compassion of God, that he 
sent his only begotten Son to rescue Us. Where 
no© are their low views' of the worth of the soul, 
when' means like these were taken, to redeem it? 
Where now their inadequate 1 Conceptions of die' 
guilt of sin, for which m the divine counsels it 
teemed requisite that an atonement no less costly" 
should be made, than that of the Mood of the only 
begotten Son of God? How can they reconcile 
their low standard of Christian practice with the 
representation of our being " temples of the Holy 
" Ghost i" 



Sect. 6.] of Practical Christianity. , aoo> 

" Ghost ;" their cold sense of obligation, and scanty 
grudged returns of service, with the glowing grati- 
tude of those, who, having been " delivered from 
" the power of darkness, and translated into the 
u kingdom of God's dear Sou," may well conceive, 
that the labours of a whole life will be but an imper- 
fect expression of their thankfulness? - 

The peculiar doctrines of the Gospel being once 
admitted, the conclusions which have been now 
suggested, are clear and obvious deductions of rea- 
son. But our neglect of ihese important truths is 
still less pardonable, because they are distinctly and 
repeatedly applied in Scripture to the very purposes 
in question ; and the whole superstructure of Chris- 
tian morals is grounded on their deep and ample 
basis. , Sometimes these truths are represented in 
Scripture generally, as furnishing Christians with a 
vigorous and ever present principle of universal 
obedience : and, almost every particular Christian 
duty is occasionally traced to them as to -its proper 
source. They are every where represented as warm- 
ing the hearts of the people of God on earth with 
continual admiration, and thankfulness, and Iove,and 
joy; as enabling them to triumph over the attack of 
the last great enemy, and as calling forth afresh in. - 
Heaven the ardent effusions of their unexhausted 
gratitude. 

If then we would indeed be " filled with wisdom 
" and spiritual understanding," if we would " walk 
" worthy of the Lord unto all well pleasing, being 
" fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the 
" knowledge of God;" here let us fix our eyes 1 
*' Laying aside ev£ry weight, and the sin that does 
" so easily beset us, let, us run with patience the race 
" that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus,. the 
" Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy 
" that was set before him, endured the cross, de- 
" spising the shame, and is set down at the right 
u band of the throne of God *." 
• Heb. *ii. 1, X. 

Here 

-Google 



sis Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV, 
overflowing gratitude (a) : Here we shall become 
animated by an abiding disposition to endeavour to 
please our great Beneiactor;-and by a humble per- 
suasion, that the weakest endeavours of this nature 
will not be despised by a Being, who has already 
proved himself so kindly affected towards us*. 
Here we cannot fail to imbibe an earnest desire of 
possessing his favour, and a conviction, founded 
'on his own declarations thus unquestionably con- 
firmed, that the desire shall not be disappointed. 
Whenever we are conscious that we have offended 
this gracious Being, a single thought of the great 
work of Redemption will be enough to nil us with 
compunction. We shall feel a deep concern, grief 
mingled with indignant shame, for having conducted 
ourselves so unworthily towards one, who to us has 
been infinite in kindness ; we shall not rest till we 
have reason to hope that he is reconciled to us; 
and we shall watch over one hearts and conduct in 
future; with a renewed jealousy, lest we should again 
offend lihn. To those who are ever so little ac- 
quainted with the nature of the human mind, it 
were superfluous to remark, that the affections and 
tempers which have been enumerated, are the in- 
fallible marks of, the aonstjtuent properties; of love. 
Let kim then who would abound and grow in this 
Christian principle, be much conversant with the 
great doctrines of the Gospel. 

It is obvious, -that the attentive and frequent 
In prvmai- consideration of these great doctrines, must 
*?*'* have a still ■ Him direct tendency to pn> 
9 ""• dnce and cherish in our mindsthe principle 
of the love of Christ. But on this head, so much 
was said in a former chapter, that any farther ob- 
servations upon ft are unnecessary. 

<■) Vide Chap. ili. Where these were jhtwn to be the elemtntur 
piociplei of the puucw or lore. 

" Roin. t. 5, IS. 



Sect. 6 J of Practical ChrkUaniiy. dij 

Much also has been already observed concerning 
the" love of our fellow-creatures ; and itlnp'cnta- 
has been distinctly stated to be the indis- **f "" 4 *« 
pensable, and indeed the characteristic 2^£! 
duty of Christians. It remain*, however, mm. 
to be here farther remarked, that this- grace can no 
where be cultivated with more advantage than 
at the foot of tbe Cross. No where can our Sa- 
viour's dying injunction to the exercise of this 
virtue be recollected with more effect; " Tliisis my* 
" commandment, that ye love one another as I 
'* have loved you." No where can the admonition 
of the Apostle more powerfully affect us ; "Be ye> 
" kind one to another, lender-hearted, forgiving- 
" one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath' 
" forgiven you." Tbe view of mankind which ia 
here presented to. lis, as being all involved in one 
common, ruin; and the offer of deliverance. held out 
to all, through tbe atoning sacrifice of the Son of 
God, are well calculated to produce that sympathy 
towards our felLowi- creatures-, which, by the con- 
stitution, of out. nature, seldom fails to result from 
the. consciousness of an identity of interests and a. 
similarity of fortune*. Pity for an unthinking 
worldiassi«fl: this impression. Our enmities sotten- 
afckdi melt away j we ate ashamed -of thinking much 
o£. the petty injuries which, we may have suffered, 
whan we consider what the Son- of God, " who did 
"■ no. wrong, neither, was; guile found in his mouth," 
patiently. endured. Qnr hearts become tender while- 
we contemplate this signal act of loving-kindness. ■ 
We grow desirous of imitating what, we cannot > 
but admire. A vigorous principle of enlarged, and 
active charity springs up within, us; and .we go 
forth with alacrity, desirous of treading in.the steps? 
of our blessed Master, and of manifesting our grati- 
tude for. hi* unmerited goodness, by bearing each: 
other's. burthens> and abounding in- tbe disinterested : 
labours of benevolence, 

Looking 



2i4 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. IV- 
LOOKING UNTO JESUS! 

Me was meek and lowly of heart, and from the study 
r» promot- of AischaracterweshallbestleanitheleBSons 
ing Aumi- of humility. Contemplating the work of 
**& Redemption, we become more and more 

impressed with the sense of our natural darkness, - 
' ana helplessness, and misery, from which it was re- 
quisite to ransom us at such a price; more and more 
conscious, that we are utterly unworthy of all the 
amazing condescension and love which have been . 
manifested towards us ; ashamed of the callousness 
of our tenderest sensibility, and of the poor returns 
of our most active services. Considerations like 
these, abating our pride and reducing our opinions 
of ourselves, naturally moderate our pretensions to- 
wards others. We become less disposed to exact' 
that respect for our persons, and that deference for 
our authority, which we naturally covet; we less 
sensibly feel a slight, and less hotly resent it; we 
grow less irritable, less prone to be dissatisfied ; 
more soft, and meek, and courteous, and placable, 
and condescending. We are not literally required 
to practise the same humiliating submissions, to 
which our blessed Saviour himself was not ashamed '■ 
to stoop * ; hut the spirit of the remark applies to ■ 
ns, " the servant is not greater than his Lord :" and 
we should especially bear this troth in mind, when ' 
the occasion calls upon ns to discharge some duly, 
or patiently to suffer some ill-treatment, whereby 
our pride will be wounded, and we are likely to be 
in some degree degraded from the rank we had pos- 
sessed in the world's estimation. At the same time 
the Sacred Scriptures assuring us, that to the power- ' 
fal Operations of the Holy Spirit, purchased for us 
by the death of Christ, we must be indebted -for 
the success of all our endeavours after improvement > 



Sect. 6.] ■ of Practical Christianity. . t\% 

in virtue; the conviction of this uuth tends to 
render us diffident of our own powers, and to sup- 
press the first risings of vanity. Thus, while we 
are conducted to heights of virtue no otherwise at- 
tainable, due care is taken to prevent our becoming 
giddy from our cleyation (a). It is the Scripture 
characteristic of the Gospel system, that by jt all 
disposition to exalt ourselves is excluded ; and if 
we really grow in grace, we shall grow also in 
humility. 

LOOKING UNTO JESUS! 

" He endured the cross, despising the shame." — ■ 
While we steadily contemplate this solemn In pmmet- 
scene, that sober frame of spirit is pro- "3 a *P> r ' t 
duced within us, which best befits the um,^ 
Christian militant here on earth. We be- nniiij, pur- 
come impressed with a sense of the short- '^''^ 
ness and uncertainty of time, and with the „, j U B- er 1"' 
necessity of being diligent in making pro- >ng. 
vision tor eternity. In such a temper of mind, 
the pomps and vanities of life are cast behind us as 
the. baubles of children. — We lose our relish for 
the frolics of gaiety, the race of ambition, or 
the grosser gratifications of voluptuousness. In the 
case even of those objects, which may more justly 
claim the attention of reasonable and immortal 
beings ; in our family arrangements, in our plans of 
life, in our schemes of business, we become, with- 
out relinquishing the path of duty, more moderate 
in pursuit, and more indifferent about the issue. 
Here also we learn to correct the world's false esti-, 
mate of things, and to " look through the shallow- 
" ness of earthly grandeur;" to venerate what is 
truly excellent and noble, though under a despised 
and degraded form ; and to cultivate within our- 

(a) Vide Paicil'!Thou|>btioD Religion— A boot »bo«ndisg in the 

deepeit views of practical Christianity, 

•elves 



3l6* Prevailing inadequate Conception* [Chap. IV.' 
\ selves that true magnanimity, which can make ni 
rise superior to the smiles or frowns of this world ; 
that dignified composure of soul which no earthly 
incidents can destroy or ruffle. Instead of repining 
at any of the little occasional inconveniencies we 
may meet with in .our passage through life, we are 
almost ashamed of the multiplied comforts and en- 
joyments of our condition, when we think of him, 
who, though " the Lord of glory," " had not 
" where to lay his head." And if it be our lot te 
undergo evils of more than ordinary magnitude, we 
are animated under them by reflecting, trjat we are 
hereby more conformed to the example of our 
blessed Master ; though we must ever recollect one 
important difference, that the sufferings of Christ 
were voluntarily borne for oar benefit, and were 
probably far more exquisitely agonizing than any 
which we are called' upon to undergo. Besides, it 
must be a solid support to us amidst all our troubles, 
to know, that they do not happen to us by chance; 
that they are not even merely the punishment of 
sin ; but that they are the dispensations of a kind 
Providence, and sent on messages of mercy. — " The 
" cup that our Father hath given us, shall we not 
" drink it l" — " Blessed Saviour ! by the bitterness 
" of thy pains we may estimate the force of thy 
" love; we are sure of thy kindness and compassion; 
" thou wouldst not willingly call on us to suffer; 
" thbu hast declared unto us, that all things shall 
" finally work together for good to them that love 
" thee; and therefore, if thou so ordainest it, wel- 
come disappointment and poverty; welcome sick- 
" ness and pain ; welcome even shame and contempt, 
" and calumny. If this be a rough and thorny path, 
" it is one in which thou hast gone before us. 
" Where we see thy footsteps, we cannot repine. 
" Meanwhile, thou wilt support us with the con- 
" solutions of thy.graoe; and even here thou canst 
more than compensate any temporal sufferings, by 
" the 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 6.] of Practical Chrhlianity. *\j 

" the possession of that peace, which the world* 
" can neither give nor take away." 

LOOKING UNTO JESUS! 

*' The Author and Finisher of our faith, who for 
** the joy that was set before him endured J*,,™**. 
" the cross, despising the shame, and is set twgrmragt 
" down at the right hand of God." From j"^™"^" 
the scene of our Saviour's weakness and Auyerj.oirf 
degradation, we follow him, in idea, into hceveahi 
the realms of glory, where " he is on the ■»"**««»• 
" right hand of God ; angels, and principalities, and 
" powers being made subject unto him." — But, 
though changed in place, yet not in nature ; he is 
still mil of sympathy and love; and, having died "to 
" save his people from their sins," " he ever liveth 
" to make intercession for them." Cheered by this 
animating view, the Christian's fainting spirits re- 
vive- Under the heaviest burthens, he reels hit 
strength recruited ; and when all around him is dark 
and stormy, he can lift up an eye to Heaven, radiant 
with hope, and glistening with gratitude. At such 
a season, no dangers can alarm, no opposition can 
move, no provocations can irritate. He may almost 
adopt, as the language of his sober exultation, what 
in the philosopher was but an idle rant ; and, con- 
sidering tha't it is only the gurment of mortality 
which is subject to the rents of fortune, his spirit, 
cheered with divine support, keeps its place within, 
secure and unassailable ; so that he can almost tri- 
umph at the stake or on the scaffold, and cry out 
amidst the severest buffets of adversity, " Thou 
" beatest hut the case of Anaxarchus." But it is 
rarely that the Christian is elevated with this "joy 
" unipeakable and full of glory;" he even lends 
himself to these views with moderation and reserve. 
Often, alus ! emotions of another kind fill him with 
grief and confusion : conscious perhaps of having 
acted unworthy of his high calling, and of having ex- 
L posed 



tl8 Prevailing inadequate Conceptions [Chap. TV. 

' posed himself to the just censure of a world ready 
enough to spy out his infirmities, he seems to him- 
self almost " to have crucified the Son of God afresh, 
" and put him to an open shame." But let neither j 
his joys intoxicate, nor his sorrows too much de- 
press him. Let him still remember that his chief 
business while on earth is not to meditate, but to act ; 

, that the seeds of moral corruption are apt to spring 
np within him ; and that it is requisite for him to 
watch over his own heart with incessant care ; that 
he is to discharge with fidelity the duties of his par- 
ticular station, and to conduct himself, according 
to his measure, after the example of his blessed 
Master, whose meat and drink it was to do the 
work of his heavenly Father : that he is diligently 
to cultivate the talents with which God bits en- 
trusted him, and assiduously to employ them in 
doing justice and shewing mercy, while he guards 
-against the assaults of any internal enemy. In 
short, he is" to demean himself, in ali the common 
affairs of life, like an accountable creature, who, in 
correspondence with the Scripture character of 
Christians, is " waiting for the coming of the Lord 
" Jesus Christ." Often therefore he questions him- 
*elf, " Am I employing my time, my fortune, my 
" bodily and mental powers, so as to be able to 
•** * render up my account with joy, and not with i 
" grief, ?' Am I ' adorning the doctrine of God my 
" Saviour in all things ;' and proving that the ser- 
" vants of Christ, animated by a principle of filial 
" affection, which renders their work a service of 
" perfect freedom, are capable of as active and as 
"i persevering exertions, as the votaries of fame, or 
" the slavesofambition.orthedrurlgesof avarice.?" 
Thus, without interruption to his labours, he may 
interpose occasional thoughts of things unseen; and 
amidst the many little intervals of business,' may 
calmly look upwards to the heavenly 'Advocate, who 
is ever pleading the cause of his people, and ob- 
taining tor them needful supplies of grace and con- 
solation- 



Sect. 6,1 of Practical Christianity. 319 

eolation. It is these realizing views, which give the 
Christian a relish for the worship and service of th« 
heavenly world. And if these blessed images, " seen 
" hut through a gloss darkly," can thus refresh tiie 
soul, what must be its state, when on the morning 
of the resurrection it shall awake to the unclouded 
vision of celestial glory! when, " to them that look 
" for him, the Son of God shall appear a second 
" time without sin unto salvation !" when " sighing 
" and sorrow being fled away," when doubts and 
fears no more disquieting, and the painful conscious- 
ness of remaining imperfections no longer weighing 
down the spirit, they shall enter *qjon the fruition 
of " those joys, which eye hath not seen, nor ear 
" beard, neither has it entered into the heart of man 
" to conceive ;" and shall bear their part in that 
blessed anthem, " Salvation to our God which sit- 
" teth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb," iof 
ever and ever t 

Thus, never let it be forgotten, the main distinc- 
tion between real ■Christianity, and the " rhe p' fl « 
system of the bulk of nominafChristians, ££&.**• 
chiefly consists in the-differeut place which dtctrinet if 
is assigned in the two schemes to the pe- ckrisiiamif 
culiar doctrines of the Gospel. These, in ^"^* 
the scheme of nominal Christians, if ad- dutiactim 
milted at all, appear but like the stars of between «*- 
the firmament to the ordinary eye- Those ™„"cJ™£. 
splended luminaries draw forth perhaps tiam. 
occasionally a transient expression of admiration, 
when we behold their beauty, of" hear 01 their dis- 
tances, magnitudes, or properties : now and then too 
we are led, perhaps, to muse upon their possible 
uses ; but, however curious as subjects of specula- 
tion, it must, after all be confessed, they twinkle to 
the common observer with a vain and "idle" lustre; 
and except in the dreams of the astrologer, have no 
influence on human happiness, or any concern with 
the course and order of the world, But to the real 
l 3 Christian, 



mo On the Excellence [Chap. V.. 

Christian, on the contrary, th es b peculiar Doctrines 
constitute the centre to which he gravitates! the very 
tun of his system ! the origin of all that is excellent, 
and lovely! the source of tight, and life, and motion, 
and genial warmth, anaplastic energy ! Dim is the 
light of reason, and cold and comfortless our state, 
while left to her unassisted guidance. Even the Old 
Testament itself, though a revelation from Heaven, 
■bines but with feeble and scanty rays. But the 
blessed truths of the Gospel are now unveiled to our 
eyes, and we are called upon to behold and to en- 
joy " the light of the knowledge of the glory of 
" God, in the face of Jesus Christ," in the full ra- 
diance of its meridian splendor. The words of in- 
spiration best express our highly favoured state; 
"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the 
" glory of the Lord, are changed into the same 
* image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit 
"of the Lord." 

Thau art the source and centre of all minds, 
Their ouljr point of resl, -lts.ru jl word; 
Tram Thee departing, thej ire tost, and una 
■ At random, without honour, hope, or peace i 
from Thae ia all that auothea the life of hub ; 
Hii high endeavour, and his glad success ; 
Hut strength to suffer, and his will to ■erre. 
But 1 Thou bounteous Giver of all good I 
Tiiuu art of all Th; gifts Thyself the grown : 
Giro what Thou const, without Thee we are poor. 
And with Thee rich, tike wfaalTiioa wilt awaj. 



CHAPTER V. 

OK THS EXCELLENCE OF CHRISTIANITY -IN 
CEBTAIN IMPORTANT PARTICULARS. AR- 
GUMENT WHICH RESULTS THENCE ;» 
PROOF OF ITS DIVINE ORIGIN. 

THE writer of the present work, having now 

* completed a faint delineation of the leading 

features 



Chap. V.] of Christianity. ft i 

features of real Christianity, may be permitted to 
suspend for a few moments the farther execution 
of bis plan, for the purpose of pointing out some 
excellencies which she really possesses ; but which, 
as they are not to be found in that superficial sys- 
tem which so unworthily usurps her name, appear 
scarcely to have attracted sufficient notice. It he 
should seem to be deviating from the plan which he 
proposed to himself, he would suggest as his excuse: 
that the observations which he is about to offer will 
furnish a strong argument, in favour of the correcU 
ness of his preceding representation of the nature 
and characters of that Religion which alone de- 
serves to be called Christianity. 

It holds true, indeed, in the case of Christianity, 
as in that of all the works of God, that though a 
superficial and cursory view cannot fail to discover 
to us somewhat of their beauty; yet, when on a 
more careful and accurate scrutiny we become bet- 
ter acquainted with their properties, we become also 
more deeply impressed by a conviction of their ex- 
cellence. We may begin by referring.to "—-•'--— 



betvitett th* 



the last chapter for an' instance of the J^^i, 
truth of this assertion. Therein was pointed trinaand 
■out that intimate connection, that per- jf«ttoJ 
feet harmony, between the leading doc- cJ^^jf 
trines.and the practical precepts, of Chris ti- Uy. 
anity, which is apt to escape the attention of tha 
ordinary eye. 

It may not be improper also to remark, though 
the position be so obvious as almost to Betuem th* 
render the statement of it needless, that boding "*«> 
there is the same close connection in the SSjJJLji- 
leading doctrines of Christianity with each am <mgtt 
other, and the same perfect harmony be- tach QlhcT - 
tween them* It is self-evident, that the corruption 
of human nature, that our reconciliation to God by 
the atonement of Christ, and that the restoration of 
our primitive dignity by the sanctifying influence 
kj of 



•«« On the Excellence [Chap.V. 

of the Ho); Spirit, are all parts of one whole, united 
id close dependence and mutual congruity. 

Perhaps, however, it has not been sufficiently no- 
fitirm ticed, that in the chief practical precepts i 
'taiprTcrpti °* Christianity, there is the same essential 
anrngit agreement, the same mutual dependency 
tick oihtr. f one upon another. Let us survey this 
fresh instance of the wisdom of that system which 
is the only solid foundation of our present or fu- 
ture happiness. 

The virtues most strongly and repeatedly enjoined 
in Scripture, and by our progress in which we may 
best measure our advancement in holiness, are the 
fear and love of God and of Christ ; love, kindness, 
and meekness towards our fellow-creatures ; indif- 
ference to the possessions and events of this life, in 
comparison with our concern about eternal things; 
self-denial, and humility. 

It has been already pointed out in many parti- 
cnlars, how essentially such of these Christian 
graces xis respect the Divine Being are connected 
with those, which have more directly for their ob- ' 
jects our fellow-creatures and ourselves. But, in the 
case of these two last descriptions of Christian graces, 
the more attentively we consider them with refe- 
rence to the acknowledged principles of human na- 
ture, and to indisputable facte, the more we shall 
be convinced, that they afford mutual aid. towards 
the acquisition of each other f and that, when ac- 
quired, they all harmonize with each other in per- 
fect and essential union. This truth may perhaps 
be sufficiently apparent from what has been already 
remarked; but it may not be useless to dwell on it 
a little more in detail. Take then the instances of 
loving-kindness and meekness towards- others j and 
observe the- solid foundation which is laid for them 
in self-denial, in moderation as to the good things 
of this lire, and hi humility. The chief causes of 
arunity among men are, pride and self-importance, 
- • . the 



Chap. V. 3 of Christianity. Mj 

the high opinion which men entertain of themselves, 
and the consequent deference which they exact from 
others; the over-valuation of worldly possessions 
and of worldly honours, and in consequence, a too 
eager competition for them. The rough edges of 
one man rub against those of another, (if the ex- 
pression may be allowed ;) and the friction is often 
such as to injure the works, and disturb the just 
arrangements and regular motions of the social 
machine. But by Christianity all these roughneasei 
are filed down; every wheel rolls round smoothly 
in the performance of its appointed function, and 
there is nothing to retard the several movements, at 
break in upon the general order. The religious sys> 
tern indeed of the bulk of nominal Christiana is so* 
tisfied with some tolerable appearancesof virtue : 
and accordingly, while it recommends love and be* 
neficence, it tolerates pride and vanity in many 
cases ; it even countenances and commends the ex* 
cesaive valuation of character ; and at least allows 
a man's whole soul to be absorbed in the pursuit of 
the object which he is following, be it what it may 
of personal or professional success. But though 
these latter qualities may, for the most part, fairly 
enough consist with a soft exterior and courtly da* 
meaaour, thev cannot so well accord with the ge- 
nuine internal principle of love. Some " cause of 
discontent, some ground of jealousy or of envy will 
arise, some suspicion will corrode, some disappoint* 
ment will sour, some slight or calumny will irritate 
and provoke reprisals. In the higher walks of life 
indeed, we learn to disguise our emotions; but such. 
will be the real inward feelings of the soul, and they 
will frequently betray themselves when we are off 
our guard, or when we are not likley to be dis- 
paraged by the discovery, This state of the higher 
orders, in which men are scuffling eagerly for the 
same objects, and wearing all the while such an ap- 
pearance of sweetness and complacency, has often 
appeared to me to be not ill illustrated by the image 
14 of 



o 8 k- 



I>4 On the Exctllttice fChap. V. 

of it gaming table. There, every man is intent only I 
on his own profit ; the good success of one is the 
ill success of another, and therefore the general state 
of mind of the parties engaged may be pretty well . 
conjectured. All this, however, does not prevent, 
in well-bred societies, an exterior of perfect gentle- 
ness and good humour.' But let the same employ- 
ment be carried on among the lower orders, who are 
not so well schooled in the art of disguising their 
feelings; or in places where, by general connivance, 
people are allowed to give vent to their real emo- 
tions; and every passion will display itself, by which 
the " human face divine" can be distorted and de- 
formed. For those who never have been present at 
to humiliating a scene, the pencil of Hogarth has 
provided a representation of it, which is scarcely 
exaggerated ; and the horrid name*, by which it a 
familiarly known among its frequenters, sufficiently 
attests the fidelity of its resemblance. 

But Christianity is not satisfied with producing 
merely the specious guise of virtue. She require! 
the substantial reality, which may stand the scruti- 
nizing eye of that Being " who searches the heart.* 
Meaning therefore that the Christian should live 
and breathe, in an atmosphere, as it were, of bene- 
volence, she forbids whatever can tend to obstruct 
its diffusion, or vitiate its purity. It is on this prin- 
ciple that Emulation is forbidden : for, besides that 
this passion almost insensibly degenerates into envy, 
and that it derives its origin chiefly from pride and 
a desire 'of self-exaltation ; how can we easily love 
our neighbour as ourselves, if we consider him at the 
same time as our rival, and are intentupoti surpassing 
him in the pursuit of whatever is the subject of our 
competition ? 

Christianity, again, teaches us not to set our 
hearts on earthly possessions and earthly honours ; 
and thereby provides for our really loving, or even 

* Tlie lltll, so called, let il be obserTtd, not by wiy of rcpronch, bat 
familiarity, by those who freqneut it 

cordially 



Chap. V.] of Chrutianity t*$ 

cordially forgiving, those who have been more suc- 
cessful than ourselves in the attainment of them, or 
who have even designedly thwarted us in the pur- 
suit. " Mind not high things," says the Apostle. 
How can he who means tb attempt, in any degree, 
to obey this precept, and the many other passages 
of Scripture which speak a similar language, be ir- 
reconcilably hostile towards any one who may have 
been instrumental in his depression ? 

Christianity also teaches us not to prize humatt 
estimation at a very high rate ; and thereby provides 
for the practice of her injunction, to love from the 
heart those who, justly or unjustly, may have at- 
tacked our reputation, and wounded our character^ 
She commands not the shew, but the reality, of 
meekness and gentleness; and by thus taking away 
the aliment of anger and the fomenters of discord, 
she provides for the maintenance of peace, and the 
restoration of good temper among men, when it may 
have sustained a temporary interruption. 

It is another capital excellence of Christianity, 
that she values moral attainments at a Axethtr a- 
far higher rate than intellectual acquis!- 2r*j"? f 
tions, and proposes to conduct her follow- tg ■, a higher 
ers to the height* of virtue rather than of Bo(B ' */« 
knowledge. On the contrary, most of J^,™^"^ 
the false -religious systems which have ttUceiwInj. 
prevailed in the world, have proposed to Wisweaa. 
reward the labour of their votary, by drawing 
aside the veil which concealed from the vulgar 
eye their hidden mysteries, and by introducing hiin 
ta the knowledge of their deeper and more sacred 
doctrines. 

This is eminently the case in the Hindoo, and in 
the Mahometan Religion, in that of China, and, for 
the most part, in the various modifications of an- 
cient Paganism. In systems which proceed on this 
principle, it is obvious that the bulk of mankind can 
L 5 never 



o 8 k- 



f%6 On the Eectilencr fChap.Y. 

never make any great proficiency. There waa ac- 
cordingly, among the nations of antiquity, one sys- 
tem t whatever it was, for the learned, and another 
for the illiterate. Many of the philosophers spoke 
out, and professed to keep- the lower orders in igno- 
rance for the general good ; plainly suggesting, that 
the bulk of mankind was to be considered as almost 
of an inferior species. Aristotle himself counte- 
nanced this opinion. An opposite mode of pro- 
ceeding naturally belongs to Christianity, which 
without distinction professes an equal regard for all 
human beings, and which was characterized by her 
first Promulgator as the messenger of " glad tidings 
" to the poor." 

But her preference of moral to intellectual excel- 
lence is not to be praised, only because it is congenial 
with her general character, and suitable to the eridi 
which she professes to have in view. ' ' It is the part 
of true wisdom to endeavour to excel there, where 
we may really attain to excellence. This con- 
sideration might be alone sufficient to direct our 
efforts' to the acquisition of virtue rather than of 
knowledge. — How limited is the range of die great- 
est human abilities! how scanty the stores of the 
richest human knowledge! Those who undeniably 
have held the first rank, both for natural and ac- 
quired endowments, instead of thinking their pre- 
eminence a just ground of self-exaltation, have 
commonly been the most forward to confess that 
their views were bounded and their attainments 
moderate. Had they indeed been less candid, tins 
is a discovery which we could not have failed to 
mtike for ourselves. Experience daily furnishes us 
with examples of weakness, and short-sightedness, 
and error, m the wisest and the most learned of men, 
which might serve to confound the pride of human 
wisdom. 

Not so in morals. — Mode -.at first in thelikencssof 

Cod, and still hearing about us some faiat traces of 

oat 



Chap. V.] of Chritfianity. say 

our high original, we are offered by our blessed Re- 
deemer the means of purifying ourselves from our 
corruptions, and of once more regaining the image 
of our Heavenly Father *._ In love, the com- 
pendious expression for almost every virtue, in for- 
titude under all its forms, in justice, in humility, 
and in all the other graces of the Christian charac- 
ter, we are made capable of attaining to heights of 
real elevation : and, were we but faithful in the use 
of themeans of grace which we enjoy, the operations 
of the Holy Spirit, prompting and aiding our dili- 
gent endeavours, would infatliblycrownour labours 
with success, and make us partakers of a Divine na- 
ture. The writer baa himself known some who have 
been instances of "the truth of this remark. To the 
memory of one (a), now no more, rnay he be per- 
mitted to offer the last tribute of respectful friend- 
Ihip i His course, short but laborious, has at length 
terminated in a better world ; and his luminous track 
still shines in the sight, and animates the efforts of 
all who knew him, and " marshals them the way" 
tp Heavenly glory. Let me not be thought to un- 
dervalue any of the gifts of God, or of the fruits of 
human exertion : but let not these be prized beyond 
their proper worth, if one of those little industrious 
reptiles, to which we have been well sent for a lesson 
of diligence and foresight, were to pride itself upon 
its strength, because itcould carry off a larger grain 
of wheat than any other of its fellow ants, should 
we not laugh at the vanity which could be highly 
gratified with such a contemptible pre-eminence ?. 
And is it. far different to the eye of reason, when 
man, weak, short-sighted man, is vain of surpassing 
others in knowledge, in which at best his progress 
must be go limited ; forgetting the true dignity of 

• Eph.ii. 
(a) The Iter. Matthew Biibiiiglon, of Boililcy, in Ixkertenhite, 
who died lately »c Lisbon 

l6 .hit 



ia8 On the Excellence [Chap.V. 

hi* nature, and the path which would conduct him 
to real excellence i 

The unparalleled value of the precepts of Christi- 
Eictiimce anity ought not to be passed over alto- 
ticeime^ g etner unnoticed in this place, though it 
apt, if be needless to dwell on it; since it has 
Chriitianiti). been often justly recognised and asserted, 
and has in some points been ably illustrated, 
and powerfully enforced by the masterly pen of a 
late writer. It is by no means, however, the de- 
sign of this little work to attempt to trace the va- 
rious excellencies of Christianity ; but it may not 
have been improper to point out a few particulars, 
which, in the course of investigation, have naturally 
fallen under our notice, and hitherto perhaps may 
scarcely have been enough regarded. Every such 
instance, it should always be remembered, is a fresh 
' proof of Christianity being a revelation from God. 
It is still less, however, the intention of the writer 
to attempt to vindicate die Divine origin of our 
Holy Religion. This task has. often been executed 
by far abler advocates. In particular, every Chris- 
tian, with whatever reserves his commendations 
must be qualified, should be forward to confess his 
obligations on this head to the author before alluded 
to ; whose uncommon acnteness has enabled him, 
m a field already so much trodden, to discover argu- 
ments which had eluded the observation of all by 
whom he was preceded, and whose unequalled per- 

Sicuity puts his reader in complete possession of 
e fruits of his sagacity. Anxious, however, in 
my little measure, to contribute to the support of 
this great cause, may it be permitted me to state 
one argument which impresses my mind with par- 
ticular force. This is, the great variety of the kindt 
•f evidence which have been adduced in proof of 
Christianity, and the confirmation thereby afforded 
•f its truth : — The proof from prophecy— from mi- 
racks, 



o 8 k- 



Chap. V.] of Ckrutianity. tig 

racles — from the character of Christ — from that of 
bis Apostles — from the nature of the doctrines of 
Christianity — from the nature and excellence of her 
practical precepts— iroip. the accordance we have 
lately pointed out between the doctrinal and prac- 
tical system of Christianity, whether considered 
each in itself, or in their mutual relation to each 
other — from other species of internal evidence, af- 
forded in the more abundance in proportion as the 
sacred records have been scrutinized with, greater 
care — from the accounts of contemporary or nearly 
contemporary writers — from the impossibility of 
accounting on any other supposition, than that of 
the truth of Christianity, for its promulgation and 
early prevalence : these and other lines of argument 
have all been brought forward, and ably urged by 
different writers, in proportion as they have struck 
the minds of different observers more or less forcibly. 
Now, granting that some obscure and illiterate 
men, residing m a distant province of the Roman 
empire, had plotted to impose a forgery upon the 
world; though some foundation for the imposture 
might, and indeed must, have been attempted to be 
laid; it seems, to my understanding at least, morally 
impossible that to many different specie* of proofs, 
and all so strong, should have lent their concurrent 
aid, and have united their joint force in the esta- 
blishment of the falsehood. It may assist the reader 
in estimating the value of this argument, to con- 
sider, upon how di Keren t a footing, in this respect, 
every, other religious system which was ever pro- 
posed to the world, has stood; and indeed, every 
other historical fact, of which the truth has been at 
all contested. 



Brief Jhpwy fate tke [Chap. VI. 



CHAPTER VI. 

BRIEF INQUIRY INTO THE PRESENT STATE OF 
CHRISTIANITY IN THIS COUNTRY, WITH 
SOME OF THE CAUSES WHICH HAVE J.ED TO 
ITS CKIT1CAL CIRCUMSTANCES. ITS IM- 
PORTANCE TO US AS A POLITICAL COMMU-. 
NITY, AND PRACTICAL HINTS FOR WHICH, 
THE .FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS GIVE 
OCCASION. 

IT may not be altogether improper to remind the 
reader, that hitherto our discussion has been 
merely concerning the prevailing Religious opinions 
of professed Christians: but now, no longer con- 
fining ourselves to persons of this description, let us 
extend our inquiry, and briefly investigate the gene- 
ra/ state of Christianity in this country. 

The tendency of Religion in general to promote 
the temporal welfare of political communities, is a 
fact which depends on principles so obvious and 
even undeniable, and is so forcibly inculcated by 
the history of all ages, that there can be no necessity 
for entering into a formal proof of its truth. It has 
indeed been maintained, not merely _by Schoolmen 
and Divines, but by tbi; most celebrated philosophers 
and moralists and politicians of every age. 

The peculiar excellence in this respect also of 
Christianity, considered independently of its truth or 
falsehood, has been recognised by writers', who, to 
say ihe least, were not disposed to exaggerate its 
merits. Eithcr'of the above propositions being 
admitted, the state of Religion iu a country at any 
given 



n 8 k- 



Chap. VI-3 preunt Slate of Christianity. |$1 

given period, (not to mention its connexion with 
the eternal happiness of the inhabitants) imme- 
diately becomes a question of great political import- 
ance": and in particular it must be material to 
ascertain whether Religion be in an advancing or a 
declining state ; and, if the latter be the case, whether 
there be any practicable means for preventing at least 
its farther declension. 

If the foregoing representations of the' state of 
Christianity among the bulk of professed Christians 
be not very erroneous, they may well excite serious 
apprehensions in the mind of every reader, con- 
sidered merely in a political view. And these ap- 
prehensions would be increased, if there should 
appear 1 reason to believe, that, for some time past, 
Religion has been on the decline amongst us, and 
that it continues to decline at the present moment. 

When it is proposed, however, to inquire into the 
actual state of Religion in any country, Preliminary 
and,, in particular, to compare that state contidera- 
with its condition at any former period, "auJie'of 
there is one preliminary observation to be mo™ip™«i 
made, if we would not subject ourselves '■"■ 
to gross error. There exists, established by tacit 
consent in every country, what may be called 
a general standard or tone of morals, varyirrg in 
the same community at different periods, and dif- 
fering at the same period in the different ranks of 
society. Whoever falls below this standard (and, 
not unfrequently, whoever also rises above it) of- 
fending against this general rule, suffers proportion- 
ably in the general estimation. Thus a regard for 
character, (which is commonly the governing prin- 
ciple among men) becomes to a certain degree, 
though no Farther, an incitement to morality and 
virtue. ,It foUowst>f course, that where the practice 
does no more than come up to (he required level, 
it will be no sufficient eviueuce of tne existence, 
much legs will it furnish a means of catunaiing the 

M 



■o 8 k- 



*3* ?«y fypty * nto *** [Chap, V J. 

force, of a real internal principle of Religion. Chris- 
tians, Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, persons 
of ten thousand different sorts of passions and opi- 
nions, being members at the same time of the same 
community, and all conscious that they will be exa- 
mined by this same standard, will regulate their con- 
duct accordingly, and, with no great difference, will 
all adjust themselves to the required measure. 

It must also be remarked, that the causes which 
tend to raise or to depress this standard, commonly 
produce their effects by slow and almost insensible 
degrees; and that it often continues for some time 
nearly the same, when the circumstances, by which 
it was fixed, have materially altered. 

It is a truth which will hardly be contested, that 
Christianity, whenever it has at all prevailed, has 
raised the general standard of morals to a height 
before unknown. Some actions, which among the 
ancients were scarcely held to be blemishes in the 
most excellent characters, have been justly con- 
sidered by the laws of every Christian community 
as meriting the severest punishments. In other in- 
stances, virtues formerly rare, have become com- 
mon ; and, in particular, a merciful and courteous 
temper has softened the rugged manners, and hu- 
manized the brutal ferocity, prevalent among the 
most polished nations of the neathen world. But 
from what has been recently observed, it is mani- 
fest, that, so far as external appearances are con- 
cerned, these effects, when once produced by 
Christianity, are produced alike in those who deny, 
and in those who admit, her divine original ; I had 
almost said, in those who reject, and those who 
cordially embrace, the doctrines of the Gospel : and 
these effects might, and probably would, remain for 
a while, without any great apparent alteration, how- 
ever her spiritmight languish, or even her authority 
decline. The form of the temple, as was once 
beautifully remarked, may continue, when the dii 
tutelaret have left it. When, therefore, we are in- 
- quiring 



o 8 k- 



Chap. VI.] present Slate of Christianity. *3j 

quiring into the real state of Christianity at any 
period, if we would not be deceived in this important 
investigation, we must be bo much the more careful 
not to take up with superficial appearances. 

It may perhaps help us to ascertain the advancing 
or declining stale of Christianity in Great Fmau 
Britain at the present moment, and still tj«^i«ui(v 
more to discover some of the causes by among ut 
which that state has been produced, to »»w«igm«i 
employ a little time in considering, what might 
naturally be expected to be its actual situation ; 
and what advantages or disadvantages such a re- 
ligion might be expected to derive from the cir- 
cumstances in which it has been placed among us, 
end from those in which it still continues. 

Experience warrants, and reason justifies and ex- 
plains, the assertion, that Persecution generally 
tends to quicken the vigour, and extend the preva- 
lence, of the opinions which she would eradicate. 
For the peace of mankind, it has grown at length 
almost into an axiom, that " her devilish engine 
w back recoils upon herself." Christianity espe- 
cially has always thriven under persecution. At 
such a season she has no lukewarm professors ; no 
adherents, concerning whom it is doubtful to what 
party they belong. The Christian is then reminded 
at every turn, that his Master's kingdom is not of 
this world. When all on earth wears a black and 
threatening aspect, he looks up to Heaven for con- 
solation ,- he learns practically to consider himself as 
a pilgrim and stranger. He then cleaves to funda- 
mentals, and examines well hia foundation, as at 
the hour of death. When Religion-is in a state of 
external quiet and prosperity,- the contrary of all 
this naturally takes place. The soldiers of the 
church militant then forget that they are in a state 
of warfare. Their ardour slackens, their zeal lan- 
guishes. Like a colony long settled in a strange 
country, 



o 8 k- 



as4. • Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

country (a), they are gradually assimilated in fea- 
tures, and demeanor,, and language, to the native 
inhabitants, till at length almost every vestige of 
peculiarity dies away. 

If, in general, persecution and prosperity be re- 
spectively productive of these opposite effects, this 
circumstance alone might teach us what expecta- 
tions to form concerning the state of Christianity in 
this country, where she has long been embodied in 
an establishment which is intimately blended with, 
our civil institution, and is generally and justly be- 
lieved to have a common interest with them — all 
which is liberally (though by no means too liberally) 
endowed; and (not more favoured in wealth than 
dignity) has been allowed " to exalt her mitred, 
" front in courts and parliaments:" an establish- 
ment, the offices in which are extremely numerous; 
and these, not like the priesthood of the Jews, filled . 
up from a particular race, or, like that of the Hin- 
doos, held by a separate casf in entailed succession; 
hut supplied from every class, and branching, by its 
widely extended ramifications, into almost every 
individual family in the community — an establish- 
ment, of which the ministers are not, like the Roman, 
Catholic clergy, debarred from forming matrimonial 
ties, but are allowed to unite themselves, and mul- 
tiply their holdings to die general mass of the com- 
munity by the close bonds of family connection ; not 
like some of the severer of the Religious orders, im- 
mured in colleges and monasteries, but, both by law 
and custom) permitted to mix without restraint in 
all the intercourses of society. 

Such being the circumstances of the pastors of 
the church, let the community in general be sup- 
posed to have been for some time in a rapidly im- 
proving state of commercial prosperity ; let it also 
be supposed to have been making no unequal.pro- 



Chap. VIJ present State of Christianity. 3$5 

gress in all those arts, and sciences, and literary 
productions, which have ever been the growth of a 
polished age, and are the sure marks of a. highly 
finished condition of society. It is not difficult to 
anticipate the effects likely to be produced on vital 
Religion, both in the clergy and the laity, by such 
a state of external prosperity as has been assigned 
to them respectively. And" these effects would in- 
fallibly be furthered, where the country in question 
should enjoy afreeconstitution of government. We 
formerly had occasion to quote the remark of an 
accurate observer of the stage of human life, that a 
mnch looser system of morals commonly prevails 
among the higher, than in the middling and lower, 
orders of society. Now, in every country, of which 
the middling classes are daily growing in wealth 
and consequence by the success of their commercial 
speculations ; and, most of all, in a country having 
cuch a constitution as our own, where the acquisi- 
tion of riches is the possession also of rank and 
power ; with the comforts and refinements, the vices 
sdso of the higher orders are continually descend- 
ing, Bind a mischievous uniformity of sentiments, 
and manners, and morals, gradually diffuses itself 
throughout the whole community. The multipli*- 
cation of great cities also, and, above all, the habit, 
ever increasing with the increasing wealth of the 
country, of frequenting a splendid and luxurious 
metropolis, would powerfully tend to accelerate the 
discontinuance of the religious habits of a purer 
age, and to accomplish the substitution of a more 
relaxed morality. And it must even be confessed, 
that the commercial spirit, much as we are indebted 
to it, is not naturally favourable to the maintenance 
of, the religious principle in a vigorous and lively 
state. 

In times like these, therefore, the strict precepts 

and self-denying habits of Christianity naturally 

slide into disuse, and, even among the better sort of 

Christians, are likely to be so fax softened, as to 

become 



tjfi Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

become less averse to the generally prevailing dis- 
position towards relaxation and indulgence. In 
such prosperous circumstances, men, in truth, are 
apt to think very little about Religion. Christi- 
anity, therefore, seldom occupying the attention of 
die bulk of nominal Christians, and being scarcely 
at all the object of their study, we should expect, of 
course, to find them extremely unacquainted with 
lis tenets. Those doctrines and principles indeed, 
which it contains in common with the law of the 
land, or which are sanctioned by the general stand- 
ard of morals formerly described, being brought 
into continual notice and mention by the common 
occurrences of life, might continue to be recognised. 
Cmuufreai But whatever she contains peculiar to her- 
vhich the ggj^ and which should not be habitually 
rf^ikrirti- 1 " brought into recollection by, the incident! 
«-iiy titiie 'of every day, might be expected to be 
itodi.hu. lega an c( j^ thought of, till at length it 
should be almost wholly forgotten. Still more 
might this be naturally expected to become the 
case, if the peculiarities in question should be, 
from their very nature, at war with pride and 
luxury and world ly-mindedness, the too general 
concomitants of rapidly increasing wealth: and this 
would be the more likely to happen (particularly 
among the laity) if the circumstance of their having 
been at any time abused to purposes of hypocrisy 01 
fanaticism, should have prompted even some of the 
better disposed of the clergy (perhaps from well 
intentional, though erroneous motives) to bring 
them forward less frequently in their discourses on 
Religion. 

When so many should thus have been straying 
out of the right path, some bold reformer might, 
from time to time, be likely to arise, who should not 
unjustly charge them with their deviation; but, 
though right perhaps in the main, yet deviating 
himself also in an opposite direction, and creating 
disgust by his violence, or vulgarity, or absurdities, 
bt 

,CoogIc 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. 137 

he might fail, except in a few instances, to produce 
the effect of recalling them from their wanderings. 

Still, however, the Divine Original of Christi- 
anity would not be professedly disavowed ; but, 
partly from a real, partly from a political deference 
for the established faith, hut most of all, from men 
being not yet prepared to reject it as an imposture, 
some respect would still be entertained for it. Some 
bolder spirits indeed might be expected to despise 
the cautious moderation of these timid reasouers, 
and to pronounce decisively, that the Bible was a 
forgery : while the generality, professing to believe 
it genuine, should, less consistently, be satisfied 
with remaining ignorant of its contents; and, when 

Eressed, should discover themselves by no means to 
elieve several of the most important particulars con- 
tained in it. 

When, by the operation of causes like these, any 
country has at length grown into the condition 
which has been here stated ; it is but too obvious, 
that, in the bulk of the community, Religion, al- 
ready sunk very low, must be hastening fast to her 
entire dissolution. Causes energetic and active like 
these, though accidental hindrances may occasion- 
ally thwart their operation, will not ever become 
sluggish and unproductive. Their effect is sure ; 
and the time is fast approaching, when Christianity 
will be almost as openly disavowed in the language, 
as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared 
from the conduct of men ; when infidelity will be 
held to be the necessary appendage of a man of 
fashion, and to believe will be deemed the indication 
of a feeble mind and a contracted understanding. 

Something like what have been here premised are 
the conjectures which we should naturally be led to 
form, concerning the state of Christianity in this 
country and its probable issue, from considering 
her own nature, and the peculiar circumstances in. 
which she hasween placed. That her real condition 
differs 






138 Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

differs not much from the result of this reasoning 
from probability, must, with whatever regret, he 
confessed by all who tajce a careful and impartial 
survey of the actual situation of things among us. 
But our hypothetical delineation, if just, will nave 
approved itself to the reader's conviction, as we have 
gone along, by suggesting its archetypes ; and we 
may therefore be spared the painful and invidious 
task of pointing out in detail, the several particulars 
wherein our statements are justified by facts. Every 
where we may actually -trace the effects of increas- 
ing wealth and luxury, in banishing one by one the 
habits, and new modelling the phraseology, of 
stricter times ; and in diffusing throughout the 
middle ranks those relaxed morals and dissipated 
manners, which were formerly confined to the higher 
classes of society. We meet indeed with more 
refinement, and with more of those amiable cour- 
tesies which are its proper fruits: those vices also 
have become less frequent, which naturally infest 
the darkness of a ruder and less polished age, and 

' which recede on the approach of light andcivili- 

, nation.' 

15cflni.il Humerus Satahiiut, St grare virus 
itunditifo pcpulere i 

But, on the other band, with these grossnesses, 
Religion also has declined: God is forgotten; his 
providence is exploded ; his hand is lifted up, but 
we see it not; he multiplies our comforts, but we 
are not grateful; he visits us with chastisements, 
but we are not contrite. The portion of the week 
Bet apart to the service of Religion, we give up with- 
out reluctance to vanity and dissipation. Agid it is 
much if, on the' periodical return of a day of national 
humiliation, we do not avail ourselves of the cer- 
tainty of an interval from public business to secure a 
meeting for convivial purposes ; thus insulting the 
Majesty of Heaven, and deliberately disclaiming out 
being 



o 8 lc 



Chap.'VI.] pretent State of Chrktiamty. '839 

being included in the solemn services of this season 

•of penitence and recollection. 

But even when there is not this open and shame- 
less disavowal of Religion, few traces of it are to be 

"found. Improving in almost every other branch 
of knowledge, we have become less and less ac- 
quainted with Christianity. The preceding chapters . 
have pointed out, among those who believe them- 
selves to be orthodox Christians, a deplorable 
ignorance of the Religion they profess, an utter 
forgetfulne*s of the peculiar doctrines by which it is 
characterized, a disposition to regard it as a mere 
system of ethics, arid, what might seem an 'incon- 
sistency, at the same time a most inadequate idea of 
the 'nature and strictness of its ptacical principles. 
This declension of Christianity into a mere Christian u<j 

•system of ethics may partly be accounted ndueed to a 
for (as has been lately suggested) by con- ^i'™^,, 
sidering what Christianity is, and in what aime at- 
circumstances she has been placed in *"gw«*w*te* 
this country. But it has also been KEJ 

■considerably promoted by one peculiar ;» producing 
cause, on which, for many reasons, it may •*** *jTrat. 
not be improper to dwell a little more particularly. 
Christianity in its best days (for the credit of our 
representations we wish this to be remembered by 
all who object to our statement as austere and con- 
tracted) was such, as it lias been delineated in the 
present work. This was the Religion of the most 
eminent Reformers, of those bright ornaments of 
our country who suffered martyrdom under" queen 
Mary ; of their successors in the times of Elizabeth ; 
in short, of all the pillars of our Protestant cburch ; 
of many of its highest dignitaries ; of Davenant, of 
Jewell, of Hall, of Reynolds, of Bcveridge, of 
Hooker, of Andrews, of Smith, of Lclghton, of 
Usher, of Hopkins, of Baxter (a), and of many 
others 

(a) I must beg leave to cl ass among til* brightest ornaments of lh» 

Cliutcb of England, tbil gtest mun.wbu nilli bit brethren was jusbame- 

fyllj 



•40 Brief Inquiry into tie [Chap. VI. 

others of scarcely inferior note. Id their pages the 
peculiar doctrines of Christianity were every where 
visible, and on tbedeep and solid basis of these doc- 
trinal truths were laid the foundations of a super- 
structure of morals proportibnably broad and ex- 
alted. Of this fact, their writings, still extant, are a 
decisive proof: and they who may want leisure, or 
opportunity, or inclination, for the perusal of these 
valuable records, may satisfy themselves of the truth 
of the assertion, that, such as we have stated it, was 
the Christianity of tbose times, by consulting our 
Articles and II omilies, or even by carefully examining 
our excellent Liturgy. But from that tendency to 
deterioration lately noticed, these great fundamental 
truths began to be somewhat less prominent in the 
compositions of many of the Leading divines before 
the time of the civil wars. During that period, 
however, the peculiar doctrines of Christianity were 
grievously abused by many of the sectaries, who 
were foremost in the commotions of those unhappy 
days; who while they talked copiously of the free 
grace of Christ, and the operations of the Holy Spi- 
rit, were by their lives an open scandal to the name 
of Christian (a). 

Towards 

fully ejected from the church in 1666, in violation of the royal word. 11 
well i»oT the cleat principle! of justice. With his controversial piecti 
I am little acquainted ; hut hi, practical writings, in four massy folios, 
are a treasury of Christian wisdom ; and it would be a most valuable 
service to raukicd to revise Iheui, and perhaps to abridge them, a* as 
to render ihem more suited to the taste of modem reader*. This has 
been already done in the case of his Dying Thought* a beautiful little 
pieae, and of his Saints' Rest. His Life alio, written by himself, and 

particular* of the history of the times uf Charles I. Cromwell, &c. ic. 
(a) Let me by no means be understood to censure all ihe sectarian 
without discrimination. Many of Ihem, and some who by the unhappy 
circumstance) of the timet became objects of notice in a political view, 
were men of great erudition, deep »iews of Religiun, and unquestion- 
able piety : aud though the writing! of the puritan* are prolix, and, 
according to the fashion uf ihcir a^r, rendered rather perplexed than 
clear by multiplied divisions end subdivisions; yet they are 11 mine of 
_ wealth, in which snj one who nil! submit to sums degree of labour 
will Cnd himself well rewarded fot bis paim. In particular the writings 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. t$\ 

Towards the dose of the last century, the divine! 

of the established Church (whether it arose from the 

obscurity of their own views, or from a strong im- 

Eression of former abuses, and of the evils which 
ad resulted from them) began to run into a dif- 
ferent error. They professed to make it theirchief 
object to inculcate the moral and practical precepts 
of Christianity, which they conceived to have been 
before too much neglected ; but without sufficiently 
maintaining, often even without justly laying, the 
grand foundation of a sinner's acceptance with God, 
or pointing out how the, practical precepts of Chris- 
tianity grow out "of her peculiar doctrines, and are 
inseparably connected with them (a). By this fatal 
error, the very genius and essential nature of Chris- 
tianity was imperceptibly changed. She no longer 
retained her peculiar characters, of produced that 
appropriate frame of spirit by which her followers 
had been characterized. Facilts descensus. The 
example thus set was followed during the present 
century,' and its effect was aided by various causes 
already pointed out. In addition to these, it may 
be proper to mention as a cause of powerful opera- 
tion, that for the last fifty years the press has teemed 
with moral essays, many of them published periodi- 
cally, and most extensively circulated ; which, being 
considered 
of Dr. Owbw, Mr. Howe, and Mr. Fr.*vri, well deserve' Ihirf 
character : of the first mentioned aulhor, there are two pieces which I 
would especially recommead to (lie reader's perusal; oho, en Heavenly 
Minded ne is, abridged by Dr. Mayo ; (be other, on the Mortification 
of Sin in Believers. While T have been speating in terms of such high, 
flnii, I tru-t, such just euhigium of innriy of the teachers of the Church 
of England, this ma; nut be an improper place lo eipress the high 
iibligatians which we owe to the- Di;icjiiers for many eicellent pub- 
lications. Of this number are Dr. Evans's Sermons en the Christian 
Temper ; and thai most useful boiifc, theKise auri Progress of Religion 
in the Soul, by Dr.flijmnraor. ; also, bis Life, hy Ohtoh, and Let- 
ters ; and two volumes uf Sermons, one on Regenerating the other on 
the Power and Grace of Christ : May the writer be permitted tu em- 
brace this opportunity of recommending two volutins, published sepa- 
rately, of Strnions.by Ibe Into Dr. Wiitiehwooh, President uf tu* 
College of New Jeisey. 

(a) Vide Section vi. of the ivlli Chapter, where we hate eipresilj 
an 1 fully treated of this most important truth. 

" ■ M j:j 



242 Brief Inquiry into the [Pbap. VI. 

considered either as works of mere entertainment, 
or, in which at least entertainment waa to be blended 
with instruction, rather than as religious pieces, were 
kept free from whatever might give them the air of 
sermons, or cause them to wear an appearance of 
seriousness inconsistent with the idea of relaxation. 
But in this way the fatal habit, of considering Chris- 
tian morals as distinct from Christian doctrines, 
insensibly gained strength. Thus the peculiar 
doctrines of Christianity went more and more out 
of sight; and, as might naturally have been ex- 
pected, the moral system itself also, being robbed 
of that which should have supplied it with life and 
nutriment, began to wither and decay. At length, 
|n our own days, these peculiar doctrines have al- 
most altogether vanished from the view. Even in 
the greater number of our sermons, scarcely any 
traces of tbem are to be found. 

But the degree of neglect into which they are 
really fallen, may perhaps be rendered still more 
manifest by appealing to another criterion. There 
is a certain class of publications, of which it is the 
object to give us exact delineations of life and man- 
ners ; and when these are written by authors of 
accurate observation and deep knowledge of human. 
nature, (and many such there have been in our times) 
they furnish a more faithful picture, than can be ob- 
tained in any other way, of the prevalent opinions 
and feelings of mankind. It must be obvious that 
novels are nere alluded to. A careful perusal of the 
most celebrated of these pieces would furnish a 
strong confirmation of the apprehension, suggested 
from other considerations, concerning the very low 
state of Religion in this country ; but they would 
still more strikingly illustrate the truth of the re- 
mark, that the grand peculiarities of Christianity 
are almost vanished from the view. In a ser- 
mon^ although throughout the whole of it there 
may have been no traces of these peculiarities, 
either directly or indirectly, the preacher closes 
with on ordinary form ; which if one were to assert 
that 



Chap. VI.] present State &f Christianity . 245 
that they were absolutely omitted,, would imme- 
diately be alleged in contradiction of the assertion, 
and may just serve to protect them from falling into 
entire oblivion. But in novels, the writer is not so 
tied down. In these, people of Religion, and cler- 
gymen too, are placed in all possible situations, and' 
the sentiments and language deemed suitable to ; 
' the occasion are assigned to them. They are 
introduced instructing, reproving, counselling, com- 
forting. It is often the> author's intention to re-: 
present them in a favourable point of view, and 
accordingly he makes them as well informed, and 
as good Christians, as he knows how. They are_ 
painted amiable, benevolent, and forgiving; but 
it is no.t too much .to say, that if the peculiarities 
"of Christianity had never existed, or had all been' 
proved to be talse, the circumstance would scarcely 
create the necessity of altering a single syllable' 
in any of the most celebrated of these perfor- 
mances. It is striking to obseive the difference 
which there is in this respect in similar works of 
Mahometan authors, wherein the characters, which 
they mean to represent in a favourable light, are 
drawn vastly more observant of the peculiarities of 
their religion (a). 

It has also been a melancholy prognostic of the 
state to which we are progressive, that other lad 
many of the most eminent of the literati y"™p"™ « 
of modern times have been professed un- jj^/,^" 
believers j and that others of them have of Chrhtu 
discovered such lukewarmness in the cause ""%■ 
of Christ, as to treat with especial good-will and 
attention and respect those men, who, by their 
avowed publications, were openly assailing or insi- 
diously undermining, the very foundations of the 
Christian hope; considering themselves as more 
closely united to them by literature, than severed 

(a) No exceptions have fallen nilliin my own reading, but tho 

welting* uf IllCISAItRUOX. 



144 Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI 

from them by the widest religious difference* (a). 
Can it then occasion surprise, that under all these 
circumstances, one of the most acute and most for- 
ward of the professed unbelievers (b) should ap- 
pear to anticipate, as at do great distance, the 
more complete triumph of Mis sceptical principles ; 
and that another author of distinguished name, (c) 
not so openly professing those infidel opinions} 
should declare of the writer above alluded to, whose 
great abilities had been systematically prostituted 
to the open attack of every principle of Religion, 
both natural and revealed, "" that he had always 
" considered him,both in his life time and since his 
" death, as approaching as nearly to the idea of a 
" perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the 
" nature of human frailty will permit V 

Can there then be a doubt, whither tends the 

{>ath in which we are travelling, and whither at 
ength it must conduct us ? If any should hesitate, 
let them take a lesson from experience. In a neigh- 
bouring country, -several of the same causes have 
been in action; and they have at length produced 
their full effect; manners corrupted, morals de- 

(a) It is willi pain that the author finds himself compelled to place 
so great a writer at Dr. Robertson in this class. But, to a; nothing 
of his phlegmatic account of the Reformation j (a subject which we 
should have thought like! y to eicite in an; one, who- united the cha- 
racter of a Christian Divine with that of an Historian, some warmth of 
pious gratitude for the good providence of God :) to pass over alio 
the ambiguity, in which he leaves his readers as to his opinion of the 
authenticity of the Mosaic chronology, in his disquisitions on the trade 
uf India; his Letters to Mr. Gibbon, lately published, cannot but ex- 
cite emotions of regret und shame in every sincere Christian. The 
anthor hopes, that he has so far eiplained his sentiments aa to randcr 
it almost unnecessary to remark, what, however, to prevent miscon- 
struction, be must here declare, that so far from approving, be must be 
understood decidedly (o condemn, a hot, a contentions, much more 
1 an abusive maimer of opposing or of speaking of the issailauts of 
Christianity. The Apostle's direction in this respect canuoi be too 
ranch attended to. ■ The servant of the Lord must not strive ; but be 
." gentle unto all men; apt to tench, patient, in meekness instrud- 
" ing those that oppose themselves ; if God peradventure will give 
" them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." (t Timothy, 
ii. t*. »5.) . 

(6) Mr. Hume. 
(t) Vide Dr. A. Smith's Letter to W, Sttafaan, Esq. 

prayed 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. . 245 
pravcd, dissipation predominant, above all, Religion 
discredited, and infidelity, grown into repute and 
fashion (a), terminating in the public disavowal of 
every religious principle which had been used to 
attract the veneration of mankind : the repre- 
sentatives of a whole nation publicly witnessing, not 
only without horror, but without the smallest dis- 
approbation, an open unqualified denial of the very 
existence of God ; ana at length, as a body, 
withdrawing their allegiance from the Majesty of 
Heaven; 

There are not a few, perhaps, who may have wit- 
nessed with apprehension, and may be ejection, 
ready to confess with pain, the gradual de- that the 
clension of Religion ; but who at the same ™" ubJ *. 

V ; , ■• 1 - li/Hem U 

time may conceive that the writer or this t J„ uncts 
tract is disposed to carry things too far. and that 
They may even allege, that the degree of f " "*J? 
Religion for which he contends is ijicon- the world 
sis tent with the ordinary business of life, could not 
and with the well-being of society ; that S 0Dn - 
if it were generally to prevail, pepple would be 
wholly ingrossed by Religion, and all their time 
occupied by prayer and preaching. Men not being 
sufficiently interested in the pursuit of temporal ob- 
jects, agriculture and commerce would decline, the 
arts would languish, the very duties of common life 
would be neglected ; and, in short the whole ma- 
chine of civil society would be obstructed, and 
speedily stopped. An opening for this charge is 
given by an ingenious writer (6) alluded to in an 
early period ot our work ; and is even somewhat 
countenanced by an author since referred to, from 
whom such a sentiment justly excites raore^ sur- 
prise (c). 

(a) What is here stated ronst be acknowledged by all, be their po- 
litical opinions concerning French events what they may; and it 
makes no difference in the writer's view-of the subject, whether (he 
state of morals was or «u not, qnite, or nearly, tts bad, before the 

(c) Piliv'b Evidence. 

Ms la 



.246 Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

In reply to this objection it might.be urged, that 
Thtcharge though we should allow it for a moment 
r&ted. ( De m a considerable degree well founded, 
yet this admission would not warrant the conclusion 
intended to be drawn from it. The question would 
still remain, whether our representation of .what 

.Christianity requires be agreeable .to the word of 

■ God ? For if it be, surely it must be confessed to 
be .a matter of small account to sacrifice. a little 

.worldly comfort and prosperity, during the- short 
span of our existence in this lite, in order to secure 
a crown of eternal glory, and the enjoyment of those 
pleasures which are at God's right hand for ever- 
more. It might be added also, that our blessed Sa- 
viour had plainly declared, that it would often be 
required of Christians to make such a sacrifice; 
and had forewarned us, that, in order to be able to 
do it with cheerfulness whenever the occasion should 
arrive, we must habitually sit loose to all worldly 
possessions and enjoyments. And it might further 
be remarked, that though it were even admitted, 
that the general prevalence of vital Christianity 
should somewhat interfere with the views of national 
wealth and aggrandisement, yet that there is too 
much reason to believe that, do all we can, this ge- 
neral prevalence needs not to be apprehended, or, 
to speak more justly, could not be hoped for. But 
indeed the objection on winch we .have now been 
commenting, is not only groundless, but directy con- 
trary to ttuth. If Christianity, such as we. have re- 
presented it, were generally to prevail, the world, 

'from being such as it is, would "Become a scene of 
general peace and prosperity ; and, abating the 
chances and calamities * which flesh is inseparably 
** heir to," would wear one uniform face qf com- 
placency and joy. 

On trie first promulgation of Christianity, it is 

true, some of her early converts seem to have -beep 

in danger of so far mistaking the genius of the new 

Religion, as to imagine, that in future they were to 

be 



Chap. Vl.] present State of Christianity. 447 

be discharged from .an active attendance on their 
secular affairs. Bot the Apostle roost pointedly 
guarded them against so gross an error, arid ex- 
preslsy and repeatedly .enjoined them to perform the 
particular duties of their several stations with in- 
creased alacrity and fidelity, that they might thereby 
do credit to their Christian profession. This he did, at 
the same time that he prescribed to them that predo- 
minant love of God *nd of Christ, thatheavenly-mind- 
edness, that comparative indifference to the things 
of this world, that earnest endeavour after growth 
in grace and perfection in holiness, which have al- 
ready been stated as the essential characteristics of 
real Cnristianity. It cannot therefore be supposed 
by any who allow to the Apostle even the claim of 
a consistent instructor, much less by any who admit 
his Divine authority, that these latter precepts are 
incompatible with the former. Let it be remem- 
bered, that the grand characteristic mark of the true 
Christian, which has been insisted on, is his desiring 
to please God in all his thoughts, and words, and 
actions ; to take the revealed word to be the rule of his 
belief and practice; to " let his light shine beforemen? 
and in aft things to adorn the doctrine which he 
professes. 'No calling is proscribed, no pursuit is for- 
bidden, no science or art is prohibited, no pleasure 
is disallowed, provided it* be such as can be recon- 
ciled with this, principle. It must indeed be con- 
fessed, that Christianity would not favour that 
vehement and inordinate ardour in the pursuit of 
temporal objects, which tends to the acquisition of 
immense wealth, or of widely spread renown : nor 
is it calculated to gratify the extravagant views of 
those mistaken politicians, the chief object of whose 
admiration, and the main scope of whose endeavours 
fortheir country,' ace, extended dominion, and com- 
manding power, and unrivalled affluence, rather than 
those more solid advantages of peace, and comfort, 
and security. These men would barter comfort for 
greatness. In their vain reveries they forget that 
m 4 a nation 



*<8 Brief Inquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

ft natioA consists of individuals, and that true-na- 
tional prosperity is no other than the multiplication 
of particular happiness. 

But in fact, so far is it from being true that the 
Good if ecu prevalence of real Religion would produce ' 
M ." ""■ a stagnation in life, it would infallibly 
- ^mmuniti, produce the very reverse : a man, what- 
jfrom tht ever might be his employment or pursuit, 
*?™JV' e * would be^furnished with a new motive to 
chrutia- prosecute it with alacrity, a motive far 
ni'v- . more constant and vigorous than any which 
merely human prospects can supply: at the same 
time, his solicitude being not so much to succeed in 
whatever he might be engaged in, as to act from a 
pore principle, and leave the event to God, he would 
not be liable to the same disappointments, as men 
who are active and laborious from a desire of worldly 
gain or of human estimation. Thus he would pos- 
sess the true secret of a life at the same time useful 
and happy. Following peace also with all men, and 
looking upon them as members of the same family, 
entitled not only to the debts of justice, but to the 
less definite and more liberal claims of fraternal 
kindness j he would naturally be respected and be- 
loved by others, and be in himself free from the 
annoyance of those bad passions, by which they 
who are actuated by worldly principles are so com- 
monly corroded. If any country were indeed filled 
with men, each thus diligently discharging the du- 
ties of bis own station without breaking in upon the 
rights of others, but on the -contrary endeavouring, 
jo far as he migbt be able, to forward their views, 
and promote their happiness ; all would be active 
and harmonious in the goodly frarne of human so- 
ciety. .There would be no jarrings, no discord. 
The whole machine of civil life would work without 
obstruction or disorder, and the course of its move- 
ments would be like the harmony of the spheres. 
Such would be. the happy state of a truly Chris- 
tian 



o 8 k- 



Chap. VI. J present State of Christianity. 149 

tian nation within itself. Nor would its condition 
■with regard to foreign countries form a contrast to 
this its internal comfort. Such a community, on 
the contrary, peaceful at home, would be respected 
and beloved abroad. General integrity in all its 
dealings would inspire universal confidence : dif- 
ferences between nations commonly arise from mu- 
tual injuries, and still more from mutual jealousy 
and distrust. Of the former, there would be no 
longer any ground for complaint ; the latter would 
fina nothing to attach upon. But if, in spite of all 
its justice and forbearance, the violence of some 
neighbouring state should force it to resist an un- 
provoked attack, (for hostilities strictly defensive 
are those only in which it would be.engaged) its do- 
mestic union would double its national force ; while 
the consciousness of a good cause, and of the ge- 
neral favour of Heaven, would invigorate its arm, 
and inspirit, its efforts. 

It is indeed the position of an author, to whom 
we have had frequent occasion to refer, iwtimt, 
and whose love of paradox has not seldom (*■* CIWi- 
led him into error, that true Christianity 5£™j ( V," 
is an enemy to patriotism. If by patri- pstrittitm, 
otism is meant that mischievous and do- m'"' ci - 
mineer'mg quality which renders men ardent to 
promote, not the happiness, but the aggrandise- 
ment, of their own country, by the oppression and 
conquest of every other; to such patriotism, so ge- 
nerally applauded in the Heathen world, that Reli- 
' gion must be indeed au enemy, whose foundation 
is justice, and whose compendious character is 
" peace,— and good-will towards men." But if by 
patriotism be understood that quality which, with-* 
out shutting up our philanthropy within the narrow 
bounds of a single kingdom, yet attaches us in par- 
ticular to the country to which we belong; of this, 
true patriotism, Christianity is the most copious, 
source, and the surest preservative. The contrary 
«• - M5 opinion, 



«5o Brief Inquiry. bU> the [Chap. VI. 

opinion can indeed only have arisen from not con- 
sidering the fulness and universality of our Saviour's 
precepts. Not like the puny productions of human 
workmanship, (which at the best can commonly serve 
but the particular purpose that they are specially 
designed to answer;) the mora], as well as the phy- 
sical principles established by the great Governor 
of the universe, are capable of being applied at once 
to ten thousand different uses ; thus, amidst infinite 
complication, preserving a grand simplicity, and 
therein bearing the unambiguous stamp of their 
Divine Original. Thus, to specify one out of the 
numberless instances which might be adduced ; the 
principle or gravitation, while it is subservient to all 
the mechanical purposes of common life, keeps at 
the same time the stars in their courses, and main- 
tains the harmony of worlds. 

Thus also in the case before us : society consists 
of a number of different circles of various magni- 
tudes and uses, and that circumstance, wherein the 
principle of patriotism chiefly consists, whereby the 
duty of patriotism is best practised, and the hap- 
piest effects upon the general weal are produced, is, 
that it should be the desire and aim of every indi- 
vidual to fill well his own proper circle, (as a part 
and member of the whole) with a view to the pro- 
duction of general happiness. This our Saviour 
enjoined when he prescribed the duty of universal 
love, which is but another term for the most exalted 
patriotism. Benevolence, indeed, when not origi- 
nating in Religion, dispenses but from a scanty and 
precarious fund; and therefore, if it he liberal in 
the case of some ohjecis, it is "generally found to be 
contracted towards others. Men wbo, acting from 
worldly principles, make the greatest stir about ge- 
neral philanthropy or zealous -patriotism, are often 
\ery deficient in their conduct in domestic lif"; and 
very neglect ful of the opportunities, fully within 
their reach, of promoting the comfort of those with 
whom they are immediately connected. But true 
Christian 



.Chap. VI.] prewar Sftrfe ofUhriUianity. 251 

Christian benevolence 13 always occupied in pro r 
ducing happiness to the utmost of its power, and 
.according .to the extent of its sphere, be it 
larger or more limited; it contracts itself to the 
measure of the smallest ; it can expand itself to the 
amplitude of the largest. It resembles majestic ri- 
sers, which are poured from an unfailing and abua- 
■dant source. Silent and peaceful in their cousre, 
-they begin with dispensing beauty and comfort to 
.every cottage by which they pass. In their further 
progress they fertilize provinces and enrich king 
donis. At length they pour themselves into the 
ocean ; where, changing their names but not their 
nature, they visit distant nations and other hemis- 
pheres, and spread throughout the world ( the ex- 
pansive tide of their beneficence. 

It must be confessed, that many of the good 
effects, of which Religion is productive to political 
societies, would be produced even by a false Reli- 
gion, which should prescribe good morals, ami 
should be able to enforce- its precepts by sufficient 
functions. Of this nature are those effects which 
depend on our calling in^the aid of a Being who sees 
the heart, in order to assist the weakness, and in 
various ways to supply the inherent defects of all 
human jurisprudence. But the superior excellence 
of Christianity in this respect must be acknowledged, 
' both in the superiority ot her moral code, and in the 
powerful motives and efficacious means which she 
iumishA for enabling us to. practise it; and in the 
tendency of her doctrines t© provide for the observ- 
ance of- her precepts, by producing tempers of mind 
which correspond with them. 

But, more than all this ; it has not perhaps been 
enough remarked, that true Christianity, from her 
essential nature, appears peculiarly and powerfully 
adapted to promote the preservation and heaithful- 
ness of political commit nitiei. What is in truth 
their grand malady ? The answer is short ; Selfish- 
ness. This is that young disease received at the 
m€ moment 

.Google 



*5* Brief Inquiry into the- [Chap. Vt. 

moment of their birth, " which grows with their 
" growth, and strengthens with their strength ;** and 
through which they at length expire, if not cut off 
prematurely by some external shock or intestine 
convulsion- 

The disease of selfishness, indeed, assumes dif- 
ferent forms in the different classes of society. In 
the great and the wealthy, it displays itself in lux- 
ury, in pomp, and parade ; and in all the frivolities 
of a sickly and depraved imagination, which seeks 
in vain its own gratification, and is dead, to the 

fenerous and energetic pursuits of an enlarged 
earl.' In the lower orders, when not motionless 
under the weight of a superincumbent despotism, it 
manifests itself is pride, and its natural offspring, 
insubordination in all its modes. But though the 
external effects may vary, the internal principle is the 
same ; a disposition in each individual to make self 
the grand centre and end of his desires and enjoy- 
ments ; to over-rate his own merits and importance, 
and of course to magnify his claims on others, -'and 
to under-rate their' s on him ; a disposition to under* 
value the advantages, and over-state the disadvan- 
tages, of his condition in life. Thence spring 
rapacity, and venality, and sensuality. Thence im- 
perious nobles, and factious leaders ; thence also an 
unruly commonalty, bearing with difficulty the in- 
conveniences of a lower station, and imputing to the 
natureor administration c-f their government, the evil* 
which necessarily flow from the very constitution of 
our species, or which perhaps are chiefly the result 
of their own vices and follies. The opposite to self- 
ishness is public spirit ; which may be; termed, not 
unjustly, the grand principleof political vitality, the 
■very life's breath of states, which tends to keep them 
active and vigorous, and to carry them, to greatness 
and glory. 

The tendency of public spirit, and the opposite 
tendency of selfishness, have not escaped the ob- 
servation of the founders of states, or of the writerj 



Chap. VI-3 present State cf Christianity. 253 

on government; and various expedients have been 
resorted to and extolled, for cherishing the one, and 
for repressing the other. Sometimes a principle of 
internal agitation and dissension, resulting from the 
very frame of the government, has been productive 
of the effect. Sparta flourished for more than seven 
hundred years under the civil institutions of Lycur- 
gus ; which guarded against the selfish principle, by 
prohibiting commerce, and imposing universal po- 
verty and hardship. The Roman commonwealth, 
in which public spirit, was cherished, and selfishness 
checked, by the principle of the love* of glory, wag 
also of long continuance. This passion naturally 
operates to produce an unbounded spirit .of conquest, 
which, like the ambition of the greatest of its own 
heroes, was never satiated while any other kingdom 
was left to be subdued. The principle of political 
vitality, when kept alive only by means like these, 
merits the description once given of eloquence : 
" Sicut narnrn a, materia alitur, 8t motibus excitatur, 
" 8c uremic clarescit." But like eloquence, when no 
longer called into action by external causes, or 
fomented by civil broils, it gradually languishes. 
Wealth and luxury produce stagnation, and stagna- 
tion terminates in death. 

To provide, however, for the continuance of a 
state, by the admission of internal dissensions, or 
even by the chilling influence of poverty, seems to 
be in some sort sacrificing the end to the means. 
Happiness is the end for which men unite in civil 
society ; but in societies thus constituted, little bap* 
piness, comparatively speaking, is to be found. The 
expedient, again, of preserving a state by the spirit 
of conquest, though even this has not wanted its 
admirers (a), is not to be tolerated for a moment, when 
considered on principles of universal justice. Such 

(a) SeecspPL-iiilly that grcit bitlorian, Ft nouso^.who,"] bisEssaj 

the ccmute conveyed, by thi? putt : 

" From Uuvdom'i m»din«n to Ibe'Swed^." 

. .. - a state 



«54 &&f Inquiry into the |Chap.Vl. 

a state lives, and grows, and thrives, by .the misery 
of others, and •becomes professedly the general 
enemy of its neighbours, and the scourge of the hu- 
man race. All these devices are in truth but too 
much like the fabrications of man, when compared 
with the works of the Supreme Being ; clumsy, yet 
weak in the execution of their* purpose, and full of 
contradictory principles, and jarring movements: 

I might here enlarge' with pleasure on the unri- 
valled excellence, in this very view, of the constitu- 
tion under which we live in this happy country ; and 
point out how, more perhaps than any which ever 
existed upon earth, it is so framed, as to provide at 
the same time for keeping up a due degree of public 
spirit, and yet for preserving- unimpaired the quiet- 
ness, and comfort, and charities of private life; -how 
it even extracts from selfishness itself many of the 
advantages which, under less happily constructed 
forms of government, public spirit only can supply. 
But such a political discussion, however grateful to 
a British mind, would here be out of place. It is 
rather our business to remark, how much Christi- 
anity in every way sets herself in direct hostility to 
selfishness, the mortal distemper of political com- 
munities; and consequently, how their welfare must 
be inseparable from her prevalence. It might indeed 
be almost stated as the main object and chief con- 
cern of Christianity to root out our natural selfish- 
ness, to rectify the false standard which it imposes 
on us, and to bring us not only to a just estimate 
of ourselves, and ot all. around us, but to a due im- 
pression also of the various claims and obligations 
resulting from the different relations in which we 
stand. Benevolence, enlarged vigorous operative 
benevolence, is her master principle! Moderation 
in temporal pursuits and enjoyments, comparative 
indifference to the issue of worldly projects, dili- 
' gence in the discharge of personal and civil duties, 
resignation to the will of God, and patience under 
all the dispensations of his i'jovidence, are among 
her 



Chap. VIJ preteni State of Chiitiamty. S55 
her daily lessons. Humility is one of the essential 
qualities which her precepts most directly and 
strongly enjoin, and which all her various doctrines 
tend to call forth and cultivate; and humility .lays 
the deepest and surest grounds for benevolence, in 
.whatever .class or order of society Christianity pre- 
vails, shesets herself to rectify the particular faults, 
or, if we would speak more distinctly, to counteract 
the particular mode of selfishness to which that 
class is liable. Affluence she teaches to be liberal 
and beneficent; authority, to bear its faculties with 
meekness, and to consider the various cares and 
obligations belonging to its elevated station as being 
conditions on which that station is-conferrcd. Thus, 
softening the glare of wealth, and moderating the 
insolence of power, she renders the inequalities' of 
the social state, less galling to the lower orders, 
whom iilso she instructs, in their turn, to he diligent, 
humble, patient: reminding them that their more 
lowly path h;is been allotted to them by the hand of 
God; that it is their part faithfully to discharge its 
duties, and contentedly to bear its inconveniences, 
that the present state of things is very short; that 
the objects about which worldly men conflict so 
eagerly, are not worth the contest ; that the peace 
of mind, which Religion offers indiscriminately to 
all ranks affords more true satisfaction than all the 
expensive pleasures which are beyond the .poor 
man's reach ; that in this view the poor have the 
advantage; that, if their superiors enjoy more abun- 
dant comforts, they are also exposed to many 
temptations from which the inferior classes are hap- 
pily exempted ; that " having food and raiment, 
" they should be therewith content," since their 
situation in life, with all its evils, is better than they 
have deserved at the hand of God ; and finally, that 
all human distinctions will soon be done away, and 
the true followers of Christ will all, as children of 
the same Father, be alike admitted to the posses- 
ion of the same heavenly inheritance. Such are the 
blessed 



256 Brief Iriquiry into the [Chap. VI. 

blessed effects of Christianity on the temporal well- 
being of political communities. 

But the -Christianity which can produce effects 
Bui vital like these must be real, not nominal, deep, 
Chriitianity no t super6cial. Such therefore is the Re- 
prrjduoe™ 1'gion w e should cultivate, if we would 
these efeeii; realize these pleasing speculations, and 
and,- mil arrest theprogress of political decay. But, 
■Bw'eiXer m tne present circumstances of this coun- 
have this, or try, a farther reason for cultivating .this 
noneoto/t yital Christianity, (still considering it 
merely in a political view) is, that, according to all 
human appearance, we must either have .this or 
none: unless the prevalence of this be in some 
degree restored, we are likely, not only to lose all 
the advantages which we might have derived from 
true Christianity, but to incur all the manifold 
evils which would result from the absence of all 
religion. 

In the first place, let it be remarked, that a 
weakly principle of Religion, which in a political 
view, might be productive of many advantages, 
though its existence may be prolonged if all external 
circumstances favour its continuance, can hardly be 
kept alive, when the state of things is so unfavour- 
able to vital Religion, as in our condition of society 
it appears to be. Nor is it merely the ordinary 
effects of a state of wealth and prosperity to which 
we here allude. Much also may justly be appre- 
hended from that change which has taken place in 
our general habits of thinking and feeling, concern- 
ing the systems and opinions of former times. At 
a less advanced period of society, indeed, the Re- 
ligion of the State will be generally accepted, though 
it be not felt in its vital power. It was the Religion 
of our forefathers: with the bulk, it is on that ac- 
count entitled to reverence; and its authority is 
admitted without question. The establishment in 
which it subsists, pleads the same prescription, and 
obtains 



Chap. VI.] present State of Ckrittiamty. a $? 

obtains the same respect. But, in our days, things 
are very differently circumstanced. Not merely 
the blind prejudice in favour of former times, but 
even the proper respect for them, and the reason- 
able presumption in their favour, has abated. Still 

- Jess will the idea be endured, of upholding a mani- 
fest imposture, -for the sake of retaining the com- 

. mon people in subjection. A system, if not sup- 

"ported by a real persuasion of its truth, will fall to 
the ground. Thus it not unfrequently happens, 
that in a more advanced state of society, a religious 
establishment must be indebted for its support to 
that very Religion which in earlier times it fostered 
and protected; as the weakness of some aged mo- 
ther is sustained, and her existence lengthened, by 
the tender assiduities of the child whom she had 

.reared in the helplessness of infancy. So, in the 
present instance, unless there be reinrused into the 
mass of our society, something of that principle 
which animated our ecclesiastical system in its ear- 
lier days, it is vain for us to hope that the establish- 
ment will very lone continue : for an establishment, 

.the actual principles of whose members, and even 
teachers, are, for the most part, so extremely dif- 
ferent from those which it professes, is an anomaly 
which will not much longer be borne. But in pro- 
portion as vital Christianity can be revived, in that 
same proportion the Church establishment is strength- 
ened ; for the revival of vital Christianity is the very 
reiofusion of which we have been speaking. This is 
the very Christianity on which our establishment is 
founded; and that which her Articles, and Homilies, 

'and Liturgy, teach throughout. - 

But if, when the reign of prejudice, and even of 
honest prepossession, and of grateful veneration, is 
no more, (tor by these almost any system may gene- 
rally be supported, before a state, having passed the 
period of its maturity, is verging to its decline); it 
be thought, that a dry, uoanimated Religion, like 
that 



fljS Brief Inquiry into the , [Chap. VI. 

that which is how professed by nominal 'Christians, 
can bold its place, and much more, that it can be 
revived among the general mats of mankind ; it 
may be affirmed, that, arguing merely on human 
principles, they know little of human nature. The 
kind of Religion which we have recommended, inde- 
pendent of all consideration either of the grace that 
it imparts, or even of its truth, most at least be con- 
ceded to be that which is most of all suited to make 
an impression upon the lower orders, since it so 
strongly interests all the passions of the human mind. 
If it Be thought that a system of ethics may regu- 
late the conduct of the higher classes, such an one is 
altogether unsuitable to the lower, who must be 
wrought upon by their affections, or they will not be 
wrought upon at all. The ancients were wiser than 
■ ourselves,^ find never thought of governing the com- 
munity in general by their lessons of philosophy. 
These iessons were confined to the schools of the 
learned ; whilefor the million, a system of Heligion, 
-such as it was, was kept up, as alone adapted to 
Appeal ta their grosser natures. If" this ■reason- 
tfftritaot. ing fail to convince, we may safely ap- 
peal to experience. ' Let the Socini&n and the 
moral teacher af Christianity come forth, and tell 
-us what effects they 'have produced on the lower 
orders. They themselves will hardly deny the in- 
- efficacy of . their instructions. But, blessed be God, 
the Bfligion which we recommend, has proved its 
correspondence with the character originally given 
of' Christianity, 'that it mas calculated tor the poor ; 
it lias proved -this', I say, iby changing the whole 
condition of the mass of society in many of the most 
.populous districts in this and other countries; and 
by bringing them from a state of almost unexam- 
pled wickedness and barbarism, to a state of sobriety, 
decency, industry, and, in short, to whatever can 
.render-men useful members of civil society. 

If 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. a$g 
If indeed, through the Messing of Providence, a 
principle of true Religion should in any p j(,; ea [ 
considerable degree gain ground, there is good effects 

■ no estimating the effects on public morals, J r ""\ " lC ,r ~ 
and the consequent influence on our poll- ch-iitiani- 
tical welfare. These effects are not merely t 3 ; and bad 
negative : though it would be much, ™ ( y™* 
merely to check the further progress of a 'j'/^e.'" 
gangrene, which -is eating out the very 

vitals of our social and political existence. The 
'^general standard of morality formerly described 
would be raised, it would at least be sustained and , 
kept for a while from farther depression. The 
esteem which religious characters would personally 
1 attract, would extend to the system which they 
should hold,- and to the establishment, of which they 
should be members. These are all merely natural 
consequences. But to those who believe in a super- 
intending Providence, it may be added, that the 
blessing of God might be drawn down upon our 
country, and the stroke of his anger be for a while 
.suspended. 

.Let. us be spared the painful task of tracing, on 
the contrary, the fatal consequences of the-ewtinc- 
•tion of Religion among us. They are indeed suoh 
as no man, who is ever so little. interested for the 
welfare ofhis country, can contemplate without the 
jdeepest concern. The very loss of our church 
establishment, though, as in all human institutions, 
some. defects maybe- -found in it, would initeelfbe 

■ attended with the most .fatal consequences. No 
prudent man dares hastily pronounce, that its de- 

. struct ion might not greatly endanger our civil insti- 
tutions. It would not be difficult to prove, that the 
want of it would also be in the highest degree in- 
jurious ,to the cause of.Christianity ; and still more, 
that it would take away what appears from expe- 
rience to be one of the. most probable means of its 
revival. To what a degree might even the avowed 
prin.ciples.of men who are pot altogether destitute of 
Religion, 

.Google 



•So Brief Inquiry into the fChap. VI. 

Religion, decline, when our inestimable Liturgy 
should no longer remain in use ! a Liturgy justly 
inestimable, as setting before us a faithful model of 
the Christian's belief, and practice, and language ; 
as restraining us (as far as restraint is possible) 
from excessive deviations ; as furnishing us with 
abundant instruction when we would return into the 
right path; as affording an advantage-ground of no 
little value to such instructors as still adhere to the 
good old principles of the Church of England ; in 
short, as daily shaming us, by preserving a living 
representation of ihe opinions and habits of better 
times, like some historical record, which reproaches 
a degenerate posterity, by exhibiting the worthier 
deeds of their progenitors. In such a state of 
things, to what a depth public morals might sink, 
may he anticipated by those who consider what 
would then be the condition of society ; who reflect, 
how bad principles and vicious conduct mutually aid 
each other's operation, and how, in particular, the 
former make sure the ground which the latter may 
have gained; who remember, that, in the lower 
orders, that system of honour and that responsibility 
of character are wanting, which, in the superior 
classes, supply in some poor degree the place of 
higher principles. It is well for the happiness of 
mankind, that such a community could not long sub- 
sist. The cement of society being no more, the state 
would soon be dissolved into individuality. 

Let it not be vainly imagined that our state of 
civilization must prevent the moral degeneracy here 
threatened. A neighbouring nation has lately fur- 
nished a lamentable proof, that superior polish and 
refinement may well consist with a very large mea- 
sure of depravity. But to appeal to a still more 
decisive instance : it may be seen in the history of 
the latter years of the most celebrated of the Pagan 
nations, that the highest degrees of civilization and 
refinement are by no means inseparable from the 
most shocking depravity of morals. The fact is 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. 26i 
certain, and the obvious inference with regard to 
ourselves cannot be denied. The cause of this 
strange phenomenon, (such it really appears to our 
Tiew) for which the natural corruption of man 
might hardly seem to account sufficiently, has been 
explained by an inspired writer. Speaking of the 
most polished nations of antiquity, he observes; 
" Because when they knew God, they glorified him 
" not as God, and were not solicitous{a) to retain 
" him in their knowledge, be gave them over to a 
" reprobate mind." Let us then beware, and take 
warning from their example: let us not suffer our 
self-love to beguile us : let us not vainly persuade 
ourselves, that although prosperity and wealth may 
have caused us to relax a little too much in those 
moTe serious duties which regard our Maker, yet 
that we shall stop where we are; or, at least, that 
we can never sink into the same state of moral de- 
pravation. Doubtless we should sink as low, if God 
were to give np us also to our own imaginations. 
And "what ground have we to think he will not f If 
we would reason justly, we should not compare our- 
selves with the state of the Heathen world when at 
its worst, but with its state at that period, when, for 
its forgetfulness of God and its ingratitude towards 
him, it was suffered to fail, till at length it reached 
that worst, its ultimate point of depression. The 
Heathens had only reason and natural conscience to 
direct them '■ we enjoy, superadded to these, the 
clear light of Gospel revelation, and a distinct de- 
claration of God's dealings with them, to be a lesson 
for our instruction. How then can we but believe 
that if we, enjoying advantages so' much superior to 
their's, are alike forgetful of our kind Benefactor, we- 
also shall be left to ourselves? and if so left, what 
reason can be assigned why we should not fall into 
the same enormities? 



What 



2<J2 Brief Tnqtufy into the [Chap. VI; 

What then is to be done? The inquiry is of the 
Practical first importance, and the general answer to 
- ^f"' 1 ?' U "s not difficult.— The causes and nature 
^"" * of the decay of Religion and morals among 
ptmer,bnht us sufficiently indicate the course, which, 
aua/Brii- on principles of sound policy, it is in the 
futtdbv'the highest degree expedient for us to pursue. 
ahwc tiau- The distemper of which, as a community, 
"*""■ we are sick, should bcconsidered rather as 
a moral than a political malady: How much has this 
been forgotten by the disputants of modern times ! 
and accordingly, how transient may be expected to ' . 
be the good effects of die best of theirimblieations' 
We should endeavour to tread back our steps. 
Every effort should be used to raise the depressed 
tone of public morals. This is a- duty particularly in- 
cumbent on all who are in the higher walks of life ; 
' and it is impossible not to acknowledge the obliga- 
tions, which in this respect we owe as a nation, to those 
exalted characters, whom God in his undeserved 
mercy to us still suffers tocontinue on the throne, and 
who set to their subjects a pattern of decency and 
moderation rarely seen in their elevated station. 

But every person of rank, and fortune, and abi- 
lities, should endeavour in like manner- to exhibit a 
similar example, and recommend it to the imitation 
of the circle in which he moves. It has been the 
opinion of some well-meaning people,- that by join- 
ing, as far as they possibly could with innocence, in 
the customs and practices of irreligious men, they 
might soften tlie prejudices too frequently taken up 
against Religion, of its being an austere, gloomy 
service ; and thus secure a previous favourable, im- 
■ pression against any time, when they might have an 
opportunity of explaining or enforcing their senti- . 
ments. This is always a questionable, and it is to 
be feared, a dangerous policy. Many misehevous 
consequences necessarily resulting from it might 
easily be enumerated. But it is a policy particularly 
unsuitable to our inconsiderate and dissipated times, 
- and 



Qbap. VI.] present State of Christianity. 263 

and to the lengths at which we am arrived. In these 
circumstances, the moat- likely means of producing 
the rtvuJtion which is required, mint he boldly to! 
proclaim the distinction between the adherents of 
" God- and Baal." The expediency of this conduct 
in our present situation is confirmed by another 
consideration, to which we have before had occasion 
to refer. It is this— that when men arc aware that 
something of difficulty is to be effected, their spirits 
rise to the level of the .encounter ; they make up 
their minds to bear hardships and. brave dangers, 
and to persevere in spite of fatigue and opposition: 
whereas, in a matter which is regarded as of easy 
and ordinary operation, they are apt to slumber - 
over their work, and to fail in what a small effort 
might have been sufficient to accomplish, for want 
of having called up the requisite degree of energy 
and spirit. Conformably to the principle which 13 
hereby suggested, in the circumstances in which we 
are placed,, the line of demarcation between the 
friends and the enemies of Religion should now be 
made clear ; the separation should be broad and ob- 
vious. Let him, then, who wishes well to his 
country, no longer hesitate what course of conduct 
to pursue. The question now is not, in what liberties 
he might warrantably indulge himself in another 
situation f but what are the restraints on himself 
which the exigencies of the present times'render it 
advisable for him to impose ? Circumstanced as we 
now are, it is more than ever obvious, that the best 
man is the truest patriot. 

Nor is it only by their personal conduct, (though 
this mode will always be the most efficacious) that 
men of authority and influence may promote the 
cause of good morals. I^et them in their several 
stations encourage vittue, and discountenance vice, 
in others. Let them enforce the laws by which the 
wisdom of our forefathers has guarded against the 
grosser infractions of morals ; and congratulate 
themselves, that in a leading situation on the bench 
of 
, , .Google 



t&4 Brief Inquiry into the tCh»P- VI. 

of justice there is placed a man, who, to his honour 
be it spoken, is well disposed to assist their efforts^ a). 
Let them favour and take part in any plans which 
may be formed for the advancement of morality. 
Above all things, let them endeavour to instruct 
and improve the rising generation ; that, if it be 
possible, an antidote may be provided for the 
malignity of that venom which is storing up in a 
neighbouring country. This has lone been to my 
mind the most formidable feature of the present 
state of things in France ; where, it is to be feared, 
a brood of moral vipers, as it were, is now hatching, 
which, when they shall hare attained to their mis- 
chievous maturity, will go forth to poison the world. 
But fruitless will be all attempts to sustain, much 
mote to revive, the fainting cause of morals, unless 
you can in some degree restore the prevalence of 
Evangelical Christianity. It is in morals as in phy- 
sics ; unless the source of practical principles be 
elevated, it will be in vain to attempt to make them 
How on a high level in their future course. You, 
may force them for a while into, some constrained 
position, but they will soon drop to their natural 
point of depression. By all therefore who are stu- 
dious of their country's welfare, more particularly 
by all who desire to support our ecolesiastical esta- 
blishment, every effort should ; be used to revive the 
Christainity of our better days. 1 he attempt should 
especially be made in the case of the pastors of the 
Church, whose situation must reader the principles 
which they hold a matter of supereminent import- 
ance. Wherever these teachers have steadily and 
zealously inculcated the true doctrines of the Church 
of England, the happiest effects have commonly re- 
warded their labours. And it is worth observing, in 
the view which we are now taking, that these men, 
as might naturally be expected, ore, perhaps without 



Jwtice Kbmvdm. 

exception, 



Chap. VI.] present State of Christianity. 16*5 

exception, friendly to our ecclesiastical and civil 
establishments .(a) ; and consequently, that their 
instructions and influence tend directly as well as in- 
directly, to the maintenance of the cause of order 
and good government. If any, judging with the 
abstract coldness of mere .politicians, doubt whether, 
by adopting the measures here recommended, such 
a religious warmth would not be called into action, 
as might break out into mischievous irregularities ; 
it may be well for them to recollect, what experience 
clearly proves, that an establishment, from its very 
nature, affords the happy means of exciting a con- 
siderable degree of fervour and animation, and at 
the same time tends to restrain them within due 
bounds. The duty of encouraging vital Religion in 
the Church particularly devolves on all who have 
the disposal of ecclesiastical preferment, and more 
especially on the dignitaries of the sacred order, 
Some of these have already sounded, the alarm ; 
justly censuring the practice of suffering Chris- 
tianity to degenerate into a mere system of ethics, 
and recommending more attention to the peculiar 
doctrines of our Religion. In our schools, in our uni- 
versities, let encouragement be given to the study 
of the writings of those venerable divines who flou- 
v rished in the purer times of Christianity. let even 
a considerable proficiency in their writings be re- 
quired of candidates for ordination. Let our 
Churches no longer witness that "unseemly discord- 
ance, which has too much prevailed, between the 
prayers which 'precede; and the sermon which 
follows. 

But it may be enough to have briefly hinted at 
the course of conduct, which, in the present cir- 
cumstances of this country, motives merely political 
should prompt us to pursue. To all who nave at 
heart the national welfare, the above suggestions 
are solemnly submitted. They have not been urged 

t (uUj, hut Micrlcd on the writer's own 

N altogether 



' tM Practical Hints to [Chap. VH. 

altogether without misgivings, lest it should appear 
as though the concent of Eternity were melted 

- down into a mere matter of temporal advantage, or 
political expediency. But since it has graciously 
pleased the Supreme Being so to arrange the con- 
stitution of things, as to render the prevalence of 
true Religion and of pure morality conducive to the 
well-being of states, and the preservation of civil 
order; and since these subordinate inducements are 
not unfrequenty held forth, even by the sacred 
writers ; it seemed not improper, and scarcely liable 
to misconstruction, to suggest inferior motives to 
readers, who might be less disposed to listen to con- 
siderations of a higher order. 

Would to God that the course of conduct here 
suggested might be fairly pursued ! Would to God 
that the happy consequences which would result 
from the principles we have recommended, could 
be realized ; and above all, that the influence of true 

, Religion could be extensively diffused ! It is the 
best wish which can be formed for his country, by 
one who is deeply anxious for its welfare : 

Lucem rrddc luam, din bone, pit™ I 

Ajfulsk pupulo, gralior it die », 
Et solo raeliui uitent. 



CHAPTER VII. 



PRACTICAL HINTS TO VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS 
OF. PERSONS. _ 

TP H U S have we endeavoured to trace the chief 
■*■ defects of the religious system of the bulk of 
professed Christians in this country. We have 
pointed out their low idea of the importance of 
Christianity in general; their inadequate concep- I 
tious | 



Sept l.J . various description* of ' Bersons. JsGf 

(ions of all Us leading doctrines, and die effect 
hereby naturally produced in relaxing - the strictness ' 
of its practical system : more than all, we have re- 
marked their grand fundamental misconception of 
its genius and essential nature. Let not Difference 
therefore the difference between them and between no* 
true believers be considered as a trifling J^/c^ 
difference; as a question of forms or opi- tW.of.tfi 
nions. The question is of the verv sub- A* 1 ™p«r- 
stance of Religion ; the difference is of the """' 
most serious and momentous amount. We must 
speak out: Their Christianity is not Christianity^ 
It wants the radical principle. It is mainly defective' 
in all the grand constituents. Let them no longer 
then be deceived by names in a matter of Infinite 
importance: but, with humble prayer to the Source 
of all wisdom, that he would enlighten their under- 
standings, and clear their hearts from prejudice, let 
them seriously examine by the Scripture standard 
their real belief and allowed practice; and they will 
become sensible of the shallowness of their scanty 
system. 

Tf through the blessing of Providence on any 
thing which has been here written, any Bcl . 
should feel themselves disposed to this lc if-exa- 
important duty of self-inquiry, let me pre- "unatim— 
viously warn them to be well aware of our ZZSTL 
natural proneness to think too favourably nij?deccp- 
of ourselves. Selfishness is one of the prin- "'«•» jm'nie* 
cipal fruits of the corruption of human na- **"' 
ture; and' it is obvious that selfishness disposes us to 
over-rate our good qualities, .and to overlook or ex- 
tenuate our defects: The corruption of human 

' nature therefore being admitted, it follows unde- 
niably, that in all our reckonings, if we would form 
a iust estimate of onr character, we must make an 
allowance for the effects of selfishness. It is also 
another effect of the corruption of human nature, to 

, oloud our moral sight, and blunt our moral seusi- 
N fl " biltty. 



aft- Practical Hintt to [Chap. Vll: 

birity. Something mast therefore be allowed for 
this effect likewise. Doabdess, die perfect purity 
of the Supreme Being taakes him see in us stains, 
for more in number and deeper in dye, than we our- 
selves can discover. Nor should another aweral 
consideration be forgotten. When we look into 
ourselves, those sins only, into which we have lately 
ftdlen-, aTe commonly apt to excite any lively im- 
pression. Many individual acts of vice, or a con- 
tinued course of vicious of dissipated conduct, which, 
when recent, fnay have smitten us with deep remorse, 
after & few months or years leave but very faint traces 
in our recollection ; at least, those acts alone con- 
tinue to strike us strongly, which were of very extra- 
ordinary magnitude. But the strong impressions 
which they at first excited, not the faded images 
which they subsequently present to us, furnish the 
juster measure of their guilt : and to the pare eyes 
of God, this guilt must always have" appeared far 
greater tb an to us. Now to the Supreme Being, we 
must believe that there is no past or future : as what- 
ever will be, so whatever has been, is retained by him 
in present and unvarying contemplation, continuing 
always to appear jtist the same as at the first moment 
of its existence. Well may it then humble us in the 
sight of that Being " who is of purer eyes than to 
" oeheld iniquity," to remember, that, unless 
through true repentance and lively faith we have 
obtained an interest in the satisfaction of Christ, we 
appear before him at this moment clothed with the 
sins of our whole' lives, in all their original depth of 
colouring, and with all the aggravations which we 
no longer particularly remember; but which, in 

teneral. We perhaps may recollect to have once filled 
rwith shame and confusion of face. The writer is 
the* ritlier (iL-sirous of enforcing this reflection, be- 
cause he can truly declare that he has found no con- 
sideration so efficacious in producing in his own mind 
die deepest self-abasement. 

In treating of the sources of the erroneous esti- 
mates 



Sect-i.] verioiudacriptiojisiifPmons. a6g 

mates which we form of our religious and moral 
character, it may not perhaps be without its uses to. 
take this occasion of pointing out some Other com- 
mon springs of self-deception. Many persons, as, 
was formerly hinted, are misled by the favourable 
Opinions entertained of them by others : many also, 
ft is to be feared, mistake a hotaeal for orthodoxy, 
for a cordial acceptance of the great truths of the 
Gospel : and almost all of us, at one time or other,, 
are more or less misled, by confounding the sug- 
gestions of the understanding with the impulses of 
the will, the> assent which our judgment gives, to, 
religious and moraUruths, with a hearty belief .ana; 
approbation of them. 

There is another frequent source of self-decsptiott, 
which ia productive of so much mischief in onum* 
life, that, though it may appear to lead to i Bg ', or 
some degree of repetition, it would be "f™ 1 !/, 
highly improper to omit the mention of it ^^j^ 
in this place. That we may he the better mittakenfim 
understood, it may be proper to premise,/""^ tf 
that certain particular vices, and likewise *" *""• 
certain particular good and amiable Qualities, seem, 
naturally to belong to. certain particular periods and 
conditions of lite. Now, if we would reason fairly 
in estimating our moral character, we ought to ex- 
amine ourselves with reference to that particular 
* sin which does most easily beset us," not to some 
other sin to which we are not nearly so much liable* 
In like manner, on the other hand, "we ought not to 
account it matter of much self-complacency, if we, 
find in ourselves (hat good and amiable quality 
which naturally belongs to our period or condition J. 
but rather look for some less ambiguous. sign,.ofa 
real internal principle of virtue. But we are very 
apt to reverse these rules of judging; we are apt,, 
on the one hand, both in ourselves and in others, to, 
excuse "the besetting sin," and, take credit for being 
n 3 exempt 



*yo Practical Hints to ' ' fChap. VII. 

exempt from others, to which we are less liable ; 
and, on the other hand, to value ourselves extremely 
on our possession of the good or amiable quality 
which naturally belongs to us, and to require no 
more satisfactory evidence of the sufficiency at least 
of our moral character. The bad effects of this par- 
tiality are aggravated by the practice, to which we 
are sadly prone, of being contented, when we take a 
hasty view of ourselves, with negative evidences of 
our state ; thinking it very well if we are not shocked 
by some great actual transgression, instead of looking 
for the positive marks of a true Christian, as laid 
down in the holy Scripture. 

But the source of self-deception, which it is more 
, particularly our present object to point out, is, a 
disposition to consider the relinquishment of any 
particular vice as an actual victory over the vice 
itself; when, in fact, we only forsake it on quitting 
the period or condition of life to which that vice 
belongs^ and probably substitute for it the vice of 
the new period or condition on which we are enter- 
ing. We thus mistake our merely outgrowing our 
rices, or relinquishing them from some change in our. 
Worldly circumstances, for a thorough, or at least for 
a sufficient, reformation. 

• But this topic deserves to bfe'viewed a little 
Adre closely. Young people may, without much 
offence, be inconsiderate and dissipated j the youth 
of one sex may indulge occasionally in licentious 
*x cesses; those of the 6ther may be supremely given 
up to vanity and pleasure : yet, provided that they 
are sweet tempered, and open, and not disobedient 
t& their parents or other superiors, the former are 
AsExaeA good hearted young men, the latter innocent 
.young women. Thdse who love them best have no 
solicitude about their spiritual interests :and"it would 
be deemed strangely strict in themselves, or in "others, 
■to doubt of their becoming more religious as they 
advance in life; and still more, to speak of them as 
being 



o 8 k- 



Sect, l.] various descriptions of Persons. 27! 

being actually under the divine displeasure ; or, if 
their lives should be in danger, to entertain any ap- 
prehensions concerning their future destiny. 

They grow older, and marry. The same licen- 
tiousness, which was formerly considered in young 
men as a. venial frailty, is now no longer regarded in 
the husband and the father as compatible with the 
character of a decently religious man.- The lan- 
guage is of this sort; " they have sown their wild 
" oats, they must now reform, and be regular." Nor 
perhaps is the same manifest predominance of vanity 
and dissipation deemed innocent in the matron : but 
if they are kind respectively in their conjugal and 
parental relations, and are tolerably regular and 
decent, they pass for mighty good sort of people: 
and it would be altogether unnecessary scrupulosity 
in them to doubt of their coming up to the requisi- 
tions of the divine law, as far as in the present state 
of the world can be expected from human frailty; 
Their hearts, however, are perhaps no more than 
before supremely set on the great work of their sal- 
vation, but are chiefly bent on increasing their 
fortunes, or raising their families. Meanwhile they' 
congratulate themselves on their having renounced 
vices, which they are no longer strongly tempted to 
commit, and the renunciation of which, forms no 
just criterion of the religious 'principle, since the 
commission of them would prejudice their characters, 
and perhaps injure their prospects in life. 

Old age has at length made its advances. Now*, 
if ever, we might expect that it would be deemed 
high time to make eternal things the main object of 
Attention. No such thing! There is still an ap- 
propriate good quality, the presence of which, calm* 
the disquietude, and satisfies the requisitions both: 
of themselves and of those around them. It is now 
required of them that they should be good natured 
and cheerful, indulgent to the frailties and follies of 
the young; remembering, that when young them-. 
selves they gave into the same practices. How 
n 4 opposite 



s;« Practical Wints to [Chap. VI) 

opposite this to that dread of sin, which is the sure 
characteristic of the true Christian ; which causes 
hiin to look back upon the vices of his own youth- 
Ail days with shame and sorrow; and which, instead 
of conceding to young people to be wild and 
thoughtless, as a privilege belonging to their age and 
circumstances, prompts him to warn them against what 
lad proved to himself matter of such bitter reflection ! 
Thus, throughout the whole of life, some means or 
other are devised for stifling the voice of conscience. 
" We cry peace, while there is no peace ! " and both 
to ourselves and others that complacency is fur- 
nished, which ought only to proceed from a con- 
sciousness of being reconciled to God, and a humble 
hope of our possessing his favour. 

I know that these sentiments will be termed un- 
'Vncharit*- charitable: but I must not be deterred 
Uquu, and- by such an imputation. It is time to have 
•prf e*«-i done with that senseless cant of charity, 
"** _ which insults the understandings, and trifles. 
with the feelings, of those who are really concerned 
for the happiness of their fellow-creatures. What 
matter of keen remorse and of bitter self-reproaches 
are they storing up for their future torment, who are 
themselves the miserable dupes of such misguided 
charity, or who, being charged with the office of 
watching, over the eternal interest* of their children 
or relations, suffer themselves to be lulled asleep by 
such shallow reasonings, or to be led into a derelic- 
tion, of- their important duty by a fear of bringing on 
•themselves a momentary pain ! Charity, indeed, is 
partiafc to die object of her. regard ; and where action* 
ar« of a doubtful quality, this partiality disposes her 
to refer diem to a good, rather than to a bad motive. 
She is apt also somewhat to exaggerate merits, and 
to see amiable qualities in a light more favourable 
than that which strictly belongs to them. But true 
charity is wakeful, fervent, full of solicitude, full of 
good offices, not so easily satisfied, not so ready to 
"■',■' believe 



fleet, lj - various descriptions of Persons. 3^3 

believe that every thing is going on well as a matter 
9f cqurse; but jealous of mischief, apt to suspect 
ganger, and prompt to extend relief. These are the 
symptoms by which genuine regard will manifest 
itself in a wife or a mother, in the case of the bodily 
health of the object of her affections. And where 
there is any real concern for the spiritual interests of, 
others, it if characterized by the same infallible 
marks. That wretched quality, by which thesacred 
name of charity is now so generally and so falsely 
usurped, is no other than indifference ; which, 
against tbe plainest evidence, or at least where mere 
is stiong ground of apprehension, is easily contented . 
to believe that all goes well, because it has no anxie- 
ties to allay, no fears to repress, Jt undergoes no 
alternation of passions ; it is not at one time Hushed 
with hope, nor at another chilled by disappointment. 
To a considerate and feeling mind, there is some- 
thing deeply afflicting, in seeing die engaging 
cheerfulness and cloudless gaiety incident to youth, 
welcomed as a .sufficient indication of internal purity, 
by the delighted parents ; who, knowing the deceit- ' a 
fulness of these flattering appearances, should eager- 
\y avail themselves of this period, when once "wasted 
never t» be regained, of good-humored acquiescence 
and dutiful docility: a period when the Soft" and 
ductile .temper of the mind renders it more easily 
susceptible of the impressions we desire; arid when, 
therefore, habits should be formed, which may assist 
our natural weakness to resist the temptations to 
which, we shall be, exposed in the commerce of ma* 
turerlife. This is more especialy affecting ff, ™«»»- 
in the female sex, because that sex seems, ^^T' 
by-the very constitution of its nature, to jitiigioa 
b^ more favourably disposed than ours to "1™ M*». 
tjhe feelings and offices of Religion; being thus 
fitted by the bounty of Providence, the better to 
execute the important task which devolves on it,' of 
ttte education of our earliest youth. Doubtless, this 
N 5 more 



o 8 k- 



174 Practical flints to [Chap. V it 

more favourable disposition to Religion in the Female 
■ex was graciously designed also to make women 
doubly valuable in the wedded state : and it seems 
to afford to the married man the means of rendering 
an active share in the business of life more compati- 
ble, than it would otherwise be, with the liveliest 
devotional feelings; that when the husband should 
return to his family, worn and harassed by worldly 
cares or professional labours, the wife, habitually 
preserving a warmer and more unimpaired spirit of 
devotion, than is perhaps consistent with being im- 
mersed In, the bustle of life, might revive his languid 
piety ; and that the religious impressions of both 
might derive new force and tenderness from the 
animating sympathies of conjugal affection. Can a 
more pleasing image be presented to a considerate 
mind, than that of a couple, happy in each other 
and in the pledges of their mutual love, uniting in 
•n act of grateful adoration to the Author of all their 
mercies; recommending each other, aid the objects 
of their common care, to the divine protection ; and 
repressing the solicitude of conjugal and parental 
tenderness by a confiding hope, that, through all the 
changes of this uncertain life, the Disposer of all 
things will assuredly cause all to work together for 
the good of them that love and put their trust in 
him; and that, after this uncertain state shall have 
passed away, they shall be admitted to a Joint par- 
ticipation of never-ending happiness ? It is surely 
no mean or ignoble office which we would allot to 
the female sex, when we would thus commit to them 
the charge of -maintaining in lively exercise what- 
ever emotions most dignify and adorn human na- 
ture; when we would make them as it were the 
medium of our intercourse with the heavenly world, 
the faithful repositories of the religious principle, for 
. the benefit both of the present and of the rising 
■ generation. Must it not then excite our grief and 
mdignation, when we behold mothers, forgetful at 
once 



o 8 k- 



Sect. i.] various descriptions of Persons. 275 

once of their own peculiar duties, and of the high 
office which Providence designed their daughters to 
fulfil, exciting, instead of moderating, in them, the 
natural sanguineness and inconsiderateness of youth ; 
hurrying them night after night to the resorts of dis- 
sipation; thus teaching them to despise the common 
comforts of the family circle; and, instead of striv- 
ing to raise their views, and to direct their affections ■ 
to their true object, acting as if with the express' 
design studiously to extinguish every spark of a* 
devotional spirit, and to kindle in its stead an exces- 
sive love of pleasure, and, perhaps, a principle of* 
extravagant vanity, and ardent emulation i ■'■'>' 

Innocent youn g women! Good heartedyoung men!' 
Wherein does this goodness of heart and i*«<*t«t 
this innocence appear? Remember that s "^ t £* \ 
we are fallen creatures, born in sin, and m uc* 
naturally depraved. Christianity recog- "frwrf. 
nises no innocence or goodness of heart, but in the 
remission of sin, and in the effects of the operation 
of divine grace. Do we find in these young per- 
sons the characters, which the holy Scriptures lay 
down as the only satisfactory evidences of a sale" 
state ? Do we not on the other hand discover the 
specified marks of a state of alienation from God?< 
Can the blindest partiality persuade itself that they 
are loving, or striving " to love, God with all their 
" hearts, and minds, and souls, and strength?" Are 
they " seeking first the kingdom of God, and his' 
"■ righteousness?" Are they " working out their 
" salvation with fear and trembling? Are they 
" clothed with humility?" Are they not, on the 
contrary, supremely given up to self-indulgence? 
Are they not at least " lovers of pleasure more than 
" lovers of God?" Are the offices of Religion their 
solace, or their task ? Do they not come to these 
sacred services with reluctance, continue in them by 
constraint, and quit them with gladness? And to 
how many of these persons may not the prophet's 
N language 



«7$ r . Jfcwftiw* Upt$ to {Chap. VII, 

language be applied ; " The harp, and tbe viol, the 
" tabret and pipe, and nine, are in their feasts : but 
they regard not tbe work of the Lord, neither 
consider the operation of his hands ? " Are not 
the youth of one sex often actually committing, 
and still more often wishing for the opportunity to 
commit, those sins, of which the Scripture says 
expressly, " that they which, do such things thall 
" not inherit tbe kingdom of God?" Are not the 
youth of the other sex principally intent on the gra- 
tification of vanity ; and looking tor their chief 
happiness to the resorts of gaiety and fashion, and 
to all the multiplied pleasures, which public places, 
or the still higher gratifications of more refined 
circles, can supply ? 

And then, when the first ebullitions of youthful 
warmth are over, what is their boasted reformation ? 
They may be decent, sober, useful, respectable, as 
members of the community, or amiable in the rela- 
tions of domestic life. But is this the change of 
which the Scripture speaks f Hear the expressions 
which it uses, and judge for yourselves—" Except 
" a wan be born again, be cannot enter into the 
1 kingdom of God," — " The old man— is corrupt ac- 
"' cording to the deceitful . hists ;" an expression but 
too descriptive of the vain delirium of youthful dis- 
sipation, and of the false dreams of pleasure which 
it inspires ; bat " the new man" is awakened from 
this fallacious estimate of happiness ; " he is renewed 
f in knowledge after the image of Him that created 
" him."—" He is created after. God in righteousness 
*'. and une holiness." The persons of whom we are 
■peaking are no longer indeed so thoughtless, and 
wild, and dissipated, as formerly ; so negligent in 
their attention to objects of real value ; so eager in 
the pursuit of pleasure ; so prone to yield, to the im- 
pulse of appetite. But this is no more, than- the 
change of which a writer of no. very strict cast 
sneaks, as naturally belonging to their riper age ; 

Converaia 



9dct. 1 .] various descriptions of Persons. 277 

• ConTenii itudiii, ieta), (niqinsijoe »irilii 
Qamit opes, & amicilias :, inservit honori : 
Commisine cavet, quothnioi mutate Uborct. 

Horn. 
This is a point of infinite importance : let it nob 
.be thought tedious to spend even yet a few more 
moments in the discussion of it- Put the question 
to another issue, and try it upon this principle, that 
life is a state of probation ; (a principle true indeed 
in a certain sense, though not exactly in that which 
is sometimes assigned to it;) and you will still be 
led to no very different conclusion. Probation im- 
plies resisting, in obedience to the dictates of Reli- 
gion, appetites which we are naturally proifipted to 
to gratify. Young, people are not tempted to be 
churlish, interested, coveteous; but to be inconsi- 
derate and dissipated, "lovers of pleasure more than- 
" lovers of God." People again in middle age are 
not so stongly tempted to be thoughtless, ana idle, 
and licentious. From excesses of this sort they are 
sufficiently withheld, particularly when happily set- 
tled in domestic life, by a regard to their characters, 
by the restraints of family connections, and by a 
sense of what is due to the decencies of the married 
state. Their probation is of another sort ; they, axe 
tempted to be supremely engrossed by worldly 
cares, by family interests, by professional objects,' 
by the pursuit of wealth or of ambition. Thus oc- 
cupied, they are tempted to " mind earthly rathes 
*-' than heavenly things ;" to forget " the one flaing 
, *f needful ;" to " set their affections" on temporal 
rather than on eternal concerns; and to take up with 
" a form of godliness,'' instead of seeking to expe- 
rience the power, thereof: the foundations of tbia 
nominal Religion being laid in the forget fulness, if. 
not in the ignorance, of the peculiar doctrines of 
Christianity. These are the ready-made Christians 
formerly spoken of, who consider Christianity. as .a; 
geographical term, properly applicable ;to all- those- 
who have been born and educated in a. country 
wherein Christianity is. professed;; not as. indicating; 
a renewed 



If there be any one who is inclined to listen to 
Hints to this solemn naming, who is awakened 



a;8 — Practical Hint* to . [Chap. V IT. 

a renewed nature, or as expressive of a peculiar 
character, with its appropriate desires and aversions, 
and hopes, and fears, aud joy*t ^d sorrows. To 
people of this description, the solemn admonition of 
Christ is addressed ; " I know thy works ; that 
'* thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead. 
" Be watchful, and strengthen the things which re- 
" main, that are ready to die; for I have not found 
" thy works perfect before God." 

be any o 

_.. ;his soleu: 

ftccha(,h<';--from his dream of false security, and is 
tngiwnfti- di 8 p 0se d to be not only almost but alto- 
bw,Bi*t» getker a Christian — O ! let him not stifle 
bmnuimt or dissipate these beginnings of serious- 
Chnitiaiu. negSf but 'sedulously cherish them as the 
'.' workings of the Divine Spirit," which would 
draw him from the " broad" and crowded " road 
" of destruction, into the narrow" and thinly 
peopled path " that ieadeth to life." Let him 
retire from the multitude.— Let him enter into 
his closet, and on his bended knees implore, for 
Christ's sake and in reliance on his mediation, that 
, God would " lake away from him the heart of stone, 
" and give him a heart of flesh ;" that the Father of 
light would open his eyes to his true condition, and 
clear bis heart from the clouds of prejudice, and 
dissipate the deceitful medium of self-love. Then 
let him carefully examine his past life, and his pre- 
sent course of conduct; comparing himself with ■ 
. God's word, and considering how any one might 
reasonably have heen expected to conduct himself, 
to whom the Holy Scriptures had been always 
open, and who had been used to acknowledge them 
to be the revelation of die will of his Creator, and 
Governor, and Supreme Benefactor : let him there 
peruse, the awful denunciations against impenitent 
tinners : let him labour to become more and more 
deeply impressed with a sense of his own radical 
blindness and corruption : above all, let him steadily 
contain plate, 



Sect, l.] various descriptions of Persons. toj§ 

contemplate, in all its relations, that stupendous 
truth, the incarnation and crucifixion of the onfy- 
begotten Son.of God, and the message of mercy pro^- 
claimed from the cross to repenting sinners. — " Be ye 
" reconciled unto God." — " Believe in the Lord 
" Jesus Christ, and thou shah be saved." 

When he fairly estimates the guilt of sin by the 
costly satisfaction which was required to atone for 
it, and the worth of his soul by the price which wits 
paid for its redemption, and contrasts* beth of these 
with his own sottish inconsideiateness; when he 
reflects on the amazing love and pity of Christ, and 
on the cold and forma) acknowledgements with 
which he has hitherto returned this infinite obliga- 
tion, making light of the precious blood of the Son 
of God, and trifling with tne gracious invitations of 
his Redeemer; surely, if he be not lost to sensibility, 
there will rise within him mixed emotions of guilt, 
and fear, and shame, and remorse, and sorrow, which 
will nearly overwhelm his soul : and he will smite 
upon his breast, and cry out in the language of the 

Eublican, " God be merciful to me asinner." But, 
lessed be God, such an one needs not -despair— it 
is to persons in this very situation, and with these 
very feelings, that the offers of the Gospel are held 
forth, and its promises assured ; " to the weary and 
" heavy laden ''under 1 the burthen of their sins; to 
them who thirst for the water of life ; to them who 
feel themselves " tied and bound by the chain of 
"their sins;" who abhor theircaptivity, and long ear- 
nestly for deliverance. Happy, happy souls! whom 
the grace of God has visited, " has brought out of 
" darkness into his marvellous light," and "from the 
" power of Satan unto God." Cast yourselves theft 
oil his undeserved mercy : he rsfull of love, and will 
not spurn you from his footstool : surrender your- 
selves into his hands; and solemnly resol-e, through 
his Grace, to dedicate henceforth all Jour faculties 
and powers to his service; ' ' ' ■' ''.'■.' 

It is your"s now " to work out your own'salvatiori 
"with 



jJU Practical Hint* to [Chap. VII. 

" with fear and trembling," relying. on the fidelity, 
of him who has promised to " work in you both tp 
" will and to do of his good, pleasure." Ever look 
to hiai for help : your only safety consists in a deep. 
and permanent sense of your own weakness, and i» 
a firm reliance on his strength. If you " give all 
" diligence," his power is armed for your protection, 
his truth is pledged for your sepurjty. You are en- 
listed under the banners of Christ — Fear not, though 
the world, and the flesh, and the devil are set in ar- 
ray against you. — " Faithful is he that, hath pro- 
mised;" — " he ye also faithful unto death, and he 
. will give you a crown of life." — " He that endureth 
" to the end, the same shall be saved." In such a 
world as this, in such a state of society as ours, es- 
pecially if in the higher walks of life, you must be 
prepared to meet with many difficulties: — arm your- 
selves, therefore, in the first place, with a determined 
resolution not to rate human estimation beyond its 
true value; not to dread the charge of particularity* 
when it shall be necessary to incur it ; but let it be 
your constant endeavour to retain before your men- 
tal eye, thai bright assemblage of invisible specta- 
tors, who. are the witnesses of your daily conduct, 
and " to seek that honour which cometh from God." 
Yon cannot advance a single step,, till you. are in 
some good measure possessed, of this comparative 
indifference to the favour of men. We have be- 
fore explained ourselves too clearly to render, it ne? 
ceseary to declare, that bo one should needlessly 
affect singularity : but to aim at objects that are 
incompatible with each other, or, in i>t,her : words, 
to seek to- please. God and the world, where their ' 
commands are really at variance, is tt*e way to be •■ 
neither respectable, npr good, nor, happy. Cpnfjnhe :i 
t©, be- ever aware of your own radical corruption and 
habitual weakness, indeed, if you* eves be really. 
o.pened...and your beajt truly softened,; \S you " bum 
" ger and thirst after righteousness," vising in, JPWI 
i&afe-p.f true holiaeis, and. proving the genuineness ' 
. " of 

, . ,GoogIc 



Sect, l.] various descriptions of Penom. t?* 
of your hope by desiring " to purify -yourself event, 
" as God is pure ;" you will become daily more and- 
more sensible of your own defects, and wants, and 
weaknesses; and more and more impressed by » 
sense of the mercy and long-suffering of that gra- 
cious Saviour, " who forgiveth all your ains, and 
" healeth all your infirmities." 

This is the solution of what, to a man of the 
world, might seem a strange paradox ; that, in pro- 
portion as the Christian grows in grace, he grow* 
also in humility. Humility is indeed toe vi- Humility 
talprincipleot Christianity; that principle trforccd. 
by which from first to last she lives and thrives ; 
and in proportion to the growth or decline of which, 
she must decay or flourish. This first disposes the 
sinner in deep self-abasement to accept the offers of 
the Gospel : this, during his whole progress, is the 
very ground and basis of his feelings and conduct, in 
relation to God, his fellow- creatures, and himself: 
and, when at length. he shall be translated into the 
realms of gloiy, this principle shall still subsist in 
undiminished force : He shall " fall down, and cast 
" his crown before the Lamb ; and ascribe blessing, 
"and honour, and glory, and power, to him .that 
" sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for 
" ever and ever." The practical benefits of this ha- 
bitual lowliness of spirit are too numerous, and at 
the same time too obvious, to require enumeration. 
It will lead you to dread the beginnings, and. fly. 
from the occasions, of sin ; as that man would shun 
some infectious distemper, who should know that he 
was predisposed to take the contagion. It will pie- 
vent a thousand difficulties, and decide a thousand 
questions, concerning worldly compliances ; . by 
which those persons are apt to be embarrassed, who 
are not duly sensible of their, own exceeding frailty, ■ 
whose views of the Christian character are not suffi- 
ciently elevated, and who are not enough possessed 
with a continual fear of " grieving the Holy Spirit 
f of God," and of tons provoking him to withdraw. 
his 



38s Practical Hint* to [Chap. VH. 

his gracious influence. But if you are really such 
as we have been describing', you need not be urged 
.to set the standard of practice high, and to strive 
after universal holiness. It is the desire of yout 
hearts to act in alt things with a single eye to the 
favour of God ; and thus tlie most ordinary actions 
of life will be raised into offices of Religion. This 
rs the purifying, the transmuting principle, which 
realizes the fabled touch, which changes all to gold. 
But to, this desire of pleasing God, it is essential, 
that we should be continually solicitous to discover 
the path of duty; that .we should not indolently 
wait for such occasions of glorifying God, as are 
forced upon us, but pray earnestly to God for a 
spirit of wisdom and understanding, that we may 
be acute in discerning opportunities of serving him, 
judicious in selecting, and wise in improving them. 
It is essential also that you guard against the dis- 
traction of worldly cares ; and cultivate heavenly 
mindedness, and a spirit of continual prayer ; and 
that you watch incessantly over the workings of 
your own deceitful heart. To this I must add, that 
you must be active"also, aud useful. Let not your 
precious time be wasted " in shapeless idleness;" an 
admonition which, in our days, is rendered but too 
necessary by the relaxed habits of persons even of 
real piety ; but wisely husband and improve this 
fleeting treasure. Never be satisfied with your pre- 
sent attainments; but "forgetting the things which 
" are behind," labour still to " press forward" with 
undiminished energy, and to run the race that is set 
before you without weariness or intermission. 

Above all, measure your progress by your im- 
Lbk m- provement in love to God and man. "God 
forced. " ; s Love." This is the sacred principle, 
which warms and enlightens the heavenly world, 
that blessed seat of God's visible presence. There 
it shines with unclouded radiance. Some scattered 
beams of it are graciously transmitted to us on 
earth, 



Sect. i.] various descriptions ofPenam. 283 

earth, or we had been benighted and lost in dark- 
ness and misery; but a larger portion of it is in- 
fused into the hearts of the servants of God, who 
thus' " are renewed in the divine likeness," and 
eTen here exhibit some faint traces of the image of 
their heavenly Father. It is the principle of love 
which disposes them to yield themselves up with- 
out reserve to the service of him, " who bought 
" them with the price of his own blood." 

Serviff, and base, and mercenary, is the notion of 
Christian practice among the bulk of no- Base nmurq 
minal Christians. They give no more? 1 *'?'''" 
than they dare not withhold; they abstain ^5>o.*, 
from nothing but what they must not minai CAru- 
practice. When you state to them the ti "'"- 
doubtful quality of any action, and the consequent 
obligation to desist from it, they reply to you in the 
very spirit of Shylock, " they cannot find it in the 
** bond." In short, they know Christianity only a» 
a system of restraints. She is despoiled of every 
liberal and generous principle : she is rendered al- 
most unfit for the social intercourses of life, and is 
only suited to the gloomy walls of a cloister, in 
which' they would confine her. But true Christians 
consider themselves not as satisfying some rigorous 
creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude. 
Their's accordingly is hot the stinted return of a 
constrained* obedience, but the large and liberal 
measure df a voluntary service. This principle, 
therefore, prevents a thousand practical embarrnss- 
oHefrts, by which 1 thfcy '■are continually harassed, 
\vJ10 a? Virgin a less generous motive ; and who re-, 
quire it to be clearly ascertained to them, that any 
gratmcation or worldly compliance, which may be 
111 question, U beyond the allowed boundary line o£ 
Christian practice *. This principle regulates the 
true 



i»4 Practical Hints to [Chap. VII. 

true Christian's choice of companions and friends, 
where be is at liberty to make an option ; this fills 
him with the desire of prompting the temporal 
Welfare of all around him, and still more, with pity 
and love, and anxious solicitude for their spiritual 
happiness. Indifference indeed in this respect is one 
of the surest signs of a low or declining state in Re- 
ligion. Tku animating principle it is, which in the 
true Christian's happier hour inspirits his devotions, 
and causes him to delight in the worship of God ; 
which nils him with consolation, and peace, and 
gladness, and sometimes even enables him " to-re- 
joice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 
But this world is not his resting place: here, to 
the very last, he must be a pilgrim and a stranger; 
a soldier, whose warfare ends pnly with life, ever 
struggling and combating with the powers of dark- 
ness, and with the temptations of the, world around, 
him, and the still more dangerous hostilities of in- 
ternal depravity. The perpetual vicissitudes of this 
uncertain state, the peculiar trials and difficulties 
with which the life of a Christian is chequered, and 
still more, the painful and humiliating remembrance 
of his own infirmities, teach him to look forward, 
almost with outstretched neck, to that promised 
day, when he shall be completely delivered from 
the bondage of corruption, and sorrow and sighing 
•jhall flee away. In the anticipation of that blessed 
period, and comparing this churlish and turbulent 
world, (where competition, and envy, and anger, 
and 

" They" (the Apostles) " depart** &M Iks pratrace of the earn.- 
" cil, rejoicing that lliey were cauntcd wor'thr to suffer lhanwfer (ha 
" name of Jesus!" Acts v. 41. See aba 1 Thus. i. «. lien. *■ St. 
James i. t. 1 PeUr it. 13. 14. 

Such iirelhemarkieiliibited inScup(nte of a true love to Qodtaod 

test, as that of the Apostles and first Christians wai ; jet, if tba nine 
principle eiiited in us also, it would sorely dispose m to set in tba 
ajrin't of that conduct ; and prompt us rather to be willing to eiceed in 
■elf-deuials and labours for Christ's take, f ban to be ao forward u we 
arc to complain, whenever we are called upon to perform, or to abatain 
from anj thing, though, in an iiutance ever to little contrary to oar 



Sect. 1 .] various descriptions of, Persons. *(t5 

and revenge, so vex and agitate the sons of meo^' 
with that blissful region where Love shall reigtr 
without disturbance, and where all, knit together jr% 
bonds of indissoluble friendship, shall unite in one. 
harmonious song or praise to the Author of their 
common happiness; the true Christian triumph s, 
over the fear of death : he longs to realize these 
cheering images, and to obtain admission into that 
blessed company.- — With far more justice than it 
was originally used, he may adopt the beautiful ex-* 
clamatiori — " O pneclarum ilium diem, cum ad il- 
" lud divinum animorum concilium coetumque 
" proficiscar, atque ex hac turba et colluvione 
*V discedam ! " 

What lias been now remarked, concerning the- 
habitual feehngs of the real believer, may Falsehood >f. 
suggest a reply to an objection common ***«&■«> t 
ia the mouths of nominal Christiana, that J^'J^.™ 
we would deny men' the innocent amuse- p^ a 
merits and gratifications of life ; thus gtmmy Mr- 
causing our Religion to wear a gloomy ^^ 
forbidding .aspect, instead of her true' and natural 
face of cheerfulness and joy. This is a charge of * 
so serious a nature,, that although it lead into a 
digression, it may not be improper to take some 
notice of it. 

In the first place, , Religion prohibits no amuse- 
ment or gratification which is realty innocent. The 
Question, however, Of its innocence, must not be 
ried by the loose maxims of worldly morality, but 
by. the spirit of the, injunctions of the word of God ; 
and by the indulgence being conformable or not 
conformable" to the genius or Christianity, and to 
the, tempers and dispositions »f mind enjoined on its 
professors. There can be no dispute concerning the 
true end of recreations. They are intended to re- 
fresh our exhausted bodily or mental powers, and 
fb' restore us, with renewed vigour, to the more 
serious occupations of life. Whatever therefore 
fatigues 



l86 Practical Hints to [Chap. VH. 

fatigues either bod; or mind instead of refreshing 
them, is not fitted to answer the designed purpose. 
Whatever consumes more time, or money, or 
thought, than it is expedient (I might say necessary) 
to allot to mere amusement, can hardly be approved 
by any one, who considers these talents as precious 
deposits, for the expenditure of which he will have 
to give account. Whatever directly or indirectly 
must be likely to injure the welfare, of a fellow- 
creature, can scarcely be a suitable recreation for a 
Christian, who is " to love his neighbour as him- 
"setf;" or a very consistent diversion for any one, 
the business of whose life is to diffuse happiness. 

But does a Christian never relax ?* Let us not so 
wrong and vilify the bounty of Providence, as to 
allow for a moment that the sources of innocent 
amusement are so rare, that men must be driven, 
almost by constraint, to such as are of a doubtful 
quality. On the contrary, Buch has been the Crea- 
tor's goodness, that almost every one of our physical, 
and intellectual, and moral faculties (and the same 
may be said of the whole creation which we see 
around us) is not only calculated to answer the pro- 
per end of its being, by its subserviency to some 
purpose of solid usefulness, but to be the instru- 
ment of administering -pleasure. 

Nut con It lit 
— With wery food of life to nouriili man. 

Thou- maktt all nature beautj to hia eye 
Aad muiic to fail per. 

Our Maker also, in his kindness, has so constructed 
ns, that even- mere vicissitude is grateful and re- 
freshing — a consideration shhich would prompt us 
often to seek, from a prudent variation of useful 
pursuits, that recreation, for which weare apt to re- 
sort to what is_ altogether unproductive and kb- 
JruitfUl. 

Yet rich and multiplied are the springs of inno- 
cent relaxation. The Christian relaxes in the tem- 
perate, use of all the gifts of Providence. Imagi- 
nation, 



o 8 k- 



Sect. ij various descriptions o/Pinoni. tZj 

nation, and taste, and genius, and the beauties of 
creation, and the works of art, He open to him. He 
relaxes in the feast of reason, in the intercourses of 
society, in the sweets of friendship, in the endear- 
ments of love, in the exercise of hope, of confidence, 
of joy, of gratitude, of universal good-will, of all the 
benevolent and generous affections ; which, by the 
gracious appointment of our Creator, while they 
disinterestedly intend only happiness to others,, are 
most surely productive of peace and joy to ourselves. 
O! little do they know of Ehe true measure of roan'* 
, enjoyment, who can compare these delightful coni- 
plancencies with the frivolous pleasures of dissipa- 
tion, or the coarse gratifications of sensuality. It is 
no wonder, however, that the nominal Christian ■ 
should reluctantly give up, one by one, the plea- 
sures of the world ; and look back upon them, when 
relinquished, with eyes of wistfulneas and regret? 
because he' knows not the sweetness of the delights 
with which true Christianity repays those trifling 
sacrifices; and is wholly unacquainted with the na- 
ture oi' that pleasantness which is to be found in the 
ways of Religion. . 

It is indeed {true, that when any one, who has 
long been going on in the gross and unrestrained 
practice of vice, is, checked in his career, and enters 
at first on a religious course, he has much to un- 
dergo. Fear, guilt, remorse, shame, and various 
other passions, struggle and conflict within him. 
His appetites are I'iamorous for their accustomed 

f ratification ; and inveterate habits are scarcely to 
e denied. He is weighed down by a load of guilt, 
and almost overwhelmed by the sense of his unwor- 
thiness. But all this ought in fairness to be charged 
to the account of his past sins, and not to that of 
his present repentance. It rarely happens, however, 
that this state of suffering continues very long. 
When the mental gloom is the blackest, a ray of 
heavenly light occasionally breaks in, and suggests 
the hope ot better days. Even in this life it is round 



*88 Practical Hints to [Chap. VII. 

an uhtoersat truth, that " They that Sow in tears," 
provided they be really tears of penitence arid con- 
trition, " shall reap in joy." " The broken and con- 
" trite heart God never did, nor ever will, despise," 
, Neither, when we maintain, that the ways of 
Religion are ways of pleasantness, do we mean to 
deny that the Christian's internal state is, through 
the whole of his lite, a state of diicipline arid war- 
fare. Several of ihe causes which contribute to 
render it such, have teen ab/eacly pointed but, to- 
gether with the workings of his mind in relation to 
them : but if he has solicitudes and griefs peculiar 
to himself^ he has "joys also with which a stranger 
" intermeddles not." 

" Drink deep," however, "or taste not," is a. di- 
rection full as applicable fo Religion, if we would 
fuid h a source of pleasure,- as it h to knowledge. 
A little Religion is, it most be confessed, apt to 
make men gloomy, as a little knowledge is to render 
.them vain : hence the unjust imputation often 
brought upon Religion by those, whose degree of 
Religion is just sufficient, by condemning their 
course of conduct, to render them uneasy; enough 
merely to impair the sweetness of the pleasures of 
sin, and not enough to compensate for the relin- 
quishment of them by its own peculiar comforts. 
Thus these men bring up, as it were, an iH report 
of that land of promise, which, in truth, abounds 
with whatever, in our journey through life, can best 
Befresh and strengthen us. 

• We have enumerated some sources tjf pleasure 
which men of the world may understand, and must 
acknowledge to belong to the true Christian ; but 
there are o Birrs, and those of a still higher class, to 
which they must confess themselves strangers. To 
say nothing of a qualified, I dare not say an entire, 
exemption from those distracting passions and cor- 
roding cares, by which they must naturally be ha- 
rassed; whose treasure is within the reach of mortal 
accidents ; the Christian has a humble quiet-giving 
hopt 



Sect. 1 J various description! of Pmons. ,t8j 
hope of being reconciled to God, and of enjoying . 
bis favour; he has a solid peace of mind, (which the 
world can neither give nor take away,) resulting 
from a firm confidence in the infinite wisdom ana 

foodness of God, and in the unceasing care and 
Endness of a gracious Saviour : and be has per- 
.suasion of the truth of the divine assurance, that all 
things shall work together for his good. 

When the pulse indeed beats high, and we are 
flushed with youth, and health, and vigour; when 
all goes on prosperously, and success seems almost 
to anticipate our wishes; then we feel not the want 
of the consolations of Religion : but when fortune 
frowns, or friends forsake us ; when sorrow, or sick- 
ness, or old age, comes upon us, then it is, that the 
superiority of the pleasures of Religion is established 
over those of dissipation and vanity, which are ever 
apt to fly from us when we are most in want of their . 
aid. There is scarcely a moje melancholy sight to 
a considerate mind, than that of an old man, who is 
a stranger to those only true sources of satisfaction. 
How aflecting, and at the same time how disgusting, 
is it, to see such an one awkwardly catching at the 
pleasures of his younger years, which are now be- 
yond his reach ; or, feebly attempting to retain them, 
* while they mock hisfadeavours and elude his grasp! 
To such an.one, gloomily indeed does the evening 
of life set in ! All is sour and cheerless. He 
can neither look backward with complacency, nor 
forward with hope : while the aged Christian, rely* 
ing on the assured . mercy of his Redeemer,, can 
calmly reflect, that his dismission is at hand, and 
that his redemption draweth nigh : while his strength 
declines, and his faculties decay, he can quietly re- 
pose himself on the fidelity of God; and at the very 
entrance of the valley of the shadow of death, he 
can lift up an eye, dim .perhaps, and feeble, yet oc- 
casionally sparkling .with .hope, and confidently 
joking forward to the near possession of hishea* 
vea'y inheritance, even "to those joys which eye, 
- O " hath 



300 Practical Hint* to {Ciiap. ¥H. 

" hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it en- 
" tered into the heart of man to conceive." - 

Never were there times which inculcated more 
forcibly, than those in. which we live, the wisdom of 
seeking a happiness beyond the reach of human vi- 
cissitudes. " What striking lessons have we had of 
the precarious tenure of all sublunary possessions ! 
Wealth, and power, and prosperity, now peculiarly 
transitory and uncertain ! But Religion dispenses 
her choicest cordials in the seasons of exigence, in 
poverty, in exile, in sickness, and in death. The 
essential superiority of that support which is derived 
from Religion it less felt, at least it is less apparent, 
when the Christian is in full possession of riches, 
and splendour, and rank, and all the gifts of nature 
and fortune. But when all these are swept away by 
the rude hand, of time, or the rough blasts of adver- 
sity, the true Christian stands, like the glory of the 
forest, erect and vigorous ; stripped indeed of his 
summer foliage, but more than ever discovering to 
the observing eye the solid strength of his substan- 
tial texture ; 



Advice to tome who prof en their fall Assent to the 
fundamental Doctrines of the Goepel. 
I N a former chapter we largely insisted on what 
may be termed the fundamental practical error of 
the bulk of professed .Christians in oar days; their 
either overlooking or misconceiving the peculiar 
method, which the Gospel has provided for the re- 
novation of our corrupted nature, and for the attain- 
ment of every Christian grace. 

But there are mistakes on the right band and on 
the left ; and our general proneness, when we are ; 
flying from one extreme to ran into an opposite j 
error, renders it necessary to superadd another ad- 
monition. 



Seci.O.j v/mom aetcriptwm of Pertota. «nt 

monition. The generally prevailing error of the 
present day indeed is that fundamental one which 
has been already pointed out. But while we attend, 
in the first place, to that, and, on .the warrant both 
of Scripture and experience, prescribe hearty to, 
pentance and lively faith, as the only foundation. of 
alt true holiness ; we most at the same time guard 

X'nst a practical mistake of- another kind. They 
j with penitent hearts, have humbled themselves 
•before the cross of Christ; and who, pleading his 
merits its their only ground of pardon and acceptance 
with God, have resolved henceforth, through the 
help of hu Spirit, to bring forth the fruits of righto: 
oasness, are sometimes apt to conduct themselves as 
if they considered' their work as now done } or at 
least as if this were the whole . they had to do, -as 
.often as, i by falling afresh into sin, another a#t of 
repentance and-iaitb may seem, to have becoraefiie- 
cessary. Thereiare. not a ■ ew in our relaxed age, 
who thus . satisfy themselves' with - what may oe 
teemed general Christianity ; > wiw feel general peni- 
tence ana humiliation from a fienseffit' ; tlieic sin&t- 
iiess in general, and general, d#>ire* of - universal 
holiness; but who neglect thajt vigilant and jealvus 
care, with which they should labour: to extirpate 
every particular, corruption, fey studying its. nature, 
its' root, its ramilicatipnsj .and.- tlms becoming acr 
quainted.witbJta secret .movements, wjtli the means 
whereby it gains strength, and with the most ,ef r 
feetual methods of resisting it. In; like manner, 
they are far from Striving wiith pctueveririg alacrity 
ior. the acquisition and improvement of every Chris- 
tian grace. Nor is it unusual for ministers, who 
prefect* the truths of the Gospel with fidelity, ability, 
sad- success, to be themselves also liable to the 
charge of dwelling altogether in their instructions 
on this general Religion : instead of tracing and 
iaying open. all the secret motions of inward cor- 
ruption, and instructing their hearers how best to 
conduct. themsehes in every distinct part, of the 
O s Christian. 

, :,GoogIc 



f$l Practical Hint* to {Chap. Vlf. 

Christian warfare ; how beet to strive against each 
•attkulai rice, and to cultivate each grace of the 
Christian character. Hence it is, that in too many 
persons, concerning the sincerity of whose general 
.professions of Religion we should be sorry to en- 
tertain a doubt, we yet see little progress made in 
the regulation of their tempers, in the improvement 
of their time, in the reform of their plan of life, or 
inability to resist the temptation to which they are 
particularly exposed. They will corneas themselves, 
«- genera) terms, to be " miserable tiimert ;" this ii 
a- tenet of their creed, and they feel even proud in 
avowing it. They will occasionally also lament par- 
ticular failings: but this confession is sometimes 
obviously made, in order to draw forth a compli- 
ment for the very opposite virtue : and where this 
hr not' the case, it is often not difficult to detect, 
under this false guise of contrition, a secret self- 
cotBplaeency, -arising front the manifestations which 
they' have afforded of their acuteness or candour in 
discovering the infirmity in question, or of their 
frankness or huinilhy m acknowledging it. This 
vriH scarcely seem an illiberal snspiciomto any one, 
•who either watches the workings of his own heart, 
*r who observes that the faults confessed in thesa 
instances are very seldom those, witb'Which the per- 
«on is most clearly and strongly chargeable. 
' We most plainly warn these men, and the consi- 
deration is seriously pressed on their instructors also, 
that they are in danger of -deceiving themselves. Let 
them beware lest they bt nominal Christiana of «*• 
vtker sort. These persons require to be reminded, 
that there is no short compendious method ofhoHwm ; 
fcut that it must be the business of their whole lives 
to grow in grace, and, continually adding one virtue 
to another, as far as possible, " to go on towards 
" perfection." " He only that doeth righteousness 
" is righteous." Unless " they bring forth the fruits 
" of /the Spirit," they can have -no sufficient evi- 
dence that they have received that "Spirit of 
"Christ, 1 ' 
-'-Google 



Sfcet 2.j «ariam-daeriffioiu of Persotu. 399. 

" Christ," " without which they are none of his." 
Bo tr where, on the whole, our unwillingness to pas* 
an unfavourable judgment may lead us to indulge 
ib hope, that " the root of the matter is found in 
" them ; " yet we must at least declare to them, that, 
instead of adorning the doctrine of Christ, they dis- 
parage add discredit it. The world Bees not their 
secret humiliation, nor the exercises of their closets ; 
but it is acute in discerning practical weaknesses: 
and if it observe that they have the same eagerness 
in the pursuit of wealth or ambition, the same vain. 
taste for ostentation and display, the same uiieo- 
verned tempers, which are found in the generality 
of mankind; it will treat with contempt their pre- 
tences to superior sanctity and indifference to 
worldly things, aiid will be hardened in its preju- 
dices against the only mode, which God has pro- 
vided for our escaping the wrath to. come, at(d ob- 
taining eternal happiness. 

Lethhn then, who would be indeed a Christian, 
Watch over his ways and over his heart with un- 
ceasing circumspection. Let him endeavour' to* 
learn, both from men and books, particularly from 
the lives of eminent Christians (a), what methods' 
have been actually found most effectual for the con- 
quest of every particular vice, and for improvement 
in every branch of holiness. Thus whilst he studies, 
bis own character, and observes the most secret' 
workings of his own mind, and of our common na- 
ture ; the knowledge which he will acquire of the 

(a) It may not he amiss to mention * fen usefa] publications oFtbil 
■ort. Walton's lives, particularly the last edition by Mr. Zoucbj 
Gilpin*! Lives ; the Li res of Bishop Bedell ami Bishop Bull ; of Arch- 
bishop Usher; Fell's Life of Hammond; Archdeacon Hamilton's 
Life of Mr. Bound, Accomptant General of Ireland, recommended 
by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Bishops of Meat It, Decry, Lime- 
rick, Cioglier, mnd Dovrne; lorne eiti acts (ram Burnet of the Li fa of 
the incomparable Leight™, prefixed to a volume of the hitter's Ser- 
mons; Passages of the Life of Lord Rochester, by Burnet ; the Life 
Of Sir Matthew Hale; of the ercallent Doddridge, by Orion] of 
Henry, father and son ; of Mather; of Halyburton ; Ham son's and 
Whitehead's Life, of Wesley ; Life of Bailer, by himself, Ice. 
&C. tVc. 

O j human. 



a$4 -■' Fwtrtnrf Btnti to fCbap.VTt; 

human heart in general, and especially of bis own, 
will be of the highest utility, fn enabling him to 
avoid or to guard against the occasions of evil: and 
it will also tend, above all things, to .the growth of 
humility, and to the maintenance of that sobriety 
of spirit and tenderness of conscience, which are 
eminently characteristic of the tree Christian. It 
in by 'his unerasing diligence, as the Apostle de- 
clares, that the servants of Christ most make their 
calling sure : and it is by this only that their labour 
will ultimately succeed : for " so an entrance shall 
" be ministered unto them abundantly, into the 
" everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 
" Jesus Christ." 



Brief Observations addressed to Setplim 
and Unitarians. 

■ THEREis another class of men, an increasing 
class, it is to be feared, in this country, that of ab- 
solute unbelievers, with which this Utile work has 
■properly no concern : but may the writer, sincerely 
pitying* their melancholy state, be permitted to ask 
them one plain question i If Christianity be not in 
their estimation true, yet is there not at least a pre- 
sumption in its favour, sufficient to entitle it to a 
serious examination; from its having been em- 
braced, (and that not blindly and implicitly, but 
upon fall inquiry and deep consideration,) by Bacon 
and Milton, and Locke and Newton,. and roach the 
greater part of those, who, by the reach of their 
understandings, or the extent of their knowledge, 
and by the freedom too of their minds, and their 
daring to combat existing prejudices, have called 
forth the respect and admiration of mankind I It 
might be deemed scarcely fair to insist on Church- 
men, though some of them are among the greatest 
names this country has ever known. Can the 
sceptic 



Scrt.-3-3 various descriptions of ' Peftom. £95 

sceptic in general say with truth, that he has either 
prosecuted an examination into the evidences of 
Revelation at all, or at least with a seriousness and, 
diligence in any degree proportioned to the impor- 
tance of the subject? The fact is, and it is a fact 
which redounds to the honour of Christianity, that 
infidelity is not the result of sober inquiry and deli- 
berate preference. It is rather the slow production 
of a careless and irreligious life, operating together 
with prejudices and erroneous conceptions con- 
cerning the nature of the leading doctrines and 
fundamental tenets of Christianity, 

Take the case of young men of condition, bred 
up by what we have termed nominal pngnu <f 
Christians. When children, they are l«fidtat>/. 
carried to church, and thence they become ac- 
quainted with such parts of Scripture as are con- 
tained in our public service. . If their parents pre- 
serve still more of the customs of better times, they 
are taught their catechism, and. furnished with a 
little farther religious knowledge. After a while, 
they go from under the eyes of their parents ; they 
enter into the world, and move forward in tbe patn 
of lite, whatever it may be, which has been assigned 
to them. They yield to the temptations which as- 
sail them, and become more or less dissipated and 
licentious. At least they neglect to look into their 
Bible ; they do not enlarge the sphere of their re- 
ligious acquisitions; they do not even endeavour, 
by reflection and study, to mature their knowledge, 
or to turn into rational conviction the opinions, 
which in their childhood they had taken upon 
trust. 

They travel perhaps into foreign countries; * 
proceeding which naturally tends to weaken their 
nursery prejudice in favour of the Religion in which 
they were "bred, and, by removing them from all 
means of public worship, to relax their practical 
habits of Religion. They return home, and cora- 
O 4 monly 



sotf Practical Binit is [Chap. VBf, 

ciohJy are either hurried round in the vortex of 
dissipation, or engage with the ardour of youthful 
minds in some public or professional pursuit. If 
they read or hear any thing about Christianity, it 
is commonly only about those tenets which are 
subjects of controversy : and what reaches their ears 
from their occasional attendance at church, though 
it may sometimes impress them with an idea of the 
parity of Christian morality, contains much, which, 
coming thus detached, perplexes and offends them, 
and suggests various doubts and startling objec- 
tions, which a farther acquaintance with the Scrip- 
ture would remove. Thus knowing Christianity 
chiefly by the difficulties it contains; and some- 
times tempted by the ambition of shewing them- 
selves superior to vulgar prejudice, or prompted by 
the natural pride of the human heart, to cast off 
their subjection to dogmas imposed on them ; di»« 
gusted too, perhaps, by the immoral lives of some 
professed Christians, by the weaknesses and absur- 
dities of others, and by what they observe to be 
the implicit belief of numbers, whom they see and 
know to be equally ignorant with themselves ; they 
are filled with doubts and suspicions, which, to a 
greater or less extent, spring no within them. 
These doubts enter into the mind at first almost 
imperceptibly: they exist only as vague indistinct 
surmises, and by no means take the precise shape 
or substance of a formed opinion. At first, pro- 
bably, they even offend and startle by their intru- 
sion : but by degrees the unpleasant sensations which 
they once excited, wear off ; and the mind grows 
more familiar with them. A confused sense (for 
such it is, rather than a formed idea) of its being 
desirable that their doubts should prove well founded! 
and of the comfort and enlargement which would 
be afforded by that proof, lends them much secret 
aid. The impression becomes deeper ; not in con- 
sequence of being reinforced by fresh arguments, 
but merely by dint of having longer rested in the 
mind ; 



Se6t. 3.] various descriptions of Persons. ■ 297 
mind ; and as they increase in force, they creep 
on and extend themselves. At length they dif- 
fuse themselves over the whole of Religion, and 
possess the mind in undisturbed occupancy. 

It is by no means meant that this is universally 
the process. But, speaking generally, this might 
be termed, perhaps not unjustly, the natural his- 
tory of scepticism. It approves itself to the expe- 
rience of those who have with any care watched the 
progress of infidelity in persons around them ; and 
it is confirmed by the written lives of some of the 
most eminent unbelievers. It is curious to read' 
their own accounts of themselves, the rather as they 
accord" so exactly with the result of our own obser- 
vation. — We find that they once perhaps gave a 
sort of implicit hereditary assent to the truth of 
Christianity, and were what, by a mischievous per- 
version of language, the world denominates be- 
lievers. How were they then awakened from their 
sleep of ignorance 1 At what moment did the light 
of truth beam in upon them, and dissipate the dark- 
ness in which they had been involved ? The period 
of their infidelity is marked by no such determi- 
nate boundary. Reason, and thought, and inquiry, 
had little or nothing to do with it. Having for 
many years lived careless and irreligious lives, and 
associated with companions equally careless and 
irreligious; not by force of study and reflection, 
but ratber by the lapse of time, they at length at- 
tained to their infidel maturity. It is worthy of 
remark, that where any are reclaimed from infide- 
lity, it is generally by a process much more ra- 
tional than that which has been here described. 
Something awakens them to reflection. They exa T 
mine, _ they consider, and at length yield their 
assent to Christianity on what they deem sufficient 
grounds. 

From the account here given, it appears plainly 
that infidelity is generally the offspring of preju- 
dice, and' that iu success is chiefly to tie ascribed 
O 5 to 



aeS . Practical Hint* to .{Chap. VI\, 

to the depravity of the moral character. This fact 
is confirmed by the undeniable truth, that in soi-i- 
ttict, which consist of individuals, infidelity is the 
natural fruit, not so much of a studious and dispu- 
tations, as of a dissipated and vicious age. It dif- 
fuses itself in proportion as the general morals de- 
cline ; and it is embraced with less apprehension, 
when every infidel is kept in spirits, by seeing many 
around him who are sharing fortunes with himself. 

To any fair mind this consideration aloie might 
be offered, as suggesting a strong argument against 
infidelity, and in favour of Revelation. .Anl the 
friends of Christianity might justly retort the charge, 
which their opponents .often urge with no little af- 
fectation of superior wisdom; that we implicitly 
surrender ourselves to the influence of prejudice, 
instead of examining dispassionately the ground of 
our faith, and yielding our assent only according 
to the degree of evidence. 

Ia our own days, when it is but too clear that 
infidelity increases, it is not in consequence of the 
reasonings of the infidel writers having been much 
studied, out from the progress of luxury, and the 
decay of morals : and, so far as this increase may 
be traced at all to the works of sceptical writers, 
it has been produced, not by argument an,d dis- 
cussion, but by sarcasms and points of wit, which 
have operated on weak minds, or on nominal Chris- 
tians, by bringing gradually into contempt opinions, 
which, in their case, had only rested on the basis 
of blind respect and the prejudices of education. It 
may therefore be laid down as an axiom, that in- 
fidelity is in general a disease of the heart more than 
of the understevding- If Revelation were assailed 
only by reason and argument, it would have little 
to fear. The literary opposers of Christianity, from 
Herbert to Hume, have been seldom jead. They 
made some stir in their day: during their span of 
existence they were noisy and 1 noxious; but, like 
the locusts of the east, which for a while obscure 
the 



o 8 k- 



Sect. 3<] ■ various descriptions of Ptttons. 399 

the air, and destroy tlie verdure, they were soon 
swept away and forgotten. Their very names would 
be scarcely found, if Leland had not preserved them 
from oblivion. 

The account which has been given of the secret, 
but grand, source of infidelity, may per- Vwlurtmt* 
haps justly be extended to those also who deny 
the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel. 

In the course which we lately traced from nominal 
orthodoxy to absolute irifideuty, TJnitarianisin (a) 
is, indeed, a sort of half-way bouse, if the expres- 
sion may be pardoned; a stage on the journey, 
where sometimes a person indeed finally stops, but 
where, not unfrequently, he only pauses for a while, 
and then pursues bis progress. 

The Unitarian teachers by no means profess to 
absolve their followers from the unbending strict- 
ness of Christian morality. They prescribe the 
predominant love of God, and an habitual spirit of. 
devotion : but it is an unquestionable fact, a fact 
which they themselves almost admit, that this class 
of religionists is not in general distinguished tor 
superior purity of life ; and still less for that spiri- 
tuality of mind, which the word of God prescribes 
to us, as one of the surest tests of our experiencing 
the vital power of Christianity. On the contrary, 
in point of fact, Unitariauwn seems to be resorted 
to, not merely by those who are disgusted with the 
peculiar doctrines of Christianity, but by those also 
who are seeking a refuge from the strictness of her 
practical precepts; and who, more particularly, 
would escape from the obligation which she im- 

(s) The nuihor it aware, thit he dwj perhaps be eeoiuted for 
conceding this le«n to I he c\*m of jwrjojis now in question, sinqe 
ortWui CbrUliuu equally contend for Hit unity, of the Divine Na. 
ture : and it perhaps may hardly be a auBcient excuse, tlinr^ i) Hot 
being hit object (nrliculaily to refute Hie errori of Unitariaiiiitn, lw 
Biei the icim in its popular icnie, rather thjm give need leu otFfence. 
He (hoi guardi, however, afiaiiut any lalse conntruction being drano 
froa) bii w* of it. 

O 6 posei 

,Goo g Ic 



joe Practical 'Bints to [Chap. VII. 

poses on her adherents, rather to incur the dreaded 
charge of singularity, than fall in with the declining 
manners of a dissipated age. 

Unitarianism, where it may be supposed to pro- 
ceed from the understanding rather than from the 
heart, is not un frequently produced by a confnseti 
idea of the difficulties, or, as they ate termed, the 
impossibilities, which orthodox Christianity is sup- 
posed to involve. It is not our intention to enter 
into the controversy (a) : bat it may not be im- 
proper to 'make one remark as a guard to persons in 
whose way the arguments of the Unitarians may be 
Adimiare "kety to &H i namely, that one great ad- 
yeutiKtt by vantage possessed by Deists, and perhaps 
Jfeiitt and in a still greater degree by Unitarians, in 
h'c'ontin"'. their warfare with the Christian system, 
ing with results from the very circumstance of their 
their op- being the assailants. They urge, what 
* on ™ t ** they state to be powerful arguments against 
the truth of the fundamental doctrines of Christi- 
anity, and then call upon men to abandon them as 
posts no longer tenable. But they, who are dis- 
posed to yield to this assault, should call to mind, 
that it has pleased God so to establish the constitu- 
tion of all thing's, that perplexing difficulties and 
plausible objections may be adduced against the 
most established truths ; such, for Instance, as the 
being of a God, and many others both physical and 
moral. In all cases therefore it becomes us, not on 
a partial view to reject any proposition, because it 
is attended with difficulties; bnt to compare the 
difficulties which it involves, with those which at* 
tend the alternative proposition which must be em* 

(a) TV noiluir of this treatise has, since iti completion, peruSerl 
ifeork entitled, Calvinism and Socinifiniim compared, b* A. Fdi.lii, 
fcc.i and, without refere uce to the peculiarities of Calvinilro, he it 
happy tu embrace Ihii opportunity of ronfeJulng the high ohJtgittiun 
whieh, in common with all the fiicndi of true Religion, he o" r* I* 
the author of thaMiighly valuable publication, for hi) m sterly tkfenco- 
of the doctrine* of Chrutimiity, and hi* wute refutation of the o[>p»- 

braced 



Sect. J.]-- various dacripMoru of Penons. 301- 

braced on its rejection. We should put to the proof 
the alternative proposition in its turn, and see whe- 
ther it be not still less tenable than that which we 
are summoned to abandon. In short, we should 
examine circumspectly on all sides ; and abide by 
that opinion which, on carefully balancing all con- 
siderations, appears fairly entitled to our preference. 
Experience, however, will have convinced the at- 
tentive observer of those' around him, that it has 
been for want of adverting to this just and obvious 
principle, that the Unitarians in particular have 
gained most »f their proselyte* from the Church, 
so far as argument has contributed to their success. 
If the Unitarians, or even the Deists, were con- 
sidered in their turn as masters of the field, and 
were in their turn attacked, both by arguments' 
tending to disprove their system directly, and to 
disprove it' indirectly (by shewing the hign probabi- 
lity of the truth of Christianity, and of its leading 
and peculiar doctrines), it is most likely that they ' 
would soon be found wholly unable to keep their 
ground. In short, reasoning fairly, there is. no' 
medium between absolute Pyrrhonism and true 1 
Christianity : and if we reject the latter on account 
of its difficulties, we shall be still' more loudly 
called upon to reject every other system which has' 
been offered to the acceptance of Mankind. This 
consideration might perhaps with advantage be 
more attended to than it has been, by those who 
take upon them to vindicate the truth of our holy 
Religion : as many, who from inconsideration, or 
any other cause, are disposed to give up the great 
fundamentals of Christianity, would be startled by 
die idea, that, on the same principle on which they 
did this, they must give up the hope of finding 
any rest for the sole of their foot on any ground 
of Religion, and not stop short of unqualified 
Atheism, 

Besides- 



30*- Practical Hints to [Chap. VII. 

Besides the class of those who professedly reject 
HoifUn- Revelation, there U another, and that also, 
bttinttt. it is to be feared, an ■ increasing one, 
which may be called the class of half-unbelievers, 
who are to be found in various degrees of approxi- 
mation to a state of absolute infidelity. The system 
(if it deserve the name), of these men is grossly 
irrational. Hearing manv who assert, and many 
who deny, the truth of Christianity, and not re- 
flecting seriously euough to consider that it must he 
either true or false, they take up a strange sort of 
middle opinion of its qualified truth. They conceive 
that there must be something in it, though by no 
means to the extent to which it is pushed by or- 
thodox Christians. They grant the reality or fu- 
ture punishment, and even that they themselves, 
if grossly immoral, cannot altogether expect to 
escape it : yet, " they trnst it will not go so bard 
f with them as the churchmen state :" and, though 
disbelieving almost every material doctrine which 
Christianity contains, they by no means conceive 
themselves to be inlisted under the banners of infi- 
delity, or to have much cause for appreheasion 
respecting the final issue of their doubts. 

But let these men be reminded, that there is na. 
middle way. If they can be prevailed on to took 
into their Bible, and do not make up their minds 
absolutely to reject its authority, they must admit,' 
that there is no ground whatever for this vain hopey 
which they suffer themselves to indulge, of escaping 
but with a slight measure of punishment.. Nor let 
them think their guilt inconsiderable. Is it not 
crossly criminal to trifle with the long-suffering of 
God, to despise alike his invitations and his threaten^ 
ings, and the offer of his Spirit, and the precious 
blood of the Redeemer F Sure we are that this is 
the Scripture estimate of their conduct: " How 
" shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation! 1 ? 
" It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Go- 
" morrah, in the day of judgment," than for them, 
who 



o 8 k- 



S*4t. 3-J various descriptions of Persons. 303. 

who voluntarily shut their eyos against tliat full 
light, which the bounty of Heaven has .poured out, 
upon them. These half-unbelievers are even more 
reprehensible than downright sceptics, for remaining 
in this state of careless uncertainty, .without endea- ; 
vouring to ascertain the truth or falsehood of Here-, 
lation. The probability which they admit, that it 
may be true, imposes on them an additional and an 
undeniable obligation to inquiry. But both to them 
and to decided sceptics it must be plainly declared, 
that they are in these days less excusable than ever, 
for not looking into the grounds and proofs on- 
which the truth of Christianity is established: for 
never before were these proofs so plainly, and at. " 
so easy a rate, offered to the consideration of man- 
kind. Through the bounty ef Providence, the 
widely spreading poison of infidelity has in our days, 
been opposed by more numerous and more powerful 
antidotes. One of these has been already pointed 
out: and it should be.matter of farther gratitude to 
every real Christian, that in the very place on which 
modern infidelity had displayed the standard of 
victory, a warrior in the service of Religion, a maa 
of the most acute discernment and profound re- 
search, has been raised up by Providence to quell 
their triumph (a). He was soon taken from us; 
but happily for htm and for ourselves, not till he 
had announced, that, like the Magi of old, he had 
seen the star of Christ in the East, and bad fallen 
down and worshipped him. Another should be 
mentioned with honour, who is pursuing the track 
which that great man had pointed out $). Hence- 
forth let all objectors against Christianity, on the 
ground of its being disproved by the oriental records, 

{41) It it almost lupnfluuuj to stste, iliat Sir William Jonrj a 

ten* by Sit' John Shore (now l,ord Teigitraouth) in his fint add ten to 
the Auntie Society of Calcutta, appears to have been nil at moil' 

eiitmorJinnrj gemot and astonishing erudition, 
^) Mr. JIaubici. 



3o4 Practical Hints to [Chap. Vlfc 

be pot to silence. The strength of their cause con- 
anted in their ignorance, and in our own, of oriental 
learning. They availed themselves for a while of 
onr being in a state of darkness ; bnt the light of 
day has at length broken in upon us, and exposed 
to deserved contempt their superficial speculations. ' 
The infatuation of these unbelievers would be less 
striking, if they were able altogether to decline 
Christianity; and were at liberty to relinquish then- 
pretensions to its rewards, on condition of being 
exempted from its punishments. But that is not 
the cast; they most stand the risk of the encounter, 
and their eternal happiness or misery is suspended 
upon the issue (a). What must be the emotions 
of these men, on first opening their eyes in the 
world of spirits, and being convinced, too late, of 
the awful reality of their impending ruin ? May the 
mercy and the power of God awaken them from 
their desperate slumber, while life is yet spared, and 
there is yet space for repentance ! 

Section IV. 

Advice suggested by the state of the times 
to true Christinas. 
TO those, who really deserve the appellation of 
true Christians, much has been said incidentally in 
the course of the present work. It has been main- 
tained (and the proposition will not be disputed by 
any sound or experienced politician), that they are 
always most important members of the community. 
But we may boldly assert, that there never was a 
period wherein, more justly than in the present, 
this could be affirmed of them ; whether the situa- 
tion of our own country, in all its circumstances, 
be considered, or the general state of society in 

» prnud with uncommon fore* in? Pjic.il'* 

le, though rot in every 

„ ir with ili ota deep imi 

tf Religion, which tiw name of it* author prepare* ai to eipect. 

Europe. 



Sfefct. 4.J various tteeriptloni' of Persons. $©$ 

Europe. Let them on their put seriously weigh; 
the important station which they fill, and the va- 
rious daties which it now. peculiarly enforces' on 
(hem. If we consult the most intelligent account* 
6f foreign countries which hare been leceatlypnfc- 
fished, and compare them With the reports of former 
travellers, we must be convinced, that 1 Religion and) 
the standard of morals are every where declining, 
abroad even more rapidly than in oar own country.' 
But still, the progress of irreligion, and the decay 
of morals at home, are such as to alarm every con' 
siderate mind, and to forebode the worst of con- 
sequences, unless some remedy can be applied to- 
Ae growing evil. We can depend only opon true 
Christians for effecting, in any degree, this important 
service. Their system iB that of ournatienal church: 
m proportion therefore as their-system prevails, or 
as it i ncrease* in respect and estimation from' the 
manifest good conduct of its followers, in that very 
proportion the church" is strengthened in the foun- 
dations, on which alone it can be supported, the 
esteem and attachment »f its members and of the 
nation at large. Zeal is required in the cause of 
Religion"; and they only can feel rt, •The charge 
of singularity must be incurred ; and they only 
will dare to encounter it. Uniformity of conduct,' 
and perseverance in exertion, will be requisite; bet 
among no others can we look for those qualities. 

Let true Christians then, with becoming earnest* 
ness, strive in alt things to recommend their pro- 
fession, and to put to silence the vain scons of ig- ' 
norant objectors. Let them boldly assert the cause 
of Christ in an age when so many who bear the 
name of Christians are ashamed of Him: and let 
them consider as devolved on Them the important 
duty of serving, it may be of saving, their country^ 
not by busy interference in politics (in which it 
cannot but be confessed there isnjnch uncertainty); 
but rather by that sure and radical benefit of restoring 
the 



$o6 Praaitmi Hintt to [Chip. VII.- 

the influence of Religion, and of raising the standard 
of morality. 

Let them be active, useful, generous towards 
others;, manifestly moderate aiia self-denyiiig in 
themselves. Let then be ashamed of idleness, as 
they would be of the most acknowledged an. When 
Providence bleaies them with affluence, let them 
withdraw from the competition of vanity ; and, with- 
out sordidness or absurdity, shew by their modest 
demeanour, aad .by their retiring from display, that, 
without affecting singularity, they are not slaves to 
fashion ; that they consider it as their duty to set an 
example of moderation and sobriety, ami to reserve 
for nobler and more disinterested, purposes, that 
money, which omen selfishly waste in parade, and 
dress, ami equipage. L*ttuem evince, in short, a 
manifest moderation in all ■ temporal tiling* ; aa 
becomes those whose. ^ffecti onsr are set on nighe* 
objects than any which this world affords, and most 
who possess within their own bosoms a fund of -satis* 
taction and comfort, which the world seeks in vanity 
and dissipation. Let them cultivate a catholic spirit 
of universal good-will, and of amicable' fellowship 
towards all those, of whatever sect or denomination, 
who, differing' from them in non-essentials, agret 
with them in the grand fundamentals of Religion. 
Let them countenance men of real piety wherever 
they are found ; and encourage in others every at- 
tempt to repress the progress of vice, and to revive 
and diffuse the influence of ■ Religion, and Virtue. 
Let their earnest prayers ' be constantly offered, that 
such endeavours may he successful, and that the 
abused long-suffering. of God may stilly -continue to 
as the invaluable privilege of vital Christianity. 
. Let them prey continually for their country in this 
season of national difficulty. We bear upon us but 
too plainly the marks of a declining empire. Who 
can say but that the Governor of the universe, who 
declares himself to be a God who hears the prayers 
- of 



Sect. 4.}- various aescriptioni of -Persons. 307. 

of his servant8,"may, in answer to their intercessions, 
fm-'-a while avert our ruin, and continue to us the 
fulness of those temporal blessings, which in such 
abundant measure we have hitherto enjoyed (a). 
Men of the world, indeed, however they may admit 
the operation- of natural causes, and may therefore 
confess the effects of Religion and Morality in pro- 
moting the well-being of the community ; may yet, 
according to their humour, with a smile of compla- 
cent pity, or a sneer of supercilious contempt, read 
of the service which real Christians may render to 
their country, by conciliating thefevour, and calling' 
down the blessing, of Providence. It may appear' 
in their eyes an instance of the same superstitious 
weakness, as that which prompts the terrified inha- 
bitant of Sicily to bring forth the image of his tutelar 
saint, in order to stop the destructive ravages of 
JEtna. We are however sure, if we believe the 
Scripture, that Cod will be disposed to favour the 
nation to which his servants belong ; and that, in 
feet, such as They have often been the unknown 
and unhonoured instruments of drawing down on 
their country the blessings of safety and prosperity. 

But it would be an instance in myself of that very 
false shame which I have condemned in others, if I 
were not boldly to avow my firm persuasion, that 
to the decline of Religion and Morality our national 
difficulties must both directly and indirectly be chiefly 
ascribed; and that my only solid hopes far the well- 
being of my country depend, not so much on her fleets 
and armies, not so much on the wisdom of her rulers, 
or the spirit of her people, as on the persuasion, that 
she still contains many, who love and obey the Gospel 
of Christ ; that their intercessions may yet prevail ; 
that for the sake of these, Heaven may still look vpon 
us with an eye of favour. 



Soft Practical Hints to [Chap. VII. 

Let the prayers of the Christian reader be also 
offered tip tor the success of this feeble endeavour in 
the service of true Religion. God can give effect 
to the weakest effort ; and the writer will feel him- 
self most highly honoured, if, by any thing which 
he has written, a single fellow-creature should be 
awakened from a false security ; or a single Chris- 
tian, who deserves the name, be animated to more 
extensive usefulness. He may seem to have as* 
snmed to himself a task which he was ill qualified to 
. execute. He fears he may be reproached with ar- 
rogance and presumption for taking upon him the 
office of a teacher. Vet, as he formerly suggested, 
it cannot be denied, that it belongs to his public 
situation to investigate the state of the national Re- 
ligion and Morals; and that it is the part of a real 
patriot to endeavour to retard their decline, and pro- 
mote their revival. But if the office in which he 
has been engaged, were less intimately connected 
with the duties of his particular station,- the candid 
and the liberal mind would not be indisposed to par- 
don him. Let hin* be allowed to offer in bis exerts* 
a desire, not only to discbarge a duty to his country, 
but to acquit himself of what he deems a solemn and 
indispensable obligation to his acquaintance and 
friends. Let him allege the unaffected solicitude 
which he feels for the welfare of his fellow-creatures. 
Let him urge the fond wish he gladly would encou- 
rage, that while in so large a part of Europe a false 
philosophy, has been preferred before the lessons of 
Revelation; while Infidelity has lifted up her head 
without shame, and walked abroad boldly and in the 
face of day ; while the practical consequences are such 
as might be expected, and licentiousness and vice 
prevail without restraint ; here at least there might be 
a sanctuary, a land of Religion and Piety, where the 
blessings of Christianity might still be enjoyed ; 
where the name of the Redeemer might still be ho- 
noured ; where mankind might be able to see what is, 



Sect. 4.] various descriptions of Persons. jog 

in truth,, the Religion of Jesus, and what are its 
blessed effects ; and whence, if the mercy of God 
should so ordain it, the means of religious instruction 
and consolation might be again extended to sur- 
rounding countries and to the world at large. 



X. 



ABUSE of<i1ngi,uufairnes»ofarguiugfromitag«irisilbeira»e>4*. 
Acctptanet .with God, commonly prevailing notions' respecting it, 
74— 77. 

— Scripture^ and Chupcli ot England, doctrine respecting it, 78—81.- 

— practical consequences, of coninum notions respecting if, 78. 

— true doctrine vindicated from objection, 81. * 
AMitm, qnote*), 143. 

Affectitm,o( their 'admission into Religion, 51. 

— their admission into Religion reasonable, 5*— 55. - - 

— trtiB test andaaeasure'nf tbem in Religion, 55— 58. 

— in Religion, not barely allowable, but highly necesmry, 51—61. 

— onrSavionrtlwj««objecloftheni,-81J-63. -I A 
' ' iCtidn, thai ihey are impossible Itowan* an in»jai»]« Being, 

M imed, 63— «9. 
- little eiciltd by public- roiaftirt ones, ahd whjj 67. . > . — 

— towards our Saviour, special grounds' for tbem, 69. 

— divine aid promised for exciting them, 69, 70. - ' ■ ' 

— our statements respecting them in Religion, vitrified bj facta, 11, 7%. 

— religion*, 9t. Paul a striking instance of them, 55. > 
Ambitim, votaries of, 110, ill. ■•'•"■ - 
Amiable lerupers, discussion respetting, 157— 174v ■ ■■• ■■■ 'n 

— substituted fwr Koligioii, 157, 158. 7 i ■ ■ 

— viiloe of.estimaled by the itatidard of were >5aH!iii l.'i*..' — 
•— falae pretenderno llwra, 159. - , ■ ») 

— real nature, when not grounded on Religion, 159, ISO. - 
-- precarious nature, 160— lfi*. 1 -■ ■ i i 

— vtlai: of, on Christian principles, 163, 1S4. i- -• • .1,1-. — 

— life, Chriitian'a most so, 167) 168. ■.-..•■.. 
~ Christians urged to this, J68— 173. 

•— its just praise, 173. . ■ il . . 

■■■ apt to deceive us, 171. • ) ' 

Aypiauu, desire of, universal, 119. . 



-*t& 



.B«t/tngtois,the reverend Matthew, 2t7. 
Beimoleiice, true Christian, it* entiled hi 
Boctn, Lord, quoted, JOO. 



Calumny, ctmiideratious which reconcile the Christian to it, 1+7~15ft 

Cnoriry, true, what, and lis marks, *?*, S73. ■ I . - - 

Chrittiamty, vital revival of, would invigorat* chorch MtablishineTtr, 

S5T. 7 .-I 

-Google 



I » D k X. w* 

.Cnfillinautji, vital, aloof suited to loner order;, !5J^ fit. 

— the common system, falsely so called, SOT. . 

— the troest pat™t ism, 2 St— 256. 

— ufihe world, its base nature, 283. ' . " 

— nnt « gloomy service, 2S5— 290. _ . 

•— reiaietioiis corapstible with,2B5— 287. . > t ,- ", . * 

— itssolid texture, 290. ( __ ■",•/ """' 

— general, what so culled; Ml— 293. - ■" 
. — true, require* incessant watchfulness and care, S95. 

— state in which it finds ni, 28—31. 

— in promt critical circumstances, 333 — 239. 

** twtacad to ■ system of etliia, proofs ofthu, 939. SAC MS. 
,V~QHiaw wiklkhasn teuded,to produce neglect of her pociiltM doe- 
— '--*■»•, 240,241. 



■* peculiar doctrines gradually Allen into aegloct, 242, 143. 
.— ud symptoms of its tow stats anione" us, 2-t3~4*S. 
— objection., that our system of it tun strict, stated and answered. 

SH5— 248. 
— - vital, its happy influence on teniporal well-being of onmninn)tin, 

»— not a***tnt to patriotism, . $50, 36U 

.— .&«rB,ir»<»((iitial nsit#r*,:]i»)*»Jiu'lj adapted to ■flU-beioft «i~Cont- 
munities, 253 — 156. • 

. — vital, e»n alona pre-dnce- these, eftets, >56. 

*■- eicelleoce ef it, Ut »o«ue particulars nut catirnwly noticti. 



.^,I«W«I.st»tB,of, in KoRtand, «30. 

_ in tendency to promote Ik*) waJUieJog af pontic*) COHiraimiliaa, 

J30— 151— 2S3. «56. 
_ has railed the gNOEni stifidard *f practice, Uf, 3B3. 

— sickens iu prosperity aw] flouritkej.no dor porMcmioD, »33rt34. 
a- pec ulmiAnoi nat orally, si We- lata dunce, 836, 

CSrutiatr, trne, duties especially incaaibtut an them. in. these times, 
303— 9aV, ,'.'., 

— should pray fin- their country, 306. 

— their prayers intreatsid for the aoccem of tliis vsork,:308. 
•_ ready made, who esteemed such. JJT. 

—-real, how different from nominal, MO, LB9. 

— Life illustrated by figure of a traveller, 190— «•.. 
CaataWH House of, proves inordinate love of worldly glory, 1*0. 
t'omutoicy betwten Chrietianity'i lonfing doctrjnej and prar-tinJ 

precepts, 80t— «0. 
■—between Christianity's leading. doctrine* amongst each other, 221. 

— between Christianity'* |>rsrnjcsl precepts aouxigM each other, 

222-22S. 
Ctmtect, necessary to produce any interest in pax affections, 6".t— 

68.71. 
Csmiiiriim of human nature, common notions of it, 16—13. 
Mr* DO«iO «* nature. Sdrrptura accent of it, IB— 17, ti. 

— of human nature, arguments. suggested in proofwf it, .18—25. 
f«- *J.H6*'*«(i wwla, and striking ittstaoce of it, IS, 20- . 

— of wvage life, 20, 21, 



INDEX 

Ctrruptioii, prdof of it, furnished by the state of the Christian world, 
SI— 24. 

— by the eiperience of the true Christian, 54. 

— human, its genera] effects, when suffered to operate without re- 

straint, 36, ».•■ 

— hitman, firm grounds on which it rests, St. 

— human, practical uses of the doctrine, 32, 33. 
Cawpt^i Talk recommended, 804. 307. 

— quoted, 2S0. 



Defective, conception* generally prevailing concerning 
Christianity, 5—8. 

— conceptions concerning human corruption, 16, 17. . 

ispect onr Sasionr 

s of acceptance with God, 
74-180. e _ .."• 

— conceptions prevailing' concerning practical Christianity, 90— ;93. 

103—188. ' 

— conceptions of guilt and evil of sin, 181—184. 

— fear of God, 184. . . 

— sense oi the difficulty of getting taheaven, 187— 189. 

— love of God in nominal Christians, 19!— 194. 

_ love »f Gad, proofs of it in nominal Christians, 193—196. 

conceptions general, concerning peculiar doctrines of Christainity, 

sot. 

— conception! of peculiarities: of Christianity, practical mischiefs 

from them, £03. 
Dtpthi, of the things of God ; and our pronenesa to plunge into 

them, 39, 40. 
Drtwrednnsi to God, duty orit,94— 97. 100—102. 104. 
Disstpat/d and indolent, claw of, 107, 108. 

Dissipation, seems to have prevailed in the antediluvian world, 186. 
Doddridge's Sermons on Regeneration, referred to, nute, 73, 
Duelling, its guilt, ox. 140—148. 



EttabHshment, T( 

Ertimation, desire of, universal, 139. 

— common language concerning it, the effects of the love of it, and 

the nature of the passion. 130— 133, 

— commendations of it questioned, 133. 

' — essential delect) of inordinate love of it, eiplabed, 133.131, 

— love of, Scripture Icmoiis concerning, 134 — 137, 

— value of, analogous to riches, 138. 

— love of, common, notions respecting it, 138/139. 

— proofs of our statements respecting it from House o( Commons, 140k 

— proofs of our statements respecting it from duelling, 140, 141. 

— real nature of inordinate love of it, 14S— 144. 

— true Christian'! conduct respecting love of it, 144—146. 

_ .»— true modes of guarding against excessive love of it, 150, 151. 



I N B Z X. 

Eitwistitxi. advice to the trae Christian reapecting love of it, 154— 156". 

— love of,- beat moderated bj humility end charity, 155. 

— true Christian's temper respecting it, 155. 

. Evil spirit, the ciistence and agency not contrary to reason, 26 — SB. 
Exttrnal actions substituted for habits of mind, 110— ISO. 



Faith Christian'* life, a life of. 111, 1». 
Families, two, the righteous and the wicked, 185, 186. 
Fetgiaon, tbe historian, S53. 

F uUcr'a Calvinism and Socinianism compared, note, 300. 
Fundamental practical distinction between systems of nominal and rrsl 
Christians, 307, 10B. 119, 310. 



fiMtrolMK of morals, Christianity has railed it, 91. 

— established by consent in every countiy, 131, *3S, 
Cntta, tbe effect of theatres, note, 195. 

Gloomy service, false charge that we make Christianity tuck, JS5. 
Glory, true and false, what properly so called, 134. 

— Mistakes concerning it, 134. 

Cowl hearted young men; term misapplied, 370. 
— young men, the title disproved, 275. 
Gratitude, true signs of, 44, 45. 

H. 
JTaaili of mind forgotten in Religion, 119—1*9. 
Hmailf mindtdiita, best promoted by being much conTiMnt with 

peculiar doctrines of Christianity, 4116. 
Holy Spirit, Scripture doctrine corceruing, 39. 71—74. 

— popular rations concerning, 46, 47. 
HoBtur, false notions respecting it, 143, 144. 
Home, Dr. quoted, 55. 

Humility, best enforced by pecaliar doctrines of Christianity, 114, tii- 

— tlie ground of Cbriltian graces, 1S8. 

— excellent practical effects ei, 155. 

I. 

Ignrrance of Chriitiauity, common, 8, 9. 

— criminal, 9, 10. 

importance of Christianity, inadequate conceptions generally tntrr- 
tained of it, .5—16. 

— of Christianity, proofs of the inadequate ideas generally enter- 

tained of it, 5^8. 

— of Christianity, ideas of it given by the Holy Scriptures, 10— IS. 

— of Christianity, best enforced by peculiar doctrines of Christianiir, 

310. 
BsfrrlritfftKTf of world's practical system, 893, SS4. 
IndifcTtnee about Christianity, generally prevalent, 11. 

— general towards our Saviour, proofs of, it, 43. 
Infidtlity, common progress of it, 295—299. 

— a disease of the hear! more than of the understanding, £98. 
Innocent young women, term how misapplied, 270. 

— young women, the Lille disproved, 275. 

InttlkCtwi attainments, fated below moral by Christianity, 2*5— SS8- 



JuKltectWi 



INDEX. 

JntelteeiueJ, low degree of excellence within our reach, 216. 
Jones, Sir William, achampioo for Christianity, 303. 

K. 
Jfmjon.Lord Chief Justice, commendations of, 364. 

L. 

XongiiBge, common, concerning the importance of Christianity, 8. 

— concerning Iranian corruption, 16, 17. 

— concerning affections towards our Saviour, and Holy Spirit's ope- 

ration!, 46, 47. 

— concerning terms of acceptance with God, 74— 77. 

concerning mode of relating the strictness of Christian pre- 
cept, 116—118. _ 

— concerning human jadicatures, 118. 

. concerning amiable tempers and useful lives, 157. 

— common to people desirous of repenting, 205, 206. 
Learning, votaries of. 111, 114. 

Life, Christian, illustrated nnder figure of a traveller* 190—19?. 

— Christian's, a life of faith , 1*1— 183. 

Liturgy, bad effects to he feared from its dilute, 259, 
Liea, several mentioned, 193. 
Love, true sign! of it, 41, 41. 

— of Gnd.ila essential characters, 96. 

— of Christ, justly to be expected of us, 61—63. 68, 69. 

— means of exciring it, 67, 68. 

— of God, defective in nominal Christians, 193, 193. 

— of God, proofs' of its being defective, 194—196. 

— of fellow-creatures, nominal Christians defective in, 197. 

— of fellow-creatures, true marks of, 198— SOI. 

— of God, best enforced by Christianity's peculiarities, 211. 

— Christians to cultivate this grace above all others, 488. 

— its excellent affects in the true Christian, 284. 

— of fe II 0™- creatures best enforced by peculiar doctrines, 313. 
Lois standard of practice generally prevailing, 90, 91. 104—119. 
Lower classes, not unlit that true doctrine of acceptance should be 

stated to them,, 83, 83. 

. ■ M. 

VLmtria, bis essays and sermons referred to, 73. 86, 87. 
Haurict, Mr. a defender of Christianity, 303. 
Mtuimt, which prove human corruption, 28. 
Medium, religious, almost lest, 114. 

Milton, quoted, 39. , 

Moral, attainments rated above intellectual, by Christianity, 225. 

— attainments, how much more we can excel in them than in LsMaV 

lertual ones, £27, 228. 
Moravians, commendation of, 51. 

N. 
■ WatureJconditionofman without Christian icy, 28—31. 
Nature, essential, of true practical Christianity, 114. 
A'fresiitj.eicnse on the plea of, stated, and answered, 33—88. 
•w opponent on. the ground of, bow beat opposed, 34, 35. 

r 9 AWW 



Objmimt against ihe religious affections towards Christ, and =gmir;o 
the operations of the Hoi; Spirit, 46, 47. 

— against human accountableness, discussed, 33—39. 

— against (be religious affections tomrds Christ, and against tin 

operations of the Holy Spirit, discussed, 4ft— 74. 
Outgroiciit* vices mistaken fur forsaking them, 2$9 — (78- 
Owen. III. referred tu, '131. 241. 

P. 
Pairif.Mr. hi> defence of Christianity noticed, 245. 

Pirn Will., in the- rehgkws views of nominal Christians, 105 107. 

Furtienlar, Christians must not feat to be so wheu required by doty, 

146. 
Paitafi thoughts referred to, 215. 

— thoughts recommended, 304. t 
Peculiar, doctrines, use, in promoting humility, 314, 115. 

— in promoting moderation in earl lily pursuits, 215. 

— in promoting cheerfulness in ■uttering, 216, 317. 

— id promoting confidence in danger, and patience iu suffering, 

217, 218. 

— doctrines, demand our utmost attention, 83 — 86. 

— doctrine*, use of. 209. 

— doctrines, use of, in enforcing importance of Christianity, 210. 

— doctrines, use of, in enforcing entire surrender to God, 210. 

— doctrines, use of, in enforcing guilt of sin, and dread of punish- 

ment, 210, 111. ' 

— in promoting lore of God, 311, 212. 

■ — in promoting lore of fell™ -creatures, 313. 

Par Innphy. epicurism and stoicism, 53. 

Pleasure, the Irnc Christian finds in Rtligian, 123—13*. 

Plenum of true Religion, 383—290. . 

PMifv, niistultcn, of compromise with immorality, 263, 363. 

Paliih/d state of society no security against progress of iramoralitr, 

260, 261. 
Political, good effects from the prevalence of Christianity, as abon 

ile serine..!, 248—258. 
r— gond effects from revival uf vital Christianity, 258, 259. 

— bad effects frum its farther decline, 259, 360. 

— happiness of a Christian nation, S48, 249. 
Pomp and parade, votaries of, 109. 

Pwr, the more favourably circumstanced u to Religion, 83. 855. 
Pflpctbe Poet, referred to, 215. 

Papular notions concerning our Saviour and the Holy Spirit, 41—43. 
Practical hints, ua importance of Christianity, 15, 16. 
■— ou human corruption, 33, 34. 

— on mode of dealing with u certain description of infidels, 34, 35. 

Proetifai, 



INDEX. 

al tiints, on the means of exciting onr affections towards 
ir Saviour, 86, 87. 



especting love 
especting ai" " 



no (ion, 153 — 156. 



d useful 1 
jraily sweet tempered, 169. 
_ lo naturally r.«ugh slid austere, 170—174. 

— to irue Clirijlian, when engaged in hurry of worldly affairs, 
■ 174—179. I 

— to personsdesirous of repenting, 205, 906. > 

— respecting usesof peculiar doctrines of Christianity, 810—880. 

— fur revival of Religion, 268— K65. 

— to various descriptions, 86C— 277. 

Christian's wn—'iwo. 
■—to some who profess their full assent (o fundamental doctrines af 
Christianity, 290—294. 

— toSceplics and Unitarians, 294— 301. 

— to half-unbelievers, 302—304. 

— to true Christians, from state .if times, 304— 309. 
~ Clirismmtv, chapter on, B5— 220. 

— prevailing "low vie»» of it, 90—92. ' 
-Christianity, its re.t strictness, 93. 

— its true iiuture, 94—97. 

— charged on all, without exception in its full strictness, 93— 10*. 

— miscluefs uf neglect of peculiarities of Christianity, 803. 

— distinction, fundamental between systems of nominal and real 

Christians, 208—205. 

— precepts of Christianity, most excellent, 228. 

— use of peculiar doctrines of Christianity, 808. 

Prevailing low vicus of practical Christianity, proofs of them, 91. 

— inadequate tense of peculiar doctrines of Christians, 208, otc 
Probation, notion of disproves prevailing system of Religion, 215, 216. 
P™ ; fof Christianity's divine origin, 8*8, 289. 

Pvriims, many of their writings commended, 240. 



Rrli'iim, practical hintsfor its revival, 262—866. 

— the only true support in trouble and peril, 290. 
Jfenenlunre, advice Tor such as ore disposed to, 278 — 883, 
Reputation, true Christian's conduct respecting it, 144 — 156. 

— true Christian preserves, without over-valuing it, 146 — 149, 

Robertmn, Dr. censured, 243. 
RtuKtiu, school of, 179, 180. 



Scepticam, natural histo 

auity, 300, 301. 
Scripture doctrine, importance of to Christianity, 10 — 12. 

— doctrine, concerning human corruption, 16—87. 

— doctrine, concerning Christ and the Holy Spirit, 39, 40. 
iklf-dtciptim, frequent sources otj 267—878. 

Selfietepticm 



INDEX. 

Setf-dtceptiim. snother common kind, 290 — 29S. 
■ Stlf-rianhicthx, helps in, 867. 
SelfislmcH of common practical Religion, 107 — 118. 

— IhedisenJe of political societies, Isi. 

— peculiarly counteracted by Christianity, 854—856. 
Seiuioriiry, exquisite, liow little truly valuable, and how different 

from true practical benevolence, 179, 189. 
Stnsaalittl, class of, 109. 
Sat, how spoken ofm icriptuie, 183. 

— defective conceptions of, 188. 

4 r\ eerily, false, notiun of it, 13—15. 

— rtue, what, 15, 16. 
Sins, iioli'lleonei, 184. 

— Jittlr, who! accounted such, 188. 
Smith, Dr. Adam, 67. 165, 166. 848. 

Soamr Jmipu, hi* View of the Internal Evidence of Christianity re- 
ferred to, 9. 845. 

Sophistry, with which Religion is. explained away, 117. 

Stage, the, proof from it! being frequenter! bv nominal Christians r>f 
their defective love uf God, 194— 196. 201, 208. 

— proof from, illustrated by political analogy, 196. 
Statutes, Religion madcaact of, 116, 117. 
Sterne, strongly ceniured, 179, 180. 

Strictness of rruc practical Christianity, 93, 94. 

-— ofourtystcn, objected to, as not suited to the slate of Ihe world, 
845. 

— the charge refuted, 846, lie. 

Sunday, hints lor its employment, 124, 125. 

— common modes of unhalloiving it, 186, 187. 
Su »rr me rcgord tobe jetonGod, 53. 99—114. 
Swiff i Talc of a Tub, quoted, 117. 



7flste, votaries ef, 111. 

Temper;, Chrisiian, not cultivated, 120 — 188. 

— respecting human estimation, 145—147. 

— respecting calumny und disgrace, 149, 150. 

— when too much immersed in worldly bunnesj, 17*— 179. 
Theatm, Parisian, 195. 

Thtatrical ente rr> m men (s prove defective lo»eof God, 195. 

— prove defective love of our neighbour, 195, 196. 
[ruled by political analogy, 196. 

' V. 



Tnlgarily in Religien, as to language, to be expected from vulgar 



INDEX. 
OnUariaiam often result! from wine causes as absolute wepticisu, 

S99. 
Uitfut lives, discussion concerning, 157". 

— substituted for Religion, 157. 

— value of, estimated bj standard of mere reason, 162, 16*. 

— real worth of, on Christian principle*. 163, 164. 
— < life, tbe Christian's life the most so, 167. 

— Christiana urged to, 168. 

— its just praise given to, 173. 

— apt to mislead us, 174. 

W. 
TtWlft, votaries of, 110, 111. - . „ 

Women, more disposed than merit* Religion, and uses to be made of 



— eitlted office assigned to them, 874. 
Witherspaen, 341. 

Y. 
Ytrnth, simplicity of, mistaken for Religion, S73. 



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