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theme of eyil fpeaking for their fake. Thus it always has been; and thus, until Chriftianity fhall have established a more general dominion over the hearts of thofe who avow themselves her fubjects, it always will be. Evil men, confcious that their neighbour is a far more religious character than themselves, will feel his fuperiority as a reproach, and will affuredly be on the watch to contrive opportunities of degrading him in public efteem, of fixing fome name of obloquy upon him, and of difparaging thofe views of religion which have conducted him to excellence in holinefs. If you are a zealous fervant of God, prepare to behold many of your pureft intentions mifconftrued'; prepare to hear yourself reproved and vilified for actions, which, according to a more equitable interpretation, would have been deemed worthy of praife. Prepare yourself to hear principles afcribed to you, the reverse of those which you hold, the reverse of those which you publicly maintain. Prepare to hear epithets and appellations borrowed from obnoxious fects; fects, it may be, from whofe errors you may have been the inftrument in the hand of God of rescuing pr guarding weaker brethren; prepare to


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hear them borrowed for the purpose of fixing the odium of those errors upon yourself. What is the leffon which this expectation should teach you? It should teach you how great is the folly of folici tude for the applause of men. When' you deserve it not, it may be copiously poured out upon you; when you have the fairest claim to it, you may be repelled with cenfure and contempt. Wo unto you, faid our Lord to his difciples, when all men speak well of you: for fo did their fathers unto the false prophets. If you are praifed by the world, is it not because you are conformed to the evil principles and practices of the world? Is it not because you live to the world, not unto Chrift? The world will love its own, Men will praise thee, faith David, when thou dost well to thyself †. If you are fuccefsful in your worldly plans; if you give the reins to vanity and pleafure; if you devote your riches to fplendid and luxurious enjoyment; then it is that the world will flatter you and proclaim you happy. Live to the world, and the world will applaud you. Live to Chrift, and an evil world cannot but revile and

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condemn you. How righteous, how rational, is the judgement of Holy Writ! How equitable is the condemnation which the Scriptures pronounce against thofe who love the praife of men more than the praise of God! Chrift is not like the world, an undiscerning, a capricious, an unjust, a forgetful master. Be ye His fervants: feek His favour. Give no real occafion to others to speak evil of you. Abftain even from the appearance of evil. There let anxiety cease. Be not uneafy as to the opinions of men. Be not depreffed by the lofs of human approbation. Be not elated nor enfnared by poffeffing it. Let it be your main folicitude to be found among thofe whofe praife is not of men, but of God. The Lord will come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifeft the counfels of the heart: and then fhall every man, every true Chriftain, have praife of God. That praife is praise indeed. That praife endureth for



Thirdly: Juftify wisdom, juftify true religion, by manifefting yourselves to be her children. Draw not from the preced

* Rom. i. 29. 1 Cor. iv. 5,


ing obfervations a conclufion which they do not warrant. If you are cenfured by the world on account of your opinions, or your conduct refpecting religion, imagine not that the cenfure is a proof that you are religious. The cenfure of the world, though often mifplaced, is not always misplaced. If you are charged with having judged erroneously, it may be that you have judged erroneously. If you are accused of having acted amifs; you may have acted amifs. If enthufiafm or fanaticifm be imputed to you; perhaps you more or lefs deferve the imputation. Let the cenfure and the praise of others equally fend you to your Bible. Search the word of truth. Compare your religious opinions, your religious practice, with the doctrines and commandments of your Lord. Confult him, in his revealed word, with an humble, contrite, and teachable heart, as a child liftens to its inftructor. It was in vain that John the Baptift preached to the fcornful and hardened Pharifees; that generation of vipers, who, though defirous to escape the wrath to come, would not abandon their fins, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. It was in vain that Jefus Chrift addreffed himfelf to that self-righteous race, who trufted in

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in their own imaginary merits, and defpifed the offered atonement of a Saviour. My fon, if thou wilt incline thine ear unto wif dom, and apply thine heart to understanding: if thou feekeft her as filver, and fearcheft for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wifdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding * When you have lif tened to the words of wifdom, recorded from his mouth in the Gofpel, strive, through the influence of his Holy Spirit, to obey them as an affectionate child obeys its its fruits. At the fame time that you are found in doctrine, be a pattern of every good work. So fhall you be the children of wisdom fo fhall you juftify wisdom. So fhall you evince that Chrift Jefus is made unto you, wifdom, and righteousness, and fanctification, and redemption. So fhall you glorify God in the way of falvation. So fhall you recommend the way of salvation to mankind.

parent. Let your faith prove itfelf by

If you thus juftify wisdom, behold the hour approaches, when before the affembled world, wifdom fhall juftify you. Fear him who can caft both body and foul into

* Prov. ii. 1—6.


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