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ent children dwelt in safety, ble they can enjoy either solid The blessing of God visibly at comfort or joyful hope, as creatended them, securing such tem- tures formed for eternity, and poral prosperity, as would be for hereafter to be judged according their real advantage. Such per- to the gospel. To assist them in sons live in honour and peace. this interesting inquiry, their at. They shall come to their grave tention is earnestly requested to in a full age, as a shock
of corn the following observations. cometh in its season. The hea 1. Sincerity in the profession of then encouraged obedience to Christianity is inseparable from just parents by the same argument. and impressive views of Christiak Euripides says, that children, who truth. bonour their parents, are dear to the The whole value of Christian. gods, both living and dead. Senar. ity to men ultimately rests on the ius is mentioned by Stephanius as truth of this principle. If sincersaying; "Thou shalt live as long ity, unconnected with any particas thou canst desire, if thou nour. ular views of religious truth, be ish thy aged parents." Hence all that is necessary, of what use Xenophon's description of chil- is the gospel, as the means of saldren who deserve praise; those vation? We may with impunity wbo nourish the aged. The daugh- , believe any thing we please, and ter, whose breasts supplied nour our final happiness not be endan, ishment to an aged father, arbi- gered, , though we know not trarily condemned to die by hun- whom nor what we adore. Singer, has acquired fame which cerity considered in itself, ine ages shall listen to, and respect. deed, is perfectly compatible Such actions perpetuate the with the most pernicious errors, name, and give a kind of immor. both in religion and in morals; tality on earth.
with the rejection of the most esPHILOLOGOS. sential doctrines and precepts of
Christianity ; nay, with the disbelief of the existence of God.
It has been combined with ignoOX RELIGIOUS SINCERITY. rance and idolatry; and the his.
tory of the world loudly attests The insincerity of many, who the atrocity of the deeds, which profess to be Christians, is to be its spirit dictates, and its authori. deeply lamented, as the bane ty sanctions. It erected the of their own salvation, as well as stake, and lighted up the faggot the cause of exposing religion to of persecution in popish counfrequent though unmerited re- tries. It unsheathed the sword proach. It is of the last import- of exterminating violence, and ance, therefore, for all who have brutal sensuality, where the cresthe form of godliness, to ascer- cent of Mahomet was raised. tain to their own conviction, And still, it kindles the fire that whether they have sincerely em- consumes the widow on the braced the gospel, or have only a plains of Hindostan ; raises the name to live, while they are still knife that is plunged in the trem. dead in trespasses and sin. With- bling victim, and gives vigour out this conviction, it is impossi- to the unrelenting arm that sacVol. II, No.2.
rifices a son or a daughter on the forming the duties, which he has bloodstained altars of frantic su- enjoined, this religion cannot be perstition. Separated from the sincerely embraced if we regard principles of truth, sincerity, God in any other light, than that therefore, instead of being valua- in which he has been pleased to ble, is dangerous in the highest make himself known to us; or degree. It fosters the spirit of neglect the performance of these superstition, and is the parent of duties. For instance, though we the most enormous crimes. should succeed in persuading
But what is truth? or where ourselves, that God is altogether is it to be found ? To men, who such as we are, indifferent to the acknowledge the inspiration and principles and conduct of his au hority of Scripture, the answer worshippers: we may be perfectis obvious. That God is holy ly sincere in this persuasion, and and just ; that men are depraved under its influence be guilty of and guilty, and therefore obnox- the most aggravated sins. But ious to punishment; but that if we have received from himGod sent his Son, and he volun- self an unequivocal assurance tarily came into the world, by that he looketh on the heart and his obedience and sufferings as a trieth the reins of the children of propitiation for sin, to reconcile. men, and that whosoever commen unto God by his own blood; mitteth sin is worthy of death, that repentance and faith, both though we should forget or decommunicated to individual sin- spise this truth, or not feel its inTers by the influence and energy Auence, if it has been made known of the Holy Spirit, are the only to us, our sincerity in a contrary effectual means of being interest- conviction will never be sused in the redemption proclaimed tained as a satisfactory apology through the Saviour; and that for our disobedience. Or, if we holiness, or a transformation of should believe that our supposed the heart and character into the good works will procure the parresemblance of the divine image, don of sin and acceptance with is the only sure preparation for God, while he has made a diathe heavenly state. These are metrically opposite declaration, the few simple truths, which the chat " by the deeds of the law gospel reveals, as the object of a no flesh living can be justified," sinner's knowledge and belief. though we should maintain our These, known and believed, are own opinion, ever so firmly or the foundation of Christian sin- sincerely, we must be regarded cerity : so essential to its exist- as real, though perhaps ence, that whoever disbelieves avowed enemies of the cross of and rejects them, practically pro- Christ, and as such, be justly nounces against himself a sentence chargeable with neglecting the of exclusion from the blessings of great salvation. In a word, if the gospel.
we have received the revelation The danger of mistake on this of truth and duty, if we acknowl. point is so imminent, that some edge its authority, and have acillustration of it may not be un cess to know and read it
for necessary. If then religion con- ourselves, or to hear it explained sist in worshipping God, and per- by others; unless we sincerely
believe and cordially obey it, prospects of approaching misery, however much we may deceive and the most alluring invitations ourselves or impose on others, of promised mercy, are presentwe are only almost, not altogeth- ed in vain. The profession of er Christians. The truth is not religion may be made, the conin us, and our sincerity in error, duct may be free from open un. when we have the means of be godliness; but a lifeless form is ing undeceived, instead of excus all that exists. But he, who deing us, must aggravate our con sires in sincerity and truth to serve demnation before God.
the Lord Christ, is all ardor and 2. Sincerity in the profession of alacrity. Constitutional temper Christianity is inseparable from ardor may incline him to sloth, but if and diligence in discovering what is he feels the importance of relig. trutb and duty.
ion, he will shake off this dispoThe situation of some men is
sition so unfavourable to every unquestionably much more fa- dignified pursuit, and make sal. vourable than that of others, for valjon his chief concern. Unacacquiring Christian knowledge. quainted with arts and sciences But if the mind is at all capable he may be ; but he will study the of reflection, and interested in in- word of God, and derive from it quiring after truth, even in the a knowledge and a wisdum, as most unfavourable situation, sin-. much more excellent and valua. cerity will lead io the most earnest ble than that, which carthly desires, and issue in the attainment learning can afford, as the soul of considerable knowledge on re- is than the body, and the glories ligious subjects. Sincerity in of heaven than the pleasures of what is known, is all that is or the world. He is anxious to can be required; yet, it will not know the will of God concerning allow a man to be satisfied with a all his faith and duty, that he low degree of knowledge, but may cordially embrace the one, will powerfully incite him to se- and diligently perform the othriousness and diligence in exam er. Having an object of ever. ining what is revealed, that he lasting importance before him, may be thoroug bly furnished unto he pursues it with ardor, and is every good word and work. Ig. daily advancing toward its posnorance is often the source of er.
session. His heart is engaged ; tor in opinion, corruption in his affections seek a reconciled morals, and ruin to the soul.
God in Christ, as their supreme And if the opportunity and good; and by this he is distin. means of knowledge be delibe- guished both from the hypocrite, rately and wilfully neglected, it and from the formalist. is impossible that the plea of His mind being thus under the sincerity can be of any avail. power of the truth as it is in Je
Sincerity, therefore, is directly op- sus, opened to discern the imposed to indifference. It is indeed portance not only of acting altogether incompatible with such conscientiously in what is alreaa spirit. To him, who submits dy known to be right, but of acto the influence of religious in- quiring more extensive and acsensibility, the most alarming curate
knowledge concerning the
path of duty, surveys every ob- enemy, or obtained from a source, ject, from which this knowledge to which he had formerly the may be derived, with a look of strongest aversion. Points of carnest desire, and animating difficulty he will bring before the hope. The Scriptures are exam- Lord; and though he does not ined, and both the precepts, neglect the ordinary means of which it inculcates, and the char. direction, he will look upward to acters, which it describes, are se- Him, whose wisdom can guide riously and attentively studied. in the most perplexing path, The conduct of Providence to him- whose power can remove or self and others; the privileges, overcome the most alarming dif. which he enjoys; the talents, ficulties. “ Lord, what wilt which he possesses, and which he thou have me to do! Speak, ought to cultivate ; and the situ- Lord, for thy servant heareth ation into which he has brought It is as my mear and drink to do himself, or has been unintention- thy will." These are the exally, or unexpectedly led, are re. pressions of a mind, where relig. viewed, and the duties, which all ious sincerity reigns; and mark of them require, deliberately and a spirit essentially opposite to that devoutly considered. He may self satisfaction and confidence, have acted improperly in the which formalists feel; and to past, and may see abundant cause that constant struggle between for the deepest contrition ; and their real and their assumed charthe course, which is now marked acter, which hypocrites expe. out for him, may be painful to rience. natural feeling and beset with 3. Sincerity in the profession of numerous difficuļties or dangers ; Christianity is uniformly connected but sincerity will impel him, nei- with a minute and universal regard ther to revolt from the one, nor to duty. to shrink at the other. He will There may be little external not be deterred from inquiry, by difference between the religious the fear of having his prejudices conduct of the sincere and that shocked, his sentiments altered, of the hypocritical Christian. or his habits reproved, for he is Both are punctual in attending willing to renounce every thing the house of God, in performing that he has maintained most ob, the private exercises of devotion, stinately, or cherished most fond- in reading the Scriptures, and ly, if convinced that it has not offering up the forms of prayer been the will of God.
and praise. They both profess Having obtained information, an attachment to the doctrines of he will not consult with flesh and godliness, and seem to be equalblood, but resolutely obey the ly circumspect in their moral call of duty, and “ follow on” conduct. Yet, on attentively exwith increasing ardor “ to know amining their characters, we dis. the Lord.” He wishes to be
cover many unequivocal marks guided by a conscience enlight. of an important and essential difened in the mind of God, and is ference. therefore open to conviction, The hypocrite or the formalist is though the truth, which produ- satisfied with observing the stated ees it, should be tearned from an solemnities of religious worship i
with a general conformity of con. indeed be a reasonable, a living, duct to the divine law; and with and a holy offering. He will external decency of manners; deeply lament, and ingenuously even while his heart is filled with confess in his secret devotions, the most ungodly principles, and those plain omissions of duty, unsanctified desires. His chief those open acts of sin, those com. anxiety is to secure himself from pliances with what he perceives to the charge of that very hypocrisy have been inconsistent with his of which he is inwardly con- character, those ebullitions of scious ; to enjoy the reputation passion, and those intemperances of a saint, while he is in truth a of language of which he is condetermined sinner ; to reconcile scious; nay, even those unholy God and Mammon, religion and thoughts and impure desirts, the world. If this can be par- which, though unknown to the tially attained, he does not hesi- world, are not concealed from tate in secret to commit the most the eye of Him, who searcheth flagrant sins. Like an actor on the hearts and trieth the reins of the stage, his character is assum- the children of men. These, ed, and he labours to support it; the hypocrite never thinks of, and but behind the scenes, he is descio to their criminality the formalist tute of all that excellence and is insensible ; but the truly sindignity, which in the eye of the cere Christian views them in the public, he so successfully imi- light of the gospel, as the relates.
maining members of the old Not so the man, who sincerely man, which is corrupt with his and from the heart, engages in
deceitful lusts, which must be the service of God. His public resisted and crucified, to enable character is indeed externally the him to serve God in spirit and in same ; but this character is not truth. He therefore labours to assumed for a season only, or to maintain a conscience void of of. attain some worldly end. It is fence towards God as well as to, seal, and therefore continues wards men; guards against sins when he retires to his private of the heart ; watches and re: walk. He knows that the dispo. sists those risings of unbelief by sitions ought to be pure, as well which the Holy Spirit is griev. as the actions blameless ; that to ed; and which are the beginfeel do solicitude to have the nings of desires and resolutions, heart sanctified, is to cleanse only which, if carried into action, á the outside of the cup and would destroy his comfort and platter," to substitute appearance disgrace his profession. He de. for reality, and shew for worth; sires to love God more and to have a greater regard to the serve him better; and mourns opinion of the world than to the on account of the coldness of his judgment of God It will, love and the imperfections of his therefore, be his anxious desire service. and habitual study to have the It is evident that this tenderprinciples of godliness strength- ness of conscience must influence ened within him, that when he his conduct in his private retirepresents to the Lord the sacri- ment and domestic intercourse, fice of Christian conduct, it may when secluded from the compan