Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

As to principles, the heart of man, be it remembered, can scarcely admit of two strong attachments at the fame time* 'When the world has seized the affections, the unseen Deity, and all the duties which result from an acknowledged relation to him, will be viewed with indifference, and more than indifference, even with disgust, because they will often appear repugnant to the favourite pursuit. In this state of the public mind the voice of Infidelity will be heard with eagerness, while religious discourses and addresses will be treated with neglect, if they should escape scorn. The affairs of the: world, the great prizes which glitter in the eyes of pride, avarice, and selfish pleasure, will alone be considered as worthy the anxious care, the ardent pursuit of a man of sense.

. . But it may be worth while to reflect a moment how nearly such a state approaches to Atheism. The name shocks us, and is abhorred; but the reality is insensibly cherished by all who pay no worship to the Deity. The reluctance . / - N 4 which which men seel to admit the appellation is, however, a proof that there are seeds of religious sentiments still remaining in them, which might be fostered by care, till, in time, they might vegetate and bear fruit in abundance. Without care, they may perish, and the mind become a barren, dreary, dismal waste, uncheared by the sunshine of Hope. character must consider Himself as the Supreme and unaccountable Judge of .lii's own conduct, and as the sole arbiter of his own happiness. His selfishness •will, perhaps, lead him to avoid the infringement of human laws: but where criminal indulgence or villainous practices, conducive to worldly interest, are compatible with sccresy and fasety, what shall restrain him from the violation of the divine laws? what shall preserve him from internal guilt, the Pollution Of The Mind? from pride, envy, malevolence, which, like weeds, take root and spring up in the bosoms of all human beings uncultivated and uncleansed by divine grace? .ia The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is one of the most effectual means of grace. The preparation for it, and all that concerns the reception of it, is highly favourable to virtue; and whatever favours virtue must promote happiness, both private and social. But the man whom I have just described, however decent his external appearance and character, can never, while he continues to be compreN 5 hendetl hended under that description, avail hirriself of these means of grace and support to virtue.

If religion comprehend the worship and obedience due from men to God, and all the duties which they are bound to perform, either with the prospect of obtaining his favour, or the sear of incurring his displeasure; then they who do not worship God; they who do not obey him; they who do not act with the hope of his favour, or the apprehenfion of his displeasure, whatever their prosessions may be, or whatever name they may bear, are without religion, and coosequently in practice, if not in theory, Atheists. The- difference between practical and speculative Atheism is in effect small; they are both productive of wickedness, and terminate in misery. A man of this

[merged small][graphic]

In the Gospel we read, that none Were to go to the marriage-seast without a wedding-garment; that is, a disposition suitable to the solemnity:—" Put on "Christ; put on the new man." This certainly is not to be done but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit; but how can he obtain the assistance of the Holy Spirit who never asks it in prayer? In order to put on this holy vestment, a worldly dress must be put off and laid aside.

How far are they from a state of mind proper for communion with God and man in holy love, whose -hearts are engrossed with the love of this world, and inflamed with the spirit of rivalry, envy, wrath, contention! Let us view men in the busy haunts of avarice; let us mark them at the gaming-table; let us observe them unceasing' attendants at every place of promised pleasure or Vain ostentation. How alien seem their behaviour, their

converfation,

conversation, their hopes, and sears, and "wishes from the pure and benevolent .spirit of Christianity! Self admirers, and claiming admiration from all around them; proud, so as scarcely to look upon those, who are out of the pale of fashion and grandeur,,dssellow-creatures; irritable and angry to such a degree as to be ready to strike and take away lise for a look, much more a word of offence; hating and hateful, or if there be the semblance of love, it is often but the love of interest, or a , grosser passion partaking of the brutal, though varnished with the affected resinements of false delicacy.. Selfishness prevails even in the love which appears real; for the lover relinquishes the object and often cares not what dire ill may await after the gratification of an appetite: a scene in human affairs which evil spirits might delight ih; but which must be. incompatible with that religion which teaches, "Whatsoever Things

"ARE TRUE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE "HONEST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE "JUST,. WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE, N 6 "WHAT

« ForrigeFortsett »