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dren “ of your Father which is in heaven;" who'shews his goodness by giving such blessings as they are capable of, even to bis stubbornest enemies; 66 who maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For, if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the same?” Matthew .y. 46. Who pretend to no. Religion ; whom ye yourselves acknowledge to be without God in the world. “ And if ye salute," shew kindness in word or deed, to 6 your Brethren,” your friends or kinsfolk “ only: what do
ye more than others?” Than those who have no Religion 'at all? “Do not even the Publicans so?”. Nay, but follow ye a better pattern than they, ver. 48. In patience, in long-suffering, in mercy, in beneficence of every kind, to all, even to your bitterest persecutors; “ Be ye" (Christians) “ perfect,” (in kind, though not in degree,) eyen as your Father, which is in heaven, is perfect," ver. 48. : III. Behold Christianity in its native form! as delivered by its great Author! This is the genuine Religion of Jesus Christ. Such he presents it to him whose eyes are opened, See a picture of God, so far as he is imitable by man! A picture drawn by God's own hand! $6 Behold, ye de spisers, and wonder, and perish !" Or rather, wonder and adore! Rather cry out, Is this the Religion of Jesus of Nazareth? The Religion which I persecuted! Let me no more be found even to fight against God. Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do? What beauty appears in the whole! How just a symmetry! What exact proportion in every part ! How desirable is the happiness here described ! How venerable, how lovely the holiness! This is the spirit of Religion : the quintessence of it. These are indeed the fundamentals of Christianity. O that we may not be hearers of it only! “Like a man beholding his own face in a glass, who goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” Nay, but let us steadily “ look into this perfect law of liberty, and continue
therein." Let us not rest, until every line thereof is transcribed into our own hearts. Let us watch, and pray, and believe, and love, and “ strive for the mastery," till
every part of it shall appear in our soul, graven there by the finger of God: till we are “ holy as he which hath called us is holy, perfect as our Father, which is in heaven, is perfect!"
ON OUR LORD's SERMON ON THE MOUNT.
MATTHEW v. 13-16.
“ Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt hath lost its
savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under
foot of men. « Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a
hill cannot be hid. 6. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel ;
but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are
in the house. “ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
1. THE beauty of Holiness, of that inward man of the beart, which is renewed after the image of God, cannot but strike every eye which God hath opened, every enlightened understanding. The ornament of a meek, humble, loving spirit, will, at least, excite the approbation of all those who are capable, in any degree, of discerning spiritual good and evil. From the hour men begin to emerge out of the dark. ness which covers the giddy, unthinking world, they cannot but perceive how desirable a thing it is to be thus transformed into the likeness of him that created us. This inward Religion bears the shape of God, so visibly impressed upon it, that a soul must be wholly immersed in flesh and blood, when he can doubt of its divine original. We may say of this in a secondary sense, even as of the Son of God himself, That it is the “ brightness of his glory, and express image of his person :" atau yaoua Tus doźns aute, The bcam, ing forth of his eternal glory; and yet so tempered and softened, that even the children of men may herein see God and live: Xagaxtnp TMS UTOSAGEWS auto, The character, the stamp, the living impression of his Person, who is the fountain of beauty and love, the original source of all excellence and perfection.
2. If Religion therefore were carried no farther than this, they could have no doubt concerning it: they should have no objection against pursuing it with the whole ardor of their souls. But why, say they, is it clogged with other things? What need of loading it with doing and suffering? These are what damps the vigor of the soul, and sinks it down to earth again. Is it not enough to follow after Charity? To soar upon the wings of Love? Will it not suffice, to worship God, who is a Spirit, with the spirit of our minds, without encumbering ourselves with outward things, or even thinking of them at all? Is it not better, that the whole extent of our thought should be taken up with high and heavenly contemplation? And that, instead of busying ourselves at all about externals, we should only commune with God in our hearts.
3. Many eminent men have spoken thus: have advised us “ To cease from all outward action;" wholly to withdraw from the world; to leave the body behind us; to abstract ourselves from all sensible things : to have no concern at all about outward Religion, but to work all virtues in the Will, as the far more excellent :way, more perfective of the soul, as well as more acceptable to God.
4. It needed not that any should tell our Lord of this master-piece of the wisdom from beneath! This fairęst of all the devices, wherewith Satan hath eyer perverted the right
ways of the Lord. And, O! what instruments hath he found from time to time, to employ in this his service! To wield this grand engine of hell, against some of the most im portant truths of God! Men that " would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect;" the men of faith and love: yea, that have for a season deceived and led away no inconsider able number of them ; who have fallen in all ages into the gilded snare, and hardly escaped with the skin of their teeth.
5. But has our Lord' been wanting on his part ? Has he not sufficiently guarded us against this pleasing delusion? Has be not armed us here with armour of proof against Satan bi transformed into an angel of light ?? Yea, verily: he here defends, in the clearest and strongest active, patient religion he had just described : what can be fuller and plainer than the words he immediately subjoins, to what he had said of doing and suffering ?''*". Ye are the salt of the earth.“ But if the salt have lost its savour, where. withal shall it bé salted ? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world : a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel; but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
In order fully to explain and enforce these important words, I shall endeavour to shew, First, that Christianity is essentially a social Religion, and that to turn it into a solitary one, is to destroy it. Secondly, that to conceal this Religion is impossible, as well'as utterly contrary to the design of its Author. I shall, Thirdly, answer some objections; and conclude the whole with a practical application.
1. 1. First, I shall endeavour to shew, that Christianity is essentially a social Religion ; and that to turn it into a solitary Religion, is indeed to destroy it.
By Christianity I mean, that method of worshipping God, which is here revealed to man' by Jesus Christ. When I say, This is essentially a social Religion; I mean not only,