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THE IRISH PULPIT.

SERMON I.

REV. III. 15, 16.

I WOULD THOU WERT COLD OR HOT.

SO THEN BECAUSE

THOU ART LUKEWARM, AND NEITHER COLD NOR HOT, I WILL SPUE THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH.

This denunciation has been awfully fulfilled. Laodicea, once a flourishing city, and the mother-church of sixteen bishoprics, cannot now, says Bishop Newton, boast an anchorite's or hermit's cell, where God's name is invoked and praised.

But lukewarmness was not peculiar to the Laodiceans. It belongs to every age; and the infection is at this moment among ourselves. Who then are the lukewarm ? They are not, we can at once reply, either the pious, on the one hand, or the openly wicked, on the other. They are often what are called good neighbours- obliging acquaintancesagreeable members of society. They dis

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countenance every indecorum, and every levity which would lower a decent tone of manners. Nor in things purely religious are they ranged upon the professedly hostile side. They consider religion as useful to the state, friendly to the laws, fitted peculiarly to improve and regulate the lower orders of the community. They attend with tolerable

punctuality on the public ordinances of the church; in their families, and in their closets too, they are not wholly negligent of religious forms. They come up, in short, precisely to that point in religious strictness, which the world allows and sanctions. Nay, they are often held up as patterns, and are appealed to as instances how a person may be good without running into extremes—be truly religious, and neither singular, severe, or gloomy.-These are the lukewarm. They do not wallow in vice; they do not sin openly with a high hand. But they want the main spring of good. They have no tenderness of heart, no drawing of the soul, no soft humility, no filial fear, no sensibility, no love towards God: and wanting this master-principle, this heavenly seed, this root of blessedness, all is false and hollow. There is no life or soul in this show of little decencies, this paltry exhibition of empty forms. It is all blighted fruit, without sun to ripen it; a withered branch, cut off from the sustaining vine. And thus it is that the lukewarm, with all his negative virtues and fair outside, is an abomination in the sight of God : that while the world looks on, perhaps, and almost worships him as an idol, God may look down and rank him lower, and mark him for deeper damnation, than he does the wretch who drinks in impurity like water, or than he. does the midnight ruffian, who ends a life of public crimes upon the scaffold.

Make the case your own. Suppose you had conferred on two persons, with an unsparing hand, all the tokens of disinterested, boundless affection :--that you had come forward at the cry of their distress—that you had saved their lives—that you had wiped away their tearsthat you had struck off the chains of their captivity, and led them forth to light and liberty. Suppose, also, that in this ministration of mercy, you had encountered the most trying difficulties; brought down upon yourself accumulated misfortunes; and waded through seas of trouble and of sorrow, far deeper than all the waters that had gone over their souls. Suppose then these two persons, owing life and all its hopes to you, to go forth into the world, . One of them, betrayed by faithless promises, misled by bad example, overpowered by countenance every indecorum, and every levity which would lower a decent tone of manners. Nor in things purely religious are they ranged upon the professedly hostile side. They consider religion as useful to the state, friendly to the laws, fitted peculiarly to improve and regulate the lower orders of the community. They attend with tolerable

punctuality on the public ordinances of the church; in their families, and in their closets too, they are not wholly negligent of religious forms. They come up, in short, precisely to that point in religious strictness, which the world allows and sanctions. Nay, they are often held up as patterns, and are appealed to as instances how a person may be good without running into extremes—be truly religious, and neither singular, severe, or gloomy.These are the lukewarm. They do not wallow in vice; they do not sin openly with a high hand. But they want the main spring of good. They have no tenderness of heart, no drawing of the soul, no soft humility, no filial fear, no sensibility, no love towards God: and wanting this master-principle, this heavenly seed, this root of blessedness, all is false and hollow. There is no life or soul in this show of little decencies, this paltry exhibition of empty forms. It is all blighted fruit, with

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