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But I address, -in the next place,
II. THOSE WHO HAVE NEITHER THE FORM NOR THE POWER OF GODLINESS.
If persons who wear the external semblance of piety, and yet want its vital efficacy, are in the state which I have described, what must be your danger, who are utterly careless and indifferent, and do not preserve even the decencies of an external religion? If those who have only one part of godliness be in this awful condition, what must be yours, you have no part of it at all? He who has only a forin of devotion, says Bishop Hall, is a hypocrite: he who has not even that, is an atheist. And yet in this Christian country how many thousand persons have no pretence to piety, and are not concern: ed to have any! They live almost as heathens, They have some regard to the laws of the land, the law of honour, the rules of a profession, the orders of trade, and the prescriptions of usage; but as to spiritual religion, the faith of Christ, the public, worship of God, family pięty, the observance of the Sabbath, purity of conversation, regard for conscience, the moral and religious education of children, selfgovernment, and a preparation for death and eternity-these things never occupy a serious thought. They have not even the form of them: they have nothing to represent them; they are things which lie quite beyond their view. And
yet they call themselves Christians. "Let'them learn then to be alarmed at such an irrational course of conduct. Know ye not that 'the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Know yé not that the 'swearer, the Sabbathbreaker, the unclean person, the proud, the covetous, shall not see the happiness of heaven? Know ye not that godliness is the highest duty of man? Know ye not that you are sinners; that you must repent or perish; that you must believe in the Son of God for everlasting life, or be condemned? Know ye" not that you have'the power, as well as the form, of godliness to acquire, and only a moment, perhaps, for this difficult acquisition? Know ye not that God will have all the heart, or none; and that the miere general acknowledgment of his being, and a loose adherence to a national church, whilst you have not so much as 'a decent semblance of piéty, will only aggravate your condemnation? In forming our estimate of those who have the form of godliness, and, as we fear, only the 'form, we may sometines err ; but in our judgment of you who carry on your very forehead your determined negligence, aud, perhaps, scorn of all serious religion, we cannot be mistaken. If there be any truth in the Bible, you are in imminent danger of perdition. Consider then your ways; turn to God; resolve earnestly to serve Christ, as you have been
earnestly serving the world. Do not satisfy yourselves with assuming only the name of piety; but begin with the life of it, and this will bring along with it the name, Decide now for heaven; renounce your sins; yield yourselves urto God, as those that are alive from the dead. How shall you escape if you neglect so great salva, tion ?
Allow me, before I conclude, to address,
III. THOSE WHO HAVE BOTH THE FORM AND THE POWER OF GODLINESS. I say those who have both the form and the power, because it ought to be our concern to unite the two. When in a pure Protestant church, we rise from the mere external to the vital and internal part of religion, we are not to neglect the first, but to take care that it be animated and invigorated by the second. In domestic life, principles of obedience without order, will soon lead to inextri. cable confusion. In the state, patriotism without subordination and subjection to law, will soon become wild and selfish. And thus even in the church of Christ, godliness itself, without proper attention to external form, may quickly be accompanied by irregularity and innovation, Perhaps the temper of the present day inclines us, in some cases, too much to neglect ecclesiastical discipline. Schisms and divisions are less carefully avoided than the Scripture directs
them to be. Let us then, whilst we leave to our brethren of every confession the most entire liberty of conscience, honour and value our own sacred services and our own wise and scriptural system of church polity. Let us be careful to worship the Lord according to them, in the beauty of holiness. Let us aim at obtaining a meek, solid, decent, cheerful, and permanent religion. Let us be grateful to God for our scriptural and truly devotional Liturgy; and in using its prayers, confessions, and thanks, givings, let us eyer add the Power of piety to these instructive FORMS. Let us thus endeavour to obey the command of our Saviour, when speaking of the smaller obseryances of the law, compared with the weightier matters of it, These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone.
COLOSSIANS, III. 12, 13. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one anoother; if any man have a quarrel against any,
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. It is the peculiarity of the Christian faith that it not only forbids the commission of sin, but ene joins the actual practice of holiness. Other systems may have attempted to frighten men from vice, this alone teaches them to love obedience. Nor is it merely the public and more heroic virtues which it enforces, but the retired and lowly ones also, which were little regarded by the heathen moralists, much as the happiness of mankind depends upon them. cordingly the Apostle Paul, after he had exhorted the Colossian converts in the verses preceding the text, to mortify those corrupt passions which were, so to speak, the members of