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you may learn from the examples of a worldly temper which I before adduced from Scripture in the case of persons who were the true servants of God, as Lot, and Eli, and Jehoshaphat, and Martha. Especially is the danger great in a day of extended religious profession like the present. There is now a world even in the Church of God. A man may lose his religion, and become altogether carnal in the midst of religious concerns and occupations. There are borderers, as it were, living on the confines of the two kingdoms. These form a world of their own, where measured degrees of vanity, dress, company, trifling, ostentation, ambition, are 'tacitly countenanced; where plain honest spirituality of heart and life is in disgrace; and where the abstinence from public places of amusement and a few other grosser practices of irreligion, serves to quicken the appetite for every possible indulgence which is still within reach. From the spirit and practice and maxims and standard of these persons, the Zealous Christian will stand aloof, that he may commune with his Saviour, that he may devote his time to the dutics and charities of his station, that he may study his Bible, that he may walk with God, and adorn his Gospel in all things. It will be his inquiry, not how near he may approach to the world, but how far he ought to recede from it. Far from living in
trembling anxiety as to the judgment of the world, or asking the half-hearted and timid professor, to what point he will allow him to proceed without affixing on him some name of contempt; he will pant after a complete resemblance to Christ his Lord, and will pray that, in the full sense of the expression, he may not be of the world, even as his Master was not of the world.
A FORM OF GODLINESS.
2 TIMOTHY, III. 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof. THERE are two parts of religion, the internal and the external. Each of these is important; but in very different degrees. The inward grace of religion is the life of the whole, and gives all the value to its outward appearances. The ordinances of it are excellent, if they are regarded as a means rather than an end; but if they are substituted for inward piety, they become injurious and dangerous. Thus the Apostle instructs us, that in the perilous times of the fast dispensation of the church, men shall learn to unite every possible vice, with an outward adherence to the rituals of Christianity; shall retain the form whilst they deny the power of godliness. And though the ordinary cases which oceur in the present day are far from being so aggravated as those described by the Apostle, yet the tendency of
human nature is ever the same.
A large class of mankind are always prone to neglect the real spirit and influence of religion, and to Overvalue its outward observances. Let us then consider;
I. The power of godliness.
We are to notice,
The term GODLINESS is, strictly considered, à due love and obedience to the blessed God; but it is ordinarily employed in the Scriptures, in a larger sense, for the whole of true religion. This begins in the conversion of the heart by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Ít leads to sincere repentance: It brings a man to believe cordially in the name of Jesus Christ for pardon and justification through his vicarious sacrifice and atonement. It produces a love to God and holiness, a delight in prayer, a value for the Bible, a mortification of remaining sinful passions, charity to our neighbour, separation from the sins and corruptions of the world, meekness; 'humility; circumspection, tenderness of conscience, and a desire to discharge every personal and relative duty: Thus the sinner; who was formerly ungodly and careless about his salvation, becomes a new creature in Christ
Jesus, and lives a sober, righteous, and godly life.
If this be the nature of godliness, THE POWER OF it must be that sacred influence, by which the genuine spirit of it is communicated, and the holy effects of it are produced ; that energy by which it transforms, converts, and sanctifies the whole man. If the doctrine of godliness is lowered and explained away, its power will disappear. But when the true grace of Christ Jesus, the real and effectual work of the blessed Spirit, the inward life of God in the heart, and the pure and devoted obedience of a Christian conduct, are duly insisted upon in the language and manner of the Holy Scriptures, then the virtue and loveliness of religion will be preserved, the efficacy of it, as well as the name. Thus the Apostle speaks of the Gospel of Christ, as being the Power of God unto salvation. Thus the Thessalonians received it, not as the word of men, but, as it was in truth, the word of God, which EFFECTUALLY WORKED in them that believed. The Gospel is also said to have come to the same Thessalonians, not in word only, but also in Power, and in the Holy Ghost, and they became followers of the apostles and of the Lord; so that they were ensamples to all the believers, having turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God. And thus the truth of the Gospel came to the Co