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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 ye 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 mere general acknowledgment of his being, and a loose adherence to a national church, whilst you have not so much as a decent semblance of piety, 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 sometimes err; but in our judgment of you who carry on your very forehead your determined negligence, and, 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 unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. How shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation?
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 inextricable 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 thanksgivings, let us ever 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 observances of the law, compared with the weightier matters of it, These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone. Alle gouft abihot foo to Opport isim of
CHRISTIAN MEEKNESS AND FORGIVENESS.
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 anaother; 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 enjoins 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. ACcordingly 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
the old man; proceeds in the words now read to direct them to cultivate the opposite graces. And in doing this, he proposes, after his usual manner, those peculiarly Christian motives by which alone men can be effectually enabled to perform them. Hence in considering this subject, we must notice,
ME I. The Christian graces or virtues here enjoined by the Apostle.
II. The Christian motives by which he enforces them.