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and fpirituality. Punctilious perhaps in the form of godliness, he denies the power thereof. His lips draw nigh unto God: his heart is far from him (c). Outward obfervances he fubstitutes for ardent piety; and moral decorum for the fruits of the spirit. To feek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; to crucify the flesh with its affections and lufts; to live not unto ourselves, but unto Chrift who died for us; these are precepts which in the hands of the lukewarm religionist evaporate into prohibitions of the groffer vices: and fcarcely feem inconfiftent with the toleration of fome one of the groffer vices on condition of a decent abftinence from the reft. That we are juftified by faith alone, implies in his creed no more than that, in order to fupply the deficiency of his own righteousness as the price of falvation, fome acceffion must be borrowed from the righteousness of Chrift. To be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to be created anew in Chrift Jefus, to be born again of the Spirit; these are phrases which in his estimation import that his heart, by nature fubftantially good, is yet to receive fome improvement from divine grace: that, although the original foundation be in the main fufficiently folid, fome alterations are needful in the fuperftructure: that the apartments, neces(c) 2 Tim. iii. 5. Matth. xv. 8. Bb 2
farily contracting from daily use a little duft and defilement, require occafional purification. All religious warmth, all active zeal for the glory of God, he decries as enthusiasm; and vindicates his coldness by declaiming against fanatics. Every degree of exertion for the falvation of men which furpaffes the fcantinefs of his own ftandard, he eyes with fufpicion, as the fymptom of a heated brain; and eagerly feizes every pretence for cenfuring the ftrenuous and faithful Chriftian, in whofe affectionate diligence he reads a reproach of his own inactivity and deadness. In lukewarmness every thing tends to deterioration. The heart grows inert, the confcience dull of feeling. Penitence becomes fhallow, prayer languid, religious meditation uninterefting, faith feeble and indistinct and unproductive. Sin lofes its heinoufnefs. Every thing is ftagnant, and verges towards corruption. The vivifying principle feems extinguished.
Against fuch a frame of mind do you won, der that a woe is denounced? Are you aftonifhed that Jefus Chrift fpeaks of the lukewarm with abhorrence: declares his with that they were either cold or hot; and while they boaftfully proclaim themselves rich and increafed with goods and having need of nothing, affirms them to be naked, and miferable,
and poor, and blind, and naked; counsels them to buy of him gold tried in the fire that they may be rich, and white raiment that they may be clothed; and forewarns them that, unless they repent and become zealous, they shall be utterly caft out for ever? He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit faith to the lukewarm in the churches (d)! Against you, if you are lukewarm, has the Spirit denounced this woe by the mouth of St. John. Against you, if you are a patron of lukewarmnefs in others, if you vilify religion and difcourage the true fervants of the Lord Jefus by afcribing to fervent and active piety, to found and enlightened faith, the denomination of enthusiasm; if you thus call evil good and good evil, thus put darkness for light and light for darkness; against you has the Spirit denounced an additional woe by the lips of Ifaiah. Look up to the impending judgement. Be zealous, and repent!
III. Another illuftration of the text is furnished by perfons, who represent a partial conformity to the commandments of God as meriting the appellation of religion: and thus alfo by implication ftigmatise the true Chriftian as righteous over-much.
(d) Rev. iii. 15-19. 22.
It is not on the dedication of the heart to God that men of this defcription reft their confidence. In their religion the devotion of the heart, and the confequent furrender of the affections to holiness, have no share. It is on the practical obfervance of one or more of the moral virtues, and on a practical abftinence from fome particular fins, that they ground their pretenfions to the kingdom of heaven. "We do not profefs to be eminent "faints: nor will we aver that we have been "as religious as we ought to have been. But "neither are we grofs offenders. We defy "the tongue of calumny to fix on us any "fcandalous vice. Or if we have been betrayed into grofs tranfgreffion, it has been "accidentally and by furprise. We are forry "for the inftance: and we doubt not that O God, who knows that man is frail, will "make reasonable allowances. Nay, though
we may have fallen into an evil habit; we "trust that in the eyes of our equitable judge "it will have been compenfated by the exer"cife of many virtues. We are unwilling "to commend ourfelves. But the fuperci"lioufnefs of rigid moralifers requires us to "do justice to our characters. Our integrity "has been through life unimpeachable. We "have injured no man. We forgive every
man who has injured us; and are at peace "with all the world." Such is the language which the fullness of the felf-fufficient caufes to echo throughout the dwellings of health and profperity. Such are the fentiments, expreffed perhaps in a moderated tone, which the minister of the gospel too frequently hears when fitting by the fide of the bed of death. Is. this religion? Is this to live unto Chrift? Is this to ferve God through a Redeemer, by fanctification of the Spirit, with gratitude and love and holy fear? Is he religious, who deliberately perfeveres in the habitual gratification of any unhallowed temper or defire? "Not fo religious," you reply," as he ought "to be." Not fo religious as he ought to be! In the fight of his Judge he has no true religion. As furely as the Scriptures proclaim the decifions of eternal wifdom, he is without the first elements of religion: he is without that which conftitutes the bafis of religion, the unqualified furrender of the heart to God. As furely as the Scriptures reveal the decrees of Omnipotence; the portion reserved for him is everlasting woe (e). Is he religious. who refts on the obfervance of the rules of integrity, or of temperance, or of liberality, () 1 Cor. vi, 9, 10. Gal. v. 19-21. James, ii. 10, 11. Bb 4