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server of all men. But believers are redeemed from every curse, Rev. xxii. 3. "There shall be no more curse."
6. This should reconcile man to his present condition. If less delightful, less ensnaring, labour occupies the mind, promotes heaith, checks the effects of idleness on the passions, and thereby checks disease and sin. To the poor and industrious Christian, the rich and temperate one, still it may be said, The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, Ps. xxiv. 1.
7. How thankful should the Christian be for the salutary influence of his trials, Rom. viii. 28. The trials of his condition rather prevent than punish sin; yea, they improve him. They may be chastisements, but they are not curses.
THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST.
Q. How shall I know that I possess the spirit of Christ? A. By escertaining that the FRUITS of the spirit are within you. This manner of proving it the Devil cannot imitate, as he can an impulse or a direct revelation, saying, thou art a child of God. The latter testimony Satan has given to thousands, and flattered their proud conceit of themselves, as distinguished favourites of Heaven. I have known professors, whose carnal, proud, malignant, sensual spirits, witnessed with God's spirit, in his word, that they were the children of Satan, maintain an unshaken confidence for many years, from what they called the spirit's direct immediate testimony, that they were children of God! and the stronger their delusion, the higher their confidence! But what is the spirit's witness or evidence? Rom. viii. The spirit of adoption, opposed to the spirit of a slavethe spirit of a child-the spirit of love to God as our Father-by love to the children of God, as such. We know we are children, "because we thus love the brethren." How were the Thessalonian Christians to know their election? By an inward, direct testimony, or voice, saying, thou art one of the elect? No! "Knowing your election, by the work of faith, the labour of love, the patience of hope, in the Lord Jesus, which remained steadfast and lively, under their afflictions, temptations, and persecutions. If we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, and possess that image, is not this conformity to Christ, the Spirit's evidence, witness or testimony, that we are pardoned, justified-the children of God?
And does not an enlightened, relieved, and purified conscience, bear the same witness or testimony, with the Spirit of God in his Word, and by his work in the heart? And is not this testimony in which the Spirit's work and our own spirits or consciences agree-the Spirit's witness or testimony with our spirits. And what was the witness or testimony which inspired St. Paul with courage and joy? This is our rejoicing, the testimony or witness of our conscience. To what was the witness, testimony, or evidence, given? That in all simplicity and godly sincerity-not by fleshly wisdom, carnal policy; but by the grace of God, we have our conversation in the world."
Many are wise above what is written, in wishing to be satisfied by an immediate witness, testimony, or voice; who would be satisfied by "the fruits of the Spirit," if they possessed them. Satan can give such a witness; and many believe it: but Satan cannot produce the image of Christ in the soul; and so prove witness that we are the children of God. But he often gives a direct witness, that such as possess Christ's image, are not his children, though he cannot prove his testimony; for "no lie is of the truth." The Spirit has borne witness, and still does, that his fruits in you, will witness to your being a child of God. Your conscience or spirit, is warranted to bear the same witness. Without this, all other witnesses are deceivers; and with it, you will say, nothing more is necessary.
The same delusion extends itself to other subjects-the Spirit of God must give them a direct revelation, or witness of duty, or remove doubts—or assure them of an event. Waiting for a delusion, they very soon meet it. A strong suggestion of Satan, or their own self-love, assures them of the thing they desired. Nothing can shake their confidence. "They love to have it so." They are ready to believe as they desire. They imagine the Spirit has revealed it to them. "They hold fast" the "deceit," until events mortify them by disappointment. Then I have witnessed, rank infidelity, blasphemy, and despair. " "The foolishness of man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth against the Lord!" Such are above the word, because they cannot prove their conversion by it; but I am directed to try every spirit by that word; and by it to "know the spirit of truth, from the spirit of error." If any spirit should, by a direct suggestion, assure me, that I am a child of God;-I must judge this spirit's witness, by the witness of God's spirit in his word. "To the law and the testimony."
I have known persons under the Gospel, living in intemperance, dishonesty, and unchastity, declare, that they have not entertained a doubt of their interest in Christ for fifteen or twenty years. They said the Spirit's sacred witness satisfied them. But the Spirit's witness in the word was-" If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die!" "Hereby know we the spirit of truth from the spirit of error."
The error of many Quakers is, not the Spirit's witness by his
fruits, in the heart and life, harmonising with the Word of God and a good conscience; but that they have the suggestion, revelation of the Spirit or his witness, without the Word-above the Word-and even contrary to the Word.
If any one would know that he is a good man, it must be proved by "the fruits of the Spirit." If he desires more, he is deceived, and may deceive others. But, generally, those who desire more are satisfied with less; and satisfied even against proof to the contrary fact. They judge the Word, which should judge them. "By their FRUITS ye shall know them !"
THE LYING TONGUE.
A lie, is the wilful disagreement of the mind and the tongue, with a design to deceive. Truth, as it stands opposed to the sin of lying, -is the agreement of our words with our intentions.
An equivocation conceals or misrepresents, the real sentiments and intentions of the speaker. It contains two senses of a word or sentence; and the liar by this artifice wishes to impose on you the false sense, as the true one.
"It is wilful deceit that makes the lie; and we wilfully deceive, when our expressions are not true, in the sense in which we believe the hearer apprehends them." "A lie is a breach of promise: for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another, tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows that the truth is expected."
What are the occasions of lying? Guilt produces lying; and one lie occasions a second to conceal the first; and a third to hide both of them. Hence the criminal artifices of self-vindication and of misrepresenting those we desire to injure.
Curiosity induces lying,-when one person to obtain the knowledge of another person's affairs, pretends a knowledge of the thing of which he is ignorant; or not to know an affair with which he is well acquainted.
Covetousness tempts men to "get money by a lying tongue;" by diminishing the real value of an article in buying; and magnifying the worth of what we sell." It is nought,-it is nought, saith the buyer;" and when he has purchased the goods, "he boasteth," of his great bargain.
Envy lies to injure the character of another person; or to disturb his peace, by pretending that he have heard an ill natured word
spoken of you, when the liar never heard any one utter it but himself.
Pride and passion hastily fabricate a resentful lie; and falsely quote the name of a man of sense and character, to confirm their own assertions.
Shame creates in the liar, the fear of detection; and the fear of being exposed, leads to " a refuge of lies."
Party-lies are told to gratify spleen, by exalting those who either favour the liar and are "workers together," to wound the good names of those who do not favour their party designs.
Fashionable lies are told to visiters or tradesmen, when inconvenient to receive the former and pay the latter. If engaged, or ill, or it be inconvenient, why not say so, rather than teach a servant to endorse your lie, by saying you are not at home?
A talkative disposion is a fruitful source of misrepresentation. "In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise." Many who neglect their accounts, their business, their families, and their souls-are wiser in their own eyes than SEVEN men who can render a reason." No subject is above them :-they make free with ministers of the crown, and ministers of the Gospel; mend the constitution and improve the book of God! These "Athenians meet to tell some new thing," true or false; they speak positively of a doubtful report, and raise it into certainty. If the slander be trifling, they color it to the taste of their company.
Malice is a root of lying by false accusations; by misrepresentation of your actions, words and motives, the malignant liar attempts to destroy your reputation, bending the tongue like a bow; for he will forge a lie, which shall conceal itself by pretensions to the purest motives, and the tenderest pity for the person it wounds. Malice will quote your words and put a false construction on them; omit some of your words and add others :—and by the tone of the voice, the emphasis and action, entirely pervert your intention. Malice will lie, by concealing the real occasion and design of your words; and assign a different source and end to them.-It will so assume such a whining tone such tenderness of conscience-such concern for the injured character, with such appeals to Heaven for the truth of its own lies-as by its " good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple.' Its words are "smoother than oil," piercing the deeper" like very swORDS."
Malice also lies by pretending to tell all a person knows of a story, and yet leaves out a principal part.
Offend a purse proud man-who prefers money to principle; and "his tongue walketh through the land." In this world he may practically say " my tongue is my own;" but in the next world, may long for water to cool that same false and slanderous tongue, tormented in flames!
Idleness is often equally productive of lies. Having little business at home; and disposed to neglect that, the pious gossips gad and tattle, from house to house, very "busy bodies in other persons matters," collecting a few tales of slander, they are qualified to afford fresh gratification at the tea table; furnish conversation to strengthen the bond of malicious union; and after lying, as the order of the evening, conclude with family prayer! But the sacrifice of the wicked, is an abomination to the Lord."
The resentful liar, stung by a kind and faithful reproof, will soon commit himself,-and hate you more for detecting him; and by a second lie, he will endeavor to hide the first. You did not, he says, think I was in earnest? I only spoke the words as a joke. “He casts around firebrands, arrows and death; and says, " was I not in sport?" I knew several professors of religion, who for twenty years past have vented their resentment against kind and faithful reproof; and as constantly denied their own words when detected; or pretended they were joking: but they have outlived their characters where best known, and proved Solomon's words, that “ a liar,” whom he calls a wicked man," is loathsome and cometh to shame." A lying hearer of the Gospel, is "a pestilence that walketh in darkness, and an arrow that flieth at noon day."
If a minister preach salvation by grace, without the merit of good works; he is often represented as an enemy to good works.
Should he preach the necesity of good works, and the inconsistency of evil works, with the doctrine of grace, he is often represented as an enemy to the doctrine of salvation by grace.
If he faithfully preaches against lying and slander,-covetousness, fraud and extortion, by dealing with short measures and weights, by overcharging customers who owe the seller money, and by passing off goods of bad quality for the best;-if in his sermons or private reproofs, he exposes the criminality of fleshly lusts, in single and married men; and tears off the veil of excuses from the dishonest, the extortioner in charges, and the pilfering tricks of the devout hypocrite, who endeavours to cover his hypocrisy by his prayers, his professed creed of evangelical doctrines, his giving money for religious purposes; and his soft, whining cant in conversation on ministers' sermons, village preaching, and religion in general, what will the lying hearer say of him? He will represent his faithfulness as personality,-impute it to bad motives, pride, severity, unpeaceableness, or perhaps in secret, insinuate something against the preacher's moral character.
Should the faithful minister concur with the church, in the exercise of church discipline, to censure, suspend or separate the immoral, according to the word of God,-the slanderous hearer will palliate his sin, cherish an impenitent temper, charge the minister and church with severity; and perhaps persevere in self-vindication, until he that judgeth righteously," shall make him feel in body