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tickets in the time he would take to buckle his shoes. This true, replied the minister; but he can feel no interest in the purity of the church, the good of your souls, nor the honour of Christ. He may rapidly increase the number of its members, half of which may prove hypocrites." Those, you admit, may prove hypocrites," the eldest rejoined. True, said the faithful minister; but that will not be my fault, if I do all I can to prevent it. They left him with heavy censures of his bigotry, and never after applied for admission.
THE monuments of British liberality are numerous; and whatever principle actuates the public to apparent generosity, the distressed are consoled, and the needy supplied. No doubt the influence of example, interest, reputation, the emulation of party spirit and self-righteousness, have no small share in the origin and support of public charities. "I have this night made my will,” said a rich oppressor, in my hearing, " and I hope this charity will cover the multitude of my sins." This was founded in two mistakes: First, our "charity or love covers the sins" of OTHERS against us; but not OUR SINS AGAINST GOD. Secondly, to suppose that our charity or alms will cover, that is, atone for our sins, is to substitute the merit of human works for the merits of the SAVIOUR; or to suppose that our charity has any influence in procuring our pardon, is a denial of the all-sufficiency and perfection of the atonement of the Redeemer; and is a relic of popery, as really as the doctrine of purgatory, which adds the sufferings of man, in a future world, to the sufferings of Christ in this world. To complete his work altogether, he triumphantly declared, "It is finished!"
"Pride has erected hospitals as well as religion; and compassion to the distressed has no inseparable connection with the fear or love of God. Heathen nations are not destitute of humanity; they are men, although not Christians. In England, the prince annually extends his bounty to the necessitous, with a royal munificence; and the poor in every city or town are indulged with a particular protector." Thousands and tens of thousands in this country, both male and female, whose characters are distinguished by infidelity, profaneness, and lewdness, will part with their money, but not with their SINS; they hope to propitiate God, by what they call charity to men. If this is religion, the righteousness of a heathen may "exceed the righteousness of these pharisees." The alms of the Emperor of China, every year, exceed four millions! In all the
towns and cities of China, a Pagan empire, there is a number of the poor maintained at the emperor's cost-one hundred in some, sixty in others, according to the population of the place. (Navarette, p. 27). This is humanity, compassion, or charity in Pagans.
Thousands in this christian land are liberal of the property of others, because they are not just in paying their debts-Liberal, yet not just in the wages of their workmen-Liberal, yet oppress the industrious and honest tradesman, by" bating down his fair price," and keeping him a long time from payment-Liberal, yet becoming rich by bankruptcy-Liberal, indiscriminately to the dishonest, the idle, and the lewd, to procure their good word-Liberal, to the fraudulent, the drunkard, and the poacher, because they have "consented to the theft," are intemperate themselves, and are committed by purchasing game at a low price-Liberal, in building places of worship to form a party, obtain power, and purchase flattery of a preacher of "smooth things," who preaches discipline without particular duties; and the bood of Christ to comfort those who LIVE IN THEIR SINS!!
ON RELIGIOUS “CANT.”
Religious cant is truly disgusting to every class of society. It is an affectation of piety, with a soft whining tone. It is hypocrisy, covered by pretensions of devotion in the face and voice; but, generally, such canting is perceived in such persons in civil society as well as in religious.
Canting is not confined to hypocrites in religion. There are canting physicians and apothecaries; canting lawyers and tradesmen; canting gentlemen and ladies-the rich and poor-the scholar and the dunce-the master, mistress, and servant, may be canters : yea, some preachers are guilty of the most disgusting whine in voice and servility in manners, and receive from many hearers, who despise religion, praise for their excellent sermons--and praise conveyed in the forms of the most canting politeness. And so general is this sickening attempt to please others, and commend themselves, that some of my plain neighbours complain that even their barber is the greatest cant in the town.
And it not unfrequently happens, that those who are most forward to accuse others of canting, are the most guilty of it themselves, and the greatest strangers to vital and experimental religion, under the cant of its profession and forms. They appear disgusted with hypocrisy, affect great sincerity, and boast of not pretending to more
religion than their neighbours, while their conduct and conversation prove they are "ashamed of Christ before men," and, as men of the world," seek acceptance with men of the world. Our Lord remarks, that" the world will love its own" persons of their own taste, opinions, and customs; and he adds, "Marvel not, if the world hate you," my disciple; "It hated ME, before it hated you; because I testify of it, that its works are evil."
It is not hypocrisy these men hate, but spiritual, vital, experimental religion. And these REAL hypocrites cover their enmity by giving real religion the name of cant.
Admitting, however, that canting, that is, hypocrisy, exists in some among all ranks, professions, and trades, it does not follow that all of each class are hypocrites. How great then must be that person's enmity to real religion, who stamps the name of canting, or hypocrisy, on a whole body of Christians, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, because some, like Judas, betray their Lord and his cause! "The gall of bitterness" must be in their hearts, and "the poison of asps under their lips." I know Dissenters, without any principle, will cant, and cut, and trim to Churchmen, because they are hypocrites in the esteem of Dissenters; and I know some canting Churchmen, who boast of their zealous attachment to the Church of England, whose tempers, conversation, and conduct, prove they are enemies to the Church of CHRIST.
They go to church from worldly motives-are taught not to take the name of God in vain-to remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy-not to bear false witness against their neighbours- to keep their tongues from lying and slandering; and, after each command, begin canting," Lord have mercy upon us, incline our hearts to keep this law." And, to shew their hypocrisy, swear, slander their neighbours, and profane the Sabbath-day, by worldly business and pleasure, by idleness, and unprofitable habits and conversation; by paying or receiving visits, to eat, drink, indulge in levity, and kill
A COVETOUS DISPOSITION.
WHAT are the marks of a covetous disposition?
A man is then covetous, when he grudges himself conveniences suitable to his condition.
When he is not liberal in proportion to his property.
When a man violates truth, justice, or conscience, for the sake of money. Such a person, whatever his profession, prefers money to his soul.
When he is tormented at any worldly disappointment or loss. When his heart rests on his wealth, as his distinction, his happiness. He thinks and talks of money with complacency.
When he is proud of his property, and despises others for the
want of it.
When he is discontented, and anxious for more, although he has a sufficiency.
When he buys, he undervalues the goods by falsehood; and when he sells the same goods, he with equal falsehood magnifies them far above their value. Whatever he gains, it enlarges his covetous desires; and to his taste, " enough is a little more than he has."
He flatters the rich, to over-reach them; and takes advantage of the poor, who are in his debt, and want ready-money.
He envies those who prosper; and will undersell them to destroy their trade, as far as his influence will reach.
If to cover his injustice and oppression, he gives to the needy,— he boasts of his charity, represents himself as the first mover in liberality; and evidently repents that he gave more than his share.
Some of this covetous class half-starve their cattle; others feed their cattle and oppress their servants, by requiring them to work from fourteen to eighteen hours a day; and bribe their consciences by giving their poor servant, or slave, a little beer. And after the devotional compliment to God, in "bodily service" on the Sabbath, require their poor men to come to receive orders for the work of Monday. And as if their banker did not need the rest of body or mind, they will finish their hypocritical devotions on the Sabbath, by disturbing the banker for money in the evening of the Sabbath.
They talk much of God's Providence, but trust only their own. They slander the fair tradesman, as guilty of high charges; and oppress the poor tradesman by hard bargains.
They inform the poor that small beer is better for them than ale; and water better than either: but ale and wine and spirits are best for them; for this best agrees with good eating, and their circumstances, as gentlemen.
Thousands of men in the world, are humane in their feelings, just in their dealings, moral in their conduct and conversation, without any religion. Is it any wonder they should form a false opinion of religion itself, from the abominable dispositions, conversation, and conduct of such blind, conceited, boasting, self-applauding knaves, who, like Judas "kiss the Saviour, and betray him and his cause?"
ALL men have a right to think for themselves: but not a right to persecute, to silence, and crush the friends of truth and freedom. The church of Christ is catholic. It is not confined to one sect; confers no civil rewards, inflicts no civil punishments. The causes of uniting Church and State in the fourth century, were ignorance of the nature of Christ's kingdom-fear of persecution-lust of power to retaliate-pride of understanding-dictating creeds which others must believe.
A Roman emperor becomes head of the state and of the church, and ordains officers to support his power: then see "the beast with seven heads and ten horns." All who thought for themselves were heretics-guilty of schism, or divisions-exposed to persecution; that is, exile, torture, death. Hence the Roman pontiff-the antichristian power-the reign of popery.
The Reformation constituted the king-a Protestant king-the head of the church, and continued the alliance of Church and State, contrary to the simple and apostolic pattern. Matt. xx., XXV., xxvi.
Constantine, in the fourth century, authorised his church officers, in meetings called councils, to forge creeds and canons, which he imposed, under civil and spiritual penalties. Here mark the germ of Popery the assumption of a sovereign dictatorial authority over conscience.
Is there any thing in the constitution of the primitive churches like this? Were even the apostles lords? Had not they, with every member of the church, "one Lord?" But Constantine was another lord, and gave laws to the kingdom of Christ. Every article of faith was settled by the emperor's influence, in every particular council, and was stamped by his authority.
Let Cæsar govern in civil affairs; but consciences and souls are not his subjects. Human authority has united Popery and Protestantism with the state. Does Christ's authority change with them? One human establishment has been changed in its creed and discipline, by a new king or queen. They prevail against each other. Is this the Established "Church against which the gates of HELL shall not prevail?" Are princes, courtiers, legislators, capable of estimating religious principles? Has God given them authority to dictate articles of faith and discipline?
The kingdom of Christ continued distinct in its constitution, laws and ordinances, from the kingdoms of this world, three hundred years after its first establishment. Jesus Christ says, "My kingdom is not of this world."
The church of Christ has one "lawgiver," only; one law;-" the