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that just and rational principles of religion may
fill up that room in the minds of men, which dangerous fanaticism will otherwise usurp.
This consideration alone is sufficient to shew the high utility of the design undertaken by the Society for propagating Christian Knowledge. With great propriety, they have bestowed their chief attention on a remote quarter of our country, where, from a variety of causes, ignorance and superstition had gained more ground, than in any other corner of the land; where the inhabitants by their local situation were more imperfectly supplied with the means of
proper education and instruction; and at the same time exposed to the seductions of such as sought to pervert them from the truth. The laudable endeavours of this Society in diffusing religious and useful knowledge through this part of the country, have already been crowned with much success; and more is still to be expected from the continuance of their pious and well-directed attention.
With such good designs, it becomes all to cooperate, who are lovers of mankind. Thus shal! they shew their just sense of the value of that blessing which they enjoy in the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ; and their gratitude to Heaven for conferring it upon them. Thus shall they make the blessings of those who are now ready to perish through lack of knowledge, descend upon their heads. Thus shall they contribute their endeavours for bringing forward that happy period, foretold by ancient prophecy; when there shall be one Lord over all the earth, and his name one ; when that name shall be great from the rising to the setting sun; when there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the hol;
mountain of God; but judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field; the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose : and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. *
* Zech, xiv. 9. Malachi, i. 11. Isaialı, xxxii. 16. -- Xxxv. 1.
On the TRUE HONOUR of Man.
PROVERBS, iv. 8.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; she shall bring
thee to lronour.
sions in the human heart. It shows itself in our earliest years; and is coeval with the first exertions of reason. It accompanies us through all the stages of subsequent life; and in private stations discovers itself no less than in the higher ranks of society. In their ideas of what constitutes honour, men greatly vary, and often grossly err.
But of somewhat which they conceive to form pre-eminence and distinction, all are desirous. All wish, by some means or other, to acquire respect from those among whom they live; and to contempt and disgrace, none are insensible.
Among the advantages which attend religion and virtue, the honour which they confer on man is frequently mentioned in Scripture as the most considerable. Wisdom is the principal thing, says Solomon, in the passage where the text lies, therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. It is evident that throughout all the sacred writings, and particularly in the book of Proverbs, by wisdom is to be understood a principle of religion producing virtuous conduct. The fear of the Lord is said to be the beginning of wisdom : And by this fear of the Lord men are said to depart from evil; to walk in the way of good men, and to keep the path of the righteous. * Man is then regulated by the wisdom which is from above, when he is formed by piety to the duties of virtue and morality; and of the wisdom which produces this effect, it is asserted in the text, that it bringeth us to honour.
one of * Proy, ii. 20.
On this recommendation of religion it is the more necessary to fix our attention, because it is often refused to it by men of the world. Their notions of honour are apt to run in a very different channel. Wherever religion is mentioned, they connect it with ideas of melancholy and dejection, or of mean and feeble spirits. They perhaps admit that it may be useful to the multitude, as a principle of restraint from disorders and crimes; and that to persons of a peculiar turn of mind it may afford consolation under the distresses of life: but from the active scenes of the world, and from those vigorous exertions which display to advantage the human abilities, they incline totally to exclude it. It may soothe the timid or the sad : but they consider it as having no connection with what is proper to raise men to honour and distinction. I shall now endeavour to remove this reproach from religion ; and to show that in every situation in human life, even in the highest stations, it forms the honour, as well as the happiness of man.
But first let us be careful to ascertain what true religion is. I admit that there is a certain species of religion, (if we can give it that name,) which has no claim to such high distinction ; when it is placed wholly in speculation and belief, in the regularity of external homage, or in fiery zeal about contested opinions. From a superstition inherent in the human mind, the religion of the multitude has always been tinctured with too much of this spirit. They serve God as they would serve a proud master, who may be flattered by their prostrations, appeased by their gifts, and gained by loud protestations of attachment to his interest, and of enmity to all whom they suppose to be his foes.
But this is not that wisdom to which Solomon ascribes in the Text such high prerogatives. It is not the religion which we preach, nor the religion of Christ. That religion consists in the love of God and the love of man, grounded on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Redeemer of the world, the Intercessor for the penitent, and the patron of the virtuous; through whom we enjoy comfortable access to the Sovereign of the universe in the acts of worship and devotion. It consists in justice, humanity, and mercy; in a fair and candid mind, a generous and affectionate heart; accompanied with temperance, self-government, and a perpetual regard, in all our actions, to conscience and to the law of God. A religious, and a thoroughly virtuous character, therefore, I consider as the same.
By the true honour of man is to be understood, not what merely commands external respect, but what commands the respect of the heart; what raises