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which again He will require that the future will be the outYou may use its power for growth of the present. 3. evil, if you will, but you then The condition of things sugrob God. He lent it to be a gests it. Looking at the bright star to light man in opportunities for good and the night, not a cloud; to evil, &c. 4. The inevitable be a propitious wind upon result of living suggests it. the sea, and not a hurricane How do we come out of every to wreck, &c. And there- temptation? Greater slaves fore, it is
or truer men. How out of V. A MOMENTOUS PROBA- pressure ? How out of sorTION. It is the condition of row? We are going to our your future. You are sowing own place. 5. The attributes the seed of which you shall of God suggest this. Righthereafter reap the harvest. eousness and justice demand Your life is not a disconnected it. And therefore it is link, but the germ out of VI. A THRILLING DRAMA. which your heaven or hell “ The world's a stage.” &c. shall come. 1. Your own A Mephistopheles dogs the consciousness suggests this. steps of every man.
How 2. Analogy suggests this. If will the plot end? God each period of the life we looks on, angels, &c. now live is simply the out- VII. A BRIEF EXISTENCE. come of what went before,
H. J. MARTYN. there is at least the probability
no cognisance of thought, feoling, EYANGELICAL SERMS RIGHT XUT I desire, and the unexpressed things NEVERTHELESS RUINOUS. Eranof the soul. Industry, sobriety, gelical religion, in the sense of a veracity, honesty, these are the participation of the spirit of extent of its demands, and if Christ, is the religion of man. these are conformed to, society There is no true religion apart approves, and applauds. Thou. from a living faith in Christ. Bat sands consider these conventional the thing that is come to be called rules to be the standards of evangelical is to a fearful extent character, and pride themselves intensely selfish. It is the red in their conformity to them. Be- ligion of selfishness. Its appeals cause they are diligent in their are all to the hopes and fears of business, they deceive no one, men. Its preaching makes mer they pay every man his due, they feel, but their feelings are all consider their way right. With- concerned for their own interest; out disparaging in the least this makes men pray, but their prayer social morality we are bound to is a selfish entreaty for the deliver: say, that what is conventionally ance from misery, and the attain. moral may be essentially wrong. ment of happiness. Fire and It may spring from wrong motives, brimstone bring men together and be governed by wrong rea. into congregations and churches, sons. · The Scribes and Pharisees We fear that much that is called of old were conventionally right. the evangelical religion of this Albeit they were rotten to the age stands in direct opposition to core. He who read their natures the teachings of Him who said, through denounced them as whited “He that seeketh his life shall sepulchres. The end of such a lose it," and also to the teaching way is death. Death to all the of Paul, who said, “Without elements of well-being.
charity I am nothing." A selfie II. THE FORNALISTICALLY RE- evangelicalism is the way of LIGIOUS WAY SEEMS RIGHT, BUT 18
death. Men go to hell through NEVERTHELESS RUINOUS. Religion churches. What, then, is the way has its forms, it has its places, that is really right? Here it is and its times of worship, its order “I am the way." Following of service, its' benevolent in- Christ is the only way that leads stitutions. A correct and con- to life. stant attendance to such forms CONCLUSION: Right and wrong are considered by thousands as are independent of men's opinions, religion itself. Regularity in what seems right to men is often Church, attention to all the re- wrong, and the reverse. Mentare cognised rites of religion, con- held responsible for their beliefs. tributions according to the general | A wrong belief, however sincere, standard of the congregation, all will lead to ruin. this passes for religion, but is not religion. It is mechanism, nothing more. The motions of
(No. CXIX.) 'machinery not the actions of the
SINFUL MIRTH. soul. There is no life in it, and
“Even in laughter the heart is par it cannot lead to life, but to death.
rowful, and the end of that mirth 2 «The letter killeth.” "God is a heaviness."-Prov. xiv. 13. Spirit, and they that worship him THERE is an innocent' mirth, must worship him in spirit and sunny, sparkling, cheerfalne, in truth.'
arising from a happy natural temIII. THE WAY OF THE SELFISHLY perament. There is a firtroue
mirth. A mirth that has moral than the laughter of him who goes worth in it, springing from holy through life with a heart in hosstates of heart. This mirth, all tility to God. should have. We are commanded II. IT IS SAD IN SPIRIT. “Even * to rejoice evermore.” There is a in laughter the heart is sorrowsinful mirth, and of this the text ful.” The jovial merriment of speaks. Three things are sug- the social board, the joke, and the gested concerning this mirth. laugh, as the glass goes round, are
I. IT 18 BOISTEROUS IN EXPRES- but a veil drawn to conceal a SION. The “laughter" to which world of misery within. Beneath Solomon here refers is of a certain all, the heart is sorrowful, with kind. Laughter in itself is not dark moral memories of the past, wrong. “It is," says Steele, with gloomy forebodings as to the “that which strikes upon the future. Sinful laughter is but mind, and being too volatile and misery mimicking happiness. strong breaks out in the tremor Judge not men by appearance. of the voice." And this author The most miserable may often speaks of different kind of show the most merriment. A sorlaughers- the "dimplers,” the rowful heart lies under all that's "smilers," the "grinners," and gay, and jovial and sparkling the "horse laughers.” A man's in the circles of wickedness. langh is often the best index to III. IT IS WRETCHED IN END. his character. “How much," says “The end of that mirth is heavi. Carlyle, “lies in laughter--the ness.” (1.) Sinful mirth will have cipher-key wherewith we decipher an end. Its jestings and carousthe whole man! Some men wear ings will not go on for ever. an everlasting barren simper; in Disease, age, decay, death, hush the smile of others lies the cold all for ever. (2.) “The end is glitter, as of ice; the fewest are heaviness.” There is no laughable to laugh what can be called ter in the agonies of death, no laughing, but only sniff, and laughter on the day of judgment, titter, and sniggle from the throat no laughter in hell. outwards, or, at least, produce some whiffling, husky cachinnation, as if they were laughing
(No. CXX.) through wool. Of none such
THE MISERY OF THE APOSTATE, AND come good. The man who cannot
THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOOD. laugh is not only fit for treasons,
« The backslider in heart shall be stratagems, and spoils; but his
filled with his own ways; and a good own life is already a treason and man shall be satisfied from himself." & stratagem.” The laughter of Prov. xiv. 14. which Solomon speaks, however, I. THE MISERY OF THE APOSis not a natural laughter. It is a TATE. “The blackslider in heart hypocritical laughter; it is the shall be filled with his own laughter of a man who has little
ways," First: The character of or no joy in him-a man ill at the apostate. “He is a backease. It is what Solomon calls slider in heart." There is a elsewhere, the laughter of the sense in which all men are backfool," and he said of it, “ It is sliders. Sin is an apostacy; souls mad." The laughter of a corrupt turning away from virtue and heart. It is the roar of the from God. The blackslider here, maniac; the laugh of the drunk- however, refers to one who, by ard, who is about stepping over a God's grace, had been restored to fearful precipice, is not more mad moral goodness, but who had VOL. XXI.
fallen away, "Left his first love."
(No. CXXI.) Such apostacy, or backsliding, is
CREDULOUS AND too general in the world; Judas, Demas, Peter, David, are
“The simple believeth every word: amples. The real backslider is but the prudent man looketh wel to the one that backslides in heart. his going."-Prov. xiv. 13—19. There are many who don't seem
“SIMPLE' " and foolish in these to backslide in their conduct;
verses must be regarded as con their external life in relation vertible, and represent the same to the true thing continues the
character. So also the words same as ever, but their heart has
and “prudent." We changed. The backslider in the have, therefore, two characters, eye of God is the backslider in the sinfully credulous and the heart
. Secondly: The doom of cautiously believing. the apostate. « Filled with his
I. THE HASTILY CREDCLOTS. own ways." Misery inevitably
« The ‘simple' believeth every follows his conduct. If he is
word.” First: One of the streages restored he will suffer, he will be
tendencies in man's mental nature is “ filled with his own ways.'
his propensity to believe. It is David felt it so (Psa. li.), and so
one of the most voracious appetites did Peter, who wept bitterly.
of the soul. The child opens its But if he is not restored, his
mental mouth, hungering for misery will be greater. The
tales from the nurse's lips, and punishment of the sinner consists will eagerly swallow everything in his being “filled with his own
that is said.
“ As the young ways."
birds," says a modern author, II. The HAPPINESS OF
*instinctively open their mouths “A good man shall be
for food, and their mothers not satisfied for himself.” Who is the
even once since the creation of good man? The man who loves
the world, have thrown in chat the supremely good supremely.
to mock their hunger, so the “Such a man shall be satisfied opening of their mouth for truth.
trustfulness of children is the from himself.” Whilst the backslider's misery shall spring out of
If we fling falsehood in, and langh himself, so shall the happiness of
at their disappointment, the Lord the good man. The happiness of
will require it.” Alas, this is ungodly men, such as it is, is not
done, and the child grows up to in themselves, it is something
manhood disappointed, sceptical, outside of them, their children,
and suspicious. (1) This proper their business, their friendships,
sity to believe implies a state of their position, their property.
society that does not exist. Were Not so the happiness of the good
men born into heaven, were society man, it is in himself, it is inde
free from all error and deception pendent of circumstances, he
it would be not only a right, but carries it wherever he goes. It is
a beneficial thing to believe erery a well of water springing up. It
word, to credit erery utterance, ig
and to confide in every character.
Thisis the state of society for which “What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
man was created, but he has lost The soul's calm sunshine and the heart
it. He comes into a world of felt joy."
POPE. lies. (2) This propensity to beliete
explains the reign of priesthood. Priesteraft feeds and fattens on the natural creduloueness of the soul. and ravenous beasts. True prudence is indicated - Secondly: By a departure from evil, “He departeth from evil.” Moral evil is the heart of all evil, and this he forsakes. He shuns it as an enemy to God and the universe. The prudence is indicatedThirdly: By mental greatness. He is dignified with knowledge. He is “crowned with knowledge." Caution in believing is necessary for three reasons. First: The strength of man's tendency to believe. Secondly: The prevalence of error in society. Tho damning influence of falsehood on the soul.
All the errors, superstitions, and absurdities which have ever prevailed in connection with religion, may be accounted for by the soul's hunger for things to believe. (3) This propensity to believe shows the easiness of the condition on which God has made the salvation of man to depend.
“ He that believeth shall be saved."
Secondly: The thoughtless yielding to
this tendency is immense loss. * The fool rageth, and is confident." The fool sees
danger, dreads no harm. He rushes recklessly forward into mischief. (1) He is passionate. He rageth. Counsels and warnings only irritate him. Advice, cautions, and reproofs, fall on his soul as sparks of combustible matter. They throw his whole nature into a raging flame of passion. (2) He is stubborn. He “is confident.” What does he care about your warnings. Nothing; He despises you, he laughs at them. (3) He is foolish. “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly, and he inherits folly." (4) He is despised. "A man of Wicked devices is hated. The man who has given way to his credulity becomes all this. He is pas. sionate, ignorant of the grounds of his belief, he cannot brook contradiction, his opinions being prejudices, he is stubborn in holding them, and in all this he is " foolish" and "hated.”
- II. THE CAUTIOUSLY BELIEVING. **The prudent man looketh well to his going." True prudence is indicated by two things--First: A dread of evil. "A wise man feareth." True dread of evil is consistent with true courage. Few, if any, displayed more heroism than Noah, yet, being moved by fear, he prepared an ark. Evil
, both physical and moral, is a bad thing in the universe, and it is right to dread it, as we dread poisonous serpents
(No. CXXII.) THE MAJESTY OF GOODNESS. "The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous."-Prov. xiv. 19. THRre remarks are suggested by the social state indicated in these words; the state in which the wicked are prostrate in reverence and entreaty before the good
I. IT IS A STATE WHICH SELDOM APPEARS TO BE. The wicked generally sit supreme in society, they have done so through all past ages and are doing so now, and that to a great extent, even in what is called “Christian society." The influence, the wealth, the rule of the world, appears to be with the wicked. Evil appoars still to be the prince of the power of the social atmosphere. The good seem for the most part to be the destitute, despised, and oppressed. This has always been to reflecting saints one of the greatest difficulties connected with the government of God. “Wherefore doth the wicked prosper," &c. (Jer. xii. 1-3.) “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Ps. Ixxiii. 2, 3.)