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for their God and King, shall never know the woes of captivity and desolation.
Christian philosophy purifies society by purifying the fountain of human actions—the heart of man. Heathen philosophy often consisted of nothing more than fine sayings, pleasing to the imagination, but leaving the heart uninfluenced and the conduct unreformed.
Some of these heathens, who wrote the finest morality, it is well known, practised, and even obliquely recommended, with all the charms of wit and eloquence, vices which degrade man below the brute.
Of Holiness its true Meaning, and absolute
Let a man's mind be holy, and he will not doubt one moment of the truth of Christianity. It is not enough to be learned or sagacious; it must be holy; and then the more learned or the more sagacious, so much the more firmly will its belief be fixed, and so much the better enabled to extend the faith. Bacon, Boyle, Locke, Newtori, Milton, Addison, Lord Chief Justice Hales, possessed intellects as vigorous as ever fell to the lot of human beings, but they were educated piously as well as learnedly, according to the manners of their times. They
lived holily; the Spirit of grace took early possession of their hearts, and they became not only believers but defenders of the faith. Not to their learning, but to their holiness, be the glory. They saw God by the eye of faith, not of philosophy.
There is one qualification, without which we shall never be admitted to the favour of God, or to celestial felicity in the mansions of future glory, and it is holiness.
Without this, we read, no man shall see the Lord. 'Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.''
No words can be plainer, and more express than these. A question naturally arises in the mind of every thinking man,-in what consists this quality, which is indispensably necessary to securing the beatific privilege of enjoying the divine presence ? What is holiness ?
The excellent Joseph Mede informs us, that “sanctity, or holiness, imports discrimination,”-or distinction from other things, by way of exaltation and pre-eminence.
God himself is originally, absolutely, and essentially holy; man, only by communication.
Holiness, I therefore understand to be that state in which God vouchsafes to man his holy Spirit, and discriminates him from those who, rejecting his offers of grace, presumptuously adhere to the
world and its vanities; who neglect religion entirely, and who live without God in the world, despisers of his grace. To be holy, is to be refined, by the Spirit of God, from the corruptions of the world; to be separated from sin and impurity, like the metal from the base alloy.
He, therefore, who would see the Lord, must, by obedience, seek the manifestation of the Spirit; by prayer obtain the divine assistance, and thus be admitted to a participation of the divine nature : 'according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us ex. ceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'
The happy state of holiness constitutes the true dignity of human nature. This at once purifies and elevates it. The man who possesses it, enjoys this world with calm complacency, while he rises superior to it, and hopes for a better in reversion. He acts rightly, yet never rigidly ; he always tempers justice with kindness and mercy; his whole behaviour is gentle, flowing from an internal principle of benevolence. The fear of God and the love of man operate on his heart as the main springs of all his activity. To express his conduct in Scripture language, he does justice, loves mercy, and walks humbly with his God.
Behaviour thus amiable and beneficent is the surest proof of holiness. Great pretensions, sancti
1 2 Pet. i. 4.
monious deportment, a rigid observance of external ceremonies, and a pertinacious adherence to particular doctrines, are all consistent with an unholy state, with self-deceit, and with hypocrisy. But he who is kindly affectioned to his fellow-creatures with brotherly love; he who is unostentatiously pious, and displays the fruits of the Spirit by good works, he can entertain little doubt of seeing God; seeing the truth of his word, and enjoying his presence in the living temple of his heart, thus consecrated by the influence of the Holy Ghost.
A delightful serenity attends that state of holiness, which arises from an humble confidence in God; such as would render it devoutly to be wished for, if its consequence extend only to the pleasurable enjoyment of this life. It causes our journey to resemble a passage through those charming countries, where the air is genially soft, the sky clear, and the prospect variegated with every beauty of nature. The cold, shivering, self-dependent mortal, who walks through the world all solitary, who has not God for his friend and companion, may be compared to the forlorn savage, prowling for prey far from the solar beam, in the regions near the pole. How would he rejoice in the warm sunshine and sweet serenity of an Italian climate !
Of a good Heart.
The most desirable treasure which a human being can possess, whether he has regard to his own happiness or to those around him, is a good heart. In every situation, and under all circumstances, this will furnish a store of sweets which the wicked cannot obtain; and delicious though it is, would not relish, so vitiated is their taste : a good heart communicates liberally the pleasures it enjoys; blessed or blessing in every emotion.
But what constitutes a good heart? The grace of God operating upon it. The mild, gentle, healing spirit of the gospel ; or, to use the language of Scripture, the unction of the Holy Ghost, mollifying its hardness, and preserving it from corruption.'
· Beautiful is the description which Lactantius gives of the effect of Christianity in meliorating the disposition. I will transcribe his words :
Da mihi virum, qui sit iracundus, maledicus, effrænatus : paucissimis Dei verbis tam placidum quam ovem reddam. Da cupidum, avarum, tenacem : jam tibi eum liberalem dabo et pecuniam suam plenis manibus largientem. Da crudelem et sanguinis appetentem ; jam in veram clementiam furor ille mu. tabitur. Da injustum, insipientem, peccatorem : continuo et æquus et prudens et innocens erit. Uno enim lavacro malitia omnis abolebitur. Tanta divinæ sapientiæ vis est, ut in hominis pectus diffusa, matrem delictorum, stultitiam, uno semel impetu expellat ; ad quod efficiendum, non mercede, non libris, non lucubrationibus opus est. Gratis ista fiunt, facile, cito; modo pateant aures et pectus sapientiam sitiat: num quis hæc philosophorum aut unquam præstitit aut præstare potuit ? Lact. Inst. lib. ii. c. 26.—“Give me a man who is choleric, abusive in his language, headstrong and unruly; with a very few words,