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final, some unalterable decision. If the first of these propositions be true; if the Gospel be of God, in the name of all that is sacred and momentous, in the name of all we hold most dear, let us seek and adopt every human means to uphold and diffuse the blessing! If it be of man, the shrewd contrivance of policy or priestcraft, and all its threats and promises delusion ; if the soul be nothing but a mechanical organization, which, when it has served the purposes of life, breaks and is crushed to atoms with the shell that envelopes it ;-then, dismiss the ministers of Christ as useless drones, and let those hands, which are now stretched out in distributing the sacred symbols of atoning grace, be compelled to grasp the sickle, and wield the spade ; let your churches sink in desolation, and become " the cage of every unclean and hateful bird :” there let owls hoot, and satyrs dance ;—discard all hope, and fear, and thought, of eternity ;-and let “every man do, what is right in his own
Those, who regard nothing but their temporal welfare, may soon perceive what would be the happy fruits of this glorious extinction of church and churchmen. « Tell me, ye that desire to be
under" no law,—no restraint of law or gospel, what would be the final result of this escape from the bonds of priestly tutorage ?—this deliverance from the paralyzing dread of future retribution? The reply may be comprised in two words -- sweeping anarchy, and universal WEEN.
“HEARERS, NOT DOERS OF THE WORD.” .
EZEKIEL, CHAP. XXIII. VER. 31, 32.
“And they come unto thee, as the people cometh, and they
sit before thee as my people ; and they hear thy words, but they will not do them : for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely sound of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well upon an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not."
The Jewish prophets, as you must often have remarked, are continually lamenting the errors and vices of that obstinate and perverse people, who were rebellious, even while they were visited with peculiar marks of Divine favour, and warned by especial messengers, delegated by Heaven ; messengers, whose sacred authority they did not dispute, though they so little regarded their admonitions. “They come unto Thee, as the people cometh ;"—they enter the house of
prayer, as pious worshippers who seek the Lord; “and they sit before Thee, as my people ;"—they range themselves round the pulpit of instruction, as the congregation of the Lord; "and they hear thy words ;"—they listen, or affect to listen, to the expounder of the oracles of God; “but they will not do them.” Nay, they exhibit some external signs of zeal and devotion ; “ for with their mouth they show much love;" but it is only the homage of the lip; for “ their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Avarice, sensuality, and the world's vanities and delights, have engrossed their minds and captivated their affections.
Would to heaven this inconsistency and folly could only be charged on that age and nation ! But it is the picture of all times. Christian churches, as well as Jewish synagogues, are too often frequented by lukewarm disciples, who have obedient ears, but obdurate hearts. They come, through custom and education, to worship in the same mode in which their fathers wor, shipped—or with the hope of amusement-as the world's children haunt the public show, to get rid of time, or be gratified with sound. “For lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one
that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well upon an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”
Things present, things that come into immediate contact with their senses, occupy ninetenths of mankind. Indeed, secular attractions are so incessantly operating, and their influence is so powerful, that we have, all of us, perpetual occasion to counteract their overbearing tendency. Nevertheless, the future cannot be entirely forgotten; for even present objects will sometimes lead us on to those that are remote. The common occurrences and casualties of life, -sickness, accident, the loss of parents, brethren, neighbours ; the occasional sight of the parochial cemetery crowded with tombs and monuments of the dead; the heavy toll of the passing bell; all, or any of these mementos, awaken the most thoughtless to some casual recollection of mortality. Nay, even those free and liberal thinkers, as they are sometimes called, who affect to laugh at the fictions imbibed in childhood, and treat the awful doctrines of Christianity as the tales of the nursery, and the legends of the priesthood ;-even these gay despisers have their moments of reflection, when they cannot