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thirst is increased by indulgence, to drink from the pulpit. If such has been sometimes too deeply of the enchanted chalice, The (we hope it has been very rarely) the case, dangers arising from any thing that is good, may it not be partly ascribed to an unhappy are formidable, because unsuspected. And notion that the same exactness in his private such are the perils of popularity, that we devotion, the same watchfulness in his daily will venture to say that the victorious gene- couduct, is not equally necessary in the adral who has conquered a kingdom, or the vanced progress as in the first stages of a resagacious statesman who has preserved it, ligious course ? He does not desist from is almost in less danger of being spoilt by warning his hearers of the continual necesacclamation than the popular preacher; be-sity of these things, but is he not in some cause their danger is likely to happen but danger of not applying the necessity to himonce, his is perpetual. Theirs is only on a self? May he not begin to rest satisfied day of triumph, his day of triumph occurs with the inculcation without the practice ? every week; we mean the admiration he It is not probable indeed that he goes so far excites. Every fresh success ought to be a as to establish himself as an exempt case, fresh motive to humiliation; he who feels but he slides from indolence into the exemphis danger will vigilantly guard against tion, as if its avoidance were not so necessaswallowing too greedily the indiscriminate, ry for him as for others. and often undistinguishing plaudits which! Even the very sacredness of his profeshis doctrines or his manner, his talent or his sion is not without a snare. He may repeat voice, may equally procure for him. the holy offices so often that he may be in
If he be not prudent as well as pious, he danger on the one hand, of sinking into the may be brought to humour his audience, notion that it is a mere profession, or on the and his audience to flatter him with a dan- other, of so resting in it as to make it supergerous emulation, till they will scarcely en- cede the necessity of that strict personal redure truth itself from any other lips. Nay, ligion with which he set out : He may at he may imperceptibly be led not to be al- least be satisfied with the occasional, without ways satisfied with the attention and im- the uniform practice. There is a dangerprovement of his hearers, unless the atten- we advert only to its possibility-that his tion be sweetened by flattery, and the im- very exactness in the public exercise of his provement followed by exclusive attach- function, may lead to a little justification of ment.
his remissness in secret duties. His zealous The spirit of exclusive fondness generates exposition of the Scriptures to others may a spirit of controversy. Some of the follow- satisfy him, though it does not always lead ers will rather improve in casuistry than in to a practical application of them to himChristianity. They will be more busied in self. opposing Paul to Apollos, than looking unto But God, by requiring exemplary dili• Jesus, the author and finisher of their gence in the devotion of his appointed serfaith ;' than in bringing forth fruits meet for vants, would keep up in their minds a daily repentance. Religious gossip may assume sense of their dependance on him. If he the place of religion itself. A party spirit is does not continually teach by his Spirit those thus generated, and Christianity may begin who teach otliers, they have little reason to to be considered as a thing to be discussed expect success, and that Spirit will not be and disputed, to be heard and talked about, given where it is not sought ; or, which is rather than as the productive principle of an awful consideration, may be withdrawn, virtuous conduct. *
where it had been given, and not improved We owe, indeed, lively gratitude and af- as it might have been. fectionate attachment to the minister whol Should this unhappily ever be the case, it has faithfully laboured for our edification ; would almost reduce the minister of Christ but the author has sometimes noticed a man- to a mere engine, a vehicle through which ner adopted by some injudicious adherents, knowledge was barely to pass, like the anespecially of her own sex, which seems ra- cient oracles who had nothing to do with ther to erect their favourite into the head the information but to convey it. Perhaps of a sect, than to reverence him as the pas- the public success of the best men has been, tor of a flock. This mode of evincing an at- under God, principally owing to this, that tachment, amiable in itself, is doubtless as their faithful ministration in the temple has distressing to the delicacy of the minister as been uniformly preceded and followed by it is unfavourable to religion, to which it is petitions in the closet ; that the truths imapt to give an air of party.
planted in the one, have chiefly flourished May we be allowed to animadvert more from having been watered by the tears, and immediately on the cause of declension in nourished by the prayers of the other. piety, in some persons who formerly exhi- ! We will hazard but one more observation bited evident marks of that seriousness in on this dangerous and delicate subject; in their lives which they continue to inculcate this superficial treatment of which, it is the
thing in the world the most remote from the • This polemic tattle is of a totally different charac writer's wish, to give the slightest offence to ter from that species of religious conversation recom- any pious member of an order which pos. mended in the preceding cbapter.
sesses her highest veneration. If the indefatigable labourer in his great Master's vine-, in the measure, wrong in the mode, wrong yard, has, as must often be the case, the in the application, though right in the prinmortification of finding that his labours have ciple. He must therefore watch with a susfailed of producing their desired effect, in picious eye over his better qualities, and some instance, where his warmest hopes guard his very virtues from deviation and had been excited ; if he feels that he has excess. not benefitted others as he had earnestly de- ! His zeal, that indispensable ingredient in sired, this is precisely the moment to bene- the composition of a great character, that fit himself, and is perhaps permitted for quality, without which no great eminence that very end. Where his usefulness has either secular or religious has ever been atbeen obviously great, the true Christian will stained; which is essential to the acquisition be humbled by the recollection that he is of excellence in arts and arms, in learning only an instrument. Where it has been less, and piety; that principle without which no the defeat of his hopes offers the best occa- man will be able to reach the perfection of sion, which he will not fail to use for impro- his nature, or to animate others to aim at ving his humility. Thus he may always be that perfection, will yet hardly fail to misassured that good has been done somewhere, lead the animated Christian, if his knowso that in any case his labour will not have ledge of what is right and just, if his judgbeen vain in the Lord,
ment in the application of that knowledge do not keep pace with the principle itself.
Zeal, indeed, is not so much an individual
virtue as the principle which gives life and | CHAP. XVII.
colouring, as the spirit which gives grace
and benignity, as the temper which gives True and False Zeal.
warmth and energy to every other. It is
that feeling which exalts the relish of every It is one of the most important ends of duty, and sheds a lustre on the practice of cultivating that self-knowledge which we every virtue ; which, embellishing every have elsewhere recommended. to discover image of the mind with its glowing tints, what is the real bent of our mind, and which animates every quality of the heart with its are the strongest tendencies of our charac-invigorating motion. It may be said of zeal ter; to discover where our disposition re- among the virtues as of memory among the quires restraint, and where we may be safe-faculties, that though it singly never made a ly trusted with some liberty of indulgence. great man, yet no man has ever made himIf the temper be fervid, and that fervour be self conspicuously great where it has been happily directed to religion, the most con- wanting. summate prudence will be requisite to re- Many things however must concur before strain its excesses without freezing its ener- we can be allowed to determine whether gies,
zeal be really a virtue or a vice. Those If, on the contrary, timidity and diffidence who are contending for the one or the other, be the natural propensity, we shall be in will be in the situation of the two knights, danger of falling into coldness and inactivity who meeting on a cross road, were on the with regard to ourselves, and into too unre- point of fighting about the colour of a cross sisting a compliance with the requisitions, which was suspended between them. One or too easy a conformity with the habits of insisted it was gold; the other maintained it others. It will therefore be an evident was silver. The duel was prevented by the proof of Christian self-government, when interference of a passenger, who desired the man of too ardent zeal restrains its out-them to change their positions. Both crossward expression where it would be unsea- ed over to the opposite side, found the cross sonable, or unsafe ; while it will evince the was gold on one side, and silver on the same Christian self-denial in the fearful and other. Each acknowledged his opponent diffident character, to bust the fetters of ti to be right. midity, where duty requires a holy bold- It may be disputed whether fire be a good ness; and when he is called upon to lose all or an evil. The man who feels himself lesser fears in the fear of God.
cheerful by its kindly warmth, is assured It will then be one of the first objects of a that it is a benefit, but he whose house it has Christian to get his understanding and his just burnt down will give another verdict. conscience thoroughly enlightened ; to take Not only the cause, therefore, in which zeal an exact survey not only of the whole com-is exerted must be good, but the principle prehensive scheme of Christianity, but of itself must be under due regulation : or, like his own character; to discover, in order to the rapidity of the traveller who gets into a correct the defects in his judgment, and to wrong road, it will only carry him so much ascertain the deficiencies even of his best the further out of his way; or if he be in the qualities. Through ignorance in these re-right road, it will, through inattention, carspects, though he may really be following ry him involuntarily beyond his destined up some good tendency, though he is even point. - That degree of motion is equally persuaded that he is not wrong either in his misleading which detains us short of our motive or his object, he may yet be wrong end, or which pushes us beyond it.
The apostle suggests a useful precaution which has no parallel even in the annals of by expressly asserting that it is in a good Pagan persecution, cause,' that we must be zealously affected;'! Even glory did not content the pernicious which implies this further truth, that where plotters of this direful tragedy. "Devotion the cause is not good, the mischief is propor- was called in to be tioned to the zeal. But lest we should carry our limitations of the quality to any re
The crown and consummation of their crime. striction of the seasons for exercising it, he takes care to animate us to its perpetual ex-The blackest hypocrisy was made use of to ercise, by adding that we must be always sanctify the foulest murder. The iniquity so affected.
could not be complete without solemnly If the ininstice the intolerance and perse thanking God for its success. The pope cution, with which a misguided zeal has so and cardinals proceeded to St. Mark's often afflicted the church of Christ, in its church, where they praised the Almighty more early periods. be lamented as a deplo- for so great a blessing conferred on the see rable evil : vet the overruling wisdom ot of Rome, and the Christian world. A soProvidence educing good from evil, made lemn jubilee completed the preposterous the very calamities which false zeal occa- mummery.-This zeal of devotion was as sioned, the instruments of producing that much worse than even the zeal of murder, true and lively zeal to which we owe the as thanking God for enabling us to commit glorious band of martyrs and confessors, a sin is worse than the commission itseit. those brightest ornaments of the best pe- A wicked piety is still more disgusting than riods of the church. This effect, though a a wicked act, God'is less offended by the clear vindication of that divine goodness sin itse
dness sin itself than by the thank-offering of its which suffers evil, is no apology for him perpetrators. It looks like a black attempt who perpetrates it.
to involve the Creator in the crime, It is curious to observe the contrary ope
pel It was this exterminating zeal which made rations of true and false zeal, which though the fourteenth Louis, bad in the profligacy of apparently only different modifications of his youth, worse in the superstition of his the same quality, are, when brought into age, revoke the tolerating edict which might contact. repugnant, and even destructive to have drawn down a blessing on his kingdom. each other. There is no attribute of the hu- JOne species of crime was called on, in his man mind where the different effects of the days of blind devotion, to expiate another same principle have such a total opposition: comm
committed in his days of mad ambition.for is it not obvious that the same principle But the expiation was even more intoleraunder another direction, which actuates the
ble than the offence. The havoc made by tyrant in dragging the martyr to the stake,
the sword of civil persecution was a miseraenables the martyr to embrace it?
|ble atonement for the blood which unjust ag. As a striking proof that the necessity for gression had shed in foreign wars. caution is not imaginary, it has been obser- |
It was this impious and cruel zeal which ved that the Holy Scriptures record more
inspired the monk Dominick, in erecting instances of a bad zeal than of a good one.
the most infernal tribunal which ever inren This furnishes the most authoritative argu
(tive bigotry projected to dishonour the ment for regulating this impetuous princi- Christian name, and with which pertinaple, and for governing it by all those restriccious barbarity has continued for above six tions which a feeling so calculated for good centuries, to afflict the human race. and so capable of evil demands.
1 For a complete contrast to this pernicious It was zeal, but of a blind and furious
blind and furious zeal we need not, blessed be God, travel character, which produced the massacre on
back into remote history, nor abroad into the day of St. Bartholomew;-a day to
distant realms. This happy land of civil which the mournful strains of Job have been
and religious liberty can furnish a countless so well applied.--'Let that day perish.
catalogue of instances of a pure, a wise, and Let it not be joined to the days of the vear, a well directed zeal. Not to swell the list. Let darkness and the shadow of death'stain
tain we will only mention that it has in our own it'_It was a zeal the most bloody, combi-age, produced the Society for promoting ned with a perfidy the most détestable. I Christian Knowledge, the British and which inflamed the execrable Florentine, * 15
Stine * Foreign Bible Society, and the abolition of when, having on this occasion invited so ma
the African slave trade, Three as noble, ny illustrious protestants to Paris under the
and which will, we trust, be as lasting monalluring mask of a public festivity, she con
onuments as ever national virtue erected to trived to involve her guest, the pious queen
true piety. These are institutions which of Navarre, and the venerable Coligni in the bear the genuine stamp of Christianity, not general mass of undistinguished destruction. originating in party, founded in disinteresThe royal and pontifical assassins not satisfi- tedness, and comprehending the best inteed with the sin, converted it into a triumph. rests of almost the whole habitable globe, -Medals were struck in honour of a deed
+ See Thuanus for a most affecting and exact account • Catheripe de Medici.
of this direful massacre.
without partiality and without hypo-| whether the thing contended for be right, crisv.'
but whether it be essential ; whether in our Why we hear so much in praise of zeal eagerness to attain this subordinate good we from a certain class of religious characters, may not be sacrificing, or neglecting, things is partly owing to their having taken up a of more real consequence. Whether the notion, that its acquired exertions relate to value we assign to it may not be even imathe care of other people's salvation rather ginary. than to their own; and indeed the casual Above all, we should examine whether prying into a neighbour's house, though we do not contend for it chiefly because it much more entertaining, is not near so trou- happens to fall in with our own humour, or blesome as the constant inspection of one's our own party, more than on account of its own. It is observable that the outcry against intrinsic worth ; whether we do not wish to zeal among the irreligious is raised on nearly distinguish ourselves by our pertinacity, and the same ground, as the clamour inits favour to append ourselves to the party rather than by these professors of religion. The for- to the principle; and thus, as popularity is mer suspect that the zeal of the religionist often gained by the worst part of a man's evaporates in censuring their impiety, and character, whether we do not principally in eagerness for their conversion, instead persist from the hope of becoming popular, of being directed to themselves. This sup- The favourite adage that le jeu ne vaut pas posed anxiety they resent, and give a prac-la chandelle, might serve as an appropriate tical proof of their resentment by resolving motto to one half of the contentions which not to profit by it.
divide and distract the world. Two very erroneous opinions exist, re- This zeal, hotly exercised for mere cirspecting zeal. It is commonly supposed to cumstantials, for ceremonies different in indicate a want of charity, and the two prin-themselves, for distinctions rather than difciples are accused of maintaining separate ferences, has unhappily assisted in causing interests. This is so far from being the case, irreparable separations and dissentions in that charity is the firm associate of that the Christian world, even where the chamzeal of which it is supposed to be the ene-pions on both sides were great and good my.-Indeed, this is so infallible a criterion men.-Many of the points which have by which to try its sincerity, that we should been the sources of altercation were not be apt to suspect the legitimacy of the zeal worth insisting upon, where the opponents which is unaccompanied by this fair ally. agreed in the grand fundamentals of faith
Another opinion equally erroneous is not and practice. a little prevalent--that where there is much But to consider zeal as a general question, zeal there is little or no prudence. Now a as a thing of every day experience. He sound and sober zeal is not such an idiot as whose piety is most sincere will be likely to to neglect to provide for its own success; be the most zealous. But though zeal is an and would that success be provided for, with-indication, and even a concomitant of sinout employing for its accomplishment, cerity, a burning zeal is sometimes seen every precaution which prudence can sug- where the sincerity is somewhat questionagest? - True zeal, therefore, will be as dis- ble. creet as it is fervent, well knowing that its For where zeal is generated by ignorance warmest efforts will be neither effectual, it is commonly fostered by self-will. That nor lasting, without those provisions which which we have embraced through false judgdiscretion alone can make. No quality is ment we maintain through false honour. ever possessed in perfection where its oppo-Pride is generally called in to nurse the offsite is wanting ; żeal is not Christian fer-spring of error. It is from this confederacy vour, but animal heat, if not associated with that we frequently see those who are percharity and prudence.
versely zealous for points which can add Zeal indeed, like other good things, is nothing to the cause of Christian truth, frequently calumniated because it is not un- whether they are rejected or retained, cold derstood ; and it may sometimes deserve and indifferent about the great things which censure, as being the effervescence of that involve the salvation of man. weak but well meaning mind which will de- Though all momentous truths, all indispenfeat the efforts not only of this, but of every sable duties, are, in the luminous volume of other good propensity: .
inspiration, made so obvious that those may That most valuable faculty therefore of in-read who run; the contested matters are not tellectual man, the judgment, the enlighten- only so comparatively little as to be by no ed, impartial, unbiassed judgment, must be means worthy of the heat they excite, but kept in perpetual activity, not only in order are rendered so doubtful, not in themselves, to ascertain that the cause be good, but to but by the opposite systems built on them, determine also the degree of its importance that he who fights for them is not always in any given case, that we may not blindly sure whether he be right or not; and if he assigü an undue value to an inferior good : carry his point he can make no moral use of for want of this discrimination we may be his victory. This indeed is not his concern. fighting a windmill, when we fancy we are It is enough that he has conquered. The attacking a fort. We must prove not only importance of the object having never depended on its worth, but on the opinion of ligion has excited there. The brightest his right to maintain that worch.
Hame will decay if no means are used to The Gospel assigns very different degrees keep it alive. Pure zeal will cherish every of importance to allowed practices and com- holy affection, and by increasing every pious manded duties. It by no means censures disposition will animate us to every duty. It those who were rigorous in their payınent ot will add new force to our hatred of sin, fresh the most inconsiderable tythes; but seeing contrition to our repentance, additional vithis duty was not only put in competition gour to our resolutions, and will impart augwith, but preferred before, the most impor- mented energy to every virtue. It will give tant duties, even judgment, mercy and faith, life to our devotions, and spirit to all our acthe flagrant hypocrisy was pointedly cen- tions, sured by MEEKNESS itself.
When a true zcal has fixed these right afThis opposition of a scrupulous exactness fections in our own hearts, the same princiin paying the petty demand on three paltry ple will, as we have already observed, make herbs, to the neglect of the three cardinal us earnest to excite them in others. No Christian virtues, exhibits as complete and good man wishes to go to heaven alone, and instructive a specimen of that frivolous and none ever wished others to go thither withfalse zeal which, evaporating in trifles, whol out earnestly endeavouring to awaken right ly overlooks those grand points on which affections in them. That will be a false zeal hangs eternal life, as can be conceived, which does not begin with the regulation o
This passage serves to corroborate a stri- our own hearts. That will be an illiberal king fact, that there is scarcely in scripture zeal which stops where it begios. A true any précept enforced, which has not some zeal will extend itself through the whole actual exemplification attached to it. The sphere of its possessor's influence, Chris historical parts of the Bible, therefore, are of tan zeal, like Christian charity, will begin inestimable value, were it only on this single at home, but neither the one nor the other ground, that the appended truths and princi- must end there, ples so abundantly scattered through them, but that we must not confine our zeal to are in general so happily illustrated by them. mere conversation is not only implied but They are not dry aphorisms and cold propo- expressed in Scripture. The apostle does sitions, which stand singly, and disconnec-not exhort us to be zealous only of good ted, but truths suggested by the event, but words but of good works. True zeal ever precepts growing out of the occasion. The produces true benevolence. It would exrecollection of the principles recalls to the tend the blessings which we ourselves eninind the instructive story which they enrich, joy, to the whole human race. It will come while the remembrance of the circumi- sequently stir us up to exert all our infiestance impresses the sentiment upon the ence to the extension of religion, to the adheart. Thus the doctrine, like a precious vancement of every well concerted and well gem, is at once preserved and embellished conducted plan, calculated to enlarge the by the narrative being made a frame in limits of human happiness, and more espewhich to enshrine it.
cially to promote the eternal interests of huTrue zeal will first exercise itself in ear-man kind. nest desires, in increasing ardour to obtain. But if we do not first strenuously labour higher degrees of illumination in our own for our own illumination, how shall we preminds ; in fervent prayer that this growing sume to enlighten others ! It is a dangerous light may operate to the improvement of our presumption, to busy ourselves in improving practice, that the influences of divine grace others, before we have diligently sought our may become more outwardly perceptible own improvement. Yet it is a vanity not by ihe increasing correctness of our habits ; uncomnion that the first feelings, be they that every holy affection may be followed true or false, which resemble devotion, the by its correspondent act, whether of obe-first faint ray of knowledge which has imdience or of resignation, of doing, or of suf- perfectly dawned, excites in certain raw fering:
minds an eager impatience to communicate But the effects of a genuine and enlighten- to others what they themselves have not yet ed zeal will not stop here. It will be visible attained. Hence the novel swarms of uninin our discourse with those to whom we may structed instructors, of teachers who have have a probability of being useful. But had no time to learn. The act previous to though we should not contine the exercise of the imparting knowledge should seem to be our zeal to our conversation, nor our atten- that of acquiring it. Nothing would so eftion to the opinions and practices of others, fectually check an irregular and improve a yet this, when not done with a bustling kind temperate zeal, as the personal discipline, of interference, and offensive forwardness, is the self acquaintance we have so repeatedly proper and useful. It is indeed a natural recommended. eHect of zeal to appear where it exists, as a True Christian zeal will always be known fire which really burns will not be preven- / by its distinguishing and inseparable proted from emitting both light and heat; yet perties. It will be warm, indeed, not from we should labour principally to keep up in temperament but principle. It will be huge our own minds the pious feelings which re-ble, or it will not be Christian zeal.-It wil