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very true. But it is perfectly easy to see how a man who does nothing, and who intends to do nothing, may make a cloak of this for his indolence. The Savior's life was retiring-so is indolence. His maxims were unostentatious so is inactivity. His prayers were unseen-so is the neglect of prayer. He gave his life in an unostentatious way to the service of mankind. So the man who does nothing, who lives like other men, who is undecided and unknown as a Christian—so does he sink out of view, and repose in obscurity. The Savior frowned on pride, and parade, and noise. So it is easy for any one to denounce ostentation—to regard deep feelings as parade, and expanded benevolence as ostentation and display. And yet it is not a strange thing if the whole character of the Savior should be mistaken. On pride he did frown, but not on manifested humility. On ostentation he did frown, but it was the ostentation of the Pharisee. On improper zeal in error and delusion he did frown, and so he did on those who were neither cold nor hot. On proclamation of our doings he did frown—and so he did on those who had nothing to proclaim, and who lived like other men. Now what is the thing that the Son of God meant to reach in all this? It was false and hypocritical exhibition of what we do not possess. It was show of what was not deep-felt in the soul. It was that which the hypocrite always manifests-display of what he feels not-profession of that which is not believed: and this is the same as a profession of religion at the communion table, when there is none elsewhere; and public deference to its outward forms, when the whole life is like that of other men. But never-no, never, in his whole ministry, did he lisp a syllable against its being seen, and felt, and known, where we are to be found, and against the proper and public manifestation of a life of decided piety. His whole life was just such an exhibition. The zeal of thine house, saith he, hath eaten me up; and his professions at the bar of Pilate ; his unshrinking fidelity even in view of death; and his last pangs on the cross, showed where he was to be found.

Here we may make another remark. It is that religion supposes something in advance of other men. The world has come up to a certain elevation, and says it will honor religion if it will remain stationary at this level. If it will reprove few of its vices, and those of grosser form ; if it will leave undisturbed its more refined pleasures ; if it will not rebuke its gayety, and fashion, and pride; if it will be found at the same festive board, and suppress its peculiarities : if it will covenant that the peace of the sinner shall not be disturbed; and the great designs of God's benevolence be not pressed on the attention of men, it will speak smoothly of religion and its friends. covenant is easily made with death, and a league with hell. There is a truce in the warfare, and the world yields just as much as the church yields, and any decided movement in behalf of perishing sinners is regarded as a breach of compact, or an invasion of right. Religion, thus peaceful and still — thus undecided and unobtrusive, is the praise of every sinner's lips. It is eminently, in his view, the religion of peace, and it has reconciled the world unto itself. There is no emotion, no opposition, no conflict; there is no irritation, no movement, no feeling. The world is willing that the church should secure all the triumphs it can, for it disturbs no man's peace, disquiets no man's conscience, breaks in upon no man's vices or pleasures. It is willing even that men should become united to the church of God; for it implies no self-denial, no abandonment of pleasure, no obligation to do any thing to save man or to benefit the world. There is peace. But there is peace like this also elsewhere. There was peace, and unity, and concord, in the lonely valley which Ezekiel irod, which was full of bones, very many and very dry. There is peace like this in the hollow tombs, in the charnel-house of the dead—where no lip moves to reprove the living, no eye is fired with indignation at the sins of man, no one

Thus a

of the still and solemn people there lifts a finger to warn the gay and the foolish that they are going to hell. There is a union there which nothing disturbs, and which is never broken, except when one and another is laid, solemn and still, and noiseless, in the vaults of the dead-as hypocrites still dead in sin become attached to a slumbering church.

Now it is not a religion or a peace like this of which I speak when I say, that Christianity has power over men, and that the Christian should let his light shine that he may do good. I speak of that only which is in advance of other men—which is open and decided. There is no development of Christianity when you go just as far as the world will speak well of you, and then stop. Wo, said the Savior to his disciples, “wo unto you when all men shall speak well of you, for so did they to the false prophets.” An ancient Grecian orator was accustomed to say, “what foolish thing have I uttered that the people applaud me ?" A Christian may well begin to fear when all are loud in his praise. The Christian minister should seek his closet when his praise is on the lips of the gay, and foolish, and wicked, and when he has said nothing to disturb their peace. Our account is laid in exciting feeling, and better is any emotion than the still, prolonged slumbers of the dead; better any note than the everlasting and dreary silence of the tombs. So thought the Savior. Ho came for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that should be spoken against, that thereby the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed. And he finished his work. He was in advance of his age. He had new views, new plans, new projects, new endeavors. Never had Scribe, or Pharisee, or Priest, dreamed that the peace of Judea was to be disturbed by a religion so pure, so humble, so bold, so spiritual. Never had the great and lordly ruler supposed that one who was rich, yet for the sake of others could become poor, that he might make many rich. Never had it occurred to a Jewish teacher that any one could be bold enough to declare, or to risk his reputation on the declaration, that they who have riches should with difficulty enter into the kingdom of God; or to represent a rich man as calling in vain in hell for a drop of water from a poor beggar to cool his tongue. Never had they dreamed that there was to be a religion that was to move all the people-break in upon the dull monotony of the synagogue, or overthrow the tables of the money-changers in the temple—that was to produce excitement, and inquiry, and alarm—that was to lead thousands in a day to cry with deep solicitude, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved ? Yet he showed what and where he was. No one mistook him ; nor was the proudest man or the richest man ever at a loss to see that Jesus Christ was actuated by some principle prodigiously in advance of other men. And his power was felt.

His name was known. His words stung in the hearts of his hearers, and his preaching vibrated long in the ears of the goaded and irritated Pharisee.

So religion, if it be any thing, is always in advance of the world. It has a train of measures that are to be felt. It holds up a set of doctrines that are to tell on the soul. It has no concealment. It aims at the renovation of the entire world; and it seeks to apprize you that it is on this embassy, and that it has nothing but this to do in the world. But for its designs on your pride and plans, your hearts and lives, your follies and your wealth, it might to-day take its flight to its native heavens, and leave the world to perish as it is. But it seeks that its principles may be known.

And it supposes that its most humbling doctrines, its most repulsive measures, its most stern features, should be held up by Chris. tians themselves in advance of their fellow men. So Jesus stood before the Sanhedrim ; so Paul stood before Felix ; so Peter sought the imperial city; and so John, and James, and Matthew went among the nations of the earth, not modestly to conceal, but to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ. And so there is

no Christian--there can be none; it is one of the axioms, the elementary truths, the first principles of Christianity, that there can be none who will conceal his sentiments--that he that is ashamed of Christ and his words before men, of him will the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the clouds, with the glory of his Father and the holy angels.

Now, when we ask what is the proper effect of a life of decided piety, or why the Savior supposed that letting our light shine would have snch an effect on men, the answer is at hand. For, 1. It shows what men are. It shows to sinners that they differ from others—that they are neglecting their salvation and going down to wo. An object may be totally deformed, or odious, and in the darkness of midnight it will strike no one. Pour on it a flood of day, and it will be seen. A sinner will be calm and thoughtless so long as he supposes he is as good as others. Live so that he may be reproved by your life. Let your conduct be a rebuke of his ; your benevolence, a reproof of his avarice; your prayers, of his thoughtlessness; your seriousness, of his gayety; and your heavenly-mindedness, of his sensuality; and he will feel it. 2. The life of a Christian is an argument of the truth of Christianity, which he will see and know. We may preach in this matter, and no man will feel it. The world is full of books proving that religion is true, but who reads them? We can pile demonstration on demonstration, but they are cold abstractions, and all our demonstrations will be overturned in their practical effects by one cold and cutting remark of an infidel world: “See how your Christians live. See them just as gay as I wish to be. See them as thoughtless as I desire to be. See them just as inactive as I have any inclination to be. See them as fond of the world, as greedy of gain, as ambitious, as sumptuous in their style of dress and living, as I desire to be. See them do as little for the conversion of sinners and the spread of the gospel as I do. Such a religion, with all your demonstrations, is worth little ; and it cannot be of much moment whether I follow the inclinations of my heart within or without the pale of the Christian church.” But there is another side to this picture. The remarks of the infidel have not reached the Christian yet. There is an argument which infidelity must feel, and before which guilt will tremble. It is when Christianity reforms the sinner ; silences the profane; reclaims the drunkard, the gay, and the worldly. The argument of such a life will be felt when our tomes of cold demonstration shall lie forgotten on our shelves. But what is this argument? It is this. That Christianity changes the

That the change is seen in all his life. It is not that he is simply a professor of religion. That is no change. It is not that he is periodically religious, like the return of a quartan ague; or prudentially religious, at distant intervals; or a pious man, like the visits of angels, few and far between. It is that you know where to find him--that he is uniform, steady, like the light of a morning unbroken by mists, or the beams of a noonday unobscured by clouds and tempests. You know the power which a man has, who, in perils of field and flood-on the cold ground and in the cannon's mouth - serves his country. You know how different this from that frothy periodical patriotism which de. claims on its beauty, and then sinks on a bed of down; which is eloquent with the praise of valor, and then is seen no more. So much difference is there between the example of him in the church who serves God, and him in the church who serves him not. 3. The world understands what religion is. They know that it is more than a name, a bugbear, or a shadow. And hence they scoff at professors, and deride our pretences of piety. Now the only way to silence the world, is to do it by your life. Argument will not do it. But a life of religion uill. It will do more. It will not only silence, it will subdue. It will not merely close the mouth, it will find its way to the heart. The world knows that the conduct of Christ was different from that of other men And they under



stand that when professed Christians do not live like him, they are not Christians, and they are not slow in expressing their convictions—NOR SHOULD THEY BE. They are in the right of it there, and once at least sinners shall find defending the correctness of their conclusions, and endeavoring to carry forward their demonstrations. 4. There is nothing so well fitted to convert men as a Christian life. God blesses such a life. He follows it with the influences of his grace. See a Christian self-denied. See him abandon every thing which is not Christian. See him lay aside the emblems of pride, of gayety, of luxury. See him unambitious of honors. See him the friend of the poor, of the widow. See him live in an atmosphere of prayer; breathe forth the aspirations of devotion; turn aside from the allurements of the world. See him lay himself and all he has on the altars of God. See him the patron of those great designs that look to the conversion of all mankind. See the iron bands which fetter other men fall around him; the ice of selfishness and avarice dissolve. See his great wealth freely given, and that which calls forth all the energies of the men of this world--that for which they live, see it all yield in his heart and life to the influence of some mightier principle. See the gospel in his soul have such an ascendency that it humbles his pride, subdues his feelings, unclenches his hands from gold and office, and makes him a large and liberal benefactor of mankind. Who doubts that Howard was under the influence of some such principle? Who doubts it of Wilberforce ? of Martin ? of Edwards ? No man doubts it any more than I doubt that he who has never done one of these things is not a Christian. See the gospel shed its peace in affliction, silence murmurs, restrain passion, sustain the sinking soul, and bear it up in the agories of death. Who doubts that there is something in religion then? No man doubts it: and no man doubts that where none of these things exist, there is nothing in his religion. It is name, emptiness, vanity, imposition that deceives no one; profession that no one mistakes ; pretension that never beguiles ; a cloak that conceals nothing ; an assumption which every man understands, and which every man, and which God, despises and abhors. The Savior understood all this, and felt more deeply than I do, or than I can express, that no good would be done unless the light of his people shine so that others should see their good works and glorify their heavenly Father.

V. A fifth reason for this is, that God will in this way be honored. A mere profession does not honor him. A life of inactivity does not honor him. The most staid and formal regularity, where there is no Christian life, does not honor him, any more than the solemn corpse of the dead laid in state is an honor to living men. The Christian honors God; the sun does that by his light, the moon and the stars of heaven by theirs ; so does he by his light. The hills, the trees, the streams, the flowers, the ocean honor God. The Christian does it more than all.

One word spoke them all into being. But your piety cost the labors, the long agonies, the groans of God's only Son. One word may turn them all to nothing, but your piety shall show forth his praise for ever and for ever.


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