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and attempting to be your guide, I would lead you to estimate every thing according to its real nature and value. In this chapter, therefore, I shall state an idea of religion which you may expand at your leisure, and which will enable you to meet some objections which you may frequently hear. Many persons speak of religion as if it were only privative in its nature ; that is, as if it took much from man, and conferred nothing upon him. It is thus partially contemplated, and held up to view as if it were nothing but sacrifice, mortification, selfdenial, and toilsome and irksome service: and thus, very naturally, a strong prejudice is excited against it.

If, indeed, it deprive man of all delightful feelings and objects, who can think for a moment of attending to it!

But I maintain that religion may be justly viewed as a Substitution. It is very true, that it calls us to renunciation, self-denial, discipline, and service. But this is only a part of the truth : for it never deprives us of any one thing without putting a far better in its place. The common idea is partial and unjust. If old things pass away, the individual is not left destitute; for all things become new. New objects take the place of old ones. Old pursuits and old tastes are superseded by new ones. If therefore men fluently enumerate the things of which religion deprives us, let them also as fluently enumerate, as is just and reasonable in such a case, the blessings, tastes, and pursuits with which it renders us familiar. We live, as it were, in a twofold state.

There are two worlds, the material and the spiritual: and there are, consequently, two classes of objects; two modes of proceeding, two sorts of taste. Hence these questions obviously present themselves to us, Which world is best? what objects are most eligible ? what taste ought we to cultivate ? in what path ought we to walk ? Let the men of the earth have the material world ; its: objects, delights, and pursuits; with tastes suited to it: yet surely the men of religion have the spiritual world; its objects, delights, and pursuits; with tastes suited to it. Hence the case, when properly considered, amounts to this—Both parties have their objects, tastes, pursuits, and enjoyments : but which party acts wisely, and is most happy, that which subordinates the spiritual world to the material, or that which subordinates the material world to the spiritual ?

1. Religion implies a change of masters, and therefore of services. He who is careless about religion is the servant of Sin. The world, the flesh, and Satan, all vain and evil passions and desires, are his masters. But religion causes a man to renounce these tyrants ; to break off their fetters, and to cast off their yoke. Does it leave him without a master or ruler ? No: it leads him to acknowledge the rightful authority of God; to take upon him the yoke of Christ ; to employ his faculties as instruments of righteousness unto holiness. Thus religion, at its commencement, is not a mere negative thing, but positive : it is not a mere relinquishment, but also an engagement. It is a change—a change of masters and services : and I may leave you to decide what master and what service men ought to choose, and what it is their advantage to choose.

2. Again, religion effects a change of objects. All men have their objects : and what are those of worldly men? We admit, that they are exceedingly various :-wealth, renown, elevation, grandeur, favour, pleasure, amusement. They have their plans and purposes. Their chief desire is to prosper in the world, and to live comfortably. But religious persons have their objects. They are thankful for the temporal blessings which they enjoy; and they rightly discharge their duties, and perform their labours, as the members of human society. But they subordinate the world. Their proper objects are divine. God is their great object : and they wish to be more entirely devoted to Him, and more obedient to His laws; to be more wise and holy; more useful to their fellow-creatures ; more faithful in the improvement of their talents; more prepared for the unchanging world to which they look. Their life is not a fancy, a dream, a rhapsody, or a piece of mysticism. Their object is, so to believe and act as that they may be happy for ever.

3. Religion makes us change our path. There is a broad way, and there is a narrow way. There is a course of practical proceeding which is not after the manner of this world. To become truly religious is to quit the old path of folly and vanity, and to enter into the way of wisdom and righteousness ;-that way in which patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and holy men have walked ; in which Christ himself walked when He was upon the earth. Here, then, religion is only a change. In one of the two paths all men are walking: and you cannot refrain, I think, from instantaneously deciding which of them you ought to select.

4. Religion, I would observe, implies a peculiar moral or spiritual taste. The man of the world has a taste for worldly objects, pursuits, and pleasures. He relishes them. They are most agreeable to him. They charm his eyes, and delight his senses, and satisfy his desires. They cause his feelings to be sometimes worked up even to enthusiastic rapture. The good man has no taste for vain things--no delight in them. Objects that are not good in his estimation cannot excite his feelings or win his regard. But has he no taste ? Ask him what he sees in every flower of the field ; in the varied scenery of creation ; in the accomplished works of genius and of art. Ask him what he sees and feels in truth ; in rectitude;


in benevolence; in justice. At the glance of these things, even at the very mention of them, his soul is stirred within him-it is alive, and feels delight and joy. He has a taste for what is good and great; for what is pure and splendid: but he has no taste for mere tinsel and vanity. Religion refines the taste : and it is in a taste for spiritual things, and in the relish of them, that the power of religion is shown in a conspicuous man

But it must suffice to have touched here upon the subject: I only maintain, that religion is not a destruction, but a change, of taste.

5. Religion involves a change of companions and pleasures. The men of the world love the men of the world : the followers of Christ love the followers of Christ. The men of the world have their pleasures. The sensualist, the covetous, the gay, the intellectual, the imaginative or sickly sentimentalist—all have their delights. Is the good man deprived of all pleasure and delight, because he is a good man? No: enjoying the world as the world, he has far more pleasure in the moderate use he makes of lawful things, than the men of the earth have in all their inordinate proceedings. But his chief pleasures are those of the soul; which spring from pious views, principles, and affections. He has the pleasures of memory, of reflection, of hope, of imagination. He cannot select his companions and his pleasures from the

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