Imatges de pàgina

of a meek and humble Saviour, at once destroyed all their pretensions to righteousness, is Pride, that high opinion which they always entertain of themselves, with a sovereign ccntempt for all the world beside. Pride of every kind is totally irreconcileable with Christianity ; but fpiritual pride is above all directly opposite and contradictory to it; it is the dropsy of the mind, and like that for the most part incurable. A prince is never so proud as as a pope; and a man of the higheit rank and fortune, will not behave with half the supercilious oftentation of a monk or a methodift. The Pharifaical Christian, therefore, is of all beings the most pompous and the most difagreeable; he assumes an air of confidence and self importance, that throws all humble merit at an infinite distance from him ; he considers himself as a creature of a superior order, and passes by the meek and lowly Christian with contempt and indifference, or perhaps, which is worse, treats him with a sneer of insulting pity; he commiserates your loft state, as irretrievably excluded from the number of the elect, and is concerned to find that you have no chance of eternal happiness; for like the church of Rome he always confines the goodness of God. to the narrow limits of his own fect, and charitably consigns the rest of mankind to everlasting perdition.

The Pharisaical Christian is always seen in the best pew of the church, as his Jewish predecessors took the first places in the fynagogues; he assumes the power of directing in spiritual


matters, however unfit he may be for it; takes the flock out of the hands of the pastor, is ever ready to direct him in his duty, and to find fault with him in the performance of it.

Thus in every parish where the pernicious tenets of methodism have gained any infuence, the minifter, however irreproachable his conduct, however sound his doctrine may be, is held in no esteem.

The last distinguishing mark of the Pharifaical Christian, that leaven which leaveneth the whole lump, is Hypocrisy; a vice most abhorrent to the doctrine, and most opposite to the character of our blessed Redeemer : this imitation of ancient pharisaism is indeed the most glaring folly, as well as the moft atrocious wickedness: to diffemble with man may be venial, because men dissembled with 245 ; to diffemble with man may be profitable, because men may be deceived ; but to diffem. ble with the Almighty, is both impious and unprofitable. It is impious, because God never doth, or can difsemble with us, and it is unprofitable

, because he is not to be deceived, deluled, or imposed on by us. Man, however, the Pharisaical Christian can, and conAtantly doth deceive, by his pompous pretences to extraordinary piety and goodness. To the unobserving and injudicious eye, the false jewel appears trith a more specious and glaring lustre than the true; and fo it is but too often with religion and virtue. The kingdoms of men are too often besieged and conquered by hypocrisy ; but it can never subdue, never so much


as enter into the kingilom of God: it cannot be fi:pposed that a God of truth will ever pera mit those to enter into his presence, who fupport the cause of fraud and falsehood; it cannot be imagined, that the proud and haughty will ever meet in the same place with the meek and humble; that they will ever be permitted, or if they were permitted, that they would condescend to rank with those whom they had insulted, or to associate with those whom they had despised.

If then, my brethren, the kingdom of heaven is, as it doubtless ought to be, the great object of your wishes and desires, that feat of joy and happiness which you are all in pursuit of; do not be led aside into that broad but deceitful path which our Saviour hath assured you can never lead you to it. The road to this bleffed habitation, lieth not, as the Pharisees have falsely directed you, over the lofty mountains of pride, but through the lowly vale of humility; not through the crooked and perplexing labyrinths of fraud and falsehood, but along the smooth and even plains of truth and virtue.

Let therefore your righteousness be not only unlike, but totally different from, and opposite to that of the Pharisees; avoid all pretences to extraordinary merit; contemn all idle fingularity and affectation ; despise hypocrisy, and abhor dissimulation. Never be proud of what you are; never pretend to be what you are not; place not your ill-grounded hopes of future happiness on the performance



of merely external duties, but on the fteady, uniform, and regular practice of your whole lives; thew your zeal in the cause of religion, not by profe].29, but by proving yourselves true Christians; do not boast that you are not like others, but endeavour fo to speak, and so to act, that others may wish to be like you ; so fhail your righteousness far exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and ye frall enter into the kingdom of God: ye shall enter into a place where there shall be no pride or haughtiness to oppress; no fraud or hypocrily to deceive you; but where truth and happines, joy and fincerity, righteousness and peace fall kiss each other.

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Thou fait not follow a Muliitude to do Evil.

So great is the power of example, so dange

rous its prerogative, and fo extensive its influence over the human mind, that we can liever be fufficiently on our own guard against the evils which it may create, and the inconveniencies tliat may arise from it. The desire of imitation is perceivable, even from the mo


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ment of our birth, in all the faculties of our fouls, and in all the actions and emotions of our bodies, insomuch, that every habit and gesture we acquire, and every sentiment we express, is but the copy or transcript from those who are about us; it is a long time before we begin to know and feel that we are free and accountable beings, and that it is in. cumbent on us to think and act for ourselves nor even when we are arrived at this neces fary truth, do we retain the steady and conftant conviction of it; many have not the capacity, many have not the inclination, and many more have not that industry and vigilance which are required in the discovery of truth, and in the practice of virtue : and hence it arises, that so many of the blind follow their blinder leaders into fin and misery; that so many are drawn away insensibly, and misled by bad example into the commillion of those things which their reason rejects as ridiculous and absurd, or their conscience condemns as finful and unwarrantable; and the danger of the seduction must always rise in proportion to the art and power of the seducer; the influence therefore of an ill-judging multitude is of all things most to be feared and avoided. There is something in union and fociety, which strongly recommends and enforces whatever it would promote, gives a kind of fanction to every thing which it would patronise or protect; those who follow the multitude are too apt to imagine that however a single judgment might be misled, numbers Ff2


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