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But all this should convince the inquirer, that he can meet with no sympathy, in his present pursuit, from irreligious persons. It should impress more deeply on his mind, the truth of Scripture, respecting the natural disinclination of human hearts to pure and undefiled religion. Indeed, a calm and faithful examination of the condition of worldly men, will show him the importance and value of the blessings of the Gospel, and the necessity of believing in the Son of God. Animated, as the reader is supposed to be, by a sincere desire to find the truth, he will ere long discover, that peace and safety are to be found in Christ alone, and that it is love to Him, which is the most constraining principle that can operate in the human mind. He will see, that

, the sacred writers trace all sincere, holy, and acceptable obedience to this hallowed source. * The faith of Christ in the heart elevates all the mental, as well as the moral powers; leading to the cultivation of the mind, as well as to the purifying of the affections. There are to be found in the Gospel, all the blessings which are needed for the pilgrimage of life, guidance, protection, and the supply of every spiritual grace. Its pleasures are not like those of the world, unsatisfactory, short lived, and, in general corrupting; but satisfying, permanent, and purify, ing. Its prospects are not like those of unbelievers, gloomy, uncertain, or presumptuous, but animating, and sure, and presented to the view by the blessed God. And when the termination of all is looked at, what a

• 2 Cor. y. 14, 15,

contrast is there between the situation of the unbeliever and the Christian !

These are subjects which all minds should contemplate, and which no mind should cease to consider, till their importance is seen, and their influence felt. When this is done, there will be no cessation of religious inquiry.. On the contrary, the inquirer will seek, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, still higher attainments in divine knowledge, and as these are acquired, ignorance will be more felt and disliked, till there is an arrival at the full stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. This is the high result which every one should earnestly desire, and perseveringly pursue.

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CHAPTER V.

THE INFLUENCE OF WORLDLY PROFESSORS ON THE

MINDS OF RELIGIOUS INQUIRERS.

Those who are acquainted with the state of religious society in this country, are perfectly aware, that there are many professors of Christianity, who are destitute of the love of it in their hearts. Such individuals are described in the word of God, as “ having a name to live, while they are dead," and as “ having a form of godliness, but denying the

power thereof."

Various reasons may be assigned for the existence of this state of things. There is in every human heart, a tendency to substitute forms and outward observances for the reality and power of religion. There is a desire to make the love of the world compatible with love to God; and in a country where Christianity is said to be the religion of the state, there are abundant facilities for the indulgence of such desires. The influence of education and of custom may

many to assume the Christian name, who have no correct views of religion. Trained up in attention to certain forms, and accustomed to consider these as constituting religion, they have

induce

Aever sought for more than the mere profession of Christianity. It also sometimes happens, that the conscience may be partially disturbed ; and in order to quiet its clamours, the name of Christian is assumed, and some of its outward duties are performed. Again, there may be professional forms of religion, on the part of some who call themselves ministers of the Gospel ; men who have undertaken to teach, what they do not themselves understand or feel. In addition to all this, it may be remarked, that a profes, sion of religion is rather respectable than otherwise in the present day; interested motives may also ope. rate on the minds of some, and induce them to attend a particular place of worship, for the purpose of promoting their success in worldly business.

But it is impossible, and if it were possible, it is unnecessary, to enumerate all the reasons which induce men to assume, and to be satisfied with a prom fession of Christianity. It will be sufficient for our present purpose to state, that the following remarks will apply to no one class of professors in particular, but may be viewed as including all the shades of a religious profession; from those who, with the exception of the name, have not even the form of religion, to those who are outwardly strict in their attention to religious observances, but whose hearts are still unchanged. Between these two classes many shades of character may be found, modified by the circumstances in which they have been placed, but all uniting in their rejection of the Gos pel of Christ.

Many are exposed to the influence of the principles and example of such men. That it is frequently injurious no one can deny, who has ever considered the subject in the light of revelation. To those who have been injured, and who have in some degree been convinced that a mere profession of religion is not enough, our future remarks will more especially apply. Many, alas ! have reason to confess, that their long-continued neglect of spiritual religion may be traced to the blighting and deceiving influence of a worldly professor.

Our present object, then, will be to attempt to point out more particularly the principles and conduct of worldly professors, and some of the effects produced by their influence; and we shall close the subject with some hints to those who are sincerely seeking the possession of true religion.

Among the majority of worldly professors, the love of the world will be prominent. There will be no restraint placed upon the passions and desires, but that which arises from a wish to save appearances before men, and a regard for their own temporal security. The word of God will never be consulted, in order to receive information respecting the best mode of spending time, or the way in which intercourse with the world should be carried on. Its admonitions on this subject are either unknown or totally disregarded. The pursuit of temporal objects of honour, of riches, or of pleasure, will occupy their whole thoughts and their whole time. They have imagined that religion is compatible with these things, and that they may love God and love the world too. Hence, such professors of religion

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