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THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. It cannot be denied, that in virtue. If the christian could in the present age, too little dis- any way be assured that the life, tinction is observable in the pur- the death, and resurrection of suits and in the manners of those his Saviour were a fable, all his who profess to believe, and of consolations in life, and his hopes those who profess to deny the for eternity, would fall, unsupdivine authority of Jesus. The ported and irrecoverable. It is Jew maintains the honor of his true that a man, whose underlaw-giver, and observes in the standing was never convinced of heart of christendom the painful the truth, and whose heart was Mosaic institutions, with obsti. never interested by the worth of nate serupulosity, undiverted by christianity, may present to the the changes of manners and the world a regular and polished disadvantages of situation. The ' life, an integrity, unsullied by Mahometan guards with jealousy spots deep enough to draw the the credit of his prophet, and censure of the age. But whence the authority of his sacred even these correct notions and books, while neither rank nor habits? From early instruction? riches exempt him from a strict Did his instructers then know observance of the rituals pre nothing of the revelation of scribed by the Koran The vol. Christ? But let it be supposed, untary penances and mortifica that the mind may be stored tions of the Hindoo would be al. with honorable principles, and most incredible, if repeated at that all the pice distinctions of testations had not assured us of right and wrong may be made the astonishing force of preju- familiar to the understanding, dice, connected with religious without the aid of the ehristian opinions. But the Christian revelation. What is to give seems the more indifferent about these sentiments the weight of his faith, in proportion as it is laws? Whence is this goodly more pure; less serupulous about morality to find its sanctions! ritual institutions, as they are Will you seek them in the cenmore simple, easy, and useful; sure and the applause of the and less ambitious of exhibiting world, in the regulations of civthe peculiarities of the christian il government, or in the rewards character, when they constitute and punishinents of conscience? the only distinctions worthy the No. You answer, we will seek attainment of an immortal mind. them in the retributions of a fuLet it be our present object then, ture life. This is the very conto call up some of the marks of clusion, to which we would lead the christian character, which you. These sanctions, which ought to distinguish the real dis- lie beyond the dark boundary of ciples of Christ from the world. human sight, are properly dis
In the first place a christian is cerned only by faith in Jesus. one who believes in Jesus. Faith “Lord, to whom shall we go? in him is the root of christian Thou hast the words of eternal
life;" and this alone is the vic- and bumble imitation of the tory which overcometh the world, character of Christ. He that even our faith. Thus you see, saith he abideth in him, ought that when faith in Christ is rep- himself also so to walk even as resented as the first distinguish- Jesus walked. An indifferent ing mark of the christian char. reader of the history of our Say. acter, we recommend no cold iour might observe with all the speculation, no barren belief, but coolness of customary commend. a sentiment which lives, and ation, how faultless the example! moves, and is enthroned in the how happy if this world were breast; without which morality filled with such piety, such self is but a temporary calculation of command, such unwearied and convenience, benevolence a tran- active goodness! But here he scient instinct, piety a doubtful stops. The charaeter of Jesus and wavering principle.
is deposited in the memory of A second mark of the chris- such a man with other illustri, tian character, is a uniform re ous names of ancient and modern gard to the doctrine of christian- story, to be occasionally produeity, and to the scriptures, in ed to give currency to an encowhich it is contained. It is in mium, or to add weight to an exvain to expect a christian char- hortation in praise of fortitude, acter, except from christian prin. disinterestedness, compassion, or ciples; and the force of these some other virtue. But with the principles can be preserved' on- christian, Jesus is an example, ly by an habitual regard to the because he is a friend. He iminstructions, and frequent refer- itates, because he loves and ad. ence to the authority of the word mires. While we imitate what of God. The christian, in any we admire, we insensibly resem. doubtful point of conduet, does ble what we love. As in paint, not anxiously inquire into the ing, artists are distinguished in. sentiments of the world. He is to schools, according to the great not solicitous to know what the masters, whose works they have laws of honor or the tyranny of copied and admired; so the char: custom dictates; but he asks, acter of the christian should does this beconie a disciple of show, that he has studied exclu. Jesus Christ? If I had been ad- sively in the school of Christ, mitted to his company on earth, If he has caught the prominent could the world from this action characteristics of this school, it take knowledge of me that I had is because he has been habitually been with Jesus? Is it the no- looking to Jesus. ble morality of the gospel? We observed, that the characWould the motives, which now ter we love, we insensibly imi. impel me, have existed and have tate. This suggests another operated, had Christ never lived, quality, included in the assem. never taught, and never died? blage of christian graces, that is,
A third trait in the character love to Christ including gratiof a christian, is a high admira- tude and joy. Whom having tion, united with frequent study not seen ye love. We should
judge meanly of that man's pat Another mark of the christian riotism, who should own that he character is fortitude and stedfelt no sentiments of affection and fastness in the profession of gratitude toward the deliverer christianity. "Whosoever shall be of his country, because his eyes ashamed of me and of my words, had never been indulged with a in this evil and adulterous gensight of his person. We do not eration, of him shall the Son of despise the veneration with which man be ashamed, when he comthe tombs of the wise and good eth in his own glory and his Fa. are visited; we do not hastily 'ther's with all the holy angels." wipe away, as if ashamed, the To go to the altar, and there sol. grateful tear which is ready to emnly to abjure our profession of fall on the sod, which is supposed christianity, is not the only way to cover them; we do not check of betraying the cause of Christ. every enthusiastio expression of False shame of religion, or cowaffection, of admiration, of grat- ardice of temper, may be detectitude, which a recollection of ed in a thousand fashionable their worth inspires. Why complianees, a thousand omisthen should the greatest benefac- sions of unpopular duties, a thoutor of the human race, be recol. sand excuses to extenuate these Jected with no gratitude, contem omissions. Much of that servile plated with no love? Why must accommodation to the sentiments the glow of affection be quenched and manners of the age, which on this subject alone Why has almost thrown out of sight must the passions he excluded the distinctions of the christian from nothing but religion? Will character, may be traced to the you reply, that our Saviour hath
want of fortitude. said, “He that hath my com The last quality of the chrismandments and keepeth them, he tian character now to be considit is that loveth me?” It may ered, is brotherly love. “One is be answered, that love itself is
your master, even Christ, and all one of these commandments; and ye are brethren;" and by this obedience will never be cheerful, shall all men know that ye are unwearied, and delightful, till Christ's disciples, if ye have love the christian has imbibed some one to another.
In the early thing of the spirit which suggests ages of christianity, when its ed Peter's eloquent appeal: professors were harassed by "Lord, thou knowest all things; persecution, the multitude of thou knowest that I love thee." them that believed, says the Let us ever rem
member, that we historian, were of one heart and are not the philosophical pupils one soul. From this time did of a teacher, whose party we
such a union become forever imhave espoused, and whose doc- practicable? Does there not trines our reason only is inter- yet remain to christians one ested in advocating; but the dis. Lord, one faith, one baptism, ciples of one, who has suffered one God and Father of all, who and died, that we might live for- is above all, and through all,
and in all? Are not christians
all called in one hope, the hope ficient union, those who bear the of everlasting life? Does there common name of Jesus! Shall not exist among the innumerable those, who profess to be travel sects, into which the school of ling to the same region of celes Christ is divided, some relics of tial love, agree in nothing but the original principles of our mutual suspicion, condemnation, great Founder, sufficient to form and reproach? Who would také a broad base of union, exertion, knowledge of such a people, that co-operation, and love? Shall they had ever been with Jesus! not at least the bond of peace be With no small
severity may the preserved? Shall it ever be disciples of Christ be asked, forgotten, that the end of the What do ye more than others? commandment is charity out of Ye are the light of the world a pure heart, a good conscience, Let your light then so shine be and faith upfeigned? Or must fore men, that they may see the strong arm of infidel perse- your good works, and glorify cution, be lifted as in former days, your Father, who is in heaven. to drive into closer and more ef.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF PASSAGES IN THE NEW TES.
Continued from page 215. 22.
and of admission to his kingMatthew iii. 8 9. “Bring dom? “Think not to say within forth therefore fruits meet for yourselves, we have Abraham to repentance; and think not to say our father. This is no security within yourselves, WE of a spiritual relation to God,
nor of your final acceptance; for For I say unto you, that God is even of these stones, God is able able, of these stones, to raise up to raise such children as you are children unto Abraham."
unto Abraham. If ye would be“We have Abraham to our come disciples, or subjects of father.” This, above all things, Christ, bring forth therefore was the boast of the descendants fruits meet for repentance." of Abraham. Therefore, they Some commentators suppose, thought, they were the children that when John said, "God is aof God, to the exclusion of the ble, of these stones, to raise up chil. rest of mankind; and therefore, dren unto Abraham,” lie pointlikewise, they were certain of a ed to the Gentiles, who were aportion in the life to come. How mong his hearers; and that he forcible then is the reference, applied this expression to them, which John makes to this na either because they worshipped tional sentiment of the Jews, gods of stone, or on account of when he is requiring of them that hardness of heart, with repentance, as a preparation for which they had long resisted the their reception of the Messiah, plainest doctrines of revelation.
Bat turn to Luke xix. 40, and haps, without injustice, were genyou will find the proverbial ex. erally considered as extortioners pression, which John has here a and thieves. The office, and all little varied, in the application who were in it in Judea, were which he wished to make of it. alike abhorred by the Jews. It When some of the Pharisees ask. was considered by all of them, ed Jesus to rebuke his disci. as in the highest degree disgraceples, because they cried out, as ful to pay tribute to the Romans; they saw him riding into Jerusa- and the disciples of Judas Gaulem, "blessed is he that cometh lonites absolutely refused to pay in the name of the Lord; peace in the tax, alleging, that it was heaven, and glory in the highest!" not permitted to a true Israelite, he answered, “I tell you, that to acknowledge any other soveif these should hold their peace, reign than God. the stones would immediately cry The Babylonian Talmud says, out." The expression is highly among those, who are neither figurative; but considering it as worthy to sit as judges, nor to applied by our Lord directly to give testimony in judgment, are “the Pharisees,” and by John to to be numbered exactors and the Pharisees and Sadducees," publicans; and in the same senand intended to indicate the hard. tence it joins publicans with murness of their hearts, and their derers and robbers. “Of men,” slowness to receive truth, com says Maimonides, “who are prepared with which, the very stones sumed to be thieves, and whose were susceptible, and might be property is believed to have been supposed to become eloquent; the gotten by violence, as of publireproof, in both cases, is more se cans and robbers, it is not lawful vere, while in neither does it ex to use their money, nor to mix it ceed the limitations of the most with your own, because it has exact justice.
been acquired by rapine." They Consult Whitby on Rom. ii. 13, were looked upon as heathens; and Grotius and Lightfoot on the and the priests would not receive text.
from them an offering for the 23.
temple, any more than they would Luke iii. 12. "Then came
the price of blood. In ihis naalso publicans to be baptized.” tional sentiment concerning the
“The order of publicans,” says publicans, we see the force of Cicero,(Oratio pro Plancio,)“con. the expression, “God, I thank sisted of the choicest of the Ro- thee, that I am not as other man Knights; was the ornament are, extortioners, unjust, of the city, and the support of adulterers, or even as this pubthe commonwealth.” They were lican;" and in this character of the officers who collected the them we perceive the propriety revenues of the empire, and ac of the admonition which John counted for them to the empe- addressed to them, “exact no more ror. The publicans, or collectors than that which is appointed you.' of the provinces, were but depu The Roman laws' required, ties of those in Rome; and per- that when any farmer, or public