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Paul's idea of charity, the very bond of
per: fectness, and wanting which (though possesse ing all besides) we are nothing; turns chiefly upon this hinge.*
“ Not thinking of itself more highly than it ought to think,"--or more meanly of others than their offensive behaviour has obliged us to do, even in self-defence, against the unprovoked hostilities of exuberant and ungovernable spiritual vanity.—“ Not wise in self-conceito--not puffed up” with an airy nothingness of a notional sanctity, but edified, with that which is real, and consistent with genuine faith. « Bebaveth not itșelf unseemly,--thinketh no evil; and speaketh none, but “ bopeth all things, believeth all things,” and putteth the most candid construction upon other people's conduct and opinions, that consistency and the prior obligation of respect for suffering religion will admit of,
“ But the time will come, (said St Paul,) when they will not endure sound doctrine,
* 1 Cor. xii. 4, 5,
but they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. "* "Of this sort are they which creep into bouses
, and lead captive silly women, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. For evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Facies non omnibus una
nec diversa tamen.
Not all one form the specious error takes,
There is, therefore, undoubtedly a great change to take place first, before the kingdom of Christ (such as the prophets have described it,) shall be set up, not only upon the necks of his enemies, but in the hearts of his professed friends. There must be a removal of “ much rubbish” from the external opposition of antichristianism, before that great temple, which is to receive all the world, can be
* 2 Tim. iv.
+ 2 Tim. iii.
raised up to the full perfection of the designis ed “building of God," upon the foundation already laid. The unbelief of the jews, mohammedans, and pagans; the apostacy of the Romans, and the indisposition arising from fanatical systems, frivolous divisions, and the mutual uncharitableness of various denominations of protestants, must first be taken out of
We need not an angel to tell us that the time is not yet,"* when we may expect to see Christ“ travelling in the greatness of his strength,”ť and every obstructing stumbling block taken up out of the way that leads to the new Jerusalem ;£ and the perpetual throne of the Son of David established over all nations, upon the immoveable basis of mercy and righteousness. The descriptions the prophets have given of that glorious day, are such as we cannot expect to see realized in a short time, if even they be taken at the most moderate calculation : a time when the terrors of
* Rev. x, 6.
+ Isai. lxiii. 1.
# Isai, lvii. 14; Ezek. xiv. 3 ; 1 Cor. i. 23.
persecution for religion shall no more fill the world with woe, nor the imperious fanaticism of modern pharisees with disgust; by setting up
each of them their respective standards of faith, like the bed of the Sicilian tyrant, to the length of which all noses must be pulled, or flattened into conformity of a stunted protuberance. *
The knowledge of God will then be communicated by rational and intelligible ideas, and shall be spread abroad by competent means; " as the waters cover the sea.”—“ They shall all know
from the least to the greatest.”+ « Thy people shall be all righteous, the REMNANT of ISRAEL shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue
be found in their mouth.”[ “ I will make
* The prophecy of Zephaniah, like the reconciliation of the jews, is certainly not to be prematurely accomplished by forced conversions to uniformity of religion ; but will be God's own act, in his own time. “ For then will I turn to the people a pure language, (or religion, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent," (Zeph. ii. 9.) + Jer. xxxi, 34; Heb. viii. 11.
* Zeph, jj. 13.
thine officers peace, and thine exactors right
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders : but thou shalt call thy walls SALVATION, and thy gates PRAISE. I the Lord will hasten it in his time."'*
The words of prophecy shall be no longer a sealed vision to God's ancient people, nor the deep mysteries of the gospel a subject of perversion, to be “ wrested” by incompetent THEOLOGIANS, from the highways and the hedge sides. The wily serpent and deadly cockatrice shall cease their enmity to man, or be rendered incapable of exerting it to the hurt of unsuspecting innocence.† The disposition to deceit and malice shall either be expelled from the human breast, or frustrated and rendered torpid, by wise and good laws well executed, and the rights and liberties of men more clearly defined and effectually secured. Christ, the sovereign monarch of this happy kingdom, “ shall spare the poor and
* Isai. lx. 18.
+ Isai. xi. 8.