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attention to useful employment.
This habit will prove as serviceable in their spiritual as in their worldly concerns; and they will thus be most likely to advance to true honour here, and to the enjoyment of glory and happiness hereafter.
2. From the obseryations now made we learn the extent of true morality. The christian moralist who often inculcates the duties of religion—who gives to the law of God its right interpretation, by pointing out its infinite purity, spirituality, and unalterable authority, is objected to by two classes ;-by the Antinomians who turn the grace of God unto licentiousness; and by those who rely on certain good works as the ground of acquittal and of acceptance before God.
But the first of these classes object to the frequent inculcation of duty, because the duty does not suit their habits, their hearts, and their lives ;-because they are in reality strangers to the spirit and the power of that Gospel to which they profess to give the preference, but which has been ushered into our world, not to destroy the law but to fulfil ;-and because they are destitute of the principle of love to God and man, on which every enactment of the law is founded. The second of these classes, those who rely on certain good works for acceptance with their Maker, object to the christian teacher, on the opposite ground, that he dwells too much on the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. But when he expounds the law, and shews how essentially different it is from the heartless, varying, hypocritical morality of the world, he is not
less than before the object of censure.
He is now accused of being too strict—of being righteous overmuch, -of condemning innocent amusements-of teaching a morose system of morality.
ON TRUTH AND VERACITY.
Such is the importance of truth to the order, the virtue, and the happiness of the universe, that one of the precepts of the decalogue is a prohibition of its violation. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Truth signifies an accordance with the real state of things, whether in the natural or moral world. It very frequently, as in the ninth commandment, denotes veracity in speaking the truth ; and also fidelity in the fulfilment of our promises and contracts.
The great importance of truth to us, or, of our being acquainted with the real state of things in the natural, but more especially in the moral world, is sufficiently obvious. Some knowledge of the laws of the natural world is essential to the existence of the human race; and the collective experience of mankind, in this respect, is an invaluable treasure bequeathed to every succeeding generation.
But truth in the moral world, that is, our knowing God as he is, in his nature, character, and perfections,--and the relations which we bear to him and to each other,-our knowing the actual procedure of his
moral government, in as far as that immediately relates to our holiness and happiness, is so necessary, that there can be no foundation of virtue and no true obedience without it. It is this only that forms the means of sanctification, of comfort, and of hope, that enriches, purifies, and saves mankind; and in pro.. portion as the glory of God, and the salvation and progressive improvement of immortal beings, are valuable, is the real worth of moral and religious truth. It is on this ground that they only are blessed who know the joyful sound; that the Saviour prays, “sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth *
Truth, then, is essentially necessary, in the first place, to the mutual confidence of intelligent beings. It is only in proportion as we can rely on the veracity of others that we can place trust in them. It is because there cannot be a suspicion entertained concerning the truth of God, that is, concerning his veracity, that he is the object of confidence to all the ends of the earth. Could a doubt be admitted as to the truth of his testimony, of his promises, and of his laws, his requisitions might, from fear of punishment, be complied with, but they could not from love be obeyed. It is truth that surrounds his government with glory and majesty, and that renders his character the subject of delightful contemplation and confidence. It is because he is a God of truth, and without iniquity, that he is the rock, the foundation of trust to the universe, and that all his ways are judgment.
Truth is requisite, in the second place, to the virtue or holiness of intelligent beings. It is at once the
* John xvii. 17.
evidence of their holiness, and the means of its production. A being without truth, is a being without virtue and respectability ; corrupt in himself, and a source of corruption to all around him. It is by truth only, moral and religious, that man is enlightened, purified, and prepared for a nobler existence. It is because the law of the Lord has this character of
perfection, that it has efficacy to convert the soul. It is in consequence of his word being the truth, that it forms an infallible directory to our faith and conduct, and leads to the practice of all righteousness.
Truth, in the third place, is necessary to the happiness of all intelligent creatures. The pleasures which arise from its discovery are pure and endless. There are pleasures of imagination, doubtless, because he who has formed us has, in infinite goodness and wisdom, multiplied the sources of our enjoyment; but even such pleasures, without material detriment to our virtue and happiness, must not spring from falsehood, though they may proceed from fiction. That enjoyment only is lasting which issues from the knowledge of truth, and especially of that truth which relates to the character and government of God, to the mediation of the Redeemer, to the salvation of man, and to the immortality of glory and blessedness which the Gospel reveals. Such glorious themes, so immediately allied to all that concerns us as sentient and accountable creatures, must deeply interest, purify, and convey never-failing gladness to the heart.
Hence the importance of veracity. It is by communication chiefly that we come to the knowledge of
truth. It is very much by the experience and information of others that our faculties are developed and improved ; that we are capable in any measure of interpreting the works of nature and providence; that we know any thing of Him that made us; and of our own origin, duties, and destiny. How dependent are mankind on each other's veracity, in regard to their daily transactions; their food, clothing, and medicine; their education and instruction; their tranquillity and happiness; and their success and usefulness! Than this no disposition, no duty, can be of greater importance to man in the various stages of his existence, as a sentient, intellectual, moral and religious being; and no crime can be greater in magnitude, or more ruinous in its consequences, than its violation. The enemy of all good, the head of apostate angels, is characterized as the violator of truth, a liar and the father of lies. Take away veracity from the universe, and you annihilate love, friendship, virtue, and happiness; and with millions of beings, the whole creation becomes an in. supportable solitude.
ON THE NATURE AND OBLIGATION OF A PROMISE.
It has been truly remarked, that “ it is a prerogative of man, that he can communicate his knowledge of facts by testimony, and enter into engagements by promise or contract. God has given him these powers by a part of his constitution, which distin