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: 6. Such a proud state of mind must be as highly offensive to God, as it is derogatory to the glory of Christ. It is an insult to God, by impeaching his wisdom in providing redemption for us through the mediation of his beloved Sono: and it detracts from the honour of our Saviour, by rejecting His atonement," whom God hath set forth to be the only propitiation for our sins P.” This is an offence of great magnitude; and, where it is obstinately persisted in, must, in the end, meet with the heaviest measure of punishment. “ He that despised Moses' law died without mercy, under two or three witnesses. Of how inuch sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?."

7. Self-righteousness evinces a thorough ignorance of our own condition. Whilst our eyes are blinded by the hardening influence of sin, we shall remain in gross darkness, and be entire strangers to ourselves: but the moment this veil of spiritual ignorance is removed from our minds, self-knowledge will teach us, instead of attempting to establish our own righteousness, to acknowledge, “Behold, we are vile'!" “We have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now our eyes see thee. Wherefore we abhor ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes $.” Discerning the corrupt state of our souls, and recollecting how many evil thoughts have sprung up within us, and by how many positive acts of sin our lives have been defiled, “ We shall exclaim, “Woe unto us! for we are undone; because we are

• Eph. i. 6-8. · Rom. iii. 24, 25. 9 Heb. x. 28, 29. * Job xl. 4. s Job xlii. 5,6.

men of unclean lips'.” “Behold, we were shapen in iniquity, and in sin did our mothers conceive us“!" Seeing the ruined and condemned state into which our unrighteousness has plunged us, and deprecating the wrath of God, to which we stand exposed, we shall each of us cry with David, “ Enter not into judgment with thy servant ; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified uu."

8. This sinful temper is a most serious obstacle to our growth in knowledge and grace. Whilst we have such lofty notions of our own inherent goodness, we shall imagine ourselves whole, and think we have no need of Christ, the heavenly Physician". So long as we cherish a self-justifying spirit, we shall be destitute of the Christian virtues of selfabasement and self-renunciation; we shall be disposed to pour contempt on the sacrifice of Christ, which atones for our numberless iniquities ; on his Spirit

, who regenerates and sanctifies our souls; and on his glorious robe of righteousness, which covers our manifold defects, and presents us " faultless before the throne of God with exceeding great joy.”

9. Are you, then, confined in the prison of selfrighteousness? Do you conceive yourself holy, because you do not give into those scandalous vices which disgrace the lives of many other persons ? Ignorant of the dark and wicked state of your own heart, do you suppose that an occasional act of charity, and a lifeless and insincere performance of customary religious duties, is all that the law exacts, as necessary to entitle you to heaven? Filled with a sense of fancied excellence, are you ready, in the pride of your heart, to cry, "What lack I yet?" Do i Isa. vi. 5.

u Psalm li. 5. un Psalm cxliii. 2.

* Mat. ix. 12.

you discover no need of the Holy Spirit's influence, to quicken you from the death of sin to a life of righteousness ? Are you satisfied with your present state, as if you were already sufficiently good, wise, and instructed in the things of God **? Then you adduce the most glaring proofs that you are under the self-complacent delusion which we have been exposing; and that you belong to "a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness.

Now, if you adhere to a system which so directly militates against the glory of God, disparages the atonement of Christ, despises the work of the Holy Spirit, and compels you to reject the Gospel, what can you expect at last, but that God should say, “I will declare thy righteousness and thy works; they shall not profit theeyy?" And then“ he will lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail of his indignation shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place?.” And how will you feel confounded, when you see the fabric, which you have raised on this foundation of sand, suddenly demolished, and yourself buried for ever in its ruins a !

10. To prevent a disaster so tremendous in its results, cherish the principles of the Gospel; which will produce humility for sin, and a state of feeling the very reverse of those towering notions which have hitherto unhappily possessed your mind.

Let a sense of the total corruption of your nature, which is the source from whence your evil actions originate, humble you in the very dust of self-abasement; and, whilst it forces you to exclairn with the ** Mat. xix. 20.

y Prov. xxx. 12. y Isa. lvii. 12. * Isa. xxviii. 17-21. • Mat. vii. 26-29.

lepers, “Unclean, unclean!” let it teach you to pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me b!” And let a conviction of your inability to save yourself by any performances of

your own, bring you to Christ by faith, “for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;" that, according as it is written, “ let him that glorieth, glory only in the Lord.”

11. And as for you, Christian Believers, who occasionally feel the leaven of a self-righteous temper working in your hearts, and inducing you, at times, either to forget Christ, the Rock of your salvation, or not to look to him sufficiently for grace and strength to invigorate your souls and make them fruitful, watch and pray against the sin which is productive of such bitter fruits.

Conscious of your short comings, and your need of a complete righteousness to save you, exercise the same unshaken faith in Jesus for justification, as the prophet Isaiah did, who said, “ I will greatly rejoice in the Lord ; my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."

And demonstrate that your confidence in Christ is according to knowledge, by its tendency to “cleanse you from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, and to make you solicitous to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.” » Psalm li. 10.

c1 Cor. i. 30, 31, & Isa. Ixi. 10.

e 2 Cor. yii. 1.

LECTURE LXIX.

ON HYPOCRISY.

Job xxvii. 8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away

his soul? The Lord, who sees the heart, and knows all its designs, highly approves of sincerity in them that engage in his service. He esteems the strongest pretensions of regard to him as deceit, and the most costly sacrifice as a splendid abomination in his sight, if they are unaccompanied with the sincere devotion of the mind. Behold! thou requirest truth in the inward parts.” Aware of this, David prayed, “ Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me!!"

1. Now hypocrisy is directly opposed to sincerity. It is the acting of a base and dishonourable part, under the mask of honesty and virtue. Wicked men act hypocritically from sinister motives: they practice on the credulity of others, in order to gain their confidence, and thus to accomplish their own iniquitous designs.

When the term is used in a religious signification, it imports the assumption of a profession of godliness which is not real; the putting on of pious appearances which are false, with a view to cover the deceit of the heart, and to obtain some worldly advantage.

2. This is a sin to which great reproach is always attached. Hypocrisy is everywhere detestable ; but in religion it becomes a crime of a peculiarly aggravating nature. In reference to men, it is a species of imposition and falsehood practised * Psalm li. 6.

bib. 10.

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