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phet into the lake of fire, Christ will have no more deal. ings with the church. He loathes it and rejects it, and returns not to it any more. To the earth he returns, but not to her. She sinks out of sight, like a milstone cast into the sea. I consider the spuing out of his mouth to be equivalent with the casting out, and the casting into outer darkness, so often spoken of in the Gospels. It is different from all the other threatenings ; it is the con. summation of the evil. I have oft put the question to myself, And canst thou really believe such things of the Protestant churches, consociated into the religious world, which every one admireth so much, and haileth as the world's regeneration? It is very difficult to believe, but I can and do believe it. And I partly perceive its operation, as I have explained above. It is not for nothing that the Lord hath placed me upon this pinnacle of observation, where for these eight years I have stood observing the face of the church. I have had opportunities of being fully convinced that the spirit of the religious world is the same as the spirit of radicalism, infidelity, and liberalism : is the same as the Neological spirit
which first appeared in Germany, the birth-place of the Reformation. There it attacked the creed, because the Germans are a very thoughtful people, and their polemical spirit expresseth itself in forms of thought. Here it attacks the establish. ment and organization of the church, because we are a judicious and active people, who express one spirit in institutions; also a benevolent people, who like to be pro. moting things useful and advantageous to man. But it is the same visitation of God upon the cold Smyrnian church of the Reformation, which hath begotten the various Neological schools of Germany, and religious societies of England. They are both of the nature of consumptions and judgments; the one directed against a systematic theology, which had hidden the truth of the Gospel; the other against a well organized church, which had ceased to be the teacher and the mother of the people. The religious world is the antagonist of the church, as the radical poli. ticians are of the state, and both are of the nature of judgments upon them for their iniquity. The Presbyteries of Scotland, and the Bishops of England, are fast hastening to send in their adherence unto the religious world. The Smyrnian remnant, and the Laodicean populace are combining, and they will speedily work with one accord against the church of the livingGod, the pillar and theground of the truth. If the gifts of the Spirit be now restored to the faithful, it will drive the cold and the lukewarm into the fury and fever of passion and persecution. Even now time moves too slowly for the speed of their wrath, and good ancient forms are too reluctant. Like the whirlwind pent up, it will burst forth with the more awful violence when the tine comes; and then it will be seen whether I be a fool, or God hath given me wisdom to discern the sign of the times.
If these things be true, and the state of the church, even of the most reputable part of it, be so desperate and near unto judgment, it is high time that we should betake ourselves to point out what is the clear and manifest cause of the disease, and what is the safe and certain remedy. These follow in succession, delivered by him who loveth his church, and gave himself a ransom for her, who is the chief Physician, and possesseth the balm that is in Gilead, and hath borne our sins and carried our diseases.' To him therefore presenting the cause and remedy of our estate, let us give the more earnest heed.
3. The Cause of the Evil. The cause of the evil condition of the Laodicean church is expressed in these words : “ Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (iii. 17). This full and fine delineation of a soul embedded in the world, and satisfied with itself, doth at the same time reveal the cause, that resting in half measures of truth, and desire of making contraries meet, to which the angel of this church, and with him his people, were addicted : “ No man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. vi. 24). He striveth to reconcile these contraries, which is impossible.; and not seeking first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, he is in danger of losing it altogether. His devotedness to the world, and his satisfaction to be in such good stand. ing with it, produce incapacity to receive the truth of God, by darkening the eye of the mind, and working insensibility to holiness, by hardening the heart and bribing the conscience with the approbation and flatteries of mortal men, as it was spoken by the same Divine Preacher: “ The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness" (Matt. vi. 22, 23). The same effect is gradually produced in the Christian church by the love of the world, which had been produced in the nations in the time of Paul, which stood not much further from the primitive times of the patriarchal, than we do from the primitive times of the Christian faith; and before the end the same words will describe our state, which in Paul's mouth described theirs : “ Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. iv. 18). It is true that in this land of ours, where a Christian code of laws and manner of worship are established, and corresponding customs and feelings have arisen to defend them, the blindness of the mind doth not exhibit itself in the same form of lasciviousness and lust which Paul describes the heathens to have been overspread withal ; but it doth produce the same incapacity of the mind for the discernment, and the admiration of moral and spiritual truth. The soul of man, through much business with this world, hath come to be disabled for any heavenly communion. Their daily work is so heavy upon men, to maintain life is so expensive, the mind is so harassed and occupied with almost necessary cares, that there hardly liveth either the desire, or the capacity of higher thoughts:;insomuch that I know not whether to weep or to be angry at the incapacity which I find in men to enter into any idea, or to entertain any discourse of an ideal or spiritual kind. Controversy where persons are concerned, eloquence which presenteth a succession of figures to the fancy, discourse which concerneth customs religious or irreligious; or expoundeth systems of doctrine which can be referred to a book, as the Confession, or the Catechism, are all which the people hear, and almost all which they are capable of hearing. And why so ? Because their
minds from their youth have been, and now are taken up all the day long with worldly business, and worldly cares; and hath neither spare time, nor energy for meditation, contemplation, or prayer. And this is not the case with the labouring and trading people, but with the ministers of religion, and the instructors of every name. They who ought to make debates with the spirit of the times, have given in to it, and hewn out for themselves a system of working, a mechanical occupation, a machinery of societies, management of periodical works, newspapers, and benevolent institutions, which as effectually engross them, as the exchange, and the counting-house, and the work. shop engross the others;-insomuch that “ the working clergy" bath become a name for distinguishing those busy labourers in schools, societies, and other parochial institutions, from the rest, and giving them that mead of approbation which a mechanical and moneyed generation counteth the highest and the best.
How much the love of money and the desire to be rich prevaileth in these times of ours, above any other age of the world, is to be seen in every thing around us. What is reformation in the state ? To save money. And what in the church? To share the money equally. And what among the people? To administer pauperism aright? What is the object of every man in setting out in life? To make a fortune, and retire when he is rich and increased in goods. What the combinations of the people? To raise the wages. In one word, look in every direction, and you will find that money is the polar-star around which every star revolveth.
But what is the religious world, save a great institution for raising and expending money ; a new method of raising the ways and means? What else is looked at in order to find admission to these societies but an annual donation; to be directors, but a large donation? What is the eloquence of the church bent to do? To raise collections by charitable sermons. For this bishops come forth from their retirements; and for this famous doctors go forth on peregrinations and missions among the churches. No one can deny that the Bible, Missionary, Tract, and School Societies are constituted, not upon any selection of men made according to principle or practice, but according to his subscription of money. Such a thing I believe was never before heard of in the church, that, for the membership and management of her chief works, no qualification should be regarded, save the amount of money subscriptions. In all time past this was least in esteem, yea, jealously looked at as a source of continual temptations ; but in this last and worst age it is made indispensable to a voice in the administration of those great works which are counted upon as the pride and glory of the times we live in. This is indeed a very remarkable feature in ecclesiastical history, a singularity of which there is no example; and, therefore, we need not wonder that it should be so prominently brought forward as a characteristic in the sevenfold view of the church's temptations. If I could estimate how much of the thought, zeal, and labour of the religious public, as they call it, goes to the matter of subscriptions and donations, of collections and disbursements, of religious societies, I would be able to justify in a remarkable degree the application of this epistle to these times. Perhaps, since the Reformation, the church, at least in this land, hath never been united in one feeling, till this feeling of raising money to propagate the Gospel, which is without money and without price, arose amongst us. It hath beaten down the distinctions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy; it hath united Calvinism and Arminianism, Churchman and Dissenter, the worshipper of Christ and the denier of his name. Like a spirit it spreads abroad, and subdues unto itself all sorts of
persons. While I lay out these truths I am far from objecting to the appropriation of the mammon of unrighteousness to such benevolent and religious purposes, believing that it can hardly be so well bestowed. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to bless the needy, is to use our bounty, as our heavenly Father doth use his ; who maketh his sun to arise upon the evil and the good, and his rain to descend upon the just and the unjust
. And if the Gospel of salvation, through the sending of his dear Son, be clearly the greatest and the best of his infi. nite gifts to this needy world; so, likewise, most surely must it be our best gift to an ignorant and unbelieving man to make known unto him that Gospel of his salvation,