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affairs, an honest and prudent man will perceive, that while he obeys God he takes the surest method for satisfying the noblest part of his fellowcreatures; so, if by any contrariety of situation, the praise of men be thrown into a sort of competition with the favour of God, he cannot for a moment hesitate in the choice of that which might be preferred-whether he should look to fallible and sinful beings, or to him who is perfect and omniscientwhether to those, the sound of whose praise must quickly pass away, or to him who can confer upon us an everlasting reward. Let me farther entreat you to reflect upon the hollowness and insignificance of human praise, as it is often courted, and often granted. Popularity, you must know, may be acquired by abject concessions, and counterfeit appearances; and hence you are told by Jesus himself, Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers unto the false prophets, even they who hated the true prophets, and cast out their names as evil. Believe me, my hearers, when I declare to you that, in the emphatical and solemn words just now recited to you, and in other Scriptural passages intended to put you on the watch against an undue regard for buman applause, there are no sentimental refinements, no rhetorical paradoxes, no metaphysical subtleties. They do not enjoin the singularity of the visionary, the churlishness of the recluse, or the boasted apathy of the stoic, who perhaps aimed obliquely at admiration at the very instant, and by the very act of disclaiming all concern about it.

The language of our Lord states real occurrences, and points to the source whence they flowed. For why were the true prophets slandered and put to death? Because they lifted up, sometimes a warning, and sometimes an accusing voice against their back-sliding and sinful countrymen, or their idolatrous and profligate kings. Why did all men speak well of the false prophets? Because they prophesied smooth things--because they consoled where they ought to have alarmed, and applauded where they ought to have reproved-because they were at once vain and ambitious, dishonest and impious--hecause they disregarded the righteous approbation of God, in order to obtain high-sounding panegyrics, and costly rewards froin men. Are there no aspects then under which Christ's denunciation of woe against the encomiasts of the false prophets, and the accusers of the true, may be applied to ourselves? Yes, certainly. Let us imagine, that with the scymitar in one hand, and a bribe in the other, some Mahometan chieftain should call upon you to renounce the Gospel, and embrace the Koran ; let us imagine that some gloomy inquisition required you to give up the pure and salutary tenets of Protestantism, and to adopt the most improbable tenets of his own religion in their grossest form- that he menaced you for your refusal with the dungeon, and the torture, and proffered some splendid enticement in the patronage of his sovereign, and the privileges of his church, as the recompence of

your compliance ; let us imagine, at any season, and under any government, that popularity, that wealth, that high station, that gorgeous titles, that the insidious courtesies of a sceptered tempter, or the eager benedictions of a powerful and bigotted priesthood were within your reach, if you would consent to avow some opinion which your judgment had seriously rejected as erroneous and pernicious (it may be), or to commit some outrage from which your soul shrinks with horror; though all men were to speak well of you—though the palace and the cottage, the senate and the theatre, resounded with your praise, yet be assured, that your insincerity, your cowardice, your venality, your injustice, or your cruelty, will, in characters never to be effaced, stand upon record against you in the registry of heaven.

Again, when your Lord denounced woe to his disciples, if all men should speak well of them, he foresaw that the world would, soon after his own death, traduce and persecute them for their faithful adherence to a crucified Master, and their steady opposition to the errors and corruptions of every Jew and every Gentile whom they were commissioned to convert; and under these circumstances it obviously was quite impossible for them, living as they did in an evil generation, to gain a speedily and extensively good name, without betraying their sacred trust, without suppressing some useful doctrine which they were appointed to disseminate, or coutenancing some vicious practice which they were authorized to restrain.

Christ, moreover, knew generally that they who want wisdom, magnanimity, and integrity, to support realities in virtue you if

and religion, do not want cunning to put on specious appearances, and that in various situations of human affairs men are induced to please their fellow-creatures at the hazard of displeasing their Maker. When therefore the danger of seeking, and even receiving unbounded and unmerited praise is expressed in language so energetic, the Gospel tells

you in effect, that all men will speak well of you

flatter their pride, if you encourage their prejudices, if you exaggerate their better qualities, and explain away the guilt of their secret or their open faults. And does not experience teach you the same interesting lesson? Does it not also teach you, that they who are utterly regardless of well-earned praise, will, from the same perverseness of judgment, and the same depravity of spirit, gradually become callous to deserved blame? Does not reason coincide with religion in convincing you, that the same actions which lead you to hope for the approbation of God, will likewise entitle you to look for some share of esteem from his sincere worshippers ? The contrary supposition is at variance alike with our understanding and our feelings. Consider, I beseech you, shall not the oppressed be permitted to extol their protector, the indigent their benefactor, the afflicted their comforter? Shall not the serious parent be permitted to mingle the voice of praise with his smile and his blessing, when he recounts the joys impressed upon his soul by the affection of a beloved son? Shall not the faithful preceptor be permitted to commend, and by cominending to encou

rage, the industry, the docility, the ingenuous disposition, and the blameless morals of his pupil? Shall not the enlightened companion be permitted to proclaim openly what he must inwardly admire, in the friend of his hosom, when that friend hath performed some act of heroic self-command, or disinterested beneficence? Shall not the devout pastor be permitted to applaud out of the sanctuary, what he is bound to promote in it, when, with eyes uplifted to heaven, he beholds the growth of his flock in temperance, honesty, brotherly kindness, and piety? And is it conceivable, my hearers, for one moment, that they who bestow, or they who accept such praise, from such motives, and upon such subjects, stand in the smallest danger of being arraigned at the last day for having acted unto men, and not unto the Lord ?

But farther, I said that virtuous actions may often procure for us at once the approbation of God, and of truly good men. But I ought to add more directly what I have before intimated, that such actions have a tendency, at least, to obtain for us the encomiums of the bad as well as the good; for in the absence of evil desires we naturally respect that which we may not have the fortitude to practise. The libertine may envy, but cannot hate temperance; the thief cannot dislike honesty; the infidel cannot unfeignedly and entirely despise that piety which he believes to be genuine, and accompanied by correspondent habits of innocence, probity, and benevolence. In reality, he that is accustomed to act as unto men, cannot always stifle, nor always dissemble, the reverence which he

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