« السابقةمتابعة »
the same mean, sensual, beastly, or proof, for their wicked conduct.dishonest pursuits. So through all But, when sinners find a multitude descriptions and classes of man- to do evil, they always feel greatly kind. It is not strange, that those, strengthened and encouraged in who are engaged in the same pur- their vile pursuits. This will acsuits, should all, spontaneously, count for their wishing to associate resort “to their own company.
with those of their own character, The conclusion and course are and for their unwearied exertions perfectly natural.
· to draw others into the spares of 3. Persons of the same charac. sin and wretchedness. I add, ter serve to strengthen each other 4. That persons of the same in their designs and pursuits.' No character serve to confirm each one wishes to engage, in any en- other's hopes. This is a legitimate terprise or important pursuit, en- inference from what has been said. tirely alone. Every person desires For, since persons of the same some strength, support or encour character, all possess the same agement, from others. The right views and feelings; since they all
are greatly supported and pursue the same objects; and since strengthened, in their grand and they all serve to strengthen each glorious object of pursuit, by the other, in their designs and pure mutual assistance and endearing suits ; it cannot be otherwise, than company of their brethren. They that they should tend to confirm can run the Christian race with each other's hopes. Those, who greater alacrity, engage in the go with a multitude to do evil, are Christian warfare with greater suc- uniformly flattered in their hopes ces, and make more rapid advances of happiness; or, at least, of obin holiness and happiness, by the taining the immediate objects of timely aid and heavenly converse their desire. Infidels have always of their companions in holiness. So been greatly encouraged in their it is on the other hand. No sin- hopes, by their infidel companions. ner wishes, or is able to stand alone. The instances have been numerEvery transgressor must inevitably ous, where wicked men, in comsink in despair, and hide his head pany with their associates, could from community, were it not for boldly turn the Bible into ridicule, his wicked associates. Place an and blaspheme the sacred name of individual profane swearer, sab- Jehovah; but, when alone, would bath-breaker, drunkard, or gam- fall a prey to the horrours of a bler, in society, where he could guilty conscience, and find no rehave none of his own character lief, till they again resorted to their with whom to associate ; and what infidel companions. This will acwould he do? He would, doubtless, count for the unwearied exertions hide his head, with shame and of infidels, at the present day, to confusion. He would either re- draw multitudes into their heretical form or seek a retreat from the creed and licentious practices.presence of community. This has They pretend firmly to believe, frequently been demonstrated, by that all mankind will finally be the conduct of those, who shun, or safe and happy. But, if they are hide from the presence of the so sure of this, why do they use such ber, virtuous and godly, feeling exertions, to turn the scriptures incondemned for their own sinful to contempt and ridicule, and to characters, and fearing a just re- draw others into their bélicf and
practice? If their system be true, man's moral character, as it is to it will “not make one hair white judge of the moral character of soor black," whether any embrace ciety. “ Actions speak louder than it or not. Those, who believe words;" and a man may always be not, will finally be as safe and hap- known by the company he keeps. py as themselves. Why, then, let If any person is accustomed to asme ask, should they spend their sociate with the irreligious and breath, and time, and talents, in profane, we need no other evidence compassing sea and land, that they to determine, that he is irreligious may "make one proselyte?" It is, and profane himself. If a man doubtless, because their hopes are chooses to associate with drunkfeeble, and they wish them strength- ards; we may have the assurance, ened by a multitude, who do evil. that he is himself inclined to inThe greater number they can find, temperance. So, if a man forsakes to embrace their licentious doc- the society of the pious and godly, trines, the stronger they feel, and and associates with the children of the more confirmed are their hopes. this world, we are obliged to set It is not because they feel sure, but him down, as destitute of the rebecause they feel so unsafe, that ligion of Christ. If a person is they are at such unwearied pains disposed to follow false teachers, to ridicule the scriptures, and to and to associate with those, who seduce the vain and giddy multi- ridicule the scriptures, and have tude. They wish to strengthen imbibed infidel sentiments; we their hopes and confirm their own may rest assured, that such a perprospects of future happiness, by son is, at heart, an infidel. It is their continual laughter at serious true, however, that those, who have things, and the constant repetition no true religion, may, for a time, of that ancient proclamation, “ Ye keep company with the pious and shall not surely die."
godly, make a publick profession Sufficient reasons, then, can be of religion, and, even, enter upon given, why mankind universally the work of the gospel ministry; choose to associate with those of but they will always show, either by their own character. Persons, of their words or actions, that they the same character, have similar" are out of their own element, views and feelings; they pursue and would much rather resort io the same objects; they strengthen their
own company. Accordingly, each other, in their designs and our Saviour says, "By their fruits ye pursuits; and they confirm each shall know them. Do men gather other's hopes. This will always grapes of thorns? or figs of thisaccount for every one's resorting tles?” Such persons, in the para" to his own company," whenever ble of the sower, are represented time and opportunity will admit. as flourishing for a time; but by
and by they are offended, and fall 1. If mankind choose to asso- away.-"Being let go, they deciate with those of their own char- part to their own company.” We acter; then it is more easy to frequently see this take place at judge of the moral character of in- the present day. Persons, who dividuals, than is generally admit- have made the highest pretensions ted. Every person, 'being let go, to sanctity, and love to the truth; will resort to his own company.” have sustained important offices in llence, it is as casy to judge of a the church; and have professed to
toil, and weep, and pray, for the image of Christ, will choose to bewelfare of Christ's spiritual king. long to their society; and, consedom; as soon as a favourable op- quently, they will afford conclusive portunity presents, may associ- evidence, that they are themselves ate with those, whom they would the children of God. This is one not have designed to set with of the obvious and conclusive the dogs of their flock;" espouse standards, by which the Christian the cause of liars, drunkards, ex character can be tried, in view of tortioners, revilers, and “covenant- the world. It is also, a standard, breakers ;" and maintain their which our Lord has been pleased cause, by the foulest scandal, and to give us, for the trial of ourselves the vilest abuse. May not such and the character of others. Only persons be known, by their resort- let a person give decisive evidence, ing "to their own company ?". that he loves Christians, because "They went out from us, but they they belong to Christ, and that he were not of us ; for if they had been loves to make them his most intiof us, they would no doubt have mate companions; and he affords continued with us: but they went as decisive evidence, that he is the out, that they might be made man- friend of God, and the disciple of ifest that they were not all of us." the divine Redeemer. It is comparatively easy, then, to 3. Since mankind choose to as judge of the moral character of sociate with those of their own mankind; for," being let go," character ; we have no reason to each will resort immediately “to believe, that impenitent sinners his own company."
would be happy in heaven, could 2. Since mankind choose to as- they be admitted into those bright sociate with those of their own char- and glorious mansions. They canacter, we may learn winy" love to not bear the society of saints, here the brethren" should be made a on earth; even where there is so criterion of the Christian charace much imperfection. They choose ta. Our Saviour says, By this rather to associate with persons of shall men know that ye are my their own character. How, then, disciples, if ye have love one to could they endure the pure and another." The apostle John, also, holy society of heaven? Take, for declares, “By this we know that example, the profane swearer, the we have passed from death unto liar, the thief, the extortioner, the
life, because we love the brethren. drunkard, or any one of mankind, : If any man say, I love God, and without a change of character, and,
hateth his brother, he is a liar. an entire renovation of heart and Por he that loveth not his brother, life, and place him in the midst of whom he hath seen, how can he the paradise of God, surrounded love God, whom he hath not seen ? by holy beings, and no one like And this commandment have we himself, with whom he could assofrom him, That he who loveth God, ciate, or have the least degree of loreth his brother also.” This is a intercourse and would be be proper and just criterion; for, happy there ?-He would shrink our subject teaches us, that man- from the presence of God. He kind love, and choose to associate would shrink from the presence of with those of their own character. all holy beings. He would infiniteHence, those, who love Christians ly rather "go to his own place ;" — sincerely, because they bear the “ to his own company;">with his
own associates-with the sons of sociate with those of their perdition. He would infinitely character; it also appears perfectrather sink down in hell, than ly proper and just, that God serve in heaven, or be confined to should turn the wicked into hell, the holy society of that happy or send them to their own place. place! But, yet these persons are When the wicked are sent to perall expecting to go to heaven. dition, they are only sent “ to their They flatter themselves, that they oron company;" to their associates, may continue in sin, and yet be with whom they love to dwell.finally received to the favour of They can surely have no reason God, and the friendship of the to complain, then, when God sends heavenly world! There are multi- them to hell. They have sufficient tudes, who cry “Peace, peace, opportunity, while in a state of when there is no peace,
and probation, to choose what compaflatter themselves and others, with ny they please. But they refuse the hope of safety; while they are to go with the people of God, and still enemies to God and all right- choose rather to associate with eousness; and who would not en- persons of their own character. It dure the society of holy beings for is entirely just and proper, then, the price of their souls! They cry, for God to send them to their own “YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE, " society, in hell. There is the though GOD has sworn by his ho- place of their associates. There liness, that the incorrigible shall is the place of those, with whom
SOR- they have always loved to dwell.ROW !
Accordingly, it is said of Judas, 4. Since mankind choose to as- that he fell by transgression, “that sociate with those of their own he might go to his own place.” He character, it appears highly proper was called “the son of perdition." and consistent for God to receive Those, who go in the company of the righteous into heaven. The Judas, must expect to abide with society of holy beings is that which him forever. Let no one pretend they love, and greatly desire.- to call in question the justice of They esteem the children of God, God, or the rectitude of his conas the excellent of creation, in duct, when he sends sinners to the whom is all their delight. These place of their own choice, and to are their brethren and companions, the "company," which they greatly with whom they wish always to desire. dwell. It appears perfectly fit and Finally, this subject presents proper, then, for God to receive an important lesson to both saints them to the blessed enjoyments, and sinners. Saints are manifestthe holy society, and the exalted ing the peculiar traits of their employments of his heavenly king- character, every day of their lives; dom. This, Abraham said and and sinners are doing the same. felt, when he interceded for Sod- Every person is forming a characom: “Wilt thou destroy the right- ter, which must soon be exhibited eous with the wicked? or shall to the view of the whole universe. the righteous be as the wicked? As mankind choose to associate that be far from thee, Lord. Shall with those of their own character; not the Judge of all the earth do let saints never dishonour their right?”
profession, nor the holy compan5. Since mankind choose to as- ions, whom they have chosen, and
with whom they may abide for ever 2. How are all things of God ? in the heavenly world.—But let 3. How are all things through sioners, and especially false pro- God? And, fessors, seriously consider, that they
4. How are all things to God? are rapidly preparing themselves for the company of Pharaoh, and
1. What is here to be understood Abab, and Judas, and even him, by all things ? wbo was a liar from the begin For aught appears to the contraAing."--There are those, who open- ry, the terms, all things, are to be ly take a stand against the truth, understood, in this passage, in the and vindicate the character and most universal sense. There is conduct of “liars,” and “ drunk. nothing in the passage itself, or in ards," and "rerilers," and "extor- its connexion, to limit the significationers," and " false accusers,” and tion of these terms to any particu"COVENANT BREAKERS," and "false- lar number or class of created obem zucarers,” and “slanderers ;' none jects. Though the word things, in of whom can inherit the kingdom of a strict sense, is applicable to maGod. Are those, who vindicate the terial substances only; yet, in a character and conduct of such per- more full and enlarged sense, it is sins, willing to be associated with often applied to whatever exists or them for ever? Are they willing to lie takes place, in the created universe. down with them in everlasting sor All creatures, whether rational row? Let them be assured, that with or irrational, all substances, whethout repentance, and a change of er material or immaterial, and all "their company,” in this life, they events, whether greator small, good can never enter into the heavenly or evil, may be comprehended in Jerusalem; but must be forever cast the meaning of the terms, all things. out, in company with "dogs, and sor- This, indeed, is the common and cerers, and whoremongers,and mur- obvious meaning of these comprederers, and idolaters, and and who- hensive terms; when used, as in soerer loreth and maketh a lie.” the place before us, without any AMEN.
SILVANUS. qualification or limitation. That
there is no need of understanding For the Hopkinsiap Magazine.
these terms in an unusual and reAN ILLUSTRATION OF ROMANS, XI. 36. stricted sense, in this
passage, will Of him, and through him, and to more fully appear, in what may be kim, are all things.
offered in answer to the other ques. The truth of this declaration,
tions proposed. rests on the inspiration and veraci 2. How are all things of God? ty of the apostle. But, while, with the
There are but two senses, in simplicity of faith,we admit its truth, which we can conceive, that all we may, with propriety and profit, things should be of God : all things enquire into the meaning of it, and must be of God, as being either endeavour to show its consistency, from his substance, or from his will. both with the dictates of sound rea. The first is a Pagan notion : the xon, and with other passages of sa- second is a rational and scriptural cred scripture. This will now be truth. attempted, in answer to the follow Some of the ancient heathen phiing questions:
losophers, in the darkness of their 1. What is here to be understood minds, imagined, that all things are by all things ?
of the substance of God. But this