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give new life and spirit to them, and make all nature look gay around you. It will be a fresh fund of cheerfulness in store for you, when the vivacity of youth begins to droop; and is the only thing that can fill up that void in the soul which is left in it by every earthly enjoyment. It will not like worldly pleasures, desert you, when have most you need of consolation, in the hours of solitude, of sickness, of old age; but when once its holy flame is thoroughly lighted up in your breasts, instead of becoming more faint and languid as you as you advance in years, it will grow brighter and stronger every day; will glow with peculiar warmth and lustre dissolution draws near; will disperse the gloom and horrors of a deathbed; will give you a foretaste, and render you worthy to partake of that FULNESS OF JOY, those pure celestial PLEASURES which are at "God's right hand for evermore*. * Psalm xvi. 11.



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JAMES ii. 10.


THERE are few passages of Scripture

HERE are few

which have given more occasion of triumph to the enemies of Christianity, and more disquiet to some of its friends, than that now before us. The former represent it as a declaration in the highest degree tyrannical, absurd, and unjust; the datter read it with concern and terror, and are apt to cry out, "it is a hard saying, "who can hear it*?" And a hard saying it undoubtedly is, if it is to be understood, as some have contended, in all its rigour. But


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it is not easy to conceive why we are to be bound down to the literal meaning in this particular passage of Scripture, when in

several others of the same nature, and to the full as strongly expressed, we depart from it without scruple. No man, I suppose, thinks himself obliged to "give (without distinction or exception) "to every one "that asks him; to pluck out his right eye, " or cut off his right arm; to offer his coat "to him that has taken away his cloak; or, "when his enemy smites him on the right "cheek, to turn to him the other also*.". Yet all these things, if we regard the mere words only, are commanded in the Gospel, We all hope and believe, that it is possible for a rich man to be saved, and for a great sinner to repent and amend his life. But look into the Scriptures, and they tell "that it is easier for a camel to go through "the eye of a needle, than for a rich man "to enter into the kingdom of God;" and that if "a leopard can change his spots, and



an Ethiopian his skin, then may they


also do good that are accustomed to do


*Luke vi. 30. Matt. v. 29, 30, 39, 40.

“evil” These expressions, literally taken, imply an absolute impossibility. Yet no interpreter, I believe, ever pretended to infer from them, any thing more than extreme difficulty. By what rule of criticism then are we obliged to understand the text more strictly than the passages just mentioned? It certainly stands as much in need of a liberal interpretation, and is as justly entitled to it, as these or any other places of holy writ. Consider it only with a little attention. "Whosoever shall keep the whole "law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." The meaning cannot possibly be, that he who offends in one point only, does by that means actually offend in all points; for this is a palpable contradiction. Nor can it mean, that he who offends in one point only, is in the eye of God equally guilty, and of course will in a future state be equally punished, with him who offends in all points; for this is evidently false and unjust; contrary to every principle of reason and equity, to all our ideas of God's moral attributes, and to the whole tenor of the Gospel, which uniformly



* Matt. xix. 24. Jer. xiii. 23.

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