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bers of society, as it respects the great subjects of religion and morals-duty towards God, ourselves, and our fellow men,-the path is clear, the truth is easily discovered. Some cases,' says an eminent divine, are so complicated; and so many circumstances are to be taken in, in order to know the truth, the truth of the case, that it may be very difficult to determine which way to act. But, generally speaking, the truth is plain, and there is wanting only common care and attention to direct men: and they are so conscious of this, that they can condemn themselves, how much soever they may strive to conceal their actions from others. This shows that they know the truth, and measure their actions by it, and are not ignorant of the relations of things; but only strive to cover and conceal from others what they are conscious is done amiss."
'Truth,' as we have already observed, is the agreement of our ideas, words, and actions, with the real nature and state of things.' It is by this rule that men try the correctness or the fallacy of any given proposition. The axiom, that 'the whole is greater than its part,' or that things which are halves of the same are equal to one another,' is true, not because such is the arbitrary appointment of any being whatsoever, but because it agrees with the necessary and unalterable relations of things. The same rule may be applied to propositions in morals. God hath so constituted our nature, that sensual excesses produce disease—
* Dr. Sykes.-Principles and Connexion of Nat, and Rev. Rel,
thats a selfish and reckless pursuit of our own desires and pleasures, causes suffering and misery in the society of which we form a part. Such conduct is denominated intemperate and vicious, not from any arbitrary determination of men, but because it is so, by the will and appointment, of God. Hence are the propositions, Temperance promotes health,' and Vice leads to misery, true propositions of life on ennustamato gift mort
But passing over many common and hobri ous modes of application of the rule of truth, we observe, that it may be used as a test of moral character. There are certain duties incumbent on us as rational beings and members of society, by the neglecting, or the performing, of which, our character is determined. If a man be industrious in the business of his calling, and duly exert himself to provide for his family if he do his best to cherish his wife, to provide instruction for his children, and to set forth, both by precept and example, the reasonableness, the beauty, and the value, of honesty and industry we ac knowledge that he acts according to the rule of truth that is, to the nature and state of the circumstances in which he is placed. We call such a one a good husband, a good father, a good, or true, member of society. But, on the other hand, if his actions have little or no correspondence to, or agreement with, the circumstances of his par ticular case, he violates the rule of truth: we pronounce him to be a bad husband, a bad father, a bad, dr. untrue, member of society. The same test -maybe applied with equal, certainty to all the
other relations of life, for in all these the relative circumstances and duties are equally plain, and are universally known and acknowledged.
"Again; a man's character, in a religious point of view, his conduct, as an accountable being, having but a transient stay upon the earth, and looking forward to a life of just retribution, may be compared with the rule we have laid down. From the circumstances in which such a being is placed, one might expect to see him, at all times acting under the influence of his professed belief of these things. If, independently ofcd regular, diligent, and honourable performance, of the proper business of his worldly vocation, he be care ful to discharge those duties which devolve upon him as an intellectual being, if, in providing for the necessities and conveniences of the bodily estate, he do not neglect the mind,―if, in seeking the means of comfort, with respect to this life and, in adding house to house, and field to field, he be also mindful of that one thing needful' to a perishing creature the securing of the favour of God, and of the future reward of a virtuous and useful life, if, in accumulating riches, he be not forgetful of the apostolical precept, to do good, and to be rich in good works; ready to distribute and willing to communicate,' as a steward of the Divine bounty thus laying up in store for himself a good foundation against the time to come,'
he has regard to the nature and circumstances of the rational life, and to his future accountability at the bar of God. Of such a one, we say, he acts according to the rules of truth, and approves him
self a useful and worthy member of society. But on the other hand, if he disregard the circumstances of his condition, as an agent of divine Providence, and have no respect to that law of his nature, which constitutes him a transient and accountable being, if he neglect the claims of duty arising from the faculties and talents entrusted to him, and from the means and opportunities occuring to him for doing much good in his day and generation,-if he suffer his days to be devoted to worldy cares, and s his nights to be consumed in trivial relaxation, or in mere sensual indulgence, if the chief object of his industry and perseverance be to increase in wealth, that, like the sensualist of old, he may congratulate himself on having laid up much goods for many years, in order that he may the more fully command, the gratifications of this present fleeting life:-we need not hesitate to say of such a one, that, he disregards the rule of truth-the truth of the case in which he stands,' as a being designed for nobler purposes and more worthy pursuits. It requires no laboured investigation of principles, no learned researches, no tedious comparison of facts, to pronounce upon the vanity, and the delusion, and the ultimate consequences, of such conduct. Yea, the life of such a man is a lie-his pursuits are a lie-his hopes are a lie: therefore, how dazzling soever may be his career, how flattering soever his prospects, his gain cannot be happiness, his end cannot be peaceful, nor his reward the inheritance of the just.
Again; a man's opinions on the doctrines of
men may say of the blindness of human reason in matters of religion, we know, full well, that when its voice has been disregarded the most distressing consequences have been the result." Why should it be thought, that there is any greater difficulty in ascertaining truth and detecting error, in religious, than in natural things? Let it not be said, that light sheds its beams upon every science, except the science of religion, that the discovery of truth is the reward of diligence and perseve
ledge, except that only for which man lives! do It would assist us much towards the attaining of been ow truth in religion, if we foton, if we were careful to have a due regard to the character of the Divine Being, as it is displayed both in his works and word. And in these, power, and wisdom, and goodness, are conspicuously set forth, as the prominent characteristics of the Deity: Power belongeth unto God; also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy. The Lord is good to all-and in wisdom hath he made his works. These attributes, indeed, belong to the Creator and Preserver of the vast system of nature, in their most comprehensive degree. The mode of their operation cannot perhaps be better expressed than in the words of an eminent divine: That which moveth God to work is goodness; that which ordereth his work is wisdom, and that 10 perfecteth his work is power. Let's keep