It is painful to think that it is no uncommon thing for a person to be able to talk plausibly about these principles of Christianity,to reason conclusively intheir support, andto be zealous even to rancor against those who deny, or even doubt, their truth; while he yet continues a total stranger to their transforming efficacy, the slaveof selfishness,malignity andworldliness. And what is the most lamentable part of this sad history, the infatuated man seems in a great measure unaware of the shocking inconsistency he is exhibiting,in displaying the most unchristian tempers in defence of christian truth. He mistakes his knowledge and zeal about certain propositions— which, it may be, embody christian truth—for Christianity itself; and looking, it would seem, on orthodoxy of opinion as the sum and substance of religious duty, wraps himself up in an overweening conception of his own attainments, and resigns himself to the pleasing dreams of a fanciedsecurity, from which but too frequently he is first and forever awakened by hearing the awful mandate, “Depart from me, I never knew you;” and by finding his place assigned him with the hypocrites, in the regions of hopeless misery. It is an interesting inquiry,and,if properly conducted, would certainly elicit some important results—How comes it that men,with the Bible in their hands, can practise such fatal impositions on themselves? How comes it that the mere speculator should so readily conclude himself a sound believer? How comes it that the truth of doctrines should not only be readily admitted, but zealously maintained, while their appropriate influenceis altogether unfelt. and indeed, steadily resisted? It would lead us too far out of our way just now to engage in such an inquiry; but I must be permitted to observe, that whatever influence deficient human representations of divine truth may have had inproducing so mischievous and lamentable a result (and I believe that influence has been extensive and powerful), the truths of the Gospel themselves, andthe scriptural representationof them, cannot be justly charged as in any degree the cause of this evil. The doctrines of the Gospel are of such a nature, that, if apprehended intheir meaning and evidence,—if understood and believed,—they must, from the constitution of the mind of man,have a commanding influence over its principles of action;andthesedoctrines,as taught in the Bible,are not exhibited as mere abstract propositions, but are stated in such a manner as distinctly to show, how closely the belief of them is connected with everything that is good in disposition, and right in conduct. The speculatist in religion must not seek, for he will not find, in the Bible, an apology for his infatuationandinconsistency.On the contrary, he will meet with much to prove him altogether inexcusable.