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FALLACIES OPERATING AGAINST EARNESTNESS IN RELIGION..pdf

FALLACIES OPERATING AGAINST EARNESTNESS IN RELIGION..pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY JOHN FOSTER



" I would thou wert cold or hot. " — -These words oc-
cur in the austere and warning address to the church
at Laodicea. The sentence which comes after is equal-
well remembered. " Beca.use thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot. I will apue thee out of my
mouth ;" which may suggest this observation, — that
the Supreme Teacher, in the sacred Scriptures, did not
subject himself to consult any niceties of literary re- ^
finement. The Bible shows numerous instances of
metaphors and illustrations, of a character very home-
ly, unpolished, and sometimes even repulsive.
BY JOHN FOSTER



" I would thou wert cold or hot. " — -These words oc-
cur in the austere and warning address to the church
at Laodicea. The sentence which comes after is equal-
well remembered. " Beca.use thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot. I will apue thee out of my
mouth ;" which may suggest this observation, — that
the Supreme Teacher, in the sacred Scriptures, did not
subject himself to consult any niceties of literary re- ^
finement. The Bible shows numerous instances of
metaphors and illustrations, of a character very home-
ly, unpolished, and sometimes even repulsive.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 14, 2013
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FALLACIES OPERATIG AGAIST EARESTESS I RELIGIO. BY JOH FOSTER " I would thou wert cold or hot. " — -These words oc- cur in the austere and warning address to the church at Laodicea. The sentence which comes after is equal- well remembered. " Beca.use thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot. I will apue thee out of my mouth ;" which may suggest this observation, — that the Supreme Teacher, in the sacred Scriptures, did not subject himself to consult any niceties of literary re- ^ finement. The Bible shows numerous instances of metaphors and illustrations, of a character very home- ly, unpolished, and sometimes even repulsive. If we should say that in part this was a mere conformity to the manner of the ages and places in which the di- vine oracles were uttered, — it would still not the less be true, — that it was not for the divine Dictator of truth and law to recognize the claim of any artificial order of human feelings and modes ; or any rules but that of plain truth, because God was to speak to man in his own absolute character of Creator and Sovereign Dic- tator ; — and to man in man's permament substantial character of creature and subject, with an understand- ing and a conscience to be spoken to; — and this was a relation superior to all artificial rules of men's commu- nications with one another. God therefore would speak to man directly as a creature standing before Him, and not as if he were regarding man as a creature placed i in refined society, and to be addressed in a language ) modified according to its rules ; and as if he were con- siderate of the creature's dignity ana ta^te. Some of the more trivial of the infidel tribe have attempted on this account to detract from the venerableness and sanctity of the Bible, talking about its dealing in coarse language and images. As well might the vain spirits
 
7* 74 FALLACIES OPERATIG AGAIST in the prophets' times have affected to be shocked that Elijah would not put on a court dress when he had to appear in the name of the Almighty before kings, and queens, and princes ; or that John the Baptist came in so coarse a garb to preach repentance, and announce the kingdom of God. Yet after all this, it is a perfect- ly obvious fact, that the Scriptures do abound with every kind of beauty and sublimity in sentiments, im- ages, and language. As in the case of Elijah, there was his rough mantle, but also the chariot and horses of fire. But then it is most remarkably characteristic of the sacred writings, that these beauties seem to come with no manner of design to please the taste and fancy; they appear as most simply spontaneous from the subject. " I would thou wert cold or hot." This is a condem- / nation of carelessness and indifference. The terms do not exactly imply an entire absence of every feeling excited by the religion of which they had taken the name. But then would it have been better than hav- "^ ing so little, to have had absolutely none? Tn two respects it would. There would have been less of the / means of self-deception. " Thou sayest I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." All semblance and pretension to Christianity being abjur- ed, there would have been less injury done to it in the * opinions and feelings of the irreligious world. Without wishing to adjust any special question, we take the expression simply as a most impressive and menacing condemnation of insensibility, and indiffer-
 
ence, and neglect respecting the one most important matter in existence, and as coming directly from our merciful Lord and Redeemer. The subject, therefore, on which we invite you to think a few moments, is the most common, and plain, and beaten of all subjects almost that we can speak or hear of; the absolute ne- cessity of being I EAREST dboiU OUT highest inter- ests. Considerations to enforce this great point, may be inculcated on those who are quite unconcerned ; but EARESTESS I RELIGIO. #5 especially on those who feel in some, but an inefficient degree, its importance. Such a topic has great diffi-l ' culty to lay any hold on the mind — almost even to en-/ gage the attention. We all know the effect of perfect familiarity and endless reiteration. But more ; this great familiar truth seems to suffer in its power of in- teresting men by the very fulness of its evidence, and of the conviction with which it is admitted. With the freatest number of the moderately instructed and so- er part of society, this great practical truth has a set- tled afdmission and establishment in the judgment. It is instantly acknowledged, almost before the sentence can be finished. " Certainly — certainly ; we know all that ; it is an undeniable truth," It has its place there, without opposition, question, or doubt Is it not a most momentous, and mighty, and urgent truth ? But by this ready, assenting, unresisting admission, its power seems to oe destroyed. So that it is like a giant war- rior, with his arms, 'conveyed dead into a cemetery, in-"' stead of being introduced living into a field of battle. Think of this fact ! The evidence and admission so full, that th6 mind has nothing to dp With it as a ^les- \ Hon, and therefore feels as if it had little fo do with it

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