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Erroneous Views of Religion Refuted.

Erroneous Views of Religion Refuted.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
THE REV. C. SIMEON, M.A.



Prov. xvi. 25. There is a way that seemeth right to a man; hut
the end thereof arc the ways of death.
THE testimony of an inspired Prophet respecting
the human heart is, that it "is deceitful above all thino-s
and desperately wicked." This testimony, as far as
it respects the world at large, we all are ready to con-
firm. We see that in the great mass of mankind there
is a propensity to deceive, not others only, but them-
selves also. They are often unconscious of principles,
by which they are manifestly actuated; and as often
take credit to themselves for virtues, which they do
not really possess.
THE REV. C. SIMEON, M.A.



Prov. xvi. 25. There is a way that seemeth right to a man; hut
the end thereof arc the ways of death.
THE testimony of an inspired Prophet respecting
the human heart is, that it "is deceitful above all thino-s
and desperately wicked." This testimony, as far as
it respects the world at large, we all are ready to con-
firm. We see that in the great mass of mankind there
is a propensity to deceive, not others only, but them-
selves also. They are often unconscious of principles,
by which they are manifestly actuated; and as often
take credit to themselves for virtues, which they do
not really possess.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 23, 2014
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ERROEOUS VIEWS OF RELIGIO REFUTED. THE REV. C. SIMEO, M.A. Prov. xvi. 25. There is a way that seemeth right to a man; hut the end thereof arc the ways of death. THE testimony of an inspired Prophet respecting the human heart is, that it "is deceitful above all thino-s and desperately wicked." This testimony, as far as it respects the world at large, we all are ready to con- firm. We see that in the great mass of mankind there is a propensity to deceive, not others only, but them- selves also. They are often unconscious of principles, by which they are manifestly actuated; and as often take credit to themselves for virtues, which they do not really possess. Persons who have made consi- derable attainments in self-knowledge, are yet by no means free from this infirmity : the Apostles them- selves, on more occasions than one, betrayed by their conduct, that "they knew not what spirit they were of." 459.] ERROEOUS VIEWS OF RELIGIO REFUTED. 89 of." or does this proneness to self-deceit discover itself only in relation to individual acts, wherein men may be supposed to be biassed either by their inter- ests or passions : it extends itself to men s whole cha- racter, and leads them to form a most erroneous judg- ment of their state : it leads them to "call evil good, and good evil ; to put darkness for light, and light for darkness; to put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." But it may be thought, that, if a man be de- ceived by his own heart, a less degree of criminality will attach to his actions, and he will have less reason
 
to apprehend the displeasure of God. This however is not true : for we are responsible to God for the  judgment we form of good and evil ; and if we err, after all the means of information he has given us, we mustbe willingly deceived, and abide the consequences of our folly. To this effect Solomon speaks in the words before us : he concedes that " a way may ap- pear right to a man ; but he tells us nevertheless, that the end thereof will be death." This assertion of his is not to be understood of one particular way only : it is a general assertion, that is applicable to a great variety of cases, or rather, I should say, to every kind of way that is followed by man and condemned by God. Of course we cannot enter into all the cases which might be specified : it will be sufficient to notice two or three ways, which are the most commonly followed, and most fatal in their issue. . The first way to which we would call your atten- tion is that o^ gay licentiousness. We cannot suppose any person so ignorant as really to think that licentious gaiety is right : but there are millions who do not think it materially wrong. Criminal excesses and indulgences are palliated by the mild appellations of conviviality and youthful in- discretion : and they are deemed necessary to the well-being of society. They are even made subjects of boasting ; and persons who through age and in- firmity are disabled from pursuing their former courses, will yet repeat them in effect, by glorying in the VO PROVERBS, XVI. 25. [459.
 
the remembrance of them, and encouraging others in the same career. So far from condemning these things in their minds, the generahty will laugh at those who are scrupulous enough to doubt the lawfulness of such courses : and' if any one were bold enough to bear a decisive testimony against them, he would instantly be characterized by some opprobrious name. To suppose that such indulgences, if restrained within moderate bounds, would subject a man to the wrath of almighty God, would be considered as bordering on insanity : and every one is encouraged to regard such innocent liberties (as they are called) as per- fectly compatible with a well-grounded hope of sal- vation. Let us then inquire what foundation there is for such a confidence. Does God say nothing in his word respecting the issue of such ways ? or does he speak of them in the same gentle terms? o: not a syllable of this kind is to be found in all the Sacred Records. A general caution is given us by Solomon in refer- ence to carnal indulgences of every kind : " Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment \" The general warning given by St. Paul is plainer still ; ** If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die**." Lest we should mistake his meaning, he frequently enumerates the works of the flesh : "Adul- tery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like ; these, says he, are the sins, of the which I tell you before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God ^" But because men are ready to offier vain pleas and excuses for such things, he particularly guards us against laying the smallest stress on any surmises of our own, or any suggestions of others: "Let no man," says he, " deceive you with vain words :

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