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nor openly filthy. But yet the view which they take of life is not that of a Christian; things are spoken of as important, which are of no importance at all; things are laughed at, which as we know are no fit matter for laughter; inasmuch as they are the very things which we find, in our daily life, to be the greatest hindrance to our well-doing. Things are encouraged, which are not sinful, perhaps, in themselves, but which still are dangerous from other circumstances. Amusements which necessarily involve bad company, and which, to the forming character, must be unsafe, even if they could be safely entered into by a formed


Bat what then is to be done? for he who would read no history, no biography, no travels, no works of science, moral or physical, but such as are written by Christians, would read, to our shame be it said, but a very meagre and insufficient number. We must read what we find; but it is of the last importance that we carry to the reading, our own christian judgment;-it might be no unamusing, and no unprofitable employment, to note in any common work that we read, such judgments of men and things, and such a tone in speaking of them, as are manifestly at variance

with the spirit of Christ. This, if done once, and seriously, with almost any popular work, would produce results absolutely surprising. We should see that the very same writer, who spoke most respectfully and in sincerity of Christ and his religion, yet constantly writes on different principles, seemingly ignorant, and indeed really so, of what the christian judgment of things is: and we should find such a number of unchristian principles in the course of a common volume, as would soon make us cease to wonder how there were such small apparent fruits of Christianity in the world. And, intellectually, the process would be useful, not only as requiring us to read with attention, but as accustoming us to bring familiarly before our own minds what our habitual principles of judgment are; a matter in which, but too generally, men labour under an utter vagueness. Nor need this plan make us intolerant or exclusive; for the excuse of ignorance is so large, that we dare not, individually, judge the writer, however much we may find to blame or to regret in his book; and it is an evil habit of mind that hinders us from sympathizing with what is good and wise and beautiful, however much of evil or of folly may exist beside it. Thus, then, we may correct for ourselves

what is else a daily snare to us; the being obliged to read so many unchristian writings; and instead of their insensibly dulling the quickness of our moral sense, and bringing us down to their level, they may serve continually to keep alive and in vigour our knowledge and love of better things, and so make our daily studies and our prayers agree with, and help

each other.



[Preached on Good Friday.]

HEBREWS x. 14.

By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

THE peculiar circumstances of the Epistle to the Hebrews give it, as we might have expected, a peculiar character. For although many points relating to it are, and ever will be, unknown, yet it seems impossible to doubt that it was written to Jewish Christians; and that not only to persons partly of Jewish blood, and acquainted with the Scriptures before their conversion to Christianity, yet, using the language, and, in many points, the customs of the Gentiles; but to those called Hebrews, Jews of unmixed descent, and, like the Jews of the present day, clinging with fondness to every peculiarity of their nation, to its language, no less than to its ceremonies. And if this be so, would not the epistle addressed to such a class be written in Hebrew? and would not what we now possess, be

according to a very old opinion, no more than a translation. For in all points of national feeling, the Hebrew Christians closely resembled their unconverted brethren; and as we are told that St. Paul, at Jerusalem, was listened to with the more attention when he spoke in the Hebrew tongue, so we can hardly doubt that a letter written to Hebrews, in order to secure their favourable reading of it, must have been written in the Hebrew tongue also.

From being addressed, then, to Jewish Christians, in the strongest sense of the term, that is, to Hebrews, this epistle naturally takes a different view of the gospel from that which we find commonly in the other epistles. In the other epistles, indeed, as being addressed, in part at least, to persons who, before they became Christians, had believed in the true God, and knew the Old Testament, the allusions to the Old Testament are frequent; and its prophecies, and generally the system described in it, are often referred to. Still the minds of their readers were not exclusively Jewish; and therefore other views are, from time to time, presented, such as would be more natural to the heathen convert, or even to the half Greek or Hellenist Jew. But in an address to Hebrews, the gospel was to be

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