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elements in the character of every true Christian, as they are essentially of an internal nature, yet ever accompanied with external effects, we forbear enlarging upon them, and proceed to notice some of the more tangible tests of practical non-conformity to the world.
NON-CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD
“O 1 send thy Spirit down, to write
Thy law upon my heart;
Nor act the liar's part.”
To pass, then, from opinions and principles to practices, which are sinful either in their nature or in their effects, or in both-We observe, that all true Christians must not be conformed to this world” in the practice of any thing like lying. Of all the sins which are natural to depraved humanity, to none is there, perhaps, a greater proneness than to falsehood or lying—“black, crooked falsehood,” “the infernal art of lying.” While this is abundantly confirmed by daily observation and experience, it is most amply attested in the word of God. For there, it is expressly declared that from our birth we “go astray, speaking lies;" that we
“ bend our
tongues like a bow, speaking lies;" that we walk in lies,” and “ delight in lies ;” and that men of high degree,” as well “ low degree,"
are a lie”-in God's sight, one colossal lie.' Thus, we are of our father, the devil,” who, “when he speaketh a lie, speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” So it is naturally, more or less, with us all, as to the commission of positive falsehood, or a direct violation of the truth. Or, when this is not strictly the case, we are all naturally too often guilty of dissimulation, or of equivocation; of mental reservation, or of a partial suppression of the truth, which is as sinful as the utterance of positive untruth. Thus, like Ananias and Sapphira, we pass off for “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” what is only a part of the truth.
In the worst as well as in the least of these senses, this, indeed, is a sin which is regarded, by all who are in a state of nature, as more venial or trifling than any other. Partly, perhaps, for this reason, as well as because it frequently escapes detection for the time, gratifies an evil passion, and serves a present purpose in the way of advantage to ourselves, and of injury to others, it is naturally, in all its shades of aggravation, almost universally prevalent among young and old. It is not, however, for these reasons, the less, but, if possible, the more heinous in the sight of God; nor the less, but rather the more strongly, condemned in his word. Hence, it is set forth in Scripture as being not only sufficient of itself to consign us to inconceivable and everlasting misery, but as peculiarly hateful to God, as a God of truth, and as that which he will most severely punish. Thus, while we read, among the true sayings of God,” that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” that “a lying tongue is but for a moment,” and that “the mouth of those that speak lies shall be stopped,” or speechless; we are also expressly assured, not only that no one who “loveth and maketh a lie” shall enter within the New Jerusalem, that “he that speaketh lies shall not escape," and that “ he that speaketh lies shall perish,” but that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”
Such being the heinous nature of this vice, and such the heavy penalty which, like other vices, it merits at the hand of God, although in one form or another it is descriptive of all who are in a state of nature, should not the opposite virtue be characteristic of all who are in a state of grace? Should not everything like the