Manliness in Religion.

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REV. GEORGE BURGESS, D. D. 1 Corinthians, xvi. 13, Quit you like men, be strong.
  MALIESS I RELIGIO.REV. GEORGE BURGESS, D. D.1 Corinthians, xvi. 13, Quit you like men, be strong. God gave to man, when He formed him inHis own image, a certain dignity, which all hissin has not quite destroyed. He was made alittle lower than the angels, and clothed withdominion over all things upon earth. Bodilystrength was given him, and the countenancewhich looks up towards heaven, and the spiritand bearing of authority. With these corres-ponded certain qualities of mind; which, also,as being more boldly developed in the strongerthan in the gentler sex, are commonly termedmanly. What opportunities would have beenafforded for the exercise of some of these, hadman remained in innocence, it is not necessaryto conjecture. But the fall has brought indeath, and with it danger, temptation, trial,Hosted byGoogle106 MALIESS I RELIGIO.calamity, perplexity, suffering ; and with these,the occasions for courage, firmness, endurance,  energy, enterprise, steadiness, integrity; quali-ties, whose presence, as manly, it is not inhuman nature not to admire, and whose ab-sence we must deplore, if we do not despise.To these qualities the word of God, sanctify-ing the whole of our nature, makes often itsappeal. Be strong, is the exhortation of Moses to Joshua and to Israel. Be strong,and show thyself a man, is the counsel of thedying David to Solomon. In the text, the ad-monition with which St. Paul closes an epistle,copious in doctrine and in directions to a churchunder manifold temptations, is, watch ye,stand fast in the faith ; and then, quit youlike men, be strong. And if there be any callwhich ought to be often in the ears of thosewho, at this day, believe the word of God, sucha call is this.The Almighty God has summoned you tohis own service, by a revelation from above; bythe revelation of Himself through our Lord andSaviour. Like men, receive it, or reject it:receive it or reject it entirely. Be strong inunbelief, or be strong in faith ; but not waver-ing, as the waves of the sea are driven withthe wind and tossed ; as the weak and unwor-Hosted byGoogleMALIESS I RELIGIO. 107  thy halt between two opinions. Here is the firstoccasion for the exercise of manliness towards re-ligion ; and how many are there who, manly per-haps in many things beside, are here most irreso-lute, timid, hesitating, or double-minded ! Forone who dares boldly to deny the truth of therevelation, there are, perhaps, a hundred whoonly half believe, or who, while they believe,take not a single serious step in obedience to itsauthority. Dare you not disbelieve ? Dare younot deny ? Dare you not blaspheme ? Doesnot the strength and uprightness of a man re-quire or permit this? Then it does requiresubmission to the word which is acknowledgedto be from Grod; submission complete, obedientand active. Can there be any third part whichis consistent with real manliness ? The Chris-tian religion is either the truth of God, givenfor our salvation, or it is an utter delusion orimposture. Were Christianity false, it wouldbe manly to be a consistent infidel. If Chris-tianity be true, it is manly to be a consistentbeliever. But whether it were true or false, itcould not be manly to own it to be true, and atthe same time to treat it as if it were a false-hood. It could not be manly to deny its truth,and yet pay it a devout reverence. Here isthe greatest of all questions, to be decided forHosted byGoogle  108 MALIESS I RELIGIO.each one of us ; to be decided for each one byhimself: with him is the responsibility. Theonly path of manliness is that of prompt deci-sion and resolute action.Before we proceed further, let me still urgethis alternative for a moment. Would I shakethe adherence of any man to the Gospel, how-ever precarious and fluctuating that adherencemay be ? Would I send the weakest, the mostdoubting, away to hopeless unbelief? WouldI, by driving any to an immediate determina-tion, loosen the little hold which religion maystill have on their convictions ? I apprehendno such result from that decision which I wouldpersuade. ot a man, probably, would choosethe way of death, in the spirit which I haveendeavored to impress. It is because religionis not afraid of inquiry, and challenges decision,that unbelief springs up mostly on the soil of inattention. Listen to the solemn, the tremen-dous word, that tells you of an eternity tocome, of a judgment-seat at which each shallstand, and of salvation through a Mediator be-tween God and men, God manifest in the flesh,the man Christ Jesus. Listen, as those whoknow how awful a thing it is even to listen tosuch tidings. The obligation to listen is drawnfrom your own everlasting interests, and fromHosted byGoogle
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