Albert Barnes – The Development of Christian Character – 1832

This sermon was published in the magazine called The National Preacher, for the year 1832.  It hardly has its equal, in my humble opinion, for searching the profession and thinking forward to the great sifting on judgment day.  “It is not this withering passion alone that will be tested by the gospel. It is adapted to try the hypocrite and all his subterfuges, and all his mental reservations; in all his evasions to escape the simple and decided duties of Christian piety. Every demand of truth or duty brings his character out. The doctrines of the gospel disturb or discuss him. Those solemn and awful, and yet tender truths, which go beyond the coldest moral sentiments, and which speak of the just government of God, of sovereignty, of election, of hell, of holiness, and prayer, trouble him. Those expressions of pure and advanced piety which speak of the higher joys of the Christian and tell of communion with God, disquiet him. Those sentiments which speak of active piety, which call on him for decided zeal in the cause of God, irritate him. Those assaults which religion makes on his corrupted feelings, those reproofs what she administers when he conforms to the world, those denunciations which thunder along his path when he lives just like other men, and is ashamed of the religion which he professes to love, provoke him. His mind is ruffled by the demands of a life of sincere and prayerful piety. So Job asks, respecting the hypocrite, “will he always call upon God?”

The Development of Christian Character