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A painted harlot is less dangerous--than a painted hypocrite.

The sheep's clothing will soon be
stripped from the wolf's back!

(William Secker, "The Consistent Christian" 1660)

"Having a form of godliness--but denying its power."
2 Timothy 3:5

Formality frequently takes its dwelling near the chambers of integrity, and so assumes its name; the soul not suspecting that hell should make so near an approach to heaven. A rotten post, though covered with gold, is more fit to be burned in the fire, than for the building of a fabric. Where there is a pure conscience--there will be a pure conversation. The dial of our faces does not infallibly show--the time of day in our hearts. The humblest looks may enamel the face--while unbounded pride governs the heart!

A hypocrite may be both the fairest creature--and the foulest creature in the world! He may be fairest outwardly in the eyes of man--and foulest inwardly in the sight of God. How commonly do such unclean swans cover their black flesh with their white feathers! Though such wear the mantle of Samuel--they should bear the name of Satan!

Many appear righteous--who are only righteous in appearance. But while they are deceiving others with the false shows of holiness--they are also deceiving themselves with the false hopes of happiness. The hypocrite would not willingly appear evil--and yet would inwardly be evil. He would gladly be accounted godly--and yet would not be godly.

Man, either appear what you are--or be what you appear. What will the form of godliness do for you--if you deny the power thereof? Those who have the power of godliness, cannot deny the form; while those who have the form of godliness, may deny the power.

Hypocrites resemble looking-glasses--which present faces that are not in them. Oh, how desirous are men to put the fairest gloves--upon the foulest hands; and the finest paint--upon the rottenest posts!

Hypocrites are better in show--than in substance. They are like painted tombs--which enclose decayed bones. That is a sad charge, which the God of truth brings against certain false professors, "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not--but are the synagogue of Satan!" A false friend--is worse than an open enemy. A painted harlot is less dangerous--than a painted hypocrite. A treacherous Judas is more abhorred by God--than a bloody Pilate!

Professors! Remember--the sheep's clothing will soon be stripped from the wolf's back! The velvet plaster of profession--shall not always conceal the offensive ulcer of corruption. Neither the ship of formality nor hypocrisy--will carry a person to the harbor of felicity. The blazing lamps of foolish virgins may light them to the bridegroom's gate--but not into His chamber. Either get the nature of Christ within you--or take name of Christ away from you.

A bad man is certainly the worst--when he is seemingly the best. We must not account everyone a soldier--who swaggers with a sword. A rusty sword--may frequently be found in a highly decorated scabbard. What good is it to have our hands as white as snow--if our hearts are as black as the bottomless pit! Such professors resemble soap bubbles--smooth and pretty without--yet only filled with air!

A man may wear the Savior's livery--and yet be busied in Satan's drudgery! The skin of an apple may be fair--when it is rotten at the core! Though all gold may glitter--yet all is not gold that glitters. The worst hypocrite may have the color of gold--but not the value of gold!

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