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am now pleading to willing ears, and to feeling hearts, has one most striking recommendation to our most serious notice. That which, compared with the possessions of the wealthy, amounts only to such a pittance as scarcely falls within calculation —that which is subducted from gratifications, the want of which would scarcely be felt for a single hour—that which in a well regulated mind would scarcely produce for one moment the impression of self-denial, or self-command, may, if bestowed for the support of an hospital, eventually be productive of signal and lasting advantage to our fellow-creatures. It
It may dry up the tears of a widow afflicted and alarmed at the expected dissolution of an orphan son upon whom she depended for support-it may preserve the grey hairs of a father from going down in sorrow to the grave-it may give back to society a laborious husbandman, a skilful artificer, or a brave defender of our altars and our hearths. If such be the properties of the institutions, to which our contributions and our counsels are applied-if we thus minister one to another according to the gifts we have severally received—if the manifold favours of God be used in dispensing such manifold blessings. to mankind-then, as wise and faithful stewards, shall we be approved at the last day, and then for the right use of the talent entrusted to us we shall enter into the joy of our Lord.
SERMON XXVI A. *
ROMANS xii. 18.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
It is pleasant and desirable to be esteemed by those with whom you have dealings, and to whom you are known ; and the secret or open dislike of mankind always accompanies those persons who are addicted to quarrelling. Some men profess their anxiety to be at peace—and it is mere professionfor they mean that other men should comply with their humours, submit to their insolence, and promote their views of aggrandizement, or lucre, by the surrender of their own legal rights, or social coinforts. But as this cast of mind does not deserve the good-will of other men, the expectation of gaining it upon such harsh conditions, is quite ridiculous. It is evident that we were created to live together in a friendly manner. The frame of our body—the faculties of our understanding-our wants, and the method of supplying them—the good offices we can receive and return—the principles which gave rise
* Preached apparently on the Restoration, May 29.
to this and similar societies, are all proofs of the benevolence which the gospel inculcates. Providence then intended us to live in a state of mutual charity. But pride and passion harden the heart, delude the judgment, and render men enemies at once to each other, and to Almighty God.
Now the doctrine and example of the blessed Jesus show that he had nothing more constantly in his view than to promote brotherly love; and if in Christian countries men, calling themselves his followers, do not promote peace, the fault lies in their own misguided and depraved disposition, and not in their religion. By this, says our Lord, shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another. But the world abounds with perverse tempers, which are ever busy in vexing and disturbing others. Our very friends will sometimes be envious, captious, and fickle. Our enemies thwart us in our honest and useful pursuits, interrupt our tranquillity, depreciate our good qualities, and proclaim and exaggerate our imperfections and our faults. Children are undutiful, parents are tyrannical, servants are perverse and disobedient, and masters are capricious and severe. We are called upon to perform what is not in our power, and because we do not sacrifice our time, our fortune, our health, our talents, and it may be, our liberty, honour, and conscience to the froward wills and arrogant commands of others, they hate and vilify us.
Now with these evils in view, St. Paul intreats us to live peaceably—to do so, if it be possible-to do so, as much as lieth in us. We must endeavour to have no enemies; and if our endeavours fail the blame will not be on our side. In the time of the Apostles, their converts were despised and persecuted.. Falsehoods were invented to blacken their characters. They were represented as persons of a morose and unsociable temper, as destitute of learning and abilities, as shunning the company of the wise and good, and associating together in order to conceal their own crimes in conduct, or their own absurdities in opinion. St. Paul therefore exhorts them to live peaceably even with heathens-to procure the good opinion of their calumniators by acts of prudence, affability, meekness, and charity - not to deny or dissemble their real faith—not to neglect any Christian duty. — not to join in any
idolatrous practices — but to entertain sentiments of sincere good-will to Jews and Gentiles, and to win them over to the belief of the true religion, by the steady and exemplary performance of all good works.
You, my hearers, are not exposed to many of those dreadful trials—you are protected by the laws, not persecuted by them-you have numberless and inestimable blessings, under an excellent constitution both in Church and State—and you ought to be very
thankful to God Almighty that the poor as well as the rich have an abundant share in those advantages, which are not granted to many other countries in Christendom. Yet we are appointed to dwell among unreasonable and contentious men; and it is sometimes impossible for you to please them, and to obey God. You must not, therefore, fear the scorn, the censure, the power, and malice of your enemies, when they demand from you compliances which God has forbidden. But pray remember, that it is within the reach of every one among you to do much for your own quiet. You must not remain under the odious government of your own turbulent passions. You must resist all violent temptations to hate, to slander, to over-reach and injure other men. You must exercise that valuable virtue which is called prudence. You must not bring discredit upon a good cause, by a bad way of managing it. If
your neighbour as yourself—if you reverence truth and virtueif you wish well to your country, obey its laws, and behave respectfully to your sovereign, and those who are in authority under him for your advantage-if you, in the sincerity of your souls, are grateful for the pure and holy religion in which you profess to believe, as a rule of conduct, and a ground of your hopes in a world to come—then you will have made great progress in that amiable turn of mind which the text recommends. You will not be fierce in reforming smaller errors and abuses—you will not reprimand offenders with ill-temper and incivility
- you will not abuse your neighbours for their involuntary or venial mistakes in politics and religion - you will be more attentive to the correction of your own prejudices, and errors, than those of other men — more particularly you will be on your guard against defamation, and, remembering the bitter grief you suffer when your own reputation is attacked, you will be very tender to the good name of your neighbours — you will set a watch