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over the door of your lips-you will abstain from wanton and profane swearing—you will abhor a lie--and will be silent when you are likely to provoke a fellow-creature even by an ill-natured truth.
Thus studying to be quiet, and mind your own business, you will escape the heinous guilt and inward anguish of those tale-bearers, whose time hangs heavily upon their hands, and whose tongues are sharper than a two-edged sword. As much as possible, you will avoid the familiarity of malicious and quarrelsome persons; for you know how dangerous it is to engage in their animosities, and that if
you render railing for railing, it is quite impossible for you to preserve your own innocence, or the peace of your own souls, and your own families. No, my hearers, let it be your glory to bless those who persecute you-not to avenge yourselves, but to overcome evil with good. Let it be your praise to forgive injuries as much and as often as you can, consistently with self preservation; and to put a candid interpretation, where it is possible, upon the actions, words, and thoughts of all around you.
He who loves his neighbour will generally secure the favour and esteem of mankind; and he will obtain many solid advantages even in this world, which riches, which power, which learning and genius can never command, if they are accompanied by arrogance, or impertinence, or uncharitableness. These instructions are useful to Christians in all situations; and they are most especially proper for those who walk in the humbler paths of life. Surely in hard labour, in coarse apparel, in food which may sometimes be scanty, in the lot which exposes you to the scorching sun, or the wintry blast-surely in these things there is sufficient evil to exercise your patience, without bringing upon yourselves unnecessarily and perversely the numerous and galling irritations, which a quarrelsome man always suffers from the disturbed state of his own mind, and the merited distrust, or contempt, or resistance, of his neighbours.
But the duty of being peaceable is more particularly incumbent upon persons who, like yourselves, have united for the inutual help and comfort of each other, in seasons of sorrow and sickness. I have very often pointed out to you the usefulness of your institution; and your own experience has justified my commendations. Your industry, as it enables you to provide for your families, is itself laudable. I have again and again observed to you, that agriculture is one of the most useful employments in which civilized man can be engaged. When you till the ground, you cannot fail to remember, that God gave it the power to bring forth fruit, and that this fruit is intended for the good of man. The flowers of the field, which grow up before you, have surpassed the glory in which Solomon was arrayed. The mighty energies of nature in the process of vegetation lie open to your view; and in all of them you may discern the power, the wisdom, and the benevolence of the deity. The air you breathe is far more wholesome than that of crowded cities. You are preserved from many infectious diseases which there spread desolation among the weak and the strong, the
young and the old. And, what is far more important, you are at a distance from many temptations to riotous debauchery-temptations to which youth is too prone to yield—temptations which bring on weakness, pain, and sickness, and premature old age, and which hurry the incautious or the profligate very soon into the
then counteract these advantages by a quarrelsome disposition ? No, on the contrary, by cultivating a peaceable and a benevolent disposition, you will show yourselves worthy of all the conveniences, temporal and spiritual, which are attendant upon that condition, in which you are placed by a gracious providence. From the honest earnings of that industry, you put by a part for the praiseworthy and important purposes of your society; and when you lay your hands upon your hearts, do you not feel, that every good-natured and peaceful member of your institution, is a blessing to yourselves, and an ornament to your rules ? It must sometimes happen that a difference of opinion will arise upon the various concerns, which come before
Nevertheless it lieth with you, to speak your own sentiments calmly and civilly—to employ arguments, not railing, in defence of them-and to be governed by those decisions which other men, quite as well informed, and quite as well disposed, may finally agree upon for the expenditure of your finances, and the relief of those who stand in need of it.
The spot where most of you reside will present a very intelligible, and very commendable pattern for your imitation. The broils and bickerings, the envyings and murmurings, which once annoyed this parish, haveceased. Among other and great improvements in morals and civilization, I cannot fail to observe, that a spirit of union and good-neighbourhood has for some years subsisted among us; and upon the substantial virtues which flow from this source, I set a much higher value than upon the showy and specious pretences of zealots to evangelical purity in doctrine and discipline. Most of
Most of you, in your several stations, must have experienced the beneficial effects of the circumstances which I have just now mentioned, and I trust that you will find in them very clear directions, and very strong incitements to adopt the same conduct in the regulalation of your own peculiar concerns, as a friendly society.
Do not suppose that I mean to chide you-on the contrary, my intention is to exhort you, to encourage you, to prepare you for being temperate and vigilant in situations, when some unexpected and undeserved provocation may come upon you. I have reason to believe that your affairs are judiciously and honestly administered; and great is the satisfaction I feel in the opportunity I now have for remarking, that for several years I have not heard of any violent and mischievous disputes. I therefore commend you for this good behaviour ; and I earnestly advise you to persevere in it, for the credit of
your society, and the benefit of all who belong to it. Suppose that it were the will of providence to visit you with any severe calamity--to take from you partially or totally the use of your limbs---to afflict
you with a sharp or lingering disease. In this case, you would doubtless be entitled to succour from your funds—your hunger and thirst would be satisfied-your equitable claims would be admittedyour bodily pains would be mitigated. But tell me now, would you not feel exquisite satisfaction, if you at the same time could say within yourselves, that you were not only assisted, but esteemed and beloved by all the members of your institution—that you had lived among them decorously and quietly to the utmost extent of your power—that you had endeavoured to heal all differences, wheresoever they arose-that the succour you met with was granted to you, not grudgingly, but cheerfully—that your brethren had great and real pleasure in lightening the load of your affliction—that they recollected your conciliatory words—your honest intentionsyour unfeigned love of peace--your earnest endeavour to preserve it? Most assuredly, reflections of this sort would give an additional relish to all the advantages you could derive from medicine, from food, and every other comfort and convenience, which your society can supply. I
pray God to preserve you from pains of body and mind; and whenever they overtake you,
I most seriously hope that you may have the testimony of a good conscience, for having cherished a spirit of true Christian charity in your families, in your neighbourhood, and towards every person to whom you are bounden by those ties of brotherly kindness which are indispensibly necessary for the