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النشر الإلكتروني

DISCOURSE XIII.

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.

MATTHEW, xxii. 39.

"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt "love thy neighbour as thyself."

IN a former discourse, my brethren, I requested your attention to a few observations, on that division of the Ten Commandments which relates to Religion. In the solemn words with which they open the principle of religion is contained, namely, gratitude to God for all his goodness to man. The Four first Com

mandments inculcate a pure and perfect devotion; reverence for the Divine authority; and a regard for those sacred institutions, which, in condescension to the weakness of the human heart, have been appointed for the purpose of habitually directing its affections to their true and genuine object. The result of the whole is the conclusion of our Saviour, "Thou "shalt love the Lord thy God with all

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thy heart, and with all thy soul, and

"with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."

From these lofty meditations, the greatest to which the mind of man can aspire, we now descend into that world in which we live, and perceive the same principle of duty which connects us with God, likewise branching out into all the different relations in which we stand towards each other. The first Moral feelings of the heart resemble those of Religion: they are

the mixed emotions of gratitude and of reverence; love mixed with awe; the af fections of a weak and a dependent being towards one on whom it depends, and under whose authority it lives. There is much wisdom, therefore, in placing the Commandment which requires duty to parents, immediately after those which relate to the duties of Religion; and we may thus see the beautiful gradation by which religious and social duty run into each other.

It is likewise with great wisdom, that duty to parents is placed at the head of the Moral law, as it is not only the earliest, but, undoubtedly, one of the most important of duties; and according as it is performed well or ill, we may judge of the soundness of the whole character.It is with this law, more particularly, that you, my young friends, are concerned. You live under the protection and the guidance of your Parents, and to them

your eyes are directed as to the Fountains of your being, and the guardians of your early years. This is the state in which Nature has placed you, and it is here you are met by the first lessons of duty. "Honour thy father and thy mo"ther" is the rule which you are taught before every other, and which you can most easily comprehend; and according to the regard which you give to it, we may form conjectures concerning your future progress in virtue. If you are regardless of this law, to which can we ever expect that you will attend? But if you are now obedient children, we can have little doubt that, in your progress through life, you will equally attach yourselves to all the other duties which your stations in society may require.-Perhaps, myyoung friends, you now sometimes wish that you were going forth into the world, and were freed from all the trammels of

Parental rule. Alas! when you are advanced on the journey of life, how often will you look back to those quiet days which you now pass under the roofs of your parents; and, when their venerable forms return to your imaginations, after, perhaps, they themselves have been laid in the dust, how mild will that authority then seem to have been, which never checked your innocent amusements, but only protect

ed you from vice and folly; and how bitter will be the reproaches of your consciences, if, which God forbid, you should ever feel that any part of your conduct contributed to "bring down their grey "hairs to the grave!"

Under family government, the infant mind is first trained to ready and affectionate obedience; and in this view, likewise, there is much wisdom in placing the Commandment which we have been considering at the head of the laws of so

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