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which a large proportion of the crimes and miseries of mankind must be ascribed. From hence arise the restless schemes of ambition which overleap all the obstacles of justice and humanity;-the luxuries, or the avarice of riches, which waste in sensuality or accumulation all the vast capacities of diffusing happiness with which Providence has endowed them
and the abuse of talents from the purposes of general good to the miserable gratification of private vanity. Such, indeed, are the perversions of man, which go far to obstruct the benevolent intentions of Heaven; yet, if its Benevolence is obstructed, its Justice remains, and those who, for little private ends, refuse to become the ministers and stewards of its bounty, invariably accumulate upon their own heads deeper and more inward misery than, in the utmost malignity of
their selfishness, they are ever capable of inflicting upon others.
In the third place, my brethren, the text supplies us with a farther observation. It not only points out the principles which operate at present in equalizing the conditions of men, notwithstanding all the disorders and vices of society, and which would still farther produce an equality, if the natural tendencies of the distinctions among them were permitted to find their true scope, it farther reminds us, that there is a system already begun on earth, and which will ultimately be completed in heaven, in which all individual distinctions will infallibly combine in the final production of general good. This is the system of Christianity, by which " we being many, "are one body in Christ," and are obliged, by the faith which we profess, to be truly "members one of another." There
is no possible system which can produce so many moral inducements to the accomplishment of this great end here, or which can make clearer discoveries of its perfect accomplishment hereafter. Other systems of pretended benevolence have sought to equalize conditions by removing all distinctions, and the attempt has invariably given a shock to the whole fabric of society, and produced a tenfold accumulation of misery. Christianity seeks not to remove any one distinction, but has ever strengthened the bands of society, by pointing out to the different members of the human race the advantage which each will derive from the faithful discharge of its own office, and the happiness which will thence accrue to the general body.
The inducements, indeed, which this heavenly system employs are not those of force, but of persuasion; yet, in its
gentle course, it has done more to unite the discordant affections of men, and to produce an equal and impartial distribution of happiness, than in former periods the fondest hopes of the Philanthropist could ever have expected to be realized. Without endeavouring to inspire them with any disorderly presumption, but, on the contrary, inculcating all the principles of submission, it yet sets out with professing itself the Friend and the Guardian of the Poor, and at once crushes in the bud every prejudice of rank and fortune, which would regard, with the slightest emotion of disdain, that most important department of the human race. This vast object it attains, not merely by the force of reason, and by rousing every principle of latent generosity in the heart, but still more, by holding out to the eye of man the example of every virtue by which human
nature can be adorned, displayed, not in the stations of wealth or of power, but in the lowest condition of poverty and disgrace, and by teaching the rich and the powerful, that, in the once humble Individual who exhibited this example, all their hopes must now be centered, and that before Him every knee must learn to bow.
From the period at which men in all stations were taught to consider themselves as the servants of a Master who came with no appearances of worldly glory, the assertion of the Apostle must have, more or less, been obvious to every mind, that the distinctions of human society are in fact merely differences of office, and that no human being has the slightest reason, on account of the accidental station which he holds, to think meanly either of others or of himself. The higher orders have been taught,