صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to plead for others as well as for themselves; they are to say, our Father....forgive us our trespasses; and give us this day our daily bread. Divine grace never leaves us, as it finds us. It produces a change the most wonderful, and glorious, and beneficial. The wolf also 'dwells with the lamb; and the leopard lies down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child leads them. Instead of the thorn comes up the fir tree, and instead of the briar, the myrtle tree. The wilderness and solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall re'joice, and blossom as the rose.'

Divine grace destroys those vices by which we are injurious to others. For the best charity I can exercise towards my fellow creatures, says a good man, is to leave off sinning myself. It subdues the selfishness which is so common to our depraved nature; it enlivens and expands the affections; it leads us to rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. It teaches and enables us to act with propriety in every capacity, and relation in life. Every company and neighborhood is the better for us: we are as a dew from the Lord. And thus the promise is fulfilled in every child of Abraham, by faith; I will bless thee, and thou shalt be A BLESSING.

[ocr errors]

Finally, we remark that our being useful, does not depend upon our abilities and station. See Onesimus -a slave-profitable-even to such men as Philemon and Paul....profitable to thee and me. It is with the community as it is with the body. "For the body is 'not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body: is it 'therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, "because I am not the eye, I am not of the body: is it 'therefore not of the body? If the whole body were 'an eye, where were the hearing? if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling: But now hath 'God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And the eye cannot say un

[ocr errors]

'to the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you.' Thus we behold in the world, and in the church, difference of rank, of office, of talents....but there is a connection between the whole, and a dependence arising from it. And from this none are exempted; even the king is served by the labor of the field.

Every man, whatever be his condition and circumstances, is of some importance in society....and we should labor to impress our minds with this reflection ....especially in three cases.

Let us remember it-when we are in danger of pride and disdain, with regard to any of our fellow creatures. The idol you adore, is not every thing, and the wretch you dispise, is something. Perhaps he is more necessary to you, than you are to him.

Let us remember it when discouraged from exertion. O, if I had such opportunities and means, I would serve my generation. But if great faculties were necessary, they would be more frequently bestowed. Situations calling for ten talents, are rare....those which require five, are more common....but those which demand only one, are to be found every where, and every day. And in nothing are we so likely to be mistaken, as in such conclusions. He that is not faithful in little, has no reason to believe that he would be faithful in much.

We should also remember it when we are tempted to do good in unlawful ways. What I mean is this. Some suppose that they can only be useful in such a particular station, or office, and hence they are ready to leave their present condition to rush into it. But says the apostle," let every man abide in the calling, in which he is called of God.' Things are so constitued, that if any man wishes to do good, he may do it in the circumstances in which he is placed: he has some influence. For instance....and to refer to the case before us....are you a servant? Jacob was a servant, and Laban his master said, I have learned by experience,


'that the Lord has blessed me for thy sake.' Joseph was employed by Potapher, and it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, ' and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the • Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake: and the blessing ' of the Lord was upon all that he had, in the house, and ' in the field.' Hence says the apostle to Titus, ex'hort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; 'that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour ' in all things.' And hence he says to Timothy, let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of 'God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.' Here we see how much depends upon christian servants; they may either recommend their religion or disgrace it. For the people of the world are not quite so kind as we sometimes suppose them to be: though incapable of entering into christian experience, they can estimate the value of principles, by the goodness of their effects. And what can they think of the gospel, if the professors of it are as bad, or even worse than others inattentive to the duties of their places, idle, gossippers, busy bodies, heady, insolent, unfaithful to their trust. On this principle, I am sorry to say, that there are some who have expressed a determination to have nothing more to do with religious servants. But they surely mean servants who are religious only in pretence-who raise hopes by their profession, which they disappoint by their practice-and thus cause the way of truth to be evil-spoken of:-for as to those servants who are really religious, they must be better than others-they must be profitable.

Let us therefore conclude with two reflections.

I. If religion renders people in all situations valuable and useful, how deserving is it of encouragement. Let therefore all unite together to promote it.

Let governors and magistrates promote it. This is

[blocks in formation]

the way to have good subjects and citizens. Innume rable are the advantages which communities derive from it, in civilizing, restraining, and sanctifying mankind. Human laws cannot extend far enough in a thousand cases, interesting to the peace and welfare of a nation : they cau never reach the heart. But religion lays hold of the conscience, and places a man even when alone under the eye of God, and in sight of endless happiness

or woe.

Let masters of families promote it in their households. This is the way to have obedient servants, and dutiful children. Piety is the firmest basis of morality: secure God's claims, and you will not miss your own.

[ocr errors]

Let this influence those who have companions to choose; and also those who have connections to form. young man, favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be prais'ed.' O young woman, devote thyself to nothing profane, sceptical, irreligious: marry, but only in the Lord.


Its ways are pleasant

II. If religion be profitable to others, it is much more so to ourselves. It sanctifies all our mercies. sweetens all our trials. It teaches us in whatever state we are, therewith to be content. ness, and its paths are peace. Yea, it is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.' No wonder therefore, it should be called wisdom, and that Solomon should speak of it as he does: wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by; and he cried, saying, Jesus thou son of David have mercy on me and they which went before rebuked him that he should hold his peace but he cried so much the more, thou son of David have mercy on me. And Jesus stood and commanded him to be brought unto him, and when he was come near, ked him, saying, what wilt thou that I should do unto thee? and he said, Lord that I may receive my sight; and Jesus said unto him, receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee: and immediately he received his sight, and followed him glorifying God.-Luke xviii. 35 to 43.

he as

To read the scriptures superficially, will not answer the purpose of a man who is desirous of being made wise unto salvation. He will peruse them with reverence, he will explore them with diligence, and feel all anxious and prayerful to have the end for which they were given, realized in his own experience. And what is this end? The Apostle tells us whatsoever things were written afore-time, were written for our learn'ing, that we through patience and comfort of the scrip'tures, might have noPE.'

[ocr errors]

Our Saviour made every misery he beheld his own : "he took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." As he moved from place to place he restored friends to the bereaved, and health to the diseased. He rais

« السابقةمتابعة »