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upon its character and conduct with inexpressible and transporting glory.

Having thus, as I flatter myself, shown in a clear light the truth of the doctrine contained in the text, I shall now close the Discourse with two


1. This doctrine places in the strongest point of view the superiority of the gospel to every other system of morals.

There are two classes of men, both very numerous, who have employed themselves in forming moral systems for mankind, viz. the ancient heathen philosophers, and modern infidels. It is hardly necessary to observe, that in all moral systems the supreme good, or highest interest of man, and, by consequence, the nature of virtue, and the nature and means of Happiness, become of course prime objects of inquiry. Nothing can more effectually teach us the insufficiency of the human mind to determine the nature of the supreme good than the declaration of Varro, that "the heathen philosophers had embraced, within his knowledge, two hundred and eightyeight different opinions concerning this important subject." Nor were their sentiments concerning the nature of virtue and the nature and means of happiness, as will be easily supposed, at all more harmonious. Some of them taught, that sensual pleasure is the chief good of man; that it consists in freedom from trouble and pain; and that business and cares do not consist with happiness; and, therefore, that a man ought not to marry, because a family will give him trouble, nor engage in public business, nor meddle with the concerns of the public. They also taught, that nothing which is in itself pleasurable is an evil; and that when it is evil, it is so only because it brings more trouble with it than pleasure; that, therefore, injustice is not an evil in itself, but is evil merely on account of the trouble which it occasions to its author. Some of them placed their supreme happiness in pride, and personal independence of of both gods and men. Apathy, or an absolute want of feeling with respect to our own troubles, and those of our fellowmen, was regarded as being essential to this independence.

Some of them placed happiness in abstraction from the world, in study, in contemplation, in quietude of mind, in indolence of body, in seclusion from human society, in wealth, power, fame, superiority of talents, and military glory. Of virtue they appear to have formed no distinct or definite conceptions. In some instances they spoke of it with propriety and truth; but in others with such confusion, as to prove that they were without any correct and satisfactory apprehensions concerning its nature; the several things which they taught being utterly inconsistent with each other. Different philosophers placed virtue in the love and pursuit of most of the things mentioned above; and made it consist with injustice, impurity, impiety, fraud, falsehood, the desertion of parents in their old age, unkindness to children, insensibility to the distresses of our fellow-creatures, and generally with a dereliction of almost every thing which the Scriptures have declared to be vir


These observations are sufficient to show how infinitely remote these philosophers were from just conceptions concerning this inestimable subject.

Infidels have left this important concern of man substantially as they found it. I cannot at the present time attempt to repeat their various doctrines. It will be sufficient to observe, at the present time, that Mr. Hume, one of the last and ablest of them, has taught us in form, that modesty, humility, repentance of sin, and the forgiveness of injuries, are vices; and that pride, therefore, impudence, resentment, revenge, and obstinacy in sin are, by necessary consequence, virtues. This scheme needs no comment. Virtue such as this would lay the world waste, and render him who possessed it a fiend.

From what a glorious height do the Scriptures look down on this grovelling, deformed, self-contradictory chaos of opinions! How sublime is the scheme which they exhibit concerning this amazing subject! Virtue, they inform us, is the love of doing good; an active principle, the real and whole energy of an intelligent mind, exerted for the exalted purpose of producing happiness. In the exertions of this principle, in the enjoyment which attends it, and in the happiness which it creates, the Scriptures place the supreme good of man, and of every other intelligent being. Here, and here only, is it placed with true wisdom, and immoveable certainty. The

nind in this manner is happy within by its self-approbation, and without, by being in the highest degree useful to others, and by receiving from the hand of others all the good which the same usefulness in them can return to itself. Here all the provision which is either possible or desirable is made for enjoyment unmingled and complete. The character, the personal character, becomes glorious, the affections delightful, the conduct divine. In a community governed by this principle every individual, however great, or however small, is honourable and lovely, both in his own sight, and that of others; every one is useful also; every one is happy.

2. The great practical inference from this doctrine is, that doing good is the only proper employment of man.

You, my friends and brethren, were created for this great purpose; not to gain reputation, learning, wealth, knowledge, power, honour, or pleasure; but to do good; not to gain even heaven itself, or immortal life; but to ascend to heaven, and to acquire immortal life, that in that happy world you may employ the immense of duration in an endless diffusion of beneficence, and an endless exercise of piety and praise. Make then the end for which God designed your existence and your faculties, the voluntary and proper end of all your wishes, designs, and labours.

With sober and affecting meditation set it before yourselves in form and system, as the purpose for which you were made, endowed, preserved, and blessed hitherto; as the purpose which is prescribed by the will of God, and as the purpose to which you are therefore voluntarily and supremely to devote yourselves. Let each of you say to himself, " I was formed for the great and glorious purpose of doing good. This was the will of my Maker; it is my own supreme interest; it is the supreme interest of my fellow-creatures in me. Be this then the ultimate end of all my thoughts, wishes, and labours; and let nothing hinder me from pursuing it always. While I lawfully seek for reputation, property, learning, eloquence, power, or any other earthly good, I am resolved to seek them only in subordination to this great purpose, as means merely to this end. To form and to execute this resolution, give me grace, wisdom, and strength, O thou Father of all mercies! that I may perform thy holy will, and in some measure resem

ble thy perfect and glorious character, through Jesus Christ Amen."

This solemn proposition of the subject to yourselves would almost of course give it a distinction and importance in your view, which would induce you to keep it supremely and habitually in sight, and render it a standard, to which all your conduct would be referred for approbation or rejection; a moral scale, by which you would measure every thought and pursuit ; a touchstone, by which you would distinguish every species of alloy from the most fine gold. It would also direct your aims to a higher mark, and give your efforts a nobler character. Men usually, even good men, rather compound in their affections with conscience and the Scriptures for a mixture of worldliness and virtue, than insist on observing nothing but the dictates of virtue. They aim at being virtuous, and not at being only and eminently virtuous. One reason for this is, they take it for granted that they shall never cease to sin in the present world, and therefore never mistrust either how practicable or how important it is that they should vigorously determine to avoid all sin, and practise nothing but virtue. Their designs are divided between their worldly business and religion. These they consider as two separate and in a degree incoherent objects, both necessary, but still clashing; when they ought to consider their worldly business merely as one great dictate and duty of religion, one great branch of the virtue which they are to exhibit, and of the good which they are to do. Worldly business is to be done; but it is to be done only as a part of our religion and duty. Even our amusements are always to be regarded in this manner; and are useful and lawful only as parts of our duty, and as means of enabling us better to perform other duties of higher importance. From exact obedience to the great rule, 'whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,' there is no exemption.

Were the solemn proposition which I have urged to be formed and habitually kept in sight, the character of man would soon be, not sinless indeed, but incomparably more holy, blameless, and undefiled than we now usually find it. Human virtue would be less clouded, would assume a brighter and more celestial aspect, and would be gilded with a clearer and more genial sunshine.


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In whatever sphere of life you are placed, employ all your powers and all your means of doing good as diligently and vigorously as you can. Direct your efforts to the well-being of those who are within your reach, and not to the inhabitants of a distant age or country, of a future generation, or of China or Peru. Neglect not a humble kind office within your power, for a vast and sublime one which you cannot accomplish. The Scriptures require you to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked, to instruct the ignorant and reclaim the vicious. Philosophical philanthropy calls to the commiseration of nations, the overthrow of governments, the improvement of the vast society of man, and the exaltation of this wretched world to freedom, science, and happiness. The only objection to your labouring in this magnificent field seems to be, that your labours will be to no purpose. On the scriptural plan, you will at least do something; and your two mites will not be forgotten. Extend your efforts, however, as far as you can extend them to any effect, to as many and as great objects as providence places within your reach, and as many ways as you shall find in your power. Promote as much as possible relief, comfort, health, knowledge, virtue, and happiness, both as private and public objects. Promote them by your talents, your property, your influence, your labours, and your example. Let every day, when passing in review before the scrutinizing eye of conscience, present a regular series of beneficence, which will soften the bed of your repose, and 'rise as a sweet memorial before God.


As objects of your kindness always select the most deserving. The Scriptures have directed you to do good unto all men, and especially to those of the household of faith.' To the soundness of this precept common sense bears also the fullest attestation. It was reserved for philosophy to discern, that the true and proper scenes of employing benevolence were the galley and the gaol; and that its chief aim should be not to make men good and virtuous, but to prevent thieves, murderers, and traitors from coming to the dungeon or the gibbet which they had merited. Let your favourite object be the honest, the industrious, the sober, the virtuous; and both feel and relieve their distresses. Refuse not others, but give to these an universal preference. When you relieve the sufferings of the vicious and infamous, close your benefi

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