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cence with solemn reproof, and pungent counsel; and remember, if you withdraw them from vice to virtue, you render them a kindness infinitely greater than if you elevate them to wealth and honour. In this way you will · save a soul from death, and cover a multitude of sins.'
With all your resolutions and efforts, you will need every day assistance from God. Every day ask it in humble, fervent prayer. No real blessing ever descends to man, but as an answer to prayer. Particularly this rich and glorious blessing of a life patiently spent in well-doing cannot be expected unless it be asked for. Three times a day retire with Daniel to your chambers. God will be there, and will grant you a glorious answer of peace.'
To such a life can you want motives? Let me remind you, that it is, and I flatter myself it has been proved to be, not only the most honourable, but the only honourable character; the character which secures the secret approbation of those who do not assume it; and the open esteem, love, and praise of those who do; that it is the only character which is truly and eminently happy, which possesses peace within and enjoyment without; which is found in heaven, and constitutes the happiness of that exalted world; that it is the character of - angels, of Christ, and of God; the beauty of the divine kingdom, the glory of Jehovah, and the source of all the good which is enjoyed in immensity and eternity.
It is the only character which will endure.-'The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he who doeth the will of God abideth for ever,' The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,' the wretched inventory of a selfish, worldly mind, find all their poor, though boasted, gratifications on this side of the grave. Their miserable possessors riot, and dig, and climb, during their passing day, and then vanish, and are seen no more. Where will they next be found?
He, on the contrary, who, by patient continuance in welldoing hath sought for glory, honour, and immortality,' will lie down in the bed of peace, will fall asleep in the Lord Jesus,' and awake with new life, and joy, and glory, beyond the grave. In the great trial, he will be found and pronounced to have 'well done,' and to have been a good and faithful
servant' of his divine Master; and will be directed to enter into the joy of his Lord.'
In the great and final day he will be acquitted, acknowledged, and glorified, before the assembled universe; because, when the least of Christ's brethren was an hungered, he gave him meat; when he was thirsty, he gave him drink; when he was a stranger, he took him in; when he was naked, he clothed him; when he was sick, and in prison, he ministered unto him.' Of so high and valuable a nature will he find this beneficence, that it will be received and rewarded by Christ, as done to himself. To heaven he will be an acceptable inhabitant, and meet with an open and 'abundant entrance' into that happy world. Glorified saints will there hail him as their brother: angels will welcome him as their companion. There also will he find that he has begun a career of excellence which will never end. Endued there with stronger principles and nobler powers, in a happier field, with more desirable companions, and forming all his plans of beneficence for eternal duration, he will fill up the succession of ages with a glorious and immortal progress of doing good; and become daily a brighter, a more perfect, a more divine ornament and blessing to the virtuous universe.
And now, my friends and brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up' in this evangelical character, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.' Amen.
THE LAW OF GOD.
THE SECOND GREAT COMMANDMENT.
THE EFFECTS OF BENEVOLENCĘ ON PUBLIC HAPPINESS.
I HAVE SHEWED YOU ALL THINGS, HOW THAT, SO LABOURING, YE OUGHT TO SUPPORT THE WEAK; AND TO REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS, HOW HE SAID, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE, THAN TO RECEIVE.
ACTS XX. 35.
IN a preceding Discourse I considered at length the influence of a disposition to do good on the personal happiness of him in whom it exists; and attempted to show, that this disposition is more productive than any other of such happiness. It is now my design to prove, that it possesses a no less superior efficacy in producing public happiness: or the happiness of society in all its various forms.
Of this disposition, commonly styled disinterested benevolence, and denoted in the New Testament by the word, Ayan, rendered in our translation love, and charity, we have an extensive, most accurate, and most beautiful description in the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. In this chapter it is exhibited to be superior to every natural and super natural endowment, and to every acquisition made by man. It is proved to be the source of all good, natural and moral; or rather the source of all natural, and the substance VOL. III. 2 D
of all moral good. It is shown to be the only real excellence of intelligent creatures; the means of their existence and their continuance in the kingdom of God; and the only cause of his complacency in their character. Finally, it is declared, that this disposition shall endure until all other things which are admired and esteemed by men shall be forgotten; and, when they shall have ceased, together with their use and importance, shall brighten and flourish for ever.
Generally, it is declared, if I mistake not, in this chapter, that love, in its various modifications and exercises, is the amount of all those which are commonly called the graces of the Christian spirit; or, as they are often styled, the Christian virtues. Particularly, it is exhibited to us as long suffering, contentment, modesty, humility, decency, disinterestedness, meekness, charitableness, hatred of iniquity, love to truth, patience, faith, hope, and fortitude. With this, the most extended and the most detailed account of the subject furnished by the Scriptures, all the other exhibitions contained in the sacred volume perfectly agree. In them all, when connected together by the mind, as may without difficulty be perceived, this great truth is abundantly shown; viz. that the love of the Gospel, or the spirit of doing good, is the source of all happiness, public and private; and is productive, intentionally, of no unnecessary evil.
This truth is generally, but forcibly, taught in the text, with regard to society, as well as with regard to individuals. If we remember that all societies are composed of individuals, we cannot hesitate to admit, that whatever renders them happy must, in exactly the same manner and degree, be the source of public happiness. If it is more blessed to give, than to receive;' if it is more blessed to cherish a spirit of doing good to others, than a disposition to gain it from them, in individual instances; the community in which this disposition universally reigned, could not fail to enjoy this superior happiness in its fullest extent.
Equally manifest is it, that the same disposition could not be productive of evil. Love,' saith St. Paul,' worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.' In other words, this great and glorious characteristic of love, that it is productive of no ill, rendered it an object of such excellence to the view of God, that he framed his law in such
a manner, as to require nothing of his intelligent creatures beside this attribute, and its proper exercises. We are not indeed to suppose this the only reason why the divine law was framed in this manner. The good, of which this disposition is the parent, was, as we are abundantly taught in the Scriptures, a commanding reason also, why it was required by the law of God. To secure this good, and prevent in this manner the existence of the evil, which would necessarily result from any other disposition, was, at the same time, supremely glorious to the infinite lawgiver.
It cannot fail of being an interesting employment to a Christian assembly to contemplate the operations of this spirit upon human society. In the progress of such contemplation, so many blessings will rise up to our view, and will be so easily seen to flow necessarily from this disposition, that we cannot fail to feel deeply the degraded, mischievous, miserable nature of that selfishness, which is so directly contrasted to it, and which so generally controls the affections and conduct of man. With scarcely less strength shall we realize also the excellence and amiableness of that spirit, from which good so extensively flows; which makes heaven the residence of supreme enjoyment, and which might make even this melancholy world no unworthy resemblance of heaven.
On a theme, so extensive as this, and comprehending such a vast multitude of particulars, it would be easy to make many important observations. Those which fall within the compass of my design must, however, be all included within the limits of a single Discourse. They will therefore be few, and of necessity general.
I. Evangelical love, or the spirit of communicating happiness, will, of course, induce us to be contented with our own providential allotments.
Love,' saith St. Paul, envieth not.-Love seeketh not her own.'
It is easily demonstrated by reason, as well as abundantly declared in the Scriptures, that the infinitely wise and benevolent God orders all things aright. Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might: let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this; that he un