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good one, if he might be doing a better. His having well acquitted himself of a good action, is so far from furnishing him with an excuse for avoiding the next, that it is a new reason for his embarking in it. He looks not at the work which he has accomplished; but on that which he has to do. His views are always prospective. His charities are scarcely limited by his power. His will knows no limits. His fortune may have bounds. His benevolence has none. He is, in mind and desire, the benefactor of every uniserable man. His heart is open to all the distressed ; to the household of faith it over flows. Where the heart is large, however small the ability, a thousand ways of doing good will be invented. Christian cbarity is a great enlarger of means, Christian self-denial negatively accomplislies the purpose of the fa. vourites of fortune in the fables of the Narsery :-if it cannot fill the purse by a wish, it will not empty it by a vamty. It provides for others by abridging from itself. Having carefully defined what is necessary and becoming, it allows of no encroachment on its definition. Superfluities it will lop, vanities it will cut off. The deviser of liberal things will find means of effecting them, which to the indolent appear incredible, to the covetous impossible. Christian beneficence takes a large sweep. That circumference cannot be small, of which God is the centre. Nor does religious cliarity in a Christian stand still because pot kept in motion by the main spring of the world. Money may fail, but benevolence will be going on. If he cannot relieve want, he may mitigate sorrow. He may warn the inexperienced, he may instruct the ig. norant, he may confirm the doubting. The Christian will find out the cheapest way of being good as well as of doing good. If he cannot give money, he may exercise a more difficult virtue ; he may forgive injuries. Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits. It also puts the soul into a fraine, which makes the practice of other virtues easy. The achieve. ment of a hard duty is a great abolisher of difficulties If great occasions do not arise, he will thankfully seize on small ones. If he cannot glorify God by serving others, he knows that he has always something to do at home; some evil temper to correct, some wrong
propensity to reform, some crooked practice to straighten. He will never be at a loss for employment, while there is a sio or a misery in the world ; he will never be idle, while there is a distress to be relieved in another, or a corruption to be cured in his own heart. We have employmsts assigned to us for every circumstance in life. When we are alone, we have our thoughts to watch ; in tbe family, our tempers ; in company, our tongues
What an example of disinterested goodness and unbounded kindness, have we in our heavenly Father, who is merciful over all his works, who distribuies conimon blessings withont distinction, who bestows the necessary refreshments of life, the shining sun and the refreshing shower, without waiting, as we are apt to do, for personal merit, or attachment or gratitude; who does not look out for desert, but want as a qualification for his favours; who does not afflict willingly, who delights in the happiness, and desires the salvation of all his children, who dispeuses his daily munificence and bears with our daily offences ; who in return for our violation of his laws, supplies our necessities, who waits patiently for our repentance, and even solicits us to have mercy on our own souls!
What a model for our humble imitation, is that divine person who was clothed with our humanity ; who dwelt anong us, that the pattern being brought near, might be rendered more engaging, the conformity be made more practicable; whose whole life was one unbroken series of universal charity; who in bis complicated bounties, never forgot that man is compounded both of soul and body; who after teaching the multitude, fed them ; who repulsed none for being ignorant; was impatient with none for being dull; despised none for being contemned by the world ; rejected none for being sinners; who encour. aged those whose importunity others censured ; who in healing sicknesses converted souls, who gave bread and forgave injuries!
It will be the endeavour of the sincere Christian to illustrate his devotions in the morning, by his actions during the day. He will try to make bis conduct a practical exposition of the divine prayer which made a part of them. He will desire “ to hallow the name of God,” to promote the enlargement and “ the coming” of the “ kingdom” of Christ. He will endeavour to do and to suffer luis whole will; “ to forgive" as he himself
trusts that he is forgiven. He will resolve to avoid that“ temptation" into which he had been praying 's not to be led ;' and he will labour to shun the * evil," from which he had been begging to be delivered.” He thus makes his prayers as practical as the other parts of his religion, and labours to render his conduct as spir inal as his prayers. The commentary and the text are of reciprocal application.
If this gracious Saviour has left us a perfect model for our devotion in his prayer, he has left a model no less perfect for onr practice in his Sermon. This divine Exposition has been sometimes misunderstood. It was not so much a supplement to a defective law, as the restoration of the purity of a perfect law from the corrupt interpretations of its blind expounders. These persons had ceased to consider it as forbidding the principle of sin, and as only forbidding the act. Christ restores it to its original meaning, spreads it out in its due extent, shews the largeness of its dimensions and the spirit of its institution. He unfolds all its motions, tendencies, and relations. Not contentiæg himself, as human legislators are obliged to do, to prohibit a man the act which is injurious to others, but the inward temper which is prejudicial to himself. ..
There cannot be a more striking instance, how empha. tically every doctrine of the Gospel has a reference to practical goodness, than is exhibited by St. Paul, in that magnificent picture of the Resurrection, in his Episa tle to the Corinthians, which our Church has happily selected for the consolation of survivors at the last closing scene of mortality. After an inference as triumphant, as it is logical, that because“ Christ is risen, we shall rise also ;" after the most philosophical illustration of the raising of the body from the dust, by the process of grain sown in the earth, and springing up into a new mode of existence; after describing the subjugation of all things to the Redeemer, and his laying down the mediatorial Kingdom; after sketching with a serapli's pencil, the relative glories of'the celestial and terrestrial bodies; after exhausting the grandest images of created nature, and the dissolution of nature itself; after such a display of the solemnities of the great day, as makes this world, and all its concerns shrink into nothing: In such a mocuent, when, if ever, the wrapt spirit might be supposed
too highly wrought for precept and admonition-the apostle wound up, as he was, by the energies of inspiration, to the immediate view of the glorified state-the last trumpet sounding--the change from mortal to immor. tality effected in the twinkling of an eyethe sting of death drawn out-victory snatched from the grave then, by a turn, as surprising as it is beautiful, he draws a conclusion as unexpectedly practical as his premises were grand and awful :-" Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Then at once, by another quick transition, resorting from the duty to the reward, and winding up the whole with an argument as powerful, as his rhetoric had been sublime, he adds_“ forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
MISTAKES IN RELIGION.
To point out with precision all the mistakes which exist in the present day, on the awful subject of Religion, would far exceed the limits of this small work. No nuention therefore is intended to be made of the opinions or the practice of any particular body of people; nor will any notice be taken of any of the peculiarities of the numerous sects and parties which bave risen up among us. It will be sufficient for the present purpose, to bazard some slight remarks on a few of those common elasses of characters which belong more or less to most general bodies.
There are, among many others, three different sorts of religious Professors. The religion of one consists in a sturdy defence of what they themselves call orthodoxy, an attendance on public worship, and a general decency of behaviour. In their views of religion, they are not a little apprehensive of excess, not perceiva ing that their danger lies on the other side. They are far from rejecting faith or morals, but are somewhat afraid of believing too much, and a little scrupulous about doing too much, lest the former be suspected of
fanaticism, and the latter of singnlarity. These Christians consider Religion as a point, which they, by their regular observances, having attained, there is nothing further required but to maintain the point they have reached, by a repetition of the same observances. They are therefore satisfied to remain stationary, considering that whoever has obtained his end, is of course saved the labour of pursuit; he is to keep his ground without troubling himself in searching after an imaginary perfection.
These frugal Christians are afraid of nothing so much as superfluity in their love, and supererogation in their obedience. This kind of fear however is always superfluous, but most especially in those who are troubled with the apprehension. They are apt to weigh in the nicely poised scales of scrupulous exactness, the duties which must of hard nécessity be done, and those which without much risk may be left undone ; compounding for a larger indulgence by the relinquishment of a smaller; giving up, through fear, a trivial gratification to which they are less inclined, and snatching doubtingly, as an equivalent, at one they like better. The gratitication in both cases being perhaps such as a manly mind would hardly think worth contending for, even were religion out of the question. Nothing but love to God can conquer love of the world. Ope grain of that divine principle would make : the scale of self-indulgenee kick the beam. "
These persons dread nothing so much as enthusiasm. Yet it to look for effects without their predisposing causes; to depend for Heaven on that to which Heaven was never promised, be features of enthusiasm, then are they themselves enthusiasts.
The religion of a second class, we have already described in the two preceding chapters. It consists in a heart devoted to its naker ; inwardly changed in its temper and disposition, yet deeply sensible of its remaining infirmi. ties; continually aspiring however to higher improvemients in faith, hope and charity, and thinking that “the greatest of these is charity." "These, by the former elass, are reckoned enthusiasts, but they are in fact, if Christianity be true, acting on the only rational princi. ples. If the doctrines of the Gospel have any solidity, if its promises have any meaning, these Christians are building on no false ground. They hope that submission to the power of God, obedience to bis laws, compliance