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Here let the timorous conscience take courage.
It is not any man's errors or ignorance; his want of understanding or education or ability that will be laid to his charge at the day of judgment; or that will bring him into danger of the damnation which the Gospel threatens; it is having done evil ; having wil. fully gone about to disobey what he knew to be the will and command of his Creator, by committing mischief, and doing wrong and injury to his fellowcreatures.
Let the bold and presumptuous sinner hear this text with fear and trembling. Let him who cares not what misery he occasions, what evil and harm he does, if he can but compass his purpose, carry his own end, or serve his wicked lusts and pleasures ; let him, I say, be given to understand what he has to look for; “he that doeth evil shall come to the resurrection of damnation;" this is absolute, final, and peremptory; here is no exception, no excuse, no respect of person or condition.
They that have done good shall come again unto the resurrection of life. But, alas! I hear you say, What good can I do? my means and my opportunities are too small and straitened to think of doing good. You do not sufficiently reflect what doing good is. You are apt to confine the notion of it to giving to others, and giving liberally. This, no doubt, is right and meritorious; but it is certainly not in every man's power ; comparatively speaking, it is indeed in the power of very few. But doing good is of a much more general nature; and is in a greater and less degree practicable by all; for, whenever we make one human creature happier, or better, than he would have been without our help, then we do good; and when we do this from a proper motive, that is, with a sense
and desire of ploasing God by doing it, then we do good in the true sense of the text, and of God's
gracious promise. Now, let every one, in particular, reflect, whether, in this sense, he has not some good in his
power; some within his own doors, to his family, his children, his kindred; by his labour, his authority, his example, by bringing them up, and keeping them in the way of passing their lives honestly, and quietly, and usefully. What good more important, more practicable, than this is ? Again, something may be done beyond our own household : by acts of tenderness, kindness, of help and compassion to our neighbours. Not a particle of this will be lost. It is all set down in the book of life; and happy are they who have much there! And, again, if
And, again, if any of us be really sorry that we have not so much in our power as we would desire, let us remember this short rule, that since we can do little good, to take care that we do no harm. Let us show our sincerity by our innocence: that, at least, is always in our power.
Finally, let us reflect that in the habitations of life are many mansions; rewards of various orders and degrees, proportioned to our various degrees of virtue and exertion here. “ He that soweth plenteously shall reap plenteously.” We can never do too much; never be too earnest in doing good; because every good action here will, we are certain, be an addition of happiness hereafter; will advance us to a better condition in the life to come, whatever be our lot or success in this.
God will not fail of his promise. He hath commissioned his beloved Son to tell us that they that have done good shall enter into the resurrection of life. Let us humbly and thankfully accept his gracious offer. We have but one business in this world. It is to strive to make us worthy of a better. Whatever this trial may cost us : how long, how earnestly, how patiently soever, through whatever difficulties, by whatever toils, we endeavour to obey and please our Maker, we are supported in them by this solidand never ceasing consolation, “that our labour is not in vain in the Lord.”