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business and the intercourse of civil life find themselves in some measure deprived. Virtue in them is left, more than in others, to the dictates of reason ; to a sense of duty less aided by the power of habit. I will not deny that this difference renders their virtue more pure, more actual, and nearer to its principle : but it renders it less easy to be attained or preserved.

Having proposed these circumstances, as difficulties of which I think it useful that our order should be apprised ; and as growing out of the functions of the profession, its studies, or the situations in which it places us; I proceed, with the same view, to no. tice a turn and habit of thinking, which is, of late, become very general amongst the higher classes of the community, amongst all who occupy stations of authority, and, in common with these two descriptions of men, amongst the clergy. That which I am about to animadvert upon, is, in its place, and to a certain degree, undoubtedly a fair and right consideration

; but, in the extent to which it prevails, has a tendency to discharge from the hearts of mankind all religious principle whatever. What I mean, is the performing of our religious offices for the sake of setting an example to others ; and the allowing of this motive so to take possession of the mind, as to substitute itself into the place of the proper ground and reason of the duty. I must be permitted to contend, that, whenever this is the case, it becomes not only a cold and extraneous, but a false and unreasonable, principle of ac, tion. A conduct propagated through the different ranks of society merely by this motive, is a chain without a support, a fabric without a foundation. The parts, indeed, depend upon one another, but there is nothing to bear up the whole. There must be some reason for every duty beside example, or there can be no sufficient reason for it at all. It is a per


version, therefore, of the regular order of our ideas to suffer a consideration, which, whatever be its importance, is only secondary and consequential to another, to shut out that other from the thoughts. The effect of this, in the offices of religion, is utterly to destroy their religious quality ; to rob them of that which gives to them their life, their spirituality, their nature. They who would set an example to others of acts of worship and devotion, in truth perform none themselves. Idle or proud spectators of the scene, they vouchsafe their presence in our assemblies, for the edification, it seems, and benefit of others, but as if they had no sins of their own to deplore, no mercies to acknowledge, no pardon to entreat.

Shall the consideration, then, of example be prohibited and discarded from the thoughts? By no means: but let it attend upon, not supersede, the proper motive of the action. Let us learn to know and feel the reason, the value, and the obligation of the duty, as it concerns ourselves; and, in proportion as we are affected by the force of these considerations, we shall desire, and desiring endeavour, to extend their influence to others. This wish, flowing from an original sense of each duty, preserves to the duty its proper principle. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The glory of your heavenly Father is still, you observe, the termination of the precept. The love of God, that zeal for his honour and service, which gratitude, which piety inspires, is still to be the operating motive of your conduct. Because we find it convenient to ourselves that those about us should be religious; or because it is useful to the state, that religion should be upheld in the country: to join, from these motives, in the

public ordinances of the church, for the sake of maintaining their credit by our presence and example, however advisable it may be as a branch of secular prudence, is not either to fulfil our Lord's precept or to perform any religious service. Religion can spring only from its own principle. Believing our salvation to be involved in the faithful discharge of our religious as well as moral duties, or rather that they are the same; experiencing the warmth, the consolation, the virtuous energy, which every act of true devotion communicates to the heart, and how much these effects are heightened by consent and sympathy; with the benevolence with which we love our neighbour, loving also and seeking his immortal welfare ; when, prompted by these sentiments, we unite with him in acts of social homage to our Maker—then hath every principle its weight; then, at length, is our worship what it ought to be ; exemplary, yet our own; not the less personal for being public. We bring our hearts to the service, and not a constrained attendance upon the place, with oftentimes an ill-concealed indifference to what is there passing.

If what we have stated concerning example be true; if the consideration of it be liable to be overstretched or misapplied ; no persons can be more in danger of falling into the mistake than they who are taught to regard themselves as placed in their stations for the purpose of becoming the examples as well as instructors of their flocks. It is necessary that they should be admonished to revert continually to the fundamental cause of all obligation and of all duty ; particularly to remember, that, in their religious offices, they have not only to pronounce, to excite, to conduct the devotion of their congregations, but to pay to God the adoration which themselves owe to him:



in a word, amidst their care of others, to save their own souls by their own religion.

These, I think, are some of the causes, which, in the conduct of their lives, call for a peculiar attention from the clergy, and from men of learning; and which render the apostle's example, and the lesson which it teaches, peculiarly applicable to their circumstances. It remains only to remind them of a consideration which ought to counteract these disadvantages, by producing a care and solicitude sufficient to meet every danger and every difficulty : to remind them, I say, for they cannot need to be informed, of our Lord's solemn declaration, that contumacious knowledge and neglected talents, knowledge which doth not lead to obedience, and talents which rest in useless speculations, will be found, in the day of final account, amongst the objects of his severest displeasure. Would to God that men of learning always understood how deeply they are concerned in this warning! It is impossible to add another reason which can be equal or second to our Lord's admonition : but we may suggest a motive of very distant, indeed, but of no mean importance, and to which they certainly will not refuse its due regard,--the honour and estimation of learning itself. Irregular morals in men of distinguished attainments render them not despised (for talents and learning never can be despi. cable), but subjects of malicious remark, perhaps of affected pity, to the enemies of intellectual liberty, of science and literature ; and, at the same time, of sincere though silent regret to those who are desirous of supporting the esteem which ought to await the successful pursuit of ingenious studies. We entreat such men to reflect that their conduct will be made the reply of idleness to industry, the revenge of dulness

and ignorance upon parts and learning ; to consider how many will seek, and think they find, in their example an apology for sloth, and for indifference to all liberal improvement; what a theme, lastly, they supply to those who, to the discouragement of every mental exertion, preach up the vanity of human knowledge, and the danger or the mischief of superior attainments.

But if the reputation of learning be concerned in the conduct of those who devote themselves to its pursuit, the sacred interests of morality are not less so. It is for us to take care that we justify not the boasts or the sneers of infidelity ; that we do not authorize the worst of all scepticism, that which would subvert the distinctions of moral good and evil, by insinuating, concerning them, that their only support is prejudice, their only origin in the artifice of the wise, and the credulity of the multitude; and that these things are but too clearly confessed by the lives of men of learning and inquiry. This calumny let us contradict; let us refute. Let us show that virtue and Christianity cast their deepest foundations in knowledge ; that, however they may ask the aid of principles which, in a great degree, govern human life (and which must necessarily, therefore, be either powerful allies or irresistible adversaries), of education, of habit, of example, of public authority, of public institutions, they rest, nevertheless, upon the firm basis of rational argument. Let us testify to the world our sense of this great truth, by the only evidence which the world will believe—the influence of our conclusions upon our own conduct.

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