صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

SELECTIONS

FROM

MR. STERNE'S SERMONS.

APPLICATION OF RICHES.

How God did intend them,-may as well be known from an appeal to your own liearts, and the inscription you shall read there,-as from any chapter and verse I might cite upon the subject. Let us then for a moment turn our eyes that way, and consider the traces which even the most insensible man may have proof of, from what we may perceive springing up within him from some casual act of generosity; and though this is a pleasure which properly belongs to the good, yet let him try the experiment;-let him comfort the captive, or cover the naked with a garment, and he will feel what is meant by that moral delight arising in the mind from the conscience of a humane action.

But to know it right we must call upon the compassionate; cruelty gives evidence unwillingly, and feels the pleasure but imperfectly; for this, like all otlier pleasures, is of a relative nature, and consequently the enjoyment of it requires some qualification in the faculty, as much as the enjoyment of any other good does :-there must be something antecedent in the disposition and tem

per which will render that good,- ,-a good to that individual; otherwise, though 'tis true it may be possessed, yet it never can be enjoyed.

SERM. XXIII.

BEAUTY.

BEAUTY has so many charms, one knows not how to speak against it; and when it happens that a graceful figure is the habitation of a virtuous soul, when the beauty of the face speaks out the modesty and humility of the mind, and the justuess of the proportion raises our thoughts up to the heart and wisdom of the great Creator, something may be allowed it,--and something to the embellishments which set it off ;-and yet, when the whole apology is read, it will be found at last, that Beauty, like Truth, never is so glorious as when it goes the plainest.

SERM. XXIV.

CHARITY.

THEY whom God hath blessed with the means, and for whom he has done more, in blessing them likewise with a disposition, have abundant reason to be thankful to him, as the Author of every good gift, for the measure he hath bestowed to them of both : 'tis the refuge against the stormy wind and tempest, which he has planted in our hearts; and the constant fluctuation of every thing in this world, forces all the sons and daughters of Adam to seek shelter under it by turns. Guard it by entails and settlements as we will, the most affluent plenty may be stripp'd, and find all its worldly comforts, like so many withered leaves dropping from us;—the crowns of princes may be shaken;

and the greatest that ever awed the world have looked back and moralized upon the turn of the wheel.

That which has happened to one, may happen to every man: and therefore that excellent rule of our SAVIOUR, in acts of benevolence, as well as every thing else, should govern us; that whatsoever ye would that men should do to

you,

do ye also unto them.

Hast thou ever lain upon the bed of languishing, or laboured under a distemper which threatened thy life? call to mind thy sorrowful and pensive spirit at that time, and say, What it was that made the thoughts of death so bitter?-If thou hast children, I affirm it, the bitterness of death lay there! If unbrought up, and unprovided for, What will become of them? Where will they find a friend when I am gone? Who will stand up for them, and plead their cause against the wicked ?

Blessed God! to thee, who art a father to the fatherless, and husband to the widow,- -I entrust them.

Hast thou ever sustained any considerable shock in thy fortune? or, has the scantiness of thy condition hurried thee into great straits, and brought thee almost to distraction? Consider what was it chat spread a table in that wilderness of thought,who made thy cup to overtlow? Was it not a friend of consolation who stepped in, saw thee embarrassed with tender pledges of thy love, and the partner of thy cares,-took them under his protection? _Heaven! thou wilt reward him for it!and freed thee from all the terrifying apprehensions of a parent's love?

-Hast thou

-But how shall I ask a question which must bring tears into so many eyes ?-Hast thou ever been wounded in a more affecting manner still, by the loss of a most obliging friend, or been torn away from the embraces of a dear and promising child by the stroke of death? Bitter remembrance! nature droops at it—but nature is the same in all conditions and lots of life.-A child thrust forth in an evil hour, without food, without raiment, bereft of instruction, and the means of its salvation, is a subject of more tender heartaches, and will awaken every power of nature:

-as we have felt for ourselves,-let us feel for Christ's sake- let us feel for theirs.

SERMON XXIII.

CONTENTMENT.

THERE are thousands so extravagant in their ideas of contentment, as to imagine that it must consist in having every thing in this world turn out the way they wish—that they are to sit down in happiness, and feel themselves so at ease at all points, as to desire nothing better and nothing more. I own there are instances of some, who seem to pass through the world as if all their

paths had been strewed with rose-buds of de. light; -but a little experience will convince us, 'tis a fatal expectation to go upon.--We are born to trouble; and we may depend upon it whilst we live in this world we shall have it, though with intermissions—that is, in whatever state we are, we shall find a mixture of good and evil; and, therefore, the true way to contentment is to know how to receive these certain vicissitudes of life,—the returns of good and evil, so as neither to be exalted by the one, or overthrown by the other, but to bear ourselves towards every thing which happens with such ease and indifference of mind, as to hazard as little as may be. This is the true temperate climate fitted for us by nature, and in which every wise man would wish to live.

THERE is scarce any lot so low, but there is something in it to satisfy the man whom it has befallen; Providence having so ordered things, that in every man's cup, how bitter soever, there are some cordial drops-some good circumstances, which, if wisely extracted, are sufficient for the purpose he wants them—that is, to make him contented, and if not happy, at least resigned.

SERMON XY.

THE CONTRAST.

THINGS are carried on in this world, soinetimes se contrary to all our reasonings, and the seeming probability of success,—that even the race is not to the

« السابقةمتابعة »