« السابقةمتابعة »
ments and wishes, without reserve. Cherishing a just sense of religion, let us treat it accordingly, and never be “ ashamed of Christ and his words before men.” :
This duty is enforced by its tendency to our improvement in virtue and holiness; to which may be added, the more awful motive of a retribution to come. “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified; and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” . “Seeing we know these things before, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness ?" Rejecting every licentious thought and expression, let us, there. fore, “exhort one another daily, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching." Then shall be brought to pass the saying, recorded for our encouragement, “ They that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it : .and a book of remembrance was written for them that feared the Lord, and thought on his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels ; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”
Samuel Kendoit. D.D.
REFLECTIONS ON MAN, AND ON THE DI
VINE CONDUCT TOWARDS HIM.
PSALM viii. 4. IVhat is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son
of man, that thou visitest him?
“ The proper study of mankind is man.” This subject merits the earliest attention; for, until we gain some just knowledge of ourselves, we shall be ignorant of our duty to God, and of our capacity, in any way, to honour and serve him. Besides, the character, usefulness, and happiness of every individual depend very much on an acquaintance with himself, and with the rank and situation he holds in the scale of being. Inattention to ourselves, and to the cir. cumstances in which we are placed, will always expose us to errour, and may involve us in remediless evil.
In the morning of life, therefore, and through all its advancing periods, the study of man, of ourselves in particular, should occupy the mind. To call the thoughts of young people to this subject, and assist them in the examination of it, make the principal object of this discourse; which will be followed by several others, intended for the benefit of this class of the community.
As the powers of the youthful mind are brought into exercise and strengthened with growing years, they should be exerted to form correct ideas of the origin, nature, dignity, duty, and destination of man; of his actual condition and capacity, as a subject of moral government; of the relations he sustains, the obligations he is under, the hopes he may cherish, and of his accountability to the author of his existence.
The text presents two leading subjects of contemplation. First, man; secondly, the divine conduct towards him. By examining the former, you will become acquainted with yourselves; by meditating on the latter, you will more clearly perceive your duty to God.
First. “ What is man?» This is an interesting inquiry; not as it relates to his physical so
much, as to his moral character ; to the organization of his body, as to his intellectual faculties; though in the structure of both he is “ fearfully and wonderfully made.” But, high in rank as man is disposed to consider himself, the psalmist intimates that, in comparison with other works of the creator, he is scarcely worthy the divine notice and care. The contemplation of the visible heavens, the moon and stars, led him to entertain humble thoughts of man, though made but “ little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honour." But, waving this thought for the present, let us at tend to the inquiry before us.
Finding, my young friends, that you exist, and possess energies of body and mind, or capacities that may be applied to various purposes, an inquiry into the origin and design of your existence and powers ought deeply to engage your attention. Unconscious of any voli. tion, or efficiency, in your own production, you must ascribe your existence and faculties, to some cause without yourselves. This cause you will perceive, from the wonderful organi zation of your bodies, and more wonderful constitution and endowments of your minds, must have acted with wisdom and design in forming
such creatures as yourselves; and therefore must be intelligent. Who, or what is this intelligent cause of your being and faculties, if it may be sought out, you will feel interested to learn, as soon as you are able to arrange your thoughts, and come to a conclusion on the subject. In this natural and very important inquiry you will never gain satisfaction, until you arrive at this point, viz. That there is an uncreated, self-existent, intelligent, and omnipotent Being, who, by his own underived wisdom and power, hath “ formed the earth and the world,” with all their inhabitants. This creator is God; and man is his creature; having received from him soul and body, with all their powers and faculties, and being dependent on him for the continuance of life and its comforts.
Fixed in this belief, his nature, rank, and dignity become a subject of investigation and contemplation. It appears from the best light afforded us, that man possesses an animal and spiritual, a sensitive and rational, a mortal and immortal nature. In his animal nature there is no very striking difference between him and other creatures that inhabit the earth; but his intellectual faculties, his perception, reason, re.