صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

tion. They have reached their limit. Were the spect would be, that, lost in the perplexity of princes and nobility, the legislators and counsellors choosing, they would sink into irrecoverable indoof the land, all of them the best and wisest men lence, inaction, and unconcern; into that vacancy that ever lived, their united virtue and wisdom and tiresomeness of time and thought which are could do no more than this. They, if any such inseparable from such a situation. A man's there be, who would teach you to expect more, thoughts must be going: Whilst he is awake, give you no instance where more has ever been the working of his mind is as constant as the beatattained.

ing of his pulse. He can no more stop the one But Providence, which foresaw, which appoint than the other. Hence if our thoughts have noed, indeed, the necessity to which human affairs thing to act upon, they act upon ourselves. They are subjected, (and against which it were impious acquire a corrosive quality. They become in the to complain,) hath contrived, that, whilst fortunes last degree irksome and tormenting. Wherefore are only for a few, the rest of mankind may be that sort of equitable engagement, which takes up happy without them. And this leads me to con- the thoughts sufficiently, yet so as to leave them sider the comparative advantages and comforts capable of turning to any thing more important, which belong to the condition of those who sub- as occasions offer or require, is a most invaluable sist, as the great mass of every people do and must blessing. And if the industrious be not sensible subsist

, by personal labour, and the solid reasons of the blessing, it is for no other reason than bethey have for contentment in their stations. I do cause they have never experienced, or rather sufnot now use the terms poor and rich: because that fered the want of it. man is to be accounted poor, of whatever rank he Again; some of the necessities which poverty be, and suffers the pains of poverty, whose ex- (if the condition of the labouring part of mankind penses exceed his resources; and no man is, pro- must be so called) imposes, are not hardships but perly speaking, poor but he. But I, at present, pleasures. Frugality itself is a pleasure." It is consider the advantages of those laborious condi- an exercise of attention and contrivance, which, tions of life which compose the great portion of whenever it is successful, produces satisfaction. every human community.

The very care and forecast that are necessary to And, first; it is an inestimable blessing of such keep expenses and earnings upon a level, form, situations, that they supply a constant train of when not embarrassed by too great difficulties, an employment both to body and mind. A husband agreeable engagement of the thoughts. This is man, or a manufacturer, or a tradesman, never goes lost amidst abundance. There is no pleasure in to bed at night without having his business to rise taking out of a large unmeasured fund. They up to in the morning. He would understand the who do that, and only that, are the mere conveyvalue of this advantage, did he know that the ers of money from one hand to another. want of it composes one of the greatest plagues of A yet more serious advantage which persons in the human soul; a plague by which the rich, es- inferior stations possess, is the ease with which pecially those who inherit riches, are exceedingly they provide for their children. All the provision oppressed. Indeed it is to get rid of it, that is to which a poor man's child requires, is contained in say, it is to have something to do, that they are two words, “industry and innocence.” With driven upon those strange and unaccountable ways these qualities, though without a shilling to set of passing their time, in which we sometimes see him forwards, he goes into the world prepared to them, to our surprise, engaged. A poor man's become an useful, virtuous, and happy man. Nor condition supplies him with that which no man will he fail to meet with a maintenance adequate can do without, and with which a rich man, with to the habits with which he has been brought up, all his opportunities, and all his contrivance, can and to the expectations which he has formed; a hardly supply himself; regular engagement, busi- degree of success sufficient for a person of any ness to look forward to, something to be done for condition whatever. These qualities of industry every day, some employment prepared for every and innocence, which, I repeat again, are all that morning. A few of better judgment can seek out are absolutely necessary, every parent can give to for themselves constant and useful occupation. his children without expense, because he can There is not one of you takes the pains in his give them by his own authority and example; calling, which some of the most independent men and they are to be communicated, I believe, and in the nation have taken, and are taking, to pro- preserved, in no other way. I call this a serious mote what they deem to be a point of great con- advantage of humble stations; because in what we cern to the interests of humanity, by which neither reckon superior ranks of life, there is a real diffithey nor theirs can ever gain a shilling, and in culty in placing children in situations which may which should they succeed, those who are to be in any degree support them in the class and in benefited by their service, will neither know nor the habits in which they have been brought up by thank them for it. I only mention this to show, their parents : from which great and oftentimes in conjunction with what has been observed above, distressing perplexity the poor are free. With that of those who are at liberty to act as they health of body, innocence of mind, and habits of please, the wise prove, and the foolish confess, by industry, a poor man's child has nothing to be their conduct, that a life of employment is the afraid of, nor his father or mother any thing to be only life worth leading; and that the chief differ- afraid of for him. ence between their manner of passing their time The labour of the world is carried on by service, and yours, is, that they can choose the objects of that is, by one man working under another man's their activity, which you cannot. This privilege direction. I take it for granted that this is the may be an advantage to some, but for nine out of best way of conducting business, because all naten it is fortunate that occupation is provided to tions and ages have adopted it. Consequently their hands, that they have it not to seek, that it is service is the relation which, of all others, affects imposed upon them by their necessities and occa- the greatest numbers of individuals, and in the sions; for the consequence of liberty in this re- most sensible manner. In whatever country,

therefore, this relation is well and equitably regu- worked. Rest is the cessation of labour. It canlated, in that country the poor will be happy. not therefore be enjoyed, or even tasted, except by Now how is the matter managed with us? Ex- those who have known fatigue. The rich see, cept apprenticeships, the necessity of which every and not without envy, the refreshment and pleaone, at least every father and mother, will ac sure which rest affords to the poor, and choose to knowledge, as the best, if not the only practicable, wonder that they cannot find the same enjoyment way of gaining instruction and skill

, and which in being free from the necessity of working at all, have their foundation in nature, because they They do not observe that this enjoyment must be have their foundation in the natural ignorance purchased by previous labour, and that he who and imbecility of youth; except these, service in will not pay the price cannot have the gratificaEngland, is, as it ought to be, voluntary and by tion. Being without work is one thing; reposing contract ; a fair exchange of work for wages; an from work is another. The one is as tiresome and equal bargain, in which each party has his rights insipid as the other is sweet and soothing. The and his redress; wherein every servant chooses one, in general, is the fate of the rich man, the his master. Can this be mended? I will add, other is the fortune of the poor. I have heard it that a continuance of this connexion is frequently said, that if the face of happiness can any where the foundation of so much mutual kindness and be seen, it is in the summer evening of a country attachment, that very few friendships are more village; where, after the labours of the day, each cordial, or more sincere; that it leaves oftentimes man at his door, with his children, amongst his nothing in servitude except the name; nor any neighbours, feels his frame and his heart at rest, distinction but what one party is as much pleased every thing about him pleased and pleasing, and with, and sometimes also as proud of, as the other. a delight and complacency in his sensations far

What then (for this is the fair way of calculat- beyond what either luxury or diversion can afiord. ing) is there in higher stations to place against The rich want this; and they want what they these advantages ? What does the poor man see must never have. in the life or condition of the rich, that should As to some other things which the poor are disrender him dissatisfied with his own?

posed to envy in the condition of the rich, such as Was there as much in sensual pleasures, I their state, their appearance, the grandeur of their mean in the luxuries of eating and drinking, and houses, dress, equipage, and attendance, they only other gratifications of that sort, as some men's envy the rich these things because they do not imaginations would represent them to be, but know the rich. They have not opportunities of which no man's experience finds in them, I con observing with what neglect and insensibility the tend, that even in these respects, the advantage is rich possess and regard these things themselves. on the side of the poor The rich, who addict if they could see the great man in his retirement, themselves to indulgence, lose their relish. Their and in his actual manner of life, they would find desires are dead. Their sensibilities are worn him, if pleased at all, taking pleasure in some of and tired. Hence they lead a languid satiated those simple enjoyments which they can command existence. Hardly any thing can amuse, or rouse, as well as he. They would find him amongst or gratify them. Whereas the poor man, if some his children, in his husbandry, in his garden, purthing extraordinary fall in his way, comes to the suing some rural diversion, or occupied with some repast with appetite; is pleased and refreshed; trifling exercise, which are all gratifications, as derives from his usual course of moderation and much within the power and reach of the poor temperance a quickness of perception and delight man as of the rich; or rather more so. which the unrestrained voluptuary knows nothing To learn the art of contentment, is only to of. Habits of all kinds are much the same. learn what happiness actually consists in. SenWhatever is habitual, becomes smooth and indif- sual pleasures adu little to its substance. Ease, ferent, and nothing more. The luxurious receive if by that be meant exemption from labour, conno greater pleasures from their dainties, than the tributes nothing. One, however, constant spring peasant does from his homely fare.—But here is of satisfaction, and almost infallible support of the difference : The peasant whenever he goes cheerfulness and spirits, is the exercise of domesabroad, finds a feast, whereas the epicure must be tic affections; the presence of objects of tenderness sumptuously entertained to escape disgust. They and endearment in our families, our kindred, our who spend every day in diversions, and they who friends. Now, have the poor any thing to comgo every day about their usual business, pass their plain of here ? Are they not surrounded by their time much alike. Attending to what they are relatives as generally as others? The poor man about, wanting nothing, regretting nothing, they has his wife and children about him; and what are both, whilst engaged, in a state of ease; but has the rich more? He has the same enjoyment then, whatever suspends the pursuits of the man of their society, the same solicitude for their welof diversion, distresses him, whereas to the la- fare, the same pleasure in their good qualities, bourer, or the man of business, every pause is a improvement, and success: their connexion with recreation. And this is a vast advantage which they him, is as strict and intimate, their attachment as possess who are trained and inured to a life of oc- strong, their gratitude as warm.

I have no pro cupation, above the man who sets up for a life of pensity to envy any one, least of all the rich and pleasure. Variety is soon exhausted. Novelty great ; but if l'were disposed to this weakness, the itself is no longer new. Amusements are become subject of my envy would be, a healthy young too familar to delight, and he is in a situation in man, in full possession of his strength and faculwhich he can never change but for the worse. ties, going forth in a morning to work for his wife

Another article which the poor are apt to envy and children, or bringing them home his wages at in the rich, is their ease. Now here they mistake night. the matter totally. They call inaction caso, But was difference of rank or fortune of more whereas nothing is farther from it. Rest is ease. importance to personal happiness than it is, it That is true; but no man can rest who has not I would be ill purchased by any sudden or violent

change of condition. An alteration of Arcum If, in comparing the different conditions of sostances, which breaks up a man's habits of life, cial life, we bring religion into the account, the deprives him of his occupation, removes him from argument is still easier. Religion smooths all inhis acquaintance, may be called an elevation of equalities, because it unfolds a prospect which fortune, but hardly ever brings with it an addition makes all earthly distinctions nothing. And I do of enjoyment. They to whom accidents of this allow that there are many cases of sickness, af: sort have happened, never found them to answer fiction, and distress, which Christianity alone can their expectations. After the first hurry of the comfort. But in estimating the mere diversities change is over, they are surprised to feel in them- of station and civil condition, I have not thought selves listlessness and dejection, a consciousness it necessary to introduce religion into the inquiry of solitude, vacancy, and restraint, in the place of at all; because I contend, that the man who murcheerfulness, liberty, and ease.' They try to murs and repines, when he has nothing to murmur make up for what they have lost, sometimes by a and repine about, but the mere want of independbeastly sottishness, sometimes by a foolish dissipa- ent property, is not only irreligious, but unreasontion, sometimes by a stupid sloth; all which effects able, in his complaint; and that he would find, are only so many confessions, that changes of this did he know the truth, and consider his case fairly, sort were not made for man. If any public dis- that a life of labour, such, I mean, as is led by the turbance should produce, not an equality (for that labouring part of mankind in this country, has is not the proper name to give it,) but a jumble of advantages in it which compensate all its inconranks and professions amongst us, it is not only veniences. When compared with the life of the evident what the rich would lose, but there is also rich, it is better in these important respects: It this further misfortune, that what the rich lost the supplies employment, it promotes activity. It poor would not gain. I (God knows) could not keeps the body in better health, the mind more get my livelihood by labour, nor would the labourer engaged, and, of course, more quiet. It is more find any solace or enjoyment in my studies. If we sensible of ease, more susceptible of pleasure. It were to exchange conditions to-morrow, all the is attended with greater alacrity of spirits, a more effect would be, that we both should be more constant cheerfulness and serenity of temper. It miserable, and the work of both be worse done. affords easier and more certain methods of sendWithout debating, therefore, what might be very ing children into the world in situations suited to difficult to decide, which of our two conditions their habits and expectations. It is free from many was better to begin with, one point is certain, that beavy anxieties which rich men feel ; it is fraught it is best for each to remain in his own. The with many sources of delight which they want. change, and the only change, to be desired, is that If to these reasons for contentment, the reflectgradual and progressive improvement of our cir- ing husbandman or artificer adds another very cumstances which is the natural fruit of successful material one, that changes of condition, which are industry ; when each year is something better than attended with a breaking up and sacrifice of our the last; when we are enabled to add to our little ancient course and habit of living, never can be household one article after another of new comfort productive of happiness, he will perceive, I trust, or conveniency, as our profits increase, or our that to covet the stations or fortunes of the rich, burden becomes less; and, what is best of all, when or so, however, to covet them, as to wish to seize we can afford, as our strength declines, to relax them by force, or through the medium of public our labours, or divide our cares This may be uproar and confusion, is not only wickedness, but looked forward to, and is practicable, by great folly, as mistaken in the end as in the means, that numbers in a state of public order and quiet; it is it is not only to venture out to sea in a storm, but to absolutely impossible in any other.

venture for nothing.







To the Right Reverend Edmund, Lord Bishop of Carlisle, this discourse is inscribed, with sen. timents of great respect and gratitude, by his Lordship's most dutiful, and most obliged servant and chaplain,


Even as our belored brother Paul also, according to the wisdom giren unto him, hath written unto

you ; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.—2 Peter iii. 15, 16.

It must not be dissembled that there are many were converted but from conviction; and convicreal difficulties in the Christian Scriptures; whilst, tion produced, for the most part, a corresponding at the same time, more, I believe, and greater, reforination of life and manners. Hence baptism may justly be imputed to certain maxims of inter- was only another name for conversion, and conpretation, which have obtained authority without version was supposed to be sincere: in this sense reason, and are received without inquiry. One of was our Saviour's promise," he that believeth, and these, as I apprehend, is the expecting to find, in the is baptized, shall be saved;"* and in the same his present circumstances of Christianity, a meaning command to St. Paul, “arise, and be baptized, for, or something answering to, every appellation and wash away thy sins :"t this was that baptism, and expression which occurs in Scripture; or, in “for the remission of sins," to which St. Peter in other words, the applying to the personal condition vited the Jews upon the day of Pentecost;t that of Christians at this day, those titles, phrases, pro “washing of regeneration,” by which, as St. Paul positions, and arguments, which belong solely to writes to Titus," he saved us."'S Now, when the situation of Christianity at its first institution. we come to speak of the baptism which obtains

I am aware of an objection which weighs much in most Christian churches at present, where no with many serious tempers, namely, that to sup- conversion is supposed, or possible, it is manifest, pose any part of Scripture to be inapplicable to us, that, if these expressions be applied at all, they is to suppose a part Scripture to be useless; must be applied with extreme qualification and rewhich seems to detract from the perfection we attribute to these oracles of our salvation. To Secondly; The community of Christians were this I can only answer, that it would have been at first a handful of men, connected amongst one of the strangest things in the world, if the themselves by the strictest' union, and divided writings of the New Testament had not, like all from the rest of the world by a real difference of other books, been composed for the apprehension, principle and persuasion, and, what was more oband consequently adapted to the circumstances, of servable, by many outward peculiarities of worship the persons they were addressed to; and that it and behaviour. This society, considered collectwould have been equally strange, if the great, ively, and as a body, were set apart from the rest and in many respects, the inevitable alterations, of mankind for a more gracious dispensation, as which have taken place in those circumstances, well as actually distinguished by a superior purity did not vary the application of Scripture lan- of life and conversation. In this view, and in opguage.

position to the unbelieving world, they were deI design, in the following discourse, to pro nominated in Scripture by titles of great seeming pose some examples of this variation, from which dignity and import; they were elect,'

" " called," you will judge, as I proceed, of the truth and im "saints ;'ll they were in Christ;"| they were portance of our general observation.

* Mark xvi. 16.

Acts xxii. 16. First; At the time the Scriptures were written, none were baptized but converts, and none Rom. viii. 33; 1. 6, 7. T Rom. viii. 1.



1 Acts ij. 38.

Titus üi. 5.

a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy " whom he did foreknow,” they " whom he did nation, a peculiar people."* That is, these terms predestinate ;"* they were " chosen in Christ were employed to distinguish the professors of before the foundation of the world;"+ they were Christianity from the rest of mankind, in the elect according to the foreknowledge of God the same manner as the names of Greek and Barba- Father.”+. This doctrine has nothing in it rian, Jew and Gentile, distinguished the people harsh or obscure. But what have we made of it ? of Greece and Israel from other nations. The The rejection of the Jews, and the adopting application of such phrases to the whole body of another community into their place, coinposed, Christians is become now obscure ; partly because whilst it was carrying on, an object of great magit is not easy to conceive of Christians as a body at nitude in the attention of the inspired writers who all, by reason of the extent of their name and understood and observed it. This event, which numbers, and the little visible union that subsists engaged so much the thoughts of the apostle, is among them; and partly, because the heathen now only read of, and hardly that—the reality world, with whom they were compared, and to and the importance of it are little known or at which comparison these phrases relate, is now tended to. Losing sight, therefore, of the proper ceased, or is removed from our observation. Sup- occasion of these expressions, yet willing, after posing, therefore, these expressions to have a our fashion, to adapt them to ourselves, and findperpetual meaning, and, either forgetting the ing nothing else in our circumstances that suited original use of them, or finding that, at this time, with thein, we have learnt at length to apply in a great measure exhausted and insignificant, them to the final destiny of individuals at the day we resort to a sense and an application of them, of judgment; and upon this foundation, has been easier, it may be, to our comprehensión, but ex- erected a doctrine which lays the axe at once to tremely foreign from the design of their authors, the root of all religion, that of an absolute appointnamelyto distinguish individuals amongst us,

ment to salvation or perdition independent of our. the professors of Christianity, from one another selves or any thing we can do; and what is exagreeably to which idea, the most flattering of traordinary, those very arguments and expresthese names, the “elect," "called," "saints," have, sions (Rom. chap. ix, x, xi.) which the apostle by bold and unlearned men, been appropriated to employed to vindicate the impartial mercies of God, themselves and their own party with a presump- against the narrow and excluding claims of tion and conceit injurious to the reputation of our Jewish prejudice, have been interpreted to estareligion amongst them that are without,” and blish a dispensation the most arbitrary and partial extremely disgusting to the sober part of its pro- that could be devised. fessors; whereas, that such titles were intended Fourthly; The conversion of a grown person in a sense common to all Christian converts, is from Heathenism to Christianity, which is the well argued from many places in which they oc case of conversion commonly intended in the Episcur, in which places you may plainly substitute the tles, was a change of which we have now no just terms convert, or converted, for the strongest of conception : it was a new name, a new language, these phrases, without any alteration of the au a new society; a new faith, a new hope; a new thor's meaning, e. g."dare any of you go to law object of worship, a new rule of life: a history before the unjust and not before the saints ?”+ was disclosed full of discovery and surprise; a

Is any man called being circumcised, let him prospect of futurity was unfolded, beyond imaginot become uncircumcised?"1 "The church that nation awful and august; the same description is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth applies in a great part, though not entirely, to the you:"s"

Salute Andronicus and Junia, who conversion of a Jew. This, accompanied as it were in Christ before me."'ll

was with the pardon of every former sin, (Romans Thirdly; In opposition to the Jews, who were ii, 25,) was such an era in a man's life, so remarkso much offended by the preaching of the Gospel able a period in his recollection, such a revolution to the Gentiles, St. Paul maintains, with great in- of every thing that was most important to him, as dustry, that it was God Almighty's intention might well admit of those strong figures and sigfrom the first, to substitute, at a fit season, into nificant allusions by which it is described in Scripthe place of the rejected Israelites, a society of ture: it was a "regeneration's or a new birth; men taken indifferently out of all nations under it was to be “born again of God, and of the Spiheaven, and admitted to be the people of God upon rit;"!! it was to be " dead to sin," and "alive from easier and more comprehensive terms. This is the dead;"I it was to be buried with Christ in expressed in the Epistle to the Ephesians, as fol- baptism, and raised together with him ;"** it was lows:-"Having made known unto us the mys "a new creature,"+t and a new creation;"+ it was tery of his will

, according to his good pleasure a translation from the condition of “slaves to that which he hath purposed in himself, that, in the of sons;"'$S from “ strangers and foreigners, to be dispensation of the fulness of times, he might fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the housegather together in one all things in Christ. "I hold of God.”III It is manifest that no change This scheme of collecting such a society was equal or similar to the conversion of a Heathen what God foreknew before the foundation of the can be experienced by us, or by any one educated world; was what he did predestinate ; was the in a Christian country, and to whom the facts, eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Je- precepts, and hopes of Christianity, have been fus; and, by consequence, this society, in their from his infancy familiar: yet we will retain the collective capacity, were the objects of this fore- same language; and what has been the conseknowledge, predestination, and purpose ; that is, quence ? One sort of men, observing nothing in in the language of the apostles, they were they

Rom. viii, 29. * 1 Pet. ii. 9.

Eph. i. 4. 1 1 Pet. i. 2. | 1 Cor. vi. 1. | 1 Cor. vii. 18. $ Tit. iii. 5. | John i. 13;jji. 5. $ 1 Pet. v. 13. Rom. xvj. 7.

11 2 Cor. v. 17. 11 Eph. iv. 24. 1 Eph. i. 9, 10; also see Eph. iii. 5, 6

SS Gal. iv. 7.

\' Eph. ii. 19.

T Rom. vi. 2. 13.

*. Col. ii. 12.

« السابقةمتابعة »