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- all ranks and conditions of men, and to all kinds of action and intercourse between them; to matters of charity, generosity and civility, as well as justice; to negative no less than positive duties. The ruler and the ruled are alike subject to it: public communities can no empt themselves froin its obligation than private persons : "All persons must fall down before it, all nations must do it service." And, with respect to this extent of it, it is that our blessed Lord pronounces it in the text to be, the law and the prophets." His meaning is, that whalever rules of the second table are delivered in the law of Moses, or in the larger comments and explanations of that law made by the other writers of the Old Testament (here and elsewhere styled the Prophets) they are all virtually comprised in this one short significant saying, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them."
III-On Benevolence and Charity-Seed. FORM as ainiable sentiments as you can, of nations, communities of men, and individuals. If they are true, you do them only justice ; if false, though your opinion does not alter their nature and make them lovely, you yourself are more lovely for entertaining such sentiments
. When you feel the bright warmth of a temper thoroughly good in your own breast, you will see something good in every one about you. It is a mark of littleness of spirit to confine yourself to some minute part of a inan's char. acter; a man of generous, open, extended views, will, grasp the whole of it; without which he cannot pass a right judgement on any part, He will not arraign a man's general conduct for two or three particular actions as knowing that man is a changeable creature, and will not cease to be so, till he is united to that Being, who is « the same yesterday, today and forever.” He strives to outdo his friends in good offices, and overcomes his enemies by them.
He thinks he then receives the greatest injury, when he returns and revenges one; for then he is “ overcome of evil.” Is the person young wlio has injured him ? He will reflect, that inexperience of the world and a warmth of constitution, may betray his unpractis. ed years into several inadvertencies, which a more ad
own good sense, and the advice of a julicious friend, will correct and rectify. Is he, old? The nfirmities of age and want of health may have set an dge upon his spirits, and made him "speak unadvisedly ith his lips." Is he weak and ignorant ? He considers hat it is a duty incumbent upon the wise to bear with hose that are not so: “You suffer fools gladly,” says St. 'aul, seeing you yourselves are wise. In short, he adges of himself, as far as he can, with the strict rigor f justice; but of others with the softenings of humanly.
From charitable and benevolent thoughts, the transiion is unavoidable to charitable actions. For wherever here is an inexhaustable fund of goodness at the heart,
will under all the disadvantages of circumstances, ex. rt itself ip acts of substantial kindness. He that is subtantially good, will be doing good. The man that has a learty determinate will to be charitable, will seldom put nen off with the inere will for the deed. For a sincere lesire to do good, implies some uneasiness till the thing je done; and uneasiness sets the mind at work, and puts t
upon the stretch to find out a thousand ways and means of obliging, which will ever escape the unconcerned, the ndifferent, and the unfeeling.
The most proper objects of your bounty are the neces. zitous. Give the same sum of
which on a person in tolerable circumstances, to one in extreme poverty; and observe what a wide disproportion of happiness is produced. In the latter case, it is like giving a cordial to a fainting person; in the former, it is like give ing wine to him wlio has already quenched his thirst. "Mercy is seasonable in time of afffiction, like clouds of rain in time of drought.”
And among the variety of necessitous objects, none have a better title to our compassion, than those, who, afer having tasted the sweets of plenty, are, by some una deserved calamity, obliged, without some charitable relief, to drag out the remainder of life in misery and woe; who little thought they should ask their daily bread of any but of God; who, after a life led in affluence, "cannot dig, and are ashamed to beg." And they are to be relieved in such an endearing manner, with such a beauty
of holiness, that at the same time that their wants are sup plied, their confusion of face may be prevented.
There is not an instance of this kind in history so afe fecting as that beautiful one of Boaz to Ruth. He knew her family, and how she was reduced to the lowest ebb when, therefore, she begged leave to glean in his fields, he ordered his reapers to let fall several handfuls, with a seeming carelessness, but really with a set design, that she might gather them up without being ashamed. Thus did he form an artful scheme, that he might give without the vanity and ostentation of giving; and she receive, with out the slame and confusion of making acknowledge ments. Take the history in the words of scripture, as it is recorded in the book of Ruth. And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saya i9g, let her glean even among the sheaves, and rebuke her not; and let fall also some of the handfuls on purpose, and leave them that she may glean them, and reproach her not." This was not only doing a good action; it was doing it likewise with a good grace,
It is not enough we do no harm, that we be negatively good! we must do good, positive good, if we would “enter into life. When it would have been as good for the world if such a man had never lived ;. it would perhaps have been better for him, if " he had never been born.”
A scanty fortune may limit your beneficene, and confine it chiefly to the circle of your domestics, relations and neighbours; but let your benevolence extend as far as thought can travel, to the utmost bounds of the world; just as it may be only in your power to beautify the spot of ground that lies near and close to you; but you could wish that as far as your eye can reach, the whole prospect before you were cheerful, every thing disagreeable were removed, and every thing beautiful made more so.
IV.-On Happiness. --STEARNE. THE great pursuit of man is after happiness;-it is the first and strongest desire of his nature;-in every stage of his life he searches for it as for hid treasure, courts it under a thousand different shapes; and, though perpetually disappointed-still persists-runs after and inquires for it afresh-asks every passenger who comes in
is way, “Who will show him any good ," -- who will asist him in the attainment of it or direct him to the disovery of this great end of all his wishes ?
He is told by one, to search for it among the more gay nd youthful pleasures of life; in scenes of mirth and prightliness, where happiness ever presides, and is ever o be known by the joy and laughter which he will see.at nee painted in her looks.
A second, with a graver aspect, points out to him the ostly dwellings which pride and extravagance have erectd; tells the inquirer that the object he is in search of inlabits there; that happiness lives only in company with he great, in the midst of much pomp and outward state. Phat he will easily find her out by the coat of many colJurs she has on, and the great luxury and expense of efuipage and furniture with which she always sits surrounded.
The miser wonders how any one would mislead and wilfully put him upon so wrong a scent-convinces him that happiness and extravagance never inhabited under the same roof;-that, if he would not be disappointed in his search, he must look into the plain and thrifty dwelling of the prudent man, who knows and understands the worth of money, and cautiously lays it up against an evil hour. That it is not the prostitution of wealih upon the passions, or the parting with it at all that constitutes happiness--but that it is the keeping it together, and the having and holding it fast to him and his heirs forever, which are the chief attributes that form this great idol of human Worship, to which so much incense is offered up every day.
The epicure, though he easily rectifies so gross a mise take, yet, at the saine time, he plunges him, if possible, into a greater; for hearing the object of his pursuit to be happiness, and knowing of no other happiness than what is seated immediately in his senses-he sends the inquirer there ; tells bim ii is in vain to search elsewhere for it, than where nature herself has placed it-ia the indulgence and gratification of the appetites, whicli are given us for that end : and in a word—it he will not take his opinion in the matter--he may trust the word of a much wiser man, who has assured us--that theie is nothing better in this world, than that a man should eat and drink, and rejoice*
in his works, and make his soul enjoy good in his laborfor that is his portion.
To rescue him from this brutal experiment-ambitior takes him by the hand and carries him into the worldshows him all the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory of them-points out the many ways of advancing his fortune, and raising himself to honor-lays before his eyes all the charms and bewitching temptations of power, and asks if there be any happiness in this world like that of being.carressed, courted, flattered, and followed.
To close all, the philosopher meets him bustling in the full career of this pursuit-stops him--tells him, if he is! in search of happiness, he has gone far out of his way :That this deity has long been banished from noise and tumults, where there was no rest found for her, and was fed iplo solitude, far from all commerce of the world, and, word, if he would find her, he must leave this busy and intriguing scene, and go back to that peaceful scene of retirement and books, from which he first set out.
In this circle, too often does a man run, tries all esper. iments, and generally site down wearied and dissatisfied with them all at last-in utter despair of ever accom. plishing what he wants-not knowing what to trust to al ter so many disappointmeuts--or where to lay the fault, whether in the incapacity of his own nature, or the insufficiency of the enjoyments theinselves.
In this uncertain and perplexed state-without knowl. edge which way turn, or where to betake ourselves for refuge-so often abused and deceived by the many who pretend thus to show us any good-Lord ! says the Psalmist, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us. Send us some rays of thy grace and heavenly wisdom, in this benighted search after happiness, to direct us safely to it. O God ! let us not wander forever without a guide, in this dark region, in endless pursuit of our mistaken good; but enlighten our eyes that we sleep not in death -open to them the comforts of thy holy word and religion- lift up the light of thy countenance upon us--and inake us know the joy and satisfaction of living in the true faith and fear of Thee, waich only can carry us to this haven of rest, where we would be-that sure hàven where true joys are to be found, which will at