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his neighbours ; and as if he only were the person to be pitied or despised, who is quietest, or poorest, or (in whatever manner it may so happen) hindmost in the race? If it be thus, I think it is quite clear, that all such persons will serve “ the world” first, at any rate. Whether they will serve God afterwards, or in what measure they will serve him, will depend much upon circumstances; as, “ whether they can;" or, “ it “ be quite convenient;" or considered “respect“ able” so to do.: .,7
And all these things they will do—wherefore? Because they do not think of God, nor of Him, whom God hath sent to reclaim and to deliver them! As was said before, they know not whose they are, nor whom they serve. Men bear the image and superscription of the KING OF KINGS written in broad and legible characters upon all •the powers of their body and mind, and yet will not acknowledge him. They show it, in the cleverness of their heads, and in the skill of their hands; in the dignity of their upright attitude; in the strength of their manhood; in the beauty of their understanding; in the music of their tongue; in the thousand gifts and graces, that carry honour in the sight of their fellows ; and yet they will not glorify God, the Giver of all, either in their body or in their spirit; they cf. I Cor.
vi. 20. and will not accept Christ, as a King, to reign over Luke xix. them!
viii. I. $. 1. 8.2.
Now, even to omit mention, for a moment, of the greatest and worst offence that is in this disposition ; (I mean its entire wrongness towards the Almighty himself;) let it be considered, (under the subordinate case only,) how absolutely impossible it is with such a disposition to behave
in any thing like a right manner towards our See Lect. fellow-creatures ; how certain it is, that all the
pious and tender hearted must condemn it! And indeed, if such temper were allowable; if the want of charity, of justice, and of mercy towards those around us, or beneath us, could be thought even excusable; what comfort and satisfaction could such a state of things as this world offers afford to the “ poor and simple ?" or how could they, thinking for themselves, or how could others, thinking for them, ever heartily agree to God's “ justice ?"
Yet such (we think) as has been described, the world is, without. Christian love! not destitute of a certain face of wisdom and of virtue ; (nay, and that a very comely face, if it be but seen from a favourable point ;) but far removed
from the clear sight of enduring truth and good1 John iv. ness; not rightly knowing even its own bre
thren, whom it hath seen; much less God, whom it hath not seen.
We have to judge, every man for himself, whether this sort of disposition is to be found in the world, or not. Only let it be remembered,
that in whatever proportion it is found, in the same does it show forth its own condemnation, and the want of something further. If this be bad, therefore, as a state of things, must we not desire and seek a better? Can this satisfy the spirit of a man, even when he thinks of men alone? How much less, when he comes to consider “ sin," with reference, not to man, as he is injured, but to God, as he is offended by it?
We must, then, seek a better “ rule and law “ of life” than any that is to be found without the Gospel : not from any conceit of over-much righteousness, or any wish to be thought holier than others; but from an honest and simple discerning between “right" and "wrong," between “good” and “ evil.” I say, not in overstrained conceit, or in any want of charity; because the world, which stands condemned in Scripture as lying in wickedness, is elsewhere in the same i John v. Scripture spoken of with the tenderest regard : as when our Saviour said, I came not to judge the John xii.
47. world, but to save the world. He that saves, loves. And again ; God so loved the world, that John iii. he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. What, therefore, is God's work, and the object of his regard, it is not for us to presume to set at nought rashly, or lightly to condenın. But if there be one rule and way of living, one aim and understanding, to be noted, for the
condemnation of which there is both plain authority and reason; and (at the same time)
there be found another, by which an easy door 1 Cor. vii. is opened into the way of using this same world
as not abusing it ; will not they, who understand their calling and condition here most effectually, do well, to cast away the wrong rule, and cleave to the right one?
Which rule (I. demand that it be fairly considered) must really meet, most fully and consistently, the necessities and aspirations of reflecting man? Suppose him to follow up his estimate, as just represented, with the question ; “ Then, if
“ these things be so, as I perceive they are, with Cf. 1 Cor. 6.so many of my fellow-creatures, who made me
“ to differ from another? or what have I that “ I did not receive ?” Aye, who indeed! Time was, when not only such worldly spirits as those of which we have been speaking, but the very worst offenders that have ever stood condemned by human justice, were no worse than ourselves d! when they came naked from their
d « It was not an extravagance of humility, therefore, I “ should think, but a sound calculation, or a natural feeling, “ which once made a distinguished moralist, when he saw one or of his fellow-creatures under the extreme sentence of law,
express his thankfulness, that he had escaped the fall and “ fate to which he was perhaps in himself as liable as the “ guilty sufferer.” p. 13. Assize Sermon, preached before the University of Oxford, March 6, 1817. by John Davison, M. A. Fellow of Oriel College.
mothers womb, with only the furniture of natural hearts and human passions ! The root of all their guilt was in them then : there must have been a root: crime could not have flourished to its height, without a stock whereon temptation might fasten : and was not the same root in us also ? was it not as much obnoxious to divine displeasure ; as much a barrier from his preșence, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, in Habak. i, our own case, as in theirs ?
Let the sufficiency, the indispensable necessity of holy Scripture, “ as a store of means " adapted to the wants of an individual human “ being,” be brought in sobriety to the test of thoughts like these. Various restraints may have, instrumentally, preserved the Christian, who (at any given moment) stands upright in his calling, from the overt act of transgression among men. But, to say nothing of all sins of “ infirmity;" all intermediate deviations from holiness, which must in the very best man's case have intervened between the season of his birth and that of his matured reflection; we must account, somehow or other, for the removal (if it be removed) of this original uncleanness in the sight of God.
It is here, that Christianity so fully, so espe
I take this opportunity of acknowledging with humble delight, several approximations of thought between this Sermon and the present Lecture.