Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtue.

world, you will contribute to promote the welfare of your country, and to draw on yourselves individually the Divine blessing; so that it may go well with you, and with your children after you.

In paying this tribute of respect to departed royalty, I have observed the caution becoming a teacher of Christianity. I trust I have not said more than is just; and, if I have said less, I am sure the defect will be imputed to that scrupulous regard to truth, which a faithful minister of the Gospel of truth must always retain,

SERMON XI.

SERMON XI.

The doing of Righteousness in reference to the Practice of

Liberality, and to Projects of Public Utility.

Preached to a Parochial Benefit Society in 1820.

1. John 3. 10.

Whosoever doll not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

IT
T is no less a deduction of reason than a

truth of revelation, that God is the author of all goodness and virtue; and that to please Himn his rational creatures must imitate his goodness, in proportion to the ability, which He has respectively bestowed upon them for that purpose. As the will of God must be the proper law for the actions of men; and his will is to do good, and to produce happiness; the

diffusion rance; been

The doing of Righteousness in reference to the Practice

diffusion and propagation of happiness is the only legitimate end of the purposes of men; and the surest means of ultimately attaining that end must be their right rule of life.

To this end the things, which God come mands, must be conductors, and the proper subjects on which men are to exercise their faculties both of body and mind; because He knowing all things cannot command any thing in opposition to his own purposes ; but on the contrary, He doth necessarily prescribe and direct every thing that is requisite to their accomplishment. It is, therefore, impossible to infringe the right rule of life in faithfully executing his commands.

So deceitful, however, is the heart of man, so various and complicated are the circumstances of life, so uncertain are the consequences of human conduct; that, in consider ing with reference to any particular precept the quality, or motive, or tendency in all its bearings, of any action, that we contemplate, we are continually liable to mistake. If we err through unavoidable weakness or igno

of Liberality, and to Projects of Public Utility.

rance; God will pardon the error; if evil should thence arise, He will not impute it as sin. The design having been sincere, and formed with the best ability of the agent to honour and serve his Almighty Creator; although it may have proved fruitless, or in this confused state of things, have produced suffering instead of happiness ; it will nevertheless be accepted for righteousness; because it was formed in faith,and sincerity, and love towards Him, who is not extreme to mark what is done amiss. Whosoever thus designs and acts, however ineffectual his efforts may be to the attainment of his proposed end, doeth righteousness, and is of God's obedient and approved children.

But, where this disposition and endeavour to obey God do not exist, although there should be an intention of human benefit; there is no acceptance of righteousness. If evil ensue, and the work, well meant as to its immediate object, be the result of strong passion which should have been suppressed, of craving appetite which should have been controuled, of ignorance or prejudice which might have

The doing of Rigbteousness in reference to the Practice

been overcome ; the consequent mischief will be a criminal charge against the doer. It is as vain for a man to say that he loves God, when he neither desires, nor endeavours, to serve Him; as it is when he entertains no goodwill towards his fellow beings. That action cannot be pleasing to God, which originates in a total contempt of Him, and his dispensations; although it may have been performed with a design to benefit or gratify the creature. The feeling that prompted it, was of the corrupted mind, which resisted the influence of his spirit; and the offspring of such a feeling He will not accept.

Therefore, diligently to obey the commands of God, with a design to the fulfilment of his gracious will, is the imperfect, but accepted service of man to his Creator, the true and only righteousness, of which he is capable. And, since the will of the Almighty is the happiness of every thing that He has made, except of those beings, who by sin incapacitate themselves for happiness ; we most truly exercise our love and obedience to Him, when in a full and grateful sense of our obligations

to

« ZurückWeiter »