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We are this day happy witnesses that it hath ap-
to love as Christ has loved. This is at once the origin and pattern of Christian benevolence. Without it, humanity would have had but a li. mited sphere, and a feeble operation. Without it, mutual regard of man to man would have been altogether insufficient for the deliverance of a single soul: Now we are placed in a situation in which we may be the honoured instruments of removing the greatest evil from the world, and of promoting the best, even the eternal interests of mankind. The man, whose mind is animated with truly Christian benevolence, gladly avails himself of that advantageous situatior. While he is not indifferent to any of the interests of his fellow-creatures, but cheerfully lends his friendly charitable aid to all who need it, and for every useful purpose, yet his more ardent and generous ambition is to do the greatest good to precious immortal souls. He is ready to sacrifice every worldly pleasure, honour, and advantage to the propagation of the gospel. Seeking the prosit of many that they may be faved, he eagerly seizes every opportunity of se:rding to others the word of salvation. This le considers as the best and most precious feed which can be fown in the field of the world. He thinks
himself happy if he can furnish the scriptures, and the means of religious instruction and eternal salvation, to those who are ready to perish for lack of knowledge. "To be the instrument of bringing glory to God, and supreme happiness to men, chiefly commands his attention, and excites and regulates every benevolent scheme and exertion. Such, my brethren, is the amiable and great and useful character represented in our text, under the figure of sowing bountifully.
Let us now attend, as was proposed, in the second place, to the richness of his reward, expressed in the promise added, that he shall reap also bountifully. Need I here caution you against confidering what shall be said on this part of the subject, as holding out any deserved recompence to personal merit. No such connexion of things could be intended by the apostle. Every claim of this kind is expressly condemned by the whole tenor of his doctrine and example. At the same time, like one skilful in the word of righteous. ness, and who knew the grace of God in truth, he is carcful to assert its practical influence, and the inviolable connexion betwixt the privileges and hopes of Christians, and a corresponding
character. The apostle, therefore, must not be understood as proposing the remuneration of meritorious exertions, but an encouraging animating motive to duty. The reward is not of debt, but of grace. The grace, which promises and bestows the reward, forms, as we have already shown, the character suited to it. In that character, we contemplate not the dignity of me. rit, but the necessary evidence of an interest in the love of God, and all its great and eternal defigns. This will be still more apparent from the illustration of this second head of discourse.
In the first place, the truth of this great and gracious promise will be felt in inward enjoy. ment and spiritual improvement. The good man, says Solomon, shall be satisfied from himself. This is not the pride of self-Aattery, but the testimony of a good conscience. The pleasures of a benevolent mind, are of a peculiarly refined and exalted nature. Strangers to purity of principle and affection, cannot intermeddle with this joy. In this respect, virtue is its own reward. Self-fatisfaction, without having the moral sense exercised, to discern between good and evil, is an unenviable and despicable enjoyment. If we feel and think with any degree of justness concerning right and wrong, every finful pursuit and pleasure must be mixed with difapprobation and painful apprehension. On the contrary, the due exercise of our moral powers supposes a regularity and fubordination in all the parts of our spiritual constitution, which, in the nature of things, is inseparable from real enoyment. In this, indeed, all proper mental enoyment confists ; because thus all the affections of the soul meet with, and act upon their proper objects. In the exercise of charity, for instance, how can an unpleasing sentiment arise in the mind ? Every disposition excited and exerted is marked with amiableness, gentleness, and kindness. Here, too, a high degree of happiness is derived from the good which we are instrumental in communicating to others. What they feel in receiving our assistance, we feel in giving it. The sensibility which was fo tenderly touched by their miseries, is not less susceptible of their joy, when relieved and comforted, and we naturally participate in the satisfaction which we have been enabled to impart. But, besides this native operation, and effect of benevolent sentiments and exertions, when these are reviewed