Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

shall be clean; if he washes us, we shall be whiter than snow; and when the kingdom of God shall come, and his glory shall appear, we shall be prepared to behold his face in righteousness a.

The sum of the whole matter, as St. Paul has wonderfully expressed it in a single verse, is this Through Christ we have an access by one Spirit

unto the Father.” To the Father, with a due sense of this great honour and privilege, as sons of God, let us therefore address ourselves for pardon and admission to our heavenly inheritance:"O God, “ the Father of heaven, have mercy upon us, misera. 66 ble sinners !" But as we have no deserts of our own, no works of righteousness by which to claim his favour, and are entitled only through the sufferings and satisfaction of Christ, let us beseech him to intercede for us, and plead his merits with the Father: "O God the Son, Redeemer of the world, "have mercy upon us miserable sinners!” And since the benefits of his merits are applied, and our pardon sealed, and ourselves enabled to render an acceptable service, only by the operations and assistances of the Holy Spirit, let us implore his aid also: “() God the Holy Ghost, proceeding from

d It lias been asked, of what importance the doctrine of the Trinity can be to the state. We answer, Much, every way; as it is a doctrine of the Scriptures, and as it is a doctrine preg. nant with the noblest motives to Christian love and obedience. It therefore requires and demands the support

of

every state wishing to enjoy the favour and protection of that God who, for such gracious purposes, hath revealed it.

e Ephes. ii. 18. VOL. IV.

H

“ the Father and the Son, have mercy upon us mi. “ serable sinners !" Yet remembering, that, how various soever the economy may be, salvation is the one sole undivided end and work of all; therefore to All let us address our earnest prayers and invocations, as to the Great Power to whom we have consecrated ourselves and services : "O holy, blessed,

, " and glorious Trinity, three Persons, and one God, have mercy upon us miserable sinners !"

And thou, almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine Majesty to worship the Unity ; we beseech thee, that thou wouldst keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities; who livest and reignest one God world without end.

To this one God, for the means of grace vouchsafed to us in this life, and for the hopes of glory in another, be ascribed, as is most due, all honour, majesty, and dominion, all praise and adoration, both now and for ever.

99

DISCOURSE VII.

CHARITY RECOMMENDED ON ITS TRUE MOTIVÉ.

1 JOHN, IV, 11.

If God so loved us, we ought also to love one

another.

GREATER injustice cannot be done to the doctrines of Christianity, than to suppose them barren speculations, subjects intended only for the meditations of the pious in their closets or the controversies of the learned in their writings, and issuing in no conclusions for the benefit of society, and the comfort of mankind. The contrary is happily evinced by the words just read, in which allusion is made to the incarnation of the Son of God, as the great instance of the divine love towards us; and that love proposed as the principle and the pattern of our love toward our neighbour. ' “ If God so loved us," that he “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our

sins," --such are the words immediately preceding the text-then, “we ought also to love one another.” We might ask him in whom zeal for the welfare of his fellow-creatures burns with the brightest and most ardent flame, what his patriotic and generous heart could wish more, than that men might be brought to this blessed temper of mind? Did it but prevail in its full extent, it would reform the world at once. Transgression would cease, and with it much of our misery and trouble. The reign of righteousness and happiness would commence, and paradise be, in great measure, restored upon earth.. St. Paul assigns the reason in very few words, “ Love worketh no ill to its neighbour ;" it can work him no ill; it can never injure him in his person, his bed, his property, or his character; it cannot so much as conceive a desire for any thing that belongs to him. But it resteth not content with negatives. It not only worketh him no ill, but it must work for him all the good in its power. Is he hungry? It will give hiin ineat. Is he thirsty ? It will give him drink. Is he naked ? It will clothe him. Is he sick? It will visit him.

Is he sorrowful? It will comfort him. Is he in prison? It will go to him, and, if possible, bring him out. Upon this ground, wars must for ever cease among nations, dissensions of every kind among lesser societies, and the individuals that compose them. All must be peace, because all would be love. And thus would every end of the incarnation be accomplished; good will to men, peace on earth, and to God on high glory from both.

In the farther prosecution of the subject, your attention is requested to a few observations on the

a Rom. xiii. 10.

motive proposed by St. John for the duty of charity; and the best manner of performing the duty upon that motive.

Many seem to think, that if charity be but shown, the motive is a matter of indifference. It may be 80. to the party receiving, but not to the party bestowing. A sick person is equally benefited, whether he who sits by his bed-side sits there from real affection, or with design to make a will in his own favour. Nothing can determine the sterling worth of an action, but a knowledge of the motive upon which it is performed. Here, then, we should be very careful not to deceive ourselves. We should deal fairly, and search our hearts to the bottom. In the day of inquisition and retribution, he who made them, and therefore knows what is in them, will certainly do so. Men and angels, on that day, will be made acquainted not only with all we have done, but with the true reasons why we did it; and the transactions of human life will be found far other than they seem. Nay, there are, even now, men of the world, endowed with sagacious and penetrating minds, who judging partly from what they experience in themselves, and partly from what they have observed in others, are not easily imposed upon. By knowing a person's general character, and laying circumstances together, they will give a shrewd guess at what is passing within, and not be led to take the ostensible motive for the real. Some French authors, and, after them, some English ones, writing upon this plan, have given a very unfavourable representation indeed of human nature. Their

« AnteriorContinuar »