Imatges de pÓgina
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VII.

the most active virtue; for, besides that SERM. our piety and good deeds will ascend up to Heaven before us, as memorials in our own behalf, those that strive to render themselves patterns of all good works, may be the instruments of blessings to numberless of their fellow creatures.

There are some strong things relative to this duty of Example, in the second chapter of St. Paul to Titus, with which I shall take leave to conclude_" But speak thou the things which become sound doctrinethat the aged men be sober, grave, tem

perate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women,

The aged women, likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh boliness, teachers of good things ; that they may

teach the young women to be sober, to love their

husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word

of God be not blasphemed. Young men, likewise, exhort to be sober-minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works,”

SERMON

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Beloved, follow not that wbich is evil, but

that which is good. THESE words, in the Epistle itself, are serm. connected with a particular case. The VIII. Apostle had just been speaking of one, who had, by his froward behaviour, impeded the progress of the Gospel ; from which, taking occasion to make it a subject of caution to Gaius, to whom he was writing, hè subjoins, “ Beloved, follow not, (that is, imitate not,) that which is evil, but that which is good;" and he inforces his injunction with this further observation, “ For be that does good, is of God; but be that does evil, " bas not seen God.One general lesson to be deduced from these words is obvious

enough,

SERM. enough, namely, the wisdom and propriety VIII. of following after what is good, in pre

ference to following after evil, in any way whatever ; but the words seem capable of affording us a more particular piece of instruction, and that is, not to imitate those who do evil. Perhaps of all the temptations to do evil, there is none more dangerous than that of example. Standing entirely alone, the boldest may feel some compunction at the thought of transgressing God's laws; but when he thinks he has associates, and that he is neither the worst, nor the only sinner, he acquires a false confidence, which, if it does not quiet, at least serves to sooth' his unsettled conscience. Besides, as the judgment of God is reserved for a future state, and his providence does not interfere in the present scene of things, with any immediate acts of retribution, often does it happen that the unrighteous seem, for a time, to flourish and to prosper; and this, however improperly, becomes another source of encouragement. Scarcely any thing can tend more to prove the necessity of a revelation,

than

than this very circumstance, that the wicked SERM. so often seem to attain to the object of their vill, wishes, for this is clearly the way of the world, and if we knew no more than what the world, in this particular, offers to our notice and experience, we might well hesitate in our choice, whether, in common prudence, we should not do better, upon certain occasions, to follow those that do evil than those that do good. Certainly riches, very often, are accumulated by unfair and inequitable measures, and pleasures and indulgencies purchased with those riches, which, though equally disreputable, perhaps, in reality, yet are not unattended with much temporary enjoyment and satisfaction. But by the aid of revelation, we are not left to be necessarily deceived by these circumstances, we are taught to look much beyond the present consequences of things, and, instead of regarding the worldly advantages that may seem to flow naturally from any such base actions, we are directed to consider and reflect upon the effect they may have in recommending us to the care and the love of God. So

that

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