Imatges de pÓgina
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mitigation, or relief, of every kind of suffering, wretchedness, and disease. Nor must I forget, as the best means of ensuring the further progress of Christian knowledge, and Christian duties, among us, the anxious care, the assiduity, and munificence, that have of late been manifested, in establishing the most practical and expeditious system of education for the children of all our poor brethren, in the rudiments of useful learning, and in the principles of true religion.

Satisfied, therefore, that "these things are so," let us consider that the gloomy and morose persuasion, which the text condemns, leads to a temper and disposition of mind, which is the very reverse of that " Charity which thinketh no evil; and which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." Nothing, perhaps, tends more effectually to corrupt the very principles of Christian duty, than harsh, gloomy, and unjust opinions respecting our fellow-creatures. Next to the love of God, is the love of our neighbour: but how can we love those, whose character and conduct we must condemn, and who, notwithstanding all the sanctions and provisions of divine wisdom, and divine mercy, are gradually verging on, as some

men would teach, to a state of utter perdition?

In these melancholy and despondent views, there is, in general, a mixture of selfishness and pride, with an excess of folly. It surely requires no effort of the understanding to perceive, that, if men had gone on from a period indefinitely remote, in a state of degeneracy from one race to another, we should long before this have resembled fiends more than men; and that our vice and wickedness could be equalled only by our helplessness, our misery, and ignorance. Let us, then, indulge juster, more charitable, and more consoling sentiments. Let us consider ourselves as parts of a vast and regular, but complicated system, that is advancing under the providence of our gracious Creator to ulterior perfection. Let the sure prospect of succeeding, to a certain extent, animate all our efforts, remembering that every individual by his virtues, or his crimes, either promotes, or retards, the plan of divine benevolence: and, lastly, let those who think that the profession and practice of religion are compatible with that harsh and gloomy temper of mind, which borders on misanthropy, remember the words of the holy evangelist—" If a man say, I love

God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar." It is added, in the verse immediately following, "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God, love his brother also."

SERMON XXIV.

ON WASTEFULNESS.

JOHN. VI. 12.

When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

THE positive precepts of our blessed Lord, dispersed throughout the holy Gospel, are not many; but the practical inferences that might be drawn from his words and conduct, on various occasions, are numerous and important. The more we consider them, the more we shall be impressed with a high sense of their value, and a conviction of their being truly worthy of that divine Wisdom which inspired them.

Every thing he said, or did, seems admirably adapted to the general improvement of man. Had the rules of conduct, and the maxims of duty, which the evangelists have recorded,

been as voluminous as the apophthegms of heathen philosophers, they would not have been remembered; and had they been given in a more abstract form, or as the result of tedious discussions, they would not have been so impressive, nor so generally understood.

The text furnishes us, also, with an instance of our Lord's inculcating the duties of man in the most pleasing and efficacious manner. Having, by his first miracle of love, furnished wine in abundance for the marriage in Cana of Galilee; and having, on the present occasion, administered to the necessity of a numerous multitude, that were in want of food, he took the favorable opportunity of cautioning his dis- '! ciples against Waste. "Gather up the fragments that remain," says he, "that nothing be lost."

From his sentiments and conduct n this, and some other occasions, as well as from the sanction which he gave, by his presence, to the entertainments of the Publicans and Pharisees, we may clearly infer, that the benevolent spirit of Christianity allows the enjoyment of plenty to every man; and it was not till "they were all filled," (as another evangelist records) that our Saviour addressed his disciples in the words of the text. Every one, therefore, according

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