Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tising all the duties promotive of his own best interests here and hereafter.

« Every man " that hath the Spirit, purifieth hinself, as “ God is pure." "He will refrain from all open sin and wickedness, because he knows that this will ruin his character among men ; he will commit no secret iniquity, because he knows that God," who seeth the secrets “ of all hearts," will find it out, and punish it hereafter. He will avoid all the sins of uncleanness, and keep his body in temperance, soberness, and chastity ; because he kņows, that what is contrary to this viţtue will destroy his health in this world, and plunge his soul into hell in the next. He will endeavour to maintain " a con“ science void of offence," both towards God and towards man; because he knows, that this is the best way of making himself comfortable and respected in life, tranquil in death, and happy through all eternity. Such will be our feelings and behaviour, iny christian brethren, if we have the Spirit of God really dwelling within us; but if we do not shew forth the fruits of “goodness, “ righteousness, and truth," we may then be assured, that the spirit we boast, is the spirit of error; a spirit which will certainly deceive us here, and ruin our immortal souls hereafter.

SERMON XIX.

[For the Fourth Sunday in Lent.]

JOHN vi. 12.

Jesus said to his disciples, Gather up the frage

ments that reinain, that nothing be lost.

by to

'HE miracles of our blessed LORD were pot him

prove his own divine character; but all of them were in some way or other useful to mankind. He raised the dead; but it was to restore a son to his poor mother, the widow of Nain; and to give back Lazarus to his affectionate sisters, Martha and Mary. He made the blind .to see, the lame to walk, and the withered and bedridden to be strong and healthy, that they might again be restored to their labours, and become useful once more to society. And in the miracle recorded in the Gospel for the day, he increased five barley loaves into food sufficient for five thousand people; but it was to relieve the hungry; and to teach them a lesson of great value and importance in the conduct of their lives. This lesson is contained in the words of the text, : “ gather up the “ fragments that nothing be lost;" and admonishes us, that it is our bounden duty to use properly, and not to abuse, the blessings which it may please Providence to bestow upon us ; to employ them faithfully to the purposes for which we have received them; so that, at the last great day of reckoning, we may be able to give a just and satisfactory account of the talents entrusted to us by God, whether small or great, more or less, and receive that reward froin Him, which He has promised to all those who manage them wisely and properly; “ Well done, “ chou good and faithful servant, enter “ thou into the joy of thy LORD.” Count. less as are the blessings which we all receive from our Father who is in heaven, it would be impossible for me to mention them separately; “ .for they are as the stars “ in the sky in multitude, and as the sand 6 which is by the sea-shore innumerable." I shall therefore confine myself at present to two of those blessings--our daily provisions and our time ; of the fragments of both of

.

which we are bound to be wise and prudent stewards; of the one, for the sake of our fellow.creatures ; of the other, for the sake of our own souls:

Let us consider, then, in the first place, the duty of not wasting the fragments of our daily provisions. If there were ever a case, in which the care of fragments seemed to be unnecessary, it was when our blessed Lord worked the miracle, related in the Gospel for the day; when he fed so large a multitude with so little provision, and shewed how easy it was for him to obtain any quantity of food, without the trouble of minding what remained. Yet this was the very opportunity, when he admonished his disciples, that the smallest fragments were not beneath their notice; and that the same attention was to be given not to waste any thing, as if they had nothing else to depend upon in future, than what remained after the multitude had eaten and were filled. This proves, that our Saviour's words were intended to remind men, of every rank and condition in life, that they are bound to take the utmost care even of the smallest gifts of Providence; and, as I said before, to use them as good stewards, who are hereafter to give an account to their Master who is in heaven, of every thing which he has com.

mitted to their charge. They were intended to instruct the rich man, how he was to employ the portion of this world's goods allotted to him. GOD ALMIGHTY, in his wisdom, has thought fit to make distinctions among mankind with respect to worldly possessions; and we can easily see, that this plan of Providence makes society much happier than it would have been, had all men been born equal, and placed in the same situation. There would then bave been no room for the exercise of a great many virtues, and christian graces, which may now be practised, in consequence of some being rich and others poor, some high, and others lowly: for then no man could have been called upon to exercise honest industry, or to shew forth patience and content under poverty and labour. There would then have been no rich men, to glorify God by giving to the needy, healing the sick poor, and encouraging deserving people in a humble condition of life: nor would there have been any poor people, to testify gratitude for favours conferred upon them, to perform the many useful and praise-worthy duties of a low condition of life, or to practise the christian graces of resignation and submission to the will of God, under the difficulties they may sometimes suf.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »