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ment to cultivate and propagate, to the SERM. utmost, what would give peace and security to us all ; when the great God of heaven has so loved us, and made our case his own, as to take our very nature upon him, to save and to redeem us, why cannot we make his cause our's, and resolve, not only to cultivate his religion ourselves, but to encourage it in others ? Is there any Christian charity in being so selfish, as to be careful only for ourselves ? Religion is the only sure hope we have; it is sure to benefit every individual who embraces it, and it is sure to do good in society so far as it extends. Let us then remember, that besides having regard to our own deportment, we shall do well to look to the deportment of others. If we have an influence over any who shew a disregard to religion, let us exert it to the utmost to bring them into the way of truth. A high reward is promised to those who engage successfully in such a task ; “ They " that be wise," says the Prophet, “ shall s sbine as the brightness of the firmament; “ " and they that turn many to righteousness as
“ the stars for ever and ever.” Those who can do good in this way, are chargeable with any neglect in not doing it. As it is easy to know who frequents the temple of God, it is easy to know who they are that do not; such should excite our suspicion ; not any base and uncharitable suspicions, but the suspicions of a Christian; we should entertain an apprehension for them, lest here or hereafter they come to harm. In bringing them back to the paths of religion, if they have been by chance or passion seduced to leave them, we shall be sure to consult their interest both here and hereafter; and our own, inasmuch as their
' reformation will redound to our praise ; and the interest of society at large, inasmuch as a religious man is always the safest, and most trust-worthy, and best neighbour we can have ; in short, if we would but agree to be religious ourselves, and, as far as possible, teach and encourage others to be so, this world might be rendered like to heaven, for “ the 6 wicked would cease from troubling," and then "
might be “at rest; “ nation would no more lift up the sword
66 the weary
against nation," nor, for our defence, SERM. either at home or abroad, need we“ learn “ war any more." I fear this is an event more to be wished than expected, but if perfection is out of our reach, let us yet endeavour to advance. Righteousness, we are told, exalteth a nation; it will certainly also exalt individuals, so that every step we take, we shall gain something. But, after all, it does not depend on compact and agreement, and we should very much mistake the matter if we were to think it did. It is at all times the duty, the indispensable duty, of every man, both to worship his Maker and to keep his laws; and the laws of our Maker are sufficiently promulgated. Surely we cannot be ignorant, that it is required of us to testify our faith in God, through Christ, by good works? The first and great commandment is known to us all ; Nature dictates it, and Revelation has confirmed it: we all stand bound, by every consideration that can have weight with a rational being, to love, to honor, and to fear the Lord our God, with every faculty D
SERM. of the heart, the soul, and the mind. And
the second commandment is as generally acknowledged, though perhaps we are not aware how continually we violate it; for the law it inculcates, is explained by another most plain and easy doctrine, which none can misunderstand, and which should for ever be our guide, namely, that in all cases whatsoever, we “ do to others, as we “ would they should do to us."
What a scene of harmony, quiet, and tranquillity, would ensue, if each man would suffer himself to be governed by these two principles; we should then need no compact or agreement, the consequences would flow from ourselves. If every man would be righteous, every man would be secure; we should have no more jealousies or envyings, no more murmuring and complaining, no more strife and hatred, no more malice and revenge; added to all which, we should each be so much forwarder in the
way of salvation, so much nearer to the high prize of our calling, through the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind. God exacts not your services for his own sake, it is all
for your's: for, "how can a man be profita- SERM. "ble unto God? or is it any gain to him if 11. "thou makest thy ways perfect? If thou be righteous what givest thou him? or what "receiveth be at thy hand?" The truth of all I have advanced is manifest and clear; he that desires to be happy here, and blessed hereafter; he that is disposed to honor God, and live well with his neighbour; he who hopes for salvation through Christ, and would shew forth his faith accordingly, all such are called upon to do what they can to promote, in every way possible, the knowledge of the Lord, that "the earth may be full of righteousness "as the waters cover the sea."