Imatges de pÓgina
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great day, the book of life shall be produced, where every action is marked down, and every fyllable recorded; how dreadful will his fituation be in that awful and tremendous hour, when all those whom he had injured, or de. frauded, shall appear face to face, and bear witness against him! With how different an eye will the sensualift then behold the object of his lust! With what an altered countenance will the great and powerful then look upon the object of his ambition! How will the hypocrite avoid the sight of those whom he hath deceived and betrayed! And how will the evil speaker dread the accusing voice of those whom he hath calumniated!

But let us turn our eyes from a scene fo dreadful towards its opposite, towards that consolation which the divine justice will administer to the good; an inexhaustible fountain of comfort and satisfaction to him in every ftation and circumstance of life; whilft God is juft, the good man need not sink under his afflictions, because he may rest assured that they will one day be removed; whilst God is just, he need not repine at the success of the wicked, because he may be certain that they will one day be punished: here he hath always an appeal from the partial determinations of human equity; here he hath an asylum to flee unto from every human injury.

Virtue, we know, feldom appears in public, without the veil of modesty, which though it heightens her charms in the eye of the judicious, may yet conceal them from the vulgar. If therefore on the justice of God muft de

pend

own.

pend all our hopes of happiness, both here and hereafter; if we would enjoy the benefits of this divine attribute, we must ourselves aspire to the imitation of it; if we hope to be blessed, as God is blessed, we must be just as he is just, and pure as he is pure.

In all our dealings therefore with each other, we should above every thing take care to be strictly and inflexibly just before we suffer the will to give its decisive conclusion; we should try and examine ourselves by the great rule of action, the infallible standard and criterion of doing as we would be done unto. Men for the most part complain of the injustice of others, and at the same time do not recollect their

God hath graciously implanted in the breasts of all, a natural justice, and a natural benevolence, and as much as we murmur against the ingratitude of mankind, it is not, perhaps, after all, so often met with, as it is complained of.

In the natural world, it is worth our abser, vation to remark, that like always produceth like; trees, herbs, plants, and flowers, partake of the same qualities, powers and perfections, as the roots and stocks from whence they sprung; and if we rise from vegetable to animal life, we shall still perceive the same invariable similitude; and every creature by its form, its motion, and its faculties, pointing out its different originals.

And so it is in the moral world also; love will naturally produce love; pity will beget compassion; liberality is the child of benefiçence; knowledge the offspring of wisdom,

and

and piety the parent of devotion; and on the other hand, from the feeds of hatred and animosity, fprings up a plentiful harvest of difcord and averfion; fraud is repaid by treachery, injustice by its oppression, and hardness of heart is recompensed by inhumanity.

Man therefore, we fee, may be happy if he will: if we are kind and benevolent, and af. fectionate to others, they will be fo to us. There are very few dispositions so four and implacable, but a constant endeavour to serve and oblige, will foften them into complacency. God hath directed the stream of benevolence towards the various ties and connections of human life, on purpose to embellish it? from his goodness arise all those mutual charities, thofe tender relations, those bonds of natural affection which raise enjoyment into rapture, and pleasure into transport; all those engaging duties, the due performance of which, whilft they make us happy here, recommend us at the same time to the divine favour hereafter.

In all our connections therefore with each other, let us be humane, charitable, and benevolent; obliging if we expect to be obliged, forgiving if we expect to be forgiven. If the father expects duty and obedience from his children, he must behave with parental tenderness and affection towards them; if the master would be served with care and fidelity, he must be just, compassionate, and kind to his servants; if the husband expects love, conftancy, and affection from the partner of his bed, he must be faithful, tender, and affectionate towards her; if from our neighbours,

from

from those who are in the same sphere of life with ourselves, we expect kind and friendly offices, we must on our part be always ready to return them; if from our companions and acquaintance, we expect cheerfulness, good humour and complacency, we must exert the fame social qualities towards them.

And lastly, As it is with regard to our fellow-creatures, so is it also in our relation towards our Creator; as we act to him, he will aćt to us.

If therefore we expect favour or protection from our Almighty Friend and Benefactor, we on our part must be diligent observers of his word, grateful acknowledgers of his bounty, sincere and pious followers of his doctrine; if we expect that our blessed Saviour and Redeemer Thould intercede for us at the throne of

grace, we must study his gospel, embrace his holy faith, and practise his divine laws; as he hath himself informed us, that whosoever fall be ashamed of him and of his words, of him also shall the son of man be aframed when he cometh in the glory of his father ;--for with the same measure that we meie certha?, it shall be measured unto us again.

SERMON

ON P ET E R.

S E R M O N L.

MATTHEW XXVI. 75.

Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said

unto him, Before the Cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice: and he went out, and wept bitterly.

IT
T is impossible to read with any degrec of

attention, the account of our Saviour's life and sufferings, without being shocked at the inconftancy and ingratitude of his disciples, who when he was surrounded by dangers, ofpressed on every side, and just on the point of being delivered up to his inveterate enemies, instead of affifting and supporting him in the hour of terror and distress, forfock him and fled; that those who not long before had left all to follow him, those who had been feilow. travellers and fellow-fufferers with him, should thus tire at the end of the journey, and totally desert fo good a matter, was a melancholy instance of human frailty and irresolution, that muft greatly astonish us, whenever we serioully reflect

upon

it. But amongst all those ungrateful and unprofitable servants, Peter seems to have acted in a manner the most inexcufable.

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