Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

with disappointments and distresses, they S e R M. complain of life, as if it had cheated and Lr_J betrayed them. God ordained no such possession for man on earth as continued pleasure. Forthe wisest purposes he designed our state to be checquered with pleasure and pain. As such let us receive it, and make the best of what is doomed to be our lot. Let us remain persuaded, jthat simple and moderate pleasures are always the best; that virtue and a good conscience are the surest foundations of enjoyment; that he who serves his God and his.Saviour with the purest intentions, and governs his passions with the greatest care, is likely to lead the happiest life. Following these principles, we shall meet with fewer occasions of being weary .of life; we shall alway find some satisfactions mixed with its crosses; and shall be enabled to wait with a humble and contented mind till the Almighty, in his appointed time, finish our state of trial, and remove us to a mpre blessed abode.

SERMON

SERMON II.

On Charity as the End of the Com*

MANDMENT.

i Timothy i. 5.

[graphic]

New the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

IT appears from this chapter, that one design of the Apostle, in writing to Timothy, was to guard him against certain corrupters of Christian doctrine, who had already arisen in the church. To their false representations of religion he opposes that general view of it which is given in the text. Such summaries of

religion

religion frequently occur in the sacred S E R M, writings; and are extremely useful. By u^Jl^ the comprehensive energy with which they express the great lines of our duty, they both imprint them on our memory, and bring them home to our conscience with force. In the progress of this discourse, I hope to make it appear, that the words of the text afford a most enlarged and instructive yiew of religion in all its chief parts.

The Apostle pronounces charity to be the end or scope of the commandme?it, that is, os the law of God. At the same time, in order to prevent mistakes on this most important subject, he subjoins to charity certain adjuncts, as necessary to qualify it, and to render the Christian character complete. These are the pure heart, the good conscience, and faith unfeigned. In treating of these, I shall shew the nature pf their connexion with charity, and the importance of their being always united with it,

she

SERM, The end of the commandment is charity. V_J[J_^ Charity is the fame with benevolence or love; and is the term uniformly employed, in the New Testament, to denote all the good affections which we'ought to bear towards one another. It consists not in speculative ideas of general benevolence floating in the head, and leaving the heart, as speculations too often do, untouched and cold. Neither is it confined to that indolent good nature, which makes it rest satisfied with being free from inveterate malice, or ill-will to our fellow-creatures, without prompting us to be of service to any. True charity is an active principle. It is not properly a single virtue; but a disposition residing in the heart, as a fountain whence all the virtues of benignity, candour, forbearance, generosity, compassion, and liberality, flow, as so many native streams. From general good will to all, it extends its influence particularly to those with whom we stand in nearest connection, and who are directly within the sphere

of

of our good offices. From the country Serm. or community to which we belong, it {_J*\I descends to the smaller associations of neighbourhood, relations, and friends; and spreads itself over the whole circle of social and domestic life. I mean not that it imports a promiscuous undistinguishing affection, which gives every man an equal title to our love. Charity, if we should endeavour to carry it so far, would be rendered an impracticable virtue, and would resolve itself into mere words, without affecting the heart. True charity attempts not to shut our eyes to the distinction between good and bad men.; nor to warm our hearts equally to those who befriend and those who injure us. It reserves our esteem for good men, and our complacency for our friends. Towards our enemies it inspires forgiveness and humanity. It breathes universal candour, and liberality of sentiment. It forms gentleness of temper, and dictates affability of manners. It prompts corresponding sympa

« AnteriorContinuar »