Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tational temperament, or the nature of the disposition, arising from the state of the nerves and other physical causes. Some people are more sensitive than others, and sensitiveness is too frequently mistaken for sensibility, although they are in direct opposition to each other; the latter arising from strength of mind, and the former from weakness of the nerves. Sen-> sibility is a rational principle and combines fellow feeling; sensitiveness, on the contrary, is an irrational affection and indicates something like selfishness. People of warm temperaments are more enthusiastic than those of an opposite complexion;. but such physical effects are no certain criterions of the heart; enthusiasm is no more a proof of sincerity than a phlegmatic manner is of insincerity; and religious fervoor is no farther pleasing to the Deity than as it arises from sincerity, with wbich consideration is more accordant than impetuosity. From expression or non-expression of feeling, then, we must not

decide upon the question I have proposed without further evidence; the man of a warm temperament must no more presume that he has proved to himself that which is required by a strong indication of feeling, than he who has exhibited no such peculiar expression must despair of his having so approved himself, without corroborating testimony; and what is that testimony? our actions. To them must we look for assurance; for by our works must we prove our faith, and without faith we shall not be accepted at the Lord's table. Do we, then, when away from that table, so remember Christ that, consequent of that remembrance, we strive to act in conformity with his law; proving our gratitude by our zeal to serve him, and our love for him by, loving our brethren; away, in which he has commanded us especially to prove it? if so, then do we prove to ourselves that we go to the Lord's table in a proper frame of mind, and are not likely to conduct ourselves improperly, or

a

anne

unsuitably, or in a manner unworthy the sacred service in which we are engaged while there; and if, after having taken the Sacrament, we continue steadfast to our pious resolutions, we shall prove to ourselves indubitably that we experienced at our Lord's table, awe, reverence, gratitude, and love.

It appears that the Sacrament was instituted to shew forth the Lord's death till he come," i.e. that by this particular act of worship we should, in a more especial manner than ordinarily, publicly confess that “ He is our Lord," and that “ we are his people :" that he is the head of our church, and that of his church we are members: the church being figured by the body; and as the members of the human body, for their own preservation, must act in conformity to that which is conducive to the preservation of the body, (for the cause of mortal diseases originates in the body) so must the members of Christ's church act in uniformity, to preserve the health, or constitu

tion of the church, for their own salvation's sake: and (as the head may be called the directing part, or superior, of the body and its members) the members of the church must look to Christ, the head, for direction how to act for the benefit of the church, in the welfare of which their own is implicated. Strength is the support of a constitution, and union is the promoter of strength: every member of a free community, therefore, being one individual proportion of the general union or compact, is of as much importance to the state and its head as any other member: consequently all are equal: for although the constitutions of all states require some to watch while others labour, and some to direct while others execute, it does not follow that the state values one man more than an other; because if all laboured and none watched, or all executed and none directed, every thing would fall into confusion, the state would become a burthen to itself, and a prey to other states. In ex

alting any one member, therefore, the state is not supposed to consider the individual, but the peculiar capacity of that individual :-which is eminently proved in our own constitution, the directors of our state having been as often, indeed oftener, selected from the commonalty than the nobility; and the state proves its equal estimation of all its members by“ hedging round," the rights of the poorest with as impregnable a defence as those of the richest; and exacting as severe “inquisition for blood” in regard to the meanest as the most exalted. Rewards, certainly, are bestowed by the state (or king, for the 'state) titular, honorary, or pecuniary, on particular members, to the exclusion of others; but these are bestowed either for eminent services personally performed for the state, or for superior talent exercised for its preservation and the improvement and happiness of its members: therefore (not to cavil with the trite observation that these rewards are often misapplied, as they sometimes will

« AnteriorContinuar »