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as varied a distribution of praise and of in the relation of a condemned malefactorobloquy as is to be met with on the face of feels, how preposterous it were, if, on the any regular and well-ordered common-plea of being the most innocent of the wealth. And who, we would ask, is the whole assemblage, he was to claim, not man among all these prowling outcasts of merely exemption from punishment, but nature, on whom the law of his country the reward of some high and honourable would inflict the most unrelenting ven distinction at the hands of the magistrate. geance? He who is most signalized by the He is fully aware of the gap that lies bemoralities of his order,-he who has gained tween him and the adıninistrators of jusby fidelity, and courage, and disinterested tice--is sensible, that though he deserves honour, the chieftainship of confidence and to be beaten with fewer stripes than others, affection ainongst them,-he, the foremost yet still, that, in the eve of the law, he deof all the desperadoes, on whose character serves to be beaten ; and that he stands at perhaps the romance of generosity and truth as hopeless a distance, as the most depraved is strangely blended with the stern barbari- of his fellows, from a sentence of complete ties of his calling,--and who, the most ad- justification. mired among the members of his own bro- Let us, last of all, go along with these therhood, is, at the same time, the surest to malefactors to the scene of their banishment. bring down upon his person all the rigours Let us view them as the members of a sepaand all the severities of the judgment-scat, rated community; and we shall widely
Let us now follow with the eye of our mistake it, if we think, that in this settleobservation, a number of these transgres- ment of New South Wales, there is not the sors into another scene. Let us go into the same shading of moral variety, there is not place of their confinement; and, in this re- the same gradation of character, there is ceptacle of many criminals, with all their not the same scale of reputation, there is varied hues of guilt and of depravity, we not the same distribution of respect, there is shall perceive the habit of my text in full not the same pride of loftier principle, and and striking exemplification. The mur-debasement of more shameful and abandonderer stands lower in the scale of character ed profligacy, there is not the same triumph than the thief. The first is worse than the of conscious superiority on the one hand, second-and you have only to reverse the and the same crouching sense of unworthiterms of the comparison, that you may be ness on the other, which you find in the enabled to see how the second is better than more decent, and virtuous, and orderly sothe first. Thus, even in this repository of ciety of Europe. human worthlessness, we meet with grada- ! Within the limits of this colony there extions of character; with the worse and the lists a tribunal of public opinion, from which better and the best; with an ascending and praise and popularity, and reproach, are a descending scale, which runs in conti-awarded in various proportions among all nuity, from the one who stands upon its the inhabitants. And without the limits of pinnacle, to the one who is the deepest and this coloniy there exists another tribunal of most determined in wickedness amongst public opinion, by the voice of which an them. It is utter ignorance of our nature unexpected stigma of exclusion and disgrace to conceive that this moral gradation is not is cast upon every one of them. Insomuch, fully and frequently in the minds of the that the same individual may by a nearer criminals themselves,—that there is not, I judgment, be extolled as the best and the even here, the habit of each measuring most distinguished of all who are around himself with his fellow-prisoners around him,--and by a more distant judgment, he him, and of some soothed by the conscious may have all the ignominy of an outcast ness of a more untainted character, and laid upon his person and his character He rejoicing over it with a feeling of secret may, at one and the same time, be regaled elevation. They, in truth, know themselves by the applause of one society, and held in to be the best of their kind,-and this know- rightful execration by another society. In ledge brings a complacency along with it, the former, he may have the deference of a and, even in this mass of profligacy, there positive regard rendered to him for his swells and kindles the pride of superior at- virtues, while, from the latter, he is justly tainments. But there is at least one delu- exiled by the hateful contamination of his sion from which one and all of them stand vices. And in him do we behold the inexempted. The very best of them, how-structive picture of a man, who, at the bar ever much he may be regaled by the in- of his own neighbourhood, stands the ward sense of his advantage over others, highest in moral estimation, while, at a knows, that in reference to the law, he is higher bar, he has had a mark of foulest not on a footing of merit, but on a footing ignominy stamped upon him, a of criminality,-knows, that though he willWe want not to shock the pride or the be the most gently dealt with, and that on delicacy of your feelings. But on a queshim the lightest penalty will fall, yet still tion so high as that of your eternity, we he stands to his judge and to his country, want to extricate you from the power of every vain and bewildering delusion. We objects of Heaven's most righteous execrawant to urge upon you the lesson of tion. Scripture, that this world differs from a! But is this the real place, it may be asked, prison-house, only in its being a more spa- that our world occupies in the moral unicious receptacle of sinners--and that there verse of God ? The answer to this question is not a wider distance, in point of habit may be obtained either out of the historical and of judgment, between a society of con- informations of Scripture, or out of a survicts, and the general community of man- vey that may be made of the actual charackind, than there is between the whole com- ter of man, and a comparison that may be munity of our species, and the society of instituted between this character and the that paradise, from which, under the apos- divine law. We can conceive nothing more tacy of our fallen nature, we have been uniform and more decisive than the testidoomed to live in dreary alienation. We mony of the Bible, when it tells us that resuse not to the men of our world the pos- however fair some may be in the eyes of session of many high and honourable vir- men, yet that all are guilty before God; tues; but let us not forget, that amongst the that in his eyes none are righteous, no not marauders of the highway, we hear, too, of one: that he, who is of purer eyes than to inflexible faith, and devoted friendship, and behold iniquity, finds out iniquity in every splendid generosity. We deny not, that one of us; that there is none who underthere exists among our species, as much standeth, and none who seeketh after God; truth and as much honesty, as serve to keep that however much we may compare oursociety together: but a measure of the very selves amongst ourselves, and found a comsame principle is necessary, in order to placency upon the exercise, yet that we perpetuate and to accomplish the end of the have altogether gone out of the way; that most unrighteous combinations. We deny | however distinctly we may retain, even in not, that there flourishes on the face of our the midst of this great moral rebellion, our earth a moral diversity of hue and of relative superiorities over each other, there character, and that there are the better and is a wide and a general departure of the the best who have signalized themselves species from God; that one and all of us above the level of its general population; I have deeply revolted against him : that the but so it is in the malefactor's dungeon ; taint of a most inveterate spiritual disease and as there, so here, may a positive sen- has overspread all the individuals of all the lence of condemnation be the lot of the families upon earth; insomuch, that the most exalted individual. We deny not, heart of man is deceitful above all things there are many in every neighbourhood, to and desperately wicked, and the imaginawhose character, and whose worth, the tions of his thoughts are only evil, and that cordial tribute of admiration is awarded; but continually. the very same thing may be witnessed The fall of Adam is represented, in the amongst the outcasts of every civilized ter- Bible, as that terribly decisive event, on ritory,--and what they are, in reference to which took place this deep and fatal unthe country from which they have been hingement of the moral constitution of our exiled, we may be, in reference to the whole species. From this period the maladly has of God's unfallen creation. In the sight of descended, and the whole history of our men we may be highly esteemed,and we world gives evidence to its state of banishmay be an abomination in the sight of an- ment from the joys and the communicagels. We may receive homage from our tions of paradise. Before the entrance of immediate neighbours for all the virtues of sin did God and man walk in sweet comour relationship with them, while our re-panionship together, and saw each other lationship with God may be utterly dis- | face to face in the security of a garden. A solved, and its appropriate virtues may nei- (little further down in the history, wc meet ther be recognized nor acted on. There with another of God's recorded manifestamay emanate from our persons a certain tions. We read of his descent in thunder beauteousness of moral colouring on those upon mount Sinai. O what a change from who are around us, but when seen through the free and scarless intercourse of Eden! the universal morality of God's extended | God, though surrounded by a people whom and all-pervading government, we may look he had himself selected, here sits, if we ils hateful as the outcasts of felony,and may use the expression, on a throne of living, as we do, in a rebellious province, awful and distant ceremony; and the listwhat has broken loose from the community ling of his mighty voice scattered dismay of God's loyal and obedient worshippers, among the thousands of Israel. Wben he we may, at one and the same time, be sur- I looked now on the children of men, he rounded by the cordialities of an approving looked on them with an altered counteIpUowship, and be frowned upon by the su-nance. The days were, when they talked preme judicatory of the universe. At one together in the lovely scenes of paradise as and the same time, we may be regaled by one talketh with a friend. But, on the top the incense of this world's praise, and be the lof Sinai, he wraps himself in storms, and orders to set bounds about the mount, lest amongst men,-not what have you done at the people should draw near, and God the mere impulse of sensibilities however should break forth upon them.
amiable, or of native principles however upBut we have an evidence to our state of right, and elevated, and manly,—but what banishment from God, which is nearer have you done unto me? how much of home. We have it in our own hearts. The God, and of God's will, was there in the habitual attitude of the inner man is not an principle of your doings? This is the heaattitude of subordination to God. The feel- venly measure, and it will set aside all your ing of allegiance to him is practically and earthly measures and comparisons. It will almost constantly away from us. All that sweep away all these refuges of lies. The can give value to our obedience, in the sight man whose accomplishments of character, of an enlightened Spirit who looks to mo- however lively, were all social, and worldly, tive, and sentiment, and principle, has con- and relative, will hang his head in confustitutionally no place, and no residence in sion when the utter wickedness of his preour characters. We are engrossed by other tensions is thus laid open, when the God anxieties than anxiety to do the will, and who gave him every breath, endowed him to promote the honour, of him who formed with every faculty, enquires after his share us. We are animated by other affections of reverence and acknowledgment --when altogether, than love to him, whose right he tells him from the judgment-seat, I was hand preserves us continually. That Being the Being with whom you had to do, and by whom we are so fearfully and wonder- yet in the vast multiplicity of your doings, fully made; whose upholding presence it I was seldom or never thought of, when is that keeps us in life, and in movement, he convicts him of habitual forgetfulness and in the exercise of all our faculties; of God, and setting aside all the paltry who has placed us on the theatre of all our measurements which men apply in their enjoyments, and claims over his own crea- estimates of one another, he brings the high tures the ascendency of a most rightful au- standard of Heaven's law, and Heaven's althority ;-that surely is the Being with legiance to bear upon them. whom we have to do. And yet, when we It must be quite palpable to any man who take account of our thoughts and of our has seen much of life, and still more if he doings, how little of God is there? In the has travelled extensively, and witnessed the random play and exhibition of such feelings varied complexions of morality that obtain as instinctively belong to us, we may gather in distant societies,--it must be quite obaround us the admiration of our fellows- vious to such a man, how readily the moral and so it is in a colony of exiled criminals, feeling, in each of them, accommodates itself But as much wanting there, as is the ho- | to the general state of practice and observamage of loyalty to the government of their tion, that the practices of one country, for native land; so much wanting here, is the which there is a most complacent tolerahomage of any deference or inward regard, tion, would be shuddered at as so many to the government of Heaven. And yet this atrocities in another country, that in every is the very principle of all that obedience given neighbourhood, the sense of right which Heaven can look upon. If it be true and of wrong, becomes just as fine or as that obedience is rewardable by God, but obtuse as to square with its average purity, that which has respect unto God, then this and its average humanity, and its average must be the essential point on which hinges uprightness, that what would revolt the the difference between a rebel, and a loyal public feeling of a retired parish in Scotsubject to the supreme Lawgiver. The re- land as gross licentiousness or outrageous quirement we live under is to do all things cruelty, might attach no disgrace whatever to his glory; and this is the measure of to a residenter in some colonial settlement, principle and of performance that will be set -that, nevertheless, in the more corrupt over you,--and tell us, ye men of civil and and degraded of the two communites, there relative propriety, who, by exemplifying in is a scale of differences, a range of characthe eye of your fellows such virtue, as may ter, along which are placed the comparabe exemplified by the outcasts of banish- tive stations of the disreputable, and the ment, have shed around your persons the passible, and the respectable, and the supertiny lustre of this world's moralities; tell excellent; and yet it is a very possible us how you will be able to stand such a thing, that if a man in the last of these severe and righteous application ? The stations were to import all his habits and measure by which we compare ourselves all his profligacies into his native land, with ourselves, is not the measure of the superexcellent as he may be abroad, at sanctuary. When the judge comes to take home he would be banished from the geneaccount of us, he will come fraught with ral association of virtuous and well-ordered the maxims of a celestial jurisprudence, and families. Now, all we ask of you is, to his question will be, not, what have you transfer this consideration to the matter done at the shrine of popularity --not, what before us,-to think how possible a thing have you done to sustain a character I it is, that the moral principle of the world
at large, may have sunk to a peaceable / we gather these principles from the book of and approving acquiescence, in the existing God's revelation, when we are told that the practice of the world at large,-that the law of the two great commandments is, to security which is inspired by the habit of love the Lord our God with all our strength, measuring ourselves by ourselves, and com- and heart, and mind, and to bear the same paring ourselves amongst ourselves, may love to our neighbour that we do to ourtherefore be a delusion altogether,--that the selves,-the argument advances from a convery best member of society upon earth, ljecture to a certainty, that every inhabitant may be utterly unfit for the society of hea- of earth when brought to the bar of Heaven's ven,-that the morality which is current judicature, is altogether wanting; and that here, may depend upon totally another set unless some great moral renovation take effect of principles from the morality which is upon him, he can never be admitted within held to be indispensable there ;--and when the limits of the empire of righteousness.
“Christ the Wisdom of God.”—1 Corinthians i. 24.
We cannot but remark of the Bible, how | pose, are thus driven in, where in the whole uniformly and how decisively it announces compass of nature or revelation can any itself in all its descriptions of the state and effoctual security be found ? It may be Character of man,-how, without offering easy to find our way amongst all the comlo palliate the matter, it brings before us the plexional varieties of our nature, to its ratotality of our alienation, how it represents dical and pervading ungodliness; and thus us to be altogether broken off from our alle- to carry the acquiescence of the judgment giance to God, and how it fears not, in the in some extended demonstration about the face of those undoubted diversities of cha- utter sinfulness of the species. But it is not racter which exist in the world, to assert so easy to point this demonstration towards of the whole world, that it is guilty before the bosom of any individual,--to gather it him. And if we would only seize on what up, as it were, from its state of diffusion may be called the elementary principle of over the whole field of humanity, and send glult, --if we would only take it along with it with all its energies concentered to a us, that guilt, in reference to God, must single heart, in the form of a sharp, and consist in the defection of our regard and humbling, and terrifying conviction,-to our reverence from him,-if we would only make it enter the conscience of some one open our eyes to the undoubted fact, that listener, like an arrow sticking fast,-or, there may be such an utter defection, and when the appalling picture of a whole world yet there may be many an amiable, and lying in wickedness, is thus presented to the many a graceful exhibition, hoth of feeling understanding of a general audience, to make and of conduct, in reference to those who each of that audience mourn apart over his are around us ---then should we recognize, own wickedness; just as when, on the day in the statements of the Bible, a vigorous, of judgment, though all that is visible be discerning, and intelligent view of human shaking, and dissolving, and giving way. nature,--an unfa!tering announcement of each despairing eye-witness shall mourn what that nature essentially is, under all the l apart over the recollection of his own ouilt plausibilities which serve to disguise it, - over the prospect of his own rueful and and such an insight, in fact, into the secre- undone eternity. And yet, if this be not cies of our inner man, as if carried hume done, nothing is done. The lesson of the by that Spirit, whose office it is to apply the text has come to you in word only and not word with power into the conscience, is in power. To look to the truth in its genecnough, of itself, to stamp upon this book, irality, is one thing; to look to your own the evidence of the Divinity which in- separate concern in it, is another. What we spired it.
I want is that each of you shall turn his eye But it is easier far to put an end to the homewards; that each shall purify his own resistance of the understanding, than to heart from the influence of a delusion which alarm the fears, or to make the heart soft we pronounce to be ruinous; that each and tender, under a sense of its guiltiness, or shall beware of leaning a satisfaction, or a 10 prompt the inquiry, if all those secu- triumph, on the comparison of himself with rities, within the entrenchment of which I corrupt and exiled men, whom sin has dewant to take my quiet and complacent re-l graded into outcasts from the presence of God, and the joys of paradise; that each of time in all the tranquillity of death. We you shall look to the measure of God's law, say peace, when there is no peace. Though so that when the commandment comes upon in a state of disruption from God, we live you, in the sense of its exceeding broad- as securely and as inconsiderately as if ness, a sense of your sin, and of your death there were no question and no controversy in sin, may come along with it. * Without betwixt us. About this whole matter, there the commandment I was alive," says the is within us a spirit of heaviness and of Apostle; “ but when the commandment decp slumber. We lie fast asleep on the came, sin revived, and I died.” Be assured, brink of an unprovided eternity,--and, if that if the utterance of such truth in your possible to awaken you, let us urge you to hearing, impress no personal earnestness, compare, not your own conduct with that and lead to no personal measures, and be of acquaintances and neighbours, but to followed up by no personal movements, compare your own finding of the ungodlithen to you it is as a sounding brass and asness that is in your heart with the doctrine a tinkling cymbal. The preacher has been of God's word about it, -to bring down the beating the air. * That great Agent, whose loftiness of your spirit to its humbling derevealed office it is to convince of sin, has clarations-io receive it as a faithful saying, refused to go along with him. Another in- that man is lost by nature, and that unless fluence altogether, than that which is salu- there be some mighty transition, in his histary and saving, has been sent into your tory, from a state of nature to a state of bosom; and the glow of the truth universal salvation, the wrath of God abideth on him. has deafened or intercepted the application of The next inquiry comes to be, What is the truth personal, and of the truth particular. I this transition ? Tell me the step I should
This leads us to the second thing proposed take, and I will take it. It is not enough, in our last discourse, under which we shallat- then, that you exalt upon your own person tempt to explain the wisdom opposite to that the degree of those virtues, by which you folly of measuring ourselves by ourselves, have obtained a credit and a distinction and comparing ourselves among ourselves, among men. It is not enough, that you which we have already attempted to expose throw a brighter and a lovelier hue over
The first step is to give up all satisfac- your social accomplishments. It is not tion with yourselves, on the bare ground, enough, that you multiply the offerings of that your conduct comes up to the measure your charity, or observe a more rigid comof human character, and human reputation pliance, than heretofore, with all the requiaround you. This consideration may be sitions of justice. All this you may do, of importance to your place in society; but, and yet the great point, on which your as to your place in the favour of God, it is controversy with God essentially hinges, utterly insignificant. The moral differences may not be so much as entered upon. All which obtain in a community of exiles, are this you may do, and yet obtain no nearer all quite consistent with the entire oblitera- approximation to Him who sitteth on the tion amongst them, of the allegiance that throne, than the outlaws of an offended is due to the government of their native government for their fidelities to each other. land. And the moral differences whichi To the eye of man you may be fairer than obtain in the world, may, in every way, before,and in civil estimation be greatly more be as consistent with the fact, that one and rightcous than before,--and yet, with the unall of us, in our state of nature, are alienated quelled spirit of impiety within you, and as from God by wicked works. And, in like habitual an indifference as ever to all the submanner, as convicts may be all alive to a ordinating claims of the divine will over your sense of their reciprocal obligations, while heart and your conduct, you may stand at dead, in feeling and in principle, to the su- as wide a distance from God as before. And preme obligation under which they lie to besides, how are we to dispose of the whole the sovereign,-so may we, in reference to guilt of your past iniquities? Whether, is our fellow-men, have a sense of rectitude, it the malefactor or the Lawgiver who is to and honour, and compassion, while, in re- arbitrate this question? God may remit ference to God, we may labour under the our sins, but it is for him to proclaim this. entire extinction of every moral sensibili-God may pass them over ; but it is for him ty,--so that the virtues which signalize as, to issue the deed of amnesty. God may may, in the language of some of our old have found out a way whereby, in consisdivines, be neither more nor less than tency with his own character, and with the splendid sins. With the possession of these stability of his august government, he may virtues, we may not merely be incurring take sinners into reconciliation ; but it is for every day the guilt of trespassing and sin-him both to devise and to publish this way; ning against our Maker in heaven; but de---and we must just do what convicts do, void as we are of all apprehension of the when they obtain a mitigation or a cancelenormity of this, we may strikingly realize ment of the legal sentence under which the assertion of the Bible, that we are dead they lie.---we must passively accept of it, in trespasses and sins. And we pass our on the terms of the deed,----we must look