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at the bidding of another, or it may be done secret charm which so heightens and so multo serve some interested purpose, or it may tiplies the pleasure of all the members of it; be done to parade his generosity before the and, when transported from earth to heaven, eye of the public. If it be not done from they will still feel, that while it is to the a real principle of kindness to myself, I may benefits which God hath conferred that they take his gists, and I may find enjoyment in owe the possession and all the privileges of the use of them ; but I feel no gratitude to existence; it is to a sense of the love which wards the dispenser of them. Unless I see prompted these benefits, that they will owe his kindness in them, I will not be grateful. the ecstatic charm of their immortality. It It is true, that, in point of fact, gratitude is the beaming kindness of God upon them, often springs from the rendering of a bene- that will put their souls into the liveliest fit; but, lest we should confound things transports of gratitude and joy; and it is the which are different, let it be well observed, reciprocation of this kindness on the part of that this is only when the benefit serves as those, who, while they have fellowship with the indication of a kind purpose, or of a the Father, and with the Son, have fellowkind affection, on the part of him who hath ship also with one another, that will cause the granted it. And this may be proved, not joy of heaven to be full. merely by showing, that there may be no The distinction which we are now adgratitude where there is a benefit, but also verting to, is something more than a mere by showing, that there may be gratitude shadowy refinement of speculation. It may where there is no material benefit what- be realized on the most trodden and ordiever. Just let the naked principle of kind-nary path of human experience, and is, in ness discover itself, and though it have nei- fact, one of the most familiar exhibitions of ther the power, nor the opportunity of genuine and unsophisticated nature in those coming forth with the dispensation of any ranks of society where refinement is unservice, it is striking to observe, how, upon known. Let one man go over any given the bare existence of this affection being district of the city fully fraught with the known, it is met by a grateful feeling, on materiel of benevolence; let him be the the part of him to whom it is directed; and agent of some munificent subscription, and what mighty augmentations may be given with nothing in his heart but just such in this way, to the stock of enjoyment, and affections, and such jealousies, and such that, by the mere reciprocation of kindness thoughtful anxieties, about a right and equibegetting kindness. For, to send the expres- table division, as belong to the general spirit sion of this kindness into another's bosom, of his office; let him leave some substantial it is not always necessary to do it on the deposit with each of the families; and then vehicle of positive donation. It may be compute, if he can, the quantity of gratitude conveyed by a look of benevolence; and which he carries away with him. It were thus it is, that by the mere feeling of cor- a most unkind reflection on the lower orders, diality, a tide of happiness may be made to and not more unkind than untrue, to deny circulate throughout all the individuals of that there will be the mingling of some an assembled company. Or it may be done gratitude, along with the clamour, and the by a very slight and passing attention, and I envy, and the discontent, which are ever sure lhus it is, that the cheap services of courte- to follow in the train of such a ministration. ousness, may spread such a charm over the It is not to discredit the poor, that we introlace of a neighbourhood. Or it may be done duce our present observation ; but to bring by the very poorest member of human so- out, if possible, into broad and luminous exciety; and thus it is, that the ready and sin-hibition, one of the finest sensibilities which cere homage of attachment from such a man, adorns them. It is to let you know the may beam a truer felicity upon me, and high cast of character of which they are call forth a livelier gratitude to him who capable; and how the glow of pleasure has conferred it, than some splendid act of which arises in their bosoms, when the eye patronage on the part of a superior. Or it of simple affection beams upon their permay be done by a Christian visiter in some sons, or upon their habitations, may not have of the humblest ofour city lanes, who, without one single taint of sordidness to debase it. one penny to bestow on the children of want, | And to prove this, just let another man go may spread among them the simple con- over the same district, and in the train of viction of her good will, and call down upon the former visitation; conceive him unbacked her person the voice of thankfulness and of by any public institution, to have nothing in blessing from all their habitations. And his hand that might not be absorbed by the inus it is, that by good will creating good needs of a single family, but that, utterly Will, a pure and gladdening influence will destitute as he is of the materiel, he has a at length go abroad over the face of our heart charged and overflowing with the World, and mankind will be made to know whole morale of benevolence. Just let him the might and the mystery of that tie which go forth among the people, without one is to bind them together into one family, other recommendation than an honest and and they will rejoice in the power of that i undissembled good will to them; and let this good will manifest its existence, in any (ing gratitude, may be made to circulate one of the thousand ways, by which it may throughout all our dwelling-places; if, in a be authenticated; and whether it be by the word, while they prosess to serve the poor, cordiality of his manners, or by his sympa- they could be led to respect the poor, to do thy with their griefs, or by the nameless at- homage to that fineness of moral temperatentions and offices of civility, or by the ment which belongs to them, and which higher aim of that kindness which points to hitherto seems to have escaped, altogether, the welfare of their immortality, and evinces the eye of civil or political superintendence; its reality by its ready and unwearied ser- and they may rest assured, that let them vices among the young, or the sick, or the give as much in the shape of munificence dying ; just let them be satisfied of the one as they will, if they add not the love to the fact, that he is their friend, and that all their liberality of the Gospel, they will never joys and all their sorrows are his own; he soften one feature of unkindness, or chase may be struggling with hardships and ne-away one exasperated feeling, from the cessities as the poorest of them all; but poor hearts of a neglected population. as they are, they know what is in his heart, But, beside the degree of purity in which and well do they know how to valve it; and this principle may exist among the most from the voice of welcome, which meets destitute of our species, it is also of importhim in the very humblest of their tenements; ance to mark the degree of strength, in and from the smile of that heartfelt enjoy- which it actually exists among the most dement, which his presence is ever sure to praved of our species. And, on this subject, awaken, and from the influence of gracious-do we think that the venerable HOWARD ness which he carries along with him into has bequeathed to us a most striking and every house, and by which he lights up an valuable observation. You know the hishonest emotion of thankfulness in the bosom tory of this man's enterprises; how his doof every family, may we gather the exist-lings, and his observations, were among the ence of a power, which worth alone, and veriest outcasts of humanity, how he dewithout the accompaniment of wealth, can scended into prison houses, and there made bestow; a power to sweeten and subdue, himself familiar with all that could most and tranquillize, which no money can pur- revolt or terrify, in the exhibition of our chase, which no patronage can create. fallen nature; how, for this purpose, he
It will be readily acknowledged by all, made the tour of Europe; but instead of that the most precious object in the manage- walking in the footsteps of other travellers, ment of a town, is to establish the reign of he toiled his painful and persevering way happiness and contentment among those through these receptacles of worthlessness; who live in it. And it is interesting to mark --and, sound experimentalist as he was, did the operations of those, who, without advert- he treasure up the phenomena of our paing to the principle that I now insist upon, ture, throughout all the stages of misforthink that all is to be achieved by the beg- tune, or depravity. We may well conceive garly elements which enter into the arith- the scenes of moral desolation that would metic of ordinary business; who rear their often meet his eye; and that, as he looked goodly scheme upon the basis of sums and to the hard, and dauntless, and defying computations; and think that by an over- aspect of criminality before him, he would whelming discharge of the materiel of be- sicken in despair of ever finding one remnevolence, they will reach an accomplish- nant of a purer and better principle, by ment which the morale of benevolence which he might lay hold of these unhappy alone is equal to. We are sure that it is not men, and convert them into the willing and to mortisy our men of grave, and official, the consenting agents of their own amelioand calculating experience, that we tell ration. And yet such a principle he found, them, how, with all their strength, and all and found it, as he tells us, after years of their sagacity, they have only given their intercourse, as the fruit of his greater exmoney for that which is not meat, and perience, and his longer observation; and their labour for that which satisfieth not. gives, as the result of it, that convicts, and It is to illustrate a principle of our common that among the most desperate of them all, nature, so obvious, that to be recognized, it are not ungovernable, and that there is a needs only to be spoken of. And it were way of managing even them, and that the well, if in so doing their thoughts could be way is, without relaxing, in one iota, from led to the instrumentality of this principle, the steadiness of a calm and resolute discias the only way, in which they can redeem pline, to treat them with tenderness, and to the failures of their by-gone experience; if show them that you have humanity; and they could be convinced, that the agents of thus a principle, of itself so beautiful, that a zealous and affectionate Christianity can to expatiate upon it, gives in the eyes of alone do what all the influence of municipal some, an air of fantastic declamation to our weight and municipal wisdom cannot do;s argument, is actually deponed to, by an aged. if they could be taught what the ministra- and most sagacious observer. It is the very tions are, by which a pure and a respond-l principle of our text; and it would appear that it keeps a lingering hold of our nature, true, that from the inaccessible throne of even in the last and lowest degree of human his glory, we see no direct emanation of wickedness; and that when abandoned by his tenderness upon us, from this face of every other principle, this may still be de- the King who is invisible. But, as if to tected, that even among the most hack- make up for this, he sent his Son into the neyed and most hardened of malefactors world, and declared him to be God manithere is still about them a softer part which fest in the flesh, and let us see, in his tears, will give way to the demonstrations of ten- and in his sympathies, and in all the recorded derness: that this one ingredient of a bet- traits of his kindness, and gentleness, and ter character is still found to survive the love, what a God we have to deal with. It dissipation of all the others,--that, fallen as is true, that even in love to us, he did not a brother may be, from the moralities which let down one attribute of truth or of maat one time adorned him, the manifested jesty which belonged to him. But, in love good-will of his fellow-man still carries a to us, he hath laid upon his own Son the charm and an influence along with it; and burden of their vindication ;-and now, that that, therefore, there lies in this, an opera- every obstacle is done away; now, that the tion which, as no poverty can vitiate, so no barrier which lay across the path of acdepr vity can extinguish.*
ceptance, is levelled by the power of him Now, this is the very principle which is who travailed in the greatness of his strength brought into action, in the dealings of God for us; now, that the blood of atonement with a whole world of malefactors. It has been shed, and that the justice of God looks as if he confided the whole cause of has been magnified, and that our iniquities our recovery to the influence of a demon- have been placed on the great Sacrifice, and stration of good will. It is truly interest-so borne away that there is no more mening to mark, what, in the devisings of his tion of them: now, that with his dignity unsearchable wisdom, is the character which entire, and his holiness untainted, the door he has made to stand most visibly out, in of heaven may be opened, and sinners be the great scheme and history of our re-called upon to enter in,-is the voice of a demption: and surely if there be one fea- | friendly and beseeching God, lifted up withture of prominency more visible than an-out reserve, in the hearing of us all;-his other, it is the love of kindness. There love of kindness is published abroad among appears to be no other possible way, by imen ;-and this one mighty principle of which a responding affection can be depo- | attraction is brought to bear upon a nature, sited in the heart of man. Certain it is, that might have remained sullen and unthat the law of love cannot be carried to its moved under every other application. ascendency over us by storm. Authority! And, as God, in the measure of restoring cannot command it. Strength cannot im- a degenerate world unto himself, hath set plant it. Terror cannot charm it into ex-l in operation the very same principle as that istence. The threatenings of vengeance which we have attempted to illustrate ---SO may stifle, or they may repel, but they the operation hath produced the very same never can woo this delicate principle of our result that we have ascribed to it. As soon nature, into a warm and confiding attach- as his love of kindness is believed, so soon ment. The human heart remains shut, in does the love of gratitude spring up in the all its receptacles, against the force of these heart of the believer. As soon as man gives various applications; and God, who knew up his fear and his suspicion of God, and what was in man, seems to have known, I discerns him to be his friend, so soon does that in his dark and guilty bosom, there was he render him the homage of a willing and but one solitary hold that he had over him;/ affectionate loyalty. There is not a man and that to reach it, he must just put on a who can say, I have known and believed look of graciousness, and tell us that he has the love which God hath to us, who cannot no pleasure in our death, and manifest to say also, I have loved God because he first wards us the longings of a bereaved parent, I loved me. There has not, we will venture and even humble himself to a suppliant into affirm, been a single example in the the cause of our return, and send a Gospel / whole history of the church, of a man who of peace into the world, and bid his messen-had a real faith in the overtures of peace gers to bear throughout all its habitations, and of tenderness which are proposed by The tidings of his good-will to the children the Gospel, and who did not, at the same of men. This is the topic of his most time, exemplify this attribute of the Christian anxious and repeated demonstration. This faith, that it worketh by love. manifested good will of God to his crea- It is thus that the faith, which recognizes tures, is the band of love, and the cord God, as God in Christ reconciling the world of a man, by which he draws them. It is unto himself, lies at the turning point of
| conversion. In this way, and in this way * The operation of the same principle has, of alone, is there an inlet of communication late, been strikingly exemplified by Mrs. Fry, open to the heart of man, for that principle and her coadjutors, in the prison at Newgate. I of love to God, which gives all its power and all its character to the new obedience mere effect of an appetite which belongs of the gospel. So soon as a man really essentially and universally to the animal knows the truth, and no man can be said to state of nature. They appear to have missed know what he does not believe, will this the distinction, between the love that is felt truth enthrone a new affection in his bosom, towards the benefit itself, and the love of which will set him free from the dominion gratitude that is felt towards the author of of all such affections as are earthly and re- it; though certainly there are here two obbellious. The whole style and spirit of his jects of affection altogether distinct from obedience are transformed. The man now each other. walks with the vigour, and the confidence, My liking for the gift is a different phase and the enlargement, of one who is set at of mind from my liking for the giver. In liberty. It looks a mysterious revolution the one exercise, I am looking to a different in the general eye of the world. But the object, and my thoughts have a different fact is, that from the moment a sinner employment, from what they have in the closes with the overtures of the gospel, I other. Had I an affection for the gist, without from that moment a new era is established Jan affection for the giver, then might I evince in the history of his mind altogether. As an unmixed selfishness of character. But I soon as he sees what he never saw before, may have both; and my affection for the so soon does he feel what he never felt be giver may be purely in obedience to that fore. Without the faith of the gospel he law of reciprocity, whereby if another likes may serve God in the spirit of bondage: me, I am disposed by that circumstance, he may be driven, by the terrors of his law, and by that alone, to like him back again. into many outward and reluctant conformi- | The gift may serve merely the purpose of ties; he may even, without the influence of an indication. It is the medium through these terrors, maintain a thousand decen- which I perceive the love that another bears cies of tastes, and custom, and established me. But it is possible for me to perceive observation. But he is still an utter stranger this through another medium, and, in this to the first and the greatest commandment. case, the rising gratitude of my bosom might There may be the homage of many a visi- look a purer and more disinterested emotion. ble movement with the body, while, in the But the truth is, that it retains the very same whole bent and disposition of the soul there character, though a gift has been the occais nothing but aversion, and distance, and sion of its excitement,-and, therefore, it enmity. Even the word of the gospel may ought not to have been so assimilated to the be addressed, Sabbath after Sabbath, and principle of selfishness. It ought not to that too, to hearers who offer no positive have been so discouraged, and made the resistance to it, --but coming to them only object of suspicion, at that moment of its in word, they remain as motionless and un- evolution, when the returning sinner looks impressed as ever, and with an utter dor-by faith to the truths and the promises of mancy in their hearts as to any responding the gospel, and sees in them the tenderness movement of gratitude. The heart, in fact, of an inviting God. It ought not to have remains unapproachable in every other way, been so stigmatized, as a mere portion of but by the gospel coming to it, not in word his unrenewed nature; for, in truth, it will only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, heighten and grow upon him, with every and in much assurance. Then is it, that step in the advancement of his moral rethe love of God is shed abroad in our hearts; snovation. It will be one of the gracefullest and that the gospel approves itself to be his of his accomplishments in this world; and power, and his wisdom, to the sanctification so far from being extinguished in the next, of all who believe in it.
| along with the baser and more selfish affecNow, the theologians to whom we allude, tions of our constitution, it will pour an anihave set up obstacles in the way of such a mating spirit into many a song of ecstacy, process. They hold a language about the to him who loved us, and washed us from disinterested love of God, and demand this our sins in his own blood. The law of love at the very outset of a man's conversion, in begetting love, will obtain in eternity. Like such a way, as may retard his entrance the law of reciprocal attraction in the maupon a life of faith,-as may have prolonged teriał world, it will cement the immutable the darkness of many an inquirer, and have and everlasting order of that moral system, kept him in a state of despair, whom a right which is to emerge with the new heavens understanding of the gospel would have and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righrelieved of all his doubts, and all his per- teousness. The love which emanates from plexities. They seem to look on the love the throne of God, upon his surrounding of gratitude, as having in it a taint of selfish-family, will call back a voice of blessing, ness. They say that to love a being, and thanksgiving, and glory, from all the because he is my benefactor, is little bet-members of it. And the love which his ter than to love the benefit which he has children bear to each other, will, in like conferred upon me; and that this, instead manner, be reflected and multiplied. All of any evidence of a state of grace, is the l that is wrong in selfishness will be there fron
unknown. But gratitude, so far from being most amiable in themselves, and some of counted an unseemly companion for para- which are most useful to society and yet dise, will be one chief ingredient in the none of which may possess the smallest fulness of its joy; one of the purest and portion of the essential character of virtue. most exquisite of those pleasures which are They may be brought into exercise without for evermore.
any working of a sense of duty whatever. The first consideration, then, upon which One of those we have specified--the instincwe would elevate gratitude to the rank of a tive affection of parents for their young, is virtue, is, that in its object, it is altogether exemplified in all its strength, and in all its distinct from selfishness. It is enough, in- tenderness, by the inferior animals. And, deed, to dissolve the imagination of any therefore, if we want to know what that is kindred character between selfishness and which constitutes the character of virtue, or gratitude, that the man without selfishness, moral worth, in a human being, we must seems to the eye of a beholder, as standing look to something else, than to the mere on a lofty eminence of virtue. The man existence of certain affections, however valwithout gratitude, is held, by all, to be a uable they may prove to others, or whatever monster of deformity. Give me a man who gracefulness they may shed over the comseizes with ravenous appropriation all that plexion of him who possesses them. I have to bestow,-and who hoards it, or Now, it would be raising a collateral into feeds upon it, or, in any way rejoices over a main topic, were we to enter upon a full it, without one grateful movement of his explanation of the matter that has now been heart towards me,-and you lay before me suggested. And we shall, therefore, briefly a character, not merely unlike, but diametri- remark, that to give the character of virtue cally opposite, to the character of him who to any grace of the inner man, the will, obtains the very same gift, and, perhaps, de-acting under a sense of duty, must, in some rives from the use of it, an equal, or a greater way or other, have been concerned in the degree of enjoyment, to the sensitive part establishment, or in the continuance of it; of his nature, --but who, in addition to all and that to give the same character of virtueto this, has thought, and affection, and the a deed of the outer man, the will must also higher principles of his nature, excited by be concerned. A deed is only virtuous in the consideration of the giver; and looks to as far as it is voluntary; and it is only in the manifested love that appears in this act proportion to the share which the will has of generosity; and is touched with love in the performance of it, and the will imback again; and, under the influence of this pelling us to do, what we are persuaded responding affection, conceives the kindest ought to be done, that there can be awarded, Wishes, and pours out the warmest prayers, to the deed in question, any character of for the interest of his benefactor, and shows moral estimation. him all the symptoms of friendship, and This will explain what the circumstances surrounds him with all its services.
are, under which the gratitude of a human The second consideration upon which we being may at one time be an instinct, and would elevate gratitude to the rank of a at another time a virtue. I may enter the pure virtue, has already been glanced at. house of an individual who is an utter Were it not a virtue, it would have no place stranger to the habit of acting under a sense in heaven. Did it only appertain to the un- of duty ; who is just as much the creature renewed part of our nature, it would find of mere impulse, as the animals beneath no admittance among the saints in paradise. him; and who, therefore, though some of But one of the songs of the redeemed, is a these impulses are more characteristic of song of gratitude.
his condition as a man, and most subserAnd, thirdly, by looking more closely to vient to the good of his fellows, may be conthis affection, both in its origin and in its sidered as possessing no virtue whatever, exercises, we shall perceive in it, more in the strict and proper sense of the term. clearly, all the characteristics of virtue. | But he has the property of being affected
Let it be remarked, then, that an affection by external causes. And I, by some mimay simply exist, and yet be no evidence nistration of friendship, may flash upon his 01 any virtue, or of any moral worth in the mind such an overpowering conviction of holder of it. I may look on a beautiful the good will that I bear him, as to affect prospect, and be drawn out to an invo-him with a sense of gratitude even unto luntary sentiment of admiration. Or, I may tears. The moral obligation of gratitude look on my infant child, and without one may not be present to his mind at all. But effort of volition, feel a parental tenderness the emotion of gratitude comes into his towards it. Or, Í may be present at a scene heart unbidden, and finds its vent in acof distress, and without choosing or willing knowledgments, and blessings, on the perto be so, I may be moved to the softest com- son of his benefactor. We would say, of passion. And, in this way, I may have a such a person, that he possesses a happier character made up of many affections, some original constitution than another, who, in on which are tasteful, some of which are the same circumstances, would not be so