Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ascendency of rank and station against the servant will be brought to their reckonwhich no stern republican is ever heard to ing together; and when the one is tried list his voice--though it be an ascendency upon the guilt and the malignant influence so exercised, as to be of most noxious ope of his Sabbath companies and is charged ration to the dearest hopes and best interests with the profane and careless habit of his of humanity. There is a cruel combination household establishment-and is reminded of the great against the majesty of the peo- how he kept both himself and his domesple-we mean the majesty of the people's tics from the solemn ordinance-and is made worth. There is a haughty unconcern about to perceive the fearful extent of the moral an inheritance, which, by an unalienable and spiritual mischief which he has wrought right, should be theirs-we mean their fu- as the irreligious head of an irreligious fature and everlasting inheritance. There is mily—and how, among other things he, una deadly invasion made on their rights- der a system of fashionable hypocrisy, so we mean their rights of conscience; and, tampered with another's principles as to dein this our land of boasted privileges, are file his conscience, and to destroy him-O! the low trampled upon by the high-we how tremendously will the little brief aumean trampled into all the degradation of thority in which he now plays his fantastic guilt and worthlessness. They are utterly tricks, turn to his own condemnation; for, berest of that homage which ought to be than thus abuse his authority, it were betrendered to the dignity of their immortal ter for him that a millstone were hanged nature; and to minister to the avarice of about his neck, and he were cast into the an imperious master, or to spare the sickly sea. delicacy of the fashionables in our land, areA nd how comes it, we ask, that any masthe truth and the piety of our population, ter is armed with a power so destructive and all the virtues of their eternity, most over the immortals who are around him? unfeelingly plucked away from them. It God has given him no such power: The belongs to others to fight the battle of their state has not given it to him. There is no privileges in time. But who that looks with law, either human or divine, by which he a calculating eye on their duration that can enforce any order upon his servants to never ends, can repress an alarm of a higher an act of falsehood, or to an act of impiety. order ? It belongs to others generously to Should any such act of authority be atstruggle for the place and the adjustment tempted on the part of the master, it should of the lower orders in the great vessel of be followed up on the part of the servant the state. But, surely, the question of their by an act of disobedience. Should your place in eternity is of mightier concern than master or mistress bid you say not at home, how they are to sit and be accommodated when you know that they are at home, it in that pathway vehicle which takes them is your duty to refuse compliance with such to their everlasting habitations.

an order: and if it be asked, how can this Christianity is, in one sense, the greatest matter be adjusted after such a violent and of all levellers. It looks to the elements, alarming innovation on the laws of fashionand not to the circumstantials of humanity; able intercourse, we answer, just by the sim- : and regarding as altogether superficial and ple substitution of truth for falsehood-just temporary the distinctions of this fleeting | by prescribing the utterance of, engaged, pilgrimage, it fastens on those points of as- which is a fact, instead of the utterance of, similation which liken the king upon the not at home, which is a lie-just by holding throne to the very humblest of his subject the principles of your servant to be of higher population. They are alike in the naked-account than the false delicacies of your acness of their birth. They are alike in the quaintance-just by a bold and vigorous resureness of their decay. They are alike incurrence to the simplicity of nature-just the agonies of their dissolution. And after by determinedly doing what is right, though the one is tombed in sepulchral magnifi- the example of a whole host were against cence, and the other is laid in his sod-wrapt you; and by giving impulse to the current grave, are they most fearfully alike in the of example, when it happens to be moving corruption to which they moulder. But it in a proper direction. And here we are is with the immortal nature of each that happy to say that fashion has of late been Christianity has to do; and, in both the one making a capricious and accidental moveand the other, does it behold a nature alike ment on the side of principle--and to be forfeited by guilt, and alike capable of being blunt, and open, and manly, is now on the restored by the grace of an offered salva- fair way to be fashionable and a temper tion. And never do the pomp and the cir- of a homelier quality is beginning to infuse cumstance of externals appear more humi- itself into the luxuriousness, and the effemiliating, than when, looking onwards to the nacy, and the palling and excessive complaiday of resurrection, we behold the sovereign sance of genteel society—and the staple of standing without his crown, and trembling, cultivated manners is improving in firmness, with the subject by bis side, at the bar of land frankness, and honesty, and may, at heaven's majesty. There the master and l length, by the aid of a principle of Chris

[blocks in formation]

tian rectitude, be so interwoven with the whole of the gospel dispensation. Let them cardinal virtues, as to present a different learn a higher reverence for the eternity texture altogether from the soft and silken of those beneath them, by thinking of him, degeneracy of modern days.

who, to purchase an inheritance for the And that we may not appear the cham-poor, and to provide them with the blesspions of an insurrection against the autho-ings of a preached gospel, unrobed him of rity of masters, let us further say, that all his greatness; and descended himself while it is the duty of clerk or apprentice to to the lot and labours of poverty; and toiled, refuse the doing of weekday work on the Sab- to the beginning of his public ministry, at bath, and while it is the duty of servants to the work of a carpenter; and submitted to refuse the utterance of a prescribed falsehood, all the horrors of a death which was aggraand while it is the duty of every dependent, vated by the burden of a world's atonein the service of his master, to serve him ment, and made inconceivably severe by only in the Lord-yet this very principle, their being infused into it all the bitter of tending as it may to a rare and occasional expiation. Think, O think, when some petty act of disobedience, is also the principle design of avarice or vanity would lead you which renders every servant who adheres to forget the imperishable souls of those to it a perfect treasure of fidelity, and at- who are beneath you, that you are setting tachment, and general obedience. This is yourselves in diametric opposition to that the way in which to obtain a credit for his which lieth nearest to the heart of the Sarefusal, and to stamp upon it a noble con- viour; that you are countervailing the whole sistency. In this way he will, even to the tendency of his redemption; that you are mind of an ungodly master, make up for thwarting the very object of that enterprise all his particularities : and should he be for which all heaven is represented as in what, if a Christian, he will be; should he motion and angels are with wonder lookbe, at all times, the most alert in service, ing on-and God the Father laid an apand the most patient of provocation, and pointment on the Son of his love and he, the most cordial in affection, and the most the august personage in whom the magscrupulously honest in the charge and cus- nificent train of prophecy, from the begintody of all that is committed to him—then ning of the world, has its theme and its let the post of drudgery at which he toils fulfilment, at length came amongst us, in be humble as it may, the contrast between shrouded majesty, and was led to the cross, the meanness of his office and the dignity like a lamb for the slaughter, and bowed of his character will only heighten the re- his head in agony, and gave up the ghost. verence that is due to principle, and make And here let us address one word more it more illustrious. His scruples may, at to the masters and mistresses of families. first, be the topics of displeasure, and after- By adopting the reformations to which we wards the topics of occasional levity; but, have been urging you, you may do good in spite of himself, will his employer be at to the cause of Christianity, and yet not adlength constrained to look upon them with vance, by a single hair-breadth, the Chrisrespectful toleration. The servant will be tianity of your own souls. It is not by this to the master a living epistle of Christ, and one reformation, or indeed, by any given he may read there what he has not yet per- number of reformations, that you are saved. ceived in the letter of the New Testament. It is by believing in Christ that men are saved. He may read, in the person of his own do- | You may escape, it is sure, a higher degree mestic, the power and the truth of Chris- of punishment, but you will not escape tianity. He may positively stand in awe damnation. You may do good to the souls of his own hired servant-and, regarding of your servants, by a rigid observance of his bosom as a sanctuary of worth which it the lesson of this day. But we seek the were monstrous to violate, will he feel, when good of your own souls, also, and we protempted to offer one command of impiety, nounce upon them that they are in a state that he cannot, that he dare not.

of death, till one great act be performed, And before we conclude, let us, if possi- and one act, too, which does not consist of ble, try to rebuke the wealthy out of their any number of particular acts, or particular unfeeling indifference to the souls of the reformations. What shall I do to be saved ? poor, by the example of the Saviour. Let Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou those who look on the immortality of the shalt be saved. And he who believeth not, poor as beneath their concern, only look the wrath of God abideth on him. Do this, unto Christ to him who, for the sake of if you want to make the great and importhe poorest of us all, became poor himself, tant transition for yourselves. Do this if that we, through his poverty, might be you want your own name to be blotted made rich. Let them think how the prin- out of the book of condemnation. If you ciple of all these offences which we have seek to have your own persons justified been attempting to expose, is in the direct before God, submit to the righteousness of face of that principle which prompted, at God-even that righteousness which is first, and which still presides over, the I through the faith of Christ, and is unto all

its ca

and upon all who believe. This is the turn-character. The particular reformation that ing point of your acceptance with the Law-we have now been urging will be one of a giver. And at this step, also, in the history crowd of other reformations; and, in the of your souls, will there be applied to spirit of him who pleased not himself, but you a power of motive, and will you be en- gave up his life for others, will you forego dowed with an obedient sensibility to the all the desires of selfishness and vanity, and influence of motive, which will make it the look not merely to your own things, but turning point of a new heart and a new I also to the things of others.

DISCOURSE VIII.

On the Love of Money.

" If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much: If I beheld the sun when it shined or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge ; for I should have denied the God that is above."-Job xxxi. 24-28.

[ocr errors]

What is worthy of remark in this pas | dowed him with the organs, of every gratisage is, that a certain affection only known fication,--that he should thus lavish all his among the votaries of Paganism, should desires on the surrounding materialism, be classed under the same character and and fetch from it all his delights, while the have the same condemnation with an affec- thought of him who formed it is habitually tion, not only known, but allowed, nay absent from his heart—that in the play cherished into habitual supremacy, all over of those attractions that subsist between Christendom. How universal is it among him and the various 'objects in the neighthose who are in pursuit of wealth, to bourhood of his person, there should be the make gold their hope, and among those same want of reference to God, as there is who are in possession of wealth, to make in the play of those attractions which subfine gold their confidence? Yet we are here sist between a piece of unconscious matter told that this is virtually as complete a re- and the other matter that is around itnunciation of God as to practise some of that all the influences which operate upon the worst charms of idolatry. And it might the human will should emanate from so perhaps serve to unsettle the vanity of those many various points in the mechanism of who, unsuspicious of the disease that is in what is formed, but that no practical or their hearts, are wholy given over to this I ascendant influence should come down world, and wholly without alarm in their upon it from the presiding and the preseryanticipations of another,--could we con- ing Deity ? Why, if such be man, he could vince them that the most reigning and re- not be otherwise, though there were no sistless desire by which they are actuated, | Deity. The part he sustains in the world stamps the same perversity on them, in the is the very same that it would have been sight of God, as he sees to be in those who had the world sprung into being of itself, are worshippers of the sun in the firma- or without an originating mind had mainment, or are offering incense to the moon, I tained its being from eternity. He just puts as the queen of heaven.

forth the evolutions of his own nature, as We recoil from an idolater, as from one one of the component individuals in a vast who labours under a great moral derange- independent system of nature, made up of ment, in suffering his regards to be carried many parts and many individuals. In hunaway from the true God to an idol. But, gering for what is agreeable to his senses, is it not just the same derangement, on the l or recoiling from what is bitter or unsuitpart of man, that he should love any cre- able to them, he does so without thinking ated good, and in the enjoyment of it lose of God, or borrowing any impulse to his sight of the Creator that he should delight lown will from any thing he knows or beIlimself with the use and the possession of lieves to be the will of God. Religion has & gilt, and be unaffected by the circum- just as little to do with those daily movestance of its having been put into his hands ments of his which are voluntary, as it has by a giver--that thoroughly absorbed with to do with the growth of his body, which the present and the sensible gratification, is involuntary ; or, as it has to do, in other There should be no room left for the move-words, with the progress and the phenoments of duty or regard to the Being who mena of vegetation. With a mind that Turnished him with the materials, and en-longht to know God, and a conscience that

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ought to award to him the supreme juris- as the animal beneath him. In other words, diction, he lives as effectually without him his atheism, while tasting the bounties of as if he had no mind and no conscience; Providence, is just as complete, as is the and, bating a few transient visitations of atheism of the inferior animals. But theirs thought, and a few regularities of outward proceeds from their incapacity of knowing and mechanical observation, do we behold God. His proceeds from his not liking 10 man running, and willing, and preparing, retain God in his knowledge. He may and enjoying, just as if there was no other come under the power of godliness, if he portion than the creature-just as if the would. But he chooses rather that the world, and its visible elements, formed the power of sensuality should lord it over all with which he had to do.

him, and his whole man is engrossed with I wish to impress upon you the distinc- the objects of sensuality. tion that there is between the love of mo- But a man differs from an animal in beney, and the love of what money pur-ing something more than a sensitive being. chases. Either of these affections may He is also a reflective being. He has the equally displace God from the heart. But power of thought, and inference, and antithere is a malignity and an inveteracy of cipation, to signalize him above the beasts atheism in the former which does not be- of the field, or of the forest; and yet will long to the latter, and in virtue of which it it be found, in the case of every natural may be seen that the love of money is, in- man, that the exercise of those powers, so deed, the root of all evil.

far from having carried him nearer, has When we indulge the love of that which only widened his departure from God, and is purchased by money, the materials of given a more deliberate and wilful characgratification and the organs of gratification ter to his atheism, than if he had been with. are present with each other-just as in the out them altogether. enjoyments of the inferior animals, and in virtue of the powers of a mind which just as in all the simple and immediate en- belong to hini, he can carry his thoughts joyments of man; such as the tasting of beyond the present desires and the prefood, or the smelling of a flower. There sent gratification. He can calculate on the is an adaptation of the senses to certain visitations of future desire, and on the external objects, and there is a pleasure means of its gratification. He cannot arising out of that adaptation, and it is a only follow out the impulse of hunger that pleasure which may be felt by man, along is now upon him; he can look onwards to with a right and a full infusion of godli- the successive and recurring impulses of ness. The primitive Christians, for exam- hunger which await him, and he can deple, ate their meat with gladness and sin- vise expedients for relieving it. Out of that gleness of heart, praising God. But, in the great stream of supply, which comes direct case of every unconverted man, the plea- | from Heaven to earth, for the sustenance sure has no such accompaniment. He car- of all its living generations, he can draw off ries in his heart no recognition of that and appropriate a separate rill of conveyhand, by the opening of which it is, that ance, and direct it into a reservoir for himthe means and the materials of enjoyment self. He can enlarge the capacity, or he are placed within his reach. The matter can strengthen the embankments of this of the enjoyment is all with which he is reservoir. By doing the one, he augments conversant. The Author of the enjoyment his proportion of this common tide of is unheeded. The avidity with which he wealth which circulates through the world, rushes onward to any of the direct gratifi- and by doing the other, he augments his cations of nature, bears a resemblance to security for holding it in perpetual possesthe avidity with which one of the lower sion. The animal who drinks out of the creation rushes to its food, or to its water, stream thinks not whence it issues. But or to the open field, where it gambols in man thinks of the reservoir which yields all the wantonness of freedom, and finds to him his portion of it. And he looks no a high-breathed joy in the very strength further. He thinks not that to fill it, there and velocity of its movements. And the must be a great and original fountain, out atheism of the former, who has a mind for of which there issueth a mighty flood of the sense and knowledge of his Creator, is abundance for the purpose of distribution often as entire as the atheism of the latter, among all the tribes and families of the who has it not. Man, who ought to look world. He stops short at the secondary to the primary cause of all his blessings, and artificial fabric which he himself haih because he is capable of seeing thus far, is formed, and out of which, as from a spring, often as blind to God, in the midst of en- he draws his own peculiar enjoyments; ioyment, as the animal who is not capable and never thinks either of his own pecuof seeing him. He can trace the stream to liar supply, fluctuating with the variations its fountain; but still he drinks of the of the primary spring, or of connecting stream with as much greediness of plea- these variations with the will of the great sure, and as little recognition of its source, but unseen director of all things. It is true,

102

that if this main and originating fountain abundance among our habitations, and all be, at any time, less copious in its emis- the subordinate magazines formed beside sion, he will have less to draw from it to the wonted stream of liberality, would re his own reservoir; and in that very pro- main empty. But all this is forgotten by the portion will his share of the bounties of vast majority of our unthoughtful and unProvidence be reduced. But still it is to reflecting species. The patience of God is the well, or receptacle, of his own striking still unexhausted ; and the seasons still roll out that he looks, as his main security for in kindly succession over the heads of an the relief of nature's wants, and the abun- ungrateful generation; and that period, dant supply of nature's enjoyments. It is when the machinery of our present sysupon his own work that he depends in this tem shall stop and be taken to pieces has matter, and not on the work or the will of not yet arrived ; and that Spirit, who will him who is the author of nature; who not always strive with the children of men, giveth rain from heaven, and fruitful sea- is still prolonging his experiment on the sons, and filleth every heart with food and powers and perversities of our moral nagladness. And thus it is, that the reason ture; and still suspending the edict of disof man, and the retrospective power of solution, by which this earth and these man, still fail to carry him, by an ascend-heavens are at length to pass away. So ing process to the First Cause. He stops that the sun still shines upon us; and the at the instrumental cause, which, by his clouds still drop upon us; and the earth own wisdom and his own power, he has still puts forth the bloom and the beauty put into operation. In a word, the man's of its luxuriance; and all the ministers of understanding is over-run with atheism, as heaven's liberality still walk their annual well as his desires. The intellectual as well round, and scatter plenty over the face of as the sensitive part of his constitution an alienated world; and the whole of naseems to be infected with it. When, like ture continues as smiling in promise, and the instinctive and unreflecting animal, he as sure in fulfilment, as in the days of our engages in the act of direct enjoyment, he forefathers; and out of her large and uniis like it, too, in its atheism. When he versal granary is there, in every returning rises above the animal, and, in the exercise year, as rich a conveyance of aliment as be. of his higher and larger faculties, he en-fore, to the populous family in whose begages in the act of providing for enjoyment, half it is opened. But it is the business of he still carries his atheism along with him. many among that population, each to erect

A sum of money is, in all its functions, his own separate granary, and to replenish equivalent to such a reservoir. Take one it out of the general store, and to feed himyear with another, and the annual con- self and his dependants out of it. And he sumption of the world cannot exceed the is right in so doing. But he is not right annual produce which issues from the in looking to his own peculiar receptacle, storehouse of him who is the great and the as if it were the first and the emanating bountiful Provider of all its families. The fountain of all his enjoyments. He is not money that is in any man's possession re-right in thus idolising the work of his own presents the share which he can appro- | hands-awarding no glory and no confipriate to himself of this produce. If it bedence to him in whose hands is the key a large sum it is like a capacious reservoir of that great storehouse, out of which on the bank of the river of abundance. If every lesser storehouse of man derives its it be laid out on firm and stable securities, fulness. He is not right, in labouring after still it is like a firmly embanked reservoir. (the money which purchaseth all things, to The man who toils to increase luis money avert the earnestness of his regard from is like a man who toils to enlarge the ca- (the Being who provides all things. He is pacity of his reservoir. The man who sus- not right, in thus building his security on pects a flaw in his securities, or who appre- that which is subordinate, unheeding and hends, in the report of failures and fluctua-J unmindful of him who is supreme. It is tions, that his money is all to flow away not right, that silver, and gold, though unfrom him, is like a man who apprehends a shaped into statuary, should still be doing, flaw in the embankments of his reservoir. in this enlightened land, what the images

Meanwhile, in all the care that is thus of Paganism once did. It is not right, that expended, either on the money or on the they should thus supplant the deference magazine, the originating source, out of which is owing to the God and the governor which there is imparted to the one all its of all things--or that each man amongst real worth, or there is imparted to the other us should in the secret homage of trust and all its real sulness, is scarcely ever thought satisfaction which he renders to his bills, of. Let God turn the earth into a barren and his deposits, and his deeds of property desert, and the money ceases to be con- and possession, endow these various artivertible to any purpose of enjoyment; or cles with the same moral ascendency over let him lock up that magazine of great and his heart, as the household gods of antigeneral supply, out of which he showers | quity had over the idolaters of antiquity

« AnteriorContinuar »