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is cloathed with grace. Miracles of power confirm. : ed the one ; miracles of grace distinguished the other. We come not to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion. At the publilhing of the gospel no fire descended, no thunders rolled : at the publishing of the gospel, when our Saviour, being baptized, entered upon his ministry, the heaven was opened over his head, the Spirit delcended upon him in the form of a dove, the messenger of peace, and a voice came from the overshadowing cloud, “ This " is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Revelation then concurs with reason in establishing the law, and to the voice of nature is added the voice of God. Such an authority you will not despise. You will not join with the impious king of Egypt, who hardened his heart, and said, “ Who is 56 the Lord that I should obey his voice?".
In the third place, Our obligation to obey the law will be further manifeft, when we consider that it is the law of society.
That righteousness exalteth a nation, and that vice is not only a reproach but also a depression to any people, are truths so universally received as to require no confirmation. All law givers in all ages have thought so, and made it their object to cultivate justice and temperence and fortitude and induftry, conscious that public virtue is the source of public happiness. Philosophers and moralists have been of the same opinion ; and have taught, with one consent, that the good morals of the people were the stability of the government, and the true source of public prosperity. Practice and experience have confirmed the truth of these speculations. If we
consult the history of the most renowned nations that have made a figure in the world, we shall find that they rose to greatness by virtue, and funk into contempt through vice ; that they obtained dominion by their temperance and probity of manners, and a serious regard to religion, and when they grew diffolute, corrupted and profane, they became flaves to their neighbours, whom they were no longer worthy to govern. Public depravity paves the way for public ruin. When the health and vigour of the political constitution is broken, it is haftening to its decline. When internal symptoms of weak. ness appear, the least external violence will accom. plish its dissolution.
It is a duty, then, which we owe to society and to our country, to observe the rules of righteousness ; for in order to be good members of society and true patriots, we must be virtuous men.
To show your obligation to give ear to this law, let us, in the last place, consider that it is the law of happiness.
This, in some measure, follows from what has been already said ; for if virtue be necessary to the happiness of public societies, it is also necessary to the happiness of private families and of private men, unless we can suppose the body politic to be flourishing, while every individual is in misery and distress. In consulting for others, all agree that virtue leads to happiness; but if for others, why not for you? When you consult for them, you have no passions to darken your understanding and perplex your judgment. When you consider with coolness and with candour, the observation and experience that all of us
have had occasion to make, will be sufficient to convince you, that the law of the Lord is truly favourable to the interests and friendly to the happiness of man; that it corresponds to the just dictates of the mind, and consults the best affections of the heart. What does it forbid ? Desires, passions and vices, from which for our own fakes we should abstain, though there was no such prohibition. It forbids the gratification of desires which would lead us to ruin ; the indulgence of passions which are the troubles of human life, and the source of our greatest misery; the commission of vices which waken remorse, and deliver us up to the tormentors. What does the law of the Lord command ? What is love. ly and pure and praise-worthy ; what tends to make men peaceable, gentle, humane, merciful, benevolent and happy.
ROMANS V. 7, 8.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die ; yet pers
adventure for a good man fome would even dare to "die. But God commandeth his love toward us, in
that, while we were yet finners, Christ died for us.
HE Apostle Paul, the author of this epistle, was bred at the feet of Gamaliel, and instructed in all the learning of the Jews. To his Hebrew literature he superadded the erudition of the Gentiles ; for we find him in his epiftles quoting their celebrated authors, and alluding to their remarkable customs and the events in their history, These verses which I have now read, carry an allufion and reference to a distinction of characters which prevailed among the Jews, and to some illustrious actions performed by the Romans, to whom he addressed this episle.
The Jews distinguished men with respect to their characters, into sinners, just men, and good men. Sinners are those who violate the laws of God' and man, who disturb the public peace, and are bad members of society. A just man is one who does no injury to his neighbour, who gives no cause of offence to the world, who pays his debts, who con. forms to the letter of the law, and who is not deficient in any of the great duties of life. A good man is one who goes farther ; who is not only in. nocent but useful, who is not only decent but exemplary, who is generous, beneficent, public-spirited ; who sacrifices his ease, his pleasure, his safety, and, when his country calls for it, who sacrifices his life for the public good. Such was the character of this Apostle himself. In order to propagate the Christian religion among the nations, the greatest blessing of God to the world, in order to diffuse the knowledge of this religion, he gave up all that was dear in life, undertook long and hazardous journeys, exposed himself to the dangers of the deep, to the chains of captivity, to the sword of the persecutor, to the derision and hatred of Jews and Gentiles. Accordingly, he met with this return, which he here mentions as being sometimes made to superior goodness ; for we read in the sixteenth chapter of this epistle, that he found persons who for his life would have laid down their own.
The Apostle also in these verses alludes to some illurtrious actions performed by the Romans, to whom he addresses this epiitle. The love of their country was the darling passion of that great people. All the foul went out in this generous ardour, and every private affection flowed in the channel of the public welfare. Judge what a strong hold it must have taken of the heart, when it glowed even in the female breast; when the wife encouraged the husband, and the mother exhorted the son, to die for their country, It was a principle in the breast of every Roman, *that he owed his life to his country. This being the spirit of the people, gave birth to many illuftri. ous and heroic actions. The spirit of patriotisms