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of God in saying us! and the faith of this love will work on our hearts, till it hath raised in us an unquenchable flame of love to him who bath so loved and saved us. These, these are to be our dispositions: “O my Saviour! hast thou done so much for me! now will I do all I can for thy kingdom and people in the world. O! what service is there that I may now perform for my Saviour and his people in the world ?"
These are the principles to be proceeded on : and it is worthy of special observation, that there are no men in the world who so much abound in good works, as those, who, above all others, have abandoned every pretension to the merit of their works. There are Protestants who have exceeded Papists in our days, as well as in those of Dr. Willet. No merit-mongers have exceeded some holy Christians, who have performed good works on the assurance of being already iustified, and entitled to eternal life.
I observe, that our apostle, throwing a just con tempt on the endless genealogies, and long, intricate pedigrees, which the Jews of his time dwelt so much upon, proposes in their stead “ Charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned :" as if he had said, “I will give you a genealogy worth ten thousand of theirs"-first, from faith unfeigned proceeds a good conscience; from a good conscience a pure heart; and from a pure heart, charity to all around us. It is admirably stated!
It may justly be feared that we too rarely inquire after
OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD,
Our opportunities to do good are our talents. An awful account must be rendered to the great God concerning the use of the talents with which he has intrusted us in these precious opportunities. Frequently we do not use our opportunities, because we do not consider them: they lie by unnoticed and unimproved. We read of a thing which we deride as
often as we behold it. 66 There is that maketh himself poor, and yet hath great riches." This is too frequently exemplified in our opportunities to do good, which are some of our most valuable riches. Many a man seems to reckon himself destitute of these tal. ents, as if there were nothing for him to do; he pretends that he is not in a condition to do any good. Alas! poor man, what can he do ? My friend, think again ; think frequently : inquire what your opportunities are ; you will certainly tiod them to be more than you were aware of. 66 Plain men dwelling in tents,” persons of a very ordinary rank in life, may, by their eminent piety, prove persons of extraordinary usefulness. A poor John Urich may make a Grotius the better for him. I have read of a pious weaver, of whom some eminent persons would say, “ Christ walked, as it were, alive on the earth in that man.” A mean mechanic-Who can tell what an engine of good he may become, if humbly and wisely applied to it? This, then,
is the next PROPOSAL. Without abridging yourselves of your occasional thoughts on the question, "What good may I do to-day ?" fix a time, now and then, for more deliberate thoughts
Cannot you find time (say, once a-week, and how suitably on the Lord's day) to take this question into consideration :
What is there that I may do for the service of the glorious Lord, and for the welfare of those for whom I ought to be concerned ?
Having implored the direction of God, 6 the Father of lights," consider the matter, in the various aspects of it. Consider it; till
hare resolved on something Write down your resolutions. Examine what precept and what promise you can find in the word of God to countenance your resolutions. Review these memorials at proper seasons, and see how far you have proceeded in the execution of them. The advantages of these preserved and revised memorials, no rhetoric will be sufficient to commend, no arithmetic to calculate. There are some animals of
which we say, “They know not their own strength ;** Christians, why should you be like them?
now descend to PARTICULARS ; but let it not be supposed that I pretend to an enumeration of all the gooil devices that may be conceived. Not a thousandth part of them can now be enumerated. The essay I am making is only to dig open the sevcral springs of usefulness, which, having once begun to flow, will spread into streams, that no human foresight can comprehend. “ Spring up, O well !” will every true Israelite sing, uson every proposal here exhibited; and “the nobles of Israel” can do nothing more agreeable to their own character, than to fall to work upon it. Perhaps every proposal that may be made will be like a stove falling into a pool-Ono circle and service will produce another, till they extend who can tell how far ? Those who devote themselves to good devices, and who duly observe their opportunities to do good, usually find a wonderful increase of their opportunities.
The gracious providence of God affords this recompense to his diligent servants, that he will multiply their npportunities of being serviceable : and when ingenious men have used themselves to a little contrivance, in pursuing the best intentions, their ingenuity will sensibly improve, aard there will be more expansion in their diffusive applications. Among all the dispensations of a special providence in the government of the world, none is less interrupted than the accomplishment of that word, Unto him that hath shall be given.” I will say this, “O useful man! take for thy moito, Habenti dabitur”_66 To him that hath shall be given ;” and, in a lively use of thy opportunities to do good, see how remarkably it will be accomplished ; see what accomplishment of that word will at last surprise thee, “ Though thy beginning be small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase."
ON INTERNAL PIETY AND SELF-EXAMINATION.
OWN HEART AND
Why should not the charity of which we are treating, “ begin at home ?” It observes not a due decorum if it doth not; and it will be liable to great exceptions in its pretensions and proceedings. “Call not that man wise whose wisdom begins not at
This then, is to be made an early PROPOSAL.. First, Let every man devise what good may be done for the correction of what is yet amiss, In his
It is a good remark of the witty Fuller; 6 He need not complain of too little work, who hath a little world in himself to mend." It was of old complained, 6 No man repented him, saying, What have I done ?” Every man upon earth may find in himself something that wants correcting ; and the work of repentance is to inquire, not only, " what we have done,” but also, " what we have to do.” Frequent self-examination is the duty of all who would know themselves, or would not lose themselves. The great intention of self-examination is to find out the points wherein we are to 66 amend our ways." A christian that would thrive in christianity must be no stranger to a course of meditation. This is one of the masters which are requisite to make a of God." One article and exercise in our meditation should be to find out the things wherein a greater, conformity to the truths upon which we have been meditating, may be attempted. If we would be good men, we must often devise how we may grow in knowledge and in all goodness. Such an inquiry as this should often be made : “ What shall I do, that what is yet lacking in the image of Go: upon me, may be perfected ? What shall I do, that I may live more perfectly, more watchfully, more fruitfully before my glorious Lord ?"
And why should not our meditation, when we tire to that profitable engagement, conclude with soine resolution ? Devise now, and resolve something to-strengthen your walk with God.
* Odi sapientem qui sibi non sapit.
With some devout hearers of the word, it is a practice, when they have heard a sermon, to think, 6 What good thing have I now to ask of God with a peculiar importunity ?” they are also accustomed to call upon their children, and make them answer this question : “Child, what blessing will you now ask of the glorious God?" After which, they charge them to go and do accordingly.
In pursuance of this piety, why may not this be one of the exercises which shall conspire to form a good evening for the best of days ? Let it be a part of our work on the Lord's-day evening, seriously to ask ourselves the following question : 5 If I should die this week, what have I left undone, which I should then wish I had been more diligent in performing ?” My friend, place thyself in dying circumstances; apprehend and realize thy approaching dissolution. Suppose thy last, solemn hour arrived : thy breath failing, thy throat rattling, thy hands with a cold sweat upon them-only the turn of the tide expected for thy expiration. In this condition, "What wouldst thou wish to have done more than thou hast already done, for thy own soul, for thy family, or for the people of God ?” Think upon this question, and do not forget the result of thy thoughts ; do not delay to perform what thou hast resolved upon. How much more agreeable and profitable would such an exercise be on the Lord's-day evening than those vanities to which that evening is too commonly prostituted, and by which all the good of the past day is defeated ! And if such an exercise were often performed, 0 ! how much would it regulate our lives; how watchfully, how fruitsully would it cause us to live ; what an incredible number of good works would it produce in the world !
Will you remember, Sirs, that every christian is a
temple of God!" It would be of great service to christianity, if this notion of its true nature were more frequently and clearly cultivated. But certainly there yet remains very much for every one of us to do, that the temple may be carried on to perfection ; that it may be repaired, finished, puritied,