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in their turn are swept away by the devastations of war, or gradually disappear from alterations in public taste or public convenience. But the Church of Christ is founded upon a rock, and the truths of which it is the depository are adapted to all times, to all places, to all the real interests and all the real duties of social life. Christ himself foresaw, and in substance foretold, what I am now stating to you, and the prospect of it must have furnished subjects which, in the language of the Psalmist, satisfied his soul as with the choicest delicacies.
Much has been said, and by some writers of antiquity said well, upon that philanthropy which expands itself from families to neighbourhoods, from neighbourhoods to our country, and from our country to the whole human race. But even in the closet, though our talents may be exercised, and our imaginations for the time enchanted by the description of this comprehensive principle, yet the ideas excited by it are indistinct ; and the affections, as embracing the whole range of our fellow-creatures, are excited very faintly. We cannot, from our limited opportunities for observation, understand all their interests, or all their wants. We cannot, from our limited sphere of agency, forward the one or supply the other. The attempt itself must be visionary and unsuccessful; or I should rather say, that from numerous and unalterable circumstances, it would often lead us into the neglect of many important duties which in reality are within our reach. I know not, indeed, that the experiment was ever made; and sure I am, that every scholar must re
member, and every enlightened Christian will lament the imperfections of one celebrated worthy, whom his poetical encomiast has pourtrayed, as believing that he was born not for himself, but for the whole world.
Yet in the character and the views of the blessed Jesus, this universal concern for the welfare of the human race is set before us, and shown not in the refinements of theory, but with the solid testimony of facts. He did understand all the real interests of mankind, and he did endeavour to promote them. His religion, by making us virtuous, will, even on this side of the grave, make us happy. It teaches us to consider and to conduct ourselves as the heirs of everlasting life. As all men have immortal souls, he was the benefactor of all men in making such ample provision for the salvation of those souls. Let us, therefore, not listen to the narrow and unscriptural doctrines of those teachers who would confine the eventual benefits of Christianity to this or that sect, to this or that church, or even to that part of the earth in which the Gospel has been hitherto propagated.
The proclamation of mercy made by Christ extends, under various modifications, to the whole human race; for the whole human race have sinned, and stand in need of mercy. If the eternal salvation of mankind, and myriads and millions of moral agents, be in itself of such high moment in the moral government of God, how great must be the dignity of Him who was to execute the mighty plan ; and what must have been the pleasure he felt in sur
veying the wide and beneficial results of his divine mission! Let the benevolent man ask himself what satisfaction he experienced, when it was in his power to bestow any lasting or any signal benefit upon his fellow-creatures. Then let him recollect, that the blessed Jesus came to make us happy for ever; and therefore, that in proportion to the excellence and the magnitude of this design, must have been the delight he received from the consciousness of power to carry it into plenary execution. Have you not felt the glow of mingled admiration, gratitude, and love towards God, as exercising infinite power and infinite wisdom for the benefit of yourselves, your children, your friends, your neighbours, your countrymen, your fellow. creatures, through regions near and distant, and in already past generations, and in the present, and in many that are to come? And have not the same ardent and elevated sentiments attended your meditations on the same attributes, as communicating happiness to all intelligent beings in all the smaller and all the larger planets which roll around our sun, and in all the innumerable worlds belonging to all the systems visible or invisible, which by thee, Father Omnipotent, have been diffused through the boundless expanse of space?
Look, then, to your Redeemer. With the love of God's creatures, much surpassing what, by any efforts in practice, or any researches in theory we can reach, Christ united the love of God himself-yes, my brethren, the love of God with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength-a love far exceeding
man's attainment, and perhaps even his comprehension; and in this love of an infinite Being, by whom he was bimself beloved, he must have found support amidst all the miseries which he endured for the sake of those whom he came to redeem-amidst the pains of hunger, thirst, and cold-amidst the apostacy of many followers-the treachery of a disciple—the perverse cavils, and virulent invectives of Scribes and Pharisees—the brutal scoffs of the Jewish rabble, and Roman soldiery—the unceasing machinations, and unrelenting hostility of a wily, haughty, intolerant priesthood—and the excruciating pangs of death upon the cross.
But further. Ask your own hearts with what zeal and cheerfulness you sometimes engage in the service of those whom you are accustomed to view with affection or respect-when it is in your power to mitigate the sorrows of a virtuous parent-to promote the interests of a virtuous child—to supply the necessities of a virtuous friendto reward the merits of a virtuous man-is not your eagerness more keen, and is not your joy more rapturous, from the consideration of their moral qualities? Is it not the pure, the lovely, the magnanimous sympathy of your own virtue with the virtuous? But what is the most crowded and most resplendent assemblage of excellencies in man, when compared with the perfections of the Deity? Those perfections, then, you should remember, were ever present to the mind of Jesus. “ He knew,” saith the Scripture, “what was in man;" but he also knew what are the attributes, what are the counsels, what are the works of God. Knowing them, he loved them, and in that love, he found subjects for unceasing admiration; he found motives to unwearied activity in doing the will of his Father; he found what, in conversing with the Samaritan woman, he called the fountain which springeth up to eternal life, and of which he who drinketh will never thirst again ; he found, what, upon another occasion, he described to the Jews as the bread of life, which came down from heaven, and of which, whosoever eateth shall never hunger.
To conclude. The character of our Lord, thus viewed, will suggest to us some practical considerations.
Though many of the arduous duties performed, and consequently many of the moral pleasures experienced, by him in the wonderful work of our redemption, be appropriate to himself, yet the principles upon which he acted are in some measure common to him and ourselves, and will be followed by correspondent effects, when we meditate upon those principles seriously, and conform to them sincerely. If the wisest sage of antiquity justly deplored the misplaced talents of Greek disputants in separating the useful from the honourable and the
oming, greater reason inust every reflecting Christian have to lament the errors or the sophistry of those writers who, under the pretence of discouraging superstition and persecution, would sever morality from religion. The controversies of antiquity on the comparative merits of this or that virtue, arbitrarily discriminated by this or that technical appellation, may induce us to suspect that the