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become the measure of our deeds of mercy towards our neighbors. Ethical writers are not agreed, as to the real character of self-love, whether it is the inspiring principle of benevolence or not, or whether or not, all benevolence may be resolved into self-love. I shall not discuss these questions now; tho at a future time I may attempt it. It is enough that we find this principle to form the bound and measure of our kindest regard.
It is moreover essential to a correct understanding of the subject, and a proper discharge of the duty enjoined in the text, to reinember, that this self love is to be considered not as weak or blind, but as a spirit of discernment, enabling us to discover what would really contribute to our welfare, and of course do that for others, which we believe will make them most happy, under existing circumstances. The importance of this idea is manifest. A man may appeal to our charity, and demand or ask that which would, if communicated, prove essentially injurious. This compliance with such a request is not charity. It is not the love of our neighbor. If we appeal to self-love to decide our course of conduct in this case, it must be to that principle as connected with intelligence, and showing us what is really a good, as distinguished from what only appears to be so. Dr. Young has told us of “self-love in a mistake, a poor, blind merchant, buying joys too dear:” and he speaks again, of “self-love in her wits, and growing rich in bargains of delight.” We should ask ourselves, what would we, in our sober senses, have done for us in such a situation, and take our measures accordingly. The good which we may do, or communicate, does not consist in any one particular thing. It will vary according to circumstances; and that will be the greatest good which proves of the greatest use in existing circumstances, but not always that which our humor or caprice lead us to consider as a good. The divine conduct seems to be governed by the saine rule. God does not always bestow what we ask for; if he did, we have reason to think our condition would be still more miserable than it is. “Not to my wish, but to my want,” should be every Christian's
prayer. ask,” says St. James, "and receive not, because ye ask' amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." The love of God forbids the granting such petitions.
I may conclude with remarking, that the theory of self-love, which we have presented, sufficiently indicates our path of duty. If we would be known to Jove God, we must love mankind, for the two precepts are conjoined in the gospel : and on the wave of God and of our veighbor as ourselves, hang all the law and the prophets."
From the Christian Intelligencer.
A HINT TO YOUNG PREACHERS.
Something like a year after entering upon the duties of the ministry, I spent an evening with a venerable and worthy gentleman, who afterwards became my father-in-law. He was of the Baptist persuasion, and a bright ornament to his profession. Ainong other topics of conversation, that of great Preachers became a subject of discourse. Full of enthusiastic zeal, and favored by Providence with a ready atterance, and a commanding voice, I had succeeded in my itinerant labors very far beyond my expectations; and withal felt some itchings to become a great Preacher. I mentioned the names of some in my own order
, the splendor of whose talents eclipsed, in my opinion, the brilliancy of all others. The old gentleman in turn, enumerated a number who were the most distinguish
, ed among the Baptist. But, said he, for my part, I prefer a good preacher to a great one. These words connected with the artless and sound gravity with which they were uttered, touched the very quick of my soul. I saw the propriety of them, and after meditating upon them a short třne, settled down upon the resolution to beconie a good preacher, if possible
and never to indulge the inquietude about ministerial greatness. Tho this occurrence was almost twenty years ago, I have not, I believe, from that time to this, arranged a sermon, without recollecting the remark of my venerable friend and parent. Will the discourse be a good one ? This circumstance, it is believed, tho trivial in itself, may be useful to those who have just commenced their labors in “the ministry of reconciliation." They are prone to thirst for professional eminence, and if they associate in their mind, genuine eminence with real holiness and moral virtue, the desire is commendable and salutary. But the glare of splendid talents, the charm of popularity, and of public applause are too apt to dazzle their eyes and deceive their hearts. I have rarely known an instance in which a preacher, young or old, attempted to deliver, what the world would call a great sermon, without failing, and tormenting his audience with a bad one. A great sermon, in the popular acceptation of the term, is one in which the sentiments and deScriptions soar far beyond common capacities. Now a moment's sober reflection will convince us, that a sentiment, or a description so humble that our loftier vision cannot perceive it, is as suitable and as useful to us as the one which soars so sublimely that our little
eyes cannot reach it. Let the minister of Christ bear constantly in mind that goodness is sterling greatness, and he will walk in the right way, "the path of the just that shineth more and more
to the perfect day." These hasty remarks, may, if duly improved, be profitable to societies which are destitute of the stated ministry of the word.
Guided by the rule here recommended, they will find but little difficulty in obtaining an acceptable preacher; one who will promote their growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They should remember that there are, comparatively, but few in the vineyard of our Lord and Master, who are distinguished for natural talents, but many, who let their measure of light shine before men.” I close
my remarks by repeating that goodness is sterling greatness; and the only greatness about which a rational creature can, with propriety, indulge a moment's anxiety
EXTRACT FROM A SERMON ON HABITUAL DEVOTION, PS.
X. 4.-BY REV. JOHN CLARKE, D. D. That the potent majesty of Go:l should always possess our minds is not to be expected. The invariable contemplation of any one object (were it possible) would absolutely unfit us for the duties of life, and for the station in which we are placed. Whilst we continue in this world, we must experience many cares, and pursue many concerns of a merely temporal natu re. We must make provision for our families ; we must educate our children, and introduce them into life. The farmer must cultivate his lands. The merchant must aitend to the objects of cominerce.
The mechanic must practise his art. The statesman' must study the interests of his country, and concert measures for its security. The legislator must make laws, and the magistrate execute them. The judge must hear, and the advocate plead causes. The physician must attend to the duties of his humane office; and men of all professions must act in the line of their calling. There is such a thing as the business of life, and that business must be attended to.
But such attention would be impossible, were God, in the literal sense, in all our thoughts. Were his infinite and adorable majesty to be the the sole object of our contemplation, the business of life would stand still. With such a powerful image before us, we could not so far command our thoughts, as to attend to any thing but the excellencies of his nature. We shouli be dead to the world around us, and indifferent to all its concerns. The active powers of the mind would undergo a total relaxation; and the various duties, upon which the existence of society depends, would be altogether neglected.
In all ages, there have been some enthusiasts, who have endeavored to perfect their nature by divine contemplations. For this purpose they have retreated from the world ; forsaken its pleasures ; abandoned its cares ; and taken up their melancholy abode, either with the beasts of the desert, or with persons of their own enthusiastic turn. But their zeal has never recommended them to the more enlightened part of mankind. From their contemplative lives religion has derived no credit, and human nature no honor.Nor have they themselves outstripped others in their advances towards perfection.
But such useless, such inactive beings should we all become, did our religion oblige us to exclude all thoughts, but those which terminate in God. As the faint
rays, which proceed from the distant stars, are lost in the beams of the sun, so would all other ideas be swallowed up in those of the divinity. The blessings of life would be overlooked. Our country, our families, our friends, our liberty, and even our lives, would be regarded as objects of utter indifference.We should have no hearts to feel ; no spirit to act. In short, our social nature would undergo an entire change, were we to call off the mind from all objects but the Supreme Being; and to abandon every pursuit, but the contemplation of his majesty.
It is plain, then, that David does not condemn the wicked, because that God was not, in this sense, in all their thoughts. Far other was the ground of his complaint. His controversy with the licentious part of mankind arose from that habitual thoughtlessness of God, and contempt of his governing authority, which appeared in all their words and actions. He condemned them, because, so far from setting God always before them, they studiously endeavored to banish him from their minds ; because they never raised their eyes to him, either by way of gratitude or admiration; because they perversely endeavored to keep out of view the perfections of his nature, bis universal presence, his particular providence, his moral government,