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as a most precious privilege. , He must 6sing in those ways of the Lord,” wherein he cannot but find himself while he is doing good. As the saint of old sweetly sang,
66 I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord ;" so ought we to be glad when any opportunity of doing good is presented to us. We should need no arguments to incline us to entertain the offer ; but should naturally fly into the matter, as most agreeable to that “divine nature” of which we are made partakers. It should gratify us wonderfully ; as much as if an ingot of gold were presented to us! We should rejoice as having obtained the utmost of our wishes. Some servants of God have been so intent on this object, that they have cheerfully proposed to make any recompense that could be desired, to a friend who would supply the barrenness of their own thoughts, and suggest any special methods by which they might be useful. Certainly, to do good, is a thing that brings its own recompense, in the opinion of those who deem information on this head worthy of a recompense. I will only say, that if any of my readers are strangers to such a disposition as this, and do not consider themselves enriched and favoured of God, when he employs them in doing good—with such persons I have done, and would beg them to lay the book aside : it will be irksome to carry on any further conversation with them : it is a subject on which the house of Caleb will not be conversed with. I will be content with one of Dr. Stoughton's introductions ; " It is enough for me that I speak to wise men, whose reason shall be my rhetoric; to Christians, whose conscience shall be my eloquence.”
Though the assertion may fly like a chain-shot amongst us, and rake down all before it, I will again and again assert, that erery one of us might do more good than he does : and therefore this is the first proposal I would make. To be exceedingly humbled that we have done so little good in the world. I am not uncharitable in saying, that I know not one assembly of Christians on earth, which ought not to be a Bochim, on this consideration. 0! tell me in what
Utopia I shall find it. Sirs ! let us begin to be fruitful, by lamenting our past unfruitfulness. Verily, sins of omission must be confessed and lamented, or else we add to their number. The most useful men in the world have gone out of it, crying, “ Lord, for
give our sins of omission !" Many a good man, who i
has been peculiarly conscientious about the profitable employment of his time, has had his death bed rendered uneasy by this reflection, “ The loss of time now lies heavy upon me!" Certain it is, that all unį regenerate persons are unprofitable persons; and
they are properly compared to 66 thorns and bri-, ters,” to teach us what they are. An unrenewed sin
ner! alas, he never performed one good work in all his life! In all his life, did I say? I recal that word. He is 66 dead while he liveth”- he is "dead in sin ;'
he has not yet begun to - live unto God;" and as he in
is himself dead, so are all his works ; they are “dead
works.”. O, wretched, useless being ! Wonder, won Tider, at the patience of Heaven, which yet forbears to e cut down such a cumberer of the ground !” O that
such persons may immediately acknowledge the necessity of turning to God ; and how unable they are
to do it; and how unworthy they are that God should * make them able ! O that they may cry to God for
bis sovereign grace to quicken them; and let them plead the sacrifice of Christ for their reconciliation to God; seriously resolve on a life of obedience to God, and resign themselves up to the Holy Spirit, that he may lead them in the paths of holiness! No good will be done, till this be done. The first-born of all devices to do good, is in being born again.
But as for you, who have been brought home to God; you have great cause not only to lament the dark days of your unregeneracy, in which you produ
ced only 6 the unfruitful works of darkness ;"' but alj so that you have done so little, since God has quicken1 ed you, and enabled you to do better. How little · have you lived up to those strains of gratitude which 2. might justly have been expected from you, since God a: brought you into bis 6 marvellous light !" The best
of us may mourn in his complaints, and say, "O Lord, how little good have I done, compared with what I might have done !" Let the sense of this cause us to loathe and judge ourselves before the Lord ; let it fill us with shame, and abase us wonderfully. Let us, like David, 6 water our couch with tears," when we consider how little good we have done.
66 O that our heads were waters,” because they have been so dry of all thoughts to do good. 66 O that our eyes were a fountain of tears,” because they have looked out so little for occasions to do good. For the pardon of this evil-doing, let us fly to the great Sacrifice, and plead the blood of that " Lamb of God," whose universal usefulness is one of those admirable properties, on account of which he is styled " a Lamb."
The pardon of our barrenness of good works being thus obtained, we shall be rescued from condemnation to perpetual barrenness : the dreadful sentence, “ Let no fruit grow on thee for ever," will thus be prevented. A true, evangelical procedure to do good, must have this repentance laid in the foundation of it. We do not "handle the matter wisely” is a foundation be not laid thus low, and in the deepest sell-abasement.
How full of devices are we for our own secular advantage ! and how expert in devising many little things to be done for ourselves! We apply our thoughts with mighty assiduity to the old question, " What shall we eat and drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" With sirong application of mind we inquire, what shall we do for ourselves, in our riages, in our voyages, in cur bargains? We anxiously contrive to accomplish our plans, and avoid numerous inconveniences, to which, without some contrivance, we should be obnoxious. We carry on the business of our personal callings with numberiess thoughts how to perform them well; and to effect our temporal affairs we “ find out witty inventions." But, o rational, inmortal, heaven-born soul, are thy wonureus ficulties capable of no greater improvements, no better employments? Why should a soul of such high capacities, at soul that may be clothed in the biscarlet” of angels, yet “enibrace i dunghill !". O let a blush,
deeper than scarlet, be thy clothing, for being found so meanly occupied. Alas, in the multitude of thy thoughts within thee, hast thou rro disposition to raise thy soul to some such thoughts as these, What may
be done for God, for Christ, for my own soul, and for the most important interests of mankind ! hundreds of thoughts have we for ourselves, to one for God, his cause, and his people in the world ! How then can we pretend that we love him, or prove that a carnal, a criminal self-love has not the dominion over us ? I again come to a soul of heavenly extract, and smite it, as the angel smote the sleeping prisoner, and cry, 66 Awake! shake off thy chains. Lie no longer fettered in a base confinement! Assert the liberty of thinking on the noblest question in the world, “What good may I do in the world ?" There was a time when it was lamented by no less a man than Gregory the Great, the Bishop of Rome, “lam sunk into the world !” This may be the complaint of
that minds every thing else, and rarely recol-lects that noble question. Ah ! 6 star fallen from heaven," and choked in dust, rise and soar up to something answerable to thy origin. Begin a course of thoughts, which will be like a resurrection from the dead; and pursue the grand inquiry, “ How may
I become a blessing to the world ??? and, 6 What may I do, that righteousness may dwell on the earth ???
THE DILIGENCE OF WICKED MEN IN DOING EVIL. How much mischief may be done by one wicked. man !
Yea, sometimes, one wicked man, of slender abilities, becoming an indefatigable tool of the devil, may effect incredible mischief in the world. We have seen some wretched instruments, of cursed memory, ply the attention of doing mischief at a strange rate, iill they have ruined a whole country. It is a melancholy consideration, and I may say, an astonishing one : you will hardly find one of a thousand who does half so much to serve God and is own soul, as you
may see done by thousands to serve the devil. A horrible thing!
4 O my soul, thy Maker, and thy Saviour, so worthy of thy love, a Lord whose infinite goodness will follow all thou dost for bim, with remunerations, beyond all conception glorious ; how little, how little is it that thou dost for him ! At the same time, look into thy neighbourhood. See there, a monster of wickedness, who, to his uttermost, will serve a master that will prove a destroyer to him, and whose wages will be death : he studies how to serve the devil; he is never weary of his drudgery; he racks his invention to go through with it. Ah ! he shames me; he shames me wonderfully! “O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face unto thee.'
We read of a man who deviseth mischief upon his bed; who setteth himself in a way that is not good.” Now, why should not we be as active, as frequent, as forward in devising good? Why should not we be as wise to do good, as he is to do evil? I am sure that we have a better cause, and better reasons for it. Reader, though, perhaps, thou art one who makest but a little figure in the world, “a brother of low degree,” yet, behold a vast encouragement! a little man may do a great deal of harm; and pray, why may not a little man do a great deal of good ? It is possible that “the wisdom of a poor man” may start a proposal which may save a city,” serve a nation! A single hair, applied to a flyer that has other wheels depending on it, may pull up an oak, or pull down a house.
It is very observable, that when our Lord Jesus Christ would recommend zeal for the kingdom of heaven, he did not propose for our imitation, the example of honest wisdom: no, but that of an unrighteous and scandalous dishonesty, that of the unjust steward. The wisdom of our Lord herein is much to be observed. His design is not only to represent the prudence, but the industry, the ingenuity, the resolution, the heroic efforts of the soul, necessary in those who would seek and serve the kingdom of God. We seldom, if ever, perceive among men that vivaci