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making of a fortune. They could not possibly have done more for their own sakes than what they did for the sake of others. They literally loved their neighbours as themselves. Some have followed their example in this ; and some have, in zeal and energy, followed
, their example in other methods of doing good. For I do not mean to say, that the particular method of usefulness, which the office of the apostles cast upon them, is the only method, or that it is a method even competent to many. Doing good, without any selfish worldly motive for doing it, is the grand thing : the mode must be regulated by opportunity and occasion. To which may be added, that in those, whose power of doing good, according to any mode, is small, the principle of benevolence will at least restrain them from doing harm. If the principle be subsisting in their hearts, it will have this operation at least. I ask therefore again, as I asked before, are we as solicitous to seize opportunities, to look out for and embrace occasions, of doing good, as we are certainly solicitous to lay hold of opportunities of making advantage to ourselves, and to embrace all occasions of profit and self-interest ? Nay, is benevolence strong enough to hold our hand, when stretched out for mischief? Is it always sufficient to make us consider what misery we are producing, whilst we are compassing a selfish end, or gratifying a lawless passion of our own? Do the two principles of benevolence and self-interest possess any degree of parallelism and equality in our hearts, and in our conduct? If they do, then so far we come up to our rule. Wherein they do not, as I said before, we fall below it.
When not only the generality of mankind, but even those who are endeavouring to do their duty, apply the standard to themselves, they are made to learn the
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tan has been allered, that even these mer :...:-read in Scripture of the riches PS' of the powerful efficacy of the air mediation and continual intero their hearts that they stand 22:-.
In that remaining class in duties to ourzelves, the cism?": the deficiency of our endanum="!. with greater force. V: ::
:-) mere command of our ac be regulated; the hardes 18.... The affections and pain. 1-;' constant evil propecia 1994.4.1 I apprehend, that ever. 23 mars unable he is to furs 21 1 1:38 fost own satisfaction: az: “ God is greater than: PTus1118 things.” If we see on:
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without sincerity there is no hope ; none whatever. But there will always be left enough, infinitely more than enough, to humble self-sufficiency.
Contemplate, then, what is placed before us : heaven. Understand what heaven is : a state of happiness after death : exceeding what, without experience, it is impossible for us to conceive, and unlimited in duration. This is a reward infinitely beyond any thing we can pretend to, as of right, as merited, as due. Some distinction between us and others, between the comparatively good and the bad, might be expected : but, on these grounds, not such a reward as this, even were our services, I mean the service of sincere men, perfect. But such services as ours, in truth, are, such services as, in fact, we perform, so poor, so deficient, so broken, so mixed with alloy, so imperfect both in principle and execution, what have they to look for upon their own foundation? When, therefore, the Scriptures speak to us of a redeemer, a mediator, an intercessor for us; when they display and magnify the exceedingly great mercies of God, as set forth in the salvation of man, according to any mode whatever which he might be pleased to appoint, and therefore in that mode which the Gospel holds forth ; they teach us no other doctrine than that to which the actual deficiencies of our duty, and a just consciousness and acknowledgement of these deficiencies, must naturally carry our own minds. What we feel in ourselves corresponds with what we read in Scripture.
MISAPPREHENSION OF THE NATURAL EFFICACY
HEBREWS ix. 26.
Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to
put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The little that we have to hope for on the ground of right, or desert, or claim, and consequently the much in which we are indebted to spontaneous goodness and mercy, and the much we stand in need of other application and other intercession than our own, of a saviour, a redeemer, and a mediator, I have, in a former discourse, endeavoured to show, from the extreme deficiency and imperfection of our services, even of such as are sincere in their duty.
The same conclusion also arises from the indignity and aggravation of our sins. I think it to be true that we are fully sensible neither of one nor of the other ; neither of the imperfection of our services, nor the malignity of our sins ; otherwise our recourse to Jesus Christ would be stronger and more earnest than it is.
There is another point also nearly connected with these, in which we take up an opinion without foundation, and that is, the natural efficacy of repentance in obtaining the pardon of sins.
* This, and two preceding sermons, which were for some reason omitted in the edition printed at Sunderland, have heen restored to the order plainly pointed out by their author.
I am at present to treat of the malignity and ag. gravation of our sins, under the circumstances in which they are usually committed.
First, our sins are sins against knowledge. I ask of no man more than to act up to what he knows : by which I do not mean to say that it is not every man's obligation, both to inform his understanding, and to use his understanding about the matter; in other words, to know all he can concerning his duty; but I mean to say that, in fact, the question seldom comes to that, in fact, the man acts not up to what he does knowhis sins are against his knowledge. It will be an. swered, that this may well be supposed to be the case with persons of education and learning, but is it the case with the poor and ignorant ? I believe it to be
? the case with all. Is there a man who hears me that can say he acts up to what he knows? Does any one feel that to be his case ? If he does, then he may reasonably plead his ignorance, his want of education, his want of instruction, his want of light and knowledge, for not acting better than he does, for not acting as he would have acted if these advantages had been vouchsafed to him. But he must first act up to what he does know, before he can fairly use this plea— before he can justly complain that he knows no more. Our sins are against knowledge. The real truth is—and it comprehends both the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned—the real truth I say is, that we not only sin, but sin against our own knowledge. There may be nicer cases, and more dubious points, which a man, informed and instructed in religion and morality, would perceive to be wrong—which a man, ignorant and uninformed, would not discover to be so; and there may be many such cases; but what I contend is, that the