« PreviousContinue »
sitting still in indolence, and merely doing SERM.
V. nothing to counteract their attainment, is not sufficient; we must be assiduously attentive and actively industrious, if we would wish to succeed.-Surely then we cannot imagine that immortality of bliss, bliss such as we can here have no conception of, is to be procured without any efforts, when it requires the greatest to attain even the paltry acquisitions of this world.
I shall conclude with beseeching you, that none of you, because ye think ye can do but little, will for that reason imagine, that it is unnecessary to do any thing.–Ye read that of those, to whom much is given, much will be required; but can ye suppose that of him, to whom little is given, there will be required nothing ? Far from it.-Expectations are formed of us in proportion to our endowments.--He, who had only two talents, was not expected to gain five ;you find his reward was allotted him for
SERM. gaining two, that is, for doing what his abi
lities permittted him.-In the same manner he, who had only one talent, was not expected to gain as much as his fellow servants, who had more; nor was he punished for not having done as much as they; but he was punished for having done nothing, for having made no advantage at all of what was intrusted to him.
Let this truth then be deeply engraven on your remembrance, that all men have it in their power to do something for the glory of God, and for the good of their fellowcreatures; and that it is not by the doing no harm, by sitting still in indolence, and fancying that we can do nothing, but by an active exertion of our respective abilities, that we can alone deserve and obtain that transporting sentence, “ Well done thou
good and faithful servant, enter thou into " the joy of thy Lord.”
ON THE IMPROPRIETY OF DESERTING
PREACHED IN LENT.
St. Matthew xxiii. 23.
These ought ye to have done, and not to
leave the other undone.
It has been the great aim of infidelity in serm. all ages to persuade the credulous and unwary, that religion and present interest are incompatible; that we cannot at the same time apply ourselves to our callings here and secure our happiness hereafter, but that
SERM. we must of necessity sacrifice either this VI.
world or the next. Those who have been deceived by this misrepresentation have, according to their different tempers, chosen two opposite modes of conduct, both very far, though perhaps not equally distant, from that which sound reason points out.
They, on whose minds the goodness of God in their creation and redemption, and the immensity of the rewards and punishments held forth in futurity obtained that weight, which in wisdom they ought to obtain, have given up all commerce with this world whatever, have betaken themselves entirely to the exercises. of piety, have fled to deseris and to cells, and in the ardour of performing their duty towards God, have entirely neglected that, which is due from them to their neighbour.
They on the contrary, whose warmer passions, or whose less enlarged understanding chained them down to what was imme.
diately before them, who preferred what SERM.
VI. was present and visible, to what was invisible and distant, have thought it the most agreeable, if not the most wise, to listen to the solicitations of their senses, and to seize the gratifications which were at hand; they have conducted themselves as if there were no God, no account taken of human actions, no judgment after death, no heaven, no hell, but that this present life was the whole of their existence.
Both these descriptions of men have, I observed, proceeded on a persuasion that their temporal and eternal interests were at variance; that the one or the other must of necessity be surrendered, and that there was no middle course by which they were reconcileable.
I shall in this discourse endeavour to
point out the falsity and pernicious tendency of this error; I shall point out its falsity by shewing that a man may work out his VOL. I.