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the pardon of this evil-doing, let us fly to the great Sacrifice, which is our only expiation, and plead the blood of that “ Lamb of God," whose universal usefulness is one of those admirable properties on account of which he is called 66 Lamb.” don of our barrenness of good works being thus obtained, by faith in that blood which cleanseth from all sin, we shall be rescued from a condemnation to perpetual barrenness: the dreadful sentence, “ Let no fruit grow on thee for ever," will be prevented by such a pardon. A true evangelical procedure to do good, must have this repentance laid in the foundation of it. We do not " handle the matter wisely,” if a foundation be not laid thus low, and in the deepest self-abasement.
The diligence of men in their secular affairs.
How full of devices are we for our own secular advantagel 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?” It is with strong application of thought we inquire, What shall we do for ourselves in our marriages, in our voyages, in our bargains, and in many other concerns, wherein we are solicitous to have our condition easy? We anxiously
contrive to accomplish our plans, and steer clear of numerous inconveniences, to which, without some contrivance, we should be obnoxious. on the business of our personal callings, with numberless thoughts how we'may do them well; and to accomplish our numerous temporal affairs we “ find out witty inventions.” But, О rational, immortal, heaven-born soul, are thy wonderous faculties capable of no greater improvements—no better employments? Why should a soul of such high capacities-a soul that may arrive to “be clothed in the scarlet” of angels, yet “embrace a dunghill!” O let a blush deeper than scarlet, be thy clothing, for thy being found so meanly occupied. Alas! " in the multitude of thy thoughts within thee,” hast thou no disposition to raise thy soul to some thoughts-What may be done for God—for Christ-for my own soul, and for other most important interests? How many hundreds of thoughts have we how to obtain or secure some trifle for ourselves, for one how we may serve the interests of the glorious Lord, and of his people in the world? How then can we pretend that we love him, or that a carnal, a criminal selflove has not the dominion over us? I again come to a soul of heavenly extract, and smite it, as the angel did the sleeping prisoner, and cry,
66 Awake; shake off thy chains.” Lie no longer fettered in a base confinement, and to nothing but a meaner sort of business. Assume and assert the liberty of sometimes thinking on the noblest question in the world, “ What good may I do in the world ?” a time when it was lamented by no less a man than
Gregory the great, the bishop of Rome-" I am sunk into the world !” This may be the complaint of a soul that minds every thing else, and rarely calls to mind that noblest question. Ah! “star fallen from heaven," and choked in dust, rise and soar up to something answerable to thy original. Begin a course of thoughts, which when begun will be like a resurrection from the dead. They which dwell in the dust, wake and sing, and a little anticipate the life which we are to live at the resurrection of the dead, when they with vigour set themselves to think, “ How may I become a blessing to the world ?" and “ What may I do, that righteousness may dwell in the world?”
The diligence of wicked men in doing evil.
How much evil may be done by one wicked man! Yea, sometimes one wicked man, of slender abilities, becoming an indefatigable tool of the devil, may do an incredible mischief in the world. We have seen some wretched instruments of cursed memory, ply the intention of doing mischief at a strange rate, till they have undone a whole country; yea, unto the undoing of more than three kingdoms. 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 Christ, and his
own soul, as you may see done by thousands to serve the devil. A horrible thing!
“O my soul, thy Maker, and thy Saviour, so worthy of thy love—a Lord, whose infinite goodness will follow all thou doest for him, with remu. nerations, beyond all comprehension glorious; how little, how little is it that thou doest 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 all whose wages will be torments: he studies how to serve the devil; he is never weary
of his drudgery; he racks his invention to go through with it. 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
66 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, and as full of exquisite contrivances? Why should not we be as wise to do good, as any are to do evil?
I am sure we have a better cause, and better reason for it. My friend, 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 “ 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 the zeal with which the kingdom of heaven is to be served, he did not give an example of honest wisdom: no, but that of an unrighteous and scandalous dishonesty—that of the unjust steward. The wisdom of our Lord in this is much to be observed. His design is not only to represent the prudence, but also the industry, the ingenuity, the resolution, and the heroic effort of the soul, necessary in those who would seek, and serve the kingdom of God. There is seldom to be found among men that vivacity of spirit in lawful actions, which we observe in uplawful ones. The ways of honesty are plain to men, and require not so much uneasiness in managing them; but thieves and cheats, and men that follow courses of dishonesty, take ways that are full of difficulties; the turns and tricks with which they must be carried through them are innumerable: hence you find among such people the exercise of extraordinary subtlety; you find no such cunning and nimble application any where else. It is very emphatical, then, to borrow from thence the colours of heavenly wisdom! What I now aim at is this--Let us endeavour to do good with as much application, as wicked men employ in doing evil. When“ wickedness proceeds from the wicked, it is done with both hands, and greedily.” Why may not we proceed in our usefulness “ with both hands,” and “greedily” watching for opportunities ? We have no occasion for any sinister arts in carrying on our designs to do good. God forbid that we should ever attempt the union of such inconsisten