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duity to serve the interests of thy kingdom in the world.” Thus
have Paul and James reconciled. Thus you have good works provided for. The aphorism of the physicians is—“ By the deeds of the arm you may form your judgment of the state of the heart.” The actions of men are surer indications than all their sayings of what they are within.
But there is yet another consideration by which you must be zealously affected for good works. You must consider them as a part of the great salvation which is purchased and intended for you by your blessed Saviour. Without a holy heart you cannot be fit for a holy heaven-—"meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;" which admits no works of darkness; where none but good works are done for eternal
: but a holy heart will cause a man to do good with all his heart. The motto on the gates of the holy city is, “ None but the lovers of good works to enter here:” it is implied in what we read
266 Without holiness no man shall see the Lord:” yea, to be saved without good works, were to be saved without salvation. Much of our salvation consists in doing good works. When our souls are enlarged, it is that we may do such things. Heaven is begun upon earth when we are so engaged. Doubtless, no man will reach heaven who is not so persuaded.
I shall inention but one more of those principles in which good works originate; it is that noble one of GRATITUDE. The believer cannot but inquire, " What shall I render to my Saviour?”-the result
of the inquiry will be, “ With good works to glorify him.” We read, that “ faith worketh by love." Our faith will first show us the matchless and marvellous love of God in saving us; and the faith of this love will work on our hearts, till it hath raised in us an unquenchable flame of love to Him who hath so loved and saved us. These, these are to be our dispositions“O my Saviour! hast thou done so much for me? Now will I do all I can for thy kingdom and people in the world. O! what service is there that I may now.do for my Saviour and for his people in the world ?”
These are the principles to be proceeded on; and on them I will observe a notable thing. It is worthy of observation, that there are no men in the world who so much abound in good works, as those who have abandoned every pretenice to merit in their works. There are Protestants who have outdone Papists in our day, as well as in those of Dr. Willet. No merit-mongers have gone beyond some holy Christians, who have performed good works on the assurance of their being already justified, and entitled to eternal life.
I observe that our apostle, casting a just contempt on the endless genealogies, and long, intricate pedigrees, which the Jews of his time counted so much upon, proposes in their stead “ Charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned;" as if he had said, “ I will give you a genealogy worth ten thousand of theirs:-- First, from faith unfeigned proceeds a good conscience; from a good conscience proceeds a pure heart ; and from a
pure heart proceeds charity to all around us. admirably stated.
Opportunities to do good are talents for which we
must give an account.
It is to be feared that we seldom inquire after opPORTUNITIES OF DOING GOOD. Our opportunities to do good are our talents. An awful account must be rendered to the great God concerning the use of the talents with which he has intrusted us in these precious opportunities. We frequently do not use our opportunities, because we do not know them: and the reason why we do not know is, because we do not think. Our opportunities to do good lie by unregarded and unimproved; and so it is but a mean account that can be given of them. We read of a thing which we deride as often as we behold it: 66 There is that maketh himself poor, and yet
hath great riches.” This is too frequently exemplified in our opportunities to do good, which are some of our most valuable riches. · Many a man seems to reckon himself destitute of these talents, as if there were nothing for him to do; he pretends he is not in a condition to do any good. Alas! poor man, what can he do? My friend, think again, think often: inquire what your opportunities are: you will certainly find them to be more than you were aware of.
“ Plain men, dwelling in tents”-persons of a very ordinary rank may, by their eminent piety, prove persons of extraordinary usefulness. A poor John Urich may make a Grotius the better for him. I have read of a pious weaver, of whom some eminent persons would say, “Christ walked, as it were, alive on the earth in that man.” And a world of good was done by that man. A mean mechanic who can tell what an engine of good he may become, if humbly and wisely applied to it.
This, then, is the next proposal. Without abridging yourselves of your occasional thoughts on the question, often every day, “ What good maya I do ?” fix a time now and then, for more deliberate thoughts upon it. Cannot you find time (suppose once a-week, and how suitably on the Lord's day!) to take this question into consideration
What is there that I may do for the service of the glorious Lord, and for the welfare of those for whom I ought to be concerned ?
Having implored the direction of God, “the Father of lights,” and the author and giver of good thoughts, consider the matter, in the various aspects of it. Consider till you have resolved on something. Write down the resolutions you make. Examine what precept and what promise you can find in the word of God to countenance your intentions. Review these memorials at proper seasons, to see how far you have proceeded in the execution of them. The advantages of these préserved and revised memorials, no rhetoric will be sufficient to commend them, no arithmetic to number them. There are some ani
mals of which we say, “ They know not their own strength;" Christians, why should you be like them?
Every means of usefulness should be embraced.
Let us now descend to particulars ; but let it not be imagined that I pretend to give an enumeration of all the good devices that may be conceived. Indeed, not a thousandth part of them can now be enumerated. The essay which I am making is only to dig open the several springs of usefulness, which, having once begun to flow, will spread into streams, which no human foresight can comprehend. “ Spring up, O well !” so will every true Israelite sing upon every proposal here exhibited; and “the nobles of Israel” can do nothing more agreeable to their own character, than to fall to work upon it. Perhaps every proposal to be now mentioned may be like a stone falling into a pool. Reader, keep thy mind calm, and see whether the effect prove not so that one circle and service will produce another, till they extend—who can tell how far ? Those who give themselves up to good devices, and who duly observe their opportunities to do good, usually find a wonderful increase of their opportunities. The gracious and faithful providence of God grants this recompense to his diligent servants, that he will