Abbildungen der Seite

through a malicious, a calumnious, and abusive world. Why should not malice be a "good informer ?" We may be unjustly defamed; it will be strange if we are not frequently so. A defamation is commonly resented as a provocation. My friend, make it only a provocation to do good works! The thing to be now directed is this. Upon any reproach, instead of being transported into a rage at Shimei, retire and patiently inquire, “ Has not God bidden such a reproach to awaken me to some duty ? To what special instance or service of piety should I be awakened by the reproach that is cast upon me?" One thus expresses it: “ The backbiter's tongue, like a mill-clack, will be still moving, that he may grind thy good name to powa der. Learn, therefore, to make such use of his clack as to make thy bread by it; I mean, so to live, that no credit shall be given to slander.” Thus all the abuses you meet with, may prove to you, in the hand of a faithful God, no other than the strokes which a statuary employs on his ill-shaped marble; only to form you into a more beautiful shape, and make you fitter to adorn the heavenly temple. Thus you are put into a way to “shake off a viper” most advantageously! Yea, I am going to show

you may

fetch sweetness out of a viper. Austin would have our very sins included amongst the “all things that are to work together for good.” Therefore, first, I propose, that our former barrenness may now be looked upon as our obligation and incitement to greater fruitfulness. But this motion is too general; I will be more par

ticular. I would look back on my past life, and call to mind what singular outbreakings of sin have blemished it, and been the reproach of my youth. Now, by way of thankfulness for that grace of God and that blood of his Christ, through which my crimes have been pardoned, I would set myself to think, “ What virtues, what actions, and what achievements for the kingdom of God, will be the most contrary to my former blemishes? And what efforts of goodness will be the noblest and most palpable contradiction to the miscarriages with which I have been chargeable ?" Yet more particularly, 6 What signal thing shall I do, to save others from dishonouring the great God by such miscarriages as those into which I myself once fell ?” I will study such things; perhaps the sincerity and consolation of repentance cannot be better studied than by such a conduct.

You must give me leave to press this one more point of prudence upon you.

There are not a few persons, who have many hours of leisure in the way of their personal callings. When the weather takes them off their business, or when their shops are not full of customers, they have little or nothing

Now, Sirs, the proposal is, “ Be not fools,” but redeem this time to your own advantage -to the best advantage. To the man of leisure, as well as to the minister, it is an advice of wisdom, “ Give thyself to reading." Good books of all sorts may employ your leisure, and enrich you with treasures more valuable than those which the way and the work of your callings might have pro

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

to do.

cured. Let the baneful thoughts of idleness be chased out of our minds. But then also, let some thoughts on that subject, “ What good may I do ?” come into them. When you have leisure to think on that subject, you can have no excuse for neglecting it.


On doing good in our domestic relations.

The Useful man may now, with great propriety, extend and enlarge the sphere of his well-doing. My next proposal, therefore, shall be, Let every man consider the RELATION in which the sovereign God has placed him; and let him devise what good he may do, that he may render his relatives the better for him. One great way to prove ourselves really good, is to be relatively good. It is by this, more than by any thing else, that we 66 adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour." It would be excellent wisdom in a man, to make the interest which he has in the good opinion and affection of others, an advantage for inducing them to engage in God's service. He that has a friend, will show himself friendly indeed, if he think, “ Such a one loves me, and will hearken to me; to what good shall I take advantage from hence to persuade him ?”

This will take place more particularly where the endearing ties of natural relation give us an interest. Let us call over our several relations, and

[ocr errors]

let us devise something that may be called beroical goodness, in our discharging them. Why should we not, at least once or twice a week, make this relative goodness the subject of our inquiries, and of our purposes ? Especially, let us begin with our domestic relations, and “ provide for those of our own house,” lest we deny some glorious rules and hopes of the Christian faith, by our negligence.

First; In the CONJUGAL RELATION, how agreeably may those who are thus united, think on these words: “ What knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or, How knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife ?"

The HUSBAND will do well to think, “ What shall I do, that my wife may have cause for ever to bless God for having brought her to me?” And, “ What shall I do, that in my deportment towards my wife, the kindness of the blessed Jesus towards his church may be imitated ?" That this question may be the more perfectly answered, Sir, ask her to assist you in answering the question; ask her to tell you

what she would have you to do.

But then the wife also will do well to inquire, “ Wherein may I be to my husband a wife of that character She will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life?

With my married friends, I will leave an excel lent remark, which I find in the memorials of Gervase Disney, Esq.Family passions cloud faith, disturb duty, darken comfort.” You will do the more good to one another, the more this remark is considered. When the husband and the wife are

always contriving to be blessings to each other, I will say with Tertullian, “ Where shall I find words to describe the happiness of that marriage ?! O happy marriage !

PARENTS! O how much ought you to be devising, and even labouring, for the good of your children! Often consider, how to make them “ wise children;" how to carry on a desirable education for them, an education that shall render them desirable ; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable to their generation. Often consider, how to enrich their minds with valuable know.. ledge; how to instil into their minds generous, gram cious, and heavenly principles; how to restrain and rescue them from the “ paths of the destroyer,” and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without natural affections, (Oh! be not such monsters !) if you are not in a contin nual agony to do for them all the good that lies in your power. It was no mistake of Pacatus Drepa. nius, in his panegyric to Theodosius: “ We are taught by nature, to love our sons almost more than ourselves.

I will prosecute this subject, by transcribing a copy of PARENTAL RESOLUTIONS, which I have somewhere met with.

I. At the birth of my children, I would use all due solemnity in the baptismal dedication and consecration of them to the Lord. them to the baptism of the Lord, not as a mere formality; but, wondering at the grace of the in

I would present

« ZurückWeiter »