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them. It is their aim to act right and live well; to love God's law, and conform to its precept in all obedience and faith. They covet no man's gold, or silver, or apparel ; they envy no man's rank or opulence; they repine at no man's prosperous state; nor trespass on the rights of other men, with knowledge. and intention. Whether their God hath made them rich or poor, they rest contented with his will; and in all the relations of life, and in all its transactions, they study this equal rule, “To do to others as they would that others should do to them.”
Now, in a world not abounding with the love of equity, and everywhere exhibiting numerous instances of its violation, such examples of unyielding morality and righteousness are of unspeakable importance for maintaining among men a just standard of character; and though little imitated, and seldom duly esteemed, such examples have an insensible influence on the opinions and practice of those around them. their light, iniquity is detected ; vice convicted of its turpitude, is less obtrusive; and sin, generally, though not renounced, is ashamed to expose its grossness, and affects to wear the disguise of virtue, which, to so
tiety, at least, is less injurious than the bare aspect of unabashed flagitiousness. While so many incline to evil courses with strong propensity, and practise wrong without remorse, and, by their example, prove moral blights to their neighbourhood, it is a great thing to have some men in whom confidence may be placed ; and on whose trịed integrity we rely, in the firm persuasion that nothing unjust will be admitted ; and that nothing devious from what is fair and honourable will be, for any temptation, pursued. In the righteous man, therefore, we have the moral influence of good example, together with security from positive injury and breach of obligation,—which are no mean advantages in any social state.
But, farther, from the characters referred to in the text, the world derives, not only indirect, but also much positive good. For theirs is not the stern, selfish, unfeeling probity, which is graced by no acts of generosity, which wants the softenings of compassion, and holds on its unrelenting course, without an outgoing of mercy to commiserate or relieve the woes and wants of mankind. When the word of God commends a man's doings, it does not disjoin moral equity from active benevolence. « He hath dis
persed, -he hath given to the poor,--his righteousness endureth for ever.” The persons intended in the text are righteous, indeed, but not self-righteous. They have been shown their own trespasses, and their need of mercy, and come penitent to a throne of grace, pleading for the mercy of heaven to deliver their souls from death; and having obtained mercy, they show it to other men with willing liberality..
They look abroad upon the face of the earth, and see its fallen inhabitants involved in sin and misery ; labouring under the curse, and living under the condemnation of a broken law; and in the mean time, subjected to numberless toils, hardships, and calamities. They feel much for their present sufferings, and desire to alleviate their weight; and much more do they feel for the peril to which they stand exposed, of dying in their sins, and perishing for ever.
With these views, they deem it a small thing to do men no wrong; they feel they owe them a debt of love, and are bound to exercise benevolence, and show mercy with cheerfulness. In outward acts of kindness, according to means and opportunity, they are beneficent; and always in disposition,
tender, compassionate, and forgiving, will ing to comfort men here, and zealous to have them saved hereafter. And if a righteous man, for the probity of his ways, is a blessing to his country, by checking its immorality, and affording to its youth a laudable character for imitation; when bea nevolence is added, and mercy walks with integrity, a larger measure of good is dispensed in the community to which he belongs. If rich, mark the generous extent of his wise distribution. If he has influence, it is employed to promote human happiness and improvement. Or if he be himself poor and dependent, his sympathies are not contracted; his feelings of humanity are not confined. He can pity those whom he cannot relieve; and without great means, he can perform a thousand little offices of kindness in a neighbourhood, that will obtain for him a good report; and will really diffuse over the scene which he treads, a great portion of positive enjoyment or mitigation. His aspect of kindness tells the desolate, that they have still a friend; and the sincere interest which he manifests in the well-being of his fellow-men, endears him in their estimation, while it opens a way for doing them good Mercy never
exercises itself in vain; for in many ways will the merciful man operate effectually on the good of others, in devising schemes of benevolence, in promoting the instruction of youth, in extending the knowledge
of religion, as well as in daily acts of bounty, · and visits of compassion to the abodes of wretchedness and tribulation.
There is one way of promoting the good of others around him, which the righteous and the merciful man can always employ, even amid sickness and destitution, and that is, to pray for their prosperity. We know with what assiduity the pious exercise themselves in prayer; and we have heard it revealed from heaven, that the energetic fervent “ prayer of a righteous man availeth much;" with instances and illustration of which, do not the holy Scriptures abound ? Now, when we trace the connexion betwixt prayer and promised blessings, and when we reflect on the daily petitions offered up to God, by righteous and merciful men, for temporal benefit and spiritual benefit to the lands they inhabit, who can estimate the sum of good that may be obtained for friends, neighbours, and countrymen, through the instrumentality of a single man of upright life, and devotional