souls to immortal glory. Philosophy will teach men the importance of governing unruly passions ; but the spirit of Christ, reigning in the soul, leads to the forgiveness of injuries, and teaches men to be temperate in all things. The religion of Jesus, enables to lead godly lives, and leads to a habit of praying. It has a balm and cordial for the health of the soul, by causing it to hold converse with God as its chief joy. The Apostle Paul observes, That godliness with contentment is great gain. And in the view of his own trials and sufferings with those of his brethren, Christian submission by divine grace, enabled him to say with joyful and triumphant hope, Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

The one who is rightly engaged in the things of religion, has prospects of happiness far more glorious than can possibly be conceived by the heart of man from any other pursuits

Reason and self interest, may teach the utility of cultivating all the moral virtues; but the gospel infuses those heaven-born graces, which will for ever expand in glory, and produce the rapturous joys of immortality. It is religion, which can give tranquillity in infirmity, can buoy up the soul in the storms of life, and at last safely land it in the heaven of eternal day. This is the one thing needful, which includes all that can be desired by an immortal and ever expanding mind. And it is only this, which can give sufficient peace and consolation in all the trying scenes of life, and cause the soul to triumph over death and hell, and join the innumerable company above. Then may this subject give us enlarged views of ourselves, and excite us duly to reflect on the momentous relations which we sustain. Shall not every one awake, and reflect that he is destined to eternity; and that if he become a holy being, he is to be associated with angels and seraphs, and admitted into the presence of his God and Saviour to go no more out for ever and ever? Let each one contemplate on the depths of his own immortal mind, and extend his thoughts down the line of endless duration, and inquire what he must be when the sun and stars shall have been blotted out for millions of millions of years; and his capacities of enjoyment or suffering, shall have expanded beyond the present dimensions of the highest seraph. With such reflections as these, may we by divine grace be enabled

or sources.

pursue the true path of human happiness. Amen.


[ocr errors][merged small]


Luke xvi. 10.

He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in

much : and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also

in much. THE holy scriptures are a peculiar fund of instruction in concerns both of the smallest and of the greatest moment. They teach the truth in reality, and according to the mind of God; not in appearance, and according to the views of men. And they decide the characters of mankind not merely from their external conduct, but from the motives of their hearts; not from a few splendid or glaring acts, but from the general deportment of life. Hence those exploits which are frequently the astonishment of the world, are of little esteem in the view of God; and on the other hand, a life of piety, of self denial, and devotedness in the ways of godliness, is of much value in his sight, although it obtain not the applauses of men.

No doubt there are some, who by their fellow-men are honoured as good and great; but whom, at the same time, the Lord holdeth in abomination. And doubtless some who are thought not worthy to live, and who are accounted as the offscouring of the earth, will at last shine as stars in the kingdom of God for ever and ever. The words of the text are the inference and declaration of the Saviour concerning the steward, who, for his own worldly interest, had induced his lord's debtors to àct dishonestly. And although he is commended as

[ocr errors]

it respects worldly wisdom or selfish interest; yet, for his dishonest measures, he is condemned as an unfaithful steward. There was a certain rich man which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said unto himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: 1 cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do; that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? and he said, An hundred measures of oil: and he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he unto another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children ef light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.

These words teach us, that little things make up the character of a man, and are a proper criterion, by which mankind are denominated either good or bad, faithful or unfaithful.

This truth might be extensively illustrated from natural objects, or the works of nature. The immensity of the divine works is composed of parts; or in other words, innumerable worlds constitute the. universe. This material world is composed of elements; and even particles of matter comprise tho

whole. The face of nature, when exhibiting its most beautiful scenery, is unbounded and infinitely diversified; yet spires of grass, plants, and leaves of trees are the component parts. We sometimes behold the heavens overspread with clouds; but their substance is mists, or vapours of the air. Rivers, rills, and even springs may be considered as the fountains of the mighty deep; for the whole ocean is formed by drops of water. Storms of snow and hail, and the falling showers give demonstration to our senses, that all things in nature are made up of little things. The subject might be pursued in this manner, to great extent; but calculated to please, rather than to benefit mankind, as their own experience would not be brought immediately to the test. This discourse should be of such a nature as to make the hearers feel themselves deeply interested, and should serve as a glass into which they may look, and discern their true characters whether good or bad. And for this purpose let us bear in mind, that a few acts, although they be laudable, conspicuous, and brilliant, are not sufficient to establish an upright and excellent character; neither are a few misdeeds, although known to the world, sufficient_to destroy an established Christian character. For example, a life prostituted to vicious courses, cannot be denominated a virtuous one, merely from a few acts of humanity, generosity, or patriotism. On the other hand, some of the worthies, recorded in scripture, who fell into temptation and grievous sins, did not destroy their religious character, although they brought a stain on their good profession. Suppose a person of sober habits fall into the sin of intoxication but once or twice during his life ; this will not fix on him the character of a drunkard. Neither will he, on the other hand, who is addicted to lying, if he occasion ally speak the truth, be denominated a person of veracity. Greatly to extol any person, because a few things are eminently in his favour, and to pro

« 前へ次へ »