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6th. They, who would show themselves men, will be forbearing towards one another. Who is there, who does not need the forbearance of his fellow men? Or who is there, who has never transgressed, or never injured any of his fellow mortals ? Unless one can be presented, who is perfectly free from censure in all his ways, the duty is universally binding. But how does the world abound with offences from faults and failings; and how suitable the exhortation, Be ye kind, forbearing one another in love. Without mutual forbearance, the sweets of social life would be greatly embittered and society dissolved. How compassionate, forbearing, and longsuffering is the Lord towards a sinful world! Well, then, may frail, mortal man, both from interest and duty, be forbearing towards his fellow mortal.
7th. Human beings should not consider it beneath their dignity to reverence and worship their Creator. Shall beings, bound to the judgement-bar of God, cast off fear and restrain prayer before him! Shall holy angels fall prostrate and worship day and night continually in his presence? And shall man exclaim, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him; and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him ? Be astonished, O heavens! And tremble, O earth! Not only revelation, but the light of nature, reason, and conscience, call upon all human beings to show themselves men rational and accountable, and to reverence and worship their Creator and
8th. Would mankind conduct as becometh rational and accountable beings, they will not be ashamed to embrace and profess the gospel of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Since all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight. But, because salvation cannot flow to mankind as to holy beings who never fell, shall they not rejoice in the way of salvation by grace, and in the title of redeemed sinners! Rebels may well be ashamed of their crimes, which degrade their natures; but how unbecoming for criminals to spurn at the idea of repentance and pardon. The doctrinės and duties of the gospel are most reasonable; and how honourable must they be to make children of wrath, heirs of heaven. The crown is fallen from the head of man by reason of sin. But it is only through the gospel, that he can be crowned with glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life. The glorious gospel of Jesus Christ is worthy of rich and poor, bond and free, noble and ignoble. But shall we despise that, which is worthy of all acceptation? Ashamed of Jesus! yes, I may, when I have no sins to wash away. "Man's highest interest for time and eternity, the honour and glory of God, forbid that human beings should be ashamed to embrace and profess the gospel of the Lord and Saviour Jesus. Christ.
IMPROVEMENT. 1st. From this subject we may infer that a most pleasing and sublime idea is necessarily included in the contemplation of a human being. What a preeminence has man over all the creatures of the earth! How elevated his station, and how abundant his means of improvement and enjoyment. And how solemn the thought that a human being is born to die, and born for immortality! That whilst the animal frame is mouldering to dust with its kindred earth, the soul is with kindred spirits in a world unknown. And what'vast scenes will yet be presented to every one of the human race. Though the eye may never be satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing in the present state, yet every soul will be satisfied with the vast scenes of the conflagration of the world, the general resurrection, and the final judgement day. Must every human being be a companion of holy angels or of the spirits of darkness for ever? Such a reflection should fill our minds with solemnity. The scenery of this life is truly wondrous and majestick; but boundless scenes await us. Hence the very idea of a human being, is a thought of inconceivably vast importance.
2d. We may see how unwise and foolish all must act, who will not show themselves men, by conducting as becometh rational and accountable beings, A contrary course is attended with vanity and vexation of spirit. Departures from the path of rectitude and rationality are attended with disappointment, pain, and remorse. Human beings, who have reason, conscience, and the word of God, for their direction in the path of duty and life, must have a painful task, to bid them defiance and act irrationally. Surely it is.a folly for any to continue in sin, merely because they have transgressed. And if any feel the weight of aggravated guilt, why should they continue to increase their hardness, and still add to their treasure of wrath? Should any of us at last sink down to wo, it will not be merely because we have sinned, but because we still persist in iniquity. In view of past errours and follies, then let us learn circumspection and wisdom for the future. They who refuse to conduct as becometh rational and accountable beings, cannot meet the approbation of their judge; but must reap the fruit of their own doings.
3d. We may see from this subject, that the re- , sponsibility of human beings must be great. As their station in the great scale of being is elevated, so they have opportunity of doing much good, by wisely improving the talents entrusted to their charge. They who have knowledge, wealth, influence, or any other talents, should improve them as wise and faithful stewards of their Lord and Master. In what station so ever we are placed, we are not to act merely with a view to our own ease and inte, rest, but for the good of community. Opportunities of education and religious instruction, natural and acquired abilities, the calls of Providence and conscience; all social, civil, and religious means and privileges, will be brought to view at the great day of retribution. And who does not feel that his responsibility is great? Even though some have far more extensive opportunities and privileges than others, who can say that only one talent is committed to his charge? But whether we spend our probationary state in the ways of wisdom or folly, our responsibility will at last appear to be great.
4th. We may see what encouraging and goodly prospects to all those who are walking as becometh rational and accountable beings. So far as any thus walk, so far they pursue the path of true happiness. They are pursuing their present peace and comfort, and future even everlasting blessedness. They have no reason to be weary in well doing, for shortly they will hear their Saviour's glorious plaudit, Well done good and faithful servants, enter yė into the joy of your Lord. What a glorious recompense of reward! We can put no bounds to the knowledge and felicity of such, but infinity itself. For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive of the joys which God hath prepared for those that love him. They will not only be for ever free from pain, and complete in bliss ; but they will be for ever making nearer approaches to the fountain and source of moral excellence and blessedness. After millions of ages shall have rolled away, their knowledge and joys will rise higher and higher. Motives and prospects of infinite weight to induce mankind to conduct as becometh rational and accountable beings. Amen.
ENVY, ONE OF THE BASEST PASSIONS OF THE HUMAN
Esther, v. 13. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai,
the Jew, sitting at the king's gate. THESE words are the confession of Haman; and they are recorded as a reproof and warning to all mankind. The history concerning him and Mordecai is a lesson, fraught with instruction, to show how sudden and how great may be the changes either of human exaltation, or human abasement. Haman, on the one hand, through envy, experienced a most degrading fall; and Mordecai, in consequence of his uprightness, was raised to very distinguished honours. Haman told his friends of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. He said moreover; yea, Esther, the queen, did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared, but myself; and to-morrow, I am invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew, sitting at the king's gate. What then! The envious man resolves not only on the destruction of Mordecai, but also on the entire extinction of the Jews, his kindred.
My object, in this discourse, will be to show, that envy is one of the basest passions of the human breast, and dreadful in its effects. But what is envy?