« 前へ次へ »
bringing them up to a love of industry, and a love of the laws and constitution of their country. If this shews the great importance of a proper education to children of all ranks and conditions, what shall we say then of those whom the providence of God has placed in the very lowest lot of life, utterly cast out of the way of knowledge, without a parent, -sometimes may be without a friend to guide and instruct them, but what common pity and the necessity of their sad situation engage :-where the dangers which surround them on every side are so
that for one fortunate passenger in life, who makes his way well in the world with such early disadvantages, and so dismal a setting out, we may reckon thousands who every day suffer shipwreck, and are lost forever.
· If there is a case under heaven which calls out aloud for the more immediate exercise of compassion, and which may be looked upon as the compendium of all charity, :surely it is this; and I am persuaded there would want nothing more to convince the
greatest enemy to these kinds of charities that it is so, but a báre opportunity of taking a nearer view of some of the more distressful objects of it.
Let him go into the dwellings of the unfortunate; into soine mournful cottage, where poverty and affliction reign together. There let him behold the disconsolate widow, sitting steeped in tears; thus sorrowing over the infant she knows not how to succour: O my child! thou art now left ex
posed to a wide and vitious world, too full of snares and temptations for thy tender and unpractised age ! --Perhaps a parent's love may magnify those dangers - but when I consider thou art
driven out naked into the midst of them, without • friends, without fortune, without instruction, my <heart bleeds before-hand for the evils which may come upon thee! God, in whom we trusted, is witness, so low had his providence placed us, that we never indulged one wish to have made thee
rich:virtuous we would have made thee ;-for • thy father, my husband, was a good man, and fear.,
ed the Lord ;-and though all the fruits of his care I and industry were little enough for our support, yet he honestly had determined to have spared some portion of it, scanty as it was, to have placed
thee safely in the way of knowledge and instruc* tion.-But alas! he is gone from us, never to re. turn more ; and with him are fled the means of do. ing it.-For, Behold the creditor is come upon us, ( to take all that we have.'-Grief is eloquent, and will not easily be imitated. But let the man who is the least friend to distresses of this nature, conceive some disconsolate widow uttering her complaint, even in this manner, and then let him consider, “ if
there is any sorrow like this sorrow, wherewith the " Lord has afflicted her ?" or whether there can be any charity like that of taking " the child out of the " mother's bosom,” and rescuing her from these apprehensions ? Should a heathen, a stranger to our holy religion and the love it teaches, should he, 66. as he journeyed, come to the place where she lay, 6 when he saw, would he not have compassion on « her ?" God forbid a christian should this day want it! or at any time look upon such a distress, " and pass by on the other side.”
Rather, let him do as bis Saviour taught him, 6.bind up the wounds, and pour" comfort into the
heart of one whom the hand of God has so bruised. Let him practise what it is, with Elijah's transport, to say to the afflicted widow,-- See, thy son liveth!” -liveth by my charity, and the bounty of this hour, to all the purposes which make life desirable,to be made a good man and a profitable subject :-On one hand, to be trained up to such a sense of his duty, as may secure him an interest in the world to come ;-and, with regard to this world, to be so brought up in it to a love of honest labour and industry, as all his life long to earn and eat his bread with joy and thankfulness.
Much peace and happiness rest upon the head and heart of every one who thus brings children to Christ !-May. the blessing of him that was ready to perish, come seasonably upon him! - The " Lord comfort him when he most wants it! When
he lies sick upon his bed, make thou, O God! all I his bed in his sickness! and for what he now scat• ters, give him, then, that peace of thine which
passeth all understanding, and which nothing in this world can either give or take away! Amen.
PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN IN THE TEMPLE.
LUKE XVIII. 14. First part.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather
than the other.
THESE words are the judgment which our Saviour has left upon the behaviour and different degrees of merit in the two men, the Pharisee and Publican, whom he represents, in the foregoing parable, as going up into the temple to pray. In what manner they discharged this great and solemn duty, will best be seen from a consideration of the prayer which cach is said to have addressed to God upon the occasion.
The Pharisee, instead of an act of humiliation in that awful présence before which he stood, with an air of triumph and self-sufficiency, thanks God that he had not made him like others;-extortioners, adulterers, unjust, or even as this publican. The publican is represented as standing afar off, and with a heart touched with humility from a just sense of his own unworthiness, is said only to have smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner -I tell you, adds our Saviour, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.
Though the justice of this determination strikes every one at first sight, it may not be amiss to enter
into a more particular examination of the evidence and reasons upon which it might be founded, not only because it may place the equity of this deri. sion in favour of the publican in a stronger light, but that the subject seems likely to lead me to a train of reflections pot unsuitable to the solemnity of the season.*
The pharisee was one of that sect, who, in our Saviour's time, what by the austerity of their lives, -their public alms-deeds—and greater pretences to piety than other men, had gradually wrought themselves into much credit and reputation with the people : and, indeed, as the bulk of these are easily caught with appearances, their character seems to have been admirably well suited to such a purpose. If you looked no farther than the outward part of it, you would think it made up of all goodness and perfection ; an uncommon sanctity of life, guarded by great decorum and severity of manners,-profuse and frequent charities to the poor, many acts of religion,-much observance of the law,-much abstinence,-much prayer.
It is painful to suspect the appearance of so much good ;-and would have been so here, had not our blessed Saviour left us their real character upon record, and drawn up by himself in one word_That the sect were like whitened sepulchres, all fair and beautiful without, and enriched there with whatever could attract the eye of the beholder ; but, when searched within-side, were full of corruption, and of whatever could shock and disgust the searcher. So that, with all their affectation of piety, and more extraordinary strictness and regularity in their out
* Preached in Lente.