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ishing a persuasion, whether erroneous or just, of his own superiority to other men, he is habitually inclined to esteem others better than himself. He daily studies to regulate his appetites and passions; and desires, and prays, that every thought may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Such is the habitual temper of a good man. A holy disposition is radically fixed in his soul.
A good man lives habitually a holy life. It is only such a life, that can render it suitable to apply to any one this elevated name and character. Latent goodness there may be, which has no opportunity to manifest itself in visible acts. Such virtue, wherever it exists, though unseen by any human eye, is seen, and will be finally approved, by the Judge of all the earth. But with no propriety can man call any one good, who does not, in his life, give visible proof of his integrity and piety. By their fruits, said the Saviour, ye shall know them. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things.
His piety toward God is discovered, by a reverential respect to his name, to his character, to his word, to his sabbaths, to his ordinances and laws; by a steady and devout performance of the duty of prayer,
in the closet, in the family, and in the assembly of the saints ; by a deep concern for the honour of God, and for the interests of his kingdom; and by a zealous and active endeavour to glorify him on the earth.
His benevolence toward man is discovered, by an habitual promptitude to rejoice with the cheerful, and to mourn with the sorrowful; by a readiness to for. give injuries, and to recompense good for evil; by a uniform aim to render to all their due, and to owe no
man any thing, but love; by doing good to all meri, as he has opportunity and ability ; by treating the actions of men with candour, and their persons with respect; and by doing what in him lies to promote the temporal comfort, and the eternal happiness, of the great family of mankind. The good man is more than strictly righteous. Rectitude, in its common acceptation, is too low a standard for his virtue. He provides things honest, * or beautiful, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of all men. He endeavours, not merely to maintain such a course of conduct, as shall be free from just cause of censure, but such a course, as shall merit commendation, Not satisfied with merely giving no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully, he is desirous by well doing to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Not content with the insignificant virtue of doing no dishonour to God and religion, he has a sacred ambition to let his light so shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify his Father who is in heaven.
Deep is the origin of his moral virtue, and proportionably extensive is its influence. It arises not from a vague perception of the beauty of virtue ; from a sense of honour; from the fear of shame ; from the traditions of ancestors; from a Christian education ; from the hope of reward ; from the fear of punishment. It springs from no such shallow or precari
It takes its rise from that well of water, which springs up into everlasting life. Yonder is the fount, fast by the throne of God. A cordial belief in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the great
* xand, Rom. xii. 17. 2 Cor. viii. 21.
truths revealed in the divine word, is the source of the good man's virtue. How operative then, how incalculably extensive, must be its influence ! “A vital faith in the gospel,” to use the words of this good man, who, being dead, yet speaketh, “A vital faith in the gospel is a leading act and instrument of moral goodness. It sets before us the most correct and sublime standard of duty ; it awakens sincere desires and efforts to reach it; while it gives to these efforts encouragement and strength, perseverance and
By bringing pardon to the penitent, and grace to the humble; by engaging divine power to uphold, and eternal life to reward the faithful Chris. tian, it inspires him with invincible courage and activity in the pursuit of perfection and glory. His sincere trust in and loyalty to Christ secure a virtuous improvement of all his talents, a diligent fulfilment of all his engagements, whether civil or religious, and a steady performance of the various duties, which his particular calling or relations impose.” These are but the outlines of the character of a good man. In his life we see them filled up, and shining forth, in all the beauties of holiness.
His happiness must be summarily noticed. It is a happiness, that partly results from his temper and character in this life; and which will be rendered complete and perfect in the life to come. A good man, saith Solomon, shall be satisfied from himself. No man has such resources for comfort, and for rational enjoyment, as the man of religion. Such resources ! The irreligious man has none. Having no hope, and without God in the world, he can have nothing, which can give him happiness or repose. He is like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. His unhallowed passions, and upbraiding conscience, must perpetually agitate or torment him. The decree of Heaven too hath determined this awful destiny. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
But the good man has perpetual resources of comfort and happiness. The regulation of his passions and appetites is propitious to his tranquillity and peace; the approbation of his conscience gives him pleasure, with which a stranger doth not intermeddle ; the hope of pardon and of “the applauding smile of Heaven” inspires him with holy and elevated delight; and the prospect of the perfection of his spirit and of the completion of his felicity, in the paradise of God, fills him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
While the good man has such sources, as these, for comfort in life; he has hope in death. At that solemn and eventful period, when the world recedes, and its fairest prospects vanish; he is able to look up, and to lift up his head, for his redemption draweth nigh. He is willing that his earthly house of this tabernacle should be dissolved ; because he has a building of God, an house 130t made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Death, in his view, is not a king of terrors, but a messenger of peace. In the language of sacred triumph, he exclaims : O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? I hade fought a good fight; I have finished my course ;: I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
These are but the harbingers of that bliss, which is reserved for the good man in heaven. There his felicity will be completed. There the holy tendencies of his soul will be carried into full effect. When he shall mingle with the spirits of just men made perfect, his own spirit shall attain perfection in holiness. Casting his crown before the throne, he shall unite with all the ransomed of the Lord in ascriptions of praise unto him who loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood; and shall partake with them in that fulness of joy, which is in the presence of God, and in those pleasures, which are at his right hand forevermore.
In that plenitude of joy, in those everlasting pleasures, the spirit of our departed FRIEND is, we trust, now participating; for he was a good man.
He appeared radically to possess a holy temper. The habitual tendencies of his soul seemed to be toward God and religion. He always discovered a quick sensibility to right and wrong, to holiness and sin. Actions in any respect praiseworthy gave him delight, which he was neither desirous nor able to conceal. Signal acts of beneficence, or of piety, awakened in his bosom strong emotions of pleasure, and received his ardent commendation. The vices of individuals, especially flagrant and prevalent sins, excited at once his grief and abhorrence. It was very apparent, that sin, whether committed by others or by himself, was in his view exceeding sinful. Hence he appears to have been excited to keep his own heart with all diligence ; to stand in awe, and sin not. He was equally prompt and skilful to avail himself of every occurrence for infusing religious instruction into the mind, or for impressing it on the heart. He singularly exemplified the apostolical precept : Let your speech be