Imágenes de páginas

ligion with more advantage to others, than by loving God as he did, and imitating him in his friendship, affection, and kindness to mankind? Doth the commandment aim at the perfection of human nature, and the creating men into a divine nature and refemblance? Remember, Chriftian, God is love, and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him, and thus bears his image in the moft amiable and attractive perfection of his nature. Is one great intention of the Chriftian command, peace on earth, and to promote goodwill amongst men, and hereby to advance the welfare and happiness of fociety; the love of God and our neighbour, prevailing in all its genuine fruits and effects, will effectually remove every caufe of public difcord, uneafinefs, and mifery, unite men to God, and cement them together in their endeavours to promote the happinefs of each other, and the public fafety and profperity. And, finally, is the end of the Chriftian commandment to prepare men for, and fecure them the poffeffion of, eternal life and bleffednefs? What ingredient can he want to felf-enjoyment, and the happiness of the prefent ftate, in whofe breaft benevolence and. fervent affection dwell? How well prepared is he who loves God, for the heavenly felicity which arifes from the perfection and perpetuity of this love? How fit for the enjoyment of the beft of beings, who himself refembles him in goodnefs? How ripe for the fociety of those friendly beings,

the angels of God and the perfected faints of Chrift, whose heart is purified from all malevolent difpofitions, fitted for the fervices and pleasures of friendship, and prepared for all thofe facred and exalted fatisfactions, that muft be enjoyed in that happy world, where eternal harmony reigns amongst all the bleffed inhabitants, where the foul fpirit of jealoufy, dif content, and envy never enters to defile or trouble, where all hearts are inflamed with the love of God, united by fervent affection to each other, each is happy in himself, and continually heightening his own happiness, by promoting that of others, and the love of God to all is the eternal fource from whence they derive joys unspeakable and full of glory. Cherish, therefore, this god-like temper, as you encrease in it, you will grow more meet for the happiness of heaven. That bleffed world will at last receive you, and the God of love will complete and perpetuate your felicity. Sermon on the importance of Charity.

DIED 1768*.


BRANCH of moderation towards fuch as differ from us, is mildness and gentleness in all debates and arguments for the truth of our re

* Dr. Lardner, when he had written a great part of his celebrated work, entitled the Credibility of the Gofpel

ligion: which we find recommended in the writings of Chrift's Apoftles. Says St. Peter: But fanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reafon of the hope that is in you, with meeknefs and fear. That direction feems to be addressed to Christians in general. St. Paul speaking more especially of thofe who were in the ministerial office, fays: And the fervant of the Lord must not ftrive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth. Whether it be any juft ground of offence, that others differ from us or not; yet men are apt too often to take it amifs, that others differ from them, and yield not to the force of those arguments which convince and fatisfy themselves. It is, therefore, a branch of mildness, and very laudable, to bear patiently with those who differ from us in point of religion, and calmly to propose our best arguments, and be willing to

Hiftory, which confifted of 17 octavo volumes, made the following memorable declaration, "I have lately published the feventh volume of the fecond part of the credibility; but a temper and conduct worthy the doctrine of the gospel, are more valuable than any written defences and apologies for it, or explications of it. I beg that I may be more and more poffeffed of that temper of humility and meekness, which fhall bear good fruits."

Kippis' Life of Lardner.

renew thofe methods of conviction, which hitherto have been ineffectual.

[ocr errors]

Christians have the most forcible arguments and inducements, and the best affiftances of any men, for the practice of moderation, mildness, and equity. Forafinuch as they have had experience of the mercies of God and Christ Jesus in forgiving them, and fhowing towards them great mildness, tendernefs, and equity. They have also been taught to love one another, and all men, fo as no other men have been taught, and the principles of love will mightily dispofe to mildness and gentlenefs, for love fuffereth long and is kind; it is not easily provoked, is not puffed up; it beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things; moreover they know and, expect the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his work. We may reasonably conclude, that mildness, or moderation, or equity among Chriftians, will be to the honour of their religion, otherwise certainly the apoftle had not directed Chriftians to let their moderation be known to all men. Some might poffibly be apt to think, that rigour, harshnefs and severity, might be more useful than moderation and mildnefs. But fince mildnefs towards men is not an approbation of any thing that is wrong, and men may be differently treated according to their different conduct, moderation, or mildness, will not be hurtful but advantageous.

And, indeed, we may be affured, that moderation or mildness is a great virtue; it being often commanded and enforced, under many other words, in the writings of the apoftles. For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentleness, goodness, and meekness. And St. James says, The wifdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrify. Sermon on Chriftian Moderation.



PERSONS chargeable with feeking their own

things more than those of Christ, are they who are more zealous for those particular modes of faith and forms of worship, which diftinguish themselves and their own party, than for the acknowledged effentials of Chriftian truth and duty. I choose to mention this character diftinctly, because this kind of zeal is often miftaken for zeal in the cause of Chrift, and commended as fuch, though it is most foreign from it and oppofite to it. This St. Paul hath exprefsly determined, when he tells the Corinthians, While one faith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Whereas there is among you envying and ftrife, and divifions, about particular perfons, whom ye fet up as heads of parties, are ye not carnal,

« AnteriorContinuar »