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regard much more the life and the comfort of his family ; and give his servants, and so diftinguish his faithful dependents especially, not only what law exacts and secures, but what generosity suggests, and the various circumstances of master and servant render proper and necessary.
} To the enhancing and securing of esteem
and a worthy fame in the characters we have brought in view, prudence and conducting one's self with discretion, to use the expression of the Psalmist in the passage before us, are supposed, and are essential. In the domestic character, as indeed in every other, errors are to be avoided on the right hand, and on the left. Prudence and duty shun over indulgence and indiscriminating favour. Difference of disposition and behaviour, infer difference of regards towards children indeed, as well as servants. The worthy are distinguished and assisted, and rewarded. They who serve well are worthy of attention and distinction. Affectionate and dutiful servants going abroad into the world from a large family, where many have served for many years, respect the memories and
celebrate celebrate the fame of a just, a generous master : by them his character reaches far and near, and is handed down with honour, to the children of many generations.
II. The worthy qualities and excellence of character that appear in a family, prepare us for observing or learning, what the righteous man is in the world. He wishes well to all men: “ He seeks the good of many.” This is the character of every man who fears GOD and works righteousness, under every difpenfation, and of every true Christian, as well as of the apostle Paul. Some Christians indeed, are enabled more effectually to forward and secure the “ good of many :” their efforts and success entitle them to the thanks and praise of mankind: they are lights set in a high place : they attract the attention, and fecure the approbation of the world. For observing and duly honouring their worth, let us view the righteous as friends of their country, friends of religion, friends of the poor; and as manifesting their excellence of character in the sphere of their more immediate influence.
A RIGHTEOUS man is a friend of his country: he is a real patriot who prays for and promotes the “ good of the land;" the profperity and safety of the people. He rejoices in equal laws, a wise and steady government, good order and tranquillity, securing their great objects; the names, the possessions, the liberties, the lives of the subjects, protected and enjoyed. He rejoices that manufactures, agriculture, commerce, are encouraged and flourish; and that in every quarter happiness, among all ranks, is diffused and abounds. If we do not say, In all these Great Britain stands unrivalled, we may at least affirm, few nations of the earth enjoy them in a superior degree. Nevertheless, we have seen dissatisfaction with our condition sedulously fomented, daring and persevering attempts to sow and cherish feditious principles, and avowed efforts to overturn that noble fabric, the British Constitution, that has become at once more venerable and more perfect by age. We have seen “ perilous times.” We have seen therefore the righteous loudly called upon. We have seen their prompt and vigorous efforts and exertions, in discountenancing and suppressing anarchy and sedi
tion, and a revolutionary spirit. Happily, indeed, the levelling and revolutionary spirit was never formidable by the abilities or learning, or property, or personal influence of its abettors. It was very formidable, however, on account of the desperate fortunes and high expectations of the restless and abandoned, of its founding names, and romantic professions and promises, and of the terrible examples of the effects of their operation. To many the praise of patriots is due. Among all ranks, a becoming zeal for repressing fedition and repelling the attempts of our enemies, was manifested. We by no means wish to lessen your esteem and gratitude for any, for those of the lowest order in society; while we justly remark, that eminence of station and influence, and the exertions of the great, contributed highly to the cherishing, and diffusing and supporting of order and tranquillity, and the preservation of our constitution. They therefore, in a special manner, are entitled to the esteem and approbation of their countrymen.
The transition to religion from patriotism is very natural. To the question, What is
it that promotes and secures the good order, the prosperity, and enjoyments of a nation ? the answer is, Religion. A reflecting man, not to say a pious Christian, will say, Religion forms the patriot: the love of God and the love of men are inseperable: the one involves the other : the one is a branch of the other. The Gospel of Jesus, by its constraining and all-influencing views of the love of God, and of the grace of our LORD, infpires supreme love to the Father and the Son; and, at the same time, a pure and fervent, an active and lasting concern, for the happiness of the children of men. Charity, or christian affection, attends to all the interests of humanity: it is a poor and partial charity that overlooks and neglects the better part: that rejoices in the health and profperity of her objects of regard and distinction; while the health and prosperity, the attainments and enjoyments of the foul, excite no concern, and impart no pleasures.
It is not the sacred Scripture only that pronounces, “ Righteousness exalteth a nation." Observation and experience repeat this proverb of the wise king of Israel. It