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must be true. For, th« righteous man. favours and forwards instruction, forms to order, to felf-goverment, to worthy qualities and honourable pursuits: the righteous man, by his advice, his assistance, his example, his prayers, promotes in others his own excellence of character, that excellence which resembles God, endears to man, and prepares and longs for the perfection and harmony, and joy, of the celestial regions, where all is holy and all is happy for ever. Righteousness, or genuine religion, is the sweetener of human life. Religion imparts and secures enjoyments, unspeakably more precious than all worldly gratifications. "She is more precious than rubies, and all the tilings thou canst desire is not to be compared unto her." He is the true friend of man, he is the true patriot, he is best fitted for acting his part aright in society, he is its strength and ornament, who is a Christian, full of zeal for the glory of God; and exerts himself in promoting the interests of genuine religion in the world.
If it is asked, Upon what occasions and in what manner does active zeal to forward the D interests interests of religion manifest itself? It is readily Answered, It is daily and habitual. Whoever loves God and man, whoever imitates the example, honours the mission, bows to the authority, belongs to the family of the Lord Jesus, adopts this petition; his earnest desire and fervent prayer is; "Thy king"dom come."
He whose prevailing desire and daily supplication is, that men may come to the knowledge of the truth, that the word of God may have free course and be glorified, that the nations of the earth may become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, cannot but be distinguissied by plans and exertions for the success and spreading of the Gospel. The habitual desire, and the cha-? raster it forms, will be discovered differently, as times and circumstances offer and vary. There are seasons in which the spirit of pious philanthropy is more conspicuous: there are circumstances that render its value and lustre more distinguished and extensively known and circulated.
The existence of seditious principles, their
prevalence prevalence and horrible effects, rouses the friend of his country: the very suspicion of their infection and influence, prompts him to every exertion for their suppreflion and extinction. In the same manner, ignorance, superstition, immorality, the prevalence of loose and irreligious principles, affect the heart, and employ the zeal and influence and exertions of the friend of religion, who is ever the warmest and most active friend of humanity. Our own times, and, alas! our own country, have exhibited more than symptoms of the existence and prevalence of ignorance, immorality, and superstition: they have afforded more than apologies for the alarms and exertions of the friends of religion: their zeal and exertions for repressing irreligion, and for promoting the knowledge and love, and practice of the Gospel, are truly honourable. With more warmth of heart, with more affectionate commendation, we think and talk of their zeal and exertions, when we fee, on the one hand, the supineness of some; the encouraging or countenancing vice and irreligion in others, who are equally called on to check their progress, and with equal advantages of wealth and influD 2 ence; ence; and when, on the other hand, we perceive the well directed and steady efforts of the righteous successfully diffusing far and wide, knowledge and sound principles; and so ensuring and promoting good morals, with all their blessed effects, in the family, in the neighbourhood, in private and in public; in this world, and in that which is to come.
Difference of station and circumstances does not alter the nature, or affect the claims to praise, of the charity and righteousness that studies the good of men, and that they may be saved. Wherever they are discovered, in the humble cottage, in the retired retreat, they are the excellent of the earth. But station and circumstances more strikingly exhibit their worthy fame. Extensive and lasting fame is attached to the objects of • more general observation, to long continued and successful exertion, to superior influence, to the union and lustre of the many virtues and graces, which zeal for the interests of true religion is so excellently fitted to call forth and display, in all their benign influence. Such righteous men are held in. everlasting remembrance.
III. The righteous are amiable, and secure the esteem and cordial remembrance of mankind, as the friends of the poor. "The poor "you have always with you," says our Lord: "The rich and the poor meet together:" In all ages and in all countries has been this difference of condition. Many and various are the causes and explanations, of the wealth of some, and the poverty of others. Poverty is often the effect and punishment of vice, but it may be the lot of the innocent and the worthy. Who is out of the reach of adversity? Calamity overwhelms the most prosperous. Many are the sufferings, many are the fears of poverty: it is pitied by the righteous: some are enabled to relieve it also: some have the power as well as the inclination to soften the asperities of life, to comfort distress, to smooth the bed of woe; some have been active and successful in forming and forwarding plans of succouring the destitute sick, of promoting religious knowledge among the poor; and have pronounced such good works the best use and highest enjoyment of their fortunes. Their good works cannot be concealed: their memory is precious, especially in their vicinity, and among