« AnteriorContinuar »
the righteous to an endeared and honoured name: next, the perpetuity of their fame. In the third place, let me exhort you to cherish and preserve the memory of the righteous. I shall conclude by suggesting advices and directions, on keeping them in everlasting remembrance.
I. The righteous are entitled to a respectful and affectionate remembrance.
Righteous is an epithet thac frequently occurs in sacred Scripture. It denotes worth or excellence of character. To righteousness is ascribed whatever belongs to religion or holiness. Righteousness, obedience, religion, often express the same thing. He that is' "righteous," and, " shall be in everlasting "remembrance," is described in this Psalm, as " fearing God, delighting greatly in his "commandments, upright, gracious, full of "compassion and good." The righteous is indeed compared and contrasted sometimes with those who are distinguished by goodness. To the jujlice of Simeon, the Evangelist adds devotion. In the well known illustration of the grace of God in the salvation of men,
the the apostle observes, " Scarcely for a righ"teous man will one die, yet peradventure "for a good man some would even dare to "die." But, in general, and excepting comparisons and distinctions of this kind, by righteousness is meant whatever belongs to a perfect character.
In examining the claims of the righteous to an affectionate and respectful remembrance, an immense field opens before us. We may travel long and delightfully in it, without observing all its beauties, and without experiencing all the satisfactions and improvement they inspire and impart. We are left at liberty to select our path, and the objects of our admiration and delight. In discoursing on the character of the righteous* and the endeared and lasting remembrance it commands, and secures; we might direct you to the state and workings of the heart; to his amiable and worthy affections and dispositions; to his intellectual powers and their improvement and exercise; to his temper and conduct; to his attainments and habits; to his pursuits and pleasures. All these, if properly delineated, if duly regarded, insure B 2 esteem: esteem: they are justly entitled to praise; whether the righteous, in them, are considered in relation to God or man, to foul or body, to time or eternity. Nothing that is truly just, benevolent or pious, is unattracting or unamiable: whatever is dutiful is also lovely, and is deserving of good report.
The superficial may pronounce justice is severity; kindness is weakness; and piety itself is melancholy and moroseness. The wicked dread the rigour of justice; the selfish condemn the profusion of liberality; the irreligious talk, and perhaps think, contemptuously of the godly; and use the expression as a term of reproach. The good word, or good opinion, of wicked men is of little value. We are not much affected with the slanderous opinions and aspersions of the giddy, the immoral, and irreligious. We prize the deference and affection of the wife and good. Men of discernment and real worth, hold the righteous, in every part of their character, in reputation. The good name given by them, will be repeated and preserved, and transmitted, with high honour, to childrens children.
That selection of memorable and eminent qualities and excellence, that occurs to my thoughts at present, is, at once, I hope, natural and useful.
All the truly righteous are entitled to high estimation, but they especially command and ensure a cordial and lasting remembrance, who are placed by Providence in circumstances favourable for displaying real excellence; who are extensively known; in whom unite the more distinguishing virtues and graces of a worthy character. Such honour bave jiot all the faints, indiscriminately.
In such favourable circumstances, are, in the first place, They who are at the head of large families: their worth is extensively known: the union and happy blendings and effects of distinguishing and amiable qualities, are often beheld in them with high delight, and greatly adorn and endear the worthy husband, and father, and master, who has long sustained these characters.
"Husbands love your wives," says the Scripture. Nor is this more the command
of of God and the dictate of inspiration, than the suggestion, and the imperious call of propriety, and generosity and sensibility. The careless and indifferent in this relation, not to say the harsh and undutiful, cannot be esteemed or vindicated, whatever other claims may be set up, or supposed, to command the respect and homage of the world. Where there is a defect of affection to the friend of one's bosom, the companion for life, the partner of his fortunes, the common parent of his children, there is a want of the best sentiments of the heart, and the worthiest qualities of human nature. Temale delicacy, and affection, and sensibility, command and secure tender affection, and unshaken confidence; and, therefore, the purest and most permanent enjoyment. "Live joyfully with the "wife whom thou lovest," says the wise man; nor limits the period but with death; "for "that is thy portion in this life," adds he, "and in thy labour which thou takest under "the fun." She is endeared to a discerning and worthy man, by many considerations. He best knows her good qualities: her happiness is greatly, I had almost said wholly, in his power: her interests are interwoven with