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they do not prize, nor do justice to, those whom they still enjoy. That such charges may not be brought against us, that the endeared remembrance of the righteous, with all its happy effects, may be preserved, let me exhort you to review their history, and dwell on their worth, on particular occasions. The following, you will allow, are natural and proper seasons for this purpose. Remember the righteous with affection, and talk of them with honour, When similar characters claim your regard: When you know or hear of the same loss sustained by others, that you experienced on the removal of your dear friends: When circumstances similar to those which distinguished their worth return: When the celebrating of their character promises to have happy effects on those around you: When by doing justice to their reputation, you silence aspersion and confound the malicious and the wicked. On such occasions as these, it will be highly useful to meditate on the worth, and to publish the honours of the righteous.
We observe, in the next place, You will
continue continue to hold the righteous in endeared remembrance, by introducing them and their worth into your acts of devotion.
The great advantages derived from the company and advice, the assistance and example of good men, are not the only blessings we are in danger of overlooking, and not duly prizing, because they are not connected with the thoughts of God, and the exercises of piety. If we reflected more on our dependance on God, and his goodness in bestowing and preserving our enjoyments, we would value them more highly. By carrying them in our minds when we appear before God, and bless God for them, their worth is enhanced, our gratitude is heightened and perfected. And, have we not to remark, in particular, that the devout sentiments you feel and express to the giver of every good and every perfect gift, for blessing you with the knowledge and the friendship of the righteous, will revive and heighten your value for them; for those excellent persons, whose highest and dearest object was to bring you by good example, good advice, good education, and numberless less endearing good offices, to the knowledge of the Father and of the Son, whom to know is life eternal.
I Exhort you, Thirdly, To preserve an honourable remembrance of the righteous, by imitating that worth and excellence you admire and commend. It is in this manner only your praise is proved to be sincere. It is thus you profit most by their excellence. It is thus you most effectually preserve their endeared remembrance, and perpetuate the power of their example. In the words of the apostle, I beseech you to do " what you "have seen and received, and learned of "them." Be followers of them in all their worth. Be imitators of them as they are of Christ. Beware lest in commending them, you be not found condemning yourselves.
There are marks of respect and grateful remembrance, which in certain circumstances may be decent and proper, and useful, but which may be given, and perhaps have often been given, by custom, by ostentation, by selfishness, and not by affection. Sincere regard cannot be expressed by all in sumptuous bus monuments, and the parade of mourning. Imitation of worth is in the power of all, and close imitation is the highest testimony of unfeigned affection and respect. Be then, my friends, what the righteous were. In the language of warfare, of which you know there is frequent use in the sacred Scriptures, Have they fallen who stood in the first ranks, supporting manfully and successfully the cause of religion, fighting the battles of the Lord, of order, of truth, of worth, of happiness? Fill ye up the breach: repair ye the loss: complete ye the ranks: use their weapons: shew their skill: maintain their advantages: "quit ye like men," like the champions of righteousness, "and "be strong."
I Suggest to you, in the last place, That it will have the happiest effect on your preserving the endeared memory of the righteous, to meditate on the honours conferred on them and awaiting them, from heaven; in this world, and in that which is to come.
Whoever is truly righteous, is highly honoured of God, whether the world believe it and perceive it or not. They bear his image: they enjoy his favour: they belong to his family: they are united to all the great and good, and venerable, in heaven and in earth: but, has not the Lord the Judge of all, often distinguished his righteous servants, and caused men to take knowledge of the objects of his favour and approbation? He has raised them on high: He has enrol* led their names in the lists of glory. See in what striking instances, in how many memorable occasions, providence has marked them the care and charge of Heaven: See his light shining on their tabernacle : See his interpositions in their behalf. In rescuing them from impending ruin, in bestowing and se- . curing precious and unexpected blessings: in over-ruling and controlling what is formidable and hostile, and from which no way of escape seemed possible: in bringing good out of evil, and causing the machinations and malice of enemies to produce more than the wisdom and exertions of friends: in such dispensations we are made to say, ** Verily "there is a God that rules the world, that "loves and honours the righteous."