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SERMON charge given to all Christians without exception. To be entirely unemployed and idle, is the prerogative of no one, in any rank of life.
Even that sex, whose task is not to mingle in the labours of public and active business, have their own part assigned them to act. In the quiet of domestic shade, there are a variety of virtues to be exercised, and of important duties to be discharged. Much depends on them for the maintenance of private œconomy and order, for the education of the young, and for the relief and comfort of those whose functions engage them in the toils of the world. Even where no such female duties occur to be performed, the care of preparing for future usefulness; and of attaining such accomplishments as procure just esteem, is laudable. In such duties and cares, how far better is time employed, than in that search into private concerns, that circulation of rumours, those discussions of the conduct, and descants on the character of others, which engross conversation so much, and which end, for the most part, in severity of censure?
In whatever condition we are placed, to SERMON act always in character, should be our constant rule. He who acts in character, is above contempt, though his station be low. He who acts out of character, is despicable, though his station be ever so high. What is that to thee, what this man or that man does? Think of what thou oughtest to do thyself; of what is suitable to thy character and place; of what the world has a title to expect from thee. Every excursion of vain curiosity about others, is a subtraction from that time and thought which was due to ourselves and due to God. Having gifts, says the apostle Paul, differing according to the grace that is given us, whether ministry, let us wait on our ministring; or he that teachetb, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation. He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; be that ruleth, with diligence; be that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness * .
In the great circle of human affairs, there is room for every one to be busy
Rom. xii. 6-9.
SERMON and well-employed in his own province, -without encroaching upon that of others. It is the province of superiours to direct ; of inferiours, to obey; of the learned, to be instructive; of the ignorant, to be docile; of the old, to be communicative; of the young, to be advisable and diligent. Art thou poor? Show thyself active and industrious, peaceable and contented. Art thou wealthy? Show thyself beneficent and charitable, condescending and humane. If thou livest much in the world, it is thy duty to make the light of a good example shine conspicuously before others. If thou livest private and retired, it is thy business to improve thine own mind, and to add, if thou canst do no more, one faithful subject to the Messiah's kingdom. There is indeed no man so sequestered from active life, but within his own narrow sphere he may find some opportunities of doing good; of cultivating friendship, promoting peace, and discharging many of these lesser offices of humanity and kindness, which are within the reach of every one, and which we all owe to one another. In all the various relations
which subsist among us in life, as husband SERMON and wife, master and servants, parents and children, relations and friends, rulers and subjects, innumerable duties stand ready to be performed; innumerable calls to virtuous activity present themselves on every hand, sufficient to fill up with advantage and honour the whole time of
THERE is, in particular, one great and comprehensive object of attention, which, in the text, is placed in direct opposition to that idle curiosity reprehended by our Lord; that is, to follow Christ. Follow thou me. What this man or that man does; how he employs his time; what use he makes of his talents.; how he succeeds in the world; are matters, concerning which the information we receive can never be of great importance to us; often, is of no importance at all. But how our Saviour behaved while he was on earth, or how, in our situation, he would have behaved, are matters of the highest moment to every Christian.
The commandment given in the text,
SERMON to follow him, includes both observance.
ample. The words of Christ contain, as we