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SERMON ed their real friend. True charity is not


a meteor, which occasionally glares; but a luminary, which, in its orderly and regular course, dispenses a benignant influence.

THE third and last adjunct connected in the text with charity is, that it be of faith unfeigned. Faith, in the Scripture sense of it, includes the whole of religious principles respecting God, and respecting Christ. Good principles, without good practice, I confess, are nothing; they are of no avail in the sight of God, nor in the estimation of wise men. But practice not founded on principle, is likely to be always unstable and wavering; and, therefore, the faith of religious principles enters, for a very considerable share, into the proper disc arge of the duties of charity.

It will be admitted that, without faith, our duties towards God cannot be properly performed. You may be assured that your duties towards men will always greatly suffer from the want of it. Faith, when pure and genuine, supplies to every part of virtue, and in particular to the virtue of charity, many motives and assistances,


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of which the unbeliever is destitute. He SERMON who acts from faith, acts upon the high principle of regard to the God who hath made him, and to the Saviour who redeems him; which will often stimulate him to his duty, when other principles of benevolence become faint and lang or are crossed by opposite interests. When he considers himself as pursuing the approbation of that divine Being, from whom love descends, a sacred enthusiasm both prompts and consecrates his charitable dispositions. Regardless of men, or of human recompence, he is carried along by a higher impulse. He acts with the spirit of a follower of the Son of God, who not only has enjoined love, but has enforced it by the example of laying down his life for mankind. Whatever he does in behalf of his fellow-creatures, he considers himself as doing, in some degree, to that divine Person, who hath said, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me *. Hence charity is with him not only a moral virtue, but a

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SERMON Christian grace. It acquires additional dig


nity and energy from being connected with the heavenly state and the heavenly inhabitants. He mingles with beings of a higher order, while he is discharging his duty to his fellow-creatures on earth; and, by joining faith and piety to good works, he completes the character of a Christian.

THUS I have endeavoured to explain the full sense of that comprehensive view of religion which is given in the text. I have shewn in what respects charity, joined with the pure heart, the good conscience, and faith unfeigned, forms the end of the commandment. Let us ever keep in view those essential parts of a virtuous character, and preserve them in their proper union. Thus shall our religion rise into a regular and well proportioned edifice, where each part gives firmness and support to another. If any one of those material parts be wanting in the structure; if, out of our system of charity, either purity, or justice, or faith, be left, there will be cracks and flaws in the building which prepare its ruin.

This is indeed one of the greatest and most frequent errours of men, in their moral conduct.



conduct. They take hold of virtue by SERMON pieces and corners only. Few are so depraved as to be without all sense of duty, and all regard to it. To some moral qualities, which appear to them amiable or estimable, almost all men lay claim; and on these they rest their worth, in their own estimation. But these scattered pieces of virtue, not uniting into one whole, nor forming a consistent character, have no powerful influence on their general habits of life. From various unguarded quarters they lie open to temptation. Their lives are full of contradiction, and perpetually fluctuate between good and evil. Virtue can neither rise to its native dignity, nor attain its proper rewards, until all its chief parts be joined together in our character, and exert an equal authority in regulating pur conduct.



On our LIVES being in the Hand of

[Preached at the Beginning of a New Year *.]



My times are in thy Hand.


HE sun that rolls over our heads,

the food that we receive, the rest that we enjoy, daily admonish us of a superiour power, on whom the inhabitants of the earth depend for light, life, and subsistence, But as long as all things proceed in their ordinary course; when day returns after day with perfect simi

* January 6th, 1793.


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