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him into a way wherein, by his diligence and industry, he may arrive to a considerable fortune in the world, and be able afterwards to relieve hundreds of others. Men glory in raising great and magnificent structures, and find a secret pleasure to see sets of their own planting to grow up and flourish; but surely it is a greater and more glorious work to build up a man, to see a youth of our own planting, from the small beginnings and advantages we have given him, to grow up into a considerable fortune, to take root in the world, and to shoot up to such a height, and spread his branches so wide, that we who first planted him may ourselves find comfort and shelter under his shadow. We may many times, with a small liberality, shore up a family that is ready to fall, and struggles under such necessities that it is not able to support itself. And if our minds were as great as sometimes our estates are, we might do great and public works of a general and lasting advantage, and for which many generations to come might call us blessed. And those who are in the lowest condition may do great good to others by their prayers, if they themselves be as good as they ought; for “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The intercession of those who are in favor with God, as all good men are, are not vain wishes, but many times effectual to procure that good for others which their own endeavors could never have effected and brought about. I have done with the first thing, the great work and business which our blessed Saviour had to do in the world, and that was to do good. I proceed to our Saviour's diligence and industry in this work. He went about doing good; He made it the great business and constant employment of His life; He travelled from one place to another to seek out opportunities of being useful and beneficial to mankind. How unwearied our blessed Saviour was in doing good. He made it His only business, and spent His whole life in it. He was not only ready to do good to those that came to Him and gave Him opportunity for it, and besought Him to do it, but went Himself from one place to another to seek out objects to exercise His charity upon. He went to those who could not, and to those who would not come to Him; for so it is written of Him, He “came to seek and to save that which was lost.” He was contented to spend whole days in this work, to live in a crowd, and to be almost perpetually oppressed with company; and when His disciples were moved at the rudeness of the people in pressing upon Him, He rebuked their impatience; and for the pleasure He took in doing good, made nothing of the trouble and inconvenience that attended it. If we consider how much He denied Himself in the chief comforts and conveniences of human life, that He might do good to others. He neglected the ordinary refreshments of nature, His meat, and drink, and sleep, that He might attend this work. He was at everybody's beck and disposal, to do them good. When He was doing cures in one place He was sent for to another; and He either went, or sent healing to them, and did by His word at a distance what He could not come in person to do. Nay, He was willing to deny Himself in one of the dearest things in the world, His reputation and good name; He was contented to do good, though He was ill thought of and ill spoken of for it. He would not refuse to do good on the Sabbath day, though He was accounted profane for so doing. He knew how scandalous it was among the Jews to keep company with publicans and sinners, and yet He would not decline so good a work for all the ill words they gave Him for it. If we consider the malicious opposition and sinister construction that His good deeds met withal. Never did so much goodness meet with so much enmity, endure so many affronts, and so much contradiction of sinners. This great benefactor of mankind was hated and persecuted as if He had been a public enemy. While He was instructing them in the meekest manner, they were ready to stone Him for telling them the truth; and when the fame of His miracles went abroad, though they were never so useful and beneficial to mankind, yet upon this very account they conspire against Him and seek to take away His life. Whatever He said or did, though never so innocent, never so excellent, had some bad interpretation put upon it, and the great and shining virtues of His life were turned into crimes and matter of accusation. For His casting out of devils He was called a magician; for His endeavor to reclaim men from their vices, “a friend of publicans and sinners; ” for His free and obliging conversation, “a wine-bibber and a glutton.” All the benefits which He did to men, and the blessings which He so Vol. I.-15
liberally shed among the people, were construed to be a design of ambition and popularity, and done with an intention to move the people to sedition, and to make Himself a king, enough to have discouraged the greatest goodness, and have put a damp upon the most generous mind, and to make it sick and weary of well-doing. For what more grievous than to have all the good one does ill interpreted, and the best actions in the world made matter of calumny and reproach? If we consider how cheerfully, notwithstanding all this, He persevered and continued in well-doing. It was not only His
business but His delight—“I delight,” says He, “to do Thy
will, O my God;” the pleasure which others take in the most natural actions of life, in eating and drinking when they are hungry, He took in doing good. It “was His meat and drink to do the will of His Father.” He plied this work with so much diligence as if He had been afraid He should have wanted time for it. “I must work the work of Him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.” And when He was approaching towards the hardest and most unpleasant part of His service, but of all others the most beneficial to us—I mean His death and sufferings—He was not at ease in His mind till it was done; “How am I straitened,” says He, “till it be accomplished;” and just before his suffering, with what joy and triumph does He reflect upon the good he had done in His life? “Father, I have glorified Thee upon earth, and finished the work which Thou hast given me to do!” What a blessed pattern is here of diligence and industry in doing good! How fair and lovely a copy for Christians to write after!
JOHN HAMILTON, LORD BELHAVEN
Lord Belhaven belonged to the Hamilton family. He was one of the old Presbyterian lords, highly educated, especially in classical, litera: ture; lofty in his demeanor; dauntless in spirit; and wholly devoted to opeculiar interests of his country. He was born in 1656, and died 1n I70s.
Kontury had elapsed since the union of the English and Scottish crowns in the person of James I, and Scotland still remained a distinct kingdom. Scotland was governed by alternate corruption and force. Her nobility and gentry were drawn to England in great numbers, and her merchants and tradesmen were led to transfer their capital to the sister kingdom, in consequence of the superior facilities for trade which were #. enjoyed. There was one point where England was vulnerable. It was the succession to the crown. This had been settled by the English Parliament on the Protestant line in the House of Hanoe; and it was fully expected that the Parliament of Scotland would readily unite in the same measure. Instead of this, the Scotch, in 1704, enacted that “the same person should be incapable of succeeding in both kingdoms, unless a free communication of trade, the benefits of the Navigation Act, and liberty of the Plantations was first obtained.”
It was now obvious that concessions must be made on both sides. The ministry of Queen Anne, therefore, proposed that commissioners from the two kingdoms should meet at London, to devise a plan of Union. This was accordingly done, in the month of April, 1706; and, after long negotiations, it was agreed, that the two kingdoms should be united into one under the British Parliament, with the addition of sixteen Scottish peers to the House of Lords, and of forty-five Scottish members to the House of Commons; that the Scotch should be entitled to all the privileges of the English in respect to trade, and be subject to the same excise and duties; that Scotland should receive £398,000 as a compensation or “equivalent” for the share of liability she assumed in the English debt of £20,000,000; and that the churches of England and Scotland respectively should be confirmed in all their rights and privileges, as a fundamental condition of the Union.
These arrangements were kept secret until October, 1706, when the Scottish Parliament met. The moment the articles were read in that body, they were met with a burst of indignant reprobation from every quarter. A federal union which should confer equal advantages for trade, was all that the Scotch in general had ever contemplated: an incorporating union, which should abolish their Parliament and extinguish their national existence, was what most Scotchmen had never dreamed of. It was with sentiments like these that, when the first article of the treaty was read, Lord Belhaven arose, and addressed the Parliament of Scotland in the following speech. It was designed merely to open the discussion which was expected to follow. It was a simple burst of feeling, in which the great leader of the country party poured out his emotions in view of that act of parricide, as he considered it, to which the Parliament was now called. He felt that no regard to consequences, no loss or advancement of trade, manufactures, or national wealth, ought to have the weight of a feather, when the honor and existence of his country were at stake.