Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]


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 huIf 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

[ocr errors]


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. Follows 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
VIII. of his words, and imitation of his ex-

ample. The words of Christ contain, as we
all know, the standing rule of our life.
His example exhibits the great model on
which our conduct ought to be formed;
and it is to this that the precept here deli-
vered directly refers. Examples have great
influence on all. But by all human exam-
ples, we are in danger of being occasion-
ally misled. We are ever obliged to be on
our guard, lest the admiration of what is
estimable, betray us into a resemblance of
what is blemished and faulty. For the
most perfect human characters, in the
midst of their brightness and beauty, are
always marked with some of those dark
spots which stain the nature of man.
But our Lord possessed all the virtues of
the greatest and best men, without par-
taking any of their defects. In him, all
was light without a shade, and beauty
without a stain.-At the same time, his
example is attended with this singular ad-
vantage, of being more accommodated
than any other to general imitation.
was distinguished by no unnatural auste-




rities, no affected singularities; but exhi- SERMON bits the plain and simple tenor of all those virtues for which we have most frequent' occasion in ordinary life. In order to' render it of more universal benefit, our Lord fixed his residence in no particular place; he tied himself down to no particular calling, or way of living; but gives us the opportunity of viewing his behaviour, in that variety of lights which equally and indifferently regard all mankind. His life was divided between the retired and the active state. Devotion and business equally shared it. In the discharge of that high office with which he was vested, we behold the perfect model of a public character; and we behold the most beautiful example of private life, when we contemplate him among his disciples, as a father in the midst of his family.By such means he has exhibited before us specimens of every kind of virtue; and to all ranks and classes of men has afforded a pattern after which they may copy. Hardly is there any emergency which can occur in life, but from some incident in our Saviour's conduct, from some feature dis

[blocks in formation]

SERMON played in his character, we are enabled to say to ourselves, "Thus Christ would have


spoken, thus he would have acted, thus "he would have suffered, if he had been "circumstanced as we are now."

Instead, therefore, of thinking of thy Reighbours around thee, and of inquiring how they behave, keep Christ in thine eye, and in thy whole conduct follow him. Follow him in his steady and conscientious discharge of duty, amidst opposition from evil men and a corrupted world. Follow him in his patient submission to his Father's will, and the calmness of his spirit under all trials. Follow him in his acts of disinterested benevolence, in his compassion to the unhappy, in his readiness to oblige, to assist, and to relieve. Imitate the mildness and gentleness of his marmers. Imitate the affability and condescension which appeared in his behaviour. Imitate the uncorrupted simplicity and purity which distinguished his whole life.

THESE are much worthier and nobler objects of your attention, than any of those trifling varieties which you can explore


« AnteriorContinuar »