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Jhj J), a^ G. Bruce. 





On the extraordinaiy perfections of Christ as a teacher. 
John, chap. 7, verse A6....jyev€r man s^iake like this many 1 


The state of humility, in wliich Christ appeared on earth, 
perfectly fitted to the discharge of his duties as a me- 
diator, and a source of comfort and joy to his discipies. 

Mattliew, chap. 13, verse 55, 56..../* not this the carfien- 
ter*s son ? Is not his mother called Mary ? And his 
brethren James^ and J^ses, and Simon^ and Judas ? And 
his sisters^ are they not all with us ? Whence then 
hath this man all these things ? And they were offended 
in him^ IT 


The character of Christ considered under the allegory 
of a shepherd ; his pastoM care to embrace and gather 
in all nations to his fold. 

John, chap. 10, verse 16 4nd other sheep, I have which 

are not of this fold ; them also I must brings and they 
shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold and 
ene shepherdj 34 



The same subject continued, 51 


On the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper. 
Luke, chap. 22, verse \5....With desire I have desired to 
eat this passover with you., before I suffer^ , ... 69 


On the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper. 
Luke, chap. 22, verse \5....With desire I have desired to 
eat this jiassoverivithyouy before I suffer^ .... 90 


On charity : the obligations, sanctions and tnotives to the 

discharge of its numerous duties. 
1 Corin. chap. 14, verse L...i^o//ow«/irer c/zanVy, . . n^ 


On meekness: its nature and great excellence in the 

sight of God, 
Psalm 25, verse 9.,.,Thejneek will he guide in judgment ; 

and the meek will he teach his ivay., 137 


On the character of the saints ; the providence and fa- 
vour of God peculiarly exercised towards them in the 
hour of death. 

Psalm 116, verse \6.„.Precious in the sight of the Lord 

i^ the death of his saints, » . 163- 



The goodjiess and power of Christ, manifested by hi5> 
works on earth, conclusive proofs of his divine nature. 

John, chap. 9, verse 32.... Since the ivorld began was it 
not heard that any man aliened the eyes of one that was 
born blind^ 178 


On the duty of holding the righteous in remembrance, 
and the important advantages derived from the recol- 
lection of their virtues. 

Psalm 122, verse 6. ...The righteous shall be in everlas- 
ting reme?nbrance-, 194 


On tlie caution necessary to be observed in our censure 

of others. 
Matthew, chap. 7, verse \.... Judge not^ that ye be Jiot 

judged, 220 


On the divine origin of the Christian religion. 

Acts, chap. 5, verse 38, o9.... Refrain from these ?nen, 
and let them alone ; for if this council, or this work be 
of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, 
ye cannot overthrow it ; lest hazily ye be found even to 
fight against God, 337 


On the divine origin of the Christian religioir. 


Refrain from these men, and let them alone if or if this 
council', or this luork be ofmen^it will come to nought. 
But if it be God, ye cannot overth'onait ; lest haply ye 
be found even tofght against God, 355 

On duelling. 

Putuji again thy snuord into his place ; for all they who 
take the sword shall perish with the sword, . . . 273 


Used at the Orphan-House, Charleston, S. C. composed 
by the Rev. Dr. Buist, for the use of the orphans in 
that institution, ..,,... = .... 317 


On the extraordinary perfections of Christ as a 

John, Chap. 7, Verse 46. 
" Never man spake like this man." 

Jesus Christ is, in every respect, the most 
wonderful personage that ever appeared upon 
the theatre of the world. The personal gran- 
deur of his character, the Innocence of his 
life, the noble generosity of his actions, the se- 
verity of his sufferings, the sublimity and wis- 
dom of his discourses and instructions, taken 
either separately or in connection, have never 
been equalled In the history of mankind. In 
him we behold the Deity made flesh and dwel- 
ling among men. In him we see a man, holy, 
harmless, undcfiled, and separate from sin- 
ners. In him we admire a great philanthro- 
pist continually going about doing good. In 



him we see a martyr suffering in the best of 
causes and with unexampled fortitude and re- 
signation. In him we Usten to a great teach- 
er speaking as never man spake — declaring 
truths of infinite importance, in a manner the 
most admirably adapted to the understanding 
of his hearers, with infinite wisdom and irre- 
sistible persuasion. 

Such a bright constellation of excellencies 
dazzles the sight, and can only be viewed 
separately and in detail. The text, (which is 
not the language of encomium, or the pane- 
gyric of a friend, but the confession of his 
enemies, extorted by the irresistible force of 
truth,) leads us to rnnslder him as a publick 
teacher, and to point out his great superiority, 
not only to the philosophers and orators of 
ancient heathenism, but also to all the former 
messengers and prophets of the Most High. 
And the truth of the assertion of the oflficers 
in the text will fully appear, if we consider 
the ijiatier, the maimer, and the effect of out 
Saviour's preachings, and shew that never man 
spake truths of such importance — never man 
spake in such a manner — never man spake 
with such authoritr/ and power. 

These three things constitute the excellence 


of every discourse : that the matter be im- 
portant and worthy of attention ; that the 
manner be interesting, well adapted to the 
subject, and suited to the hearers — and lastly, 
that the intended effect may be produced, and 
a due impression made on the audience. 

I. The matter of our Saviour's discourses is 
superiour to that of any other teacher either 
heathen or Jew ; for none of them ever de- 
clared truths of such infinite importance to the 

The subject matter of our Saviour's dis- 
courses comprehends either such things as had 
been handled by former teachers, or such 
things as wtre allu^cthcr new, and of which 
the world are indebted to him for the discov- 
ery. Many things indeed had engaged the 
attention of former teachers, which were alto- 
gether below his notice, which were too tri- 
fling to consume one moment of his precious 
time. For this purpose came he into the 
world, '' that he might bear witness unto the 
^* truth," — not to indulge in the false glosses and 
absurd commentaries of the scribes and pha- 
risees, the quibbles of the sophist, the vain 
conceits of the philosopher, the profane bab- 
blings and oppositions of science falsely so 


called. The most finished compositions of 
ancient times treat of subjects comparatively 
mean and insignificant : the rise and fall of 
states and empires, the debates of a faction, the 
petty interests and competitions of the present 
life. Jesus came with a message of infinitely 
greater extent and importance. He was in 
truth theoratour of the human race — his dis- 
courses were big with the fate of all mankmd. 
He performed a work and declared truths 
which were devised before the foundations of 
the earth were laid, and which reached into the 
remotest ages of eternity. The ancient phi- 
losophers and oratours had chiefly in view the 
display of then own ulents, or of the powers 
of their art. Jesus sought only to deliver 
truths useful and instructive to his hearers. 
Their lectures were employed in inquiring 
into the origin of all things, in describing the 
courses of the planets, the laws of the material 
world, the properties of an animal or a plant. 
Such barren speculations were foreign to the 
design of our Saviour*s mission — he had a 
grander and more profitable object in view, 
even to make men wise unto salvation, to 
teach them to be pious and virtuous and 


Even where he happened to tread in the same 
path with others, he improved so much upon 
his predecessors that he is justly entitled to the 
praise of an original. The existence and attri- 
butes of God, for instance, had been previously 
discussed by the Heathen philosophers and the 
Jewish lawgiver. But none of ihem spake 
on this subject like Jesus of Nazaretb. The 
polytheism of the ancients ; the imperfections 
and even shocking vices which they ascribed 
to their imaginary deities, make them unwor- 
thy of comparison. The errours of the heathen 
indeed, were excluded from the Jewish sys- 
tem. Moses taught expressly the unity of 
God, " Hear now, O Israel, the Lord your 
^^ God is one Lord." But the ritual service 
which he prescribed, represented the Deity 
rather in a corporeal light ; the severity of his 
laws obscured the Divine benignity ; the terrour 
accompanying their delivery inspired fear ra- 
ther than hope. How just and sublime were 
the words of Jesus on this subject. ** God is 
** a spirit, and they that worship him must 
*' worship him in spirit and in truth. He 
'* maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the 
^* good, and sendeth rain on the just and on 
** the unjust. God so loved the world that he 


^' crave his only begotten Son, that whosoever 
^* believeth on him might not perish but have 
" everlasting life." 

The same superiority is discernible in the 
moraUty of Jesus. How much more pure, 
perfect, and certain than the vague specula- 
tions of the heathen moralists ? How much 
more extensive and universal than the cere- 
monial system of the Jews ? Above all, how 
much more powerful motives did he furnish 
for the discharge of the duties which he com- 
manded ? 

Thus did Jesus improve upon every subject 
which he handled ; thus did he far outstrip all 
who had gone before him in what related to 
God, to morals, and to a future life. But this 
is not all. Many doctrines were taught by 
the Saviour of the world which no ear had ever 
heard and no human heart had ever conceived. 
Among these we may rank the doctrine of his 
own divinity ; the mystery of his own incar- 
nation and assumption of our nature ; his ap- 
pearance in a world overspread with misery 
and vice, to proclaim pardon and peace in this 
life, and everlasting happiness in the future, 
to all who with penitent hearts and true faith 
returned unto him ; his humiliation, sufferings 


and death In our room ; his victory over death 
by virtue of his atoning sacrifice, and lils bring- 
ing life and immortaUty to light. These are 
the great things of which Christ spake ; these 
were the amazing topicks which filled his dis- 
courses. Who ever uttered such things ? who 
ever presumed to raise their thoughts to mys- 
teries so grand and sublime ? Without contro- 
versy great and unequalled is the mystery of 
godliness : God was manifest in the flesh, 
justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached 
unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, 
received up into glory. 

II. The manner in which our Saviour spake 
was equally incomparable with the matter of 
which he treated. Under this head, I do not 
mean to assert that Jesus was a most consum- 
mate oratour in the common acceptation of the 
word ; that he was a perfect master of the 
rules of art ; and that he knew how to employ 
to the best advantage the various tropes and 
figures of rhetorick. Were it indeed a circum- 
stance of much importance, or in which there 
was room for exultation, it would be easy to 
shew that the sacred writings afford specimens 
altogether unrivalled in every species of com- 

8 SERMON 1. 

But Jesus, though he had formed the mind 
of man, and knew every human art and science 
better than the most enhghtened oratour or phi- 
losopher, yet he used not the arts of eloquence 
and the flowers of hmguage as necessary aids 
to his instruction. He spake with a simphcity, 
gravity, and dignity well suited to the character 
of the speaker, to the nature of the doctrines, 
and to the capacity of his hearers. He did 
not deliver his doctrines, at once, in an abstract, 
systematick manner, and then set about to ex- 
plain, defend and support them. His sublime 
system was not delivered in the gross, but 
gradually unfolded in proportion to the state 
of preparation in which he found the minds of 
his disciples or of the multitude. His sermons 
were not the effect of previous study, but arose 
from the incidents and occurrences of his life* 
His discourses were not delivered on set occa- 
sions, but as opportunity offered, and no oppor- 
tunity did he ever neglect of instilling know- 
ledge and heavenly wisdom into his hearers. 
None who wished to hear the wisdom of Jesus 
were ever disappointed. Many who came 
with a captious intention, and from motives of 
curiosity, went away edified and improved. 
No particular place was appointed for the de- 


livery of his instructions. He lifted up his 
voice in the temple and in the desert ; in the 
city and in the field. He ever sought out the 
lost sheep in his wanderings, dragged the 
wretched from his miserable haunt, conversed 
with publicans and sinners, practised every 
species of condescension for the benefit of 
mankind, and insinuated himself into the 
good opinion of all, that, happily, some might 
be gained. 

The method which our Saviour generally 
followed in his instructions, was that of parable 
or allegory ; in which the speaker, by an allu- 
sion to sensible objects, or by some natural 
story, conveys to the mind of the hearer moral 
and spiritual instruction. This was a method 
of instruction extremely common among the 
oriental nations, and it was attended with the 
peculiar advantage of impressing the truth 
deeply upon the mind, and of facilitating the 
recollection of it. What propriety, beauty 
and force are discernible in all the parables 
and allegories of Jesus ! No writing, ancient 
or modern, can produce any thing worthy to 
be compared with the parable of the sower and 
his seed ; the allegory of the marriage supper ; 
the histories of the prodigal son and the good 

VOL, II. c 


Samaritan. With Jesus no occurrence of life 
passed away unimproved ; there was no sur- 
rounding object that did not afford him an 
occasion of uttering something to instruct, re- 
prove, comtori or encourage his hearers. The 
lilies of the field which grew under his feet, 
and the birds of heaven which flew over his 
head, led him to remind his disciples of the 
paternal care and protection of their heavenly- 
Father. The barren fig-tree led him to cau- 
tion his disciples against the neglect and abuse 
of their talents. The different kinds of fruit, 
and the value put upon ihem, suggested to 
his mind that rule of equity which judges every 
man according to his works. When present 
at the feast of the passovcr, he took occasion, 
from the objects at that time familiar to the 
people, to point out to them that true bread of 
life, and that living w^ater, of which whosoever 
eateth and drinketh shall never hunger or thirst 
any more. The sea-side, which he often fre- 
quented, and the former employment of some 
of his disciples, afforded emblems, extremely 
fit and proper, for representing the nature of 
that mission on which they were sent. The 
great Increase of so small a grain as mustard- 
seed, suggested the rapid advancement of his 


kingdom from such small beginnings as the 
world then saw before them, and the spreading 
of his doctrines to the uttermost ends of the 

But to multiply particular instances of this 
mode of teaching, would be endless. I shall 
only add, that, it is infinitely superiour in 
beauty and effect to the most studied refine- 
ment, and the most scrupulous observance of 
rules. A comparison will render this perfectly 
obvious. In discoursing of a particular provi- 
dence, and the folly of anxiety about futurity, 
the reasoner of this world would thus address 
his hearers, in the terms of art and according to 
the rules of logick : " All anxiety about futu- 
^' rity is unnecessary and ill-founded. A wise, 
'* omnipotent, and benevolent being will not 
*' forget that creature to which he has been 
*' pleased to give existence, or refuse an incon- 
*^ siderable favour, after he has conferred 
*' others so important. Is it not obvious that 
^' the animal creation, which are incapable of 
** foresight, are yet provided for by the bounty 
*' of heaven ; and that many vegetable pro- 
'' ductions, which are destitute of motion, and 
*' incapable of exertion, are yet more splen- 
'^ didly adorned than the most lofty monarchs ? 


*^ If such care is taken of the inferiour crea- 
'' tures, it is a just and obvious inference that 
*' a wise and just being, who values every thing 
*' in proportion to its true worth, will bestow 
" much more attention upon the first of his 
" creatures on this globe.'* 

All this is very fine ; but it requires little 
skill in criticism, indeed it requires only an 
unprejudiced mmd, to perc^rive its great inferi- 
ority, and its insipidity, when compared w^ilh 
the beautiful discourse of Jesus on the same 
subject : '* Therefore I say unto you, take no 
*^ thought for your life, what ye shall eat or 
'^ what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, 
'' what ye shall put on. Is not the life more 
*< than the meat, and the body than the rai- 
" ment ? Behold the fowls of the air; for they 
'* sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather 
'^ into barns ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth 
<* them : are ye not much better than they I 
<' Which of you by taking thought can add 
'' one cubit unto his stature? and why take 
'« ye thought for raiment ? Consider the lilies 
*' of the field, how they grow ; they toil not 
'* neither do they spin ; and yet I say unto 
'' you, that even Solomon in all his glory was 
'' not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore,. 


*^ if God so clothe the grass of the field, 
*' which to day is, and to-morrow is cast into 
*' the oven, shall he not much more clothe 
'' you, Oye of little faith."* 

III. Thirdly. Never man spake with such 
authority and power as Jesus of Nazareth, 
Former teachers advanced what they taught 
with much uncertainty, frequently as mere 
conjecture, in the way of speculation, and for 
the sake of debate ; Jesus taught mankind with- 
out any degree of doubt and hesitation, with the 
air of one who knew the truth of what he said, 
and who was perfectly assured of all that he 
spake. " Verily, verily I say unto thee, we 
** speak that we do know, and testify that we 
** have seen." Former messengers merely 
delivered what they had received, and spoke 
as coming from another. Jesus delivered his 
doctrine in his own name, and supported it by 
his own authority. I say unto you was the 
form in which he introduced his precepts and 
instructions. • 

The effect of his preaching corresponded 
with the power and energy with which he 
spoke. Nothing could resist his divine elo- 

* Matthew, chap. vi. verse 25. 30. 


quence. His friends were persuaded, his 
enemies were confounded, and all wondered 
at the gracious words which proceeded out of 
his mouth. In the language of ancient pro- 
phecy *' he made the crooked places straight, 
** he broke in pieces the gates of brass and 
'' cut in sunder the bars of iron/' Very- 
early did he give proofs of the power with 
which he spake ; for at the age of twelve 
years, he reasoned with the doctors in the 
temple, to such effect, that all who heard him 
were astonished at his understanding and 
answers. The first discourse which he de- 
livered to the world, after entering upon his 
publick office, was no less effectual than sub- 
lime. ** It came to pass, we are told, when 
** Jesus had ended these sayings, the people 
^* were astonished at his doctrine, for he 
" taught them as one having authority, and 
** not as the scribes." 

It was the same energetick eloquence that 
confounded the officers who had been sent to 
apprehend Jesus, and drew from them the 
confession in the text, '' that never man 
** spake like this man." Though armed, 
and invested with a legal commission they 
shrunk back at his discourse, and were afraid 


to lay hands upon him or to do liim any 
harm. A word or a look from him produ- 
ced a much greater effect than the most elo- 
quent discourses from the tongue of another. 
This we can only account for from the inti- 
mate knowledge which, as God, he had of the 
human character. He knew what was in 
man, he traced the silent current of thought 
as it rose in the mind ; he saw the most 
secret designs of those with whom he con- 
versed ; he was intimately acquainted with 
the workings of the several passions, and how 
they were to be moved and actuated. And 
what resistance, do we imagine, could be 
made to a speaker who had the hearts of all 
men in his hands, and could turn them whi- 
thersoever he would ? What effect, indeed, is 
still produced in the ordinary preaching of 
the word, when Jesus speaks by his spirit to 
the hearts and consciences of men ? The 
gospel then becomes a two-edged sword, 
sharp and piercing, dividing between the 
joints and marrow, reaching to the thoughts 
and intentions of the heart. 

I have given you but a very imperfect 
sketch of the superiour excellency of Jesus as 
a preacher. But enough has been said to 


render the pious and well-disposed grateful to 
God, who has favoured the world with so 
admirable an instructor. Enough has been 
said to make us esteem and value the Christian 
system, and to search the scriptures which 
contain the words of eternal life, the sublime 
doctrines of which we have been speaking. 
Enough has been said to make every good 
man reverence and obey the precepts of him, 
** who spoke as never man spake/' 



The state of humility/, in which Christ appeared 
on earthy perfectly fitted to the discharge of 
his duties as a mediator, and a source of 
comfort and joy to his disciples. 

Matthew, Chap. xiii. Verse 35, 56. 

^'* Is not this the carpenter's son ? Is hot his mother called 
Mary ? And his brethren James, and Joses, and Simon, and 
Judas ? And his sisters, are they not all with us ? Whence 
then hath this man all these tilings ? And they were offen- 
ded in him." 

A PROPHET is not without honour, save in 
his own country. Recollection of his early 
life, familiar acquaintance with his relations 
and friends^ envy at his success, and the mean 
jealousy of those around him, that one taken 
from among themselves should form great 
pretensions and aspire to superiour eminence, 
all conspire to check his rising greatness, and 
to rob him of that respect to which his merits 
might seem to entitle him. In no instance 

Vol.. IT, D 


has this been so fully verified as in the case of 
our Saviour. Though chosen of God the 
chief corner stone, yet v^as he despised and 
rejected by the foolish builders of this world. 
His neighbours w^ere offended at the fame of 
his superiour merit, and thought that it did not 
exist because they could not account for it. 
The great and proud were offended at the 
meanness of his descent, and could not possi- 
bly condescend to receive instruction from him 
whose father and mother and brothers and sis- 
ters they all knew, and saw occupying the 
lowest and least honourable stations in life. — 
The whole Jewish nation, deluded by their 
mistaken expectation of a temporal Saviour, 
were offended at his humble appearance, so 
destitute of pomp and show, so ill calculated 
to draw the attention of the multitude^ or gain 
adherents by means of authority and power. 
In short, the sufferings and persecutions which 
he endured, the ignominious death which he 
at last suffered, formed an insurmountable 
stumbling-block of offence, and completed 
their conviction, that a person so meanly de- 
scended, placed in so low a station, and so 
persecuted and despised, could not be the 


messenger of heaven, nor the Saviour of man- 

Yet if we analyze this celebrated objection, 
we find it to be merely a compound of envy, 
pride and ignorance. Had not the neighbours 
of Jesus been blinded by envy, they would 
have reasoned in a very diiferent manner, and, 
instead of being offended at him, because they 
could not tell whence he had all the wonder- 
ful gifts of which they saw him possessed, they 
would have said, *' With this man's birth, ed- 
" ucation, and fortune we are well acquainted. 
** It is impossible that he should do those things 
** which we see and hear, by any skill of his 
*' own; he has had no opportunities of instruction 
'* in those sublime truths which he delivers — 
*^ to him the stores of learning and science have 
*' never been opened . It is evident, therefore, 
" that he is taught from on high ; that he is en- 
" dowed with supernatural and divine power, 
" for no man could work the works which he 
" hath wrought, unless thefatherhadsenthim.'' 

Had not the rulers and pharisecs been puf- 
fed up with pride and vain glory, they would 
have listened to the voice of truth, from what- 
ever quarter it proceeded ; they would have 
been more attentive to it, as proceeding from 


a quarter from which they least expected it ; 
they would have acknowledged that true worth 
is confined to no one situation of life ; that th^ 
greater the disproportion between the instru- 
ment and the work, the more certain an indi- 
cation does it afford of the interference of 
God, wlio frequently chooses the weak things 
of this world to confound the things which are 
mighty, and base things of the world, and 
things which are despised, and things which 
are not, to bring to nought things which are. 

In short, they were ignorant of the true 
character of the divine ways, of the predic- 
tions concerning the Messiah, of the great 
ends of our Saviour's appearance, or they 
would have perceived that it was necessary that 
the Captain of our salvation should be made 
perfect through sufferings, and should under- 
go humiliation before he could enter into his 

1 . The divine ways are not as our ways, and 
we shall certainly err if we apply the same 
reasoning to both. The weakness of man 
renders necessary a long train of vain ceremo- 
nies, and requires much pomp and parade to 
hide it from the view of others. A prince 
clothes his ambassadours with ail the trappings 


of state, and all the pageantry of office, in or- 
der to inspire men with awe and reverence for 
what might otherwise be entitled to no re- 
spect. A greater share of inherent dignity 
and power would render unnecessary all this 
external pomp and grandeur. For as true 
beauty when unadorned is most conspicuous, 
so real merit shines forth with greatest lustre 
in the humblest state. The meanness of our 
Saviour's appearance, instead of detracting 
from the majesty and glory of God, as if an 
ambassadour so humble and unattended, were 
unworthy of so great a sovereign, is thus a 
proof of the contrary ; and is of a piece with 
all the other works of God. He who said at 
first, " Let there be light, and there was light" 
— at whose presence Jordan fled back ; who 
declared, '* I will, be thou clean" — the same 
it was who determined to save the world by 
weak, and in the eye of human reason, incom- 
petent instruments : by the agency of a poor, 
humble and despised Nazarene. In this re- 
spect it truly might be said, that the foolish- 
ness of God is wiser than men ; and the weak- 
ness of God, stronger than men. For though 
no outward beauty shone in our Saviour to 
draw the carnal eye, though there was in him 


no form nor comeliness for which he should 
be desired ; yet still we behold in him such 
marks of greatness and power as throw into the 
shade all the little efforts of human vanity and 
pride, to gain the attention and applause of the 
world. Doth not the meek and humble Sa- 
viour of mankind, who healed the sick, raised 
the dead, and stilled the stormy wave, appear 
in the eye of unprejudiced reason, infinitely 
greater and more exalted, even though clothed 
in poverty, than the mightiest monarch of the 
earth surrounded with his attendants and cour- 
tiers, or the greatest conquerour at the head of 
his victorious army. All human glory fades 
away when compared with that heavenly glo- 
ly which is everlasting. 

2. It was, further, necessary that the Sa- 
viour of men should appear in a low and hum- 
ble state, that he might fulfil the predictions 
delivered concerning him by the prophets. 
Nothing can be more evident than that the 
Messiah promised to the fathers, was foretold 
as one whose first appearance was to be accom- 
panied by poverty, distress and suffering. Glo- 
rious things were indeed told of him, but these 
things were to be preceded by a state of hu- 
miliation and abasement. He was not to be 


born of a great and noble family, but was to 
grow up as a tender plant, and as a root out of 
a dry ground. Instead of enjoying the hon- 
ours, riches and pleasures of this world, he 
was to be oppressed and afflicted, despised and 
rejected of men ; a man of sorrows and ac- 
quainted with grief. He was not to exercise 
temporal dominion, and hold all the nations of 
the earth subject to him ; but was to be taken 
from prison and from judgment, and to be cut 
off out of the land of the living. The Jews 
therefore, instead of being offended at Jesus, 
for his mean birth and humble station, ought 
to have acknowledged the fulfilment of the 
prredictions concerning him, and to have said, 
truly, this is the Messiah promised to our fa- 
thers. In him all the enigmas and apparent 
contradictions of the prophets are explained 
and reconciled . The wonderful works which 
he performs, the sublime truths which issue 
from his lips, the meekness and innocence of 
his conduct, the spiritual dominion which he 
exercises over the hearts of men, all these 
declare him to be the wonderful, the 
COUNSELLOR, the mighty God, the ever- 
lasting Father, the Prince of peace, of the in- 
crease of whose government there shall be no 


end ; and who, in a moral sense, shall sit up- 
on the throne of David, and upon his king- 
dom to order it, and to establisli it, with judg- 
ment and with justice, from henceforth even 
for ever. And on the other hand, the abject 
condition in which he appears, the reproach, 
persecution and suffering to which he is expo- 
sed, clearly announce that he is no other than 
him whose visage, it was foretold, was to be 
marred more than any man, and his form 
more than the sons of men. The wise and 
discerning, had Christ appeared in any other 
than a humble and suffering condition, would 
have had good reason to consider him as an 
impostor, whose character and appearance did 
not correspond with what had been predicted 
of him in the writings of the prophets. 

3. But the propriety of our Saviour's ap- 
pearing in a humble and suffering state, will 
be fartlier evident if we consider him as the 
authour and teacher of a new religion. His 
weakness and sufferings demonstrate the in- 
trinsick excellence and divine authority of his 
doctrines. He could not be an impostor who 
gained nothing himself by his labours but 
ignominy and persecution. He was very un- 
likely to impose upon others ; he, whose sil- 


Liation far from commanding respect was more 
calculated to create contempt, who had no 
visible power to enforce his laws and no ap- 
parent reward to bestow upon his followers. 
The heathen religions were invented or taught 
by princes and emperours, whose authority 
gained adherents to a system of absurdity and 
superstition, who allured some by the hope of 
reward, and terrified others by the fear of pun- 
ishment, into a belief at which their unbiassed 
reason revolted. And had our Saviour ap- 
peared in all that temporal splendour and au* 
thority which the Jews expected, and which 
the men of this world seem to desire, long 
ere now would we have been told, that our 
religion was merely an engine of state, was 
propagated by force, and believed from necessi- 
ty, not conviction. Instead of asking, is not this 
the carpenter's son ? Are not these men of the 
sect of the Nazarenes? This is he, they would 
have said, whose triumphs filled the world 
with widows and with orphans ; who dragged 
the unwilling proselytes of his religion .captive 
at the wheels of his chariot, and compelled 
the world by violence to accept his absurd sys-* 
tem of superstition. Would not the inacces- 
sible greatness and tyrannical power of such 



a teacher, have given greater and more just 
cause of offence than the poverty and humi- 
lity of our Redeemer can now do ? Would not 
the proud minions of the conquerour's court, 
enriched by the spoils of the poor and the nee- 
dy, have been more abhorred than the hand- 
maid Mary, and Christ's simple brethren, 
James and Joses and Simon and Judas were 
despised ? Would not the sword have been a 
greater stumbling block than the cross, and 
have been an unequivocal proof that our re- 
ligion was of man and not of God? The hu- 
miliation of our Saviour is thus a proof to man- 
kind in every age of the excellence of his 
doctrines, of the certainty of their evidence, 
alid that they are not a contrivance of human 
policy, imposed on men by undue influence. 
4. The propriety and necessity of our Sa- 
viours appearing in an humble and suffering 
state must be still more evident, if we con- 
sider him as exhibiting a pattern for the imi- 
tation of mankind. He came into the world 
not only to bear witness unto the truth, and 
to teach mankind their duty, but also to leave 
us an example that we might follow his steps. 
And this example was not to be limited to one 
class of men, or one condition of life, but was 


intended to be universally useful, and fitted to 
the case of the poor as well as of the rich, and 
to the dark hour of adversity and suffering as 
well as to the gayer scenes of prosperity and 
enjoyment. From this it follows, that, our Sa- 
viour's situation in life must be that which is 
the general lot of humanity. And who is 
ignorant, that, while a few are favoured with 
the gifts of fortune and the sunshine of pros- 
perity, the great bulk of mankind, the un- 
counted millions of the human race, are 
doomed to perpetual poverty, obscurity and 
wretchedness? That while a few moments of 
our life are alloted to enjoyment the greater 
portion of our days is appropriated to labour 
and suffering? Had Jesus Christ appeared in 
a state of great temporal prosperity, as a 
prince or an emperour, the histoiy of his life 
might have dazzled the fancy and attracted 
the admiration of mankind, but would have 
been of very limited use as a general pattern 
of conduct. It would have served for the im- 
itation of the few, the very few, who might 
be his equals in rank and condition, but what 
lessons could the poor and the wretched have 
derived from it? Would his contentment in 
the midst of plenty calm the anxiety of their 


minds when threatened with want and ruin ? 
Would his confidence in the hour of success 
inspire them with fortitude when ready to be 
overwhelmed with calamities and opposition ? 
Would his serenity and possession of soul in 
the midst of enjoyment, and surrounded with 
applause, teach them patience when expo- 
sed to suffering and reproach ? But while the 
example of Jesus Christ, had he been placed 
in an elevated station far above the generality 
of mankind, would have given little or no 
light except to the few who approached near- 
er to his own level, the low and suffering 
condition in which he appeared renders his 
exar^iple universally useful, and pregnant with 
instruction and comfort to men of all ranks 
and all characters. To the rich it exhibits a 
striking pattern of humility, moderation, self- 
denial and a contempt of the world. To the 
poor, every virtue suitable to their condition, 
is preached in the most effectual manner : 
contentment, industry, patience, meekness, 
forgiveness of injuries, fortitude in danger 
and superiority to temptation. Well might 
the carpenter's son, the despised Nazarene, 
say *'learn of me for I am meek and lowly 
^^ in heart/' 


The humble appearance of Jesus not only- 
rendered his life a pattern of such virtues as 
were useful for the imitation of mankind, but 
even displayed his virtues w'lih greater lustre. 
The light of virtue always shines brightest in 
the night of affliction. It is in the school of 
adversity that the best lessons are acquired. 
The path of suffering has ever been the road 
to honour. In the field of danger the noblest 
laurels are reaped. Who are the the charac- 
ters that have attracted the admiration of the 
world, and have been held forth as patterns 
for the imitation of future ages ? Not they 
who have been born in affluence, who have 
been nurtured in the lap of prosperity, who 
have spent their days in ease and indolence : 
but they who after passing their youth in ob- 
scurity and amid hardships, who after strug- 
gling with fortitude against the evils of life, 
have, through their own merit, risen superi- 
our to the disadvantages of fortune and situa- 
tion, and exhibited that perfection of charac- 
ter, which the school of adversity alone can 
produce; which men are ambitious to imitate, 
and God himself beholds with complacency. 
In like manner the Captain of our salvation, 
the authour and finisher of our faith, was 


made perfect through siifFerings. And ha- 
ving learned obedience by the things which 
he suffered he is now highly exalted and 
crowned with glory and honour ; a glory 
which is exceedingly increased by compari- 
son with his former state of humiliation and 

5. The humiliation of our Saviour was ab- 
solutely necessary in order to the discharge 
of his niediatorial office: whether we consi- 
der him as the substitute or the intercessor of 

The penalty threatened against sin was 
death ; which included not only the separa- 
tion of soul and body, but also the various 
temporal evils ; such as pain, disease and 
want, which since the commission of sin, 
have fallen upon our race. To deliver man- 
kind from this dreadful sentence was the end 
for which a Saviour was appointed. The 
very name of our Lord implied this; 'Uhou 
*^shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save 
*Miis people from their sins.'' This being 
the end of his coming into the world, it was 
indispensably requisite that he should appear 
in a suffering and not in a triumphant state ; 
that he should humble himself, and be found 

SERMON ir. 51 

In fashion as a man, and become obedient un- 
to death. For all the attributes of deity re- 
quired to be vindicated by such a procedure. 
Justice declared that the sinner could not es- 
cape unless the punishment due to his oft'ence 
was endured either by himself or by a substi- 
tute ; and therefore the substitute must en- 
dure all the pains and miseries of this life and 
at last undergo the sentence of death denoun- 
ced against sin. The holiness of God requi- 
red that he should testify his hatred and indig- 
nation against sin, in the most striking man- 
ner. The divine wisdom saw it proper to hold 
forth to all his subjects an awful example of 
the evil consequences of transgression. There- 
ford did he send his only begotten and well 
beloved Son into these regions of pain and 
misery, in a condition which ill accorded with 
that glory which he had with him before the 
world was. For this cause did Jesus leave the 
abodes of happiness, to become a man of sor- 
rows and acquainted with grief. For this cause 
did he lead a life of poverty and distress, re- 
proach and persecution, and at last submit to 
a painful, an accursed and an ignominious 
death upon the cross. But being thus made 
perfect through sufferings, iic is become the 


authour of eternal salvation to all those who 
are sanctified. By this humiliation he has 
procured what could not have been obtained 
by an act of power and authority. He has 
satisfied the divine justice, and expiated the 
guilt of sin. He has vindicated the holiness 
of God and made honourable the law. 
He has exhibited an awful proof of the evil 
nature of sin, which could not be blotted 
out without so costly a sacrifice as the humili- 
ation, sufferings, and death of the beloved Son 
of God. 

In a word, the humiliation and sufferings of 
Christ were necessary in order to the due dis- 
charge of that part of his priestly office which 
consists in interceding for sinners. The rea- 
soning of St. Paul on this subject, wdll render 
every other unnecessary. *^ Every high- 
*' priest taken from among men, he tells us, 
" must be such as can have compassion on the 
'^ ignorant and on them that are out of the 
" way, for that he himself also is compassed 
** with infirmity. For as much then as the 
<* children are partakers of flesh and blood, 
*^ Christ also took part of the same. For it be- 
'' hoved him to be made in all thnigslike un- 
'' to his brethren, that he might be a merciful 


*' and faithful high priest, and that having suf- 
*' fered being tempted he might be able and 
" wilHng to succcour them that are tempted/* 
Ought then the humble, afflicted and suffer- 
ing condition in which our Saviour appeared 
to excite shame or regret? Ought it not rather 
to administer consolation, when we reflect, 
that, we have not an high priest who cannot 
be touched with a fellow-feeling of our infir- 
mities, but was in all points tempted like as 
we are; that, ""he who holds in his hands the 
sceptre of the universe, and intercedes for us 
with his father, once appeared in our nature, 
and sojourned among us; that, in the days 
of his flesh, he offered up prayers and sup- 
plications with bitter crying and tears ; that, 
he was subjected to the pains, diseases and 
infirmites of life, and even experienced the 
horrours of death and the grave. What as- 
surance does not this give us that our wants 
and desires are well known to him ; that he 
sympathizes with all our sorrows, and that he 
will at all times grant us a speedy relief? With 
what confidence may we now approach unto 
a throne of grace, knowing that through the 
intercession of our compassionate high priest, 
we shall obtain mercy, and iind grace ro help 
in time of need ! 




The character of Christ considered under the 
allegory of a Shepherd ; his pastoral care to 
embrace and gather in all nations to his fold. 

John. Chap. 10, Verse 16. 

••' And other sheep I have which are not of this fold ; them 
also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice ; and there 
shall be one fold and one shepherd.'* 

Jesus Christ is the sum and substance of the 
gospel. To describe his offices, to deUneate 
his character, and to display his excellence, 
seems to be the great object of every inspired 
writer. Nature and art have been exhausted 
for images to represent his personal dignity and 
glory. He has been styled the sun of right- 
eousness, the bright and the morning star, a 
covert from the tempest and the shadow of a 
rock in a weary land; a fortress and a strong 
tower ; a rock ; a precious corner stone ; a 


tree of life; the bread of life, and a well of 
water springing up into everlasting life. To 
represent the near and endearing relation in 
which he stands to his followers; to show the 
care which he takes of them, and the benefits 
which they derive from him, every relation 
known among men, every office of dignity and 
respect, have been employed. Whatever be 
the situation of his followers, however manifold 
and great their wants and necessities, they will 
find in him something suited to their several 
cases and desires ; they will be supplied with 
grace sufficient for them in every vicissitude 
of Life. If misled by errour, or involved in 
ignorance, he is their prophet to instruct, en- 
lighten and guide them. If guilty and alien- 
ated from God, he is their priest to atone for, 
and to expiate their offences. If lawless and 
disobedient, he is their king to subdue them 
unto himself, to teach them his laws, and to 
reward their obedience. If oppressed with 
sickness and sorrow, he is their physician to 
heal and relieve them. If terrified by the 
threatenings of the law and the accusations of 
their own conscience, he is their advocate and 
intercessor with the Father. When held in 
l^ondage by Sin and -Satan he is their redee- 


mer to pay their ransom and procure their 
deUverance. If beset with dangers, and sur- 
rounded with enemies, he is the captain of 
their salvation, under whose banners they 
shall go forth to victory and to conquest. In 
short, he is tlieir father, their elder brother, 
their friend and their husband. 

But throughout the whole scripture, of 
which the language is so highly figurative, no 
metaphor is more beautiful and natural, more 
frequently repeated, more finely wrought, 
more descriptive of the thing signified, than 
that which represents our Saviour as a shep- 
herd, his people as his flock, and the visible 
church as his sheep-fold. 

In the writings of every people, we find 
frequent allusions to their peculiar manners 
and customs, to the natural productions of the 
soil and climate, to the external face of the 
country, as diversified with hills and valleys^ 
woods, and lakes, and rivers ; and to the va- 
rious appearances presented by the heavens 
and the earth at difierent seasons of the year. 
To understand, therefore, and to relish the 
beauties of any writer due attention must be 
paid to the nature of the country where he lived, 
and the state of society at the time when he 


wrote. Without this the finest and most ex- 
pressive imagery will produce no effect on 
the mind, but will be deemed barren and un- 
entertaining. In no instance is this truth 
more obvious than in the writings of the an- 
cient Jews, more especially the poetical and 
prophetical books of the Old Testament. To 
a person acquainted with the manners, cus- 
toms and opinions only of modern times ; who 
judges of works of fancy and inspiration by 
the cold rules of criticism; who has no idea 
of a country or state of society different from 
his own, no force or beauty will appear in 
these writings : on the contrary, the simple 
narrative of the historian will seem rude and 
barbarous, the sublime imagery of the poets 
to be rhapsody and bombast, and the enigma- 
tical predictions of the prophets to be unintel- 
ligible jargon. But whoever reads the scrip- 
tures with the eye of an enlightened critick, 
making at the same time proper allowance for 
the simplicity of ancient manners and cus- 
toms, for the peculiar rites and institutions of 
the Jews, for the bold and figurative style of 
writing prevalent among all eastern nations, 
will discern a beauty and sublimity in the sa- 
cred books far superiour to the best human 


The Jewish nation, in the early period of 
their history, though distinguished by the 
divine favour, and enhghtened by revelation, 
were still in a rude and uncultivated state, as 
far as regarded civil society. Even in the 
days of David, they had scarcely advanced 
farther than the state of shepherds and hus- 
bandmen. Arts, manufactures and com- 
merce, began to flourish in a later period. 
Their flocks and herds constituted their riches. 
Milk and honey were the terms which con- 
veyed to them the idea of plenty and fertihty. 
To tend the flocks and herds was the honour- 
able employment of princes and nobles; and 
the greatest king, the sublimest writer, and the 
the best man which this or perhaps any other 
nation ever saw, was taken from the sheep- 
folds and from following the ewes *' great 
^* with young.'' From this circumstance It 
undoubtedly arises that the sacred writings 
abound so much with images borrowed from 
the pastoral life. For In whatever stage of 
society a nation commences It's literary ca- 
reer, the future style of writing will always 
retain a resemblance to the original model. 
The manners and customs may change, the 
taste may improve, but the national autjiours 


will, from habit and imitation, still employ 
similar images and expressions to those which 
were invented by the first composers. Hence 
we find our Lord and his apostles, (who liv- 
ed in a very different state of society from 
that in which the psalmist composed that ad- 
mirable pastoral the 23d psalm, and Isaiah 
uttered his sublime predictions concerning the 
great Shepherd of the flock) illustrating moral 
and spiritual ideas by the very same sensible 

The beginning of that chapter which I 
have now read, contains a beautiful allegorical 
description of the relation subsisting between 
Jesus and his followers. The weak, helpless, 
blind, and wandering state of man by nature, 
and even while the work of sanctification is 
incomplete, is well represented under the 
notion of sheep without a shepherd. And 
the restoration, nourishment, guidance, pro- 
tection and comfort which we derive from 
Christ are equally well expressed by that 
care which a shepherd exercises with regard to 
the sheep of his pasture. I mean not to de- 
form this beautiful allegory, by pushing the 
comparison too far, but, as it is a favourite 
miagQ with the sacred writers, as the ideas it 


suggests to the mind are tender, affecting and 
comfortable, as, consequently, it will eluci- 
date the scripture language, and impress up- 
on our hearts a deep sense of the ties and rela- 
tions by which we are bound to our Redeemer. 
1 cannot, but deem it deserving of your atten- 

T. To consider the character of Christ as a 
shepherd, and illustrate the language of scrip- 
ture on that subject. 

II. To inquire who are those other sheep, 
whom Jesus says in the text he must bring in? 

III. To consider the happy effects which 
would result from bringing in those other 
sheep; *' there would be one fold, and one 
" shepherd.'* 

1. The situation and character of sheep re- 
present, in a striking and lively manner, the 
situation and character of mankind. Like 
sheep in a pasture we are placed in this world, 
in the midst of every thing which can contri- 
bute to our happiness, by a beneficent Creator, 
whose property we are, whose pasture we eat, 
on whose bounty we live, to whose will and 
pleasure we are wholly subservient. iVs sheep 
annually repay their keeper's care and atten- 
tion by the fruit of their substance, and by 


sparing a part of their own covering for their 
owner's clothing and defence, so we, who are 
the people of God's flock, should, in token of 
those obligations which we are under, dedicate 
to him ourselves, our talents, and our substance. 
As sheep are led to the slaughter, and doomed 
to bleed for their owner's convenience or hix- 
ury, so we, like sheep, are laid in the grave, 
and become the prey of worms which riot 
over us in the tomb. No animal is more timid 
and helpless, or has more enemies than the 
sheep. So we are altogether weak and de- 
pendent, exposed continually to evils which we 
can neither foresee nor prevent; beset with 
enemies who wait for our halting; tempta- 
tions, like raving wolves, watch to make us 
their prey ; our adversary the Devil, like a 
roaring lion, continually goeth about seeking 
to devour us. Our inward passions and de- 
sires, worse than wild beasts, would teams in 
pieces, did not the great shepherd of the flock 
help and preserve us. No animal is so stu- 
pid or so much disposed to wander from the 
flock as the sheep. So we all, like lost sheep, 
blinded by temptation and stupiiicd by sin, 
had gone astray ; we had departed every one 
into his own way; we had wandered from 



the rich pasture which God had provided foir 
us, in quest of forbidden pleasures, as sheep 
scattered on the mountains, without a shep-^ 
herd ; and in a deplorable situation like this 
were we, when he who made us had mercy 
upon us, and sent the great shepherd and bish- 
op of souls, to seek and save that which was 

But though all mankind afe represented in 
scripture under the image of sheep, yet the 
genuine disciples of Christ are more frequent- 
ly and with greater propriety spoken of as his 
flock, because they are a chosen people selec- 
ted from the herd of mankind, and collected 
into his church, which is his fold ; because 
they are distinguished by him above others; 
he knoweth them and calleth them by name— * 
others, who are not of his fold, he knoweth 
and acknowledgeth not — in short, because 
they hear and know his voice and follow hint 
—they are, like the lamb of God, meek, harm- 
less, patient and resigned. 

But wherein consists that pastoral care which 
Christ exercises over his flock? First of all, 
he is the shepherd of his people because he 
feeds them with spiritual and divine foodo 
Thus says the Psalmist, '' the Lord is my shep* 


** herd, I shall not want, he maketh mc to lie 
'' down in green pastures, he leadeth me by 
''the still waters." The word of God and 
the ordinances of religion form to every sin- 
cere Christian a rich repast ; a pasture which 
is ever green. This pasture is, moreover, 
watered with the dew of heaven, which makes 
it spring up and yield abundant nourishment. 
They who frequent the ordinances of Christ*s 
religion, who read his word by day and me- 
ditate on it by night, who hold communion 
with him in the exercises of devotion, who 
walk with him in the ways of holiness and 
peace, shall not want; they shall not want 
light and instruction ; they shall not want 
comfort and joy; they shall not want grace 
sufficient for them in every time of trial. They 
shall go out and in and find pasture. 

The reason why men make so little progress 
in religion, why they do not grow more ra- 
pidly in grace and in knowledge is, that, they 
reject the food which is presented to them. 
Their vitiated appetite loathes every thing 
which is not seasoned with sin or sensual plea- 
sure. But would they only open this sacred 
book of God, and peruse it with sincere and 
upright hearts, they would there find an un- 


speakable and inexhaustible feast to the soul ^ 
they would find a table constantly furnished 
with the richest dainties, even in the pre- 
sence of their enemies ; they would receive 
an entertainment sweeter than honey and the 
honey-comb. When the Christain, after 
Searching through the wilderness of the world, 
and finding every thing barren and insipid, 
retires into the house of God, and joins in the 
exercises of his worship, he sees green pas- 
tures arise ; the desert crowned with herbage, 
nature smiles, and refreshing streams are heard 
to murmur all around. Nor does this part of 
Christ*s pastoral office, like many others, cease 
with the present life. For even in the future 
world, where faith shall be swallowed up in 
vision; where every want shall be supplied ; 
where there shall be no ordinances whence 
the flock of the Redeemer may draw nourish- 
ment; where shall be no temple to worship 
in ; where the people of God shall eat of the 
fruit of the tree of life, and drink of those 
rivers of pleasure which flow at his right hand 
— still the Lamb which is in the midst of the 
throne shall feed them and shall lead them to 
living fountains of water, and God shall wipe 
away all tears from their eyes. 


Christ is the shepherd of his people, be- 
cause he leads and directs them. Thus says 
the Psalmist, ** he leadeth me in the paths of 
^'righteousness for his name*s sake." His word 
is a light to their feet and a lamp to their path ; 
he leads them by his spirit to the richest and 
the best pastures ; he directs them into the right 
way by his precepts and by his example ; he 
warns them by his servants of those paths where 
the nets of the destroyer are spread, where the 
wild beasts of prey have their haunts, where 
danger and temptation abound. When the road 
issteepand difficult, he takes them by the hand, 
and carries them safely through every trial. 
When the path is uncertain his voice is heard 
before them, " This is the way, walk ye in 
** it." When the noon-tide of affliction burns, 
he maketh his flock to rest under the cool and 
refreshing shade of his grace. A\^hen the 
storm aproaches, he removes them to a place 
of shelter, and takes them away from the evil 
to come. And when the shadows of the ever- 
lasting evening descend, as a shepherd coimt- 
eth his flock, seperateth the sheep from the 
goats, and shutteth them up in his fold, so 
Jesus receiveth his lambs into his bosom, 
where enfolded in his arms they sleep the 


long sleep of death, secure from every danger 
and beyond the reach of every foe. 

Christ is the shepherd of his people, be- 
cause he restoreth their soul, recalleth them 
from their wanderings, healeth their backsli- 
dings, and receiveth them graciously into fa- 
vour. Such is the prevalence of indwelling 
corruption, the force of temptation and the 
subtlety of the destroyer, that even they who 
have been recovered from the ways of folly 
and destruction, are still apt to wander from 
the flock, to feed on forbidden pastures; or, 
by frequenting the company of the wicked, 
to expose themselves to be entangled by temp- 
tation or devoured by some of their numerous 
foes. The shepherd may for a time permit 
them to wander bewildered in darkness and 
uncertainty, perplexed with doubts and fears 
whether they shall ever discover the right road 
or be again admitted into the fold, in order 
to make them more sensible of their dan- 
ger, and more humble and watchful and atten- 
tive to his voice in future. But none of his 
little ones shall perish. He knows how frail 
they are. He pities and reclaims those who 
are gone astray. He seeks the lost sheep in 
hi$ wanderings, and when hefindeth it, he re- 


joiceth more over it than over those who went 
not astray. It is impossible that they who are 
preserved and restored by this good shepherd 
shall finally fall away. In the hour of reck- 
oning, none shall be missing. When the chief 
Shepherd shall appear, he shall present to his 
Father a glorious and perfect flock, without 
spot or blemish, with these joyful words, 
** those that thou gavest me I have kept, and 
'* none of them is lost.'* Fear not then, ye who 
are of the flock of Jesus, for it is your Father's 
good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 

Christ is the shepherd of his people because 
he protects them from danger ; so strong and 
sincere was his love for his sheep, that he laid 
down his life for them. But by so doing he 
has vanquished all those who seek to make 
their souls a prey; and he now liveth and 
reigneth for ever, to guard his flock from every 
danger. And not only is he a powerful but 
also a watchful shepherd. He that keepeth 
Israel slumbers not nor ^leeps ; his eye is 
ever upon his beloved sheep ; he sees all the 
attempts and plots of their subtle and relentless 
enemies, and defeats their counsels before they 
are put into execution. Dangers may threaten, 
temptations may surround, the adversary may 


rage and roar for his prey, but he who leadeth 
Joseph hke a flock of sheep is mightier far 
than they who conspire their ruin. He shall 
preserve them from all evil. He is their 
shade on their right hand. The sun shall not 
smite them by day, nor the moon by night. 
He shall preserve their going out and their 
coming in. They may lie down in peace and 
fleep in security ; for the Lord maketh them 
to dwell in safety. He stills the raging of the 
seas, and represses the fury of the enemy and 
the avenger. He sends his angel and shuts 
the lions* mouths, that they cannot hurt those 
whom the wickedness of man has exposed 
to their devouring jaws. The burning fiery 
furnace cannot injure when the Son of God is 
present. Even the dark valley of the shadow 
of death 4oses all its horrour, and ceases to in- 
spire fear, when the Shepherd of Israel is with 
us as our guardian and support. '' Yea, though 
" I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
" death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with 
** me ; thy rod and staff comfort and support 
<* me.*' '' I give unto my sheep eternal life," 
says our Lord, *' and they shall never perish, 
** neither shall any be able to pluck them out 
** of my hand," 


In short Christ is the shepherd of his people, 
because he comforts and reheves them. How 
beautiful and aflecting a description is given us 
by the prophet, of the care, attention and 
compassion witli which Jesus exercises this 
part of his pastoral office! *' He shall feed his 
** flock, like a shepherd; he shall gather the 
'* lambs with his arms, and carry them in his 
'* bosom, and gently lead those that are with 
'* young.'* In Christ's fold there are sheep ol 
all ages and conditions. But according to 
their circumstances and exigencies such is 
the care of their compassionate shepherd. As 
their days are, so shall their strength be. They 
that are young in grace and cannot walk shall 
be carried ; and that too in a place which 
equally denotes safety and endearment, in the 
bosom of the good Shepherd. They cannot 
sink, under whom are the everlastuig arms. 
They that are heavy laden shall be gently led. 
Comfort yourselves Christians, with this, that 
none shall be left behind. Whatever hard- 
ships and difficulties you may meet with on 
the way, however inadequate your strength 
may seem for the burden you are called to 
bear, yet fear not, you shall all appear before 
God in Zion. To the faint the Shepherd of 



Israel giveth power, and to them that have no 
might he increaseth strength. He strength- 
eneth the diseased ; he healeth the sick, he 
bindeth up the broken, he seeketh the lost, 
he bringeth back that which was driven away. 
"Wherever his sheep are scattered in the cloudy 
and dark day, into whatever fold they may 
have strayed, he searcheth them out, he bring- 
eth them from among the people, and gath- 
ereth them from the countries, and bringeth 
them again to his flock ; there shall they lie 
down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall 
they feed on the mountains of Israel. 



The same subject continuecL 

My brethren, in a former discourse from these 
words, I endeavoured to illustrate the charac- 
ter of Christ as a shepherd, and to show that 
he is thus denominated with the greatest pro- 
priety and beauty ; because he feeds, leads, 
restores, protects and comforts his people. 

I now proceed, as was proposed in the 
second place, to inquire who are those othet 
sheep, whom jesus says in the text, he must 
bring in, and who shall hear his voice. 

/ am the good shepherd, says Jesus> and 
know my sheep. The followers of the Lamb 
are all enrolled in his book of life. From that 
divine omniscience and foreknowledge of 
which he is possessed, he knew from the begin- 
ning who shall believe and be saved, and who 
shall reject the counsel of God to their own 
condemnation. The heirs of grace, chosen to 


be partakers of Christ's redemption, shall not 
be forgotten, or left to perish. In whatever 
nation or region of the earth they may live ; 
however far removed from the means of salva- 
tion ; however improbable it may be that the 
sound of the gospel should ever reach them ; 
yet the great Shepherd of the flock knoweth 
where they are to be found, and at the time 
and in the way which he hath appointed they 
shall be brought in. As faith cometh by hear- 
ing, and hearing by the word of God, by 
means which we cannot foresee or explain, 
but which are doubtless within the reach of 
almighty power and infinite wisdom, wher- 
ever Christ has sheep the light of the gospel 
shall either shine upon the whole nation to 
which they belong, or the dews of heaven shall 
distil upon them in secret, or they shall in 
the course of providence be removed to a place 
where the gospel is known and professed. The 
conversion of Ethiopia to the faith was an 
event which, at the time it happened, was of 
all others the most improbable ; but in that 
nation Jesus had sheep to bring in, and their 
bringing in he accomplished by the acciden- 
tal meeting, as it would appear to us, of a 
great man of that country with one of our 


Lord's disciples. To Cornelius, a private mes- 
senger was dispatched from heaven, that he 
and his household might be brought into the 
fold of the Redeemer. On the other hand, 
those Jews who had been scattered abroad 
throughout every nation under heaven, and 
who consequently had no opportunity of 
hearing Christ's voice-in those unenlightened 
countries, yet being among the number of his 
sheep, they were providentially brought up 
to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Penticost, 
and were there converted by the powerful 
preaching of St. Peter, seconded by the won- 
derful works of God. And so it was, so it is, 
and so it will be, in every age. The Shep- 
herd of Israel is constantly carrying on that 
plan, devised from the beginning, for bring- 
ing all whom the Father has given him to a 
knowledge of himself. The objects, the time 
and the means are all fixed in his mind, and 
form a part of one great chain, no link of which 
shall be broken. But they are necessarily un- 
known to us. We cannot tell who are the 
^heep of Jesus, No human foresight, obser- 
ving even with the greatest care the signs of 
the times, can ascertain when or how the light 
of the glorious gospel shall shine cither to i\Zr 


tions or individuals. That book, which coil- 
tains the catalogue of Christ's chosen ones, no 
man in heaven, nor in earth, nor under the 
earth is able to open or to read. In this in- 
quiry, therefore, we presume not to determine 
the objects of the divine favour, or to fix upon 
the times and the seasons which God hath re- 
served in his own power. But from the decla- 
rations made in other passages of scripture; 
from the general tenour of the gospel, and 
from the analogy of providence, to illustrate 
the meaning of our Saviour, when he says, 
*' other sheep I have, which are not of this 
" fold ; them also I must bring, and they shall 
^' hear my voice/' 

1. By the expression, this fold, it is evident 
that the Jewish nation, was primarily inten- 
ded by our Lord ; and by his other sheep the 
Gentile nations. The Jews were particularly 
distinguished by the title of God's flock. They 
had been chosen by the Almighty, outof allthe 
nations of the earth. To them alone a revela- 
tion was granted ; to them were committed 
the oracles of the living God. These instan- 
ces of the divine favour, however, were not 
occasioned by any merit on their part; but 
were designed by God in order to make with 


them a deposit of his revealed will, to preserve 
alive in the earth the knowledge of himself, 
and by degrees to prepare the world more effec- 
tually for that grand dispensation which was not 
to be confined to one nation or country, but 
to be published to the whole race of man. 
That the revelation intrusted to them might 
not be lost or corrupted, by any intercourse or 
union with the professors of heathenism it 
was ordained, that, no strangers or foreigners 
should be admitted into the bosom of their 
church. If any who resided among them 
were willing to embrace their religion, they 
were admitted no farther than the outer court. 
The Jews were farther distinguished from all 
other nations of the earth by peculiar rites and 
ceremonies. They were forbidden to inter- 
marry, or even to eat or to drink with strangers. 
In short, every method was adopted which 
policy could suggest to preserve them a sepa- 
rate and distinct people. A wall was erected 
between the Jew and the Gentile, which was 
the parent of many odious distinctions and of 
many mistaken opinions, highly injurious to 
the character of the Supreme Being. In the 
days of our Saviour, the most extravagant na- 
tional pride, joined to an unjustifiable con- 


tempt of all other nations, religious bigotry, 
self-conceit, the meanest and most illiberal 
prejudices, formed the prominent features in 
the Jewish character. Puffed up with a sense 
of their supposed superiority over others, their 
constantboast was, that, they were born of the 
circumcision, that they were Abraham's seed, 
and Moses's disciples. Ignorant of the true 
intention of the Almighty in selecting them 
from the rest of the world, they foolishly im- 
agined that God was a local deity, confined 
to the Jewish nation, and to the land of Ju- 
dea. In their opinion there was no salvation 
to the Gentiles; they of the uncircumcision 
who knew not the law were accursed. And 
though, in the days of the Messiah, they ex- 
pected that Tarshish and the Isles should ac- 
knowledge his sway, they were far from sup- 
posing that they would be admitted to equal 
privileges with their own favoured nation, but, 
that they would be nothing else than subjects 
and tributaries to the Jews. 

How different from all this were the general 
spirit and declared intention of Christianity. 
Within its wide embrace it comprehended 
both Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, 
Koman and Scythian, bond and free, Chris- 


tianity does not require us to worship God, at 
any stated season or in any particular place, 
but allows us to worship tvhen and where and 
how we please, provided we worship him in 
spirit and in truth. The perfection of the 
Christian service consists not in the strict obser- 
vance of outward rites and ceremonies, but in 
that which every man has it in his power to 
attain, the due regulation of his heart and con- 
duct. The rites it prescribes are few and sim- 
ple, the forms it requires are plain and easy to 
be observed. It's maxims and precepts are not 
adapted to the taste of any particular age or 
nation ; but are of that general, universal and 
immutable nature which is calculated for all 
ranks and professions, for all ages and nations, 
and for every mode of government and every 
state of society. Jesus was not the teacher and 
lawgiver of the Jewish nation alone, but of 
the whole human race. He broke down the 
middle wall of partition which separated the 
Jews from the Gentiles, and united them in 
one body by his cross. He abolished the law 
of ordinances, which was obligatory only on 
one people, and delivered a new command- 
ment which all nations were required to obey. 
He threw open the door of that fold which 

K'OL. IT. 1 


the Scribes and Pharisees had been so careful 
to keep shut, and invited all the people of the 
earth to assemble therein. He was a light to 
lighten the Gentiles and to guide into the way 
of peace those who sat in darkness, and in the 
shadow of death. His sound was destined to 
go into all the earth, and his words unto the 
ends of the world. 

By the other sheep mentioned in the text, is 
therefore meant those believers among the 
Gentiles, who were not of the Jewish nation or 
church. These, Jesus tells his hearers, should 
hear the glad tidings of the gospel of peace, and 
should be admitted into his fold, should hear 
his voice and follow him. The bringing in of 
these sheep, in other words, the conversion of 
the Gentiles, had been long ago predicted by 
the prophets, and spoken of in terms of rap- 
ture and sublimity, as an event which was to 
take place in the reign of the Messiah. To 
correct the inveterate prejudices of the Jews ; 
to destroy that narrow spirit of bigotry where- 
with they were animated ; to expand their 
minds to more liberal views of the divine ways, 
was the object of our Lord in many conversa- 
tions which he held with the Scribes and Pha- 
risees. His own ministrations indeed were in 


a great measure confined to the Jews ; for as 
he himself says, he was not sent but to the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel. That he 
might not violently shock their prejudices and 
unnecessarily lay a stumbling block in their 
way, he did not at first openly teach their re- 
jection, and the admission of the Gentiles to 
the same rights and privileges, but wrapped up 
his doctrines on that head in allegories and pa- 
rables. But when he had finished the work 
which was given him to do; when he had 
come to his own, and his own received him 
not; then he determined to bring in his other 
sheep, to try if they would hear his voice, and 
he commissioned his apostles to go into all the 
world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
Through their instrumentality salvation was 
brought to the Gentiles. In obedience to their 
Master's command, they dispersed themselves 
into the various regions of the earth, seeking 
and bringing in Christ's sheep, teaching that 
circumcision or uncircumcision availed noth- 
ing, that God is no respecter of persons, but 
that in every nation he that feareth him and 
worketh righteousness is accepted of him. And 
such was their success; so great was the num- 
ber of sheep whom they brought into the Re- 


deeiner*s fold, that it might be truly said, that, 
they became a people who were no people ; that 
a little one became a thousand, and a small one 
a strong nation. In short, the change was so 
great, and the revolution so complete, that they 
who before were excluded from God's flock 
now became the only true flock, and the an» 
cient flock were rejected from the fold. 

2. As at the time when our Lord addressed 
the Jews he meant by this fold, the Jewish 
church, and by his other sheep, the Gentiles 
—and by saying that these other sheep should 
hear his voice and be brought in, he meant 
that the Gospel should be preached to the 
Gentiles, and that many of them would be- 
lieve and receive it ; so in the present days, 
when we say that Christ has other sheep, who 
are not of this fold, but who shall hear his 
voice and shall be brought in, we mean, by 
this fold, the Christian church — by his other 
sheep ; i . The Jews who refuse to acknow.- 
ledge Jesus as the Messiah ; 2. The Mahom- 
etans who acknowledge Jesus to have been a 
great prophet, but yet have suffered them- 
selves to be deluded by the vain pretensions of 
an enthusiastick impostor ; and 3. The hea- 
then nations, of whom we may say with Isaiah, 


*' darkness covers the earth, and gross darknes$ 
*^ the people.*' And when we say, that, these 
other sheep shall hear his voice, and be brought 
in, we mean that the Jews shall at last yield to 
the force of truth, lay aside their prejudices, 
and believe that Jesus is the Messiah ; that the 
Mahometans shall perceive their errours, and 
acknowledge no other prophet but Jesus of 
Nazareth ; in short, that, the glory of the Lord 
shall yet arise upon those who now sit in dark- 
ness, and their light shall come. 

The conversion of the Jews to the faith of 
Christ, is an event generally expected to take 
place in the latter days. For this they seem 
to be miraculously reserved by divine provi- 
dence. For notwithstanding innumerable 
persecutions, captivities, changes and revolu- 
tions ; in spite of many attempts to incorpo- 
rate them with the nations among whom 
they have lived, they still remain a separate 
and distinct people, professing their ancient 
national faith, and governed by their own pe- 
culiar customs and manners; and this unfortu- 
nate nation still remains separate and distinct 
from all the nations of the earth, a dispersed, 
persecuted and despised race, a standing proof 
of the truth of revelation, a striking instance of 


the divine vengeance against infidelity and dis- 
obedience, and we trust, a fit subject for the 
display of the divine glory in their conversion 
and restoration. For that the rejection of the 
Jews is not final and perpetual we have the 
authority of many plain and certain predic- 
tions interpreted by an infallible apostle. The 
prophet Isaiah, after foretelling the advent of 
the Messiah and the glories of his reign, thus 
describes the conversion of the Gentiles and the 
subsequent restoration of the Jews. '' In that 
*' day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall 
'* stand for an ensign to the people: to it shall 
*' the Gentiles seek ; and his rest shall be glori- 
^' ous. And it shall come to pass in that day, 
*^ that the Lord shall set his hand again, the 
** second time, to recover the remnant of his 
'* people which shall be left. And he shall set 
^^ up an ensign to the nations, and shall assem- 
*' ble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together 
*' the dispersed of Judah from the corners of 
^' the earth." The apostle Paul likewise says, 
^' I would not that ye were ignorant of this, 
'' that blindness in part has happened to Israel 
'^ until the fulness of the Gentiles be come 
'' in, and then all Israel shall be saved." 
When or hoxv tJiis desirable event shall take 


place, we are not told, and therefore are not 
authorized to conjecture: whether the conver- 
sion of the Jews shall be previous or subse- 
quent to the conversion of those other nations 
who still refuse the yoke of Jesus. Whether 
they shall be brought in by degrees separately 
and individually, or at once in one great body, 
and with the consent of the whole nation, are 
points which no man can, with certainty, de- 
termine. Their opinion is the most proba- 
ble in itself, and most consonant to the pro- 
phesies on this subject, who suppose, that, 
after they have endured the various curses pro- 
nounced on their infidelity, the Lord, in his 
own time and way, will gather them, as their 
great Legislator predicts, from among the na- 
tions whither he had scattered them, and with 
an outstretched arm will lead them in tri- 
umph to take possession of the land of their 
fathers. This will be an event of such mag- 
nitude and splendour, it will be so decided a 
proof of the truth of Christianity, that none 
can possibly avoid conviction — all the nations 
of the earth, shall hasten into the Redemer's 
fold — the sheep of Jesus shall be brought from 
afar; they shall fly as a cloud driven by the 


wind, and flock together as doves to their win- 

The conversion of the followers of Moham- 
med to the Christain faith is also an event 
which, though not in particular and express, 
yet in general language, we are taught by the 
sacred oracles to expect. As I had occasion 
to observe and illustrate in a former discourse,, 
though we may justly lament that Christianity 
has not been equally successful, yet the exten- 
sive propagation of Mahommedan faith ought 
not to excite much regret ; because in many 
respects it is a proper forerunner to the gospel^ 
and well calculated to pave the way for Its in- 
troduction. By means which Christianity 
does not allow its professors to employ, Mo- 
hammed diffused knowledge and civilization 
among nations formerly rude and barbarous. 
He taught, together with an excellent system 
of morals, the belief of one God, and of a 
future state of rewards and punishments, which 
are the necessary foundations of every system 
of religion. The Mohammedans are fettered 
with fewer prejudices than the Jews. They 
have a high respect for Jesus, and believe his- 
divine mission ; and should the time arrive 
when, delivered from the shackles of despot- 


ism, they shall enjoy the privilege of calm dis- 
cussion and free inquiry, errour and imposture 
will speedily disappear before the light of truth. 
This period, moreover, appears to be at no 
great distance. The general weakness and de- 
cay which are apparent in all Mohammedan 
States; the rapid progress which a Christian 
Princess, seconded by the hardy sons of the 
north, has lately made towards the universal 
empire of Asia ; the extensive settlements made 
by another great commercial nation in an op- 
posite quarter of that populous and extensive 
country, all indicate the speedy overthrow of 
the temporal power of Mohammed ; and with 
this the spiritual dominion will fall of course. 
Christianity was propagated by argument, its 
evidence rests on sound and immutable reason; 
and, therefore, it cannot fall as long as human 
nature continues the same. But the religion 
of Mohammed was propagated by the sword ; 
it is still interwoven with the political constitu- 
tion ; and, therefore, when the power of the 
sword shall, with whatever views of ambition 
or of policy, be wrested from its professors, it 
will have no support, the whole system will 
tumble into ruins, like a building wiiose foun- 
dation is removed. There is no religion but 



the Gospel that can bear the fiery trial of per- 
secution and affliction. 

But not only do we expect that the Jews and 
Mahometans shall hear Christ's voice, and be 
brought into his fold, the Sacred Oracles men- 
tion other sheep besides these which shall also 
be brought in. They predict an era when the 
knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole 
earth; when the heathen and unenlightened 
nations shall enjoy with us the benefits of 
knowledge and the blessings of religion. To 
an event so wonderful and so glorious, we dare 
scarcely lift our imagination, much less can 
we pretend to point out the means by which it 
may be accomplished. We rest with confi- 
dence in this, that he who hath foretold it is 
able to bring it to pass, and we believe that the 
Lord will hasten it in his good time. At the 
time when our Lord uttered the sentiment in 
the text, the conversion of the Gentiles was an 
event equally as improbable as the farther pro- 
pagation of the Gospel is, in the present days, 
to nations barbarous and uncivilized, whom 
the foot of the traveller has never visited; on 
whom the day of science and religion has not 
yet dawned. Who could have supposed that 
Jesus, addressing a company of Jews in the 


landof Judea, alluded even to a country which 
was then undiscovered, and meant that he had 
sheep on these distant shores, who, eighteen 
hundred years after his crucifixion should hear 
his voice and be brousfht into his fold ? The 
numerous discoveries which of late years have 
been made ; the regular and easy intercourse 
which by means of navigation may be carried 
on between the most distant regions; the spi- 
rit of adventure which, in this commercial age, 
prevails in many Christian countries; furnish 
advantages which could not have been found 
in any preceding period. To the honour of 
the British nation and of human nature I men- 
tion, that the most strenuous exertions are ma- 
king among that people to improve the present 
favourable circumstances; that many, anima- 
ted with a noble zeal for the cause of truth and 
of Christianity, have formed themselves into 
societies for the propagation of the Gospel ; 
and that missions are actually instituted for the 
conversion of the South-Sea Islanders, of the 
Hindoos, and of the American Indians. 

It is our duty to co-operate with them, as far 
as lies in our power in advancing the common 
cause of Christianity. It is our duty, and it 
is also in pur power, to recommend religion by 


our example ; to show, by the influence which 
it has on our heart and conduct, that it is wor- 
thy of all acceptation ; and to offer up our pray- 
ers to heaven, that the gospel may have free 
course and be glorified, that the kingdoms 
of this world may become the kingdoms of our 
Lord and of his Christ ; that there may be one 
fold and one shepherd. 

JSTote — The illustration of the third division of this subject^ 
as projected by the authour, was not found among his manu- 



On the holy sacrament of the Lord*s Supper, 

Luke, Chap. 22, Verse 15^ 

" With desire I have desired to eat this passover with 
you, before I suffer." 

The passover was an anniversary festival cel- 
ebrated by the Jews, in commemoration of 
their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. 
Jesus, who came not to destroy the law but to 
fulfil it, had always set before his followers an 
example of all-righteousness, and had been 
punctual therefore in discharging even those 
ritual and ceremonial observances which were 
imposed on the Jews by the law of Moses. 
We find him attending the publick worship in 
the synagogues; we find him making the 
customary offerings and oblations in the tem- 
ple, and we read of him, on former occasions, 
regularly and zealously going up to Jerusalem 


to celebrate with his countrymen this grand 
feast of the passover. But we learn, from the 
preceding part of the history, that the ap- 
proach of this particular festival, here alluded 
to, was accompanied with more important pre- 
paration than had ever been the case on any 
former occasion. The reason was, that the 
baptism wherewith he was to be baptized drew 
near, and he was straitened 'till it was accom- 
plished. He foresaw, that, on this occasion, 
his soul was to be offered up unto God ; that 
his enemies would triumph over him; and 
that his life of trouble was to be finished by an 
ignominious death. This was the last time 
that he should eat the passover with his disci- 
ples, until it was fulfilled in the kingdom of 
God. But though these gloomy prospects lay 
before him, and he felt with the deepest sensi- 
bility of soul the wounds which they inflicted, 
yet we do not find that he was at all discour- 
aged or dismayed. On the contrary, he went 
up to Jerusalem not merely with resignation, 
but even with boldness, alacrity and cheerful- 
ness. Instead of shrinking from tlie conflict, 
and seeking to avoid by flight or concealment 
the place or the occasion of his troubles and 
persecution, he went up in a more open and 


magnificent manner than heretofore ; and even 
vehemently desired. to eat this passover with his 
disciples. With a generosity, of which he 
is the only example, he was less affected by 
the consideration of his own sufferings than he 
was encouraged and elevated by the happiness 
he was to secure to his followers. For the joy 
that was set before him he cheerfully endured 
the cross, despising the shame. 

But what, no doubt, chiefly occupied his 
thoughts on occasion of this passover, and 
which was the cause of that desire which he 
had to celebrate it, was the favourable oppor- 
tunity which it presented of instituting a sim- 
ple, but significative and solemn service, which 
would tend to recall the remembrance of him, 
when he was gone from them ; which would 
be a token and memorial of the familiarity and 
friendship which tliey had enjoyed with him 
for several years ; and which would be a dis- 
tinguishing badge of his followers in all suc- 
ceeding ages. 

This appears to be the meaning and scope 
of the verse. But what seems no less worthy 
of attention, is the contrast which may be re- 
marked between the disposition and conduct of 
our Saviour on this occasion, and those of his 


professed followers when the Christian passo* 
ver, which is the substitute of the Jewish, is 
about to be celebrated. With whatever bitter 
herbs this festival was accompanied to our 
Lord, he not only cheerfully partook of it, in 
obedience to his father*s will, and in conformi- 
ty to the great design of his mission into the 
world, but he even felt an anxious desire to 
be present at this feast, though he knew that 
bonds and imprisonment and death awaited 
him. How different this from the conduct of 
his followers, who, notwithstanding it is their 
express duty to partake of the Christian pass- 
over, notwithstanding it is a most delightful 
feast to every worthy partaker, notwithstanding 
it is accompanied with unspeakable advanta- 
ges, not only to individuals but to the Church 
in general, do yet either perform this duty with 
lukewarmness and indifference, or are found 
to be absent when this ordinance is to be cele- 
brated, or perhaps absolutely refuse to perform 
it, consider it as a duty of slight obligation and 
trifling importance, and thus trample under 
foot the blood of the covenant wherewith we 
are sanctified. 

This, my brethren, is a conduct which I 
have often had occasion to mention with aston- 


ishment, regret and disapprobation. I have 
from time to time addressed to you such ex- 
hortations as I thought would have some 
weight, at least, with the serious and well dis* 
posed ; and I had begun to Jiopc, that my re- 
monstrances had, at last, awakened some to a 
sense of the obligation and importance of this 
solemn ordinance. But alas ! the righteous- 
ness of many among us is as the morning cloud 
and the early dew which soon pass away. 
Some who heretofore were punctual in dis- 
charging this duty do now regularly absent 
themselves from church on a communion Sab- 
bath. Others who do communicate are not 
sufficiently attentive to recommend this neces- 
sary duty to others, especially their children, 
relatives and dependents. The young and 
rising generation are thus left ignorant in reli- 
gious things, and, if we may judge from out- 
ward appearances, scarcely reflect that they 
have immortal spirits to be saved; that they 
are sinful creatures who need a Saviour ; or 
that they came into the world for any other 
purpose than to prosecute the gaieties and fri- 
volities of fashion and amusement, or, at best, 
to pursue the trifling and short-lived objects 
of the present life. As we have the prospect 

VOL. IT. J. 


of celebrating next Sabbath the holy ordi- 
nance of the Lord's supper, I think it my du- 
ty once more to return to the charge, and en- 
deavour to excite in the members of this con- 
gregation a more general desire than has hith- 
erto been manifested of eating the Christian 

For this purpose I propose to dedicate this 
day to a preparatory service for the more so- 
lemn service of next Sabbath : and by the 
number of applications for admission to the 
communion which shall be made, in the course 
of the week, I shall be able to determine 
whether there is yet remaining sufficient reli- 
ligion and virtue to be operated upon by mo- 
tives of duty and even interest, or whether it 
will be of any avail ever to renew this subject 
again. In this and the following discourse 
therefore I shall endeavour ; 

In the first place, to point out the obliga- 
tions which all Christians are under to cele- 
brate the sacrament of the Lord's supper: 

Secondly, in order to shew you that it is your 
interest as well as your duty, and in order to con- 
vince you that to eat the Christian passover is 
an honour and privilege which we ought 
earnestly to desire, I will endeavour to point 


out some of those innumerable advantages 
which are derived from partaking of the Lord's 

And lastly, I shall endeavour, briefly, to 
describe the preparation which is most suit- 
able on such an occasion, that you may dis- 
charge this duty in a good and acceptable 

I. In the first place, I am to point out the 
obligations which Christians are under to cele- 
brate the sacrament of the Lord's supper. And 

First, we are bound to celebrate the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper by the express com- 
mand of our Lord enjoining us to do so. It 
is a common but gross and fatal mistake to 
suppose that the sacrament, though a proper 
and good thing, is not a strict duty binding in- 
discriminately on all who profess the gospel, 
that it is left to our own option whether we shall 
partake of it or not, that by receiving it we in- 
deed perform an important act of virtue and 
are entitled to exalted praise, but that no posi- 
tive guilt is incurred by absenting ourselves 
from the ordinance. But what constitutes 
moral obligation? It is the authority of the 
lawgiver by whom the action is commanded 
or forbidden. The destinction of moral and 


positive precepts lessens not the strictness of the 
obligation of either. If the former are made 
known to us by the dictates of reason and con- 
science, the latter proceed from a source no 
less pure and infallible, from God himself 
speaking to us in his word. If moral precepts 
are consistent with the eternal rectitude and 
fitness of things, it is no less so for creatures to 
obey the will of their Creator in whatever he 
is pleased to command. Who ever violates a 
positive precept acts in direct opposition to the 
eternal fitness of things, which laid him under 
an obligation to obey that positive precept. He 
is guilty of sin, no less than he who violates 
a moral precept, because he equally insults the 
authority of the lawgiver and infringes his right 
to obedience. To get rid therefore of the 
obligation which we are under to celebrate the 
sacrament of the supper, we must either dis- 
avow the authority of Jesus as a lawgiver or 
deny the existence of the precept. The former 
will be a bold and difficult step — to reject the 
authority of him whom winds and waves 
obey, who hath the keys of hell and of death, 
who shutteth and none can open, who openeth 
and none can shut. Or if we might possibly 
be foolish and unhappy enough now to con- 


€€al from our own minds this interesting truth, 
that, Jesus is our lawgiver and will be our 
judge, yet we shall not be able to do so in that 
day, when, seated on a tribunal of justice, his 
language shall be *^ those mine enemies, who 
** would not that I should reign over them, 
'^ bring hither and slay them before me." 

The other evasion is equally impossible. 
For though too many are but little acquainted 
with their Bible, their is none who can read or 
who has ever frequented the house of God 
who knows not, that, the Lord Jesus, the same 
night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and 
wheyi he had given thanks, he brake it, and 
said. Take, eat; this is my body broken for you; 
this do in remembrance of me. After the same 
manner he took the cup when he had supped, and 
said. This cup is the new testament of my blood: 
this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance 
of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink 
this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till 
he come. 

Let no man then pretend to suppose, that, 
it is a matter of indifference whether he com- 
municate or not. For, from what has been 
now said, it appears to be as much your duty 
to communicate as it is to remember the Sab- 


bath day to keep it holy, or to honour your 
father and mother. You are equally guilty of 
sin in neglecting to communicate as if you took 
the name of the Lord your God in vain ; or 
were guilty of murder, adultery and theft. 
For the same Lawgiver who says remember the 
Sabbath day to keep it holy, and honour your 
father and your mother, also says, do this in 
remembrance of me. He who has forbidden 
profane swearing and murder, has also pro- 
nounced accursed every one who continueth 
not in all things written in the book of the 
law to do them. And not only is the omis- 
sion of communicating sinful, but it is, more* 
over, a sin of the deepest dye and of the most 
aggravated nature. 

For, in the second place, we are bound to cel- 
ebrate the sacrament of the Lord^s supper, by 
the strongest of all ties, those of gratitude and 
love. Consider the occasion and design of 
the institution. It was appointed to assist us 
in recalling to mind one whom, were it not 
for our corrupt and treacherous hearts, we 
could never forget, him who is the greatest 
and best friend of the human race; to com- 
memorate an event the most striking that oc- 
curs in the annals of mankind, an event de- 


monstrative of love and grace unparalleled, 
and productive of unspeakable benefits to the 
human race. Viewed in this light every prin- 
ciple in our nature calls upon us to draw near 
and contemplate this wonderful thing. 

Do this in remembrance of me — said our 
blessed Saviour when he instituted this ordi- 
nance. How impressive and significant are 
these words ! The circumstances in which 
they were uttered, might serve instead of com- 
ment and paraphrase to those who heard them, 
but to us at this distance of time, who are 
moreover slow of heart to believe, and still 
slower to obey, some farther illustration may 
be requisite. '* My beloved disciples, would 
'* he have said, you have already been wit- 
** nesses to the unrelenting malice of my ene- 
'' mles, to the persecution of the Scribes and 
'* Pharisees, and to the violent opposition 
*' which I have been forced to encounter in 
'* the prosecution of the great design of re- 
'* deeming the human race. But whatevel* 
** diflficulties I have hitherto met with, how- 
'' ever great my past sufferings have been, yet 
** they bear no proportion to those which I 
*' am shortly tosufl:er. For I must now be ex- 
'* posed not only to the relentless rage of the 


<^ Scribes and Pharisees, and to the Insatiable 
«* fury of an incensed multitude, but also to 
^* the united strength and attacks of all the 
** powers of darkness. But this is not all. I 
*^ have a severer baptism to be baptized w^ith; 
<* I am not only forced to fight with men and 
^* devils ; but, as Jacob contended and wrest- 
" led with the angel till he obtained a bles- 
'" sing, so must I this night wrestle and strive 
'' in prayer with God, till I obtain pardon and 
'« blessing for the fallen sons of Adam. I am 
** now to feel the whole weight of my father's 
'^ dreadful wrath and indignation for all the 
" sins of the world. Your zeal and affection 
<* for me have hitherto kept you closely at- 
<* tached to me, but the time is at hand, when 
" I must be deprived even of this consolation, 
** and shall be left alone, to sustain the whole 
'* shock of divine displeasure at human guilt, 
*' like sheep without a shepherd, you will all 
** of you be soon scattered, every one to his 
" own home : and I shall be left in a situation 
*« so deserted and forlorn that even God himself 
" shall, for a while, seem to forsake me. Then 
'* shall I be delivered up into the power of 
" mine enemies to be abused and evil intreated, 
*Mo be mocked and scourged, to be crucified 


*< and slain. But all this will I readily and 
«' cheerfully undergo for the benefit of man- 
*' kind, that I may turn my Father's just indig- 
** nation from his guilty offspriiig, that I may 
'* redeem the captive sinner from the guilt 
'^ and the dominion of sin, and that I may thus 
** reconcile all the redeemed unto God in one 
'^ body by the cross. 

'' But while I do and suffer so much for you, 
*' all that I require in return for such love and 
'* kindness is, that, you affectionately remem- 
'* ber and gratefully commemorate what I 
" have already suffered and am still farther to 
*' suffer in your room, and for your benefit. 
^' I therefore leave it, as my last and dying 
" order to you all, and to all who shall come 
*^ after you, that you do, by the constant celc- 
'* bration of this holy sacrament, perp(?tuate 
*^ and keep up a continual remembrance of 
'* my sufferings and death, until the time of 
*' my second coming. By breaking of bread, 
^' as you see me do, you will, in a lively man- 
" er, represent and set forth the wounding and 
"bruising of my body by the Jews. By 
** eating it, you will naturally be put in mind 
" of those benefits which are procured by my 
** death. The pouring out of the v^ine will 

VOL. ir. M 


*^ naturally remind you of my blood, which 
^' is soon to be shed for the remission of sins. 
'' The drinking of it will serve to shew the 
'' efficacy of my blood in cleansing and puri- 
*^ fying the soul. And your partaking of 
*^ both will be sufficient to signify that as your 
*' bodies are strengthened and refreshed by 
*' bread and wine, so your souls are comforted 
'' and sustained by the power and efficacy of 
•* my death, and by those heavenly influences 
*' and constant supplies of divine grace which, 
^* for my sake, are conveyed and imparted to 
*^ you, and to all Christians, in the due and 
^' faithful receiving of this holy sacrament/' 

Who, now, that considers Jesus Christ as his 
Saviour, and views the communion in this light, 
does not perceive the obligation he is under 
to celebrate it ? While we stand in need of a 
Saviour, we are bound to commemorate what 
that Saviour has done for us. While we want 
a faithful Mediator to stand in the breach for 
us, we ought, unquestionably, to remember 
the inestimable blessings which are purchased 
and secured by his death and intercession. 
For how can we lay any claim to the mer- 
its of the Saviour, if we do not follow his di- 
rections or obey his commands. Will the 


despised and neglected Jesus remember those 
ungrateful, disobedient servants of his, when 
they shall appear before him, in his kingdom 
of glory hereafter, who would never vouch- 
safe, in his kingdom of grace here on earth, to 
do so small a matter in remembrance of him 
as to receive the sacrament of his body broken 
and blood shed for their sakes ? What can 
such a neglect proceed from but a disregard 
for this merciful Saviour, a forgetfulness of his 
love and compassion, a base ingratitude to his 
memory, and a shameful disobedience to his 
commands ? What rudeness and incivility, to 
say no worse, must it be to turn our backs, 
with coldness and indifference, on the Lord's 
table, when we would reckon it a breach of 
good-manners to slight a civil invitation from 
a neighbour or a friend ? What blindness and 
stupidity must it be to refuse the gracious in- 
vitation of our Saviour to partake of this hea- 
venly banquet ? to spurn at the offer of pardon 
and peace freely made us in this sacrament ? 
If love be naturally productive of love, if 
friendship merit a correspondence in kindness, 
what is not due to him whose love was stronger 
than death, who is a friend that sticketh clo- 
ser than a brother? 


3, We are bound to celebrate the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's supper by a regard to the 
honour of Christianity . The gospel is a system 
of religion accompanied with less outward 
ceremony and show than any other system 
which was ever disclosed to the world . Among 
the few simple rites which it prescribes this is 
by much the most important. It may in truth 
be called the distinguishing badge of Chris- 
tianity. By adopting this badge we acknow- 
ledge the society to which we belong: we pro- 
fess to glory in the crosi of Christ, Prayer and 
praise, and the duties of morality are com- 
mon to every religion. We might attend the 
church, practise devotion, and live outwardly 
a good moral life, and yet disbelieve the whole 
revelation of God. For in these things what 
do we more than others. Do not even the 
Jew, the Mahometan and the Infidel do 
likewise? If we would be thought followers 
of Christ we must practise those duties which 
he has, more particularly, prescribed as the 
badges of our calling. Hereby shall all men 
know that we are his disciples, if we zeal- 
ously and regularly perform the solemn act of 
eating his flesh and drinking his blood. 

I do not mean to affirm that all who absent 


themselves from communion are enemies 
of the the gospel. I know that many would 
be greivously offended at such a suppo- 
sition. But I must say, that, if you real- 
ly believe the awful truths of religion, your 
principles and your practice are much at va- 
riance. In times of danger and division, 
every man must choose a side openly, and 
abide by it firmly. In an age when the love 
of many waxes cold, when the most open and 
lamentable defection from the cause of Chris- 
tianity prevails, when its enemies are nume- 
rous and daring beyond example or prece- 
dent, he that is not for us is against us. If 
he be not, absolutely, ranked with the ene- 
mies of God, his friendship will certainly be 
regarded with suspicion and jealousy. Luke- 
warmness and indifference are often more fatal 
to a cause than avowed enmity and opposi- 
tion. The disregard of religious ordinances 
emboldens the infidel and discourages the 
friends of religion. As therefore you regard 
the interest and glory of your Redeemer; as 
you would wish his religion to spread and 
flourish in the world; nay as you would not 
wish that Christianity, government, morality 
and law should be blotted out from the face of 


the earth, step forward, show that you are not 
ashamed to own your Lord in the midst of a 
crooked and perverse generation; prove by 
the observance of this solemn act which I now 
recommend, that the number of Christ*s friends 
is not so small as the enemy may be ready to 
suppose. Blessed indeed would be the con- 
sequences, if a whole people would with one 
heart and one voice thus avow their principles. 
It would strike terrour and dismay, into the 
enemies of our faith ; it would awaken the 
most thoughtless and unconcerned ; it would 
decide the doubtful and wavering to the cause 
of truth; it would encourage the young and 
timorous; it would revive decayed religion and 
godliness, and the glory of the Lord would 
yet dwell in our land. But, on the contrary, 
if the same disregard of the ordinances of re- 
ligion which characterizes this age still con- 
tinue or proceed any farther, the only conclu- 
sion I can perceive will be, that the know- 
ledge and practice of Christianity will gradu- 
ally disappear from among men. Then as- 
suredly you may not only bid adieu to every 
thing good and valuable in the present life, 
but you may extend your views to the future, 
and reflect on that declaration of our Lord, 


'* Whosoever shall be ashamed of mc, and of 
** my words, in this adulterous and sinful gen- 
'* eration, of him also shall the Son of man 
^^ be asliaiued, when he comcih in the glory 
'* of his Father with his holy angels/* 

4. All Christians are bound to celebrate the 
sacrament of the supper, by their baptismal 
vows. Some may suppose that being bap- 
tized at a period when they were incapable of 
entering personally into any engagements, 
they are not at all bound by any thing done 
by their parents or sponsors. This however is 
certainly an errour; at least it is not consistent 
with what happens every day in common life. 
The engagements of the representative are 
binding on those who are represented; the 
heir is bound to fulfil the contracts of the tes- 
tator ; th^ offspring are unavoidably aflt'ected 
by the conduct of the progenitor. And if 
the children or persons represented are bound 
by the act of their substitute, much more are 
the parents wh-o themselves entered into the en- 
gagement; more especially until they are in 
some measure exonerated by the children's 
coming to the table of the Lord, and there as- 
suming upon themselves those honourable and 
beneficial engagements which their parents 


formed for them at a period when they had 
not understanding sufficiently mature to per- 
ceive these advantages. It is the business of 
parents, then, as they regard their own obliga- 
tions or those of their children, to instruct 
them early in the nature of the Christian doc* 
trines and duties, more especially of this so- 
lemn ordinance, and to urge them by argument 
and authority to discharge so pressing a duty. 
There are few parents who do not think them- 
selves guilty of a great omission if they do 
not, as soon as convenient, present their chil- 
dren by baptism unto God. If death overtake 
them before they have been admitted into the 
bosom of the Christian society, the recollec- 
tion of their neglect must press heavy on the 
minds of the parents. But yet you have done 
only half your duty unless you also bring 
them with you to the table of the Lord, and a 
second time present them, a ripened, reason- 
able, and acceptable offering unto God. 
How early this second dedication of your off- 
spring should be made, it is impossible to de- 
termine. If you have been at due pains to 
endow their infant minds with the rudiments 
of religious knowledge, the fit season of com- 
municating is earlier than may be imagined. 


They that are taught to seek God early shall 
find him. Certain it is, that many think 
themselves capable of acting for themselves, 
and of forming some of the most important 
engagements in life, who yet pretend that 
they are too young to perform this indispens- 
able duty. But these I cannot rank with the 
wise and the worthy — they are destitute of a 
sense of duty ; they cannot possibly feel any 
regard for the Master they pretend to serve, or 
put any value on what he has done for them 
— they are indifferent to the interests of reli- 
gion — they are faithless even to their baptis- 
mal vows. 

These important truths I have thought it my 
duty to lay before you, with the hope, that 
they will yet have some effect upon such as 
are not lost to all the holy precepts of our re- 
ligion : and with all others it were vain to ar- 
gue, because success is desperate. 




Oil the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper 

Luke, Chap. 22, Verse 15. 

^ With desii'e I have desired to eat this passover with 
you, before I suffer." 

In a former discourse from these words, after 
endeavouring to explain their occasion and 
import, I directed your attention to a subject 
which, though not expressly pointed out in 
the text, has at least an intimate connection 
with it; I mean the general neglect of that 
holy ordinance instituted by our Lord when 
he uttered the words of the text. With a 
view to excite in you an eager desire to eat 
the Christian passover which is to be celebra- 
ted among us, I proposed, 

1 . To point out the obligations which Chris- 
tians are under to celebrate the holy sacra« 
ment of the supper. 


2. To point out some of those innumer- 
able advantages which are derived from the 
worthily receiving of the Lord's supper. And 

3. To describe the preparation which is 
necessary in order to discharge this duty in an 
acceptable manner. 

I. The first head of discourse we have al- 
ready illustrated, and shewn, that all Chris- 
tians are bound to celebrate the holy sacrament 
by our Lord's express command — by love and 
gratitude for what he has done for us, and for 
the benefits which we derive from his death — 
by a regard for the honour and success of re- 
ligion — and by our baptismal vows. When 
these considerations are duly weighed, I am 
altogether at a loss to comprehend what it is 
that prevents so many from cheerfully em- 
bracing every opportunity to discharge a duty 
so important. I cannot possibly suppose that 
rational beings will sufler themselves to be in- 
fluenced by false shame, or by fashion, or evil 
example, in a matter of such infinite moment. 
'^ For it is not a vain thing which we now de- 
'* clare unto you : it is even your life." Nei- 
ther will they who weigh the objects of time 
and those of eternity in a fair balance, who im- 
partially estimate pleasure and duty, be satis- 


fied in their own minds with the excuse of 
too much business or worldly engagement. 
Much less will this excuse be accepted by the 
great Judge, in whose estimation duty is par- 
amount to every other obligation: whose lan- 
guage is Thisoughtest thou to have done, and 
not to leave the other done. The reason 
therefore which prevents serious and consider- 
ate persons from discharging so indispensable 
and obvious a duty is, either, that they are 
conscious of their being engaged in a ^inful 
course of life inconsistent with the genius and 
spirit of the Gospel, or they entertain such an 
enthusiastick and conceited opinion of their 
own righteousness and devotion, as to despise 
the elements of ordinances, and to be above 
the necessity of outward acts of religion. Or 
perhaps they are far removed from either of 
these extremes, but have not attained a full 
assurance of faith, and are filled with doubts 
and fears about their want of preparation, and 
unfitness to make so solemn an approach unto 

With regard to those, who do not approach 
the communion because they are engaged in 
such vicious courses as render them unfit for 
so solemn a service, it may be observed, that. 


they might as well on this account cease their 
attendance on the Church, because they can- 
not tread God's courts or otVer up prayers to 
him in an acceptable manner. For the sacri- 
fice of the wicked is an abomination to the 
Lord at all times and in all places, in private 
and in publick, in the ordinary as well as in 
the more solemn exercises of religion. But 
then you would do well to consider, that, if 
you are unfit for the Church, you are also un- 
fit for heaven; if your vices prevent you from 
appearing among the friends of Jesus at his 
table they will also exclude you from the 
blessed society of his followers above. And 
what a dreadful situation is this, when every 
moment your fate may be decided either for 
happiness or misery? Every person of com- 
mon sense, who for a moment reflects on this, 
must instantly resolve to remove this cause of 
his neglect of the communion by sincere re- 
pentance for his past sins, and a complete de- 
sertion of his vicious courses for the future. 

With regard to those who presume upon 
their own righteousness for acceptance with 
God, who think that they live good lives and 
therefore have no occasion for the help of or- 
dinances to repair their fall? or excite them to 


greater zeal and diligence, I must remind 
them of the declaration of our Saviour, *' that 
*' we are at best unprofitable servants/' And 
of the assertion of St. John, '^ if we say that 
^^ we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and 
*' the truth is not in us.'' Nay, so far from 
being free from sin, in how many things will 
not a candid man confess that he daily of- 
fends? If we should avoid the more gross 
transgressions of the law, yet how many fail- 
ures and omissions, how many vain thoughts, 
and foolish irregular desires, how many rash 
and sinful expressions have we not all to an- 
swer for? If, then, when we have done all 
that man can do, we are still unprofitable ser- 
vants, if we are all very far from doing whalf 
God might in strict justice demand of us, then 
tell me, ye who call yourselves, and who 
would be thought by others, good moral men, 
whether you do not want a Saviour and a Me- 
diator? one who may interpose between God 
and you ? one who may turn away his fierce 
anger, and screen you from the dreadful ef- 
fects of his indignation ? one who may, by his 
own merit, supply the deficiency of your im- 
perfect services? one that may intercede with 
(?od to forgive your manifold sins and offences ? 


one who may pour on you the blessed influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, to enable you to dis- 
charge your duty for the time to come? If 
then you do want such a Saviour, you must 
carefully and conscientiously obey all that Sa- 
viour's commands, before you can possibly be 
$aved by him ; and as he has commanded you 
to receive the holy sacrament, you must, with- 
out any longer delay, shew your love for his 
memory, and your obedience to his command, 
by doing this in remembrance of him. 

With regard to those who go to neither of 
these extremes, who are not conscious of in- 
dulging in vicious courses, nor vainly presume 
upon their own righteousness, but who are 
compassed about with many cares and infir- 
mities, and therefore think themselves unfit 
for so solemn an approach to God, it may be 
observed, that, the Gospel always leaves room 
for reconciliation and restoration upon repen- 
tance and amendment of life. Nothing can 
make us unworthy to receive the sacrament, 
but our resolving to continue unworthy. If 
we repent sincerely of our past sins and resolve 
to lead a new life for the future, then we may 
safely go to the sacrament. ** For Christ 
** came not to call the righteous, but sinners 


<* to repentance." The fountain of his blood 
was purposely opened to wash away and 
cleanse the guilt of those sins and that un- 
cleanness which is sincerely repented of and 
forsaken. Therefore if we are truly sincere, 
if we seriously and earnestly desire to serve 
God to the best of our power, we need not 
forbear going to the sacrament from an appre- 
hension of our unworthiness; because this 
sense of our unworthiness, with a serious and 
sincere desire to become better, an humble 
and thankful remembrance of Christ's death, 
a lively faith in. God's mercies through him, 
and love and charity for all the world, are the 
best qualifications which we can possibly 
bring with us to the holy sacrament. 

Thus, my brethren, have I pointed out the 
indispensable obligations you are under to cel- 
ebrate the Lord's supper, and have shewn 
that' in no case are you excusable for neglec- 
ting this ordinance. And here I leave the 
matter to God and to your own conscience. I 
have set before you life and death ; and my 
words will not return empty, whether you hear 
or whether you forbear. 

II. I now proceed to the second head of 
discourse, which is, to point out some of those 

SERMON Vr. 9t 

innumerable advantages which are derived 
from the worthily receiving of the Lord's sup- 

The benefits derived from the proper per- 
formance of this duty are of two kinds ; such 
as naturally flow from it, and such as arc in- 
separably annexed to it. 

Among the former we may reckon first a sin- 
cere sorrow for sin, an utter abhorence of it^ 
and a determination to forsake it for ever. 
When we see with our eyes, and hear with 
our ears, and handle with our hands its bitter 
fruits, in the sufferings of our Redeemer^ it is 
impossible not to feel compunction of soul 
and self-condemnation for having been the 
cause of so much wo to our greatest and best 
friend. When we behold how abominable sin 
is in the sight of God, so as to draw down his 
indignation even on the son of his love, how can 
we any longer dare to continue therein ? The 
very solemnity of the approach to the table must 
tend powerfully to make us stand in awe and 
sin not. The consideration of the public profes- 
sion we have made to live blameless and with- 
out guile will ever afterwards be present to our 
minds, as a salutaiy check, when we are 
tempted to commit sin. Our language wil! 


be, *'how can I do this great wickedness who 
^' have been at the table of the Lord/* In 
short, the very preparation requisite for this 
ordinance, the self-examination implied in it, 
must have a happy tendency to shew us our 
true state and character, to guard us against sin 
and to excite us to greater purity and diligence. 
Further, the sacrament has a natural tenden- 
cy to strengthen and confirm our faith. It 
subjects what is distant and unseen to the tes- 
timony of our senses. It brings the wonder- 
ful scenes transacted on Calvary full in our 
view. It shews us the accomplishment of the 
divine predictions. It assures us of the immu- 
tability of thedivine love, and of God's fidelity 
to his promises; for if he spared not his own 
son, but delivered him up to the death for us 
all, how shall he not with him also freely give 
us all things? In short, it shews us by the most 
lively emblems the abihty and willingness of 
our Saviour to save us to the uttermost. What 
will not he do for us who humbled himself 
for our sakes even unto death? And must not 
he be an all-sufficient Saviour who was made 
perfect through sufferings? Who learned obe- 
dience by the things which he endured? Who 
having suffered being tempted is both able and 
willing to succour those who are tempted ? 


Again, the boly sacrament is naturally cal- 
culated to awaken our love and gratitude to 
our God and Redeemer. While we hold in 
our hands the visible emblems of our Savioufs 
body broken and blood shed for our sins, we 
cannot possibly be so insensible as not to feel 
our hearts burn within us at the recollection 
of what he has done for us. While we are 
actually partaking of the benefits derived from 
his death, we cannot but feel emotions of gra- 
titude and thankfulness. We will then feel 
the love of Christ constraining us to love him 
who first loved us. W^e will then think noth- 
ing too much to do, or too much to suffer, for 
so generous and beneficent a Saviour. It is 
wonderful to observe the mighty influence 
which tokens or memorials of love and friend- 
ship have over the human mind. A ring or 
a picture will call up a remembrance on which 
the heart delights to dwell, and will revive a 
love or friendship which distance of time or 
place, or the interruptions of pleasure and 
connections, had well nigh erased from the 
heart. And shall the memorials of the 
most wonderful love and friendship which 
ever existed among men have no effect on 
the hearts of those whg are the objects of it? 


A natural effect of communicating must be 
the strengthening of that love and charity 
which we ought to entertain for our brethren, 
especially those of the household of faith. 
The sacrament is a bond of union among all 
true believers. While it unites them all to 
Christ, it unites them also to one another ; for 
we are required to keep the feast, not with the 
leaven of malice and wickedness, and to be 
reconciled to our brother, before we offer sa- 
crifice at God's altar. While we are seated at 
the same table, and partakers of the same 
feast, we cannot possibly look upon one an- 
other as enemies, " for how can two sit to- 
^^ gether, unless they be agreed ?'' Nay we 
must necessarily look upon all our fellow- 
communicants as brethren and friends, as ser- 
ving the same master, believing the same truths, 
walking by the same rule, entertaining the 
same hopes, and journeying to the same coun^ 
try. And how comely is it for brethren to 
dw^ell together m unity? How unseemly for 
fellow'-travellers to quarrel by the way ? How 
natural for those who have similar interests 
and pursuits to maintain kindness and con- 
cord ? 

The second kind of advantages derived from 


this ordinance, are such as are inseparably 
annexed to it when worthily received. Among 
these, the first is, the confirmation of the par- 
don of our sins. For to those who receive the 
outward elements with true faith, they signify, 
seal and apply Christ and all the benefits of 
his death ; of v hich forgiveness and recon- 
ciliation to God are the principal. Not that 
the performance of this outward act, or even 
that faith which accompanies it and renders it 
acceptable in the sight of God, will entitle us 
to paidon as a matter of right. We all know 
that the meritorious cause of justification is the 
righteousness of Jesus Christ. Faith is merely 
an instrument which appropriates his merits to 
ourselves. But as our receiving the symbols 
of his body and blood in the holy sacrament 
is an outward sign, on our part, of our in- 
wardly accepting him by faith, so the celebra- 
tion of this ordinance is a sign on God's part 
of that inward act of justification which is al- 
ready passed, in virtue of Christ's merit, on 
all who sincerely believe. As the bow in the 
cloud in the day of rain is not the reason why 
God will not destroy the world by a deluge 
any more, but merely a memorial of God's 
promise to that effect, and therefore a con- 


firmatlon and assurance to men that the world 
will not be destroyed as heretofore, so the 
sacred rite of the Lord's supper is a declara- 
tion, a token, a proof that an expiation has 
been made for the sins of men, that God is 
now appeased and reconciled to his offending 
offspring, that the hand writing against us is 
destroyed, that we are now brought near by 
the blood of the cross, and may approach unto 
God as children to a father. And what an 
unspeakable advantage is this, to have the 
testimony of our senses corresponding to the 
witness of our spirits, that we are the children 
of God ? That as our bodies are refreshed by 
bread, so our souls are healed by the stripes 
laid on Christ's body, and as the wine restores 
the sick and invigorates the whole, so our 
souls, dead in trespasses and sins, are revived 
and sanctified by Christ's blood ? The cup of 
blessing which we bless is it not the com- 
munion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread 
which we break is it not the communion of 
the body of Christ ? *' I am the living bread,'* 
said our Saviour, *' which came down from 
'* heaven ; if any man eat of this bread, he 
'' shall live for ever ; and the bread that I will 
•'^give is my flesh, which I will give for the 

SERMON Vr. 103 

*' life of the world. Whoso eatcth my flesh 
**and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, 
'^ and I will raise him up at the last day, for 
*' my flesh is meat indeed, aiul my blood is 
^' drink indeed." 

Another advantage enjoyed by the worthy 
receivers of the Lord's supper, is the confirma- 
tion of their union with Jesus Christ, and a 
more intimate communion with God. The 
sacrament is the nearest approach to God that 
we can make on this side the grave : in it he 
is not only essentially present, as he is in every 
place, and graciously present, as he is in all 
the assemblies of his saints, but here he is 
present in an especial manner, he is even 
present, in some respect, to the senses of the 
worshippers. For though we shall not be so 
impious and absurd as to say that the outward 
elements are converted into the real body and 
blood of Christ, yet there can be no doubt 
that they who rightly discern the Lord, elevate 
their thoughts from the bread and wine to that 
divine being whom they represent and signify. 
They see him w^ho is invisible. They feel 
that solemn awe which the presence of divinity 
inspires. They are filled with that holy rap- 
ture which Jacob felt when he awoke from a 


dream wherein he had been favoured Witli 
heavenly manifestations : ** How awful is this 
'' place ! surely the Lord is here, and I knew 
'^ it not; this is none other than the house of 
*' God, and this is the gate of heaven/' In 
like manner frequent participation of the holy 
sacrament tends to unite us more closely to 
our Redeemer. For, as the bread and wine 
which we eat and drink become our own, 
and are incorporated with our bodies, so, if, in 
a spiritual and metaphorical sense, we feed 
upon Christ by faith, he is, as it were, formed 
within us ; we imbibe his spirit, we copy his 
example, we derive life, and nourishment, and 
strength from him ; we become united to him 
as the wife is to the husband, we become flesh 
of his flesh, and bone of his bone. '* He that 
*' eateth my flesh and drinketh by blood,'* 
saith our Lord, '' dwelleth in me, and I in 
'* him. As the living father hath sent me, and 
*' I live by the father; so, he that eateth me, 
*' even he shall live by me." 

A farther advantage, inseparably attached 
to the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper., 
is the communication of the Holy Spirit. The 
bread and wine are no more than the outward 
and visible signs of an inward and spiritual 


grace ; and these signs were ordained by Christ 
himself, as the means by which we receive 
this grace, and as pledges to assure us of its 
fulness : what our daily food is to our bodies, 
that the grace of God is to our souls. As the 
former contributes to increase our stature, and 
to repair the decays of nature, so does the latter 
contribute to make us grow in grace and 
knowledge, to proceed from one degree of 
holiness to another, till we come to the stature 
of perfect men, to the measure of the stature 
of the fulness of Christ. This communication 
of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, is 
universally represented in scripture as a feast 
to the soul, as the mean by which the Chris- 
tian life is maintained, revived and invigor- 
ated. It is also, invariably, promised to those 
who are found in the way of duty, who seek 
it in the ordinances of God's appointment, 
who, clothed with the wedding garment, par- 
take of that sumptuous banquet, that feast of 
fat tilings y of wines on the lees well refined j, 
which is provided for us in the sacrament of 
the supper. To prove this we need not search 
with much diligence the volume of revelation, 
the language of which is every where exprrss 
to this purpose. It will be sufficient to appeal 

VOL. II. p 


to every devout worshipper, and ask whether^ 
at the table of the Lord, he has not actually 
felt the gracious presence of the Divinity, and 
the rich communications of his grace ? While 
you handle the emblems of your Saviour's 
broken body and shed blood, has not your 
sorrow for your past sins and failings been 
wonderfully awakened and increased ? has not 
your faith been strengthened and confirmed ? 
Las not your love to God glowed with a stronger 
flame ? have not your minds been refreshed 
and comforted ? have not the clouds of igno- 
rance and doubt been dispelled ? have not 
pious thoughts and virtuous resolutions sprung 
up within you ? has not your wish been, that, 
you could continue for ever in such delightful 
company and exercise ? and have you not 
arisen from this table more fortified against 
temptation, more vigorous for the discharge 
of your duty, more joyful in your own minds, 
more elevated above the vain pursuits of earth, 
and more desirous of the exercises and joys of 
heaven ? 

This leads me to observe, in the last place, 
that, the worthy partakers of the Lord's sup- 
per, enjoy peace of mmd, in this hfe, and the 
comfortable assurance of happiness in the 


future. *' My peace I leave with you," says 
our Lord ; '' my peace I give unto you ; not 
'* as the world giveth, give I unto you." This 
solemn approach unto God diffuses over the 
mind a calm serenity of temper, a dignified 
superiority to the world and all its enjoyments, 
to which the children of the earth are stran- 
gers. As the hlood sprinkled on the lintels 
and the door-posts of the Israelites freed them 
from all apprehension of the visits of the de- 
stroying angel, so the sacrament of the supper 
gives rest to the weary and heavy laden, 
speaks peace to the troubled conscience, and 
silences the accusations of the guilty, by signi- 
fying and sealing the application of Christ's 
blood to our soul. It teaches us to look upon 
ourselves as the sons of God, and therefore to 
consider all the calamities and afflictions of 
life as the merciful chastisements of a kind 
father. It teaches them that they are the 
friends of the most high, and therefore they 
need fear no evil. It teaches them to consider 
themselves as candidates for heaven, and there- 
fore to keep on their way rejoicing, undisturbed 
by the hopes or fears, the successes or disap- 
pointments of this transitory life. It even 
disarms death of it? sting, for it shews our Lord 


as experiencing the horrours of death and the 
grave, and therefore as ready to compassionate 
and succour his followers. It teaches us that 
as he died and rose again, so all those who 
sleep in Jesus shall awake from the sleep of 
death, and rise and live for ever. Being com- 
manded to be observed 'till he shall come 
again, it is particularly calculated to impress 
on our minds the expectation of that awful 
and glorious day when he shall come in the 
glory of his father, and attended by his holy 
angels. For as he was once offered to bear 
the sins of many, so to those who look for him 
(and we cannot do so in a better manner than 
by frequent commemoration of his death) he 
will appear the second time without sin unto 
salvation. In a word, at this feast there is 
fulness of joy and rivers of pleasure. None 
ever came to it duly prepared who was sent 
empty away. None who ever partook thereof 
with suitable affections of soul, arose from this 
table dissatisfied, or with an ungratified desire. 
All worthy receivers sit under the shadow of 
this tree of life with great delight, and find the 
fruit thereof sweet to their taste. Greater joy 
is diffused through their soul, by the light of 
God's countenance, than the wicked know 


when their corn and wine do most ahound. 
Nor is their joy transitory and deceitful Hke 
that of the world. To endless ages shall they 
have cause to bless the time when they retired 
from the vanities of earth and learned to med- 
itate at the table of the Lord. 

III. I should now proceed to the third head 
of discourse, which is to point out the prepa- 
ration necessary to make us acceptable guests 
at the table of the Lord. But feeling that I 
am already exhausted in strength, and that the 
time allo-tted for this day's duty is well nigh 
spent, I shall defer this interesting subject for 
the present : we shall at another season, my 
brethren, discourse on this topick at large. I 
shall therefore conclude with a reflection or 
two relating to the subject. Nor can I state 
them in a more comprehensive or correct man- 
ner, than by repeating the answer given in 
that complete and admirable system of divinity, 
our larger catechism, to this question ; ** How 
*' are they that receive the sacrament of the 
*' Lord's supper to prepare themselves before 
^' they come unto it ?" *' They that receive 
*' the sacrament of the Lord's supper, are, be- 
*^ fore ihey come, to prepare themselves there- 
" unto, by examining themselvesof their being 


*^ in Christ, of their sins and wants, of the truth 
** and measure of their knowledge, faith, re- 
'^ pentance ; love to God and the brethren ; 
*^ charity to all men ; forgiving those that have 
*^ done them wrong ; of their desires after 
*' Christ, and of their new obedience ; and by 
'* renewing the exercises of these graces by 
'^ serious meditation and fervent prayer/* Let 
a man examine himself, says St. Paul, and 
so let him eat of that bread and drink of that 
cup. Examine yourselves, whether ye be 
in the faith ; prove your own selves. Purge 
out the old leaven that ye may be as a new 
lump : let no contentions or divisions be among 
you, for we being many are one bread and 
one body ; for we are all partakers of that one 
bread. Let us keep the feast, not with old 
leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and 
wickedness, but with the unleavened bread 
of sincerity and truth. *' If thou bring thy 
** gift to the altar,'' said our Lord, *' and there 
*' rememberest that thy brother hath ought 
'^ against thee, leave there thy gift before the 
'* altar, and go thy way : first be reconciled to 
^' thy brother, and then come and offer thy 
*' gift." '' I will wash mine hands in inno- 
*' cence,'* said the Psalmist, '' so will I com- 


** pass thine altar, O Lord/' " Let us draw 
'* near," says St. Paul, *' with a true heart, in 
'* full assurance of faith, having our hearts 
'* sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our 
'^ bodies washed with pure water.'* And the 
good Lord pardon every one that prepareth 
his heart to seek God, though he be not clean- 
sed according to the purification of the sanc- 



On Charity ; the ohligatio7is, sanctions a7id mo^ 
fives to the discharge of its numerous duties. 

1. CoRiN. Chap. 14, Verse 1. 
" Follow after charity." 

How misery and pain were introduced into 
a world framed by infinite goodness, and gov- 
erned with perfect wisdom, is a question 
which has presented itself to the mind of every 
reflecting man. Whether the sorrows and 
sufferings which abound in the universe, ori- 
ginally formed a part of the divine plan, and 
are a necessary ingredient in a probationary 
state ; or whether they are a derangement of 
the original system, and the consequence of 
a deviation from the laws which the Creator 
appointed to the moral beings on whom they 
are inflicted ; or whether they are not partly 
the effect of both these causes, appears beyond 
the limits of human sagacity to determine. 

SERMON Vir. us 

The fact, however, is not the less certain 
because we are unable to discover the cause. 
Proceeding in this journey of human life, we, 
here and there, meet with a few scattered 
spots where the fruit of enjoyment grows ; but 
the far greater part of our road presents to our 
view nothmg but a bleak and desert wilder- 
ness, where no beauty or verdure is to be 
seen. Happy are we if briars and thorns do 
not obstruct our path, if rocks and precipices 
do not beset us on every hand. 

But a question of more practical impor- 
tance occurs ; Does this diminution of our 
enjoyment add nothing to our virtue ? Yes, 
certainly. If no dangers were to be avoided, 
and no wants to be supplied, feeble would be 
the motives to industry and exertion, which 
are the great laws of our nature, and the chief 
sources of our improvement. Were no suf- 
fering to be endured, patience could not have 
its perfect work. If we were mutually inde- 
pendent, friendship, the balm of life, and love, 
the sweetener of society, would be unknown 
in the world. Were there no objects of dis- 
tress, compassion would be an useless princi- 
ple in the human frame. If, by an equal 
distribution of fortune, the poor were removed 



out of the land, we could have no opportune 
ty of practising works of charity and mercy. 
When, therefore, we peruse the page of 
history and read the details of the various 
calamities, miseries and disasters, which, in 
every age, have happened, at one time to 
individuals, at another time to nations ; when, 
in our own days, we behold in one quarter 
of the earth the horrours of war and famine, 
in another multitudes flying from their homes 
to avoid the assassin and the murderer, wan- 
dering in exile and pining in poverty ; when 
we see, in a third, fair and flourishing cities 
laid in ashes by the devouring element of 
fire, their inhabitants cast upon the wide 
world without habitation, and the industry of 
many years blasted in a moment : when 
around us and among us we behold many 
labouring under disease, when we hear the 
cry of the needy and the oppressed, and see 
the tears of the widow and the fatherless, let 
us not idly spend our time in inquiring how 
all this comes to pass, in reasoning about its 
consistency with the attributes of God, or in 
speculation concerning the causes and pur- 
poses of such an arrangement. On tlie con- 
trary, let us encourage sentiments of pity and 


compassion ; let us consider the miseries and 
distresses of our fellow-men as the best lessons 
which our great preceptor in holiness can 
give us for the improvement of our social vir- 
tues ; let us cheerfully embrace the oppor- 
tunity presented to us of promoting the hap- 
piness of the world, by relieving the distressed, 
consoling the wretched, feeding the hungry 
and clothing the naked. We shall thus con- 
vert the unavoidable calamities of life into a 
nurse of the most pleasing and amiable feel- 
ing of the heart. Compassion, and its fairest 
daughter, Charity, 

In the language of sacred writ, charity has 
for the most part a different meaning from its 
usual acceptation in common language. In 
the former, it expresses that general principle 
of love to our neighbour, which leads us to 
benevolent thoughts and beneficent actions of 
every kind. In common language it is more 
limited, being applied only to a particular 
exertion of this general principle, and denotes 
either that disposition which leads us -to enter- 
tain a candid and favourable opinion of others ; 
or that good will which is expressed in reliev- 
ing the distresses and supplying the wants of 
the poor and the wretched. 


Having, on a former occasion, discoursed 
to you of charity in its more general and ex- 
tensive sense, as signifying tlie same thing 
with the love of our neighbour. I shall now 
endeavour to prevail upon all who hear me to 
follow after chariti/ in its more limited sense, 
'' to deal their bread to the hungry, to bring 
^' the poor that are cast out to their house, 
<^ when they see the naked to cover them, 
*' and not to hide themselves from their own 
^* flesh." 

In discussing this subject I propose 

I. To explain the obligations we are under 
io follow after charity, 

II. To consider the excuses which men em- 
ploy to justify themselves to the world, and to 
satisfy their own minds, for the neglect of this 

III. To suggest some directions for the ex- 
ercise of this duty ; and 

IV. Lastly, to state those motives which 
should induce you Xo follow after charity : 

A plan, you will easily perceive, too ex- 
tensive to be fully discussed in one discourse ; 
but you have so often heard and are all so well 
acquainted with topicks of this nature, that it 
would be an affront to vou to consider the 


matter too minutely ; and you will readily 
excuse me for saving you the trouble of listen- 
ing to familiar truths. 

I. The obligatioji of this duty will require 
only a very short discussion ; for however 
men may excuse themselves in particular 
cases, and differ about the extent in which 
charity ought to be practised, few are disposed 
to dispute the duty itself. 

That charity is a duty will appear with the 
fullest evidence, if we listen to the voice of 
naturCy of conscience^ and of revelation. 

In a state of nature it is evident that all men 
have an equal right to the earth and its pro* 
ductions. But this state, if it ever existed, 
could only be momentary. Possession itself 
would constitute an exclusive right, and every 
man would consider as his own the spot 
which his body occupied, and the tree under 
the shade of which he reclined. Superiour 
wisdom, strength and industry, in conjunc- 
tion with the kind aspect of providence, would 
soon procure to those who possessed them a 
larger share of the good things of this life. 
The skilful and diligent would become rich ; 
the idle and ignorant, unable to avail them- 
selves of their natural rights, w^ould sink into 


poverty and want. Thus would things pro- 
ceed, until the present compUcated fabrick of 
society was reared : 'till that distinction of 
ranks, that inequality of fortune and condition 
commenced, in consequence of which we 
behold some clothed in purple and fine linen 
and faring sumptuously every day, while 
others can scarcely procure rags sufficient to 
defend them against the severities of the sea- 
son, and are glad to feed on the crumbs that 
fall from the tables of the great. 

In such a state of society are we placed. 
Let us, then, inquire what claim the poor, in 
this situation, have on the bounty of the rich. 
I am far from saying that men are not entitled 
to the fruit of their industry and good fortune ; 
and that they ought to deny themselves the 
conveniences of life till all their neighbours 
have an equal share. But one thing you must 
allow, namely, that whatever you possess, 
properly speaking, belongs to the Almighty ; 
for as you derive all things, even life itself, 
from his bounty, you can only consider your- 
selves as stewards of what he has given you. 
If you obtained your possessions by inherit- 
ance, it certainly was not owing to your own 
merit that vou were born in affluence. If 


your riches have been acquhed by the exertion 
of your talents and industry, yH remember 
that these are the gift of God, and that, without 
the blessing of heaven, the best directed exer- 
tions will prove ineffectual. You may plant 
and water, but God alone giveth the increase. 
It is he who sendeth rain and fruitful seasons, 
filling us with food and gladness. It is the 
dew of heaven which maketh grass to grow for 
the cattle, and corn for the food of man. The 
wind bloweth where it listeth ; and, without 
the orders of him whom winds and waves 
obey, it will not waft your vessel to its destined 
port. Except the Lord build the house, they 
labour in vain that build it : except the Lord^ 
keep the city, the watchman wake but in vain. 
If therefore those good things which for a time 
are intrusted to your management are not your 
own, but the property of heaven, the obvious 
inference is, that you are bound to employ 
them in the manner which heaven has pointed 

Another thing which you must allow is, 
that the poor as well as the rich are the children 
of their common father in heaven . But where 
is the father who does not allow his children 
food and raiment ? Has a wise and good being 


brought into existence creatures for whose 
subsistence he has not provided ? By an ar- 
rangement the most admirable and perfect, 
ample provision is made by the Almighty for 
the support of all his works. He clothes the 
lilies of the field ; he feeds the fowls of the 
air : he gives to the beasts of the forest their 
meat in due season. And is his rational crea- 
tion, who are much better than they, and on 
whom he has stamped his own image, to be 
alone neglected and left a prey to misery and 
want ? No, certainly. The most poor and 
wretched have provision made for them. It 
is the will of heaven that they should subsist. 
And where is this provision made but in the 
abundance and superfluity of the rich ? To 
this therefore they have a claim ; it is provided 
for them. If the bounty of the rich be the 
only means of their subsistence, it is plainly 
the will of God that they should partake of it. 
And the ivill of God is the duty of man. 

It thus appears to be the law of nature, that 
the rich should bestow a part of their goods to 
relieve the poor. It is likewise the law of 
conscience, which is nothing but the voice of 
God speaking within us, with no less certainty 
and efficacy than his works speak without. 

SERMON Vli. 12 1 

For every man, who has not entirely eradicated 
all the sentiments of humanity, must be con^ 
scious, that there is a principle of cJompassion 
in our frame which leads us to weep with 
those who weep, and to sympathize with our 
neighbour in distress. He who can contem- 
plate the miseries of others without concern, 
who, like the priest and levite in the gospel, 
can behold with indifference his sick and 
wounded and needy brother, and pass by un- 
moved, is a monster in human shape, and in- 
stead of obeying, he drowns that voice which 
would inform him of his duty. 

But though we may suppress the feelings of 
nature, we cannot silence the voice of revela- 
tion, the commands of which are equally posi-^ 
live on this subject, and occur in numberless 
passages both of the Old and New Testament. 
What says Moses, and what says Jesus Christ 
with regard to the poor and the afflicted ? 
Thus spake the Lord to his people the Jews : 
-** If there be among you a poor man, of one 
" of thy brethren, within any of the gates of 
** the land which the Lord thy God giveth 
'* thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor 
** shut thine hand from thy poor brother. 
** Thou shalt surely give him, and thine hearl: 

V©L. II, 1 


*' shall not be grieved when thou givest unto 

'^ him, because that for this thing the Lord thy 

'* God shall bless thee in all thy works and in 

*' all thou puttest thine hand unto. For the 

*^ poor shall never cease out of the land : 

<* therefore I command thee saying, thou 

'* shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, 

^* to thy poor and to thy needy in thy land.'' 

Throughout the New Testament, charity 

holds the first rank among all the virtues, and 

is recommended on a liberal and extensive 

plan ; not being confined to our own kindred 

and nation, but comprehending w^ithin its 

wide embrace the whole race of man. It is 

called the bond of perfection ; it is considered 

as the only infallible test of our character, 

without which the possession of every other 

virtue is unavailing, or indeed unattainable. 

** Though I speak with the tongue of men and 

"■ of angels,'' says St. Paul, '' though I have 

*' the gift of prophecy, and understand all 

'* mysteries and all knowledge, and though 

*' I have all faith, so that I could remove 

** mountains, and have not charity, I am 

'' nothing." *' Whoso hath this world's 

<« goods," says St. John, '' and seeth hisbroth- 

" er have need, and shutteth up his bowels of 


*• compassion from him, how dwellcth the 
*' love of God in him ?" In short, our Saviour 
has expressly taught us that by works of char- 
ity and mercy our fate shall be determined at 
the last day. 

II. From what has been now said, the obli- 
gation of charity clearly appears ; but while 
men allow the obligation in general, they are 
always inventing pretences and excuses for 
neglecting it in particular cases. The validity 
of these I now proceed to consider. 

1. The majority of mankind apologize for 
refusing to relieve the distressed, by saying 
that charity is a duty incumbent only on the 
rich ; their income is sufficient for the support 
only of themselves and their families, and after 
their necessary expenses are paid, they have 
nothing to spare for objects of distress. This 
excuse, when made with sincerity and truth, 
is so far good that no man is required to give 
beyond his ability. But you cannot be igno- 
rant that the smallness of the sum you can 
afford to give, does not diminish the obligation 
or lessen your merit. You are bound to give 
your little, as much as the rich to give out of 
their abundance ; and if you give with a wil- 
ling mind, you will be accepted according to 


what you have, and not according to what you 
have not. You remember the poor widow, 
who cast all her living into the treasury for the 
poor, and whose two mites were of more value 
in the sight of God than all the gifts of the 

But, farther, let me ask you, by what rule 
you determine that which is necessary, or 
that which is competent ? If you are directed 
by the maxims and opinions of the world, you 
follow a very erroneous guide. Nay more, 
be your riches what they may, they will never 
exceed competence, and of course you will 
never be rich enough to give any thing away. 
If you follow your own inclinations in this 
matter, and suppose every thing necessary, 
which is necessary to feed your vanity and 
pride, to gratify your love of pleasure and 
amusement, to satisfy every whim and caprice, 
then, to get rid of this duty, you have only to 
become voluptuous and ostentatious, dissolute 
and profuse. In proportion as the passions 
you have to gratify increase, your obligation 
to works of goodness will diminish, and that 
multitude of sins and follies, which we are told 
charity will cover, will only prove an apology 
for peglecting its performaijpe. 


How inconsistent are the opinions and con^ 
duct of men. On every other occasion, how 
unwilling are they to confess their poverty. 
How often, to keep up the reputation of be- 
ing wealthy, do they endeavour to conceal a 
real derangement of affairs by expensive ap- 
pearances of pomp and show. 1 heir vanity 
forsakes them only when reminded of the 
duties of charity and mercy ; then they not 
only confess, but exaggerate their poverty ; 
their hardness of heart gets the better not only 
of their virtue, but even of their vanity itself. 
Now will any one be imposed on by so shal- 
low an excuse as that which is thus proposed, 
when he considers your manner of life ? You 
are too poor to spare a rag to cover the naked- 
ness of your brother, but you are rich enough 
to spend immense sums in the decoration of 
your own person. You are too poor to be- 
stow a trifle to purchase a crutch for the lame, 
but you are rich enough to keep a splendid 
equipage for your own convenience and in- 
dulgence. You are too poor to give a morsel 
of bread to him who is ready to perish, but 
you are rich enough to spend in a single en- 
tertainment for your friends, who stand in no 
need of your bounty, what would have dif- 


fused happiness through a helpless family for 
a whole year. You have money enough to 
stake at the gaming table, and have you none 
to lay out for the prize of the high-calling of 
God in Jesus Christ ? 

2. Some men complain of the wayward- 
ness of the times, of losses and misfortunes 
which they have sustained, of unsuccessful 
trade, and of unprofitable seasons, vvhich 
make it difficult for themselves to live in their 
former style, and consequently exempt them 
from every obligation to charity. But if such 
men would duly examine their own character 
and conduct,' in them, perhaps, they would 
discover the source of such disastrous events. 
They would, perhaps, discern the hand of 
God lifted up to avenge the cause of the poor, 
(whose cries ascend to heaven against the il- 
liberal and hard-hearted,) to punish the rich 
for their want of compassion, and to convince 
them that they ought not to be so sparing of 
what does not properly belong to them, and 
of which they may so easily be deprived. 
Such events, then, are intended to promote 
and not to extinguish charily. Endeavour, 
therefore, by works of charity and mercy, by 
prayers and alms, to recover the favour of 


God. Heaven frowns on the unfeeling miser, 
but ever looks with kind regard on the boun- 
rtiful and generous. Your land will again 
yield its Increase ; success will accompany 
your endeavours ; and riches will yet flow in 

And if a change of circumstances make 
some retrenchments necessary, why begin 
with that which you owe to the poor ? Re- 
trench your pleasures ; retrench your amuse- 
ments ; retrench your attendants ; retrench 
your vices, before you retrench your duties. 

Lastly, if j/()wr situation be uneasy in times 
of general misfortune and distress, think seri- 
ously what must be the situation of those who 
can with difficulty subsist in the best of times. 
Tlien, more than ever, is your assistance re- 
quired, when no works are carried on to em- 
ploy the active and industrious; when the 
small pittance which they obtain from their 
own exertions and the charity of the humane, 
is so soon swallowed up by the high price of 
provisions ; and when the season of the year 
forbids their being dispersed into asylums of 

3. Many men excuse themselves by say- 
ing, that the demands upon them are so fre- 

1^8 SERMON Vlt 

qucnt that their charity is altogether exhaus- 
ted, and that were they to give something to 
every one who asks relief, nothing would be 
left for the support of their own family. Strange 
it is that the very circumstance which should 
excite your liberality, makes you the more 
uncharitable. The great number of the un- 
fortunate is the reason why your charity is so 
loudly called for. If few persons were to be 
relieved your bounty would be the less neces- 
sary, at least, necessary in a less degree. 
But in times of hardship and want, no man 
who is himself above the fear of want, ought 
to withhold his mite. 

Your concern for the interests of your fami- 
ly is laudable. '* If you provide not for your 
^* own, especially for those of your own 
^* house, you have denied the faith and are 
*' worse than an infidel.'' Perhaps too indus- 
try and economy are the best bestowed chari- 
ty ; for they may prevent you and your de- 
scendants from becoming a future burden on 
the publick. But think how much a small 
matter saved from your daily expenses, and of 
no consequence to you, would add to the 
happiness of the poor, and you will not surely 
i!»efuse to deny yourself a luxury, when, by 

SERMON Vir, 12D 

doing so, you can save a number of your 
hungry and naked and houseless brethrcii. 
from misery and death. 

The reason why we feel charity so great a 
burden is, that our charity is extended upon 
no settled plan, but is merely accidental. In 
general all our income is applied to the pur- 
poses of our own expenditure, and, of course, 
every farthing given to the poor is a diminu- 
tion of our enjoyment. But would men allot 
yearly a certain portion of what they possess 
for the relief of the indigent and distressed, 
and reserve that as a sacred and inviolable de- 
posit put into their hands by the common 
father of the rich and poor, intended for the 
benefit of the latter ; then they would feel the 
exercise of charity no hardship, the number 
of miserable objects would speedily decrease, 
and plenty, cheerfulness and joy, would be 
widely diffused throughout society. 

III. The third thing which I proposed, was, 
to suggest some directions for the exercise of 
this virtue. And, in my opinion, you will 
not err, if your charity extends to proper ob- 
jects, proceeds from piopcr viotives, and is 
performed in a proper manner, 

1. In general the most destitute are the 

VOL. II. s 

130 SERMOiyJ VII. 

most worthy objects of our charity. Misery^ 
in whatever shape or in whatever character, 
whether in our friends or in our foes, in the 
good or in the bad, is the object of our com- 
passion, and calls for our assistance. The 
generous and wounded soldier who gave the 
cup of water brought to quench his own 
thirst, to another whose necessities appeared 
greater, acted according to the true spirit of 

It is an opinion both erroneous and danger- 
ous, that hatred of vice should render us un-^ 
compassionate to sinners, or that variance and 
animosity should make us deaf to the cries of 
our enemy in distress. There can be no 
greater act of charity than to reclaim the 
vicious ; there is not a more express precept 
in the gospel than that we feed our enemy, 
when he is hungry, and give him drink 
when he is thirsty. It is thus that we are 
treated by our heavenly father, whose fairest 
and best-loved attribute it is to pity and for- 
give, who maketh his sun to rise on the evil 
and the good, and sendeth rain on the just 
and on the unjust. This is the example set 
us by our great Master who performed towards 
Us, even when we were enemies and sinners. 


the greatest act of charity and mercy which 
ever did or ever can happen in the universe. 
It is impossible to particularize the different 
objects which are worthy of your charity. 
Look around you, and you will will see a 
sufficient number of them. Among those 
who request your assistance you will distm- 
guish the industrious, who, after all their 
efforts, are unable to supply their own and 
their children's wants ; the aged and infirm 
whose arm is now unstrung, and who, decli- 
nmg into the winter of life, no longer display 
the blossoms of spring or the fruit of autumn ; 
the helpless orphan on whose tender years no 
parent of their own ever smiled, whom no 
protector defends from the early and infec- 
tious blasts of vice, to whom no guardian and 
instructor points out the path of duty. But 
above all, you ought to distinguish those who, 
after being accustomed to affluence and plen- 
ty, are by some unforeseen accident, some 
sudden reverse of fortune, without any fault 
of their own, reduced to bear the galling 
yoke of poverty ; who, after being the father 
of the fatherless, the stay of the orphan, and 
the shield of the stranger, now need that 
charity which they were wont so liberally to 

im SERMON vri. 

dispense, To them poverty must be the more 
insupportable, because they are prevented by 
modesty from making kown their v/ants and 
disclosing their misery. To their assistance, 
then, let the charitable and open hand be 
stretched out. In their case, too, let charity 
be performed with that secrecy and tenderness 
which their delicate and susceptible disposi- 
tions require. 

2. While your charity is extended only to 
proper objects, it ought also to proceed from 
proper motives. On the principle from which 
any action arises, depends its merit or demerit. 
If we are charitable from motives of pride and 
ostentation, that we may be seen of men, and 
may gain the applause of the world, our char- 
ity is but as a sounding brass or a tinkling 
cymbol. The observations of our Lord on this 
subject are highly pertinent and well deserve 
our attention. To prevent the mixture of im- 
proper motives in the exercise of charity, he 
requires that it be done in secret. '* Take 
*^ heed,*' says he, *' that ye do not your alms 
*' before men, to be seen of them ; otherwise 
'^ ye have no reward of your father which is in 
'^ heaven. Therefore, when thou doest thine 
•* alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee. 


** as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues and 
'* in the streets, that they may have glory of 
** men. Verily, I say unto you, they have 
** their reward. But when thou doest alms, let 
** not thy right hand know what thy left hand 
" doth : that thine alms may be in secret, and 
** thy father which seeth in secret himself 
** shall reward thee openly." 

In like manner, think not by works of char- 
ity to compound for other sins with which 
you are unwilling to part. Some would be 
glad to give a Httle of their goods for the relief 
of the poor, provided it would screen them 
from the punishment due to fraud, injustice, 
and oppression, and were they allowed to 
spend the rest in extravagant and unlawful 
pleasures. In former times, indeed, religion 
was of a nature so accommodating as to admit 
pretensions of this kind. If any man, at the 
close of a wicked and abandoned life, expend- 
ed the money he had acquired by violence 
and deceit, in building churches, in erectmg 
monasteries, and in founding charitable insti- 
tutions, all his former offences were blotted 
out, and his saintship infallibly secured. But 
we preach a very different religion. Not that 
we are less anxious than our predecessors that 


you should practise works of charity ; but we 
wish you to be just as well as charitable ; we 
wish you to act from purer motives than hy- 
pocrisy and a love of praise. If your wealth 
has been acquired by extortion and rapine, by 
grinding the face of the poor and oppressing 
the stranger who is within thy gates, by over- 
reaching the unv/ary, or withholding from 
your creditor his due ; and you think that by 
giving some little of it away in charity, you 
may safely continue In the same course of 
profitable Iniquity, cast it not into the treasury 
of the Lord ; It Is the price of blood and of 
sin, and cannot be received. 

3. Let your charity be performed in 2i proper" 
manner. This rule is of more consequence 
than may at first be imagined. An action, 
however good In itself. If performed in an im- 
proper manner, loses half its merit. Many a 
charitable deed is performed In so harsh and 
insuhing a manner, or Is accompanied with 
so liberal a proportion of reproach and invec» 
tlve, that a refusal of the gift desired would 
have been far less disagreeable. To grant a 
request with a willing heart, to confer a favour 
with delicacy and propriety, is one of the most 
difficult offices which occur in the intercourse 


of society. Let your charity, then, be per- 
formed in a kind and compassionate manner ; 
and shew that you feel and are interested for 
the person whom you reUeve. Give your 
alms with gentleness and aifability, avoid- 
ing all harshness of manner, and all unne- 
cessary display of superiority. Be charita- 
ble with a glad spirit ; give cheerfully and 
without reluctance ; and let no appearance 
of force and restraint detract from the merit of 
your virtue, or cause your good to be evil 
spoken of. 

IV. I shall now conclude with stating a few 
of the motives which should induce you to 
follow after charity. 

And iirst, let me observe, that the intrinsick 
excellence and beauty of this virtue, are suffi- 
cient to recommend it to all the lovers of what 
is great and beautiful. How noble, how god- 
like an employment, to supply the wants of 
the necessitous, to raise up the bowed down, 
to heal the wounds of the afflicted, and to 
smooth the bed of sickness ! Such conduct 
must be free from all selfish and interested 
motives ; from the poor and wretched we can 
expect no return. By such conduct we shew 
ourselves to be the genuine children of our 


father in heaven, who is the helper of the 
poor, the father of the fatherless, and the hus- 
band of the widow, who giveth unto all liber- 
ally and upbraideth none, who is constantly 
conferring favours on those who profit him 
nothing. By such conduct we shew ourselves 
to be the true disciples of Jesus, whose life 
was one continued course of charity and good- 
ness to mankind. 



On Meekness : its nature and great excellence in 
the sight oj God, 

i^SALM 25, VeHSE 'i. 

" The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will 
he teach his way. 

Religion, while it elevates the soul to God, 
and teaches us to set our affections on things 
above, neglects not the duties of civil life, or 
those laws which regulate our connections 
with one another. It not only prepares us 
for a future life, by prescribing doctrines and 
precepts for the cultivation of our moral and 
religious powers ; but it also smooths our road 
through the present stage of existence, and 
sweetens the intercourse of society, by incul- 
cating love, gentleness and meekness. The 
wisdom which cometh from above is pure, 
peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated : 
full of mercy and of good fruits. 



Among the virtues of the Christian life, that 
of meekness, though accompanied with less 
show than many others, does not hold a less 
important place. It is a disposition of mind 
highly amiable in itself; it is a distinguishing 
mark of the disciples of Jesus ; it is extremely 
favourable to the cultivation and improvement 
of every other virtue ; and it is of high price 
in the sight of God. '' The meek will he 
** guide in judgment ; and the meek will he 
** teach his way/' Let us attempt to describe 
it, and to point out the blessedness with which 
it is connected, 

I. This virtue is not the effect of natural 
disposition, nor is it a habit to be acquired in 
the school of the world ; but it is a Christian 
grace, and a fruit of the Spirit. There are 
some who have in them much of the milk of 
human kindness, and who consequently pos- 
sess a softness of disposition which is productive 
of an easy, gentle, and inoffensive behaviour. 
But such men are yielding and submissive 
more from want of spirit and firmness to with- 
stand opposition, than from any fixed princi- 
ple of conduct. There are others who have 
much complaisance in their behaviour, and 
much smoothness of phrase in their speech. 


who yet have not ** the ornament of a meek 
•' and quiet sphit." They have been much 
conversant in the w^ays of men ; they have 
acquired an artificial pohtencss v^hich enables 
them to conceal every feeling of disgust and 
dislike; and often, under the veil of gentle 
appearances and the most obliging manners, 
they conceal the bitterest malice and ill-will. 
But the meekness which is taught in the school 
of Jesus, is founded on a good temper, a steady 
principle of virtue, a modest opinion of our- 
selves, a sincere benevolence and good will to 
our neighbour, and above all, a love of peace 
and quietness. It is in no respect inconsistent 
with firmness and vigour of mind ; it is yield- 
ing and submissive in no one point of reli- 
gious or moral importance ; it is more nearly 
connected with a natural politeness, which 
proceeds from the heart, than with an artificial 
complaisance of ni'inners. 

Meekness must also be distinguished from 
gentleness, a virtue to which it bears a very 
great resemblance, and with which it is often, 
perhaps, unavoidably, confounded. We have 
no way to judge of moral habits, but by the 
effect which they produce ; and both meek- 
ness and gentleness are productive of the same 


calm, mild, and equable behaviour. But, 
properly speaking, gentleness is a qualifica- 
tion of those actions which we do to others ; 
meekness, of those actions which regard the 
conduct of others towards us, or the events 
which happen to us from without. Thus we 
are said to give a reproof with gentleness or 
tenderness, and to receive it with meekness. 

Who, then, is the meek man ? What in- 
fluence has this virtue on the character and 

In one respect, meekness does not differ 
from humihty. The meek man is modest 
and diffident in his opinion of himself. 
He is sensible of the weakness and corrup- 
tion of his nature, and of the greatness and 
frequency of his own particular faults. In 
his composition there is no arrogance nor 
pride, no obstinacy nor self-conceit. He is 
not haughty, distant, or reserved ; but is free 
of access, and easy to be entreated. In his 
manners he is unaffected ; in his behaviour 
unassuming ; in his dispositions complying 
and obliging. When he is blamed or spoken 
evil of, he is more ready to confess his faults, 
and to condemn himself, than to retaliate up- 
on others. If any man differ in opinion from 


him, he is disposed rather to distrust his own 
than to condemn the other's judgment. In 
every case where his own opinions and in- 
clinations are concerned, he will rather yield, 
than, by disputation and opposition, produce 
animosity and discord. I do not, however, 
mean that he will yield in matters of duty 
and of essential importance. This would be 
a servile and sinful compliance, not the meek 
and humble submission to which I allude ; 
and it would indicate the greatest weakness 
and corruption of mind. On these points the 
meekest man will give place, no, not for a 
moment. But in matters of indifter'^nce, 
and in trifles, he is by no means anxious to 
impose his opinion upon others. And it 
must be remembered that the greatest part of 
human life is nothing but a series of little and 
unimportant events ; and that thesg are the 
chief cause of those jarrings and dissentions 
which disturb and embitter human society. 
For it is an observation founded on experience 
that men seldom quarrel about serious and 
important matters. Their evil passions and 
prejudices, their obstinacy and self-conceit, 
are most apparent in things of no moment. 
And unhappily this is the case particularly 


in matters of religion. The less essential 
any doctrine is, the more eagerly is it con- 
tested ; the smaller the difference is between 
parties and sects, their virulence against each 
other becomes proportionably greater. 

Farther, the meek man is actuated by good 
will to others, judges of their actions with 
charity, and views their characters in the 
most favourable Hght. With him there is no 
malice, nor envying, nor strife. This arises 
from the former part of his character, viz. 
the just opinion which he has of himself, for 
it is by viewing our own character and con- 
duct in too favourable a pomt of view, that 
we are often led to think unfavourably of 
others. He who loveth himself more than 
he ought to do, will not love his brother also. 
But the meek man wishes well to all man- 
kind ; i:ejoiceth in the success of others ; 
envyeth not their attainments ; is candid to 
their merits ; unwilling to think evil of any 
man ; always leans to the charitable side, 
where an action admits of two Interpretations. 
In short, the calmness and serenity of his own 
lyiind is diffused over every thing around him. 
To the jaundiced eye, every thing is of an 
unnatural colour. All appears distorted and. 

SERMON Viri. us 

deformed to a mind troubled with fierce and 
angry passions. But the mind of the meek 
man is Hke a clear and undisturbed lake, 
which reflects every object in its true colours 
and its just dimensions. 

Again, the meek man bears with the faults 
and weaknesses of others ; is slow to wrath ; 
unwilHng to take offence ; and ready to for- 
give the injuries which he receives. In these 
respects, he is directly opposite to several 
characters which are too common in the 
world. The first are the severe and unre- 
lenting who make no allowance for the un- 
avoidable imperfections incident to human 
nature ; to whom the follies of men are un- 
pardonable crimes ; who yield not in one 
minute article even to preserve the peace and 
happiness of society. But the meek careful- 
ly observe those injunctions which abound in 
the New Testament, to bear one another's 
burdens, and to suffer with the infirmities of 
the weak. They copy the example of Jesus, 
who pleased not himself, but on whom fell 
the reproaches of those who reproached others. 
The God of patience and of consolation, who 
knoweth our frame, and remembereth that 
we are dust, commandeth them to be like- 
minded one towards another. 


The next class of men from whom tli6 
meek essentially differ, are the passionate ; 
who are full of wrath and anger, whose pas- 
sions are so furious that the smallest spark is 
sufficient to set them in a blaze, who take 
offence at every disrespectful word or gesture, 
who resent every real or imagined injury. 
But meekness suffereth long, beareth all 
things, is not easily provoked. The meek 
man is greater than the mighty, for he hath 
rule over his own spirit. No fierce or unruly 
passion is allowed to disturb his repose ; no 
darkness obscures the sunshine of his mind« 
He knoweth the real value of the honours 
and advantages of the world, and passes by 
those little neglects, affronts and injuries, 
which create so many heart-burnings and 
animosities among men. He is careful to ob- 
serve the direction of the Apostle; 'Met all 
" bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and cla- 
*« mour, be put away from you. And be ye 
'' kind to one another, tender hearted, for- 
*' giving one another.'' The last thing op- 
posed to meekness in the view in which we 
are considering it, is that peevishness and 
fretfulness of temper which begets ill-humours 
and discontent, and convert every event and 


action into food for its own disorder. Such 
men continually wear a face of gloom and 
uneasiness ; they are discontented and dis- 
pleased with every thing around them. But 
the meek man is ever pleased, cheerful, and 
easy. He is at peace with himself, and con- 
sequently under no temptation not to be at 
peace with others. If, at any time, serious 
provocation has led him into anger, the sun 
goeth not down upon his wrath. It is a guest 
that tarrieth but a little. He never allows it 
to settle into resentment, malice or revenge. 
His behaviour is ever gentle, placid, and 
equal. He meets the calamities and disap- 
pointments of life with humble submission and 
pious resignation. In every situation he pos- 
sesseth his soul in patience. Though the 
storm howls without, all is calm and serene 
within. His spirits are never ruffled by mis- 
fortune, his mind is never unhinged by dis- 
appointment, and good humour and content- 
ment are the constant inhabitants of his dwel- 

Lastly, the great feature in the character of 
the meek man, is his love of peace and quiet- 
ness. He is not fond of high and elevated 
stations, of the shew and bustle of life. His 

VOL. II. u 


delight is in ease and retirement. He know- 
eth that the thunder more often attacks the 
lotty building and the high tower than the 
lowly cottage. He sees the mountain assail- 
ed by the blast while not a breath is stirring 
in the vale, and the oak bending under the 
storm while nothing disturbs the ivy which 
creeps upon the wall. But if his situation 
lead him to mingle in the world, as far as in 
him lieth, he liveth peaceably with all men. 
He seeketh for peace as for hidden treasure, 
and often parts with his rights, and sacrifices 
his interest to maintain it. He provoketh not 
others to anger, nor administers fuel to their 
passions, but by a soft answer turneth away 
wrath. *' Pleasant are his words," to use the 
language of Solomon, '* they are as honey- 
*' comb, sweet to the soul, and marrow to the 
'* bones.'* Not only does he live peaceably 
with others himself, but he also endeavours 
to make all men live at peace with one an- 
other. He tries to allay the heats, animosities 
and discords, which must take place in the 
intercourse of mankind, where the passions 
and mterests of men interfere so much, and 
so directly oppose one another. He piicifies 
the resentment of the angry, sooths the 

SERMON VIll. 147 

irascible, brings the peevish into good hu- 
mour, rejoices to make one blessed family of 
mankind, to behold all men uniting in love 
to God and love to man. 

Upon the whole, the virtue which has been 
dehneated, and which it was found impossi- 
ble to keep entirely distinct from several other 
virtues, humility, patience, contentment, is 
that which is recommended by the Apostle 
Paul in these words, '* Put on (as the elect 
'* of God, holy and beloved,) bowels of mer- 
*' cies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meek- 
'* ness, long-suffering, forbeaiing one another, 
" and forgiving one another.'* 

But the best description of meekness is to 
be met with in the history of the life and 
character of Jesus. There we find meekness 
to be not a virtue of which only an idea can 
be formed, without the possibility of its be- 
ing practised ; but we see it actually embodi- 
ed and in human form dwelling among men. 
Meek and lowly in heart was the son of God ; 
he was humble in his deportment ; every 
action of his life was full of condescension, 
gentleness and love. The Legislator of the 
Jews was called the meekest man on earth, 
but a meeker than Moses is here. Isaiah 


saw him in prophetic vision, and thus de- 
scribed him : *' He shall not strive, nor cry, 
** neither shall any man hear his voice in the 
*' streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, 
*' and smoking flax shall he not quench. 
'* When hev\^as reviled, he reviled not again, 
*' When he suffered, he threatened not.'' To 
the errours of his friends, he v^as mild and 
gentle ; he v^as patient under, and ready to 
forgive the injuries, reproaches, and insults 
of his enemies. When the impetuous zeal of 
his disciples led them to beg that he would 
command fire to descend from heaven, and 
consume a people who believed not on his 
name, with what meekness did he reprove 
their fault, and correct their mistake ? " Ye 
'' know not v.'hat manner of spirit ye are of; 
^* the son of man came not to destroy men's 
^' lives, but to save them/' Though he came 
to his own, and his own received him not, 
he was not angry and exasperated at their 
rejection of him, but when he drew near un- 
to Jerusalem, he beheld the city and wept 
over it. When Jesus left the celestial man- 
sions to become a man of sorrows and ac- 
quainted with grief, meekness descended 
along with him from heaven, and accom- 


panied him during the whole of his abode 
upon earth. Amidst the hardships of his 
humble station, and notwithstanding the ob- 
loquy, the neglect, and the ill usage which 
he met with, she was his constant attendant. 
She breathed in his words, she shone forth in 
his looks. When, towards the close of his 
life, his friends forsook him and fled, when 
malice was directing all her shafts against him, 
when cruelty assailed him in the most terri- 
ble forms, when justice refused to listen to 
his cry, when pity seemed to have almost 
entirely fled from the society of men, even 
then meekness did not desert him, but dicta- 
ted his last words, which were a prayer for 
his enemies, '* Father forgive them, for they 
^* know not what they do." 

Not only was meekness a distinguishing 
feature in the character of our Master; it is 
also the spirit which every part of his religion 
breathes. Before his appearance, the very 
reverse of this virtue was evident both in the 
general state of society and in the characters 
of individuals. It was the age of war and 
conquest. The arts of civil and domestick 
life were unknown and uncultivated, and 
rapine, bloodshed and cruelty, prevailed over 


the face of the earth. In private life, too, 
however much they might cuUivate patriotism, 
courage, and other shining quahfications, the 
peaceful virtue of meekness escaped their 
notice. Both Jews and Gentiles were re- 
markable for a pride and haughtiness of char- 
acter very inconsistent with the weak and de- 
pendent state of human nature. They had 
some love for their friends, but it went no 
farther. They knew not what it was to for- 
bear taking offence, or to forgive injuries. 
The dagger of assassination was daily drawn 
in revenge of wrongs. Man became the ene- 
my of man, and those who should have lived 
together as brethren, took pleasure only in 
promoting discord and disorder, or, like savage 
beasts, in devouring one another. But this 
is not so much a matter of surprise, when 
they neglected the true foundation of peace 
and harmony ; when even their moralists and 
philosophers represented meekness, gentleness 
and humility, as nearly allied to weakness of 
mind, and meanness of spirit, and as incon- 
sistent with a great and noble character. But 
what were the precepts of Jesus and his 
Apostles ? *' Blessed are the meek," said he, 
*' Jor they shall inherit the earth.'* When his 


disciples were disputing about precedence and 
power, Jesus called a little child and set him 
in the midst of them, and said unto them, 
*' except ye become as little children, ye shall 
^' not enter into the kingdom of heaven." In 
truth, to love one another, to live at peace 
with all men, to bear the infirmities of the 
weak, to forgive the wrongs of the injurious, 
to be slow to wrath, to cultivate meekness, 
gentleness and kindness, are the constant 
precepts of that charitable religion, which 
was proclaimed by the Saviour of men, and 
which proceeded from the God of peace ; 
that religion whose benign influences have 
dispelled the ignorance and barbarity of the 
nations, enlightened and civilized the human 
mind, softened and refined the manners of 
society, restrained the ravages and the cruelty 
of war, mitigated the severity of punishments, 
and taught all men to consider themselves as 
the children of one universal parent, who is 
** good unto all, and whose tender mercies 
" are over all his works/' 

Besides, how much reason have we to re- 
joice in the happiness of our lot, when we 
compare Christianity with another pretended 
revelation from God, which has gained over 


to its side a great part of the human race ! 
What joy and exultation should fill our minds 
when we contemplate the character and life 
of Jesus, and then consider the character of 
the ferocious prophet of the east ; when we 
behold our Saviour meek and lowly in heart, 
condescending and inoffensive to all men, and 
after that, turn our eyes to Mahomet dyed in 
blood, riding in triumph over thousands of 
slain, and dragging the proselytes of his re- 
ligion at the wheels of his chariot ; what de- 
lightful joy should we not feel when we 
compare the gospel which proclaims peace on 
earth, and good will towards men, with that 
religion which carries war and desolation in 
its train, and every step of which has been 
marked with cruelty and rapine. 

This virtue, then, though confined chiefly 
to the calm sequestered vale of life, or to the 
scenes of private and domestick retirement, 
cannot be unimportant when it runs through 
every part of our holy religion, when it is so 
often, and so eagerly recommended by it, and 
when it has so great an influence on the hap- 
piness of mankind. It is not calculated to 
gain the applause of men, but it is of high 
price in the sight of God, To do acts of pub- 


lick and extensive utility, to save a falling or 
raise a sinking state, to scatter plenty o'er a 
land, is the lot of only a few men in an age or 
nation. Years may pass over our heads, be- 
fore we have an opportunity of practising any 
great and shining virtue, of visiting with com- 
fort in our hands the widow and fatherless in 
their affliction, of smoothing the bed of death, 
or of pouring the oil and wine of consolation 
into the wounded spirit : but every man has it 
in his power to diffuse peace and joy around 
him by the meekness and gentleness of his 
behaviour. There is not a day nor hour of 
our life wherein we may not add to the hap- 
piness of the world, by cultivating a meek 
and quiet spirit. And how blessed would be 
the state of society, were this virtue univer- 
sally practised ! ** How good and how pleas- 
'* ant is it for brethren to dwell together in 
*' unity ! It is as the dew of Hermon, and as 
** the dew that descended on the mountains 
*'ofZion.'' Indeed we can form no greater 
idea of the happiness of the higher mansions, 
where every thing, like the calm and un- 
troubled ocean, reflects the serenity of God's 
countenance ; where the dissensions, and an- 
gers, and quarrels, and storms which render 



the sea of life so tempestuous, are all blown 
over ; and where the reign of universal peace 
and harmony is begun, and shall never be 

II. But the mere description of this virtue 
will not be sufficient to induce you to practise 
it. Is the meek man without his reward ? 
Doth he serve God for nought f No, my friends, 
he doth not serve God for nought. Great is 
the reward of meekness considered with re- 
spect to the pdssessour himself, with respect to 
the world around him, and with respect to 
God whose approbation he seeks. 

I . Great is the blessedness of meekness con- 
sidered with respect to the possessour of that 
virtue. Of every virtue it has been justly ob- 
served that it is its own reward : for each is 
accompanied with that self-approbation, that 
peace and satisfaction of mind which, next to 
the enjoyment of God, is the greatest felicity 
aiCainable by human beings. But meekness 
is calculated not only from the reward of self- 
approl)ation which accompanies it, but also 
from its very nature to produce this effect. 
For in what does that internal enjoyment 
wluc h is so great an ingredient in human hap- 
piness consist, but in the proper regulation of 


our passions, appetites, and affections ; in that 
calm, serene, and meek temper of mind which 
has been described in the former part of the 
discourse? Ihe conduct of others, however 
unjust or injurious, and the events of life, how- 
ever calamitous and adverse, cannot affect the 
repose of him who possesses a meek and quiet 
spirit. He has a source of happiness and en- 
joyment in the temper and constitution of his 
own mind, of which he can no more be de- 
prived than of his existence. The reproaches 
and censures of others cannot hurt the man 
who has a modest and humble opinion of his 
own character. Envy cannot torment the 
breast of him who views the success and hap- 
piness of others with complacency and de- 
light. Injury and insult meet with no cor- 
responding passions in a mind regulated by 
meekness, and taught to suffer with patience 
and composure the wrongs of the oppressor. 
Those evils which happen alike to all men, 
are soothed and mitigated by a soft and gentle 
and complying temper. To bear adversity 
with becoming dignity, a bold and courageous 
spirit are altogether insufficient : patience and 
submission are the only remedies. The blast 
shatters the tree which endeavours to resist its 


power, but passes over without injuring the 
shrub whieh yields to its force. What then 
can disturb the meek man ? No evil can reach 
him from without, and within all is peace and 

If meekness have such an influence on our 
happiness in the day of adversity, how much 
more does it gild the sunshine of prosperity. 
He who has been depressed beyond measure 
in adversity, will be intemperate in the day of 
success. He only who has borne with patience 
and calmness, misfortune and disappointment, 
can display that moderation and temperance 
in prosperity which are necessary to the proper 
enjoyment of life. Tumultuous and excessive 
joys are unknown to the meek man ; his mind 
moves in that calm and equal tenour which 
gives a true relish to life. The sunshine seems 
brighter when it follows or precedes a storm ; 
but meekness resembles that clear and serene 
sky which is a stranger to storms and tempests. 

To cultivate meekness, then, is to cultivate 
quietness, peace, and happiness. He who has 
attained this virtue, is in possession of a treasure 
superiour to the riches of the earth, which the 
world has not given, and which it cannot take 
away. It is our interest, therefore, to studv 


meekness for its own sake, and in considera- 
tion of that internal peace which it brings in 
its train. But the motives to the practice of 
this virtue, will be much stronger if we con- 
sider it with regard to others. 

II. Great is the reward of meekness as re* 
gards the world. Nothing counteracts the 
malevolence and discordant principles of socie- 
ty more than the tender spirit which keeps 
aloof from dissension and contest. The pas- 
sions of men are in the moral world what the 
raging tempest is in the natural — command 
the elements and you make peace — command 
the passions and discord ceases to rave. The 
angry, when they meet with gentle words and 
mild demeanour, are disarmed of their fero- 
city, the opposition that elicits their fiery par- 
ticles is removed and they depart harmless 
and without riot. 

The meek man, like the skilful artist, 
touches the rudest machinery with the finest 
instrument, and causes it to obey his wish. 
He combats not by strength but by gentleness; 
he opposes not with violence, but he conquers 
by moderation ; he disarms the terrible of 
their weapons, as if by enchantment, and their 
instruments of death fall harmless at his feel. 


'^ Blessed are the meek for they shall in« 
'^ herit the earth,'* saith our Lord; and, my 
brethren, the meek do inherit all that is valu- 
able upon earth — they inherit peace and un- 
ruffled happiness. They inherit moreover 
the friendship of all the good, which is more 
precious than the goods that perish. Nor is 
this all. The meek inherit the blessings of 
all men ; for they are faithful and just friends, 
are enemies to none, encroach not upon the 
possessions of the rich, and are the constant 
friends and advisers of the poor. The jusi love 
them, the unjust respect them, and their greet- 
ings are universal, cordial and harmonious. 
Does a strife arise among their neighbours, 
their character of uprightness and holiness 
causes them to be appealed to as umpires in 
the dispute. With their judgment all are sat- 
isfied because all believe it to be founded upon 
justice and morality. 

Free from the common enemies of man, the 
angry passions, revenge, envy, hatred, pride 
and ambition, the meek do also obtain and 
secure the goods of the world by seeking them 
in moderation, and by using them with pru- 
dence. How often does the passionate man 
mar his prospects by giving himself up to the 


empire of his appetites ! How often does he 
lose his acquired riches and honours by grasp- 
ing with an avaricious and arrogant hand at 
unlawful possessions. But the meek are gov- 
erned by a more happy spirit. They seek 
the blessings of this life with a temperate zeal, 
and surrounded by friends and assistants their 
etibrts are never unavailing; not over-anxious 
to gather all into themselves, they interfere 
not with the concerns of others. They engage 
not in vain contention, nor do they raise up 
enemies to thwart them in their honest en- 
deavours to obtain a competency for their fam- 
ilies. TVor does any vanity, or pride, or ambi- 
tion induce them to engage in schemes of 
aggrandizement so as to expose to peril the 
earnings of their earlier days. Humble and 
content in Jesus, full of gratitude to God, they 
use their gifts as not abusing them, and satis- 
fied with their lot, they give praises to heave n 
for all they possess. Thus, my brethren, is it 
that the meek inherit the earth. 

III. Fmally, great is the reward of the 
meek man with respect to God ; meekness in- 
cludes the very essence of humility, is the 
groundwork of charity, and is mseparable 
from holiness. How much then must this 

160 SERMON Viri. 

virtue be estimated in the eyes of God ! The 
humble shall be exalted ; the charitable shall 
be paid many fold in heaven for what they 
dispense on earth ; and the holy are those 
who alone shall see God. It becomes us then 
to cultivate this character as we regard the 
salvation of our immortal spirits, and we shall 
not cultivate it in vain. By assimilating our- 
selves to Jesus, our perfect model, we shall 
approach the true perfection of the godhead, 
and shall advance the holy work of heaven 
here upon earth. Jesus was humble and 
meek ; God loveth the image of his son and 
will not destroy it. He delighteth in the low- 
ly mind and regardeth it as his representative 
here on earth, for it advanceth his glory and 
the happiness of his creatures. What honour 
so great, my brethren, as to do God's will on 
earth ; to act the part of his faithful servant, 
and to feel that his spirit shed abroad in our 
souls assures us of his approbation ! All the 
pomp and glory of this world sink into nothing 
when contrasted with such transcendant hon- 
ours. The approbation and countenance of 
God ! What a sublime and immortal feeling 
does the thought excite in the breast of the 
Christian ! He pants for it ; he reaches on to- 


wards It ; he glories in dying for it. Omnip- 
otent and eternal in the heavens, the Father 
commands us to yield a ready obedience to 
his will. Shall we not obey him who made 
this vast universe, and called all creatures into 
existence out of nothing. The stubborn pride 
of sin, however, makes man forget his duty 
to his Maker. It is the Christian virtue of 
meekness which can truly estimate the weak- 
ness of man and the glory of the King of kings. 
Humble in the flesh, the spirit of the meek 
man raises itself with awful reverence to the 
heavenly throne, and says *' thy will be done 
^' on earth as it is in heaven :" the radiance 
of the God-head illumines his soul, and full 
of holy aspirations he seeks not but to do the 
wish of him who ruleth all things. 

The meek and humble spirit is cherished by 
God on earth, and it shall be advanced to great 
glory in the heavens. The proud, the dis- 
dainful, and the vindictive, God rejecteth, for 
they disturb the harmony of his creation : the 
contrite he dellghteth to honour. When the 
hour of the world's death shall come the glories 
of this life shall be wrapped in gloomy nigbt, 
but the humblest Christian virtue shall be fixed 
in eternal happiness in the heavens. My 



brethren, let us pray to God to give us meek 
and lowly spirits, the dispositions of humility, 
that we may render ourselves worthy to join in 
the praises of the Lamb. 



On the character of the saints : the providence 
and favour of God peculiarly exercised to- 
wards them in the hour of death. 

Psalm 116, Verse 15. 
" Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." 

There is no truth in religion of more impor- 
tance to the direction or consolation of man, 
than that of a divine and particular providence 
in human affairs. What influence ought it 
not to have on the actions of our lives to know 
that there is an invisible Spectator who is con- 
stantly about our path and about our bed, and 
who spieth out all our ways ; that there is a 
supreme Governour and Judge who marks with 
the minutest exactness, and with approbation 
or abhorrence, every thought, word, and ac- 
tion of our life ! How consoling to reflect, 
that weak, ignomnt, and helpless as we are. 


still we are not left in this world of vicissitude 
and trouble, to our own guidance, to the di- 
rection of a blind fate, or to the sport of acci- 
dent, but are under the perpetual guardian- 
ship, protection, and direction of a wise and 
benevolent being who watches over us in the 
natal and in the mortal hour ; who takes an in- 
terest in all our concerns, who appoints to us 
our various fortunes and conditions, who re- 
joiceth in our happiness, who lends an ear to 
our complaints, and who, having the hearts 
of all men and the powers of universal nature 
subject to his control, causeth all things to 
work together for good to them who love God, 
and are the called according to his purpose. 
*' The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice, let 
*^ the multitude of the isles be glad thereof/' 
But the doctrine of a superintending provi- 
dence, though important and useful to all, is 
peculiarly interesting and comfortable to good 
men, whose persons are justified and accepted 
in the beloved, whose lives being in conform- 
ity to the law of God, are the object of his pe- 
culiar approbation, whom he guards as the 
apple of his eye, whom he guides with his 
counsel, and forsakes not even when the king 
of terrours approaches. For *^ precious in the- 


'* sight of the Lord is the death of his saints/' 
I hope it will contribute to our edification 
and improvement if, at this time, I briefly 
consider the two points to which the text prin- 
cipally directs our attention. I mean, 

1. The character of those whose death is 
precious in the sight of the Lord, and 

2. In what respects the death of the saints 
is precious in God's sight. 

I. The first thing proposed is to make some 
remarks on the character of those whose death 
is precious in the sight of the Lord — they are 
the saints, which literally signifies holy persons. 
This is a designation frequently given to the 
people of God, as expressive of their true char- 
acter ; for not only are they considered as 
righteous, in consequence of the interest which 
by faith they have in the righteousness of the 
Redeemer, but they have a principle of holi- 
ness inherent in them, by virtue of their regen- 
eration, and they also abound in the outward 
fruits of holiness, to the praise and glory of 
God. This is a condition absolutely requisite 
to their enjoying the divine favour and regard, 
so that their life may be the object of God's 
care, or their death precious in his sight. The 
Lord, who is himself glorious in holiness and 

166: SERMON IX. 

the inexhaustible source of perfection, can 
have no dehght in the ungodly and impure. 
Hence an irreversible decree hath passed in 
heaven, that ** without holiness no man shall 
** see the Lord,*' and as the flame consumeth 
the stubble, so will the fire of his holiness burn 
up the ungodly, who with fallen spirits shall 
have their portion in that lake of torments 
whose smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. 
But the Lord saithof his own people, '* Thou 
** art a holy people unto the Lord thy God. 
^' The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be 
'* a special people to himself, above all people 
^* that are on the face of the earth. And they 
" shall call them the holy people, the re- 
^< deemed of the Lord.'* 

The holiness of the people of God is not 
original and natural, but derived. By nature 
they are like unto others, children of wrath 
and of disobedience ; the thoughts of their 
hearts are only evil continually, and the actions 
of their lives are contaminated by imperfection 
and guilt. But infinite wisdom and goodness 
have devised means sufficiently efficacious to 
renew and sanctify the most impure. '' Come 
"' now and let us reason together,*' saith the 
Lord ; '' though your sins be as scarlet, they 


*^ shall be white as snow, though they be red 
'* like crimson, they shall be as wool." And 
this change consists of two parts, a purification 
from sin, and a communication of holiness ; a 
removal of bad, and an acquisition of good 

Sin i« the great cause which excludes the 
creatures of the Almighty from the favour of 
their Creator, and draws upon them innumera- 
ble evils. It renders the life of the sinner 
miserable and his death awful. Before men 
can either enjoy the favour of God on earth, 
or be fitted for the immediate vision of his 
glory hereafter, their souls must be purified by 
the washing of regeneration, and renewing of 
the Holy Ghost. They must be cleansed by 
the blood and spirit of the Saviour. Hence 
David was wont to pray, *' wash me thorough- 
*' ly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from 
*' my sin ; create in me a clean heart, OGod, 
'* and renew a right spirit within me." When 
John was favoured with a vision of the re- 
deemed, who stood before the throne and be- 
fore the Lamb, he beheld them arrayed in 
white robes, with palms in their hands, and 
was informed that they were washed and made 
white in the blood of the Lamb, All, there- 


fore, who sincerely hope for immortal life, will 
purify themselves, even as God is pure. 

But not only are the saints purified from the 
defilement of sin and vice : in their souls are 
implanted holy principles, and that assemblage 
of Christian graces, which constitutes their 
likeness to their heavenly father. They are 
not only accounted of the family of God by 
adoption, but they are indeed his children, 
being formed after his image, rendered parta- 
kers of the divine nature, and dwelling in God 
and God in them. 

A holy life, proceeding from a renewed and 
sanctified heart, completes the character of the 
saint. Like so many rays of light converging 
to one point, justice, mercy, truth, love, joy, 
peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, 
faith, meekness, and temperance, harmonious- 
ly unite in the saint, and emit their blended 
radiance in his life and conversation ; so that 
others, seeing his good works, glorify their 
father who is in heaven. The love of God, 
which glows in his heart, powerfully con- 
strains him to a sincere, cheerful and uniform 
obedience. It was the Almighty command 
to Abraham '' walk before me, and be thou 
^' perfect," and it is the fixed determination of 


every true saint, to walk before the Lord unto 
all well pleasing : to walk as in his presence 
and under his omniscient eye ; and that not 
on a few particular occasions, and at stated 
times only, but regularly and uniformly 
through the whole course of his life. Thus 
the inward graces and virtues of the holy not 
only beautify and adorn the soul, but serve to 
produce obedience in those whom the Lord 
hath set apart for himself, and redeemed to be 
a peculiar people, zealous of good works. In 
this manner their saintship is visible to the 
world, and holiness to the Lord is established 
in their character. This holiness is not found- 
ed on constraint, nor does it depend on the 
feeble efforts of an apostate heart, but is pro- 
duced and maintained by the influences of an 
Almighty Redeemer, in whose sight their 
death as well as their life is precious. 

II. Let us with equal brevity and simplicity 
consider in what respects the death of the 
saints is precious in the sight of the Lord. 

It was sin which brought death into the 
world; and though, eventually, a blessing to 
the saints, it is a formidable foe, from which 
human nature shrinks back with aversion. 
The psalm, in which the text is found, cele- 

VOL. II. z 


brates the goodness of God in delivering from 
death, and contains a prayer that the hfe 
which he had so graciously preserved might 
for the future be spent in his service. This 
remarkable preservation of the psalmist's life, 
was the reason of the observation in the text, 
that precious in the sight of the Lord is the 
death of his saints. 

Their death is precious in his sight, because 
he is pleased often to bless them with length 
of days, and to bring them to the grave in a 
good old age, as a shock of corn comes in his 
season. The sons of violence and strife fre- 
quently rise up against the saints of God. But 
their life and all that is dear to them are depos- 
ited in his hands as a sacred trust : he forsaketh 
them not in any case ; and in his sight their 
life as well as their death is precious. He re- 
deems their souls from deceit and death, and 
brings them not to the grave till death becomes 
to them great gain. 

Long life is in a peculiar manner promised 
to the saints. They shall inherit the earth, 
while the wicked who are in great power, and 
spread themselves like a green bay tree, shall 
be cut doAu like ihe grass, and pass away. 
'* The Lord knoweth the days of the upright ; 


" they shall dwell in the land, and the perfect 
*' shall remain in it: but the wicked shall be 
^* cut off from the earth, and the transgressors 
** shall be rooted out of it/* 

The death of the saints is precious in the 
sight of the Lord, because by it he oftentimes 
removes them from the evil to come. ** The 
'' righteous perisheth," saith the prophet, 
" and no man layeth it to heart ; and merciful 
*' men are taken away, none considering that 
*' the righteous are taken away from the evil 
^' to come.'* The saints are the pillars of the 
world, and their death portends evil to the 
place and nation in which they have lived. 
Ruin came upon Sodom, because there were 
not ten righteous men to be found in it. The 
earth itself is preserved for the sake of good 
men ; and when the Lord cometh out of his 
place to punish the inhabitants of the world 
for their iniquity, the saints are removed by 
death to a place of security, that they may not 
be the sad spectators of such direful calamities. 
Again, precious in the eyes of the Lord is 
the death of his saints, because he deprives 
death of its sting, and encourages them in the 
moment of their departure to commit their 
spirits to his care, and to rely v/ith confidence 


on his ability to save to the uttermost all those 
who sincerely believe in his mediation. The 
righteous are indeed at all times God's peculiar 
care ; but on a bed of agony, and in the hour 
of death, his almighty arm is stretched out in 
a particular manner for their support. With 
that voice which called all nature into exist- 
ence, he bids them not fear, for he is with 
them : even he who has the keys of death 
and of the unseen world in his hands, who 
himself encountered the king of terrours, and 
who knows what support his creatures need in 
their dying moments. It was on this ac- 
count that David sung with triumphant joy, 
'' Though I walk through the valley of the 
** shadow of death, yet will I fear no evil ; 
** for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff 
*' they comfort me." 

It is impossible that the idea of death in it- 
self should not affect, more or less, even those 
who are best prepared for its approach. It 
cannot be dressed out in any form that will 
reconcile the reflecting mind to pass it by 
without sensations of solemnity and awe. The 
anxious care, the hopeless dejection, the burst- 
ing grief of near and dear connexions, from 
whom it is painful to part, and wdiose efforl^ 

SERMON IX. 17 3 

cannot prevent the approach of the inevitable 
hour, are circumstances of additional distress, 
sufficient to appal the stoutest heart. 

In these gloomy and distressing moments, 
the samt reflects and experiences that his death 
is precious in the sight of the Lord. This 
gracious promise, replete with every comfort, 
fortifies him against desponding fears, and 
brightens his soul with the beaming rays of 
hope, when this world darkens on his view. 
Sympathizing angels hover round his departing 
spirit, ready to conduct it to the realms of 
glory. That benevolent Saviour, who himself 
trod the thorny paths of life, and who hath 
taken from death the dreaded sting, is at the 
hour of dissolution more particularly present, 
to strengthen every grace, to fortify the mind 
against the terrours of the powers of darkness, 
and to bring comfort to the bed of sickness 
when the body is fast wasting away. Believing 
and rejoicing in him who is their salvation 
and their glory, and blessed with a foretaste 
of the joys to come, the saints depart in peace ; 
willing to be absent from the body, and pre- 
sent with the Lord. To them the passage 
through the dark vale loses all its terrours ; 
and the tremendous gates of death are the 


portals which lead to those pleasures at God's 
right hand, where, according to the Apostle/s 
emphatick expression, they shall be *^ tilled 
** with all the fulness of God/* 

The death of the saints is precious in the 
sight of the Lord, because by it he brings 
them to everlasting life. In all men there is 
a presage and earnest desire of immortality ; 
and the belief of a future existence is insepara- 
bly connected with our idea of an all-power- 
ful, wise, and just God. The darkness that 
rested on this prospect, notwithstanding th^ 
general prevalence of the doctrine, is now re- 
moved by the gospel of Christ. He hath 
brought life and immortality to light, dispel- 
led those clouds that rested on the grave, and 
pointed out a state of endless existence beyond 
that dark region. This is one of the great 
advantages of the Christian institution, that, it 
gives the clear promise and sure hope of eter- 
nal life. It represents death as a departure 
hence, in order to bring us to our exalted Re- 
deemer, who lives and reigns for ever, and by 
whom the saints shall be presented faultless 
before the presence of the divine glory with 
exceeding joy. 

Weare to consider the everlasting rest which 


remainelh for the people of God, as the fruit 
of the Saviour's merits and sufferings, as one 
of the greatest and noblest effects of his ascen- 
sion into heaven, and of his powerful media- 
tion for us at the right hand of God. The 
felicity of heaven is indeed the gift of God ; 
but that gift is secured and acquired for us 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. '' I give 
'* unto my sheep eternal life," saith he, ** and 
" they shall never perish, neither shall any 
*' one pluck them out of my hand." 

This eternal life imports more than we can 
express or comprehend ; something more ex- 
cellent than eye hath seen, or ear heard, or 
heart can conceive. Crowns, sceptres and 
triumphs, every kind of worldly success and 
prosperity, are but faint resemblances of this 
eternal, unspeakable, inconceivable happiness. 
No pain, nor sorrow, nor death are there. 
There is fulness of joy and happiness for ever- 
more. Nor shall the souls only of the saints 
be thus blessed and happy : their bodies which 
now rest in hope, shall also be raised with im- 
mortal beauty and excellence. They are still 
under the guardianship of that blessed Saviour, 
to whom the very dust of the saints is precious, 
who will not suifer one atom of their bodies 


to perish ; who was himself the first fruits of 
them who sleep, and who by the resurrection 
of his own body, has consecrated theirs to a 
glorious immortality. *' For, since by man 
*' came death, by man came also the resur- 
** rection of the dead ; and, therefore, when 
*' Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we 
*' shall also appear with him in glory.'* By 
that almighty power by which he made the 
w^orlds, and upholds them in being ; by which 
he nailed our sins to the cross, triumphed over 
the king of terrours, and conquered all the 
legions of the prince of darkness, he will also 
rescue the captive bodies of all the saints from 
the power of the grave, raise them up in his 
own most glorious likeness, and swallow up 
death in victory. He will command the four 
winds to restore those bodies which they have 
scattered over the face of the earth. The 
winds and storms shall obey his word ; the sea 
shall give up the dead which are in it, and 
death and hell shall deliver up the dead which 
are in them, and all the generations of men 
shall return to a life which endurethfor ever. 
'* I will ransom them from the power of the 
^^ grave : I will redeem them from death. 
** O death I will be thy plague : O grave I 


'* will be thy destruction." In the joyful 
prospect of this happy event, a dying saint 
can even now triumph over death, and say, 
'* O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where 
*' is thy victory." Thanks be to God who 
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus 

VOL. II. A a 



The goodness and power of Christ, ?nanifested by 
his works on earth, conclusive proofs of his 
divine nature. 

John, Chap. 9, Verse 32. 

" Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened 
the eyes of one that was born blind." 

My present object is, in the first place, to 
make a few remarks on the history recorded 
in this chapter, and then to state the force of 
the argument impHed in the text; that since 
Jesus opened the eyes of the bhnd, and did 
many miracles, he must have been something 
more tlian man ; must have been commission- 
ed and countenanced by heaven : for since 
the world began it was never heard that any 
jnan altered the course of nature, or opened 
the eyes of one who had been born blind. 

Who can sufficiently admire the wisdom 
gnd goodness of Jesus in choosing the person 

SERMON X. 179 

spoken of in this chapter of the Evangelist as 
the subject of a miracle. He was a poor blind 
man who sat begging at the gate of the tem- 
ple. The great and the mighty of this world 
would have passed by without noticing such 
a child of misery* or they would perhaps have 
made him an object of their scorn, and a sub- 
ject for their diversion. But Jesus, though 
higher than the highest, always practised the 
most endearing condescension and humility, 
and preached good tidings unto the poor. He 
went about continually doing good ; seeking 
objects of distress whom he might relieve, 
constantly employed in that merciful errand 
on which he was sent. His miracles were all 
of the humane and benevolent kind. The 
infinite power with which he was armed, was 
never employed but for the benefit of man- 
kind. In order to display it he did not com- 
mand fire to descend from heaven and con- 
sume his enemies ; he did not let loose the 
tempest as a scourge to punish mankind ; he 
did not strike dumb the tongue which blas- 
phemed him, or deprive of sight them who 
sought to apprehend him. On the contrary, 
he bound up the broken hearted, he proclaim- 
ed liberty to the captive, he fed the hungry, 

180 SERMON X. 

he opened the eyes of the Mind, he gave 
hearing to the deaf, and feet to the lame. 
How forcible a demonstration of his divine 
original. So gracious a messenger could pro- 
ceed only from him who is love and goodness 
itself. How beautiful and striking a charac- 
teristick of that dispensation of grace which 
he came to reveal ! How noble an example 
for our imitation ! 

This poor man was not only blind, but he 
had been so from his infancy. His blindness 
was not the effect of any accident or disease, 
which art or medicine might remove. It was 
a natural defect in the organ, to supply which 
the same infinite power and wisdom were re- 
quisite as to form the organ at first. This pre- 
cluded the possibility of any kind of deception, 
and fully evinced the truth and certainty of 
the miracle. 

It is, farther, worthy of remark that the 
person now cured was well known to the in- 
habitants of Jerusalem. His misfortune, his 
profession, his situation, must have attracted 
the attention of multitudes. As he daily sat 
at the gate of the temple asking alms from the 
passengers, he must have been known to all 
who went thither to pay their morning and 

SERMON X. 181 

evening sacrifice. This circumstance was an 
undeniable proof of the certainty of the mira- 
cle ; it shewed that there was no collusion in 
the case ; that this man was not suborned to 
declare that he had been born blind while he 
really had not ; but, being known to the mall, 
it was evident that, if he was restored to sight, 
a miraculous work had actually been perform- 

As Jesus, therefore, went out of the temple, 
he cast an eye on this hapless sufferer, whom 
he immediately discerned to be a proper ob- 
ject of compassion, and the fit subject of a 
miracle. His disciples also beheld the blind 
man, but with very different impressions. 
With a disposition, of which we have still too 
many examples, to consider the misfortunes 
of others as judgments from heaven, and with 
a very unseasonable spirit of curiosity, they 
ask, ** Master, who did sin, this man, or his 
*' parents, that he was born blind V* The an- 
swer is direct and positive ; there was an high- 
er cause, the glory which would redound to 
God by this demonstration of his mercy and 
power. We are as clay in the hands of the 
potter, who maketh one vessel unto honour 
and another unto dishonour. The divine vis- 

1^-2 SERxMON X. 

itatlons are not all punishments : some are for 
our trial, our warning, our reformation : all 
shew forth the power, the justice, and the 
goodness of God. 

He who at first said, let there be light, and 
there was light, could with one word have 
opened the eyes of the blind. Nay, without 
utterance his will was sufficient to have pro- 
duced the effect. But he chose to employ 
the instrumentality of means. Nor did this 
detract in the least from the miraculous nature 
of the cure. For It surely required power 
equally infinite to communicate to clay and 
water, the ability of curing the blind, as it 
does to open their eyes instantaneously, and 
without the intervention of second causes. 
But Jesus would try thefaith and obedience of 
his patient ; he would teach us that it is only 
by the use of those means v/hich he has ap- 
pointed that we can expect the cure of our 
spiritual diseases: he would shew that the most 
improbable means will produce the desired 
eftbct when lie determines that it shall be so : 
that bread and wine can strengthen and refresh 
the soul when received by faith according to 
his appointment : that water can avail to the 
mystical washing away of sins, when accom- 

SERMON X. 185 

panied with the blessing from on high : that 
Jordan can heal a leper and Siloam give light 
to the blind, when the Almighty gives the 
word, go, wash and be whole. In short, he 
would represent by expressive symbols the 
original depravity of our guilty and polluted 
nature, and the necessity of our being washed, 
cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus 
and the Spirit uf our God. AV ashing in the 
pool of Siloam was, therefore, merely a sacra- 
mental act, whereby the blessings to be com- 
municated were typified and sealed, and the 
divine power more strikingly manifested in the 
sight of the people. 

The feehngs of the blind man, upon the 
communication of sight, are difficult to be ex- 
pressed or even conceived by us who have 
always enjoyed the faculty of sight, and who, 
being never subjected to the want of it, do not 
sufficiently value this important blessing. 
From the general and obvious views of nature 
which present themselves to every man, let 
me direct your thoughts to this spiritual im- 

Into what a world of wonders did the blind 
man find himself transported ! How did he 
gaze with admiration on the heavens and thx: 

184 SERMON X. 

earth, on the faces and shapes of all creatures, 
on the varieties of colours around him, on the 
cheerfulness of the light, on the lively beams 
of the sun, on the vast expanse of the air, on 
the limpid transparency of the water, on the 
glorious ornaments of the temple, and on the 
stately places of Jerusalem ! Every thing was 
full of delight, and excited astonishment. 
With similar sensations will the servants of 
God enter into the joy of their Lord. Thus 
will they be affected when, the darkness of 
mortality being done away, they shall behold 
God's presence in righteousness, whence they 
shall be called to witness the felicity of the 
world above, the shining mansions of saints 
and angels, the majestick splendour of the di- 
vine throne, and the incomprehensible bright- 
ness of the Godhead. 

So great was the change produced on the 
external appearance as well as the inward 
feelings of the man who had been restored to 
sight, that his neighbours and acquaintance 
did not at first recognise him to be the same 
person. This shewed the certainty and great- 
ness of the miracle. They did not greedily 
swallow, like simple and ignorant people, the 
tale however improbable, but believed only 

SERMON X. 185 

after a careful inquiry into the fact. The 
thing itself was in their opinion also so great 
and wonderful, that witliout the express testi- 
mony of their senses, they would have deem- 
ed it a mere trick and imposition. This may 
also be considered as a fit representation of the 
change produced in the habits of him whose 
spiritual blindness is removed by light from on 
high. His former companions in guih and 
folly, unable to account for the change, are 
doubtful whether it be the same person. His 
heart and conduct are certainly not the same. 
Before, the mind was dark and gloomy — now, 
it is full of light and cheerfuhiess, through the 
knowledge of God, and the hope of heaven. 
Before, the heart was devoted to earthly things 
— now the convert uses this world as not abu- 
sing it. Before, his thoughts and anxieties had 
reference only to his body, his estate, or the 
opinion of mankind — now, they regard the 
displeasure of God and the peril of his soul. 
'^ If any man be in Christ, he is a new crea- 
^* ture. Old things are passed away — behold, 
'' all things are become new !" 

The poor man removes the doubts of his 
friends, by declaring I am he. He would not 
conceal from others the mercies he had ex- 

voL. n. B b 

186 SERMON X, 

perienced ; he would not be so unjust ot 
ungrateful as to suppress the loving kindness 
of his God. We are unworthy of that light 
and those blessings which we enjoy, unless we 
seek to diffuse them among mankind. *' Let 
'* them give thanks whom the Lord hath re- 
*' deemed and delivered from the hand of the 
*' enemy ; let them praise him with their 
** whole heart ; let them shew forth all his 
** marvellous works ; let them declare his 
*' name among their brethren ; let them exalt 
^* him in the congregation of the people, and 
'^ praise him in the assembly of the elders." 

They who before doubted, now became in- 
quisitive. They ask, how were thine eyes 
opened ? The poor man, who had been so 
ready to declare himself the subject of the 
cure, is equally zealous to proclaim the authour 
of it. '' A man that is called Jesus made clay 
*' and anointed mine eyes, and said to me, 
** go to the pool of Siloam and wash, and I 
*^ went and washed and I received sight.'* 

Had the people, who made inquiry into this 
astonishing fact, heard it with unprejudiced 
ears, they could not but have listened with 
pious admiration ; they could not but have 
declared their belief in so omnipotent an 

SERMON X. 187 

Agent. But, adverse to the blessed Jesus, 
and partial to the Pharisees, they summon 
him that was once blind before these implaca- 
ble enemies of Christ, and this cure having 
been performed on the Sabbath, they fix upr 
on this circumstance as the ground of their 

But as the malice of Christ's enemies was, 
for the most part, frustrated and repelled up- 
on their own heads, so their present scheme 
not only failed of success, but served to make 
the miracle wrought by him on the blind 
man more generally known — served to shew 
its force in proving his divine mission and to 
increase the number of his disciples. AVe 
now find the man who once sat and begged, 
witnessing a good confession before the as- 
sembled Pharisees. We find him defending 
the gracious authour of his cure against the 
cavils of malignity and injustice. We see 
him, a resolute confessor, suffering excom- 
munication for the name of Christ, and main- 
taining the innocence, the honour, the divini- 
ty of his benefactor. We hear him teaching 
the doctrines of truth to them who sat in the 
chair of Moses, and convicting of blindness 
t'hem who punished him for seeing. 

188 SERMON X. 

The Pharisees strove to confute and dis- 
prove the testimony of the man that was blind 
by an appeal to his parents. They supposed 
that the fear of excommunication and of in- 
curing the anger of the rulers, would induce 
them to deny the circumstance of their son's 
being born blind, and thus it would follow 
that no miracle had been performed. Being 
disappointed in this, and finding it impossible 
to deny the fact, they next try to suppress it ; 
and, by reviling the man who had been cured, 
to make him ashamed of confessing Jesus. 
But neither did this succeed. The man, far 
from being ashamed to own himself a disci- 
ple of Jesus, endeavours to persuade them 
also to become such, and argues with them 
upon the subject of this miracle with a sim- 
plicity, but at the same time with an ingenui- 
ty and force of reasoning, which cannot be 
surpassed even by the most acute disputants. 

Miracles have ever been esteemed an un- 
deniable proof of a divine mission. Our 
Lord himself appeals to those w^orks which he 
wrought as the best argument which he could 
employ in support of his pretensions as the 
son of God. 

When John sent two of his disciples to in- 


quire whether Jesus was the Messiah, our 
Lord gave no other answer than this. Go and 
shew John again those things which yc do 
hear and see, inform him ot" my works, and 
let him judge if they can be performed by 
any other than the sent of God. The bUnd 
receive their sight, and the lame walk, the 
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hcar^ and the 
dead are raised up. 

The argument derived from miracles being 
the main pillar of the Christian faith, much 
has been said and written concerning their 
nature, possibility, credibility, and tendency, 
to prove the truth of Christianity. But the 
argument was perhaps never more forcibly 
and concisely stated than in the simple and 
ingenious discourse of this poor man, who 
had himself been the subject of so striking a 
miracle : *' Why, herein is a marvellous 
*' thing, that ye know not from whence he 
^* is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 
** Now we know that God hearcth not sinners ; 
^* but if any man be a worshipper of God, 
" and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since 
" the world began was it not heard that any 
*' man opened the eyes of one that was born 
** blind. If this man was not of God, he 
'' could do nothing/' 

190 SERMON X. 

To alter, suspend, or reverse the laws df 
nature, must require the same infinite power 
which first established them. In the words 
of the man who was once blind, " Smce the 
'* world began was it not heard that any man 
** opened the eyes of one that was born blind.'* 
Whoever alters, suspends, or reverses the 
laws of nature, must either be a divine per- 
son, or must be invested with divine power ; 
in the language of the person who had been 
blind, '^ if this man was not of God he could 
" do nothing/' From the nature of the 
Supreme Being we may with absolute certain- 
ly infer, that he will not countenance an im- 
postor, that he will not alter or suspend the 
laws of nature but for wise and important pur- 
poses, that they who are endowed with the 
power of working miracles are approved and 
sent by him, and are worthy of credit in all 
they say, and of obedience in all they com- 
mand ; in the words of scripture, '' We know 
'* that God heareth not sinners ; but if any 
'^ man be a worshipper of God and doeth his 
"will, him he heareth." The general in- 
ference from these points is evident, since 
Jesus Christ wrought miracles, he was sent 
by God, and since he was sent by God, his 

SERMON X. 191 

religion is true and of divine authority. We 
are as much bound to believe and obey it, as 
to obey the voice of conscience, which is the 
natural vicegerent of God in the soul of man. 
But how are we certain that Jesus Christ did 
work miracles ? Of this we are equally cer- 
tain as of his existence. For both are decla- 
red by the same persons and rest upon the 
same authority. And of the existence of 
Jesus Christ we are as certain as that there was 
such a person as Julius Caesar, who was dead 
more than 1 800 years ago, or that there is such 
an island as Japan w^hich none of us perhaps 
ever saw. Our knowledge in both cases rests 
on the testimony of credible- witnesses ; and, 
perhaps, the historians of our Saviour's life 
and miracles are more worthy of credit than 
any others, because by affirming what they 
did, they exposed themselves to loss and per- 
secution ; and some of them moreover sealed 
their testimony with their blood. They must 
have been well assured of the truth of facts 
which they would die rather than bear wit- 
ness against. 

The reasoning of the poor man, wliose 
natural and spiritual eyes had both so lately 
been opened, was so convincing and powerful 

19^ SERMON X. 

that even the subtle and ingenious Pharisees 
could make no reply. But, instead of yield- 
ing to his arguments, such was their perverse- 
ness and pride, that they determined to get 
rid of him whose presence and discourse were 
equally galling to them ; and they cast him 
out of the Synagogue. As light is painful to 
a diseased eye, so truth is unpleasant to a 
mind entangled by prejudice and errour. 
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. A 
scorner hateth rebuke and shutteth his ear to 
those friendly admonitions which open to him 
his faults. The wicked cannot bear the pre- 
sence and example of wise and good men. 
Their own vices and defects appear then in a 
clearer light. 

The poor man that was once blind, though 
cast out, was not forsaken. Though ejected 
from the Synagogue, he was admitted into 
the kingdom of Heaven : And wherever the 
gospel of Jesus is preached, he will be re- 
membered and spoken of to the end of the 
world as the first confessor and martyr to the 
Christian cause. No sacrifice made for the 
sake of Christ shall be in vain. He is faithful 
who hath promised, and he is not unjust to 
forget our work of faith and labour of love. 

SERMON X. 193 

Whosoever loveth father or mother, brother 
or sister, more than Christ, is not worthy of 
him. But whosoever shall leave father and 
mother, brother and sister, house and land, 
for the sake of the gospel, shall ni no wise 
lose his reward. If any man deny Christ be- 
fore men, him will he also deny before his 
father who is in heaven. But they who pre- 
serve themselves unspotted from the world, 
who steadfastly and faithfully bear testimony 
to the truth in the midst of a crooked and per- 
verse generation, shall be openly acknow- 
ledged in the presence of his father and his 
holy angels, and graciously welcomed into 
the joy of their Lord. 

VOL, II,. q c 



On the duty of holding the righteous in remem- 
brajice, and the important advantages derived 
from the recollection of their virtues. 

Psalm 112, Verse 6. 
** The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.'* 

Righteousness, in the language of scrips 

ture, denotes general worth or excellence of 
character : To it is ascribed whatever belongs 
to reHgion or holiness. He that is- righteous 
and shall be had in everlasting remembrance 
is described in this Psalm as fearing God, de- 
lighting greatly in his commandments, up- 
right, gracious, full of compassion and charity. 
Sometimes, indeed, the sense of the expres- 
sion is limited, and the righteous are compared 
and contrasted with those who are distinguish- 
ed by goodness. Thus, in the well known 
illustration of the grace of God in the salvation 


of men, the Apostle observes, '* scarcely for 
'* a rigliteous man will one die, yet peradven- 
'* turc for a good man some would even dare 
*' to die/' But, in general, and excepting 
comparisons and distinctions of this kind, by 
righteousness is meant whatever belongs to a 
perfect character. 

Persons of this character shall be in ever- 
lasting remembrance. This expression must 
also be understood in a sense limited by the 
temporary duration of all human affections 
and pursuits. The time of our sojourning 
h^re Is but short, and the survivor, in whose 
memory the good man lives, shall himself 
soon pass away and be forgotten. A few illus- 
trious characters, whose lot enabled them to 
perform great exploits, and to act a distinguish- 
ed part on the theatre of the world, may live 
for ever in the page of history, and receive the 
praises and the blessings of all future genera- 
tions of men. But with regard to the great 
bulk of mankind, even the pious, the upright, 
and the good, their love and their hatred and 
their envy soon perish, and, in a little time, 
the place which once knew them shall know 
them no more. The Psalmist, therefore, 
means that the memory of the righteous sliall 


not speedily be effaced from the hearts of those 
who knew and valued then* inlegrhy and 
worth, but sliall be often and long recalled 
with sentiments of honour, gratitude, and af- 

In illustration of this subject, I propose to 

1. By whom the memory of the just is 
blessed, and held in respectful and grateful 

^2. Why we ought to hold the righteous in 
everlasting remembrance, and 

3. ^«t£; we shall most properly and effec- 
tually perpetuate the remembrance of the 

I. We are to inquire by whom the memory 
of the just is blessed, and long held in respect- 
ful and grateful remembrance — and 

1. Good men are held in everlasting re- 
membrance by their own family : for by them 
the benign influence of their good qualities 
was most sensibly felt. In them the memory 
of their virtues was mingled with the warm 
sentiments of natural affection. To them the 
loss of their love, their services, their example, 
is the severest deprivation. The affectionate 
partner of their lives, who, for a long course 


of years has been in the habit of imparting 
mutual assistance and consolation, whose in- 
terests were necessarily interwoven with theirs, 
whose happiness was greatly, I had almost 
said wholly, in their power, who best knew 
their good qualities, who witnessed that piety 
and charity which modesty concealed from 
the publick eye ; on them doubtless is made 
the most lasting impression of the virtue and 
affection of the partner who is gone down to 
the dust ; to their memory the venerable 
image is often present ; in their ears the lisp- 
ing accents of their common offspring are 
eloquent ; the features of the deceased per- 
petuated in the children who survive, recall 
and renew that respect and gratitude and affec- 
tion which the living failed not to command, 
and suffer not the memorial to perish from 
their breast. 

To the children also of worthy and affec- 
tionate parents, who are now no more, the 
remembrance of their character can never 
cease to be interesting. To them they impute 
with pleasure and gratitude the various virtues 
they may possess ; to them they refer the suc- 
cess in life which they may have enjoyed ; 
to their latest hour they reflect with melan- 


choly satisfaction on the fond and affectionate 
solicitude and anxiety with which they watch- 
ed over their infant years, and guarded their 
steps in the slippery paths of youth ; on the 
pains and expense which they bestowed on 
their instruction and education ; how they 
kindly relieved their wants, and attended them 
in sickness and pain; how they solemnly 
warned them of the ways of the destroyer ; 
how they led them by their wise precepts and 
pious example into the paths of peace ; on 
the sanguine hopes which they delighted to 
indulge from the prospects of their opening 
talents, and on the fervent prayers which they 
addressed to heaven for their prosperity and 
success in life. The time is not distant when 
we ourselves shall live no more ; but if we are 
righteous, we shall be had in remembrance. 
If we are faithful to our God and to our chil- 
dren, they will bless and consecrate our mem- 
ory when our heads are laid in the dust. 
Even their posterity may learn some good 
thing from them which we have imparted ; 
and that happy day may at last come, when 
we shall be able to say before the throne of 
God, '' Behold us and the children whom 
^' thou hast given us.'' 


May we not even descend lower, and say 
that the righteous man is held in remembrance 
by the domesticks also of his family. Tlie 
servants of a just, humane and generous mas- 
ter, remember with gratitude the marks of 
kindness and confidence which he has be- 
stowed on them ; they regret his departure 
with unfeigned sorrow ; they respect his 
memory ; when they go abroad into the 
world they celebrate his praise ; by them his 
character reaches far and near, and is handed 
down with honour to the children of many 

2. The righteous are held in remembrance 
by the more intimate associates of their youth 
or of their more mature age. 

The pressure on the mind is severe indeed 
when by the will of God we have lost the 
most faithful, the most affectionate of our 
associates ; those of whom we had conceived 
the most delightful expectations ; or those by 
whose means we had attained the most solid 
advantages for this world or for eternity. But 
their memorial is not lost; not the remem- 
brance of their virtues and of their intellectual 
endowments ; not the remembrance of their 
kindness ; not the remembrance of their 


usefulness to us ; nor the remembrance of 
the satisfaction which we have enjoyed with 
them. And wliat is truly encouraging and 
truly worthy of attention is, tliat all that wa^ 
precious and praiseworthy in a departed friend, 
remains in the memory, while all his imper- 
fections are buried in the grave. It is their 
good and estimable qualities alone which con- 
secrate their memorial within us, separated 
from all the infirmities which were once uni- 
ted to them. This, while it adds to the honour 
and respect manifested for the memory of the 
dead, is as useful as it is gratifying to the living. 
We remember that which was good : we for- 
get every infirmity which was attached to it ; 
we dw^ell with affection on every advantage 
and on every satisfaction which it yielded to 
us, and its living impression isrivetted on our 
hearts. We feel as if the image of the depart- 
ed virtues, pure as the spirits of just men made 
perfect, were before us, and we are still united 
to them as by the cords of love. These recol- 
lections equally solemn and impressive, have 
a direct tendency both to comfort us in our 
sorrow for those who are asleep, and to purify 
our affections during the rest of our pilgrim- 
age. We think of those who walked with 


God ; and their memorial kindles our abhor- 
rence of the pollutions of the world, while 
k awakens our ardour to become followers of 
them who through faith and patience inherit 
the promises. We think of the departed spi- 
rits who were once our companions below, as 
we contemplate the angels of God descending 
to bless our recollections and to watch our ha- 

This posthumous existence in the memory 
of those whom we once esteemed and loved 
is a powerful incitement to virtue and a strong 
consolation to the virtuous in the prospect of 
their departure hence. For to be remembered 
while he is no more ; to be sometimes recalled 
to the memory of the living when he is re- 
moved out of their sight ; to be wished alive 
again by some of his surviving friends when 
he is numbered with the dead, is among the 
fondest desires of man. On the other hand, the 
thought that as soon as our breath is flown 
our memory is obliterated ; that our remem- 
brance shall perish from the earth and we shall 
have no name in the streets, is depressing be- 
yond conception to the human mind, and sink??. 
man even lower than the grave which hi'^ bo- 
dy is to occupy. 

VOL. II, D d 


3. But while the memory of the wicked 
shall utterly perish, or be recalled by all good 
men with detestation and abhorrence, the 
righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance ; 
and that not only among their family and 
friends, but also by all whom their labours 
have profited, their instruction enlightened, 
their example improved, or their bounty re- 

The dispositions which lead men to employ 
their talents for the advantage of then* fellow- 
creatures, and to do them good offices freely 
without any hope of a requital, createoneof the 
first distinctions by which one man can be rai- 
sed above another. If they are animated by the 
pure and cheerful spirit of religion they form 
the most interesting of human characters. The 
love wliich directs us, by a sense of duty, 
where to feed the hungry, to clothe the na- 
ked, to assist the weak, to comfort the poor, or 
to revive the sorrowful ; the love which makes 
usefulness our happiness, and the help of eve- 
ry kind which we can bring to others our 
habitual solicitude, is love out of a pure 
heart, such as Christ requires and acknow- 

When this affection becomes the habit of 

SERMON Xr. 203 

the mind, it always finds its object readily; 
and vvitliout departing from its proper sphere, 
will always lead to the means of gloritying 
God. It extends to those who need advice 
or countenance, as well as to those who arc 
destitute of food and raim^Mit ; to those who 
require the aid of superiour influence or su- 
periour talents, as well as to those who are 
pressed down with sorrow ; to the hidden re- 
treats of ignorance and misery, as well as to 
the opportunities of known and publick utili- 
ty The usefulness of men who live under 
the influence of benevolent and generous at- 
fections, and who follow them steadily and 
earnestly through life, extends far beyond 
their natural or immediate sphere, by means 
of those whom they relieve or assist ; and even 
beyond the limits of their own lives. But 
every thing which depends on the breath of 
man has its destined period. The most use- 
ful life is spent, before we are aware of its 
progress ; and all the kindness which anima- 
ted its spirit perishes in the dust. 

The selfish man dies, and we lament not ; 
or we think of him with more compassion 
than regret, or we remember the artful guise 
which his selfishness could put on, and have 


nothing better to remember ; or we think of 
those who fill his place, and who cannot be 
less useful in the world than he has been. 

But the righteous do not perish as the fool 
dieth : they leave an impressive and a perma- 
nent memorial. When such men depart, we 
feel as if a dark cloud had risen around us, 
and we fear as we enter into the cloud. We 
think with emotion of the short-lived labours 
of the most faithful men, and of the pressure 
of calamities on the world when they are ga- 
thered to the dust of their fathers ; they who 
had so great a share in all that was worths and 
respectable around them ; they whose hand 
was found in every thing useful or pleasing 
to their fellow creatures When the righte- 
ous is taken away, the living will lay it to 
heart. The report of his disease excites uni- 
versal sympathy and regret. The poor whom 
his bounty relieved, as they pass the mansion 
where he once resided, will strike their pen- 
sive bosoms and say, *' this was the abode of 
^' him whose heart was ever anxious to devise 
*^ and whose hand was ever ready to execute 
*' liberal things/' The religious society of 
vvhich he was so worthy a member will often 
turn v/ith tears in ihcir eyes to the place which 


he once occupied in their assembly, but which 
is now left vacant. The orphan will pay ma- 
ny a grateful visit to his grave, and water with 
his tears the spot where the ashes of his father 

II. As we cannot propose any thing but 
the most cursory view of the subject on which 
I have proposed to treat, I now hasten to in- 
quire why we ought to cherish the remem- 
brance of good men. 

1 . And we ought to honour the memory 
of the just from respect to their worth. Can 
we refuse to esteem the tender husband, the 
aflectionate parent, the generous master, the 
faithful friend, the good member of society, 
the friend of religion ? Who so odd as not 
to revere the man who considers the case of 
the poor, and promotes and diffuses happiness 
around him ? He who has eminently and 
perseveringly sustained these characters can- 
not be forgotten by the wise and discerning. 

It is our duty to venerate the Image of God : 
we must therefore respect and honour those 
who are his workmanship, who are renewed 
after his likeness in righteousness and true 
holiness ; who are his children, heirs of God 
and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The charms 


and attractions of the most perfect form what 
are they compared to the beauties of holiness ? 
Where are proportion, grace, and dignity- 
equal to their's, vvho are the children of the 
most high ? The righteous resemble God ; 
they strive to be perfect as he is perfect ; to be 
holy as he is holy ; and to have the same 
mind in them which was also in Christ. And 
can we think of the perfections of deity ; can 
we contemplate the amiable and perfect cha- 
racter of the son of man without sentiments of 
veneration, honour, and love ? And in re- 
garding the righteous as imitators of God, as 
resembling our blessed Redeemer, shall we not 
be filled with pleasure and admiration ? Shall 
we not be constrained and determined to pre- 
serve their memory with honour ? 

^2. We ought to remember the righteous 
with respect and honour out of gratitude for 
the advantages which we have received from 
them. When we shew kindness and confer 
favours we well know and naturally expect 
that they should make an impression on the 
minds of those who receive them. We feel 
their insensibility and ingratitude when no 
return is made. What we resent and condemn 
in others, shall we be capable of committing 


towards our worthy benefactors ? Wc must 
not forget what profit we have derived from 
them. We must affectionately remember 
what we owe to their cares, their counsels, 
their exertions, their assistance, their friend- 
ship and their example. By beholding their 
good works and worthy character, we have 
been imperceptibly and sweetly drawn to the 
approbation and imitation of real excellence. 
We are in the way of receiving much advan- 
tage also, after they are removed from us, by 
revolving the years that are past, by review- 
ing the worthy deeds and high attainments of 
the saints who have left us. Thus we learn 
what was avoided, what was resisted, and 
what was overcome : we learn how amiable, 
how comfortable, how respectable, is the life 
of the righteous. They shew us, and shall it 
be without effect, how to conduct ourselves 
with propriety, by what means to attain their 
distinction and enjoyments, how to secure the 
approbation of the wise and good, and espe- 
cially of the Judge of all. 

3. We ought to remember the righteous with 
honour, and, from a sense of justice, to vindi- 
cate their character and counteract the influ- 
ence of misrepresentation and detraction. 


We well know that good may be evil spo- 
ken of; we well know that some men are ex- 
ceedingly eager to grasp at, and to circulate 
unfavourable reports of religious characters. 
They lessen the worth of the righteous, they 
impute improper motives to their best actions, 
and take delight in bringing them to their own 
level. Piety and punctuality in celebrating 
the institutions of religion have often been 
branded as hypocrisy ; alms-giving, and atten- 
tion to the necessities and comforts of the poor 
are called ostentation ; liberality, in its most 
generous deeds and exertions, has been repre- 
sented as the most interested selfishness ; regu- 
lar manners are styled want of spirit and pen- 
uriousness. If, my friends, the righteous are 
so misrepresented and traduced, if especially 
they have enabled us to be vouchers and 
witnesses for their worth by their friendship 
and good offices, are we not called upon to 
do them justice ? Let us assert the purity of 
their principles, the genuineness, the regular- 
ity and fervour of their devotions, their pure 
and active charity, and that, in short, their be- 
haviour was such as becomes the gospel of 
the grace of God which denies ungodliness 


and worldly lusts, and teaches men to live 
soberly, righteously, and godly in this life. 

4. We ought to cherish the remembrance of 
good men, from a regard to the honour and 
interest of religion. We ought to speak of 
their worth and exhibit their characters, that 
thereby men may be induced to admire and 
receive that blessed system, the excellence 
and power and truth of which were demon- 
strated in their attainments, worth and happi- 
ness. We are required to employ every me- 
thod of affecting and impressing the minds of 
men, and of leading them to think seriously 
of their souls, of their duty and of eternity. 
Thus our Lord urges his followers to manifest 
superiour goodness, in order to promote the in- 
terest of religion, let your light so shine before 
men, that others seeing your good works may 
glorify your father in heaven. But it may be 
that we are afraid to propose ourselves as mo- 
dels of excellence for the imitation of others, 
and of those especially whose best interest we 
have most at heart. To them, too, our real char- 
acter may not be sufficiently known ; they may 
remain under the influence of misrepresenta- 
tion, prejudice and suspicion respecting us. 

VOL. II. E e 


If these things be so, or if we only think oiir 
example labours under such disadvantages, we 
are bound the more to avail ourselves of the 
known worth and reputation of the righteous 
for arresting the attention, exciting the esteem, 
and gaining the hearts of our friends. From 
time to time, and as occasion offers, let us thus 
address those who are dear to us. ** See what 
'^ this righteous man was, what objects he pur- 
*« sued, what worth he manifested, he preferred 
*' the service of God, he sought the honour that 
*« Cometh from the most high. He was respec- 
<< ted and honoured in life. His memory is 
^' dear to his surviving friends. He resisted 
*< the prevailing vices and temptations of the 
** age, and of his condition of life. He wit- 
" nessed for God, and adorned the doctrine of 
*« God his Saviour." By representations of this 
kind, and the reflections and expostulations 
they naturally suggest, much good may be 
done; our object may be secured : our friends 
may be rendered attentive, they may even be 
affected and changed, they may arise and fol- 
low the righteous ; they may walk as they also 

5. In a word, we ought to cherish the re- 
membrance of good men, from a regard to 


the glory of God. Honouring the righteous 
is to the glory of God and the promoting of 
the interest of the gospel, beeause in their char- 
acter, their attainments, and their happiness, 
the glory of God is displayed, the image of 
God is exhibited, and the happiness of the 
saints is demonstrated. Piety delights in be- 
holding the glory of the Lord in all his works 
and ways ; in the heavens and in the earth, 
in the sea and in the dry land. There are 
manifestations of his glory, however, more es- 
pecially attracting and affecting. What is 
seen of God in the history and character of the 
saints is of this nature. We see the divine 
wisdom, power, goodness, sovereignty and 
faithfulness, in raising them up ; in the dis- 
pensations of his providence towards them ; 
in the influence of his grace ; in their being 
sanctified, established and settled; in their be- 
ing kept through faith unto salvation, we 
find the saints ascribe their salvation in all its 
parts to the blessing of God. *^ In me, says the 
*' Apostle, Jesus Christ shewed all long-suffer- 
** ing. By the grace of God 1 am what 1 am." 
Christians, in finding the persecutor and blas- 
phemer preaching the faith which he once 
strove to destroy, glorified God in him. In 


the progress and perfection of the Christian life, 
and in the history of the saints, the presence, 
power and faithfulness of God are manifested 
according to their varying conditions and ex- 
igenci^. Is it not our duty to preserve such 
manifestations of God that the affections and 
graces of piety may be awakened and cherish- 
ed ? This we do by holding the righteous in 
honoured remembrance. Happy are they 
who by paying due honour to the righteous, 
and making their light to shine before men, 
induce them to glorify their heavenly father, 

III. We are now^, in the last place, to in* 
quire how we shall most properly and effectu- 
ally perpetuate the remembrance of the righte- 
ous who have no more share in any thing that 
is done under the sun. And, 

I. The first and essential rule for holding 
the righteous in an endeared remembrance is 
carefully to review their character and worth 
from time to time. I can easily suppose oc- 
casions on which it is not at all necessary to 
desire men to dwell on the history and worth 
of their valuable deceased friends. Are they 
taken from them at a time when they did not 
look for so fatal an event, but on the contrary 
were reckoning on the continuance of their 


protecting presence; when, too, men are pla- 
ced in circumstances wherein they formerly 
experienced, and now much need the wise 
counsel and effectual help of their friends ; 
on such occasions their thoughts are full of 
them, and their tongue is the pen of a ready 
writer in uttering lamentations, and in offer- 
ing liberal tributes of praise. By and by, 
however, we find them greatly changed ; bu- 
siness and pleasure occupy the mind and en- 
gross the heart. We then have as much rea- 
son to blame their forgetfulness as formerly 
we regretted the danger of their being over- 
whelmed by sorrow. That such charges may 
not be brought against us, that the endeared 
remembrance of the righteous with all its hap- 
py effects may be preserved, we ought to re- 
view their history and dwell on their worth 
on particular occasions. The following sea- 
sons are highly natural and proper for this 
purpose. We ought to remember the righte- 
ous with affection, and talk of them with ho- 
nour, when similar characters claim our re- 
gard ; when we know or hear of the same 
loss sustained by others as we experienced by 
the death of our dear friends ; when circum- 
stances similar to those which distinguished 

^il4 SERMON XI. 

dieir worth occur ; when the celebrating of 
their praise promises to have happy effects 
on those around us ; when by doing justice 
to their character, we silence aspersions and 
confound the malicious and the wicked. On 
such occasions as these it will be highly use- 
ful to meditate on the worth, and to publish 
the honours of the righteous. 

2. We effectually cherish the memory of 
good men, by introducing them and their 
worth into our 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 dan- 
ger of overlooking and not duly prizing be- 
cause they are not connected with the thoughts 
of God and the exercises of piety. If v/e re- 
flected more on our dependence on God, and 
his goodness in bestowing and preserving our 
enjoyments, we would value them more high- 
ly. By carrying them in our minds when we 
appear before God, and by blessing 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 we feel and express to the giver of 
every good and perfect gift, for blessing u.^ 


with the knowledge and the friendship of the 
righteous, will revive and heighten our value 
for them ; for those excellent persons whose 
highest and dearest object it was to bring us 
by good advice, good example, good educa- 
tion, and numberless endearing good offices, 
to the knowledge of the Father and of the 
Son, whom to know is life eternal. 

3. We ought to preserve an honourable re- 
membrance of the righteous by imitating that 
worth and excellence which we admire and 
commend. It is in this manner only that our 
praise is proved to be sincere. It is thus we 
profit most by their excellencies. It is thus we 
will most eftectually preserve their endeared 
remembrance and perpetuate the power of 
their example. Let us then be imitators of 
them, as they were of Christ. Let us beware 
lest, in commending them, we be not found 
condemning ourselves. 

There are marks of respect and of 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 self- 
ishness and not by affection. Sincere regard 
cannot be expressed by every one in pompous 

^16 15ERMON XI. 

monuments and the parade of mourning. 
Imitation of worth is in the power of all, and 
close imitation is the highest testimony of the 
most unfeigned affection and respect. Be 
then, my brethren, what the righteous were. 
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 happi- 
ness ! Fill ye up the breach ; repair ye the 
loss ; complete ye the ranks ; raise ye their 
weapons ; shew their skill ; maintain their 
advantages ; quit ye like men, and be strong. 

4. Last of all, it will have the happiest ef- 
i^ct on your preserving the endeared memo- 
ry of the righteous, to meditate on the hon- 
ours conferred on them and awaiting them 
from heaven in this world, and in that which 
is to come. 

Whoever is truly righteous is highly hon- 
oured of God, whether the world believe it 
and perceive it or not. They bear his image ; 
they enjoy his favour ; they belong to his fa- 
mily ; they are united to all the great and the 
good, and the venerable in heaven and on 
earth. 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 rai- 
sed them on high ; he has enrolled their 
names in the hsts of glory. See in what stri- 
king instances, on how many memorable oc- 
casions, providence has marked them for the 
care and charge of heaven. See his light 
shining on their tabernacle; see his interposi- 
tions in their behalf, in rescuing them from 
impending ruin, in bestowing unexpected 
blessings, in overruling 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 malice and 
machinations of enemies to produce more good 
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. 

** Him that honoureth me, saith the Lord, 
*' I will honour/* History, experience, and 
observation bear witness to the faithfulness of 
God in every age. Through life favour has 
distinguished the righteous, the light of God's 
countenance has been lifted upon them. 
Sometimes also in a conspicious manner the 

VOL. II. F f 

^18 SERMON Xr. 

Lord favours and distinguishes his servants at 
their departure out of this world. By length of 
days, by a sound constitution, by vigorous fac- 
ulties, by increasing usefulness, by heightened 
enjoyment, by the fruit of their labours, by 
more abundant respect and honour, by sere- 
nity of mind, by confidence in God, by the 
unclouded prospect of glory, honour and im- 
mortality have the righteous, in the end of life, 
been honoured of the Lord. And ought not 
we to preserve their memory with honour? 

It is always true that the death of the saint 
is dear to the Lord. On all the excellent of 
the earth, however, the same tokens of the fa- 
vour of heaven are not conferred, in the even- 
hig or at the close of life. The sun sometimesr 
leaves the horizon in an unclouded sky with 
all nature serene and beautiful; at other times 
he sets obscured in clouds. But it is the same 
glorious luminary, whose brightness no clouds 
can sully, and who disappears to rise again in 
renewed splendour. 

If we believe and meditate on the glory that 
shall be revealed, if we place before our eyes 
the descending judge, the assembled world;> 
the publick, unfading and eternal honours of 
the righteous, their depression and obscurity 


will not only be as nothing, but will rather add 
to their celebrity and glory. If such be the 
heritage of them who seek God, can we but 
be constrained to honour them whom God 
delighteth to honour, and whom he will hold 
in everlasting remembrance? 



On the caution necessary to he observed in our 
censure of others. 

Matthew, Chap. 7, Verse 1. 
" Judge not, that ye be not judged." 

Though the opinion of the world is by no 
means an infallible test of character, yet it is 
not without reason that we set a high value on 
reputation. Though the approbation of our 
own conscience is the surest reward of virtue, 
yet an indifference to reputation is not the at- 
tendant of a mind most desirous to be satisfied 
with itself. It is the attainment of those only 
who have completely thrown away a good 
opinion of themselves and have nothing to 
lose. To every person then, who has a just 
sensibility to reputation, it will appear a mat- 
ter of the greatest importance, to establish a rule 
to regulate the judgments which men form 

SERMON Xir. 0^21 

of one another, and to prevent those errours 
into which they are Hahle to fall. This rule 
our Saviour has laid down in the words of the 
text; which forbids us rashly to form an unfa- 
vourable judgment of others. For though the 
precept is expressed in general terms, and lite* 
rally taken would prevent us forming any opin- 
ion of others, whether favourable or otherwise, 
yet so seldom do mankind err on the favoura- 
ble side, and so little harm arises from so do- 
ing, that we can never interpret the precept as 
in any respect directed against it. Besides 
the intercourse and connections of society give 
us an unavoidable interest in the character of 
others. Were we to become indifferent spec- 
tators of their conduct human life would stand 
still. But this is impossible. We will love 
those only who are deserving — we will trust 
those only who are honest — we will believe 
those only who have never deceived us. Ev- 
ery action of a man is influenced by the opin- 
on he entertains of his neighbours ; and in 
this sense by abstainmg from judging them 
we must cease to have any intercourse with 
the world. The spirit of our Saviour's exhor- 
tation, then, is not to abstain wholly from 
judging others, but that in forming our opin- 
ions we should be charitable and think no evil. 


Neither does this precept require us, in for- 
ming our judgment, always to think well of 
our neighbours. Shall we overstep those lim- 
its which separate right and wrong ? If a man 
appear in open day, clothed with his vices, 
shall we suppose that virtue may wear such a 
garb ? If he lakes the name of God in vain, 
shall we not call him profane? If he be intem- 
perate, shall we shut our eyes until we find 
an interval of sobriety and call him sober? If 
he ruin the innocent, if he defraud those who 
trust in him, if he oppress those who depend 
on him, and repulse with harshness the peti- 
tion of the poor, shall we not call him cruel, 
xmjust, insolent and worthless ? 

There is room enough for charity, without 
extending it to vice ; and our characters will 
have but a poor title to indulgence if we have 
no other than that we ourselves spare those 
who openly violate the laws of morality and 
good order. This precept was intended to pro- 
mote peace among men, but not by reconci- 
ling right and wrong, by destroying the only 
foundation on which peace can be established. 
Wo unto them who call evil good, and good 
evil ; wo unto them who would separate in- 
famy from vice — who smile at crimes, and 
hold forth their right hand to wickedness. 

SERMON Xn. 22^ 

The tendency of this precept then is to pre- 
vent us from judging others in circumstances 
where we are not competent to judge; and to 
prevent us from judging unfavourably, unless 
we have clear and decided reasons for so doing. 
And how many considerations occur to en- 
force this precept, ''Judge not, lest ye be jud- 

1 . Consider the influence of men's own pas- 
sions and feelings in preventing the judgments 
they form of others. Were we to turn our eyes 
to the darkest side of the picture which these 
present we should perceive envy, jealousy, re- 
sentment and party-spirit holding their noctur- 
nal assemblies to sacrifice to malice and false- 
hood the devoted characters of whomsoever 
they meet. Who shall pass without danger 
from the venom which they scatter, and who 
knows the paths where invisble fiends haunt? 
What shield can defend from the secret attacks 
of an unseen foe ? While you wish thai you 
yourselves may escape therh, beware lest you 
be accessary to the mischief which they work. 
They watch your steps ; they place a dagger 
in your way, and filling you with false cla- 
mours they urge you to throw it at the inno- 
cent. Take not up the secret hints they drop; 


listen not to their insinuations — shut your eyes 
to their signs and your ears to their whispers. 

Next to these appear the ill-natured, the pe-^ 
vish and the illiberal. At their tribunal tem- 
per sits as judge, and a word, a look will con- 
demn you. If a defect or an ofience appear, 
to that their eyes are turned ; or if your mer- 
its are regarded, it is with a frown that they 
should be found in such company. If you 
wish to escape their censure, you must think 
as they think, you must speak as they speak, 
you must look grave when they look grave. 
Their minds resemble those barren and inhos- 
pitable regions, overhung with a perpetual 
gloom where no beauty or verdure appears, 
where the sun never sheds his enlivening 

But passing from these more flagrant breach- 
es of candour and Christian charity which 
thinketh no evil, we may sufficiently perceive 
the influence of passion over the opinions of 
mankind, in the common affairs of life, and 
in characters who cannot justly be accused of 
malice, falsehood and illiberality. How 
much are men disposed to represent the char- 
acter of another in that light in which they 
wish to view it ? On one occasion,, they con- 


jecture circumstances which they have not 
seen, and which change a good action into a 
bad one. On another, when an action ap- 
pears at first sight improper, they catch at 
what they see, and save themselves the trouble 
of conjecture. When first appearances are 
unfavourable, from these they, hastily, draw 
their picture, giving it, from their own ima- 
gination, colours so strong that nothing else 
can be seen through them. When first ap- 
pearances on the contrary are too favourable, 
they search around, and, by a perverse in- 
genuity, introduce into the back ground of 
their picture such unpleasing objects as spoil 
the beauty of what is better seen, and give to 
the whole that disagreeable aspect they desire 
it should wear. In this way there is no vir- 
tue, there is no grace nor accomplishments 
which a mind disordered by selfish feelings 
will not divest of its true form, and represent 
in a shape which may displease. If a man 
be open and liberal, to such a mind lie seems 
ostentatious, and to court popularity. If he 
be sober, he appears unsocial ; if he be wiser 
and more learned than they, he is assuming 
and vain. To such a mind, justice w^ears 
the form of harsh severity, and gentleness 

VOL. II. G g 


seems to be a want of spirit ; prudence is trans* 
formed into cunning or timid caution ; lib- 
erality appears to be profusion, and the mosS 
necessary economy is represented as penury. 
When, therefore, my brethren, you judge 
your neighbour, examine your own hearts. 
Even in the mind of those who wish not to be 
unjust, who are not without candour, injurious 
prejudices arise. When you find fault with an- 
other, beware that no interference of interest, 
or rivalship in your pursuits, no difference of 
opinion, and no feeling of resentment may 
have produced, without your perceiving it, a 
desire to find fault. W^ould you wish to enter- 
tain a better opinion of him whom you blame ? 
Is it with reluctance that you perceive his 
faults? Put these questions to your own hearts, 
and answer them sincerely. If it give you a 
secret pleasure to censure, and if you would 
be disappointed in finding your censures 
groundless, distrust yourselves. Though these 
feelings were not improper in themselves, 
there is little doubt but they mislead you. 
Receive not then a sentiment you have so 
much reason to suspect, express it not to 
others, let it not influence your conduct. 
Banish the feelings from which it flowed. If 


you regard vvliat is fair and what is just, pro- 
ceed not to pass sentence of condemnation, 
while you hold in your hand a bribe to con- 

2. These sources of errour in judging our 
neighbour, lie within our own breast. There 
are others which lie without us of no less influ- 
ence ; without attention to which the most im- 
partial and candid will become unjust. 

The laws of morality are fixed and immu- 
table ; but the situations, the constitutions, 
the temper, the education, and the pursuits of 
men are infinitely various. Hence arises a 
variety of character and a diversity of con- 
duct among those who have the same rules to 
guide them. The same things become not 
the young and the old, the serious and the gay, 
the rich and the poor. The man who has 
had few opportunities of acquiring knowledge 
cannot act with the skill and success of expe- 
rience. If we confound these characters, and 
judge them by a common law, how vague 
and unjust will be ourjudgment ? Butin how 
few instances are we qualified to discern the 
true effect of circumstances like these, and 
the various complexions which their differ- 
ent combinations may give to the same con- 


duct? Farther, on how many circumstances 
does the degree of merit or criminahty of a 
single action depend ? We are not merely to 
inquire what an action is, and then say it is 
right or wrong. We must hkewise examine 
the principle and motives from which it flow- 
ed, the difficulties and dangers to be encoun- 
tered, the temptations to be resisted, and the 
rewards to be gained. These are circumstan- 
ces often concealed from every eye but the 
eye of God, and a man's own conscience. 
But when they are not known, is it a stretch 
of good nature and indulgence, is it a hard 
restraint on the freedom of opinion, to forbear 
to condemn ? Or rather do not the soundest 
and plainest principles of justice require us to 
forbear ? The history of the world presents 
many affecting instances of the reproach, suf- 
ferings and misfortunes which the most virtu- 
ous characters have endured from that propen- 
sity which the greatest part of mankind have to 
judge by appearances or events, while it has 
often remained for a future generation to dis- 
cover and do justice to their integrity. To 
these,however, we need not recur. The recol- 
lection of every man will furnish him with a 
sufficient number of instances, in his own case 


at least, in which his conduct was misunder- 
stood, and in which he will not refuse to own 
that men were rash in blaming him. Be not 
guilty of an injustice towards others to which 
you are so much exposed, and of which you 
are so ready to complain. Even when the cen- 
sures you pass on your neighbours happen to 
be just, yet when they are not warranted by 
your knowledge of his situation and conduct, 
your rashness is no less criminal. But if 
they are unjust, you are guilty of an injury 
which receives its greatest aggravation from 
that ignorance which in other cases may be 
an excuse for him who offends. 

3. Hitherto I have chiefly considered the 
precept in the text as intended to prevent us 
from blaming those who may not be deserving 
of blame. But it goes farther than this, and 
even where the most charitable indulgence 
cannot make us blind to the faults of another, 
it bids us judge them as becomes those who are 
themselves conscious of errours and imperfec- 
tions. Nor is it in this case founded on prin- 
ciples less just. Even when you are guilty 
of a folly which you are not disposed to ex- 
cuse, would you bear to be upbraided and con- 
demned by him who had an equal share in 


your folly, while his censures fell on yo^ 
alone ? And does it alter the case that your 
faults are not the same with those you per- 
ceive in your neighbour ? Heaven alone 
knows whose scale preponderates. You may 
treat with severity the faults of others, while 
you spare your own, but will this partiality ex- 
lend beyond your own breasts ? Will God or 
man judge you by other laws than those 
which bind all ? Under the most proper sense 
of those errours into which a man falls from 
the imperfections of human nature, he feels 
himself entitled to indulgence from those who 
are subject to similar failings. He alone de- 
prives himself of this title who allows it not 
to another. If you have any delight in expo- 
sing offences, it may not be difficult to disco- 
ver and to drag forth an off'ender ; but let him 
who is without sin among you throw the 
first stone. 

After all, let us beware of applying this 
principle of charity to an improper use. 
While you expect the charity of your breth- 
ren with regard to those deviations from your 
duty which are past, into which you were 
led against your will, and wdiich you are de- 
sirous for the future to avoid, you expect what 


religion requires them to grant. But if you 
claim their indulgence to evil habits, which 
you wish not to forsake, promising in return a 
similar indulgence to them, you abuse our 
Saviour's precept, and convert it into a tolera- 
tion for sin, placing charity, that virtue which 
most distinguishes our religion, on this founda- 
tion, that he who leaves the greatest number 
behind him in the commission of wickedness 
ought to possess it in the most extensive degree. 
A truly good man will not be partial to a bad 
action because he himself has committed it, 
nor will he by claming such partiality from 
others lay himself under an obligation to ap- 
prove what is wrong in them. The object of 
charity is to prevent us from makmg the im- 
perfections of our brethren a reason for refusing 
to do them good ; but it is not possible to do 
them a greater injury than to encourage them 
in sin. 

4. Another consideration of great weight to 
enforce the precept in the text, is that stated by 
our Saviour: *' Judge not, that ye be not 
** judged, for with what judgment ye judge 
'* ye shall be judged." And there cannot be 
a more just law either in the sight of God or 
man. With regard to man, the experience gf 


the world has established it as a maxim, tha^ 
when one is rash in finding fault and, with- 
out sufficient knowledge of the character and 
actions he pretends tojudge, is prone to sup- 
pose evil where there is room for supposing 
good; when from doubtful appearances he al- 
ways forms that opinion which is most unfa- 
vourable, whence are we to think that this 
propensity arises? The innocent, the sincere, 
and the upright are not apt to suspect. 1 hey 
often find their own conduct attended by im- 
prudence or followed by ill consequences of 
which they were not aware ; and neither from 
appearances norconsequences do they perceive 
just ground of thinking illof those to whom the 
same thing may have happened. The secret of 
those who possess so much ingenuity in finding 
out the faults of others lies within their own 
breast. But experience has discovered it, and 
when we meet with such persons we transfer 
their suspicions and their ill-natured remarks on 
others to their own character. Who are most 
ready to take offence if it be not those who 
are most ready to give it? Who are they who 
prey on the reputation of their neighbour, but 
those who have lost their own? Who are the 
suspicious, but those who have secrets in their 

SERMON Xri. 233 

dwn conduct? Who are the malicious and the 
envious, who detract from the merit of others* 
but those who have not merit enough to procure 
the success which excites their resentment? 
Such is the natural connection between a man's 
own character and the opinion he is disposed 
to form of others. The good alone ; conscious 
of their own integrity, have the true principle 
of candour in their breast. Prudence therefore 
enjoins that we should not be rash in forming 
unfavourable opinions of others ; for in so do- 
ing we condemn ourselves, or enable others 
to detect our wickedness. 

With regard to God, the consideration which 
we are now illustrating is much more power* 
ful. The person who judges, and he who is 
judged are both equally seen by him. He 
needs not to look for our character and our 
deeds in the opinions we form of others. He 
is our witness; and whatever we may do to 
our brethren, he will impute to us no crimes 
of which we have not been guilty. But for 
our want of charity, for our hard suspicions, 
and our severe censures, he will judge us on 
their own account. And with w^hat peculiar 
aggravations will they appear in the sight of 
that being to whom tlie most secret faults of 

VOL. TT, H h 


our own hearts lie open ? Ye who judge your 
neighbours, Hft up your eyes to your common 
judge, beholding the secrets of your own soul. 
Turn them inwards on yourselves. With the 
impressions which you now feel, stand up, 
call your neighbour before your tribunal, put 
on your dignity, your penetration, and your 
severity, and say unto him, **Thou sinful man, 
'^ thou offender of God, I condemn thee;** 
heaven frowns at your presumption, and your 
own crimes assume a deeper dye. 

When God shall judge us all, folly will 
weigh less against usinthescale than 111-willand 
resentment; imprudence will not prove so hea- 
vy as calumny; nor will the frailties of huma- 
nity appear so criminal as that evil imagination 
which delighted to magnify them. And what 
shall the uncharitable man answer if God 
should say to him in the final settlement of cha- 
racters and rewards, '^Thou didst look with a 
*' severe eye on the faults of thy brother; shall 
" I pass over thine, or shall thy unkindness 
'* lessen them? Thou didst impute to him of- 
'* fences which he meant not and committed 
" not: shall I overlook those which I saw, and 
'* of which thou thyself art conscious. Thyun- 
** just and harsh censures made the innocent 


*^ to suffer pain ; what shall be done to thee, 
*' ihou false tongue? With what judgment 
'* thou didst judge, shall I not judge thee; 
" and with what measure thou didst mete, 
^' shall it not be meted to thee again ?*' 

5 . I shall only add one other motive to deter 
us from judging our neighbour; addressed not 
so much to the malicious and uncharitable, as 
to the generous and well-meanmg who form 
unfavourable opinions of others chiefly from 
rashness and inattention. When you lift up your 
voice against another without sufficient know- 
ledge of his conduct, even when appearances 
may give some countenance to your reprehen- 
sions, it is not improbable they may be ground- 
less. Of what wrongs may you not thus be- 
come the authour; agamst which the person 
you injure, will be less prepared to guard, 
the more innocent he is? To him who wishes 
to deserve the good opinion of the world, you 
may thus occasion the most discouraging of all 
mortifications. Of every advantage which de- 
pends on a good name, you may deprive him. 
You may be thus led to treat with unkindness 
those who merit favour. You may throw ob- 
stacles in the way of the most deserving and 
hurt the most tender feelings of a good man's 


To prevent you from following the practice 
of such evil, in addition to the other conside- 
rations already stated, we may observe, that, 
he alone is entitled to sport thus at random 
with the character of others, who would him- 
self feel no pain from any injuries his own 
might receive ; who could behold with indif- 
ference the suffering and distress which he 
occasioned; and whose condemnation could 
not be aggravated by being judged as he 
judged his neighbour. If this be a character 
which you justly abhor, and the imputation 
of which you would reject with indignation — - 
ihei) judge not, that ye be not judged. 




On the divine origin of the Christian religion. 

Acts, Chap. 5, Verse 38, 39. 

^ Refrain from these men, and let them alone ; for if this 
eouncil, or this work be of men, it will come to nought. 
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it j lest haply y^ 
be found even to fight against God." 

This was the sage advice of Gamaliel, a doc- 
tor of the law, and a man of great reputation, 
to the Jewish council, who were assembled to 
concert measures for suppressing the new re- 
ligion then beginning to be preached by the 
Apostles. The object of this advice is to dis- 
suade the Jews from doing any thing to in- 
jure the Apostles or to suppress the publica- 
tion of their opinions. For if that system 
which they taught with so much boldness 
and diligence was merely an imposition^evi- 


sed by themselves, and calculated to answer 
worldly purposes, it would, like some other 
pretended revelations which Gamaliel men- 
tions, be discovered, and, without any effort 
on the part of the Jews, would sink and come 
to nought. On the other hand, if it really 
was, what its friends pretended, a scheme of 
religion derived from God, containing suffi- 
cient evidence of its divine origin, and suppor- 
ted by the power of the Almighty, it was vain 
for them to oppose it ; in spite of all their ef- 
forts it would prevail, and they would only add 
to their own guilt by plotting against the Lord 
and his anointed. The natural inference 
from which is, that, if it did succeed it was 
not of man but of God ; and thus the success 
of the gospel, and even its very existence in 
the world, is an irrefragable evidence of its 

It must be confessed, that, success, abstract- 
ly speaking, is no certain proof of the excel- 
lence of any opinion. Errour and wicked- 
ness have been more prevalent, and have met 
with a more welcome reception, than even 
Jiruth and virtue. Neither is the rapid and 
extensive propagation of a religion, in itself, 
a decisive proof of the divinity of its origin. 


The Mahometan foith was as widely and in- 
stantaneously spread through the world as 
the Christian; and even to this day occupies a 
larger and more populous portion of the earth. 
But all we can infer from this is, that the 
means were adequate to the end ; the cause 
sufficient to produce the effect. And in the 
instance mentioned this sufficiency is very 
apparent. While Mahomet displayed the 
Koran in one hand he held the sword in the 
other ; and it is no wonder that a religion sup- 
ported by such powerful arguments should 
meet with success. The vices which it al- 
lowed, and the sensual paradise which it pro^ 
mised to its votaries were well calculated to 
gain the approbation of an effeminate and lux- 
urious people. The period of its introduction, 
was distinguished by the immoral lives and in- 
ternal divisions of the Christians. Its propa- 
gators were learned as well as brave, and re- 
commended by their talents what they defend- 
ed by their swords. In short the rejection of 
the Koran would have been more wonderful 
than its general reception. 

But m the case of Christianity, success is a 
sufficient proof of its authenticity ; for no ex- 
ternal causes did exist adequate to the effect. 


In the most enlightened and inquisitive age in 
which the human race had yet been found to 
exist, twelve poor, simple, and illiterate fisher- 
men issue forth from the land of Judea, at 
that time an inconsiderable province of the 
Roman empire, to teach a new system of re- 
ligion, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth ; a 
man of obscure rank and station in life, whom 
his own countrymen had taken as a criminal 
and hanged on a tree ; to teach a religion 
which had to combat the interest of priests 
and rulers, the science of the wise and learned 
the deep-rooted prejudices and immoral lives 
of the vulgar ; a religion whose rewards were 
confined to another state of being, and offered 
nothing at present to its disciples, but dangers 
and persecution. And yet so mightily did the 
word of God grow and prevail, that this reli- 
gion, without friends, without force, without 
fraud, had in less than half a century ranked 
among its proselytes the greater part of the im- 
mense empire of Rome, and was moreover 
known where the name of Rome had been 
never heard, where the day of science and 
civilization had never dawned, among na- 
tions of discordant tongues, governments and 
religions. In all this there is evidently some- 

SERMON Xlir. 24) 

thing more than human. The only inference 
we can draw is, either, that, the religion of 
Jesus is in itself so excellent and supported by 
such indisputable evidence as to conquer by 
the force of truth, or that it was protected and 
carried forward by the invisible aids of the 
Holy Spirit, and over-ruling providence of its 
great authour, whose character authorizes us 
to infer that he will not countenance and sup- 
port an imposture. 

All this appears to be naturally inferred from 
the words of the text, but to prove and illus- 
trate this point more fully, the following ob- 
servations will contribute ; which though 
some may deem unnecessary, because most of 
you entertain no doubt of the truth of your 
religion, will at least have these good effects. 
By impressing the truth of your religion more 
deeply on your minds, they will lead you 
the more to reverence its doctrines and pre- 
cepts. It will console every man to know 
that the religion whereon the foundation of 
all his hopes is built is not a cunningly devi- 
sed fable which the prejudices of custom and 
education have taught him to receive and re- 
vere, but may be defended by reasoning and 
argument, and is indeed the wisdom and tjie 

VOL, IT. J i 


power of God. In short, it will prove an an- 
tidote to that poisonous system of infidelity 
and atheism, which some men in all ages 
have endeavoured to spread by argument and 
ridicule, but which in the present age is pro- 
pagated by much more forcible weapons, 
those too of a carnal nature*. 

First, then, when the gospel was proposed 
to mankind, they were not without religion, 
as was the case when the different forms of 
the heathen system were introduced. I 
mention this to shew that the ready reception 
which Christianity met with in all countries, 
did not proceed from its being the first religion 
offered to the world ; so that the passion for 
religion natural to the human mind, having 
no other object, led men to adopt this form in 
place of a better, and almost without examin- 
ation. In every country, there was already a 
religion established by law, patronised by the 
rulers, and practised by the people. And 
what was still more unfavourable to the pro- 
gress of Christianity, the heathen religions 
were in most places excellently adapted to the 
taste of the vulgar, by the magnificence of 
their temples, and the splendour of their cere- 

• * Macknight's Harmony. 


monies. The Jewish rehgion possessed the 
same advantages; and, besides this, really en- 
joyed the honour which all the rest falsely 
claimed, of being a revelation from heaven. 
Moreover in heathenism there was nothing 
which could have the least influence to pre- 
pare the minds of its votaries for the recep- 
tion of the gospel ; but rather every thing to 
ahenate them from it. For it is well known 
that there was the most direct opposition be- 
tween all the different forms of the heathen 
religion and the gospel. Judaism indeed 
ought to have paved the way for the introduc- 
tion of Christianity, for which it was intended 
as a preparatory dispensation, but, through 
the wickedness of the Jews, it proved other- 
wise. For the decendants of Abraham, being 
prepossessed with the belief of the eternal 
obligation of the Mosaick institutions, were fil- 
led with violent enmity to the gospel, which 
taught the abrogation of the law. It is evident, 
therefore, from the nature of things that the 
introduction of the gospel upon the ruins of 
the established religion, must in all countries 
have been effected in opposition to the sword 
of the magistrate, the craft of priests, the pride 
of philosophers, the passions, humours and 


prejudices of the people, as well as the inter- 
est of many of them whose trades and profes- 
sions, like the goldsmiths at Ephesus, depended 
upon the continuance of the ancient supersti- 
tion, all closely combined in support of the 
national worship, and in opposition to that new 
system which aimed at nothing less than the 
total subversion of the old. 

It farther deserves attention, that, in the con- 
version of the world to Christianity, the me- 
thods whereby absurd systems have sometimes 
been successfully established, were not used. 
For the life and doctrines of Christ was not a 
story privately whispered among the Christians 
themselves, or communicated only to the few 
who were disposed to be of their party. It 
was not propagated in the dark, by people who 
stole about from house to house, with an inten- 
tion to deceive the credulous. It was not de- 
livered out by parcels, the first of which being 
tolerable palatable, paved the way for one 
more absurd and extravagant to follow. It did 
not insinuate itself into the belief of mankind 
by slow and insensible steps. These are the 
arts whereby the forgeries of impostors have 
crept into the world, and systems of errour have 
at length become to be believed, which if of- 

SERMON Xlir. 245 

fered openly and all at once would have been 
rejected with abhorrence as monstrous. But, 
instead of this, the history of Jesus and the most 
offensive doctrines of Christianity were preached 
publicly in Jerusalem, the scene of these won- 
derful transactions, in the synagogues, in the 
streets, in the temple itself, and even before the 
representatives of the Jewish nation in council 
assembled. It was soon afterwards preached 
in the same publick and open manner through 
all the regions of heathenism. At the dis- 
courses of the Apostles, and the meetings of 
the disciples, every one who chose might be 
present. The history and doctrines there 
advanced were proposed in their true, native 
colours, without any softening or disguise. 
They were proposed, also, all at once ; at least 
all the essential articles of the gospel, which 
however disagreeable to the passions or preju- 
dices of men, were delivered by the Apostles 
with the greatest openness in every sermon. 
As a proof of all this we may appeal to those 
candid and undaunted discourses of St. Peter 
and St. Paul, which are recorded in the Acts 
of the Apostles: and with still greater evidence 
to the publication and dispersion of the books 
of the Evangelists, and the Epistles which 


contain the whole of Christianity, and were 
offered entire in the first age of its progress to 
the world as we now have them. It is there- 
fore indubitable that all who anciently embra- 
ced Christianity, had an opportunity of exam- 
ing the whole scheme before they formed the 
resolution of becoming the disciples of Jesus. 
Ko one was cheated into this belief by any 
artful dealing of the first preachers of the gos- 

There is a third circumstance which with 
judicious persons will render the conversion of 
the world to Christianity a most striking proof 
that our religion is from God, namely, that the 
belief of the doctrine and miracles of Jesus> 
which in so short a time became general 
through the world, began in the country 
whicli had been the scene of his ministry, and 
particularly in the capital city, vvhere he had 
been publicly tried, condemned, and put to 
death, by the senate of Israel, as a deceiver. 
For, on the fiftieth day after his crucifixion, 
there were no less than three thousand con- 
verted in Jerusalem by a single sermon of one 
of the Apostles, who insisted upon the mira- 
cles performed by Jesus as things well known 
to all present, a topick which the Apostles in 


every sermon failed not to urge. A few weeks 
after this, five thousand who believed are said 
to have been present at another sermon preach- 
ed by the same Apostle. In the second year 
after our Lord's ascension the number of the 
disciples multiplied greatly, and a great com- 
pany of the priests, who had always been the 
most violent opposers of the new religion, be- 
came obedient to the faith. In the third year 
they multiplied so exceedingly that there was 
a great persecution against the church which 
was at Jerusalem, and they were all except 
the Apostles scattered abroad throughout the 
region of Judea and Samaria. In the third or 
fourth year, the spreading of the Christian faith 
was so remarkable, even in the remotest pro- 
vinces of Palestine, that the high priest and 
council of Jerusalem, in order to put a stop to 
it, sent forth persecutors as far as Damascus. 
Of these the leader was a zealous young man 
named Saul, who in this very journey was 
converted by Jesus appearing to him at noon- 
day. About eight or ten years after our Sa- 
viour's death, the disciples were grown so nu- 
merous in Jerusalem and the country about, 
that they became the object of jealousy to 
Herod himself. For, at the instigation of the 


priests, he carried on the persecution against 
them, by putting to death one Apostle, and 
imprisoning another, whom he intended also 
to slay. • 

This wonderful success of the gospel in its 
native country must tend greatly to convince 
us of its divinity. For if the things therein 
told had been false, would such numbers upon 
the spot where they were said to be done and 
at the very time at which they happened 
have given such credit to them, as on their 
account to have exposed themselves to the 
most grievous persecution. 

But the success of the gospel was by no 
means confined to Judca. Being preached 
in all the different provinces of the Roman 
empire, numbers of heathens as well as Jews 
were converted to the faith. A clear proof 
that the Christian system was not a fabri- 
cation by the Jews, invented with a design to 
raise their nation to its pristine grandeur, but 
contained such evidence of its divine origin as 
failed not to make an impression on those to 
whom it was proposed, of whatever nation or 
tongue. The conversion of the gentiles is so 
much the more remarkable that almost the 
very first triumph of the Christian religion 


were in Greece itself, the seat of learning and 
the polite arts. We learn from the Acts of the 
Apostles and St. Paul's Epistles, that churches 
were very early planted in most of its princi- 
pal cities. Even all -conquering Rome, the 
seat of wealth and empire, was herself con* 
quered by the force of truth. Many of her 
inhabitants embraced the Christian faith, as 
early as in the reigns of Claudius and Nero ; 
and but a few years after the crucifixion of 
our Lord, when the matters told concerning 
him were recent, and it was easy to have 
disproved them, if they had been false, by 
many witnesses from Judea, both Jews and 
Gentiles, who continually resorted to Rome, 
either for business or pleasure, and by the 
constant communication which subsisted be- 
tween the capital, and all the provinces of the 

This leads me to observe that the remarkable 
success of the gospel did not happen in a dark 
age or among a rude people, but in an age 
justly celebrated for the height to which learn- 
ing and the polite arts were carried ; and 
among the Greeks and Romans, the renowned 
masters of the sciences. In most countries, at 
this era, knowledge was more widely diffused 

VOL. II. K k 


And society more civilized than they had been 
at any former period. Besides, the world un- 
der the protection of the Roman government 
enjoying at this time profound peace, men of 
a speculative turn were every were at leisure 
to examine the matter with care, and as the 
different nations of the world were now uni- 
ted under one head, they had easy commu- 
nication with one another and with the city of 
Rome, the centre of intelligence and corres- 
pondence. It is therefore undeniable, that, 
when the gospel was first proposed, all ranks 
of men in all countries were as well secured 
as possible from being imposed upon by false 
pretences of any kind, and the gospel would 
not probably be adopted before it was duly 

It must indeed be confessed that the first pro- 
selytes to Christianity were not in general the 
most enlightened and inquisitive of their age, 
but, on the contrary, mean, simple men who had 
more veracity and integrity than understan- 
ding, who were more ingenuous than learned. 
This circumstance, though at first it may seem 
dishonourable to the Christian cause, will, upon 
mature reflection, add greatly to the evidence 
of its truth, Jesus himself rejoiced in it, and 

SERMON Xlil. 251 

more than once solemnly returned thanks foi* 
it. '' At that tune Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and 
'' said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven 
'* and earth, that thou hast hid these things 
'' from the wise and prudent and revealed 
*' them unto babes. Even so. Father, for so it 
*' seemed good in thy sight.'' The Apostle 
Paul gloried in the mean condition of the first 
converts. *' You see your calling, brethren, 
'' said he, how that not many wise men after 
'* the flesh are called. But God has chosen 
** the foolish things of this world to confound 
'' the wise, and God has chosen the weak 
*' things of the world to confound the things 
*' which are mighty ; and base things of the 
*' world and things which are despised hath 
'' God chosen, yea and things which are not 
'' to bring to nought things which are ; that 
'' no flesh should glory in his- presence." 
Our Lord and his Apostles thus rejoice in the 
conversion of the people, because they know 
this circumstance above all others would prove 
the truth of their doctrine. The prejudices 
and attachment of mankind to old opinions 
have always been found to bear a proportion 
to their ignorance. The bulk of mankind arc 
every where incapable of comprehending a 


train of reasoning, and cannot easily be per- 
suaded to change the principles in which they 
have been educated even by the most conclu- 
sive arguments. Since, therefore, such num- 
bers were converted to Christianity, it could 
not have been by artful reasoning, but by 
some striking miracles which made a deep im- 
pression on their senses ; and by a power 
much more irresistible than that of cool argu- 
ment, surmounted all the obstacles which su- 
perstition, custom and education had thrown 
in the way of their conversion. The same cir- 
cumstance is a clear proof that men were not 
compelled to adopt the religion of Jesus, by the 
secular power; were not seduced by the influ- 
ence and example of the great ; were not en- 
couraged by any prospect of profit or honour 
to enter into a society the greater part of whose 
members were poor ignorant men, less likely 
to be of advantage to those who might adhere 
to them than to bring them into trouble and dis- 
grace. ** Is not this the Carpenter's son ?'* 
did they impiously say of the Saviour him- 
self: '' are not these of the sect of the Naza- 
'^ renes?'* did they contemptuously ask con- 
cerning his followers. And most certainly no 
siian would expose himself to the reproach 


brought by such association unlessthe evidence 
of the gospel itself, or the powerful operations 
of the Spirit of God, had produced in his mind 
the most undoubted conviction of its truth. 

But though the generality of the first con- 
verts to Christianity in all countries were peo- 
ple in the middle and lower stations of hfe, it 
ought not to be forgotten that from the very 
beginnmg there were not wanting men of birth, 
education, talents, and fortune, whose conver- 
sion added both lustre and dignity to the 
gospel triumphs. Among the Jews, we may 
mention Nicodemus, one of the rulers; Joseph 
of Arimathea, a member of the senate of Is- 
rael; the great company of priests mentioned 
in the Acts of the Apostles, whose office and 
literature rendered them conspicious ; and 
above all the celebrated Apostle of the Gen- 
tiles, St. Paul, whose attachment to the wor- 
ship of his father was originally so deep-rooted, 
and whose excellent education, extensive 
learning, and unrivalled eloquence appear in 
all his discourses, and are the admiration even 
of infidels themselves. The sacred and pro- 
fane writers supply us with a numerous cata- 
logue of princes, magistrates and philosophers, 
who became converts to the gospel long be- 

254 SERMON xrir. 

fore it was the religion of the empire of Rome 
or was supported by the arm of power. For 
in process of time it became so that it was not 
a single person of figure in this city, or in 
that nation, who obeyed the gospel, but mul- 
titiides of the wise, the learned, the noble and 
the mighty in every country. These being 
all fully convinced of the truth of our Lord's 
pretensions, and deeply impressed with a 
sense of his dignity, gave the most solid proof 
of their conviction, and consequently of the 
truth of Christianity, by worshipping as a God 
one whom his countrymen had condemned as a 
malefactor; by forsaking the religion wherein 
they had been bred, a religion well suited to 
their inclinations and passions, and embracing 
one whereby they could gain neither honour 
nor profit, but on the contrary, much suffering 
and disgrace. In short, the religion was 
of God, and with his aid, it could not fail to 
make its way in the world. 



On the divine origin of the Christian religion. 

" Refrain from these men, and let them alone ; for if this 
council, or this work be of men, it will come to nought. 
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be 
found even to fight against God." 

I FORMERLY read these words with a design 
to impress on your minds a sense of the truth of 
your religion, and consequently a regard for 
the doctrines and precepts which it contains : 
and I proposed to show, as a natural inference 
from this advice, and I may also say predic- 
tion of Gamaliel, that the great success of the 
gospel in the first ages, and its existence at 
this very day, are undoubted proofs of its di- 
vine origin. 

It is evident from the great multitude of 
converts to Christianity in the first ages, that it 


must either contain irresistible evidence of its 
being from God, or the invisible and effectual 
power of the Almighty must have accompanied 
the preaching of the Apostles. No other 
causes, at least, can be discovered sufficient 
to produce the effect. On the contrary, every 
thing conspired to prevent the success of the 
gospel. The Christian religion was opposed 
by the sword of the magistrate, the craft of 
the priests, the pride of the philosophers, 
and the passions and prejudices of the Jew 
and Gentile. 

This religion was not propagated in the 
dark, nor delivered out in parcels, according 
to the usual method in which impostures are 
made to succeed ; but was fully laid before 
men all at once, that they might judge of the 
whole under one view. Mankind, then, 
were not cheated into the belief of it, but re- 
ceived it upon due examination and convic- 
tion. The gospel was first preached and be- 
lieved by multitudes in Judea, where Jesus 
exercised his ministry, and where every indi- 
vidual had full opportunity of knowing whe- 
ther the thing told of him were true or not. 
In this country, surely^ his history never would 
have been received, unless the facts alleged 


In it could have stood the test of examina- 
tion. Moreover, the rcHgion of Jesus was 
preached and helieved in the most renowned 
countries and cities of the world, and in an age 
when a spirit of inquiry universally prevailed, 
and the faculties of men were improved by 
the most perfect state of social life. In such 
an age as this, it would have been very impo- 
litick for a deceiver and impostor to have made 
his appearance. The first converts, it is true, 
were, in general, men of middle and inferiour 
stations ; but even these, in an age of such 
knowledge and intercourse, were sufficiently 
secured against false pretensions. Or if yoii 
suppose their minds not to have been suffi- 
ciently informed with knowledge, you should 
consider that in proportion to their ignorance, 
their attachment to their first religious princi- 
ples would be strong ; and that to bring men of 
such characters to change their principles no- 
thing less than infinite power or evident mira- 
cles are adequate. These were the ideas 
which engaged our attention when I last dis- 
coursed to you. 

I now proceed to observe, what seems high- 
ly worthy of attention, that the belief of 
Christianity was attended with no worldly ad- 

VOL. II. L 1 


vantage, which might induce men to renounce 
their native rehgions and embrace a form of 
worship so very different from every thing 
then practised. On the contrary, by becom- 
ing Christians they denied themselves many 
sensual gratifications which their own religions 
indulged them in ; they subjected themselves 
to a course of life rigid and severe, very dif- 
ferent from that to which they had been ac- 
customed, and which is so agreeable to the 
flesh. For at their baptism, or admission into 
the Christian society, they bound themselves 
to renounce the w^orld with its pleasures, as a 
sacrifice necessary in such times of persecu- 
tion, and to mortify the strongest inclinations 
of their nature. By renouncing the religion 
of their country, they lost the affections of 
their relatives, separated themselves from their 
acquaintance, forfeited the enjoyments of 
private and social life, estranged themselves 
from their friends, and banished themselves 
from their families. Nor was this all ; by em- 
bracing the gospel, they exposed themselves 
to still more terrible and positive evils. From 
the very beginning, the profession of Christi- 
anity was attended with the continual hazard 
of all manner of personal sufferings ; and in 
proportion as this religion spread itself, the 


^vils accompanying the profession thereof 
muhiphcd. Nor is this wonderful; if they 
did such things to the niastcrof the household, 
what could the servants expect? The profane 
and ecclesiastical historians tell us of ten furious 
persecutions carried on against the Christians 
in the early ages of the gospel, to compel them 
to relinquish their faith, in which they endu- 
red every species of torture and suffering which 
rage, cruelty and superstition could invent. 
St» Paul has given us such a description of them 
as must shock the feelings of every man of 
feeling and humanity. The primitive Chris- 
tians, instead of sitting under their own vine 
and their own fig tree, as wc do, without any 
to make us afraid, ** had trial of cruel mock- 
^' ings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds 
'* and imprisonment. They were stoned, they 
*' were sawn asunder, were tempted, were 
*' slain with the sword: they wandered about 
*' in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being desti- 
*' tute, afflicted, tormented. They. wandered 
'* in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens 
*' and caves of the earth." Powerful induce- 
ments these to embrace a system of which they 
were the inevitable consequence ! Nothing 
but over-bearing evidence, evidence such as 


they could not by any means resist, was able to 
make men in those circumstances receive a re- 
ligion which plunged them into such terrible 

We may add, as connected with this part of 
the subject,jthat the constancy, firmness and pa- 
tience displayed by the primitive martyrs, who 
submitted to such cruel sufferings rather than 
renounce their religion or blasphejLne their 
Saviour, could not be the effect of human 
strength, but must have been produced by su- 
pernatural aid. Without such aid, the trials 
to which they were exposed were sufficient to 
overbear duty, reason, faith, conviction, nay 
and the most absolute certainty of a future 
state. It is natural to man to wish to be deli- 
vered from pain ; and when they could have 
been so even by mental reservation, or any 
hypocrisy which was not without the possibili- 
ty of being followed by repentance and for- 
giveness, we must conclude that those who 
preferred the reproach of Christ, and rejoiced 
that they were counted worthy to suflter for his 
namesake, must have been supported by some 
miraculous power. We know that St. Ste- 
phen, the first martyr for Christianity, was en- 
couraged, in his last moments, by a vision of 


that divine person for whom he suffered, and 
into whose presence he was then hastening. 
Let any man lay his hand cahiily upon his 
heart, after reading those terrible conflicts in 
which the ancient martyrs and confessors were 
engaged, when they passed through such new 
inventions and varieties of pain as tired their 
tormentors; and let him ask himself, however 
zealous and sincere in his religion he may be, 
whether under such acute and lingering tor- 
tures, he could still have held fast his integri- 
ty and have professed his faith to the last, with- 
out supernatural assistance of some kind or 
other ? When we consider that it was not an 
unaccountable obstinacy in a single man, or in 
any particular set of men, in an extraordinary 
juncture ; but that there were multitudes of 
every age and sex, of different countries and 
conditions, who for near three hundred years 
together made this glorious profession of their 
faith in the midst of tortures and in the hour 
death, we must conclude, that, they were 
either of a different constitution from the pre- 
sent race of men, or that they had miraculou- 
support peculiar to those times of Christianity, 
without which perhaps the very name of it 
might have been extinguished. 


But farther, it is worthy of consideration 
that those who became converts to the gospel 
were not induced to do so by the force of arms, 
the influence of authority, the refinements of 
policy, or the power of great examples. They 
were prevailed upon to change their faith, 
merely by the preaching of a few illiterate 
mechanicks or fishermen, who were wholly 
destitute of the advantages of birth, education 
or fortune, and who, by condemning the es- 
tablished worship of all countries, were every 
where looked upon as the most flagitious of 
men. A particular stress has been laid upon 
this argument by our Lord and his Apostles. 
They direct us to consider the illiterate char- 
acter and low station of the first preachers 
of the gospel, as a proof that, in the conversion 
of the world, they acted by the power of 
truth, and with the assistance of God. ** We 
** have this treasure in earthen vessels, says St. 
" Paul, that the excellency of the power may 
" be of God and not of us/* But the force of 
this argument will best appear, if we consider 
the conversion of the work, first, simply as an 
event implying a change of men's religious 
principles, and secondly, as attended with a 
thorough reformation of their mannei-s. 


First, the conversion of the world, consider- 
ed as a change of men's religious principles^ 
effected merely by the power of persuasion, 
supposes that every convert was convinced of 
the absurdity of his former faith, and brought 
to see that the religion now offered to him was 
rational and well founded. But this was a 
task too arduous for the weak instruments 
employed ; for unless they were assisted by 
God, they had the prodigious labour to under- 
go oflearning the languages of all the nations, 
whether barbarous or civilized, to which they 
went, before they could discourse to them^ 
either of the ancient belief, or of the new 
faith which they came to offer to them. 
This itself was an obstacle which must have 
absolutely marred their design ; and therefore 
this single consideration demonstrates, that, in 
prevailing with multitudes in all countries to 
change their religious belief, the Apostles 
were inspired by God with the gift of tongues 
as the gospel records affirm » Allowing, how- 
ever, that by any means you please to fancy 
these men attained the knowledge of all the 
languages in such perfection, that they 
could speak them fluently ; yet to mstil know- 
ledge effectually into the minds of the people 


was a werk of immense labour, requiring fre- 
quent and particular application to each indi- 
vidual. If so, how can we suppose twelve 
men sufficient for the conversion of nations ! 
Were they capable of addressing alj the in- 
dividuals of those vast multitudes, who in the 
diiFerent countries of Europe, Asia and Africa 
were brought to serve the living God by their 
ministry ? No, such particular addresses were 
impossible ; and therefore the conversion of 
the Gentiles could not be produced by them. 
An event so stupendous must have been ac- 
complished by means more effectual ; means 
capable of swaying great numbers at once ; 
namely undeniable miracles wrought openly 
in proof of the doctrines which the Apostles 
taught. Indeed the natural means of argu- 
ment and persuasion must have been alto- 
gether inadequate to the effect. Mankind 
were too much attached to their religions to 
relinquish them upon the first ofier of a new 
faith. This was the case not only with the 
Jews, but with all the idolatrous nations, to 
whom the Apostles offered the doctrines of the 
gospel. The religions in the belief of which 
they were educated, were considered by them 
as of divine authority. Besides, these religions 


conspired with their passions, were connected 
with their Interest, and they were conlirmcd 
in the belief ot' them by the influence oi" au- 
thority and example. The religions of the 
learned were nothing but the systems of philo- 
sophy which they adopted. The peculiar 
tenets of these systems, they adopted with 
the same strength of faith wherewith Chris- 
tians now-a-days embrace their several creeds 
and confessions, and they defended them 
with the same intemperate warmth. Here 
then were obstacles which the Apostles 
were, of themselves, too weak to surmount. 
The ignorant would not attend to discourses 
which flatly contradicted their favourite no- 
tions, and robbed them of their pleasures : 
the philosophers would detest a religion 
which overturned their several systems at 
once, discovered their ignorance, mortified 
their pride, and ruined their credit. Certain, 
therefore, it is that the sermons of the Apostles, 
which made the heathens renounce their reli- 
gion, must have been accompanied with a di- 
vine power before which all opposition van- 
ished. Such is the declaration of St. Paul; 
" The weapons of our warfare are not carnal 
*' but mighty through God to the pulling down 
VOL. It. M m 


*' of strongs holds. Casting down imagina- 
*' lions and every high thing that exalteth it- 
*' self against the knowledge of God, and 
'* bringing into captivity every thought to the 
** obedience of Christ.'* 

Secondly, the conversion of the world being 
attended with a thorough reformation of man- 
ners in the heathens who obeyed the gospel, is 
likewise a demonstration that in spreading 
Christianity the Apostles were expressly assisted 
by God. To persuade the wicked to amend 
their lives, included many impossibilities. 
The manners of men in those days were be- 
yond measure corrupt. The picture which 
the Apostle Paul has drawn of them in the 
first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, 
however shocking, is but too just. The vices 
to which they were addicted were the effects 
of lusts and passions rendered unconquerable 
by long habits of indulgence. In the com- 
mission of many acts of wickedness they were 
authorized by the laws and discipline of their 
country. Some of the most pernicious vices 
were permitted them by the opinion of their 
philosophers. To persuade great numbers of 
mankind in such circumstances, to forsake 
their vices, that is, to act contrary to nature, to 


habit, to example, to interest, and to pleasure, 
what human eloquence was sufficient? Or if 
himian eloquence were sufficient to persuade 
them, whence, I pray, were the converts 
to derive tlie power of thoroughly changing, or 
at least of subduing their passions, or of altering 
the whole bent and current of their nature ? 
Whence the power of becoming pious, just, 
charitable, chaste, temperate, meek, humble, 
heavenly-minded, amid an infinity of power- 
ful temptations; and after having been unjust, 
uncharitable, intemperate, proud and worldly- 
minded to a high degree ? The heathen con- 
verts themselves looked upon the sudden and 
surprising change of manners, wrought on 
thousands of the most profligate, as something 
miraculous. By the consent, therefore, of all 
prudent men, it were ridiculous to the last de- 
gree, to suppose that tlie Apostles, by means 
merely human, produced this great change in 
the manners of multitudes, formerly enslaved 
to their lusts, and sold under sin. 

There is another fact, which, were it not 
more immediately connected with a subject 
foreign in some degree from this, would deserve 
attention in the present question, namely, that 
the wonderful success of the gospel was an 


event predicted long before it happened, and' 
at a time when it was of all things the most 

But the last observation I shall make on this 
subject, is that our religion has subsisted during 
the long period of almost eighteen centuries 
in full vigour, though its enemies have stren- 
uously attacked it both by argument and arms. 
Many errours have been propagated in the 
world, some in one way and some in another: 
but after due inquiry and examination they 
have been detected, they have come to nought 
and their followers have disappeared. What 
a glorious triumph for the cause of Christianity 
which has stood the test of ages and been found 
sufficient. In its infancy, while it enjoyed no 
protection from the magistrate, all men where 
allowed and even encouraged to argue against 
it with boldness. In free countries, even 
where Christianity is the law of the state, the 
same liberty is allowed ; and every advantage 
has been taken of this indulgence. For no 
method of overthrowing the gospel has been 
forgotten. Both argument and ridicule have 
been employed . Its nature and evidence have 
been sifted to the bottom. But, thanks to the 
goodnessof the cause, it has still kept its ground, 
and has at all times displayed a peculiar and 


divine strength derived from its being built on 
the rock of ages against which the gates of 
hell shall not prevail. In a word, it is of God 
and nothing can overthrow it. 

The greatest difficulty on this subject arises 
from that wonderful defection from the gos- 
pel which happened after the publication of 
Mahomet's doctrine to the world. This is in- 
deed one of the darkest secrets of divine pro- 
vidence. But the causes that contributed to 
produce this great revolution are manifest. 
They were plainly the vices and discords of 
the Christians of those times, who thereby 
gave the enemies of our faith courage to at- 
tack it, put weapons into their hands, and fur- 
nished them with every manner of advantage. 
Christ came into the world, with the design 
to subdue the power and destroy the 'king- 
dom of Satan. He displayed the banner of 
his cross, and summoned all nations to repair 
to it; who accordingly obeyed the signal. 
But while the extremest parts of the earth 
were meditating a submission, while his great- 
est enemies were hastening to put their necks 
under his feet, a stop was put to their inten- 
tions and his triumphs by the mutinies and 
desertions of his own soldiers. Who can suffi- 


ciently deplore the guilt and detest the evil 
influence of those vices v^^hich wrested so ma- 
ny kingdoms at once from the empire of 
Christ? They not only arrested his doctrine 
in its full course, and said to it hitherto shalt 
thou come and no farther, but made the sun 
of righteousness go backward as it were ma- 
ny degrees, and leave countries under gross 
darkness which had once been enlightened 
by the saving truths of the gospel. 

Many princes since this period, with more 
piety than discretion, have made attempts to 
regain, by force of arms, that ground which 
Christianity lost, and, by their sword to plant 
anew their faith in those places where it once 
had possession. Such misguided zealots seem 
always to have forgotten the advice of our 
Saviour to St. Peter upon a similar occasion, 
put up thy sword into the sheath. This great 
work is not to be accomplished by crusades 
and holy wars, but by conflicts of another 
kind, which we must maintain with our own 
corrupt habits and vicious inclinations ; not 
by foreign acquisitions, but by domestick 
victories over those impieties of Christians, 
which give the enemies of the gospel such 
advantages over it. For though the kingdom 


of heaven suffers violence, and the violent 
take it by force, yet the weapons of our ware- 
fare are not carnal but spiritual. When the 
conversations of those who bear the name of 
Christ, become agreeable to the purity of his 
doctrine ; when the divisions of Christendom 
are healed, and the professors of our holy faith 
live together like men of one mind in one 
house, then and not till then shall the scep- 
tre of Christ's kingdom extend itself to ail the 
unconverted parts of the earth. 

That God, ere the day of final retribution 
will bring this about, the scripture expressly 
assures us ; but of the particular time, at which 
he will effect it, we know no more than when 
he will come to judgment. However, let 
us all, as far as lies in our power, contribute 
to this great event and prepare the way for it. 
Let us, in our several places and stations, do 
our utmost to promote the kingdom of Christ 
within us, by advancing the love and practice 
of evangelical purity, and let us also frequent- 
ly put up our request for the arrival of that 
happy period when the knowledge of the 
Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover 
the sea, and when there shall be nothing to 
hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of 
the Lord. 



On duelling. 

*' Put up again thy sword into his place ; for all they who 
take the sword shall perish with the sword.** 

The first principle in our nature is self-pre- 
servation. To gratify this principle every ex- 
ertion may and ought to be made, Mrhich does 
not infringe the rights of our neighbour. To 
repel the blow which aims at our destruc- 
tion, even by the death of the offender, when 
that is necessary to our safety, is lawful and 
commendable; because we act in obedience 
to this first of all principles, a desire of exist- 
ence, without infringing any right of our 
neighbour's, for surely he could never have 
any right to take away our life. This prin- 
ciple contemplates the perservation not merely 
of our existence, but also of our faculties, 
members and rights of every kind. 


In aid of this principle, and subservient to 
it, nature has provided us with another which 
is innocent and useful when properly regu- 
lated. This is what we call anger or resent- 
ment. *When we arc hurt nature disposes us 
to resist and retaliate. Besides the pain occa^ 
sioned by the injury, the mind is ruffled, and 
a desire raised to retaliate upon its authour. 
This principle is both defensive and olft nsive. 
It prompts us not only to place ourselves 
in a posture of defence ; but, as offensive arms 
are often the suicst means of defence, by de- 
terring the enemy from the assault, so resent- 
ment leads us to go beyond ourselves and 
strike terrour into the assailant by threatening 
him with retaliation. Man, in his present 
stage, is surrounded with so many objects of 
a destructive nature, that he needs some ar- 
mour which shall be always ready in the 
moment of danger. Reason would be of 
great use for this purpose where there is time 
to apply it. But in many cases the mischief 
would be done before reason could think of 
the means of prevention. To supply this de- 
fect the wisdom of nature has provided this 
principle of resentment, which prevents mis- 

* Reid's Essays, 
VOL. II. N n 

274 • SERMON XV. 

chief by the fear of punishment, which is a 
kind of penal statute, promulgated by nature, 
the execution of which is committed to the one 
who is threatened. 

' It IS evident, however, that as it is unjust to 
do an injury, so it is no less unjust to punish 
it beyond measure ; for there the parties change 
sides, and the injured become the injurious. 
To prevent excessive resentment nature has 
provided us with no means but the candour 
and reflection of the injured party, and the 
fear of a renewed resentment from the person 
who originally did the injury. These, how- 
ever, are very imperfect remedies. Nothing 
can be more evident than that a man is a very 
unlit judge in his own cause, especially when 
inflamed by resentment and smarting under 
injury. However clear might be our right 
in a state of nature to redress our own wrongs, 
yet in a state of social union, this right with 
many others is surrendered into the hands of 
the magistrate who is charged with the execu- 
tion of the laws. Nor could the rights of in- 
dividuals be more secure than when placed 
under the protection of the united force of the 
society, nor more impartially adjusted than 
by indifferent and unprejudiced men. Hence 


the law considers him as guilty of a crime 
who, of his own private act, injures another 
even in retahation for wrongs received. For 
if we are assisted in the maintenance and re- 
covery of our rights by the general strength 
of the community, it is but reasonable that 
we should wait for publick arbitration. 

And this rule is not only founded in equity, 
but in absolute necessity. For if mdividuals 
were permitted to indulge their resentment, 
and to seek redress of injuries with their own 
arm, the safety, nay the very existence of so- 
ciety would be at an end. Resentment is a 
passion which indulgence has a peculiar ten- 
dency to increase. Give it the reins and it 
becomes ungovernable. The beginning of 
strife is as when one leiteth out water ; as coals 
are to burning coals, or as wood to fire, so are 
contentious men to kindle strife. No one 
can say of resentment, hitherto shalt thou go 
and no farther. The impetuosity of passion 
hurries us inevitably beyond the limits we 
prescribed to ourselves, and the flames of dis- 
sension being kindled, the spirit of retaliation 
yearns for mutual destruction. In this pro- 
gress of variance and strife, the original inju- 
ry is altogether lost sight of, the passions of 


others, who may be connections or friends Of 
either party, draw them also into the vortex of 
contention. Families, cities and nations are 
placed agamst each other in hostile array> 
and society is converted into a scene of blood- 
shed and disorder. 

It is therefore a first principle of the social 
compact, as well as a maxim of religion, that 
no irtdividualshould take it uponhim toavenge 
himself. 1 he law declares vengeance is mine, 
I will repay it. He therefore transgresses the 
first principle of equity, who when he receives 
an injury of whatever kind seeks redress in his 
own person. One man injures another in his 
property, by detaining from him a debt which 
Is justly due. Does the injured party go and 
seize the goods or property of the party who 
commits the injury, and repay himself. Such 
a proceeding every man of common sense 
knows to be incompatible with the existence 
oflaw^and of society. How comes it then 
that a similar method of proceeding in the case 
of an infringement of any other right does not 
appear equally unjustifiable and absurd. How 
comes it that when our honour or reputation is 
injured, we not only omit to seek redress from 
the fountain of justice, but even deem it pu- 


sillanimous so to do, and, in violation of the first 
duly ot a good member of society, take satis- 
faction ourselves by calling forth the person 
who did the wrong to single combat. Herein 
we act more unjustifiably than our barbarous 
ancestors, from whom the unhappy practice 
descends. The duel constituted a part of their 
publick administration of justice. It was so- 
lemny and judicially appointed by the magis- 
trate to assist him in deciding the merits of a 
case. We cannot sufficiently pity the igno- 
rance and superstition which gave rise to such 
a practice. Unacquainted however with the 
rules of evidence, in deciding causes, and im- 
agining that the deity would Interpose for the 
safety of the innocent, their conduct may in 
this point of view admit of some excuse. But 
we, in cases where the evidence is clear, where 
the law is ready to pronounce its sentence, 
grossly insult the majesty of the state, usurp the 
power of the magistrate, and defeat one of the 
principle ends of the social union, which was 
instituted to restrain the excess of resentment, 
by demanding private satisfaction for injuries 
offered to our honour. 

Here indeed it may be said that there cer- 
tainly are cases where the law of nature per- 
mits a person to redress his own wrongs without 

<278 SERMON XV. 

waiting for the decision of the judge. But 
what are those cases ? Those in which no ap- 
peal to the law is possible, as in desert islands, 
where no society exists ; those cases in which 
to wait for the protection of the law would be 
attended with infinite and irretreivable ruin, as 
when our life is assaulted and endangered. 
Here as the law cannot furnish a man with a 
perpetual guard, nor the magistrate be pre- 
sent to protect the person of every individ- 
ual in the community, the law allows him to 
redress his own wrong, and to defend him- 
self even if it lead to the death of the assail- 
ant. But even in this case so strongly does 
it disapprove of the practice of seeking private 
redress, that every effort must have been pre- 
viously made to escape, or to disarm the as- 
sailant, before we can lawfully have recourse 
to this expedient. In short, private redress of 
injuries is allowable in cases where from defect 
of evidence no redress could otherwise be ob- 
tained. Thus in the 22d chap. 2d verse of Ex- 
odus, we read this law, which agrees also with 
that of the English code. ''If a thief be found 
*' breaking up, and be smitten that he die, no 
*' blood shall be shed for him: if the sun be 
*' risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for 
*^ him.'* The reason of which appears to be. 


that if discovered and recognised, as he might 
easily be in the day, the fact could be proved 
and the decision ot the law ubstalned ; but if he 
escaped, which he was likely to do in the dark, 
no restitution or redress could be obtained. 
But will it be said that injuries done to honour 
are ni any respect in a similar predicament ? 
What irretrievable mischief would ensue from 
waiting for the decision of justice? What 
more effectual vindication of our honour can 
be obtained than by the impartial and delibe- 
rate sentence of the law ? What redress more 
satisfactory can we desire than to have our in- 
nocence declared by disinterested and en- 
ligthened men, and the brand of falsehood and 
of infamy impressed upon our adversary I 

Besides, if even the case were such as to 
permit private retaliation, yet this ought to be 
proportioned to the measure of the offence : 
the same redress is not applicable in every 
case. The very principle of this law, is, as ex- 
pressed in the scriptures, " an eye for an eye, 
and a tooth for a tooth." It may be just and 
equitable that, whoso sheddeth man's blood 
by man shall his blood be shed, but surely it 
can never be just and equitable that a slight 
injury, whether real or imaginary, arising 


from some unguarded expression, from some 
interference oHntcrest, or from sentiments of 
pride mutally indulged, should be redressec 
in the blood of the rival or aggressor. Neither 
is it consistent with common sense, that, from 
the retort courteous to the lie direct, there 
should be only one method of redress, the 
death or maiming of either of the parties. 
Is it equally as criminal to question the integ- 
rity of our neighbour as to plunge a dagger 
into his bosom? Must an uncivil speech be 
accounted for as manslaughter; or a passionate 
blow be punished as premeditated murder ? 

2. H^ who challenges another to single 
combat, for injuries received, violates those 
precepts of our divine religion which en- 
join a meek, patient, and forgiving conduct. 

The law of nature permits a retaliation for 
wrongs, under this restriction, that, excepjt in 
a few urgent and extraordinary cases, the re- 
dress and punishment of wrongs be referred 
to the magistrate. The law of Moses, which 
is chiefly a publication of the law of nature, 
expressly and formally enjoins under the 
same restriction the law of retaliation. Thus 
in Exodus, 21st chapter, and '23, 24, 25 
verses, ** Thou shalt give life for life, eye 


" for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot 
" for foot, burning for burning, wound for 
*^ wound, stripe for stripe." But all this was 
expressly directed to be as the judges sliould 
determine. Besides, there are many clauses 
additional to and explanatory of this general 
maxim, to be found in the books of Moses, 
wliich greatly soften the rigour of the law, 
and lean powerfully to the side of justice and 
mercy. To prevent the fatal effects of sud- 
den resentment, cities of refuge were appoint- 
ed where the criminal might be secure, till 
the law had calmly and deliberately decided 
upon his guilt or innocence. And though 
we read in the gospel that it was said by them 
of old time, thou shalt love thy neighbour 
and hate thine enemy, it must be confessed 
that no such command as the latter of these ig 
to be found in the Mosaic k law, but it must 
have been the false comment of the Scribes 
and Pharisees, as a mistaken inference from 
some express commands of God to the Israel- 
ites to destroy and root out the wicked and 
idolatrous Canaanites. So much the reverse 
was the true law, that Moses expressly says, 
'* Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge 
'* against the children of thy people, but thou 
VOL. ir. o o 


'* shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.*' Lev. 
xix. 18; and again, *' If thou meet thine 
^' enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt 
** surely bring it back to him again. If 
** thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying 
** under his burden, and wouldst forbear to 
" help him, thou shalt surely help with 
'' him." Exodus, 23d chap. 4th and 5th verses. 
In like manner in the book of Proverbs, 24th 
chapter, 29th verse, ''Say not I will do so to 
*' him as he hath done to me ; I will ren- 
<'der to the man according to his work." 
And under the Old Testament dispensation, 
we have on record many illustrious examples 
of patience under ill treatment, and forgiv- 
ness of injuries. Nay even among the heath- 
en writers we meet with many excellent max- 
ims on this subject. Pythagoras is recorded to 
have said, that, we ought neither to begin re- 
proaches nor to avenge ourselves on those who 
reproach us. Menander says, he who can 
bear injuries patiently is the best of men. 
Plato, in his celebrated work entitled Crito, 
observes, that, even when provoked by an in- 
jury we ought not to retaliate whatever we 
may suffer from others. 

It must be confessed, however, not only that 


the Jewish writings spoke faintly on this sub- 
ject, and that the heathen philosophers and sa- 
^s were by no means consistent and uniform 
in their opinions about the forgiveness of inju- 
ries and the proper behaviour towards enemies, 
but, also, that the custom and maxims of the 
world were in the days of our Saviour, as in our 
own, altogether the reverse ofmeeknessand for- 
bearance. It was the era of war and of con- 
quest, when rapine, bloodshed and cruelty 
prevailed over the face of the earth, when the 
fiery and turbulent soldier commanded more 
effectually the esteem and applause of the 
world than the peaceable and inoffensive ci- 
tizen. The Jewish Rabbis had, from a mis- 
taken interpretation of some of the precepts 
of their law, and from a spirit of national pride, 
inculcated an absolute hatred and contempt 
of all nations but their own, so that they would 
not point out the road or direct to the neigh- 
bouring fountain any who was not a descen- 
dant of Abraham. 

It remained for the blessed Authour of our 
holy religion to enlighten the world on this im- 
portant subject, to teach fallen and sinful men 
the duty of forgiving and forbearing with one 
another. It formed indeed a necessary and 


essential article in the gospel, the great design 
of which was to promote peace on earth and 
good will among men — which was itself so stri- 
king z display of the divine forgiveness, and 
which was embellished by so amiable and per- 
fect an example of patience and forbearance in 
him who was meek and lowly in heart. The 
general character of the wisdom which cometh 
from above is that it is pure and peaceable, gen- 
tle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and 
of good fruits. It is a system of humanity, kind- 
ness and love, utterly incompatible with vari- 
ance, emulation, wrath, strife and malice. It 
commands us to put on, as we pretend to be 
the elect of God, bowels of mercies, meekness 
of disposition, humility of mind, forgiving and 
forbearing one another in love. It com- 
mands us to live peaceably with all men, not 
only with the good and gentle, but also with 
the froward. On the one hand it inculcates a 
gentle and inoffensive behaviour, so that ali 
ground of variance on our part may be remo- 
ved. It condemns not only actions hurtful to 
our neighbour, but also words which may 
wound his feelings and provoke him to wrath, 
and even injurious thoughts and unreasonable 


anger though concealed in the breast. Thus 
says our Lord in the gospel of Matthew, 5th 
chapter, 21st and '2'2d verses, ** Ye have heard 
'* that it was said by them of old time, thou 
" shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill, shall 
" be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto 
" you, that whosever is angry with his brother 
*' without a cause, shall be in danger of the 
^' judgment, and whosoever shall say to his 
*' brother Raca, shall be in danger of the 
'* council; but whosoever shall say, thou fool, 
'* shall be in danger of hell fire.'* Were these 
and similar directions frequently occuring in 
the New Testament to be sincerely and punc- 
tually obsei*ved by those who profess to obey 
them, the flame of resentment would, for want 
of fuel, soon die of itself. But in a mixed and 
imperfect state, offences must needs come. 
And the gospel has not omitted to give us di- 
rections for regulating our conduct in such 
cases. But what are these directions ? Does 
the gospel represent it as cowardly and mean- 
spirited to act with the calmness of a reasonable 
being when we have been exposed to injuries? 
When men revile us, and speak all manner of 
evil against us falsely, are we commanded to 
return railing for railing ? When even, in a 


fit of passion, he has smitten us on the cheek, 
are we directed to seize him and demand in- 
stant satisfaction to the utmost extent of retalia- 
tion ? No, on the contrary, we are commanded 
to bear these things patiently, not to resist evil, 
not to recompense evil for evil, sincerely and 
unreservedly to forgive our brother the wrongs 
which he may have done us; nay even to love, 
to bless, and to do acts of kindness to those who 
are guilty of the greatest outrage and abuse, and 
all this it enjoins us to do as we hope to have 
our names enrolled in the Lamb's book of life. 
For hear the words of the Lawgiver himself, 
and also the commentary of one of his Apostles, 
*' Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye 
*' for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth : But I say 
''unto you, that ye resist not evil ; but who- 
** soever shall smite thee on thy right cheek 
" turn to him the other also ; and if any man 
*' sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, 
*' let him have thy cloak also. And whoso- 
*' ever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with 
^' him twain. Ye have heard that it hath been 
" said, thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate 
" thine enemy; but I say unto you, love your 
^* enemies, bless them that curse you, do good 
'* to them that hate you, and pray for then* 


•* that despitefully use you and persecute 
" you. If ye farglve men their trespasses your 
'* heavenly father will also forgive you, but 
*' if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neith- 
*' er will your heavenly father forgive your 
*' trespasses." To the same purpose St. Paul 
says, *' Bless them which persecute you, 
'' bless and curse not. Recompense to no 
'^ man evil for evil. Dearly beloved, avenge 
*' not yourselves, but rather give place unto 
'* wrath ; for it is written, vengeance is mine: 
'* I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if 
'* thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he 
''thirst, give him drink; for in so doing, 
'^ thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. 
'^ Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil 
*' with good." 

It is not necessary to my present purpose to 
enter into a defence of these precepts, to show 
their reasonableness, or to point out the many 
motives which should induce you to comply 
with them. This I have done on former oc- 
casions, with what success will appear at that 
day when I must account for what I have 
here spoken, and you for what you have 
here heard. Besides, as Christians, you pro- 
fess to receive them and to be governed by 


them. Neither is it necessary to enter into 
a critical examination of these passages, and 
to shew the exact measure of forbearance 
which they enjoin. Some of the early fa- 
thers of the church, while Christianity was 
yet new, and a zeal for the words of the Sa- 
viour was still warm and unabated, maintained 
that they required a non-resistence, absolutely 
unlimited, inconsistent with the exercise of 
war, of self-defence, and of redress of injuries 
of any kind or in any way. One of them (St. 
Ambrose) maintained that if a Christian was 
assaulted, even by an armed robber, he ought 
not to retaliate upon the assailant, lest while he 
defended his life he should pollute his piety^ 
Another (St. Augustine) says **1 cannot approve 
" of this advice to slay another in self-defence, 
" unless it be in the case of a soldier, or of a 
•* publick functionary who possesses a lawful 
" authority, and is bound by his office, to do 
** this not for himself, but for others." 

Others, with much more justice, have 
maintained that an interpretation so rigorous 
would place the morality of Jesus in direct 
opposition to the natural sentiments of right 
and wrong, would be inconsistent with other 
passages of scripture, and contrary to the ex- 


amples of Christ and his Apostles. However 
this may be, taking these precepts in the ve- 
ry lowest sense which they can possibly bear, 
they will not tail to stamp with guilt the 
practice which we are now considering. - It 
is certain that the gospel condemns all pride, 
violent and excessive anger, malice and re- 
venge; that It enjoins humility, meekness, 
patience, and forgiveness of m juries. But 
whence come wars and lightings among us ? 
Come they not from those very passions 
which the gospel commands us to suppress ? 
What is it but pride which fills a man with 
an overweaning idea of himself, which magni- 
fies every aftVont or injury offered to his dignity 
and his feelings, that seeks after occasions to 
distinguish itself, that causes a man to refuse to 
be entreated or to confess the faults which he 
may have in return committed ? What is it but 
anger that pushes him on to resist and to re^ 
taliate. What but revenge ih'niQooWy and de- 
liberately resolves on the destruction of his 
adversary, pursues him into his domestick re- 
tirement, tears him from his family and friends^ 
drags him to the field of death, and points the 
instrument of murder where it should have 
placed the shield of defence. Humihtv, 
VOL, ir. p p 


meekness, patience and forgiveness are never 
found in such society. They are the stead- 
fast friends of peace and concord. They 
were the constant companions of him w^hom 
we profess to imitate. They shone forth in 
his looks; they breathed in his words; they 
stood forth embodied in all his actions. When 
lie was reviled he reviled not again ; when 
he suffered he threatened not ; but gave his 
back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them 
who plucked off the hair. When malice 
was directing all her shafts against him, when 
insolence loaded him with contumely, when 
justice refused to listen to his cry, when cru- 
elty assailed him in the most terrible forms, 
meekness, patience, and forgiveness did not 
forsake him, but dictated his last words, which 
were a prayer for the forgiveness of his enemies 
and persecutors. Let this illustrious example 
convince those violent spirits, who extinguish 
the flame of their resentment with the blood 
of their adversary, that by complying with 
the precepts of the gospel they are in no dan- 
ger of degrading their nature or of extinguish- 
ing the sense of honour. Human nature was 
never so much exalted as by the character 
and life of our Saviour. The sense of honour 


was never more delicate than in the breast of 
Jesus of Nazareth. Low as was his rank, the 
tempter shrank back from his rebuke. 
Though bound as a criminal, Pilate trembled 
in his awful presence. The lawless and en- 
raged multitude, overawed by the dignity of 
his countenance, suffered him to pass unhurt 
through the midst of them. Such is the res- 
pect which the calm aspect of virtue can se- 
cure ! 

But let the men of the world think of these 
virtues as they please, the Christian cannot 
think lightly of them, who knows that upon 
the practice of them all his hopes of future 
happiness depend. Only reflect that erelong 
your will stand before the judgment seat of 
God, supplicants for mercy and forgiveness, 
and then say what ought to be your conduct 
under the most provoking injuries. Imagine 
your secret sins disclosed and brought to 
light; imagine yourselves thus humbled and 
exposed ; trembling under the hand of God ; 
casting yourselves on his mercy, crying out 
for forgiveness of your ten thousand aggrava- 
ted offences; then imagine such a creature 
talking of satisfaction, refusing to be entreated, 
disdaining to forgive, extreme to mark and to 

^292 SERMON XV. 

resent what is done amiss — it is impossible to 
imagine an instance of more impious and un- 
natural arrogance. 

Here perhaps it may be said that I have been 
hitherto only contending with a phantom ; that 
I have ahogether mistaken the point. The ad- 
vocate for duelling is not an advocate for re- 
venge. He who calls forth another that has 
injured and insulted him, rejects with abhor- 
rence the imputation of so base a motive. He 
freely forgives the insult received : he has even 
an esteem for the offender. It is not hatred, or 
revenge, or a thirst for blood, that calls him to 
the field, but a direful necessity which none 
laments more than himself, either to forfeit 
what is dear to him above all things, his hon- 
our, or to demand satisfaction for an offence 
which he would otherwise have overlooked. 

Allowing this to be the case, 1 shall by and 
by proceed to show the folly and wickedness 
of such a principle. But I cannot allow it to 
to be the case. Will any one seriously say 
that he who assails his neighbour with a dead- 
ly weapon has no enmity nor ill-will against 
him ? if he has not, his conduct is more ab- 
surd than the madman who casteth about (ire- 
brands, airows and death, and saith am X not 


in sport? The intoxication of passion, though 
it docs not justify, may yet account for the 
commission of this crime. But, for the hon- 
our of human nature, we cannot suppose that 
any man would assault another's Hfe out of 
mere wantonness and gaiety of heart. If it be 
pretended that it is in vindication of his honour 
which has been injured, were there not many 
other more eftectual methods of doing this 
than by calling his adversary forth to single 
combat ? Was his courage questioned ? Was 
there no publick enemy, against whom his 
prowess might be displayed, that he must 
thus attack a fellow citizen, perhaps a friend? 
AVas his veracity impeached ? Was there no 
tribunal competent to decide so well as the 
point of the sword ? AVho does not perceive the 
prudence and propriety of the answer given 
by Augustus to Anthony, when the latter, 
tortured with shame at his own misconduct, 
galled with envy at his rival's success, despair- 
ing of his affairs, and disgusted with existence, 
challenged the former to single combat ? " If 
** Anthony is weary of his life, said Augustus, 
** there are many thousand ways of ending it 
" besides the point of my sword." The chal- 
lenger, therefore, cannot evade the charge of 


revenge ; he cannot pretend that from the 
heart he forgives the trespasses of him whose 
life he seeks. 

3. But I now proceed to other instances of 
guilt attending the practice of duelUng, which 
apply equally to him who gives and him who 
accepts a challenge. For both are in the eye 
of God guilty of murder. To take a way 
the life of another unjustly has in all ages and 
nations been deemed the greatest crime which 
can possibly be committed against God, against 
society, or against an individual. It is a di- 
rect insult to the majesty of heaven, whose im- 
age we bear ; it is a violent attack on the au- 
thority of the law, which promises protection 
to all its subjects; it violates at once every tem- 
poral right of the individual, and may plunge 
him, with all his sins upon his head, uncancel- 
led, unrepented of, into everlasting misery. 
Hence the wise Authour of, our frame hath 
not only impressed upon the mind a sense of 
the guilt of murder, but ha5 moreover strength- 
ened it by the most inexpressible horrour, and 
the most awful anticipations of punishment, 
which no distance of time, no subsequent pros- 
perity, can ever wholly obliterate from the 
thoughts of those who have been guilty of its 


commission. ** My punishment/' said he 
who did the first murder, ** is greater tlian I 
*' can bear; every one that iindeth mc shall 
" slay me." 

Revelation fences and guards human life 
in a manner still more strict and avvful than 
even the sentiments of nature, aided by the 
desire of self-preservation. For thus spake 
God unto Noah, '* Surely your blood of your 
** lives will I require ; at the hand of every 
'* beast will I require it : and at the hand of 
'* man, at the hand of every man's brother will 
*' I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth 
" man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed : 
'' for in the image of God made he man." 
No one is ignorant of the sixth commandment 
of the law. '' Thou shalt not kill;" And lest 
any one should suppose that this heinous crime 
might, like some other instances of transgres- 
sion of a very aggravating nature, have a me- 
thod of expiation and atonement appointed for 
it, the performance of which would absolve the 
criminal from his guilt and punishment, the 
lawgiver adds, Dcut.xix. 11> 13, **lf any man 
" hate his neighbour, and smite him mortally 
" that he die, thine eye shall not pity him." 
Numb. XXXV. 31, '* Moreover ye shall take no 


"satisfaction for the life of a murderer; but he 
'' shall surely be put to death/* Neither the ci- 
ties of refuge, nor even the altar of God, could 
screen the murderer from punishment. Exod. 
xxi. 14, *' If a man come presumptuously upon 
*' another to slay himwith guile, thou shalt take 
** him from mine altar, that he may die." Yea 
still to increase our reverence for human life, 
and our abhorrence of murder, it is added, that 
even the brute animal which might be the in- 
strument of taking away a man's life was accur- 
sed, and the place where the deed was commit- 
ted was polluted. Exod. xxi. 28, " If an ox 
'^ gore a man or a woman, that they die, then 
*' the ox shall surely be stoned, and his flesh 
*' shall not be eaten.'* Numbers xxxv. 33, 
*' Ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye 
** are ; for blood defileth the land, and the 
** land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is 
*' shed therein, but by tlie blood of him that 
<* shed it/' The gospel not only confirms and 
sanctions every tittle of the moral law, but, on 
this subject in particular, declares that no mur- 
derer hath eternal life abiding in him, but 
that they shall have their part in the lake 
which burneth with fire and brimstome, which 
is the second death. 

^ SERMON XV. 297 

' I have recalled to your recollection these 
prohibitions and aggravations of this horrid and 
unnatural crime, that you may see more clear- 
ly how valuable and sacred a thing the life of 
man is in the eye both of religion and of the 
law, and what dreadful guilt they incur who 
unjustly deprive another of that which is the 
foundation of every blessing. Now by what 
arguments or evasion shall the duellist evade 
the imputation of this crime? Does he not 
voluntarily and with premeditation attempt 
to take away the life of his adversary? The 
failure of the attempt does not diminish the 
guilt of the attempt ; for, though the law would 
not account it murder unless followed by an 
actual kilhng, yet God, who searcheth the heart 
and with whom intentions are acts, considers 
the attempt as no less criminal than the act it- 
self. Where the death of either or both the 
parties ensues, that this is murder is not the 
language of divines only, or of partial advo- 
cates, but of that law which has justly been 
esteemed the proudest monument of human 
Wisdom. *' This,'* says its ablest and clearest 
commentator, speaking of the case where one, 
with a sedate, deliberate mind, and formed de- 
sign, doth kill another, ** takes in the case of 

VOL. IT. Q q 


" deliberate duelling, where both parties meet 
'' avpwedly with an intent to murder; think- 
** ing it their duty as gentlemen, and claim- 
^* ing it as their right, to wanton with their 
^' own lives and those of their fellow creatures; 
" without any warrant or authority from any 
*^ power either divine or human, but in di- 
** rect contradiction to the laws both of God 
^* and man ; and therefore the law has justly 
'* fixed the crime and punishment of mur- 
^' der on them, and on their seconds also." 

It is the common language of the duellist 
to say that he allows his adversary a fair and 
equal chance in combat. But what a chance ! ! 
The chance of being slain, or, what is worse, 
of committing murder. Without, indeed, 
the exposure of the persons of the parties, 
duelling would be nothing else than assassina- 
tion. And as it is, it makes no difference in 
the guilt, and but little in the consequence. 
The highwayman who, in the face of day, 
attacks and murders another who is also armed 
and prepared, may be admired perhaps for 
a certain kind of generosity and courage, but 
he is not the less a murderer on that account. 
The danger to which the duellist is equally 
exposed with his adversary may perhaps de- 


ter a few from engaging in duels who would 
be glad to dispatch their enemy where it could 
be done without personal risk. But on the 
other hand, the excessive baseness and mean- 
ness of the crime of assassination will ever pre- 
vent Its commission by men of the smallest 
pretentions to courage and magnanimity; 
whereas the fascinating glare which the sup- 
posed generosity and bravery of engaging in 
single combat throws over this crime will be 
apt to dazzle and allure many who otherwise 
might be inclined to forgive. And it is found 
in fact that there are very few indeed who 
have not sufficient bravery to run the hazar4 
to which they are exposed in a duel, in obe- 
dience to the call of passion or of false hon- 

4. Will the duellist plead, in extenuation of 
his offence the mutual consent and permission 
of the parties to attempt each other's life ? But 
it is evident that no man can transfer to an- 
other a right which he does not possess him- 
self, namely, to determine the duration of 
his own life. This evasion only leads us to 
consider another circumstance of guilt attend- 
ing those who engage in duels. I mean, 
that, by wantonly exposing their own lives. 


thejr incur the guilt of self-murder. That 
the Almighty, by the very constitution of our 
nature, has fixed his canon against self-mur- 
der. That we ought not to desert our post, 
abandon our trust, and rush uncalled into the 
presence of oar Maker, are points requiring no 
proof to a Christian audience. But are not 
they guilty of this sin, who, rather than sup- 
port the pain and torture of imaginary dishon- 
our, seek to disburden themselves of existence 5 
For where is the difference between voluntarily 
rushing upon another's sword and plunging 
it into our own bosom ? Were the Romans 
who perished, at their own request, by the 
hands of their freed-men, less guihy of suicide^ 
than they who fell upon their own swords ? 
We came into being for important purposes, 
When these purposes are fully answered, and 
our continuance in the world altogether use- 
less, we are evidently incompetent to deter- 
mine. Our duty to society and to ourselves 
requires that we should strive to preserve our 
life and faculties for the discharge of that du- 
ty, until we receive a manifest and irresistible 
call to depart hence. Can our life ever be of 
so little consequence and value to ourselves or 
to others that we may wantonly put it in the 


power of any violent spirit who may choose to 
ask it of us? When we are required to make 
our calling and election sure, when we have 
need constantly to improve ourselves in know- 
ledge and virtue, when perhaps our fall will 
bring the gray hairs of aged parents with sor- 
row to the grave, or expose to want and mise*^ 
ry the infants of whose existence we have been 
the instruments ? Can any man in his sober 
senses deem it wise and prudent not rather to 
bear the proud man's wrong, the oppressor's 
contumely, than expose himself to the divine 
wrath, and plunge himself into utter destruc- 
tion ? What will the duellist be profited if he 
gains the applause of the whole world and 
lose his own life and his own soul ? This leads 
me to observe, 

5. That they who give and except chal- 
lenges are guilty of the folly and wickedness 
of paying a greater deference to the opinion of 
the world than to the laws of God and to the 
dictates of their own mind. It has been al- 
ready proved that the practice of duelling is 
inconsistent with reason and religion, that it 
implies a very high degree of guilt, and that 
no man who is actuated by a sense of duty can 
ever engage in a duel. There is reason also t(v 


believe that few men who have seriously reflec- 
ted on the subject, approve of the practice, they 
lament it as a great evil, which requires to be 
remedied. But still they practise it, and, what 
makesthis sin differ from many others, and adds 
greatly to its guilt, they habitually practise It, 
by being resolved to do so, whenever occasion 
offers. And wherefore is this ? They love the 
praise of men more than the praise of God. 
The world has said that he who tamely bears 
insults and injuries, that he who refuses to 
give another honourable satisfaction for them 
when required, is a coward — and this is an im- 
putation which they must wipe away. So to 
prove themselves no coward, they commit a 
most flagrant act of cowardice ; they fear 
where there is no cause for fear, they dread a 
phantom which has no power to hurt. 

There is not In our language a word of 
more equivocal meaning, less clearly under- 
stood, and more egregiously misapplied than 
honour. Strictly speaking, it originally sig- 
nified that sentiment of esteem and approba- 
tion which exists in the mind of others, for 
what is excellent and virtuous. But, by a 
natural transition, it Is also applied to that mer- 
it which is the ground of this esteem. Hence 


honour, as applied to a man himself, is noth- 
ing but virtue. Honour as applied to others 
is the reputation of virtue. Virtue, then, is 
the substance^ honour is the shadow. He who 
acts uprightly and in conformity with the laws 
of reason and religion is the truly honourable 
man: for he is honourable whether man 
think so or not, he who deserts the path of 
duty, and, by servile compliance, seeks to be 
accounted honourable by the world, pursues 
the shadow and loses the substance. In the 
eyes of God and in the eyes of all wise men 
he is actually dishonoured, for he wants the 
only foundation on which honour can rest. 

Beside, let those who are disposed to follow 
fashion and opinion, as the guides of conduct, 
consider seriously the consequences of such a 
principle. Our ideas of morality would not 
in that case be more stable than our taste in 
dress and equipage. Their is not a duty 
which might not be got rid of, if the prevail- 
ing opinion were once admitted to be the 
standard of virtue; if vague and unauthorised 
maxims of honour were allowed to create ex- 
ceptions to the divine law. 

By steadily adhering to our duty, through 
good report and through bad report, we en- 



joy the internal approbation of our own mind ; 
and surely one self-approving hour far out- 
weighs the loudest plaudits of the giddy mul- 

The man who'follows honour, as a guide of 
conduct distinct from virtue, puts his neck un- 
der a yoke, he becomes the slave of publick 
opinion, he enlists himself in the service of 
6ne of the most capricious, inconsistent and 
tyrannical masters, whose laws are obscure, per- 
plexed and entangled. The man of princi- 
ple, who follows virtue as his sole guide and 
his only aim, proceeds in a safe and plain 
path, he has only to inquire whether God 
hath said, ''this do,*' to awaken his exertions, 
and ** this thou shalt not do,*' to induce him 
to abstain. He is not insensible to the voice 
of sincere and well-earned praise; but still it 
is a small matter with him to be judged of 
man's judgment. He looks up to a higher 
tribunal, where the judge is altogether compe- 
tent to decide, and his decision will finally 
award the prize. A few misguided men may 
Censure him who has courage to set at nought 
their opinions, to act according to his own 
principles, to reject a sinful compliance with 
the practice and maxims of the world. But 


his record is on high, his witness is in heaven. 
He has confidence towards God ; his own 
heart does not condemn him. Angels pro- 
claim their approbation; all wise and good 
men join their amen. Even the censures 
and reproaches of the world, like clouds which 
seek to obscure the sun, will be gradually dis- 
persed, and the man of principle, who feared 
God and had no other fear, will shine forth 
with greater splendour, approved of God and 
of man. 

Thus dangerous and uncertain a guide is 
human opinion, even allowing it to be inno- 
cent and well founded. But if the opinion of 
the world be false and absurd ; if it be at utter 
variance with our duty and interest, then, I 
should suppose, there can be no question 
whether we ought to obey God or man ; that 
we must not follow the whole world to do evil. 
Now, in the case before us, what arc the opin- 
ions of the world which are the foundation of 
this destructive practice ? First, that it is cow- 
ardly to put up with an affront or any imputa- 
tion on our honour. But as to this virtue of 
courage, deemed so honourable, and the repu- 
tation of which is so highly courted, abstractly 
considered, it is no virtue at all. It depends 

VOL. II. R r 


entirely upon the purpose to which it is ap- 
plied. When employed in the discharge of 
our duty, when guided by discretion, when 
tempered with humanity, it is justly ranked 
among the highest principles ot* our nature. 
But when exercised with passion, in the ser- 
vice of revenge, to destroy and not to protect, 
then it is brutal and ferocious, an object of de- 
testation and abhorrence. In this species of 
courage, if it may be called so, the highway- 
man and the robber, are certainly entitled to 
the palm ; the lion and the tyger leave all 
your men of honour at a hopeless distance. 

But allowing that, independent ot* the merits 
of the question, some kind of courage is ne- 
cessary to expose our person in the field, does 
it follow that he is destitute of courage who de- 
clines the call ? There is a species of valour, 
different indeed in kind from the former, but 
of a much more exalted and honourable na- 
ture, which is displayed in resisting our own 
passions and in meeting undismayed the eye 
of a misjudging world. Ibis passive valour 
requires a greater exertion of self-command, 
it manifests a greater superiority to popular 
prejudices; it shows fortitude in the discharge 
of duty which neither his own turbulent pas- 


sions, nor the insolence of provocation, nor 
the sneers of folly can shake. He that is slow 
to wrath is better than the mighty, and he that 
ruleth his spirit greater than he that taketh 
a city. He who, from weakness of nerves or 
bodily imbecility, cannot meet his adversary 
in the field, is not intitled to this praise. But, 
on the other hand, he is not deserving of 
blame; for he might as well be condemned for 
wanting the strength of the elephant or the 
swiftness of the rein deer. But the man who, 
from principle and a just sentiment of honour, 
disregards the efforts of little angiy souls to 
wound his feelings and to disturb his peace, 
who repays contumely and insults with cour- 
teous behaviour and kind offices, who marches 
on in the path of duty with a firm and un- 
daunted step, rises above the ordinary rank 
of humanity, and imitates him whose fairest 
best loved attribute is to pity and forgive. 

To meet another, in what is falsely called 
the field of honour, is an effort which many 
a coward has forced himself against his nature 
to make, but we cannot meet with a single 
instance where he could induce himself to 
forgive. This is a task left for men of great 
and generous dispositions, for men who are as 

;^08 SERMON XV. 

much above fearing as doing ill, for men who 
have a true sense of honour, and who, in con- 
sequence of this, continue doing every thing 
which they ought to do, fear nothing but what 
they ought to fear. 

Nay, my brethren, may we not retort the 
charge of cowardice on those weak and tim- 
orous minds who tremble at undeserved re- 
proach, who dread shame more than guilt, 
who fear him who can kill the body only 
more than him who can cast both soul and 
body into hell fire. 

But how many noble instances are on re- 
cord where persons have declined to give or 
to receive a challenge, without the smallest 
imputation on their courage or their honour! 
was Colonel Gardiner a coward who replied 
to one who challenged him, ** 1 am not afraid 
" to fight but I am afraid to sin/' Was the 
the honour of Sir Walter Raleigh tarnished, 
when this great man, upon being very injuri- 
ously treated by a hot-headed, rash youth, 
that next proceeded to challenge him, and on 
his refusal to fight spit upon him, and that 
too in publick, took out his handkerchief, and 
with great calmness made only this reply, 
•* Young man, if I could as easily wipe your 


** blood from my conscience, as I can this in- 
"jury from my face, I would this moment take 
*' away your life ! '* Who does not admire the 
prudence, the magnanimity and the courage of 
the Marshal Turenne who, when a young offi- 
cer, at the siege of a fortified town, had no less 
than twelve challenges sent him, all of which 
he put in his pocket without farther notice; 
but being soon after commanded upon some 
desperate attack on a part of the fortifications, 
he sent a billet to each of the challengers, ac- 
quainting them *' that he had received their 
" papers, which he deferred answering till a 
" proper occasion offered, both for them and 
" for himself, to exert their courage for the 
" publick service; that being ordered next 
'* day to assault the enemies works he desired 
^' their company, when they would have an 
*' opportunity of signalizing their own bravery 
" and of being witness of his!" In short, to 
propose an example of the perfection and 
propriety of which their can be no question, 
was the sense of honour extinct in the breast 
of Jesus of Nazareth, who, when one of the of- 
ficers that stood by struck him with the palm 
of his hand, calmly replied, *' if I have spo- 
'* ken evil, bear witness of the evil; if well 


*' why smitest thou me V* All ye who would 
be sincere Christians, and men of true honour, 
go and do likewise. 

Thus much for the sinfulness of duelling; 
and as this is the point which I am more par- 
ticularly called on to illustrate here, perhaps, 
the discourse might terminate. But, as I do 
not wish to leave any matter of this controver- 
sy wholly untouched, or to allow the duellist 
any advantage which he might claim from 
the expediency or usefulness of the practice, 
I beg your farther indulgence while I say a 
few words on its folly and mischievous tend* 

He, we are told, who wantonly and outrage- 
ously injures the honour and the feelings of 
his neighbour, ought to suifer for his mis- 
conduct. And so he ought. But how will 
duelling answer the end of punishment, when 
the injured person runs the same risk of suf- 
fering with the person who did the injury? 
This is to confound innocence and guilt, re- 
ward and punishment. 

He who has received any injury, we are 
farther told, has a right to satisfaction and 
compensation: his violated honour requires 
publick reparation. And let him have satis- 


faction of the most substantial and genuine 
kind. But surely duelling furnishes no such 
satisfaction. The destruction of your neigh- 
bour is no recompense for the loss which you 
have sustained. You may take the life of 
him who gives you the lie, or charges you 
with a breach of trust; but hereby you will 
only load your conscience with the guilt of 
his blood, and your veracity and integrity 
will still be as much subject to question as be- 
fore. If his charge be just, you were the 
person who impeached your honour, when 
you committed the crime. If unjust, your 
best vindication will lie in manifesting to the 
world the falsehood of his imputation, and the 
infamy will then redound with tenfold weight 
upon the head of the slanderer. 

But tamely to submit to every insult with- 
out resistance or retaliation, would only be an 
invitation to farther acts of injustice and op- 
pression. I have never said that redress of in- 
juries is in no case to be sought for and obtain- 
ed. I only say that the redress must be such 
asisconsistentwilh reason and with Christianity. 
But would the evil dreaded actually ensue? 
He must be an ungenerous and dastardly cow- 
ard who will continue to persecute one who 


receives his ill-usage with coolness and disre- 
gard — who returns blessing for cursing, po- 
liteness for insult, love for hatred. If your ad- 
versary be worth the gaining, if he is such a 
character as even your man of honour would 
meet in the field, such behaviour will assured- 
ly gain him. A soft answer turneth wrath ; and 
the most effectual way to overcome evil is by 
good. If he is otherwise disposed, the wisest 
treatment is silence and contempt ; for surely 
it cannot be incumbent on a man of worth and 
respectability to enter the list of contention with 
any worthless and abandoned character who 
chooses, by insolence and abuse, to provoke his 
resentment. A prudent and peaceable man 
has nothing to dread even from the insolent 
and overbearing. They will either be dis- 
armed by forbearance, or they will reap the 
contempt and detestation of the world for their 
pains. It is by pride that contention cometh. 
If a man, indeed, be himself quarrelsome and 
contentious, if his own manners be rude, of- 
fensive and overbearing ; if he tarry long at 
the wine, and then have wo, sorrow, conten- 
tions, babblings, and wounds without cause, he 
must extricate himself in the best way he can. 
For the evil consequences of such conduct. 


religion prescribes no remedies because it ut- 
terly condemns the conduct from which they 

But who is he that will harm you if ye be 
followers of that which is good. When envy 
and. strife and wars begin, possess ye your 
souls in patience. Ihe storm will soon be 
over; and should the demon of revenge 
come forth in the tempest, think it not incum- 
bent on you to encounter him. It is not 
honour which attends him, but some spirit 
of darkness which counterfeits her likeness. 
Walk on in the path of virtue, in the company 
of the wise and peaceful. In this way you 
will gain the favour of God and of man : and 
the phantom which you dread has not the 
smallest power to do you harm. 

But the advocate for duelling farther says, 
that, if this fair and honourable method of re- 
dress be abolished, the consequence will be 
continual assaults and affrays ; the strong tri- 
umphing over the weak, and the streets night- 
ly moistened with the blood shed by the as- 
sassin*s dagger. Here at last the truth has 
come out. It is a spirit of revenge, which 
prompts men to engage in duels, and if denied 
gratification in this way, it will vent itself in 

VOL. II. s s 


another. Such are the inconsistencies to 
which the advocates of a bad cause are always 
reduced. Besides, shall we vindicate one 
crime by another still more unlawful. Be- 
cause it is forbiden to murder, is it therefore 
lawful to steal ? 

But would the consequences predicted ne* 
cessarily follow? One would suppose, from 
the language of the duellist, that, if this 
practice were abolished, all law, morality 
and decency would be abolished together 
with it. The strong might trample upon the 
weak, if there were no laws to protect the per- 
sons of every member of the society, and 
no fear of God nor sense of religion to 
check the violence of passion. And what 
other security have we that the strong shall not 
takeaway the property of the weak, that the 
rich shall not oppress the poor, and the cun- 
ning defraud the simple. Behind the shield 
of religion and law the weakest member of 
society may rest in peace and security. 
Would assassination be committed ? But by 
whom ? Not surely by the men of honour 
and others who follow reason and religion as 
their guides, and who know that such a crime 
is in direct opposition to their laws, and is more- 


over followed by inevitable present misery, 
and, unless repented of, by everlasting de- 
struetion. Lei us, at any rale, not do evil 
that good may come. Let us make an ex- 
periment which an appeal to fact will fully 
justify. For though the passions of men have 
led them to commit foul and deadly crimes, 
in all ages and countries, it does not appear 
that assassination has been more frequent in 
those ages and countries where the practice of 
duelling was utterly unknown, than in the pre- 
sent times of rehnement and honour. 

In short, the advocates for duelling main- 
tain that the practice has at least produced 
in men a more delicate attention to tlie feel- 
ings of each other, a greater degree of cour- 
tesy and politeness of behaviour than were 
known in former times. And for this shall 
we sacrifice our principles, our religion and 
our hope of heaven? But how does duel- 
ling produce these effects, because the un- 
civil, the outrageous, the abusive, may be 
called to risk their lives in the field of hon- 
our. Fear, then, is the principle in our 
nature by whicii it operates. Without men- 
tioning that this is the very princ iple, the im- 
putation of which the duellist so much dreads. 


I shall only observe, that that politeness which 
is the effect of fear and constraint, cannot sit 
easy on a man, or be of much value. The 
true source of politeness is a benevolent and 
kind disposition. Where all is goodness with- 
in, all will be gracious and obliging without. 
We, Christians, know that politeness is an es- 
sential branch of the love of our neighbour, 
and that we are expressly commanded in the 
gospel to be gentle and courteous. We per- 
ceive also, in the intercourse of society, that 
it is manifestly our interest to pursue that 
course of behaviour which has a tendency to 
procure us the good will and esteem of all 
around us. Nor will we so far disparage the 
blessed effects of our holy religion, or of the 
progress of light and knowledge, as to allow 
that a gothick, barbarous and inhuman prac- 
tice is the sole or even the principle cause of 
that superiour refinement of manners which 
characterizes modern times- 


Morning and Evening Prayers used at the Or- 
phan- House, Charleston ^ S. C, composed by 
the Rev, Dr. Buist, for the use of the orphans 
in that institution. 


Our Father who art In heaven, since thou 
hast ordained praise out of the mouths oF babes 
and sucklings, we now approach thee with 
reverence and humlUty, to offer the homage of 
gratitude and praise for the many mercies we 
have received from thee, to confess our own 
unworthincss and numerous faults, to make 
known unto thee our various wants, and to pray 
for those good things which are useful both 
for the body and the soul. O thou who art 
the Father of the fatherless, and who feedest 
the young ravens, turn not away thine ear 
from the supplications of those unhappy or- 
phans who have no father nor protector but 
thee. Good cause have we and all mankind 
to magnify and bless thy holy name ; to rev- 
erence thy power; to admire thy wisdom; 
to fear thy justice ; to love thy holiness, and 


above all, to extol thy loving kindness and ten- 
der mercies. We praise thee, O God ! for our 
being, tor the noble faculties which thou hast 
bestowed on us, for the many things which 
thou hast given to make us happy, and for 
the tender care and affection which thou hast 
shown towards us ever since we came into be- 
ing. Before our thoughts had learned to form 
themselves in prayer, thou didst mercifully 
lend an ear to our complaints and cries. 
Even at this present time, though our ignor- 
ance and inattention prevent us from perceiv- 
ing thee, thou art our gracious guide and pow- 
ful protector. Thy hand, unseen, perserves 
us from a thousand dangers, calamities, and 
temptations which would otherwise prove 
fatal to our happiness and our virtue. We 
humbly thank thee, that when we were desti- 
tute and forsaken by our earthly parents and 
relations, thou didst kindly and bountifully 
open for us a place of refuge in this house. 
We are grateful for the food which we eat, 
for the raiment wherewith we are clothed, 
for the air which we breath, and for the 
health and happiness which we enjoy. We 
praise thee for the means of improvement 
which thou hast put in our power ; for the 


benefits of knowledge and the blessings of re- 
ligion which thou hast conferred on us. We 
do most affectionately, with all the powers of 
our body and soul, thank and praise thee for 
thy goodness to us and to all mankind, In send- 
ing thy son Jesus Christ, not only to deliver us 
from death and future punishment, but, by 
his holy life and meritorious death, to procure 
us a title to eternal happiness in heaven. We 
sincerely praise thee that thou hast instructed 
us in those things, and allowest us time and 
opportunity to profit by them, while many 
younger and more deserving than we, have 
been taken out of the land of the living, and 
deprived of all the means of grace and duty : 
For we confess, O God ! that we have behaved 
very ungratefully to thee in return for so much 
goodness, and that we are altogether unworthy 
of a continuance of thy favour. Conceived in 
sin and brought forth in iniquity, we are natu- 
rally prone to evil, and though nowenlightened 
by reason and religion, we too often offend 
thee m thought, word and deed. Deaf to 
the instruction of our teachers and the voice 
of wisdom, we have heedlessly run on in the 
ways of folly, and proved disobedient children 
to thee. But we beseech thee, O merciful 


God ! ,in the midst of wratli remember mercy. 
For the sake of thy beloved son Jesus Christ 
forgive all.our past foHies, and receive us into 
thv favour and friendship. We are sinful, do 
thou sanctify us. We are weak, do thou sup- 
port us. We are ignorant, do thou instruct us. 
Defend us from evil of every kind. Preserve 
us now, and throughout life, in the paths of 
righteousness, innocence, and peace. Enable 
us by diligence and application to make due 
progress in the several branches of education 
allotted us. Teach us to behave with reverence 
and obedience to our guardians and teachers, 
and with humility and respect to all men. 
Enable us to live in peace and harmony with 
one another as brethren. Preserve us from pride 
and vain glory; from cursing and swearing; 
from cruelty, dishonesty, falsehood and covet- 
ousness. O ! our Father, while not yet enslaved 
by vice beyond the hope of recovery, or bur- 
thened with the cares and evils of life, we would 
in the morning of our days present ourselves to 
thee and dedicate our lives to thy service. Ac- 
cept the unworthy but sincere ojff'ering,and ful- 
fil thy promise, that they who seek thee early 
shall find thee. We return thee sincere and 
hearty thanks for our preservation during the 


la«:t niglit, prcf^ervc us by ihy watchful provi- 
drnce throughout the whole of this day of 
which we have now seen the light. Let no 
evil come near our dwelling. Let us be guil- 
ty of no thought, nor word, nor action which 
may give offence to thee, or prove injurious 
to our fellow creatures. May we live in thy 
fear all the day long, remembering that thy 
eye is ever upon us, and that, though we 
may conceal our faults from others, yet they 
are all well knovvn to thee, our Maker and 
Judge. May these, our sincere praise and 
humble requests, find acceptance in thy sight 
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour and 
Mediator, who has taught us thus to address 
thee : Our Father, &c. 


Our Father, who art in heaven exalted far 
beyond our comprehension, but who conde- 
scends to dwell with those who are of an hum- 
ble and contrite spirit ; we now appear before 
thee to present our evening sacrifice of adora- 
tion and praise. Thou art worthy to receive 
all blessing and glory, and honour, and praise; 

VOL. IT. T t 

32^2 PRAYERS. 

for thou hast created all things, and for thy 
pleasure and praise they were created. It is 
thou, O God ! who causeth light, and again 
spreadest darkness over the face of nature. 
To thee we owe the constant return of day and 
night, and the grateful change of the seasons. 
On thy kind and protecting providence, we, 
and all thy creatures, depend for nourishment, 
preservation, and support. In thee we live, 
move, and have our being. In thy hand is our 
breath, and thine are all our ways. It is ow- 
ing to thy goodness and forbearance, that we 
have not long before now been counted with 
the dead. Thy mercies are renewed every 
morning, and thy faithfulness is manifested 
every night. We praise thee, O God ! who 
hast preserved us throughout this day safe from 
harm and danger. If we have been happy 
enough to make any improvement, to perform 
a good action, or to resist a temptation, not unto 
us but unto thy name be all the glory. But 
alas! we fear that our time has been wasted in 
idleness, or employd in sin and folly. We 
deeply lament that we have done so many 
things to offend thee, our Father, our preser- 
ver and friend ; that we have lost so many 
means of improvement and opportunities of 


doing good. May tlie merits of our blessed 
Saviour and Intcrcessour shield us from the pu- 
nishment which we deserve. Let not the er- 
rours of our youth, or the sins of our infirmi- 
ties, be remembered against us. Grant us thy 
divine grace to preserve us from tiie commis- 
sion of sin in future, to instruct us in thy law, 
to strengthen our good resolutions, and to keep 
us in the way of righteouness, henceforth 
even forever. In every case of difficulty and 
doubt, do thou guide our wandering steps. 
In every season of danger, be thou our guar-* 
dian and defence. While we praise thee for 
all the acts of mercy and kindness shown to 
us during the day past, we earnestly beseech 
thee to grant us thy protection during the 
night which is to come. O Thou ! whose 
eyes are ever awake to guard the just, watch 
over us during the silent hours of the night, 
and preserve us from every danger. Into thy 
hands do we commit ourselves, and, as the day 
is appointed for labour and the night for rest, 
grant us sweet and refreshing sleep, that we 
may awake in the morning with renewed 
vigour to run our Christian race. Teach us 
every night, when we lie down to sleep, to 
commune with thee and with our own hearts. 


and to think of that period when we shall 
close our eyes for ever to the light, and lie 
down in the cold and silent grave. May such 
thoughts lead us to a constant preparation for 
our latter end, and enable us every morning, 
when we awake, to renew the dedication of 
ourselves unto thee, and to think of the mor- 
ning of the resurrection, when we shall arise 
from the dead, either to happiness or misery, 
according as our actions have been good or 
evil. O Lord ! we pray not only for our- 
selves, but for the whole race of mankind. 
May religion, virtue, knowledge and happi- 
ness, be spread throughout the whole earth. 
Bless the land wherein we live ; guide with thy 
council and preserve by thy power, the rulers 
of the nation, and give them grace to execute 
justice and to maintain truth. Bless the min- 
isters of religion, endow them with true wis- 
dom and understanding of the truth, that they 
may be able to save their own souls and the 
souls of those who hear them. Bless all men 
of whatever rank, profession or condition, and 
make them useful to the advancement of thy 
glory and the public good. Pour down thy 
choisest blessings on our kind supporters and 
benefactors. Bless, in a particular manner. 


our parents by adoption, the commissioners 
of this house. Bless our teachers and guar- 
dians, and grant, that all employed in this 
house may discharge their duty with diligence 
and fidelity. Bless and provide for father- 
less children and widows, and for all that are 
desolate and oppressed. Send relief to the 
afflicted and distressed whether in mind, body 
or estate. ** Fulfil now these our petitions, as 
** may be most expedient for us, granting us in 
*' this world a knowledge of thy truth, and in 
** the world to come life everlasting," for the 
sake of thy beloved son Jesus Christ, in whose 
words we close our address unto thee, and 
under whose care we would compose our- 
selves to rest : Our Father, 6^c. 




James Ajicrum. 
Charlotte Ann Alhton. 
Sarah AUan^ 2 copies. 
Mrs. Hannah Anderson. 
Mrs. Eliza Akin. 
William Ancrum. 
Isaac An Id. 
James Adger. 

Rev. Nath. Bowen, 2 copies, 
John Blake. 
Charles Banks, 
lion. Thomas Bee. 
Jacob Belsen. 
John Brozvnlee, 2 copies. 
Benjamin Boj/d. 
Jl . Bri/ce, 4 copies. 
James Blair. 
John Simmons Bee. 
Mrs. Burnett. 

JVilliam Blacklock, 2 copies 

David Bell. 

Major Samuel Beehnan. 

John Bay. 

Mrs. Bryan. 

Miss Lynch Bowman, 

Nicol Bryce. 

Mrs. Susari Boone. 

John Blackler. 

Edm u n d B u tsf ord. 

Elizabeth F. ^Blyth. 

Elizabeth Broughton. 

Miss Maria Bacot. 

Angus Bethune. 

jQhn Barrel i. 

William Tlirnie. 

William Boyd. 

John Barron. 

John Black. 

liobert Brozi'fi. 

James Bentham. 

Isaac Ball. 

Miss E. Bowman. 

Hugh Bethune. 

John Ball. 

E. Bremar. 

Thomas Brought on, jun . 

Hon. Elihu 11. Bay. 

Mrs. Mary Barksdale. 

William Burgoi/ne. 

John S. Brisbane, 

Benj. Bailey. 

Edward Bailey. 

Mrs. Baron. 

Miss J. Baron. 

Alex. BaroHy ju7i. M. D. 

Miss Baron. 

Mrs. Blacklock. 

John Bally jtni. 

Jofiathan Beattu. 


George Chisolm. 

McMillan Campbell, Q, copies: 

James Cox. 

J. P. Carroll. 

John S. Cogdell. 

Dr. Robert Chisolm. 

Alex. R. Chisolm. 

Thomas Chisolm. 

John Champneys. 

Ale \a nder Christie-, 


Thomas Cochran. M. Drayton. 

Charles D. Coolidge. Mrs. Jane De Saussure, 

Charles Cunningham. Mrs. A. E. Dennison. 

Esther Cheesborough. John Duffus. 

Caroline Mary Cooper, Gilbert havidson. 

Elizabeth Cuttino. Joseph Dulles. 

Mrs. Ann Course. Mrs. E. Dodsworth, 

Elizabeth Cox. Robert Dozenie. 

Alexander Chisolm. Jacob Deveaux. 

Joanna Christie. George Dagliesh. 

John P. Cunningham. Alexander Douglas, 

li. Cunningham. J. K. Douglas. 

John Cunningham. James Drummond. 

Mrs. Maria Cattell. Thomas Deas. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Cruger. Mrs. J. M. Dart, 
Hon. J^angdon Cheves, 3 cop. E 

James M'Crackan. Isaac Edwards. 

James Carson. Charles EdmondstoUy 3 copi 

.John Crawford. Jane Ewing. 

H. Courtney. James Ezving 

Daniel Crukshanks. J. Ellison. 
Mrs.AnnLoughtonCampbell. James Evans. 

William Claris. George Edzoards. 

George C. ClitheralL William Edings. 

Rev. Joseph B. Cooh. A. Edzoards. 

Thomas Clough. Alexander Ervin^. 
H. Calder. F 

James Clark. Timothy Ford. 
Charleston Library Society, Henry Farmer. 

2 copies. Mrs. E. Farr, 

D John J. Forbes, 

Frederick Dalcho, M. D. Ann Ferguson. 

David Deas. Susan Eraser. 

.Tohn Dazcsouy jun. James Ferguson, 

Henry Deas. Alexander Forbes. 

Thomas H. Deas. Frederick Eraser. 
Hon. Henry W. De Saussiire, Mrs. J. Farr. 

Alexander Don, Mrs. Freer, 

Mark Duffy. John Fowler. 

Jane Eliza Dill. Archibald Frezih 
Mrs, Soplm DuKpb^ 


Harry Grant. 
Mrs. W.H.Gibhes. 

JVilmott Gibbes. 

Rev. P. Gervais. 

Theodore Gaillard. 

OthnielJ. Giles. 

Mrs. Man/ C. Gregorie. 

Robert R. Gibbes. 

Major Alexander Garden. 

John Parker Gougli, M. D. 

James Gordon. 

James Gabeau. 

James Gibson. 

Archibald Graham. 

A. F. Gregorie. 

William Gordon. 

William Gibson. 

George W. Gough. 

James Gregorie. 

John M. Gilbert. 

BenJ. Gray. 

Hariott Horry. 

Jane Hunter. 

Nicholas Ha rl est on. 

Edward Ha r lest on. 

Thomas Hunt. 

Thomas Horry. 

Miss Juliet Hall. 

John Howard. 

Tucker Harris, M. D, 

Mary Huggin. 

Anne Henry cS' Son. 

Mrs. Eliz.^Harth. 

Robt. Mackeun Haig, M.D. 

Leger Hutchinson. 

George Haig. 

William Hayne. 

David Haig. 

A. Henry. 


William Hall. 
Andrezv Hannah. 
Samuel Heron. 
Thomas Higham. 
James Hunter. 
James Hamilton, '1 copia 
George Hall. 
John Haynsworth. 
Mrs. L. llorry. 
FJias Horry. 
John Hume. 
Mrs. Ann Hasood. 


Henry Izard. 
Archibald S. Johnston. 
Sarah Elliot Johnston^ 
Anna Maria Johnston. 
Mary Johnston. 
Charlotte Johnston. 
A nfia Johnston. 
Catharine James. 
Joseph JenkinSy sen. 
James Jacks. 
Mrs. Jennings. 
M/s. Izard. 
William James. 

M. King. 
Charles Kiddell. 
M. E. Keith. 
George Kenan. 
Alexander Kirk, 2 copie^. 
John Ker. 

Major Charles Lining. 
Thomas Lozcndes. 
James Lowndes. 
James Lynah, M. D. 
D. Leitch. 
Ann Eliza Lesesne. 
Ann Lesesm. 



Janet Lamb. 

Elizabeth M. Leger. 

H. H. LovelL 

Robert Lindsay. 

David Lamb,jim. 

Winborn Lazoton. 

George Lockey. 

Mrs. Mary Long. 

Henry Lowrey. 

Francis Stites Lightbourn. 

Daniel Lowry. 

Jona than Lucas, jun. 

John Long. 

Mrs. Ladson. 

William Lanes'. 


John M^ Far lane. 
WiUiam M' Elmoyle, 
William M' CI are. 
John G. Mayer, 
John Mushett. 
James M^ Adams. 
Capt. Neill Mac NeaL 
James Milter. 
James Morrison. 
Mrs. Mary Mazyck,jun. 
Dugald M'Kinley 
Miss Hannah M Kenzie. 
Rev. Thomas Mills. 
Ephraim Mikell. 
Rev. Mr. M'Leod. 
Ephraim Mikell, jim. 
John J. Bl array. 
John C. Mickell. 
William E. Meggett. 
William M'Criight. 
Rev. Dr. Montgomery. 
Mrs. Mathews. 
Joseph Manigault. 
William H. 'M'Call 
John Mikell, sen. 

S. Murky. 

James Cannon Martindale. 

Benjamin Moodie. 

Mrs. Maxwell. 

Mrs. E. M'Call. 

Robert Maxwell. 

M. Mackay. 

William Muir. 

James Mackie. 

William Sf P. P. Mazych 

P. M'Owen. 

William Monies. 

Thomas Malcom. 

Mrs. E. C. Mazyck. 

Martha Ann M' Guy or. 

Elizabeth S. M'Collough. 

Eliza Martin. 

Ann Marshall. 

Joseph Manning. 

John Mwphy. 

Mrs. Ann Marr. 

Mrs. Katherine Macbeth. 

W. Milligan. 

Mrs. Margaret Mitchell. 

Mrs. Eliza Macjie. 

Mrs. Catherine Munro, 2 cop. 

Mary E. Marion. 

Mrs. Ann Mac Cants. 

George Macaulay. 

Alexander M'Dozmll. 

George Ma caulay,jnn. 

Daniel Macaiday. 

Samuel McCartney. 

Thomas Milliken. 

Archibald M'Lachlan. 

J. Mair, 2 copits. 

Samuel M'Neil. 

S. M'Pherson. 

David M'Credie. 

Elizabeth Nozi^elL, 


Tin lip Nj/e. 
T/iomas Napier. 
Thomas Nau/or. 


Lewis Ogier. 
Thomas Ogier. 
John Alex. Ogilvie. 
David 0/iphant. 
James O'Hcar. 

Philip G. Prioleau, M. D. 
Hon. John J. Pringle. 
John Parker. 
William Porter. 
Marion Porcher. 
Isaac Porcher. 
Susan Porcher. 
Branford Porcher. 
Robert I. Pillans. 
Willam Price. 
John Potter. 
E. M. Pringle. 
Mrs. Mary Peters. 
John Paul. 
John Pratt. 
General Charles Cotesworth 

John Porteous. 
Washington Potter. 
John Patterson. 
Miss Pogson. 
Th Q mas Pa rker jun . 
Joseph Pritchard. 
John Porter, 
William Pressly. 

Mrs. Quash. 
Capt. Alexander Qu/Ji/. 

Charles E. Rozcand. 
.John lloberfson. 

Frederick Rutledge. 
Mrs. Hugh Rullcdgt. 
David Ramsay, M. D. 
Hi Ilia m liobertson. 
G. Rendell. 
II. Rolhmaholer. 
Mrs. Sarah Russell. 
F. Righton. 
Robert Ruuand. 
Sam. 6) Geo.Robertsmiy^ cop, 
Samuel A. Ruddock. 
John Ross, 
B. D. Roper, 
Hon. John Rutledge. 
Peter Thomas Ryan. 
Mrs. Rhind, 
James Ray. 
Col. Thomas Roper. 
John Robinson. 
William Simmons. 
Thomas Simmons. 
Thomas R. Smith. 
J. Smith. 

William Scot t, jun. 
William Smith, Trad-street. 

2 copies. 
William Stewart. 
H. Smith. 
Mrs. Agnes Smith. 
Robert Shand. 
Jervis H. Stevens. 
John Stock. 
Charles John Steedman. 
Whitcford Smith. 
Charles Smith. 
Maria Stone. 
Elizabeth Shackelford. 
Mary E. ShacklcJ'ord, 
S. Sessions. 
FJizabclh S?7iith. 


Mmy Spears. 

Ho7i. Wm. Loughton Smith. 

Ann Simons. 

James D. Sommers. 

Peter Smith. 

James Scott. 

William Smithy Elliss-street. 

James Shoolhred. 

Mrs. Jane Smith. 

Mrs. Mary Shackleford. 

Francis Simmons. 

Richard Stiff. 

Rosetta Sommers. 

benjamin Smith. 

William Seabrook. 

Benjamin Seabrook. 

Thomas B. Seabrook. 

T. R. Shepherd. 

Mrs. Keating Simons. 

Rev. James Dewar Simojis. 

John Simpson. 

John Sanders. 

Adam Tnnno. 
B. F. Trapier. 
Elizabeth Tobias. 
Joshua W, Toomer. 
Ebejiezer Thayer. 
William Trenholm. 
Eliza Trapier. 
H. Tucker. 
Thomas Tiinno. 
Eliza L. Thomas. 
Robert Telfer. 
Bethel Threadcraft. 
Mrs. Elizabeth fait. 
Daniel Townsend. 
Mrs. Tiddiman. 

Miss Ann E. Fan Rhyan. 


Gen. William Washirigton. 
William Washington, jun. 
Robert Wilson, M. D. 
John Wilson. 
Catheririe Webb. 
Samuel Wragg. 
Major John Ward. 
Joseph Winthrop. 
Robert Walker. 
Mrs. Charlotte Waller. 
John P. Wilhelmi. 
William Watson. 
John P. White. 
Mrs. Sarah Waring. 
Esther Ainslie Withers. 
Mary Withers. 
Ann Wagner. 
Catherine M. Wilson, 
Mrs. Pejielope Warner. 
Samuel , Wilson, M. D. 2 co^ 

James Wilson. 
3Irs. Alison Williman. 
MissH. Williman. 
Morton A. Waring. 
Thomas Walker. 
Charles Watts. 
Thomas Wescoat. 
William Wood. 
Joseph JVhaley. 
Benjamin Witter. 
Plozcden Weston. 
William Walton «^ Co. 
Alexr. B. Waugh, 

William Young. 
.Jeremiah A. Yates. 
Mrs. E. A. Yates. 
W. Youngblood