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nity; the rewards of wickedness are too tranfitory, to be considered, in any respect, as a compensation for the important facrifices which must be made to attain them. Why, then, will we sweat, and toil, and vex our. selves in vain? Why will we contend to the death for the acquisition of such perishable materials ? Consider what it is you have placed your affections on; a few grains of duft, which an accidental breath of wind shall blow for ever from you. Above all, why will we be wicked ? Since life is fo frail and transi. tory, what madness is it to convert so short an existence into a scene of turbulence and oppreslion? Ah, Christians ! this is not the way to be happy. Youth and life fly on hasty wings. While we live, let there be peace a. mong us.
We are brethren, we have the fame enemies, and the same common calamity will overtake and overwhelm us all. The ills of life are many of them unavoidable. Let us not increase them by our divisions ; let us. rather, while we are yet together, unite against the common enemies of our existence ; let us bear one another's burdens ; let us alleviate one another's pains ; let us enter cordially into one another's fituations. What a scene of happiness might this world, even in its present state, be rendered, were men but willing to improve their opportunities? There is hardly a man so low in life but he has some of his fellow-creatures at his mercy,
some person whom he has it in his power to be
kind to. Ah, my friends! how high is the enjoyment to contemplate the happiness which we have been the occasion of to others ! Did you ever feel the pleasure of doing a generous action? Did you ever feel that exalted joy which overflows the great hearts of the benevolent, when they are surrounded with those whom they have made-happy? There is not an enjoyment in this world equal to it; not the poffeflion of riches, not the pleasures of beauty, 'nor even the charm of friendship. The selfish act against their own principles when they aspire not after this. And, gracious God! what have those to answer for who have had it in their power to make multitudes of their fellow.creatures happy, and have neglected the glorious, but never-to-beretrieved, opportunity ? What a heart must that man have to whom Heaven gave wealth and influence, as much as his soul could dea fire, and who yet, on looking back from his death-bed upon his past life, can recollect no one good action which he ever did with it? If there is a power above who looks upon this life with equal eyes, must not a wretch like this tremble to approach him? Will he not have some dread, that these, or the like questions will be put to him: What, Sir, have you done with your ample fortune ? Where are the hungry whom you have fed ? Where are the naked whom you have clothed? Where are the prisoners whom you have relieved ? Have you ever comforted
the widow, while her loss was still recent, and the tear was yet on her cheek? Have you ever taken the orphan home, whom you have feen pass by you in the most forlorn distress, and whose condition was the more to be pitied, as he knew not yet the greatness of his own mifery? Have you ever raised the worthy man’ whom Adversity seemed to take à pleasure in oppresling, and who yet could not complain, nor tell his own ftory, in order to move compaflion? Where is the mouth that blefies you? Where is the family that calls you their benefactor ?
But, my brethren, let us never imitate so worthless an example. Be it our business to be kind and useful. O God! our common parent! inspire us with generous and noble sentiments; banish every thing that is little, every thing that is selfish and low, from our glowing bofoins. Let us resolve this moment, that, whatever we have been, from henceforth we will be good and benevolent. Come, my hearers ! come all, and let us swear eter. nal friendship. Let us promise, in this vir. tuous moment, that we never will injure one another more. Lo! Death advances with gloomy speed. Already the heavens begin to lowr. Let us haste, and do some good action ; left we be overtaken before we have put our virtuous resolutions in practice. Let us join in one strict embrace, that, when the bolt comes, it may strike us locked in one another's arms, Let us live like men, that we may die like Christians.
$ E R M ON
The excellency of the spirit of Christianity.
By WILLIAM LEECHMAN, D. D.
Preached before the Society in Scotland for pro.
pagating Christian Knowledge, at Edinburgh, June 5. 1767
2 Tim. i. 7.
For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a found mind.
T is very probable, that the apostle wrote
this second epistle to Timothy in the time of the persecution of the Christians in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, and when he was himself a prisoner at Rome, and had a near prospect of suffering as a martyr for his religion *. In this mournful and distreffing situation, he addresses this epistle to Timothy. He had converted Timothy to the Christian faith; he had appointed him to the
* See Dr Benson's history of the state of things when this epistle was written, prefixed to his para.. phrase and notes of the epißle.
facred office of an evangelist, and had imparted to him the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The apostle, therefore, may be considered in this epistle as giving his dying charge to his favourite disciple, and devolving upon him the work of the gospel before he left the world.
In the verse before the text, he exhorts him to ftir up the gift of God that is in him. The word in the original, which is translated ftir up, fignifies properly, To blow up a fire to a more intense degree of heat: so that the meaning and import of the exhortation is, Cultivate and improve, to the best advantage, the spiritual gifts with which you are endowed; and exert all your faculties and talents to the utmost, in the faithful discharge of the duties of that great oflice in which you are engaged. And, in the words of the text, he enforces the exhortation from a considera. tion taken from the nature and genius of Christianity itself : verse 7. '“ For God hath
not given us the spirit of fear ; but of
power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” That is, God hath not given us Chriftians the fpirit of timidity and cowardice, of selfishnefs and malignity, of levity and folly ; but he hath given us the spirit of firmness and courage, of benignity and love, of wisdom and fobriety of mind.
It appears from the verse after the text, and from many other passages in this epistle, thac the apostle had full in his eye those labours,