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"Let your

duction of selfishness and pride ; and render themselves unhappy, so far as they are indulged : And, on the contrary, they are commanded to maintain and constantly to exercise a calm, gentle, meek, peaceable, patient spirit, which is the natural attendant and genuine fruit of benevolence, and necessary in order to the christian's proper possession and enjoyment of himself

, and attendance on the duties of christianity. “ He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”* Agreeable to this are the apostolic injunctions. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”+ moderation be known unto all men.”[ “ The wisdom that is from above, is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated.” Charity suffereth long, and is kind ; charity envieth not; is not easily provoked ; thinketh no evil.”

5. A constant and careful cultivation and improvement of the mind, in seeking, pursuing and acquiring useful knowledge, and wisdom. Solomon says “ It is not good that the soul be without knowledge.” This is the life and enjoyment of the mind ; and is unspeakably the highest and most noble kind of enjoyment, of which a rational creature is capable. All the knowl. edge which a person of an honest and good heart obtains, is useful to him, and puts him under advantage to be more useful to others. This is not to be obtained, and a constant progress made in it, without labour, by dili. gent attention and inquiry, in the improvement of all those helps and advantages with which we are furnished. The objects of knowledge are various and infinite; and the knowledge of any of them is not useless to a mind well disposed, and every branch and degree of knowl. edge is suited to improve such a mind ; it really adds to its existence, and increases true wisdom, in a wise

* Proy. xvi. 32. xxv. 28.

11 James iii. 17.

† Eph. iv. 31, 32. # Phil. vi. 6.

$ 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5.

and be nevolent heart. Some objects are more important, grand and excellent than others, and men have more concern and connection with some, than with others; and therefore the knowledge of them is proportionably more excellent, important and useful. And that knowl. edge which is of the moral kind, and implies a good taste and right exercises of heart ; and is therefore the knowledge of the great objects and truths which respect the moral world, and belong to that, is the most important and excellent kind of knowledge, and does most enlarge the soul, and gives the highest degree of enjoyment. This kind of knowledge is therefore to be sought in the first place, and with the greatest thirst and engagedness of mind.

And as God is infinitely the greatest part of existence, and includes the sum of all the natural and moral world, and the knowledge of his moral character includes the knowledge of his laws, moral government, and kingdom, and of all morality, and of every thing necessary to be known in the moral world ; the knowledge of God is in scripture considered, as comprehending the whole.And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."*

Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”+ “ If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding : If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her, as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord ; and find the knowledge of God.”I “Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth : For in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”'S This is the knowledge which includes true understanding and wisdom, of which Solomon speaks so much in his writings. It is the duty and interest of every christian to make advances in this knowledge, and in all kinds of knowledge and speculations for which he has opportunity ; as subservient and advantageous to this. In this way he is to

50 * John xvii. 0. † Phil. iii, 8. # Prov. ii, 3, 4, 5. Jer. ix, 24.

VOL. II.

grow

in grace, and in the knowledge of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

And this is one end which the christian ought to have in view, among others, in his devotions and prayers, and in his daily reading and studying the “ holy scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus, being profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : That the man of God may be perfeci, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”* Thus is one end of his constant attendance on public instruction, and the preaching of the gospel, that by hearing the word, he may understand it, and bring forth fruit. For this end, he is to meditate, read and study, as he has opportunity, that he may improve and advance in ustful knowledge : “ Trying all things, and holding fast that which is good.” And this ought to be one end in his conversing with his neighbours, and christian friends. He ought not only to study to speak to their benefit and edification, but to converse in order to get instruction himself, and improve his own mind in knowledge and understanding ; and will, therefore, “be swift to hear, and slow to speak.” And, in this view, he will avoid, as much as may be, all triling and vain company, as well as that which is worse ; and he will be ready to obey the command given by Solomon, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”+ And, on the contrary, he will seek the company of the serious and wise, from whom he may hope to get instruction. For he that walketh with wise men, shall be wise : But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”I

6. The christian is diligent and faithful in attending to, and prosecuting the business of his particular calling, in which he is fixed by divine providence, in opposition to sloth, idleness, and mispense of time.

He attends to his own proper calling and business, and pursues that with industry, prudence and diligence, and is not a busy body in other men's matters ; not an idle tattler, and brawler, going from house to house, and spending his time in idle chat, which is of no advantage to himself or to any one else, but the contrary : But abides in his own calling, steadily prosecuting his business, doing every thing in the proper time and season. He does not sit up late, when there is no particular and extraordinary call to it, which tends to injure his health, and unfit him for his proper business, or prevent his rising early to attend in the proper season on the duties of his calling. Thus, he conscientiously and with care obeys the command, “ Not to be slothful in his business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord ; abiding with diligence in the same calling, wherein he is called."'*

* 2 Tim, ü. 15, 16, 17. † Prov. xiv. 7. # Prov. xiii. 20.

REFLECTIONS.

1. FROM the above brief sketch of christian prac. tice, and the character of a true christian, it appears that christianity is in the best manner suited to make those happy in this world, and forever, who cordially embrace and practise it; and to render society, whether public, or more private, beautiful and happy.

So far as the true spirit and proper practice of christianity take place, it delivers each subject of it from those passions and lusts, which war against the soul, and contain evil and unhappiness, even in the indulgence of them; and it forms them to those views and exercises, respecting the most grand and excellent objects, and that practice in which they enjoy peace of mind, and conscience, and have the best and highest kind of enjoy. ment of which the human nature is capable, which never can cloy or cease ; but is in the nature of it reasonable, pure and permanent.

permanent. And it forms the christian to the highest and most excellent kind of social felicity. It constitutes the best, most perfect and happy society that can be imagined, or that is possible. It spreads the most happy peace through the whole community, however large it may be, fixes every one in his proper place, and makes him

useful to the whole ; and at the same time gives each individual the highest satisfaction and pleasure, in being a member of such a society, composed of the most excellent friends to each other, and to him ;

* Rom. xii, 11. 1 Cor. yii. 20.

and he as a friend to every member of the society, and :) the whole, enjoys the good and happiness of the vhole, to the extent of his capacity. Christianity forms society to the strongest, most permanent and hips ui, so far as the true spirit of it is imbibed, and carried into practice. It binds them together br tie strong, everlasting and most perfect bond, charity, or christian love.

And it must appear to all who properly use their reason, that piety, and the practice of it, is essential to the best good and greatest happiness of society, and of indi. viduals in this world. It is that love which unites men to God and the Redeemer, and forms them to all the acts of piety, and gives them the highest enjoyment; u hich at the same time unites them to each other, and forms them to all social duties and enjoyments. The latter cannot exist without the former. Where there is 10 piety, there may be a sort of union in society, and a degree of enjoyment, in imitation of christian social vir. tues and duties; but it must be a low, mean thing, without any real benevolence, or proper, lasting foundation ; and therefore not to be depended upon.

How greatly mistaken then are they, who do not consider the exercise and practice of piety, as any part of social happiness, or in the least advantageous to it, and leave christianity wholly out of their idea and scheme of public virtue and social happiness ! It is impossible there should be any great degree of personal or public social happiness, without christian piety and morality, founded on christian principles : And so far only, as these take place, personal and public happiness is secured and pro. moted. And they must certainly have a low, debased, and corrupt taste for enjoyment and happiness, who think they can be more happy, both personally, and in society, without real christianity than with it; and are expecting and seeking it for themselves and the public, in opposition to christian practice, and in disregard to the laws of Christ, and by an open violation of them. Their enjoyment, considered personally and by them. selves, or in society, must be mean and low at best, and very unworthy of man, who is made capable of unspeaka. lily bigher and more noble happiness in his own mind,

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