Page images

tuous sea; to behold the lovely face of heaven smiling with a cheerful serenity, than to see it frowning with clouds, or raging with storms; to hear harmonious consents, than dissonant janglings; to see objects correspondent in graceful symmetry, than lying disorderly in confused heaps; to be in health, and have the natural humours consent in moderate temper, than (as it happens in diseases) agitated with tumultuous commotions : how all senses and faculties of man unanimously rejoice in those emblems of peace, order, harmony, and proportion. Yea, how nature universally delights in a quiet stability or undisturbed progress of motion; the beauty, strength, and vigour, of every thing requires a concurrence of force, cooperation, and contribution of help; all things thrive and flourish by communicating reciprocal aid, and the world subsists by a friendly conspiracy of its parts; and especially that political society of men chiefly aims at peace as its end, depends on it as its cause, relies on it for its support. How much a peaceful state resembles heaven, into which neither complaint, pain, nor clamour, (oötn Tévbos, ούτε πόνος, ούτε κραυγή, as it is in the Apocalypse) do ever enter; but blessed souls converse together in perfect love, and in perpetual concord; and how a condition of enmity represents the state of hell, that black and dismal region of dark hatred, fiery wrath, and horrible tumult.*

How like a

* Is it not the nature of virtue to unite, of vice and ignorance, like death, to decompose ?

paradise the world would be, flourishing in joy and rest, if men would cheerfully conspire in affection, and helpfully contribute to each other's content: and how like a savage wilderness now it is, when like wild beasts, they vex and persecute, worry and devour each other. How not only philosophy hath placed the supreme pitch of happiness in a calmness of mind, and tranquillity of life, void of care and trouble, of irregular passions and perturbations; but that holy scripture itself in that one term of peace most usually comprehends all joy and content, all felicity and prosperity : so that the heavenly consort of angels, when they agree most highly to bless, and to wish the greatest happiness to mankind, could not better express their sense, than by saying, · Be on earth peace, and goodwill among men.'

Almighty God, the most good and beneficent maker, gracious Lord, and merciful preserver of all things, infuse into their hearts those heavenly graces of meekness, patience, and benignity; grant us and his whole church, and all his creation to serve him quietly here, and a blissful rest to praise and magnify him for ever.


An honest Pagan historian saith of the christian profession, that “nil nisi justum suadet et lene;" the which is a true, though not full character thereof. It enjoineth us that we should sincerely and tenderly love one another, should earnestly desire and delight in each other's good, should heartily sympathize with all the evils and sorrows of our brethren, should be ready to yield them all the help and comfort we are able, being willing to part with our substance, our ease, our pleasure for their benefit or succour; not confining this our charity to any sort of men, particularly related or affected towards us, but, in conformity to our heavenly Father's boundless goodness, extending it to all; that we should mutually bear one another's burthens, and bear with one another's infirmities, mildly resent and freely remit all injuries, all discourtesies done unto us, retaining no grudge in our hearts, executing no revenge, but requiting them with good wishes and good deeds. It chargeth us to be quiet and orderly in our stations, diligent in our calling, veracious in our words, upright in our dealings, observant in our relations, obedient and respectful towards our superiors, meek and gentle to our inferiors; modest and lowly, ingenuous and compliant in our conversation, candid and benign in our censures, innocent and inoffensive, yea courteous and obliging in all our behaviour towards all persons. It commandeth us to root out of our hearts all spite and rancour, and malignity, all pride and haughtiness, all evil suspicion and jealousy; to restrain our tongue from all slander, all detraction, all reviling, all bitter and harsh language; to banish from our practice whatever may injure, may hurt, may needlessly

* Serm. xvi. vol. 2.

all envy



vex or trouble our neighbour. It engageth us to prefer the public good before any private convenience, before our own opinion or humour, our credit or fame, our profit or advantage, our ease or pleasure; rather discarding a less good from ourselves, than depriving others of a greater. Now who can number or estimate the benefits that spring from the practice of these duties, either to the man that observes them, or to all men in common? O divinest christian charity! what tongue can worthily describe thy most heavenly beauty, thy incomparable sweetness, thy more than royal clemency and bounty ? how nobly dost thou enlarge our mind beyond the narrow sphere of self and private regard into a universal care and complacence, * making every man ourself and all concernments to be ours?

* Would we learn then from Christ himself in what the will of our Maker consists, let us contemplate it in the whole tenour of his instructive and wonderful life. Did he fulfil that will by pompous and formal displays of superior wisdoin, by austere and arrogant pretensions to superior righteousness, by solicitude for ritual observances, by dogmatism upon abstruse speculation, by a supercilious contempt of ignorance, or a ferocious intolerance of error? No. But the will of God, such at least as was that which he exemplified, is to be found in lessons of virtue attractive from their simplicity, impressive from their earnestness, and authoritative from the miraculous evidence which accompanied them : in habits of humility without meanness, and of meekness without pusil. lanimity; in unwearied endeavours to console the afflicted, to soften the prejudiced, and to encourage the sincere; in unshaken firmness to strip the mask from pharisarcal hypocrites, and to quell the insolence of dictatorial and deceitful




Know, next religion, there is nothing accomplisheth a man more than learning. Learning in a lord is as a diamond in gold.- Dedication to the Holy War.


He must rise early, yea, not at all go to bed, who will have every one's good word.

He needs strong arms who is to swim against the stream.

and to

guides : in kindness to his followers, in forgiveness to his persecutors, in works of the most unfeigned and unbounded charity to man, and in a spirit of the purest and most sublime piety to his father and his God.-DR. PARR.

See Bishop Taylor's Cares of Conscience, chap. 4. “ It is a doctrine perfective of human nature, that teaches us to love God and to love one another, to hurt no man, do good to every man, it propines to us the noblest, the highest, and the bravest pleasures of the world; the joys of charity, the rest of innocence, the peace of quiet spirits, the wealth of beneficence, and forbids us only to be beasts, and to be devils; it allows all that God and nature intended, and only restrains the excrescences of nature, and forbids us to take pleasure in that which is the only entertainment of devils, in murders and revenges, malice and spiteful words and actions; it permits corporal pleasures where they can

* From the Holy War.

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »