페이지 이미지

strange that we must participate something of the divine nature, before we can really love the human ; It seems, indeed, to be an insensibility to sin, rather than want of benevolence to mankind, that makes us naturally pity their temporal and be careless of their spiritual wants; but does not this very insensibility proceed from the want of love to God?

All virtues, it cannot be too often repeated, are sanctified or unhallowed according to the principle which dictates them : and will be accepted or rejected accordingly. This principle, kept in due exercise, becomes a habit, and every act strengthens the inclination, adding vigour to the principle and pleasure to the performance.

Every individual should bear in mind, that he is sent into this world to act a part in it. And though one may have a more splendid, and another a more obscure part assigned him, yet the actor of each is equally, is awfully accountable. Though God is not a hard, he is an exact Master. His service, though not a severe, is a reasonable service. He accurately proportions his requisitions to his gifts. If he does not expect that one talent should be as productive as five, yet to even a single talent a proportionable responsibility is annexed.

What an example of disinterested goodness and unbounded kindness, have we in our heavenly father, who is merciful over all his works, who distributes common blessings without distinction, who bestows the necessary refreshment of life, the shining sun and the refreshing shower, without waiting, as we are apt to do, for personal merit, or attachment, or gratitude; who does not look out for desert, but want as a qualification for his favours; who does not afflict willingly, who delights in the happiness, and desires the salvation of all his children, who dispenses his daily munificence and bears with our daily offences; who in return for our violation of his laws, supplies our necessities, who waits patiently for our repentance, and even solicits us to have mercy on our own souls!

What a model for our humble imitation, is that divine person who was clothed with our humanity; who dwelt among us, that the pattern being brought near, might be rendered more engaging, the conformity be made more practicable; whose whole life was one unbroken series of universal charity; who in his complicated bounties, never forgot that man is compounded both of soul and body; who after teaching the multitude, fed them; who repulsed none for being ignorant; was impatient with none for being dull; despised none for being condemned by the world; rejected none for being sinners; who encouraged those whose importunity others censured; who in healing sicknesses converted souls, who gave bread and forgave injuries!

There cannot be a more striking instance, how emphatically every doctrine of the Gospel has a reference to practical goodness, than is exhibited by St. Paul, in that magnificent picture of the Resurrection, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, which our Church has happily selected, for the consolation of survivors at the last closing scene of mortality. After an inference as triumphant, as it is logical, that because "Christ has risen, we shall rise also ;" after the most philosophical illustration of the raising of the body from the dust, by the process of grain sown in the earth and springing up into a new mode of existence ; after describing the subjugation of all things to the Redeemer, and his laying down the mediatorial Kingdom; after sketching with a seraph's pencil, the relative glories of the celestial and terrestial bodies; after exhausting the grandest images of created nature, and the dissolution of nature itself; after such a display of the solemnities of the great day, as makes this world, and all its concerns shrink into nothing: In such a moment, when, if ever, the rapt spirit might be supposed too highly wrought for precept and admonition-the apostle wound up, as he was, by the energies of inspiration, to the immediate view of the glorified state the last trump sounding-the change

from mortal to immortality effected in the twinkling of an eye-the sting of death drawn out-victory snatched from the grave-then, by a turn, as surprising as it is beautiful, he draws a conclusion as unexpectedly practical as his premises were grand and awful: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Then at once, by another quick transition, resorting from the duty of the reward, and winding up the whole with an argument as powerful, as his rhetoric had been sublime, he adds-" forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

Chapter IV.



A man deceives himself oftener than he misleads others; and he does injustice from his errors, when his principles are all on the side of rectitude. To exhort him to overcome his prejudices, is like telling a blind man to see. He may be disposed to overcome them, and yet be unable because they are unknown to himself. When prejudice is once known, it is no longer prejudice, it becomes corruption; but so long as it is not known, the possessor cherishes it without guilt; he feels indignation for vice, and pays homage to virtue; and yet does injustice. It is the apprehension that you may thus mistake-that you may call your prejudices principles, and believe them such, and that their effects may appear to you the fruits of virtue; which leads us so anxiously to repeat the request, that you would examine your hearts, and ascertain that you do not come here with partial minds. In ordinary cases there is no reason for this precaution. Jurors are so appointed by the institutions of our country, as to place them out of the reach of improper influence on common occasions; at least as much so as frail humanity will permit.

But when a cause has been a long time the subject of party discussion-when every man among us belongs to one party or the other, or at least is so considered the necessary consequence must be, that opinion will progress one way that the stream of incessant exertion will wear a channel in the public mind; and the current may be strong enough to carry away those who may be jurors, though they know not how, or when, they received the impulse that hurries them forward.

I am fortunate enough not to know, with respect to most of you, to what political party you belong. Are you republican federalists? I ask you to forget it; leave all your political opinions behind you; for it would be more mischievous, that you should acquit the defendant from the influence of these, than that an innocent mau, by mistake, should be convicted. In the latter case, his would be the misfortune, and to him would it be confined; but in the other, you violate the principle, and the consequence may be ruin. Consider what would be the effect of an impression on the public mind, that in consequence of party opinion and feelings, the defendant was acquitted. Would there still be recourse to the laws, and to the justice of the country? Would the passions of the cit izen, in a moment of phrenzy, be calmed by looking forward to the decision of courts of law for justice? Rather every individual would become the avenger of imaginary transgression-Violence would be repaid with violence: havoc would produce havoc ; and instead of a peaceable recurrence to the tribunals of justice, the spectre of civil discord would be seen stalking through our streets, scattering desolation, misery and crimes.

Such may be the consequences of indulging political prejudice on this day; and if so, you are amenable to your country and your God. This I say to you who are federalists; and have I not as much right to speak thus to those who are democratic republicans? That liberty which you cherish with so much ardour depends on your preserving yourselves impartial in a court of justice. It is proved by the history of man, at least of civil society, that the moment the judicial power becomes corrupt, liberty expires. What is liberty but the enjoyment of your rights, free from outrage or danger? And what security have you for these, but an impartial administration of justice? Life, liberty, reputation, property, and domestic happiness, are all under its peculiar protection. It is the judicial power, uncorrupt

« 이전계속 »