페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

their fingers.' And when the reason of their standing all the day idle,' is demanded ; we are not the persons to appear in this thing. We are unpopular. Any thing we could do, would rather injure, than promote the good cause.' In the mean time, immorality gains ground, and reformation becomes more difficult.

It was this state of things which first suggested the necessity of forming moral societies. It was believed, that the friends of our invaluable institutions might in this way be induced to unite in their defence : and that the best effects would result from such an union of virtue, talents, and influence. The attempt has been made. A general society for Connecticut, has been established, and has commenced its operations, under favorable auspices. Many branch societies have also been formed, and for all the good that has actually been done, we are bound to thank God and take courage.' The advantages of union, and the importance of persevering action, are every day more and more correctly appreciated. Many who were timid at first, are now courageous and active. Many who were faithless,' are now believing.'

Much, however, still remains to be done. Though the wheels of the moral society have been put in motion, they will not go up of themselves. They are to be rolled up hill; and to make the work easy, the combined strength of numbers must be steadily applied. As yet, some strong men stand aloof, who, we are persuaded, wish success to the society, and will ultimately become efficient members.

In the mean time, it cannot be concealed, that sloth, hat moral enemy to every good work, has crept into the society, and is quietly reposing in its bosom. sons very readily put their name to the constitution, and

Some per

that is the last we hear of them. They never will attend the meetings, never lend the aid of their little finger to forward the design. Others make their appearance once or twice, and then go to sleep with their companions. Others again, we might address in the words of the Apostle to the Galatians : Ye did run well: who did hinder you!' And

And many of the rest, finding only the co-operation of names, where they expected living and active men, are greatly disheartened.

Now, it is obvious, that the strength and usefulness of the society must depend not on its nominal, but its efficient members. A respectable name, handsomely written, on clean, white paper, looks well. But surely, we have lived too long, and seen the experiment too often tried, to expect much, from mere ink and paper. There is no such mighty terror in a few smooth letters, that the Geshems and Sanballats of the age, will 'quake and flee'before them. No. Men must honor their names, by acting up to the spirit of the instrument which they subscribe. If they do not, the act of subscribing is something worse than useless. What the Prince of Grecian orators said of the art of speaking, is almost literally applicable to the real efficiency of any Society. The first thing is action. The second is action. And the third is action.

It only remains that I suggest, very briefly, a few motives and encouragements, for an active, a general, and persevering co-operation, to discountenance vice and promote good morals. After all that has been said and written on this subject; and after what your own eyes must have seen,' and your ears beard,' very little need be added to convince any candid mind, that a reformation is imperiously called for.

Who that mingles at all with society, who that ever attends town meetings, or steps into a tavern where numbers are collected, or walks out in the evening,-is so bappy, as not frequently to hear the great and terrible Dame of God profaned! In what highly favored corner of the state, or nation, are there no distilleries, or dramshops; no gamblers, or sabbath-breakers; no deep traces of the wide and wasting ravages of intemperance ; such as trembling limbs, bloated faces, ruined families, early graves and broken hearts? But I leave the picture. Your own observation will enable you to finish and fill up the outline.

Do you want motives, then, to enter with all your hearts into ihe work of reformation ? They may be drawn—they urge theinselves upon you, from heaven and earth.

They address you from heaven. Speaking to the ear of your consciences, they conjure you to do whatsoever your hand findeth to do with your might,' by all your regard for the authority of God; by the awful retributions of eternity, to which you are hastening ; by the worth of all the souls, which you might possibly be instrumental in saving; and by all that is desirable in an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'

From this world, motives almost innumerable, urge you to instant, combined, and persevering action. Among these are all the momentous interests of your country; the well being of society; the harmony of 'neighborboods; the peace of families; the blessings of good government; the security of life, liberty, and property ; your own comfort in the evening of your days; the happiness of your children, and all the good that may flow to distant generations, from the influence of your exer

tions and example. If you are Christians, these and similar motives, cannot fail of producing a powerful effect on your minds. If you are true patriots, if you love your country, you will seek to advance its prosperity, by striving to promote ' righteousness, which exalteth a nation,' and to prevent 'sin, which is, a reproach to any people. If you love your children, you will encourage every design, which has an obvious tendency to preserve them from the destructive contagion of immorality; to make them wise and useful here, and happy forever,

ON DOING GOOD TO THE POOR.*

For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye

may do them good; but me ye have not always.-Mark rid, 7.

The disciples of our blessed Lord drew upon

themselves this rebuke, by charging Mary with having wasted a very precious and costly box of ointment, which she had just poured upon his head. They regarded it as wantonly thrown away, since it might have been sold for a large sum, and distributed to great advantage among the poor. How many of the disciples united in this complaint against the pious and afflicted Mary, we are not informed : but no one appears to have been so much disturbed as Judas. None of the company, he would fain have it believed, felt so much for the sufferings of the destitute as himself. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor,

but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. The motives of the rest were good, though their indignation was entirely out of place; but Judas was influenced by the basest of passions.

Far was it from the mind of Christ to discourage liberality to the poor. They were the objects of his tender

* Preached at Pittsfield, Mazs, on the day of the Annual Fast, April 4, 1818.

« 이전계속 »