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and devotion in the house of God, who might otherwise have been committing acts of violence and fraud without; to hear the praises of the world's Creator and Redeemer proceeding from mouths, which might have been pouring forth a torrent of blasphemy and obscenity; to find a love of their duty and their business implanted in hearts, where a love of idleness and of mischief might have taken up its abode for ever.”
” “To see children, therefore, wandering in darkness, ignorant of God and of Christ, reprobate to every good work, and every notion of good, and to continue idle spectators of such a scene, without making those exertions which it is in our power to make, this can never be right in any of us, cl
us, clergy or laity; but must contribute much to the weight of that charge, which shall one day be brought against
On the contrary, to : succour those who are thus distressed for want of spiritual aid, to preserve little children in
a state of innocence, or reclaim them from one of error and vice, by leading them in the ways of truth and holiness : these are imperial works, and worthy the immediate Disciples of our Lord.”
Every institution of every kind, whether political or religious, requires continual attention and superintendence. A plan, however well formed and arranged, will fail of producing the effects originally designed, if it be not diligently watched and attended to.. Indolence and supineness will rust the wheels of the best machine, and impede its necessary movements. We have, happily, a rest from warlike activity ; let us make use of that opportunity, to increase the blessings of peace by personally promoting the national education, and by checking the spirit of ignorant infidelity; strenuous exertions in these great causes will contribute, more than any other methods, to industry and good order, to the prosperity and happiness of the country.
Concluding and General Letter.
RELIGION,” says Bishop
Horne, came down from Heaven, and was designed to carry us thither."* How has it come down to us, but through the Bible, which is the Word of God ? In this sacred volume has his gracious purpose been declared, which he predestined before all worlds.
The same Bishop, with his usual piety and sublime simplicity, observes, “ When God speaks, it is but reasonable that man should hear.”+ The great error of worldly men is to separate faith from practice, our duty to God from our duty to our neighbour. It is considered by them, if they ever consider at all, that we have
* Volume IV. Sermon 16. + Volume II. Sermon 1.
nothing to do with doctrines ; that. conduct and sincerity constitute the whole duty of man. There can hardly be imagined a greater mistake. Atheism would certainly be a greater error, but I do not believe that there is a real Atheist in existence. An unbounded profligacy would also be a greater error, but I hope I may discredit that this is to be often found in its full meaning. Setting aside, therefore, such extreme cases as these, I would recommend the worldly to consider the purpose for which we were created. From the first moment that man was formed, a law or test was given; obedience to the will of God would have ren, dered Paradise and the life of man eternal. Disobedience produced all the evils which have been experienced from that hour, and will continue till the final day. At that first period, when only one man was in existence, there was no society which the conduct of Adam could offend : it was God alone to whom he owed any duty, and that; unhappily, he did not perform. It is clear then, that our duty to God preceded our duty to society, and it ought now to take the lead, and be the primary motive of every action. Our faith in God is indispensable; he has been pleased to reveal to us the nature of his being, and his gracious design of man's redemption; and these it is our first duty to believe, and to be grateful for that revelation, and for his boundless mercy.
* “When God, with so stupendous a preparation of prophecies and miracles, has published his word, can it be a matter of indifference whether we believe it or not? Can any man in his senses possibly think it such ? Surely not. The Lord of Heaven and earth is not with impunity to be insulted and trifled with in this manner. He that believeth not the record which God hath given of his Son, as the beloved Disciple has justly observed,
* Horne’s Sermons, Volume IV. Sermon 1.