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diness to relieve and assist, little by little, according as situations and circumstances require. A little seasonable aid and a few salutary directions, may be of much avail to the poor, and to those who stand in need of counsel. A friend in need, is a friend in deed; and a word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As it respects the various offices, relations, and duties of this present life, we may do much good, if we seasonably attend to what may be called little things.
5th. The character of a patriot or hero of a nation, is most thoroughly established by little things. When we hear of the wondrous exploits and successes of any man, what a jewel is set in his character, if his private life and secret walk correspond to the dignity of his elevated station! Is Washington the glory of our nation, as he is the father of our country? How is his character exalted and dignified from the account of his servant, respecting his daily deportment, especially that of stated secret prayer, when he would withdraw to kneel before his Maker in his closet, to implore his guidance and blessing. General La Fayette is extolled as an American hero. But the generality do not consider that he embarked not to regain his own liberty, but ours; and that in our infant state, he sacrificed his property, though little did he expect a rich reward at this day. On the other hand, the character of Alexander the Great, appears small when we turn to the effeminacy and latter end of his life. The brilliant and successful exploits of any man are most glorious, as it respects his good name, when they are supported by the little things pertaining to his life, which add excellence to fame. How desirable that they who would render their names immortal amongst men, be found faithful in that which is least, that their memory be
perpetuated in realms above. A few memorable events in any person's life, will not prove an equivalent or com
pensation for the defects of the many little things which are the true standard and criterion, of which the characters even of great men are made up.
. 6th. Little things must make up the character of most men, as few have capacity or opportunity for great and noble enterprises. Comparatively few of the human race, are gifted with extraordinary natural powers of mind; and fewer still, have all the advantages which are necessary to cultivate them to their greatest extent. Of the few able and eminent men which at any time live, how small is the number of those, who in the whole course of their lives, have opportunity of doing what the world would call great things. A mere trifling number can be the monuments of history, and the astonishment of ages; for the principal part live and die in obscurity. They have not the power of being distinguished in their whole lives by any great and glorious work, or noble enterprise, consequently their memory is lost in oblivion at death. "Ten thousand times ten thousand human beings are never known beyond the neighbourhood in which they are born. Many are brought up
in the most lamentable ignorance, and scarcely ever hear of doings beyond their own town or vicinity. Concerning such it is emphatically true, that little things make up their character; for their means of knowledge, ideas, and opportunities of doing good, are greatly limited. But whether they improve the talents they have, whether they are faithful or unfaithful according to their means and opportunities, is their important concern. Such persons do form characters either good or bad, and they are interested in this subject as well as others; for it teaches simple truth: He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. 7th. Little things make up the character of a man as a.
. Christian, and will be the criterion by which, at the last great day, sentence will be pronounced for eternity. The
words of the text will be the test as a trial or standard, by which we must be judged; but the sentence to be pronounced will be a little varied, he that is unjust let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still: Then a life of piety, though in a corner of obscurity and shrouded in abject poverty, will shine conspicuous, and out dazzle all the pomp and grandeur of this world. Self denial, meekness, and charity, will be most brilliant gems in the heavenly
The sceptres and badges of kings and princes, of popes and emperours, will fade away and shrivel as a scroll, when compared with those little things, which will serve to show that a man is found faithful in that which is least. Let us then now realize the true import of the saying of the Saviour to his disciples: Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily, I say unto you, He shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Let not the account of that little sum, two mites, which the poor widow cast into the treasury, be forgotten nor despised by us. Though a little thing, it is recorded for instruction, and has a direct bearing on our character. Perbaps some would hope for divine approbation, neither from great nor little things; but from neutral ground, or not openly opposing religion. Let me draw an arrow from the divine quiver, sharpened and made ready by the blessed Redeemer. He that is 'not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad. I see another character of quite a different form. It is one who glories in a wonderful conversion, like that of the apostle Paul. The heavens seemed opened, and the angels of God, and the Son of man, appeared in all their glory.
But, friend, have you none of those little things which are credentials, essential to a Christian character? Oh no! I think it not worthy to trouble myself about such things. My past conversion is all I ask, to make my calling and election sure ; and a life of godliness would be an intolerable cross to me. Alas deluded man! Satan has appeared to you transformed into an angel of light; and if you do not yet repent, and begin to walk in newness of life, he will meet you at last in the clouds of the air, and drag you down to the region of despair. The secret motives of the heart, words, and retired places for prayer, will be sources of joy to some and of consternation to others. Let us recollect that Naaman, the Syrian leper, was not required to do some great thing in order to effect his cure. Then let us take the simple and only safe means which God has given, to save from hell and raise to heaven. If we seek to do great things and for these to be saved, we die; but if we neglect not those little things, which the word of life points out as essential to our forming a Christian character, we live. Yes, live in glorious immortality, when these heavens and this earth shall be no more.
1st. In the light of this subject we may see, that our great concern should not be to know what the world may think of us; but how we are esteemed in the sight of God.
It is desirable to have the good opinion of others; and earthly friends in this pilgrimage state, are important. If an upright and courteous conduct will secure the esteem of our fellowmen, we should endeavour to obtain their good opinion, that we may be the more useful. Still we should not seek to be men-pleasers, but the servants of God. And when our name is evil spoken of, when our motives and character are questioned by others, our solicitations should be to obtain the
probation of the Searcher of hearts. Our fellowmortals may be deceived, or from some evil design may judge us uncharitably; but it will be a strong consolation, if the Lord, who cannot err, smile upon us. Better to have all the world in hostile array against us, and to suffer the most bitter persecution, if we have heaven on our side, than to please all men, and not be the servants of Christ. As it is desirable to have the friendship, sympathies, and aids of our fellow-mortals, so it is infinitely important to have that communion, and those joys, which are the · effect of being reconciled to God through the death of his Son. Happy is that man, who has a good report amongst his fellow-men; but blessed is the
one, who, like Enoch, walketh with God, and who enjoyeth the smiles of his reconciled countenance, and that peace which passeth understanding.
2d. When we see criminals arraigned before human tribunals, we should exercise compassion and pity, rather than scorn and contempt. They may not be more guilty than some of the spectators. Suppose for instance, a person is condemned for having robbed another of a thousand dollars. Do we look upon him with abhorrence and dread? Perhaps he would not have committed the deed, had he not been in straitened circumstances. Or could he have obtained but a dollar at a time by some other dishonest means, he might not have had recourse to robbery. Probably he would rather have obtained the same sum from several persons than from one. Yes, and the person who habitually cheats but a gill of grain, or a cent at a time, has the same dishonest principle and views. He might be alarmed and deterred from taking a large sum dishonestly, or all that any man possessed. But let bis base heart insinuate that a man is wealthy, and that the loss of a thousand dollars would be a mere trifle; if he should have opportunity to cheat or overreach without any means of detection, quickly would his