Images de page
PDF
ePub

the reward of the vain hypocrite. But the charitable disposition of the will adds holy wings to riches, which make them ascend up for a memorial before God, who will not forget our work and labour of love.

Let none therefore refuse to exercise this charity, or plead inability to give. I well know the difficulties under whicli many labour in these times of enormous and increasing expence, and who have therefore little to spare : Yet, let them not forbear to give of that little. Let them remember, that the widow's mite has been proverbially mentioned with honour from the earliest ages of Christianity, and that a few drops of oil and wine, with the addition of two-pénce, constituted the chief part of the liberality of that good Samaritan, whom Christ himself recommended to our imitation. Let them remember too, that an especial blessing is every where promised to the virtues of charity and compassion, extending even to our latest posterity. How ambitious therefore should every parent VOL. IV.

M

be

be to deserve this blessing! And whilst on the one hand, he endeavours to make his children the children of God, and his servants the servants of God; whilst, as a priest over his own houshold, he makes his house a house of prayer, and offers up a daily sacrifice for himself and his dependents ; so, on the other hand, he ought, like Cornelius, to crown his piety with charity, and to let his light so shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify his father in heaven.

Thus have I laid before you, with all pláinness and simplicity, the duty of every master of a family, drawn from the example of the good centurion Cornelius. And sure I am, that neither arguments nor eloquence will be wanting, to recommend the practice of it to every man, who seriously considers the present state of things amongst us; a state of things, which, without either the exaggeration of spleen or the misrepresentation of needless terror, affords a prospect truly terrible and alarming. For surely there cannot be a more truly alarming prospect, than

when

[ocr errors]

when the very first ends of civil society, mutual security and protection, are defeated; when neither life nor property are for a moment secure from the ruffian that walketh in darkness or the robber that assaulteth at the noon-day; when the most respectable members of the community are forced to tremble before the basest and most abandoned; when the vindictive powers of the law have lost their terror, and even the wisest provisions of the legislature are either eluded by legal chicane, or defeated by an injudicious and ill-timed lenity. It can hardly be said, that existence in such a society is at all preferable to the state of the solitary traveller in the desert, who startles at every shadow, trembles at every breeze, and expects every moment to become the prey of the wild beasts which howl around him.

With regard to those who are grown old in iniquity, though perhaps young in age, little I fear can be done to stop them in their fatal career. They will have their course, and the grave its premature M 2

prey,

prey, in spite of every friendly remonstrance, in spite of every terrific warning.

But with respect to those, who are yet untainted with the dangerous corruptions of the age, it is in the power of every master of a family to do much, by a faithful mad diligent discharge of his duty, in the several articles, which it has been the business of this discourse to recommend. . Much too has been done, and I trust still may be done, by those, who have patronized and supported the various charitable foundations, which do so much honour to this kingdom ; and especially those, which have for their object the instruction of young persons on the Sabbath day. For, if there be a possibility of restraining the lower orders of people from brutal violence and licentiousness, it must be by early culture and instruction; by instilling into them a deep sense of God and religion, and by imprinting on their minds a constant and awful consideration of that solemn account they must one day give.

And

And though in these, as in all other human institutions, success may not always keep an equal pace with our wishes and endeavours; though the seed we have sown may not always bring forth fruit unto perfection; yet we may reasonably hope, that we have saved some precious souls from destruction ; that we have laid the foundation of better days to come, and contributed to the future welfare and tranquillity of our posterity and country, which is no inconsiderable object to every generous and rational mind, ;

1:1) But there is still a higher consideration, to animate us all in the faithful discharge of these duties ; that is, the approbation of our own consciences, and an obedience to the commands of God. We may wish indeed, that our labour's may be effectual, both for the good of those who are entrusted to our care, and for the advantage of society in general : nay. fara ther, we cannot but earnestly be solicitous, that the children we love may never depart from the good way, in which they have been trained, but may go on from M3

strength

« PrécédentContinuer »