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116 Archdaran Polls Discourses on the Kule of Life. the bour conduct

erence to our own resolves in any absolute restriction, which the it them

rule of duty or the measures of propriety and prudence do not not le taini wor on

disarmed, if not converted into humble admiration, when we conm

template the growth of some exalted graces formed upon such fantastic models; upon patterns ill devised, unwarranted by any word of Scripture, and subversive of the freedom of the Christian cha.

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tional improvement. A false standard is erected, and the fair
field of adrancement and proficiency in all good attainments is ex-

dictate, will create a real injury in numberless particulars of ra-
changed for a narrow circle and a slavish course." P. 14.
may sometimes be challenged, and that our censure may be quite

"But to close these observations, I freely grant that our respect

racter, with its acknowledged terms of faithful service ; patterns unsupported by the rule of reason, turned aside from common in. stances of duty, nay, diverted from the whole sphere which is allotted for the trial and proficiency of man. We cease almost to condemn the whimsical and strange mode of husbandry which cuts sides we forgive the wrong, when we find, perhaps, such fruit as

off many a fruitful branch, and maims the tree so rudely on all we have rarely seen, upon the single shoot which this forced and barbarous mode of culture suffers to remain. We cannot look bearing of the climate and the soil. But let us guard our own with scorn upon a sample which exceeds the common growth and minds and those of others (of the tender and the young especially) against these grounds of error and delusion, which however thus excused, remain the same." P. 17.

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In all respects this is well said--but its peculiar merit is that it adheres rigidly to the line. The enthusiastic will admit the propriety of such cautions as these- the lukewarm cannot object to the other side of the picture.

“ Because the Gospel does not refuse its sanctions to our temporal concerns, but shews how they many be entertained without servile fear, and ordered to good ends, many seem to have concluded, that they are at liberty by all means, short of evil ones, to strive incessantly for worldly acquisitions, or to be occupied in unremitting courses of indulgence. They forget the preference which is required at all times to things of the highest value. They overlook that limit which makes it often needful to restrain the feelings of attachment to things present, however good and lawful, from a right.conviction of the strength of those affections, which, indeed, have both good and evil tendencies, but which, in the present state of man, require particularly to be resisted and controled on that side which leans to evil, or they will usurp a noxious empire in the

man breast. Of that faulty bias, the fruit of human frailty, the remedies are gradual here, and will only find their full effect hereafter. If such conflicting inclinations are adverted to at all by those of whom we have just spoken, it is not in order to restrain

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them, but to draw excuses from them, rather than to call forth better resolutions, or to rouse a diligent and vigilant exertion for removing obstacles, or for shunning dangers. Such men, therefore, lose sight of that prudent needful self-denial, which forms one fit ground of exception to the Christian's lawful liberty; an exception often needful, but always subject to the rules of prudence and discretion, that it may serve the ends of caution or correction, of excitement or proficiency. All things,' said our Lord's Apostle,

are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient :' where he establishes the lawful use, which he neither cancels nor renounces, but points to the suitable exceptions where they might be proper, or conducive to some special purpose of advantage. They who have a solid and enduring happiness laid up for them in a better scene, must be willing to contend. That word contend, with all its emblems, meets us in all parts of the sacred page: it describes a state of conflict and of difficulty, in which hours of ease and prosperous seasons may intermingle, and may be desired; but they must be guarded with much watchfulness; they are not without alarms and oppositions from within and from without. And thus the duties of a prudent self-denial find their place amidst the privi. leges of the law of liberty and the state of grace." P. 27.

We cannot refrain from extracting two more passages upon these subjects. The first is contained in a sermon upon the friendship of the world, and the second in a sermon upon Vanity of vanities.” They illustrate with peculiar felicity the principles which have been previously laid down in the Charge, and they may serve at the same time as an adequate specimen of the supplementary additions with which the Charge is now given to the publio.

“ In order now that we may take in every just and reasonable application of the text, let us consider further, in the last place, in what instances that pernicious friendship, of which St. James speaks, may be contracted even where there is less

appearance of scandal and offence. Although it behoves us to avoid mistaken apprehensions of the nature of things present, which may operate to our own hurt, and to the injury of many, if we form such schemes of life as are rigorous and narrow, painful to ourselves aud discouraging to others; yet we are not less bound to remember that there is something more to be considered than just what is lawful on the one part, and forbidden on the other. If man was what he once was, when he came from the hands of his Creator, it would be enough for him to know what is permitted and what lies under prohibition : but if he be weak, if there be none whole, so as never to require the aid of discipline and the cup of media cine; if man be prone to devious courses, if he be never wise enough to walk with perfect safety amidst snares and dangers, or to keep himself secure from all surprizes; if his better purposes be

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herence to our own resolves in

any absolute restriction, which the rule of duty or the measures of propriety and prudence do not dictate, will create a real injury in numberless particulars of rational improvement. A false standard is erected, and the fair field of advancement and proficiency in all good attainments is exchanged for a narrow circle and a slavish course." P. 14.

“ But to close these observations, I freely grant that our respect may sometimes be challenged, and that our censure may be quite disarmed, if not converted into humble admiration, when we contemplate the growth of some exalted graces formed upon such fantastic models ; upon patterns ill devised, unwarranted by any word of Scripture, and subversive of the freedom of the Christian character, with its acknowledged terms of faithful service ; patterns unsupported by the rule of reason, turned aside froin common instances of duty, nay, diverted from the whole sphere which is allotted for the trial and proficiency of man. We cease almost to condemn the whimsical and strange mode of husbandry which cuts off many a fruitful branch, and maims the tree so rudely on all sides--we forgive the wrong, when we find, perhaps, such fruit as we have rarely seen, upon the single shoot which this forced and barbarous mode of culture suffers to remain. We cannot look with scorn upon a sample which exceeds the common growth and bearing of the climate and the soil. But let us guard our own minds and those of others (of the tender and the young especially) against these grounds of error and delusion, which however thus excused, remain the same.” P. 17.

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In all respects this is well said—but its peculiar merit is that it adheres rigidly to the line. The enthusiastic will admit the propriety of such cautions as these-- the lukewarm cannot object to the other side of the picture.

“ Because the Gospel does not refuse its sanctions to our temporal concerns, but shews how they many be entertained without servile fear, and ordered to good ends, many seem to have concluded, that they are at liberty by all means, short of evil ones, to strive incessantly for worldly acquisitions, or to be occupied in unremitting courses of indulgence. They forget the preference which is required at all times to things of the highest value. They overlook that limit which makes it often needful to restrain the feelings of attachment to things present, however good and lawful, from a right conviction of the strength of those affections, which, indeed, have both good and evil tendencies, but which, in the present state of man, require particularly to be resisted and controled on that side which leans to evil, or they will usurp a noxious empire in the human breast. Of that faulty bias, the fruit of human frailty, the remedies are gradual here, and will only find their full effect hereafter. If such conflicting inclinations are adverted to at all by those of whom we have just spoken, it is not in order to restrain

them, but to draw excuses from them, rather than to call forth better resolutions, or to rouse a diligent and vigilant exertion for removing obstacles, or for shunning dangers. Such men, therefore, lose sight of that prudent needful self-denial, which forms one fit ground of exception to the Christian's lawful liberty; an exception often needful, but always subject to the rules of prudence and discretion, that it may serve the ends of caution or correction, of excitement or proficiency. All things,' said our Lord's Apostle, • are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient :' where he establishes the lawful use, which he neither cancels nor renounces, but points to the suitable exceptions where they might be proper, or conducive to some special purpose of advantage. They who have a solid and enduring happiness laid up for them in a better scene, must be willing to contend. That word contend, with all its emblems, meets us in all parts of the sacred page: it describes a state of conflict and of difficulty, in which hours of ease and prosperous seasons may intermingle, and may be desired; but they must be guarded with much watchfulness; they are not without alarms and oppositions from within and from without. And thus the duties of a prudent self-denial find their place amidst the privi. leges of the law of liberty and the state of grace." P. 27.

We cannot refrain from extracting two more passages upon these subjects. The first is contained in a sermon upon the friendship of the world, and the second in a sermon upon “ Vanity of vanities.”. They illustrate with peculiar felicity the principles which have been previously laid down in the Charge, and they may serve at the same time as an adequate specimen of the supplementary additions with which the Charge is now given to the publio.

“ In order now that we may take in every just and reasonable application of the text, let us consider further, in the last place, in what instances that pernicious friendship, of which St. James speaks, may be contracted even where there is less appearance of scandal and offence. Although it behoves us to avoid mistaken apprehensions of the nature of things present, which may operate to our own hurt, and to the injury of many, if we form such schemes of life as are rigorous and narrow, painful to ourselves aud discouraging to others; yet we are not less bound to remember that there is something more to be considered than just what is lawful on the one part, and forbidden on the other. If man was what he once was, when he came from the hands of his Creator, it would be enough for him to know what is permitted and what lies under prohibition : but if he be weak, if there be none whole, so as never to require the aid of discipline and the cup of medi. cine; if man be prone to devious courses, if he be never wise. enough to walk with perfect safety amidst snares and dangers, or to keep hiniself secure from all surprizes; if his better purposes be

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subject to relapses, which often set him further from the mark at which he aims, and leave much space to be recovered ; if it be hard for him to walk to the very edge of lawful ground, and not to miss the line which should not be transgressed—then shall we find the place for stricter rules than those which repsect things merely lawful or unlawful, though such indeed are the only fixed rules and never changing standard of things good or evil. If no man can make a true proficiency in good attainments who has never learned to yield some portion of his liberty in present things, in order that he

may not be brought under their dominion; if the straits or difficulties which are to be encountered in a good cause will be sure to dishearten him who has never been accustomed to make seasonable sacrifices of his wonted freedom for some salutary purpose ; if they who are resolved to suffer no privation till they be compelled, will be less apt for many calls which bring their trials and vexations with them, and will also fall short of many measures of improvement which they should attain : then certain it is that there is room for self-denial, duly exercised within the bounds of prudence; for prudence is the moderator, and the Lord of all things, which are left free to our choice, and the rule is still the same, cease to do evil; learn to do. well." P. 72.

“ The day of separation from things sublunary must arrive, and how bitter will it prove to those who have never made them serviceable to a better hope or conducive to those improvements of the mind and disposition which are not subject to destruction. But where present things are valued for the present benefit which they may render to ourselves and others in what is needful for us, and proper to our state, and by the same rule good for that of others; and where they are made to serve a future benefit, which is a thousand fold more excellent; how good, how noble, is the use of such things; how lawful in itself, how just, how much allied to every branch of moral and religious duty, and to the best improvements of which the nature and the character of man is capable. There is, perhaps, no one virtue, no one Christian grace, (and all virtues are included in those graces) there is, perhaps, , no one point of duty which can be exercised aright, without a just atten. tion to the real value of things present, and a proper application of them in the same respects. Is it equal justice in our dealings, with a punctual fidelity in all engagements, which we have to testify? The narrow minded on the one hand, or the careless and profuse on the other, will indeed be sure to be defaulters ; but hardly more so than he who is abstracted utterly and quite indifferent to such concerns. Is it kindness and good-will which is required ? The miser's hand is closed still, and the hand of the prodigal continues empty, because neither have considered the true value of the goods of this life ; but the victim to some gloomy superstition will bid fair to lend as little succour to such useful purposes, though less culpable in his choice and habits than the former two. Is it patience under sudden and extensive losses which is requisite? He

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