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unequivocally laid down by the Redeemer himself, to be misunderstood—“ All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so

, to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Another doctrine to be inferred from the parable is, that to forbear doing good is obnoxious to the same punishment as doing evil. The rich man is not charged with the practice of any vices : he is not even represented as exceedingly uncharitable, since he fed the beggar who solicited charity at his gate ; but he was condemned, because he satisfied himself with the exercise of mere negative, when it was his duty to have shown himself zealous in the practice of positive goodness. It was not because he did what was contrary to the letter of God's law, but that he did not act up to it in spirit and in truth, when he was fully able to do so, which drew down upon him the divine judgments. I dwelt so long on this argument in the foregoing discourse, that there will be less need to pursue it now: I pass on, therefore, to consider the last inference to be drawn from the parable--namely, the certainty of eternal rewards and punishments in a future state. As this point has been also touched upon

before, I shall not on this occasion detain you long upon it. The certainty of a future retribution is as undeniable as that God is true, since He has declared that the good shall be everlastingly rewarded, the wicked everlastingly punished. His word cannot fail. “Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?" If His truth, therefore, is to be relied on, the godly and the wicked shall receive in the next life according to their deserts. There can be no chance of this condition changing in an eternal world when it is once fixed, for as the blessed can have no temptation to be otherwise than good, it is not to be conceived, that they should ever fall from that state*; but, as the condemned must be reclaimed to virtue before they can be made happy, they never can be made happy, because they cannot be reclaimed to virtue, since the love of God would have no influence upon their actions or motives, for they could not love the author of their punishment-and there can be no real virtue where a love of God does not exist. “ If we are wise we shall ponder these things." May the Almighty, therefore, ever support and strengthen our faith, and increase and multiply evermore in us the fruits of a charitable and holy life, through Jesus Christ !

See Macknight's ‘Harmony of the Four Gospels,' end of section 96.

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SERMON IX.

RIGHTEOUSNESS A SECURITY AGAINST HARM.

1 Peter, 111. 13.

" And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of

that which is good ?”

The advantages of religion are every where most fully exhibited by those inspired men, who not only bore testimony in their writings of the superior benefits derived from it to mankind, but also

practically illustrated in their lives, the truth of what those writings conveyed. Daily experience will plead to our convictions for the truth of the Apostle's declaration, " that all things work together for good to them that love God.” That they do so, no one can hesitate to admit, who has been accustomed to look with a devout scrutiny into the agency of Divine Providence, in the affairs

“ That all things really do work together for good to them that love God,” will be evident for this important reason, that they are in turn the objects of His love, and it is the peculiar character of his merciful Providence, to “reward such as diligently seek Him.” The very design of the Deity, in bringing us to life, is, that we should be “ followers of that which is good,” in order that “ when this mortal shall have put on immortality,” we may enjoy it in eternity in communion with him, who, by expiating upon the cross the penalty of our guilt and shame, has secured the blessings of everlasting life, to all who devoutly strive to obtain them. If, therefore, the primary design of the Deity, in calling us to existence, be obviated by our rash opposition to His will in not following “ that which is good"; this will naturally frustrate his ultimate intention of bringing us into his glory.

of men.

1

The plans of infinite perfection are necessarily uniform, undeviating and unalterable, consequently, if we, by our obstinate resistance to the divine determination, obstruct the accomplishment of part of his merciful design, we shall, as far as we are individually concerned, infallibly prevent the accomplishment of the whole: since it certainly forms no part of the august scheme of Providence, to bring us into the heavenly Canaan, whether we bend our course towards it or not, but only when

strive to enter in at the strait gate,” which opens upon the “narrow way," that leads to everlasting life.

The superiority of goodness over the reverse

we

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