« PreviousContinue »
In the next place, I would have it remarked, that the form of wholesome difcipline to which these children are thus early inured, must be of great and inexpressible service to them, and consequently to the public, in the course of their future life. Brought up in a fatal indulgence, and uncontroled by the hand of restraint, every passion would be fed' to its full maturity, and expect to enjoy an unrivaled fway in the scenes of future action. And what must be the consequence of unrestrained self-gratification, but to see an untutored youth break every mound of civil duty, and turn out, as might have been reasonably expected, a stubborn son, a fullen husband, a careless father, and a factious citizen. But these bad effects are all prevented by early and prudent discipline. Obedience is the school of virtue, and the passions, in their first shoots, are easily reduced to culture and civilization.
But the greatest advantage of this charity is, that it forms them christians, as well as
Born under the difad
poverty, and that ignorance which is too often connected with it, they would have probably passed their lives in principles and practices as low and uncomfortable as their station. But by your munificence, generous fellow-christians, they are raised to the privileges of “ saints in light;" they are taught, at least, to know the terms of the gospel, and acquainted with “ the things that belong unto their peace.” They are now no longer in a state of darkness and despair : the page of scripture is laid before them by their prudent instructor, and the principles of it enforced upon them; the words of the book of life are opened to their attention, pressed upon their memories, and explained to their understandings. What a grace and privilege is this to us, as well as to them to be permitted to contribute to “ save a foul from death;” to cooperate with the saviour of mankind, and promote the work of redemption.
I shall, lastly, observe to you, in behalf of this charity, that you are sure it is applied to real, undifsembled, misery, and for which
wealth, promoted the happiness of his fellow-creatures, and the glory of his God? It would ill become us to anticipate the sentence of heaven; but the sacred pages have already acquainted us with its tenor ;
“ Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
1 PETER IV. 18.
IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELY BE SAVED, WHERE
SHALL THE UNGODLY, AND THE SINNER, APPEAR?
There is something in the plain and obvious sense of these words, that I must confess I could never hear them without being sensibly affected by them. I know that the commentators have generally understood by the destruction from which “ these righteous were scarcely to be saved,” the overthrow of the city of Jerusalem, and the calamity in which the christian inhabitants, more efpecially, were likely to be involved, unless snatched from it by the immediate interposition of God: and, I believe, their judgment is, in some measure, warranted by the
context. But this is still nothing to the disarming of those terrors, which this text may have so justly excited in the breast of every wicked man. For, if amidst the common calamity of their falling city, the miserable inhabitants found it so difficult to escape, unless by the extraordinary interposition of God; how much more have we reason to stand aghast at our condition, unless reconciled through that saviour who is to be our judge, when “ the earth itself shall pass away,” and every unjustified inhabitant thereof shall be placed in that dreadful and intolerable state, “ where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
I have chosen, therefore, to discourse to you upon these words, that I may draw the matter to a point, and bring it home to every man's business and bosom, by shewing you the absolute danger of having formerly neglected them; and the utter impossibility of any one wicked christian being saved, according to the gospel.
In order to this, we will, first, inquire who are meant by “ the righteous ;” secondly, the