« הקודםהמשך »
by the sacrifice of Christ, of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, of justification by a true and lively faith in the merits of our Redeemer. If therefore we wish to form a just and correcť idea of the whole Christian dispensation, and if we wish to be considered as genuine disciples of our divine Master, we must not content ourselves with observing only the two leading commandments of love to God and love to men, but we must look to the whole of our religion as it lies in the Gospel we must endeavour to stand perfect in all the will of God, and in all the doctrines of his Son, as declared in the Christian revelation ; and after doing our utmost to fulfil all righteous.. ness, and to attend to every branch of our duty, both with respect to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, we must finally repose all our hopes of salvation on the merits of our Redeemer, and on our belief in him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I must now put a period to these Lectures for the present season; and if it should please God to preserve my life for another year, I hope to finish my observations on the Gospel of St. Matthew ; beyond which I must not now extend my riews.
In the mean while, from what I have observed in the progress of these lectures, I cannot help. indulging a humble hope that they have not been unattended with some salutary effects upon your minds. But when, on the other hand, I consider, that the time of year is now approaching, in which the gaieties and amusements of this vast metropolis are generally engaged in with incredible alacrity and ardour, and multitudes are pouring in from every part of the kingdom to take their share in them; and when I recollect further, that at this very period in the last year a degree of extravagance and wildness in pleasure took place, which gave pain to every serious mind, and was almost unexampled in any former · times; I am not, I confess, without some ap. prehensions, that the same scene of levity and dissipation may again recur; and that some of those who now hear me (of the younger part more especially) may be drawn too far into this fashionable vortex, and lose in that giddy tumult of diversion all remembrance of what has passed in this sacred place. I must therefore most earnestly caution them against these fascinating allurements, and recommend to them Vol. II.
that moderation, that temperance, that modesty in amusement, which their Christian profession at all times requires ; but for which at this moment there are reasons of peculiar weight and force*
To indulge ourselves in endless gaieties and expensive luxuries, at a time when so many. of our poorer brethren are, from the heavy pressure of unfavourable circumstances, in want of the most essential necessaries of life, would surely manifest a very unfeeling and unchristian disposition in ourselves, and would be a most cruel and wanton aggravation of their sufferings.
It is true, indeed, that their wants have hitherto been relieved with a liberality and kindness, which reflect the highest honour on those who exercised them. But the evil in question still subsists in its full force, and is, I fear, more likely to increase than to abate for months to come, and will of course require unceasing exertions of benevolence and re. peated acts of charity on our part, to alleviate and mitigate its baneful effects.
* This Lecture was given in April 1800, a țime of great scarcity and extreme dearness of all the necessa. ries of life.' ... ..
Lir e n
Every one ought therefore to provide as ample a fund as possible for this purpose ; and how can this be better provided than by a retrenchment of our expensive diversions, our splendid assemblies, and luxurious entertainments? We are not now required, as the young ruler in the Gospel was, to sell all we Have and give to the poor; but we are required, especially in times such as these, to cut off all idle and needless articles of profusion, that we “may have to give to him that needeth.”
And when we consider that the expense of a single evening's amusement, or a single convivial meeting, would give support and comfort perhaps to twenty wretched families, pining in hunger, in sickness, and in sorrow, can we so far divest ourselves of all the tender feelings of our nature (not to mention any higher principle), can we be so intolerably selfish, so wedđed to pleasure, so devoted to our own gratification, as to let the lowest of our brethren perish, while we are solacing ourselves with every earthly delight?. No one that gives himself leave to 'reflect' for a moment can think this to be right, can maintain it to be consistent with his duty either to God ar man. 71971 AI 2
And, even in respect to the very object we šo eagerly pursue, and are so anxious to obtain, in point even of pleasure, I mean, and selfgratification, I doubt much whether the giddiest votary of amusement can receive half the real satisfaction from the gayest scenes of dissipation he is immersed in, that he would experience (if he would but try) from rescuing a fellow-creature from destruction, and lighting up an afflicted and fallen countenance with joy.
Let us then abridge ourselves of a few indulgences, and give the price of what they would cost us to those who have none. By this laudable species of economy we shall at once improve · ourselves in a habit of self-denial and self
government; we shall demonstrate the sincerity of our love to our fellow-creatures, by giving up something that is dear to us for their sake, by sacrificing our pleasures to their necessities ; and above all, we shall approve ourselves as faithful servants in the sight of our Almighty Sovereign; we shall give some proof of our gratitude to our heavenly Benefactor and Friend, who has given us richly all things to enjoy; and who, in return for that bounty,