« PreviousContinue »
forestalling the necessaries of life, or the sinful waste and artificial scarcity, which, in the midst of plenty, they are calculated to produce.
Eyes must we have and see not, ears must we have and hear not,” if we “ do not know and observe these things.”
To conclude,-if Waste and extravagance in this and every other instance could be effectually prevented, and a system of liberal economy be generally established, that should allow every one what he could rationally enjoy, and take from no one any thing that he might reasonably want, it would prove an object of the greatest national importance.
It is impossible to calculate the good that would be accomplished by it, and the evil that would be prevented. Habits of frugality and order, of temperance and sobriety, of charity and beneficence, would then pervade the whole mass of society. What an addition would not this be to the sum of human happiness, and what a subtraction from the load of human wretchedness! Imagination can scarcely forbear to contemplate the vast accession of power, which Christian charity would derive, could she collect and distribute the rich talents, which are trampled under foot by the intemperate and luxurious, the proud and indolent ;-throwa carelessly away by the vain and ostentatious spendthrift; or wrapt up and buried under ground, as it were, by the selfish and avaricious miser.
May we not only avoid this sinful perversion of the divine bounty, but study to improve and deserve the blessings of Providence, by husbanding our means, and doing all the good in our power !—May we always remember that we came into this world not merely “ to be ministered unto, but likewise to minister!"not to gratify our own appetites and passions, but to relieve the wants of others, and to do our duty, to the utmost of our power, " in that state of life unto which it has pleased God to call us !” May the sin of wasting, or abusing the talent committed to our care be never laid to our charge; but may we resemble that good and faithful servant, who, in the great day of retribution, was told to go, and “enter into the joy of his Lord!” Then, when the period of our departure from this world shall approach, our prayers and our alms, it is hoped, will“ go up for a memorial before God,” and many a poor and helpless brother will testify for us at the throne of grace, in the words of the holy Gospel—“ I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked and
ON THE DUTY OF ATTENDING PUBLIC WORSHIP
1 Cor. xiv. 40.
Let all things be done decently and in order.
THE exhortation of St. Paul to the Corinthians, as expressed in the words of the text, is of the greatest importance; and well deserves that general application to conduct and behaviour, which he has given it: for it is applicable to “ all things.” Unless a certain degree of “order” be observed in the performance of our duties, and in the distribution of our time, the former will be often neglected, or very imperfectly discharged, and of the latter a considerable portion must be useless, lost in confusion, or squandered away. But that the virtue of order (for so it may well be called) might not degenerate into needless method, or idle form, it requires to be regulated by a con
stant sense of fitness and propriety in all our actions; and this is what the Apostle means to express by the single word decently, as used in the context.
When understood and practised under this necessary qualification, every one may readily perceive how largely the observance of Order enters into his comforts and enjoyments. By improving time, (that inestimable treasure of life), to the greatest advantage, it increases our means and opportunities of doing good to others, as well as to ourselves. It enables us to go through the respective duties of our business, or profession, without perplexity and embarassment. It gives all those, with whom we are connected, the strongest grounds of trust and confidence, by enabling us to fulfil our engagements, and by precluding those futile promises, which are sometimes made, to-day, but forgotten to-morrow; and which often lead to nothing but mortification and disappointment.
Its influence in checking the vices of idleness, and in preventing mischief and disorder from spreading among children, servants, and others, that may surround us, will be felt in its full force by every one who has a family to educate and protect, a business to manage, or a