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per, and lays the grosser passions as vassals at the feet. Having learned to be content with the allorments of divine
does not militate against the principles of brotherly love. Children of the poor are as dear to their parents as those of the rich, and brotherly love may be displayed in a humble cottage as well as in a princely palace..
Let us look a little further, and take a view of the effects of brotherly love in a larger circle. See it the predominant passion in a neighborhood, and you will see friendly neighbors living together in the sweetest harmony. You will see them careful of each others welfare, choice of each others reputation, watching daily for an opportunity of bestowing kind offices and shewing themselves friendly. If one be visited with sickness, or misfortune, all are attentive to his wants, and ready to alleviate his circumstances. If one suffer, all suffer with him. Their sorrows, pains, troubles and afflictions are divided and subdivided among the whole, which almost lessons them to nothing; while the good fortune of an individual is highly increased by the participa. cions, and joy it gives to many.
O, my friends, do not fancy that this is all a visionary picture : it is not only possible, but it is altogether practicaable. How lovely indeed is the sight, where friendly hearts are endeavoriog to ease the pain of the sick, mingling tears with the afflicted, strengthening the hope of the dying and affording consolation to the friends of the dead; bestow. ing gifts, and doing deeds of charity, to the poor and needy; wiping away, by acts of benevolence, the falling tears from the cheeks of widows and orphan's; soothing the unhappy ; mitigating their misfortunes, and restoring peace to their troubled minds. How sweet is the conversation of a social circle of neighbors, when the love of God manifested through a Redeemer is the subject. Well may their lips be sweetened with sincerity and truth, while their whole conversation is perfumed with the divine fragrance of brotherly love. See their eves glistening with tears of joy for the redemption of man ; while the sentiment of the apostle rebounds with increasing force on the understanding. “Brethren, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another." This heavenly principle of brotherly love is able to extract the poison from the forked tongue of slander, it puts to silence
the secret whispers of falsehood and kills the venom of envy: It is a sure balsam to heal every breach among neighbors, It puts the sweetness of honey into every bitter cup of life, and strews the path of the christian with odoriferous flowers from the garden of innocence. In such a neighborhood, disconsolated sorrow is an utter stranger, and the destroyer of peace cannut find a residence. .
See further the effects of brotherly love in reconciling those, whom either ignorance, or religious superstition and bigo. try have made inveterate enemies. If we turn over the page of ecclesiastic history, we find that the stake and faggots, the dry pan and gradual fire, the wheel, the rack, and those cruel engines of torture in the hands of the ruling party, have been employed to dragoon those whom they were pleased to proscribe as heretics, into the abominable belief, (if I may be allowed the expression) that the Almighty was as cruel as themselves. That is, a belief that God would wreak his never ceasing vengeance on mankind, the works of his own hands, when those lenient measures, which he had been disposed to use for their good, had proved inef. fectual for their recovery ; and cause them to endure such tortures, that do tongue can paint, or pen describe ; and of which, all those cruel engines oftorture, which persecution itself only could invent, were nothing more than the shadow of a shade in comparison.
Too many, my brethren and friends, at the present day. are the middle walls of partition between mankind in general, and professed christians in particular; and much animosity, schisms, coldness, hardness, debates and strife, are the unhappy consequences. However, it is the glorious work of brotherly love to dissolve those bulwarks of enmity, and teach mankind that pure religion does not consist io cute. ward professions, or ceremony, but in acts of benevolence and charity. Those who believe in a cruel God, will not hesitate at practising cruelty themselves. Those who can believe that the justice of God is incompatible with his mercy, may conduct very unmercifully towards their fellow creatures, and yet vainly suppose that they are doing them good justice. But brotherly love is a safe barrier against a devouring fire to all the machinations of the enemy of unrighteousness; and all the hay, wood and stubble contained in the outward professions and self righteousness of men.
When christians shall with one consent bring every item of their faith to the sure test of reason, aided by the plain and positive testimony of holy writ, and contend for nothing but brotherly love, then shall the now formidable enemy of christianity become weak and impotent, and the mountain of the Lords house shall be established upon the tops of the mountains of the law and the prophets, and exalted above the hills of error and superstition, and all nations shall flow unto it.
Brotherly love is the only cement that can bind the members of any society into one solid compact, forming but one general interest ; and this heavenly principle alone, will be a greater stimulant to insure the faithfulness and fidelity of each individual in discharging their respective duties, than any coercive means that could possibly be used.
Brotherly love inspires the mind with true courage to face death and danger in the discharge of duty. , All its pretentions are matters of reality; it is always true, steadfast to its engagements. It leads a man to do to others as he would be done by, in all the acts of friendship, love and charity. Were this principle in universal exercise among men, the end of all wickedness would come, and moral evil would take, an everlasting farewell of the human race. The brazen trumpet would no more enrage the embattled war-horse, nor anger set on the warlike brow of the hero. Swords would be beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning kooks. Nation would no more lift up sword against nation, nur learn wär any longer. The various sects, names and denominations of professors in religion would lose sight of every thing but the white stone and the new name. The middle walls which now separate, would fall like the walls of Jericho. The floods of error would be divided like the mighty waters of Jordan for the Israel of God to pass over. The ransomed of the Lord would return and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joys on their heads ; they would obtain joy and gladness, and sorsow and sighing would fleo away. ..o blessed day, long ago foretold by the prophets of the Lord, and in ages past thy glory has given fire to the poets song-Thou shalt come, thou wilt not tarry. Thy peace shall be like a river, and thy righteousness like the light that goeth forth. Thou shalt heal the nations of their moral maladies ; thou shalt unite all hearts in sacred friendship and fill every soul with joys divine. *
Having, as was proposed, spoken of the causes which have produced brotherly love in the moral system, and having spoken of a few of the many most excellent and happy effects as manifested through a mediator, bringivglife and immortality to light and laying the only foundation of rational happiness in human society; having hinted at some of its happy effects in a family circle, in a neighbourhood, and to the religious world, it remains that we proceed as was proposed : but as time is already elapsed, what further remains must be defered till the after part of the day. In the mean time, Let brotherly love continue.
SERMON II. Heb. xiii. 1. “ Let brotherly love continue." " THESE words were under our consideration in the for, mer part of the day; and after a short introduction, it was proposed
I. To shew the cause, source, or fountain from which brotherly love proceeds, arguing its agreement, or consistency, with its cause.
II. To shew the effects of brotherly, love, arguing that those effects are perfectly consonant to their cause. And · III. To shew the necessity of the continuance of brotherly love, in order to continue its glorious and happy effects.
LASTLY, make an application of the whole as the occasion mày require.
The two first of these we have considered ; and have en
* It is but just to observe, that not withstanding the paragraphs, which contain the extracts from the beautiful discourse before mentioned, are not generally marked with quotations, the phraseology being considerably altered, and the arguments considerably enlarg. ed, yet that discourse has been made the ground work of this, thus far, and the principal arguments and most important sentences have been interwoven with the foregoing. But what follows is an addition.
deavored to make it appear that all the causes of brotherly love concenter in God, the father of our moral nature ; and that this love exists in him as an eternal principle of divine goodness; which principle he has communicated to us, or has given us a capacity to receive it, in the constitution of our moral existence ; i. c. in making us rational beings. And that God has so constituted moral beings, that all their rational happiness consists in the proper exercise of those moral faculties, agreeably to the ultimate design in the constitution of moral nature. And furthermore we have endeavored to shew the blessed effect of the proper use and exercise of our moral faculties which doth produce all the ra. tional happiness of which the human mind is susceptible. We have endeavored to illustrate those effects, bringing them down to the understanding of the smallest capacity ; and they are such, we humbly conceive, as must strike the rational mind to be desirable objects. Our subject brings the effect of religion nigh home ; where it is mostly needed. It places the reward of the Christian, or the reward of brotherly loye, in the present tense. It places the reward on such à foundation that it is sure to follow the deed; for “ he that giveth a cup of cold water, in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward.” “ It is more blessed to give thán to receive.” And the reward of virtue and brotherly love, or the reward of the christian, is, in the virtuous act; and in the consequences that naturally flow from it. . An industrious man is rewarded in his industry ; an economical man is rewarded in his economy ; a prudent man is rewarded in his prudence; a friendly man is rewarded in his friend. ship; and a wicked man is rewarded in his wickedness; but these things have been so often displayed at large, they need not be dwelt upon at this time.
1. As it is a given point that no effect can exist without its antecedent cause, so it must be equally evident that noth. ing can be of an eternal duration unless it be either eternally so in its nature; or else, is produced and kept in existence by an eternal or continued causc. And as it is evident, as has been already shown, that happiness in rational and finite beings, is produced by a concurrence of second causes, so, for happiness to be eternal, in dependent beings, or even of long continuance, it is necessary that the causes on which happiness depends should be alike permanent and durable.