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only remains a stranger to the pleasures SERMON of beneficence, but must often undergo the pain arising from bad passions. But when beneficence and devotion are united, they pour upon the man in whom they meet, the full pleasures of a good and pure

heart. His alms connected him with men, his prayers with God. . He looks: without dismay on both worlds. All nature has to him a benign aspect. If engaged in active life, he is the friend of men ; and he is happy in the exertions of that friendship. If left in retirement, he walks among the works of nature as with God. Every object is enlivened to him by the sense of the Divine presence. Every where he traces the beneficent hand of the Author of nature, and every where, with glowing heart, he hears and answers his secret voice. When he looks up to heaven, he rejoices in the thought that there dwells that God whom he serves and honours; that Saviour in whom he trusts; that Spirit of grace from whose inspiration his piety and his charity flow. When he looks around him on the world, he is soothed with the pleasing remembrance of good offices which he has

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done,

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SERMON done, or at least has studied to do, to many

who dwell there. How comfortable the
reflection, that him no poor man can up-
braid for having withheld his due ; him no
unfortunate man can reproach for having
seen and despised his sorrows; but that on
his head are descending the prayers of the
needy and the aged; and that the hands of
those whom his protection has supported,
or his bounty has fed, are lifted up in secret
to bless him !

Life, passed under the influence of such
dispositions, naturally leads to a happy
end. It is not enough to say, that faith
and piety, joined with active virtue, con-
stitute the requisite preparation for hea.
ven. They in truth begin the enjoyment
of heaven.

In every state of our existence, they form the chief ingredients of felicity. Hence they are the great marks of Christian regeneration. They are the signature of that Holy Spirit, by which good men are said to be sealed unto the day of redemption. The text affords a striking proof of the estimation in which they are held by God. Amidst that infinite variety of human events which pass under

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eye, the prayers and the alms of Cor- SERMON nelius attracted his particular notice. He remarked the amiable dispositions which rose in the heart of this good man. But he saw that they were yet imperfect, while he remained unenlightened by the principles of the Christian religion. In order to remove this obstruction to his rising graces, and to bring him to the full knowledge of that God whom he sought to honour, he was favoured with a supernatural message from heaven. While the princes of the earth were left to act by the councils of their own wisdom; while without interposition from above, generals conquered or fell, according to the vicissitude of human things ; to this good Centurion an angel was commissioned from the throne of God,

What can I say more or higher in praise of this blessed character, than that it is what God delights to honour? Men single out, as the objects of distinction, the great, the brave, or the renowned. But he who seeth not as man seeth, passing by those qualities which often shine with false splen

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dour

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SERMON dour to human observation, looks to the

inward principles of action ; to those principles which form the essence of a worthy character, and which, if called forth, would give birth to whatever is laudable or excellent in conduct. Is there one, though in humble station, or obscure life, who feareth God and worketh righteousness ; whose prayers and alms, proceeding in regular unaffected tenour, bespeak the upright, the tender, the devout heart? Those alms and prayers come up in memorial before that God who is no respecter of persons. The Almighty beholds him from his throne with complacency. Divine illumination is ready to instruct him. Angels minister to him. They now mark him out on earth as their future associate and for him they make ready in paradise, the white robes, the palms, and the sceptres of the just.

To this honour, to this blessedness, let our hearts continually aspire ; and throughout the whole of life, let those solemn and sacred words with which I conclude, sound in our ears, and be the great directory of

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our

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our conduct*: He hath shewed thee, O man, SERMON what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly and love mercy -and to walk bumbly with thy God?

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