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The Duties of the Divine Law.

be directed more to the permanent, than to the present welfare of our brethren. Even love and charity may be indiscreet or injudicious, to frustrate their own ends. Distributing to the necessities of the lazy, or to the factitious wants of intemperance and extravagance, we do, in a degree, not only counteract the order of things, but oppose ourselves to the will of Him who has constituted that order. Encouraging those, who fearlessly and unblushingly violate the commands of Heaven, we injure the publick by cherishing immorality, and the very objects of our bounty by upholding them in their evil ways, where they are useless or mischievous in this world, and, as far as we can discern, going fast to punishment in the next: inconsiderately although charitably administering to their necessities we may aggravate the disease of the soul, and further hazard its everlasting salvation.

Nothing is more natural, or more just, than that those, who are able and will not work, should starve; that those, who spend their substance or their earnings, in wanton or unnecessary indulgences, should be always needy;


The Duties of the Divine Law.

that those, who lavish the produce of youthful labour in loathsome intemperance, idle or dissipated enjoyments, or thoughtless extravagance, should pass their age in dependence, degradation, poverty, or wretchedness. Having been the authors of their own calamity, bitterly as they may feel, they have no reason to repine at their lot.

These are severe truths that deeply impress the serious and tender mind. The heart of charity will melt even at these merited sufferings of fallen humanity. He, who is perfect, is not extreme to mark what is done amiss. And should we having like infirmities, and, it may be, in some respects, conscious of like failings, withhold from our wretched brethren that relief, which better fortune, as well as a more prudent conduct, may have enabled us to bestow?

To this trying question, only one answer can be given by every humane and feeling person. Yet, feeling seems here in contest with duty. We must not shut up our bowels of compassion-yet we must reverence the will of our Heavenly Father, and cultivate not one,

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The Duties of the Divine Law.

but all the virtues which he has commanded. We must regard the eternal rest, more than the temporal ease, of our poor brethren. Something should be done to check the progress of low and desperate profligacy. Admonition, it is to be feared, will avail little; for it is often the mere scoff and mockery of the prophane and abandoned, who, while they listen with seeming, or forced attention, sneer at you in their hearts. Our perplexity here is not between the choice of two duties, but to pitch upon the most effectual means of prosecuting one great duty, the comprehensive duty of charity and brotherly love; how we shall most surely promote the present repose and future prosperity of the community, with the temporal and eternal interests of our deluded and suffering fellow-creatures. The hand of liberality must not be withdrawn, and yet scattering profusely and indiscriminately it may do more harm than good. Every man under these considerations, with this view of the circumstances before him, must be left to his own judgement. If he think soberly and honestly with a mind well trained and reposing on the divine assistance, he will act rightly.


The Duties of the Divine Law.

Among the precepts of duty found in the sacred volume there is another very comprehensive, which I would advise you to keep always in your recollection. Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. The old, or the advanced in years, should keep it in mind, that they forget not to admonish the young; the should think on it, that young they may always put it in practice. The advantages of an early piety cannot be too highly appreciated. It is a foundation of health and strength to the soul, in which it may sustain itself through all the trials, pains, and afflictions of increasing years, and prosecute its pilgrimage to the everlasting mansions of glory. Let me, then, exhort you to the discharge of a most important duty, which hourly solicits your attention. I mean the proper management of your families and households, with good heed to the influence of your example around you. This is a matter of infinite moment, which I can at present only touch upon. Children can hardly be brought up with proper sentiments of devotion, and duly impressed with the doctrines of revealed religion, with

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The Duties of the Divine Law.

the vital principles of Christian duty; if they do not imbibe them from the bosom of their parents, The admonition and example of a religious and virtuous parent are the best patrimony that he can give to his children. These are gifts which the child fondly retains, gratefully remembers, and which he may make an everlasting portion.

That the alarming profligacy of servants, is very much owing to misrule in families there can be no doubt. All men are disposed to imitate those, whom they see the world look up to, particularly those, whom they are themselves bound to obey. Hence an immoral master will almost necessarily make an immoral servant. If the servant see his master pay no regard to the obligations of virtue and the laws of God, seriously concerned for nothing but his own ease and gratification, in the various modes of pleasurable living; is it likely that such a servant will be prudent and honest? that in the manageinent or execution of his master's business, he will act upon any other rules than those of self-interest and selfsecurity?


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