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of God. Our doing every thing for the great end of our being will thus become habitual to us; and we shall feel it to be as “our meat and drink to do the will of our heavenly Father.”
III. Let us be regular in the offices of devotion. In these offices we more particularly realize the presence of God, and have a more sensible impression of our being in the view of Him who is invisible. The frequent and regular recurrence of such an impression must have the tendency of keeping us in mind of the purposes of our being, and of our accountableness to God for the use of every talent. It will also be the means of counteracting the effect which the world is so much calculated to produce on the mind; and of suggesting that the favour of God should be the object of our supreme solicitude.
IV. Let the offices of devotion be discharged, not merely regularly, but aright. They cannot be performed aright without lively impressions of the perfections of God, and of the only way in which we are authorized to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."
Hence the duty of cherishing, and more especially in devotional exercises, such affections as are suitable to the greatness, holiness, and mercy of God. It is only in this way that our regularity in the offices of devotion will be useful in leading us to do all things to the glory of God.
V. Let us habitually cherish a sense of our dependence upon God, and of our obligations to him. It is the absence of this sense of dependence and of obligation that makes the duty of keeping the glory of God in view in every thing, so difficult to practice. Whereas, if we constantly felt, that we are indebted to God for all that we now have, or hope to enjoy, and that by no services can we ever express all that we owe to him, might we not justly expect that we should more readily think of the glory of God as the ultimate end of our actions ?
ON THE DUTIES WHICH MEN OWE TO ONE ANOTHER.
THOUGH all the duties which, as moral agents, we are bound to perform, are duties which we owe to God, inasmuch as we discharge them in obedience to his will, and in subserviency to his glory, they admit of classification according to their immediate objects.
The duties of the second class, or those which we owe our fellow-creatures, may be classed under the following heads: benevolence; justice; the obligations involved in the constitution of mankind as male and female; and those which arise from the insti. tution of society.
Moralists, and more especially writers on jurisprudence, have called the duties of benevolence indeterminate, because force cannot be employed to ensure their practice; while they have styled those of justice determinate, because we may use force to secure ourselves against their violation. It should be remembered, however, that many, perhaps the greater part of our duties, in order to be performed aright, must be discharged under the combined operation of benevolence and justice. The obliga
tions that arise out of the benevolent feelings and principles of our nature, are just as binding, since they are enjoined by the authority of conscience and of God, as those which are founded upon right and equity. Has not a benefactor a right to a return of gratitude from those on whom he bestows his gifts ? Yet he has no power to force the person whom he has obliged to render it. Benevolence, as well as justice, requires that children be affectionately educated by their parents, and that parents be treated with kindness and reverence by their children; but if these claims be resisted, how are they to be enforced?
“ The terms right and duty, are, in the strictest sense, in morality at least, corresponding and commensurable. Whatever service it is my duty to do to any one, he has a moral right to receive from me. I do not speak at present, it is to be remembered, of the additional force of law as applied to particular moral duties, a force which it may be expedient variously to extend or limit, but of the moral duties alone; and in these, alike in every case, the moral duty implies a moral right, and the moral right a moral duty. The laws, indeed, have made a distinction of our duties, enforcing the performance of some of them, and not enforcing the performance of others; but this partial interference of law, useful as it is in the highest degree to the happiness of the world, does not alter the nature of the duties themselves, which, as resulting from the moral nature of man, preceded every legal institution *." Though he is not answerable to men if he refuses
* Brown's Lectures, vol. iv. p. 394.