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to a degree of which former times furnish scarcely any example.
wilderness; and all the cities thereof were broken down at “the presence of the Lord, and at his fierce anger. The
daughter of Zion bewaileth herself, and spreadeth her hands,
saying,–Woe is me now, for my soul is wearied because of 66 murderers.”
“ Beware,” said our Saviour to his Apostles, when he sent them abroad into the world, 66 beware of men.” The reasons which prove the importance of this direction, are abundantly exhibited in the observations which follow it. Men, he assured them, would hate them; would load them with the most opprobrious names and imputations ; would deliver them up to the hostile powers of the world ; would scourge them, persecute them, and finally kill them. And these things, it seems, they were to expect from the nearest connections in life. You will probably not be exposed to most of these evils, yet you will have the most abundant reason to beware of men. Men will
corrupt you, so far as it is in their power, by their flattery, by their errors, by their sophistry, by their example, by their influence, at times by the weight of their character, at other times by their numbers, and at others even by their kind of fices. They will also spread before you the means of sin, and open to you the haunts of temptation, where wickedness is made easy, pleasant to the imagination, and safe from discovery, where the young are allured in by-way's to hell, and where, when they have once entered, the doors are closed upon them for ever. By their numbers, also, their character, and their stations, men will awe you into vice, and terrify you by their obloquy, their contempt, and their ridicule. You have been often told, that you may as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. Let me inform you that it is the fashion of this world to sin. You will naturally believe, and the belief will naturally chill and paralyze every noble effort, that your labours can be of little consequence to the cause of truth and righteousness. This is a subject of which you cannot be
proper judges. Who could have believed beforehand that the Apostles would alter the whole state of this world through every succeeding period of its duration ? nay, that they would change the face of heaven itself, and give a new aspect to the kingdom of God and the dispensations of eternity ? If you seriously labour to do good, the good will be done ; it will be important, it will be eternal. It will improve your destiny and that of others for ever.
To strengthen you to this divine purpose, let me again exhort
you to keep before your eyes the example which has been exhibited in this discourse. From this time consecrate yourselves to the service of your Creator, and begin a course of beneficence which shall extend through your lives. Mark the field of usefulness before you. How vast, how important, how noble a scene of your labours ! The country in which you were born, and in which you will act, will, in a century, contain more millions than the Roman world. These will constitute one people, whose language, manners, science, government, and religion will in substance be one. Its state of society must, within a little period, be determined. A little
period will decide whether it shall be free or enslaved; whether its inhabitants shall be enlightened with knowledge, or lost in ignorance ; whether virtue shall reign here or vice ravage ; whether those who here leave the world, shall be victims of perdition or heirs of endless life. It is the duty of all who are now on the stage to devote themselves, multitudes have actually devoted themselves, to the great business of preventing these mighty evils and laying a solid foundation for this exalted good. But all these will soon be numbered with the dead. You, and others like you, must then take their places, and carry on the unfinished work. With your property, your efforts, and your prayers, you and your compeers must establish good order, sustain liberty, distribute justice, and ensure peace to those who come after you. You must send out missionaries, and convey the Bible every where; must raise up churches, and diffuse salvation. You must divert the course of our un happy race from the regions of woe, and turn their feet upward to the skies.
Think not that you are incompetent to these mighty purposes. You will certainly be able to do all that God requires at your hands. While you are ready to exclaim with St. Paul, “ Who is sufficient for these things?" answer also with him, “ Our sufficiency is of God.” While each of you says
you says within himself, in the language of that great Apostle, “ I am nothing," let him also say, “ I can do all things through Christ, who “ strengtheneth me." The aims of good men here have never been sufficiently high, their plans sufficiently vast, nor their resolution, nor even their hopes sufficiently vigorous. The day is rapidly advancing, it is at hand, when wider schemes of beneficence will expand the mind, and a more fervent piety glow in the heart. Begin this exalted career. It is high time that it was begun. It is high time that the powers of the soul were employed in advancing the virtue and happiness of a world, and not in providing new hobby-horses for the despicable ambition of despicable individuals.
In your own course follow the wonderful men whose character I have delineated. Their Master excepted, the sun never shone upon so glorious an object. The virtue of the Gospel,
the spirit of heaven, was the energy of their minds; an energy immeasurably more glorious, and not less vigorous, than the pride and passion which have burned, as
nich have burned, as a furnace, in the hearts of conquerors. No hero ever encountered such toils, or underwent such self-denial for the laurel or the sceptre as they for the salvation of men. What dwarfs, what motes, are heroes at their side ! Conquerors have been mere beasts of prey. The Apostles assumed, with no unhappy resemblance, the employment of angels. The same employment lies open to you. Let your spirit, your labours, your prayers be like theirs, and your success, though inferior, will be great, honourable, and delightful. You will go to the same world, whither they have gone, and partake of their enjoyments, their glory, and their praise. Even here below, conscience will smile on every part of your progress, and spread peace and joy over the world within. To your parents the sight of your evangelical labours will soften the pillow of a dying bed, gild the darkness of the grave, and add new lustre to the days of eternity. Your country, the church of God, and generations yet unborn, will rise up and call you blessed. The Redeemer himself will look with complaceney on every step of your progress, and O how enrapturing the prospect! will, at the end of life, receive you all into his own divine kingdom, and make you companions and friends in the world of life, and heirs of the glory which he had with the Father before ever the world was.
ON THE LOVE OF DISTINCTION.
the Candidates for the Baccalaureate, in 1814.
JOHN XII. 43.
“ For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of
Among the persons, who from distant countries came up to the feast of the passover, during which our Saviour was betrayed and crucified, there were several Greeks, of that class of converts to the Jewish religion called by the Rabbin's proselytes of righteousness. These men, apparently influenced by piety blended with curiosity, desired to see Jesus. For this purpose, they applied to Philip; Philip communicated their wishes to Andrew; and the two disciples together mentioned the subject to Christ. This was the first instance in which such an application had been made to our Saviour by Gentiles, and may be considered as the first providential intimation of the accomplishment of that memorable prophecy, “ In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Our Saviour, comprehending the whole import of this most interesting prediction, appears to have been delighted with the dawn which, he foresaw, would usher in so glorious a day. Accordingly, he began a strain of discourse, filled with thoughts of the highest moment, and springing from his contemplations on the future enlargement of his church among the nations of