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racy and precision, and yet to perform other duties, in his judgment not less imperative. He thought his hours well employed, his labour well repaid, if by any exertion of his own, he could benefit a fellow-creature; if he could assuage the anguish of distress, lighten the pressure of calamity, calm the disquietude of a troubled mind, inspire the timid with hope, or lead the wanderer into the way of truth.
Firm in his belief of Christianity, every thing connected with it engaged his attention. It was his great end to defend, to cherish, to promote it. The predominant object of all his wishes and desires was, in every thing he did, to do it to the "glory of God;" yet, amidst a conduct so holy and so pure, he had no melancholy, no austerity, no gloom. He wished to render Religion as amiable as she is venerable; to place her before the eyes of men in her most alluring and attracting form, bright, serene, unclouded, and benign: in a word, to represent her, not as the enemy and the bane of happiness, but as the guide, the companion, the solace, the delight of man. On this principle his own character was formed: he lived as he taught others to live; and it was this, more than any other cause, which gave such weight and efficiency to his instructions*.
* See Hodgson's Life of Bishop Porteus.
LECTURE I. FEB. 23, 1798.
LECTURE XXI. MARCH 6, 1801.
Lord's Supper. Our
LECTURE XX. FEB. 27, 1801.
IT being my intention to give from this place, on the Fridays during Lent, a course of Lectures, explanatory and practical, on such parts of Scripture as seem to me best calculated to inform the understandings and affect the hearts of those that hear me, I shall proceed, without farther preface, to the execution of a design, in which edification, not entertainment, usefulness, not novelty, are the objects I have in view; and in which, therefore, I may sometimes perhaps avail myself of the labours of others, when they appear to me better calculated to answer my purpose than any thing I am myself capable of producing.
Although my observations will for the present be confined entirely to the Gospel of St. Matthew, and only to certain select parts even of that, yet it may not be improper or unprofitable to introduce these Lectures by a compendious view of the principal contents of those writings, which go under the general name of the HOLY SCRIPTURES.
That book, which we call the BIBLE (that is, THE BOOK, by way of eminence), although it is comprised in one volume, yet in fact comprehends a great number of different narratives and compositions, written at different times, by different persons, in different languages, and on different subjects. And, taking the whole of the collection together, it is an unquestionable truth, that there is no one book extant, in any language, or in any country, which can in any degree be compared with it for anti
quity, for authority, for the importance, the dignity, the variety, and the curiosity of the matter it contains.
It begins with that great and stupendous event, of all others the earliest and most interesting to the human race, the creation of this world, of the heavens and the earth, of the celestial luminaries, of man, and all the inferior animals, the herbs of the field, the sea and its inhabitants. All this it describes with a brevity and sublimity well suited to the magnitude of the subject, to the dignity of the Almighty Artificer, and unequalled by any other writer. The same wonderful scene is represented by a Roman poet*, who has evidently drawn his materials from the narrative of Moses. But though his description is finely imagined and elegantly wrought up, and embellished with much poetical ornament, yet in true simplicity and grandeur, both of sentiment and of diction, he falls far short of the sacred historian. "Let there be light: and there was light," is an instance of the sublime, which stands to this day unrivalled in any human composition.
But, what is of infinitely greater moment, this history of the creation has settled for ever that most important question, which the ancient sages were never able to decide; from whence and from what causes this world, with all its inhabitants and appendages, drew its origin; whether from some inexplicable necessity, from a fortuitous concourse of atoms, from an eternal series of causes and effects, or from one supreme, intelligent, self-existing Being, the author of all things, himself without beginning and without end. To this last cause the inspired historian has ascribed the formation of this system; and by so doing has established that great principle and foundation of all religion and all morality, and the great source of comfort to every human being, the existence of one God, the creator and preserver of the world, and the watchful superintendant of all the creatures that he has made.
The sacred history next sets before us the primæval happiness of our first parents in Paradise; their fall from this blissful state by the wilful transgression of their Maker's command; the fatal effects of this original violation of duty; the universal wickedness and corruption it gradually introduced among mankind; and