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his own private interest ; nor the vanity to think himself more deserving than all others of the smiles of heaven, and the confidence of his fellowmen. He does not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, condescends to men of low degree, and extends his kindness to all whom he can comfort or assist.“ He is gracious, and full of compassion ; he showeth favour and lendeth.” To " do good and communicate” is his delight. Nor are his charity and its effects confined to the little circle of his own family and connexions, or to those of his own religious sentiments, to the exclusion of others ; but extended to every proper object, while he has the highest complacency in those he believes to possess true piety and virtue. Of this he does not form his judgment so much from their opinions, as from that holy life and conversation, which indicate purity and sincer. ity of heart. Good men, of whatever communion, share in his affection and esteem. Towards the children of sorrow and distress he cherishes a tender, generous sympathy ; but does not, like the pharisees of old, do alms to be seen of men. Conscious that he hath done his duty, and relieved a fellow creature, he is satisfied, though even the object of his charity
know not whence the favour proceeded. If the giver be known, the gift is communicated in such a manner, as to free the receiver from eve. ry kind of mortification, and almost persuade him to believe, that, in accepting it, he hath conferred a favour on the donor ; or, at least, to feel as great obligation for the manner of giving, as for the gift itself.
These excellencies place the righteous above his neighbour ; they always, merit esteem and confidence.
Temperance and purity form another part of this character. “ He hath risen above the va. porous sphere of sensual pleasure, which darkeneth and debaseth his mind, which sullies its lustre, and abates its native vigour ; while profane persons, wallowing in their lusts, do sink themselves below the condition of men.”
This feature, rendered more observable by the contrast every hour presented, stamps upon the righteous marks of worth and dignity. The excellence of these virtues is seen in the contrast with their opposite vices, which degrade the human character more than almost any thing else that can be named. “ One of the most shameful and miserable spectacles in the world is, to see a man born to the use of reason, and perhaps to an eminent fortune, drink away his religion, his reason, his sense; and so expose himself to the pity of wise men, the contempt of his own servants, the derision of his children, and fools, to every danger, and every snare." Nearly allied to this degrading but
common vice, is that impurity of conversation e and conduct, in which some appear to take pride.
It would be difficult for a person of correct
moral taste and discernment to decide whether sthis impure communication, or habits of intem.
perance, be most offensive; they are in general found together in the same persons; but either must be extremely disgusting to those whose minds are not lost to all sense of the dignity of rational beings. Such habits the righteous man never allows. He “is temperate in all things," gives evidence of the goodness of his heart in
the purity of his life, and by possessing his hi mental and bodily powers “in sanctification
and honour.” Free from pride and arrogance, the properties of base and silly minds, or a gid. diness incident to those who are raised, on a sudden, to an unaccustomed height, and void of criminal ambition, he is courteous to all, and content with the station providence allots him, with obtaining honour and promotion only by
meriting them, and acquiesces in that obscurity and private condition from which he cannot rise without the sacrifice of his integrity.
Let me add, what gives peculiar lustre to the virtues of the righteous, he is a humble follower of the meek and lowly Jesus, copying after the moral perfections of the Saviour of the world. Taking him for a pattern, and his gospel for the rule of his affections and actions, he presses forward to the highest attainments in every thing praise worthy. This being the object of it, his ambition is not to be suppressed, but cherished, and is rendered subservient to the noblest purposes. As pure religion and moral rectitude form his general character, and give him superiour worth, he is ambitious to excel, to “ go on to perfection” in a holy life. In this view he can never be too aspiring; for, in proportion as he rises above his irreligious peighbour, he will be week and humble, charitable and beneficent, kind and forgiving, just and equitable, sober and temperate. The object of his ambition, the point to which he aspires with holy ardour, is not to gain authority over his fellow beings, or to reduce their char. acter and situation to infamy and dependence; but to become an eminent disciple of Christ, and to possess and exhibit the spirit of his religion. He despises none below, nor envies any above him in moral and religious attainments; the efforts of the one he will aid, in the progress of the other rejoice ; while he strives “ so to run, as to obtain the prize,” to be so faithful over a few things, that he may be made ruler over many things, and enter into the joys of his Lord.
The superiour excellence of such a character, without drawing the picture of its opposite, which is daily presented in part, if not at full length, none can be so blind as not to see, and few so corrupt as not to acknowledge. It is perceived, and often confessed, by men of the contrary description, when they have no disposition, or intention, to honour goodness as such, or to bear testimony in its favour. The infidel, the wicked and profligate, who make religion a subject of ridicule, and affect to have the highest confidence in those that have none, when brought to the near view of death, a situation that rouses their attention, and allays their pasa sions and prejudices, if desirous to find one with whom they can trust their private concerns, and those of their family, will look for him, not among their own party, but among