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is allayed; and thus all the pleasures which he finds are enhanced by his own happy disposition. Even in seasons when darkness overspreads the world, and such seasons it must be acknowledged there are, when the gloom overshadows his mind, as well as the minds of those around him ; and when the face of the Sun of righteousness is eclipsed to the eyes of mankind ; hope, humble and serene, will lift up her exploring eye, and bebold the divine luminary still visible, and environing the intervening darkness with a circle of glory.

5. Contentment renders ils possessor eminently pleasing and comfortable to others.

Uniform serenity, cheerfulness, and sweetness of disposition, constitute that character in man, which to his fellow-men is more agreeable than any other. Religion itself, however pious and benevolent the mind may be, is despoiled, if sensibly destitute of this disposition, of its peculiar burnish and beauty. It will indeed be approved and esteemed; but it will not be entirely relished. Gravity, existing beyond a certain degree, may render it forbidding. Reserve may render it suspicious; and a sorrowful, melancholy aspect may excite a sympathy so painful, as to make it unwelcome. But a sweet, serene, and cheerful temper is the object, not only of esteem, but of delight. The presence of a person who manifests this temper is universally coveted, and diffuses a kind of lustre over every circle. He is accordingly welcome to every house, and to every company. Even men destitute of religion will strongly relish his company, and will never mention bis character without pointed commendations.

Beside the immediate and extensive pleasure which such a person communicates to those with whom he converses, this disposition recommends his opinions, bis rules of life, bis various conduct, and the several plans which he proposes for the benefit of mankind. Multitudes will embark with readiness and ardour in the promotion of purposes which he recommends, because they are recommended by him ; because they think favourably of whatever he proposes, and love to unite with him in any pursuit. Thus this spirit, beside rendering him eminently agreeable to others, gives him an influence with mankind which he could not otherwise possess; and in the happiest manner increases his power to do good. It deserves particular consideration, that some of the most popular men who have ever lived in this country have not been distinguished for brilliancy of genius, extensiveness of views, or profoundness of researcb; but, while they possessed respectable talents, were remarkably distinguished by the disposition which I have here described.

Of this disposition, contentment is the uniform and the only efficacious source. By a discontented man, it can be assumed only by effort, and for a moment; and must speedily and characteristically give way to the uneasy fretsul spirit which has taken possession of his mind. There is indeed a native good humour, which is pleasant to the possessor, and very agreeable to those with whom he converses. But this desirable disposition, although possessing many advantages, is radically defective, because it is a mere propensity, and not a moral principle. Too frail to sustain the rude shocks, or the long continued pressure of adversity, it is prone to give way in seasons of severe trial; and is incapable of the serene and steady endurance, so characteristical of a contented mind. Such a mind may bend; but, while life lasts, it will not break. Where native good-humour would shrink and fly from the conflict, on innumerable occasions, the contented mind will firmly brave the danger, sustain the assault, and, with a cool, noiseless, unruffled energy, in the end overcome. At the same time, such a mind will always find at hand a divine auxiliary, an Almighty friend, ever present, ever watchful, ever extending his arm to protect, strengthen, and give the victory. This indispensable aid native good humour cannot claim. All its ultimate reliance is fixed on this world. Its eye is never lifted upward, but fastens on earth and time for all its resources.

Contentment, on the contrary, while she finds more sweetness in earthly enjoyment than good humour can ever find, and far more effectually lightens the pressure of calamity by the assistance which this world presents, fixes her eye on the heavens for superior aid ; and sees the thickest darkness of suffering, and even of death, delightfully illumined by beams of glory, shining from beyond the grave!

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1 TIMOTHY VI. 17--19.

There are, as I have heretofore observed, two attributes of the human mind, in the indulgence of which we especially disobey the tenth command, viz. ambition and avarice. Content. ment is opposed to both, particularly to the former. What in modern times is called charity, that is, a disposition cheerfully to impart our property and kind offices to the poor and suffering, is especially opposed to the latter. Of course, it naturally becomes the next subject of our consideration in our progress.

In examining it, I propose briefly to point out,
1. The nature of this duty.
II. The persons to whom,
III. The manner in which, it is to be performed; and,
IV. The motives to the performance.

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I. I will endeavour lo explain the nature of this duty.

It has been already mentioned as a general definition of charity, as an attribute of the human mind, that it is a disposition cheerfully to impart our property and our kind offices to the poor and suffering. But we are not to suppose that every cheerful communication of these benefits to persons of this description merits the name of charity in the evangelical sense.

Persons often aid the suffering merely from ostentation. These will not be suspected of charity.

Others do the same thing merely to free themselves from the importunate applications of those, by whom it is solicited. This will not be mistaken for charity.

Some, and those not a few, impart their property to the distressed, because they place little value upon property. Neither will this be soberly considered as charitable conduct.

Some perform charitable acts to free themselves from those reproaches of conscience, which they are assured will follow the refusal of such acts.

Multitudes perform offices of this nature from the hope of acquiring the esteem of others, and the various benefits which it is expected to confer.

Other multitudes extend relief to sufferers from a native spirit of generosity. This is amiable ; but is not even an intentional performance of any duty, and can therefore possess no evangelical character.

Others still do the same things, under the influence of constitutional compassion, or native tenderness. This also is amiable; but for the same reason does not partake of an evangelical nature.

Some perform actions of this class because they have been taught and babituated in early life to perform them as a duty. Though they merit and obtain the esteem of those around them, yet they never with the heart, or in the evangelical sense, perform any duty.

Others do works of this nature, because they have been accustomed to commend them highly, and are thus compelled to charitable exertions, for the sake of maintaining consistency of character.

Finally: Not a small number pursue a charitable course of life, because they think actions of this nature the sum and sub

stance of religion ; and expect by them to recommend themselves to the favour of God, and to obtain the blessings of a happy immortality. These men, whether aware of it or not, are intending to purchase heaven, by paying the price which they suppose to be set upon it in the Gospel.

It must undoubtedly be admitted, that in several of these cases that which is actually done is done cheerfully, and that property and kind offices are really imparted to the distressed; yet in none of them, at least in my opinion, is there any degree of evangelical charity.

Charity, in the evangelical sense, is no other than the beneficence required by the Gospel, administered, with the disposition which it requires, to a particular class of mankind, viz. those who are, or without this administration would be, in circumstances of distress. The disposition which is here intended is that · Love which is the fulfilling of the law,' the genuine source of every other duty.

If this account of the subject be admitted, it must also be conceded, that all acts of real charity are performed from a sense of duty, and with an intention to obey God in the performance; and that this is indispensable to its very existence. It cannot therefore be the result of native tenderness or compassion. No virtue is in the proper sense an exercise of any human passion. Virtue, in all instances, is the energy of the mind directed to that which is right; or, in other words, agreeable to the will of God, and conducive to the good of the universe, because it is believed to be of this nature. The native affections of the mind are in several instances amiable, and often contribute to enhance and adorn the real exercise of virtue; but in themselves they are never, in the evangelical sense, virtuous.

That which is done without any sense of duty, and without an intention to perform a duty, can never sustain the character of virtue.

Further : It is plain, if the above observations be admitted, that charity, in the sense of the Gospel, is disinterested. The design, in every act which is entitled to this name, is to do real good to those who are its objects. The intention of the author of it will invariably be to promote the happiness, or to relieve the distresses of the sufferer; not to advance his own reputation, to promote his own selfish purposes, nor even to prevent the reproaches of his own conscience. In a word,

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