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all things, and in doing so he consults our good, as well as his own honour. And like a good master as he is, he fails not to instruct his willing servants in their duty, to assist them in the discharge of it, and to reward them infinitely beyond their deserts. Their numerous failings he overlooks and forgives; and as on the one hand he gently reproves them when they do amiss, so on the other their humble and cordial endeavours to conform to his pleasure he graciously approves and commends. Indeed his conduct towards them is in every circumstance of it truly admirable. But ah! how difingenuous has been our character, and how base our conduct, towards him! Have we obeyed him in all things ? No. We have failed in ten thousand instances. Instead of serving him humbly, faithfully, diligently and cheerfully, as we expect our servants should serve us; pride, infidelity, Iloth, and reluctance, have too often disgraced our servites. What Cause have we for the deepest humiliation and contrition in his presence !
Let us acknowledge before him that we are unprofitable servants. Let us smite on our breasts, and penitently say, “ God be merciful to us finners.” Let us expect pardon and acceptance alone through the mediation of his Son, who took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient to death, that he might reconcile us to our offended master. Let this his a. mazing condescension, benignity, and love inspire our breasts with the noblest sentiments of gratitude and obedience. Let us feel the effect of this divine mutive to engage us as masters, to exercise all due tenderness, compassion and kindness towards our servants, and to dispose those of us who are servants, to render
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ions PSALM cxxxiii. . Direk? Bebold bow good and how pleafant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the bead, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments. As the dew of Her. mon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blefing, even life for evermore. .. ,
n UR great Creator hath wisely and benevolentU ly implanted in our breasts a strong propensity to social connections. Feeling that we cannot fubfift of ourselves, we look to our fellow-creatures for fupport, assistance, and protection; we covet one another's company, and are happy in contributing to each other's felicity. It is evident, therefore, that we are formed for the pleasures of friendihip and society, and that these, next to the favour of God, are our chief enjoyments.
Now, family connections are the first which take place among mankind, and those from which all other social connections originate, Marriage, which is a voluntary and permanent union of one man and one woman, was instituted by God, not only for the increase of the species, but for the purpose of promoting their mutual happiness, and that of their offspring. A family then is a little society, consisting of man and wife, their children, their servants, and such other relations or friends as may either dwell or occasionally sojourn with them. Now it may naturally be expected from the general idea of man as a social crea. ture, and from that of a family as the first social connection, that friendship should prevail here in the highest degree it is capable of being enjoyed in the present state. And it must strike every one too on reflection, that the cherishing it in this connection is of no small importance to the welfare of the public as well as individuals : for the intercourses and friendlips which prevail in larger circles, take their rise and denomination from those of a domestic kind. To diffeminate therefore the true grounds and reasons of this friend hip, to hold up to view all the natural and pleasing expressions of it, and to afford every ällistance in our power towards the cultivation and improvement of it, are the objects of this discourse.''
To these objects our text naturally leads us.' It contains a moft cheerful and animated description of domestic unity. And however it is probable, from the occasion on which the pfalm was written, that the idea was meant to extend to a larger fociety than that of a family, yet it is evident that this is the primary
sentiment in the text. The psalm is generallyjund erz stood to have been composed on the figal jssue of the civil war, which so long prevailed between the two houses of Saul and David. A happy and memorable event this, upon which the king of Israel with no Imall pleasure, congratulates his countrymen, wihing them in the character of brethren henceforth to enjoy the sweets of internal peace and prosperity. And hap: py it is indeed to see neighbouring states, especially the subjects of one kingdom, at peace among them. selves, , Happy it is like wise to see all other pablic bodies of men, particularly religious, fucieties of churches, in friendship and harmony. But, families are the little societies we have in our eye, and to that idea we shall restrain the language in our text.
There are three things observable in the words, which we shall briefly explain before we proceed to the main argument to be discussed the manner in which a family is described the particular domestic virtue recommended-and the pfalmists commendation of it..
, , . .. , First, A family is described as a society made up of brethren that dwell together.
Mankind in general are brethren, as they derive from the same ftock, are of the same species, pofsess one common nature, and sublift after the same manner. . God hath made of one blood all nations of men, " to dwell on all the face of the earth*.” But this character with peculiar propriety belongs to those who compose one family, as they are united to each
other by the most intimate and endearing bands of y nature, and, if pious, of religion too. The heads of R 32 - 3
* Acts xvii. 26.