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he that doeth good'; he, of whatever quality or condition, who strives honestly to make his life of service to those about
to be useful in his calling, and to his generation; to his family, to his neighbourhood, and, according to his ability, to his country and to mankind; “ he that doeth good.
All the rest, without this, goes for nothing, though he understand the things of religion ever so well, or believe ever so rightly : though he cry,
, Lord, Lord : be he ever so constant and devout in his prayers; or talk ever so much, or so well, or so earnestly for religion : unless he do good ; unless his actions, and dealings, and behaviour come up to his knowledge, and his discourse correspond with his outward profession and belief, it will avail him nothing ; he is not the man, to whom Jesus Christ hath
promised in the text, that he shall come to the resurrection of life. The issue of life and death is put upon our conduct and behaviour ; that is made the test we are to be
Again, When we read in Scripture, when we know from positive and undoubted authority, that misery and destruction, ruin, torment, and damnation, are reserved for some, it is surely the most natural, the most interesting of all inquiries to know for whom. The text tells
66 for them that have done evil.”
Here let the timorous conscience take courage. It is not any man's errors, or ignorance; his want of understanding, or education, or ability, that will be laid to his charge at the day of Judgment; or that will bring him into danger of the damnation, which the gospel threatens ; it is having done evil ; having wilfully gone about to disobey what he knew to be the will and command of his Creator, by committing mischief, and doing wrong and injury to his fellow-crea
Let the bold and presumptuous sinner hear this text with fear and trembling. Let him, who cares not what misery he occasions, what evil and harm he does, if he can but compass his purpose, carry his own end, or serve his wicked lusts and pleasures ; let him, I say, be given to understand, what he has to look for ; “ he that doeth evil shall come to the Resurrection of damnation ;” this is absolute, final, and peremptory ; here is no exception, no excuse, no respect of person, or condition.
They that have done good shall come again unto the Resurrection of life. But, alas! I hear you say,
What good can I do? my means and my opportunities are too small and straitened to think of doing good. You do not sufficiently reflect, what doing good is. You are apt to confine
. the notion of it to giving to others, and giving liberally. This, no doubt, is right and meritorious : but it is certainly not in every man's power ; comparatively speaking, it is, indeed, in the
very few. But doing good is of a much more general nature; and is in a greater or less degree practicable by all. For, whenever we make one human creature happier, or better than he would have been without our help, then we do good. And when we do this from a proper motive, that is, with a sense and a desire of pleasing God by doing it, then we do good in the true sense of the text, and of God's gracious promise. Now let every one, in particular, reflect, whether, in this sense, he has not some good in his power : some within his own doors, to his family, his children, his kindred; by his labour, his authority, his example, by bringing them up, and keeping them in the way of passing their lives honestly, and quietly, and usefully. What good more important, more practicable than this is ? Again, something may be done beyond our own household: by acts of tenderness and kindness, of help and compassion to neighbours. Not a particle of this will be lost. It is all set down in the book of life; and happy are they, who have much there! And again, if any of us be really sorry,
that we have not so much in our power, as we would desire, let us remember this short rule, that since we can do
little good, to take care that we do no harm. Let us show our sincerity by our innocence: that, at least, is always in our power.
Finally, let us reflect, that in the habitations of life are many mansions ; rewards of various orders and degrees, proportioned to our various degrees of virtue and exertion here. “ He that soweth plenteously, shall reap plenteously.” We can never do too much ; never be too earnest in doing good; because every good action here will, we are certain, be an addition of happiness hereafter; will advance us to a better condition in the life to come, whatever be our lot or success in this. God will not fail of his promise. He hath commissioned his beloved Son to tell us, that they that have done good shall enter into the resurrection of life. Let us humbly and thankfully accept his gracious offer. We have but one business in this world. It is to strive to make us worthy of a better. Whatever this trial may cost us : how long, how earnestly, how patiently soever, through