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DISCOURSES,

&c.

DISCOURSE I.

THE BLESSED EFFECTS OF PERSEVERANCE.

2 ThessALONIANS, III. 13.

Be not weary in well doing.

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The honour of being thus called to plead the cause of a Society, whose reputation must run coeval with that of religion and virtue, is somewhat qualified by the consideration, that the subject has been already treated by so many persons of superior eminence and ability. The motives that have place in compositions of other kinds, can have none here; since in vain would it be for the preacher to hope, that he shall be able either to invent new matter, or polish the old into new beauty and lustre.

Discouraging, however, as this reflection may at first sight appear, it affords no solid reason why such anniversaries should be discontinued or slighted. Successive generations of men require successive in. formation; and the same men, though they may want to be informed but once, may want often to be

VOL. IV.

B

reminded. Good impressions, we know, are impaired in much less time than that of a year, by the cares and pleasures of life, and need therefore to be frequently retouched. Many hear with more effect than they read : many also may hear, who do not read at all: and of those who do read, numbers may read a new sermon, who never read the old, though “ the old be better;" and, by coming into new hands, it may procure us new friends and allies. Fresh hints, and those of consequence, may be afforded by the occurrences and publications of the times. Fresh accounts are communicated of the progress made, to encourage the desponding; or of the farther supplies requisite, to give the opulent and generous an opportunity of furnishing them.

It is matter of general complaint, that the fervour and zeal which, at the commencement of a charitable institution, diffused warmth and splendour on all around, are but too apt, by degrees, to languish and die away, unless some expedient be employed periodically to revive and cherish the holy flame. Let me congratulate the Society on the additional circumstances of solemnity, devised, with equal benevolence and taste, to grace their anniversary, in the place where we are now assembled. The eyes and ears of all present will attest the propriety with which they have been adapted to answer the purpose in view. · And respecting that part of the entertainment to be provided by the preacher, it is but doing justice to the subject to say, that, though in itself old, and "s what we have heard from the beginning," to the

well-disposed mind it is ever new. No man is the less pleased to receive a visit from a much-loved friend, on the account of his having received many before. No man nauseates the meal of to-day, because one composed of the like salutary viands was served up to him a year ago. Should he do-so, we well know where the fault must lie; not in the quality of the meat, but in the appetite of the eater.

To prevent any thing of the kind from taking place, let us strengthen and encourage one another by applying, as we may with great propriety do, the exhortation of the apostle to those who are engaged in forwarding the designs of the Society. Let us endeavour to show, that all such are engaged in well-doing, and therefore that they ought "not to be “ weary.

Manifold, in the present state of the world, are the wants of mankind; and the virtues of one part of the species, consist much in relieving the necessities of the other. It is the leading feature in his character, on whom angelic as well as human spirits are directed to fix their attention, that “ He went “ about doing good ;”-in other words, as the explanation immediately follows, “ healing all that were “ oppressed of the devil",” and afflicted with the maladies and calamities introduced into the world by sin, of which that evil spirit was the author. An idea of a similar nature is always supposed to be conveyed, when we say of any person departed, that “he did much good in his life-time.” Nay,

* Acts, X. 38.

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