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or true holiness may form really good designs, and resolve to pursue them; yet they are conscious of their selfish motives, which creates a diffidence in themselves that is totally inconsistent with true energy and decision of character. All sinners love their own interest so well, that they will not give it up for the sake of promoting any other interest in the universe. But good men love God so much, that they will give up their own interest for the sake of promoting his glory and the great interests of his kingdom. They have that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, and no opposition which they find in the path of duty, can intimidate or destroy. The perfectly benevolent Saviour had an unconquerable energy. Though he was the Lamb of God, yet he was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and all who possess his spirit, possess a portion of his energy. The blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church. They conquered when they died. The little flock of Christ have maintained his cause in defiance of the power, the authority, the learning, and the wealth of a frowning and malignant world. This can be accounted for on no other supposition, than that pure, disinterested benevolence is the most active and powerful principle in nature, and is the only source of the highest energy and magnanimity in all created and uncreated beings. Every Christian has the spirit of a martyr, and though he may be sometimes timid, yet he may be sometimes bold. Peter was sometimes timid, yet he was often bold and formidable to the enemies of truth. He possessed an energy which no sinner can possess.

And this is true of all that are grounded and settled in the truth. They have always, when called to the test, displayed an energy and decision of character which has astonished the world.

3. If true energy and decision of character may be acquired, then all are to blame who do not acquire it. It is something of very easy attainment, and lies within the power of every individual to possess. It is not a natural, but moral excellence and acquisition. It is level to all persons of every age, character, condition, or capacity. It is not founded in strength of body or mind, but in purity and benevolence of heart. Not only the rich, but the poor man; not only the learned, but the unlearned man, may acquire that resolution, confidence, and courage which constitute the noblest energy and magnanimity. Esther, Deborah, and the mother of Moses, the mother of Samuel, and the mother of Obed, displayed as signal resolution, energy, and decision of character, as the excellent worthies whose characters and conduct are recorded in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. None have a right to consider the want

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of energy as a mere calamity for which they are not to blame. It flows from moral depravity, and, like every other effect which flows from that source, is criminal and inexcusable. quires all to exercise energy, as well as patience, and submission, and self-denial, in the discharge of duty. None can run the Christian race, without Christian courage and energy. They are required to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint, and to be valiant for the truth. They are required to overcome the world, to fight the good fight of faith; to put on the whole armor of God, and to wrestle against principalities, and powers, and rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places. It is sinful to be destitute of energy, and to complain for the want of it. Every person must have energy and decision of character, in order to do his duty, and live in safety in this present evil world.

4. If energy of mind has such a happy tendency as we have heard, to prepare men for doing good, then we may learn why some men do so much more good than others. The fact cannot be disputed, that some, and comparatively few men, have done the most good, that ever has been done in the world. Who built the ark? Who led the people of God out of Egypt into Canaan? Who conquered that country? Who built the temple? Who rebuilt the temple and repaired the walls of Jerusalem? Who first carried the gospel round the world? Who reformed the Christian Church from popery and idolatry? Who planted our nation? Who have defended it? Who have formed, maintained, enlarged, and established our churches? If we consult sacred and profane history, we shall find that a few bold, pious, energetic, enterprising men have been the principal instruments of bringing about these great, important, desirable, and interesting events. And they have done these things, not so much by their superior talents, learning, wealth, or power, as by their signal resolution; courage, energy of mind, and weight and decision of character. Other men have had as good talents, as good learning, as much property, and power as they had, but never had that virtuous and benevolent energy, to devise, undertake, and carry into execution schemes of great and extensive public good. Without energy, men always bury or abuse their talents, and all their power of doing good. If you look round the world, you cannot fail of seeing the great majority of mankind standing all the day idle, and cumbering the ground. They sink down in torpid indolence, and become mere cyphers in the world.

5. Hence we see why there are so many useless men. It is not owing to their want of either natural or acquired talents,

nor to the want of opportunities of doing good. Every man has some useful talents, which he might employ in doing good to himself and others. Almost every man has peculiar talents which qualify him for some peculiar useful business of a private or public nature. Some have corporeal talents, which fit them to cultivate the earth. Some have a mechanical genius, which capacitates them for inventing curious and useful things. Some have superior natural and acquired talents to make literary im. provements, and to fill some literary, or civil, or ecclesiastical offices. (All men whether learned or unlearned, or whether possessed of superior or inferior abilities, might usefully serve God and their generation, and make the world the better for them. But the mere want of resolution, courage, and energy of mind, renders multitudes useless and worse than useless, and even a nuisance to the world. They have no heart to employ their talents to any useful purposes; which leads them to spend their time and strength in the pursuit of low, mean, trifling, unworthy objects, or to sink down into torpid ease and indolence. All such poor, worthless, wretched creatures might be of immense advantage to themselves and to the world, if they would call their latent powers into action, and propose and

, pursue designs of public, or private utility. The want of vir. tuous, benevolent energy of mind, will account for all the indolence, folly, and vice in the world. There is indeed a spurious energy, which springs from selfishness, and prompts some evil men to exert all their superior powers in devising and pursuing deeds of mischief. There have been, from age to age, some men wise to do evil, but to do good they have had no knowledge. They have possessed great talents, and strong minds, but weak hearts. They have had no courage, resolution, or energy to deny themselves, and surmount the difficulties and dangers they saw in doing good ; and therefore resolved to take the more easy and safe course of doing great things to gratify their selfish, ambitious hearts. Nimrod, Absalom, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, and thousands of such men have been the troublers of the world, by exercising a selfish, instead of a benevolent energy and magnanimity. Such a spurious energy of mind destroys the best natural talents, by turning wisdom into folly, and strength into weakness. Such an energy renders men more unwise, weak, and contemptible, than if they had no heart, courage, or resolution to employ their superior talents to any rational and useful purpose. This conduct is more inconsistent, absurd, and criminal, than if they impotently sunk down into torpid ease and indolence. So that the want of a noble and

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benevolent energy of mind is the primary cause, why there are so many useless and worse than useless men in the world.

6. It appears from what has been said, that it is absurd to esteem men more for their talents, than for the good use they make of them. This is a great and prevailing error among mankind. Great talents draw the attention, respect, and esteem of the world to those who possess them, whether they employ them to a good purpose, or to a bad purpose, or to no rational purpose at all. There is no moral virtue or excellence in mere talents, and no man deserves to be esteemed for his mere capacity of doing good, but only for employing all the power he possesses to valuable purposes. But mankind in gen- . eral have always applauded men for their superior abilities, whether they have employed them in doing good, or in doing evil. Lord Byron has been, is now, and probably will be for a long time, celebrated and applauded for his great and brilliant talents, though he prostituted them to the meanest and vilest purposes. There is a littleness and meanness in doing little mischief and great mischief, and especially by great men. Those ought to be esteemed for their talents, who employ them properly; and those ought to be despised and contemned for their talents, who bury, abuse, or pervert them. How many esteem themselves, and think they ought to be esteemed by the world, for their mere capacity of doing that good, which they never do. David says, “Men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.” Selfishness is approved and applauded by a selfish world. Let any man acquire great knowledge, great wealth, great power, and great influence, by the most selfish and dishonest means, and he will be praised and respected for doing well to himself. But ought men to be praised for employing all their talents in pursuing selfish, and not benevolent purposes ? Let La Fayette be respected and esteemed for his talents and heroism in doing good ; but let traitors be despised and contemned for abusing and perverting their talents.

7. It appears from what has been said, that good men have great encouragement to persevere in their religious course, and to surmount all difficulties which may lie in the way

of their duty. They have the approbation of their own minds, that they are engaged in a good cause; they have the approbation of God; and they will finally have the love and approbation of all holy beings in the universe. Everything calls upon them to be strong and of a good courage. Opposition calls for the exercise of holy energy, and a decision of character-desertion urges them to increasing vigor and activity—and success ought to animate them in the discharge of every duty.

8. It appears from what has been said, that sinners have no encouragement to pursue their present course. You have hitherto lost your time, abused your talents, and met with nothing but disappointment. It is time to act as rational and accountable creatures, and answer the great end of your being, which is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. If you act in this manner, you may meet opposition, but you may overcome it. You may meet with desertion from those you never expected would leave you ; but this should quicken and rouse your energy. You may meet with success, and this may animate you. You have nothing to lose by exercising supreme love to God and man; but you have everything to lose by fighting against God. Be zealous, and repent, and reform; and strengthen the things that are ready to die.—You may be idle,

, but you cannot be neutral. You may have a false and selfish energy, but it will languish and die. Turn from sin to righteousness, and this will give a courage and resolution that nothing can resist. Take courage to go to God, and commit yourselves into his hand. This must be done, or you must perish.

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