27 MARCH (PREACHED 25 MARCH 1787)
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Proverbs 14:34
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Romans 13:1–4
Consider how a nation (which is composed of a multitude of individuals) would be exalted if this character was universally or even generally prevalent. Whatever be the situation of the righteous man, he is an ornament and a blessing to the community. If he be in authority, he ruleth over men in the fear of God. Whether seated upon a throne, or in a subordinate station in public life, his power, influence and example, so far as they extend, are employed in promoting the public good, to encourage the love of righteousness in others, to vindicate the oppressed, maintain order and suppress wickedness. The God whom he serves teaches him for his station and supports him. His principles render him superior to the selfish craft which often passes for wisdom in the world, and the fear of God secures him from that fear of man which bringeth a snare. The righteous man is the true patriot, who wrestles for his country by prayer in secret and devotes his talents to promote the good of all around him. The righteous man in private life is a good citizen. He respects and obeys the government and laws under which he lives. He is willingly subject to lawful authority (and obeys), not from constraint, or for the sake of filthy lucre, but for conscience’ sake. If he be rich, the grace of God teaches him to be humble, moderate and benevolent. If he be poor, it teaches him patience and contentment, to be quiet in the land, diligent in his calling. As a relative, the righteous man is a kind and compassionate master, a good husband, a punctual trader, a faithful, upright servant, in every relation endeavouring to approve himself to God and to do unto others as he would wish others in a like situation should do unto him. He is sober and temperate in all things, gentle, forbearing and forgiving, because in every situation he endeavours to adore the doctrine of God his Saviour in all things, and is no farther directly concerned in the affairs of this life, than to let his light so shine in his allotted department, that others may glorify God on his behalf.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness’ (Psalm 5:8).
SERMON: PROVERBS 14:34 [3/7] [FOR THE ANNUAL CHARITY SERMON]