There is too much pride in our world. We ought to bear in mind that death will soon lay our heads equally low in the dust, and “the worms shall cover us!” O the folly of human pretensions to greatness! Let us not mind high things, but condescend to men of low estate. By preachers and people of all denominations obeying the exhortations of our text, mankind would, in a great measure, be restrained from crime, and certainly from being openly intemperate. If then, we sincerely desire to reform them, and to hold a powerful check upon their conduct, and prove ourselves the benefactors of our race, let us begin the work, by adhering most scrupulously to our text, which exhorts us to be of the same mind one towards another, to mind not high things, but to condescend to men of low estate.
It is the duty of preachers, in particular, to be meek and lowly in spirit—to be humble and watch over the moral maladies of mankind—to break down the arrogant distinctions, which the fashions and riches of the world have set up—to esteem men purely for their moral and intellectual worth, independent of the gifts of fortune, and to visit those, who are given to intemperance, and, by gentle persuasive measures, endeavor to lead them to habits of sobriety. And when this is effected, treat them according to that respect, which their virtues merit. God is kind to the evil and to the unthankful, and ought we to be unkind to them? Heaven forbid.
We have now set before you, what we conceive to be the principal cause leading to intemperance, dishonesty, and crime. True, there may be some exceptions to this, but we are conscious, that it is the conduct of those very men, who are declaiming against intemperance and crime, that first drives their fellow creatures into those deplorable haunts of vice. They do this indirectly, and perhaps innocently. They do it by giving too much reputation and influence to the wealthy class of the community, by paying too much homage and respect to gold, and by withholding, from the virtuous poor, that respect which their conduct merits. We cannot set this truth before you in a more forcible light, than by relating, from memory, an anecdote of Dr. Franklin, with which we will conclude. The rich merchants and professional men in Philadelphia proposed to form themselves into a social circle from which all mechanics were to be excluded. The paper, drawn up for the purpose, was presented to Dr. Franklin for his signature. On examining its contents, he remarked that he could not consent to unite his name inasmuch as by excluding mechanics from their circle, they had excluded God Almighty, who was the greatest mechanic in the universe!
“And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians iv. 32.