Several years ago, I taught an American History class. One of our primary sources was a series of excepts from Cotton Mather’s “Essays To Do Good.”
During my period of convalescence, Mather’s essays have come back to haunt me. I’ve recognized that while I will be physically limited for a while, there are still many opportunities to do good. So, I’ve resolved to do all the good that I can. I hope that this resolution will carry over to when I am able-bodied.
Mather’s proposal in these essays is: “That we resolve and study to do as much good in the world as we can.” He goes on to speak of the necessity of good works, that good works follow justification, and to exhort his readers not to miss opportunities to do whatever good they can, whether temporal or spiritual.
Here are some gems from these essays:
“Every one of us might do more good than he does.”
“Let us try to do good, with as much application of mind, as men who do evil.”
“A power and opportunity fo doing good not only gives a right to the doing of a thing, but makes the doing of it a duty.”
“Those who devote themselves to good devices (works), and who duly observe their opportunities to do good, usually find a wonderful increase
of their opportunities. The gracious providence of God affords this recompense to his diligent servants, that he will multiply their opportunities of being serviceable.”
“The firstborn of all devices to do good is to be born again.”
“Our opportunities to do good are our talents”