Imatges de pÓgina
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lowed by a long remorfe: with reafon you ought to fear the lofs of heaven and the torments of hell. Both which are generally the doom of thofe, who remain habitually in this unfortunate diforder. It is hard to fhake off an ill habit of any kind. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when be is old, he will not depart from it, Prov. xxii. 6. Thofe habits, we contract in our youth, accompany us to our old age, and only leave us, when we leave the world: but of all, this fticks the closest to us; and nothing but an extraordinary grace can move us to a fincere repentance: it renders us ftupid and infenfible: it ftifles not only all fentiments of piety, but of religion; and you will fcarce find one atheift, who was not guilty of this vice, before he denied his Creator. Refift therefore the first temptation: when once you are engaged, a return is hard. It is easier far to overcome the temptation, than to leave the fin.

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Never rely on your own ftrength: ask grace with humility and perfeverance. This must be your fupport from this you must hope for victory: fly the occafion, if you intend to stand secure, and caft not a glance on an object that awakens your paffion. The poifon enters through the eyes into the heart, and this foon catches the infection. And, if this once yields, you are undone nothing can refcue you from an eternal mifery, but a fincere repentance. And this is extremely hard, or at least not fecure, unlefs followed by a fincere repentance. Why therefore, O foolish Chriftian! do you expofe your falvation to the greateft hazard for a moment's fatisfaction? Is there any proportion between eternity, and an inftant? between torments that never end, and a tranfient pleasure?

As the fruits of the flefh lead to damnation, fo thofe of the Spirit lead to heaven, and the apostle fpecifies them as follows: The fruit of the Spirit,

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is love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance.
To the practice of
these the apostle exhorts the Galatians, as ftrict
obligations.

Love is the queen of virtues, and it has two branches: one regards God, the other our neighbour. We must love God with all our hearts, and with all our fouls: we must prefer him before all creatures, and rather choose to break with them, than to offend him. For this end alone we were placed in this world: we were created to ferve and love him here, and to enjoy him eternally in heaven hereafter. This is the fole end of our creation, and confequently ought to be our whole employment. Time was given us, to gain a happy eternity: and, if we fall fhort of this, tho' we gain the whole world, it will avail us nothing. But, if we purchase heaven, tho' we lofe all here, we are made for ever. Play not then away your time in vain and childish amusements; doat not upon creatures, but give your heart to God who made it. This he requires, and he alone is able to fatisfy it.

O God, thy greatness and goodness oblige me to love thee, as well as my own interest. In thee are centred all the perfections I admire in creatures : thy bounty is as infinite as thy power: when I was nothing, thou didft give me a rational being, an understanding to know, and a will to love thee. Thou didst raise me to a fupernatural end, and didft wash out my offences with the laft drop of thy precious blood thou haft called me to thy holy religion, whilft millions die in infidelity, and by the washing of baptifm didft receive me into thy Church, and made me heir to heaven and child of the most High. Thou haft revealed to me thy commandments, and doft daily furnish me with grace to obferve them: thefe favours call for an acknowledgment, and what can I return but my heart, VOL. II. P my

my love, and all the powers of my foul? I live by thy power: I will, for the future, only live for thy fervice; to acknowledge my ingratitude, and thy goodness; to deplore my fins, and to pay obedience to thy commands.

When the apostle places joy among the fruits of the Divine Spirit, he means not that, which flows from the fatisfaction of fenfe, but from a more fublime caufe; from the teftimony of a good confcience, and the practice of virtue. This is the gift of God, and the ordinary recompence of piety in this world it furpaffes all the pleasures, finners receive from their diforders, and is never followed by repentance. It is a continual banquet, which neither gluts nor furfeits. Oh! what a tranfport muft this thought raife; that, if I die this inftant, I fhall enjoy that glory, my God and my Redeemer purchased for me, at the expence of his most facred blood. I have endeavoured to answer the end of my creation and redemption, and have made ufe of creatures, as fteps to heaven, not as weights to plunge me into hell. Such a thought muft needs throw a foul into an extafy of joy, that has a true idea of that happinefs God has prepared, in the next world, for those who love and ferve him in this: if a friend unexpectedly leaves us an eftate, good God! what raptures of joy does the news raife in us? and yet, tho' it were an empire, what comparison between that and heaven? It may be wrefted from us either by force or treachery; at least once we must leave it; for nothing paffes with us into the next world, but our virtues and vices. But heaven is eternal, and its joys everlafting; they are not fubject to chance, and are out of the reach of accidents. Try at leaft, by a regular and virtuous life, whether piety be not more fatisfactory than vice: it is certainly worth the experiment.

Peace

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Peace is another fruit of the Holy Spirit; and, as it regards our felves, it is the effect of a good confcience. When this flies not in our face, nor raises storms and diforders in our breaft, we enjoy that peace the apostle mentions, and our Saviour left his difciples, and all the future faithful, that imitated their example: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. John xiv. 27.

But, to maintain this peace with your neighbour, speak nothing that may offend him, or hurt your felf. Touch not his faults, tho' publick; for tho' you commit, in this cafe, nothing against justice, you offend against charity. Bear his defects without anger or impatience: if paffion feizes the heart, ill language will break out from the tongue. Fly raillery as the plague of converfation, and the bane of peace: thofe that can bear even a fatire, will not endure raillery; a joke is more fenfible to most men than a reproach; for that seems to fufpect our wit. And fuch is our pride, that we had rather be esteemed reprobates, than fools. If therefore you intend to keep peace with your neighbour, be civil without affectation, familiar without rudeness; praise his virtue with prudence; but never talk of his defects.

Oh! what a heavenly fight is it, to fee neighbours live peaceably together. It opens a delightful profpect even to angels, and has a fhadow of heaven; where all the faints enjoy a perfect calm, and have no other mind, no other will, but that of God. Nothing, my Jefus, is able to favour us with fuch a divine bleffing, but thy grace: instill it into our hearts, that we may feel the ef - fects of it here, and receive the recompence hereafter.

Long-fuffering, or patience, is a Christian virtue, and, as St. Paul teaches, a neceffary means to obP 2

tain

tain the glory Chrift promises those that follow him For ye have need of patience, that after ye bave done the will of God, ye might receive the promife, Heb. x. 36. In what ftation foever we are placed, occafions offer themselves to practise this virtue. Sometimes we are tortured in body, fometimes in mind: fometimes malice attacks our fame; injustice, our eftate: poverty oppreffes us, and mifery cafts us almoft into defpair. In these cafes, a Christian must turn neceffity into a virtue, and bear, with refignation to Providence, what he cannot avoid. Nothing happens without God's permiffion, and he permits nothing but for our good; either to punish our fins here, that he may fpare us hereafter, or to give a luftre to our virtues. What a folly therefore is it to fpurn at Providence, to murmur at our Creator, and to blafpheme his name? Do these impieties better your condition, or affuage your fufferings? No: they augment your mifery by encreafing your fins, and kindle a fire to torment you in hell.

Submit therefore to God's holy will, if not with joy, at least with fubmiffion: and, feeing your innocent Saviour could not enter into his glory without fuffering, expect not a greater privilege.

Modefty is a Chriftian virtue, and a fruit of the Holy Ghoft; it regulates not only our exterior, but our interior alfo; our voice, our tongue, and all the defects that fpring from the agitation of our paffions. It renders us not only grateful to God, but also pleasing and acceptable to our neighbour: to practise it, avoid indecency in your dif courfe, and affectation in your behaviour: be civil to all, but flatter no body: bear a contradiction without concern, and, if prudence or charity require a reply, return reafon, not paffion. Retrench all luxury in your cloaths and equipage; let them fuit with your ftate, not with the rule of vanity :

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