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all my necessities ; you are my Father, I know you will ; unless I render myself unworthy of your bounty, by my fins and diffidence.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and bis righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto gros : our first care must be to serve God, and to fave our fouls; this is the principal ; temporal things are mere accessories. God placed us in this world, merely to serve him here, and to enjoy him eternally hereafter. This is the end of every man : the Nave at the oar, and the emperor on the throne, have no other business, but to serve their Creator, and to fave their fouls. All other affairs are insignificant, unless they tend to this end. It is the one thing neceffary. This is our great affair ; an eternity of pleasure will be our reward, if we manage it well ; and of misery, if ill. It is our only affair ; for we have nothing else to do, but to love God, and place our souls in as great security, as this dangerous world will permit us. O God! who would think Christians had the leaft tincture of this belief? Who would not think, they persuaded themselves, they should die like beasts, they live so like them? Do they not employ all their thoughts on things of this world, without casting an eye on the future ? Examine their conduct ; view their employments; and you will find all tends to grandeur, pleasure and interest. These take up our thoughts ; these run away with our time, and captivate our hearts : and if we pray, or perform any christian duty, it is only when we have nothing else upon our hands, or when we are tired in the pursuit of vain amusements. So that we only think of God, and our fouls, merely to avoid idleness. Yet, dear Christian, this is thy great affair; thy only affair: nothing deserves thy thoughts, but this:
nothing thy care, but this. Why therefore art thou so sollicitous about thy temporal concerns ? why so supinely negligent in those that are eternal?
Ask a Christian, if he intends to save his soul, he will answer, yes: in the mean time not one of a thousand takes the way that leads to heaven.
From whence comes this accursed security ? cries out St. Bernard. On what do you ground your hope ? You live among a thousand enemies, who labour to ensnare you ; why then are you so fupinely careless ? fo dangerously secure ? Why do you not open as many eyes, to avoid their snares, as they lay baits to surprise you ? Alas! Ease and pleasure raise such mists, you cannot see the precipice under your feet.
Take then a resolution to shake off this careJess humour ; Ay from the world, as Lot did from Sodom, unless you intend to be involved in its ruin; that is, abjure its principles, caft not an eye back on that accursed region, condemned by our Saviour, (wo to the world !) left, with Lot's wife, you pay for your curiosity, and stand a perpetual monument to all posterity of human folly, and of divine justice. Have pity of your soul, or else God will have none; nor does that man deserve any pity from another, who is so unnaturally cruel, as to allow himself none. When you rise, when you go to bed, ask yourselves this short question : Am I not made for heaven? and, if I miss of this, shall I not take up my eternal abode in hell ? Alas! yes: What then have I done, to purchase so great a happiness? Nothing. What have I done to incur fo fuperlative à misery? All things. If I die in the
• Unde hæc maledi&ta fecuritas ? via impiorum tenebrofa, & non refpiciunt ubi corruunt. S. Bern.
present state, I am loft, and accurs'd for ever ; if I deplore my past errors and detest them by a hearty repentance, I am for ever made : shall I then be so foolish, as to turn obstinacy into a piece of gallantry ? as to continue in fin, to avoid the brand of inconftancy? No, no ; I will not lose my soul for a vain punctilio. Oh! that we could spend some moments on these considerations; we should set a greater price on our fouls, and take more pains to save them : should obey our Saviour's command, and seek the kingdom of God, before we thought of making any provision here below.
Nay, God has engaged his word, to provide me necessaries here, if I employ my care to lay up treasures in heaven.
Cannot we rely on the promise of truth itself? Can we have a better security ? Why then do we harrass our bodies with labour, our thoughts with follicitudes for our temporal interest, when God so solemnly charges himself with it? Where is our faith? Where our confidence ? He is Omnipotent, he can keep his promise ; he is Truth, and will.
Take away, my God, the love of my body, which once will fall to dust in spight of doctors and remedies ; and inspire me with a sincere concern for my soul; which has cost thee the labours of a painful life, and the shame of an ignominious death.
EPISTLE to the Galat. Chap. v. and vi. Verse
25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26. Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye.. which are spiritual, restore such an one in the Spirit of meekness; considering thy self, left thou also be tempted.
2. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, be deceiveth himself.
4. But let every man prove his own work, and then fall be bave rejoycing in himself alone, and not in another.
5. For every man Mall bear his own burden.
6. Let him that is taught in the word, communiçate unto bim that teacbeth, in all good things.
7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that fall be also reap.
8. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but be that soweth to the Spirit, Mall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9. And let us nct be weary in well-doing : for in due season we hall reap, if we faint not.
10. As we have therefore opportunity, let do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the houshold of faith.
The MORAL REFLECTION.
E not desirous of vain glory, says the apostle
to the Galatians ; that is, lay aside all defire to raise yourself above your neighbour, Court not the applause of men, which cannot add one grain to your merit. It is certain, this paffion is vain, as well as the esteem it effects : and yet it runs in the blood of all men : desire of esteem is the first pason that appears in us, and the Jast that leaves us. No vice is more foolish, nor more unreasonable : how do men doat on their wit, and women on their beauty ? With what contempt do they look upon those who have less ? Now what reason have such people to be vain? Did they procure these gifts by their merits? Alas! we owe them wholly to the goodness of our Creator, who gave us these advantages above our neighbour. They are therefore merely the effects of his liberality, not of our deserts.
Has a beggar reason to be vain, or to desire esteem, because he has received a greater alıns than his companions ? Ought he not rather to thank the giver, than to pride in the gift, and to consider, his misery procured the alms, not his merits ?
O my Maker! I had no right to be, much less to be witty or beautiful, or to be endowed with any extraordinary gift of nature. Thou might'st have let me seep eternally in my bed of nothing; or have made me as full of ulcers as a Lazarus, as poor and as deformed as Job on the dunghill, and as void of reason, as a child in the cradle. My endeavour shall be to thank thee daily for thy favours ; to employ my natural talents to thy glory, not to purchase a vain reputation,