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his existence? Can he have any claim or title to the joys of a future ftate, who does not believe that there is any? Or, is it probable, that whilst the infidel is trying to subvert the kingdom of God, he should ever be admitted into it? What then, after all, is this darling object of our withes and desires, thus universally beloved and fought after? Does it bestow pleafures adequate to the toil and labour of the acquisition? suitable to the dignity of our nature, and productive of solid and lasting happiness? Does it not, as is evident from what we have advanced, on the other hand, often destroy our peace here, and still more often endanger our eternal rest and felicity hereafter? What has the rich man to do therefore in this perilous situation? Is there a neceffity that he throw all his treasures into the ocean, to lighten the vessel, and preserve himself from the storm? Or doth Chrift require of us, as he did of the young man in the Gospel, to leave all before we can pretend to follow him? Who then, as the disciples said, can be saved? But with God, as Christ himself affured us, all things are prible: it is possible even for the rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
The journey indeed requires strength, toil, and resolution; but the path is visibly enough pointed out to us. From the most poisonous herbs may fometimes be extracted the most falutary medicines; and, in the same manner, from that affluence, which gives growth to so many dangerous and destructive passions, a plentiful harvest of virtues may spring up and
flourish: if we can root up the weeds' of pride, avarice, luxury, and idleness, and plant in their room the seeds of humility, fobriety, gratitude benevolence, and charity, we may be happy here, and at the same time procure to ourselves the promise of being much more so hereafter.
The rich might enter into the kingdom of heaven, if they would be humble, meek, and lowly: if they would consider the affluence that is bestowed on them, not as rewards of their merit, but trials of their virtue; that the larger the talent which is intrusted to them, the more care and assiduity is required on their part, to make a proper use of it; and that the higher they are raised above their fellow-creatures, the more necessary, and at the same time the more amiable, would be their condescension towards them.
2dly, The rich might enter into the king, dom of heaven, if they would always be grateful and pious to their divine Benefactor; if they would seriously and frequently reflect on his unbounded undeserved goodness towards them; if they would consider how graciously God hath dealt with them, and how deeply they are indebted to him.
3dly, and lastly, The rich would be always benevolent and charitable, if they were suffi. ciently sensible of God's bounty and benevolence to them; they would be charitable even for their own fakes, if they knew the pleasures which the good mind feels in bestowing, and
acknowledge that it is far more blessed to give than to receive.
By these means, and by these alone, may the rich man avoid the hard fentence which Christ pronounced against him: thus may he, in spite of all the temptations of affluence, and all the dangers of prosperity, partake of those joys which God hath prepared for his good and faithful servants: thus may he leave the poor and unsatisfactory pleasures of this world, for riches far more desirable, and treasures infinitely more valuable, and enter at last into the kingdom of God, through the merits and mediation of our blefled Saviour and Redeemer.
DIS QUIET U D E.
S E R M ON
PSALM XLII. 14.
IVhy art thou so vexed, O my soul, and why
art thou fo disquieted within me?
observe the various orders of beings, we shall perceive, to our shame and confusion, that every one seems satisfied with that share of life and happiness which God hath appointed for it, man alone excepted, who has the
strongest reason to adore the goodness of his Maker, and yet seems least sensible of it. Pleased with nothing that his bounty imparts, unless blessed with every thing that his power can bestow; oppressed beyond measure with real, and even sinking under imaginary misfortunes; repining at the decrees of Providence, and refusing to enjoy what he has, through a ridiculous and perpetual desire of what he has
And yet, as much as the discontented and ungrateful man complains of the ills of life; great and repeated are the favours, many and folid the blessings, which God, of his infinite goodness and mercy, every day and every hour, pours down upon us.
Man, as the Psalmist" says, nevertheless walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieleth himself in vain. Amidst all the blessings of this life, he is still unhappy. Now and then indeed he is forced, as it were in spite of himself, to lose sight of this dreary prospect, to turn his thoughts inward, and reflect on his condition, to acknowledge the goodness of God towards him, to reproach his own heart for his unjust complaints, and to cry out with David, Why art thou fo vexed, O my soul! The goodness of God doth fo graciously provide for our necessities, prevent our wants, and turn aside our calamities, that we must be obliged, in spite of all our casual amictions, to acknowledge with the Pfalmift, that the question in the text is not easy to be resolved, Why art thou so vexed, O my soul, and why art thou so difquieted within me?
A thousand unthanked for blessings, a thou. sand undeferved favours, are conferred on us : where one sense is defective, another is more excellent; where one blessing is withheld from ns, it is generally supplied by another no less desirable. Our lives indeed are not to be passed over without ever tasting the cup of forrow; but then God of his mercy hath ordained that those afflictions which are exceeding sharp, those pains that are unto death, are seldom lafting; and such as are of longer duration, admit of frequent pauses and intermissions. We have, in short, the greatest reason to be thankful to our Creator that we are not more miserable, when we reflect how much we deferve to be so. But that toth the folly and guilt of perpetual difquietude may appear the more evident to us, I shall endeavour, in the following discourse,
First, To point out to you some of the va. Jious caufes of this universal discontent and disquietude amongst men. And,
Secondly, Lay before you the most probable means of effectually removing them.
And first, then, We shall not so much wonder at the disquietude of mankind, if we seriously reflect on the natural and genuine causes of it.
Men, it hath been frequently observed, are very ingenious in tormenting one another, and they are perhaps no less so in finding out methods to torment themselves. Human nature hath indeed subjected us to some distresses, and we have created as many more.