Imatges de pàgina
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thy toil and assiduity? whether thou wilt be fure of happinness if thou hast them, or must of necessity be miserable if thou hast them not? And above all, remember to ask thyself this important question, whether such poor and transitory bliss as they can afford, should be purchafed at the dear expende of thy innocence and virtue?

But another and that no inconsiderable ad, vantage arising from the practice of this duty, is that inward complacency and satisfaction of our own minds, which it never fails to produce.

The joy which ariseth from sensual gratifications is momentary and transient, confined within the narrow limits of a short fruition; whilst the performance of this, and of every other social virtue, carries with it a pleasing reflection that extends itself to futurity, and every time it recurs, creates fresh pleasure and added satisfaction; to a mind therefore rightly disposed, the house of mourning is a fairer habitation than the gorgeous tents of ungodliness: the kind and benevolent repose themselves with as much ease on a bed of sickness, as on the couch of luxury and intemperance; in the cup of affliction there is always fomething sweet thrown in by the hand of Providence; and the very tears of Virtue can ad.. minister more true and folid fatisfaction, than Vice and Folly have it in their power to beftow.

Compassion, we must acknowledge, is a debt which we all owe to our fellow-creatures when under the rod of affliction, and like

other

other debts will always leave an uneasiness on the mind of every honest and conscientious man, till he has faithfully discharged it. But when it is paid as it ought to be, that selfapplause and secret fatisfaction which ariseth from it will make us ample retribution.

But if the inotives of reason and religion are not of themselves (and too often it happens that they are not) sufficient to persuade us to the practice of this duty, that self-love and self-interest which reign in every breast, will most powerfully exhort us to the execution of it.

The tear which we refuse to shed over the miseries of others, God, and God only, knows how soon we may ourselves stand in need of: how often doth an unexpected stroke of fickness put an end to the enjoyment of every human happiness, and change the cheerful scene of joy and comfort into a melancholy state of misery and despair! In one day, nay in one hour, the lustre of the eye shall be extinguished, the bloom of health shall wither, and the voice of mirth and gladness shall be suppressed. If therefore we do not visit and compassionate those who are in sickness and sorrow, when we ourselves are overtaken by them, who shall pity or compassionate us? Then shall we call to mind perhaps the afflictions of Joseph, and say as his brethren did, when they came into trouble: We are very guilty concerning cur brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he befought us, and would not hear, therefore is this distress come upon us.

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How great an aversion foever the gay and unthinking part of mankind may have to all that carries with it the appearance of grave or melancholy, it may notwithstanding with truth be afferted, that he who is a stranger to forrow, is a stranger also to the best emotions, the noblest feelings which the human heart is capable of receiving.

There is, we must have observed, in some persons a remarkable tenderness of disposition, and a delicacy of sensation which those whom we falsely term the brave and resolute never experience; a disposition which however we may sometimes ridicule and despise, is what in the end will most intimately unite and endear them to us. Those qualities which in the wantonness of health and prosperity are apt to raise our laughter and contempt, in the hour of sickness or adversity, shall meet with our esteem and approbation. The truth indeed is, the value of this blessing, like that of every other, is found only by its absence; and we feldom know the true value of humanity and compassion, till we come to feel the want of them.

Eut lastly, and to conclude.

If we are kind, tender, and affectionate to our friends and neighbours in the trying hours of sickness and adversity, we shall not only mect in return with their pity and attendance on us, when we fall into the like calamity, but we shall also find a better and more powerful friend than this world can afford to aid and fupport us. Our bleiled Saviour hath himself

affured

affured us, that in as much as we shew this tenderness and humanity towards our fellowcreatures, we shew it unto him. If the naked whom we have clothed should not remember the benefit bestowed, he will himself discharge the debt, and repay us for them. If the fick whom we have visited, when restored to health, ungratefully forget the friendly visitor, he will not forget, but will come himself to return the obligation; the Lord himself will make our bed in sickness; he will enable us with courage to bear with strength, perhaps to conquer, the disease, when we have struggled through sorrow, pain, sickness and adversity. He will lead us to a blessed habitation, where there shall be no pain or adversity, no diseases to afflict the body, no forrow to depress the mind, where joys untainted and incorruptible shall meet, where health unimpaired and uninterrupted shall finally and everlastingly reward us.

To those glorious and eternal mansions of celestial happiness, after all our fickness, pain, and forrow here, may the God of peace, health, and joy, conduct us all, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord.

SERMON

ON PRAY E R.

S E R M ON

XXXVI.

MARK X. 38.

Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye afk.

HESE words of our blessed Saviour are THI

a fevere rebuke on two of his disciples. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou Shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall defire ; and he said unto them, what would ye that I should do for you? and they said unto him, grant unto us that we may fit one at thy right hand, and the other at thy left hand, in thy glory. Not content, it seems, with the humble hopes of future happiness in the mansions of the bleft, they were for aspiring to the highest and most exalted station, to be placed on each side the throne of glory, and next in honour and dig. nity to their great Redeemer; a request which he, no doubt, thought highly unreasonable. And, accordingly, says St. Mark, he said unto thein, ye know not what ye ask; by which he gave them to understand, that he thought their demands exorbitant; that the kingdom of heaven was not a thing to be acquired with so much ease, or so readily to be granted, as their vanity and self-conceit seemed to flatter

them;

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