Imatges de pàgina
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If then these things are so, what manner of men ought we to be in all conversation and godliness? Surely the hopes of another, and much better world, should teach us to set a true value on every thing in this. Let us consider how mean, trifling, and insignificant the little low concerns of this life are, when thrown into the balance with the great affairs of eternity: the small and smooth current which glides by us, the gentle motions of its waters, and the beauty of its banks, may afford us a calm and tranquil delight; but when we fit on the seashore, and behold the vast and boundless ocean before us; when we contemplate the wonders of the great deep, does it not fill our souls with a nobler pleasure, and far more exalted ideas? Do we not then look back with contempt on the inconsiderable stream, and are even furprised that the sight of it could give us any plea . sure or satisfaction? Just in the same manner the pious believer when he is departing from this narrow scene of things, looks back upon it with an eye of contempt.

He wishes with the holy apostle to be dis. folved and to be with God, to taste of those pleasures which it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive, and which God hath prepared for the righteous.

It is a very false notion, to suppose those who are miserable in this life are desirous of another; or that only those who have no hope here, entertain any of hereafter; for surely the happiest may expect to be much happier, the wiseft to be more wise, than in this fiate they

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Let us not then, when the glorious prospect is opening before us, wilfully shut our eyes against it, confining all our views within the narrow circle that surrounds us, till by degrees we become like wretches ship’vrecked on a little bank of sand, the sea continues gaining ground upon, and threatening to overwhelm us.

To conclude-If we have hope in Christ, let us act as if we had it: let not the variety of worldly objects fo distract our fight, as utterly to turn our eyes away from their noblest and moft worthy objects; let us weigh and confi. der the value of that treasure which God hath reserved; thank him for that victory over death which he through Christ hath obtained for us. After such strong and repeated assurances of eternal life given us by the great author and finisher of our faith; what can we plead in excuse for refusing our affent to a truth fo glaring and self evident?

After all, most plain and indisputable it is, that if we are not of all men the most happy, there can be but one reason why we are not so, and that is because our sins will not permit us. Tri let us, I beseech you, remember that if we have no hope of another life, we must have the fear of it. How miserable and how dreadful must our situation be, when that prospect of a future ftate which was graciously designed to be our chief comfort and support, thall become our must alarming terror and our bitterest af

fliction!

Aiction! What will our situation be, when at the last and great day, he before whose judgment seat we are to appear, even the blessed Jesus, shall lay aside the meekness of a tender Redeemer, and affume all the dreadful majesty of an offended Judge! when he shall say to the trembling unbelievers,

“ Was it for this, ye ungrateful and ungenerous children of disobedience, that I came unto you? Did my Gospel bring immortality to light, that you should walk still in darkness? O ye of little faith! I came unto you and ye regarded me not; I promised and ye distrusted ; I threa-, tened and ye defied me: but since neither reason could persuade you to hope, nor revelation assure you of your everlasting existence, instead of rejoicing in it as your reward, accept it now as your punishment. Go

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accursed of my Father into eternal misery, unto that place · where the fire is not quenched, and the worm never dieth.”

But let us turn our eyes from this fad and melancholy prospect, and consider how different his reception will be of the good and picus Christian; let us place him before our eyes, thus graciously condescending, in the great and last day, to welcome his faithful followers to the regious of bliss and immortality: “Come,” will he say unto them, “ye blessed of my Father, and receive your reward; I promised and ye believed ; I fpake and ye attended ; I commanded and ye obeyed; like me ye have suffered the pains of mortality, and like me ye have tafted the bitterness of death; ye shall be

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revived with the cordial of life; ye did not place your hopes on that vain and transitory world, but reserved them for, and they shall be fulfilled in, a better and more durable one.

“ Ye have been persecuted, oppressed, wearied and satiated on earth, and now ye ihall be wel. comed, refreshed, delighted, and rewarded in Heaven.”

ON THE UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS.

S E R M 0 N

XL.

PROVERBS XXVII. I.

Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest

1201 what a day may bring forth.

AMONGST all the various species of

pride which corrupt the heart of man, and which are all of them, as is declared in holy writ, abominable unto God; there is not perhaps one more absurd and ridiculous, or attended with more fatal consequences than that which the wise man hath pointed out to ús in the words of the text. Boast not, says he, of to-morrow, for thou knowes not what a day may bring forth.

The folly of this particular kind of pride doth not, we fee, confist merely in the exceffive and partial good opinion of that which

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we possess; but extends itself to an ill-grounded confidence in, and dependance on that which may be reserved for us; and carries with it both an insolent security in our own state and condition, and withal a pretence to that knowledge of future events, which is by no means the portion of mortality. It is as it were incroaching on the prerogative of God, and af suming to ourselves that peculiar privilege which is reserved for the Most High.

It is indisputable, that pride was not made for man. If we have no reason (and we most certainly have none) to be proud of what we have, much less can we pretend to it on account of that which we have not.

One would indeed naturally imagine, that the instability of human bleflings, the serious contemplation on the shortness and vanity of this life, the various viciffitudes of fortune, the uncertainty of every thing which we behold, or are conversant with, might be sufficient preservatives against an infatuation so strange, a conduct fo unaccountable.

Were a being of superior rank and order to our own, and at the same time unacquainted with our state and conditions, to come down amongst us, what strange and erroneous notions would he form concerning man, from the first view of our conduct and behaviour !

Were he to observe the affuming haughtiness of power, the pride of health and beauty, the infolence of riches and prosperity ; were he to see the kings and mighty ones of the earth laying plans of universal empire; the

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