Imatges de pÓgina
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ence; embraces every occasion ; lays hold of every opportunity; who marks down every accident and occurrence by which his neigh. bour rose to prosperity, and carefully avoids those shoals and quicksands on which the fortunes of others have been shipwrecked.

Who is it that becomes great and powerful? -The man who watches the motions, and knows the folds and windings of the human heart; whose eye can trace the infirmities

; whose understanding can dive into the thoughts of others; who is always vigilant, active, and industrious.

And what then is the source of all his fuccess? who are his great guides to power and fplendour but'vigilance and alacrity?

Thus useful, and thus salutary, is the advice of the Apostle in the common concerns of life. Let us examine then, whether that industry, which is so useful in our temporal and worldly aflairs, may not be still more so in regard to what is of infinitely more importance and concern, our eternal happiness. Whether the same methods which men make use of to become wise, rich, and powerful, would not also ena. ble them to become what is infinitely better, --wise, and good. Whether that vigilance which ensures pleasure and prosperity, might not ensure to us the far nobler possessions of wisdom and virtue.

That industry, which for the most part doth but contribute to make us the slaves of fin, might, if rightly applied, secure our freedom from it, and half the pains which men take to

become

become guilty, would be more than sufficient to keep them innocent.

Let us not then, my brethren, sleep as do others. And first, I think, we should be extremely vigilant and careful with regard to the use we make of our time.

2dly, We should be vigilant and careful with regard to the connections and friendships we enter into.

And in regard to the employment of our time, it will become us to consider, time is a precious talent, intrusted to our care; God will certainly one day call upon and demand of us, in what manner we have employed it; he did not give it us, that we might squander it away in trifling amusements, in a round of fashionable follies, but that we should lay it out in the improvement of our faculties, in purchasing the knowledge of his laws, and in the constant and steady execution of his commandments. Our glass runs, as it were, but for an hour, and we should be careful to watch every grain of sand.

Let not the force of bad example, therefore, warp us from our duty; let us be awake to all the offices of humanity, all the acts of devotion, all the funétions of our profession and calling; not listless, indolent, and inactive, but like the divine Being, active and beneficent, employing our time in fomething serviceable to man, or expressive of our reliance on, and gratitude towards God.

When we consider the despotic power of custom, and the extensive influence of example,

we

we are no longer at a loss to account for the Inultitude of those who wander in the maze of crror, or tread the deceitful paths of guilt and misery; fo easily are we induced to follow the íteps of those whom we value and esteem; fo willing are we rather to be misled by others, than take the pains ourselves to find out the right way, that we may perhaps even venture to alert, that where one man goes wrong by choice, hundreds do it from example, and thousands from indolence. To be carried on our journey by our friends, is a much pleasanter way of travelling than to take the reins into our own hands; and to drive down the stream is much ealier than to ftem the torrent.

Be fober therefore, be vigilant--Let us not Neup as do others, but waich and be sober; our odverjary, tre deuil, goeth about seeking whom he niy devour; he need not indeed seek long, for we are ready enough to meet him half way; our weakness, however, doth not in the least abate or lelien liis vigilance ; he is perpetually foliciting our passions with every thing that can please and indulge them, setting before us temptations of every kind, finding out and fuothing the ruling appetite, and, in short, oinitting no artifice to delude and betray us.

Such is our hard lot in this world, that all evil is in its nature pregnant and fertile, and the little good we have to boast of amongst us barren and unfruitful. Health is single, it doth not impart itself to others, or diffuse its sweets: whilst, on the other hand, plagues, distempers, and diseases, are dangerous, from the infec

tion they carry with them; they spread their contagion on every fide, and multiply the mis. fortunes and forrows of mankind : and thus it is too in regard to virtue and vice. With what rapidity does error, when once propagated, spread itself through all ranks and degrees of men! how do corruption and iniquity, when they have once crept into society, contaminate the whole mass of the people, and convey their poison into every limb! The eye of malevo. Tence is sharp and piercing, spies out the blemishes of a character with wonderful acuteness and fagacity, whilst, what we generally term good nature, can scarce ever, or if ever, with the utmost difficulty, discover and distinguish any of those few perfections which human nature is capable of attaining.

Falsehood will fly, as it were, on the wings of the wind, and carry its tales to every corner of the earth; whilst truth lags behind ; her steps, though sure, are now and folemn, and she has neither vigour nor activity enough to pursue and overtake her enemy.-Vice, to say the truth, that mean and servile thing, which has no right to command, no authority to direct, doth by mere dint of industry and vigilance preside over and direct; whilst virtuc, which should be the pilot, tamely resigns her power, sleeps at the helm, and leaves the shattered veflel to the mercy of the fiorm.

Mark the industry, and observe the pains which the profligate and licentious man will take to draw over the good and virtuous to his party, to make him the companion of his fol

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lies, and lead him into a participation of his guilt.

Observe the free-thinker and the infidel, with what warmth he expresses himself, with wiat vehemence he exclaims against, with what rancour he abuses Christianity, with what zeal and ardour he solicits new converts to his opinion, and new followers of his doctrine; whilst the cold and languid believer wraps himself

up

with carelessness in the integrity of his heart, and Icaves the victory and the tri. umph to his insulting rival. All the stories of science are drained, all the powers of eloquence are exhausted to point out and adorn the charms of folly, vice, and atheism; whilst scarce a hand is stretched out, or a voice heard, to plead the deserted cause of truth, religion, and virtue.

Shall we not then, my brethren, on our part, at least endeavour to gain industry over to the side of truth? Shall not man be as vigilant to promote his own welfare and happiness, as Sin and Satan are to secure his destruction? Let us noi then flep as do others, but let us watch and be Jober: let us watch the motions, and be guarded against the attacks of vice; let us watch the open attacks of our bold and rebellious paffions, and above all, let us watch the secret fallies, the dangerous frauds of our own treacherous and delusive hearts; let us detect, subdue, and punish, cr which is still more defirable, ftill more glorious, win them over to our true interest, persuade, convince, and convert them.

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