Imatges de pàgina

uneasiness that can accompany the execution of it. Melancholy, therefore, as is the task of commiserating the sufferings of others, there is always something that will make us ample amends for it; a ray of light always breaks thro' the gloomy scene, to gild and enlighten it. Blessed are they who thus mourn, for they, says our Saviour, shall be comforted: they will be pitied when in affliction by those whom they have pitied, and comforted by those whom they have comforted. Whilst there is

any feeling in the breasts of mankind, their forrows must be felt; whilst there is any gratitude in mankind, their sensibility must be returned, their compassion and humanity must be rewarded.

Joy, mirth, and pleasure, are frequently in the power of man to bestow, but comfort is the peculiar gift of God; a gift of fo exalted and divine a nature, that the full and proper difpensation of it seems to be reserved for himself; to be as it were an emanation from the Supreme Being, the distinguishing attribute of the third person in the facred Trinity. The Holy Ghost, we may here observe, is empha. tically stiled the Comforter: If I go away, says our Saviour, I will send ihe Comforter unto you: this was the only recompense that could be made to his weeping disciples, for the absence of their bleffed Lord and Redeemer. Comfort indeed, though it hath not the glaring and attractive charms of deluding pleasure, hath more solid and lasting advantages to recommend it, carrying with it a pleasing remembrance of past forrows, which always enhances



present felicity; it is a sensation doubtless far more grateful to the soul than all the transports of joy, and the flashes of idle merriment; a more tranquil and heart-felt delight than it is in the power of wine, wit, or any sensual gratification to bestow. Add to this also, that no pictures are so pleasing as those where the light and shade are so agreeably contrasted as to set off and recommend each other: and this is the true and enviable state of the comforted man; the more miserable he has been, the more happy will he find himself; and the heavier the calamities were which he laboured under, the more exquisite will be his sensations when delivered from them. How beautiful is the chearful day, and the light of the sun, to him who has long languished in a dark and dreary prison! how refreshing is the air, to him who hath been confined to a fick chamber! Would we hear the praises of health, we must not ask it of him who hath enjoyed it for a long series of time, but from him who is just risen from a fickness; and if we would know the blessings of prosperity, he who is exalted to it from a fate of penury and want, will describe it to us infinitely better than the man who hath lived in affluence from his cradle.

Bled, therefore, are thejk that mourn, for they fall be comforted.

In-all our afflictions and calamities, let us turn alide our eyes from the dark and dreary prospect before us; let him that mourneth look forward to the glorious promise that is annexed to it, and remember that he shall be


comforted: let us no longer then gaze with an eye of envy and discontent on the affluence and prosperity of the rich and great, who have their portion of felicity in this world; let us not be dazzled by their splendor, or deceived by the mere external appearance of happiness, but rather let us consider those who seldom or never taste of misery, as bereaved of true and folid pleasure, whilst those whom God had visited with forrow and affliction, are entitled to future comfort, and to eternal happiness. I, even I, saith the Lord, am he that comforteth you ; who art thou, therefore, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man who Mall die, and of the fon of man who shall be made as grass? Whilst we have such" a comforter, surely, my brethren, we need not fear what man, or the enemy of man, can do unto us.

To conclude, therefore, in the comfortable words of the prophet Isaiah: The Lord hath anointed his chosen to bring good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the Spirit of heaviness

, that the Lord may be glorified. The redeemed of the Lord therefore shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they Mall obtain gladness and joy, and forrow and mourning Mall flee away.



S E R M 0 N



Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep

with them that weep.


HAT mankind were formed for fociety,

that we were born to serve and love one another, doth sufficiently appear both from the frame and structure of our bodies, and all the internal qualities and passions- of our minds. Man was purposely made too ignorant to know, and too indigent to supply, his own necessities, that he might be forced, in spite of himself, to ask the aid and assistance of his fellow-creatures.

To keep up and maintain that harmony and good-will amongit men so instrumental to their happiness, God hath graciously implanted in every breast the great and universal principle of Benevolence; filled our hearts with social affections, with that diffusive spirit of humanity, and that sympathetic tenderness which inclines us to partake of all the joys and forrows, the good and evil which is dispensed to our fellow-creatures. There have indeed been men (and perhaps now are) who have so ftified the cries of nature, fo extirpated the principle of benevolence from their minds, as to deny


the reality and existence of it. These men will assert that friendship is nothing but selfinterest, that pity is weakness, and compassion folly. No man, say they, rejoices in another's good fortune, but from the hopes of rivaling or supplanting him; no man weeps for the afflictions of his neighbour, but from a secret dread of falling himself into the same calamity. But these are poor and shallow arguments, which every hour's experience is sufficient to confute; the minds of these minute philosphers are corrupted and depraved; they look into the hearts of others, and there find, or pretend to find, that insensibility which they feel in their own. Without participation there is no enjoyment, and with it there are very few evils but are supportable. A small share of the good things of life, with the advantages of society, are far more worthy of our acceptance, than all the treasures, than all the kingdoms of the earth without it. And accordingly the holy apostle's advice, in the words of my text, comprehends too separate and distinct duties; very

different indeed in their nature, but both of them equally necessary to the well-being of fociety, and of consequence equally binding upon every individual member of it: Rejoice, says he, with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep; that is, Do not imagine yourfelves born for yourselves alone, but as members of the great coinmunity: let therefore both the joys and the afflictions of others be the instruments. of your happiness, and the trials of your virtues; let the success of your fellow-creatures dilate and expand your


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