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duties and enjoyments of those several stations, to which God has called each. It very much then imports every one to be impressed, as with a real serious truth, with the certainty, that, “ For all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” They are not forbidden-nay, they are enjoined, to enter with a zealous earnestness upon the business of life, whatever it may be. They are not forbidden to taste of innocent pleasure, or to experience the exhilaration of a happy spirit—nay, they are enjoined to rejoice in their youth. But they are taught so to rejoice, as to remember always, that they are in the presence of that all-seeing God, who will bring every secret thing to light, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
It is a firm and abiding sense of this truth, which can alone put earthly things in their proper relation and subordination to heavenly ones, so as to preserve us, to a great extent, from that sense of vanity and vexation of spirit, which is so surely engendered by the limited views of a worldly mind. And as it is by the gospel, that the certainty of the resurrection to judgment is established, so is it through the gospel, that we are enabled to look to that judgment with hope rather than alarm. And while the gospel is the ground of hope, so is it the efficient means of subduing that worldliness of temper, which by perverting our view, and leading us to a false estimate of the things around us, is the main reason why we find their results a sad mockery to our expectations. Mere vague, general notions of religious obligation will not be found sufficient to prevent this. But in proportion as our belief in the great leading essentials of Christianity is distinct and firm, we shall acquire a just view of our situation on earth in the sight of Godof the duties it entails, and of the hopes whereby it is cheered. We shall see ourselves indeed, as creatures fallen and corrupt; but still so precious in the sight of our heavenly Father, as to be made the objects of the wonders of his redeeming love. We shall see ourselves, as having a debt of thankfulness to discharge to Him who has thus loved us—even the doing of his holy will; in the performance of which his indwelling grace will sanctify our hearts, and his overruling providence guide our steps. Thus, when we view ourselves in relation with God, we shall see that man's destiny, fallen as he is, is still ennobling rather than vain—that every station gives scope for the exercise of its appropriate talentsthat the duties of each, when properly discharged, tend to the good of all, and produce at the same time, under the blessing of God, individual happiness, not merely, as in the system of the heathen moralist, as an essential and inherent quality; but as the gift of Him, who has promised to them, that love Him, “ that peace, which the world cannot give—that peace which passeth understanding.”
Some, by station, or abilities, may be fitted to mix more prominently in the absorbing cares of public business; while the lot of others is cast in the more private walks of life. To one wealth is entrusted, as the talent, of which he will have to give account; while another is exercised in the trials which poverty calls forth. Some are destined for the laborious industry of active worldly professions; some for the more tranquil interests of scientific or literary pursuits; while others are called to the high service of ministering in the sanctuary of God, and preaching the gospel of pardon and peace. But will there then necessarily be vanity in these things ? Assuredly, my brethren, not.
brethren, not. The path of Christian duty will be vanity to no man. To no man will it be vanity in Christian love to labour for the good of his fellow men, and the glory of his maker in that station, in which it shall have pleased God to place him. Will it be vanity, by active industry, to raise ourselves into a sphere, in which our influence may be more widely felt, and God's name, by our means, more highly honoured? Will it be vanity to give our best talents for the public good? Will it be vanity to stand forward as the patriot senator, to defend the rights, and promote the bests interests of our fellow men, knowing that it is for the good of all that power has been entrusted to some ? Will it be vanity with calm and considerate wisdom to check the fierce impulse, and stem the heady tide of popular feeling, and with firmness to curb in the licentious anarchy of the bad? Will it be vanity, by scientific research, to bring the powers of the natural world into subjection to the mind of man, and to make the brute and inert matter around us contribute to the civilisation and improvement of the human race? Will it be vanity to open the storehouse of imagination for the delight and improvement of kindred minds ? To give of our intellect for the enjoyment of others; and, by embodying our ideas in the imperishable symbols of thought, to exercise a mysterious influence for good, not only upon those around us now, but upon the unborn generations, who will hereafter take our place? Will it be vanity, as the minister of God, and steward of the mysteries of Christ, to co-operate with Him in his gracious work of bringing back a sinful world to righteousness and
No, my brethren, these things will not be vanity. They will not be vanity, if done as God has willed they should be done, in remembrance of His law, as the rule of action; in dependence on His grace for the means of obedience; with a view to His kingdom for its reward; and to His glory as the end. In this way the labours of the poor, and the leisure of the rich; poverty on the one hand, and wealth on the other; government and obedience, knowledge and ignorance, power and weakness, are all performing the parts assigned to them by the allwise ruler of the world : and if they do but perform them in accordance with His will, no one of them is either to be blamed or despised. If God's glory be kept in view, and God's commandments observed, not the least thing that is done on earth, or the most trivial occupation, is either vanity or vexation of spirit. Cares, low in themselves, are exalted and sanctified by motive and principle. The eye,
the hand, and the foot are all parts of the body equally essential to the good of the whole. St. Paul says, , "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If all we do, even our very slightest concerns, may be to the glory of God, they cannot be vanity. If in doing them we “rejoice evermore?,” they cannot be vexation of spirit. And
If these things are good and profitable to men 3," it cannot be said that there is nothing that profiteth under the sun.
But, on the contrary, if the things of this world be to us all in all : if the glory of God be not kept in view: the peace He gives not sought for: and future happiness not made the object of present action: if the heart be unsanctified by the indwelling spirit of grace: if it be worldly, proud, selfish, uncharitable, and vain, then, indeed, can they to whom these things are so, well estimate the sad truth, and
1 Cor. x. 31.
? 1 Thess. v. 16.
3 Tit. iii. 8.