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which the gospel hath annexed a promise of exeinption from future misèry, and a possession of endless felicity; such a man is truly happy; he hath arrived at the highest degree of felicity, that can possibly be obtained in this valley of tears; for his tranquillity' is that joy unspeakable and full of glory, of which our scripture speaks. It is that peace of God, which. passeth all understanding. It is the white stone, which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it. But is this the condition of the man, whom I have been describing?
On what conditions does religion promise eternal life to a statesman? On condition that he always set before your eyes that king, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice, Prov. viii. 15. on condition that he doth not regard the appearance of persons ; on condition that he take no bribes, which God declares blind the eyes. You have not performed this condition, you are intoxicated with your own grandeur, you are inaccessible to the cries of widows and orphans, you are flexible to presents, though you know they are given you to be returned in actions disguised under the fair names of impartiality and equity. And are you in a ştate of tranquillity?
On what condition does the gospel promise eternal felicity to à counsellor? On condition that he perform the oath administered to himn when he entered on his profession, an oath in which he called God to witness that he would never plead any but just causes. You have not performed this condition, you have been known to take either side of a cause, yea both, when your interest required it, you have been seen exercising your talents in varnishing over such causes as you durst not stare in their true point of light, and straining every nerve to mislead the judges. And you are in a. state of tranquillity, and will be so the day you die.
On what condition does religion promise eternal happiness to a man in possession of property unjustly acquired ? On condition of his making restitution. You are in this case, I mean in the case of him, who holds such property, for the stone crieth out of the walls of your houses, and the beam out of the timber witnesses against you. The hire of the labourers, which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth, and the cries are entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts, Hab. ii. 11. Jam. v. 4. You have not made restitution, you will not even suffer us to utter this frightful word, restitution; you are going to transmit this accursed patrimony to your chita O 2
dren; and you too are tranquil and easy! What! Are you also a philosopher ? are you also a stoic ? Extravagant stoicism, senseless philosophy, absurd tranquillity! Is it thus you pretend to oppose almighty God! There is no wisdom, nor understanding, por counsel against the Lord.
Let us conclude. The most reasonable part, that an intelligent creature can take, is to submit to his Creator. Happy, if it were as easy, to affect our hearts, as it is to convince our judgments of this article! Happy, if ihe heart never appealed from the dictates of reason, and if the passions had no distinct and separate system! A system the more dangerous because reason is present only in the few moments of our attention; wheaeas the other, on the contrary, always carrics us away when we follow the suggestions of our passions, that is in the usual course of our lives.
My brethren, let us act like intelligent creatures, let us forin a just idea of sin, let us always have before our eyes this image, which the wise man hath given us, and which is so proper to demonstrate to us the extiavagance of it. Let us remernber that a sinner is an idiot, who attempts to resist God, who opposes his laws, and who undertakes to counteract him by superior skill or force. Let us seek in a reconciliation' to God those succours, of which our silly pride offers us only an appearance. But you love grandeur, you are struck with the courage of a man, who opposes God, and who pretends to resist and triumph over him. Well, consider the path we open to you in this point of light. This Almighty God is armed against you, his anger is ready, to crush you to atoms, his thunder 1oars, his lightnings flash in your eyes, his fire is kindled, and his justice requires your destruction : but there is an art of disarming God. This was the skill of Jacob, who wept and prayed, and said, Į will not let thee go, except thou bless me, Gen. xxxii. 26. This was the wisdom of Moses, who stood in the breach to turn away the wrath of heaven, of that Moses to whom God said, Lei ine alone, that I may consume this people, Exod. xxxii. 10. but Moses said, 0 forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written, ver. 32. This is the art, which Jesus Christ taught us, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force, Matt
. xi. 12. These are powerful weapons, which God will not oppose.
These are arms always effectual. This was the method, which the Lord formerly taught his people by the ministry of Isaiah,
Who would set briars and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. O, let him take hold of my strength, he may keep peace with me, he shall keep peace with me, Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. Let us not make a vain parade before God of fanciful greatness, let us rather appear in our'own insignificance, let us shew ourselves as we are, poor, miserable, blind, and naked. Let us not pretend to surprize him with the wisdom of our counsels: but let us endeavour to move his compassion by acknowledging our uncertainty, our darkness, our ignorance, our superficial thoughts on the government of the world, and on that of our families. Let us not appear before him intoxicated with pleasure, but mortified, contrite, bowed down under the weight of our sins, prostrate in the dust, and wounded with sincere repentance. Let us not resist him with a brutal security, but let us lay before him our timidity, our doubts and our fears. Let us conjure him, by the sad objects of our frailty, and insignificance to pity our condition. These are invincible arms, these are impenetrable shields, this is the infallible art of prevailing with Almighty God. May he deign to teach us how to exercise it ! May he condescend to crown our efforts with success! Amen! To him be honour and glory both now and for ever! Amen.
IMAGINARY SCHEMES OF HAPPINESS.
The thing that hath been, is that which shall be ; and thai,
which is done, is that which shall be done : and there is no new thing under the sun.
THERE are few people in the world, who do not form
in their ininds agreeable plans of happiness, made up of future flattering prospects, which have no foundation except in their own fancies. This disposition of mind, which is so general among mankind, is, also one of the principal causes of their immoderate desire to live. Some have quescioned whether any mortal were ever so happy as to choose to live his life over again, on condition of passing through all the events, through which he had gone from his birth to his last hour. Without investigating this problem, I venture to affirm, that mankind would be much less attached to the world, if they did not flatter themselves with the hope of enjoying more pleasure than they had hitherto experienced. A child fancies, ihat as soon as he shall arrive at a certain stature, he shall enjoy more pleasure than he hath enjoyed in his childhood, and this is pardonable in a child. The youth persuades himself that men, who are what they call settled in the world, are incomparably more happy than young people can be at his
age. While we think ourselves condemned to live single, solitude seems intolerable; and when we have associated ourselves with others, we regret the happy days we spent in the tranquillity of solitude. Thus we go on from fancy to fancy, and from one chimera to another, till death arrives, subverts all our imaginary projects of happiness, and makes us know by our own experience what the experience