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quently exclude us from the presence of God in his kingdom.

True religion, St. James says, is to keep ourselves unspotted from the world 4. And St. John, He that loves the world, the love of the Father is not in himr. And our Lord himself assures us, that nothing is more difficult than for a rich man, trusting in his riches, to enter into the kingdom of heavens ; and therefore warns us with a double caution, Take heed and beware of covetousness, and take no thought for the morrow.

But now, is devotion and a heavenly mind, and acquiescence in God's disposals, consistent with continual application of thought to the methods of acquiring the wealth and greatness of this earth? And are these methods so innocent and harmless, as to have no ill influence upon our souls, and leave no stain behind them? If so, one would wonder our Saviour and his apostles should so often and so strictly forbid such greedy desires. But if the contrary be true, as most certainly it is, then whoever hopes for a share in the happiness of heaven must be very much more indifferent to the world.

We cannot but observe that the great design of our holy religion is to take off our affections from the pleasures and enjoyments of sense, and to place them upon objects that are spiritual; the blisses and glories of the world above, which are our true, and lasting, and fully satisfying good. And the present world so strongly affecting our senses, and its enjoyments being so grateful to our bodies, and so highly agreeable to the inclinations of corrupted nature, the divine Wisdom saw, that line upon line, caution upon caution, threat upon threat, promise upon promise, was but needful to wean men from it, and engage them in the love and pursuit of the pleasures of religion, and fix their hearts upon the rewards of immortality. And there is no man that has tried, but must confess it necessary for him to apply himself very carefully and diligently, and that in sincerity and good earnest, to a compliance with these holy exhortations; and that, after all, the world will insensibly insinuate itself into too much of his affec-' tion. And therefore, to indulge and give way to a fondness for the world is to defeat the great design of Christianity, and engage with all our might in those very courses, which Christ has told us over and over will shut us out from heaven.

9 James i. ult. r John ii. 15.

s Mark x. 24.

But, secondly, it is necessary that we humble ourselves as little children, if we would enter into the kingdom of heaven.

To be proud, is ungratefully to forget that God is the giver of every good gift, and to arrogate that praise to ourselves, upon account of thein, which should be wholly his; transferred directly to him, and increased with our own most humble thanks and acknowledgments. And the fruits of this vile root of pride, are oppression and tyranny, envy and discontent, impatience and a stubborn resistance of the divine will, and, in short, every thing that is contrary to God's honour and the good of mankind.

But now is this the temper of a disciple of Jesus? are these the dispositions that will qualify us for the eternal enjoyment of God ? How absolutely necessary therefore must it be, for every soul that hopes for heaven to be thoroughly cleared from this worst of vices, this compendium of all wickedness;

and become deeply sensible, that the best of us are utterly unworthy of the least of God's mercies; that all we enjoy is of his undeserved bounty; and that our utmost services, and praise, and love, will still be infinitely short of what is due. This will make us entirely submissive to all his providences, and nicely observant of all the expresses of his good pleasure; it will teach us likewise to be affable and condescending, useful and beneficial to one another, according to the measure of the gift of God; to undervalue no man, but, with the faithful servant in the parable, be wholly intent in improving every talent to the honour of our great Benefactor and the public good. And how lovely this is, and aptly preparative to the happy state above, is too plain to need any proof.

Thirdly, it is necessary, in order to that blissful state, that we lay aside all guile and hypocrisy, and become as little children in sincerity and truth.

And, indeed, sincerity is our all; for how guilty are the best of us of innumerable violations of our duty both to God and man! how defective, and very often polluted, are our very best actions ! So that unless our merciful Saviour would accept (as we know he will, and for ever blessed be his goodness for it) our best endeavours, instead of unsinning obedience, who could be saved in the day of God's righteous judgment? But this it is that makes our Redeemer's yoke so easy, and his burden so light; that sincerity atones for our other failures and defects, and, next to his all-sufficient merits, is our great recommendation to the divine acceptance; and

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where it is wanting every thing else we can do, that looks like religion, will signify even nothing, unless it be to add to our condemnation,

In the last place, it is necessary that we become as little children, free from malice and revenge, if we desire to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

For nothing is more contrary to the temper of Christianity, and the express commands of it, than revenge; returning good for evil, and forgiveness of injuries, being every where enjoined us in the writings of the New Testament, and urged upon us from the example of our blessed Redeemer, and that as we hope to be forgiven ourselves by our offended God.

With what face then can any one ask pardon himself, that denies it to his brother; and hope to be admitted into heaven with a temper of mind directly contrary to that of God and Jesus Christ; and of the same stamp with that of the Devil himself.

Verily, says our Lord, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become thus, like little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I shall now briefly infer something from what has been said, and conclude.

And first, if such a change of our disposition and temper of mind as this be absolutely necessary to our entering into the kingdom of heaven, what little reason have any of us to be careless and wasteful of our time in vain and fruitless employments, though we should not be guilty of spending it in wickedness and vice?

There is abundance of time, no doubt, besides

what is taken up by necessary business and the moderate refreshments of nature, which is lost, as we often say, for want of knowing how to dispose of it.

But can any one be to seek for employment that has the habit of his soul to alter, from a too near likeness to the temper of the fallen angels, into the innocent dispositions of a little child ?

Ambition and pride, hypocrisy and revenge, are not to be rooted out but by a long labour and great industry: and humility and contentment, sincerity and forgiveness of injuries, to have the short resentments of a little child, to be as soon pacified, and as easily reconciled; these are lessons that our corrupt nature is not over-forward to learn. Why then are we so idle, as too many of us are, and squander away, unaccountably, so much of our short life, when such a task as this is to be performed, if ever we hope for heaven?

One thing more I would infer from the necessity of our becoming as little children, if we would enter into the kingdom of heaven; and that is the great care that should be taken by those that have the education of youth, to keep them children in their good and innocent dispositions, as long as is possible; and by pious instruction and example, confirm them in that temper of mind, to which, if they lose it, they must be again converted if they would be happy

And what a blessed prepossession would it be, to be habitually contented and resigned, humble and sincere, inoffensive to others, and ready to be reconciled to and forgive those that have done amiss by them. What guilt would this prevent! and when con

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