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II.

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SERM. We will but be ruled by the lessons she in

culcates. True it is, she perhaps may put
most of us out of our way. To one,

she

may
say, you are wrong ; you are heaping up
riches to no good end; you will be mis-
taken at last, if you are not cautious, for
not only moth and rust will soon be mak-
ing depredations on your perishable cof-
fers, but if you have not charity, all your
wealth shall avail you nothing; but if you
would be the elect of God, boly and beloved,
put on bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness

of mind, meekness, long-suffering; above all
things put on charity, which is the bond of per-
fectness.To a second, perhaps, who she
*
sees, striving hard to raise himself above
his fellows, religion will cry out, to humble
himself, if not in the sight of men, at
least in the sight of God.

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66

There is a natural pride in the soul of man, which tempts him, when he compares himself with other men, to fancy himself not only equal, as a partaker of the same flesh and blood, but in some respect or other superior: thus the strong

seek

II.

seek to overcome the weak; the wise, the SERM. foolish; the rich, the poor ; and, since human nature is much alike, perhaps at the same time the weak are wishing to be strong, and the foolish wise, and the poor rich, to do just the same, and lord it over their fellows. Now religion alone can teach us to be humble, and yet meet every man's wishes. Religion alone can ise and elevate us all; but she will do it

; on her own terms, and not on our's : if we are wise, or strong, or mighty in our own conceits, instead of raising she will depress us; he that by any overbearing insolence, or idle presumption, shall think to exalt himself, this man will effectually lose his aim, and in the end be put down and abased. Religion will tell the ambitious man, that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him; and again, that he resisteth the proud and giveth grace only to the humble : perhaps this may put the ambitious very much out of his way; perhaps, for a time, it may mortify him greatly to take this

a

course

II.

SERM. course of meekness and humility; yet it

would be unwise not to stand corrected,
for he that is far above, has pointed out
the only road for the ambitious to take-
Humble yourselves under the mighty band

of God, that he may exalt you in due time.There are others who are continually seeking after happiness, whom religion alone could put right, though not perhaps without likewise greatly thwarting their present inclinations; these are the intemperate and voluptuous. If these men looked to any future happiness, they would not seek to compass it in the way they do; but “these men are all for present happiness; a short-lived elevation of spirits, and freedom from care. It is amazing what a friend religion would be to such persons, if they would but condescend to listen to her. These men are not only pursuing a phantom, but they are every day putting themselves more out of the way of happiness. They cannot gratify their appetites to excess, without transgressing many of the precepts of the Gospel; nor let it be supposed that these precepts were

3

meant

II.

meant to rob us of our pleasures; they are SERM. meant exceedingly to increase them: for, besides that intemperance will soon end all earthly pleasures and enjoyments whatever, the luşts of the flesh will have no objects in the world to come; great, therefore, must be our torments, if the desires shall remain when they can never more be gratified ; and possibly this may be in a great measure the punishment of the wicked : having made no provision for the other world, they shall find themselves, when they get there, in a strange country, forlorn and helpless, and sighing after past pleasures, while the good and righteous, those who shall have passed through this life as pilgrims, setting their affections on things above, shall in the other world have all their desires gratified, and live in the midst of pleasures for ever more. Fourthly, to apply to the words of my text, whatever we may think to gain by a froward behaviour, by pursuing our own schemes, regardless of the feelings of our neighbour, by craft and cunning, by violence and wrong, we may be certain we should more

surely

11.

1

SERM. surely gain our points by following the

precepts of religion ; most especially of the Gospel of Christ. It cannot be any man's interest to have the world in general wicked and headstrong: a state of warfare is always a state of risk and danger; what we might gain ourselves by any evil art, we might soon lose in some other shape (if not perhaps ten-fold), by the bad example we set, and the licence we give to others to act the same by uswhereas, if “ the earth were but full of the

knowledge of the Lord, they should not burt or destroy in all bis boly mountain.All would do good in their stations, and none would do harm; the strong would help the weak, the wise would instruct the simple, the rich would comfort the poor, and the

poor

would respect the rich. Let any man read the New Testament, and weigh well the lessons it teaches; and he must have a poor judgment if he does not admit that this would really be the case. Is it not hard then, that when we can agree together to carry into execution many worldly projects, we can come to no agree

ment

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