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ever, and in a more exalted manner, all sERM. the innocent and interesting pleasures of XVI. our mortal state, should our life here have been more prosperous than otherwise; or, if we shall have been doomed to misery and woe here, then by removing these far from us, wiping the tears of sorrow for ever from our eyes, and raising us from the grave of death to the kingdom of God, which is joy and peace.

It is not to be wondered at that men have thus always been found curious and inquisitive about the nature and attainment of happiness; for let appearances be what they may, there is no man that has not this object always at heart. The most careless and thoughtless to all outward appearances are perhaps as anxiously and busily engaged in this pursuit, as the most studious philosopher that ever applied himself to such abstruse speculations. Let us regard for a moment the dissipated, the idle, the intemperate, and see what pains they take to compass this great end. Does not the prodigal ruin his fortune, his fame, his credit? Does he not sometimes sacrifice his family and his




SERM. friend, to possess himself of luxuries and XVI. superfluities which for a time he thinks

bring pleasure and happiness with them? Does he not assume an air of gaiety and ease? Does he not seem to think it certain that he is really happier than his neighbours, when perhaps he is squandering what, in a very few years, nay less possibly, months, he

may want to buy food for his famished children, raiment to cover his own nakedness, or to save him from the horrors and misery of a loathsome prison ? Does not this man take great pains to com- . pass happiness? Turn then to the idle. He feels himself happy so often as he can get released from the labours and drudgery of life; those whom he sees earning their daily bread by the sweat of their brow, he pities and perhaps despises; he thinks it better to set in the sunshine and sing; happy indeed if he is ever half so innocently occupied. All this while let it be allowed his hours. pass on smoothly ; he is free from care and fatigue, from hunger and thirst; but when old age creeps upon him, or sickness befals him, when the vanities of life

where are


begin to lose their relish, and he cannot SERM. stir abroad in search of them, where then the fruits of industry laid up in store for the evil day? Where is the reflection on a life well spent to cheer his spirits and raise his hopes; and who shall he expect to labour for him now; who would not labour for himself when he had strength to do it? At all events, where is his happiness, when he is become a dependent pensioner on his fellow creatures, instead of having to enjoy the fruits of his own industry with credit and reputation? Here then also is much sacrificed to purchase what is thought happiness. Lastly, view the intemperate man.

· He finds great pleasure in the gratification of his senses ; his belly is his God; he is careful only to eat and to drink, and to wanton in all sorts of rioting and debaucheries. This man also is in search of happiness, and see where he finds it : behold him in the hour of intoxication_his senses bewildered, his reason gone, his form and countenance distorted and swoln; a disgrace to his family and friends, a nuisance and annoy




SERM. ance to all his neighbours. This man

finds his mistake almost to a certainty : in the two other cases perhaps the evil may be repaired; the prodigal, one time or other, may perhaps become frugal; the idle, industrious; but let the drunkard become ever so sober and regular, the evil is done ; his health is impaired past recovery, and his days shortened to a span, or,

if not shortened, an old age awaits him of pains and disease intolerably distressing. In this case vice is a bodily poison, and yet even this is recurred to by some as a cure and antidote to care, as conferring actual pleasure and happiness. We know indeed that all these several modes of life are held to abound with both, by those who adopt them. If happiness then is really mens' pursuit, and the first object of their desires, and if we see besides, not only that the wise and studious have differed about the means of attaining to it, but that daily and hourly men go astray in search of it, to the loss of health, and fame, and fortune, how ought we to reverence and adore the blessed author of our religion, who has, in all points, provided for the wants and SERM. even wishes of mankind, in regard to this XVI.

, most important and indispensable object! Jesus Christ, in opening to us the gates of everlasting life, has shewn us where true happiness alone is to be found. The kingdom of God is actual joy and peace. In dying for us, he has satisfied the justice of our Creator, and rendered us capable of attaining to the joys of heaven. By his doctrine of repentance and faith, and charity, he has taught us the true means of obtaining the object we are all in search of real and solid happiness : and by the many most inimitable lessons of morality he has left us in his holy Gospel, he has put it past a doubt, what mode of life is best suited to our nature. Recollecting then the errors which we must witness continually, in the wild and infatuated conduct of many around us, let us apply ourselves to examine what was our blessed Lord's opinion in this matter. When he is about to point out to the notice of mankind those of the sons of men, most happy and at ease, he does not say, blessed are the idle and

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