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SERM. dissipated, the wealthy and the vain, the

high-fed glutton, or the pampered prince;
but blessed are the poor and meek, the
hungry and thirsty, the sorrowful and af-
flicted, the lowly and humble. The fact
is, eternal Providence seeth all things ; not
only the beginning of things, but the end
and consequences; whereas short-sighted
man takes but small account of remote
events; and those most wrapped up in the
present, extend their views the least of all.
The pleasure of a moment is not to be ba-
lanced against the pain of an hour; the
pleasure of an hour against the pain of a
day; or the pleasure of a day against the
pain of a year: this our own reason,
would but listen to it, is quite competent
to point out to us; upon this ground Chris-
tianity proceeds, and so far from doing vio-
lence to our natures, does in fact totally
and entirely coincide with it; it is we that
do a violence to nature, and contradict its
clearest suggestions, when we, with our
eyes open, purchase small and transitory
pleasures at the price of long and durable
pain, Our blessed Saviour knew what was


if we

the real importance of all our actions here; SERM. he knew not only what they were in them- XVI. selves, but what they would inevitably lead to; he therefore, viewing the errors of mankind in all their consequences, could to a certainty pronounce that, contrary to our estimation of things, those most abject and destitute here, were in fact most happy; for they were laying up for them

; selves a store of durable pleasures hereafter, treasures in heaven which could not fail : whereas those most gay and careless

: in our eyes, most abounding with luxuries, and most free from worldly toil and hardships, were in fact not happy, for they, by their short and transitory vanities, were laying up for themselves a store of misery and woe, both here, by the natural effects of vice and intemperance, and hereafter, in the loss of heaven and its joys. But the point is very certain, even to most men, if they would but bring themselves coolly and deliberately to weigh the matter in their minds; for virtue and vice are not so difficult to distinguish; but in truth those who follow after virtue prefer yirtue, and



SERM. their actions agree with their reason ; XVI. whereas those who follow vice prefer the

present transitory pleasures of vice to the future durable rewards of virtue, and thus sin against their own reason, and the will of God, at the same time. Truly they are not to be called hapry; they are very wicked in the sight of God, and in no manner amiable in the sight of man; and as to what they will be when their follies and vanities are over, they need not be told, for the sentence passed on them by reason and revelation both, is not so secret as to be unknown to any; only they stop their ears against instruction, and so add to the perverseness of their ways. From what has been said we may certainly collect thus much, that we need no longer bewilder ourselves to find out what is man's chief good; his chief good certainly is, to compass the joys of heaven by following the commandments of God, which are all revealed to us in the holy Scriptures, together with the great scheme of Christian redemption, on which our eternal happiness finally depends. Our Bible, in short, will entirely


point out to us both the object of our pur- SERM. suits, and the only infallible means of at- XVI, taining to it; it will point out all we have to do, and what we are to leave undone. It will not lead us into a labyrinth of laboured deductions, and refined speculations, but by an easy reference of every action of our lives, to those two great leading principles, the love of God and of our neighbour; put us in complete possession of such a rule of moral and religious conduct, as may for ever be our guide through all the chances and changes of this mortal life.

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And now to proceed to the further consideration of those conditions which our Saviour pronounces to be blessed, in the discourse whence my text is taken, with which I shall conclude. First, however, this should be premised, that though each is distinctly and particularly said to be blessed, it does not follow, that any one virtue, or any one condition alone, will save us, or procure us the blessings of heaven, but only, that when all our actions,


SERM. and the whole tenor of our lives are conxvi. sistent with the character there described,

then we shall be held worthy of being ex-
alted to the kingdom of God. This is
worthy of notice, because the error has
prevailed in former times, and may perhaps,
in some shape or other, be too often in-
dulged now. The Jews particularly con-
ceived that great attention to one law
might excuse the breach of others; the
Church of Rome had many compositions
for the transgression of the laws of God,
founded upon the same ostensible principle.
The real principle, it is to be feared, was
extortion ;-charity was allowed to cover a
multitude of the most flagrant sins, when
exercised in the shape of some rich boon to
the church. It is too likely that those who
rest, or pretend to rest, all their hopes upon
faith, exclusive of good works, make a se-
paration which the word of God does not
warrant, and so fall into the same error.
But to return :the discourse begins with

" Blessed be ye poor, for your's is
the kingdom of God;" then follows-
blessed are ye that bunger now, for ye shall

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