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"be filled; blessed are ye that weep now, for SERM. 66 ye shall laugh; blessed are ye when men XVI. "shall hate you, and shall reproach you, and "cast out your name as evil for the son of "man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for behold your reward is great in heaven." Perhaps the interpretation of these words entirely depends on that one clause added to the fourth beatitude, Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, "for the son of man's sake." There is no doubt but that poverty, considered singly and alone, can be entitled to no reward, either here or hereafter; neither yet the appetites of hunger and thirst, nor any other of the circumstances in which those are supposed to be who shall merit hereafter the blessings of God. We may be sure they must all have something further to recommend them, than is to be discerned merely in the several states and conditions so described. The poor, therefore, who upon our Saviour's declaration are to be blessed, are those who, though poor in our eyes, and destitute of worldly advantages, are yet rich in good works, and

66

SERN. and all those Christian virtues which beXVI. come their situation, who, though in a state

of penury as to earthly endowments, are yet enriched with the influence of God's grace, and have treasures laid up for them in heaven. Those who hunger are not those who hunger after the bread that perisheth, but after that bread which, through the Saviour of the world, God has given us from heaven;—that bread and “ meat which - endureth to eternal life.They are those who, as our Saviour himself, on another memorable occasion, describes, as bun

gering and thirsting after righteousness ;" that is, so far from being governed by any irregular appetites, or inordinate desires, do indeed earnestly long for that inherent righteousness which shall teach them always to follow after what is good, and in all instances whatsoever to eschew evil. Those that weep and mourn are not those prone to murmurand complain at the transitory evil and temporary distresses incident to human nature, but those who weep and sorrow for their own weaknesses and infirmities; who manifest a becoming con

trition

trition for all past transgressions, and with SERM. the sighings and weepings of unfeigned XVI. repentance, go up to the altar of Christ to implore his mercy and gracious intercession. Those who endure the hatred and persecution of the world, are those who, as the Evangelist expressly tells us, are so hated and persecuted "for the son of man's "sake." In the cause of Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world! these need not fear, but on the contrary may rather rejoice and be exceeding glad, assured that their Redeemer beholds all their unworthy sufferings and persecutions, for his name's sake; and as he is able, so he will be ready in the day of judgment, as a recompence for their steady and unshaken adherence to his Gospel, to advance them to their just reward in heaven. In short, through the sinfulness of man, so opposite now are the hopes and prospects, and enjoyments of this world, and that which is to come, that it is but too reasonable to consider our losses here as conducive to our gain hereafter. And, on the contrary, to regard our worldly advantages as so many

snares

upon the

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SERM. snares and temptations in the way of our XVI. eternal happiness in heaven. Let us apply ourselves then to reflect

general lesson to be drawn from what has been laid before you. Let us learn to be suspicious of all worldly pleasures and prosperity, and to correct ourselves when troubles and afflictions are sent to mortify and subdue our lusts and passions. It has been beautifully and truly said, that prosperous circumstances are dangerous, in that they are often a sweet poison, while afflictions and misfortunes are a healing though bitter medicine. It is so frequently, past all doubt; yet not always. The prosperous man, who is grateful to God, humble in his sight, and merciful to his fellow-creatures, is in no danger from the seductions usually flowing from prosperity, while the unhappy wretch, who repines at adversity as if God had no right to afflict him, and who curses his Maker in the hour of distress; to him trouble is no medicine, but a dreadful aggravation of his distemper. Let us pray to God to do away the film from before our eyes, that we may

see

See to distinguish truly the value and im- SERM. portance of all worldly events, never trust- XVI. ing to prosperity so far as to think happiness can consist in dissipation, idleness, or intemperance ; for by them happiness is finally destroyed: neither being so cast down by adversity as to murmur or blaspheme, for by adversity often the soul is tried, and by patience and well-doing it may

be made the surest instrument of real happiness and joy.

SERMON

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