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he will pro
ately before the great sacrifice of his Saviour, in a very solemn point of view ; to “ search out, during it, the plagues of his “ heart” more carefully, to look into his conduct more narrowly, and to watch over his behaviour more strictly, than he does at other times; because, the season itself is exceedingly sacred; because, the rules of his church command him to do this; and because, if he do not take such a solemn occasion to know himself, and to correct what he finds amiss in his
ways, bably never enter upon that duty ; but pass his life in thoughtlessness, folly, or vice, and come to his death-bed without having in the least prepared himself to die. There can be no doubt, that, with respect to the rich and prosperous part of society, the abstinence recommended by the church in this season; or the very act of refraining, in some measure, from that luxurious living, which affluent people are apt to indulge in ; will be a great help towards that serious reflection, and religious meditation, that improvement of the heart, and purification of the “ inner man," which the season of Lent was intended to produce: for it is a truth acknowledged on all sides, that high living has a natural tendency to inflame the passions, and give strength to the carnal part
of our nature ; and, consequently, an occasional giving up of such diet must have a contrary effect, and be equally beneficial to the spiritual part of man. Indeed, it is impossible that religious improvement should go hand in hand with constant "sumptuous “ fare ;” and, therefore, both our blessed LORD and his apostles give frequent solemn admonitions to christians, to practise that abstinenče, sobriety, and temperance, which are the best nurses of holy thoughts and righteous actions.
« Take heed to yourselves," says Christ, “ lest at any time
your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting 6 and drunkenness." “ Many walk," says St. Paul, “ of whom I have told you often, " that they are enemies of the cross of “ CHRIST; whose end is destruction, whose
god is their belly, and whose glory is " their shame." “For they that are such,”. he adds,
serve not our LORD JESUS " CHRIST, but their own bellies." “ Look
diligently, therefore, lest there be any pro“ fane person as Esau, who for a morsel of “ meat sold his birth-right.”
The duty, however, of occasional abstipence in the article of diet is a duty confined, in a great measure, to those who are well off in worldly possessions; since they only have the means of costly fare. The
of the year;
lower orders of people have seldom any su. perfluity of food; their gains, in general, not being more than sufficient to supply them with plain and wholesome diet. But there is one kind of abstinence, which (however small their earnings may be) they are still too apt to overlook; and which indeed, if they have any regard for their bodies and souls, must not only be observed in Lent, but carefully persisted in during the whole
I mean, an abstinence from strong and intoxicating liquors. The sin of drunkenness indeed is, unhappily, so common among
the humbler ranks of society, and is so destructive to the welfare of those who practise it, both in this life and the next, as to call for the admonitions of the preacher, not only during that solemn season on which we have entered, but on all occasions, and at
The fatal number of publichouses' which have sprung up in 'every city, and town, and village, of the land, hold out so inany and so strong temptations to the lower classes ; and afford then such easy opportunities of indulging a propensity for drink ; that the health and the morals of the nation at large are in the utmost danger of being materially injured. But I pray you, my brethren, for the love of God, to resist these temptations which are spread around you; and not to fall into a sin, which, of all others; is most sure to ruin your health and character in this world, and to prevent the salvation of your souls in the next. Think, for a moment, on the condition to which you reduce yourselves, and all that are connected with you, by this destructive habit. The unwholsome mixtures that you swallow at the houses which you frequent, destroy your constitution; they sow the seeds of dreadful disease'; they bring you to an early old age ; and, too frequently, to premature death. They destroy also your success in life; they weaken your strength, and render you unfit for labour, and unequal to the support of your wives and children. They injure your families by swallowing up those earnings of your toil, which ought to be expended in the necessaries and comforts of your own home.
They debase your condition and character ås men ; for their intoxicating qualities change you, for a time, into the likeness of the beast that perisheth; sometimes rendering you savage, and violent, and mad; and at others, the objects of merriment or scorn. But above all, these de. structive and unwholsome mixtures ruin your immortal soul! they inflame the carnal part of
your nature, and lead you into the sins of uncleanness and indecency; they fire your temper, and occasion the language of oaths, and curses, and blasphemy; they make you forget God, neglect your church, and profane she sabbath; they occasion you to live without credit, comfort, or peace; to die in horror, distraction, or despair; and to go into another world with the certainty of everlasting perdition as the reward of your evil doings.
But, secondly, the history of CHRIST's temptation, and of his triumphs over the devil, teaches us also to resist the temptations to which we may be exposed in the common course of our lives, and in the pursuit of our callings. In many places of the scriptures, the devil is represented to us as the great enemy of mankind, ever on the watch to ruin men, and going constantly to and fro in the world, seeking whom he may
devour. He began his destructive attacks on man. kind by deceiving Adam and Eve, and bringing misery on them and their posterity; and he has continued his malice towards us through every age, and will continue it to the end of the world. The same scriptures, indeed, assure us, that he will be finally overa come and destroyed, by that Saviour who came into the world to free mankind from the dominion of sin, Satan, and hell; but, till the time of his utter destruction, he is