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"s out the way to Felicity to us?” We Ser M. must answer in the Psalmist's Words, VII. LORD, lift THOU up the Light of thy Countenance upon us.
What is Happiness but the Employment of the Faculties of our Souls upon suitable Objects? How great then must our Hope, how delightful our Prospect, or rather Anticipation of Happiness be, when our Underslandings are employed, and we are assured they ever shall be employed) in contemplating Him, who is infinite Truth; and our Affections in loving Him who is infinite Goodness! What a rational Scheme of Bliss have the Scriptures therefore marked out to us, when they tell us that, as to our Wills and Affections, Whom have we in Heaven but GOD? and there is none upon Earth that we fould desire in Comparison with GOD. In Comparison, the Pfalmist says, to intimate that we may love other Things fulordinately to Him.
Our Flesh and our Heart may fail; but GOD is the Strength of our Heart, and our Portion for ever. And, in other Places, that we shall be filled with all the Fulness of GOD; and that we fall drink of His Pleasures as out of a River. And then, as to our Underftandings, that we shall know as we ourselves are known ; that in GOD's Light we shall fee Light; and that we shall jee Him es He js. And how greatly (too greatly for our
Serm. present far unequal Conceptions) will the VIII. Understanding be enlightened, when GOD
shall shine forth immediately upon it, in the Fulness of His Glory, when we shall be as conscious of His enlivening Presence as we are of our own Existence; as fenfible of His unerring Approbation, as we are of the Teftimony of our own Consciences !
O blessed State, when I shall bebold Face to Face, or have a direct View of, what is infinitely lovely! love what I behold! and be made happy in the Enjoyment of what I love! the First and best of Beings; great and marvellous in His Works ; just and righteous in His Ways; but infinite and incomprehensible in His Nature!
GOD hath styled himself Light : And as the whole material Creation would be involved in one black, horrid, and uncomfortable Gloom, if Light did not enliven it with it's Smiles, and beautify it with a rich Variety of Colours; so would the fpiritual Creation live in an Eternal Blackness of Darkness, did not GOD lift up the Light of His Countenance upon it; brightening it with the Beams of His Truth, and chearing it with the Influence of His Favour.
In short, and to conclude ; Earthly Objects may indeed swell and puff up the Soul with unsubstantial Bliss; but Nothing can fill up every Void in the Mind, and satisfy
the whole Compass of our Desires with the Serm.
First and best of Beings! before whom
upon Us, who have made ourselves yet lower by our manifold Sins and Transgressions. Imprint this Truth deep in Proportion to it's Value
- Man's fickly distempered Soul, though it should for ever turn and shift from Side to Side in Search of Quiet, can rest in nothing but Thee, it's Pillar and Support here, in full Trust of the Fulness of Joy hereafter.
SER MON IX.
The Duty of honouring the King
founded on the Fear of GOD.
I PET. ii. 17.
Fear GOD. Honour the King.
N the following Discourse I shall shew,
Ist, How far these two Precepts delivered in the Text are connected.
Ildly, I shall endeavour to enforce Obedience to the King. And then,
IIIdly, Make some Reflexions suitable to the present Solemnity.
These two Precepts, however distinct and independent they may seem, have yet a close and inseparable Alliance. And indeed every Duty, whether of a Subject to his King, or of any one Man to another, must ultimately be resolved into the Will of GOD, into a Principle of Obedience
to Him. This is the Basis of Morality Sarm. according to Scripture. The Love of GOD is there called the first and great Commandment, from which all the rest are deduced. We are commanded to be Holy because GOD is Holy. Whatsoever we do, we are to do it beartily, ' as unto the LORD, not unto Man.
I grant that Things are not merely and solely good because GOD has commanded them, but that he has commanded them because they are good ; and therefore there is a Fitness in Things antecedent to GOD's Command. What inclines GOD to command fuch Things is their natural Fitness, i. e. their Tendency to promote either the common Good, or our own: But what makes our Observance of them morally good is our chusing to act in Obedience to His Command. Set aside the Will of GOD, who will reward and punish us as we have done well or ill, and moral Virtue will only be fomething occasional; to be observed or neglected as it falls in with, or crosses, our favourite Interests ; but it will never be a fixed, invariable Rule of Action upon all Occasions and Emergencies, that is, it will not be Virtue. For Virtue must be fomething fixed, and indispensable, and universally obligatory.
If the Will and Sanctions of GOD, and a future State, were left out of the Question,