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Serm, imperfect, yet must be sincere; and in orXII, dp/ to that universal, I shall now proceed to consider the doctrine of the texVthat this path of the Just, a life of holiness, filled with the fruits of righteousness, mercy, and. godliness, so far as these virtues may be attained in this world, nay, so far as they are actually attained by every good man; that} this, I fay, is a Jhining light, which Jhineth more and more unto the perfect day. The expression immediately raises in our minds the idea of excellent, regular, and loveijk;; for all these characters are obviously imr> ported in shining light, set in opposition-tn • darkness, which is naturally the image of confusion and horror; but we must keep in our thoughts the nature of the subject to which the allusion is applied, it is a rational, not a sensible light, a spiritual, not a corporeal splendor. The first thing therefore which occurs, as imported in the figure, is, that the way or the life of the just morally considered, comprehending his temper and his conduct, the whole tenor of his deliberate designs, and the course of his actions, is a regular scheme formed according to one model, and under one uniform direction: One principle animates the whole,.

one

one rule guides all its movements, and oneSfcRM. great end is constantly pursued in it. Light XII. shows every thing truly as it is ^ a rMftVJr*v walking in it, fees his way and the end of it j he is enabled to pursue his aim steadily, keeping it always in view; he knows how to choose his steps without turning aside, and to avoid dangers: Like this is the principle of virtue in the heart directing the conversation j it is always the . fame unvarying guide, admirable for its simplicity, without a mixture of interfering counsels, without a diversity of inconsistent views; it leads us on to the one end of faith and of all religion, the salvation of the soul, which is nothing else but what my text calls the perfeft day, or the perfection of virtue itself. Whatever diversity there is in the way, that is, in the practice of religion, as it has been described, containing righteousness, piety, temperance and charity, yet not only the end is the fame, but the spring of action, the one principle of faith working by love, the love of God and of mankind.. Under the influence of this great animating spring, the good work of God proceeds uniformly to its perfection; the divine nature, as St. Peter -calls it, holds on its regulac. Vvj 4 course,

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Serm. course, having all the active powers of the XII. human nature in subjection to it, with the

L~' "v"m_,,full consent of approving reason, and applauding conscience, the candle of the Lord* But how unlike this is the way of the wicked, which Solomon justly calls darkness; vain thoughts, foolish and hurtful lusts, blinding the understanding and corrupting the heart, produce nothing but wild disorder. No one end is steadily pursued, no governing principle adhered to; but jarring paflions are its unequal guide, by which the unhappy person under their power is furiously hurried not knowing whither, some, times to the pursuit of tumultuous brutal pleasures, of perishing earthly riches, which moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and stealj or of fading honours, according as the lust of the jlejh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life, happen to have the ascendant; sometimes into imaginary scenes of danger, and even into black despair, when distracting fear prevails, or the sorrow of the world, which worketb death; . sometimes again into outragious madness, or meditated mischief, when wrath and reavenge are predominant j and all these blind guides in their turns rule the way of the

wicked,

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wicked, whidi- therefore" is, according- toS Ekm. ^another elegant scripture comparison}1

.the troubled* Jca that cannot reft, but

pvrpetual confusion, driven by the winds, ?&nd toffed. Our pafiions, especially when . strengthened by indulgence, and confirmed

.by evil habits, bring the mind into an un:zhappy state of ignorance, and leave the mo*

- ral conduct under no proper direction; which :our saviour, agreeably to the figure in my rtextj excellently represents by the allusion Jol an evil eye, Matthew vi. 22, 23. The

- light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine -eye be .single, thy whole body Jhall be full of Jight: But if thine eye be evil, thy whole i bedy Jhall be full of darkness j if therefore >tbe light that is in thee be darkness, how -great is that darkness! As the vitiated organ "\pf. fight is dangerous to the body, leaving a rman without any just direction how to Walk \fefely, and to sliun snares and precipices, so

- the judgment of the mind concerning moral i differences, or whatever is neceflary and of

the utmost importance to human happiness, -. being corrupted and milled by lust and pas-iion,- is in deplorable darkness, not knowing b*iY6*tV,- w- U . y*\x

* Iiaiaii hm, 20

ERM.nt,aU-how to guide-its way, Wtb&fafatf&Qto XII. its ^un, as Solomon-.fays in thejpl^ce alreadyi r"X^j-efcrred to, verse 19* of this chapter i the wo? of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble. And elsewhere, the*frudent man forefeeth evil and hideth himself; but the simple pass on and are punistjed. They" precipitate themselves into destruction, not> discerning, or not determined by the most obvious truths concerning the neceflary unalterable distinction of moral good andeVii,and the most certain opposite œnsequersCe&; of them, happiness and misery; so infatuated^ are they by their vices, and hardened thtcPthe deceitfulness of sin. ;\ *o glsqoKO

. Secondly, As the path of the just sliuW with intellectual light, illuminated witrr knowledge, and conducted with wisdony and therefore a consistent regular scheme;' so it is accompanied with inward serenity a-nd satisfaction. Solomon observes, Ecclefi*: q/les xi. 7. That truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thi?ig it is for the eyes to behold' the fun. It is not only itself a very agreeable object, but it (hows us the beauties of the wotld about us, and human life depriv'd of v'l r.A;-. ... ".•-- • -T .r.?:urfQ&

ii* * Prw. xxii. 3.

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