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Serm.imperfect, yet must be fincere; and in or=; XII, der to that universal, I shall now proceed to

consider the doctrine of the text, that this
path of the Juft, a life of holiness, filled
with the fruits of righteousness, mercy, and.
godliness, fo far as these virtues may be at-
tained in this world, nay, so far as they are
actually attained by every good man ; that
this, I say, is a fining light, which shineth
more and more unto the perfect day. The
expression immediately raises in our minds
the idea of excellent, regular, and lovely,
for all these characters are obviously ime
ported in shining light, fet in opposition to
darkness, which is naturally the image of
confusion and horror; but we must keep
- in our thoughts the nature of the fubject

to which the allusion is applied, it is a ram
tional, not a sensible light, a spiritual, not a
corporeal splendor. The first thing there-
fore which occurs, as imported in the figure,
is, that the way or the life of the just mo-
rally considered, comprehending his temper
and his conduct, the whole tenor of his de-
liberate designs, and the course of his ac-
tions, is a regular scheme formed according
to-one model, and under one uniform dia
rection :-One principle animates the whole,..

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one rule guides" all its movements, and one SERM.great end is constantly pursued in it. Light XII. shows every thing truly as it is; a man walking in it, sees his way and the end of it; 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; it is always the same unvarying guide, admirable for its fimplicity, 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 falvation of the soul, which is nothing else but what my text calls the perfect 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 righteousnefs, piety, temperance and charity, yet : not only the end is the same, 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 proceedş uniformly to its perfection; the divine nature, as St. Peter calls it, holds on its regular

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course,

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

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 juftly calls darkness ; vain thoughts, foolish and hurtful lufts, 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 passions are its unequal guide, by which the unhappy person under their power is furiously hurried not knowing whither, fometimes to the pursuit of tumultuous brutal pleasures, of perithing earthly riches, which moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; or of fading honours, ac

cording as the luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, or the pride of life, happen to have the ascendant; sometimes into imaginary fcenes of danger, and even into black deja pair, when distracting fear prevails, or the

forrow of tbe world, which worketh death; sometimes again into outragious madness, or meditated mischief, when wrath and revenge are predominant; and all these blind guides in their turns rule the way of the

wicked,

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swicked, which therefore is, according to SERM.
sanother elegant fcripture comparison, like XII.
the troubled *-fea that cannot reft, but is in
perpetual confufion, driven by the winds,
pand tossed. Our passions; especially when

ftrengthened by indulgence, and confirmed
by evil habits, bring the mind into an un-
Shappy state of ignorance, and leave the mò.
-ral conduct under no proper direction; which
cour-faviour, i agreeably to the figure in my

texty excellently represents by the allusion of an evil eye, Matthew vi. 22, 23. The - light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine sege be fingle, thy whole body shall be full of Light : But if thine eye be evil, thy whole i body fall be full of darkness ; if therefore

the light that is in thee be- darkness, hower great is that darkness ! As the vitiated organ of fight is dangerous to the body, leaving a sman without any just direction how to walk

fafely, and to Thun snares and precipices, To - the judgment of the mind concerning moral • differences, or whatever is - necessary and of

the utmoit importance to human happiness, :being corrupted and milled by lust and-par- fion, is in deplorable darkness; not knowing bi Vol. 1.

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Isaiah Ivii. 20.

SERM.at all how to guide its way, or how to escape XII. its ruin, as Solomon says in the place already, .

referred to, verse 19; of this chapter; the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble. And elsewhere, the * prus dent man foreseeth evil and bideth himself, but the simple pass on and are punished. They precipitate themselves into destruction, not discerning, or not determined by the moft obvious truths concerning the neceffary unalterable distinction of moral good and evil, and the most certain opposite consequences of them, happiness and misery; fo infatuated? are they by their vices, and hardened thro! the deceitfulness of fin.

SP500 Secondly, As the path of the just Thines! with intellectual light, illuminated with knowledge, and conducted with wisdom, and therefore a consistent regular scheme so it is accompanied with inward serenity and satisfaction. Solomon observes, Ecclefia aftes xi. 7. That truly the light is fweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to bebold the fun. It is not only itself a very agreeable object, but it shows us the beauties of the world about us, and human life deprivid of

that

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