תמונות בעמוד

chat entertainment, is rendered very' uncom Serm. fortable ; fo is the knowledge of religious' XII. wisdom to the fincerely virtuous mind, and the righteous goes on bis way rejoicing, for * great peace have they who love God's law, nothing shall offend them. The f ways of wisdom are found to be ways of pleasantnefs, and all her paths are peace. They are a delightful object of the mind's contemplation; but when they are reduced to practice, and the life is regulated by them, it is accompanied with an uninterrupted series of flowing pleasures, a pure, a rational, and folid joy, which nothing else in the whole compass of human life and affairs can yield. Not only so, the principles of religion planted in the heart, and diffusing their influence thro the whole scheme of life, fet every thing about us in a fair and amiable light. To an uninlightened mind the world appears full of disorder ; puzling difficulties arise upon every subject it can turn its thoughts to, how to reconcile the appearances of nám ture to ruling intelligence, and the events of time, particularly in the condition of mankind, to a wife, a righteous, and good ad ministration: These are points too high for . U 2 *

the * Psal. cxix. 165. + Prov. iij. 17.

SER M. the natural man, as St. Paul calls him, that XII. is, the carnal, the vicious' man, to under

Itands and his ignorance renders the works of God joyless to him, nay, fills his mind with diftracting perplexity. But knowledge is easy to him that understandeth, as Solomon fpeaks; Proverbs. xiv. 6. pious sentiments deeply impress’d on the soul, and virtue be come its very temper, give such a sense of worth, and of excellence and wisdom, din the frame of nature still conducting its administration, that all these doubts vanish ; the world puts on a smiling countenance ; every thing in it appears lovely as the creatures of God, every event as his wife appointment; afflictions are gentle and easy chaftisements intended for good, death itself is Stripped of its terrors, and therefore amidst all the mazes of life, and the intricacies of providence in the whole of its government which is to us inexplicable, the mind conscious of integrity, and fatisfied from itfelf, enjoys its own existence, nay, in fome fenfe, enjoys all things with comfort; is well pleas'd with the world, as under the oeconomy of its heavenly father, who is in the wisest manner carrying on his own good On : : :

designs; Heligns';' and is eafy in the fituation he SERM. hath appointed for it. " 's m ort i XII. px Thirdly, The path of the just does not only shine clearly inwards, not only it is a luminous path in itself, it also sends light abroad, that is, communicates profitable inftruction to, and hath an useful influence on those who have the opportunity of obferv. ing it. Our Saviour recommends it to his apoftles, and the same in their measure and proportion, is also the duty of all his other followers, to let their * light shine before men, that they may see their good works,' and. glorify their father who is in heaven. That is, to make the fincerity and the power of virtuous principles, conspicuous in their exemplary converfations, that the attention of those who should see them, might be engaged to true religion, and they might by that means be induced to believe, to profess, and practise it, to the glory of God, in the advancement of his kingdom of righteousness, and peace over his intelligent creatures. Next to extraordinary divine interposition by meffengers commiffion'd from heaven to teach it, perhaps there is not any thing which has contributed so much to the preserving and ...... . · U 3. . pro

* Matt. v. 16.

STRM. propagating religion in the world, as the
XII. examples of good men ; and indeed they

have a plain natural tendency to this purpose,
not only by giving a just notion of that ext
cellent practical science or discipline, which
is better understood, and makes a stronger
impression when it is represented in life and
action, than by any description or abstract
reasoning; but farther, they fhew that rei
ligious virtue, as sublime as it is; yet is not
so far raised above the condition of frail
humanity, as to be quite impracticable it
our present state. When we hear of hardy
temperance, of humble and fervent devo
tion, of inflexible justice, and laborious cha
rity, we are apt to think these are beautiful
ideas indeed, but they go little farther than
the imagination, they do not enter into the
heart, nor animate our resolutions, but when
we see the same virtues actually practis'd bý
men of like paffions with ourselves, and who
are liable to the same temptations, the light
strikes us with greater force, and inspires
with a desire of imitation. Some rate in-
{tances there were of eminent virtue in the
heathen world, who cast a small glimmering
light into that region of darkness, at least,
if they made very few converts; they ob-


tained great reputation, and their names SPRM. have been handed down with honour sto XII. fucceeding generations: But the most fruit. fub feminary for propagating religious knowledge, has been the school of Christ; it is according to his own comparison, Matt. v. 44. a city feated on a hill, conspicuous from afar, and a candle not put under a bufkel, but in a candlestick, the most convenient Situation for spreading its light abroad. It is certain, christianity has produced the brightest patterns of extraordinary virtue, and the greatest number of them. After our great master himself, the true light of the world, whose character is absolutely without a parallel, and ever will be among mankind, many of his disciples form:d up on his model, were very illustrious examples of all goodness, by the innocence of their lives, their inviolable integrity, the purity and fimplicity of their manners, their heroic charity, and invincible: patience under fufferings, leaving strong convictions of a reality and excellence in religion, upon the minds of very corrupt men, even of their perfecuters; becoming likewise the fuccess. ful instruments of converting multitudes from the errors of their way; 3. Thus I Hate bD U 4


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