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that entertainment, is rendered very uncom-SERM.
great peace have they who love God's laws
SER M. the natural man, as St. Paul calls him, that XII. is, the carnal, the vicious' man, to under
Stands and his ignorance renders the works of God joyless to him, nay, fills his mind with distracting 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 ben come its very temper, give such a sense of worth, and of excellence and wisdom, in the frame of nature still conducting its ad ministration, 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 appoint: ment; afflictions are gentle and easy chaltisements 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 inexplicables the mind conscious of integrity, and fatisfied from itself, 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
designs; ' and is easy in the fituation he SERM. hath appointed for it.
7ort XII. Thirdly, The path of the just does not only shine clearly inwards, not only it is a luminous path in itself, it also fends light abroad, that is, communicates profitable inftruction to, and hath an useful influence on those who have the opportunity of observa ing it. Our Saviour recommends it to his apostles, and the same in their measure and proportion, is also the duty of all his other followers, to let their: * light shine before mer, 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 vira tuous principles, conspicuous in their exemplary converfations, that the attention of those who should see them, might beengaged 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 commission'd from heaven to teach it, perhaps there is not any thing which has contributed so much to the preserving and
proMatt, 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 ex 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 seasoning; but farther, they shew that reb 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 devotion, of inflexible justice, and laborious chai 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 rare instances there were of eininent 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.