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that entertainment, is rendered very uncom-SERM.
fortable ; fo is the knowledge of religious" XII
wisdom to the sincerely virtuous mind, and
the righteous goes on his way rejoicing; for

great peace have they who love God's laws
nothing Mall offend them. The + ways of
wisdom are found to be ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace. They are a
delightful object of the mind's contemplati-
on; but when they are reduced to practice,
and the life is regulated by them, it is ac-
companied 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 plant-
ed in the heart, and diffusing their influence
thre' the whole scheme of life, fet every
thing about us in a fair and amiable light.
To an uninlightened mind the world ap-
pears full of disorder ; puzling difficulties
arise upon every subject it can turn its thoughts
to, how to reconcile the appearances of na-
ture to ruling intelligence, and the events of
time, particularly in the condition of man-
kind, to a wise, a righteous, and good ad
ministration: These are points too high for

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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

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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

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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

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tained great reputation, and their names SPRM.
have been handed down with honour to XII.
fucceeding generations: But the most fruită
fub feminary for propagating religious know-
ledge, has been the school of Chrift; it is
according to his own comparison, Matt, vi
64. 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
persecuters; becoming likewise the fuccess-
ful inftruments of converting multitudes
from the errors of their way, .Thus I have

Thown

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