תמונות בעמוד

world are but duskish and feeting shadows; an honor most solid, most durable ; an eternal weight of glory.' They shall, in the face of all the world, be approved by the most righteous Judge's unquestionable sentence; they shall be esteemed in the unanimous opinion of angels and saints ; they shall be applauded by the general voice and attestation of heaven; they shall then be seated on unmoveable thrones, their heads encircled with unfading crowns, their faces shining with rays of unconceivable glory and majesty. The less of honor they have received here in this transitory moment of life, the more thereof they shall enjoy in that future eternal state; where, with him who, through the whole course of his life, ‘sought not his own honor, but the honor of him that sent him;' who,' for the suffering of death, was crowned with glory and honor ;' who, ' for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set at the right hand of God ;' with those who consecrated all their endeavors, and who sacrificed their lives to the promoting of God's honor, they shall possess everlasting glory. Which, together with them, God Almighty of his infinite mercy grant unto us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom, with God the Pather, and God the Holy Ghost, be for ever all honor and praise. Amen.



The heads of men are generally very busy in contrivance, and their mouths are full of talk about consulting their safety or securing their interests. We might presume therefore that any infallible maxim of policy, which proposed the most expedite and certain method of security in all our transactions, would be entertained with acceptance. Such an one does the greatest politician and wisest of men here suggest to us. He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely. In the explication of this aphorism, the practice itself is first briefly described : next some considerations are proposed to show that security does attend it.

To walk, as well in holy Scripture as in other writings, signifies our usual course of dealing, or the constant tenor of our practice. Uprightly, according to the original, might be rendered in perfection, or with integrity; and by the Greek translators is in several places supposed chiefly to denote sincerity and purity of intention. In effect, the phrase, he that walketh uprightly, imports one who is constantly disposed in his designs and dealings to regard the rules of his duty and the dictates of his conscience, in conformity to sound reason and God's law : this point enlarged on.

That such a person proceeds ever with security, may appear from the following considerations.

I. An upright walker is secure of easily finding his way; since it requires no great reach of wit or depth of judgment, no laborious diligence of inquiry, to discern in any case what is

just. The ways of iniquity and vanity shown to be difficult and perplexing; but those of truth so simple, uniform, and clear, that we can hardly miss or swerve from them : these points enlarged on and illustrated from Scripture.

II. The upright walker treads on firm ground. He builds not his practice on the perilous bogs, treacherous quagmires, and devouring quicksands of bold and impious paradoxes, (like those invented by Epicurus, Machiavel, and others whose names are too well known, as the effects of their pestilent notions are too much felt,) but on solid, safe, and well tried principles : these enumerated and explained.

III. The upright person walks steadily, maintaining his principal resolutions, and holding his main course, through all occasions, without wavering or tickleness; his integrity being an excellent ballast against the waves of temptation. Lust, passion, humor, interest, are things very mutable, as depending on temper of body, casualties of time, winds and tides of this vertiginous world : whence he that is guided by them must needs be many.minded, and unstable in all his ways : but a good conscience is steady and remains so through all circumstances of time, and in all vicissitudes of fortune, &c.

IV. The way of uprightness is the surest for dispatch, and the shortest cut towards the attainment or execution of any good purpose ; securing a man from irksome expectations and tedious delays. It is in Scripture called the strait and plain way. As in geometry, of all lines or surfaces contained within the same bounds, the straight line and the plain surface are the shortest; so is it also in morality: this topic enlarged on.

V. The way of uprightness is in itself very safe, free from danger, tending to no mischief; according to the saying of the wise man, there shall no evil happen to the just. He that designeth only what is just and reasonable will probably not receive much trouble from the world : he may be sure that few

wise men, and no good men, will annoy him, but will rather afford countenance to his undertakings. He will assuredly have the favorable protection of Almighty God; and whatever the success of his undertakings may be, the sequel will be tolerable; for his conscience will be safe, his credit intire, and his hopes good, &c.

VI. The way of uprightness is fair and pleasant : a hopeful confidence and a cheerful satisfaction ever wait on him that walketh in it: this topic fully treated; showing how true it is on all accounts, that, according to the psalmist's assertion, light is sown for the righteous, and joyful gladness for the upright in heart.

VII. He that walketh uprightly is secure as to his honor and credit: by pure integrity a man first maintains a due respect and esteem for himself, and then preserves an intire reputation with others : he reflects on his own heart with complacency, and looks on the world with confidence. The issue of all his dealings will assuredly be creditable to him ; for God himself will be concerned to vindicate his reputation. If he finds good success, it will not occasion envy; if he seems disappointed, he will not be disparaged.

VIII. The particular methods of acting to which uprightness disposes us, yield great security from troubles and crosses. The conduct which the upright man observes in his transactions with the world fully stated : this shown to be the most secure possible, affording him many great advantages, exempting him from manifold fears and cares and crosses.

IX. An upright walker bath perfect security, as to the final result of affairs, that he shall not be quite baffled in his expectations and desires. If prosperity consists in a satisfaction of mind concerning events, he cannot fail of it. Whatsoever he doeth, says the psalmist of him, it shall prosper: this explained. He cannot be much defeated in his purposes, for his principal designs being to please God and procure his favor,

to benefit his neighbor and do good to his own soul, they cannot fail of accomplishment. To a person so disposed, that success which seems most adverse, may often be reputed the most happy, as producing ends incomparably more excellent than any worldly gain. If this does not satisfy grosser apprehensions, it may

be added that even in these meaner concerns Almighty God is pleased commonly to reward and encourage upright persons by the best success; having as it were an inclination to gratify those who desire to please him. As the psalmist expresses it, he hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servants.

X. In conclusion ; it is an infinite advantage of upright dealing, that at the last issue, when all things shall be most accurately tried and impartially decided, a man is sure to be fully justified in it, and plentifully rewarded for it. As then all the deceits which now pass under specious masks, shall be laid bare, all contrivers of mischief or practisers of guile shall be exposed to shame and lie down in sorrow ; so then the righteous man shall stand in great boldness; his case shall be cleared from all slanderous aspersions; what he hath done shall be approved; what he hath suffered shall be repaired : for in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, every man's work shall be made manifest.

« הקודםהמשך »