« הקודםהמשך »
Serm. imperfect, yet must be fincerej and in or. Xll.. det to that universal, I shall now proceed to
consider the doctrine of the texty 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 atst tained in this world, nay, so far as they are actually attained by every good man; that this, I say, is a shining light, which shinethis more and more unto the perfect day. The expreffion immediately raises in our minds i the idea of excellent, regular, and lovely, for all thefe 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
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: fame unvarying guide, admirable for its fimplicity, without a mixture of interfering counsels, without a diverfity of inconsistent views; it leads us on to the one end of faith and of all religion, the falvation of the foul, which is nothing else but what my text calls the perfeet 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 fame, 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 . ?!
SERM.course, having all the active powers of the XII. 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 fuçiously hurried not knowing whither, fometimes to the pursuit of tumultuous brutal pleasures, of perishing earthly riches, which moth and ruft corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; or of fading honours, according as the luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, or the pride of life, happen to have the ascendant; sometimes into imaginary scenes of danger, and even into black desa pair, when distracting fear prevails, or the forrow of the 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 sslicked, which therefore is, according toSerM. sanother elegant scripture comparison, like XII. the troubled * fea that cannot rest, but is in perpetual confufion, driven by the winds, pand tossed. Our paflions; especially when
Strengthened by indulgence, and confirmed by evil habits, bring the mind into an unShappy state of ignorance, and leave the mo-ral conduct under no proper direction; which cour-faviour, agreeably to the figure in my
texty excellently represents by the allusion cof an evil eye, Matthew vi. 22, 23. The - light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine nege be fingle, thy whole body shall be full of Llight : But if thine eye be evil, thy whole ebody hall be full of darkness : if therefore
the light that is in thee be darknefs, hower -great is that darkness 1. As the vitiated organ
of fight is dangerous to the body, leaving a oman without any just direction how to walk
fafely, and to Thun snares and precipices, To - the judgment of the mind concerning moral - differences, of whatever is neceffary and of
the utmoit importance to human happiness, being corrupted and milled by lust and paf- Sion, is in deplorable darkness, not knowing banyol:I.Dom.
U od 13
SERM.at all how to guide its way, or hom 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 ftumble. And elsewhere, the * prvi dent man foreseeth evil and bidethe himself, but the simple pass on and are punished. They precipitate themselves into destruction, not difcerning, or not determined by the moft obvious truths concerning the neceffáry uno alterable distinction of moral good and evils and the most certain opposite consequences of them, happiness and misery; tfo infatuated are they by their vices, and hardened thro! the deceitfulness of fin. ho also no
Secondly, As the path of the just Thinost 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 ajtes xi. 7. That truly the light is tweets and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to bebold the fun. It is not only itself a very agreeable object, but it chows us the beauties of the world about us, and human life depriv'd of