Imatges de pÓgina
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IX.

less we are apt to think of God and Heaven; SERM. it is melancholy that it should be so, but so it is. And all this, no doubt, the Apostle had expressly in view when he wrote the Epistle we are discoursing upon; for, a little beyond my text (the whole has been read to you in the second lesson of this evening's service *) he observes, properly enough, that they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into

many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition;" so that it is clear, that prosperity may be no gain; yet, food and raiment are held to be necessary; and these never were to be obtained without some toil and industry, even in ages the most wild and uncivilized. Indeed the same Apostle, in other places, expressly recommends industry: he even goes so far, in one of his Epistles, as to say, if any provide not for * bis own, and especially for those of his own household, be bath denied the faith, " and is worse than any infidel ;' and in

* November 17,

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IX.

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SERM. another place he expressly lays it down, as

a general rule of life,
work neither should be eat.Content-
ment then, is not required of us, so strictly
according to the precise meaning of the
word, as if we were to remain indolently
indifferent to the affairs and businesses of
life; but that, engaging in them with a
proper spirit of godliness, we should set
ourselves above the common chances and
casualties of such concerns, relying solely
upon Providence to prosper our endea-
vours, and willing to wait even till another
life, if here below success should not an-
swer our expectations.

Certainly it would seem, that by the providence of God, this world was meant to be full of hazards and difficulties, in order, no doubt, both to convince men that there would be another state of things, and to direct their views accordingly ; so that a considerate man might well discover, that in regard to real happiness, our greatest losses here might lead to great gain hereafter. St. Paul, himself, learnt

IX.

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this great lesson in the school of Christ ; SERM. there alone indeed it is to be learnt, We have his own declarations upon this head, couched in terms the most plain and intelligible;

I have learnt,” says he, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content: I know both how to be abased ç and how to abound: every where, and " in all things, I am instructed both to be

full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all thing's

through Christ who strengtheneth me.What Christianity did enable St. Paul to go through, stands upon record; he made no vain boasting; he rather indeed suffered only the worst extreme; he was abased, but never did abound; he was often hungry, seldom full; many times and oft did he suffer need, but riches and abundance not once fell to his lot: yet, to the day of his death, he remained faithful to his Lord and Saviour, and left instructions behind him, to excite the same fervor in others. None of these are more earnest and expressive than what accompany my text; some I

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SERM. have already repeated, but there are others
ix. worthy our especial attention. 6 The love

“ of money,” says the Apostle (he might
have said at once the love of all worldly
pleasures) “ is the root of all evil: which,
“ while some have coveted after, they have
“ erred from the faith, and pierced them-
“ selves through with many sorrows. But
“ thou, O man of God, flee these things,
6 and follow after righteousness, godliness,
“ faith, love, patience, meekness.” But
granting that riches may be accumulated
by fair and upright measures, still looking
upon them' rather as a snare than any po-
sitive and lasting gain, he thus forewarns
the prosperous and wealthy : Charge
“ them that are rich in this world, that

they be not high-minded, nor trust
“ in uncertain riches, but in the Living
“ God, who giveth us richly all things to

enjoy ; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute,

willing to communicate; laying up in “ store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may

lay

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IX.

lay hold on eternal life.” Could any SERM. language better serve to set before us our true and real interest? It is not here we are to look for gain ; What is a man

profited,saith our blessed Saviour himself, if be gain the whole world, and lose * bis own soul?" But the soul is endangered by ungodliness, and discontent is a main branch of it. We are to look to another world for real gain, even so entirely as to account death itself a gain, merely as removing us from the uncertainties of this life, to the hopes of eternal happiness through Christ. In short, the precept itself is one of those, so clear, as scarce to require argument, and yet so capable of proof as to admit of being set in a thousand different lights. But lest all other appeals should fail, the Apostle seems to have worded it so, as even to take advantage of our very foibles; for the hope of gain is a most predominant passion, we all wish for more in some way or other; more wealth or more honor; more health or more ease; more certainty and more security for all we do enjoy. Now the gain which god

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