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SERM. liness with Contentment may be said to
lead to, embraces all these things: the treasures of Heaven, which they will open to us, are inexhaustible; the glories of Heaven transcending all that we can fancy or conceive. Sickness hath no place there, neither sorrow, nor pain ; and all that we may attain to, in the realms above, so far from being transitory and perishable, like the pleasures of this life, shall, like the word of God, by which they are promised to us, endure for ever and ever,
“ Set your affections, then, on things “ above, not on things on the earth !” Do not withdraw yourselves from the honest labours of life; the state of society does not admit of it, nor does Christianity require it; but consider and reflect, even in the midst of your busiest occupations, that in comparison with the hopes and expectations of the life to come, they are really trifles light as air. It is granted you, to use the things of this world freely, provided you are careful not to abuse them to the loss and destruction of your souls: some
things God himself has ordained to be in- SERM. dispensable e cessaries of life, and he has appointed labour and industry to be the means of acquiring them ; but even these are left still dependent on the especial bounty and providence of God, for without his favour, labour may fail of its end, and industry be unproductive; there is ever a previous step to be taken, which we shall all do well to think of, and meditate upon, ere we engage in any worldly pursuits whatsoever: if the objects we have in view are really necessary, we must needs grant that our Heavenly Father must know that we have need of such things; and in all cases of this nature our Lord himself has taught us how to act : " Seek ye first,” says he, “ the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, “ and all these things shall be added unto
you.” May. this, then, be the guide of all our actions, the governing principle of all our undertakings! it is a pledge of prosperity and success which cannot fail, for it rests on the sure word of God. It is, indeed, the only infallible pledge of any man's prosperity; the only clue, which,
SERM. leading upward to the joys of Heaven, will IX. finally enable us to surmount the troubles
and disquietudes, the cares and pains, the wants and distresses, the accidents and losses of this mortal life!
SER MON X.
PROVERBS XVI. 31.
ON OLD AGE.
The boary bead is a crown of glory, if it be
found in the way of righteousness. THE hoary head, as here applied, is a serm. very obvious figure of speech, and must needs express the man full of years, on whom time and age have wrought that outward change of person, which commonly takes place as we advance towards the limits of human life.
Old age has generally been allowed to have a natural claim to honor and respect. Nor is the reason of this difficult to discover; for as human knowledge is progressive, it is plain that the older a man is, the wiser we may expect him to be, and the wiser the better ; for wisdom is one of those things
SERM. which must be judged by its fruits. All is
not wisdom that men are disposed to call so. Cunning and craft, buffoonery and wit, are often in their effects the very contrary of wisdom. Neither can knowledge of itself be said to constitute wisdom, for men may acquire great knowledge without having one grain of real wisdom. If a man know many difficult arts, or understand the whole circle of sciences, yet if he has not a competent idea of his own nature as a dependent being, or has not learnt so to provide for the chances of another life, as to have more to hope than to fear, such knowledge will be of no real service to himself be
compass of a few years ; nor will it entitle him to any more honor or respect than is due to any other man who may be in his particular calling, let that be what it will, equally attentive, diligent, and industrious. The wisdom, therefore, that procures respect to age, is the wisdom and knowledge collected from a large and long experience of human life. Wisdom, founded on a discovery of the fleeting and