Imatges de pÓgina
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SERM. to us, to put ourselves on our guard in

every way possible, and to arm ourselves against all fortuitous circumstances, by every method that may be in our power.

IV.

But the misfortune is, that as many deviate in their search after happiness, some pursuing it by crooked paths and by-ways, some seeking to compass it by sinister means, and some building their expectations of it on treacherous ground; so many err in the means of security they are disposed to adopt; some rest on feeble and tottering supports, some rely on friends that fail them, some even mistake the very instruments of their destruction, for weapons of defence! Thus, as the holy Psalmist remarked of the ages that are passed, and foretold of the ages to come, There are some that put their trust in their

goods, and boast themselves in the multitude

of tbeir riches *." Some « put their trust": in vainer thing's still, 'in chariots and hi borses of;" some in the self-sufficiency of

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IV.

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their wicked hearts impiously oppose them- SERM.
selves to the Almighty himself. For the

ungodly is so proud that he careth not for
God; neither is God in all his thoughts ; be
says

in his beart, I shall never be cast down;
there shall no harm happen unto me*.To
enumerate but these few of the many
errors men run into on this score (but
these, indeed, the most fatal and destruc-
tive), we may still trace in all, the in-
fluence of the two prevailing principles
above alluded to. For their desires of hap-
piness these men think abundantly pro-
vided for by false pleasures and vain de-
lights, while their dread of evil is lulled
to rest, and they repose in a temporary
slumber of security, unaware, or not con-
sidering, that their “riches” may make
to themselves wings, and flee away;" una-
ware, that “ when they die they shall carry

nothing away with them, neither will their

pomp follow them;" unaware, that “ destruction and unbappiness are before them;" that in the midst of their irrational and

* Ps. x. 4.6.

impious

SERM. impious career, the Lord may arise to

scatter his enemies,disappoint their vain projects, and cast them down for ever!

IV.

If then there be, in the whole compass of religious or political maxims, any infallible method of security to be discovered, applicable to all our transactions, and expedient in all our pursuits, as it would be madness in the extreme not to govern ourselves by it when understood, so would it be inhumanity in the extreme not to point it out to those who may be unhappily ignorant of it. Such a maxim, the words of my text seem indisputably to amount to; for," who is be that will barm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" Of the several evils of life, these words indeed seem principally to have regard to such as we have to fear from the rest of mankind; from the malevolence of such as may be our enemies among our fellow creatures: and in this light it will be the purpose of this discourse, chiefly, to consider them. Yet it might be easily shewn, that to follow that wbich is good;" would

be

be a main preservative against even the sERM. calamities that occur in the course of nature; for, besides that the good are always under the especial protection of God, the practice of virtue conduces eminently to the comfort of life, fortifying the body against physical evils by temperance and moderation, and securing our peace of mind by subduing all irregular passions, and directing our affections to objects deserving of them. But these points depend entirely on man's own management; and such is the wise order of Providence, that the evils commonly point out the remedies, though the perverseness of many lead them so lamentably to neglect the very means of their own cure. But, in guarding purselves against the evils which the enmity of mankind may bring upon us, caution is to be taken, as well to counteract the bad disposition of others, as to correct our own. In many ways are we exposed to sore hurt and injury : we may be assaulted by the violent, deceived by the crafty, traduced by the slanderer, or borne down by the oppressor ; against these at

IV.

tacks,

IV.

SERM. tacks, all physical advantages may be vain ;

our strength may fail us to combat the violent, and our wit and wisdom to baffle the deceiver. Where then shall we turn for security? The text informs us—follow " that which is good;" for, as one of the wisest men that ever was, or will be, has also observed, He that walketh uprightly walketh

surely.That both these maxims bear with them an authority that will easily gain them credit in the assembly I am addressing, I shall readily believe; yet, as it is for ever pleasing to see how consonant to the reason of things, all the moral maxims of our holy religion are, it may not be any waste of time to compare this divine aphorism, with the present situation, the hopes, and expectations of human nature. The words of my text, as read to you, both at the head of this discourse, and in the epistle of the day*, run thus: “ For 46 who is be that will harm you, if ye lowers of that which is good ?" That is, who is it that will have an inclination or

be fol

* Fifth Sunday after Trinity.

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