Imatges de pÓgina


necessity. Of gloom, if our sins and iniqui- SERM. ties preceding have been so enormous and inexcusable, that we may justly fear to approach the presence of our Maker. Of labour, if we have made no efforts previously, as we should have done, to work out our own salvation. This must be done some time, and never suitably with- , out great fear and trembling;" arising from a due and proper sense of our own manifold infirmities, and God's supreme perfections. And a day of sorrow, too, ought it to be, as far as we have sins to be ashamed of, and the forfeited favor of our blessed Saviour to recover by repentance. But never need it be a day of gloom, or of much labour or sorrow, to the upright and religious man.

Pleased to come into the

presence of his God, he approaches his temple, with songs of praise, and hymns of joy. With true and sincere repentance, he' makes confession of his sins, and glories in being set free from the weight and burthen of them. The hours be devotes to retirement are not passed in any way gloomy to himself, however it may be




SERM. thought otherwise by the unfeeling and

inconsiderate. For, to a mind of a sober
and rational turn, meditation on the word
of God, or contemplation of his works, are
equally productive of the most glorious
hopes and most exalted pleasures; hopes
and pleasures, founded on a rock, which
will not fade and perish, even when the
globe which we inhabit shall be broken up
and dissolved. These pursuits being thought
gloomy by the gay and dissipated, does not
make them so. To those who have more
reason to be alarmed at the threats, than
encouraged by the hopes, of the Gospel, it
may be gloomy to turn to the word of God.
But the gloom is in their own minds:-
.For wickedness, condemned by her own
witness, is very timorous; and, being

pressed with conscience, always forecasteth

grievous things*." It is to be feared, without speaking too harshly, that it is only their folly and want of considération that can make them think themselves gay and happy: for those capable of sober


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* Wisdom xvii. 11.




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thought and retired meditation are the SERM.
truly happy; those whom the study of the
word of God has raised above the frivolous
amusements and distracting cares of this
mortal life. We may judge of the satis-
faction accruing to an upright man from
the study of God's word, by the value put
upon it by the wise King of Israel, if the
Book of Wisdom may


how referred
to him. He knew the worth of worldly
things also, for with them he particularly
compares the delight arising from reli-
gious knowledge. I preferred ber before

sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches
nothing in comparison of her: neither com-
pared I unto ber any precious stone; be-

cause all gold, in respect of her, is, as a
little sand, and silver shall be counted as

clay before her. I loved her above health
and beauty, and chose to have her instead of

light. For the light that cometh from her
never goeth out. All good things together

came to me with her, and innumerable riches
in ber hands. And I rejoiced in them all,
because wisdom goeth before them, and I
knew not that she was the mother of them.'


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SERM. He knew not till he tried; and the event

would be the same, if we could provoke others to the same trial. Religious meditation is not necessarily gloomy: how should it be so? Is it not true, what the Apostle asserts, that “ godliness is profit" able unto all things, baving promise of the

life that now is, and of that which is to 66. come.

Gaiety and dissipation have no such advantages. They can interest only for a very short portion of the life that now is; of that which is to come, they can give us no assurance. Yet one is but a vapour, so soon passeth it away, and it is gone; the other will endure for ever. The one has few pleasures unmixed with pain; the other may abound in pleasures for evermore, as free from sorrow as from death. I shall say nothing of the contemplation of God's works, another suitable employment for the Lord's day; because this must depend, in some degree, upon taste, and, in some degree, upon capacity; and those are as much to be pitied as censured, who are indisposed to study the mighty works of God. His word it is




our indispensable duty to search into, and ŞERM. meditate upon: his works, no further, unless particularly led thereto, than to know that they are his, and that in wisdom he has made them all. But the Lord's day may be properly hallowed and sanctified, though much of it is given up to social inter

Provided our duty to God is not neglected, or postponed improperly, we cannot perhaps hallow the Lord's day more worthily, than by manifesting our love towards our neighbour, by indulging in all those charities of social life, which the several relations in which we stand to our fellow-creatures point out. But it is melancholy to think how times are altered in this respect: formerly, every man was best pleased to pass the sabbath in the bosom of his own family; it was a day that peculiarly brought together those whom business had separated during the other six: now, pleasure commonly separates us upon the sabbath, as much as business has done on the preceding days. We try to spend our hours of relaxation in crowds and mixed assemblies. Private society is thought dull and


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