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it that infirmities of temper are checked by it, when no other correctives would be effectual; and that some of the most amiable dispositions spring from it, that otherwise could never be indulged, or felt.
Consider, what a wide field of virtue would be lost, and what a rich harvest of benevolence would wither away, were Adversity banished from the world. The present state could no longer be a scene of discipline, or improvement; for charity, generosity, patience, forbearance, pity, fortitude, and compassion, having no objects to act on, might as well be extirpated from the human heart; or rather, they could never grow, or be cherished there.
Thus should we at length be enabled, by vigilance and prayer, to vanquish every temptation, or avoid every snare which adversity might lay in our way; and know that "all things work together for good to them that love God." Supported by the gracious promises of religion, we should, like our divine master, learn to overcome the world; and, in the awful moment of our dissolution, might remember, for our comfort, the glorious vision, which the divine apostle has presented to our minds; who, being asked, "what are these
that are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?" answered, "These are they which came out of great Tribulation; therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; for the Lamb shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe all tears from their eyes."
Watch and Pray, that ye enter not into Temp
In two preceding discourses on these words, I considered the importance and utility of vigilance, first, in a state of Prosperity, and secondly,in a state of Adversity. It now remains, (according to the division of the subject at first proposed,) to offer to your consideration some of the motives that should induce those who fill the middle station of life, (or those who may be said to be neither in a state of prosperity, nor adversity,)" to watch and pray, that they enter not into temptation."
Though there is an infinite variety of characters to be found in the different classes of society, and though all are required to fulfil the
duties of their respective stations; yet it cannot be doubted, but that many circumstances render some conditions more favorable to virtue, and the exercise of our religious duties, than others. The peculiar temptations of Prosperity, the follies and excesses to which it often leads, have been already noticed; and those of Adversity, which formed the subject of my last discourse, are sufficiently obvious. The intermediate station, whether we contemplate it with respect to age, circumstances, or condition, appears to be exempt from many evils, which threaten the extremes of life with misery, or guilt; and, therefore, deviations from duty by those who fill it are the less excusable. Excess indeed of every kind seems hurtful to us. The pride and exultation of prosperity intoxicate the mind; the trials of Adversity often enfeeble, or corrupt it. Hence, we may perceive both the wisdom and humility of Agur's prayer, "Give me," said he, in his petition to the Almighty, "neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full and deny thee, and say who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." But the most desirable state, in this world, we know, is a state of warfare, requiring of dy také a kausap at adr bas
all, the union of vigilance and Prayer; and though the man, who treads the middle path of life, may be said to be equally removed from the snares of Riches and the miseries of Poverty; yet he will have difficulties and trials to exercise his virtue, as well as his fellow-creatures. The competency of his condition will not always check the repinings of envy and discontent. Instead of diligently improving the comforts of his station, he will sacrifice them, perhaps, to a foolish ambition; or suffer them to pass away unenjoyed, from a species of worldlymindedness, that is never to be satisfied. This selfish disposition, which always craves for more, --which constantly looks forward to what is beyond its reach, instead of acknowledging, with pious gratitude, what has been already be stowed, embitters every condition. It sharpens the arrows of Adversity, and it poisons the cup of Prosperity: but it becomes more sinful, as well as more foolish, when cherished by those in middle life.
The murmurs of discontent will often be forced from the poor man by the peculiar hardships of his lot; and the rich, from the disorders of a sickly imagination, and a sort of irritable weakness, or sensitive disease both of body and