Imatges de pÓgina
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How near to this perfect state, it is possible for us to arrive on this fide the grave, instead of disputing, let us, each of us, learn by experience: assured in the mean time, that every step we take towards it, is both an advancement of our present felicity, and a confirmation of our title to the bliss which is everlafting.

SER

S E RM O N XXIII,

TENTH COMMANDMENT. PART II.

COLOS. iii. 2.

SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS

ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THE
EARTH.

H

E who

brick, must dig low for the surest ground to place it on : and whoever aspires after the greatest heights of true glory and happiness, must lay the foun. dation in humility.

We recommend to you only that contentment, which is indeed the nobleft ambition; no other disinterestedness, than what is most for your advantage.

A greedy and restless témper of mind, discontented with it's present lot, and eagerly aspiring after a higher station ; in the first place, is miserable, inconsistent with all comfort and happiness. It is in itself, let your external advantages be what they will, a perpetual cause of disquietude and torment: it is a longing, that can never be satisfied. Success only adds fuel to the fame, and gives it strength to stretch out to a wider compass.

Secondly, it is an irreligious temper

of mind : and this two ways; both as it takes too much poffeffion of the heart, to leave room for sentiments of piety, engrossing our whole concern, and employing all our endeavours; and also more directly, as it implies a dissatisfaction with the appointments of God, and a murmuring at his providence; as if he had been lefs kind to us than he ought to have been, and partial in favour of others. It is mutiny against our heavenly commander: we refuse the station he assigns, and disdain the service on which he orders us.

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And thirdly, it is a temper very contrary to justice and fidelity towards men. He will not always withhold his hands, whose heart is continually set upon an-, other's property. There will be some unhappily favourable moment, when, opportunity confpiring with inclination, the injustice long premeditated, will be at length accomplished; and then, as the prophet speaketh, they who conceive mif- Ifai. lix. chief, bring forth iniquity.

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This is to be understood of the violations of justice, attended with danT4

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ger; for in less instances, and those that are safe, there will be no such circumSpection and delay. The unfairness of the heart within, will be shewing itself incessantly; and, like the stain of glass, through which a ray of the sun paffes, will infect all objects, and give it's colour to every transaction of life.

Or even if it should be hindered, by means of some external impediment, from appearing; the very

inward dispofition, the desire and design of doing

wrong, is justly to be punished by that Cor. iv. judge, who will bring to light the hidden

things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart.

It is the consideration of this future judgment, and the eternal, unchangeable ftate of happiness or misery consequent to it, which is the sovereign antidote for the malady of discontent, Let bur your hopes bc full of immortality, your

thoughts

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