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for life and for godliness. Therefore, let me be sensible of the loving kindness of the Lord, let me acknowledge his disposal of my concerns, devote my life to his glory, which is thus preserved by his providential care, and manifest my gratitude by keeping his commandments. Thus, the good man will believe and act, and thus he will possess more joy and gladness in his soul, than others, when their corn, and their wine, and their oil, do most abound.--Finally, another source of comfort which belongs to the righteous, is, the hope of eternal life awaiting him in the kingdom of heaven. This is the anchor of his soul, both sure and stedfast ; by which he is enabled to enter by faith within the veil. Though the enjoyment of this inheritance is reserved for a future state; yet its certainty is ascertained by the most indubitable evidence; and the greatness of its happiness is such, as eye hath not seen, nor imagination conceived. It is “ a fulness of

, joy, and pleasures for evermore ;” a place where we shall be relieved from all the pains and sufferings of humanity; and participate in every delight which can engage our faculties, or solace our minds; in which we shall see God as he is, and be happy in his presence for evermore. Since such is the destination appointed for the faithful, well may they take comfort from the anticipation of that glory which shall hereafter be revealed; and in this land of their pilgrimage endure the troubles of life for a little while, since they will soon be delivered from them all, and enter into rest. When such are the pleasures arising from the belief and practice of true religion; may it not be truly said, that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace? This will appear still more clear

? ly, when it is shown,

II. That these pleasures are more dignified and delightful, than the enjoyments of the world and the flesh.

The objects which religion unfolds are superior in importance to all others; they are God and his attributes, Christ and his offices; the Holy Ghost and his operations; our fellow-men with the relations in which they are placed; and our own natures, with the best mode of improving them to the utmost perfection. The subject of religious feelings is the soul, which is our better part, and capable of the most refined enjoyments, from the proper employment of its faculties. If we value ourselves for our mental capacities, shall not their exertion in exploring the most sublime truths, and performing the most noble actions, be regarded as the most suitable to us as rational beings? Is it not the most worthy manner in which we can act, to stir up our heart, and soul, and all that is within us; to adore the greatness, to admire the wisdom, and love the goodness of our Creator, whose tender mercies are over all his works? Is it not reasonable and necessary, that we should understand the plan of our redemption as accomplished by our Saviour, and endeavour to obtain an interest in the blessings he has purchased, without which we cannot be saved ? Is it not becoming to devote ourselves to the service of him who hath crcated, preserved and redeemed us, by acquiring conformity to his statutes, which both promote our happiness here, and qualify us for his enjoyment hereafter ? Is it not de lightful to have a sense of the favour of God, the direction of his providence through all the vicissitudes of this mortal, state, and the hope of a better and more enduring inheritance in the state of immortality ? These, surely, are sources of pleasurable feeling to the soul, which neither the world nor the flesh can afford, and therefore deserve our first and great concern.

These and similar exertions of our mental faculties, afford that rational satisfaction, and impart that joy and gladness which renders a man well pleased with his behaviour.

Accordingly, if we examine the several religious actions in which we engage, they will recommend theniselves by the peaceable fruits of righteousness, which they respectively produce. Thus, when we worship our maker in spirit and in truth; does not such an exercise yield far higher transports, and more refined sensations, than those which proceed from providing for the flesh, and fulfilling the lusts thereof? When we enlarge our understandings by reading, and the acquisition of knowledge; are not our minds more delighted, than when pursuing

the amusements of sense and vanity? When we impress our minds by meditation on those sacred truths, which are revealed for our instruction ir righteousness; are we not rendered wiser and better, than by indulging every romantic thought which imagination may suggest? When we keep our hearts with all diligence, and maintain a conscience void of offence; do we not thereby secure uninterrupted tranquillity; whereas by suffering our passions to lead us into temptation and sin, we lose the peace of our own minds, and expose ourselves to the divine displeasure ? When we spend our time in the faithful discharge of the duties of our station, and the residue in religious exercises, and in going about doing good ; do we not approve of such a mode of conduct; while we reproach ourselves for idleness, and the neglect of per. forming these several obligations incumbent upon us? When we have dealt fairly and impartially with our neighbour, and are conscious that no one hath cause to be our enemy, with what a cheerful confidence do we go forth into the world; whereas if we overreach or defraud him, what shame do we conceive in our own breasts, and what contempt may we expect from others! When we have forgiven an injury, and reconciled an offending brother by returning good for evil; do we not rejoice in har. ing subdued our resentment, and are we not gratified by converting an enemy into a friend? Whereas by indulg. ing malice, we both disturb our own composure, and live in strife and contention with those around us. When we stretch forth our hand to relieve the needy, or visit the disconsolate to soothe his sorrows; does not our heart feel a joy unspeakable, when it receives the blessing of him that was ready to perish? Whereas by shutting up our bowels of compassion, we inwardly condemn ourselves for our narrow minded selfishness, and become objects of execration to mankind. Let the voluptuous man indulge his appetite with every thing which his heart can wish, and say to himself, eat, drink, and be merry; yet in the midst of all his luxury, he will not enjoy half the pleasure, which arises from the testimony of a sood conscience, from the sense of discharging one's


duty, from the approbation of God, and the hope of heaven.

The pleasures of godliness and virtue are also more delightful than those of sense and sin, because they are purer and more agreeable to our rational nature. They preserve the mind is that state of calm composure, in which all its faculties act their parts assigned them in a proper manner. Our superior powers of judgment and reason dictate the mode of conduct which we should pursue; our will determines us to action according to the rules of rectitude; and our affections choose what appears to be desirable. Our conscience approves the practice of what is right and suitable; our heart rejoices in having executed the duties enjoined us; and our whole soul feels, that in the keeping of God's commandments there is a great reward.—Whereas the delights which arise from our sensual inclinations are degrading in themselves, because they gratify only the inferior principles of our nature; and they are pernicious in their consequences, both by creating uneasiness of mind, and debility of body, However exquisite our enjoyments may be from worldly pleasures, yet they are not such as we can commend; for "Seven in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” They are moreover of short duration, and when exhausted, leave nothing but vanity, and vexation of spirit.--But the pleasures of religion are not only satisfactory for the present; but lasting in the future fruition which accompanies them. When a godly man is about to perform any work of faith or labour of love, his heart encourages him to execute it as suitable and becoming; when he is engaged in it, he feels emotions of self-congratulation; and when it is finished, he rejoices more in having done his duty; than worldly men, when their corn, and their wine, and their oil, do most abound. Reflection renews the agreeable impression; and he delights in the thought that his desires are towards God, and the observance of his statutes, and that his mind is adorned with the beauty of holiness. This encourages him to go on from one degree of goodness to another, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord,

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And the more frequently he repeats the performance of his duties, the more easy and delightful do they become; and the more is he disposed to stir up all that is within him to abound in the fruits of well-doing. Thereby his religious principles are more and more invigorated, till he stands perfect and complete in all the will of God ; and thus he goes on his way rejoicing, assured that “ in due season he shall reap, if he faint not."

Very different, however, is the state of his feelings, who seeks his enjoyment from the world and the flesh. Whilst the deluded man is in expectation of their pleasures, his mind is like the troubled sea when it cannot rest; and when he has attained the object of his wishes, it leaves him a prey to disappointment. Every one who depends for his happiness on the gratifications of the senses is miserable indeed. For they can only delight us for a very short time; they lose their relish by frequent repetition; they cannot afford variety of entertainment; they yield but an imperfect satisfaction at the best; and render the mind incapable of deriving fruition from the duties of religion and the practice of holiness, in which alone the true happiness of man consists.

In order to recommend the practice of our duty, there are several sources of enjoyment, which may be rendered subsidiary to religion, in the conduct of a wellordered life. Thus, the exertion of our faculties in some engaging occupation, has always been found conducive to cheerfulness of mind. Accordingly, we find a degree of alacrity and high spirits among men who are employed in some active pursuit; while listlessness and apathy prevail so much among the idle and the indolent, as to induce them to spend their time in the haunts of folly and dissipation. Whoever, then, would preserve that zest of life which is so necessary for his own comfort, should take care to fill up his time with the duties of his calling, and his leisure hours in making his eternal calling and election sure. The man who is earnest in his endeavour to discharge all the offices of his station with propriety, and prepare himself for the enjoyment of a future state, has constantly an object of supreme importance to engage his

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