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the glory of this world pass away? A few short years are more than any one can promise himself: and after that, poor sinner, what will become of thee? Alas! the worms will prey upon thy body, and merciless devils on thy unrepenting soul. Thy worldly friends will forget thee; the very stones, on which thou hast got thy name engraved, will not long out-live thee. O! how true is that sentence, Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity: but to love God, and to serve him alone? (A Kempis.) It is thus only we shall be wise for eternity; all other wisdom is but folly.
On the Presence of God.
Onsider, first, that God is every where present. If I ascend into heaven, says the Psalmist, Psalm cxxx. 8. thou art there; if I descend into hell thou art there. He fills both heaven and earth: and there is no created thing whatsoever, in which he is not truly and perfectly present. In him we live, in him we move; our very being is in him. As the birds, wherever they H
fly, meet with the air,
passes them on all sides; and the fishes swimming in the ocean every where meet with the waters: so we, wherever we are, or wherever we go, meet with God; we have him always with us; he is more intimately present to our souls, than our souls are to our bodies. Alas! poor soul of mine how little have we thought of this? And yet it is an article of our faith, in which we have been instructed from the very cradle. Let us seriously reflect on this truth for the future: let us strive to be always with him, who is always with us.
Consider, secondly, that God being every where, sees us wherever we are; all our actions are done in his sight; our very thoughts, even the most secret motions and dispositions of our hearts, cannot be concealed from his all seeing eye. In vain does the sinner flatter himself in his crimes like the libertine mentioned by the wise man, Eccl. xxiii that darkness encome passes him, and walls cover him, and no one sees him whom he fears. Alas! the eyes of the Lord are infinitely brighter
than the rays of the sun; and no darkness, clouds, walls or curtains, can us from his piercing sight, which penetrating clearly sees the very centre of the soul; and no wonder that he should clearly see what passes in the place where he is always present. Consider, thirdly, that God, who is in all places, and in all things, is every where whole and entire, because he is indivisible; he is every where with all his majesty, attributes and perfections. We have then within us, O my soul, the eternal, immense omnipotent, self existent, infinite Lord and Maker of all things; and we are within this infinite Being, who accompanies us wherever we go. He is in all places with his omnipotence, to which all things are subject; what ther have his friends to fear? He is every where with his infinite justice; how then can his enemies be secure? He is every where infinitely good to his children; his love and kindness to them surpasses that of the most tender mo ther; his providence watches over! them, his wisdom wonderfully disposes of all things for their greater good :-O Hii what
what comfort then, must this thought of the presence of God afford his servants, and those that truly fear and love him?
Consider, fourthly, that God existing in all places, requires of us that we should every where take notice of his presence. Can there be any object more worthy of our attention? And shall we then be so unfortunately blind as to amuse ourselves with every trifle that falls in our way, and let God, the sovereign beauty, and sovereign good, pass unregarded? Ah! let us never regret being alone, since we have always in our company that infinite Being, the sight and enjoyment of whom is the eternal felicity of angels. What if we see him not with our corporal eyes, is he the less present? But have we not more noble eyes, viz. the eyes of the understanding, which, assisted by divine faith, ought to contemplate God, always present in the very midst of us? Ah! the sweetest repose is to be found in him; all other recreations are vain, when compared
Consider, fifthly, that God being
every where present, it is requisite that we should comport ourselves, interiorly and exteriorly, in such manner as becomes those who are standing in his sight. The presence of a person, for whom we have a respect, is sufficient to restrain us from doing any thing trivial or indecent : and shall not the presence of the infinite majesty of God, in comparison with whom the greatest monarchs of the earth are less than nothing, restrain us in that exterior modesty and interior reverence which is so justly its due? Ought we not even to annihilate our selves in the sight of this immense Divinity? But, O my God, how far are we from these dispositions, as often as we dare to siu in thy almighty presence, and fly in the face of thy sove reign Majesty! Alas! my poor soul, how should we be ashamed to have our sins known to such persons, whose esteem we covet? we should be ready even to die with confusion to have them known to the whole world. We should be very unwilling to have even our vain and ridiculous amusements, though otherwise innocent, laid open H iii