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IIdly, The peculiar Advantages of Affliction, to bring us to a juft Sense of God, and our Duty.

Ift, I am to fhew the Happiness and
Reasonableness of turning our Thoughts to
God in general.

To repair to God only, when under AfAiction, is to use Him as fome conceited Philofophers have done, who never have Recourse to Him, and take Him into their Schemes, but when they are in Distress, when they meet with fome Difficulty, which they cannot plaufibly account for, or get over, without calling Him in to their Aid.

Befides, never is there more Occafion for Good-Humour, Chearfulness, and an undisturbed Serenity of Mind, than when we form our religious Notices. For, though the brightest Ideas of the Deity may be retained and cherished under any Indispofition of Mind or Body; yet, to retain and cherish them at that Juncture, they must be imprinted in indelible Characters on the Soul, when it was in an eafy Situation : Otherwife, Religion will not brighten up our Minds, and lighten the Darkness of


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them; our Minds will darken and difco- SERM. II. lour Religion. And what has given fome People a Distaste for it, is; that having never applied themselves seriously to it, but when they were in a dull, joylefs, fullen Humour, which reprefented every Thing they were converfant about to be dull and joyless; the Notions of Religion, and of a joyless State, have been, however unduly connected, ever after infeparable. By meditating on God only, or even chiefly, in a melancholy Hour, you will affociate the Idea of Gloominefs and Horror with that of Religion: You will view Him, just as He was worshipped in old Gothic Buildings, in a dim folemn Light, which sheds a penfive Gloom over, and faddens every Object. You will not ferve Him with that Gladness, which he requires: For God loveth a chearful Worfhipper, as well as a chearful Giver. But you will repair with Reluctance and Conftraint to that Service, which is perfect Freedom.

We are indigent Creatures, infufficient of ourselves for our own Happiness, and therefore ever seeking it fomewhere else. But where we fhall effectually feek for it, is the Question. Unless the Thoughtful

SERM. II. and the Penfive direct their Thoughts to, and caft their Cares upon God; there will be little Difference between Them and the Gay and Unthinking, befides this; that the Latter will have more of the Vanity of Life; but They themselves more of the Vexations of it. If there were not another Life, our Business would be, not to alarm the Thinking Faculty, but to lay our too active and unquiet Thoughts to Reft. The Mind would be like a froward Child, ever fretful when fully awake; and therefore to be played and lulled afleep as faft as we Our main Happiness would be to forget our Mifery and ourselves; to forget, that we are a Set of Beings, who, after we have toiled out the live-long Day of human Life, in Variety of Hardships; are, instead of receiving our Wages at the Close of it, to fleep out one long eternal Night in an utter Extinction of Being.


If Man had an ample Fund of Happiness in himself, without any Deficiency; whence is it, that he is continually looking out abroad for foreign Amusements; Amusements, which are of no other Use, but to keep off troublefom and ungrateful Impreffions, and to make us infenfible of

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the Tediousness of Living; Amusements, SERM. II. which rather fufpend a Senfe of Uneafinefs, than give us any fubftantial Satisfaction; and keep the Soul in an equal Poise between Pleasure and Pain? And is this the great End which we have in View? Suppofing we could compass it; yet if it be better not to be at all, than to be miferable; then certainly just not to be miferable, without any pofitivè Happiness, is much at one, as not to be at all. Whence is it, that that restless Thing the Soul, too enterprizing to trace every Thing else, yea the deep Things of God; is yet too cowardly to enquire into itself, and to view the Workings of that ever-loved, yet everavoided Object? Whence is it, that the Mind, whofe active Energy prompts her to give a free and unconfined Range to her Thoughts on other Subjects, nay, to make, if it were poffible, the Tour of the whole Universe; yet, when he comes to dwell at Home, and to furvey the little World within, flags in her Vivacity, feels herself in a forlorn Condition, and finds a Drowfinefs and melancholy Gloom hanging upon her? Whence is it, but that the Soul, whenever it turns it's Thoughts inD 4 ward,

SERM. II. ward, finds within a frightful Void of folid Happiness, without any Poffibility in itself of filling it up? Indeed, in a Circle of gay Follies, or in a Multiplicity of Purfuits, when a Succeffion of different Objects is continually striking upon the Mind, the Capacity of the Soul is taken up, and it forgets that inward Poverty and Indigence which nothing can effectually relieve but the unfearchable Riches of the Love of God: But when we step afide from the Noife and beaten Tracks of Life, into Solitude and Retirement; we foon perceive, that we are, without fome Business to engage, or fome Recreation to divert our Attention, an infupportable Burthen to our felves. You fancy the Man, whose daily Labour ferves for little elfe but to get his daily Bread, and whofe daily Bread just refreshes and ftrengthens him to undergo his daily Labour, to be a very miferable Object; and perhaps he is fo. Would you make him more miferable? Give him a . Fortune, which fhall fet him at Reft from his Labours, and leave him nothing at all to do: And then the Wearifomnefs, which refulted from a continual Drudgery, will be nothing comparable to another Kind of

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