« PreviousContinue »
Rre before; and adding daily to what little good-, ness we may possess. Many of you, my brethren, may be very well satisfied with yourselves, if you do not break the commandments, and are not guilty of any great fins: but you must not think you are therefore good christians. You must not think it enough, for instance, to leave off swearing, or drinking, or any other bad habit. So far it is well; but it is only so far.' A man that neither swears nor drinks is not surely, for that reason, a good christian. By leaving off these vices he has gained one step; but if he do not proceed farther, he has made but a little advance. What matters it, though you leave off swearing, if you have still no more reverence for the name of God in your hearts than you had before; but still do a thousand things, without any fear of giving him offence?-And thus with regard to all other sins. You must not say, when you leave them off, This is all that is required of me; but, God give me grace to proceed !
To Him let us all pray for assistance, that he may enable us to run the race that is set before us, and press towards the mark; not trusting in
our own strength, but in his affistance. And may God Almighty grant, that every finner ainongst us, however slender his beginning, may grow
grace; and, forgetting those things which are behind, may reach forth unto the things that are before, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
HE 'REAFTER YE SHAĻL SEE HEAVEN OPENED.
HIS was our blessed Saviour's encourage
ment to a new convert. But it is equally an encour: igement to all his faithful disciples. After a toilfor, ne pilgrimage through this world, what a comfort should it be to us all, to see heaven opening at the end.
Let us tủ hen, my brethren, employ our thoughts at present á 1 little on this subject. Let us consider, first, th e happiness of heaven; and, ferondly, the effect which such thoughts should have upon us.
I. The worli d we inhabit, is a brave world, no doubt. We admire its grand and beautiful furniture--plains, mountains, woods, rivers, lakes, and seas--all filled and enlivened witir animals of different kinds. We admire the variety of all these wonderful modes of creation. We admire the exquisite éontrivance, by which the several parts are connected together, and formed into fo wonderful a whole.-All this gorgeous array is certainly a just foundation for expecting a future world will be still more grand and beautiful. If God so clothe the grass of the field-if God has made this world so beautiful, may we not reason the probability of his making heaven more beautiful? If he hath provided such a habitation for our bodies, what may we not expect for our souls? -But this world is not only a grand and beautiful scene in itself; it furnishes also a great degree of happiness to those. who extend not their expectations from it beyond the limits of religion. Thus it leads us up, as by a step, to the great Creator, of whose inclination as well as power to make us happy it gives sufficient proof. earthquakes, inundations, inclement seasons, nuxious animals, and diseases of innumerable kinds: all these evils are the necessary appendages to a state of trial. But the chief destroyers of human happiness are mankind themselves. Our inward happiness is continually invaded by our own bad passions and follies; while our outward happiness is equally preyed on by the knavery and violence of others. The joys of heaven, in the niean time, are pure, and unmixed with any thing that can disturb our peace.
But notwithstanding this world is so beautifully and happily furnished, it has by no means those complete marks of happiness, which we are given to hope for in a future state. As an habitation, it is subject to various evils--storms,
But the pleasurable enjoyments of this world are not only mixed with evil—they are unsatisfying also: every thing troubles us, while few things satisfy us. However it be, either we, or the things of this world, though made for each other, aré so disagreeing in their nature-fo whimsical in our connections, that we can live pleasantly neither with them nor without them. Thus, in fact, the fons of this world pursue their own happiness, as a fool pursues his shadow : he endeavours to catch it, but it is continually advancing before him, never to be caught. They who have led a life of ambition, gain, or pleasure, can tell us if they please, that the upshot of all is satiety and mortification. VOL. IV.