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will depend, through the mediation and atoner ment of Christ, on our constant exertion, ourse vigilance, and "continuance in well-doing" while here, or strong top lib. Las godel But lasting dejection of mind is not the only of ill effect arising from adversity. It often proel duces a carelessness of reputation, and a total disregard for the world, which may lead to the indulgence of every vicious and intemperate desire. When once the mind, indeed, has lost its strength, or rather, when it passively resigns its powers, we need not wonder that the feeblet outworks of virtue should soon be demolished. Those who no longer respect themselves,who are sick of the world, because they have not suffered religion to impress them with a propert sense of its value, are not likely to be restrained, in the weak and languid hour of adversity, from) gratifying any appetite, however sordid, thatio might crave for indulgence, and promise com+15 fort. Hence it sometimes happens, that thosent who, at a former period of life, were frugal, c chaste, and temperate, guarded also from every irregular appetite and passion by a modesty and delicacy peculiar to their sex and character, have fallen victims to the grosser vices of sen- i suality and intemperance. While others, in
the lower classes of society, exposed to the same temptations, and caught in the samem snares, instead of endeavouring, by cheerful, labor and diligent perseverance, to repair the losses which a short season of Adversity might have produced, lapse into all the disorders of all: lazy and profligate life; and, at length, sum up, their other vices, perhaps, by adding those ofth public robbery, or private fraud.
But, in this world of good and evil, where one misfortune, or calamity, proceeds simply from any extraordinary visitation of divine Proti vidence, many are immediately connected witho our own vices and follies, or spring from those I' of others. When this is the case, instead of learning the true lesson of wisdom from Ad-2 versity, we fall into temptation and a snare; (to use the language of the apostle) and, insteadi of enlarging and humanising the mind, it sours and contracts it. We seldom apply such events to the religious discipline of our own hearts, or ask whether there was no imprudence, no just provocation, no perverse error, and no foolishl confidence, or credulity, on our part; but brood over the disappointments, and vexations that befal us, with a "surly spirit of melancholy, and grow dissatisfied with our present state,
without qualifying ourselves for a better. Whereas the virtuous man and the Christian, if he meet adversity in this form, suffers it patiently. In the meekness of humility, he will generally attribute something to his own expectations, that ran too high, or to his want of knowledge, prudence, and circumspection. After all, he seeketh not the praise, or the reward of men, but the perfection of his nature, and the favor of God. If he grieves, therefore, for some instances of ingratitude, unkindness, treachery, or malevolence, he looks around him, and views the grateful, the affectionate, and faithful friend with greater pleasure.
Thus he continues his labors of love, assured that in due time he shall reap if he faint not." While the man of the world, who neither
watches nor prays against the snares of Adversity, nor sees the uses for which it often is mercifully sent, becomes fretful, suspicious, and morose.-Selfishness and misery are scattered around him ;-the odious vices of misanthropy fasten on his mind, and he shrinks, as it were, into his own contracted heart, that feels not for others, and yet corrodes itself. Like a true miser in sorrows, he treasures up the memory of misfortunes, but forgets the enjoyment of
blessings; and would extend his little narrow experience to the great body of his fellow creatures. Because he has suffered from the vices of a few, there is no such thing as virtue; and because gratitude, in some instances, has not returned her debt with interest, friendship and affection are banished from the world.
These are among the common evils incident to men; by which they would poison the ingenuous minds of youth with suspicion, weary out the patience of the aged with fruitless accusations, or complaints, and journey on to the grave themselves, with unavailing regret at miseries, which they make no effort to relieve, and at vices, which their own example rather tends to encourage than correct.
Equally lamentable are the effects of Adversity, when it arises from our own faults, or from the want of that vigilance and caution, which the Gospel of Christ inculcates. Instead of regarding it as the needful chastisement of Heaven in this life; or adverting to the inseparable connection of guilt and misery, as cause and effect, we are apt to think ourselves peculiarly unfortunate, and the world uncharitable and severe. Even the professed libertine, the prodigal, the gambler, the drunkard, and the specu
lating spendthrift, are occasionally loud in such complaints. Men that are not of their habits and opinions are selfish, and illiberal. If they will not support, or, at least, tolerate their vices, they have no friendship or generosity;-if they cannot relish their follies and gratifications, they are the slaves of prejudice and error.
Thus, instead of removing the delusion of their minds, Adversity leads them into additional evils; and it is often in the hours of mortified pride, mutual disappointment, and contempt of the world, that the desperate suicide, neither delighting in the law of God, neither hoping for its protection, nor dreading its punishments, hastens into eternity through the gloomy gate of self-destruction.
Farther, he who brings Adversity on himself, merely by his vanity and folly, without any considerable degree of guilt;—I mean, by foolish expectations, raised on a vain confidence of his own powers, by extravagant projects, hazardous adventures, and silly credulity;-such a man, instead of learning contentment and humility from the severe lesson which it imposes, will often fall into the same evils that have been already mentioned.
To comply with the apostle's precept, "Not