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VII.

SERMON availing is prosperity, when, in the height

of it, a single disappointment can destroy the relish of all its pleasures ! III. How weak is human nature, which, in the absence of real, is thus prone to form to itself imaginary woes!

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1. How miserable is vice, when one guilty passion is capable of creating so much torment! When we discourse to you of the internal misery of sinners; when we represent the pangs which they suffer from violent passions, and a corrupted heart; we are sometimes suspected of chusing a theme for declamation, and of heightening the picture which we draw, by colours borrowed from fancy. They whose minds are, by nature, happily tranquil, or whose situation in life removes them from the disturbance and tumult of passion, can hardly conceive; that as long as the body is at ease, and the external condition

prosperous, any thing which passes within the mind should cause such exquisite woe. But, for the truth of our assertions, we appeal to the history of mankind. We might reason from the constitution of the sa. II

tional

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VII.

tional frame; where the understanding is SERMON appointed to be supreme, and the passions to be subordinate ; and where, if this due arrangement of its parts be overthrown, misery as necessarily ensues, as pain is consequent in the animal frame upon the distortion of its members. But laying speculations of this kind aside, it is sufficient to lead you to the view of facts, the import of which can neither be controverted, nor mistaken. This is, indeed, the great advantage of history, that it is a mirror which holds up mankind to their own view. For, in all ages, human nature has been the same. In the circle of worldly affairs, the same characters and situations are perpetually returning; and in the follies and passions, the vices and crimes, of the generations that are past, we read those of the present.

Attend then to the instance now before us; and conceive, if you can, a person more thoroughly wretched, than one reduced to make this humiliating confession, that though surrounded with power, opulence, and pleasure, he was lost to all happiness, through the fierceness of his

resent

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VII.

SERMON resentment; and was at that moment stung

by disappointinent, and torn by rage beyond what he could bear. All this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King's gate. Had this been a soliloquy of Haman's within himself, it would have been a sufficient discovery of his misery. But when we consider it as a confession which he makes to others, it is a proof that his misery was become insupportable. For, such agitations of the mind every man strives to conceal, because he knows they dishonour him. Other griefs and sorrows he can, with freedom, pour out to à confident. What he suffers from the injustice or malice of the world, he is not ashamed to acknowledge. But when his suffering arises from the bad dispositions of his own heart; when, in the height of prosperity, he is rendered miserable, solely by disappointed pride, every ordinary motive for communication ceases, Nothing but the violence of anguish can drive him to confess a passion which renders him odious, and a weakness which renders him despicable. To what extremity, in particular, must he be re

duced,

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VII.

duced, before he can disclose to his own SERMON family the infamous secret of his misery? In the eye of his family every man wishes to appear respectable, and to cover from their knowledge whatever may vilify or degrade him. Attacked

or reproached abroad, he consoles himself with his importance at home; and in domestic attachment and respect, seeks for some compensation for the injustice of the world, Judge then of the degree of torment which Haman endured, by its breaking through all these restraints, and forcing him to publish his shame before those from whom all men seek most to hide it. How severe must have been the conflict which he underwent within himself, before he called together his wife and all his friends for this purpose! How dreadful the agony he suffered at the moment of his confession, when, to the astonished company, he laid open the cause of his distress!

Assemble all the evils which poverty, disease, or violence can inflict, and their stings will be found by far less pungent, than those which such guilty passions dart into the heart. Amidst the ordinary cala

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mities

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VII.

before us,

SERMON Mities of the world, the mind can exert

its powers, and suggest relief : And the
mind is properly the man; the sufferer,
and his sufferings, can be distinguished.
But those disorders of passion, by seizing
directly on the mind, attack human nature
in its strong hold, and cut off its last re-
source: They penetrate to the very seat
of sensation ; and convert all the powers
of thought into instruments of torture.
Let us remark, in the event that is now

the awful hand of God's and admire his justice, in thus making the sinner's own wickedness to "reprove him, and bis backslidings to correct bim. Sceptics reason in vain against the reality of divine government. It is not a subject of dispute. It is a fact which carries the evidence of sense, and displays itself before our eyes. We see the Almighty manifestly pursuing the sinner with evil. We see him connecting with every single deviation from duty, those wounds of the spirit which occasion the most exquisite torments. He hath not merely promulgated his laws now, and delayed the distribution of rewards and punishments until a future period of being.

But

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