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regularly and suitably pour forth our thanks to him for such signal mercies ? Are we constantly anxious to please and propitiate a Being, whose boundless power to do us good or harm, we can neither doubt nor deny? Do we ask then, how is this to be accomplished ? The answer must be found in our hearts and our consciences, in our reason, and in the Scriptures. These one and all concur to assure us, that to fear and love God, and to keep his commandments, is the whole of our duty, and the only title we have to his favour and protection.

Let no one imagine, that this simple definition of religion is any derogation from the dignity of its sublime mysteries ! It pre-supposes faith in the being and attributes of God, as the foundation of our love and fear of him.And it implies also a firm belief in the truth of the Revelation which he has afforded us, from which alone we can ascertain what he wills us to do. Hence it

appears

that thanksgiving is not so barren a duty as some may conceive it to be. For though it is true that we can do nothing, by which God himself can be benefited: yet we can do much that shall be agreeable to his will, and the neglect

of which cannot but excite his displeasure, and bring down punishment upon us, either in this world, or in that which is to come.

It has been remarked by a very judicious writer of our Church, that God must have intended the happiness of his creatures, or their misery, or been indifferent about either!That he did not intend their misery is certain, because if he had he could easily have accomplished it. The pains both of body and mind which most of us occasionally suffer, might have been made perpetual and universal. Thus life itself would have been a continual torment, which every one would have been anxious to shake off. But that the fact is in general the reverse of this we all know. And therefore it is clear that God did not create us to be miserable. And to suppose him to be altogether indifferent about us, is inconsistent with almost every attribute which we ascribe to him. It can neither be reconciled with his wisdom, his goodness, nor his justice. We must entirely reject therefore that supposition as absurd. Still we must hesitate,

· Paley's Moral Philosophy, vol. i. c. 5; and Natural Theology, p. 366.

before we can positively conclude that he designed us for happiness. Because he could as certainly have insured that object, as our misery, if such had been his pleasure. But that that is not our condition is evident. Our lot is in general composed of good and evil : in which though the former preponderates, the latter abounds to a degree which would forbid us to say, that God intended our happiness, were all that evil inevitable and of his infliction. But the truth is, that by far the greater portion of it is not attributable to him, but to ourselves. And we may therefore say

with confidence, that he designed our happinesssuch happiness at least as our present nature admits--but that we ourselves should in a great degree be mutually instrumental to its production. And hence it is, that the religion of the Gospel consists so much of rules, by the observance of which the general happiness of mankind would be promoted, to an extent of which the world as yet has had no experience. But though the operation of these rules hitherto has been slow, partial, and unequal to our natural expectations, and even frequently counteracted and perverted, still every thing indicates that they will ultimately

triumph and become universal. And as there seems something in the present circumstances, not only of this country but of the Christian community in general, that peculiarly calls for their observance, so I trust that by the Providence of God, they will be made conducive to that most desirable end. That the evils which result to society from pride, luxury, avarice, and self-interest, will be abated. And that the benefits which flow from justice, temperance, benevolence, and charity, will be augmented. So that we may look forward to a time when our thanksgivings to Almighty God for temporal blessings, produced by a more perfect obedience to his commandments, will be greatly multiplied—and the happiness of this world be proportionably encreased—whilst our prayers will ascend to him chiefly for those spiritual gifts which emanate immediately from himself, concern the welfare of our souls, and secure for us the felicity of the world to

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SERMON XVIII.

Titus ii. 11, 12.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath

appeared unto all men; teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

“ WERE it required (says Bishop Horne) to produce from the Scriptures, that passage which exhibits in the fewest words, the fullest account of the nature and design of Christianity—this (and what follows) is perhaps the passage that should be fixed on for the pur

But I have limited my text to the words which I have just repeated, because they contain the whole matter to which I propose now to draw your attention. The Apostle upon this, as upon other occasions, strongly insists upon practical morality as

pose ?.'

* As quoted in D'Oyly and Mant's Bible.

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