Page images


nobis Spiritus, bonorum malorumque

Custos et observatur; et quemadmodum nos illum tractamus, ita et ille

There is a Holy Spirit residing * in us, who watches and observes both

good and evil men, and will treat us

after the same manner that we treat • him. But I shall conclude' (says the same author) this discourse with . those more emphatical words in ? Divine Revelation; If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my Fa

ther will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.'

I have thus far considered the effects of a good life, first, as it fills our minds with joy, peace, and comfort, and delivers us from those uneasy reflections which haunt and torment the sinner; and, secondly, as it is a means to 'secure us from those evils, which are the immediate consequences of sin; and supports us under such afflictions as it sometimes pleases God to send upon good men in this world. I shall now consider it with respect to some other advantages it hath above

[ocr errors]

that of a wicked course of actions: and I trust it will fully appear, that there is nothing so likely to secure a man's happiness, in this world, as a strict observance of the precepts and duties of Religion.

St. Peter lays it down as an undoubted truth, that whosoever desires to live happily, must live holily. He that will love life, says he, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile ; let him eschew cvil, and do good, 1 Pet. iii. 10, 11. And the reason that temporal prosperity is so likely to be the lot and portion of the religious man is, because the eyes of the Lord are over the rightcous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, 1 Pet. ii. 12. It is

It is very evident from the whole tenor of the Scriptures, that the providence of God watches over and supports good men in this world, O haste and see, says the holy Psalmist, how gracious the Lord is i blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O feur ye the Lord, ye that are his saints :

for, they that fear him lack nothing. The lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good. Ps. xxxiv. 8, 9, 10. How remarkable are the words of the wise son of Sirach, to the same purpose! Look at the generations of old, says he, did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded? or did any abidé in his fear, and was forsaken or whom did he ever despise that called upon him? Eccles. ii. 10. Add to this the observation of holy David ; I have been young, and now am old; yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread. Ps. Xxxvii. 25. On the contrary, I have seen, says he, the ungodly in great power, and flourishing like a green bay-tree: I went by, and, lo! he was gone; I sought him, but his place could no where be found, ver. 35, 36. The contemplation of this watchful providence of God over good meu made the devout Psalmist resolve, and say, I will always give thanks unto the Lord; his praise shall ever be in my imouthPs. xxxiv. 1.

It is certain, that God is a being of infinite purity and holiness: and as he must therefore hate iniquity with the utmost abhorrence; so there is doubt, but a serious and conscientious observance of the duties of Religion will recommend a man to his favour and protection. He that feeds' the fowls of the air, clothes the grass of the field, and is of a nature so diffusively bountiful, as to make his sun to rise on the evil, as well as on the good, and sends his rain both on the just and unjust; will undoubtedly in a more peculiar manner bless the labours of an honest and industrious man, and provide for those that fear him and keep his commandments. I would not be understood to say, that never any wicked man hath prospered, nor any good man been unsuccessful in this 'world : it frequently pleases God, for wise and good ends, to suffer the righteous to fall into great perplexities and distresses. However, since the Scriptures assure us, that the Lord will bless the righteous, and compass him with favour as with a shield, Ps, v.

12. that wealth and riches shall be in the house of him that feareth the Lord, Ps. cxii. 3. and delighteth in his commandments; Ps. cxii. 1. that blessing's shall be upon his head; Prov. x. 6. that the house of the righteous shall stand, xii. 7. and the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish; xiv. 11. that it shall be well with them that fear Gud: Eccles. viii. 12. and, in short, that Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come; 1 Tim. iv. 8. we inay certainly conclude, that a strict observance of the duties of the Christian Religion, is the most likely way a take to thrive and prosper in the world, and to make his life comfortable and happy.

Of this truth we may be convinced not only from the testimony of Scripture, but from the reason and nature of things. For, let any one consider whether he who is just and true in all his dealings; honest and sincere in all his professions; and faithful to his word and promises; who is diligent and industrious in his calling; who




« PreviousContinue »