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however some who have a sense of religion may, possibly, be too wicked to be capable of any. Be this as it will, certain it is, that the fear of death arises from nature, and is common to all; but admits of no cure but from the comforts and consolations which religion administers. But to proceed :

There are many other evils and calamities in life, which prove daily occasions of sorrow and affliction to us; so many they are, that it would be endless to enumerate them : these are so constantly near us, and do so often overtake us, that a wise man would, if it be possible, always be provided with a remedy. In private life we suffer often unexpectedly in our fortune, in the loss of acquaintance, friends and relations, and find ourselves bereaved of those comforts of life which were our greatest enjoyments; and not only so, but given up a prey to sorrow and vexation of spirit. What shall we do in this case ? where shall we look out for ease? The world has little pity, and yet less help for such sufferers : much less help still has it for those, who are seemingly fortunate and prosperous, and live surrounded with plenty and abundance, but are secretly unhappy, restless and dissatisfied in their minds, and utterly void of that inward peace which is the only source of pleasure. Thousands there are of this sort, who possess all the world can give, and yet have nothing to enjoy. Others, though they have nothing to disquiet them at present, and have all they wish for, have yet an heart to torment themselves, by raising sad prospects at a distance, and bringing within their view all the calamities which a warm imagination can represent. Consider now on what foot you will place human happiness : take the good things of the world, divide them as you please, and try how many you can make easy. You will soon see some employing your gifts in the purchase of vice and distempers ; and growing extremely miserable, by having these means of happiness put into their hands. Some you will see worn out with the care and anxiety of preserving, others tormented with losing their share; some restless and uneasy, whose minds no outward fortune can cure; some fearful and suspicious, with whom no peace can dwell; and all, perhaps, secretly dissatisfied with the prosperous condition in which you have placed

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them. If this be the condition of human life, and that it is every day's experience bears witness, we must look out for something more solid and lasting than this world affords, if ever we mean to be happy in it: we must find that thing, whatever it is, that can preserve us, in the midst of plenty, from being undone by the allurements and temptations of the world; that can secure our peace against the casualties of fortune, and the torments which the disappointments of the world bring with them; that can save us from the cares and solicitudes which attend on large possessions, and give us a mind capable of relishing the good things before us; easy and satisfied as to the present, secure and void of fear as to the future. And what is this remedy ? and who is he that can supply it ? He only it is who is the Author of every good and perfect gift; whom to know and to love, is a perpetual spring of joy and felicity. The man who enjoys the world under a sense of religion, and of the power and goodness of God, will so use the world as not to abuse it; will look on the uncertainties of life with the unconcernedness of a man who knows he has a much nobler pos. session, of which no one can rob him; he will part with his riches without torment, he will keep them without anxiety, and use them so as to make them a blessing to himself and all around him. If the course of the world be disordered, and threatens the inhabitants thereof with calamity and distress, he will maintain his inward peace, knowing that “the Lord is King, be the earth ever so unquiet:' he will look with pleasure into all the scenes of futurity, being well assured, that the world that now is, and the world that is to come, are in the hands of God. These are the comforts which, in the multitude of sorrows which surround us, will refresh the soul of a religious man, whilst they who forget God are spending a wretched life in lamenting over the misfortunes of this world, and are ending it to begin a more wretched life in the world that is to come.

As the comforts flowing from a true sense of religion are the only true support of the spirit of a man, in all circumstances and condition ; so the loss of them is frequently attended with a, misery, of all others the sharpest, and which the mind of man can least bear. We call this misery by the name of despair ;

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a grief it is which pierces through the soul, and racks it in évery part. There are two sorts of it. One has God for its object, but God clothed in anger and vengeance; it has no trust or confidence in him; it is all fear and dread, as living under a Being supposed to want no power, and to have no mercy; or thinking itself incapable of all mercy, as a vessel of wrath, fitted to destruction : the other disbelieves the being of a God, or his providence and care over his creatures; it sees the world in disorder and confusion, the righteous afflicted, the wicked in great prosperity, and hastily concludes that there is no God, or that he regards none of these things: a conclusion which either fills our hearts with all the pains of desponding melaneholy, seeing ourselves surrounded with innumerable troubles, and no helping hand near to lend us assistance; or else makes them obdurate and fully set to do evil,' seeing the prosperity of the wicked, and none near to call them to account. Need I now add any thing to show the wretchedness of these conditions? Is it not a miserable state to live in a world where no justice is to be expected; to struggle not only with the accidents of life, but with the wickedness of men, with the violence of the oppressor, with the fraud of the deceitful, with the

envy of the malicious, and with the jealousies and suspicions of all about us? to have all our hopes and expectations confined within this narrow scene of wickedness and confusion, and power to overrule this disorder, no hand to guide us through the storm ? Is it not still more wretched to live under the constant dread of an incensed power; in daily expectation of the time shortly to come, which will deliver us up to his wrath ; a wrath which no repentance can appease, no tears can soften ? No imagination can form to itself a misery exceeding this.

These are the sorrows to which we are exposed, when once we let go our trust and confidence in God, and render ourselves incapable of his comforts. As long as we have hope in God, we see our way through the world, and move within sight of a sure haven of rest and peace : if the wicked prosper, we know there is a day of account; if the righteous suffer, we know his reward is not far off : if all things about us seem disturbed, we know whose word can bring order out of confusion : whatever

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our state and condition are, we possess our souls in patience, and in full assurance that all things are subject to him who is our God and our Redeemer.

I shall detain you no longer than to lay two consequences before you, arising from what has been said. First, since the evils of life do so necessarily force us to have resort to the comforts of religion, being capable of no other cure or remedy, it may show us some marks of God's goodness and care of us, even in his permitting these many evils in the world: they are so many calls to us to search out and secure to ourselves that real happiness to which we are ordained. Had we been made for this world only, it would be impossible to imagine a reason, why a Being of infinite goodness should place us in the midst of so many fears and sorrows : but as we are formed for a more lasting state than this, and are placed here for our trial only, it was necessary and agreeable to the wise ends of Providence to surround us on all sides with warnings not to set up our rest here, but to remember, and with all our might to labor for the life that shall never perish. To this end the evils of the world are very subservient; they are diffused through all conditions of life, and are calls to persons of all conditions to remember God in all their ways, and to keep a steadfast eye on the things • which God has prepared for those who love him.'

Secondly, since the evils of life cannot be avoided, nor yet be cured without the helps and assistances which religion alone can afford; let us consider what a sad choice we make for ourselves, when we throw from us the hopes and comforts which flow from a due acknowlegement of God. If we have hope in this life only, we must be miserable. We are born to misery, and we must die to be happy. But if we add to the terrors of death, by renouncing or forfeiting all hopes of futurity; if we corrupt the few pleasures of life by the fears of guilt, and give weight and sharpness to all our other afflictions, by a fearful looking for of judgment to come; our condition, even in this world, will be deplorable, and our life but one continued scene of hopeless misery. As we value therefore even the pleasures of this life, and our share in the good things of the world, which the providence of God has placed before us, let us keep ourselves in a capacity of enjoying them, by holding fast the comforts of religion. These only can give us a true relish of our pleasures; these only can enable us to bear like men our share of evil and affliction : our hearts will often be disquieted within us, and we shall, “in the multitude of our thoughts, find a multitude of sorrows: let us therefore keep God our friend, whose comforts will refresh our souls,'

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