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heightening effect on the enjoyment of life. Business and diversions can afford no delight comparable to the sweet sensations of a soul composed and tranquillized by divine grace. In this state, a charming serenity diffuses itself over the mind, which becomes, like those happy climes of poesy where every breeze is gentle as a zephyr, the spring perpetual, and the earth teems, at the same time, with flowers of the finest hue, and fruits of the most delicious flavour. Nothing sublunary, indeed, is perfect ; but there is every reason to believe, that the state of the regenerated Christian approaches as nearly to the bliss of heaven, as it is possible, while the soul is encumbered with a mortal body.
We set out in search of happiness, and here we have found it. The question 'who will show ius any good ?'! is now answered. The chief good of man is a state of grace. Other pretensions to it are like shadows to the substance; which they may resemble in shape, while they want its essence, its duration, its solidity. What we have found, let us never lose. Let us build upon a rock. Let us daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thus shall our happiness in this life, founded, as it will be, in piety, virtue, and the consequent favour of God, rise to more perfect happiness in a future state, where the passions and appetites of a mortal body shall not weigh down the pure ethereal Spirit that, in its present state, with wings all too feeble, continually aspires at its native clime.
Come then, ye who have wandered, like bleating sheep distressed and famished, without a shepherd, come to Jesus Christ, to the shepherd of your souls, who shall feed you in a green pasture, and by the river-side. Come unto him, for he calls you, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and he shall give you rest; rest, in your passage through this turbulent scene; and not only rest, but fulness of joy at his right hand, when your wearied bodies shall lie down in the peaceful grave.
Apologetical Conclusion ; with a Recapitulation, and
Addition of a few Particulars respecting the preceding Subjects.
The world, on a superficial view of it, presents an appearance of gaiety. Deeply engaged in the pursuit of gain, honour, and amusement, few men would lament, like Calypso in Telemachus, if they were immortal, and doomed to remain, in everlasting youth and health, on this low orb, wretched as it is represented. But as all are conscious that this is impossible, the next endeavour is to drown thought in the whirlpools of dissipation. Most persons, however, choose to be called Christians, and would be not a little disgusted with the officious monitor, who should venture to suggest to them that, as they seldom or never bestow on Christianity the least solicitude, they can have no just pretensions to the name.
But busy as men are, in pursuits foreign to piety, it is certain that after a few short years, the principal concern of the proudest, bravest, and fairest of the sons and daughters of Adam, will be religion. To that friend, whom many slight in the season of youth, health, and prosperity, they will (secretly, perhaps, but eagerly) fly for succour, in the time of age, sorrow, sickness, and death. What, indeed, is man, in his most flourishing state? What, the most admired and distinguished individual of us all, but an infirm, dependent creature; subject, from the cradle, to ten thousand evils; doomed gradually, often painfully, to decay, and certainly, perhaps most deplorably, to die ? Second childhood, idiotism, insanity, palsy, blindness, deafness, lameness! ye are powerful preachers to those who mark well your ravages among the sons of men, once most highly distinguished for strength, comeliness, genius, all that charms the heart, and dazzles the imagination with transient brilliancy.
“ Think, mortal,” says the poet, “ what it is to die.” Think also, I add, what it is to see those whom we love die before us; die, agonized with pain, after languishing with lingering disease; to attend them with all the blandishments of affection, without being able to contribute to their ease, or add one moment to their existence. Is there any partaker of human nature, however thoughtless, who, when he feels actually brought home to his own bosom, or to his own family, the
real calamities, the sore distresses of life, will not be anxious to seek comfort of religion, to acquaint himself with God, and be at peace with him ? His prospect in the world is forlorn and dismal. It is a barren land, where no water is. Though it flattered him in better days, it now turns away from him in the hour of his utmost need. Indeed, if it were still inclined to sooth him, it has no cordials for his heart, no balsams for his wounded spirit. To heaven only he can look for comfort,
' As examples of men well known, and recently in the land of the living, teach more effectually than any precepts and admonitions, I have selected the two following, to show how men of the world and men of pleasure are affected by disease and the decays of age.
The following verses, a translation of a Psalm, by the late Mr. Colman, who had been much conversant with the gay world, exhibit the state of mind to which the liveliest wits and men of fashion may be reduced, on a sudden, by sickness, by a stroke of the palsy, or any other malady.
« Psalm xxxix. imitated in blank verse :-
and there he will not seek it in vain. Religion has confessedly furnished a sweet solace, under extreme affliction, when the heart sickened at the pleasures of the world, and viewed its pageantries with contempt. Bitterer than wormwood has been the cup of adversity; but religion has infused a honied drop into it, which has overcome the bitterness : gloomy as midnight has been the lowering sky, but religion has tinged the clouds with gold and purple, and opened a prospect of the blue expanse.
Distemper preys upon him, as a moth
Ere I be taken hence, and seen no more !”-Colman. Let us hear also lord Chesterfield, a complete man of the world. The following is an extract from one of his letters :
“I have run,” says he, “ the silly rounds of business and pleasure, and have done with them all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. I appraise them at their real value, which is, in truth, very low. Whereas those that have not experienced, always overrate them. They only see their gay outside, and are dazzled with the glare. But I have been behind the scenes. I have seen all the coarse pulleys and dirty ropes which exhibit and move the gaudy machines ; and I have seen and smelt the tallow candles which illuminate the whole decoration, to the astonishment and admiration of the ignorant audience.
“ When I reflect on what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry of bustle and pleasure of the world had any reality ; but I look upon all that is passed, as one of those romantic dreams, which opium commonly occasions; and I do by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose, for the sake of the fugitive dream.