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lively sensation of pleasure, than what we SERMON taste in unbroken health. It has been often observed, that what is very severe of any kind, seldom lasts long; and the uneasiness which lasts, we become accustomed to bear. Time and continuance reconcile us gradually to many things that were at first believed to be unsupportable. Providence has in mercy provided this gentle opiate to assuage various sorrows of human life. What we behold others around us bearing, we learn to think may also be borne by us. The spirit of man will long sustain his infirmities. From the treasures of his own mind in reflection and meditation, much relief will arise to the virtuous; and at the bottom of the most disconsolate estate, there lies always a secret hope that better days may come. - From such circumstances as these, the expectation of passing through life with some measure of comfort, may reasonably be entertained by such as are not wanting to themselves in propriety of conduct. In looking forward to futurity, the prospect we are to take of the world is not that which is sometimes gloomily indulged, of a forlorn region, where nothing VOL. V. is
SERMON is to be beheld but dreary and inhospitable wastes, and no objects are to be met with but serpents that hiss, and wild beasts that devour. The prospect is rather that of a mixed region, where indeed rugged rocks are seen, and desarts extend, over which the tempest sometimes scowls; but where also many peaceful habitations and fruitful fields occur to refresh the sight. Once
III. We have ground to expect from the ordinary course of human affairs, that if we persevere in studying to do our duty towards God and man, we shall meet with the esteem, the love, and confidence of those who are around us. I before observed, that in our expectations of receiving what we think due respect and consideration from the world, we shall be often disappointed. But that observation was applied to the claims we make on others, on account of talents, abilities, and superior merits. To such claims the world is seldom disposed to give a favourable reception. We live amidst rivals and competitors, whose selfestimation prompts them to depreciate us,
and of course subjects us to many a mor- SERMON tification. The case is different with respect to moral qualifications. There the world is more ready to do justice to character. No man is hurt, at least few are so, by hearing his neighbour esteemed a worthy and honourable man. This praise will be bestowed, without grudging, by many who value themselves on the possession of qualities, which they conceive to be of superior importance in the judgment of the world.
But whatever they may think, it is certain that the basis of all lasting reputation is laid in moral worth. Great parts and endowments may sparkle for a while in the public eye. The world looks up to them with wonder, as to an extraordinary comet, or a blazing star. Distinguished virtue and worth create less astonishment; but, like the fixed luminaries of heaven, they shine with more steady and permanent lustre. Unaffected piety conjoined with inviolable uprightness and integrity in conduct, command a degree of respect which approaches to veneration, Candour and fairness never fail to attract esteem and trust. Kindness
SERMON and benevolence conciliate love and create
I. warm friendship. The best character
may indeed for a time be accidentally obscured and misunderstood. But the world commonly judges soundly in the end. After a man has acted his part for a while among his fellows, he is known upon trial to be what he is; and if his worth be real and genuine, his righteousness comes forth as the light, and his judgment as the noon-day.
This is what a good man has always ground to look for, even in evil times; and surely, there are few things which he · can more desire, than the prospect of being valued and esteemed by those among whom he lives. This counterbalances many a disadvantage of outward fortune, and puts into his hand many opportunities of satisfaction and comfort. He is likely to possess many friends and well-wishers, and to have few enemies. The more he is known, the more will the favour of those who surround him grow; and the prospect is before him of having his hoary head crowned with honour.
THUS, in several instances, I have briefly SERMON pointed out what may, or may not, be expected from the world, when we look forward to the ordinary course of human affairs: Not an uninterrupted enjoyment of all the comforts of prosperity; not undisturbed satisfaction in our various intercourses with society; not grateful returns from all whom we have obliged or served: But what we may expect, if we keep a good conscience and study to do our duty, is peace of mind; a tolerably easy and comfortable state, amidst the vicissitudes of life; and the love and esteem of those with whom we are connected. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.
THE present subject has led me to consider only what the righteous man has to hope for in the ordinary course of the world. But I have now to observe, that he has before him a much higher object of hope than any which I have yet mentioned; a hope which arises not from. the ordinary course of human affairs, but from an extraordinary interposition of C 3 1