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the transient and turbid gratifications of SERMON sin and the world. To such endeavours of our own, for rectifying and improving our taste of pleasure, let us join frequent and fervent prayer to God, that he may enlighten and reform our hearts; and by his spirit, communicate that joy to our souls, which descends from him, and which he has annexed to every part of religion and virtue as the strength of the righteous.


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On the Folly of the Wisdom of the World.

I CORINTH. iii. 19.

The wisdom of this world is foolishness with


HE judgment which we form of ourselves, often differs widely from that which is formed of us by God, whose judgment alone is always conformable to the truth. In our opinion of the abilities which we imagine ourselves to possess, there is always much self-flattery; and in the happiness which we expect to enjoy in this world, there is always much deceit. As there is a worldly happiness, which God perceives to be no other than concealed misery; as there is a worldly honour,


which in his estimation is reproach; so, as, SERMON the text informs us, there is a wisdom of this world, which is foolishness with God. Assuredly there is nothing in which it imports us more that our judgment should agree with the truth, than in what relates. to wisdom. It is the qualification upon which every man is inclined to value himself, more than on any other. They who. can with patience suffer imputations onother parts of their character, are ready to lose their temper, and to feel sore and hurt when they are attacked for deficiency in prudence and judgment. Wisdom is justly. considered as the guide of conduct. If any capital errour shall take place respecting it; if one shall mistake that for wisdom. which at bottom is mere folly; such a mistake will pervert the first principles of conduct, and be perpetually misleading a man through the whole of life.-As the text plainly intimates that this mistake does often take place in the world, and as it materially concerns us all to be on our guard against so great a danger, I shall endeavour to shew, first, what the nature and spirit of that wisdom of the world is,


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SERMON which is here condemned; and next, in XVII. what sense and on what account it is styled foolishness with God.

I. LET us consider the nature of that wisdom which is reprobated in the text as foolishness with God. It is styled the wisdom of this world; that is, the wisdom which is most current, and most prized in this world; the wisdom which particularly distinguishes the character of those who are commonly known by the name of men of the world. Its first and most noted distinction is, that its pursuits are confined entirely to the temporal advantages of the world. Spiritual Spiritual blessings, or moral improvements, the man of this spirit rejects as a sort of airy unsubstantial enjoyments, which he leaves to the speculative and the simple; attaching himself wholly to what he reckons the only solid goods, the possession of riches and influence, of reputation and power, together with all the conveniences and pleasures which opulent rank or station can procure.

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In pursuit of these favourite ends, he is not in the least scrupulous as to his choice of


of means. If he prefer those which are SERMON the fairest, it is not because they are fair, but because they seem to him most likely to prove successful. He is sensible that it is for his interest to preserve decorums, and to stand well in the publick opinion. Hence he is seldom an openly profligate man, or marked by any glaring enormities of conduct. In this respect, his character differs from that of those who are commonly called men of pleasure, Them he considers as a thoughtless, giddy herd, who are the victims of passion and momentary impulse. The thorough-bred man of the world is more steady and regular in his pursuits. He is, for the most part, composed in his manners, and decent in his vices. He will often find it expedient to be esteemed by the world as worthy and good. But to be thought good, answers his purpose much better than subjecting himself to become really such; and what he can conceal from the world, he conceives to be the same as if it had never been. Let me here remark in passing, that the character which I am now describing, is one less likely to be reclaimed and reformed, than


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