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presnmptuous spirit, we thought lived in a state
of mind, and a course of habits, not only far
from ri^ht, but even avowedly inferior to our
own ; will not this lead to the conclnsion, either
that wo ourselves, standing on so much higher
ground, are in a very advanced state of grace,
or that a much lower than ours may be a state
of safety ? And will not such a belief tend to
slaeken our endeavours, and to lower our tone,
both of faith and practice ?

By this conclusion we contradict the affect-
ing assertion of a very sublime poet,

Vor Of they sicken and fbr iii they die.

For while we are thus taking and giving false
comfort, our fViend as to us will have died in
vain. Instead of his death having operated as
a warning voico, to rouse us to a more animated
piety, it will be rather likely to loll us into a
dangerous security. If our afibction has so
blinded our judgment, we shall by a false can-
dour to another, sink into a false peace ourselves.

It will be a wounding circumstance to the
feelings of surviving friendship, to see a person
of IcxMe habits, whom though we love, yet we

Vol. I.

feared to admonish, and that because we lovet
him ; fbr whom, though we saw his danger, ye*
perhaps we neglected to pray; to see him
brought to that ultimate and fixed state in which
admonition is impossible, in which prayer is not
only firuitless, but unlawfhl.

Another distressing circumstance frequently
occurs. We meet with affectionate but irreli.
gions parents, who though kind and perhaps
amiable, have neither lived themselves, nor edu-
cated their fkmilies in Christian principles, nor
in habiu of Christian piety. A child at the
age of maturity dies. Deep is the afHiction of
the doting paref t The world is a blank. He
looks round for comfort where he has been ac
customed to h)ok fi)r it among his friends. He
finds it not He looks up for it where he has
not been accustomed to seek it. Neither his
heart nor his treasure has been laid up in nea-
ven. Yet a paroxysm, of what may be termed
natural devotion, gives to his grief an air of
piety. The first cry of anguish is commonly

The lamented object perhaps, through utter
ignorance of the awful gulf which was opening
to receive him, added to a tranquil temper,
might have expired without evincing any great
distress, and his happy death is industriously
proclaimed through the neighbourhood, arnl the
mournmg parents have only to wish that their
latter end may be like his. They chdtt at once
their sorrow and their souls, with the sooth i no
notion that they shall soon meet their beloved
child in Heaven. Of this they persuade them
selves as firmly and as fondly, as if both thej
and the object of their grief OAd been living ii
the way which leads thither. Oh, for that un
bought treasure, a sincere, a real friend, whi
might lay hold on the propitious moment ! Whci
the heart is softened by^ sorrow, it might possi
bly, if ever, be led to its true remedy. Thii.
would indeed be a more unequivocal, becausci
more painful act of friendship than pouring in
the lulling opiate of false consolation, which wo
are too ready to administer, because it saves our
own fbelings, while it sooths, without healing,
those of the mourner.

But perhaps the integrity of the fViend con-
quers his timidity. Alas ! he is honestly explicit
to unattending or to offended ears. They refuse
to hear the voice of the charmer. But if the
mourners will not endure the voice of exhorta-
tion now, while there is hope, how will they en-
dure the sound of the last trumpet when hope is
at an end ) If they will not bear the gentle
whisper of friendship, how will they bear the
voice of the accusinsr angel, the terrible sentence
of the incensed Judge 7 If private reproof be
intolerable, how will they stand the being made
a spectacle to angels apd to men, even to the
whole assembled universe, to the whole creation
of God?

But instead of converting the friendly worn-
ing to their eternal benefit, they are probably
wholly bent on Uieir own vindication. Still their
character is dearer to them than their soul.
• We never,* say they, • were any man*s eneray.'
Yes — you have been the enemy of all to whom
you have given a bad example. You have espe-
cially been the enemy to your children in whum




you have implmted no christian principleB.
Still they insiBt with the prophet that * there ia
no iniquity in them that can be called iniquity.*
* We have wronged no one,* say they, * we have
given to every one his doe. We have done our
duty.* Your first daty was to God. You have
robbed your Maker of the service doe to Him.
You have robbed your Redeemer of the souls
he died to save. You have robbed your own
soul and too probably the souls of those whom
you have so wretchedly educated, of eternal hap-

Thus the flashes of religion which darted in
upon their conscience in the fi|^ burst of sor-
row, too frequently die away ; they expire be.
ibre the grief which kindled them. They resort
again to their old resource, the world, which if
it cannot soon heal their sorrow, at least soon
diverts it

To shut our eyes upon death as an obiect of
terror or of hope, and to consider it only as a
release or an extinction, is viewing it under a
character which is not its own. But to get rid
of the idea at nnj rate, and then boast that we
do not fear the thmg we do not think of is not
difficult Nor is it difficult to think of it with,
out alarm if we do not include its consequences.
But to him who frequently repeats, not me.
chanically, but devoutly, *■ we know that thou
shalt come to be our Judge,* death cannot be a
matter o€ indifference.

Another cause of these happy deaths is that
many think salvation a slight thing, that heaven
is cheaply obtained, that a mercifulGrod is easily
pleased, that we are Christians, and that mercy
comes of course to those who have always pro-
fessed to believe that Christ died to purchase it
for them. This notion of God being more mer-
ciful than he has any where declar^ himself to
be, instead of inspiring them with more grati-
tude to him, inspires more confidence in them-
selves. This corrupt faith generates a corrupt
morality. It leads to this strange consequence,
not to make them love God better, but to ven-
ture on offending him more. ^

' People talk as if the act of death made a com-
plete change in the nature, as well as in the
condition of man. Death is the vehicle to ano-
ther state of being, but possesses no power to
qualify us for that state. In conveying us to a
new world it does not give us a new heart It
puts the unalterable stamp of decision on the
character, but does not transform it into a cha-
racter diametrically opposite.

Our affections themselves will be rather raised
than altered. Their tendencies will be the same,
though their advancement will be incomparably
higher. They wiU be exalted in their degree,
but not changed in their nature. They wUl be
purified from all earthly mixtures, cleaniBed from
all human poQutions, the principle will be clear-
ed from its imperfections, but it will not biecome
another principle. He that b unholy will not
DC made holy by death. The heart will not have
a new object to seek, but will be directed more
tatensely to the same object

They who love God here will love him far
aiore m heaven, because they will know him
^ better. There he will reign without a com-
letitor. They who served him here in sincerity

will there serve him in perfection. If * the pure
in heart shall see God,* let us remember that
this purity is not to be contracted after we have
been admitted to its remuneration. The beati-
tude is pledged as a reward for the purity, not
as a qualification for it Purity will be subli-
mated in heaven, but wilt not begin to be pro-
duced there. It is to be acquired by passing
through the refiner*s fire here, not through the
penal and expiatory fire which human ingenuity
devised to purge offending man

Prom the fbul deeds done in hii days of nature.

The extricated spirit will be separated from the
feculence of all that belongs to sin, to sensts, to
self. We shall indeed find ourselves new, bt
cause spiritualiied beings ; but if the cast of the
mind were not in a great measure the same,
how should we retain our identity ? The soul
will there become that which it her» desired tc
be, that which it mourned because it was so &r
from being. It will haye obtained that complete
victory over its corruptions which it here only
desired, which it here only struggled to obtain.

Here our love of spiritual things is superin-
duced, there it will be our natural frame. The
impression of God on our hearts wiU be stamped
deeper, but it will not be a different impressioiL
Our obedience will be more voluntary, because
there will be no rival propensities to obstruct it
It will be more entire, because it will havt; to
struggle with no counteracting fiirce. — Here we
sincerely though imperfectly love the law of
God, even though it controuls our perverse will,
though it contradicts our corruptions. There
our love will be complete, because our will will
retain no perverseness, and our corruptions will
be done away.

Repentance, precious at all seasons, in the
season of health is noble. It is a generous prin- '
ciple when it overtakes us surrounded with the
prosperities of life, when it is not put off" till dis-
tress drives us to it Seriousness of spirit is
most acceptable to God when danger b out of
sight, preparations for death when disath appears
to be at a distance.

Virtue and piety are founded 'on the nature
of things, on the laws of God, not on any vicis-
situdes in human circumstances. Irreligion,
folly, and vice, are just as unreasonable in the
meridian of life as at the approach of death.
They strike us diffi)rently but they always re-
tain their own character. Every argument
against an irreligious death is equally cogent
against an irreligious life. Piety and penitence
may be quickened by the near yiew of death,
but the reasons for practising them are not
fi>unded on its nearness. Death may stimulate
our fears for the consequences of vice, but fhr-
nishes no motive for avoiding it, which Chris-
tianity had not taught before. The necessity
of reUgion is as urgent now as it will be «ben
we are dying. It may not appear so, but tbo
reality of a thio^ does not depend on appear-
ances. Besides, if the necessity of being reli.
gious depended on the approach of death, what
moment of our lives is there, in which we hare
any security against it 7 In every point of view
therefore, the same necessity for being religioos

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•tiUsists when we are in Ml health as when we
are about to die.

We may then fairly arrive at thb coneluBion,
that there is no happy death bat that which con-
ducts to a happy immortality : — ^No joy in pat-
ting off the body, if we have not put on the Lord
Jesus Christ ; — ^No consolation in escaping from
the miseries of time, till we have obtained a well
grounded hope of a blessed eternity.

And daller would he be than the flit weed
That rote itielf at ease on Lethe's wharf,

were he left to batten undisturbed, in peacofii
security, on the unwholesome pastures of rank
prosperity. The thick exhalations drawn up
from this gross soil render the atmosphere sc
heavy as to obstruct the ascent of piety, her
flagging pinions are kept down by the influence
of this moist vapour; she is prevented froia

-to live insi^red


On th€ Suffering$ of Good Men.

Aftliotion is the school in which great vir-
tues are acquired, in which great characters are
formed. It is a kind of moral Gymnasium, in
which the disciples of Christ are trained to
robust exercise, hardy exertion, and severe

We do not hear of martial heroes in * the calm
and piping time of peace,* nor of the most emi-
nent saints in the quiet and unmolested periods
of ecclesiastical history. We are far from deny-
ing that the principle of courage in the warrior,
or of piety in the saint continues to subsist, ready
to be brought into action when perils beset the
country or trials assail the church ; but it must
be allowed that in long periods of inaction, both
are liable to decay.

The Christian, in our comparatively tranquil
day, is happily exempt from the triaus and the
terrors which the annals of persecution record.
Thanks to the establishment of a pure Chris-
tianity in the church, thanks to the infusion of
the same pure principle into our laws, and to the
mild and tolerating spirit of both — a man is so
far from being liable to pains and penalties for
his attachment to his religion, that he is pro-
tected in its exercise ; and were certain existing
statutes enforced, he would even incur penalties
for his violation of religious duties, rather than
for his observance of them.*

Yet still the Christian is not exempt fVom his
individual, his appropriate, his undefined trials.
We refer not merely to those * cruel mockinsfs,*
which the acute sensibility of the apostle led him
to rank in the same eatuogue with bonds, im
prisonments, exile and martyrdom itself. We
allude not altogether to those misrepresentations
and calumnies to which the xealous Christian is
peculiarly liable ; nor exclusively to those diffi-
culties to which his very adherence to the prin-
ciples he professes, must necessarily subject
him ; nor entirely to those occasional saorinoes
of credit, of advancement, of popular applause^
to which his refusing to sail with the tide of
popular opinion may compel him ; nor solely to
the disadvantages whieh under certain circum-
stances his not preferring expediency to princi-
ple may expose him. But the truly good man
IS n*t only oflen called to struggle with trials of
lari^e dimensions, with exigencies of obvious
difficulty, but to encounter others which are
better understood than defined.

• We allude to the laws against swearinri attending
public worship, &c

In regions mild of calm and serene air.
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot
Which men call earth.

The pampered Christian thus continually gra*
vitating to me earth, would have his heart s<Nely
bent to

Strive to keep ap a fk-ail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown religion gives.
After this mortal change, to her true servants.

It is an unspeakable blessing that no events
are lefl to the choice of beings, who from their
blindness would seldom fail to choose amiss.
Were circumstances at our own disposal we
should allot ourselves nothing but ease and suc-
cess, but riches and fame, but protracted youth,
peroetual health, unvaried happiness.

All this as it would not be very unnatural, so
perhaps it would not be very wrong, for beings-
who were always to live on earth. But for be.
ings who are placed here in a state of trial and
not established in their final home, whose con
dition in eternity depends on the use tiiey make
of time, nothing would be more dangerous than
such a power, nothing more fatal than the con-
sequences to which such a power would lead.

If a surgeon were to put in the hand of a
wounded patient the probe or the lancet, with
how much false tenderness would he treat him-
self! How skin-deep would be the examina-
tion, how slight the incision! The patient
wocdd escape the pain, but the wound might
prove mortal. The practitioner therefore wisely
uses his instruments himself. He goes deep
perhape, but not deeper than the ease demands.
The pain may be acute but the life is preserved.

Thus He in whose hands we are, is too good,
and loves us too well to trust us with ourselves.
He knows that we will not contradict our own
inclinations, that we will not impose on ourselves
any thing unpleasant, that we will not inflict on
ourselves any voluntary pain, however neceesaxy
the infliction, however salutary the effect God
graciously does this for us himself, or he knows
It would never be done.

A Christian is liable to the same sorrows and
sufferings with other men : he has no where
any promise of immunity from the troubles of
life, but he has a merciful promise of support
under them. He considers them in another
view, he bears them with another spirit, he im
proves them to other purposes than those whose
views are bounded by this world. Whatever
may be the instruments of his sufferings, whether
sickness, losses, calumnies, persecutions, he
knows that it proceeds from Giod ; all means are
mi instruments. All inferior causes operate bv
HIS directing hand.

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We said that a Ohristian ia liable to the same
sufferings with other men. Might we not re-
peat what we have before said, that his very
Christian profession is often the cause of his
sufferings 7 They are tl^ badge of his diseiple-
fhip, the evidences of his Fauer^s love ; they
. are at once the marks of God*s favour, and the
materials of his own future happiness.

What were the arguments of worldly advan-
tage held out through the whole New Testa-
ment, to induce the world to embrace the religion
it taught ? What was the condition of St Faurs
introduction to Christianity ? It was not — I wiU
erown him with honour and prosperity, with
dignity and pleasure, but — I will show him how
great things he must suffer for my name*s sake.*
What were the virtues which Christ chiefly
taught in his discourses 7 What were the graces
he most recommended by^ his example 7 Self-
denial, mortification, patience, long-sufiering,
renouncing ease and pleasure. These are the
marks which have ever since its first appearance,
disthiguished Christianity from all the religions
in the world, and on that account evidently prove
its divine original. Ease, splendour, external
prosperity, conquest, made no pert of its este-
blishment Other empires have been fininded
in the blood of the vanquished.— 4he dominion
of Christ was founded in his own blood. Most
of the beatitudes which infinite compassion pro-
nounced, have the sorrows of earto for their
subject, but the joys of heaven for their com-

To establish this religion in the world, the
Almighty, as his own word assures us, subverted
kingdoms and altered the face of nations. ' For
thus saith the Lord of Hosts,* (by bis prophet
Haggai) *yet once, it is a little while, and I will
shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea
and the dry land ; and I will shake all nations,
and the desire of all nations shall come.' Could
a religion, the kingdom of which was to be
founded by such awful means, be established, be
perpetuated, without involving the sufferings of
Its subjects.

If the Christian course had been meant for a
path of roses, would the life of the author of
Christianity have been a path strewed with
thorns 7 * He made for us,* says bishop Jeremy
Taylor, ' a covenant of sufferings, his very pro-
mises were sufferings ; his rewards were sutot-
ings, and his arguments to invite men to follow
him were only tdEon from sufferings in this life,
and the reward of sufiforings hereafter.

But if no prince but the rrinoe of Peace ever
set out with the proclamation of the reversionary
nature of his empire — if no other king, to allay
avarice and checa ambition, ever invited sub-
jects by the unallurin^ declaration that *his
kingdom was not of this world* — ^if none other
ever declared that it was not dignity or honours,
valour or talents that made Uiem * worthy of
him,* but * taking up the cross* — if no other ever
made the sorrows which would attend his fol-
lowers a motive for their attachment-^yet no
ether ever had the goodness to promise, or the
power to make his promise good, that he would
give • rest to the heavy laden.* Other sovereigns
have • overcome the world* for their own ambi-
tion, but none besides ever thought of making ,

, the ' tribulation' which should be the effoct of
that conquest, a ground for animating the fidelity
of his followers — ever thought of bidding them

* be of good cheer,* because ne had overcome the
world in a sense which was to make his subjects
lose all hope of rising in it

The apostle to the Philippians enumerated it
amonff tne honours and distinctions prepared
for his moet favoured converts, not only that

* they should believe in Christ,* but that they
should else * suffer for him.* Any other religion
would have made use of such a promise as an
argument to deter, not to attract. That a reli-
gion should flourish the more under such dis-
couraging invitations, with the threat of even
degrading circumstances and absolute losses, is
an unanswerable evidence that it was of no hu-
man origin.

It is among the mercies of God, that he
strengthens the virtues of his servants by hard-
eniug them under the cold and bracing clioMte
of aaverse fortune, instead of leaving them to
languish under the shining but withering sun
of unclouded prosperity. When they cannot be
attracted to him by gentler influences, he sends
these salutary storms and tempests, which purify
while they akrm. Our gracious Father knows
that eternity is long enough for bis children to
be happy in.

The character of Christianity may be seen br
the very images of military conflict, under whidh
the Scriptures so flrequentfy exhibit it Sufibring
is the initiation into a Christian*s calling. It is
his education for heaven. Shall the scholar re-
bel at the discipline which is to fit him for his
profession ; or the soldier at the exercise whieh
is to qualify him for victory 7

But the Christian's trials do not all spring
fi-om without. He would think them oompara-
tively easy, had he only the opposition of men
to stroggte against, or even the severer dispen-
sations of G^ to sustain. If he haa a confliet
with the world, he has a harder conflict with sin.
His bosom foe is his most unyielding enemy :

Ris warfare is witbii;, there aniktiguad
His fervent spirit labours.

This it is which makes his other trials heavy,
which makes his poweV of sustaining them weak,
which renders his conquest over them slow and
inconclusive; which too often solicits him is
oppose interest to duty, indolence to resistance,
and self-indulgence to victory.

This world is the stage on which w<H'kUy men
more exclusively act, anid the things of the world,
and the applanse of the world, are the rewards
which they propose to themedvee. These they
often attain— with these tfaey are satisfied. Thej
aim at no higher end, and of their aim they are
not disappointed. But let not the Christian re-
pine at the success of those wboee motives he
reiects, whose practices be dares not adopt,
whose ends be deprecates. If be feel any du-
position to murmur when he sees the irreligioos
in great prosperity, let him ask himself if he
woiild tread their path to attain their end — if be
would do their work to obtain their warn 7 He
knows he would not Let him then cheerfully
leave them to scramble for the prizes, and iostJe
for the places, which the world temptinfly nolde

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•at, bat wliioh 1m will not paitbtm at the
world's price.

Contolt the ptfe of history, and obeerre, not
only if the best men have been the most sao-
eessfoJ, hot efen if they have not often eminent-
ly fiiiled in great enterpriies, andertaken per-
haps on the parest principles; while onworthy
mstroments have been often employed^ not only
to prodooe danfferoos rerolations, bat to bring
iUwnt erents mtimately tending to the pablio
benefit ; enternriies in which good men ftared
to engage, which perhaps they were not com-
petent to eflbct, or in effiscting which they might
haYO wonnded their oonsoienoe and endangered
their sools.

Good c aus ae are not always oondoeted by
good men. A good caose may be oonnnected
with something that is not good, with party for
instance. Party often does that for Turtae,
which rirtoe is not aUe to^do for herself; and
thos the right caose is promoted and efiected by
some snbordinate, even by some wrong motito.
A worldly man, connecting himself with a re-
ligions caose, ffi?es it that importance In the
eyes of the world, which neither its own recti-
tode, nor that of its religioas sopporters had
been able to gi?e it Nay the very piety of its
adfocate s f or worldly men alwaTS oonntct
piety with improdence— had broofht the wis-
dom, or at least the sjpediewy of the eanse into
suspicion, and it is at hwt carried by a means
foreign to itsel£ The character of the caose

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