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take off that sense of religion with which they had been careful to impress you, and were taught to associate yourselves with the virtuous and well disposed wherever you came, and such were the companions they chose for you while you were under their more immediate direction.
These, my brethren, are valuable privileges indeed, and many who now hear me have no doubt enjoyed them. Let me then ask you, but do you more especially ask yourselves, what do ye more than others ? Are you as strictly pious and conscientious, and are your lives as useful and exemplary, as the world may justly expect from these advantages ?
H, notwithstanding all this care and pains bestowied upon you, you turn out profligate, and utter strangers to the power of religion; or if
you be only careless and thoughtless about your duty, and a future state ; If, notwithstanding all the care that has been taken of your education, you be as inuch addicted to sensuality, as worldly minded, and as indifferent about religion, as too many are, you must be hardened and abandoned indeed, such as nothing can work upon; and to whom those awful words of scripture will be ap
plicable. The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it and bringeth forth fruiit, meet for them by whom it is dressed receiveth bles, sing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.
You, therefore, who have had the benefit of a virtuous and pious educațion, disappoint not the just expectations of your friends and of the world. Be your parent's joy here, and their crown of re. joicing hereafter. It will greatly add to their happiness, even in heaven, to find that their offspring, trained up by themselves, have followed them in the road to glory, honour and immortality
Let me, in the next place, address myself to those who have been tried by long and sharp afilictions, pain of body, or distress of mind. You have been long in the school of wisdom, and of virtue. What have you learned ? you have seen and experienced much of the vanity of the world, and of its insufficiency to make you happy. You have been abundantly convinced, that there is no rest or portion for immortal beings as you are. You have seen how uncertain and precarious are all the things of this world. Are you then more weaned from it, and are vour affections more set upon heaven and heavenly things; or are you
stili as apt to be delighted with the follies and vanities of it as others are, who hàve seen only the fair and delusive side of things ? you perhaps have had near views of death, and of the unseen world. Are your minds properly impressed with the consideration of them, and with the importance of being at all times ready to receive your suminons from this World to another?
By long sickness, you have been taught the value of health, Are you then more careful to improve it? you have seen that what many trust to, viz. a death bed repentance, is not to be depended upon. You have found that a body full of pain, and a mind necessarily attentive to the feelings of the body, are very unfit for such an important work. Are you then more careful to secure the guod part in time; that whenever you come to die, the great business of life may be done, and you may have nothing to do but to die?
Your faith, your patience, and your fortitude, have been more particularly tried. Are you more perfect in the exercise of them? Are you more resigned to the will of God, more humble, more submissive, more thankful for the mixture of good which you will certainly find to accompany all e
yils ; and do you feel more compassion for others who are in a similar state of affliction, than for those who have not been so tried and disciplined ?
In short, can you say with David, before I was afilicted I went astray, but now. I have learned to keep thy righteous testimonies. For sickness, or afdictions of any other kind, no less than health and prosperity, are things for which God will call
Whatever we may think of them, they are talents, put into our hands, to be valued, and improved, for the greatest purposes ; and if we be barren and unfruitful under those dispeusa, tions of providence, we shall be justly punished for having neglected, and abused, the best opportunity that God affords any of the sons of men of attendįng to the things that relate to their everlasting peace and welfare
Active service is not indeed expected from you, whose afflictions and infirmities evidently unfit You
for it. God, who knows your frame and situ. ation, will not expect it. In this respect, there: fore, you will be excused if you do even less than others. · But then it is expected that you should, shine in the exercise of the passive virtues as they are called, in patience, in humility, in self-denial, and in mortification to the world, as also in sym.
pathy with others in benevolence and charity. This is your province, and in these respects it is justly required that you do more than others, whose health and prosperity has not given them the same opportunity for the exercise of those particular virtues. And if in these respects you do excel others, remember for your consolation, the words of the apostle. That these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work out for you a far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory.
I might in like manner address other classes of persons, who are possessed of singular advantages for virtue and usefulness, especially those whose more ample fortunes, better understandings, superior knowledge, or peculiar situations, give them the power of doing more than others. If these things be of the nature of favours, as certainly they are, because they are the means of adding to our own happiness, as well as that of others, a principle of gratitude to the giver of all good should lead them to be thankful for them, and to improve them. And we should ever remember, that nothing is given us for our own sakes alone. In all these respects, we are but stewards of the grace and goodness of God, and should be faithful to the trust committed to us; as we shall certainly be