Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

tion of which must be habitual to the mind which keeps up an habitual regard to God, cannot fail to diminish the lustre of the things of time and sense, which engage our attention here below; and while they lessen our solicitude and anxiety about them, they must cure that fretfulness, and distress of mind, which is occasioned by the disappointments we meet with in them.

For the same reason, this habitual regard to God, this life of devotion, which I would recommend, must tend in some measure to prevent that most deplorable of all the calamities mankind are subject to, I mean madness. It is well known, that the circumstance which generally first occasions, or at least greatly contributes to, this disorder, is too élose, and too anxious an attention to some single thing, in which a person is greatly interested ; sQ that, 'for a long time, he can hardly-think of

any thing else, and particularly is often prevented from sleeping, by means of it. Thus we frequently see, that when persons are of a sanguine temper of mind, a severe disappointment of any kind will end in madness. Also a sudden transport of joy, from unexpected success, will sometimes have the same effect. But, from the nature of the thing, this violence of either kind, could hardly take place in

a truly

[ocr errors]

1

a truly devout and pious mind, in the mind of a man who considers all the events, in which he can be concerned, as appointed by a God infinitely wise and good; who, he is persuaded, hath, in the most afflictive providences, the most gracious intention to him, and to all mankind; and who, by the most prosperous events, means to try his virtue, and to put him upon the most difficult of all exercises, that of behaving properly in such cir. cumstances. To a mind rightly disposed, and duly seasoned with a sense of religion, nothing here below will appear to be of sufficient moment

to produce these dreadful effects. We shall rejoice, as though we rejoiced not ; and weep, as though we wept not; knowing that the fashion of this world passeth away.

Deep melancholy is often occasioned, in persons of a lower tone of spirits, by the same kind of disappointments which produce raging madness in others. It is the effect of despair, and could never take place, but when a person apprehended, that that which we may call his all, that in which he put his chief trust and confidence, had failed him, 'and he had no other resource to fly to. But a truly religious man can never despair ; because, let what will befal him here below, he knows his chief hap

piness

[ocr errors]

P

piness is safe, being lodged where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through and steal. In patience, therefore, he will be able at all times to possess his own soul, exercising a steady trust and confidence in God, the rock of ages, the sure resting place of all generations.

Melancholy, or despondence in a lower degree, what we commonly call lowness of spirits, generally arises from a want of some object of pursuit, sufficient to engage the attention, and rouse a man to the proper exertion of his powers.

In this situ. ation, he has nothing to do but to think of himself, and his own feelings, which never fails to involve him in endless anxiety and distress. But a principle of religion will ever put a man upon a varie. ty of active and vigorous pursuits. No truly pious and good man can be an idle man. He will fully employ all his power of doing good; he will not keep his talent hid in a napkin; and, far from complaining that time hangs heavy on his hands, he will rather compiain, that he has not time enough for the execution of half his benevolent purposes.

3. An habitual regard to God fits a man for the business of this life, giving a peculiar presence and intrepidity of mind; and it is, therefore, the best support in difficult enterprizes of any kind.

A man

A man who keeps up an habitual regard to God, who acknowledges him in all his ways, and lives a life of devotion to him, has a kind of union with God; feeling, in some measure, the same sentiments, and having the same views. Hence, being, in the language of the apostle, a worker together with God, and therefore being confident that God is with him, and for him, he will not fear what man can do unto him. Moreover, fearing God, and having confidence in him, he is a stranger to every other fear. Being satisfied that God will work all his pleasure in him, by him, and for him, he is free from alarm and perturbation, and is not easily disconcerted, so as to lose the possession of his own mind. And having this presence of mind, being conscious of the integrity of his own heart, confiding in the favour of his maker, and therefore sensi. ble that there is nothing of much real value that. he can lose, he will have leisure to consider every situation in which he finds himself, and be able to act with calmness and prudence, as circumstances may require.

Is there, then, any active and difficult service, to which we are summoned by the voice of our country, of mankind, and of God, these are the me., I mean men of religion and devotion, in whom we

P 2

can

[ocr errors]

can most confide? Other men may be roused by their passions to any pitch of patriotic enthusiasm.

They may oppose the insidious attempts of cor. rupt ministers or tyrants to enslave their country, or may bravely face a foreign enemy in the field, though they risk their fortunes, and their lives in the contest." Bùt mere wordly-minded men, staking their all in such enterprizes 'as these, and having *little more than a sense of honour to support them, imay, in some critical moment, be sensible of the value of what they risk, and on that principle prove cowards.

14 w life * Whereas the man of religion feels the same indignation against all iniquitous attempts to enslave himself and his country, and if He have the same native ardout of mind, he will be róused to act with the same vigour against a tyrant, or an invä. der; but running no risk of what is of most con. sequence to him, he will not be so liable to be intimidated: he will be more master of himself, have greater presence of mind, and act with greater prudèrice'in time of đảnger. Ithe die in the glórious struggle, he dies, not with the gloomy fèrocity of the man of this world, but with the triumph of a christian, in a consciousness of having finished bis career of virtue in the most glorious manner in

« НазадПродовжити »