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hours of life, which recall men to recol- SERMON lection and wisdom. They show to the unthinking what this world really is, and what may be expected from it. But the day that is always bright and unclouded, is not made for men. It flatters them with the dangerous illusion, that it is in their power to render life one scene of pleasure; and that they have no other business on earth, but to spread the feast, and call the harp and the viol to sound. But the examples are so frequent, of the dangers and the crimes which arise from an intemperate abuse of pleasure, that on this part of the subject it seems needless to insist any longer. I proceed, therefore,
II. To consider the duties which men are accused of having neglected; and which it is here supposed, if duly attended to, would have acted as the correctives of dissolute and irreligious luxury; these are, to regard the work of the Lord, and to consider the operation of his hands. By recommending such duties, I do not mean to represent it as requisite
SERMON that the feast should be turned into an
act of worship; that the countenances of men should be always grave; or that, in the hours of amusement and of social festivity, no subject may employ their thoughts and their discourse, except God and a future state. All extremes in religion are dangerous; and by carrying austerity too far, we are in hazard of only promoting hypocrisy. But though some in the last age, might be prone to this extreme; yet, at the present day, there is not much occasion for warning men against it.-What I now insist upon is, that all our pleasures ought to be tempered with a serious sense of God; that scenes of gaiety and enjoyment should never make us forget that we are subjects of his government, and have a part allotted us to act in this world; that on no occasion they should be prolonged so much, repeated so often, or suffered to transport us so far, as to lead us to break any of the Divine laws, or to act inconsistently with the character of men and Christians. A prevailing sense of God on the mind is to be ever held the
surest guard of innocence and virtue, amidst SERMON the allurements of pleasure. It is the salutary mixture which must be infused into the cup of joy, in order to render it safe and innoxious.
This sense of God should lead us in the language of the prophet, to regard the work of the Lord, and to consider the operation of his hands ; which expressions may be understood as requiring us to have God upon our thoughts under two views; to regard his work, as the Author of nature; and to consider the operation of his hands, as the Governor of the world. Let us attend more particularly to each of these views of the Supreme Being.
IN the first place, we are to view God as the Author of nature, or to regard the work of the Lord. With his works we are in every place surrounded.
cast our eyes no where, without discerning the hand of Him who formed them, if the grossness of our minds will only allow us to behold Him. Let giddy and thoughtless men turn aside a little from the haunts of riot. Let them stand still,
SERMON and contemplate the wondrous works of God; and make trial of the effect which such contemplation would produce.-It were good for them that even independently of the Author, they were more acquainted with his works; good for them, that from the societies of loose and dissolute men, they would retreat to the scenes of nature; would oftener dwell among them, and enjoy their beauties. This would form them to the relish of uncorrupted innocent pleasures; and make them feel the value of calm enjoyments, as superiour to the noise and turbulence of licentious gaiety. From the harmony of nature and of nature's works, they would learn to hear sweeter sounds than what arise from the viol, the tabret and the pipe.
But to higher and more serious thoughts these works of nature give occasion, when considered in conjunction with the Creator who made them.-Let me call on you, my friends, to catch some interval of reflection, some serious moment, for looking with thoughtful eye on the world around you. Lift your view to that immense
immense arch of heaven which encom- SERMON Behold the sun in all passes you above.
his splendour rolling over your head by