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SERMON the early periods of life, vivid sensations of pleasure are the sole objects thought worthy of pursuit. Mere ease and calmness are despised, as the portion of the aged only and the feeble. Some longer acquaintance with the world, with its disappointed hopes and fallacious pleasures, teaches almost all men, by degrees, to wish for tranquillity and peace. But you must not imagine, that these are blessings which will drop on men of their own accord as soon as they begin to desire them. No: the thoughtless and the profligate, will ever remain strangers to them. They will remain the sport of every accident that occurs to derange their minds, and to disturb their life.-The three great enemies to tranquillity are, Vice, Superstition, and Idleness: Vice, which poisons and disturbs the mind with bad passions; Superstition, which fills it with imaginary terrours; Idleness, which loads it with tediousness and disgust. It is only by following the path which eternal wisdom has pointed out, that we can arrive at the blessed temple of tranquillity, and obtain a station there: By doing, or at least endeayouring to do, our duty to God and man;
by acquiring a humble trust in the mercy XIII.
and favour of God through Jesus Christ; by cultivating our minds, and properly employing our time and thoughts; by governing our passions and our temper; by correcting all unreasonable expectations from the world and from men; and, in the midst of worldly business, habituating ourselves to calm retreat and serious recollection. By such means as these, it may be hoped, that, through the divine blessing, our days shall flow in a stream as unruffled as the human state admits. The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. But the work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance for ever*.
* Isaiah, xxxii. 17.
On the MISFORTUNES of MEN being chargeable on themselves.
PROVERBS, Xix. 3.
The foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord.
OW many complaints do we hear from every quarter, of the misery and distress that fill the world? In these the high and the low, the young and the aged, join; and since the beginning of time, no topic has been more fertile of declamation than the vanity and vexation which man is appointed to suffer. But are we certain that this vexation, and this vanity, is altogether to be ascribed to the appoint
to the malignant and unsocial class, evi- SERMON dently tend to produce vexation and disquier. Against suffering these to gain possession of the heart, admonition is scarcely necessary. But I must admonish you, that even those which are accounted of innocent nature, and which therefore may lay hold of virtuous minds, if they obtain the entire mastery, are sufficient to overthrow the tranquillity of life. Let every one therefore, who values that tranquillity, study to retain moderation and self-command, even in the midst of passions which have a fair and bland appearance. He will find that the gratification of any one of them, compensates not that perpetual slavery to which it will reduce him, when it becomes inordinate.
I have farther to admonish you, that this self-command is particularly necessary in all that relates to habitual temper. Even where strong passions are out of the question, those slight those slight emotions emotions which ruffle or sour the temper, are sufficient, by their frequent recurrence, to poison all self enjoyment. He, who would possess a tranquil state, must, above all things, cul
SERMON tivate calmness and gentleness of disposition. He ought especially to cultivate it in that society, whether domestic or social, with which he has most frequent intercourse. We all know, that there are thousands, who in public, and in formal companies, appear to be all gentleness and sweetness, but who, at home, and among their nearest relations, give vent, with freedom, to the most harsh and peevish dispositions. Such persons are not likely to enjoy much real comfort. For it is in the daily and familiar intercourse of life, that temper chiefly exerts its power, either for promoting or for disturbing the tranquillity of our days. On occasions when men come closest together, if, instead of meeting in smooth contact, they rub and grate on one another, the feelings produced on both sides are of the most offensive and displeasing kind. Nothing can be assumed as a more certain axiom, than that he who allows either inordinate passions, or a cross temper, to govern him, must, though he should possess all that flourishing fortune can bestow, be a stranger to tranquillity.