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SERMON every motive which reason suggests in favour of virtue, the hope of life eternal adds supernatural strength. Accordingly, in the behaviour of many holy men, under the most trying circumstances of distress, we behold this effect eminently exemplified. It appears, with much lustre in the spirited and magnanimous sentiments of the Apostle Paul, when he had the prospect of death before him. Behold
30 bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there, save that the Holy Ghost
witnesseth that But none of
bonds and afflictions abide me.
*Acts, xx. 22, 23, 24.
2 Timothy, iv. 6, 7, 8. Thus
THUS I have endeavoured to shew in SERMON what manner the integrity of the upright guides them and what the advantages are, of placing ourselves under its guidance. If it be the line of safety, or the line of honour, which we choose to pursue; if we consult our present comfort, or look forward to future rewards; in all these respects, the course which integrity points out is by far the most eligible.
It is a great recommendation of the guidance offered to us by integrity, that it is easily understood by all men. Plans of worldly policy are deep and intricate; and experience shows how often the ablest persons are mistaken in the measures which they adopt for carrying them on. But when men's intentions are fair and upright, it will be found, that a moderate share of understanding and attention is all that is requisite, for conducting themselves with safety and propriety. Providence never intended, that the art of living happily in this world should depend on that deep penetration, that acute sagacity, and those refinements of thought, Vol. IV. X which
SERMON which few possess.
It has dealt more
graciously with us; and made happiness to depend on uprightness of intention, much more than on extent of capacity. For the most part, the first sentiment which strikes a good man, concerning what he ought or ought not to do, is the soundest, and suggests the best and wisest counsel. When he hesitates, and begins to deliberate how far his duty, or his honour, can be reconciled to what seems his interest, he is on the point of deviating into a dangerous path.At the same time, it is of great consequence, that he who seeks to surrender his conduct to the direction of integrity, should be well apprized of what true integrity requires. Let him guard against burdening conscience unnecessarily; lest a superstitious regard to trifles lead him to relax in matters of higher obligation. Let him avoid minute scrupulosity, on the one hand. Let him keep at a distance from loose casuistry, on the other. But when he is satisfied that his conscience has been well informed, let him, without wavering, adhere to its dictates in the whole of
his conduct. This will prove the truest SERMON wisdom both for this world and the next. For he who walketh uprightly, walketh surely. The path of the just is as the shining light : And it shall shine more and more unto the perfect day,
On SUBMISSION to the DIVINE WILL.
JOB, ii. 10.
-Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
EW subjects of religious exhortation are more of general concern, than those which respect the distresses incident to human life. For no society, no family, no person, can expect to be long exempted from them ; and when we speak of the prosperous, we can only mean those who are more rarely subject to them than others. Now, under those distresses, religion performs two offices: it teaches us how we ought