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difficult to promise any effectual


relief. In the former case, the distress lay entirely in the mind. As soon as its views are rectified, and its apprehensions quieted, the evil is removed, and the cure effected. Here, the distress arises from without; and the religion of Christ affects not the course of external events. But though it removes not all the evils of life; though it promises no continuance of undisturbed prosperity (which indeed it were not salutary for man always to enjoy); yet, if it mitigates the evils which necessarily belong to our state, and supports us under them, it may justly be said to give rest to them who labour and are beavy laden. When much that is material and important is effected, we have no cause to complain, though all that we desire be not accomplished. In this part of the discourse, I am to be considered as addressing myself not merely to such as are at present suffering any severe calamity; I now speak to many, who in the midst of health and affluence, enjoy the various comforts of life. But I must desire such persons to look forward to what may one




day be their state. Let them reflect how SERMON important it is to prepare themselves for the future unknown vicissitudes of the world. For, if a man live many years and rejoice in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many Now, either in the prospect of future distress, or under present suffering, I say, that the religion, of Christ gives rest to the heart, by the fortitude which it inspires, and by the consolations which it affords.

First, IT inspires fortitude. It discovers a supreme administration, so friendly to the interests of goodness, as never to allow the followers of Christ to dread, that, in any situation of fortune, they shall be neglected by Heaven. From the abstract consideration of the divine perfections, men had always some ground to be lieve, that the general order of the universe was consulted by its great Ruler. But how far the interest of individuals night be obliged to yield, or, in many cases, might be sacrificed, to this general order, they were left altogether in the dark. Here the

* Eccles. xi. 8.



SERMON gospel of Christ comes to our aid, by the explicit assurance which it gives, that, in the great system of Providence, the welfare of every single good man is particularly included. All things, we are expressly told, are made to work together, not merely for the order and perfection of the whole, but also, for good to them who love God*. The life of every person who comes under this description, forms a system complete within itself; where every event that happens to him possesses its destined place, and forms a link in that great chain of causes, which was appointed, from the beginning of things, for carrying on his improvement and felici ty. Such an arrangement of the affairs of the world, may appear astonishing to our narrow capacities; yet surely implies no effort beyond the reach of infinite power, joined with infinite wisdom and goodness.

Hence arises a degree of fortitude and constancy to good men, which can upon no other grounds be attained. these principles of the Gospel,

Faith, in

erects for

Rom. viii. 28.



them a fortress impregnable to the as- SERMON saults of the world into which they can at all times retreat. Sitting under the shelter of Divine protection, they calmly hear the storm, when it blows with its utmost violence around them. The floods have lifted up their voice; they have lifted up all their waves. But the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; yea, than the mighty waves of the Sea*. Of the man who possesses such principles, it is justly said, His heart is established; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord +. Tranquillity, order, and magnanimity, dwell with him; while all is confusion and trepidation among those, who have nothing to look to but the apparent disorders of the world.

THE doctrine of Christ not only arms us, in this manner, with fortitude against the approach of evil; but, supposing evils to fall upon us with their heaviest pressure, it lightens the load by many consolations to which others are strangers. While bad men

Psalm xciii. 3, 4.


+ Psalm cxii. 7, 8.




SERMON trace, in the calamities with which they are visited, the hand of an offended Sovereign, Christians are taught to view them as the well-intended chastisements of a merciful father. They hear, amidst them, that still voice which a good conscience brings to their ear; Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God *. They apply to themselves the comfortable promises with which the gospel abounds. They discover in these the happy issue decreed to their troubles; and wait with patience till Providence shall have accomplished its great and good designs. In the mean time, devotion opens to them its blessed and holy sanctuary: that sanctuary in which the wounded heart is healed, and the weary mind is at where the cares of the world are forgotten, where its tumults are hushed, and its miseries disappear; where greater objects open to our view than what the world presents; where a more serene sky shines, and a sweeter and calmer light beams on the afflicted heart. In those moments of devotion, a pious man, pour


* Isaiah, xli. 10.

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