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ders up and down, seeking rest, but finding none. Perhaps he may seek it (like the "unclean spirit cast out of the man") in dry, dreary, desolate places: perhaps

"Where Nature all in ruins lies,
And owns her sov'reign, Death."

And little comfort can he find here! seeing every thing contributes to increase, not remove the fearful expectation of fiery indignation, which will devour the ungodly.

6. For even this is to him but the beginning of sorrows. Yet a little while, and he will see "the great white Throne coming down from heaven, and him that sitteth thereon, from whose face the heavens and the earth flee away, and there is found no place for them." And "the dead, small and great, stand before God, and are judged, every one according to his works." "Then shall the King say to them on his right hand," (God grant he may say so to You!) "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And the angels shall tune their harps and sing, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, that the heirs of glory may come in." And then shall they "shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever."

7. How different will be the lot of him that loses his own soul! No joyful sentence will be pronounced on him, but one that will pierce him through with unutterable horror, (God forbid, that ever it should be pronounced on any of you that are here before God!) "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!" And who can doubt, but those infernal spirits will immediately execute the sentence, will instantly drag those forsaken of God into their own place of torment! Into those "Regions of sorrow, doleful shades; where peace Hope never comes,

And rest can never dwell!

That comes to all,”

all the children of men who are on this side eternity. But not to them: the gulf is now fixed, over which they cannot pass. From the moment wherein they are once plunged VOL. X.

F

into the lake of fire, burning with brimstone, their torments are not only without intermission, but likewise without end. For "they have no rest, day or night; but the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever!"

III. Upon ever so cursory a view of these things, would not any one be astonished, that a man, that a creature endued with reason, should voluntarily choose; I say choose; for God forces no man into inevitable damnation: he never yet

"Consign'd one unborn soul to hell,

Or damn'd him from his mother's womb;"

should choose thus to lose his own soul, though it were to gain the whole world! For what shall a man be profited thereby, upon the whole of the account?

But a little to abate our astonishment at this, let us observe the suppositions which a man generally makes, before he can reconcile himself to this fatal choice.

1. He supposes, first, "That a life of religion is a life of misery." That religion is misery! How is it possible, that any one should entertain so strange a thought? Do any of you imagine this? If you do, the reason is plaín ; you know not what religion is. "No! But I do, as well as you."-What is it then? "Why, the doing no harm.” Not so: many birds and beasts do no harm; yet they are not capable of religion. "Then it is going to Church and Sacrament." Indeed it is not. This may be an excellent help to religion; and every one who desires to save his soul, should attend them at all opportunities: yet it is possible, you may attend them all your days, and still have no religion at all. Religion is a higher and deeper thing than any outward ordinance whatever.

2. "What is religion then?" It is easy to answer, if we consult the oracles of God. According to these, it lies in one single point: it is neither more nor less than Love: it is love which "is the fulfilling of the law, the end of the commandment." Religion is the love of God and our neighbour; that is, every man under heaven. This love

ruling the whole life, animating all our tempers and passions, directing all our thoughts, words, and actions, is "pure religion and undefiled."

3. Now will any one be so hardy as to say, that love is misery? Is it misery to love God? to give him my heart, who alone is worthy of it? Nay, it is the truest happiness, indeed, the only true happiness which is to be found under the sun. So does all experience prove the justness of that reflection which was made long ago, "Thou hast made us for thyself; and our heart cannot rest, until it resteth in thee." Or does any one imagine, the love of our neighbour is misery, even the loving every man as our own soul? So far from it, that next to the love of God, this affords the greatest happiness of which we are capable. Therefore,

"Let not the Stoic boast his mind unmov'd,

The brute-philosopher, who ne'er has prov'd
The joy of loving, or of being lov'd."

4. So much every reasonable man must allow. But he may object, "There is more than this implied in religion. It implies not only the love of God and man, (against which I have no objection,) but also a great deal of doing and suffering. And how can this be consistent with happiness ?"

There is certainly some truth in this objection. Religion does imply both doing and suffering. Let us then calmly consider, whether this impairs or heightens our happiness.

Religion implies, first, the doing many things. For the love of God will naturally lead us, at all opportunities, to converse with him we love: to speak to him in (public or private) prayer, and to hear the words of his mouth, which "are dearer to us than thousands of gold and silver." It will incline us to lose no opportunity of receiving "The dear memorials of our dying Lord:"

to continue instant in thanksgiving; at morning, evening, and noon-day to praise him. But suppose we do all this, will it lessen our happiness? Just the reverse. It is plain, all these fruits of love are means of increasing the love from

which they spring; and of consequence they increase our happiness in the same proportion. Who then would not join in that wish,

"Rising to sing my Saviour's praise,
Thee may I publish all day long:
1
And let thy precious word of grace

Flow from my heart, and fill my tongue;
Fill all my life with purest love,
And join me to thy church above!"

5. It must also be allowed, that as the love of God naturally leads to works of piety, so the love of our neighbour naturally leads all that feel it, to works of mercy. It inclines us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit them that are sick or in prison; to be as eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame; an husband to the widow, a father to the fatherless. But can you suppose, that the doing this will prevent or lessen your happiness? Yea, though you did so much, as to be like a guardian angel to all that are round about you? On the contrary, it is an infallible truth, that

"All worldly joys are less

Than that one joy of doing kindnesses."

A man of pleasure was asked some years ago, "Captain, what was the greatest pleasure you ever had?" After a little pause he replied, "When we were upon our march in Ireland, in a very hot day, I called at a cabin on the road, and desired a little water. The woman brought me a cup of milk. I gave her a piece of silver; and the joy that poor creature expressed, gave me the greatest pleasure I ever had in my life." Now, if the doing good gave so much pleasure to one who acted merely from natural generosity, how much more must it give to one who does it on a nobler principle, the joint love of God and his neighbour? It remains, that the doing all which religion requires, will not lessen, but immensely increase our happiness.

6. "Perhaps this also may be allowed. But religion implies, according to the Christian account, not only doing,

but suffering. And how can suffering be consistent with happiness?" Perfectly well. Many centuries ago, it was remarked by St. Chrysostom, "The Christian has his sorrows, as well as his joys: but his sorrow is sweeter than joy." He may accidentally suffer loss, poverty, pain: but in all these things, he is more than conqueror: He can testify,

"Labour is rest, and pain is sweet,
While thou, my God, art here."

He can say, " The Lord gave; the Lord taketh away: blessed be the Name of the Lord!" He must suffer, more or less, reproach: for "the servant is not above his Master;" but so much the more does the Spirit of Glory and of Christ rest upon him. Yea, love itself will on several occasions be the source of suffering: The love of God will frequently produce

"The pleasing smart,

The meltings of a broken heart."

And the love of our neighbour will give rise to sympathizing sorrow: it will lead us to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction; to be tenderly concerned for the distressed, and to "mix our pitying tear with those that weep." But may we not well say, these are "Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven?" So far, then, are all these sufferings from either preventing or lessening our happiness, that they greatly contribute thereto, and indeed constitute no inconsiderable part of it. So that, upon the whole, there cannot be a more false supposition, than that a life of religion is a life of misery; seeing true religion, whether considered in its nature or its fruits, is true and solid happiness.

7. The man who chooses to gain the world by the loss of his soul, supposes, secondly, "That a life of wickedness is a life of happiness!" That wickedness is happiness! Even an old heathen poet could have taught him better. Even Juvenal discovered, Nemo malus felix: No wicked man is

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