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Before concluding this discourse, S e R M.
V. there is another set of men, not yet u-v—-»
mentioned, to whom I must also ad-
M. lish for the quiet and innocent pleasures of piety and devotion; of friendship, and good affections; of useful knowledge, and virtuous activity; of calm society, and seasonable retirement; pleasures of which at present you have no conception; but which, upon trial, you mall find superior to the trifling, or turbulent amusements, in which you have hitherto passed your days.—The true satisfaction of the human mind is only to be found in religion and goodness; in a purified heart, and a virtuous life. All other plans of happiness are fallacious, and pregnant with disappointment. It is only by acquainting ourselves with God that we cm find peace: And those who are weary and heavy laden now, shall be weary and heavy laden to the end, unless they come to him who only can give them rejl.
On Luxury and Licentiousness.
Isaiah V. it.
The harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe and wine are in their seafts; but they regard not the work of the Lord neither consider the operation of his hands.
IT appears from many passages in the s writings of this prophet, that in his days great corruption of manners had begun to take place among the people of Israel. Originally a sober and a religious nation, accustomed to a simple and pastoral life, after they had enlarged their territories by conquest, Vol. IV. H and
SERM.and acquired wealth by commerce, v" they gradually contracted habits of luxury; and luxury soon introduced its usual train of attending evils. In the history of all nations, the fame circulation of manners has been found; and the age in which we live resembles, in this respect, the ages which have gone before it. Forms of iniquity may vary; but the corrupt propensities of men remain at all times much the fame; and revolutions from primitive simplicity to the refinements of criminal luxury have been often exhibited on the stage of the world. The reproof directed in the text to the Jews of that antient age, will be found equally applicable to the manners of many, in modern times. In discoursing from it, I mall first consider the character of those who are described in the text, and show the guilt that is involved in it. I shall next consider the duties which persons of that character are supposed to have
neglected j neglected; to regard the work of /^ s E R M. Lord, and to consider the operation of his v^-v-o bands.
I. When we tike into view the character pointed at in the text, it is evident that what the prophet means to reprove is, the spirit of inconsiderate dissipation, of intemperate indulgence, and irreligious luxury. It is not the feast and the wine, the harp and the viol, which he means to condemn. Music and wine are, in themselves, things of innocent nature: Nay, when temperately enjoyed, they may be employed for useful purposes; for affording relaxation from the oppressive cares of life, and for promoting friendly intercourse among men. The opulent are not prohibited from enjoying the good things of this world, which providence has bestowed upon them. Religion neither abolishes the distinction of ranks, (as the vain philosophy of some would teach us to do), nor interferes with a modest and decent indulgence of pleasure.———It is the H 2 criminal