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he use this world without abusing it. He S E R M.
shall neither droop under its misfor- v^-y-J tunes, nor be vainly elated by its advantages; but through all its changes shall carry an equal and steady mind} and in the end shall receive the accomplishment of the promise of scripture, that though the world paJJ'eth away, and the lust thereof, he that doth the will of , GodJhall abide for ever.*
* 1 John ii. 17.
—- He that doth these things pall never 'be moved.
SERM.rnpRANQUILLITY of mind, or, y-w X in the words of the text, a mind not moved or disquieted by the accidents of life, is undoubtedly one of the greatest blessings that we can possess on earth. It is here mentioned as the reward of the man, whose character had been described in this psalm, as leading a virtuous life, and discharging his duty towards God
and and his neighbour. It is indeed the ulti- Se R M. mate aim, to which the wishes of the wife and reflecting have ever been directed, that with a mind undisturbed by anxieties, cares, and fears, they might pass their days in a pleasing serenity. They justly concluded that, by enjoying themselves in peace, they would enjoy, to the greatest advantage, all the comforts of life that came within their reach.
This happy tranquillity, the multitude conceive to be most readily attainable by means of wealth, or, at least, of an easy fortune which they imagine would set them above all the ordinary disturbances of life. That it has some effect for this purpose, cannot be denied. Poverty and straitened circumstances, are often inconsistent with tranquillity. To be destitute of those conveniencies that suit our rank in the world j to be burdened with anxiety about making provision for every day which passes over our head; instead of bringing comfort to a family who look up to us for, aid, to behold ourselves sur
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s E R M. rounded with their wants and complaints, are circumstances which cannot fail to give much uneasiness to every feeling mind. To take measures, therefore, for attaining a competent fortune, by laudable means, is wife and proper. Entire negligence of our affairs, and indifference about our worldly- circumstances, is, for the most part, the consequence of some vice, or some folly.—At the same time, I must observe, that the attainment of opulence is no certain method of attaining tranquillity .Embarrassments and vexations often attend it; and long experience has shown, that tranquillity is far from being always found among the rich. Nay, the higher that men rife in the world, the greater degrees of power and distinction which they acquire, they are often the farther removed from internal peace. The world affords so many instances of miseries abounding in the higher ranks of life, that it were jieedless to enlarge on a topic so generally known and admitted.
Assuming it, therefore, for an un-SERM. doubted truth, that the mere possession of the goods of fortune may be consistent with the want of inward tranquillity, we must look around for other more certain grounds of it. We must enquire whether any line of conduct can be pointed out, which, independent of external situation in the world, shall tend to make us easy in mind; shall either bestow, or aid, that tranquillity which all men desire. The remaining part of this discourse shall be employed in suggesting, with great plainness of speech, such directions as appear to me the most material on this important subject.
The firji direction, which I have to suggest, is, that we imitate the character of the man who is described in this psalm as walking uprighfly, working righteousness, andspeaking the truth, as he thinketh in his heart that we study to preserve a clear conscience, and to lead a virtuous and honourable, at least an inoffensive and innocent, life. Of such a man only it can