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S E R M. be said, that doing these things he shallneS^^^j ver be moved. So great is the power of conscience over every human being, that the remembrance of crimes never fails to overthrow tranquillity of mind. Be assured, that he who defrauds his neighbour, who has ensnared the innocent, has violated his trust, or betrayed his friend, shall never enjoy within himself undisturbed quiet. His evil deeds will at times recur to his thoughts, like ghosts rising up in black array before him to haunt his couch. Even the fense of a foolish and trifling conduct, of a life past in idleness and dissipation; by which, though a man has not been guilty of great crimes, he has however wasted his substance, mispent his time, and brought upon himself just reproach; even this, I fay, is sufficient to create much uneasiness and disquiet to the heart. Let him, therefore, who wishes to enjoy tranquillity, study above all things, to act an irreproachable part. With comfort he will rest his head on his pillow at . night, when he is conscious that throughout
out the day he has been doing his duty S E R M. towards God and man; when none of u-v—^• the transactions of that day come back, in painful remembrance, to upbraid him.. To this testimony of a good conscience,, let him be able,
In the second place, to join humble trust in the favour of God. As, after the best endeavours we can use, no man's behaviour will be entirely faultless, it is essential to peace of mind, that we have some ground for hope in the Divine mercy, that, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our defects fliall be forgiven, and grace be shewn us by Heaven. This includes all the duties of faith and repentance that are required by the Gospel; the faithful discharge of which duties is absolutely ne^. cessary for delivering us from those fears of another world, which, if not allayed, are sufficient to banish all tranquillity from the heart. Our religious principles must at the fame time be found and pure j and carefully preserved from the
S e R M. taint of superstition, whose gloomy "[horu-v-!.; rors, taking possession of weak and illinformed minds, convert what they mistake for religion, into a source of misery.—Moreover, it is necessary, that we be able to place trust in God, not only as our future Judge, but as the present Governor of human affairs. So uncertain is the continuance of every earthly comfort, that he, who reposes no confidence in the Supreme Disposer of events, must be often disquieted and dejected. He alone possesses firm tranquillity, who, amidst all human vicissitudes, looks up, with settled trust, to an almighty Ruler, as to one under whose conduct he is safe. To him alone belongs that happy privilege, described by the Psalmist. He /hall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed; trusting in the Lord's.
I have pointed out the primary and essential foundations of tranquillity; virtuous conduct, good principles, and pious dispositions. At the fame time, a man
4 Psalm cxii. 7.
may be both pious and virtuous, and yet, S e R M. through some defects in the manage- \^^j ment of his mind and temper, may not possess that happy serenity and selfenjoyment, which ought to be the portion of virtue and piety. Instances of this will occur to every one who is acquainted with the world. We too often behold persons, whose principles, and whose moral conduct, are in the main unexceptionable, leading an uncomfortable life j through fretfulness of temper, peevishness of manners, or sullenness of disposition. There is, therefore, some discipline to be studied; there are some subsidiary parts of character to be attended to, in order to give piety and virtue their full' effect for conferring tranquillity. To the consideration of these secondary means I now proceed, Let me then advise you.
In the third place, to attend to the culture and improvement of your minds. A fund of useful knowledge, and a stock
S E R M. of ideas, afford .much advantage for the iTMhj enjoyment of tranquillity. I do not mean, that every man must study to become deeply learned. The situation of many would not allow it. The taste, and the habits of others, prevent it. But what I mean is, that every man who wishes to lead a comfortable life should provide for himself, as much as he can, by means of observation, reading, and reflecting, a large field of useful thoughts. Jn a mind absolutely vacant, tranquillity is seldom found, The vacancy too often wiU be filled up by bad desires and pasiions. Whereas the mind of a wife man is a kingdom to itself. In his lonely, or melancholy hours, he finds always resources within himself, to which he can turn for relief. As there are many occasions when external objects afford no pleasure, it is only by being able to rest on the entertainments afforded to himself by his mind, that any , one can pass his days with self-enjoyment. Let me recommend for the same purpose,