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these are blessings which will drop OnSERM,
"•' ', ,, ,, XIII
men of fiieir own accord, as soon as they ^v>j
beginto desire them. No: ,The thought. less, and the profligate, will ever remain strangers to them. They will remain the sport of evpry accident that occurs to derange their minds, and to disturb their life.—:—.The three great enemies to tranquillity are, Vice, Superstition, and Idleness: Vice, which poisons and . disturbs the mind with bad passions.; Superstition, which fills it with imaginary terrors; Idleness, which loads it with tediousness and disgust. It is only by following the path which Eternal Wisdom has pointed out, that we can arrive at the blessed temple of Tranquillity, and obtain a station there: By , doing, or at least endeavouring to do, our duty to God and man; by acquiring an humble trust in the mercy and favour of God through Jesus Christ; by cultivating our minds, and properly employing our time and thoughts; by governing our passions and our temper; by correcting all unreasonable expectaT 2 tions
SERM. tions from the world, and from men; XIII
v^v^J and in the midst of worldly business, habituating ourselves to calm retreat and serious recollection.—By such means as these, it may be hoped, that, through the divine blessing, our days shall flow in a stream as unruffled as the human state admits. The wicked are like the troubledsea, when it cannot rejl. But the work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness . and assurance for ever*
On the Misfortunes of Men being chargeable on themselves.
Proverbs xix. 3,
Thefoolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord.
HOW many complaints do we hear SERM, from every quarter, of the misery XiVand distress that fill the world! In these the high and the low, the young and the aged, join; and since the beginning of time, no topic has been more fertile of declamation, than the vanity and vexation which man is appointed to suffer. But are we certain that this vex
S E R M. ation, and this vanity, is altogether to u-y—1» be ascribed to the appointment of Heaven? Is there no ground to suspect that man himself is the chief and immediate author of his own sufferings ? What the text plainly suggests is, that it is common for men to complain groundlesly of Providence; that they are prone to accuse God for the evils of life, when in reason they ought to accuse themselves; and that after their foolishness hath perverted their way, and made them undergo the consequences of their own misconduct, they impiously fret in heart Againji the Lord. This is the doctrine which I now purpose to illustrate, in order to. silence the sceptic, and to check a repining and irreligious spirit. I shall for this end make, some observations, first, on the external,, and next, upon the internal, condition of man; and then conclude with such serious and. useful improvement as the subject will naturally suggest,
J. Let Us consider the external con
dition of man. We find him placed in S E R1Æ
XIV a world, where he has by no means the , ^
disposal of the events that happen. Calamities sometimes befal the worthiest and the best, which it is not in their power to prevent, and where nothing is left them, but to acknowledge and to submit to the high hand of Heaven. For such visitations of trial, many good and wife reasons can be assigned, which the present subject leads me not to discuss. But though those unavoidable calamities make a part, yet they make not the chief part of the vexations and sorrows that distress human life. A multitude of evils beset us, for the source of which we must look to another quarter.—No sooner has any thing in the health, or in the circumstances of men, gone cross to their wifli, than they begin to talk of the unequal distribution of the good things of this life; they envy the condition of others; they repine at their own lot, and fret against the Jluler of the world.
Full of these sentiments, one man