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SEAM. who oppose him are obliged to honour *^. him. They look up to him with a secret awe, as to one who moves above them in a superior sphere; regardless of their good or ill opinion, of their promises or their threatenings; like one of' those celestial luminaries which holds its course through its orbit, without being affected by any commotions among the elements below. Such a man is trusted, and relied upon, as well as esteemed, because all know where to find him, and upon what system he acts. He attaches friends and followers to himself, without courting them; and though his progress towards fame should be slow, and interrupted at first by crooked arts, it is nevertheless certain and sure. The public may be misled for a while, in judging of real merit; but it is seldom unjust at the last. As persons continue to come forward to view, and to act their part in trying circumstances, their characters are at length fully ascertained; and, almost always, rated as they deserve. How corrupt soever the world may be, they cannot
not with-hold approbation from him,SERM. whose conduct is marked by uniform in- v tegrity and honour. Enemies he will have; but the public favours him; the multitude of men wish him success ; and destine him, in their thoughts, to "every step of his preferment, before he arrives at it.
In the third place, the plan of conduct, on which the man of integrity proceeds is the most comfortable; that is, attended with the greatest satisfaction in a man's own mind. Amidst the various and perplexing events of life, it is of singular advantage to be kept free from doubt, as to the part most proper to be chosen. He who consults nothing but worldly interest must, upon every turn of fortune, undergo much painful suspence. He is obliged to listen with anxious ear to every whisper of report; and upon every new aspect which the face of affairs assumes, must study how to place himself in a new posture os defence. But the man of principle is a stranger to
Serm. inward troubles. His time is not lost;
yYl, nor his temper fretted by long and anxious consultations. One light always shines upon him from above. One path, the path of integrity, always opens clear and distinct to his view.—But this is not his only advantage, to be freed from embarrassments, by having placed himself under the charge of one constant guide. He is also rewarded with the sense of having chosen his guide well and wisely. He is delivered from all inward upbraidings, from all misgivings of mind, from all alarms founded on the dread of discovery and disgrace. A good conscience enables him to look back on the part which he has acted with satisfaction j and to look forward to the issue which it may bring, without concern. It is in the cafe of one issue only, that the man who acts from worldly interest can enjoy satisfaction; that is, when his designs have succeeded according to his wish. But it is the felicity of the man, who acts under the direction of integrity, that in every issue, he has
something to comfort him. Though s success has failed him, the consolation remains of having done his duty, and studied to approve himself to God.
This reference of all his actions to divine approbation, furnishes anotherv source of satisfaction and peace. He looks up, with pleasing hope, to a Protector in the heavens, who loveth righteousness, and whose countenance beholdeth the upright. The man of worldly wisdom is conscious of having no title to the favour of that high administration which rules the universe. By quitting the path of righteousness, he has left that straight road, in which God had appointed him to walk. He has taken the direction of his way to himself; and chosen to be his own guide and master. To his own abilities, therefore, such as they are, he must trust; and is become wholly responsible for the issue of his conduct. But the man of virtue hath committed his way to the Lord. He follows the divine signal. He co-operates with
M. the divine purpose. The power which sways the universe is engaged on his side. By natural consequence, he has ground to expect, that any seeming disappointments which he may now incur, shall be over-ruled at the end to some salutary effect. Hence, that peace of God keeping the heart, to which worldly men are strangers. Hence a degree of firmness and resolution in conduct, which it is impossible for them to possess. Especially when we add,
In the fourth and last place, that he who thus pursues a course of integrity, has always in his view the prospect of immortal rewards. That surely is the wisest direction of conduct, which is most amply recompensed at last. But what recompence can worldly wisdom bestow, comparable to what is promised by the gospel to them who, patient continuance in well doing, look for glory, honour, and immortality ?—The recompence indeed is distant; but the hope of it is present; and hope is one of the