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of worldly policy are deep and intricate; SERM.
and experience shews how often the . XV.,
ablest persons are mistaken in the mea-
fures which they adopt for carrying
them on. But when men’s intentions are
fair and upright, it will be found that a
moderate share of understanding and at-

tention is all that is requisite, for con-
· ducting themselves with safety and pro-

priety. Providence never intended, that
the art of living happily in this world
should depend on that deep penetration,
that acute fagacity, and those refine-
ments of thought, which few possess.
It has dealt more graciously with us; and
made happiness to depend on upright-
ness of intention, much more than on
extent of capacity. For the most part,
the first sentiment which strikes a good
man, concerning what he ought, or
ought not to do, is the foundest, and sug-
gests the best and wisest counsel. When
he hesitates, and begins to deliberate
how far his duty, or his honour, can be
reconciled to what seems his interest, he
is on the point of deviating into a dan-

gerous

5

XV.

6 ER M. gerous path.--At the same time, it is of w great consequence, that he who seeks to

surrender his conduct to the direction of integrity, should be well apprized of what true integrity requires. Let him guard against burdening conscience unnecessarily; left a superstitious regard to trifles lead him to relax in matters of higher obligation. Let him avoid minute scrupulosity, on the one hand. Let him keep at a distance from loose casuistry on the other. But when he is fatisfied that his conscience has been well informed, let him, without wavering, adhere to its dictates in the whole of his conduct. This will prove the truest wifdom both for this world and the next. For he who walketh uprightly walketh surely. The path of the just is as the shine ing light : And it shall shine more and more unto the perfe&t day.

SERMON

SERMON XVI.

On SUBMISSION to the Divine Will.

Job ii. 10.

-Shall we receive good at the hand of God,

and shall we not receive evil ?

DEW subjects of religious exhorta-SERM. T tion are of more general concern XVI. than those which respect the distresses incident to human life. For no society, no family, 'no person, can expect to be long exempted from them; and when we speak of the prosperous, we can only mean those who are more rarely subject

to

SER M. to them than others. Now, under those XVI. distresses, religion performs two offices:

It teaches us how we ought to bear them; and it assists us in thus bearing them. Materials for both are found in the words of the text, which contain a sentiment so natural and just, as to carry conviction to every reasonable mind. They were the words of Job, at a time when, to his other calamities, this domestic affliction was added, that one, who ought to have assuaged and soothed his forrows, provoked his indignation by an impious speech. Thou speakest, Job replies, as one of the foolish women speaketh: What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?_Three instructions naturally arise from the text: First, that this life is a mixed state of good and evil: Secondly, That both the goods and the evils in it proceed from God: And, thirdly, That there are just reasons for our receiving with patience the evils of life, from the same hand which bestows. its goods.

1. THIS

I. This life is a mixed state of good SER M. and evil. This is a matter of fact, which

XVI.

is will be denied by none, and on which it is not necessary to bestow much illustration. It is evident to the slightest inspection, that nothing here is unallayed and pure. Every man's state is checquered with alternate griefs and joys, disappointment and success. No condition is altogether stable. No life preserves always the same tenor. The vicissitudes of the world sometimes bring forward the afflicted into more comfortable circumstances; and often trouble the joy of the prosperous. This is the train in which human affairs have ever been found to proceed; and in which we may expect them always to go on.

But though this be universally admitted in speculation, and often confefsed in discourse, the misfortune is, that few think of applying it to their own case. The bulk of mankind discover as much confidence in prosperity, and as much impatience under the least reverse, as if Providence had first given them afVol. IV. Y

surance

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