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. great Disposer of events; and under any distress with which he is pleased to visit us, let us utter no other voice but this; Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?—Men are too often ingenious in making themselves miserable, by aggravating to their own fancy, beyond bounds, all the evils which they endure. They compare themselves with none but those whom they imagine to be more happy j and Complain that upon them alone has fallen the whole load of human sorrows. Would they look with a more impartial eye on the world, they would fee themselves surrounded with sufferers; and find that they are only drinking out of that mixed cup, which Providence has prepared for all.—" I will restore your "daughter again to life," said the eastern sage, to a prince who grieved immoderately for the loss of a beloved child, *' provided you are able to engrave "on her tomb the names of three per"sons who have never mourned." The prince made inquiry after such persons;
but but found the enquiry vain, and was si- s E R M, lent.—To every reasonable person, who v^v^ retains the belief of religious principles, many alleviating circumstances, and many arguments for patience, will occur under every distress. If we rest on this firm persuasion that there is a wife and just Providence which disposes of all events, we shall have reason to conclude, that nothing happens to us here without some good design. Trusting that a happy termination shall at last arrive to the disorders of our present state, we shall be enabled, amidst all the varieties of fortune, to preserve that equanimity which befits Christians; and under every trial to fay, It is the Lord; let him do ivhat Jeemeth good in his fight!
Proverbs xxvii. 10.
Thine own friend, and thy father s friend, forsake not.—
S E R M. TT WHATEVER relates to the beVV haviour of men in their social character, is of great importance in religion. The duties which spring from that character, form many branches of the great law of charity, which is the favourite precept of Christianity. They, therefore, who would separate such duties from a religious spirit, or who at most treat them as only the inferior parts
of it, do real injury to religion. They S E R M
are mistaken friends of piety, who, under the notion of exalting it, place it in a fort of insulated corner, disjoined from the ordinary affairs of the world, and the connections of men with one another. On the contrary, true piety influences them all. It acts as a vivifying spirit, which animates and enlivens, which rectifies and conducts them. It is no less friendly to men than zealous for the honour of God; and by the generous affections which it nourishes, and the beneficent influence which it exerts on the whole of conduct, is fully vindicated from every reproach which the infidel would throw upon it.—In this view, I am now to discourse on the nature and duties of virtuous friendship, as. closely connected with the true spirit of religion. It is a subject which the inspired philosopher who is the author of this book, of Proverbs, has thought worthy of his repeated notice j and in many passages has bestowed the highest elogiums on friendship among good men. Jls
s E R M. ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, Jo
u-v—L> doth the sweetness of a man s friend by
hearty counsel. As iron fharpeneth iron, so
a man Jharpeneth the countenance of his
friend. Make sure of thy friend ,> for
faithful are the wounds of a friend. A
friendloveth at all times; and a brother is
born for adverfty. There is a friend that
Jlicketh closer than a brother.—Thine own
friend, atid thy father s friend, it is said
in the text, forsake not.
I Must begin the subject, by observing, that there are among mankind friendships of different kinds, or, at least, connexions which assume that name. When they are no more than confederacies of bad men, they ought to be palled conspiracies, rather than friendships. Some bond of common interest, some league against the innocent and unsuspecting, may have united them for a time. But they are held together only by a rope of sand. At bottom they ace all rivals, and hostile to one another. Their friendship can subsist no, longer