« AnteriorContinuar »
SERM.which, by no human infirmity disXVII., turbed, by death never separated, shall
constitute throughout endless ages, a great and distinguished portion of the celestial felicity.
... SERMON XVIII.
On the Conduct to be held with re
gard to future Events.
Proverbs xxvii. 1.
Boast not thyself of to-morrow ; for thou
L'ROM these words I purpose to dif-SERM.
P course of the proper conduct which we ought to hold with regard to futurity, amidst the present uncertainties of life. Time and life are always going on, and to each of us are preparing changes in our state. What these may be, whether for the better or for the worse, we cannot tell ; as it hath pleased
SERM. the wisdom of providence to cover futuvhht, rity with a veil which no mortal can
lift up. In the mean time, none of us can avoid forming designs, and laying plans for the time to come. The present moment is never sufficient to give full employment to the active mind of man, without some excursions into futurity; and in these excursions, the present is often wholly spent. It is therefore of the highest consequence, that a proper direction be given to the mind, in its employments of thought relating to futurity. Otherwise, in the prospects which we take of that unknown region, false hopes, or ill-grounded fears, shall flatter or torment us in vain. We know not, as the Wise Man tells us, what a day may bring forth. It may, very probably, produce something that we had not looked for ; and therefore instead of boafting ourselves of tomorrow, as the multitude are apt to do, it becomes us to be disciplined and prepared, for whatever it may bring.
It is needless to spend much time in SER M. confirming the truth, which is the foun- *
unor dation of the admonition in the text ; in proving, either that change and mutability belong to our present state, or that the changes of it cannot be forefeen by us. These are truths so obvious and confefsed, than an attempt to confirm them is like proving, that all men are to die. At the same time, obvious as they are, it were to be wished that the thoughts of men dwelt upon them more. For, by a strange but prevailing deception, it would feem, from the general conduct of mankind, that almost every one thinks his own cafe an exception from the general law; and that he may build plans with as much confidence on his prefent fituation, as if fome affurance had been given him that it were never to change. Hence it has been often observed by ferious perfons, that there is no more general cause to which the vices of men can be afcribed, their forgetfulness of God, and their neglect of duty, than to their presuming upon the continuance
SER M.of life, of pleasure, and prosperity.
- Look but a little way, my friends,
into your own state ; and you must unavoidably perceive that, from the beginning, it has been so contrived by Providence, that there should be no permanent stability to man's condition on earth. The seeds of alteration are every where fown. In your health, life, poffessions, connections, pleasures, there are causes of decay imperceptibly working; fecretly undermining the foundations of what appears to you the most stable ; continually tending to abolish the prefent form of things, and to bring forward new appearances, and 'new objects in their order : So that nothing is or can be, stationary on earth. All changes, and passes. It is a stream which is ever flowing; a wheel which is ever turning round. When you behold the tree covered with blossoms in the spring, or loaded with fruit in the autumn, as well may you imagine, that those blossoms, or that fruit, are to remain in their place