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XVIII.

SERM. designed by his great and good Creator ?

-No: Let us bless the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, bath begotten us again into a lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ froin the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Here is the Rock on which the mind, however tost by the storms of life, can securely rest. Here is the object to which a wise man will bend his chief attention, that, after having acted his part on earth with fldelity and honour, he may be enabled, through the merits of his Saviour, to look for a place in the mansions of eternal and untroubled peace. This profpect is the great corrective of the prefent vanity of human life. It gives significancy and importance to its most transitory scenes; and, in the midst of its mutability, discovers one fixed point of reft. He who is habitually influenced by the hope of immortality, will be able to look without dismay on the changes of the world. He will neither boast of to-morrow, nor be afraid of it;

but

but will pass through the varieties of S E RM.

XVIII. life with a manly and unbroken mind; with a noble superiority to those fears and expectations, those cares and forrows, which agitate the multitude.-Such are the native effects of Christian faith and hope. To them alone it belongs, to surmount all the discouragements to which we are now exposed; to render our life comfortable, and our death blessed; nay, to make the day of our death better than the day of our birth,

SERMON

SERMON XIX.

On following the MultiTudE to do

Evil,

EXODUS xxiii. 2.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.

m

SERM. TN this world, we are placed as compaXIX.

i nions and assistants to one another. Depending, for most of the comforts of life, on mutual intercourselandaid, it was necessary, that we should be formed to desire the company, and to take pleasure in the good will of our fellows. But this sociability of man, though essential to his

present

present condition, has, like many other sé R M. good principles, been unhappily warped from its original purpose; and, in the present state of the world, has proved the cause of much evil. For, as vice has abounded in every age, it hath propagated itself much more easily by the assistance of this social disposition. We naturally mould ourselves on the pattern of prevailing manners; and corruption is communicated from one to another. By mutually giving, and taking, the example of sinful liberties, licentiousness spreads and grows; each justifies himself by his neighbour; and the multitude of finners strengthen one another's hands to commit iniquity. In all ages of the world, custom has had more power than reason. Few take the trouble of inquiring what is the right path; the greater part content themselves with following that in which the multitude have gone before them. No exhortation, therefore, is more necessary to be frequently given, and to be seriously enforced, than that which we receive from VOL. IV.

XIX.

Сс

the .

SERM. the text; Thou shalt not follow a multiXIX.

tude to do evil.

m

To acquire a full view of any danger to which we are exposed, is the first measure to be taken, in order to our safety. Let us then begin the subject, with considering how much we are in hazard of being milled into vice by the general manners which we behold around us. No virtue is more necessary to a Chriftian, but scarcely is there any more difficult to be put in practice, than that firmness of mind which can enable a man to maintain his principles, and to stand his ground against the torrent of cuftom, fashion, and example. Example has upon all minds a secret and insinuating influence, even when we ourselves are insensible of its operation. We imperceptibly slide into some resemblance of the manners of those with whom we have frequent intercourse. This often shows itself, in the most indifferent things. But the resemblance is still more readily contracted, when there is some

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