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SERM, numbers of low and corrupt examples, Is which we behold around us; and when
we are in hazard of being swayed by such, let us fortify our virtue, by thinking of those who, in former times, shone like stars in the midst of surrounding darkness, and are now shining in the kingdom of heaven, as the brightness of the firmament, for ever and ever.
As our honour is thus deeply concerned in our acting a stedfast and virous part, let us also consider,
In the fifth place, How little, in point of interest, can be gained by the favour of the multitude, and how much will certainly be lost, by following them to do evil. We may thereby, render ourselves more agreeable to some with whom we are connected; and by artful compliances, may please ourselves with the prospect of promoting our fortune. But these advantages, such as they are, remain doubtful and uncertain. The wind of popular opinion is ever shifting. It will often leave us at a loss what course to steer ; and, after all our trou
ble and anxiety to catch the favourable SERM. gale, it may on a sudden forsake us.
XIX. For the versatility of character, the meanness and inconsistency of conduct, into which a dependent on the multitude is betrayed, frequently render him, in the end, an object of contempt to those whom he sought to please. But supposing him successful in his views, no worldly advantages, which are purchased by dishonourable means, can be either solid or lasting. They bring no genuine satisfaction to a man, who is conscious to himself of having given up his principles to serve the world. As long as he could be satisfied with his own conduct, he might bear up 'under undeferved discouragement; but when he becomes despicable in his own eyes, worldly honours lose their lustre. What can the multitude do for you, after you have followed them in evil ? They cannot restore to you the peace of an innocent mind, nor heal the sorrows of a wounded spirit, nor shield you from the displeasure of God. They can do little to support you in the hour of af
Dd 2. fliction,
SER M. Ali&tion, and nothing to deliver your XIX. souls in the day of death. Forsaken and
disconfolatę, the world, for the most part, cafts off its - votaries in the end ; and when you compute the final amount, it will prove a very small consolation, that, as you have had sharers in guilt, you shall have companions also in punishment.
Look forward to the issue of things. The multitude of men poffefs now, in a great measure, the distribution of praise and censure, of success and disappointment, according to their caprice. But this confused and promiscuous distribution is not always to subfift. The day cometh, when we all are to appear before a more discerning Judge, and a more impartial tribunal. The day cometh, when our Lord Jesus Christ, shall descend from heaven in all the glory of his Father, to unveil every character, and to render to every man according to his works. At that day, how shall he lift up his head, who hath been all his life the slave of the world's opinion; who hath moulded his principles and
his practice, solely to please the multi-S ERM.
XIX. tude ; who hath been ashamed of his Saviour and his words; and to gain favour with men, hath apostatised from the native sentiments and dictates of his heart P-To fay all in one word ; there is a contest now between God and the world. These form the opposite sides which divide mankind. Consider well, to which of these you will chuse to adhere. On the one fide, lie your allegiance, your honour, and your interest; on the other, lie your guilt and your Thame. For the one, conscience and reason, for the other passion, and inclination, plead. On the one hand, are the approbation of God, immortal honour, and divine rewards ; on the other,
remember and beware,mare the stings of conscience, endlefs punishment, and endless infamy.
On the Wisdom of God.*
. 1 TIMOTHY i. 17.
Now unto the King Eternal, immortal,
invisible, the only Wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
SERM. TT is of the highest importance to re
; I ligious conduct, that our minds be
filled with suitable conceptions of the attributes of God.' They are the foun
* This concluding discourse is chiefly intended, to be a general recapitulation of instances of the wisdom of Providence, several of which have been more fully illuf. trated in other discourses, contained in this, or in some of the preceding volumes.