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with love and admiration : and therefore he endeavours to draw a veil over its lustre, and to raise in our minds frightful ideas concerning it. And too many, alas ! are misled by such false and unjust representations.
But would inen be persuaded once to make the experiment; would they forsake the dangerous paths of sin, and walk in the way that leads to everlasting happiness ; would they retire from the noise and tumult of a loose and disordered life, and listen to the still voice of reason and Religion ; they would quickly find how.grossly they have been cheated, and wonder how it was possible they should so long have been deceived. They would soon discover, and then admire, the Beauty, of Holiness, and be thoroughly convinced that there is no pleasure like that of a good conscience; no real and solid happiness but what results from a life of virtue and holiness. They would then bless the happy change they had made, and would not part with their interest in Heaven for the greatest enjoyments this world could give them.
All those empty pleasures which once captivated and ensnared them, would then appear mean and contemptible; and nothing would be thought of any real value, but what sets them forward in the way of salvatiou.
O happy man! (whosoever thou beest) that hast made this noble trial, and by a true and sincere repentance art restored to the favour and love of God! thou hast turned away thine eyes from beholding vanity, and canst now look up with confidence to God, and relish the pleasures of a virtuous life. How is thy mind filled with love and joy and admiration, when thou considerest, that by the grace and goodness of God, thou art rescued out of the jaws of the devouring lion, and art delivered froin fear and shame and selfcondemnation: the sure and miserable attendants of a guilty conscience !
We may have some idea of the happiness of such a man, by considering what is the pleasure of a redeemed captive when restored to his country, his liberty, and his friends; or of a mariner got safe on shore after a storm,
wherein he was every moment in ex-
be asked, made trial of Religion, and yet have found no satisfaction therein ; as may be concluded from their returning again to their former course of life? It is true, there are some instances (and sad ones they are, God knows) of persons who after they have been once lightened, and have tasted of the hearenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, have yet fallen away, and entered again into a life of sin and debauchery. But has this been owing to a dislike of religion ? by no means; but rather to a want of care in not avoiding the company which has formerly seduced them; or to a forgetfulness, orat least a neglect, of the vows
and resolutions they have made; or, it may be, they have fallen under some violent temptation, which they have not .so vigorously resisted as they might and vught to have done. Instances, lowever, of this kind, I trust are but rare. Whereas on the other hand, how many are there, wlio having forsaken the company and conversation of the wicked, and, having lamented the folly and madness of their past lives ; lave from being the slaves of sin and Satau, become the servants of God? these wili tell you from their own experience, that they have found more true peace and satisfaction in conquering one vicious habit, than they ever inet with in the most sensual enjoyment; that all their past sinful pleasures' yield thein now no other fruits, than those bitter. ones of shame and remorse : and that in religion, on the contrary, they find such a spring of comfort. continually refreshing their souls, as they would not part with for all this worls can possibly give them; that they taste such, a. pleasure in the service of God, as makes thein, with holy David, desire to diell
in the house of the Lord all the days of their lives, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to visit his temple; Psalm xxvii. 4. and like him, esteem it better to be a door-keeper in the house of the Lord, one of the meanest of God's servants, than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness, amid the delights and pleasures of a wicked and deluded world.
In fact, nothing can give a man so: exquisite a satisfaction, as to reflect upon the actions of a well-spent life; to consider that he has made God his friend, and secured an interest in the favour of him wlio is the cternal source and fountain of all good; infinite in: mercy and loving-kindoess, as well as in power; not only able, but willing and ready, to help and assist him in all difficulties: a Being to whom lre may hare recourse under every trial and temptation ; under the greatest calamities and troubles of life; to whom he may-lay open all his wants and infirmities; pour forth all his sorrows and affictions, and may at all times with confidence look up, as being assured that