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SERMON on the companions of thy youth, who now
sleep in the dust. Let the vanity, the mutability, and the sorrows of the human estate, rise in full prospect before thee ; and though thy countenance may be made sad, thy heart shall be made better. This sadness, though for the present it dejects, yet shall in the end fortify thy spirit; inspiring thee with such sentiments, and prompting such resolutions, as shall enable thee to enjoy, with more real advantage, the rest of life. Dispositions of this nature form one part of the character of those mourners whom our Saviour hath pronounced blessed; and of those to whom it is promised, that sowing in tears, they shall reap in joy*. A great difference there is between being serious and melancholy; and a melancholy too there is of that kind which deserves to be sometimes indulged.
Religion hath, on the whole, provided for every good man abundant materials of consolation and relief. How dark soever the present face of nature may appear, it dispels the darkness, when it brings into * Matth. 1.4. Psalm cxxvi. 5.
view the entire system of things, and ex- SERMUN tends our survey to the whole kingdom of XIN. God. It represents what we now behold as only a part, and a small part, of the general order. It assures us, that though here, for wise ends, misery and sorrow are permitted to have place, these temporary evils shall, in the end, advance the happiness of all who love God, and are faithful to their duty. It shews them this mixed and confused scene vanishing by degrees away, and preparing the introduction of that state, where the house of mourning shall be shut up for ever ; where no tears are seen, and no groans heard; where no hopes are frustrated, and no virtuous connexions dissolved; but where, under the light of the Divine countenance, goodness shall flourish in perpetual felicity. Thus, though religion may occasionally chasten our mirth with sadness of countenance, yet under that sadness it allows not the heart of good men to sink; it calls upon them to rejoice, because the Lord reigneth, who is their Rock, and the most high God, who is their Redeemer. Reason likewise joins her voice with that of religion ;
SERMON forbidding us to make peevish and unrea
sonable complaints of human life, or injuriously to ascribe to it more evil than it contains. Mixed as the present state is, she pronounces, that generally, if not always, there is more happiness than misery, more pleasure than pain, in the condition of
On the Divine Government of the
Passions of Men.
Psalm 1xxvi. 10.
remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. THIS Psalm appears to have been SERMON
1 composed on occasion of some re. La markable deliverance obtained by the Jewish nation. It is generally understood to have been written in the reign of Hezekiah, and to refer to the formidable invasion of Judea by Sennacherib; when the angel of the Lord, in one night, discomfited the whole Assyrian host, and smote them with sudden destruction. To this interposition of the Divine arm, those expressions in the context may naturally be applied; There brake he Vol. II.
SERMON the arrows of the bow, the shield, the sword, XIV.
and the battle. The stout-hearted are spoiled; they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob! both the chariot and the horse are cast into a dead sleep. In the text we have the wise and religious reflection of the Psalmist upon the violent designs which had been carried on by the enemies of his country, and upon the issue to which Providence had brought them. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee. By the wrath of man, we are to understand all that the impetuosity of human passions can devise or execute; the projects of ambition and resentment, the rage of persecu. tion, the fury of war; the disorders which violence produces in private life, and the public commotions which it excites in the world. All these shall praise. God, not with their intention and design, nor by their native tendency; but by those wise and good purposes, which his providence makes them accomplish; from their poison extracting health, and converting things, which in themselves are pernicious, into instruments of his glory, and of public benefit: So that,