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SERMON bestow, and the degree of favour which
your fellow-creatures are disposed to grant you. Viewing yourselves, with all your imperfections and failings, in a just light, you will rather be surprised at your enjoying so many good things, than discontented, because there are many which you want.
From a humble and contented temper will spring a cheerful one. This, if not in itself a virtue, is at least the garb in which virtue should be always arrayed. Piety and goodness ought never to be marked with that dejection which sometimes takes rise from superstition, but which is the proper portion only of guilt. At the same time, the cheerfulness belonging to virtue is to be carefully distinguished from that light and giddy temper which characterizes folly, and is so often found among the dissipated and vicious part of mankind. Their gaiety is owing to a total want of reflexion ; and brings with it the usual consequences of an unthinking habit, shame, remorse, and heaviness of heart, in the end. The cheerfulness of a well-regulated mind springs from a good conscience and the favour of Heaven, and is bounded by tem
Such, on the whole, is the temper, or habitual frame of mind, in a good man : Devout towards God; towards men, peaceable, candid, affectionate, and humane ; within himself, humble, contented, and cheerful. To the establishment of this happy temper, all the directions which I before suggested for the due regulation of the thoughts, and for the government of the passions, naturally conduce ; in this they ought to issue ; and when this temper is thoroughly formed within us, then may the heart be esteemed to have been kept with all diligence. That we may be thus enabled to keep it, for the sake both of present enjoyment, and of preparation for greater happiness, let us earnestly pray to Heaven. A greater blessing we cannot
SERMON implore of the Almighty, than that he
who made the human heart, and who knows its frailties, would assist us to subject it to that discipline which religion requires, which reason approves, but which his grace alone can enable us to maintain.
JAMES, i. 17.
above, and cometh down from the Father
neither shadow of turning. THE divine nature, in some views, SERMON attracts our love; in
Otheis, como la
others, commands our reverence; in all, is entitled to the highest attention from the human mind, We never elevate our thoughts, in a proper manner, towards the Supreme Being, without returning to our own sphere with sentiments more improved ; and if, at any time, his greatness oppresses our thoughts, his moral perfections always afford us relief. His almighty power, his infinite
SERMON wisdom, and supreme goodness, are sounds IV.
familiar to our ears. In his immutability we are less accustomed to consider him ; and yet it is this perfection which, perhaps, more than any other, distinguishes the divine nature from the human ; gives complete energy to all its other attributes, and entitles it to the highest adoration. For, hence are derived the regular order of nature, and the stedfastness of the universe. Hence flows the unchanging tenour of those laws which, from age to age, regulate the conduct of mankind. Hence the uniformity of that government, and the certainty of those promises, which are the ground of our trust and security. Goodness could produce no more than feeble and wavering hopes, and power would command very imperfect reverence, if we were left to suspect that the plans which goodness had framed might alter, or that the power of carrying them into execution might decrease. The contemplation of God, therefore, as unchangeable in his nature and in all his perfections, must. undoubtedly be fruitful both of instruction and of consolation to man. I shall first endeavour to