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-roses for a day, perhaps, and thorus for ever. And at the end of every season, when we sit down to count the sum, in anxiety, in fearfulness, in satiety, in vexation, in impatience, in regret, perhaps in self-reproach, that this our delight has cost us, in not one in a thousand, in none, perhaps, if we await the issue, can we say we have been gainers. Would it profit us nothing in our joy to have had a delight that pays its charges better, yields never-falling blossoms in time, and everlasting fruits in eternity? And then in our despondency-Ah! who has tried it knows how well it profits, even though it should have been itself the source of our affliction. We know, well enough some of us know, the times when no earthly delight can avail us, because we are not susceptible of any–place what hope you will before our eyes, set what good you may within our reach, promise us any thing, every thing, it is of no use our hearts are too dead to take of it we are so sick with sadness, that the very taste and mention of delight is loathsome to us. And there are other times, when the mind hungers to fill itself, but finds nothing to feed upon--its pleasant things are all consumed and gone--the capacity for delight remains, but the objects of delight are no more. Does it not profit them to have a table spread at which the sickest appetite may find food to suit it, and the most eager appetite may find enough to sate itself? And this, all of this is the case with them that delight themselves in God. Because it is certain that the more a spirit is in disquiet and sickness of the things of earth, the more it is capable of enjoying the promises of God, and the anticipation of futurity: and that the losses and deprivations which leave the bosom empty, do but increase the capacity of receiving into it that presence of God and enjoyment of God the preoccupied bosom seldom can find space for. We should value a light that would burn always brightest when the hour is darkest—we should make choice of a fuel, that would give the more warmth in proportion as the night is colder--yet we say that it pro
fiteth a man nothing to delight himself with God! Have we tried it?
Why doth thine heart carry thee away, and what do
thine eyes wink at, that thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?-JOB xv. 12, 13.
We are apt to be surprised at the manner of some persons in society, and at their words, that whenever religion is named, or any thing that regards the Deity is alluded to, they show so much uneasiness—they will try some idle, perhaps profane jest, to rid themselves of the subject, rather than entertain it-or if they cannot, will be seriously discomforted and utter many unpleasant and bitter things against the truth : not because in their sober judgment they do not believe it truth, but because their hearts carry them away—that is, their feelings are
— averse to the subject, and averse to the intrusion of serious thoughts-averse, we fear, not seldom, to God himself, or at least to his presence with them. It is their hearts carry them away in defiance of their better knowledge-their inclinations, that are earthly--their passions, that are corrupt—their affections, that are set on other idols, and do not like to be disturbed withal : their hearts have carried them away, and they are offended and irritated at being recalled. And what do they wink at, that they cannot set steadily their eyes upon the things so suddenly brought before them-what is the matter they cannot look upon sacred and eternal things, without so much disquietude? It must be because there is something in it that abashes them, or alarms them, or brings with it a light that threatens to disclose what lay before concealed, and is not altogether easy to them to behold. Self-convicted spirits! ere you betray yourselves in empty or bitter words, be at least aware of what it is that incites you to them. It is that your hearts are not at peace with God, and you do not like to be reminded of it—that sin is laid up and cherished in your bosoms,
and you do not like that a light should be brought too near—it is, I doubt me, that you know yourselves in the wrong and do not wish to be in the right, and so would rather avoid the subject altogether. Perhaps you are not yourselves aware of the origin of your averseness to the mention of serious things, or of the many hard and bitter speeches you make against them, and against those that propose them-but examine and find if it be not as we say: Le diable le transporte encore sur une montagne fort
haute, et en lui montrant tous les royaumes du monde.-MATT. iv. 8.
LA vanité, l'orgueil, et l'ambition d’Adam sont gueries par la troisième tentation de Jesus Christ, le nouvel Adam. C'est s'exposer à cette tentation, que d'aimer à voir les pompes et les richesses du monde. C'est ouvrir son coeur à l'amour des faux biens, que d'ouvrir la bouche pour les louer dans les autres. Les parens font l'office du diable, quand ils font naître l'estime et le desir de l'élevation, des grands biens, et de la gloire du monde dans leurs enfans, en les leur faisant voir et admirer dans les autres.
Be always displeased at what thou art, if thou desirest to attain to what thou art not: for where thou hast pleased thyself, there thou abidest. But if thou sayest, I have enough, thou perishest: always add, always walk, always proceed; neither stand still, nor go back, nor deviate: he that standeth still, proceedeth not; he goeth back, that continueth not; he deviateth, that revolteth; he goeth better, that creepeth in his he that runneth out of his way.
way, . than
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be
seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.—Matt. vi. 1–4.
It might seem that there is one point at least of moral obligation, in which man and his Creator are agreed-in which the world's law and God's law are registered the
There needed not the voice from Mount Sinai to pronounce it, there needed not the soft whispers of the Gospel to enforce it. Men did not wait the light of Christianity to discover this duty, or the encouragements of Christianity to fulfil it. That they who have, must give to them that have not, is a principle and feeling, lieve, that human nature, fallen and corrupted as it is, may claim to be its own. We are aware that some persons may deny this, and we know there are individual exceptions to it, at least in practice: but still we are persuaded that in every age and country, and under every shade and variety of religious difference, to give food to the hungry, and clothes to the naked, has been an admitted duty, which to do was honourable, and to refuse was disreputable. And with the admission of the principle, we believe there has been generally no inconsiderable disposition to fulfil it. The wild savage, who delights him with the tortures of his captive enemy, and dead to every other feeling of humanity, murders his wife and children before his
very wantonness of cruelty, had the same father and his children come to him cold and starving, would have warmed and fed them. The bandit, whose very business it is to murder and rifle the rich man on his way, will give something of what he has so gained, to the starved and naked wanderer that breaks in on his concealment. In civilized society, it is
. true, there are some who, in proportion to their means, will give but very little—their self-indulgence and wasteful expenditure leave their coffers so exhausted, that with more truth, perhaps, than they would like to have it believed, they plead their inability—or if ashamed of this, as is more commonly the case, find an evasive covering for their selfishness, in pretended objections to the mode of charity proposed, or the object for whom it is solicited. But these delinquents find not, like the proud and vindictive man, an advocate in the habits of society, or a shelter in the opinions of men. They are clothed in their own colours, and called by their own name-selfish, niggard wretches, whose conduct no man will take upon him to defend. This want of charitable feeling towards the indigent remains a blot upon the few, and not a charge against the many.
It is impossible to look around us at this time, and deny that alms-giving is the fashion, the prevalent disposition, the very favourite virtue of our age and country. Doubtless with those to whom the Saviour preached, alms-giving was in reputation too, whether in practice it prevailed or not. With the Pharisees we know it did prevail--for it was one of their boasted virtues-one of their pleaded claims to the favour of heaven and reward hereafter. In principle and practice, then, it might seem that God and man were at last agreed, and that the disciples of Christ needed no new law on the assumption of their new name.
And we may observe how the divine