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Finally, my brethren, attend to the promise that is here made to those who obey this exhortation. Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your fouls. What is there in this world that is so desirable, as a quiet, a contented, and a resigned spirit? Tell me who is the happy man ; he who arrives at the top of his ambition, and tramples upon his foes, but is domineered over by his lusts? He who wallows in luxury by means of his ill-acquired riches, but has no government over himself; or he who, in this transient state, feels that internal satisfaction which the world cannot give, nor take away? Ye soft gales of peace, which proceed from the Holy Ghost, and are kept up only by an unremitting virtue, be you my choice, and do you still refresh my soul. But where is that serenity and felicity to be found, except by submitting to the yoke of Chrift? At the creation of man, religion was his companion, his perpetual attendant ; and no care ruffled his brow, nor sorrow disquieted his breast; his eye beheld the lovely form, and his heart never strayed from her laws. But when he fell, his understanding was darkened, he lost sight of his true good, and
pursued an imaginary happiness in a thousand delusive shapes. The experience, however, of every age, has sufficiently proyed, that even the imperfect share of happiness which we are now capable of attaining, is no where to be found disjoined from religion. Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace; and, besides that natural peace which a pious conduct is immediately calculated to produce, the Christian has, moreover, that supernatural quiet and consolation to depend upon, which is promised by his Master, for composing and folacing his spirit. Peace I leave with you : my peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid'.
* John xiv. 37.
Psalm iv. 4. last part of the verse.
Commune with your own heart upon you bed,
and be fill.
THAT the royal prophet, by these words, enjoins retirement from the hurry and the tumults of human life, in order to give ourselves time deliberately to consider the wifdom, the justice, and the goodness of the divine administration, and seriously to reflect upon our own actions, and the motives of them, will, I imagine, be readily admitted by every hearer. Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. At leisure, uninfluenced by the specious opinions, unbiassed by the corrupt practices of others, deaf to the ensnaring voice of pleasure, and only open to the sober dictates of reason, and the awful commands of conscience, frequently meditate upon the perfections of God, and
learn to reverence the ways of his Providence. Often before-hand consider the course of conduct which it becomes you to follow; and often review what you have thought and acted. You will all acknowledge that the nature and condition of man discover religious retirement and recollection to be highly proper and useful. When we consider our wants, our weakness, our dependence, the dangers to which we are exposed, the hopes and the fears, as well as the immediate happiness and misery which our conduct occalions; they all conspire to force this acknowledgment. But how seldom our practice is influenced by it, let our conscience and our actions bear witness. For if the man who is of opinion that a frequent and serious consideration of one's own behaviour, his dispositions, and the awful account he must render, might, by the blessing of God, prove a remedy for many vices, would but visit the market-places, the taverns, and crowded, or private companies ; or inquire into the case of the oppressed, or lend an ear to the wail. ing of the poor ; or observe the cheats in business, the chichanery of law, the haughtiness of men in high stations, or the envy of
those below them, the unreasonable violence which occasions quarrels and divisions, the immoderate keenness in the pursuit of things temporal, and the remissness in seeking after things eternal ; he could not fail to be perfuaded, that the direction in our text, though heard with some kind of reverence, is far from being devoutly, or commonly obeyed. · In my discourse to you, therefore, at this time, I propose to explain the nature and design of religious retirement and recollection, and to endeavour to persuade you to the practice of those duties.
I address myself to every one in this house; but I consider the subject as more especially fuited to those who have so immediate a prospect of commemorating the death of Christ in the facrament; for, surely, it is particularly fit that our hearts should be purified by meditation and prayer, when we are in fo folemn and public a manner to profess ourselves the disciples of Jesus. I propose, then, in the first place, to explain the nature and design of religious retirement and recollection. When the illustrious writer of this Píalm, who had such a deep insight into the diseases of the human heart, and could so