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cording to the Christian account, not only doing, but suffering. And how can suffering be consistent with happiness!” Perfectly well Many centuries ago, it was remarked by St. Chrysostom; '“ The Christian has his sorrows as well as his joys; but his sorrow is sweeter than joy.” He may accidentally suffer loss, poverty, pain : but in all these things, he is more than conqueror. He can testify,
"Labour is rest, and pain is sweet,
While thou, my God, art here."
lle can say,
“ The Lord gave; the Lord taketh away : blessed be the name of the Lord !” He must suffer more or less reproach : for “the servant is not above his Master;" but so much the more does the Spirit of Glory and of God rest upon him. Yea, love itself will on several occasions be the source of suffering : The love. of God will frequently produce
“The pleasing smart, The meltings of a broken heart."
And the love of our neighbour will give rise to sympathizing sorrow : it will lead us to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction; to be tenderly concerned for the distressed, and to “mix our pitying tear with those that weep.". But may we not well say, these are “tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven ?”
So far, then, are all these sufferings from either preventing or lessening our happiness, that they greatly contribute thereto, and indeed constitute no inconsiderable part of it. So that, upon the whole, there cannot be a more false supposition, than that a life of religion is a life of misery; seeing true religion, whether considered in its nature or its fruits, is true and solid happiness.
7. The man who chooses to gain the world by the loss of his soul, supposes, secondly, " That a life of wickedness is a life of happiness!” That wickedness is happiness ! Even an old heathen poet could have taught him better. Even Juvenal discovered, Nemo malus felix : No wicked man is happy! And how expressly does God himself declare, “There is no peace to the wicked:” no peace of mind; and without this, there can be no happiness.
But not to avail ourselves of authority, let us weigh the thing in the balance of reason.
I ask, What can make a wicked man happy? You answer, He has gained the whole world.' We allow it, and what does this imply? He has gained all that gratifies the senses : in particular, all that can please the taste; all the delicacies of meat and drink. True ; but can eating and drinking make a man happy! They never did yet; and certain it is, they never will. This is too coarse food for an immortal spirit. But suppose it did give him a poor kind of happiness, during those moments wherein he was swallowing; what will he do with the residue of his time? Will it not hang heavily upon his hands? Will he not groan under many a tenious hour, and think swift-winged time flies too slow? If he is not fully employed, will he not frequently complain of lowness of spirits ? An unmeaning expression, which the miserable physician usually no more understands, than his miserable patient. We know, there are such things as nervous disorders. But we know likewise, that what is commonly called nervous lowness, is a secret reproof from God, a kind of consciousness, that we are not in our place; that we are not as God would have us to be ; we are unhinged from our proper centre.
8. To remove, or at least to soothe this strange uneasiness, let him add the pleasures of imagination. Let him bedaub himself with silver and gold, and adorn himself with all the colours of the rainbow. Let him build splendid palaces, and furnish them in the most elegant, as well as costly manner. Let him lay out walks and gardens, beautified with all that nature and art can afford. And how long will these give him pleasure ? Only as long as they are new.
As soon as ever the novelty is gone, the pleasure is gone also. After he has surveyed them a few months, or years, they give him no more satisfaction. The man who is saving his soul, has the advantage of him in this very respect. For he can say,
“In the pleasures the rich man's possessions display,
Unenvied I challenge my part;
Contributes to gladden my heart.”
9. “However, he has yet another resource; Applause, Glorij. And will not this make him happy.?" It will not : for he cannot be applauded by all men; no man ever was. Some will praise : perhaps many; but not all
. It is certain some will blame : and he that is fond of applause, will feel more pain from the censure of one, than pleasure from the praise of many. So that whoever seeks happiness in applause, will infallibly be disappointed, and will find, upon the whole of the account, abundantly more pain than pleasure.
10. But to bring the matter to a short issue. Let us take an instance of one, who had gained more of this world than probably any man now alive, unless he be a sovereign prince. But did all he had gained make him happy? Answer for thyself. Then, said Hamari, Yet “all this profiteth me nothing, while I see Mordecai sitting at the gate.” Poor Haman! One unholy temper, whether pride, envy, jealousy, or revenge, gave him more pain, more vexation of spirit, than all the world could give pleasure. And so it must be in the nature of things; for all unholy tempers are unhappy tempers. Ambition, covetousness, vanity, inordinate affection, malice, revengefulness, carry their own punishment with them, and revenge themselves on the soul wherein they dwell. Indeed what are these, more especially when they are combined with an awakened conscience, but the dogs of hell, already gnawing the soul, forbidding happiness to approach! Did not even the Heathens see this ? What else means their fable of Tityus, chained to a rock, with a valture continually tearing up his breast, and feeding upon his liver ? Quid rides? Why do you smile? Says the poet;
Mutato nomine, de te
It is another name. But thou art the man! Lust, foolish desire, envy, malice, or anger, is now tearing thy breast: love of money, or of praise, hatred, or revenge, is now feeding on thy poor spirit. Such happiness is in vice! So vain is the supposition that a life of wickedness is a life of happiness !
11. But he makes a third supposition, “ That he shall certainly live forty, or fifty, or threescore years." Do you depend upon this? on living threescore years? Who told you that you should ? It is no other than the enemy of God and man: it is the murderer of souls. Believe him not; he was a liar from the beginning; from the beginning of his rebellion against God. He is eminently a liar in this; for he would not give you life if he could. Would God permit, he would make sure work, and just now hurry you to his own place. And he cannot give you life if he would ; the breath of man is not in his hands. He is not the disposer of life and death : that power belongs to the Most High. It is possible indeed, God may, on some occasions, permit him to inflict death. I do not know, but it was an evil angel who smote a hundred, fourscore, and five thousand Assyrians in one night : and the fine lines of our poet are as applicable to an evil, as to a good spirit :
“So when an angel by divine command,
Huris death and terror o'er a guilty land :
But though Satan may sometimes inflict death, I know not that he could ever give life. It was one of his most faithful servants, that shrieked out some years ago,
“ A week's life ! A week's life! Thirty thousand pounds for a week's life !" But he could not purchase a day's life. That night God required his soul of him! And how soon may he require it of you? Are you sure of living threescort vears ? Are you sure of living one year? one week ? one day? O make haste to live ! Surely the man that may die to-night, should live to-day.
12. So absurd are all the suppositions made by him, who gains the world, and loses his soul! But let us for a moment imagine, that wickedness is happiness, and that he shall certainly live threescore years; and still I would ask, “What is he profited," if he gain the whole world for threescore years, and then lose hissoul eternally?
Can such a choice be made by any that considers what eternity is ? Philip Melancthon, the most learned of all the German Reformers, gives the following relation. (I pass no judgment upon it, but set it down in nearly his own words.) « When I was at Wirtemberg, as I was walking out one summer evening with several of my fellowstudents, we heard an uncommon singing, and following the sound, saw a bird of an uncommon figure. One stepping up, asked, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what art thou? It answered, I am a damned spirit: and in vanishing away, pronounced these words, 0 eternity, eternity! who can tell the length of eternity !” And how soon would this be the language of him, who sold his soul for threescore years' pleasure ! How soon would he cry out, “O eternity, eternity! who can tell the length of eternity!"
13. In how striking a manner is this illustrated by one of the ancient fathers ! Supposing there was a ball of sand as big as the whole earth. Suppose a grain
of this to be annihilated in a thousand years, which would be more eligible, to be happy, while this ball was wasting away at the rate of one grain in a thousand years, and miserable ever after? Or to be miserable while it was wasting away at that proportion, and happy ever after ?A wise man, it is certain, could not pause one moment upon the choice ; seeing all that time wherein this ball would be wasting away, bears infinitely less proportion to eternity, than a drop of water to the whole ocean, or a grain of sand to the whole mass. Allowing, then, that a life of religion were a life of misery, that a life of wickedness were a life of happiness, and that a man were assured of enjoying that happiness for the term of threescore years : yet what would he be profited, if he were then to be miserable to all eternity ?
14. But it has been proved, that the case is quite otherwise ; that religion is happiness, that wickedness is misery, and that no man is assured of living threescore days : and if so, is there any fool, any madman under beaven, who can be compared to him that casts away his own soul, though it were to gain the whole world? For what is the real state of the case ? What is the choice which God proposes to his creatures? It is not, “Will you be happy threescore years, and then miserable for ever : or, Will you be miserable threescore years, and then happy for ever?" It is not, “ Will you have first a temporary heaven, and then hell eternal: or, Will you have first a temporary hell, and then heaven eternal ?" But it is simply this : Will you
be miserable threescore years, and miserable ever after : or, Will
you be happy threescore years, and happy ever after? Will you have a foretaste of heaven now, and then heaven for ever; or, Will you have a foretaste of hell now, and then hell for ever? Will
have two hells, or two heavens ?
15. One would think, there needed no great sagacity to answer this question. And this is the very question which I now propose to you in the name of God. Will you be happy here and hereafter, in the world that now is, and in that which is to come ? Or will you. be miserable here and hereafter, in time and in eternity? What is your choice? Let there be no delay : now take one or the other. I take heaven and earth to record this day, that I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. O choose life ! The life of peace
and love now; the life of glory for ever. By the grace of God, nowe choose that better part, which shall never be taken from you. And having once fixed your choice, never draw back : adhere to it at all events. Go on in the name of the Lord, whom ye have chosen, and in the power of his might ! In spite of all opposition, from nature, from the world, from all the powers of darkness, still fight the goo fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life! And then there is laid up for you a crown, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give you at that day!
ON WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION.
“Work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling : for it is
God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."-PHILIPPIANS ü. 12, 13.
1. SOME great truths, as the being and attributes of God, and the difference between moral good and evil, were known, in some measure, to the Heathen world; the traces of them are to be found in all nations : so that, in some sense, it may be said to every child
“ He hath showed thee, O man, what is good ; even to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” With this truth he has, in some measure, “ enlightened every one that cometh into the world.” And hereby they that “ have not the law," that have no written law, “are a law unto themselves.” They show " the work of the law," the substance of it, though not the letter, " written in their hearts,” by the same hand which wrote the commandments on the tables of stone : “ their conscience also bearing them witness,” whether they act suitably thereto or not.
2. But there are two grand heads of doctrine, which contain many truths of the most important nature, of which the most enlightened Heathens in the ancient world were totally ignorant; as are also the most intelligent Heathens, that are now on the face of the earth : I mean those which relate to the eternal Son of God; and the Spirit of God; to the Son, giving himself to be “a propitiation for the sins of the world;" and to the Spirit of God, renewing men in that image of God wherein they were created. For after all the pains which ingenious and learned men have taken, that great man, Chevalier Ramsay, in particular, to find some resemblance of these truths, in the immense rubbish of Heathen authors, the resemblance is so ex