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DISC. of for ever excluding cheerfulness from the
breast in which it has fixed it's residence, is infidelity. Take from man the expectation of another world, and you render him at once the most miserable creature in this, as having, by his superior ingenuity, contrived for himself a great variety of racks and tortures, to which all other animals are strangers. Present cares and present calamities would fall heavy upon us indeed, were they not sweetened and alleviated by the prospect of future joys. So delightful did the glimpse of such a prospect'appear to the great Roman orator, that he declared, if it were a delusion, he desired and had determined to live and die under it. Who among us could be cheerful, while he entertained the thought either of not being at all after death, which must be the atheist's lot, if his system be true; or of being for ever miserable, which will be his case, if his system should be false ? On a person of this cast it should seem needless to inflict any other punishment, than that of leaving him to the horrors of his gloomy imagination, till he feel himself to want those joys and disc. comforts, of which he hath laboured to deprive others.
c Cicero de Senectute, ad fin.
Upon the whole — May it not be questioned, whether there be not some degree of infidelity at the bottom of most of that anxiety and disquietude, which is so much complained of under the sun ? For why do we grieve and lament that things are as they are ? Why do we murmur and repine at what has happened? Why do we muse and disturb ourselves about what may happen? Is it not all from want of faith? Did we but attend to the instructions of this heavenly guide, she would teach us, that it is God who governs the world; that he governs it in wisdom and righteousness; and that therefore it is but reasonable, we should leave the government of it to him; that he who hath shewed his love towards us in the greatest instance of all, will not withhold it in others; that he who hath given his Son to die for us, will not deny us any thing which will contribute to our real welfare ;
DISC. and that we may fafely cast all our care upon
him, who will make all things in the end work together for good to them that trust in him. These considerations, were they but rendered habitual to our minds, and ready for constant use and application, would brighten the darkest scenes of human life, and cause solicitude and despondency to fly away. Religion would then gain by it's professors that credit and honour which it deserves, and the designs of heaven would be fully answered, which most undoubtedly were, that innocence and cheerfulness should go together, and the best Christian be the happiest man,
The Verses referred to in page 101, from a Poem
styled THE LIBRARY.
WHEN the sad squl, by care and grief oppreft,
He veils in clouds the sun's meridian beam,