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the dew of heaven, until certain times DISC.
As Christians, let us therefore gratefully acknowlege the protection we receive. We are pilgrims, travelling through this world to another. The powers of the world must use us as they shall think proper, and it Thall please God to permit them. Bad usage we are to bear with patience ; for good usage it becomes us to be thankful. And if Israelites, when captives in Babylon, were enjoined by a prophet to pray for a heathen king, who had carried them into captivity, " that in his peace they might have peace;” how much more ought we to pray, in our own land, for our own prince, who adorns by his life the faith which by his office he stands engaged to defend ; that fo ChriftianVOL. III:
disc. itý, which is the religion of peace, may vi.
thrive and flourish in the soil natural to it! Continue to us, then, O Lord, we beseech thee, Him whom thou haft hitherto
preserved. “ Grant the king a long life:" bless him in his person, in his actions, in his family, and in his people : make his days prosperous, and the close of them, when it must come, honourable and comfortable ; that, through thy grace and goodness, it may open for him an entrance into that kingdom, where only temptation shall cease, and trouble shall be known no more.
THE DUTY OF SELF-DENIAL.
MATT. XVI. 24.
Tben faith Jesus to bis disciples, If any man will
come after me, let bim DENY HIMSELF.
N hard saying; who can hear it?
“ Has God then implanted appe" tites and affections in me, only that I may " be at the trouble of crossing and morti“ fying them ? Has he spread pleasures and
delights before me, for no other end than " that I may act the self-tormentor all my
days, by abstaining from them? It is a “conduct unreasonable in itself, and dis" honourable to his nature. It cannot be.
« I will
DISC. “ I will go back, and walk no more with
“ the author of such a religion as this.”
Reflections like these will but too naturally arise in the uninstructed or the ill-instructed mind, when passages are read from the Gospel (and many such passages there are) of a similar import with that which has been selected for the subject of our present meditations. “ To imagine (says a late
philosopher) that the gratifying any of " the senses, or the indulging any delicacy “ in meats, drinks, or apparel, is of itself a “ vice, can never enter into a head that is “ not disordered by the frenzies of a fanati“ cal enthusiasm.” And we have seen the pen of a celebrated historian employed in representing the primitive Christians as a set of poor, moping, melancholy, miserable fanatics, because they observed the self-denying precepts of their Saviour, instead of adopting the “elegant mythology of the Greeks,” and the no less elegant manners of the Ro
The matter, therefore, deserves a serious DISC. and diligent enquiry. The goodness of God forbids us to suppose that he would willingly grieve or afflict the children of men. Indeed, he himself assures us, that he never doth fo. And he who has bestowed on man the faculty of reason, can issue no commands whic are not founded on the highest and most perfect reason—.“ He who formed the
eye, shall he not see ?" It shall therefore be the design of the following discourse to evince, that the divine wisdom shines' not forth more conspicuously in any one precept of the Gospel, than in this, whereby a man is enjoined to DENY HIMSELF.
The point shall be argued from the nature of man; from the nature of religion; from the influence exerted by the body upon the foul ; from the many instances of self-denial practised by the men of the world; and from the rewards annexed to the practice of it among Christians.
In the first plače, then, be it assumed as a