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and all their desires satisfied to the full.-Let us now inquire, in the
Second place, What manner of behaviour is most expressive of this temper, and best suited to the condition of strangers and sojourners?—This branch of the subject opens a wide field of practical instruction, and will lead me to recommend to you some of the most important and difficult duties of the Christian life.
1st. If we look upon this earth as a strange country, through which we are only passing to our native home, it ought certainly to be our care, that we receive as little hurt in our passage as possible. This is a maxim of common prudence that nobody will dispute. Now the greatest hurt the world can do us, is to make us forget the place of our destination, or loiter too much by the way: and therefore its smiles are more to be dreaded than its frowns. “The prosperity of fools,” saith Solomon, “destroyeth them.” It is difficult to possess much, and not to overlove it: Hence that caution of the Psalmist, “ If riches increase, sct not your heart upon them.” When our situation is so agreeable, that we find ourselves disposed to say, “ Soul, take thine ease;" then indeed it is high time to look warily around us; the hook is not so curiously baited for no end. I do not mean to disparage the bounty of Providence; if it hath pleased God to distinguish any of you by riches or honours; or to crown your honest industry with uncommon affluence; it is certainly your duty to be thankful to that kind Benefactor, who “ hath covered your table, and made your cup to run over." I only mean to execute that order which was given to Timothy, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” I would only exhort
you as Paul did the Corinthians, “ To rejoice as though you rejoiced not; to buy as though you possessed not; and to use this world so as not to abuse it; because the time is short, and the fashion of this world passeth away.” My sole aim is to remind you, that the more
you have, the greater need there will be to keep a strict puram and jealous guard upon your hearts, lest they be de.
bauched by those pleasing enjoyments, and alienated DUN from God, who alone hath a right to them. But it is not
enough that we receive no hurt in our journey through of this strange land; it ought likewise to be our care, in the
2d place, To make all the provision we can for that better country to which we are travelling. The Holy Scriptures speak of " a meetness for the inheritance of
the saints in light;"—of making to ourselves friends of 10.3 the mammon of unrighteousness;"--of “providing bags
which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.” In opposition to all this, we read of some, “who make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof;" “ whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their
shame, who mind earthly things.” I need not inform 11
you which of these two are the strangers and sojourners. Let it be our care, my brethren, who claim this character, “ to grow in grace," and to bring forth “those fruits of righteousness, which are, by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Every advance in holi. ness is a step that leadeth upward to the heavenly felicity; for what is glory but grace in maturity? they differ only in degree; they are the same in kind, and the one grows up and ripens into the other. Our riches and bonours, though they should accompany us to the last peri. od of life, must leave us at death: “ Naked we came into the world, and naked we must return;" but boliness shall pass with us beyond the grave, and attend us
home to our Father's house, there to shine with increasing brightness tbrough all the ages of eternity. Do we then aspire to the heavenly state? let us endeavour to enjoy as much of heaven as we can, even while we 80journ in this “house of our pilgrimage.” Surely “ev. ery man that hath this hope in him,”—the hope of being thoroughly changed into the “ likeness of his Lord, when he shall see him as he is” at bis second appearance, must, by this hope, be excited to purify 6 himself even as he is pure." Let us then hearken to that affectionate exhortation of the apostle Peter, “ Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Let us “add to our faith, virtue; and to our virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
3dly. It becomes strangers and sojourners to endure with patience and fortitude any hardships they may meet with on their journey homeward. We ought, indeed, my brethren, to lay our account with inconveniences by the way: our Master, who " was a man of sorrows," hath told us expressly, that " in the world we shall have tribulation.” “ Ye know,” said he, “that the world hated me, before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, there. fore the world hateth you." Yet however painful those sufferings may be, the prospect of the joy that awaiteth us, is more than sufficient to support us under them; especially when it is considered, that tbe afflictions of this
present life, if wisely improved, shall exalt us to higher dignity in the kingdom of our Father. It is recorded of the primitive Christians, that "they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods,” because “ they knew in themselves, that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” “ They were troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" as we read, 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9. And if any shall inquire, what it was that rendered them superior to these trials, they may be lawfully informed by St. Paul himself in the close of that chapter, where he saith, “ For this cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, and are temporal, but at those things which are not seen, and are eternal."
4thly. If we view heaven as the place of our everlasting abode, we shall, above all things, be solicitous to be thoroughly acquainted with the way that leads to it. David prayed with the utmost propriety, when he thus expressed bimself, (Psalm cxix. 19.) “I am a stranger in the earth, hide not thy commandments from me." He knew that “the word of God was a lamp to his feet and a light unto his path;" he therefore “ hid it in his heart,” as the most inestimable treasure he could possess, and made it the subject of his constant, delightful meditation : “ Thy testimonies,” said he, “ are my delight, and my counsellors ;” and “thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." I do not deny that Reason, even in its present dark and corrupt state, may, in many important instances, lead a so.
ber inquirer to the knowledge of his duty; but, alas! in a great variety of cases, he would find himself utterly at a loss, not knowing which road to take; for though Reason, unassisted, may still be able to trace out the capital lines of sin and duty, yet the confines of each, the preeise boundaries which divide the lawful from the forbidden ground, require a more penetrating eye to discern them. But in the Holy Scriptures these are plainly marked out to us by the finger of God, who cannot err. The ten laws published from Sinai, which were afterwards explained and amplified by our Saviour in bis sermon upon the mount, furnish us with a complete and unerring rule of life, and describe that “ high way of holiness,” in which we may walk without fear or diffidence. We need not perplex ourselves with the doubtful reasonings of our own minds; we may find an easy solution of all our difficulties in that written 6 law and testimony,” according to which we shall be finally judged: for “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple:” “ the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Such is the guide which God hath provided for directing his pilgrims in their way homeward; and if we are possessed of the temper of pilgrims, “we shall esteem the words of God's mouth more than our necessary food;" and say concerning them, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the boney-comb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward."
5thly. If we consider ourselves as strangers and sojourners here below, we ought certainly to behave like those who belong to a better country, and to show by our conduct, that we have a nobler birth and higher hopes than worldly men have. God frequently complain