Page images

DISC. which, they themselves will tell us, they have never failed to be relieved, as often as, by any extraordinary call, they have been rouzed from indolence, and forced upon action. The malady which deftroys fo many conftitutions, and makes fuch numbers miferable who have nothing else to make them fo, is unknown to him, whom neceffity obliges to toil for his bread. With the fun he rises, full of life and vigour, to his appointed task. Upon that his attention is engaged all day, and the performance of it secures to him an uninterrupted repofe at night, according to Solomon's observation: "The fleep of a labouring man is sweet.” From all which we may venture to conclude, that happiness confifts in employment, and that to be idle is to be wretched.

[ocr errors]

A fecond thing to be avoided is guilt. We must not only be employed, but we must be well employed. To every station Providence has annexed it's proper offices and duties. We fhall always find the difcharge of these to be one fource of cheer



fulness, and the consciousness of having dif- DISC. charged them will always furnish us with another. They are pleasant not only in the act, but in the remembrance. They are labours, which will have their reward from the hand of our Master in heaven. They are labours, which will end in reft eternal, and will make that reft to be sweet indeed. But what title can that man have to cheerfulness, who has done those things only which he ought not to have done? Guilt and cheerfulness cannot dwell under the fame roof. It is not fit they fhould. The confequence of guilt unrepented and unexpiated, is the wrath of God. And he on whom the wrath of God abideth, has no reason to be cheerful. It is folly, it is madnefs in him to be fo, as it must argue an utter ignorance and infenfibility of his condition. The Pfalmift tells us, that" Light is fown for the righ"teous, and gladnefs for the upright in heart;" and therefore he adds-"Rejoice " in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holinefs.'


A third thing to be avoided, as capable


DISC. of for ever excluding cheerfulness from the breast in which it has fixed it's refidence, 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 fuperior ingenuity, contrived for himself a great variety of racks and tortures, to which all other animals are ftrangers. Prefent cares and prefent calamities would fall heavy upon us indeed, were they not sweetened and alleviated by the profpect 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 delufion, he defired 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 miferable, which will be his cafe, if his fyftem should be falfe? On a perfon of this caft it should feem needlefs to inflict any other punishment, than that of leaving him to the horrors of his gloomy imagination,

c Cicero de Senectute, ad fin.



till he feel himself to want thofe joys and DISC. comforts, of which he hath laboured to deprive others.

Upon the whole-May it not be queftioned, whether there be not fome degree of infidelity at the bottom of most of that anxiety and difquietude, which is so much complained of under the fun? 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 mufe and disturb ourselves about what may happen? Is it not all from want of faith? Did we but attend to the inftructions of this heavenly guide, fhe 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 fhewed 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; and


pisc. and that we may fafely caft all our care upon him, who will make all things in the end work together for good to them that trust in him. Thefe confiderations, were they but rendered habitual to our minds, and ready for conftant use and application, would brighten the darkest scenes of human life, and cause folicitude and defpondency to fly away. Religion would then gain by it's profeffors that credit and honour which it deferves, and the defigns of heaven would be fully answered, which moft undoubtedly were, that innocence and cheerfulness should go together, and the best Christian be the happiest man,

The Verfes referred to in page 101, from a Poem ftyled THE LIBRARY,

WHEN the fad foul, by care and grief oppreft,
Looks round the world, but looks in vain, for rest;
When every object that appears in view
Partakes her gloom, and feems afflicted too;
Where fhall affliction from itself retire?
Where fade away, and placidly expire?
Alas! we fly to filent scenes in vain,
Care blafts the honours of the flow'ry plain,


« PreviousContinue »