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to make them truly happy; so did they comfort themselves with reflecting that the hands of the devil and man were tied up, so as effectually to restrain them from doing more against them than God was pleased to permit, or they were able to bear;--that the manner, measure, season, and duration of their trial, were all determined by the line of undeviating justice, according to their respective advantages ;-that so long as they continued righteous and patient under their 'troubles, so long would they be near and dear unto God; and that he would not always be putting their virtue to these hard trials, but that their light afflictions, which was but for a moment, should in the end work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the heavens; whilst they looked not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; considering that those things which are seen are temporal, but those which are not seen are eternal,
By these solid reflections did the persecuted disciples and followers of a persecuted Redeemer comfort themselves under all their tribulation and distress. And their example is placed before us, to point out to the soul sinking under the burden of adversity, the sure, though rugged, road to everlasting bliss. Their patience and
humility, in the most legible characters, direct the miserable and unhappy.—“Go, and do thou
likewise, even as they have done before thee, “ in far more heavy and distressful circuin“ stances : and remember this to thy consola" tion, that though thou now, in this life, re; " ceivest evil things, yet the day will come, " when thy patience and virtue shall be re“ warded with glory and honour and immor
tality in the life to come.”
That prosperity is in itself, when rightly made use of, a very great blessing, none but a madman,
suppose, would pretend to dispute: and yet, when we look upon the many and fatal errors in which it too often involves those who are possessed of it, it is not very easy to determine, whether it be always for our interest to desire it. The voice of experience will tell us, that riches and grandeur too frequently incline men to put their whole confidence in themselves, and to estrange their hearts from that Supreme Being, who gave them all things richly to enjoy; and thus, instead of being a 'blessing, become a curse: so that however those may flatter themselves, who waste their anxious days and sleepless nights in the pursuit of earthly treasures, they little know whether they may not be pursuing that which will prove their
heaviest loss and calamity; even the loss of a valuable and immortal soul.
... Indeed, were this the only state of our existence; were there no day of account to come hereafter; it were good for a man to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good things under the sun,
all the days of his life, which God giveth
for then would this be his only portion. Upon this supposition, we could not find much to blame in the reasoning of that rich man, who said to his soul, “Soul, thou hast much good “ laid up for many years; take thine ease; eat, " drink, and be merry. For, as the Apostle argues from his own case, “if, after the manner “ of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, "what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not: 5. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” But when we are assured that after this life cometh another, wherein every man shall give an account of the talents committed to his charge; when we consider that the same Jesus, who endured patiently such contradiction of sinners against himself, is now set down at the right hand of that throne of God, before which we inust all soon appear; how widely is the case then altered! And the man must be mad indeed who has this consideration in view, and yet prefers the transitory pleasures of this short
span, before the unspeakable enjoyments of an everlasting futurity; nay, he must be doubly mad, who, in consideration of a few momentary snatches of imaginary bliss, can be contented to dwell with everlasting burnings. And yet such is the folly, such is the madness of every man who believes the Gospel of Christ without obeying its precepts; who is rich in this world, but is not rich towards. God. Such is the man that taketh not God for his strength, but trusteth unto the multitude of his riches, and strengtheneth himself in his wickedness.
Go on then, thou son of pleasure, to rejoice in thy youth, and let thine heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth :-continue to walk in the ways of thine heart, and the sight of thine eyes :---but severely wilt thou one day rue the unhappy choice, and repent thy folly; for know, that for all these things, God will assuredly bring thee into judgment.--Let the wise man of this world, if he likes it, glory in his wisdom ; let the mighty man of this world glory in his might; let the rich man glory in his riches : but behold! to their cost, Christ will come quickly, and his reward is with him, to give to every man according to his work : and then shall the poor and lowly of heart be
comforted, but the proud and mighty shall be mightily tormented. How, therefore, will such men, at that dread hour, say unto the mountains, fall on us; and to the rocks, cover us ;cover us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne of judgment, and from the wrath of the Lamb that was slain for us : for the great and terrible day of his wrath is come, --and who is able to abide his coming? How will they then wish, that, instead of trusting in un-' certain riches, they had copied their heavenly Master's condescension and charity! How will their mean pride and vanity he put out of countenance; how will their earthly pomp and pageantry appear vile in their own eyes, when they reflect--for they will then, alas ! too late reflect,-upon the noble example of humility set them by the great Lord of heaven and earth! And yet, even then, if they have attempted it, how far must they have fallen short of reaching the glorious original! For, were the distance between the highest and lowest of men, between the king on his throne and the beggar on the dunghill ;-were this distance ten thousand times greater than it really is, yet still would there be an infinitely wider difference between the greatest of mankind and the everlasting Son of God. And yet he vouchsafed to stoop down from a throne of glory, to take upon him the