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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 rest eternal, and will make that rest 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 same roof. It is not fit they should. The consequence 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 madness in him to be so, as it must argue an utter ignorance and insensibility of his condition. The Psalmist tells us, that "light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart;" and therefore he adds" Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and "give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."
A third thing to be avoided, as capable of for ever excluding cheerfulness from the breast in which it has fixed its 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 ora
tor, 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 of either 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 comforts of which he hath laboured to deprive others.
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 for 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 showed 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 that we may safely cast all our
c Cicero de Senectute, ad fin.
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 solitude and despondency to fly away. Religion would then gain by its 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 555, from a Poem styled THE LIBRARY.
When the sad soul, by care and grief opprest,
When every object that appears in view
Partakes her gloom, and seems afflicted too;
Where shall affliction from itself retire?
The ghost of every former danger glides.
But lively gales, and gently-clouded skies,
THE DUTY OF PRAYING FOR GOVERNORS.
1 TIMOTHY II. 1, 2.
I exhort that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
AN exhortation from an apostle always merits attention; but more especially, when he himself assures us, that the subject of it is not of an inferior or secondary nature. "I exhort that, first of all"— The person exhorting is St. Paul; the duty to which he exhorts is a capital and leading article. It is the duty of intercession to be made by all men for all men, to manifest the love we bear for one another, as members of Him who, at the right hand of God, ever liveth to make intercession for the whole race of mankind. Our prayers are united with his, and by him offered to the Father; his merits, like the cloud of sweet incense from the altar, ascending with them to render them effectual. Effectual, in some man