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not left them to themselves. Thou hast sent us thy fon from heaven, in him thou hast given us an infallible teacher of happiness, a safe and faithful guide to felicity, a mighty deliverer from all misery! Oh might we justly acknowledge thy parental kindness, and gratefully and worthily use it. Might we hearken to the voice of Jesus, who warns us on thy part against every devious and mazy turning, and irvites us back to the path of life; might we entirely submit to his guidance, and willingly follow his di. rections to happiness. We are met in thy presence, o God, to imbibe his instruction on this subject ; grant that it may be falutary to us all. Let us learn from it the way to true happiness, and then walk cheerfully and resolutely on it. We implore these blessings of thee in the name of thy fon Jesus; and, confiding in his promises, as he condescended to teach us we further address thee: Our father, &c.
-MATTHEW, V. 2, 3, 4, 10.'
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed
are the poor in spirit : for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that niourn : for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merci. ful: for they shall obtain mercy.
the heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are perfecuted for righteousness fake : for their's is the kingdom of heaven.
the notions entertained by mankind concerning the ingredients of happiness, and the means by which it is to be attained should be so various and contra. dictory, while they agree together in nothing more than in the desire, the earnest, the ever active desire of being happy and of continually becoming more happy. All are running in pursuit of one and the same object, happines; all imagine they are pursu. ing the direct road to it; think they perceive that object before them; think themselves quite near to it : and yet proceed such very different ways, frequently ways that are as directly opposite as evening to morning, as darkness to light. How then can it he otherwise than, that there must be disappointed
and weary travellers on the pilgrimage of life, how can it be otherwise than that most of you should fail of their mark, and when they think they are on the point of seizing the prize, discover, to their great astonishment, that they are farther from it than ever? - But why then do you venture without a guide in a wilderness, where there is only one right and safe road, and ten thousand devious turnings ? or why do you make choice of guides, who are themselves unacquainted with the right way, or suffer themselves to be drawn afide, by every lure, by every glimmering and fallacious light? Why do ye rather chuse to go where you are hurried away by the clamour of sensual appetites, the impetuous cravings of violent paffions, the torrent of prevailing manners and opinions, and the tyrannical ex. ample of the multitude, than where the light of reason fhines before you, where you fee the footiteps of the most venerable of mankind, where you are accompanied by calm confideration, authentic certainty and the peaceful expectation of a desirable issue? Why not avail yourselves of the directions, the encouragements, the example of the guides and harbingers whom God has sent you from heaven for the express purpose of conducting you through this intricate labyrinth, of teaching you to avoid those devious turnings, and to pursue the mark of the prize along the fmoothest, the safest path, and thus to be your light in darkness, your safeguard in danger, your staff and support under all impedi
ments and difficulties, your precedents in doubtful cases? Why not follow Jesus, who, along the very way that you are called to go, has actually attained to the summit of glory, and will take to himself all those who voluntarily and resolutely follow him, and will make them partakers of his glory? Oh submit to be taught by him what felicity is, and how we may attain to the possession and enjoyment of substantial permanent bliss. He is worthy of your entire confidence; the only infallible teacher of truth; a shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, a guide, a ruler, who facrificed himself for those whom the Father gave to him, who died for them, and who will as certainly guide us aright, as certainly as God has raised him from the dead, and has placed him over all at his right hand in heaven. Receive then his doctrine in our text, concerning what confers real privileges on man, and promises him permanent bliss. Observe how widely his doctrine on this matter differs from the general noticns of mankind, compare them both together, and then try whether his declarations do not commend themfelves to the common sense and the conscience of all reflecting persons. It is the christian doctrine concerning happiness that I now intend to lay before you.
We will discuss the important question : wherein christianity teaches us to place our greatest privileges and to seek our bliss.
Come hither then, all ye who are panting after happiness, and perhaps have been long panting after it in vain, come and hear what suggestions and directions heavenly wisdom gives you thereupon by her principal, most authentic teacher, Jesus.
Perhaps, (she calls to you by this her confident,) perhaps ye think that to be happy riches are necesa fary, that a man should live in opulence in order to live pleased, that he requires a large store for many years, or even for ages to come, that he may have no solicitudes about future days. Perhaps you are dazzled by the splendour that surrounds the wealthy, the elegance of their dress, the magnificence of their dwelling, the privileges that are granted them in society, the deference that is paid them, the refpect that they generally procure.
But beware of mistakes; let not this fallacious outside deceive
you. Means to happiness are not happiness; and the more easily those means may be misemployed, so much the farther do they commonly lead men off from that object. No, blessed are the poor: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Though wealth, as wealth, excludes no man from the kingdom of heaven; though of itself it renders no man either incapable of being a christian, or of enjoying the bliss of the future life : yet it renders both difficult to but too many of its pofsefsors. To too many it is a burden, indeed a splendid burden, still however a burden, that weighs them to the earth, renders their progress on the path of life extremely dangerous, causing them to make a thousand trips, and misleading them into the groflest iniquities. To them