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To conclude, wouldst thou rightly apppretiate the privileges, the pleasures that relate to human happiness, and discreetly chuse between them, in cases where they cannot subsist. together; prefer the durable to the transient, the eternal to the temporal. Thou wishest, not merely for a few days or years, thou wishest to be happy for ever. Seek therefore thy happiness, not in what lasts only for a few days or years, and then vanishes away ; seek it principally in such objects as are unfading and eternal. All outward things, that now prosper, please, delight thee, are transitory, are of short duration ; only thy inward perfection, the perfection of thy spirit, remains for ever. What is more uncertain than the possession of riches ? What more transient than earthly elevation, than the respect and the honour of men ? What is more deceitful than their favour? What more fleeting and vain than sensual pleasure ? What more perishable than health and strength, than life itself? To what accidents, what changes and revolutions, are all these privileges and possessions liable? Who can confide in them but for a year, but for a day, but for an hour, with perfect assurance ? And how inevitable is sooner or later their total loss ! Nothing of all these will remain with thee in death and in the grave; nothing of all these will accompany thee into eternity ; nothing of all these will retain even the smallest value in that better world to which thou art hastening! No, thither thou wilt be only attended by thy intellectual distinctions, thy good dispositions and actions; there nothing will avail thee except wisdom, virtue, integrity, a sound understanding, a well regulated heart, a happy alacrity in the exercise of justice and mercy. These alone are lasting privileges and endowments; privileges and endowments that are not subject to the vicissitudes of things, which neither death nor the grave can ravish from thee. If thou learn here to think reasonably and nobly; if thou learn here to govern thyself, to conquer thy lusts ; if thou learn here to use all thy faculties and capacities according to his will who gave them to thee, and to the good of thy brother; if thou learn to love God above all things, and thy neighbour as thyself; if thou acquire here an unwearied, effective inclination to all that is right and good, to all that is beautiful and great; if thou make at present the discharge of thy duty thy joy, and beneficence thy pleasure: then art thou happy, and wilt remain so for ever, even though thou art neither rich nor great, nor powerful nor healthy, nor vigorous, nor of long life. Oh never forget then, that all visible things, however brilliant and captivating, are transient, and only remain for a little while ; but that thy mind is immortal, that thy future appointment is great, that this life is only a preparation for a higher, and that therefore, in regard to thy real felicity, thy whole concern is this, that thou advance the perfection of thy mind,

wilt

VOL. II.

answer

answer to thy grand appointment, and render thyself capable and worthy of thy superior life.

And these, my pious hearers, are the decisive reasons, these the rules that should guide us in our judgment and our election of the abjects which relate to human happiness, or are so reputed, and will certainly guide us aright. If with regard to all the goods, the affairs, the privileges, the pleasures and satisfactions of this life, we prefer the necessary to the merely convenient and agreeable, what we acquire by reflection and skill to what accident and fortune bestow, what is in our power to what does not depend upon us; if we prefer activity to rest, the spiritual to the sensible, the lasting to the tran. sient and eternals to temporals: then shall we make no step in vain on the path that leads to hap. piness, and as certainly lay our hand on the glo. rious prize, as we pursue that path.

SERMON XLIX.

The Vanity of all earthly Things.

GOD, inexhaustible fountain of being, of life,

of happiness, thee we adore in the profoundest humility as the Eternal and Immutable; and the thought of thee, our creator and father, prevents us, even under the deepest conviction of our vanity and the vanity of all earthly things, from being spiritless and dejected. Yes, we feel that we are extremely feeble and frail, and that all that surrounds us, is as weak and transitory as ourselves. By every day that we pass we approach nearer the term of our course, and with it the moment, when every visible object vanishes from our view and sinks into night. Though here thou conferrest on us many blessings, many satisfactions and pleasures; yet their tenure is extremely precarious, 'their enjoyment is but of short duration. Nothing could foothe us amidst this manifold vicissitude, nothing satisfy our minds ever panting after happiness, were we unacquainted with thee and thy gracious dispofitions towards us, did we not believe and know that thou art goodness and love from everlasting to everlasting. Yes, in this sentiment we have a firm, immovable ground of ferenity and content. By thee we are, by thee we subsist, by thee we already enjoy innumerable benefits, and by thee we may hope to continue eternally and to be eternally happy. Oh might this grand, this blessed fentiment be constantly present to us; might it be our guide, our instructor, our comforter on every path of our lives! How justly should we then judge of all things, how wisely use all things, how safely and confidently proceed to the proper end of our being! Oh teach us then to hold the things of this world for what they are, to moderate our wishes and desires in regard to them, and to look more at the invisible than at the visible. - Bless like. wise to the promotion of these views the meditations we are now about to begin. Lead us to know the truth, and by the knowledge of it to become wise and blessed. We implore it of thee with filial confidence, as the votaries of Jesus ; and reposing a firm faith in his promises, further address thee, Saying: Our father, &c.

fitions

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