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people are distinguished from all others. God good and kind to all. His tender mercies are over all his works. He is kind to the unthankful and the evil; but his own children are partakers of blessings of a more exalted nature than those which are bestowed on men in general. He blesseth them with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things, in Christ Jesus. The Lord maketh his fun to shine promifcuously on the just and the unjuft; but on those who fear his name, he causeth the Sun of righteousness to arise, with healing under his wings. To those who acknowledge him not, he gives rain from heaver, and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness; but his falvation is nigh them that fear him. Can you be satisfied with the former without the latter ? Do you crave nothing more at his hands than health and wealth, earthly honours and outward comforts ? Do you not know, that many have had a large share of these things, who have lived without God in the world, died in their fins, and gone down to the regions of darkness ? Dives fared fumptuously every day ; but what was his end ? He died, he was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes.
* The fading nature of all those things on which worldly men place their affections, is set forth to us
It is recorded concerning Martin Luther, that he used to say, “I will not be put off with a worldly portion.' And is such a portion all that you desire?
in the scriptures, under the expressive image of a dream. A dream is fleeting and transitory, a whole night paffeth away in it as one hour, or one moment, since, during sleep, we have no idea of the succession of time. 66 Knoweft thou not this of old,” says Zophar, in the book of Job, “ since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung ; they who have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found ; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night."
“How are they brought into desolation," says David, in a moment; they are utterly confumed with terrors ! As a dream when one awaketh, so, O Lord, fhalt thou make their image to vanish.” Such a state of delution is the state of the world ; so vain, so incoherent, so transitory, are the schemes and designs of worldly men. And however important they may appear to the projectors of them, at the time, yet most certain it is, that what the scripture faith of Pharaoh, may
be said with equal truth of every man when he comes to die, whose chief thought and care have been taken up about the things of this world, “ He awoke, and, behold, it was a dream !"
Supposing your wishes were gratified with riches in abundance, houses and lands, and all manner of earthly prosperity; what would all these avail in that awful hour which is approaching, when your foul must be summoned to appear before the judgment-feat of Christ? Will the superior advantages you have enjoyed in this world procure you favour in that court? Will the Judge supreme be a refpecter of persons, regarding the rich more than the poor ? No; all worldly distinctions will then
Little do those consider this, who are eagerly grasping after what the scriptures call filthy lucre, and violating conscience to acquire it. But let them know, that was the partridge fitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not, fo he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave thein in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool."
Let me entreat you, reader, to direct your aims to something higher than such a portion as a man may possess in this world, and yet be miserable in the next. Look, with earnest folicitude, for that of which death cannot deprive you. “ Godliness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." In the favour of God is life everlasting.
• This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou haft sent.” His fa
No. XV, 2,
your indeed will sweeten and season all outward enjoyments. To the wicked God says, “ I will even curse your blessings, yea, I have cursed them already.” But to his own children, every creature of God is good, being fančtified with the word of God, and prayer. What a happiness is it, when a man, by temporal enjoyments, as by the cords of love, is drawn nearer to the Giver of all good
Learn to form a proper estimate of the outward blessings of providence, and not to over-rate them. Surely you must be sensible that the enjoyment of God, the love of Christ, and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, together with the blessings of pardon of fin, peace of conscience, and an eternal weight of glory, are infinitely preferable to any thing of a worldly nature. There is no room for comparison here. The things which are seen are but temporal, but those which are not seen are eternal. Elevate your thoughts, extend your defires, and stretch the pinions of your souls above the perishable enjoyments of this transitory world ; feek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, so far as to infinite wisdom may seem best for you. *
To * A crown of everlasting glory is not surely such a trifle as to be thrown away on a careless creature,
To excite you to what we are now recommending, the examples of the best and wifeft men that ever lived
earth are set before you. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Ifaac and Jacob; Moses, Foshua, Samuel and David; all the holy prophets, patriarchs and apostles; the noble army of martyrs and confeffors; the great cloud of witnesses with which we are compassed about, renounced this world, and looked for their felicity in God's favour. Nor were they disappointed; they are now triumphing in his blissful presence above. Be you a follower
who will not in good earnest pursue it. Though it is freely given, yet that we may not foolifly dream of enjoying it in the midst of a course of indolence and sloth, we are expressly told in the word of God, that " the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” And we are therefore exhorted to strive, with the greatest intenseness and eagerness of mind, as the word properly signifies, to enter in at the strait gate, for this great and important reason, because many shall, another day, seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Nay, when our Lord. makes the most gracious promises to the humble petitioner, he does it in such a manner, as to exclude the hopes of those who are careless and indifferent. “ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." If therefore you
do not ask, seek and knock, how can you expect the door of mercy to be opened unto yoi: ?