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tions of the earth shall shake, when the earth shall. reel to and fro like a drunkard, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat, when the great white throne shall appear, when the judge shall sit, and the books be opened, in which all my actions, words, and thoughts are registered?
If we follow these maxims, we shall see all objects with new eyes; we shall tremble at some ways, which we now approve; we shall discover gulphs in the road, in which we walk at present without suspicion of danger.
I said at the beginning, my brethren, and I repeat it again in finishing this exercise, the text we have been explaining includes a volumnious subject, more proper to make the matter of a large treatise than that of a single sermon. The reflections, which we have been making, are only a slight sketch of the maxims, with which the wise man intended to inspire us. All we have said will be entirely useless, unless you enlarge by frequent meditation the narrow bounds in which we have been obliged to include the subject.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and all thy ways shall be established. Who weighs, who calculates, who connects and separates before he believes and judges, before he esteems and acts? The least probability persuades us; the least object that sparkles in our eyes, dazzles us; the least appearance of pleasure excites, fascinates, and fixes us. We determine questions on which our eternal destiny depends, with a levity and precipitancy, which we should be ashamed of in cases of the least importance in temporal affairs. Accordingly the manner in which we act, perfectly agrees with the inattention with which we determine the reason of acting. We generally spend life in a way very unbecoming intelligent beings, to whom God hath given
a power of reflecting, and more like creatures destitute of intelligence, and wholly incapable of reflection.
In order to obey the precept of the wise man, we should collect our thoughts every morning, and never begin a day without a cool examination of the whole business of it. We should recollect ourselves every night, and never finish a day without examining deliberately how we have employed it. Before we go out of our houses each should ask himself, Whither am I going? In what company shall I be? What temptations will assault me? What opportunities of doing good offer to me? When we return to our houses, each should ask himself, Where have I been? What has my conversation in company been? Did I avail myself of every opportunity of doing good?
We brethren, how invincible soever our depravity may appear, how deeply rooted soever it may be, how powerful soever tyrannical habits may be over us, we should make rapid advances in the road of virtue, were we often to enter into ourselves on the contrary, while we act, and determine, and give ourselves up without reflection and examination, it is impossible our conduct should answer our calling.
My brethren, shall I tell you all my heart? This meditation troubles me, it terrifies me, it confounds me. I have been forming the most ardent desires for the success of this discourse: and yet I can hardly entertain a hope that you will relish it. I have been exhorting you with all the power and ardor, of which I am capable, and, if you will forgive me for saying so, with the zeal, which I ought to have for your salvation; I have been exhorting you not to be discouraged at the number and the difficulty of the duties which the wise man pre
scribes to you: but I am afraid, I know you too well to promise myself that you will acquit yourselves with that holy resolution and courage, which the nature of the duties necessarily demands.
May God work in you, and in me, more than I can ask or think! God grant us intelligent minds that we may act like intelligent souls! May that God, who hath set before us life and death, heaven and hell, boundless felicity and endless misery, may he so direct our steps, that we may arrive at that happiness, which is the object of our wishes, and which ought to be the object of all our care! God grant us this grace! To him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
THE NECESSITY OF PROGRESSIVE RELIGION.
1 Cor. ix. 26, 27.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
HAT was a fine eulogium, which was made on one of the most famous generals of antiquity. It was said of him, that he thought there was nothing done, while there remained any thing to do. To embrace such a system of war and politics was to open a wide field of painful labor: but Cæsar aspired to be a hero, and there was no way of obtaining his end except that, which he chose. Whoever arrives at worldly heroism arrives at it in this way. By this marvellous secret the Roman eagles flew to the uttermost parts of Asia, rendered Gaul tributary, swelling the Rhine with German blood, subjugated Britain, pursued the shattered remains of Pompey's army into the deserts of Africa, and caused all the rivers, that fell into the Adriatic sea, to roll along the sound of their victories.
My brethren, success is not necessarily connected with heroism; the hero Cæsar was a common misfortune, all his heroism public robbery, fatal to the