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desires happiness, and if we refuse to seek it in God, and heavenly pursuits, we shall endeavour to find it in created good. And that we do strive to find happiness and satisfaction in the latter is a fact which no one will dispute. Have we not all been diligently seeking to attain some earthly object, with the confident expectation, that when we had attained it we should be happy! and what are the objects for which we see our race almost universally struggling in the present day? are they nut things that are earthly and perishing? do we not see some earnestly striving to obtain possession of situations that are esteemed honourable, and others endeavouring with equal earnestness to retain them? do we not find some who spend their days and their nights in search of knowledge and intellectual improvement, and others who are eagerly pursuing what are called the pleasures of life; and others again who are wbolly intent on the acquisition of wealth? This is what we daily see going on around us, and thus it is that they who have forsaken God, the fountain of living waters, are endeavouring to hew out for themselves cisterns from which they may draw the waters of happiness. The evils, therefore with which the text char ges us are our departure from God, and our attachment to the creature, and the next particular to wbich it directs our attention is the exceeding sinfulness of our conduct in so doing
I am aware that the world thinks but little of sueh matters, and regards them as scarcely partaking of the nature of sin. Crimes of a daring character, and offences which produce immediate injury to society, they are disposed to regard as sins, but to forget God, or to make his service a secondary consideration, and to give themselves up to the pursuit of the advantages of this life, — if they can be brought 10 consider these things in the light of sin at all, they will persist in viewing them as sins of a vemial character. But those persons who treat such matters thus lightly, should know, that our disregard of God, and our preference of the creature is the source of all transgression. The greatest crimes are committed because men love not God, and because they imagine that the things of this world are more entitled to their regard. Men, when they have no reverence for God, and expect no blessing from his service, but believe that the only good to be found is in the things of time, are prepared for the commission of the greatest enormities. Accordingly, St. Paul, when speaking of the awful sivs of the heathen world, traces. them up to this as their source. “ They chunged the « truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served
the creature more than the Creutor!? • And for " this cause” he adds, “ God gave them up to vile af. "fections,” and to all the aboiniuable iniquities prac
tised by them. The text too, is introduced by thie Prophet, with this striking apostrophe. “Be astonished, O ye heavens, at, this, and be horribly afraid, be very desolate, saith the Lord, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and have hened them out cisterns,-broken cisterns" And judge you, brethren if this be not a very aggravated offence. If God made us for himself,—if we all live, move, and have our being in him,-if he opens his hand and supplies us daily with plentiousness,—and if when we had forfeited his favour, he reconciled us to himself by the death of his Son, is it a light matter to treat him with indifference? but if this be not a light matter, must it not be fearful impiety to rebel against him, and to take part with his enemies ? for“ Friendship with the world is enmity against God.” Whoever is the friend of The world is the enemy of God. What would you think if you had taken under your care some child that had been left houseless and friendless.--if you had received him into your own family, and bad treated him as kindly as if he had been your own child, yet after all, to find that he constantly treated you with marked neglect, and not only so, but took every opportunity of injuring you, and invariably arranged himself on the side of your foes ? would you not be moved by his ingrati. tude ? would not the whole world consider his conduct as base and infamous in the extreme? Yet this is but a very inadequate representation of our shameful ingratitude towards God; still this may suffice to shew us, that in departing from God and adhering to the world, we are committing an awful sin.
But our attention is also directed in the text to the folly of this conduct, If we saw men leaving the pure and refreshing Water of the Fountain, and choosing in preference such as could be obtained from cisterns, especially if it had constantly been found to be the case, that the cisterns did not afford an adequate supply, we should all pronounce them quite beside themselves; and yet this is what we see men hourly doing in matters of infinitely higher moment. The ways of religion have ever been found to be “ways of pleasantness, and the paths thereof to be paths of peace" The service of God, experience has proved to be perfect freedom, and to be attended with incalculable advantages both to individuals and communities. On the other hand. wealth, honours, political privileges, and in short, every thing of a merely temporal character, have without an exception, been found to be wholly unable to satisfy the human mind. 'l'hose who have had the best opportunity of judging, have pronounced them to be no better than vanity and vexation of spirit. And yet men will neglect religion, and pursue after worldly objects, with ceaseless toil. And there are fools who make a mock at sin ; who turn, or rather attempt to turn religion into ridicule, in order that (as they in their folly vainly imagine,) they may enjoy the world more perfectly. Yet all will not do. The world will not satisfy them. This they are almost constrained to acknowledge even in the moments of their highest prosperity, and when they come to die, they are loud in proclaiming their disappointment, at least I never knew one who at that solemn season, did not admit with bitter anguish of spirit, that he had been walking in a vain shadow, and disquieting himself in vain.
Having offered these general remarks on the passage before us-remarks applicable to every class in the community, I shall proceed to address myself agreeably to the notice I gave this day week to the working classes. I use the expression “Working classes” in the sense in which it has now for some time been employed,—to denote those who gain their livelihood by manual labour; but I think it right to take this opportunity of observing, that when we employ it to signify that class to the exclusion of all others, we use it very inaccurately. Nothing can be farther from the truth than to suppose that they alone work, who are engaged in handicrafts : there are various other classes in society who as truly work, though in a diff