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ducted by its light, we reap the pleasures, and at the same time escape the dangers, of a prosperous state.

Sheltered under its protection, we stand the shock of adversity with most intrepidity, and suffer least from the violence of the storm. He that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from guile. Let him depart from evil, and do good. Let him seek

peace with God, and pursue it. Then, in his adversity, God shall hide him in his pavilbion. In his prosperity, he shall flourish like a tree planted by the rivers of water. godly are not so; but are like the chaff, light and vile, which the wind driveth away,

The un

SERMON IV.

ON OUR IMPERFECT KNOWLEDGE OF A FUTURE STATE,

1 CORINTHIANS, xiii. 12. +

For nord we see through a glass, darkly.

The Apostle here describes the imperfection of our knowledge with relation to spiritual and eternal objects. He employs two metaphors to represent more strongly the disadvantages under which we lie: One, that we see those objects through a glass, that is, through the intervention of a medium which obscures their glory; the other, that we see them in a riddle or enigma, which our translators have rendered by seeing them darkly; that is, the truth in part discovered, in part concealed, and, placed beyond our comprehension.

This description, however just and true, cannot fail to occasion some perplexity to an inquiring mind.

For it may seem strange, that so much darkness should be left upon those celestial objects, towards which we are at the same time commanded to aspire. We are strangers in the universe of God. Confined to that spot on which we dwell, we are permitted to know nothing of what is transacting in the regions above us and around us. By much labour, we acquire a superficial acquaintance with a few sensible objects which we find in our present habitation ; but we enter, and we depart, under a total ignorance of the nature and laws of the spiritual world. One object in particular, when our thoughts proceed in this train, must often recur upon the mind with peculiar anxiety; that is, the immortality of the soul, and the future state of man. Exposed as we are at present to such variety of afflictions, and subjected to so much disappointment in all our pursuits of happiness, Why, it may be said, has our gracious Creator denied us the consolation of a full discovery of our future existence, if indeed such an existence be prepared for us?—Reason, it is true, suggests many arguments in behalf of immortality: Revelation gives full assurance of it. Yet even that Gospel, which

is said to have brought life and immortality to light, allows us to see only through a glass, darkly. It doth not yet appear what we shall be. Our knowledge of a future world is

very

imperfect; our ideas of it are faint and confused. It is not displayed in such a manner, as to make an impression suited to the importance of the object. The faith even of the best men is much inferior both in clearness and in force, to the evidence of sense ; and proves on many occasions insufficient to counterbalance the temptations of the present world. Happy moments indeed there sometimes are in the lives of pious men, when, sequestered from worldly cares, and borne up on the wings of divine contemplation, they rise to a near and transporting view of immortal glory. But such efforts of the mind are rare, and cannot be long supported. When the spirit of meditation subsides, this lively sense of a future state decays; and though the general belief of it remains, yet even good men, when they return to the ordinary business and cares of life, seem to rejoin the multitude, and to re-assume the same hopes, and fears, and interests, which influence the rest of the world.

From such reflections, a considerable difficulty respecting this important subject, either arises, or seems to arise. Was such an obscure

This description, however just and true, cannot fail to occasion some perplexity to an inquiring mind. For it may seem strange, that so much darkness should be left upon those celestial objects, towards which we are at the same time commanded to aspire. We are strangers in the universe of God. Confined to that spot on which we dwell, we are permitted to know nothing of what is transacting in the regions above us and around us. By much labour, we acquire a superficial acquaintance with a few sensible objects which we find in our present habitation; but we enter, and we depart, under a total ignorance of the nature and laws of the spiritual world. One object in particular, when our thoughts proceed in this train, must often recur upon the mind with peculiar anxiety; that is, the immortality of the soul, and the future state of man. Exposed as we are at present to such variety of afflictions, and subjected to so much disappointment in all our pursuits of happiness, Why, it may be said, has our gracious Creator denied us the consolation of a full discovery of our future existence, if indeed such an existence be prepared for us ?—Reason, it is true, suggests many arguments in behalf of immortality : Revelation gives full assurance of it. Yet even that Gospel, which

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