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riches in the same light as Socrates and a few other philosophers did, this observation would probably never have been made: but we know how differently they are considered in this and every other kingdom, and that great riches, allowing of an unbounded gratification of the sensual passions, generally tempt their possessor to a life of such luxury and dissipation, as is inconsistent with holiness. God has certainly a right to impose on his creatures what conditions he pleases as to their admission into his kingdom, and in doing so he exercises no greater right or authority than any earthly monarch; for what king is there that does not assume a right to exclude from his court those he considers as disloyal to his person, or that contemn and disobey his laws? Considering the infinite purity and perfection of God, nothing seems more reasonable than that God should require such holiness of character, as is consistent with the frailty of man as an absolute requisite in those who are admitted into his presence, whether they are rich, or whether they are poor; indeed, it is impossible to suppose otherwise. Now let any one who is not rich consider (whatever may be his motive) how much it costs him to abstain from any little
indulgence he has for a long time been used to, and in the enjoyment of which he feels a sensible pleasure; and then let him consider the very great fortitude, the excessive selfdenial requisite in a man of high rank and large fortune to forego all those alluring and inviting pleasures, so congenial to the corrupt nature of man, and which are entirely at his command; all those gratifications, so agreeable to sense, which a large estate, parks, houses, servants, and equipages, offer him : let it be considered, likewise, what adulation he is constantly receiving, and has been perhaps in the habit of receiving, more or less, from his infancy; and how often by its sinister suggestions he is, and has been during the major part of his life, tempted to a course of conduct diametrically opposite to holiness : let the numerous engagements, visits, parties of pleasure, &c. &c. &c. which are perpetually proposed to and soliciting his attention, be likewise considered ; and that however these in their nature, and moderately partaken of, may be innocent, yet from their frequency, and too rapid rotation, they are certainly more or less subversive of that holiness he is required to possess, because they necessarily and unavoidably prevent his devoting a pro
per time and attention to its acquisition, and too much engage his mind in such worldly notions and ideas, as are either incompatible with or inimical to it. This is the actual situation or predicament in which thousands stand in consequence of their great riches. Now should Holiness, with an awfuland dignified aspect, endeavour to approach one of this sort of rich men, with an intent to warn him of his danger, and to tell him, that, instead of selecting the sabbath-day for his journeys, card and musical parties, he must consider it as allowed him chiefly for the purpose of sowing and cultivating those seeds of holiness, whose fruit is eternal life; and therefore that he must attend the public service of the Church, avoid as much as possible forming engagements of any sort on that day, and that whatever he reads on it should be allusive to piety; that on other days Holiness requires of him not only to discharge the moral duties, and never omitting any fair and proper opportunity of serving his fellow-creature, but frequently to dedicate some time to meditation and reading the Scriptures, and that he should close every evening with family prayers; a grateful custom, attended with incalculable advantage not only to the indivi
dual, but likewise to the community, and to which a generous mind, susceptible of the force of an obligation, ought never to be averse, certainly not ashamed to perform it*: should Holiness, with this kind and benevolent purpose, wish to approach him, how is
* In one of the Sermons of the late Archbishop Sharpe is the following observation, well deserving the solemn attention of every rational being who is placed in this life in a probationary state : “Such is the nature of our souls, whilst they are pent up " and, as it were, imprisoned in our bodies, and surrounded “ with sensible objects, and the cares and temptations of the “ world, that it is absolutely necessary the spiritual impressions “stamped upon them should be continually refreshed and re“newed by our private devotions, by keeping the sabbath holy, by “ frequently meditating on another life, by reading the Scriptures “of God, and by regularly receiving the holy Sacrament; other“ wise these spiritual impressions will in time be quite effaced “and lost: for the most ardent piety and love of God will by de
grees flag and grow cold, unless frequently excited by holy me“ditation, devout prayer, and fervent praise and thanksgiving."
Agreeably to this pious remark it may be observed, that, unless those religious ideas, which may be supposed to be suggested to the soul by public worship on the sabbath-day, are refreshed and renewed by family prayer, the interval between sabbath and sabbath is so long, that these ideas will in the interim flag and grow cold, if they are not even wholly overpowered by sensible objects, and the cares and temptations of the world; and therefore it is of infinite consequence to the temporal and eternal welfare of every family that it should adopt this pious practice, as one of the most effective means possible to keep alive in the mind that holiness, which we are required possess if we ever expect to enter the kingdom of heaven.
she likely to make her way through ambition, pride, luxury, and dissipation, those lawless and despotic attendants which, more or less, surround him? Till they are dismissed, she knows this to be impossible. Hopeless therefore of success, she abandons her well-intended design; and this unhappy man (like Dives in the parable) never having sown the seeds of holiness, how is it possible he should reap
its fruits? He never does; and, since it is absurd to suppose his rank or fortune can be of any avail in the day of judgment, he thus dies without holiness, and thereby ne. cessarily excludes himself from the presence of God, and the kingdom of heaven; and perhaps to all eternity will have deeply to lament, that, when he might, he did not attend to that warning given him by his gracious and merciful Saviour. Experience fully proving the truth of the destructive effect which the possession of great riches has on the minds of most men, and that however wisely Religion may charm with respect to them, she usually charms in vain, who can help admiring (considering the precipice on which they stand) the strong warning, the forcible and impressive way in which our Saviour states their case? Thus the general