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away to the left hand ; or exult in the hope of being placed to the right of the throne, do you need any
further exhortations of mine, to quicken your sense of danger, or to awaken your desire of happiness and safety ? Do not you yourselves perceive the expediency of laying aside the deceitful form of godliness, and cultivating the spirit of true religion? May God, of his infinite mercy, inspire your hearts with so wise a determination, and enable you to put it in execution;
; may you no longer remain satisfied with the title you bear, but diligently obey the commandments, and studiously follow the example of him, from whom you have derived it: thus being sincere christians, you will be assisted by his grace, and forgiven through his merits, after death be received into his glory, to dwell for ever with him in the joyful regions into which he has prepared an entrance for his faithful servants.
THE PEACEABLE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
HEBREWS xii. 11, 12.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous : nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.
What an incongruous and motley scene of joy and woe, this mysterious world exhibits ! What a strange mixture of turbulent passions and calm tranquility, of pleasure and pain, of health and disease, of abundance and poverty, of contentment and dissatisfaction! Go into one abode, and you will find it to be a storehouse of every thing that can administer to earthly happiness ;-into the next, and you will perceive an utter absence of all the comforts, of which human life is capable. Here you will find the purple and fine linen, the sumptuous fare that loads the luxurious table every day, the downy bed, that invites the sons of ease to soft repose every night;-there the coarse and tattered garments, the rude and insufficient meal, the hard and comfortless bed of straw, which almost denies rest even to wearied labour. Here is joyous laughter and careless mirth, the festive song,
the animating music, the lively dance, the whole train of gaieties and amusements, that have been invented to charm away anxious and melancholy thought from the mind of man ;—there is silent care, preying upon the secret soul, while its gloomy picture is shadowed upon every face, or noisy complaint, aggravating the common distress by mutual reproaches and domestic contentions, Here is a happy family, every member present, health and prosperity in the midst of them, parents and children, brothers and sisters, all united by the firmest bonds of love, each studious to promote the general enjoyment, by the kindest exertion of tenderness and affection ;there, another family, once no less happy, no less loving and beloved, but now all sorrowful because one, lying on the bed of pain and sickness, is unable to taste of joy ; or, every heart bleeding from a rent which death has lately made by tearing away one from their little society, and appointing him a separate and solitary dwelling, from whence he will never return to love and embrace them again. Here you may see all the robustness and energy, the activity and joyousness of a man in perfect health, revelling in existence, rejoicing in the light of heaven, in the warmth of the glorious sun, the varied and numberless delights of God's beautiful creation, the inspiring freshness of the air, the sublime and fascinating prospects of earth, and sea, and sky, the sweet perfumes, and the melodious music, and the brilliant colours, in short, the exhaustless charms with which nature, as if studious to please every sense, abounds, and feeling almost as if he could expect no higher bliss in heaven itself, than an eternity of such happiness; while but a little space removed, a wretched mortal, once equally alive to the same enjoyment, lies weak, and helpless, and joyless on the bed of lingering disease, for whom all these beauties are exhausted in vain, by whom every pleasant sensation is unknown, except by bitter recollection, to whom every feeling that painfully assures him of his existence is a torment, and whose only hope is to be speedily released from the misery of a hateful life.