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It is in vain, then, that we plead any par- SERM.
XX. ticular difficulties, arising from our particu: wyn lar situation, rank, age, or profession, in excuse for disobeying this command; such pleas will not be admitted; there is certainly no impossibility, be our condition what it may, of serving God, and being just and kind to our fellow-creatures: and though some may practise these duties in a greater extent than others, all may do it in some degree; allowance will be made for what is impracticable, but not for what is only dif ficult; if we strive with difficulties, they will certainly yield to us; but if, from indolence and the desire of indulging our vicious passions, we ingloriously yield to them, and allege them as excuses for our depravity, let us not fatter ourselves with hopes that we shall either obtain the rewards which God has promised, or escape the condemnation which he has threatened. Godliness, by which is meant not only de
SERM. votion towards our Maker, but' an obedience
to all his commands, has the promise of
sideration, sideration, together with the certainty that s ERM.
XX. he is even now in the favour, and under the protection of an all-powerful Being, cannot fail to support him under alt biş earthly afflictions, and to disarm them of their chief sting :--whereas the wicked man, in adversity, has no one comfort to which hé can apply - all is: dark and gloomy; from God he knows he has nothing to hope in this world, and nothing to expect in the next, but wrath and punishments, Nor in the greatest outward prosperity can he ventirely silence the voice of conscience, that active monitress, will at all times interpose and insist on being attended to ;-the uncert taintỹ of life-s-the certainty of death the tremendous day of judgment and the dreadful torments which are denounced against the impenitent, are the subjects of her remonstrances; subjects, which from timelto time appal the sinner in his most daring moments, and embiţter his most
SERM. favourite enjoyments. Now the certainty
of the favour of God, and the sure expecta.
"psalmist) “ psalmist) and yet never saw I the right- SERM.
XX. “eous forsaken, nor his seed begging their “ bread. Thou, Lord, wilt bless the “ righteous, with favour wilt thou com“ pass him as with a shield. Seek ye the “ kingdom of God and his righteousness, “ and all these things shall be added unto “ you,” that is, all earthly good things, And many are the texts of the like kind. But besides these promises of God, the virtues which the religious man is obliged to practise have a natural tendency to raise his fortune, and to advance him to distinction. Industry, temperance, punctuality, all of them.qualities strictly enjoined by religion, are certainly the readiest means of acquiring riches ; while the opposite vices, idleness, extravagance, and thoughtlessness, almost constantly lead to poverty. The vicious man indeed sometimes, from interested motives, may be to a certain degree industrious and tem