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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
XX.

to all his commands, has the promise of
the life to come;tand though we may ima
gine that we have ever so much to say for
ourselves, in paliation of our irreligion and
disobedience, on nooother térmis but reli-
gidnijand obedience can we go to heaven.
But it is asserted in the text, that godliness
has likewise the promise of this present
life; that is, that men shall be happy and
successful on earth, if theyri are ipious to
God, and benevolent to men j the truth of
which I now proceed to prove to you.in
- -. That the religious man is the most likely
to be happy inwardly, let bis outward con-
edition be what it may, admits, I think, of
no doubt; for he is certain that if he perse-
veves in his goodness, though he may en-
dure many calamities here, berwill soon ar-
rive at a period when he shall be removed
from them, and be récompensed with hap-
piness which shall never / end. This icon-

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

favourite

SERM. favourite enjoyments. Now the certainty

of the favour of God, and the sure expecta.
tions of eternal rewards, must make the
good man, in circumstances however dis.
astrous, more happy than the most pros.
perous wicked person, whose pleasures
are thus terribly interrupted. , But, added
to this, there is much ground to conclude,
both from reason and experience, that the
religious and benevolent person, one who
is devout towards God, and considerate
towards men, will, besides his inward satis-
faction, obtain according to his birth and
education an ample share of earthly good
things. b.--ve j u,',::::
· There are many passages in scripture
containing assertions and promises to this
effect; which, though they are not to be
understood : strictly, as if the contrary
never happened, yet we may depend upon
it, that they are true in general. " I have
“ been young, and now am old (says the

"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

perate;

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