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jection of the doctrine of a future life; not a wilful opposition to the truth ; not a hardened spirit of rebellion against God; not a deliberate refusal of certain happiness, or an extravagant preference of certain ruin. What is it then ? Why, the love of the world, a strong attachment to present pleasures, and satisfaction with the enjoyments which the present scene affords. And on whom are such causes most likely to operate? To whom is the world most likely to appear so worthy of love? Who are most likely to be led away by its seductive pleasures ?-Who but the rich ? Who but those, on whom the means of indulgence are unhappily bestowed ? Who but those, that have the luxuries and delights of life at their command? The poor can have but little affection for the world; for them its pleasures are too costly to be purchased, too far removed to be obtained; they have most acquaintance with what are accounted its “ evil things,” its labours, its hardships, its disappointments, its distresses. The rich are tempted to forget the vanity of life; the poor are forced to see and feel it. The rich are liable to be so captivated with the charms of the world, as to regard it as their home; to the poor it must appear as their prison and their workhouse. The path of the rich is smooth and soft; that of the poor, rugged and hard. I say not indeed that the rich are so happy as to find life one unvaried scene of delight, and to meet with no obstacles on their road to ruin. God in his mercy strews here and there a thorn even in their flowery path, and mixes now and then a kind drop of wholesome bitterness even in their cup of pleasure; even to them he compassionately sends notices of the insecurity and uncertainty of earthly happiness ; they too have sufficient warnings that life is unstable, its enjoyments unsatisfactory, its endurance brief :-and woe unto those, by whom these warnings are neglected! But, generally speaking, the poor have most experience of the evils of life; and therefore the poor are least tempted to be satisfied with it. The poor are least in danger of setting their affections upon things of the earth-the poor are most impressively called to seek the happiness of heaven. If
you were to ask me therefore, which is the happiest man, the rich or the poor? before I returned an answer, I also should ask you one necessary question :- Is religion, and all its proffered blessings, to be taken into the account or not? If not, why in truth, the rich man seems to have the fairest prospect of enjoyment. But still there is no very important difference ; both are miserable- both destitute of any solid or certain happiness; and neither their joys nor their afflictions are important enough to deserve the interest or sympathy of a rational being. The very brutes are more to be envied, in their pleasures; more to be compassionated, in their pains. I care not to decide any such frivolous question. What matters it whether a man who is resolved to live to this world only, be happy or wretched? A Christian is in no wise concerned to know whether there is greater happiness in unblessed riches, or in unsanctified poverty ; be the difference what it will, there will soon be an end to it, and both will terminate in one common ruin.
But if religion be taken into the account, then I say also, there is no important difference -both are equally happy, for both have an equal disregard to the circumstances of life; both derive their happiness from the same source
-both set the world equally at nought, and find their true comfort only in the assured favour of God, and the glorious and cheering prospect of eternity.
Does the rich man, who is a sincere Christian, allow himself to be captivated and chained down to the earth by the merely temporal pleasures, which his wealth may enable him to procure? Oh! no; in this sense his riches furnish not the minutest portion of that enjoyment which he most earnestly pursues, and most carefully cherishes; on the contrary, he rather fears, and sets himself on his guard against them, lest they should stand in the way of it, lest they should be a snare and temptation to him, lest they should seduce his heart, and alienate his affections from God. He regards them as a trial instead of a blessing, as a means of honouring God and serving his fellow creatures, rather than of gratifying those dangerous inclinations of his nature, which it is bis most anxious desire to disappoint and subdue. He feels his situation to be more difficult and perilous, his responsibility greater, his stewardship more laborious, because he has them; for he knows that when his Lord shall come to reckon with him, the more numerous the talents committed to his trust, the greater the improvement and the profit which will be expected from him in return. And so they are (instead of a fund for his own personal gratification,) rather a source of anxiety and uneasiness to him, lest he should so bestow them as to incur the just sentence on an unprofitable servant, at the great day of final retribution. No, my brethren, not one particle of the Christian's true happiness is derived from the mere circumstance of his being rich ; his treasure is in heaven, and where his treasure is, there is his heart also. From thence he looks for his Saviour,and thither he hopes, through his merits, to ascend, and with him continually to dwell. This hope and this alone is the origin and fountain of his joy; a joy too pure to flow from any earthly source—too copious to pour itself into any other receptacle than the boundless ocean of eternal happiness.
And is the poor man, on the other hand, who is the sincere disciple of a crucified Lord, much distressed and disheartened by the privations which he endures in the world? Does he think his condition hard, his lot rigourous ? undoubtedly not. The afflictions of life draw from his bosom but a passing sigh, if a sigh at all; for he knows, that bowever severe they may be, they will come to a speedy and happy end. And he is thankful that he is not tempted like those whom he sees running blindfold to their destruction; that he is in no danger of falling into the fatal delusion of those, who are captivated by the follies and vanities of the world, and who laugh and dance and sing and feast and trifle their little lives away, thoughtless of the ruin that threatens to overtake them in their dangerous merriment. His lot is among the poor of the world indeed, but yet he is "rich in faith, and an heir of the