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and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive?" If, therefore, our fears continue, is not the fault undoubtedly in ourselves ? We then prefer sickness to health, choose torture rather than comfort, and act inconsistently with our Christian profession, when we persist in such a course of life, as alone can embitter the thoughts of death, and cast gloom and horror over the prospect of eternity,
We know, or ought to know, that if we sincerely endeavour to regulate our passions, by keeping them in continual discipline, God will give us the victory, through Jesus Christ. This is one of the encouraging doctrines of that Gospel, which we profess to believe ; and it is a doctrine, of which we cannot be ignorant, if we have at all studied the Scriptures. If, then, we are diffident and timorous, eagerly grasping at all the shadowy enjoyments of this world, and betraying a consternation at every thought of the next, we not only shew our weakness, but we also prove that we are not such persons as we would ap
There must be some consciousness of guilt, which, we apprehend, will be punished by the divine vengeance :--and if so, no wonder that we are afraid ; for a fearful thing, indeed, it is, to offend the living God,—that God, who is everywhere present to observe our sins, all-just to condemn them, and all-powerful to punish them.
The Christian revelation teaches us, further, to form a proper and judicious estimate of life. It will
pear to be.
guide our reason in such enquiries as are really valuable, and will improve the solidity and weight of all our resolutions. It will expose the vanity of those pursuits, in which the toil of ambitious life consists. It will shew the insufficiency of all those pleasures, which the heedless tribe of voluptuaries so ardently seek. For what is life, when viewed attentively by the sincere and considerate Christian ?
Is it giddiness of temper, and continued sensation without any thought? Is it a circle of pleasures,—such pleasures as cannot be congenial to the taste, till the power of reflection is grown weak, and the conscience become callous ? Is it indolence, that throws a languor over the mind, and makes us sleep or dream away our time? Is it not, rather, to study and observe our duties ;—to be good in ourselves, benevolent to others, patient of God's dispensations, obedient to his laws, and always resigned to his providence ;—to be cheerful and vigilant in what we know to be required of us as a duty; and then to confide in his mercy and goodness, for the issue of all our endeavours.
It is a wretched condition-when the mind is naturally of a melancholy turn—that the certainty of death, and the dread of futurity, should embitter all those reasonable pleasures, which this life will afford, consistently with virtue. It is a distressing case, when those who do their utmost to conform to God's laws, entertain any groundless apprehensions, and regard the Deity with slavish and superstitious awe. It is dangerous, on the other hand, to run into the
opposite extreme; and, looking only at the goodness and mercy of God, to persuade ourselves that he will be too lenient to punish us at all. The diffidencethe misgivings—of a good man, are always to be pitied. He deserves encouragement and comfort. His thoughts should be turned to a cheerful view of his Creator, so as to regard Him as the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation. The man of a presumptuous disposition ought, on the contrary, to be impressed with the terrors of God's majesty. He should be taught to form some notions of the Divine justice, even from what passes among men. For shall justice be considered as the glory of our species, and yet be thought an imperfection in God? Shall a man, who is born for virtue and religion, eat and drink intemperately,—riot in pleasure,—loose the rein to every appetite,--debauch himself and others, -hasten his own death,- and then think himself happy? Shall he hope to be regarded by the Almighty with the same favour that those men are, who have regulated their lives by the standard of God's law ?—who have been temperate in all things, benevolent to all men, and diligent in doing good ? It cannot, for one moment, be imagined, that the God of justice will make no difference between the righteous and the wicked,-between them that serve him, and them that serve him not. Let us, therefore, maintain the strength and purity of our faith without wavering ; and do our duty, in every instance, to the utmost of our power : and then we may assure ourselves, that our heavenly Father will support us with his aid, and reward us with his favour.
ON THE DUTY OF CHILDREN TO PARENTS.
Exodus xx. 12.
Honour thy father and thy mother ; that thy days may be long
upon the land which the Lord thy giveth thee.
The foundation of all our social duties rests
the subject of this commandment; and, for that reason, it may be supposed that the Almighty Lawgiver has placed it at the head of the second table of the Decalogue. In delivering to his chosen people, the Israelites, a code of religious and moral statutes, he enjoined, in the first place, the acknowledgment and worship of Himself, as the omnipotent and only Sovereign of the universe, - jealously forbidding all idolatry and blasphemy,--and reserving, as a memorial of the creation and as a season of rest to his creatures, the sabbath-day, to be appropriated exclusively to the holy purposes of devotion.