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النشر الإلكتروني

SERM. snares and temptations in the way of our XVI. eternal happiness in heaven. Let us ap

ply ourselves then to reflect upon the ge


neral lesson to be drawn from what has been laid before you. Let us learn to be suspicious of all worldly pleasures and prosperity, and to correct ourselves when troubles and afflictions are sent to mortify and subdue our lusts and passions. It has been beautifully and truly said, that prosperous circumstances are dangerous, in that they are often a sweet poison, while afflictions and misfortunes are a healing though bitter medicine. It is so frequently, past all doubt; yet not always. prosperous man, who is grateful to God, humble in his sight, and merciful to his fellow-creatures, is in no danger from the seductions usually flowing from prosperity, while the unhappy wretch, who repines at adversity as if God had no right to afflict him, and who curses his Maker in the hour of distress; to him trouble is no medicine, but a dreadful aggravation of his distemper. Let us pray to God to do away the film from before our eyes, that we may


see to distinguish truly the value and im- SERM. portance of all worldly events, never trust- XVI. ing to prosperity so far as to think happiness can consist in dissipation, idleness, or intemperance; for by them happiness is finally destroyed: neither being so cast down by adversity as to murmur or blaspheme, for by adversity often the soul is tried, and by patience and well-doing it may be made the surest instrument of real happiness and joy.




Therefore speak I to them in Parables.

It is sadly the case with respect to many SERM. of the first duties of life, that though they XVII. are in themselves so obvious, as to strike the dullest mind, when duly proposed and laid open; yet there are generally so many intervening circumstances to prevent such a manifestation of them, that it is scarcely one in a hundred who sees and judges of them aright. There is a mote in the eye which perplexes the sight, and renders the vision indistinct. We can acknowledge the duty in general, but we cannot apply it to circumstances: what would undoubtedly be wrong in one case, may, we suppose, in fifty others be right; what in its


SERM. proper point of light could assume but one XVII. appearance, by a change of position, or

some disturbance happening with respect to the medium through which we look at it, the same thing may take various shapes and figures, and lose all traces of its real nature and properties. It is incredible how the very best of us are at times deceived in these matters, and how we suffer ourselves to be blinded in judging both of our own actions, and those of others: a thousand prejudices dazzle and bewilder us in the search after truth; and though the object might be made as clear and palpable as the daylight, yet we are content to see things


through a glass darkly," till chance or accident, and no care of our own, shall remove the impediments to our sight. For the natural or accidental imperfection of real vision, art has busied herself to provide various helps and remedies. Some of these are calculated to throw the object farther from us; some bring it nearer; some reduce it to bring it all into sight at once; some magnify it to bring forward particular parts. Those who have applied them

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