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SERM. not, be careful not to do; but use your III. diligence to prove yourselves Christians, in deed as well as in name; and may God, of his special grace, not only at all times, and on all occasions, put into your minds good desires, but by his continual help and providence, bring the same to good effect; or, as the collect of the day expresses it, "that we may obtain that which "he doth promise," may he teach and make us to " love that only which he doth "command."




1 PETER III. 13.

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

NEXT to the desire of happiness, or ra- SERM.

ther, connected with it as a co-incident passion, is the fear of evil; for to chance, and change, and temporary misfortunes, all men are in this life indiscriminately. liable. Therefore it is, that all the plans we form, and exertions we make, to promote our felicity, are accompanied generally with measures of defence, and means of securing the benefits we seek to obtain. We know not whence the shock may come how soon, or how late, that may disappoint. our designs, and overthrow the fabric we are rearing prudence, therefore, dictates




SERM. to us, to put ourselves on our guard in every way possible, and to arm ourselves against all fortuitous circumstances, by every method that may be in our power.

But the misfortune is, that as many deviate in their search after happiness, some pursuing it by crooked paths and by-ways, some seeking to compass it by sinister means, and some building their expectations of it on treacherous ground; so many err in the means of security they are disposed to adopt; some rest on feeble and tottering supports, some rely on friends that fail them, some even mistake the very instruments of their destruction, for weapons of defence! Thus, as the holy Psalmist remarked of the ages that are passed, and foretold of the ages to come, "There are some that put their trust in their "goods, and boast themselves in the multitude

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of their riches *." Some put their trust” in vainer things still, in chariots and borses+;" some in the self-sufficiency of

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their wicked hearts impiously oppose them- SERM. selves to the Almighty himself. For "the IV.

ungodly is so proud that he careth not for "God; neither is God in all his thoughts; he says in his heart, I shall never be cast down; "there shall no harm happen unto me*." To enumerate but these few of the many errors men run into on this score (but these, indeed, the most fatal and destructive), we may still trace in all, the influence of the two prevailing principles above alluded to. For their desires of happiness these men think abundantly provided for by false pleasures and vain delights, while their dread of evil is lulled to rest, and they repose in a temporary slumber of security, unaware, or not considering, that their "riches" may "make "to themselves wings, and flee away;" unaware, that "when they die they shall carry nothing away with them, neither will their pomp follow them;" unaware, that “de"struction and unhappiness are before them;" that in the midst of their irrational and

* Ps. x. 4.6.



SERM. impious career, the Lord may arise to "scatter his enemies," disappoint their vain projects, and cast them down for ever!

If then there be, in the whole compass of religious or political maxims, any infallible method of security to be discovered, applicable to all our transactions, and expedient in all our pursuits, as it would be madness in the extreme not to govern ourselves by it when understood, so would it be inhumanity in the extreme not to point it out to those who may be unhappily ignorant of it. Such a maxim, the words of my text seem indisputably to amount to; for," who is he that will harm


you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” Of the several evils of life, these words indeed seem principally to have regard to such as we have to fear from the rest of mankind; from the malevolence of such as may be our enemies among our fellow creatures and in this light it will be the purpose of this discourse, chiefly, to consider them. Yet it might be easily shewn, that "to follow that which is good," would


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