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KNOWLEDGE IS A SOURCE OF DELIGHT. WISDOM of itself is delectable and , sant. We are all naturally endowed satisfactory, as it implies a revelation with a strong appetite to know, to of truth and a detection of error to see, to pursue truth ; and with a us. 'Tis like light, pleasant to behold, bashful abhorrency from being decasting a sprightly lustre, and diffus-ceived and entangled in mistake. ing a benign influence all about; pre- | And as success in inquiry after truth senting a goodly prospect of things to affords matter of joy and triumph; the eyes of our mind; displaying ob- so being conscious of error and misjects in their due shapes, postures, carriage therein, is attended with magnitudes, and colours ; quickening shame and sorrow. These desires our spirits with a comfortable warmth, wisdom in the most perfect manner and disposing our minds to a cheerful satisfies, not by entertaining us with activity ; dispelling the darkness of ig- dry, empty, fruitless theories upon norance, scattering the mists of doubt, mean and vulgar subjects; but by driving away the spectres of delusive enriching our minds with excellent fancy ; mitigating the cold of sullen and useful knowledge, directed to melancholy; discovering obstacles, the noblest objects, and serviceable securing progress, and making the to the highest ends.-Serm. I. p. I. passages of life clear, open, and plea- !
WISDOM SELECTS TRUE PLEASURES.
Wisdom is exceedingly pleasant and ness, unsteady purpose, ill contriypeaceable ; in general, by disposing ance, backwardness, inability, unus to acquire and to enjoy all the wieldiness and confusion of thought good delight and happiness we are beget, wisdom prevents. From a capable of; and by freeing us from thousand snares and treacherous alall the inconveniences, mischiefs, and lurements, from innumerable rocks infelicities our condition is subject and dangerous surprises, from exto. For whatever good from clear ceedingly many needless incumbunderstanding, deliberate advice, sa- rances and vexatious toils of fruitless gacious foresight, stable resolution, endeavours, she redeems and secures dextrous address, right intention, and us. orderly proceeding doth naturally re- Wisdom instructs us to examine, sult, wisdom confers : whatever evil compare, and rightly to value, the blind ignorance, false presumption, objects that court our affections and unwary credulity, precipitate rash- challenge our care; and thereby re
gulates our passions and moderates science of having well placed our our endeavours, which begets a plea- affections, and well employed our sant serenity and peaceable tranquil- pains, and the experience of fruits lity of mind. For when being de- corresponding to our hopes, ravishes luded with false shows, and relying our minds with unexpressible conupon ill-grounded presumptions, we tent. And so it is : present appearhighly esteem, passionately affect, ance and vulgar conceit ordinarily and eagerly pursue things of little impose upon our fancies, disguising worth in themselves or concernment things with a deceitful varnish, and to us; as we unhandsomely prosti- representing those that are vainest tute our affections, and prodigally with the greatest advantage ; whilst mis-spend our time, and vainly lose the noblest objects, being of a more our labour, so the event not answer subtle and spiritual nature, like ing our expectation, our minds fairest jewels enclosed in a homely thereby are confounded, disturbed, box, avoid the notice of gross sense and distempered. But, when guided and pass undiscerned by us. But by right reason, we conceive great | the light of wisdom, as it unmasks esteem of, and zealously are en- specious imposture and bereaves it of amoured with, and vigorously strive its false colors, so it penetrates into to attain things of excellent worth the retirements of true excellency, and weighty consequence, the con- and reveals its genuine lustre.
DUTY OF THANKSGIVING.
Wherever we direct our eyes, whe- , ample theatre of the world, consither we reflect them inward upondering the stately beauty, constant orourselves, we behold his goodness to der, and sumptuous furniture thereof; occupy and penetrate the very root the glorious splendor and uniform and centre of our beings; or extend motion of the heavens; the pleasant them abroad toward the things about fertility of the earth ; the curious us, we may perceive ourselves en- figure and fragrant sweetness of closed wholly, and surrounded with plants; the exquisite frame of anihis benefits. At home we find a mals, and all other amazing miracles comely body framed by his curious / of nature, wherein the glorious attriartifice, various organs fitly propor butes of God (especially his transtioned, situated and tempered for cendent goodness) are most conspistrength, ornament and motion, actu- cuously displayed ; (so that by them ated by a gentle heat, and invigorated not only large acknowledgments, but with lively spirits, disposed to health, even congratulatory hymns, as it and qualified for a long endurance ; were, of praise, have been extorted subservient to a soul endued with from the mouths of Aristotle, Pliny, divers senses, faculties and powers, Galen, and such like men, never susapt to enquire after, pursue and per- pected guilty of an excessive devoceive various delights and contents. tion;) then should our hearts be Or when we contemplate the won affected with thankful sense, and our derful works of nature, and, walking lips break forth into his praise.about at our leisure, gaze upon this Serm. viii. p. 71, 79.
AT THE NATIONAL SCOTCH CHURCH, REGENT SQUARE, JULY 7, 1833,
Revelations, xxii. 11.-" He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: he that is filthy, let
him be filthy still : and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is haly, let him be holy still."
Our first remark, on the Scripture, body from the sepulchral dust into we have now read, is how very pal- whịch it hath mouldered; but there pably, and how nearly it connects will neither be a dissolution nor a time with eternity. The character renovation of the spirit, which, inwherewith we sink into the grave destructible both in character and at death, is the very character where-essence, will weather and retain its with we shall re-appear on the day identity on the midway passage beof resurrection. The character which tween this world and the next; so habit has fixed and strengthened that at the time of quitting this earthly through life, adheres, it would seem, tenement, we may say, that if" unto the disembodied spirit through the just" now, it will be “unjust" still, if mysterious interval which separates“ filthy” now, it will be “ filthy” still, the day of our dissolution from the if“ righteous” now, it will be “righday of our account, when it will again teous” still, and if “ holy” now, it stand forth, the very image and sub- will be “holy" still. stance of what it was, to the inspec- Our second remark suggested by tion of the Judge and the awards of the Scripture now under considerathe judgment seat. The moral li- tion is—that there be many analogies neaments which be graven on the of nature and experience which even tablet of the inner man, and which death itself does not interrupt. There every day of the unconverted life is nothing more familiar to our daily makes deeper and more indelible observation than the power and inthan before, will retain the very im- veteracy of habit; insomuch that press they have gotten, unaltered every propensity is strengthened by and uneffaced by the transition from every new act of indulgence, and our present to our future state of every virtuous principle is more existence. There will be a dissolu- firmly established than before by tion, and then a reconstruction of the every new act of resolute obedience
to its dictates. The law which con- | its representations of both ; of the nects the actings of boyhood or youth fire, and the brimstone, and the lake with the character of manhood, is the of living agony, and the gnasbing of identical and unrepealed law which teeth, and the wailing—the ceaseless connects our actings in time with our wailing of distress and despair uncharacter in eternity. The way in utterable, by which the one is set which the moral discipline of youth before us in characters of terror and prepares for the honors and the en- most revolting bideousness; of the joyments of a virtuous manhood, is splendour, the spaciousness, the music, the very way in which the moral and the floods of melody, the rich and spiritual discipline of the whole life surpassing loveliness by which the prepares for a virtuous and happy other is set before us in characters immortality; and on the other hand of bliss and brightness unperishable, the succession of cause and of effect, with all that can regale the glorified from a profligate youth or a dishonest senses of creatures rejoicing for ever manhood to a disgraced and worthless in the presence and before the throne old age, is just the succession also of of God. We stop not to inquire, far cause and effect between the mis- less to dispute, whether these dedeeds and the depravities of our scriptions, in the plain meaning of history on earth, and the inheritance every letter of them, are to be reof worthlessness and wretchedness alized; but we hold that it would for ever. The law of moral conti- | purge theology from many of its nuity between different states of hu- errors, that it would guide and enman life, is also the law of continuity lighten the practical Christianity of between the two worlds, which even many honest enquirers, if the moral the death that intervenes does not character both of heaven and hell violate. Be he a saint or a sinner, were more distinctly recognised, and each shall be filled, in the express held a more prominent place in the language of Scripture, with the fruit regards and the contemplations of of his own ways. So that when man. If it indeed be true, that the translated into the respective places, moral, rather than the material, is of fixed and everlasting destination, the main ingredient whether of the the one shall rejoice through eter- coming torment, or the coming extacy, nity in that pure element of goodness | then the hell of the wicked may be which here he loved and aspired said to have already begun, and the after, the other; the helpless and de- heaven of the virtuous may be said graded victim of those passions which to have already begun; the one in 1ording over him through life, shall the bitterness of an unhinged and be irrevocably damned to that worst dissatisfied spirit, has the foretaste of of torments, and that worst of tyranny the wretchedness before him — the
-the torment of his own accursed other, in the peace and triumph and nature - the inexorable tyranny of complacency of an approving conevil.
science, has a foretaste of the hapOur third remark suggested by piness before him. Each is ripening this Scripture is—that it affords no for his own everlasting destiny ; and, dubious prospect of the future hell whether it be in the depravities that and the future heaven of the new | deepen and accumulate on the chatestament. We are aware of the racter of the one, or in the graces material images employed in Scrip- that brighten and multiply on the ture, and by which it embodies forth other, we see materials enough for
the worm that dieth not, or for the perpetual violence. The man of pleasures that are for evermore. cunning and concealment, however
But, again, it may be asked, will dexterous, however triumphant in his spiritual elements alone-will moral wretched policy, is not at ease. The and spiritual elements alone, suffice stoop, the downcast regard, the dark to make up either the intense and and sinister expression of him who unutterable wretchedness of the hell, cannot lift up his head among his or the intense beatitudes of the hea- fellow men, or look his companions ven? For the answer to this question, in the face, is a sensible proof that let us first draw your attention to the he who knows himself to be disformer of these receptacles; and we honest, feels himself to be degraded ; ask you, to think of the state of and the inward sense of dishonour that heart in respect of sensation, that haunts and humbles him here, is which is the seat of a concentrated but the commencement of that shame and all absorbing selfishness, which and everlasting contempt to which he feels for no other interest than its shall awake hereafter. This, you own, and holds no fellowship of will observe, is purely a moral chastruth, or honesty, or confidence with tisement, and, apart from the inflicthe fellow beings around it. The tion of violence or pain in the senowner of such a heart may live in sible economy, is enough to oversociety; but cut off as he is, by his whelm the spirit which is exercised own sordid nature, from the recipro- thereby. Let him, therefore, who is cities of honorable feelings and good unjust now, be unjust still; and in faith, he may be said to live an exile | stepping from time to eternity, he in the midst of it; he is a stranger to bears in his own distempered bosom, the daylight of the moral world, and the materials of the coming veninstead of walking abroad on the geance along with him. Character open platform of free and fearless itself will be the executioner of its communion with his fellows, he spends own condemnation; and, instead of a cold and heartless existence in a each suffering apart, the unrighteous hiding place of his own. You mis- are congregated together, as in the take it, if you think of this creeping parable of the tares, where instead and ignoble creature, that he knows of each plant being severally deought of the real truth or substance stroyed, the order is given to bind of enjoyment; or however successful them up in bundles and burn them. he may have been, in the wiles of his We may be well assured, that when solitary selfishness, that a sincere and the turbulence and disorder of an a solid satisfaction has ever been the unrighteous society are superadded to result of it. On the contrary, if you those sufferings which prey in seenter his heart, you will find a dis- crecy and solitude within the heart taste and disquietude in the lurking of each individual member, a ten sense of its own worthlessness; and fold fiercer and more intolerable though it is dissevered from the re- agony will ensue from it. The anarspect of society without, he finds no chy of a state, when the authority of refuge within, when he is abandoned its government is for a time susby the respect of his own conscience. pended, forms but a feeble represenIt does not consist with our moral tation of that everlasting anarchy, nature that there should be internal when the unrighteous of all ages are happiness or internal harmony when let loose to act and re-act with the the moral sense is made to suffer / utmost violence on each other. In