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we beseech you in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God; and to renounce in heart and mind a world that lieth in wickedness—its mad ambition, its deceitful pleasures, its ruinous delusions; we do so, because we feel that we are pleading with you for your life. We know that those who strive to compromise between the world and God, are trifling with themselves, and will reap unmingled misery in the end. They will find at last, that they were grasping at two shadows—that the world was a shadow; that their religion was a shadow; and that between these shadows they have thrown away the substance; they have lost heaven, and lost their souls.
If this would appear to any of you the language of severity, pause a moment, and consider what this language means. You must be holy here, if you would be happy hereafter. But what does this amount to ? It is in other words to say, that God has offered you an endless heaven, and requires as the preparation for it, that this heaven should begin on earth. Is this then a hard allotment, or a severe condition? If
any of you, my brethren, could call it so, let me ask you in conclusion, whether you are happy in the ways you are now pursuing? Are you solidly contented ? Have your hopes been realized ? your bosom the seat of deep tranquillity? Ask yourselves these questions in the
retirement of your closets; when you are alone; when no eye but God's can see you; when you think upon the days that are past, and upon the prospects that lie before. And oh! if in these solemn investigations, you find your spirits sink, your bosoms heave, and your hearts misgive you; if you
hear the often unheeded voice of conscience whisper in the secret recesses of your souls, that this is not happiness, or the way to happiness; may these moments of solemn reflection be blessed and sanctified; may your sorrow be turned into joy; may you lay hold on the mercies of the Gospel; may you turn to him, through whom alone we have access unto the Father; may you seek and find that happiness in God, which God alone can give.
Ecclesiastes vii. 13, 14.
* CONSIDER THE WORK OF GOD: FOR WHO CAN MAKE THAT
STRAIGHT WHICH HE HATH MADE CROOKED ? IN THE DAY OF PROSPERITY BE JOYFUL, BUT IN THE DAY OF ADVERSITY CONSIDER: GOD ALSO HATA SET THE ONE AGAINST THB OTHER, TO THE END THAT MAN SHOULD FIND NOTHING AFTER HIM.”
The writings of Solomon, are an invaluable depository of divine truth—and have, ever since they were penned, afforded salutary counsel to the Church of God. They display in glowing colours the littleness of man, and the majesty of Jehovah ; the vanity of all earthly things, and the inestimable worth of “ the wisdom that is from above;" the folly which marks the pursuits of human beings, sunk by sin into a low state of degradation, and the unsearchableness of the judgments of him who “ordereth all things according to the counsel of his own will”—and “giveth not ao
count of any of his matters.” Job xxxiii. 13. In these writings we have not only the language of inspiration upon the subjects referred to, but that language uttered by a man who “saw all the works that are done under the sun,” 1. 14, and has left the result of his experience upon record in those memorable words, which the thoughtless and profane would do well to consider: 6
behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” 1. 14. If this world were capable of affording peace and happiness to the restless and unsatisfied mind of man, Solomon would have enjoyed these blessings, when he “kept not from his eyes whatsoever they desired,” and “ withheld not his heart from any joy," 1. 10.But the world was to him, what it must ever be to all who place their hopes upon it, a “ broken cistern”-a well without water-a cloud without rain. God said to man, when by a glaring act of disobedience he threw off that mild restraint, which was destined to be a test of his love and an earnest of his security, s cursed is the ground for thy sake”—but is the curse confined to the ground ? Is it only in the thorns and thistles which grow out of the earth when left without culture, that we can behold the blast of the Lord's displeasure ? Our contemplation may take a far wider range, and entering into the recesses of man's heart,