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rise also. He died to atone for thee: He arose to justify thee: He ascended into Heaven to prepare a place for thee: He sat down on the throne of majesty on high to be Head over all things for thy falvation. Look up to Him and persevere. Thy labour shall not be in vain. Well done, good and faithful servant! Thou shalt enter into the joy of thy Lord!
On the Happiness attendant on the Paths of
PROV. iii. 17.
Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness; and all
ber Paths are Peace.
A MONG the internal demonstrations of
the truth of Christianity, the excellence of the appropriate lessons respectively addressed in the sacred writings to different descriptions of men holds a distinguished place. To the wicked the Scripture speaks the language of indignation, tempered with offers of
mercy. To the penitent it promises forgiveness. The righteous it animates with triumphant hope. To the ignorant, it holds forth instruction; to the unwary, caution;
to the prefumptuous, humility; to the feebleminded, support; to the wavering, perseverance; to the dispirited, encouragement; to the amicted, confolation. Who but that Power, who discerns every variety of the human disposition, every winding of the human heart; could have been the author of a religion thus provided with a remedy for every corruption, a defence under
every weakness?. Who but that Power, whose love to fallen man was so immeasurably great, that He gave His own Son to die for all mankind upon the cross; to die that all who believe on Him might be redeemed from the penalty of guilt, and might attain everlasting life: who but that Father of mercies and God of all comfort would have so graciously directed by the superintendence of His Spirit the sacred writers of the Bible, that no individual of the human race, to whom His revealed word shall be faithfully made known, can perish for want of knowledge; nor can fail of discovering as the reward of humble and diligent enquiry the doctrine, the admonition, the reproof, the exhortation, the promise, or the counsel, precisely adapted to the situation in which he stands ?
The passage of Scripture, which we now have before us,
breathes the voice of the most Ff
cheer1. The felf
cheering encouragement. In several of the preceding verses Solomon had drawn a description of religion under the appellation of wisdom. Religion is the only true wisdom: and fin is the most fagrant kind of folly. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wildom: and to depart from evil is understanding. To the cultivation of that true wisdom the wise king invites his fon by the assurance that all things which can be desired are not to be compared unto her; that she is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her ; that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. The invitation, and the motives on which it is grounded, belong to us, even to all men. To the paths of religion every man is called. And the folemn declaration, that they are ways of pleafantnefs and peace,
is at once an exhortation to the wicked, to fly to those tracks in which blessedness refides; and to the righteous, to persevere in those courses, in which they have already. found rest to their souls.
I propose in the first place to evince the truth of this declaration; and afterwards to apply it for the instruction and improvement of those, who have not yet chosen the ways of religion, and of those who are walking in her paths. 3
1. The religious man is delivered, and delivered by religion, from those causes of folicitude, terror, and affliction, which are the principal sources of the miseries of mankind. And he experiences helps and consolations, to which, in proportion as men are not religious, they are strangers.
These important truths will appear manifest, if unfolded by a consideration in detail of some of the anxieties and fears, which religion, and religion only, removes : and of the corresponding assistances and forts, which religion, and religion only, bestows.
The most grievous of all the distresses which weigh down the heart of man, is the sense of unpardoned guilt. The most terrible of all the apprehensions which shake the soul, is the dread of the vengeance of an offended God. From this distress, from this apprehension, the religious man is set free. He looks up to God, through Christ, as to a reconciled Father. Being justified by faith, he bas peace with God through our Lord Jesus (a). He no longer feels the intolerable recollection of former fins depressing him into anguish and despair : but in the very moments when he looks back upon them with the profoundest
(a) Rom. v. 1.