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WHENCE THE FAIRNESS OF NATURE ?
But were not nature still endow'd at large
THE SOUL, WHEN VIEWING THE PROSPECTS OF IMMOR
TALITY, COMPARED TO THE PRISONER ENLARGED FROM A DUNGEON.
As when a wretch, from thick polluted air,
THE ADORNMENT OF NIGHT.
Would heaven her beauty should be hid from sight,
DO PARENTS THINK ON THE EVILS OF A BAD
I suppose it never occurs to parents, that to throw vilely educated young people on the world is, independently of the injury to the young people themselves, a positive crime, and of very great magnitude; as great, for instance, as burning their neighbour's house, or poisoning the water in his well. In pointing out to them what is wrong, even if they acknowledge the justness of the statement, one cannot make them feel a sense of guilt, as in other proved charges. That they love their children, extenuates to their consciences every parental folly, that may at last produce in the children every desperate vice.
TEMPTATION OF MONEY.
An old Greek said well, there is amongst men nothing perfect, because men carry themselves as persons that are less than money, servants of gain and interest. We are like the foolish poet that Horace tells of: let him but have money for rehearsing his comedy, he cares not whether you like it or no; and if a temptation of money conies strong and violent, you may as well tie a wild dog to quietness with the gut of a tender kid, as suppose that most men can do virtuously, when they may sin at a greater price.
THE INEXPRESSIBLE PLEASURE OF SELF-DEVOTION
How inexpressible the pleasure of the soul in devoting itself to God, when bemoaning itself, and returning with weeping and supplication, it says, "Now, lo I come to thee, thou art the Lord my God. I have brought thee back thine own, what I had sacrilegiously alienated and stolen away, the heart which has gone astray, that hath been so long a vagabond and a fugitive from thy blessed presence, service, and communion. Take now the soul which thou hast made; possess thy own right, enter upon it, stamp it with the entire impression of thine own seal, and mark it for thine. Other lords shall no more have dominion. What have I to do any more with the idols wherewith I was wont to provoke thee to jealousy? I will now make mention of thy name, and of thine only. I bind myself to thee in everlasting bonds, in a covenant never to be forgotten.”
The self-denial which is included in this transaction, hath no little pleasure in it. When the soul freely quits all pretence to itself, and by its own consent passes into his (now acknowledged) right; disclaims itself, and all its own former interests, inclinations, and ends, and is resolved to be to him and no other; — when this is done unreservedly, without any intention of retaining or keeping back anything from hin; absolutely, and without making any condition of its own, but only agreeing to, and thankfully accepting his; peremptorily, and without hesitation, and without halting between two opinions, shall I ? or shall I not? (as if it were ready in the same breath to retract and undo its own act). How doth it now rejoice to feel itself offer willingly! They that have life and sense about them, can tell there is pleasure in all this. And the oftener repetition is made hereof (so it be done with life, not with trifling formality), they so often renew the relishes with themselves of the same pleasure.
Christ took our nature on him, not that he
THE WAY TO HEAVEN,
If the way to heaven be narrow, it is not long; and if the gate be strait, it upens into endless life.
KEEPING THE BANKS OF THE SABBATH.
The streams of religion run deeper or shallower, as the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected.
THE UNHAPPY DIVISION OF FAITH AND WORKS.
'Twas an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works. Though in my intellect I may divide them, just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat; but yet, put out the candle, and they are both gone, one remains not without the other; so it is with faith and works.
In the Old Scripture I have often read,