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advantages; if we ourselves understand that religion, which we teach others, and if we feel the spirit of that calling, with which God hath honored us. May God grant, may the God who hath honored us grant us such knowledge and virtue as are essential to the worthy discharge of our duty ! May he bestow all that intrepidity, which is always necessary to resist the enemies of our holy reformation, and sometimes those, who under the name of reformed endeavor to counteract and destroy it! May he support us under the perpetual contradictions we meet with in the course of our ministry, and invigorate us with the hopes of those high degrees in glory, which await such as turn many to righteousness, who shall shine as the stars for ever and ever! Dan, xii. 3.
Merchants, you are the pillars of this republic, and you are the means of our enjoying prosperity and plenty. May God continue to bless your commerce ! May he cause winds and waves, nature and every element to unite in your favor! Above all, may God teach you the holy skill of placing your heart where your treasure is ; of making yourselves friends of the mammon of righteousness, Matt. vi. 21. Luke xvi. 9. of sanctifying your prosperity by your charity, especially on such a day as this, in which we should make conscience of paying a homage of love to a God who is love, and whose goodness hath brought us to see this day.
Fathers and mothers of families, with whom I have the honor and happiness of joining myself, may God help us to consider our children not merely as formed for this world, but as intelligent and immortal beings, made for eternity! May God grant, we may be infinitely more desirous to see them happy in heaven than prosperous on earth! May God continue these children, so necessary to the pleasure of our lives to our last moments! God grant, if we be required to give them up to the grave, we may have all the submission, that is necessary to sustain such violent shocks !
My brethren, this article cuts the thread of my discourse. May God answer all the prayers I have uttered, and that far greater number which I have suppressed! Amen.
1 peter ii. 2.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abst
tain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
THE words you have heard, my brethren, offer
I four subjects of meditation to your minds. First the nature of the passions-secondly the disorders of them-thirdly the remedies to be applied and lastly the motives that engage us to subdue them. In the first place we will give you a general idea of what the apostle calls fleshly lusts, or in modern style the passions. We will examine secondly the war which they wage against the soul. Our third part will inform you of the means of abstaining from these fleshly lusts. And in the last place we will endeavor to make you feel the power of this motive, as strangers and pilgrims, and to press home this exhortation of the apostle, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
I. In order to understand the nature of the passions, we will explain the subject by a few preliminary remarks.
1. An intelligent being ought to love every thing that can elevate, perpetuate, and make him happy; and to avoid whatever can degrade, confine, and render him miserable. This, far from being a human depravity, is a perfection of nature. Man hath it in common with celestial intelligences, and with God himself. This reflection removes a false sense, which the language of St. Peter may seem at first to convey, as if the apostle meant by eradicạting fleshly lusts to destroy the true interest of man. The most ancient enemies of the christian religion loaded it with this reproach, because they did not understand it; and some superficial people, who know no more of religion than the surface, pretend to render it odious by the same means. Under pretence that the christian religion forbids ambition, they say it degrades man, and under pretence that it forbids misguided self-love, they say it makes man miserable. A gross error! A false idea of christianity! If the gospel humbles, it is to 'elevate us; if it forbids a self-love ill-directed, it is in order to conduct us to substantial hap. piness. By fleshly lusts St. Peter doth not mean such desires of the heart as puts us on aspiring after real happiness and true glory.
2. An intelligent being united to a body, and lodged, if I may speak so, in a portion of matter, under this law, that according to the divers motions of this matter he shall receive sensations of pleasure or pain, must naturally love to excite within himself sensations of pleasure, and to avoid painful feelings. This is agreeable to the institution of the Creator. He intends, for reasons of adorable wisdom, to preserve a society of mankind for se veral ages on earth. To accomplish this design he hath so ordered it that what contributes to the support of the body shall give the soul pleasure, and