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Enjoyments, in Wealth and Honour, Vol. II. Luxury or Love, in Mirth and Gaiety. And since the Things which are seen are empty, temporal, uncertain, the dearest Persons frail and mortal, what wonder if the Soul, which is fix'd on these, be filld with Fears and Cares, Discontents and Sorrows; but if our Foy and Hope were grounded upon the Things which are Eternal ; if our Comforts were derived from above, from the Influences of the Divine Spirit, or from within, from the calm and peace of an undisturb'd Conscience ; if our Souls were taken up in the ideditation of the great Truths which God hath revealed to us ; if our Delight were plac'd in the Practice of Purity, Devotion and Charity, then we should Experience the Pleasures of Religion, and we should find it to be our great Happiness to be true Christians; For God, even the God of Hope, would fill us, &c.

There is but one Difficulty in the Sense of the Text, viz. this Expresiion, that you may abound in Hope, seems to make Hope the fruit of Joy and Peace, when on the contrary, Joy and Peace is rather the fruit of Hope. But this Difficulty will be easily remov'd, if we

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Vol. II. consider first, that Joy, Peace and Hope v do mutually beget and cherish one a

nother; for as the Hope of God's Favour and Eternal Life is a good ground of Joy and Peace, so Joy and Peace, when they are such as they should be, are good proofs of our Sincerity, and the influence of God's Spirit on us,and consequently strengthen and confirm. our Hope. Or, secondly, that the Text does not speak barely of Hope,but abounding in Hope. - Now, 'tis certain that the Peace of Christ, and Joy of the Holy Ghost, increases our love of and delight in Spiritual Things, inflames our Gratitude and Zeal towards God and our Lord Jesus, and fills the Mind with fresh Vigoar and Resolution; and these produce those Fruits of Righteousness, which raise and improve our Hope into foll Assurance, or a well-grounded Confidence.

These words may be refoly'd into these two Propositions : 1. That God is the God of Hope, or

the Inexhaustible Fountain of '? Foy, Peace, and Hope. II. That he produces these in us,

confers them upon us, by his GoSpel and his Spirit.

I. That

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I. That God is the God of Hope, &c. Vol. Ir. Religion seems to me to be nothing else, but a fincere Dependance upon God in the Pursuit and Attainment of true Happiness, and consequently the great Foundation of it must be the Ber lief of his. All-sufficiency ; without this Faith 'tis impossible to please him ; no Man will come to God unless he believe that he is, and that he is a remarder of all those who diligently seek him, Heb. 11.6. This is that which God inculcates to Abraham, I am the Almighty,or All-Jufficient God, El Shaddai. And this is that which our State and Nature every moment puts us in mind of; our Wants and Neceflicies, our Weaknesses and Imperfections, do sufficiently convince us that we have no All sufficiency in our selves; that we cannot derive from our selvesany folid or lasting Happiness; and one would think the uncertainty and the vanity, not to say with Solomon, the vexation of Temporal Poffeffions, the number and weight of the Evils, we are at all times and in all places liable to were enough to convince us that we cannot find it neither in the Things, without usat He that denies this, must be con:

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Vol. II. cluded to make no Reflection on the

Baffles and Disappointments of the Cunning, Covetous, and Ambitious ; the wanton and humorbusDiscontents, or real Crosses of the most Prosperous and Fortunate ; on the sudden and unexpected Deaths of the Presumptuous and Confident, the Easie and Voluptuous: All which put together, shew us plainly, that nothing less can be sufficient to raise and secure Humane Happiness then God,an almighty God; for what less can reform and restore lapsed, corrupted Nature? What less can raise us above our Dotage on the World, which must be attended with a thousand Troubles? what less can procure our Tranquility and Security amidit so many Changes and Revolutions ? What less then God can support us under all the Evils that befal us, and fortifie us against Death it self ? who but God, and such a God, an Almighty, All-sufficient one, can afcertain us an Immortality, Resurrection, an Eternity? In one word, who but God, and such a God, can promise any thing becoming the Dignity of Human Nature, durable and worthy of a Being created but a little lower than the Angels.

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I am not ignorant that there are Vol. II. fome, who may smile at all this as meer Notion and Speculation, who understand no Happiness beyond their present Enjoyments; who would have us count them happy, and it may be, in some short fits of Sensuality count: themselves fo; but ah ! let but any Disaster, any Judgment overtake one of these, and how do these Fancies and Confidences vanish like a Dream : you may easily observe of them, what Livy has done of Hoftilius, that they are not more Atheistical in their Prosperity than Superstitious in their Affli&tions ; not more vain and insolent in the one, then poor, shrunk, broken, blasted things in the other. A glorious Happiness this, to which Sin and Folly advances Men! when their best Condition deserves the pity, and their worst, if Christianity would permit it, the scorn of a wise Man. The Propositionlthen remains unshaken, That God alone is the Fountain or Foundation of a lasting and rational Joy, Peace and Hope. And yet we are not much to wonder if Men, rash and inconsiderate in thetr choice, impotent in their Lusts, do seek their Pleasure, or place

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