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dious of truth, he that is not willing to deceive himself, let him cast away those noxious and unfriendly pleasures, which chain down the soul, as luxurious food subjugates the body. Let things true, be preferred to things false; things eternal, to things momentary; things useful, to things agreeable. Let nothing be grateful to thy sight, which thou mayest not justly and piously behold; nothing pleasant to thine ear, which doth not nourish thy soul, and render thee a better man. True pleasure is the companion and associate of virtue. A pleasure, not frail and fleeting, like the base pursuits of men imbruted and enslaved to the body; but solid, and perpetual ; and delighting without pause or intermission.”
Respecting the recreations of Sunday in particular, it may
be laid down, that, so far as practicable, they should be directly promotive of religion. And here, we may take a lesson from the Gentiles themselves. We learn from MACROBIUS, [Saturnal. I. 7.) that, on their solemn festivals, at once to avoid the torpor of inaction, and to maintain inviolate the duties of religious rest, they were used to spend the whole day, in the examination and discussion of learned histories, and useful parables. And he gives an unanswerable
“ Why should we not account it the honour of religion, to dedicate our sacred days, to the sacred studies of literature ?”
quod alit animam, melioremque te reddit. Hæc est Voluptas vera, quæ comes et socia virtutis est. Hæc est non caduca et brevis, ut illæ quas appetunt, qui corpori, ut pecudes, serviunt ; sed perpetua, et, sine ulla intermissione delectans.”
LACTANTIUS, Divin. Inst. Lib. VI. Cap. 21.
(4) Page 144. A shadow of good things to come.] “ That which is our best employment here, will be the only employment in eternity."
WHICHCOTE, Aphorism 51.
(5) Page 145. Such was the case of the unhappy Balaam.] See Bishop BUTLER's profound discourse upon his character.
(6) Page 147. With lower objects we may deceive our conscience ; with higher flights we may amuse our imagination.] “ They do not advance religion, who draw it down to bodily acts; or who up
the highest, into what is mystical, symbolical, emblematical."
WHICHCOTE, Aphorism 888.
“ The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore, « Of all, who blindly creep, or sightless soar."
(7) Page 147. Perfect, as God is perfect.] To aspire after this perfection, is no less the privilege, than the duty of all genuine Christians. But, in order to be attained, it must be pursued with meekness of wisdom. And, in this sober, though sublime pursuit, we may derive aid from the discriminative sagacity of those who have gone before us.
The object of our spiritual ambition has been well defined by LORD Bacon; the possible extent of our spiritual proficiency, admirably stated by Bishop HORSLEY.
“ By aspiring to be like God in power,” says the former, “ the angels transgressed and fell ; by aspir
ing to be like God in knowledge, man transgressed and fell; but, by aspiring to the similitude of God in goodness or love, neither man nor angel ever transgressed, or shall transgress. For, unto that imitation are we called." LORD Bacon, Advancement of Learning, Works, I. p. 188. Edit. 8vo.*
66 What, then,” says the latter, " is the consummation of men's goodness, but to co-operate with the benevolent purpose of his Maker, by forming the habit of his mind to a constant ambition of improvement; which, enlarging its appetite, in proportion to the acquisitions already made, may correspond with the increase of his capacities, in every stage of a progressive virtue, in every period of an endless existence."
HORSLEY, Sermon XXVIII. on Philip. iii. 15.
(8) Page 148. They who are ashamed of God, are commonly afraid of man.]
“ Behold, yon wretch, by impious fashion driven,
Believes, and trembles, while he scoffs at heaven.
Brown, Essay on Satire.
(9) Page 154. The weekly Sabbath would become a weekly festival.] It was so with the early Christians.
* The above passage of Lord Bacon, I have since found to be al. most a literal translation from S. Gregory: Moral. in Job. Lib. XXIX. Cap. 8. Our great philosopher was well read in the Fathers, and has borrowed largely from them.
And so it ever will be, where education happily conspires with grace, to make religion, not a matter of duty, but of choice; not the bondage of fear, but the liberty of pure affection. 66 Diem solis lætitiæ indulgemus," says TERTULLIAN. [Apol. Cap. 16.]
(10) Page 156. What it was our fear to lose, it will become our joy to cast away.] In these words we have not merely the authority, but the example, of an ancient Father; a man, who had long and painfully struggled against the infirmities of his náture; who had literally feared to lose, those wrong propensities, from which he prayed to be delivered. But his efforts were rewarded, and his prayers were heard. And, in an hour when he least expected, he was enabled by that grace, of which he afterwards became the victorious champion, to exclaim in words of grateul exultation, “ Quam suave mihi factum est carere suavitatibus nugarum ! Et, quas amittere metus fuerat, jam dimittere gaudium est.”
S. AUGUSTIN, Confes. ix. i. SERMON VII.
ISAIAH, lviii. 13, 14.
IF THOU TURN AWAY THY FOOT FROM THE SABBATH
FROM DOING THY PLEASURE ON MY HOLY DAY; AND CALL THE SABBATH A DELIGHT, THE HOLY OF THE LORD, HONOURABLE; AND SHALT HONOUR HIM, NOT DOING THINE OWN WAYS, NOR FINDING THINE OWN PLEASURE, NOR SPEAKING THINE OWN WORDS ; THEN SHALT THOU DELIGHT THYSELF IN THE
IN a former discourse, it was observed,
that by these words, our happiness here and hereafter, in time and for eternity, is suspended on the fulfilment of certain conditions. Those conditions, I have already attempted to expand, and to illustrate. At the present, therefore, it may be sufficient briefly to recount them.