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II.

15. 2

II.

be procured by so miserable a death; that eternal SERM.
joy, glory, and happiness should issue from these
fountains of sorrow and shame; that a person in
external semblance devoted to so opprobrious usage, ,
should be the Lord and Redeemer of mankind, the
King and Judge of all the world: let, I say, this
doctrine be scandalous and distasteful to some per-
sons tainted with prejudice; let it be strange and
incredible to others blinded with self-conceit; let all
the inconsiderate, all the proud, all the profane part
of mankind openly with their mouth, or closely in
heart, slight and reject it: yet to us it must appear
grateful and joyous; to us it is Totòs dóyos, A 1 Tim. i.
faithful and most credible proposition worthy of all 2 Tim. ii.
acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to
save sinners, in this way of suffering for them: to
us, who discern by a clearer light, and are endowed
with a purer sense, kindled by the divine Spirit;
from whence we may with comfortable satisfaction
of mind apprehend and taste, that God could not in
a higher measure or fitter manner, illustrate his
glorious attributes of goodness and justice, his infi-
nite
grace

and
mercy toward his

poor creatures, his holy displeasure against wickedness, his impartial severity in punishing iniquity and impiety, or in vindicating his own sacred honour and authority, than by thus ordering his only Son, clothed with our nature, to suffer for us ; that also true virtue and goodness could not otherwise be taught, be exemplified, be commended and impressed with greater advantage.

Since thereby indeed a charity and hunianity so unparalleled, (far transcending theirs who have been celebrated for devoting their lives out of love to

150 Upon the Passion of our blessed Saviour.

IL,

2 19.

SERM. their country, or kindness to their friends,) a meek

ness so incomparable, a resolution so invincible, a patience so heroical, were manifested for the instruction and direction of men; since never were the vices and the vanities of the world (so prejudicial to the welfare of mankind) so remarkably discounte

nanced; since never any suffering could pretend to 1 John ii. 2. so worthy and beneficial effects, the expiation of the

whole world's sins, and reconciliation of mankind to God, the which no other performance, no other sacrifice did ever aim to procure; since, in fine, no virtue had ever so glorious rewards, as sovereign dignity to him that exercised it, and eternal happiness to those that imitate it; since, I say, there be

; such excellent uses and fruits of the cross borne by our Saviour; we can have no reason to be offended at it, or ashamed of it; but with all reason heartily should approve and humbly adore the deep wisdom of God, together with all other his glorious attributes displayed therein. To whom therefore, as is most due, let us devoutly render all glory and

praise. And, Apoc. i.

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, and hath made us kings and

priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory Apoc. v. and dominion for ever and ever.

Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever

5, 6.

Amen.

13.

and ever.

SERMON III.

THE PLEASANTNESS OF RELIGION.

III.

Prov. III. 17.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths

are peace. THE meaning of these words seems plain and SERM.

obvious, and to need little explication. Her ways, that is, the ways of wisdom. What this wisdom is, I shall not undertake accurately to describe (in an audience so well acquainted with it). Briefly, I understand by it, an habitual skill or faculty of judging aright about matters of practice, and choosing according to that right judgment, and conforming the actions to such good choice. Ways and Paths in Scripture-dialect are the courses and manners of action. For doing there is commonly called walking ; and the methods of doing are the Ways in which we walk. By Pleasantness may

be meant the joy and delight accompanying, and by Peace the content and satisfaction ensuing such a course of actions. So that in short, the sense of these words seems simply to be this; that a course of life directed by wisdom and good judgment is delightful in the practice, and brings content after it. The truth of which proposition it shall be my

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III.

SERM. endeavour at this time to confirm by divers reasons,

and illustrate by several instances.

I. Then, wisdom of itself is delectable and satisfactory, as it implies a revelation of truth, and a detection of error to usb. It is like light, pleasant to behold, casting a sprightly lustre, and diffusing a benign influence all about; presenting a goodly prospect of things to the eyes of our mind; displaying objects in their due shapes, postures, magnitudes, and colours; quickening our spirits with a comfortable warmth, and disposing our minds to a cheerful activity; dispelling the darkness of ignorance, scattering the mists of doubt, driving away the spectres of delusive fancy; mitigating the cold of sullen melancholy; discovering obstacles, securing progress, and making the passages of life clear, open, and pleasant. We are all naturally endowed with a strong appetite to know, to see, to pursue truth ; and with a bashful abhorrency of being deceived, and entangled in mistake. And as success in inquiry after truth affords matter of joy and triumph; so being conscious of aberration and miscarriage therein, is attended with shame and sor

These desires wisdom in the most perfect manner satisfies, not by entertaining us with dry, empty, fruitless theories, upon mean and vulgar subjects; but by enriching our minds with excellent and useful knowledge, directed to the noblest objects and serviceable to the highest ends. Nor in its own nature only, but,

II. Much more in its worthy consequences is wisdom exceedingly pleasant and peaceable : in

Nihil est ei (menti hominis) veritatis luce dulcius.-Cic. Acad. (iv. 10.)

row.

b

III.

general, by disposing us to acquire and to enjoy all SERM. the good, delight, and happiness we are capable of; and by freeing us from all the inconveniences, mischiefs, and infelicities our condition is subject to. For whatever good from clear understanding, deliberate advice, sagacious foresight, stable resolution, dexterous managery and address, right intention, and orderly proceeding, doth naturally result, wisdom confers: whatever evil blind ignorance, false presumption, unwary credulity, precipitate rashness, unsteady purpose, ill contrivance, backwardness, inability, unwieldiness and confusion of thought, beget, wisdom prevents. From a thousand snares and treacherous allurements, from innumerable rocks and dangerous surprises, from exceedingly many needless encumbrances and vexatious toils of fruitless endeavour, she redeems and secures us. More particularly,

III. Wisdom assures us we take the best course, and proceed as we ought. For by the same means we judge aright, and reflecting upon that judgment are assured we do so: as the same arguments by which we demonstrate a theorem convince us we have demonstrated it, and the same light by which we see an object makes us know we see it. And this assurance in the progress of the action exceedingly pleases, and in the sequel of it infinitely contents us. He that judges amiss, not perceiving clearly the rectitude of his process, proceeds usually with a dubious solicitude; and at length, discovering his error, condemns his own choice, and receives no other satisfaction but of repentance. Like a traveller, who, being uncertain whether he goes in the right way, wanders in con

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