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It is the most delusive of all calculations | sadly and sullenly put away. The free to put off the acceptance of the Gospel, be- proclamation is heard without one accomcause of its freeness—and because it is free panying charm-and the man who refused at all times-and because the present you to lay hold of it through life, finds, that in think may be the time of your unconcern the impotency of his expiring grasp, he and liberty, and some distant future be the cannot apprehend it. And O, if you but time of your return through that door knew how often the word of faith may fall which will still be open for you. The door from the minister, and the work of faith be of Christ's Mediatorship is ever open, till left undone upon the dying man, never death puts its unchangeable seal upon your would you so postpone the purposes of seeternity. But the door of your own heart, riousness, or look forward to the last week if you are not receiving him, is shut at of your abode upon earth as to the convethis moment, and every day is it fixing nient season for winding up the concerns and fastening more closely-and long ere of a neglected eternity. death summon you away, may it at length If you look attentively to the text, you settle immoveably upon its hinges, and the will find that there is something more than voice of him who standeth without, and a shade of difference between being reconknocketh, may be unheard by the spiritual ciled and being saved. Reconciliation is ear-and, therefore, you are not made to spoken of as an event that has already feel too much, though you feel as earnestly happened-salvation as an event that is to as if now or never was the alternatiye on come. The one event may lead to the which you were suspended. It is not other; but there is a real distinction beenough, that the Word of God, compared tween them. It is true, that the salvation to a hammer, be weighty and powerful. instanced in the preceding verse, is salvaThe material on which it works must be vation from wrath. But it is the wrath capable of an impression. It is not enough, which is incurred by those who have sinthat there be a free and forcible applica-ned wilfully, after they had come to the tion. There must be a willing subject. knowledge of the truth-"when there reYou are unwilling now, and therefore it is maineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a that conversion does not follow. To-mor- certain fearful looking for of judgment and row the probability is, that you will be still fiery indignation, which shall devour the more unwilling-and, therefore, though the adversaries." Jesus Christ will save us application be the same, the conversion is from this by saving us from sin. He who still at a greater distance away from you. hath reconciled us by his death, will, by his And thus, while the application continues life, accomplish for us this salvation. Rethe same, the subject hardens, and a good conciliation is not salvation. It is only the result is ever becoming more and more portal to it. Justification is not the end of unlikely-and thus may it go on till you Christ's coming-it is only the means to arrive upon the bed of your last sickness, an ultimate attainment. By his death he at the confines of eternity-and what, I pacified the lawgiver. By his life he puriwould ask, is the kind of willingness that fies the sinner. The one work is finished. comes upon you then? Willing to escape The other is not so, but it is only going on the pain of hell-this you are now, but yet unto perfection. And this is the secret of not willing to be a Christian. Willing that that unwillingness which I have already the fire and your bodily sensations be touched upon. There is a willingness that kept at a distance from cach other-this God would lift off from their persons the you are now, for who of you at present, hand of an avenger. But there is not a would thrust his hand among the flames? willingness that Christ would lay upon Willing that the frame of your animal sen- their persons the hand of a sanctifier. The sibilities shall meet with nothing to wound motive for him to apprehend them is to or torture it-this is willingness of which make them holy. But they care not to apthe lower animals, incapable of religion, prehend that for which they are appreare yet as capable as yourself. You will hended. They see not that the use of the be as willing then for deliverance from new dispensation, is for them to be restored material torments as you can be now-but to the image they have lost, and, for this there is a willingness which you want now, purpose to be purged from their old sins. and which, in all likelihood, will then be This is the point on which they are in still more beyond the reach of your attain- darkness-"and they love the darkness ment. If the free Gospel do not meet with rather than the light, because their deeds your willingness now to accept and sub- are evil." They are at all times willing for mit to it, neither may it then. And I know the reward without the service. But they not, my brethren, what has been your ex- are not willing for the reward and the serperience in death-beds, but sure I am, that vice together. The willingness for the one both among the agonies of mortal disease, they always have. But the willingness for and the terrors of the malefactor's cell, both they never have. They have it not Christ may be offered, and the offer be to-day-and it is not the operation of time

that will put it in them to-morrow. Nor reigning and paramount principle of his

will disease put it in. Nor will age put it in. Nor will the tokens of death put it in. Nor will the near and terrific view of eternity put it in. It may call out into a livelier sensation than before, a willingness for the reward. But it will neither inspire a taste nor a willingness for the service. A distaste for God and godliness, as it was the

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life, so may it be the reigning and paramount principle of his death-bed. As it envenomed every breath which he drew, so may it envenom his last-and the spirit going forth to the God who gave it, with all the enmity that it ever had, God will deal with it as with an enemy.


The Restlessness of human Ambition.

How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain ?-O that I had the wings of a dove, that I may

fly away, and be at-rest."-Psalm xi. 1. and Iv.-6.

To all those who are conversant in the scenery of external nature, it is evident, that an object to be seen to the greatest advantage must be placed at a certain distance from the eye of the observer. The poor man's hut, though all within be raggedness and disorder, and all around it be full of the who sport on yon sunny bank are happier most nauseous and disgusting spectacles-than yourself-that you would like to be yet, if seen at a sufficient distance, may ap-buried in that distant grove, and forget, for a pear a sweet and interesting cottage. That while, in silence and in solitude, the distracfield where the thistle grows, and the face tions of the world—that you would like to of which is deformed by the wild exuber- repose by yon beautiful rivulet, and soothe ance of a rank and pernicious vegetation, every anxiety of your heart by the gentle-. may delight the eye of a distant spectator ness of its murmurs-that you would like by the loveliness of its verdure. That lake, to transport yourself to the distance of miles, whose waters are corrupted, and whose and there enjoy the peace which resides in banks poison the air by their marshy and some sweet and sheltered concealment? In putrid exhalations, may charm the eye of a word, was there no secret aspiration of the an enthusiast, who views it from an adjoin- soul for another place than what you actuing eminence, and dwells with rapture on ally occupied? Instead of resting in the the quietness of its surface, and on the quiet enjoyment of your present situation, beauty of its outline-its sweet border did not your wishes wander abroad and fringed with the gayest colouring of Na- around you-and were not you ready to exture, and on which spring lavishes its finest claim with the Psalmist in the text, "O that ornaments. All is the effect of distance. It I had the wings of a dove; for I would fly softens the harsh and disgusting features of to yonder mountain, and be at rest?" every object. What is gross and ordinary, it can dress in the most romantic attractions. The country hamlet it can transform into a paradise of beauty, in spite of the abominations that are at every door, and the angry brawlings of the men and the women who occupy it. All that is loathsome and offensive, is softened down by the power of distance. You see the smoke rising in fantastic wreaths through the pure air, and the village spire peeping from among the thick verdure of the trees, which embosom it. The fancy of our sentimentalist swells with pleasure, and peace and piety supply their delightful associations to complete the harmony of the picture.

But what is of most importance to be observed is, that even when you have reached the mountain, rest is as far from you as ever. As you get nearer the wished-for spot, the fairy enchantments in which distance had arrayed it, gradually disappear; when you at last arrive at your object, the illusion is entirely dissipated; and you are grieved to find, that you have carried the same principle of restlessness and discontent along with you.

This principle may serve to explain a feeling which some of you who now hear me may have experienced. On a fine day,

when the sun threw its unclouded splendours over a whole neighbourhood, did you never form a wish that your place could be transferred to some distant and more beautiful part of the landscape? Did the idea never rise in your fancy, that the people

Now, what is true of a natural landscape, is also true of that moral landscape, which is presented to the eye of the mind when it contemplates human life, and casts a wide survey over the face of human society. The position which I myself occupy is seen and felt with all its disadvantages. Its vexations come home to my feelings with all the cer

tainty of experience. I see it before mine actual observation. What is present fills me eyes with a vision so near and intimate, as with disgust. What is distant allures me to admit of no colouring, and to preclude the to enterprise. I sigh for an office, the busiexercise of fancy. It is only in those situa-ness of which is more congenial to my temtions which are without me, where the prin- per. I fix mine eye on some lofty eminence ciple of deception operates, and where the in the scale of preferment. I spurn at the vacancies of an imperfect experience are condition which I now occupy, and I look filled up by the power of imagination, ever around me and above me. The perpetual ready to summon the fairest forms of pure tendency is not to enjoy his actual position, and unmingled enjoyment. It is all resolva- but to get away from it-and not an indivible, as before, into the principle of distance. dual amongst us who does not every day of I am too far removed to see the smaller his life join in the aspiration of the Psalmist features of the object which I contemplate. "O that I had the wings of a dove, that I I overlook the operation of those minuter may fly to yonder mountain, and be at causes, which expose every situation of hu- rest.” man life to the inroads of misery and disappointment. Mine eye can only take in the broader outlines of the object before me, and it consigns to fancy the task of filling them up with its finest colouring.

Am I unlearned? I feel the disgrace of ignorance, and sigh for the name and the distinctions of philosophy. Do I stand upon a literary eminence? I feel the vexations of rivalship, and could almost renounce the splendours of my dear-bought reputation for the peace and shelter which insignificance bestows. Am I poor? I riot in fancy upon the gratifications of luxury, and think how great I would be, if invested with all the consequence of wealth and of patronage. Am I rich? I sicken at the deceitful splendour which surrounds me, and am at times tempted to think, that I would have been happier far, if, born to a humbler station, I had been trained to the peace and innocence of poverty. Am I immersed in business? I repine at the fatigues of employment, and envy the lot of those who have every hour at their disposal, and can spend all their time in the sweet relaxations of amusement and society. Am I exempted from the necessity of exertion? I feel the corroding anxieties of indolence, and attempt in vain to escape that weariness and disgust which useful and regular occupation can alone save me from. Am I single? I feel the dreariness of solitude, and my fancy warms at the conception of a dear and domestic circle. Am I embroiled in the cares of a family? I am tormented with the perverseness or ingratitude of those around me; and sigh in all the bitterness of repentance, over the rash and irrecoverable step by which I have renounced for ever the charms of independence.

This restless ambition is not peculiar to any one class of society. A court only offers to one's notice a more exalted theatre for the play of rivalship and political enterprise. In the bosom of a cottage, you may witness the operation of the very same

This, in fact, is the grand principle of human ambition, and it serves to explain both

its restlessness and its vanity. What is pre-principle, only directed to objects of greater insignificance and though a place for my girl, or an apprenticeship for my boy, be all that I aspire after, yet an enlightened observer of the human character will per

sent is seen in all its minuteness, and we overlook not a single article in the train of little drawbacks, and difficulties and disappointments. What is distant is seen under

a broad and general aspect, and the illu-ceive in it the same eagerness of competisions of fancy are substituted in those places tion, the same jealousy, the same malicious which we cannot fill up with the details of attempts to undermine the success of a more

But the truth is, that we never rest. The most regular and stationary being on the face of the earth, has something to look forward to, and something to aspire after. He must realize that sum to which he annexes the idea of a competency. He must add that piece of ground which he thinks necessary to complete the domain of which he is the proprietor. He must secure that office which confers so much honour and emolument upon the holder. Even after every effort of personal ambition is exhausted, he has friends and children to provide for. The care of those who are to come after him, lands him in a never-ending train of hopes, and wishes, and anxieties. O that I could gain the vote and the patronage of this honourable acquaintance-or, that I could secure the political influence of that great man who honours me with an occasional call, and addressed me the other day with a cordiality which was quite bewitching or that my young friend could succeed in his competition for the lucrative vacancy to which I have been looking forward, for years, with all the eagerness which distance and uncertainty could inspire-or that we could fix the purposes of that capricious and unaccountable wanderer, who, of late indeed has been very particular in his attentions, and whose connection we acknowledge, in secret, would be an honour and an advantage to our family-or, at all events, let me heap wealth and aggrandizement on that son, who is to be the representative of my name, and is to perpetuate that dynasty which I have had the glory of establishing.

likely pretender, the same busy train of pas- | pressing forward to some eminence which sions and anxieties which animate the ex-perpetually recedes away from him; see ertions of him who struggles for precedency the inexplicable being, as he runs in full in the cabinet, and lifts his ambitious eye to pursuit of some glittering bauble, and on the management of an empire. the moment he reaches it, throws it behind him, and it is forgotten; see him unmindful of his past experience, and hurrying his footsteps to some new object with the same eagerness and rapidity as ever; compare the ecstacy of hope with the lifelessness of possession, and observe the whole history of his day to be made up of one fatiguing race of vanity, and restlessness, and disappointment;

To complete the unaccountable history,

This is the universal property of our nature. In the whole circle of your experience, did you ever see a man sit down to the full enjoyment of the present, without a hope or a wish unsatisfied? Did he carry in his mind no reference to futurity-no longing of the soul after some remote or inaccessible object--no day-dream which played its enchantments around him, and which, even when accomplished, left him nothing more than the delirium of a momentary triumph? Did you never see him, after the bright illusions of novelty were over-when the pre- let us look to its termination. Man is irresent object had lost its charm, and the dis-gular in his movements, but this does not tant begun to practise its allurements-when hinder the regularity of Nature. Time will some gay vision of futurity had hurried him not stand still to look at us. It moves at its on to a new enterprise, and in the fatigues own invariable pace. The winged moments of a restless ambition, he felt a bosom as fly in swift succession over us. The great oppressed with care, and a heart as anxious luminaries which are suspended on high, and dissatisfied as ever? perform their cycles in the heaven. The sun describes his circuit in the firmament, and the space of a few revolutions will bring every man among us to his destiny. The decree passes abroad against the poor child of infatuation. It meets him in the full career of hope and of enterprise. He sees the dark curtain of mortality falling upon the world, and upon all its interests. That busy, restless heart, so crowded with its plans, and feelings, and anticipations, forgets to play, and all its fluttering anxieties are hushed for ever.

Where, then, is that resting-place which the Psalmist aspired after? What are we to mean by that mountain, that wilderness, to which he prayed that the wings of a dove may convey him, afar from the noise and distractions of the world, and hasten his escape from the windy storm, and the tempest? Is there no object, in the whole round of human enjoyment, which can give rest to the agitated spirit of man? Will he not sit down in the fulness of contentment, after he has reached it, and bid a final adieu to the cares and fatigues of ambition? Is this longing of the mind a principle of his nature, which no gratification can extinguish? Must it condemn him to perpetual agitation, and to the wild impulses of an ambition which is never satisfied?

This is the true, though the curious, and I had almost said, the farcical picture of human life. Look into the heart which is the seat of feeling, and you there perceive a perpetual tendency to enjoyment, but not enjoyment itself-the cheerfulness of hope, but not the happiness of actual possession. The present is but an instant of time. The moment you call it your own, it abandons you. It is not the actual sensation which occupies the mind. It is what is to come next. Man lives in futurity. The pleasurable feeling of the moment forms almost no part of his happiness. It is not the reality of to-day which interests his heart. It is the vision of to-morrow. It is the distant object on which fancy has thrown its deceitful splendour. When to-morrow comes, the animating hope is transformed into the dull and insipid reality. As the distant objeet draws near, it becomes cold and tasteless, and uninteresting. The only way in which the mind can support itself, is by recurring to some new anticipation. This may give buoyancy for a time-but it will share the fate of all its predecessors, and be the addition of another folly to the wretched train of disappointments that have gone before it.

What a curious object of contemplation to a superior being, who casts an eye over this lower world, and surveys the busy, restless, and unceasing operations of the people who swarm upon its surface. Let him select any one individual amongst us, and confine his attention to him as a specimen of the whole. Let him pursue him through the intricate variety of his movements, for he is never stationary; see him with his eye fixed upon some distant object, and struggling to arrive at it; see him

"And, like the glittering of an idiot's toy,
Doth Fancy mock his vows."

We allow that exercise is the health of the mind. It is better to engage in a trifling pursuit, if innocent, than to watch the melancholy progress of time, and drag out a weary existence in all the languor of a consuming indolence. But nobody will deny that it is better still, if the pursuit in which we are engaged be not a trifling one-if it conducts to some lasting gratification—if it leads to some object, the possession of which confers more happiness than the

Now, to find fault with man for the pleasure which he derives from the mere excitement of a distant object, would be to find fault with the constitution of his nature. It is not the general principle of his activity which I condemn. It is the direction of that activity to a useless and unprofitable object. The mere happiness of the pursuit does not supersede the choice of the object. Even though you were to keep religion out of sight altogether, and bring the conduct of man to the test of worldly principles, you still presuppose a ground of preference in the object. Why is the part of the sober and industrious tradesman preferred to that of the dissipated gambler? Both. feel the delights of a mind fully occupied with something to excite and to animate. But the exertions of the one lead to the safe enjoyment of a competency. The exertions of the other lead to an object which, at best, is precarious, and often land you in the horrors of poverty and disgrace. The mere pleasure of exertion is not enough to justify every kind of it: you must look forward to the object and the termination-and it is the judicious choice of the object which, even in the estimation of worldly wisdom, forms the great point of distinction betwixt prudence and folly. Now, all that I ask of you, is to extend the application of the same principle to a life of religion. Compare the lan-wisdom of the children of light, with the wisdom of a blind and worldly generation; the prudence of the Christian who labours for immortality, with the prudence of him who labours for the objects of a vain and perishable ambition. Contrast the littleness of time, with the greatness of eternity-the restless and unsatisfying pleasures of the world, with the enjoyments of heaven, so pure, so substantial, so unfading—and tell me which plays the higher game-he, all whose anxiety is frittered away on the pursuits of a scene that is ever shifting, and ever transitory; or he, who contemplates the life of man in all its magnitude; who acts upon the wide and comprehensive survey of its interests, and takes into his estimate the mighty roll of innumerable ages.

mere prospect-if the mere pleasure of the chase is not the only recompense-but where, in addition to this, we secure some reward proportioned to the fatigue of the exercise, and that justifies the eagerness with which we embarked in it. So long as the exercise is innocent, better do something than be idle: but better still, when the something we do, leads to a valuable and important termination. Any thing rather than the ignoble condition of that mind which feels the burden of itself-and which knows not how to dispose of the weary hours that hang so oppressively upon it. But there is certainly a ground of preference in the objects which invite us to exertion and better far to fix upon that object which leaves happiness and satisfaction behind it, than dissipate your vigour in a pursuit which terminates in nothing-and where the mere pleasure of occupation is the only circumstance to recommend it. When we talk of the vanity of ambition, we do not propose to extinguish the principles of our nature, but to give them a more useful and exalted direction. A state of hope and of activity is the element of man---and all that we propose, is to withdraw his hopes from the deceitful objects of fancy, and to engage his activity in the pursuit of real and permanent enjoyments.

Man must have an object to-look forward to. Without this incitement the mind guishes. It is thrown out of its element, and, in this unnatural suspension of its powers, it feels a dreariness, and a discomfort, far more unsufferable than it ever experienced from the visitations of a real or positive calamity. If such an object does not offer, he will create one for himself. The mere possession of wealth, and of all its enjoyments, will not satisfy him. Possession carries along with it the dulness of certainty, and to escape from this dulness, he will transform it into an uncertainty-he will embark it in a hazardous speculation, or he will stake it at the gaming-table; and from no other principle than that he may exchange the lifelessness of possession, for the animating sensations of hope and of enterprise. It is a paradox in the moral constitution of man; but the experience of every day confirms it—that man follows what he knows to be a delusion, with as much eagerness, as if he were assured of its reality. Put the question to him, and he will tell you, that if you were to lay before him all the profits which his fancy anticipates, he would long as much as ever for some new speculation; or, in other words, be as much dissatisfied as ever with the position which he actually occupies-and yet, with his eye perfectly open to this circum-ter you have suffered this parading exterior stance, will he embark every power of his to practise its deceitfulness upon you, enter mind in the chase of what he knows to be into his solitude-mark his busy, restless, a mockery and a phantom. dissatisfied eye, as it wanders uncertain on

There is no resting-place to be found on this side of time. It is the doctrine of the Bible, and all experience loudly proclaims it. I do not ask you to listen to the complaints of the poor, or the murmurs of the disappointed. Take your lesson from the veriest favourite of fortune. See him placed in a prouder eminence than he ever aspired after. See him arrayed in brighter colours than ever dazzled his early imagination. See him surrounded with all the homage that fame and flattery can bestow-and af

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