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was given to them with a punishment. Consequently, want of belief in the word of the Lord, and submission to his will were their immediate sins.
But we may observe, that man has a body and a soul-a natural life and a spiritual life; that bread supports the one, and the word of God sustains the other; which spiritual life, if we may so call it, is not supported by bread, but by every word, that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they ?" "Seek ye first the
kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you," i. e. provide first for the soul, and all things necessary for the body shall be added unto you. For you cannot live upon that, which sustains the natural life only: "ye cannot
live by bread alone, but by every word, that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
It should then be our first care to make
a provision for the soul-the soul lives for ever-the body will soon crumble into its kindred earth. The joys and pleasures, which are about it, will soon disappearyea, all that it delights upon, like a shadow, or a baseless vision, will pass away. What hope then have we in this world, unless we lay up a provision for the next? There are very many men, who fancy, that leading a holy and religious life, is to use a great deal of self-denial: that it is to rob the body of its accustomed pleasures: to deprive it of its sundry occupations, which have in them so much joy and consolation. It is very true, that it requires considerable self-denial to resist the world, and the temptations, that are in the world; that it requires prayer, and a firm resolution to withstand the sundry attacks of the Devil. But so far from decreasing the real and solid pleasures of this life, religion produces those joys, and yields that consolation, that the natural man can never feel.
"The Lord will bless the righteous; with favour will he compass him as with a shield." "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." He will be their guide even unto death." But, my brethren, our religion does not require of you to throw a melancholy garb over the countenance it seeks not of you a pharisaical preciseness. Oh! no, that man who is the most spiritual, will be the most happy. And if trouble come upon him, it is he, the man of God, who will meet it, as it is sent from heaven, for his good. "Happy is the man, whom God correcteth!" It is good for him to be afflicted, that he may keep more firmly the statutes of the Lord. "I know," says he, "O Lord, thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." It is a vain thought to suppose, that the Gospel of Jesus depresses the soul; it was not delivered for that purpose; its object is to make men happy in this world, and blessed in the world to come: and whether we look upon nations or individuals, we shall find peace
reigning, where the seeds of the Gospel have been sown, and are springing up. What is man in his natural state, before the Sun of righteousness shall have shed his rays upon the hard and callous heart? Where is his love, his affection? Alas, passions are struggling within him; all that is hateful and destructive embitter his very existence; he is constantly tormented by an evil spirit; he seeks rest, but finds none. This is the case of the natural man; with the man of the world; with the man, whose nature has not been softened down by the grace of God, who has resisted the gifts of God's Holy Spirit, and consequently has incurred the risk of his own damnation. But with the Christian, the case is far different; under the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost he becomes a new creature, the Adamite nature is exchanged for the light of Christ. Prosperity and happiness shine around him; and he lives in the enjoyment of the Divine gifts of this life, and of the hope of the world to come. Being justified by grace, he is made an heir according to the hope of eternal life."
We do not affirm, that he is free from the temptations of the world; they come upon him, as they came upon his Divine Master; but he is able to resist them in short, through the strength of the Son of God, he can overcome the world, and prepare himself for the kingdom of heaven.
What then, my brethren, remains, but for us to urge you on to this important work? With the help of heaven, man can accomplish the great difficulty; without it, he can do nothing. Man of himself is a weak creature, without the power of the Lord: but when he buckles on the armour of Christianity, and goes forth to the battle, he returns with a triumphant victory, which he offers up to the glory of Jehovah? But what is it, to worship the Lord thy God and to serve him? It is not to adopt that religion, that proves the most agreeable to the will; is the will in this case to be the guide and conductor of man's life? Oh! no, the Scriptures are to be our rule; for in them is contained all, that is necessary for our salvation.
Would that ye would consider those