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God in Jefus Chrift." Confider all the fancied pleasures of fin are only for a feason, and that feafon is fhort. Solomon drunk deep of them all, and what were they? "Vanity of "vanities, vanity of vanities," and all accompanied with and terminated in vexation of fpirit. Enquire of the worldling, the drunkard, the debauchee, the whole tribe of swearers and gamblers, what pront and happinefs they have had in thefe courfes and their anfwer will be, none, and worse than none. Repair to their dying bed, and there behold their anguifh and excruciating diftrefs, all regret, remorfe, fears and terrors within, and nothing but torment in profpect. Let us turk away from the miferable objects, and contemplate the depar ting chriftian, who in raptures of pleafure is crying, "Come, "Lord Jefus, come quickly." Here it may be asked, if there be fo great pleasures in religion, how comes it, that profeffors often appear fo gloomy and unhappy? The reply to this is eafy and plain. It arifes from their fins and corruptions. Now is it rational to afcribe to religion, what ought to be at tributed to iniquity? If each has its due, fin will be found to be mifery in its nature, and all its confequences, but religion perfectly the reverse, pleasure is its nature, and compleat hap. pinefs its end.
A word of exhortation thall close this lecture.
Let us all now be prevailed upon to become feriously religious. Her ways are pleafure, peace, comfort and blifs, whereas the ways of fin are forrow, wretchedness and death. Most men would rather be allured and perfuaded to their duty, than be affrighted and terrified to it. Much might be faid to alarm you with horror, and frighten you from courses of tranfgreffion and folly, but would you not rather be led than driven, courted, than compelled? A word of threatening has fcarcely paffed my lips to-day. Wherefore, now be per fuaded with your whole hearts to engage in piety. God is
Inviting you, Chrift is tenderly calling upon you, the holy Spirit like a dove is moving upon your hearts, and fweetly perfuading you to turn unto the Lord. The good angels are ho vering around you waiting to carry the glad news of your re pentance to heaven, that all that blissful world might be filled with joy. Hearken to the compaffionate and endearing voice of your bleeding Saviour, "Behold I ftand at the door and "knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I I "will come in to him, and fup with him and he with me.
counsel thee to buy of me gold, that thou mayest be rich; "and white raiment that thou mayeft be cloathed, and that "the fhame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine "eyes with eyesalve that thou mayeft fee." What more compaffionate perfuafions can be poured into the ears of finners? O finners, turn and live, turn and be happy forever.
And thofe of you, my hearers, who have entered into the pleafant ways and peaceful paths of religion, continue therein; turn not aside to the right hand or to the left. Proceed on from faith to faith, from duty to duty, from one holy exercise to another, and you will foon appear before God in Zion; you will foon be at home, in your fathers house, to be forever with the Lord.
The ways of Religion are Pleafant.
Prov. iii. 17. Her ways are ways of pleafantnefs, and all her paths are peace.
LET us once more take a view of this pleafing theme. Pleasure is not eafy to be parted from, fo it is not eafy to reinquish this delightful branch of divine truth. We have al ready contemplated the pleafantnefs of religion in its nature, and fome of its exercifes. We will now endeavour to attend to it in another point of light, and illuftrate its excellency and beauty from the terms employed in the text, as a pleasant way and a delightful path.
We find by inspection of the facred oracles, that the practice of religion is often compared to a way, and they that walk therein are denominated travellers. They are frequently reprefented as perfons from home, as fojourners, pilgrims and ftrangers, yet as thofe who are on a journey homewards. The religious life is a journey indeed, and heaven is its end, and thither ward all the pious bend their courfe. So that
were you to aík a chriftian in a proper frame, whither he travelled, his reply would be, that he was bound to the celestial world. Now all perfons on a journey, especially if their journey be long, they have anxious fenfations refpecting two things, whether they are in the right road, and whether the way be pleafant and good. This affords encouragement and gives fprings and alacrity to travellers. When they find they are right and their way inviting and delightful, they haften on with speed, and proceed in their journey with pleasure. Were any one minded to engage in a religious life, or to enter upon a journey to the new Jerufalem, and enquire what fort was the way that tended thither, they have perfect instruction on this head, in the defcription of it in the words before us. "That all the ways are pleasantnefs and all the paths peace." This is the character of every way and every road, that leads to heaven. As religion is here explicitly compared to a way, fo under this image it shall be illuftrated at prefent.
First, a way is generally pleasant which leads through flowe-ry lawns, or lies by beautiful streams of water. from the wearifome feellings of the traveller, and render his journey pleafing and delightful. But thus as the holy David informs us from his own experience, lies the way of religion. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; leadeth me by "the ftill waters." Here religion led him into green pastures, whofe verdure and flowers were pleafing and grateful to the view; and by the still waters, not fuch as dashed down migh-ty precipices, or foamed through ragged rocks, but whofe gen. tle flow and foft murmers were delightful mufic to the enraptured ear. And the whole furniture of the way was fuch as afforded the highest pleasure. He was not hurried through thofe delightful objects, but had full time to contemplate them, and imbibe the sweetness of all the pleasurable scenes. He rested in those pastures and by thofe living waters, as Ifrael of old, when they encamped at Elims where were twelve wells
of water and many palm trees. Gofpel ordinances, to which chriftians much attend in their journeying through this world to their heavenly home, are charming and agreeable, like flou rifhing paftures and refreshing waters. Sabbaths, facraments, public and private worthip, praying to, and prailing God, hearing his word preached, and holy meditations, are their delight; these are their pleasant things. There is a river of comfort in gofpel inftitutions, "The ftreams whereof make "glad the cities of our God." It is probable a glimpse of thefe delightful fcenes caufed the fpoufe to pour forth this fervent petition, "Tell me, O thou whom my foul loveth, "where thou feedeft, when thou makeft thy flock to rest at "noon." Now they who walk not in the way of the Lord, are upbraided as being guilty of the extremity of folly, in that they depart from and defpife a most pleasant and delightful road. Will a man, who is a traveller, act fo weak and unwife a part, as to forfake the walks which lead through defirable fields, and lie by refreshing rivers, to force his way through craggy rocks, and over rough and fulphureous mountains where all beneath is fire? Thus are men enemies to themelves, and the foolishness of man preverteth his way. Let us ever walk in the paths of piety, and journey in the ways which lie by the river of God.
Secondly, a way becomes pleafant when there is from it beautiful profpects, and frequently grand landfcapes open to the view. The traveller paufes and is filled with fweet admiration, and looks around him with extatic pleasure. The profpects reflect light and glory upon the road, and he proceeds on his way rejoicing. It heightens their pleafure exceedingly when they confider all they behold is their own; all in view and more, not only all things prefent, but all things to come are theirs. The whole creation is not merely at peace with them, but for their ufe and at their fervice. They look around