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this transient life. The pain through which this momentary pleasure is gained is, on the contrary, infinite, or endless, in each of the methods specified above. Will it be believed, that, if every volition of man is as the greatest apparent good, there can be in this case a volition, nay, a series of volitions, contrary to the greatest apparent good; a good, infinitely outweighing that by which these volitions are supposed to be excited? I say this good is momentary; because the subjects of perdition, immediately after entering upon their sufferings, hate and oppose the glory of God throughout eternity. Whatever good therefore the Christian can enjoy in glorifying his Creator, he can enjoy only during the present life.

It ought to be observed, that the resignation here required of the Christian, extends infinitely beyond that which was required of Christ himself. He was required to undergo only finite and temporary sufferings. The Christian is here required to be willing to undergo infinite sufferings. The sufferings of Christ were, and he knew they were, to be rewarded with infinite glory and happiness. Those of the Christian are only to terminate daily in increasing shame, sin, and woe, for ever. Christ for the joy set before him, endured the cross and despised the shame.' There is no joy set before the Christian.

As a rule of determining whether we are Christians, or not, it would seem, that hardly any supposable one could be more unhappy. If we should allow the doctrine to be sound and scriptural, it will not be pretended that any, unless very eminent, saints arrive at the possession of the spirit in such a degree, as to be satisfied that they are thus resigned. None but these therefore will be able to avail themselves of the evidence derived from this source. To all others the rule will be not only useless, but in a high degree perplexing, and filled with discouragement. To be thus resigned, will, to say the least, demand a vigour and energy of piety not often found. Rules of self-examination incomparably plainer, and more easy of application, are given us in the Scriptures, fitted for all persons, and for all cases. Why, with those in our possession, we should resort to this, especially when it is nowhere found in the sacred volume, it would be difficult to explain. Yet, if this is not the practical use to be made of this doctrine, it would not be easy to assign to it any use at all.

The resignation of the Scriptures, as I have before observed, is either a cheerful submission to the evils which we actually suffer, or a general, undefinable preparation of mind to suffer such others as God may choose to inflict. In the Bible this spirit is, I believe, never referred to any evils which exist beyond the grave. If this remark be just, as I think it will be found, there can be no benefit in extending the subject farther than it has been extended by Revelation. If I mistake not, every good consequence expected from the doctrine which I have opposed, will be derived from the resignation here described; while the mind will be disembarrassed of the very numerous and very serious difficulties which are inseparable from the doctrine in question.

2. Resignation, as here described, is an indispensable duty of mankind.

The government of God, even in this melancholy world, is the result of his perfect wisdom, power, and goodness. Now nothing is more evident, than that the government which flows from such a source must be absolutely right; or, in other words, must be what wisdom and virtue in us would certainly and entirely approve. To be resigned to such a government therefore would be a thing of course, were we perfectly wise and virtuous. But what this character would prompt us to do, it is now our indispensable duty to do.

This, however, is not the only nor the most affecting view which we are able to take of the subject. The government of God in this world is a scheme of mercy; the most glorious exhibition which can exist of infinite goodness. Unless our own perverseness prevent, the most untoward, the most afflicting, dispensations, however painful in themselves, are really fitted in the best manner to promote our best interests. We know,' says St. Paul,' that all things do work,' (or, as in the Greek, labour) together for good to them that love God.' "Good," says Mr. Hervey,

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In several preceding Discourses, I have considered the great duties of love, reverence, and humility towards God, and resignation to his will; and given a summary account of the other duties of piety. I shall now proceed to an examination of the second commandment.

In this precept we are required to love our neighbour as ourselves.' In canvassing the duty here enjoined, I shall consider,

I. Its nature.

II. Its extent.

I. I shall make a few observations concerning the nature of this duty.

Before I proceed directly to this subject, it will be proper to remind my audience, that in the Discourse concerning love, considered as an attendant of regeneration, I exhibited it at length as a disinterested disposition; and in this particular



place. With this habitual disposition in exercise, the resigned man will be quiet and satisfied, or at least supported, when others are borne down; and filled with hope and comfort, when worldly men sink in despair. All that dreadful train of fears, distresses, and hostilities, which, like a host of besiegers, assault the unresigned, and sack their peace, he will have finally put to flight. Safety and serenity have entered the soul, and the Spirit of truth has there found a permanent mansion. Whatever evils still remain in it, his delightful influence gradually removes, as cold, and frost, and snow vanish before the beams of the vernal sun. He will yield God his own place and province, and rejoice, that his throne is prepared in the heavens,' and that his kingdom is over all.' His own station he will at the same time cheerfully take, with the spirit of a dutiful and faithful subject, or an obedient child; and confide in the divine wisdom for such allotments as are best suited to make him virtuous, useful, and happy. In this manner he will disarm afflictions of their sting, deprive temptations of their danger, and his spiritual enemies of their success, by quietly committing himself and his interests to the disposal of his Maker. In this manner he will become effectually prepared for that glorious and happy world in which all these evils will have passed away;' and be succeeded by a new, divine, and eternal train of enjoyment. In this manner the work of righteousness' in his mind will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever.'


Surely in such a state of things it must be the natural, the instinctive, conduct of piety to acquiesce in dispensations of this nature. Under the afflictions which it demands, and which of course it cannot but involve, we may and must at times smart, as a child under the rod, when administered by the most affectionate parental hand; but, like children influenced by filial piety, we shall receive the chastening with resignation and love.

3. Resignation is also a most profitable duty.

The profit of this spirit is the increase which it always brings, of virtue and happiness. Our pride and passion, by which we are naturally and of choice governed, conduct us only to guilt and suffering. So long as their dominion over us continues, we daily become more sinful and more miserable, as children become, during the continuance of their rebellion against their parents. The first step towards peace, comfort, or hope in this case, is to attain a quiet, submissive spirit. That God will order the things of the world as we wish, ignorant and sinful as we are, cannot be for a moment believed. The only resort which remains for us, therefore, is to be satisfied with what he actually does; and to believe that what he does is wise and good, and if we will permit it, wise and good for us. To be able to say, Thy will be done,' says Dr. Young, "will lay the loudest storm;" whether of passion within, or affliction without.


Children, when they have been punished, are often, and if dutiful children, always more affectionate, and dutiful, and amiable than before. Just such is the character of the children of God, when they exercise evangelical resignation under his chastening hand. Every one of them, like David, finds it good for himself that he has been afflicted;' an increase of his comfort; an increase of his virtue and loveliness.


As this disposition regards events not yet come to pass, its effects are of the same desirable nature. For the wisdom and goodness, the fitness and beneficial tendency, of all that is future, the pious mind will rely with a steady confidence on the perfect character of God. With this reliance it will regularly believe that there is good interwoven with all the real as well as apparent evil which, from time to time, may take

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