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to torment him. He has reason: this reason is ever at variance and in conflict with his passions. He has a taste for decency and virtue: this taste serves only to make him loath and abhor himself amidst his excesses. He is half-brute and half-angel: he wants to be wholly of this earth $ and yet his faculties and capacities are too grand and refined for its pursuits. But take the other state into view, and the mystery clears up; and he becomes a consistent creature. He is truly designed for both worlds; by the discipline of his passions he is qualified for the enjoyments of both. By confining himself to pleasures, so far as they are innocent, he adds sentiment to passion, refines the animal into the angel, and prepares himself for that spiritual inheritance, for which he is ultimately designed.
But to proceed: that particular act ■of reflexion upon moral actions, which we call conscience, which we can neither
controul controul nor stifle, bears still stronger testimony to this important truth.
No man's mind upbraids him for not being ten foot high, or wanting strength to remove mountains. The reason is, nature formed us to a certain standard of size and strength. Whence comes it, then, that the mind dwells with complacency upon every manly and generous' action; and abhors itself upon the recollection of every thing base, mean and immoral? Why does a man abhor himself for base deeds, known only to himself, hid under the deepest veil of darkness, and fkreened from the eyes of the world beyond the possibility of discovery? Why turns the villain pale at every frightful appearance of nature; and thinks every flash of lightning levelled at himself? Why does a painful consciousness cloud his brow in company, follow him into retirement, plant thorns under his softest pillow, and with dreadful visions disturb his sweetest slumbers?
It is the work of God; and his counsels no man can alter. He made us accountable creatures; he gave us a power of obeying him, and he thus warns us, that he intends to call us to account for the abuse of our powers.
Let us pause here a while, and observe the different issues of vice and virtue as far as we can trace them in the present life, and see what judgment we should form upon the observation. How different is christian fortitude from the dismal tragedy of expiring guilt! When evil overtakes the wicked, or the pains of death take hold upon him, what shame, what horror, what self-condemnation is he tortured with! He hopes to be annihilated; yet he dreads the approach of the departing moment. He hopes there is no God, yet he sees him seated above in all his terrors. . He wishes to repent; and yet he cannot shed one refreshing tear, or utter one comfortable prayer. He wants to lay
hold hold of mercy, yet in the next breath he blasphemes, and pronounces himself unworthy of forgiveness. Dreadful secrets weigh down his soul ; yet he dares not reveal them, he dares not face them, he dares not recollect them. Unutterable distress! What a proof of the vengeance awaiting wickedness in that other state! Why otherwise would the soul labour with all those conflicting thoughts, distort the manly features with that ghostly look, and plunge from its guilty companion, the body, with that indignation and despair?
Mark now, on the contrary, theperfeSl man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace. Psal. xxxvii. 37. Look at him in the worst state of distress, and see the comforts of a good conscience. The world has frowned upon him, loads his name with dishonour, and his purest intentions with reproach. All this cannot make him think worse of himself; in the consciousness of his innocence, he hears the storm of calumny without emotion, and silently appeals from men to a more upright tribunal. He labours under a tedious and painful disorder. How could he have so much composure in all his actions, and serenity in his looks, did not God support and animate him with the hopes of a blessed immortality? Blessed God! This is thy work: by this dost thou teach wisdom to the sons of men: let me live in thy fear, and, when I die, let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his I Num. xxiii. 10. To die the death of the righteous, we must live his life. And if, in the days of health, we made views of this nature familiar to us, we could not mistake our end and destination. It is under the visitations of God, that nature speaks her genuine language: the flush of health and pampered sense is- not the time: that is a feverHh state deluding us with the vainest phantoms: the '• - hour