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resolutions, arid to whisper to ourselves, that we are going out to labour in the world of one, whose eye will be upon us, and who expects a faithful account of all our actions.
Short acts of this kind are in everyone's power — at least, no one can be said to have the smallest care about his life, who attends not the revolutions of religious seasons, the sabbaths, festivals, and sacraments. Whosoever employs, these to quicken old impressions, and to review his former life and regulate it by the express will of God, cannot miscarry or greatly err.
So much man can do for the attainment of faith—the rest depends upon the Holy Spirit, from whom faith, among other good and perfect gifts, ultimately proceeds.
V* But do we not, it is objected, often see people living in the grossest immoralities, under the profession of gospel faith? We do: but these men have not faith: their saith is but a traditional prejudice. True faith founded as it ought to be in serious enquiry and just reflection, is a certain means of conquering all worldly temptations.
This is the last head of consideration I proposed to myself, namely the happy fruits and advantages of christian faith.
As the stream cannot rise higher than its source, worldly motives will never lift us above the world. Human motives indeed may carry us to a certain length. We may practise several virtues from complexion and habit; from the obligations of honour, or the terrors of the magistrate. But these reach not all cases and circumstances. Faith is an universal restraint. It reaches the first springs of action, and operates in all situations of life.
It guards the heart, from whence are the issues of life: do wicked desires arise? Faith tells the christian, that his God is privy to the inmost secrets of the heart. Does privacy tempt? Faith whispers, that he always attends our steps. Does power prompt to acts of oppression? Faith presents a mightier power above, the avenger of all injuf, tice. Are we amidst the temptations of wealth? Faith tells us, riches are the gift of God, and that he expects an account of their use. Are we poor or distressed? Faith proposes an all-sufficient Maker to reward virtuous patience.
Thfre are no allurements, which faith cannot resist, no evils or calamities which it cannot disarm.
Our ideas of greatness are relative. They depend upon the capacity and knowledge of the observer. The rude peasant conceives, that nothing can be greater in kind than the neighbouring town, that bounds his travels.* The
*urbem, quam dicunt Romam, Melibaee, putavi, Stultus ego, buic nostraJimilem Virg. Ed. I. 20.
playful infant finds his highest happiness in the most trifling toy: grown a,, little older, he wonders he could be so silly, despises his smaller play-things, builds his little houses, mounts his hobby horse, and apes the man. As knowledge enlarges, he sees the folly of these things too, and takes to some more serious occupations.
Blind creatures, that we are! how easy is it for us to see, that the time is coming, when we shall look back upon all pursuits merely worldly — as we do now upon the follies of earlier life— with contempt, as concerns beneath a rational creature's notice!
Faith helps us to anticipate this improving view, and, under its instruction, to balance between time and eternity, between the interests of a perishing life and the salvation of an immortal soul. Temporal things, upon this comparison, lose all their importance. Worldly goods are stripped of all their T glare, glare, and evils of all their terrors. Life links into a poor insignificant sceneVirtue becomes the sole business of man. All other things a secondary mean concern.
«« O Sovereign disposer of things! <$ "Give me this powerful grace of faith -,
"let me live in the spirit as well as "profession of it! Then, while I pursue "heaven as my inheritance, I shall not «« live useless in the earth: I shall serve "the world; and not add to its confusion. «« I shall serve it by virtuous industry; and "not disturb it by fraud or violence. I "shall' not seek riches with the furious «« rage of avarice; but, where they flow *« as the gift of thy Providence, I mall "receive them with modest gratitude, "and spread them with useful liberali"ty. I shall not fly poverty by any "vicious methods; but when it comes, "it shall come without guilt, as thy "appointment, and thy grace shall "sanctify it. — Thou knowest what