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knowing that they can only hurt themselves : what a pleasing security against fear and disappointment, what strong consolation* under sorrow and pain, what a powerful support under all the decays of body or mind, would they enjoy: how delightful would be their intercourse with Heaven, consisting almost wholly in acts of gratitude and praise: how blissful a sense of God's love to them must they feel continually increasing; and how irresistible a recommendation of the doctrine of God our Saviours must these admirable fruits of it exhibit to all mankind! very different is the present state of things. But to every one, who steadily practises this duty, the benefits of it are just the same, as if it were practised universally. All outward molestations, instead of destroying his inward peace, contribute, he knows, to promote his true welfare. And though he is tenderly grieved for the guilt, and the misery present and future, of the incorrigibly bad, while they applaud themselves, and despise or hate him, yet his concern is tempered with that placid acquiescence in the most awful parts of God's will, which the Redeemer, though he wept over Jerusalem I, felt when he said: I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, meaning in their own imaginations, and hast revealed them unto babes, persons of an humble simplicity of heart: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sightę. Yet, though cordially reconciled to every thing which he sees and expects, the good Christian pleases himself peculiarly with the prospect of that promised time, when on this earth all the people shall be righteous || : but inexpressibly more Heb. vi. 18. + Tit. ï. 10.

Luke xix. 41. Matth. ix. 25, 26. Luke x. 21.

|| Is. lx. 21.

with the assurance of a blessed eternity, in which all who are accounted worthy to partake shall at length magnify the judge of the world, with unmixed delights, for every thing they have suffered, as well as every thing they have enjoyed; and sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, the final result of all the divine revelations, recorded from the first, saying : great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints.

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy,—thy judgments are made manifest*

* Rev. xv.

3, 4.



The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion, and thou shalt

see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace

upon Israel.

The subject of this psalm is declared in the first

Blessed is every one, that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come *. The present happiness attending it was indeed somewhat more visible, while there was more need it should, in those earlier times, when the future rewards of it were less clearly discovered. But in every succeeding age also, the practice of religion and virtue hath appeared, to all prudent enquirers, the likeliest and surest way to avoid the miseries of life, and secure the enjoyments of it. The first advantage, which the Psalmist promises to the pious, comprehends in general health and success in their affairs. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands : happy shalt thou be, and it shall he well with thee. The next is a particular blessing of the nearest concern; the possession of domestic and conjugal felicity, in the midst of a large and well ordered family. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house : thy children like olive plants round about thy table. For such plants would


1 Tim. iv. 8.

soon afford both an agreeable shelter to those who feast under them in the open air, as the eastern manner was, and a considerable profit to the owners of them. Delight, security, and plenty at home, being usually the principal objects of desire, the Psalmist lays an emphatical stress on them, by adding, behold, thus shall the man be blessed, that feareth the Lord.

But still, as good persons can never thoroughly relish their own private welfare, if the community suffers at the same time, or calamaties are likely to befall it soon, an assurance is given them in the last place, that their exemplary obedience to the laws of God will, through his mercy, contribute to their being witnesses of the prosperity, both of their country and their descendants, during a long course of years. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion, and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel : in which concluding part of this most pleasing view even of the present condition of religious and virtuous persons, we have it signified to us,

I. That a large portion of their happiness consists in the flourishing state of their country.

II. That this happiness is greatly increased by a prospect, that their own posterity will continue to flourish with it.

III. That both these things depend on, and are to to be expected from, the divine benediction.

I. That a large portion of their happiness consists in the flourishing state of their country.

Every thing hath an influence on our enjoyments, in proportion to the share which it hath in our affections. And affection to the public never fails to be remarkably strong in worthy breasts. The complete character indeed of social virtue, if considered in theory, is good will towards all men.

And no concern for a part deserves praise, if it be inconsistent with benevolence to the whole. But the whole, even of this earth, is an object so vast, that few, if any, can preserve in their minds a fixed regard to it, or entertain the smallest hope of doing it service. Therefore mankind is advantageously divided into many particular societies. And a zeal in the members of each

a for the benfit of their own, deserves not only to be encouraged as a most useful quality, but honoured, as a most laudable one. It shews a rightness and greatness of mind, capable of being affected by a common interest: it shews the most amiable of virtues, love, towards a large part of our fellow-creatures, and implies nothing contrary towards the rest. For the real good of every people in the world is compatible with the real good of every other. To rule and to oppress is no good to any : and peace and liberty and friendly intercourse for mutual convenience all the nations of the earth may enjoy at once. The happiness of individuals, (we experience it) depends, not on rising above others, but on being easy and well within themselves, and reasonably secure of continuing so. In like manner the happiness of kingdoms and states depends, not on extended dominion or superfluity of wealth, (whence often proceeds every kind of evil) but on inward good order and outward safety. These things we may and must rejoice to see our country possess : and these are the only things, which the love of it requires us to have at heart.

This virtue indeed, as well as others, hath been frequently misunderstood : and false appearances of it unhappily pursued. Yet even then so much rightness of intention towards their own community was mixed in the minds of men with wrong behaviour towards

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