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the different conditions of life, we find the same principle of compensation every where operating. The apparent hardship of straitened circumstances is frequently recompensed by the temperance which they enjoin, and the health which follows as their ordinary consequence : while many a rich man, amidst his apparent enjoyment, sighs for the occupation of those, who are compelled to employ their minds; and the robust constitution of him, whose body is invigorated by labour. The Patriot finds some compensation for his unrequited services amidst the general approbation of the wise and good ; and the Poet looks for a requital, amidst the neglect of his contemporaries, in the anticipated applause of posterity.
Again; the pain and the suffering, occasioned by accident or disease, are softened and almost obliterated in consequence of the care and tenderness applied by that sympathetic feeling, which is implanted in our very nature. Deformity, or other natural defect, is frequently accompanied by unusual serenity of mind, or sweetness of temper; as the loss of one organ of sensation has been known to invigorate another. In short, there is scarcely any evil, incident to life, but what may be in some cases greatly abated, and in others entirely removed, by a vigorous effort of patience or the soothing consolations of Religion.' , vi
For, lastly, in order to complete our argument, it is incumbent upon us to shew,
That i whatever portion of evil may not admit of full compensation here below; yet, in the state of existence beyond this, every apparent evil will be
removed, and every seeming disadvantage adequately and duly recompensed.
Of wisdom and goodness there are abundant proofs in the works of the Almighty, even when we confine our view to the present uncertain scene of things. Yet must it be admitted, that there do appear some marks of imperfection; some traces of what might, we trust, not irreverently be called, an unfinished plan. Such were observed, and observed with painful despondency, by the Sages of old; who, however wise and however eager to discover Divine truths, yet were not blessed by beholding the brilliancy of that day-star, who rose with healing in his wings; and who came into the world for the express purpose of bringing life and immortality to light. The Sages of old say many indications of confusion, for which they could not account. Like David, “ they were envious at the foolish, when they saw the prosperity of the wicked.” They observed, that they “were not in trouble as other men"; and were but too ready to exclaim; “ Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world : they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued ; and chastened every morning.""
It must be owned that the success, which not unfrequently attends the schemes of the worldly and selfish man ; the mischiefs occasioned by an unprincipled adventurer, who thrives on the fruits of his audacity; while the worthy and the good pine in obscurity, languish under neglect, and sink under affliction; these facts, in the moral world, would surprise and even confound any one, who undertook the vindication of all the methods of Divine government, without referring to a future state. But the instant that doctrine is revealed, and that truth acknowledged; every difficulty, connected with the dispensations of the Most High, at once ceases ; every mystery, arising from seeming inequalities here below, is at once cleared up; and if it be an indispensable part of the plan, to be pursued for our moral improvement here, that some should “ sow in tears”; yet, in the disposition of the Heavenly counsels, by the revelation of a future state of final retribution, it is clearly ascertained that they will
a Ps. lxxiii,
reap in joy."! ;" He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearings precious - seed, shall doubtless 'come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” That is ; «That virtuous and good man who, in the present life, for the purposes of his probation, has been exposed to severe afflictions, and yet has preserved the innocency of his heart and displayed resignation to - his Maker; those inestimable fruits of an holy faith
and the precious seed of an heavenly harvest ; shall
his present sorrows are ended, appear with joy in the presence of our Saviour and His angels, and be rewarded with a crown of everlasting glory.”- What a consideration is this, my brethren, for the humble and pious Christian ! What an incentive for him to persevere in his goodly course of industry and sobriety; of peaceableness and kindness; of purity and integrity; of contentment amidst the
pressure of worldly difficulties ; of patience amidst the burthen of severe afflictions! Has he lived poor? He will be made rich. Has he been afflicted ? He will have cause to rejoice. Has he been calumniated ? His character will be cleared and exalted. Has he been oppressed ? He will have the glorious opportunity of pardoning, and interceding for, his oppressor. Has his care been repaid with neglect, his kindness returned with ingratitude ? Every good intention, as well as every good act, is attested by the recording angel in the unerring volume above. Has he, by the rude hand of Death, been" torn from objects of fond affection upon earth ? United to them he will again be in Heaven. Has he, in fine, sown at any time in tears? It is the wise appointment of Providence, and the ultimate destination of man, that all such shall reap in joy.
NEITHER THE STRENGTH, NOR THE WIT, OF MAN
1 Cor. 1. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. WHERE IS THB Wise? WHERE IS THE SCRIBE? WHERE IS THE ! DISPUTER OF THIS WORLD? HATH NOT GOD MADE FOOLISH
WISDOM OF THIS WORLD?-FOR AFTER THAT THE WORLD BY WISDOM KNEW NOT GOD, IT PLEASED GOD BY THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING, TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE. FOR THE JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, AND THE GREEKS SEEK AFTER WISDOM : BUT WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED, UNTO THE JEWS A STUMBLING-BLOCK, AND UNTO THE GREEKS FOOLISHNESS: BUT UNTO THEM WHICH ARE CALLED-BOTH JEWS, AND GREEKS,—CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD, AND THE WISDOM OF GOD.
This animated and striking passage may be regarded in the light both of an argument, and a prediction. Considered as an argument, it points out the Divine origin of a religion, which prevailed against the wisdom of the world, without any
human authority to assist it in its course: as a prediction, it confidently asserts the final triumph of a system which, according to the ordinary operation of human causes, could not have been established. Taken in either point of view, we derive from it a very strong and interesting proof of the truth of Christianity. I shall therefore endeavour to illustrate this proof, as