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called.“ Preparation for the Holy Sacrament is laid down, shewing how many acts of piety and devotion are to be performed in order to a worthy participation. Most of them furnish the devout reader with prayers to be said by him the week before the Sacrament : and in order to qualify him the better, a list of the different heads of the process of self-examination is given, as a rule by which he is to measure his qualifications, to know whether they be sufficiently numerous to counterbalance the fins he has committed.
But those who are thus qualified, and excel others in worthiness and piety have no business with this ordinànce. It was ordained only for the use of those, who, conscious of no one good qualification of
any kind whatever about themselves to recommend them unto God, declare by partaking of the bread and wine, that all their hopes are founded in the atonement of Christ, and in that alone. For Christ's salvation is not for the WORTHY but the WORTHLESS : He came not to call the RIGHTEOUS but SINNERS to repentance.
THOUGHTS upon Men's Endeavours after
HAPPINESS, as but so many EFFORTS to banish REFLECTION.
MANKIND', without just views of religion, having no infallible remedy against ignorance, misery, and death, imagine that some respite, fome Thelter at least may be found, by agreeing to banish these from their meditation. This is
the only comfort they have been able to invent, under their numerous calamities. But a most miserable comfort it proves; because it does not tend to the removal of these evils, but only to the concealment of them for a short season; and because in thus concealing them, it leads us to set aside such means as alone are proper to remove them. Thus man's recreation, which he seems to prize as his sovereign good, is indeed his greatest evil ; because it is of all things the most effectual in making him negligent under his diftemper. And his situation and conduct in this refpect are admirable proofs, as of his present corruption and misery, so of his original greatness and dignity. For the reason why he grows sick and weary of every object, and engages in such a multitude of pursuits, is because he still retains an idea of his lost happiness; which not finding within himself, he seeks through the whole circle of external things; but he always seeks without fuccefs, because it is indeed to be found, not in the creatures, but in God alone.
Man must be confessed to be so very unfortunate, as that without any external cause of trouble, he would ever regret, and bemoan the very condition of his own nature; and yet to be, at. the same time, so very fantastical, that while he is full of a thousand inward and essential subjects of grief, the least outward trifle is sufficient to divert him. Infomuch that, upon impartial consideration, his case seems more to be lamented in that he is capable of receiving pleasure from things so low and frivolous, than in that he is so immoderately afflicted with his own real iniseries; and his diversion appears infinitely lefs reasonable than his difquiet. As long as you can engage him in fome diversion, so long you I 2
make him happy: but 'tis with a false and imaginary happiness, not arising from the poffefsion of any real and solid good, but from a levity of Spirit, by which he loses the memory of his substantial woes, amidst the entertainments of mean and ridiculous objects, unworthy of his application, more unworthy of his love. 'Tis the joy of a man in a fever, or a phrensy; resulting not from the regular motion, but from the distemper and discomposure of his mind. 'Tis a mere sport of folly and delusion : nor is there any thing more surprising in human life, than to observe the insignificancy of those things which divert and please us. 'Tis true, by thus keeping our mind always employed, they shield it from the confideration of real evils; but then they make it utterly cheat itself by doating on a fantastic object of delight.
Whence comes it to pass, that men are transported to such a degree with gaming, hunting, or other diversions, which seem to have taken an absolute poffeffion of their souls ? Not because there is any real and intrinsic good to be obtained by these pursuits : not because they imagine that true happiness is to be found in the money which they win at play, or in the beast which they run down in the chase. For should you present them before hand with both thefe, to save their trouble, they would be unanimous in rejecting the proposal. It is not the gentle and easy part which they are fond of, such as may give them leisure and space for thought : but the heat and the hurry, which divert them from the mortification of thinking. And if we examine all the diversions which constitute the happiness of men of this world, we shall find them alike mean and vile, and false and deceit
ful. They are in love with inere airy shapes and phantoms; such as must be incapable of poffeffing the heart of man, had he not lost the taste and perception of real good, and were he not filled with baseness, and levity, and pride, together with all those his other sinful pafsions, which can no way relieve him under his present miseries, but by creating others, which are still more dangerous, in being more fubftantial. For these are the things which chiefly bar him from his own thoughts, and teach him to give new wings to his time, and yet to remain insensible of its flight. So, while they amuse and beguile him, and are called his diversions, they in conclufion lead him down blindfold into his grave.
We have feen the utmost that human inven.. tion can do, in projecting for human happiness and all the efforts to this purpose serve but to fhew, that those who look not beyond themselves, and rise not above the principles of mere nature, can never undergo the lingering torment of leisure, without falling into the depths of chagrin and discontent. Thus it happens that he who loves nothing but his own person, hates nothing so much as his own conversation. He feeks nothing but himself, and yet flies and avoids nothing more than himself: because when he is obliged to look within, he does not see himself such as he could with : discovering only a hidden store of inevitable miseries, and a mighty void of all real and solid good, which it is bem. yond his ability to replenish.
It is then one of the miracles of Christianity, that by reconciling to God, the, in a certain fenfe, reconciles her fons to themselves; not by throwing any cloke upon their wretchedness, but by at once revealing to them its true cause, and
its effectual remedy, so that they are emboldened to look ftedfastly at their real condition; and are no longer employed in seeking peace from the vain pleasures of this world, but defire to enjoy it where it has been procured for themin the bofom of their redeeming God.
SERMON, preached before the Members of
the Association for discountenancing Vice, &c. in St. PetER'S CHURCH, on Thursday, 27th January, 1803, by the
by the Rev. JOHN JEBB, A. M.
(Concluded from page 144.) We concluded our last number with a few remarks on Mr. Jebb's account of the moral condition of the Gentile world, at the period of the first promulgation of the Gospel. Let us now endeavour to discover the view in which it was beheld by the unerring Judge of the human character. Fortunately we can have no difficulty in learning his sentiments on this subject; if we will condescend to have our opinions regulated by the faithful transcript of his wisdom.
Thus speaks the rapt Isaiah of this very period, Arise, phine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is rifen upon thee. For behold! the DARKNESS Mall cover the earth, and GROSS DARK