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SERM. we miss likewise the influence of good ex
Besides, one who fancies himself out of the reach of danger, as the retired man is apt to do, gives himself up to security; and too frequently loses his integrity, from being unapprehensive of an attack; while the vigilance of him who lives surrounded by temptation, is quickened by a sense of his peril; he sees the enemy always at hand, and therefore is always prepared to withstand him. Upon the whole then I conclude, that worldly employment and true religion may easily subsist together, and not only so, but that a life of activity and business is more favourable to virtue, and perhaps less liable to vice, than a life of solitude and seclusion. We must however take care that worldly hopes and fears do not gain the ascendancy in our minds; we may pursue with diligence, and enjoy with moderation, the happiness which this world
can bestow, where it does not interfere with SERM. our spiritual concerns; but where it does, it must without a moment's hesitation give place. Earthly occupations may engage, but they must not engross, our thoughts; they may have a share in our hearts, but let us not forget that our well-being through eternity demands that it should be a subordinate share only. There are likewise times when temporary retirement from the world will be extremely salutary, that we may review our past lives, and form resolutions for our future conduct; and the present approaching season of the sufferings and death of our blessed Saviour, which Christians of all ages seem to have dedicated to such purposes, appears to be peculiarly proper; but as much may be said on this subject, I shall reserve it for a future discourse,
ON THE NECESSITY OF TEMPORARY RETIRE
MENT AND ABSTRACTION,
PREACHED IN LENT,
PSALM iv. 4.
Commune with your own heart, and in your chamber, and be still.
IN a late discourse I endeavoured to shew SERM, the falsity and hurtful tendency of the notion, that religion and worldly business could not subsist together. I described to you the pernicious effects which this notion had on those who gave credit to it; that it had driven some to give themselves up en
SERM. tirely to the affairs of this world, while it had induced others altogether to forsake them; that the former had lived as if they were totally unconnected with God; the latter, as if they had nothing at all to do with mankind. The conduct of both of these, I observed, was far different from what sound reason pointed out; that the man who gave himself up to this world without any idea of another, certainly drew on himself everlasting punishment in the life to come, whilst he who, in the ardour of piety, was entirely unmindful of what he owed to his fellow creatures, debarred himself from exercising any Christian virtues at all, and could practise others but very imperfectly.
I concluded, on the whole, that a due attention to our earthly concerns, and the attainment of the kingdom of heaven, were very reconcileable, and that perfection of character consisted in a diligent discharge