ing, as is best for me, the means which I shall use for the cure of the disease with which I am now afflicted. Increase my patience, teach me submission to thy will, and so rule my thoughts and direct my actions, that I may be finally received to everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

On the Study of Religion.

ALMIGHTY GOD, our heavenly Father, without whose help labour is useless, without whose light search is vain, invigorate my studies, and direct my inquiries, that I may, by due diligence and right discernment, establish myself and others in thy Holy Faith. Take not, O Lord, thy Holy Spirit from me; let not evil thoughts have dominion in my mind. Let me not linger in ignorance, but enlighten and support me, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O LORD GOD, in whose hand are the wills and affections of men, kindle in my mind holy desires, and repress sinful and corrupt imaginations; enable me to love thy commandments, and to desire thy promises; let me, by thy protection and influence, so pass through things temporal, as finally not to lose the things eternal; and among the hopes and fears, the pleasures and sorrows, the dangers and deliverances, and all the changes of this life, let my heart be surely fixed, by the help of thy Holy Spirit, on the everlasting fruition of thy presence, where true joys are to be found. Grant, O Lord, these petitions. Forgive, O merciful Lord, whatever I have done contrary to thy laws. Give me such a sense of my wickedness as may produce true contrition and effectual repentance, so that when I shall be called into another state, I may be received among the sinners to whom sorrow and reformation have obtained pardon, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, whose clemency I now presume to implore, after a long life of carelessness

and wickedness, have mercy upon me. I have committed many trespasses; I have neglected many duties. I have done what Thou hast forbidden, and left undone what Thou hast commanded. Forgive, merciful Lord, my sins, negligences, and ignorances, and enable me, by thy Holy Spirit, to amend my life, according to thy Holy Word, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

O MERCIFUL GOD, full of compassion, long-suffering, and of great pity, who sparest when we deserve punishment, and in thy wrath thinkest upon mercy; make me earnestly to repent, and heartily to be sorry for all my misdoings; make the remembrance so burdensome and painful, that I may flee to Thee with a troubled spirit and a contrite heart; and, O merciful Lord, visit, comfort, and relieve me; cast me not out from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me, but excite in me true repentance; give me in this world knowledge of thy truth, and confidence in thy mercy, and in the world to come, life everlasting, for the sake of our Lord and Saviour, thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.


Imploring Diligence.

O GOD, make me to remember that the night cometh when no man can work.

[blocks in formation]


There are twenty-five Sermons attributed to Dr. Johnson: of these we subjoin Sermon X. Sermon XXII. and Sermon XXV., being more than any other Edition of his Works contains.


Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap.—GALATIANS, vi. 7. ONE of the mighty blessings bestowed upon us by the Christian revelation, is, that we have now a certain knowledge of a future state, and of the rewards and punishments that await us after death, and will be adjusted according to our conduct in this world. We, on whom the light of the gospel shines, walk no longer in darkness, doubtful of the benefit of good, or the danger of bad actions; we know, that we live and act under the eye of our Father and our Judge, by whom nothing is overlooked or forgotten, and who, though to try our obedience he suffers, in the present state of things, the same events to happen to the good and to the evil, will at last certainly distinguish them, by allotting them different conditions beyond the grave; when it will appear, in the sight of men and of angels, how amiable is godliness, and how odious is sin; by the final sentence, which shall bring upon man the consequences of his own actions, so as, that whatsoever a man shall sow, that shall he reap.

The ancient heathens, with whose notions we are acquainted, how far soever they might have carried their speculations of moral or civil wisdom, had no conception of a future state, except idle fictions, which those who considered them treated as ridiculous; or dark conjectures, formed by men of deep thoughts and great inquiry, but

neither, in themselves, capable of compelling conviction, nor brought at all to the knowledge of the gross of mankind, of those who lived in pleasure and idleness, or in solitude and labour; they were confined to the closet of the student, or the school of the lecturer, and were very little diffused among the busy or the vulgar.

There is no reason to wonder, that many enormities them. should prevail where there was nothing to oppose When we consider the various and perpetual temptations of appetite within, and interest without; when we see, that on every side there is something that solicits the desires, and which cannot be innocently obtained; what can we then expect, but that, notwithstanding all the securities of the law, and all the vigilance of magistrates, those that know of no other world will eagerly make the most of this, and please themselves whenever they can, with very little regard to the right of others?

As the state of the heathens was a state of darkness, it must have been a state likewise, of disorder; a state of perpetual contest for the goods of this life, and by consequence of perpetual danger to those who abounded, and of temptation to those that were in want.

The Jews enjoyed a very ample communication of the divine will, and had a religion which an inspired legislator had prescribed. But even to this nation, the only nation free from idolatry, and acquainted with the perfections of the true God, was the doctrine of a future state so obscurely revealed, that it was not necessarily consequential to the reception, or observation, of their practical religion. The Sadducees who acknowledged the authority of the Mosaical law, yet denied the separate existence of the soulhad no expectation of a future state. They held that there was no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit.

This was not in those times the general state of the Jewish nation; the Pharisees held the resurrection, and with them probably far the greater part of the people; but that any man could be a Jew, and yet deny a future state, is a sufficient proof that it had not yet been clearly revealed,

and that it was reserved for the preachers of Christianity to bring life and immortality to light. In such a degree of light they are now placed, that they can be denied or doubted no longer, but as the Gospel, that shews them, is doubted or denied. It is now certain that we are here, not in our total, nor in our ultimate existence, but in a state of exercise and probation, commanded to qualify ourselves, by pure hearts and virtuous actions, for the enjoyment of future felicity in the presence of God; and prohibited to break the laws which his wisdom has given us, under the penal sanction of banishment from heaven into regions of misery.

Yet, notwithstanding the express declaration of our Saviour, and the constant reference of our actions and duties to a future state, throughout the whole volume of the New Testament; there are yet, as in the apostles' time, men who are deceived, who act as if they thought God would be mocked or deluded, and who appear to forget, that whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.

From this important caution, 'given by the apostle immediately to those whom he was then directing, and consequently to all professors of the religion of Christ, occasion may be taken to consider,

First, how sinners are deceived.

Secondly, how certain it is, that God is not mocked. Thirdly, in what sense it is to be understood, that, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.

In examining, first, how sinners are deceived, it will immediately occur to us, that no man is deceived to his damnation, but by the devil himself. The subtleties of the devil are undoubtedly many; he has probably the power of presenting opportunities of sin, and at the same time of inflaming the passions, of suggesting evil desires, and interrupting holy meditations; but his power is so limited by the Governor of the universe, that he cannot hurt us without our own consent; his power is but like that of a wieked companion, who may solicit us to crimes or follies, but with whom we feel no necessity of complying; he

« ElőzőTovább »