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sooner or later, will find the world to be a scene of disappointment. Some men find out this truth early. Others are many years in finding it out. And many never find it out at all, till at the close of life, it forces itself upon them. Happy is that man, who can learn this great truth at a cheaper rate than by suffering from it--who can be convinced before disappointment convinces him. Such a man is above the world. The world cannot hurt him. To him it is of no consequence, whether it flatters orfrowns.--And though it is the height of religion only, which can carry us thus far-much farther than the generality of people go, yet every endeavour is something; and, by the blessing of God, and holy hope in the joys of religion, we may arrive, by degrees, at greater attainments.
Then again, as to pride, it is certainly a most uneasy companion. The proud man never meets with that respect which he thinks his due. He has so high an opinion of himself, that all the respect you can pay him, falls short of what he thinks you fhould pay him, and all the deficiency becomes matter of distress. In short, no man can enjoy what he really is, when he thinks himself fomething more than he is. · Nor can any man enjoy
kimself, when he puts his happiness in the hands of others.
But perhaps example may be instructive in this point also. There is a story in Scripture strong to cur purpose. It is the story of Haman, contained in the book of Esther..
Haman was the next person in the kingdom of Persia to the king himself. Every thing that wealth and power could give, Haman poffefsed. But there was one thing, which, amidst all his poffessions, cruelly hurt him. It is true, he was a bad man, and wanted the joys of religion : but the joys of religion entered not into Hainan's ideas of happiness. That was not the matter. His happiness was all centered in the things of this world. He had them all; but yet still was unhappy. What then could be the cause of his unhappiness?
He was ashamed to tell. The text fays, he restrained himself; that is, he was alhamed, like other fools of the same kind, to let the world see his folly. But, when he got among his particular friends, the mighty secret came out. Mordecai, the Jew, had not paid him that reverence which he expected. Now, you can all see the folly of Haman, in suf
fering the happiness of his life to be thus disturbed by such a triling incident, as the want of a bow froin Mordecai the Jew. But yet the case is not so uncommon as to surprise us. There is some. thing in human nature that teacheth us all to be lieve, we are of more consequence than we really are. Hence arise a number of those little quarrels and disgusts, and offence taken at trifles, which we often see among people even in the lowest stations. Few of us have that nodest opinion of ourselves which we ought to have. There is nothing indeed so trifling, my good neighbours, which pride cannot turn into as ridiculous an offence, as the want of a bow from Mordecai the Jew.
Now poorness of spirit, which is recommended in the text, is the proper curè of all these evils. It renders us mild and gentle, and humble and contented. It is the very garb of a Christian—that wedding-garment, which every one of us must put on who attends his Lord.
Let us then close with the text-close with it in the fulness of our hearts—Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs" is the kingdom of heaven-It is theirs in every sense of the words. Their is peace and quietness on earth-theirs is that holy disposition, which is the foundation of every Christian virtue—theirs is all the happiness of this world; and all those joys which are pro, mised in the next.
W H AT our Saviour means by falt, is very
VV plain. As falt is a preservative against corruption, whatever corrects the wickedness of the world, may be called the salt of the earth. This is easy; but there is rather a difficulty in ascer. taining to whom the expression is applied. Some think Jesus spoke only to his immediate disciples; and in them, to the ministers of the Gospel. Others suppose, he addressed Christians in general. As all Christians, I conceive, may be of use to each other in correcting their several faults, I shall take the words in their more enlarged sense: and dividing mankind into higher and lower ranks, I shall first thew you how the former; and, secondly,