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life, and laid out on the interests of eternity. A day that is spent in considering our obligations to God, in thanking him for his favours, confessing our unworthiness, and imploring his forgiveness; in short, a day spent in a way so admirably adapted to instruct the ignorant, to reclaim the bad, to strengthen the good, to honour God, and to make ourselves happy; such a day must, to him who loves God and man, be the most joyful day of the whole week.
On this account too, the man who loves God, will fee a church in quite another light, and with sentiments happily different from those of the man who loves him not. To the latter, prayers, psalms and sermons, have always been wearisome; and, as it is in the church that he has been accustomed to do such penance, he insensibly contracts a dislike to it, and comes at
last to view it with sentiments such as those with which an idle boy regards his school-house.
But the pious man, considering the church as the place where people meet to honor the God whom he delights to honor, to learn and love that goodness which he fees to be so essential to the happiness of the world, such a man regards the church as the most beautiful and lovely building in the world; and the view of it gives him a more sincere pleasure than that which others feel in viewing the places of their most favourite amusement.
"How amiable are thy tabernacles; O God of hosts; how pleasant is the place where thine honor dwellethP'
But if gratitude, when exerted from man to man, produces so much pleasure, it must exalt the soul to rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude, on this infinitely beneficent cent being, who has given us every thing ,we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for. When a good man looks around him on this vast world, where beauty and goodness are reflected from every object, and where he beholds millions of creatures in their different ranks, enjoying the blessings of existence, he looks up to the universal Father, and his heart glows within him. And in every comfort which sweetens his own life, he discerns the fame indulgent hand. Is he blest with tender parents, or with generous friends who press him with their kindness? Is he happy in his family rising around him, in the wife who loves him, or in the children who give him comfort and joy? In all these pleasing enjoyments, in all these beloved objects he recognizes the hand of God. Every smile of love, every act of tenderness is an effect of
his goodness. By him was kindled every spark of friendship that ever glowed on earth, and therefore to him it justly returns laden with the purest incense of gratitude. Has God prepared a table for him, and caused his cup to overflow? Instead of ascribing it to the policy of his own councils, or to the strength of his own arm, he gives the praise to him alone, who strews the earth with good things for man, and teaches him wisdom to improve and convert them to his own use.
Thus it is that gratitude prepares a good man for the enjoyment of prosperity; for not only has he as full a relish as. others of the innocent pleasures of life, but, moreover, in these he holds communion with God. In all that is good or, fair, he traces his hand. From the beauties of nature, from the improvements of art, from the blessings of public or private life, he raises his affections to the
great fountain of all the happiness which surrounds him, and thus widens the sphere of his enjoyments, by adding to the pleasures of sense, the far more exquisite joys of the heart.
But divine love adds greatly to our happiness, not only by giving a fresh flavour to the sweets of prosperity; but by correcting in an eminent degree, the bitterness of adversity.
As in times of prosperity, among perhaps a few real friends, many pretended ones intrude themselves, who in the hour of distress are quickly dispersed and know us no more; so in those times also, many false and pretended joys court the affections and gain the heart of inconsiderate man. But, when calamity comes, those vain joys immediately discover their deceitful nature, desert the astonished man in his greatest need, and leave him a prey to shame, sorrow and remorse. T Adversity