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personal virtue, and an unfailing source of exquisite gratification. Under this conviction it may reasonably be expected, that they will adopt the most natural and efficacious means of forming and fixing these most important habits, which can only be formed, like other habits, by the frequent, regular repetition of voluntary acts. And in order to acquire an habitual and impressive sense of the character, presence, and government of God, it will be necessary to meditate attentively upon those phenomena of the natural and moral world, which exhibit the most striking evidences of these important truths, and which illustrate them in the most interesting manner; to study the scriptures, and especially those of the New Testament, and the glorious discoveries of the gospel, which brings life and immortality to light, and which opens to view the animating prospect of felicity, everlasting, and ever growing beyond the grave. And to this must be added, and let not the admonition be forgotten, the steady, regular, persevering attendance upon reli
gious worship, both private and social, whether in the closet, the family, or the temple of the living God. For let it be remembered, that habit will not grow without custom; that religion is a fixed habit, and not a temporary feeling; and that it must be generated as other habits are, by the constant use of the necessary means; by reading, meditation, and prayer. “ All these rules,” says an excellent writer, the acuteness and depth of whose philosophical research are only equalled by the sublimity and ardor of his piety; "all these rules are indeed of the nature of judicial rites and ceremonies. But let it be considered that they are indispensably necessary before we can arrive at Christian liberty; and be able to worship God in spirit and in truth; and indeed, in order to arrive thither, times, and forms, and rules of devotion, are as it were schoolmasters to bring us to the perfection of the Christian character.
Thus shall we gradually attain that powerful, inflexible habit of piety, which con
* Dr. Hartley
stitutes the highest and happiest state of man in the present life, which is the best principle of universal active benevolence, the purest source of consolation here, and the surest pledge of happiness hereafter.
THE CHARACTER AND DESTINY OF THE RIGH
TEOUS AND THE WICKED.
PSALM 1. v. 1-6. “ Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
“ But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
“ And he shall be like a tree planted by the riders of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
“ The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. “ Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the
judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
“ For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Of this beautiful ode the composition is most excellent. The sentiments are just and important; the language is elegant and impressive; and the imagery is simple, natural, and poetical.
The Psalm exhibits the character and present state of the righteous man; it briefly touches upon the opposite character and state of the wicked ; and it closes with announcing the final condition of both.
FIRST, The writer pronounces a blessing upon the pious and good man, whose character he here describes, v. 1, 2.
Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
1. The righteous man is he who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.
Wicked men are commonly disposed not only to follow the devices and desires of their own foolish and depraved hearts, but to solicit, to advise, and encourage others to pursue the same wrong and evil course. Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, (ch. i. 10.) describes the language and conduct of bad men, and warns his youthful readers against being seduced and led astray by them. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come