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“ all righ
Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." ?
The divine and holy Saviour, the example and the fulfiller of teousness," doth not now visibly walk on earth, neither doth he now audibly or personally work his miracles of beneficence and joyfulness; but we live“ to the praise of his glory,” “his glory is manifest,” his praise is advanced among men; whilst by the righteousness of our lives, by the purity of our conversation, and by our orderly conduct, we show and manifest to the world, that the ways of Christ's Gospel “ are ways of pleasantness,” and that cheerfulness doth of right belong to " a conscience void of offence towards God, and towards men."
If, my brethren, we duly remember, if we can find comfort in the thought, that in all our employments, and in all our pleasures, Jesus in his Spirit is ever present with us, surely we shall be watch
Rom. xiii. 13, 14.
ful, that our occupations and our relaxations from the severer cares of life offend not him, nor transgress that “ liberty wherewith Christ has made us free ;” but that they be according to the word and the commandment which teaches us to
deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”* When the apostle, as in the epistle to the Romans, exhorts us to “ be not conformed to this world,” his evident intention was to guard us against a sinful conformity, the following, as we may say,
a multitude to do evil.” Would we, my brethren, avoid sin, would we receive and enjoy with grateful hearts the
many gifts and blessings which a gracious Providence places before us, we must accustom ourselves to weigh well our actions, and to consider the nature and the tendency of our pleasures and enjoyments, trying them in the balance of almighty truth, and according to that
8 Titus ii. 12.
written word which hath been given for
a light unto our paths.” So shall we not be perplexed by groundless scruples on the one hand, nor tempted to overleap the bounds of prudence on the other under the specious plea of good fellowship, or the plausible excuse that there can be no harm in occasional mirth and recreation. Undoubtedly joyousness of heart, or a social meeting, is not to be forbidden, so long as the christian graces and duties of temperance and of moderation, and a christian fear of transgression, be conscientiously observed.
But better will it be for us wholly to abstain; better will it be for us religiously to abhor and renounce
even the taste of “ that which maketh glad the heart of man,” and altogether keep far away and for ever from the social board, than in the smallest degree to offend, or to cause others to offend, by running into the guilty excesses of riot and dissipation. There is harm, there is danger, and guilt, and con
demnation, for all those who are “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God,” who are not disposed to, and will not, deny to themselves any one worldly indulgence, anyone gratification, which their sensual and selfish hearts may covet and desire. Our chiefest meat and drink, our highest pleasure, our strongest and unwearied desire, ought to be to do the will of God, to "walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing;” to “abhor that which is evil, to cleave to that which is good ;" in short, so to live, so to work, so to enjoy ourselves, so“ to order our conversation aright,” that we may “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things;" and, in "simplicity and godly sincerity,” prove to the edification of others, and to our own everlasting peace, that “ the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” 2
2 Rom. xiv. 17.
THE EVILS OF DRUNKENNESS.
PROVERBS xxiii. 29–32.
“ Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath con.
tentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine, when it is red, when it giveth his colours in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth
like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” In these words of the wise and experienced Solomon there is a subject recommended to our attention, of manifest and great importance to the present peace and welfare of many in this congregation. And the answer, which the royal writer himself gives to the questioning read in the first verse of the text, no one can