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the hand of Death should surprise him, what an awful consideration is laid before him in the text, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?.

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ON THE FOLLY OF WORLDLY PURSUITS, WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR EFFECTS UPON

OUR PRESENT HAPPINESS.

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What fruit had ye then in those things, whereof ye are now

ashamed?

In the preceding discourse we took, as the subject of our consideration, the very important question, asked by our Saviour, " What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?”

In this question every thing is conceded to the sinner; he is met upon the most favourable ground, upon which he can be placed. The question meets him upon

the admission, that he finds all pleasure, and all prosperity in this life; yet, granting all this, he is asked, What it shall profit him, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

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This, I am fully aware, is the great basis of human obedience; the ultimate consequence of present conduct is the point, to which we are always to look; salvation is to be the object of our pursuits and hopes; we must act with the intention of pleasing God, not pleasing ourselves; eternal happiness and not present expediency must be the ruling motive of

our actions.

But though not our chief inducement to forsake sin, yet it may operate as a useful auxiliary to the above motive, if we can establish in our minds a conviction, and preserve a lively sense, that while, by walking in the ways of sin, we lose our immortal souls, we, at the same time, diminish our chances of enjoying even present happiness. We are justified in employing this consideration as a secondary motive to divert us from wickedness, and to encourage our perseverance in virtue. For the Scriptures themselves set us the example of thus employing it. They frequently, not only denounce the ultimately fatal consequences of sin, but also expose the absolute folly of it even with respect to this world; the "fool" and the sinner are used as synonimous terms.

St. Paul, too, in the text adopts the same argument. He boldly appeals to the judg

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ment of his converts, who had made the experiment of both sin and holiness. have yielded your members," said he, “ servants tò uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye

then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ?"

Bearing then in mind our Saviour's question, let us now proceed to examine and apply that of St. Paul. Let every reflecting man fairly consider sin ; let him impartially, whi: thersoever his experience or his observation has extended, notice its immediate conser quences; and he will find that though sin, if it gained the whole world, could not com pensate him for the loss of his soul ; yet it does in fact lose the world, as well as his soul : it loses present peace, as well as eternal happiness. We may boldly appeal to every sinner, in the language of our Apostle, and ask, “ What fruit had ye in those things?

Reason, with which man alone, of all the inhabitants of the earth is endued, and which is so apt to excitę his pride, almost ceases to confer upon

him any distinction, when he cannot make a right use of it in the discernment of truth and real happiness. The children of

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this world, the votaries of pleasure, the followers of passion and interest, usually pique themselves upon their superior wisdom, and freedom from prejudice. They affect to pity or to ridicule the forbearance and self-denial of the religious, as austere and fanatical restrictions upon our natural liberty, as a mo

a rose refusal of the pleasures, which the bounteous hand of the Creator sets before us.si,

But ridicule is neither proof nor argument. If there be any truth in Scripture, these persons, however wise in their own conceits, are selling their souls, for which the whole world cannot compensate them. And for what are they selling them?

For pleasures and advantages actually far inferior to those which, in the ordinary course of things, are to be attained by obeying the precepts, and living in the spirit of the Gospel. Would they but impartially, and attentively consider the question of our text, they would discover that Esau's folly, in selling his birthright for a mess of pottage, was infinitely less preposterous than their own, who listen to the importunity of their appetites, and, for its transient gratification, relinquish both present and future advantages.

Let us,observe. What fruit have they? The sensualist, the intemperate, the votary

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