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gaged in the Divine Service ; and our whole Life will ascend up to Heaven, as a Sacrifice of a sweet-smelling Savour.

THERE is not à Pallion of the Soul, à Temper of Mind, cr Function of Body, which may not be improved into a Duty, and consequently which may not promote our eternal Happiness : And such is the Power of the Gospel; that those, which to an irregenerate Man, are only Tempers and Habits, do, by the blessed Influences of the Holy Spirit upon him who is a new Creature, become Christian Virtues and Graces. Faith, Hope and Charity, e.g. siniply considered in themselves, are the one, an Habit of the Understanding, the other two, Passions of the Soul: But when refined and exalted under the Gospel, directed to propeř Obje&s, and regulated by Religious Views, they pass into the three Virtues, which are, by way of Emi. nence, call'd the Theological Virtues, and make up the three most necessary and Divine Graces of a Chriftian Life.

Thu's it is that Religion does not destroy Nature, but exalts it ; does not alter Mens Faculties, but improves them : It is even Nature itself cultivated by right Reafón, restored and purified by Gospel. Grace. Nature prompts us to pursue our Happiness in general; Religion binds it upon us as a Duty, to pursue that particular sort of Happiness, which it is Man's highest Interest to aspire after : Nature necessarily breaks forth into soy, when its Pursuits after Happiness meet with Success; Religion commands us to make God the Object, as of our Happiness, so of our Joy; Rejoice in the Lord, faith the Apoftle : Nature seems always ready to fall in with so delectable a Passion, but is much at a loss for Matter to exercise it upon ; Religion proposes God to us, as a never-failing Source of substantial Rejoicings : Rejoice in the Lord always, faith the Apostle, and again, I say, rejoice.

This Precept was given to the Philippians at a Time, when the Church of God laboured under Perfecution. And if in the Midst of Dangers and Difficulties, we are commanded to possess our Souls of the calm Composure of secure Innocence : If in the Midft of worldly Vol. I.

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Calamities, it be our Duty to rejoice, and Religion be able to furnish out Matter for our continual Rejoicings; How much nore does it become our Duty, how much more ready ought we to be, to exercise this delightful Passion, when such Trials and Calamities are removed far from us ; when no other Difficulties and Afflictions

than what are common to Man ?

Ir snail be the Business of this Difcourse, to set forth and inculcate the Precept now before us, by considering,

fall upon us,

I. WHAT that Rejoicing in the Lord

is, which we are here commanded

to exercise.
II. The Duty and Advantages of it :

And,
III. The Means of rendering us capa-

ble of performing it.

1. Then let us consider, what that Rejoicing in the Lord is, which we are here commanded to exercise.

It is the being of a regular Evenness of Temper 's a chearful Frame of Spirit ;

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a settled Complaisancy of Mind ; The finding Comfort, and taking Delight in every Condition of Life ; The looking up to God with the Gratitude of Praise and Thanksgiving for every Dispensation of bis Providence ; The making the Satisfactions of Religion our chief Delight, and applying all the various Occurrences of human Life, to our present Comfort and future Welfare.

Thus then, Religious Joy is not a transient Exertion of that Passion, but an habitual Chearfulness of Mind ; It does not bubble up in the Aashy Transports of Mirth, but smooths over Life with a conftant Serenity : Not that Religion is without its Transports, it even abounds with them ; Vigorous and Pious Contemplations on the Divine Perfections and the Joys of Eternity, will raise in us Ecstasies of Delight : And this Difference will always be found between worldly and religious Transports; The former naturally fall off into Dejection and Melancholy ; But A&s of Religious Transports, fupply fresh Springs of Comfort and Satiffaction to us, and make the Streamis of

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Our

our habitual Rejoicings flow on niore clearly, more strongly, more copioufly.

IT must indeed be confessed, that this World is a Place, as of imperfect Happiness, fo of imperfect Joy : The most serene and calm Condition of Life, meets with the gloomy and ruffling Storms of many Afflictions ; and it is impossible in the Midst of outward Uneasiness, to preserve a perfect Composure within. But we shall come up to this Precept of rejoicing always ; when our Joy is subftantial, tho' not compleat ; when it is predominant, tho' not unallay'd : When none of the Storms of Life are raised within our own Breasts ; none of them suffered to rage and grow tumultuous there : When the Soul has a controuling Power, in frequently preventing those Disorders which might otherwise arise there, in lessening and becalming those that do: When Religion affords us certain Pleasures ; This World only accidental ones ; to be received with thankful Indifference, to be parted from with chearful Resignation : When we are easy and contented, though not equally so, under

outward

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