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retirement of your closets; when you are alone; when no eye but God's can see you; when you think upon
the days that are past, and upon the prospects that lie before. And oh! if in these solemn investigations, you find your spirits sink, your bosoms heave, and your hearts misgive you; if you hear the often unheeded voice of conscience whisper in the secret recesses of your souls, that this is not happiness, or the way to happiness; may these moments of solemn reflection be blessed and sanctified; may your sorrow be turned into joy; may you lay hold on the mercies of the Gospel; may you turn to him, through whom alone we have access unto the Father; may you seek and find that happiness in God, which God alone can give.
Ecclesiastes vii. 13, 14.
« CONSIDER THE WORK OF GOD: FOR WHO CAN MAKE THAT
STRAIGHT WHICH HE HATH MADE CROOKED? IN THE DAY OF PROSPERITY BE JOYFUL, BUT IN THE DAY OF ADVERSITY CONSIDER: GOD ALSO HATH SET THE ONE AGAINST THE OTHER, TO THE END THAT MAN SHOULD FIND NOTHING AFTER HIM.”
The writings of Solomon, are an invaluable depository of divine truth—and have, ever since they were penned, afforded salutary counsel to the Church of God. They display in glowing colours the littleness of man, and the majesty of Jehovah; the vanity, of all earthly things, and the inestimable worth of " the wisdom that is from above;" the folly which marks the pursuits of human beings, sunk by sin into a low state of degradation, and the unsearchableness of the judgments of him who “ordereth all things according to the counsel of his own will”-and “giveth not account of any of his matters.” Job xxxiii. 13. In these writings we have not only the language of inspiration upon the subjects referred to, but that language uttered by a man who “saw all the works that are done under the sun," 1.14, and has left the result of his experience upon record in those memorable words, which the thoughtless and profane would do well to consider: “ behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” 1. 14. If this world were capable of affording peace and happiness to the restless and unsatisfied mind of man, Solomon would have enjoyed these blessings, when he “kept not from his eyes whatsoever they desired,” and “ withheld not his heart from any joy,” 1. 10.But the world was to him, what it must ever be to all who place their hopes upon it, a “ broken cistern"-a well without water-a cloud without rain. God said to man, when by a glaring act of disobedience he threw off that mild restraint, which was destined to be a test of his love and an earnest of his security, “ cursed is the ground for thy sake”—but is the curse confined to the ground ? Is it only in the thorns and thistles which grow out of the earth when left without culture, that we can behold the blast of the Lord's displeasure ? Our contemplation may take a far wider range, and entering into the recesses of man's heart,
survey the miseries of fallen nature, in its complete alienation from God, and in the tyranny exercised by sin over every feeling of it. The curse has extended there also, the love of God has been supplanted by the love of self; the soul which will exist through all eternity, and is capable of being “ filled with all the fullness of God," Eph. iii. 19—has its desires chained to earth and bounded by time-so that we can readily trace the accuracy of the description given in the 9th ch. 3 v. “ the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live; and after that they go to the dead.” !!
We ought not to be surprised, that a being possessing an heart which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, should forget the end of his existence-should sport upon the brink of destruction should pervert the blessings of Providence, and make light of the blessings of grace-should with a strange infatuation, make both prosperity and adversity minister to his misery, and should hope to improve his condition either by endeavouring to prove that there is no God, or that he does not exercise a control over the minor works of creation. There are not in nature two things more different, than true wisdom and its counterfeit: the one puffs up; the other humbles ;