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insensibility. It is not because they feel
situation of human misery, this species of despondency is particularly to be avoided; and that its groundlessness and unworthiness may appear,
it may perhaps be useful to examine, somewhat more minutely, those different instances of affliction at which I have hinted.
I. There is not, perhaps, an affliction which, at first sight, appears more grievous than the fall from affluence to po
verty; and, as is often the case in the storms of commercial adventure, there is none which may occur more suddenly, or which strikes a greater horror into the surrounding spectators. It is grievous, no doubt, for him who has long enjoyed the luxuries of life, to accommodate himself to its wants and its hardships : it is more grievous to bring down that pride of the heart, which has loved distinction, and which cannot bear to lose it: it is more afflicting still, to a good mind, to see the objects of its dearest affections and hopes foregoing all their fairest prospects in society, and, instead of that independence which seemed to be their lot, encountering the labours of a lower station.
There is no one possessed of the feelings of a man, who will not sympathize deeply with those who are subjected to such sufferings ; but it is not suffering only that we see upon these occasions
it is not uncommonly despair. Under the heavy blow of adversity, the heart too often closes even to those feelings which bind it to existence; and it is against this darkness of the soul, which is frequently followed by such melancholy results, that Religion raises her voice, and cries aloud to those who are trembling amidst the storms of Fortune, “ Why are ye so fear“ ful? How is it that ye have no faith ?" Suffer for a moment the waves of fate to dash over you,-yet fear not that your happiness will be wrecked for ever. There is One watching over it, and sitting near you, who, if you will await his rising, will rebuke the winds and the sea, and restore a calm greater than that which you have lost ; not, perhaps, the deceitful calm of prosperity, but the enduring calm of a virtuous and religious mind. From the bosom of your gathering misfortunes will spring virtues which you have never known; and, instead of fortune, you will leave to your children the example of wisdom, moderation, and piety.
It is not, indeed, too much to say, my brethren, that the hour in which the rich man has fallen into poverty, he has often had afterwards occasion to consider as the hour which brought him his greatest blessings,-as the hour which has made him acquainted with himself, and with what is truly valuable in human existence,--as the hour which, in the rough but salutary school of adversity, has given to himself and to his family that serious cast of thought, and that manly firmness of character, which would otherwise, perhaps, have been utterly destroyed and dissipated amidst the follies and the littleness of the world!
II. There are, however, evils of another description, from which even the most
prosperous are not exempt, and which often, indeed, seem to fix their sting, with more than common malignity, in the breasts of those
whom the sunshine of Fortune smiles. There are minds, too, firm against all the attacks of adversity, which yet sink under every wound given to their hearts, and which, when Death unlooses the bonds of love that are wound around them, seem to themselves to be cut off from all the props of their being. There is a principle of affection and of sensibility in such characters, which is, no doubt, highly interesting ; but when they obstinately persist in thinking, that with the ties of mortal connection all their happiness is dissolved for ever, it is time for the voice of Religion to be heard,
Why are ye so fearful ? How is it that ye
have no faith?” Who was it that knit these bonds of love, on which the blessing of your existence has hitherto