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he loses it, he loses all he seeks for ; there is nothing left for him. A worldly-minded man commonly grows up under worldly parents; who set an unprofitable example in their own conduct, and place before the minds of their children no great and worthy objects : for it must be a very bad mind indeed that gives the preference to this world, when it has been taught the value of the other. And we have in this Ahithophel a man who was in no want of a capacity to learn; he was not ignorant for want of an understanding ; on the contrary, he had obtained the repute of great wisdom: The counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God. It is often found too true by experience, that persons of superior penetration and wis dom are of bad intentions: they see further than other men, and are under a temptation to turn their minds to the overreaching of others, and effecting mischief: their ability in accomplishing wickedness is a snare and a temptation to them: they find they can do it, and therefore are ready and willing to do it. The children of this world are wiser in their

generation than the children of light: they study causes and effects as to things of this life, and can conjecture what will be, and what will not be, with more precision than persons whose minds are employed upon higher things. If any man was at a loss in a difficult case, here was the man who could tell him how to act for the best ; he was like an oracle ; his judgment was never under a mistake : but he made a great mistake in one respect, as we may learn from his own case. We may suppose he would be as exact for himself, as for any other person : but when he calculated for himself, it appears, that he left God out of the question. Providence made no part of his plan. He

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VOL. IV.

considered with great sagacity how he was to act; but he never considered how God would act : and therefore all his wise designs must have been very defective. “I will act so and so," says the man of the world: but he never asks himself

, “how will God act?” The rich man said, “I shall want room for my stores; I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and then I can do as I please.” But the Gospel calls him a fool, for not considering that God might call him out of the world that night, and that then all his schemes of happiness and prosperity would die with him. Such is he who is wise without God; and such was this Abithophel. He had no regard either to the ways of God or the laws of God; for he advised Absalom to commit such horrible wickedness against his father's house as could never be forgiven, that the people might be sure there could never be a reconciliation between them, and thereby might be confirmed in their rebellion. All this he did without scruple, as a wise politician ; and bis advice, though very wicked in itself, was good advice for promoting the ends he had in view. A politician may be a good man : but then, I am afraid, he will be a bad politician; because there are cases, in these evil days, in which a man of nice virtue will be apt to miscarry. So practically and experimentally true is it, as we said before, that the children of this world are in their

generation wiser than the children of light.

But now we proceed to consider, that this wise man was soon after under great mortification and disap'pointment. His pride, his yanity, liis ambition, were all disappointed. He knew he had given the best advice for the destruction of the king and his party;

but be found that the worse advice was preferred, and foresaw that it would be the ruin of Absalom and of his cause. He had entered into the conspiracy with a persuasion that his advice would be taken; that he should continue to be the great oracle he had hitherto been: but his purpose was frustrated; that hurt his pride; and when the worse counsel was preferred to the better, that opened a dreadful prospect; for in case of a miscarriage, which he now considered as unavoidable, all his golden hopes were blasted. His ambition had promised itself wealth and honour ; instead of which, the disgrace, infamy, and punishment, due to his treason, presented themselves to his mind. And perhaps he now began to see for the first time, that as he had been against God, God was against him, and, according to the prayer of David, was turning bis counsel into foolishness. Under this calamity, what had he to support him? Nothing but that policy of a wicked man, which never supported any body long. It may work for a time, and may seem to prosper : but when it falls, it falls to rise no more. In the trouble of a righteous man there is hope; but in the trouble of the wicked there is none: he had no courage to make any further trial, but giving the whole matter up for lost; to avoid an ignominious death, which he knew was what he merited, he went home to put an end to his life, as many others have since done under the like circumstances.

It was a severe misfortune to him that he kept bad company, that he associated with persons of that description and character, which from time to time have helped to bring ruin upon many a man. A leader of sedition, let him be ever so wise, has bad designs : to the execution of bad designs bad people are necessary, and, therefore, such a sort of person soon finds himself in the midst of them; they encourage him, and he makes his use of them, and so they work together to fulfil some wise ends of Providence, which it is hard for us to understand, till it pleases God to bring the authors of evil to destruction. “That which is now is that which hath been.” Look at any leader of rebellion in these days, and you will find him an ungodly man, a man of no principles; and who are they that follow him? Are they not in general as bad as himself? No man that has the fear of God will unite himself with such a party: his conscience will keep bin from it; but if that were not sufficient, the expectation of wrath and vengeance, which (however slow its approach) certainly comes at last, would deter him from the undertaking. He that joins the wicked will come to the end of the wicked; and, of late days, we have been witness to many strange examples of this: we have seen party after party, in a neighbouring country, rising up, one after another, and triumphing for a while in murder and oppression, but in time as effectually cut off as if it had been done by virtue of a death warrant sent down upon them from heaven. Some, and they not a few, seeing their own wicked designs defeated, have laid violent hands upou themselves, like Ahithophel, sending themselves out of the world because their wickedness was unsuccessful. If I were to attempt an history of those whom ill company has brought to destruction, it would be a black catalogue ! () beware then how you join any bad party: let no Absalom beguile you with fair and flattering speeches; he is in the way to rnin himself, and you may soon be ruined along with him. Absalom and Ahithophel both perished; as we see, in a strange manner : the judgment of God hanged up the one in a tree by the hair of his head, and the other hanged himself,

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It seems, further, to have been the case of our traitor, that he never opened his grief to any body; in which respect he was a more sullen sinner than Judas his successor : for Judas, in the agony of his mind, did speak out, and said, “I have betrayed the innocent blood."--He spoke it indeed to those who gave him no comfort, but left him to his distress; as it often happens among partners in iniquity : they are no “sons of consolation;" but, when calamity comes among them, they leave one another to desperation and death. Indeed how can a man give comfort to another, who has none for himself? He who has wicked friends, can expect nothing but to be cast off and forsaken at last; and he is therefore debarred from that salutary relief of a troubled mind, the opportunity of telling its burthens and sufferings to a faithful counsellor ; without which, and for the want of which, the mind of the wretched has been so frequently lost. The soul that cannot speak its grief, is in a like situation with the body when it is pent up in a close room; it is suffocated with its own smoke; it dies of a fulness which has no relief; as when the body is lost by an apoplexy, which might have been saved by a timely use of the lancet, to lessen the quantity of the Auids. As the apoplexy is prevented by the opening of a vein, and by other seasonable evacuations, so the inind becomes lighter and more tolerable to itself, if it can but throw off outwardly some of that noxious matter with which it is iowardly overcharged. This relief is so natural and necessary to the case, that reason can no more invent a substitute for it than the art of me. dicine can cure palsies, apoplexies, surfeits, and inflammations, without lessening the quantity of blood. When a person goes with a sick body to a physician, he must describe bis ailments, and tell all the symptoms

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