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all, being put into the scale against this alone, they will prove lighter than vanity itself. To be the care, the delight, the love of an Almighty God, to be dear to him who is the origin and fountain of all Perfections; Lord, what rest, what confidence, what joy, what extafy, do these thoughts breed! how sublime, how lofty, how delightful and ravishing are those expressions of St. John! i Epist. iii. i, 2. Beholds what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we shouldbe called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what weshall be; but we know, that when he /hall appear, wejhall be like him, for weshall see him as he is. And those again of the Psalmist', lam continually with thee; thou dost hold me by my right hand: thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me into glory, Psal. Ixxiii. 23,24. But I will descend to cooler and humbler pleasures. It is no small happiness to the perfect mar, that he is himself a proper object of his own complacency. He can reflect on the truth and justice, the courage and constancy, the meekness and charity of his foul, with much gratitude towards God, and contentment in himjelf And this surely he may d) with good reason: For the Perfections of the mini are as justly
to to be preferred before those of the body, as those of the body before the gifts 0/fortune. Nor is it a matter of /^//importance to he pleased with onehself: for grant any one but this, and he can never be very uneasy, or very miserable. But without this there are very few things which will not disturb and discompose; and the most obliging accidents of life will have no relish in them. 'Tis true, folly and vanity does sometimes create a self-complacency in the sinner; why, even then, 'tis a pleas'ng error. But there is as much difference between the just and rational complacency of a wise man in himself, and the mistaken one of a fool, as there is between the false and fleeting fancies of a dream, and the solid satisfactions of the day. This will be very manifest upon the slightest view we can take of those actions, which are the true reason of the good mzrfsJatisfaflion in himself, and render his conscience a continual feast to him.
It is commonly said, that virtue is its own reward: and though it must be acknowledged, this is a reward which is not sufficient in all cases, nor great enough to yanquish/ww* sorts of temptations; yet there is a great deal of truth and weight in this iaying. For a state of virtue is like a state of health or peace, of strength and beauty; and therefore desirable on its own F 3 ac
account. And if pleasure, properly speajfrr ing, be nothing else but the agreeable exercise of the powers of nature about their proper objects; and if it be then absolute and compleat, when these powers are raised, and the exercise of them is free and undisturbed, then certainly virtue; which is nothing else but the perfect action of zperfeSl natuie, as far as the one and the other may be admitted in this state of mortality, mult be a very considerable pleasure. Acts of wisdom and charity, the contemplation of truth, and the love of goodness, must bethe most natural and delight]~ulExercise of the mind of man: and because truth and goodness are infinite and omnipresent, and nothing can hinder the perfeB man from contemplating the one, and loving the other; therefore does he in his degree and measure participate of his filf-fufficiency, as he does of other Perfections of God-, and enjoys within himself an inexhaustible spring of delight. How many, how various are the exercises and employments of the mind of man! and when it is once polished and cultivated, how agreeable are they all! to invent and find out, to illustrate and adorn, to prove and demonstrate, to weigh, discriminate and distinguish, to deliberate calmly and impartially, to act with an absolute liberty, to despise little things, and look boldly on dangers; to; do all
things dexterously, to converse with a Jweet and yet a manly air, in honest zn& open9 yet taking, obliging language! how delightful are these things in themselves! now much do they conduce to the service, the beauty, and dignity of humanlife! to these accomplished minds we owe histories, sciences, arts, trades, laws. From all which, if others reap an unspeakable pleasure, how much more the authors, theparentsof them? And all this puts me in mind of one great advantage which the perfect man enjoys above the most fortunate sensualists; which is, that he can never want an opportunity to employ all the vigour of his mind, usefully and delightfully. Whence it is, that retire* ment, winch is the prison and the punishment. of the fool, is the paradise of the wise and good.
But let us come at length-to that pleasure which depends upon external objects; where, if any-where, the fool and sinner must dispute tiis title to pleasure with the wise and good. How many things are there here which force us to give the preference to the 'wise man? I will not urge, that a narrow, a private fortune can furnish store enough for all the appetites of virtue; that a wife man need not at any time purchase his pleasure at too dear a rate ; he need not lie, nor cheat, nor crouch, nor fawn: this is the price o?J»fuI pleasure. I will not, I
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say, urge these and the //&" advantages, since the world thinks it want ot spirit to be con* tent with a little ; and want of wit not to practise those arts, let them be never so oaj'e, by which we may compass more. I'll only remark these few things. First, the wife man's prospect is enlarged. He is like an artist or philosopher, which discovers a thousand pleasures and beauties in a piece, wherein the ideot can fee none: he fees in all the works, in all the providences of God, those depths, those contrivances, which the fool cannot fathom; that order, that harmony, which the finner is insenfible ot. Next, The pleasure ot sense, that is not refined by virtue, leaves astain upon the mind: 'tis coarse and turbulent, empty and vexatious. The pleasure of virtue is like a stream, which runs indeed within its banks, but it tuns smooth and clear ; and has a spring that alwaysym/f the current: but the pleasure bf fin is like a land-flood, impetuous, muddy, and irregular: and as soon as \t forsakes the ground it overflows, it leaves nothing behind it, but Jlime and filth. Lastly, The wise man forming a true estimate of the objects of finfe, and not looking upon them as his ultimate end, enjoys all that is in them, and is not fooled by an expectation of more. Thus having considered the objeBs of human pleasure, two things are plain: First, That the perfect man has many sources or