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of ever drawing from them more than has formerly been extracted: hence he infers, the fruitless attempt of every individual who should at any future period laboriously seek to receive satisfaction from them. Secondly, he demonstrates this general proposition, respecting the entire vanity of all things under the sun, by an induction of the following particulars, from which, in preference to all others, mankind ordinarily expect the greatest degree of contentment: First, wisdom and knowledge, both natural and moral, for the investigation of which no man was ever furnished with greater abilities, and with a stronger inclination, or with more suitable external assistances, than Solomon, on account of the eininency of his dignity and station ; yet after all, he concludes, that wisdom and knowledge, so far from bringing such blessedness to the soul as can satisfy its desires, do but increase grief and sorrow. Secondly, pleasures and delights, which his wisdomn enabled him more closely to examine, and his greatness allowed him more freely to enjoy, than any of his cotemporaries ; yet all the content he expected from them terminated in hatred, and in despairing of ever improving his condition by them. Thirdly, honour, grandeur, and worldly power, which, he shews, are so incapable of rendering men happy,
that, without they are corrected and tempered by the fear of God, they are the occasion of much wickedness to those who possess them, as well as of much misery to those that suffer under them, from that oppression and violence which transform men in power into brutes towards their brethren, and which cause them to die like brutes, alike unbeloved and unlamented. In addition to this, he proves that honour and power not a little discourage such as are injured by them, by making them weary of their lives, careless of their labours, more disposed to idleness than to industry, and willing rather to procure what they can privately to themselves, than, after they have been publicly useful, to submit to receive no other reward than danger and wrong ; by which means, social intercourse, and a community of services, so greatly beneficial to the public interest, are obstructed and dissolved. Fourthly, an outward form of religion, and of divine worship, into which, also, foolish men, from their carnal confidence, and their superficial performances, put divers vanities, and so make even God's service unprofitable to their happiness. Fifth ly, riches and great possessions, which, so far from satisfying the heart of man, occasion more cares, less sleep and quiet; are snares to their owners, who, while they live, possess them with
sorrow, and when they die, yield them up with wrath and indignation, not being exempted by them either from misery or mortality, having derived little benefit from them, and now enjoying no comfort in their possession, because obliged to leave them to unknown heirs.
Having thus discovered the vanity of the principal things from which the heart of man expects satisfaction, he proceeds to prescribe many excellent means for healing and abating this vanity, and procuring a tranquil mind with peace and comfort. Such as, contentment of spirit in the sweet and free enjoyment of all outward blessings, with thanksgiving, and in the fear of God;-quiet and humble acquiescence in his holy and powerful providence, un. der all the events that befal us in the world ; sincerity of soul in his worship, with prudent piety in our vows, prayers, and religious addresses ;—patience under all oppressions, and a composed preparedness of mind to undergo sorrows and afflictions;-a pious moderation of spirit in our behaviour towards all men, that so we may preserve our names from calumny, and our persons from danger;-meekness, charity, and forbearance towards such as offend, considering our common frailty and our own weakness;-sobriety of mind, contenting ourselves with moderate attainments in wisdom and knowledge, and not busying ourselves with things too high for us ;-practical prudence, which may render us beautiful in the eyes of others;-loyalty and obedience towards kings and magistrates, that our lives may not be made uncomfortable by their displeasure;wisdom to discern time and judgment;-conscientious and industrious abiding in our particular callings ;-charity to our inferiors, laying up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come ;-lastly, temperance in the use of all present enjoyments, and readiness, through the fear of God, and keeping his commandments, for death and judgment: that by these means our life may be pleasant, and our death welcome ; that the piety of our youth may help us to bear the infirmities of our advanced age, and encourage us to lift up our heads in the day of redemption.