Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1. By making it an End.
2. By asing it as a means to a wrong End.

First, By making it an End. St. Austin has long fince resolved all Immorality into these two Fundamental Disorders. The enjoying what we should use,

and the using what we should enjoy. Tom. 4. p. 207. Omnis Humaná perverfio eft, says he,

fruendis uti velle, atq; utendis frui ; 7 to which he should have added, to make his Division

complete, the using, what ought to be used to an ill End; and then he would have given us a full distribution of Immorality, to which all the Instances of it might be reduced. But we are at present concern'd only with the first of these, the enjoying what we

should use; between which two St. Auftine Ibid. makes this difference, That we are faid to

enjoy that thing from which we take Pleasure, and to use that which we refer to that from

whence we take Pleasure. And elsewhere, Tom. 3. p. 4. To enjoy, says he, is to cleave with Love to

a Thing for it self, but to use is to refer the Thing used to the obtaining what we Love. Whereby it appears, that by enjoying, St. Austin means the same as to make an End of a thing, and by using to make a Means of it. And if what we enjoy be really an End, and what we use be really a Means, then we are right and orderly in our procedure ; but if we enjoy as an End what ought only to be used as a means, or use as a Means what ought to be enjoy'd as an End, then we pervert and transpose the Nature and Order of things, and are guilty of Disorder and Abuse.

And thus it is when we make an End of the World ; for then we make an End of that which is no more than a Means, and enjoy that which ought only to be used. For the World is not our End, whatever it may be to Creatures below us. We were not made for

, its Enjoyments; nor can we be ever truly, or so much was in our own Opinion, Happy in them. I lay, in ) our own Opinion. For indeed, Men are ready enough! to think one another Happy, and to envy one another > upon that occasion, but no Man ever thought himself, so. 'Tis true indeed, they think they fall be to; and P.2159 after the Disappointinents and Abules of one Pleasure, 212 live on in expectation of being more kindly serv'd by another; so supporting themselves, by their Variety, among their chin Entertainments; as the sinking Bird holds up her weight, by renewing her Strokes in the yielding Air. But ’tis most certain, that all this is but mere Amusement. They keep their Spirits from finking by it, as the Bird does her Body; and that's all. For when the Future Delight comes to be present, and the promising Reversion falls into hand; it will be found as empty and vain,as any of those tryed Nothings that went before. We may amuse our selves a while with Dreams and Fancies; but there is a Thirit in the Soul of Man,which all the litele Cisterns of the Creation can never quench, an Emptiness which they can never fill. God only can do that, and therefore he only is our End. He has made us for himself; and , accordingly has given us Desires, which none but him- ) self can ever satisfie. And therefore if we make the World our End, 'tis plain that we fer the Creature in the place of God; are guilty of the highest Idolatry, transgress the Laws of Truch, Order and Reason; mistake our Centre, deceive our felves, and abuse the World.

And this those do, not only who are guilty of a full and downright acquiefcence in the World, reposing themselves upon it as upon a Centre, seeking Rest and Satisfaction in it; that have no Prospect beyond it, but bound their Desires, their Hopes and Fears, and their whole Expectation within its narrow Limits; but also who love and adhere to it for it felf, and embrace y

it as a true real Good. For this is to make it an End, though not perhaps our Last and Greatest End. For nothing is lovely for it felf, and upon its own inward Goodness, but what is an End; and therefore thoughi we do not terminate in the World and set up our final reit in it, yer if we Love it and Cleave to it as a trile Good, and for it self, we may be properly said to make an end of it, or, in the Language of Saint Auftin, to Enjoy it; who by Enjoying, as was observ’d before, means the very fame thing; and who accorcingly will not allow the World to be Enjoy'd or Lov'd as a true Good; but only to be used, or re

ferr'd to that which is so. Utendum eft Toiv. 3. . 5. Toc Mundo, says he, non fruendum. This

World is to he Used, not Enjoy'd. Which how well it agrees with that Philosophy, which says that the Creatures are fo far from being able to conient us, or make us Happy, that they cannot fo much as give us any one Pleasure by way of real Causes; but are, as to that, as so many dead empty Cyphers; and at the most serve but as Occasions of those grateful Sentiments which God, the true source of all Happi. ness, produces in us; and that therefore we are not to love or seek Union with them as our true Goods, or real Causes of our Happiness, but only to use them and serve our selves of them, as the Conditions and Occasions of it; I shall leave to be Consider'd by thole

who have leifure to encer into so nice a Meditation; 2 while in the Mean time I go on to give an Account of the other Abuse of the World; which is,

Secondly, By using it as a Means to a Wrong End. We are luppoled here not to make the World an End in any Sense, and indeed 'tis a very Considerable de gree of Self-regulation for a Man to proceed thus far, not to Enjoy, but only to Use the World. But let not him that is arriv d to this pitch,think himself secure from all further danger; since it is not sufficient, not to

.make

Testow the End for that for which we need only that

make an end of the World it self, unless we also use it to a Right End. We are to make a Right Ule of it, as well as to stay and detain our felves in the bare vle of it; otherwise we shall not answer the Caution of the Text, fo to Use the World as nor to Abuse it. .

Now the End for which the World ought to be used, can be no other than that for which it was Made ; And if we would know what that was, we need only Con. sider, who it was that made it; since it is impossible that God, whose Perfections are Infinite, should act for any other End than Himself; who is therefore the Fia nal as well as the Efficient, Cause of all his Works. And to the Scripture represents it, Prov. 16. 4. The Lord hath made all things for himself,' says the Wise Man. To which agrees that of St. Paul, Rom. II. 36. Of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be Glory for ever, Amen. And again yet more Expresly, Col. 1. 16. All things were Created by him, . and for him. Since then all things are made for God, who is the End as well as Founder of the Creation; 'cis plain that all things ought to be referr'd to hiro; and Consequently that if we would make a righe Ule of the World, we must use it for God and fer his Glory. According as we are also Exhorted by the Tame Apostle, 1 Cor. 10. 31. Whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, to do all to the Glory of God. ? Wherein is also Comprehended the Good and Wela, fare of Human Society;tit being for the Glory of God that his Creatures, whom he made for the Greatest and Supremelt Happiness, even the Enjoyment of Himself, should be as Prosperous and Happy as may be, both in this Life and in the Next. So then we are to Use the World for the Honour and Glory of God, and for the true Interest and Welfare of Society, and accordiogly not to use it for these, or for Contrary Ends, is to Abuse it; as those do,

#Ind, surely, of ourselves too : Fir f,

fee p.198, 244. & p.20.4

First, Who, instead of imploying that Power, Inte. rest, Authority, Station, Wealth or Grandeur,which they have in the World, for the Service of the Chrifian Church, and for the Incouragement of true Re. ligion and Verrue, for the Advancement of God's Kingdom in the Hearts and Lives of Men, and the Righteousness thereof; Use all these for Contrary Purposes, to incourage Vice, or Vicious Principles, to pervert Men from a right Religion, or to Debauch thein in it; and thereby do promote the Interest of the Devils Kingdom, and Side with the Powers of Darkness againit God. This is to arm the Creatures against the Creator, to fight against God with his own Forces, to Use the World directly to the dishonour of him that made it; and is therefore in a very gross and heinous Manner to Abuse it. For Temporals are in order to Spirituals; and this present World ought to serve the Intereits of the next; and as all Worldly Power and Grandeur is from God, so it oughe to be used and laid out for God, and for the advancement of his Honour and Glory! And there. fore all they who have any Considerable Share or Interest in the World, whether by way of Power, Honour, or Wealth, or whatever elle may give them any Command or Influence over the Minds or Bodies of Men, ought to employ all these things for the advantage of God's Glory, for the Interests of his Kingdom, for the Promotion of his True Religion, and for the Edification of his Church; and if they do not, they are Traitors to God, and Abuse both his Kindness and his Gifts. Which is done also,

Secondly, By those who Use the Good Things of the World, the Productions of Nature, the Fruits of the Earth, or any of God's Creatures, in such a manner or degree as tends to their Prejudice. For the Creatures were intended for our Good; and there

fore

« AnteriorContinuar »