Imágenes de páginas

They shall be filled with Righteousness, and they shall be filled with Happiness.

FIRST, They shall be filled with Righteoufness, Rom. 5. 5. For, since the Spirit of God, which sheds his Love abroad in our Hearts, is a good and loving Spirit, and knows no other Bounds in his Communications than what are set him by the Capacity of the Subject, it follows, that he will not fail to replenish all those with his Graces, who are duly qualified to receive them. But now, nothing can be supposed to be a greater Qualification, than fuch Hungring and Thirsting as I have described. This is the utmost Man can do to dispose himself for the Reception of the Divinest Imprefsions. This therefore is that facred Lure, that powerful Clarm, which draws down the Holy Spirit into the Hearts of Men; as the Platonists say of aptly disposed Matter, that it sucks a Soul into it, by a kind of Natural Magick, from the World of Life. This Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness is the very same to the Life of the Soul, as that Organical Aptness is to the Life of the Body : It is the Congruity of the Soul, in order to Spiritual Life. That Soul therefore that is so qualified for Righteousness, cannot miss, according to the Order of Grace, of being filled with it.

The short is, God desires the Righteousness of Man, more than Man himself does, or can do: He delights to see his own Image reflect from liim, and stands ready to fow the Seeds


Pfal. 23•

of the Divine Life in every capable. Soil; and therefore we need not doubt but that the truly hungry and thirsty Soul shall be filled with the Bread of Life, and with the Waters of Comfort,

Not that he shall be so filled with Righteousness in this Life, as not to defire any more of it, (for we are now in a State of Próficiency, not of Perfection) but in the next he shall: He shall then be so replenished with it, as not to defire any one farther Degree of it ; and shall be perfectly possessed of that Divine Life and Nature, whereof he is now only Partaker.

SECONDLY, These hungry and thirsty Souls shall be filled with Happiness. This is a certain Consequent of the other, there being both a Natural, and an Established Connexion between Righteousness and Happiness. Some, indeed, have gone so far, as to make them one and the same as to Kind, and distinguishable only as to Degree. Hence that common Theological Effate, Grace is Glory begun, and Glory is only Grace finished. But I think there is more Prettiness in the Expression, than Truth in the Notion. Nay, there is one Instance which plainly demonstrates it to be false : For 'tis most certain, that the Human Soul of our Sa- : viour was always in a State of Perfect Grace, having, as the Scripture says, received the Spirit of God without Measure; and yet it is as certain, that he was not, while on Earth, in the State of Glory, being then a Man of Sor


rows, and acquainted with Grief: Much less was he in the State of Glory at the Hour of his Passion, and during his dreadful Dereliction. Which yet could never be, if perfect Grace and Glory were, as some contend, one and the same thing.

But our Proposition will stand well enough, without the help of this Notion. For, tho' Righteousness be not the same thing with Happiness, yet there is such a Connexion between them, that they who are filled with the former, shall certainly be so with the latter. And this depends upon the Nature of Things, as well as upon the Order of God: For a righteous Frame of Spirit not only gives us Admission to the Supreme Good, but also disposes us for the Enjoyment of it; without which, all the other Materials of Happiness would signifie nothing. 'Tis the Disposition of the Soul that makes the Vision of God truly Beatifick ; and when we awake up after his likeness, and behold his presence in Righteousness, Pfal. 117. 16. then, and then only, we shall be satisfied with his Glory.

And here we may stand still a little, and reflect what a great Privilege those that hunger and thirst after Righteousness have, beyond all those who make Secular and Carnal Things the Objects of their Desire. These things can never fill them absolutely, so as to extinguish all Desire; being neither themselves the Good of Man, nor leading to that which is: Nor can they always satisfie that particular Appetite

which is conversant about them; sometimes because the Things themselves cannot be had, Nature having not provided enough for the Covetousness and Luxury, tho' she has for the Necessities of Men: And sometimes because they are too deficient when we have them, by reason of their Disproportion to the Enlargement of the Faculty; as in the Objects of Sight and Hearing, wherewith neither the Eye nor Ear is satisfied, as was remark'd before. And when these things do fill any particular Appetite, it is only for a time, till the next Fit of Longing comes; as the Ground is, for the present, refreshed with a transient Shower. But for those that hụnger and thirst after Righteousness, as their Desires are more noble, so their Satisfaction shall be more abundant.

'Tis their great and peculiar Blessedness to be filled in all Sen-, ses, and in all Capacities, and to all Eternity.

DISCOURSE the Fifth.

MATTH. V. Ver. vii.
Blessed are the merciful, for they fall obtain


F all the Passions which God has planted in Human Nature, there is none which at once carries so bright a Re

semblance of God, and is so fitted to, the present Condition of Man,as that of Pitifulness


and Compassion. And if, when God made Man, he consulted his own Eternal Essence, certainly when he drew this Part of him, we may suppose him to have reflected upon the divinest of all his Ideas, and to have stamped upon him the most lovely Feature of the Divinity.

ALL the other Passions are, in their own simple Natures, indifferent, neither good nor evil in themselves, but equally determinable to either, and, for the most part, are actually determined to the wrong. They are generally irregular, either in the Degree, or in the Objeet; are either mil-governed or mis-placed; and when most orderly managed, the highelt Character they can pretend to, is only to be Instruments and Servants to Vertue. They are as a gusty Wind and Şail to a Ship; if she steer right, they profper, and further her Course ; but if wrong, they serve only to strike her against the Rocks with more Speed and Force.

But now this Affection of Pity and Compassion rises higher than Indifferency, and is not content with a bare State of Innocence. It is of it felf a vertuous Disposition, and needs only actual Exertion to make it a direct Vertue, and then its own Native Excellency will place it among the Highest Orders. And therefore tho' our Saviour by assuming our intire Nature, juftified the Innocency of all our Natural Passions, yer as Mercy was that Attribute of God whicli he came chiefly to display, so is that the Affe. etion which he chiefly commends to Man, by

« AnteriorContinuar »