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the sun, a dream vanishing in the morning, it I will make use of no artifice to obtain my will be in a succession of ages, in the boundless end. I will not affect, in order to detach you gulfs of eternity.
| from the world, to exhibit only the odious 4. I said finally, my brethren, that we were things of the world; nor will I combat an ex. sometimes disgusted with the world through cessive love of life by opposing against it the an excess of fondness for the world, and hated pains and the miseries of the living ; but I life through an over valuation of it. Oh mean to attack your idols in their fort, to deheart of man, deceitful above all things, and cry life by showing its most amiable sides, and desperately wicked!' Jer. xvii. 9. Who would | to endeavour to disgust you with the world by not think, to hear some men exclaim, “Ah hu- exposing the most desirable objects in it. man life, I only wish to free myself from thy | The phantoms that seduced Solomon during connexions, and thou, wicked world, I detest his dissipation may be reduced to two classes. thee !' Who would not think that these people The first suppose in the dissipated man very were convinced of the vanity of the world ! | little knowledge, and very little taste; and it But undeceive yourselves. Man enters the is astonishing that a man so eminently endowworld as an enchanted place. While the ed with knowledge could set his heart upon charm lasts, the man I speak of is in raptures, them. The second may more easily impose and thinks he has found the supreme good. He on an enlightened and generous mind. In the imagines that riches have no wings, that splen first class I place riches, grandeur, and volupdid fortune has no reverse, that the great have tuousness, with all their appendages. If no caprice, that friends have no levity, that these he, as they certainly are, the most comhealth and youth are eternal: but as it is not mon idols of mankind, it is for a reason inglolong before he recovers his senses, he becomes rious to them, it is because most men have vedisgusted with the world in the same propor ry little knowledge and very little taste. tion as he had been infatuated with it, and his The world has phantoms more specious, hatred of life is exactly as extravagant as his life has charms more capable of seducing a love of it had been ; that is to say, these senti generous heart, and of imposing on a liberal ments, which seem so just und respectable, do mind. I put these into three classes. In the not proceed from serious reflections on the first I put the advantages of science in the views, which an immortal soul ought to have : second the pleasures of friendship-in the third that is to say, you would have consented to re the privileges, I mean the temporal privileges nounce all hopes of future happiness, and to be of virtue and heroism. I will endeavour to for ever separated from God, had not the unmask these three figures, and to prove, that spring of your life passed away with so much the very dispositions which should contribute rapidity, had your connexions been more du most to the pleasure of life, mental abilities, rable, had your interest at court been better tenderness of heart, rectitude and delicacy of supported.
conscience, are actually dispositions which How pitiable is your condition! In it you contribute most of all to imbitter life. unite the misfortunes of time with the miseries 1. If ever possessions could make man hapof eternity. You disclaim both heaven and py, Solomon must certainly have been the earth, you are disgusted with the vanity of the happiest of mankind. Imagine the most proone, and you have no taste for the other. A per and the most effectual means of acquiring worldling indemnifies himself by present enjoy knowledge, joined to an avidity to obtain it, ments for the loss of future bliss, of which he both were united in the person of this prince. has no prospect; and a Christian indemnifies We individuals, when we have received from himself by enjoying pleasures in prospect for Heaven abilities for science, we generally the loss of sensual delights; but you! at what want assistance to cultivate them. What indo you aspire? Your condition is the height of dividual is able to send emissaries into distant misery, as it is the height of absurdity.
climes to make observations to perfect geograIt is not in any of these senses that the Wise phy, physic, astronomy, botany, navigation? Man says, “I hated life, because the work that An individual, to make collections, to asceris wrought under the sun is grievous unto me.' tain reports, to procure materials, must carry He would have us understand, that the earth on works, which, in a word, more properly be has more thorns than flowers--that our condi- long to the beasts of burden of the Icarned tion here, though incomparably better than we world than to himself, whose time should be deserve, is however inadequate to our just and better employed in exercising, and improving constitutional desires-that our inconveniences his own natural abilities. An individual selin this life would seem intolerable, unless we dom has it in his power to gain access to the were wise enough to direct them to the same museums of great men, and to procure the proend that God proposed by exposing us to suf- ductions of their pens, or to consult the oracles fer them-in a word, that nothing but hope in that proceed from their mouths. An indivi. a future state formed on another plan can ren dual is often condemned to turn the studies der the disorders of this world tolerable. So that naturally employ his liberal mind into a much may serve to explain the meaning of the mercenary trade, the only means of providing Wise Man.
bread for himself and his family. In some II. Let us now proceed to justify the sense protestant states youth are but half educated given, and to this I shall devote the remainder for want of endowments, and people choose raof this discourse, and all the moments of atten- ther to pluck the unripe fruits of the finest getion which we shall take the liberty to require nius than to furnish him with the means of of you.
I bringing them to perfection. A king, a rich
king like Solomon, is free from all these diffi- , the wall, also of beasts, and of fowl, and of
what can the man do that cometh after the says he, *are in his head,' that is, a man of
heit happeneth even to me, as it happeneth Accordingly the world was filled with the to the fool, and why was I then wise ?' ver. 15. science of this prince, and his science has And again, the eye is not satisfied with seegiven occasion to a great many fabulous his ing, nor the ear filled with hearing; for in tories. To him has been attributed a book much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaentitled the Contradiction of Solomon,' con seth knowledge increaseth sorrow,' chap. i. 8. demned by Pope Gelasius, and other works 18. So again, in another place, after he had named • Inchantments, clavicula, necromancy, proposed some rules for the government of ideas, neomania, letters to king Hiram' | life, he adds, My son be admonished by these, Some ancient fathers thought that the pagan for of making many books there is no end, and philosophers had read his writings, and that much study is a weariness of the flesh,' chap.
of animals' from the works of this prince. Jo- sion. Observe however two imperfections of
and it happeneth oven to me as it happeneth to We have better evidence of the science of a fool. Yes! after you have spent all your Solomon than these visionaries. The Scrip- | youth, after you have impaired your health. ture itself informs us, that God gave him a after you have spent your fortune to wise and an understanding heart, so that improve your own mind, and to enable you there was none like him before, neither after to improve those of other men, it will haphim should any arise like unto him,' 1 Kings pen to you even as it happeneth to a fool.' ii. 12; that he was wiser,' that is a greater You will be told, that sciences have nothing philosopher, *than all the children of the east in them that deserve the attention of a man of country, and all the Egyptians, chap. iv. 30, quality. A man of mean extraction, who car31. By the children of the east we understand ries himself like a lord, will tell you that a man the Arabian philosophers, Chaldeans, and the of birth ought to aspire at something more noPersians, so famous for their erudition, and ble than neditating on questions of law, stuparticularly for their profound knowledge of | dying cases of conscience, and explaining holy astronomy. He was wiser than all the Egyp Scripture. You will be told, that there is not lians, that is, the most consummate doctors of half the knowledge required to sparkle in Egypt, a country famous in the time of Mo- poliuical bodies, and to decide on a bench the ses for its literature, called by the pagans the lives, and for tunes, and honours of mankind. mother of arts, and who boasted that they first Presumptuous youths will judge, and without of all men knew how to take dimensions of appeal condemn your discourses and your pubthe stars, and to calculate their motions, as lications, and will pronounce with decisive Macrobius, Diodorus of Sicily, and many other | tone this is not solid, that is superficial! The anthors affirm. The Scripture says that So- superiority of your understanding will raise up lomon was wiser than Ethan, Heman, Chal- against you a world of ignorant people, who col, and Darda :' names which the Jews un- will say, that you corrupt the youth, because derstand in a mystical sense, meaning by Ethan you would guard them against prejudice ; Abraham, by Heman Moses, and Chalcol Jo- | that you stab orthodoxy, because you endeaseph. The Scripture says farther, that he vour to heal the wounds which pedantry and composed three thousand proverbs, and a intolerance have given it ; that you trouble sothousand and five songs; that he spake of ciety, because you endeavour to purify moralitrees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, ty, and to engage the great as well as the even unto the hyssop, that springeth out of small, magistrates as well as people, to submit
to its holy laws. They will prefer before you, times, he is a brother born for adversity. A both in the state and in the church, novices friend sticketh closer than a brother,' Prov. who are hardly fit to be your disciples. xvii. 17, and xviii. 24. But where is this
Blessed ideots! You, who surrounded with friend, who sticketh closer than a brother? a circle of ideots like yourselves, having first Where is this friend, who loveth at all times? stupified yourselves with your own vanity, One would think the Wise Man drew the porare now intoxicated with the incense offered trait only to save us the useless labour of inyour admirers; you, who, having collected quiring after the original. Perhaps you are a few bombastic phrases, are spreading the sails incapable of tasting the bitterness of friendof your eloquence, and are bound for the ocean ship, only because you are incapable of relishof glory : you, whose sublime nonsense, stale ing the sweetness of it. common-places, and pedantic systems, have ac- What friends do we make upon earth? At quired you such a reputation for learning and first lively, eager, full of ardour: presently erudition as is due only to real merit: your dull, and disgusted through the ease with condition seems to me olten preferable to that which they had been gratified. At first soft, of first-rate geniuses, and most accomplished gentle, all condescension and compliance: prescholars! Ah! • Wisdom is vanity and vexa sently masters, imperious tyrants, rigorously tion of spirit-of making many books there is exacting as a debt an assiduity which can arise no end-it happeneth even to me as it happen | only from inclination, pretending to domineer eth to the fool-there is no remembrance of over our reason, after they bave vitiated our the wise more than of the fool, for all shall be taste. At first attentive and teachable, while forgotten—therefore I hated life, because the prejudices conceal their imperfections from us, work that is wrought under the sun is griev ready to acquiesce in any thing while our senous unto me.'
timents are conformable to their inclinations : 2. The second disposition, which seems but presently intractable and froward, not as if it would contribute much to the pleasure of life, but which often embitters it, out their frailty, and endeavour to assist them is tenderness of heart. Let the sacred names to correct it. At first assiduous, faithful, geneof friendship and tenderness never come out rous, while fortune smiles on us: but presentof some mouths; let them never be used by | ly, if she betray us, a thousand times more profane people to express certain connexions, | faithless, ungrateful, and perfidious than she. which far from having the reality have not | What an airy phantom is human friendship! even the appearance of rational sensibility! I wish, however, through the favour of heaWould you give these names to such vague ven, that what is only an airy nothing to other associations as are formed only because you men may become a reality in regard to you, are a burden to yourselves; to connexions in and I will take it for granted, that you have which the sentiments of the heart have no found what so many others have sought in share, in which nothing is intended except the vain. Alas! I must, yes, here I must deplore mutual performance of some capricious cus your destiny. Multiplied, so to speak, in the toms or the assuaging of some criminal pas person of that other self, you are going to mulsions, to the impetuosity of which you like tiply your troubles. You are going to feel in brute beasts are given up? Would you give these that other selfills which hitherto you have felt names to those unpleasant interviews, in which only in yourself. You will be disgraced in while you visit, you inwardly groan under the his disgraces, sick in his sicknesses. If for a necessity of visiting, in which the mouth pro- | few years you enjoy one another, as if each were tests what the heart denies, in which, while a whole world, presently, presently death will you outwardly profess to be affected with the cut the bond, presently death will dissolve the misfortunes of another, you consider them in- tender ties, and separate your entwined hearts. wardly with indifference and insensibility, and Then you will find yourself in a universal sowhile you congratulate them on the prosperity | litude. You will think the whole world is which Providence bestows, you envy their dead. The universe, the whole universe, will condition, and sometimes regard it with a ma- seem to you a desert uninhabited, and uninhalice and mortification you cannot help disco- | bitable. Ah! You who experience this, sbull vering?
I call you to attest these sorrowful truths? By friendship and tenderness, I mean those Shall I open again wounds which time has affectionate attachments produced by a secret | hardly closed ? Shall I recall those tremulous sympathy, which virtue cements, which piety adieus, those cruel separations, which cost you sanctifies, which a mutual vigilance over each so many regrets and tears ? Shall I expose to other's interests confirms with indissoluble, I view bones, and infection, and putrefaction, the had almost said eternal, bonds. I call a friend / only remains of him who was your support in an inestimable treasure which might for a trouble, your counsel in difficulty, your conso while render our abode on earth as happy as lation in adversity ? that in heaven, did not that wise Providence, Ah, charms of friendship, delicious errors, that førmed us for heaven and not for earth, lovely chimeras, you are infinitely more caparefuse us the possession of it.
ble of deceiving than of satisfying us, of poisonIt is clear by the writings of Solomon, and ing life than of sweetening it, and of making us more so by the history of his life, that his heart break with the world than of attaching us to was very accessible to this kind of pleasure. it! My soul, wouldst thou form unalterable How often does he write encomiums on faith connexions ! Set thy love upon thy treasure, ful friends! A friend,' says he, • loveth at all esteem God, obey his boly voice, which from
the highest heavens says to thee, Give me, in which we live belong? Judge by the dog. thine heart!' In God thou wilt find a love cription given by the preacher as he calls himself. fixed and faithful, a love beyond the reach of Then mankind were ungrateful, the public temporal revolutions, which will follow thee, did not remember the benefits conferred on and fill thee with felicity for ever and ever. them by individuals, and their services were
3. In fine, I will venture to affirm, that if unrewarded. There was a little city be. any thing seems capable to render life agreea- | sieged by a great king, who built great bulble, and if any thing in general renders it | warks against it, and there was found in it a disagreeable, it is rectitude, and delicucy of poor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered conscience. I know Solomon seems here to the city, yet no man remembered that same contradict himself, and the author of the Book poor man,' chap. ix. 14, 15. of Proverbs seems to refute the author of the Then courtiers, mean and ungrateful, baseBook of Ecclesiastes. The author of the ly forsook their old master, and paid their Book of Ecclesiastes informs us, that virtue court to the heir apparent. I saw all the is generally useless, and sometimes hurtful living under the sun walking after the child, in this world: but according to the author of who shall stand up next instead of the king, ** the Book of Proverbs virtue is most useful in chap. iv. 15. this world. Hear the author of Ecclesiastes. Then strong oppressed the weak. I *All things have I seen in the days of my vani considered all the oppressions that are done ty: there is a just man that perisheth in his under the sun, and behold, the tears of such righteousness, and there is a wicked man that as were oppressed, and they had no comfortprolongeth his life in his wickedness. All ers, and on the side of their oppressors there things come alike to all, there is one event to was power, but they had no comforter.' the righteous and to the wicked; to him that Then the courts of justice were corrupt. ) sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: saw the place of judgment, that wickedness as is the good so is the sinner; and he that was there' ...... chap, iii. 16. We will sweareth, as he that feareth an oath, chap. not finish this disagreeable picture. "I hated vii. 15. ix. 2. Hear the’author of the Book of life, because the work that is wrought under Proverbs. My son forget not my law: but the sun is grievous unto me.' let thy heart keep my commandments ; for Such is the idea the Wise Man gives us of length of days, and long life, and peace shall the world. Yet these vain and precarious obthey add to thee. Let not mercy and truthjects, this world so proper to inspire a ration. forsake thee: bind them about thy neck, al mind with disgust, this life so proper to exwrite them upon the table of thine heart. So eite hatred in such as know what is worthy of shalt thou find favour, and good understand- esteem, this is that which has always fascinaing in the sight of God and man. Happy is ted, and which yet continues to fascinate the the man that findeth wisdom, and the man bulk of mankind. that getteth understanding. For the mer This it was that infatuated the inhabitants chandise of it is better than the merchandise of the old world, who, even after God had of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. | pronounced this dreadful decree, .My spirit She is more precious than rubies; and all the | shall not always strive with man, for he is things thou canst desire are not to be compared | flesh, and after a hundred and twenty years with her,' chap. ijf. 143. 13–15.
he shall be no more,'t forgot themselves in the How shall we reconcile these things? To | pursuit of present pleasure, They were eatsay, as some do, that the author of Proverbs ing and drinking, marrying and giving in mar. speaks of the spiritual rewards of virtue, and riage, until the day that the flood came, and the author of Ecclesiastes of the temporal | took them all away,' Mat. xxiv. 38, 39. state of it, is to cut the knot instead of unty This was what bewitched the whole heaing it. of many solutions, which we have no then world, who lived without hope, and time now to examine, there is one that bids without God in the world;' Eph. ii. 12. fair to remove the difficulty ; that is, that This Was what enchanted when the author of the Book of Proverbs voured nation, which God distinguished from makes temporal advantages the rewards of the rest of the world, and to which he gave virtue, he speaks of some rare periods of soci his laws, and intrusted his prophecies, yet ety, whereas the author of Ecclesiastes des they • forsook the fountain of living waters, cribes the common general state of things. and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, Perhaps the former refers to the happy time, that can hold no water,' Jer. ii. 13. in which the example of the piety of David This was what influenced Christians, more being yet recent, and the prosperity of his inexcusable in this respect than Jews and Pasuccessor not having then infected either the gans, because their religion breathes nothing heart of the king or the morals of his subjects,
* The sense given to this passage by our author is reputation, riches, and honours, were bestow
agreeable both to the French version, and to the ed on good men: but the second, probably, original. J ai oui tous les ricans qui marchent souls speaks of what came to pass soon after. In le soleel apres l'enfant, qui est la seconde personne
qui doit etre en la place du roi. Per puerum secundum the first period life was amiable, and living in
intellige, regis filium et hæredem, quod a rege secunthe world delicious: but of the second the dus est, ac post eum rcgnaturus. Poli. Synops. in Wise Man says, 'I hated life because the
+ Gen. vi. 3. The sense given by Mr. Saurin is work that is wrought under the sun is griey.
that of many commentators, and seems preferable to ous unto me.'
our English text, which is obscure. Accipiunt de To which of the two periods does the age 1
spatio poenitentiæ isti wtati concesso, &c. K
but disgust with the world, and alienation in prison with devils. Some drinking of rivers from the idols of life : and yet they are as of pleasures for evermore, others having their much in love with worldly splendour, as ea- portion in the lake of fire, the smoke rising ger in pursuit of wealth, as much intoxicated up for ever and ever, Ps. Xxxvi. 8, and xvi. with diversions, gaming, amusements, and dis 11; and Rev. xix. 3. To say all in one word, sipations, as ever Jews and Pagans could pos some for abandoning themselves to the world sibly be.
are suffering such punishments as the world This was the charm that operated on your inflicts on its slaves : and others for devoting ancestors; on those who governed the state themselves to God, are receiving such res before you, magistrates : on those who ascend-wards as God bestows on his servants. May ed this pulpit before you, ministers: on those this contrast penetrate, affect, and transform who attended the worship of God in this place you all! And thou, great God, give weight before you, Christian people: all these, ex- to our exhortations, in order to give success to cept a few, followed the multitude, ran, with our benedictions ! the world, to the same excess of riot, and I gladly embrace the opportunity of assistmade the world their god, just as we all, ex ing at this solemnity, of coming to you, my cept a few, yet make the world our god, yet dear brethren, at this auspicious season, and follow the multitude, yet run with the wick of preaching to you, now that it is allowable ed, to the same excess of riot.
to open the bottom of a heart always full of God, in order to undeceive mankind, and to most respectful affection for this city and this dissolve the charms that fascinated their eyes, church.* Receive my good wishes as affecoften showed them the world in its true light. tionately as they are dictated. He often added extraordinary ills to the ordi Magistrates, to whom Providence has come nary calamities of life; he made winds his mitted the reins of government, i you are angels, and flaming fires bis ministers,' Ps. civ. above our benediction. But we are ministers 4; he sent war, mortality, flaming eruptions, of a Master who governs all mankind, and pestilence, and earthquakes: in a word, he of from that source of splendour, magnificence, ten visited them, as he yet visits us, and with and wealth, we drive the benedictions, which the same design, To them he says, as he yet we diffuse on your august heads. May God says to us, Love not the world, neither the inspire you with that elevation of mind, that things that are in the world. Vanity of vani- | magnanimity, and holy ambition, which imties, all is vanity. Fear God, and keep his pel magistrates, with whom he has intrusted commandments, for this is the whole duty of the sword of justice, to found all their deliberman,' I John ii. 15; Eccles. i. 2, and xiii. ations and decrees on equity! May God in13. All this was useless, just as it is is now. spire you with such charity, condescension, Then mankind made a god of the world, and and affability, as may blend the parent with so they continue to do.
the master! May God inspire you with such My brethren, taste is not subject to argu- humility and self-denial as incline Christian ment, and if life seems to you supremely ami- | magistrates to lay their power at the feet of the able in spite of all the imperfections and sins great Supreme, and to place their glory in renthat imbitter it, in vain do I stand here de- dering to God a faithful account of their adscribing it to you. However, condescend at ministration! Great will that account be. least to see whither every living thing is tend- | You are, to a certain degree, responsible both ing; and allow me to perform the duty of for the temporal and eternal happiness of this this day, which requires me to treat of the people. The eternal happiness of a people of dying and the dead. A modern author has ten depends on the conduct of their governors, published a book with this singular title, on the care they take to restrain licentious
Subterranean Rome,' a title full of instruc- | ness, to suppress scandalous books, to make tion and truth, a title that may serve to teach | solemn festivals observed, to procure wise, that living haughty city, that there is another zealous, and faithful ministers for the church. Rome dead and buried, a natural image of Magistrates, who enter into these noble dewhat the present Rome must shortly be. Such signs, have a right to expect from God all the an object I present to you. I present you your assistance necessary to effect them. To thee, republic, not the republic you see composed of Almighty God, we address our prayers for living magistrates, generals, and heads of fami such assistance for these illustrious persons ! lies; this is superficial, the surface of your O that our petitions may enter heaven, and republic: but I would fix your eyes on an in our prayers be heard and answered ! terior subterranean republic. There is a state Ministers, my dear coadjutors in the great under your feet. Go down, go into the cells work of salvation, successors of the apostles in under the earth. Lift up the lids of the cor- ' the work of the ministry for the edifying of fins. What do you see there, what have you the body of Christ !' Eph. iv. 12, God has set found there? My God! What inhabitants ! narrow limits to what the world calls our preWhat citizens! What a rebublic!
serment and fortune. The religion we profess This is not all. Go farther. Carry your does not allow us to aspire alter such higheyes beyond these caverns. Exercise that sounding titles, eminent posts, and splendid faith which gives substance to things not seen. equigages, as confound the minister of tempoThink of the souls which once animated this ral kings with the ministers of that Jesus dust, and ashes, and bones. Where are they? whose kingdom is not of this world : but Some are in a state of felicity, others in depths of misery. Some in the bosom of God, others
* Or Rotterdam.