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tions that are in God (I mean his moral perfections, as truth, goodness, purity, holiness, and the like ;) and that those who had no revelation from God, have arrived to a full satisfaction of the existence of Deity, and have had sense of good and evil, right and wrong; then they who fall short of the measures, fall under force and violence; and lay within themselves the foundation of uncertainty and distraction : because they have a Principle within themselves, that doth reprove and challenge, countermand and controul. For, it is a great matter for a man to approve himself to himself, and to satisfy the reason of his own mind. How true is that of the prophet ? Ifa. lvii. 20. (which, also, is verified by reason) there is no peace, faith he, to the wicked : but, they are like the troubled fea, that cannot resi. Nothing is more true, than that if a man be guilty, and vary from the rule of right, and depart from reason, he wrongs himself, goes against his principle, and the law of his nature, shakes off his governor ; therefore cannot have peace, or satisfaction. For, these things are in conjunction, and cannot be separated, viz. innocency, and peace ; and, on the contrary, these go together, guiltiness, and perplexity of thoughts. And these things are not as men will, or as they order and choose ; but, they are conjoined in the nature of things themselves. And these things being fo, religion recommends itself, from its usefulness, and is not to be looked upon as an impofition, or a burden laid upon the nature of man ; but ought to be a matter of our delight and choice.
But, then, the left consideration is this : that the perfection and happiness of human nature consists in
the right use of our rational faculties, and in the vigour and intense exercise of them, about their proper and proportionable object. And, what object can be more proportionable than God himself, the original of our being ? him from whom it did flow ? who is the pattern of all excellency and goodness ? If, therefore, we find not rest, and greater satisfaction in him, than in all worldly pleasure and delight, it is, because we have not exerted our highest and noblest faculties in that vigour which we ought, and should have done, or as we have done our sensual appetites ; but have fuffered our noble faculties to be interrupted by bodily indisposition, or worldly pleasure, whence, they become untoward to things spiritual : whereas, if these faculties had been inured, as they should have been, we fhould have found more and more, that heavenly acts were become suitable, connatural and easy. Just as in perfons that live a contemplative life, and delight in reading and meditation ; to these men it is ten thousand times more satisfaction, to be alone, or in company that will improve their understanding, than in any other business whatsoever. And, of such men it may be said, that they are never lefs alone, than when alone. This is the great priviledge of men that lead contemplative lives, that they never want employment : when other men that sink down into sensuality, or that violate the peace of their own minds and confciences, are fain to seek the worst of company, that they may drive away their time. But, if we did exert our minds and understandings about God, and heavenly things, our souls would be fo habituated, that upon all occasions they would, with great
delight delight and freedom, without any aversation or backa wardness, exercise themselves in heavenly meditation. For, heavenly things are the greatest truths and reaa lities in the world, and our life is in them. Whereas they that are drowned in sensual pleasures are dead whilst they live. This I account : that, in mo. rality, we are as fure as in mathematicks.- God, in infinite reason and wisdom, hath fo contrived, that if an intellectual being fink itself into sensuality, love of this outward world, or, any way defile and pollute itself; then, miseries and torments, afflictions, and vexations should befal it, in this state; this being the furest way to rescue, and recover a lapsing and declining soul.
And, so, I have given you an account of the feveral particulars; whereby you may understand, that this which the Psalmist faith, is a true representation of the state of religion.
Men have nothing to glory of, but Reli
JEREMIAH ix. 23, 24.
mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man
HE subject matter of these words being of great moment, the prophet is very exact, and
lays it down two ways. 1. Corrective. Directive.
1. By way of correction of what is false, unfound, and insincere : Let not the wise man glory in his wifdom, &c.
2. By way of direction, what is true, real, solid, substantial. Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me. Şo that,
1. You have the false foundations of glorying, or of mens sitting down with satisfaction ; and here
you have three excluded, and these comprehend all. You have that which is nearest to us; mental endowments, the good things of the mind. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. 2. You have that which is next ; bodily perfection ; the good things of the body.
Let not the mighty man glory in his might. 3. That which is about us, external supplements and accommodations, the good things of fortune. Let not the rich man glory in his riches. For this is our condition ; thus we are made to be beholden to other things ; and though man was made after the image of God, constituted governor of the world ; yet he stands in more need of external accommodations and supplements, than any creature below him. And this is a man's perfection, that tho' in himself he be a weak feeble creature, and for a long time of his life hath only security that he is born into the arms of reason, and loving affection ; yet when he comes to the use of his reason, (that inftrument which is alone his peculiar, and which is not visible to any external eye) the whole creation cannot deprive him of that which is his strength and excellency, and he makes them fubfervient to himself, as by experience in what we eat and what we drink, and wherewith we cloath ourselves, and wherewith we make defence.
II. Then for the solid foundation of glory and of satisfaction. Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me; that he hath an inward and awakened sense of God in his soul, that he hath true judgment of God. For three things are peculiar to intellectual natures, and we are condemned if we fail in
of them. 1. To be perceptive of God, to feel and know there is a God; if by any means I may feel after God and know him, faith St. Paul. 2. To conceive aright of him : and truly, if we do not that, we had better be ignorant of him,