Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ness, and Humility, and Purity, and Devotion, and all the other Graces of the Holy Spirit. It is not possible, but that such a Life as this, must needs be a Fountain of inexpreslible joy to him that leads it, and fill the Soul with transcendantly greater Content than any thing upon Earth can possibly do: For this is the Life of God, this is the Life of the Blessed Angels above, this is the Life that is most of all agreeable to our own Natures. While we live thus, things are with us as they should be ; our Souls are in their natural Posture, in that State they were framed and designed to live in: Whereas the Life of Sin, is a State of Disorder and Confusion; a perpetual Violence and Force upon our Natures. While we live thus, we enjoy the Pleasures of men, whereas before, when we were governed by Sense, we could pretend to no other Satisfactions, but what the Brutes have as well as we. In this State of Life, we gratify our highest and nobles Powers, the intellectual Appetites of our Souls; which as they are infinitely capacious, so have they an infinite Good to fill them : Whereas in the sensual Life, the meanet, the dullest, and the most contracted Faculties of our Souls, were only provided for.

But what need I carry you out into these Speculations, when your own Sense and Experience will ascertain you in this Matter above a Thousand Arguments? Do but seriously set yourselves to serve God, if you have yet never done it, do but once try what it is to

live

live up to the Precepts of Reason, and Virtue, and Religion; and I dare confidently pronounce, that you will in One Month, find more Foy, more Peace, more Content, to arise in your Spirits, from the Sense that you have resisted the Temptations of Evil, and done what was your Duty to do, than in many years spent in Vanity and a licentious Course of Living. I doubt not in the least, but that after you have once seen, and tasted how gracious the Lord is, how good all his Ways are, but you will proclaim to all the World, that One Day spent in his Courts, is better than a Thousand: Nay, you will be ready to cry out with the Roman Orator (if it be lawful to quote the Testimony of a Heathen, after that of the Divine Psalmi/) that One Day lived according to the Precepts of Virtue, is to be preferred before an Immortality of Sin...

You will then alter all your Sentiments of Things, and wonder that you should have been so strangely abused by false Representations of Virtue and Vice. You will then see that Religion is quite another Thing, than it appeared to you, before you became acquainted with it. Instead of that grim, lowre, unpleasant Countenance, in which you heretofore painted her to yourself, you will then discover nothing in her but what is infinitely Lovely and Charming. Those very Actions of Religion, which you now cannot think upon with Patience, they seem so harsh and unpleasant, you will then find to be accomVol. I.

:

panied

Grain of Natior an Affrontro fo farm

panied with a wonderful Delight. You will not then complain of the Narrowness of the Bounds, or the Scantiness of the Measures, that it hath confined your Desires to; for you will then find, that you have hereby gained an Entrance into a far greater and more perfect Liberty. How ungentilely, how much against the Grain of Nature foever it now looks to forgive an Injury, or an Affront, you will then find it to be as far more easy, fo far more sweet than to revenge one. You will no longer think Works of Charity burthensome or expensive; or that to do good Offices to every one is an Employment too mean for you; for you will then experience, that there is no Sensuality like that of doing Good; and that it is a greater Pleasure to do a Kindness, than to receive one. How will you chide your self for having been so averse to Prayer, and other devout Exercises, accounting them as tiresome unfavoury Things, when you begin to feel the delicious Relishes they leave upon your Spirit? You will then confefs, that no Conversation is half so agreeable as that which we enjoy with God Almighty in Prayer; no Cordial so reviving as heartily to pour out our Souls unto him. And then to be affected with his Mercies, to praise and give Thanks to him for his Benefits, what is it but a very Heaven upon Earth, an Anticipation of the Joys of Eternity ? Nay, you will not be without your Pleasures, even in the very Entrance of Religion, then when you ex

[ocr errors]

ercig

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ercise Acts of Repentance when you mourn and affli&t yourself for your Sins, which seems the frightfullest Thing in all Religion. For such is the Nature of that Holy Sorrow, that you would not for all the World be without it, and you will find far greater Contentment and Satisfaction in grieving for your Offences, than ever you did receive from the committing them.

But, О the ineffable Pleasures that do continually spring up in the Heart of a good Man, from the Sense of God's Love, and the Hope of his Favour, as the fair Prospect he hath of the Joy and Happiness of the other World ! How pleasing, how transporting will the Thought of these Things be to you! To think that you are one of those happy Souls, that are, of an Enemy, become the Friend of God, that your Ways please him, and that you are not only pardoned, but accepted and beloved by him? To think that you a poor Creature, who were of yourself nothing, and by your Sins had made yourself far worse than nothing, are yet by the Goodness of your Saviour, become so considerable a Being, as to be able to give Delight to the King of the World, and to cause yoy in Heaven among the blessed Angels by your Repentance : To think that God charges his Providence with you, takes care of all your Concerns, hears all your Prayers, provides all Things needful for you, and that he will, in his good Time, take you up unto himself, to live everlasting

[blocks in formation]

ly in his Presence, to be Partaker of his · Glories, to be ravished with his Love, to be

acquainted with his Counsels, to know and be known by Angels, Arch- Angels, and Seraphims; to enjoy a Conversation with Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, and all the raised and glorified Spirits of brave Men; and with all these to spend a happy and a rapturous Eternity, in adoring, in loving, in praising God for the Infiniteness of his Wisdom, and the Miracles of his Mercy and Goodness to all his Creatures. Can there be any Pleasure like this? Can any thing in the World put you into such an Ecstasy of Joy, as the very Thought of these Things? With what a mighty Scorn and Contempt, will you in the Sense of them look down upon all the little Gauderies, and sickly Satisfactions, that the Men of this World keep such a ftir about ? How empty an evanid, how flat and unfavory will the best Pleasures on Earth appear to you, in comparison of these Divine Contentments ? you will perpetually rejoice, you will fing Praises to your Saviour, you will bless the Day, that ever you became acquainted with him; you will confess him to be the only Master of Pleasure in the World, and that you never knew what it was to be an Epicure indeed, 'till you became a Christian.

Thus have I gone through all those Heads which I at first proposed to insist on. What now remains, but that I resume the Apostle's

Exhorta

« AnteriorContinuar »