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is which we fhall make. Then a grateful Perfon will inftantly be distinguished, between a base and selfish Wretch; and an hearty Lover and an hollow Flatterer, will no longer pafs under the fame Name of a good Friend. In which Respect, the meanest Man in the World is capable of more Felicity than the greatest Kings: For thefe living ordinarily in a conftant Profperity, never know the Difference between thofe Men that love them, and those that love their Fortune only; and are forced to heap Benefits and Favours on thofe, who love themselves better than him that beftows thofe Benefits.
This may be fome Comfort to us in Afflictions, if there were no other; but if we look a little further, we fhall find,
2. Secondly, That they discover to us, in a very perfpicuous manner, the Nature of true Pleasure. And that confists not in having, but in ufing the good Things of this World: And again, not in ufing them intemperately, but a fober manner; not in fatisfying all the Extravagancies of our Defires, but in reftraining and bridling thofe Exceffes into which they are apt to run. For he that finds how uncertain thefe Things are, will use them freely: And he that confiders an harder Condition may come will not use them licentioufly. For whofoever is intemperate, can of all other Men least brook Adversity.
3. Afflictions alfo make us enjoy what Pleafures we have ftill remaining, with greater Affection, and more Ardency. Who takes more Pleasure in his Children, than he that hath buried fome? Or who loves his Friends more dearly, than he that thinks he muft fhortly leave them; and can then express no Tenderness towards them, nor render them any Services? As long as we are difcreet and virtuous, we may delight our felves in the good Things of this World: And if we may, it is certain the bereaving us of fome of them, will heighten and quicken the Delight we take in thofe that are left behind. And
4. We are mightily provoked likewife by Afflictions to be highly thankful to the AImighty Goodness, for what we have still remaining with us. And what is there that hath more Pleasure in it, than a grateful Mind to God: To praise him, is the Height of Joy. To render Thanks to him, is the Pleasure of Heaven. The Bleffed know no greater Felicity, than to love and bless their bountiful Benefactor. There is no other Liturgy above (as the Ancients have expreffed it) but finging Pfalms, and making thankful Acknowledgments to our Creator and Redeemer. Which the more we practife, the more we fhall find our felves elevated above the Reach of all Worldly Things, or above the Hurt that they can do us. There is no better Antidote against the Venom of any Affliction which is NO apt
apt to enrage our Spirits, than immediately, as foon as we feel the Sting of it, to give God Thanks for all the Benefits we enjoy, and for all the Hopes we have hereafter. This will make us forget our Sorrows, or rather not perceive them fo much as otherwise we might. So Gregory Nazianzen, I remember, tells us, that his Mother was ever wont to take great care, even in the forest Tryals, not to utter one complaining Word, before fhe had first look'd up to Heaven, and acknowledged God with a thankful Heart. She wou'd not permit, as his Words are, ev πότε πρὸ τῆς ἀχαρισίας͵ ῥαγκαι φωνώ, any lamentable or mournful Accent to break forth, till giving of Thanks was first perform'd. By which means fhe made the Complaints, no doubt, more moderate and filent afterwards; and felt that the Affliction did her the lefs harm. And if it be fo good, if there be such Virtue in it, I am fure we are naturally taught it then, when any Affliction befals us, which might have deprived us of all our Comforts, as well as one. And it alfo bids us delight ever to blefs and praife God's Holy Name, which will make our Life more pleafant, than all the Enjoyments of it, without this, can do. No Part of any Day will pass away fo much to our Content, as that wherein we magnify the Divine Bounty for all his Favours to us; if we do it with Affection and an hearty Senfe of our Obligations. For it is as much
as to fay, that God is our Friend; and that we bear a loving Heart towards him. Now if there be fo much Delight, as I said, in the interchangeable Love of one another; you may eafily judge what Contentment there is in this Reflection, that we have a Friendship with Heaven. Which can be maintained and preserved by nothing fo much, as perpetual Thanksgivings to our great Benefactor, and good Offices to our Brethren for his Sake. The Excellency of the former of which I have sometimes hence demonstrated, that there was a peculiar Gift of the Spirit of God in the Beginning of our Religion, to raise Mens Minds to fuch a Pitch, that they might be able to conceive and utter the Divine Praifes, and give Thanks to God, by finging to themselves in Pfalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, making Melody in their Hearts to the Lord. And the Excellency of the latter alfo, I have had Occafion to fhow, appears in this, that the Apostle prefers Charity before all Gifts whatfoeyer. It is that more excellent Way than any other, wherein we must be fure to tread, if we mean to come into the Company of the Bleffed. After we have lifted up our Thoughts above to God in Praises, we must be fure to come down to our Brethren in Acts of Love and Kindness. And both these together raife us up to a Conjunction with God, and happily unite our Souls to him; and gratify us with
fome Foretaftes of thofe Joys and Pleafures, which infeparably attend upon the Divine Nature, whatsoever it is.
5. It is not to be forgotten neither, how that the Troubles of this Life make us more willing to part with all thofe Things that are not yet taken away from us: Which is a Thing very requifite to render our Life pleafant to us. For it is a certain Rule, that no Man can enjoy that Delight fully, which he is in continual Fear, and unwilling to lofe. Thefe cross Accidents then may do us a great Pleasure, because they excite us to enjoy them freely, while we have them, with the greater Affection; and yet not with fo great, as to dread the Departure of them. But it is time to put an end to this Meditation; let us only therefore confider once
6. That they are the Occafions of the greatest Pleasures in our whole Life, if ever our Condition change from worse to better again. It is a certain Truth, that much of our Felicity, if not the moft, ex contrariis ortum habet, hath its Rife from Contraries. Pleasure is born of Pain, Joy of Grief, Riches of Indigency and Want. After we or a Friend is recovered of a dangerous Difeafe, then it is that our Hearts leap for Joy. After a Shipwreck is efcaped, or a Victory obtained, then our Spirits dilate themselves in an exceffive Measure. So it is in all other Cafes; we have the higheft Motions