Page images

what, and springeth up one can hardly tell how. Its ways are unacFountable and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless rovings of fancy and windings of language. It is, in short, a manner of speaking out of the simple and plain way (such as reason teacheth and proveth things by), which, by a pretty surprising uncouthness in conceit or expression, doth affect and amuse the fancy, stirring in it some wonder, and breeding some delight thereto.

JOHN TILLOTSON 1630-1694. (Manual, p. 256.)


Another most considerable and essential ingredient of happiness is goodness, without which, as there can be no true majesty and greatness, so neither can there be any felicity or happiness. Now goodness is a generous disposition of mind to communicate and diffuse itself, by making others partakers of its happiness in such degrees as they are capable of it, and as wisdom shail direct. For he is not so happy as may be, who hath not the pleasure of making others so, and of seeing them put into a happy condition by his means, which is the highest pleasure, I had almost said pride, but I may truly say glory, of a good and great mind. For by such communications of himself, an immense and all-sufficient being doth not lessen himself, or put anything out of his power, but doth rather enlarge and magnify himself; and does, as I may say, give great ease and delight to a full and fruitful being, without the least diminution of his power and happiness. For the cause and original of all other beings can make nothing so independent upon itself as not still to maintain his interest in it, to have it always under his power and government; and no being can rebel against his Maker, without extreme hazard to himself. Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of all other virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a being, upon all proper and fitting occasions; that is, that so perfect a being do nothing that is contrary to or unbecoming his holiness and righteousness, his truth ard faithfulness, which are essential to a perfect being; and for such a being to act contrary to them in any case, would be to create disquiet and disturbance to itself. For this is a certain rule, and never fails, that nothing can act contrary to its own nature without reluctancy and displeasure, which in moral agents is that which we call guilt; 11 guilt is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariseth in one's mind, from the consciousness of having done cenething which is contrary to the perfective principles of his being, that is, something that doth not become him, and which, being what he is, he ought not to have done; which we cannot imagine ever to befall so perfect and immutable a being as God is.

Perfect happiness implies in it the settled and ac re possession of

all those excellences and perfections; for if any of these were liable to fail, or be diminished, so much would be taken off from perfect and complete happiness. If the Deity were subject to any change or impairment of his condition, so that either his knowledge, or power, of wisdom, or goodness, or any other perfection, could any ways decline or fall off, there would be a proportionate abatement of happiness. And from all those do result, in the last place, infinite contentment and satisfaction, pleasure and delight, which is the very essence of happiness.

Infinite contentment and satisfaction in this condition. And well may happiness be contented with itself; that is, with such a condition, that he that is possessed of it, can neither desire it should be better, nor have any cause to fear it should be worse.

Pleasure and delight, which is something more than contentment; for one may be contented with an affliction, and painful condition, in which he is far from taking any pleasure or delight. "No affliction is joyous for the present but grievous," as the apostle speaks. But there cannot be a perfect happiness without pleasure in our condition. Full pleasure is a certain mixture of love and joy, hard to be expressed in words, but certainly known by inward sense and experience

ROBERT SOUTH. 1633-1716. (Manual, p. 257.)


The understanding, the noblest faculty of the mind, was then sublime, clear, and aspiring, and as it were the soul's upper region, lofty and serene, free from the vapors and disturbances of the inferior affections. It was the leading, controlling faculty; all the passions wore the colors of reason; it did not so much persuade as command; it was not consul, but dictator. Discourse was then almost as quick as intuition; it was nimble in proposing, firm in concluding; it could sooner determine than now it can dispute. Like the sun, it had both light and agility; it knew no rest but in motion; no quiet but in activity. It did not so properly apprehend as irradiate the object; rot so much find as make things intelligible. It arbitrated upon the several reports of sense, and all the varieties of imagination; not, like a drowsy judge, only hearing, but also directing their verdict. In short, it was vegete,' quick, and lively; open as the day, untainted as the morning, full of the innocence and sprightliness of youth; it gave the soul a bright and full view into all things; and was not only & window, but itself the prospect. Adam came into the world a philos opher, which sufficiently appeared by his writing the nature of things upon their names; he could view essences in themselves, and read forms without the comment of their respective properties; he could see consequents yet dormant in their principles, and e fects yet unborn

1 Vigorous.

in the womb of their causes; his understanding could almost pierce into future contingents, his conjectures improving even to prophecy, or the certainties of prediction, till his fall, he was ignorant of nothing but sin; or, at least, it rested in the notion, without the smart of the experiment. Could any difficulty have been proposed, the resclution would have been as early as the proposal; it could not have had time to settle into doubt. Like a better Archimedes, the ine of all his inquiries was an "I have found it, I have found it!"- the off spring of his brain, without the sweat of his brow. Study was not then a duty, night-watchings were needless; the light of reason wanted not the assistance of a candle. This is the doom of fallen man, to labor in the fire, to seek truth in the deep, to exhaust his time, and to impair his health, and perhaps to spin out his days and himself into one pitiful controverted conclusion. There was then no poring, no struggling with memory, no straining for invention; his faculties were quick and expedite; they answered without knocking, they were ready upon the first summons; there was freedom and firmness in all their operations. I confess it is as difficult for us, who date our ignorance from our first being, and were still bred up with the same infirmities about us with which we were born, to raise our thoughts and imaginations to those intellectual perfections that attended our nature in the time of innocence, as it is for a peasant bred up in the obscurities of a cottage to fancy in his mind the unseen splendors of a court. But by rating positives by their privatives, and other acts of reason, by which discourse supplies the want of the reports of sense, we may collect the excellency of the understanding then by the glorious remainders of it now, and guess at the stateliness of the building by the magnificence of its ruins. All those arts, rarities, and inventions, which vulgar minds gaze at, the ingenious pursue, and all admire, are but the relics of an intellect defaced with sin and time. We admire it now only as antiquaries do a piece of old coin, for the stamp it once bore, and not for those vanishing lineaments and disappearing draughts that remain upon it at present. And certainly that must needs have been very glorious the decays of which are so admirable. He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young. An Aristotle was but the rubbisă of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradisc.

WILLIAM SHERLOCK. 1678-1761. (Manual, p. 258.) 165. CHARITY.

ne Gospel, though it has left men in possession of their ancient rights, yet has it enlarged the duties of love and compassion, and taught rich men to consider the poor not only as servants but as brethren, and to look on themselves not only as the masters, but as

the patrons and protectors of the needy. On this view, the industri ous poor are entitled to the rich man's charity; since, in the candor of the Gospel, we ought to assist our poor neighbors, not only to live, but to live comfortably: and an honest, laborious poverty has charms in it to draw relief from any rich man who has the heart of a Christian or even the bowels of nature. Mean families, though, perhaps, they may subsist by their work, yet go through much sorrow to earr their bread: if they complain not, they are more worthy of 10gard; their silent suffering and their contented resignation to Providence, entitle them to the more compassion; and there is a pleasure, not to be described in words, which the rich man enjoys, when he makes glad the heart of such patient sufferers, and, by his liberality, nakes them for a time forget their poverty and distress; that even, with respect to the present enjoyments, the words are verified, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

ROBERT BOYLE. 1627-1691. (Manual, p. 261.)



Whereas, as the condition of a monarch, who is possessed but of one kingdom or province, is preferable to that of a geographer, though he be able to discourse theoretically of the dimensions, situation, and motion, or stability of the whole terrestrial globe, to carve it into zones, climates, and parallels, to enumerate the various names and etymologies of its various regions, and give an account of the extent, the confines, the figure, the divisions, &c., of all the dominions and provinces of it; so the actual possession of one virtue is preferable to the bare speculative knowledge of them all. Their master, Aristotle. hath herein been more plain and less pedantic, who (by the favor of his interpreters) hath not been nice in the method of his ethics. And, indeed, but little theory is essentially requisite to the being virtuous, provided it be duly understood, and cordially put in practice: reason and discretion sufficing, analogically, to extend and apply it to the particular occurences of life (which otherwise being so near infinite as to be indefinite, are not so easily specifiable in rules); as the view of the single pole-star directs the heedful pilot, in almost all the various courses of navigation. And the systems of moralists may ir this particular) not unfitly be compared to heaven, where there are luminaries and stars obvious to all eyes, that, diffuse beams sufficient to light us in most ways; and as I, that, with modern astronomers, by an excellent telescope, have beheld perhaps near a hundred stars in the Pleiades, where common eyes see but six; and have often discerned in the Milky Way, and other pale parts of the firmament,

numberless little stars generally unseen, receive yet from heaven no more light useful to travel by, than other men enjoy; so there are certain grand principles and maxims in the ethics, which both are generally conspicuous, and generally afford men much light and much direction; but the numerous little notions (admit them truths) suggested by scholarship to ethical writers, and by them to us, though the speculation be not unpleasant, afford us very little peculiar ight to guide our actions by.

JOHN HOWE. 1630-1705.



That God hath withdrawn himself, and left this his temple desolate, we have many sad and plain proofs before us. The stately ruins are visible to every eye, that bear in their front (yet extant) this doleful inscription - -"Here God once dwelt." Enough appears of the admirable frame and structure of the soul of man, to show the divine presence did some time reside in it; more than enough of vicious deformity, to proclaim he is now retired and gone. The lamps are extinct, the altar overturned; the light and love are now vanished, which did, the one shine with so heavenly brightness, the other our with so pious fervor; the golden candlestick is displaced, and thrown away as a useless thing, to make room for the throne of the prince of darkness; the sacred incense, which sent rolling up in clouds its rich perfumes, is exchanged for a poisonous, hellish vapor, and here is, "instead of a sweet savor, a stench." The comely order of this house is turned all into confusion; "the beauties of holiness" into noisome impurities; the "house of prayer into a den of thieves," and that of the worst and most horrid kind; for every lust is a thief, and every theft sacrilege: continual rapine and robbery are committed upon holy things. The noble powers which were designed and dedicated to divine contemplation and delight, are alienated to the service of the most despicable idols, and employed unto vilest intuitions and embraces; to behold and admire lying vanities, to indulge and cherish lust and wickedness. What have not the enemies done wickedly in le sanctuary? How have they broken down the carved work thereof, and that too with axes and hammers, the noise whereof was not to be neard in building, much less in the demolishing, this sacred frame ! Look upon the fragment of that curious sculpture which or ce adornti the palace of that great king; the relics of common rotions; the lively prints of some undefaced truth; the fair ideas of things; the yet legible precepts that relate to practice. Behold! with what accuracy the broken pieces show these to have been engraven by the finger of God, and how they now lie torn and scattered, one in this dark corner, another in that, buried in heaps of dirt and rubbish! Therg

« PreviousContinue »