THE Translator, by th [...] Author's Advice, r [...] trench'd, from the former Pa [...] of this Treatise, certain obscu [...] and Metaphysical Passages which may be seen in the ( [...] riginal. In doing which he ha [...] cut off, rather superfluous an [...] useless Branches, than any m [...] terial or necessary Part, a [...] has render'd it more agreeabl [...] and fitted to every Capacity.

April 29. 1694.

THE ART OF Knowing One-self: OR, An ENQUIRY into THE Sources of MORALITY.

Written Originally in French, By the Reverend Dr. ABBADIE.


OXFORD, Printed by Leonard Lichfield, for Henry Clements, and John Howell, Booksellers, 1695.

TO MY MUCH Esteemed Friend, Mr. HENRY LEVET.

I SHALL not excuse my Adventure, by extolling this Author's Worth, lest I should seem both Un­just, and Impertinent: For should I go to enumerate his Praises, I might fail of render­ing him all that is his Due; and to repeat his Fame, whom the World sufficiently knows, and this very Work not a little commends, would be foolishly Vain and Impertinent.

I hope, by my pouring his fragrant Essences, into a new [Page] Vessel, they are better expos'd to the Sense of my Country­men, and have not Lost much of their genuine Odour: How­ever I am pretty well assur'd, That the Majesty of the Sense, will shine thro' the Meanness of my Expression; and that, so, whilst it gathers new Prai­ses to its Author, 'twill obtain, at least, a Pardon for me.

'Tis not my Design, in pre­senting you with a Treatise of this Kind, either to Inform your Mind, or Reform your Manners; since I doubt not, but you already understand the Rules for Knowing Your-self, and carefully Transcribe 'em into Practice: I offer it to you as a Part of that Homage, which all Men Owe, and, those [Page] that Know you, justly Pay to your real Merit; and particu­larly as a Token of Gratitude, to that Generous and Friendly Temper, which I always Ad­mir'd, and frequently Experi­enc'd in you.

As you have hitherto, even in Prosperity, freely embrac'd an useful Knowledge of your Self, as related both to God, and the World, surely the Heavens will see no Reason to Frown upon you, with whom their Smiles have been so prevailing, and that they never may, is the hearty Prayer of,

Your most Humble, and Most Obedient Servant, T. W.


The First PART.
  • CHAP. I. WHere we give a general Idea of the Vileness and Misery of Man, which are the first of his Qualities that occur to our Mind. Pag. 11
  • [...]hap. II. Where we endeavour to know Man, by considering the Nature and Extent of his Duties. Pag. 24
  • [...]hap. III. Where we continue to make certain Reflections upon the Decalogue, considering it as an Expression of the Law of Nature, ac­commodated to the State of the Israelites. Pag. 32
  • [...]hap. IV. Where we shew the Extent of the Law of Nature, by considering it in the Gospel, and with Relation to the Immortal Man. Pag. 39
  • [...]hap. V. Of the Moral Strength of Man, or the Motives which he finds in himself, to de­termine him in his Actions. Pag. 43
  • [Page] Chap. VI. Where we explain, what Effect the sense of Immortality is capable of working upon our Heart. Pag. 4 [...]
  • Chap. VII. Where we continue to shew, wha [...] the Sense of our Immortality can work upo [...] our Heart. Pag. 6 [...]
The Second PART.
  • CHAP. I. WHere we enquire after the Source of our Cor­ruption, by handling the first of our Faculties which is the Ʋnderstanding. Pag. 9 [...]
  • Chap. II. Where we continue to shew, that th [...] Source of our Corruption is not in the Ʋnderstanding. Pag. 10 [...]
  • Chap. III. Where we search after the manner how the Heart deceives the Mind. Pag. 10 [...]
  • Chap. IV. Where we consider the mutual Illu [...] ons, which pass between the Heart and th [...] Mind, and how GOD alone destroys 'em by his Grace. Pag. 11 [...]
  • Chap. V. Where we continue to search for th [...] Sources of our Corruption, by considering th [...] Motions and Inclinations of the Heart. Pag. 12 [...]
  • Chap. VI. Where we examine the Faults [...] Self-love. Pag. 12 [...]
  • Chap. VII. Where we shew, that Self-love kindles all our Affections, and is the genera [...] Principle of our Motions. Pag. 13 [...]
  • [Page] Chap. VIII. Where we continue to shew, that Self-love is the Principle of our Affections. Pag. 147
  • Chap. IX. Where we consider the most general Inclinations of Self-love, and in the first place, the Desire of Happiness. Pag. 166
  • Chap. X. Where we consider the Cheats, which Self-love puts upon it self, to correct the De­fects, it finds in the Happiness it aims at. Pag. 180
  • Chap. XI. Where we consider the general In­clinations of Self-love, the Second whereof is a Desire of Perfection. Pag. 193
  • Chap. XII. Where we treat of the general Vices which flow from Self-love, and first of Plea­sure. Pag. 201
  • Chap. XIII. Where we continue to consider the divers Characters of Pleasure. Pag. 209
  • Chap. XIV. Where we treat of the general Disorders of Self love, and particularly of Pride. Pag. 221
  • Chap. XV. Where we examine all those Irregu­larities, which are Ingredients of Pride. Pag. 227
  • Chap XVI. Where we consider the Second Ir­regularity of Pride. Pag. 237
  • Chap. XVII. Of the Third Irregularity, which goes to make up Pride, which is Vanity. Pag. 240
  • Chap. XVIII. Where we continue the Characters of Men's Vanity. Pag. 252
  • Chap. XIX. Of the Two last Characters of Pride, which are Ambition, and the Contempt of our Neighbour. Pag. 265

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The ART of KNOWING ONE-SELF: Or, An Enquiry after the Sources OF MORALITY.

MORAL Philosophy, or the Know­ledge of Manners, is the Art of regulating One's Heart by Vertue, and of rendering One-self Happy by Living well.

This Science, which the Ancients call'd by the Name of Wisdom, and which One of them boasts of having brought down from Heaven, hath not always been Treated of, either in the same Method, or with the same Success: For it seems to have taken the Tincture of the different Prejudices of Men, which every Time has produc'd, and of the divers States, thro' which their Mind hath passed.

Paganism, in general, had taken from it its Force, its Motives, and its Examples. 'Tis easy to conceive, That Men did not find [Page 2] themselves very much dispo'sd to Live well, by the Motives of a Religion, which they lookt upon as a Collection of Ridiculous Dreams, and a prodigious Complication of Fictions, that were Incredible even to the grossest of the Vulgar.

Juv. S [...]t. 2.
Esse aliquos maneis, & subterranea regna,
Et contum, & stygio ranas in gurgite nigras,
Atque una trans [...]re vadum tot millia cymba,
Nec pueri credunt, nis [...] qui nondum aere lavantur.

The Philosophers, who made Profession of a more refin'd Doctrine, have nevertheless not made a much farther Progress in this respect: For some of them have not had any true Idea of the natural Dignity of Man, whom they took delight to confound with the Beasts, that they might with an equal freedom plunge themselves without scruple in the Ocean of Pleasure: Others have waver'd on this account in perpetual Un­certainties, which permitted them not to establish their specious Precepts upon very certain Foundations.

Even the Morality of the Stoicks, the most pure and sublime of all, as they themselves imagin'd, hath not been without some De­fect: It could Elevate Man, but failed to Humble him. One may say of all these Phi­losophers, what was said of One of them, who despis'd the Vanity of the Others with too much Ostentation. They Trampled upon Pride, with a yet greater Pride. They acknow­ [...]edg'd [Page 3] the Defects of Humane Nature, that [...]ey might lay hold of an Occasion to extol [...]heir own Wisdom that had freed 'em from [...]em, and renouncing such a Life as other [...]en led, they dared prefer themselves be­ [...]re the Greatest of their Gods.

The Morality which springs from the Old [...]nd New Testament hath Characters alto­ [...]ether opposite to those we have just now [...]emark'd: It hath certain Principles; it fol­ [...]ws the Light of Truth; it is supported by [...]ost powerful Motives, and most perfect Ex­ [...]mples; it considers Man as coming from [...]OD, returning to GOD, and having no [...]ss than an Eterni [...]y in view: It lifts up [...]an abased by his Passions, vilified by Su­ [...]erstition, and degraded by the Infamy of his [...]pplications; and which is admirable, it [...]ises him in such a manner as not to puff [...]m up with Pride, and humbles him so as [...] make him lose nothing of his proper Dig­ [...]ty: It divests him of his Pride, by com­ [...]unicating to him real Glory, and raises his [...]xcellency in forming his Humility by this [...]ivine Commerce of our Souls with GOD, [...]hich Religion acquainted us with, in [...]hich GOD descends quite to our lower [...]egion, without losing any thing of His [...]randeur, and we mount up to GOD with­ [...]t remitting any thing of that Abasement [...]hich we owe to his Presence.

[Page 4]This Science, which not only teaches us▪ to Live well, but also to obtain an Eternity of Happiness by Living well, is so Impor­tant a part of Religion, that GOD was not willing it should be in our Power to pretend the Ignorance of it. And whereas we have no other means of attaining to the Know­ledge of most things, but either by Reason, Sense or Faith, He was willing that the Mo­rality of His Gospel should be known after all these ways: Faith makes us embrace it because Jesus Christ and the Apostles have taught and practis'd it; the inward Sense o [...] Conscience makes us approve of it, because [...] satisfies, raises and comforts us: Reason a [...] last gives its Suffrage unto it, because it con­tains nothing but what is Comformable to the Maxims of good Sense, whether in the Principles whereupon it is established, or in the Rules which it prescribes unto us.

GOD goes almost the same way to Work when the Soul is to be Nourished, as he doti [...] when the Nourishment of the Body is performed. He doth not only give us a Facult [...] of Reasoning, to provide for the Subsistenc [...] of the latter: For altho' this Rational Faculty be necessary, yet 'tis not sufficient t [...] determine us to take the Aliments, that a [...] design'd for our Preservation, in such a Regularity as is requisite to make them produc [...] their Effect. He thought good to add the Faculty of Sense, whereby we perceive the [...] [Page 5] Aliments to be agreeable; and the Faith we [...]ave in those who fed us with 'em before [...]e were capable of making an Enquiry into [...]m our selves. For the Author of Nature, who knew how inconvenient it was to send Men to Eat and Drink, so as that they [...]ould have known by Reasoning how the [...]liments are changed into Chyle, the Chyle [...]nto Blood, the Blood into Flesh, Bone, &c. [...]nd how the Effluxes and Wastings of Cor­ [...]oreal Nature, which are caused by Tran­ [...]piration, are repair'd by Nourishment, [...]ought fit to engage Men to take their Food [...]y a more Compendious way, which is that [...]f Sense; whereunto may be added the [...]aith they have in their Parents, the Imita­ [...]on of whom, is to them a Natural Reason, [...]hich saves them the Discussion, and par­ [...]cular Enquiry.

It may likewise be said, That were it ne­ [...]ssary for Man to know, by Reason, the [...]mortality of his Soul, his End, and his Du­ [...]es, which are the most general Principles [...] Morality, in order to capacitate himself [...]r the Performance of the Duties it enjoins, would be requisite he should be a Philoso­ [...]er before he can be an honest Man. GOD, [...]ho is the Author of Religion, as well as of [...]ature, hath therefore abridg'd and shorten'd [...]r way in this respect, by Exhibiting to us, [...]ro' Faith, the Principal Truths of Mo­ [...]lity, and by giving us a Tast of them thro' [Page 6] Channel of Sense: For the Faith we have in Jesus Christ tells us, that we ought to be Con­formable unto him in time, in order to par­take of his Glory in Eternity; and Consci­ence makes us perceive, in the Piety which it prescribes unto us, an agreeable Feeling, and a Divine Tast, which engages us to practice it.

But as Reason is not useless to the Con­servation of the Body in Nature, neither is it so to the Sanctification of the Soul in Religion; it supports Faith, and confirms Sense.

They who desire to know Morality by Faith, need but read the Gospel: They who desire to know it by inward Sense, need but search for it in their own Hearts, with the help of Revelation, which GOD directs them unto; and the Conjunction of these Two Methods will not fail to furnish them with all the Principles of the Science of Living well.

But 'tis to he hop'd, That no One will blame our Design in this Writing, of Con­ducting Men by Reason, as far as it shall be possible towards that End, whereunto Re­ligion conducts us by Faith, and Conscience leads us by Sense. Reason, as well as Faith and Conscience, is a Gift which GOD hath bestow'd upon us: Its Lights do assuredly proceed from the Father of Lights, the Au­thor of every excellent Gift; and I know not what better use we can make of our [Page 7] Mind, then by employing it in the Considera­tion of what is of greatest Importance and Concernment to us.

This Study is none of the shortest, in or­der to the pure Learning of these Duties; but it is extreamly proper to nourish the Gratitude, which we ought to bear to the Author of our Being; to confirm the Faith we have in Jesus Christ, and to remove from the Incredulous this haughty Prejudice, That our Morality is calculated only for such Persons as have not Wit enough to avoid Deception: And lastly, To elevate our Mind and Heart, by shewing us the Ways of GOD, in the Inclinations of Men, and the Duties of Man in the the Ways of GOD.

We shall see, thro' this Meditation, the Divine Relations that are between Nature and the Gospel; and that Reason leads us to the Confines of Religion. We shall learn, that Natural Light, when it is pure and ex­empted from Prejudices, doth of it self con­duct us to the most sublime Duties of Man, and represent unto us his lofty Destinies, and the Glory of his Condition.

We shall endeavour to say Nothing but what relates to the Principles of our Faith, which we will evince to be the same with those of Nature, as far as they concern the Knowledge of Manners; and if we be oblig'd at first to insist upon abstract Truths, we shall do this no farther than as they conduct [Page 8] us to sensible Truths. In a word, We will search not only after Truth, but also for Ad­vantage and Profit in our Discoveries, re­membring the Design of the Science which we treat of.

Indeed Morality being to our Soul the same that Physick is to our Body, and having for its End and Scope the curing us of our spiritual Maladies, it must apply it self prin­cipally unto Two Things: First, to know the Evil, and afterwards to search for Re­medies that may effect the Cure. These two Designs do divide Morality, but they are too vast, and would lead us too far, where­fore we confine our selves to the former, waiting till Providence put us in a way to handle the other.

We do here search for the Knowledge of Man, but not as Physick, Anatomy, Meta­physick, Logick, Medicine, which consider him as a Corporeal Being, or simply as a Spiritual Substance, as an Animal, or as a reasonable Animal. We shall consider him only as a Creature capable of Vertue and Happiness, and which finds it self in a State of Corrup­tion and Misery. Not but this respect under which Morality obliges us to consider our selves, engages us to borrow from some of these other Sciences, certain Principles, which we shall take from what is most evi­dent in them. For in order to have a perfect Knowledge of the Corruption and Misery [Page 9] of Man, 'tis necessarily requisite we should have some Knowledge of his Nature, his End and his Excellence. But if what we have to say on this subject, seem in some places somewhat Abstract, above the ordi­nary Capacity of Men, it ought to be re­member'd, that we treat of the Sources of Morality; and if it be perceived that we do not always accomodate our selves to vulgar Opinions, it must be consider'd, that this is not a fit place for respecting Prejudices, since we write meerly to disentangle the Confusion of our Idea's, and to justify by Reason that which we perceive by Sense.

This Work must therefore be divided into Two Parts. In the First, We will shew what Man is, to what is Obliged, and for what he is Able; that is to say, We will treat of his Nature, his Perfecti­ons, his End, his Duties and natural Ob­ligations, his Strength, Motives and Ob­jects, that may principally determine him in his Actions.

In the Second, We shall treat of his Ir­regularities in general and particular, we shall search for the Original of his Corrup­tion, we shall consider the Rivulets flowing thence, we shall view the Force of his Ap­plications, the Extent of his Passions, the Principle of his Vices, and all along we shall shew the Rule, in order to make known the Irregularities; and we will [Page 10] justify the Greatness of our Fall, by shewing the Degree of our Rise and Elevation.

May GOD, who is the Master of Minds, purify mine by his Grace, to the end, That I may say nothing but what refers to his Glory, and is conformable to the Holy and Eternal Truths of his Gospel. Amen.

The FIRST PART. Wherein we Treat of the Na­ture of MAN, of his End, his Perfections, his Duties, and his Strength.

CHAP. I. Wherein we give a General Idea of the Vileness and Misery of Man, which are the First of his Qualities that occur to our Mind.

IT is certain, That Man seems to be a very inconsiderable Being, when we judge of him thro' the Prejudices of the Senses: We are not far from finding him uncapable of Vertue, when we consider his Vileness; and uncapable of Happiness, when we reflect upon his Misery.

The Smallness of his Body is the first that occurs to the Eyes; the Scripture de­denotes it, by telling us, That Man has his Foundation in the Dust, That he dwelleth in a Tabernacle of Clay, and That he is consumed at the meeting of a Worm: And Nature [Page 12] moreover so clearly represents it to our Un­derstanding, that 'tis impossible for our Pride to contest or dispute it. 'Tis true, That as we are accustom'd to measure every thing with Relation to Our Selves, we use to look upon our selves as the Center of Perfection, and to think the Bodies that surround us, either too great, or too little, according as they are more or less proportion'd to the Bulk of our own: But you need but only change your State, and view things with other Eyes than your own; or consider them in a sense of Opposition, in order to disabuse your self on this account. Go up a Mountain, and tell how big those Men appear who stand in the Vallies beneath. Suppose the Heavenly Bodies were Animated with such a Mind as yours, and that they had Eyes to look upon you; pray what would your Body seem to them: Or compare the Dimensions of this Body to these vast Spheres, wherewith you are environ'd, with these moveable and lu­minous Worlds, which the Hand of the Creator seems to have planted round about you, to convince you more throughly of the Smallness of this Tabernacle of Flesh which you inhabit. The Infirmity of Man is proportion'd to his Smallness, and his Meanness to his Infirmity; and the one, and the other, was in the Mind of the Prophet, when he cry'd out, speaking to GOD, Wilt thou shew thy Strength against a Leaf which [Page 13] the Wind carries away: Or, in the Mind of the Psalmist, when he said, by a kind of Hyperbole, fraught with Sense and Truth, That if Man should be weighed with Nothing, we should find that Nothing would turn the Scale.

We may indeed say, That Nothing does encompass Man on every side: By the Time past he is no more, by the future he does not yet Exist, by the present he partly is, and partly is not. In vain does he endeavour to fix the past by Memory, and to anticipate the future by Hope, that he may stretch the present to a greater length. He's a Flower that springs in the Morning, spreads at Noon, and withers in the Evening. Man, consider'd in his various States, is a Crea­ture constantly Miserable; Who, as an An­cient very well says, ‘Meets with Sin in his Conception, Labour in his Birth, Pain in in his Life, and Despair of an inevitable Necessity in his Death.’

All his Ages bring him some Infirmity, or some particular Misery: Infancy is meer­ly an Oblivion and Ignorance of One self; Youth a durable Passion, a long Madness; and Old Age nothing but a Death, languish­ing under the Appearances of Life, with so great a Troop of Infirmities is it at­tended.

There are few things round about him but what do put him in Mind of his End, he [Page 14] discovers the Principles of his Death, which he dreads above all things, both in the Air which he breaths, in the Aliments which he receives, and in the Sources of his Life, which consumes and gnaws away its own Bowels: And such is his Fate, that after ha­ving shun'd the greatest Dangers, Fires, Ship­wracks, and Diseases, he at last finds all these pretended Deliverances terminated by Death. His Body is the Center of Infirmi­ties, his Mind is fill'd with Errors, and his Heart with irregular Affections: He suffers both by the Consideration of what is past, which is Irrevocable; and of the future, which is Inevitable. In vain does he desire to stay himself a while, that he may have leisure to Tast some Pleasures which present themselves in his Way: Time is like a Whirl-pool, which carries him away, inexora­ble to his Regrets and Complaints. When we are alone we cannot endure the View of our selves, and of the Necessity that is im­posed upon the Pleasures of the World, of passing away in a Moment. United with others in Society, we do but multiply our Selves, as I may so say, into other selves, in order to a greater Participation of the com­mon Misery of Mankind.

'Tis a very grievous thing to a Creature that loves it self so well, to behold it self continually Dying, and to perceive Life no more than proportionably as it loseth it. In­fancy [Page 15] is Dead to make way for Youth, Youth for Ripeness of Years, Ripeness of Years for Advanc'd Age; and this latter for extream Old Age: We are Dead in respect of those many well-belov'd Persons whom we have lost, and in respect of many Pleasures and Advantages, which following the Fate of the World, are consum'd away by their own proper Use, no Relick thereof remaining un­to us, but only a slight Remembrance, which is uncapable of yielding us any Satisfaction, and is very proper to vex and torment us.

Suppose the Life of Man were very long and durable, yet the appendant Happiness of it would be inconsiderable; and were the Felicity, which we meet with here in these lower Regions, as full as it is Defective, yet 'twould be very insignificant, seeing it must be cut off at last by the fatal Sword of Death. What then will this be, when we are convinced of the Deceitfulness of these Ad­vantages, and of the shortness of Life, which is such, that to speak the down-right Truth, 'Tis hardly long enough to give us time to regulate our Affairs, to take leave of one an­other, and in a fit manner to make our Will?

Man, who is naturally convinc'd, of these Truths, enquires after Means of solacing himself at these Calamities, to which the Quality of Man exposes him; therefore he avoids the Representation of himself, to his own View, and the putting himself forward [Page 16] under this Quality. He would fain be look'd upon only as a Being invested with certain external Advantages, which make the diffe­rence of Conditions, and the distinction of Persons: But if there be so much Dignity in Man, as Religion represents to us, there would be a Thousand times greater Grounds for Valuing himself upon the Qualities which we have in common, than upon those which characterise and distinguish us. And if, on the contrary, the Possession of these external Advantages were so Hon­ourable as the World would make us believe, Man in himself must needs be a very trivial and inconsiderable Being; which we cannot think without betraying not only the Ho­nour of our Nature, but also the Sentiments of our Vanity.

Methinks we may give this Definition of the Worldling, who to cure or comfort him­self at his Poverty and natural Misery, loves to cloath himself with Imaginary Goods: A Phantome that walks among such things as have only an Appearance. I call a Phantome, not the Man of Nature, compounded of a Body and Soul, which GOD hath framed, but the Man of Concupiscence, compounded of the Dreams and Fictions of Self-love. I call the Things which have only an Ap­pearance (and this after the Psalmist) the Advantages which the World seeketh after with so great Passion and Ardour, these [Page 17] great Vacuities taken up with our own Va­nity, or rather these great Nothings, which occupy so great a space in our extravagant Imagination.

When we endeavour to Annihilate and Destroy this Phantome of Pride and Concu­piscence, which we discover'd in Man, 'tis not our Design to subscribe to the Eternal Arrest of our Misery and Vileness.

Let us make a deep Search into these Ap­pearances, which seem'd at first so sad and dismal, and we shall find some Reason to com­fort our selves: but in order to discover that which we desire, we must search for Man in Man, and not in these external Diffe­rences which Concupiscence seeketh after with such a passionate Desire: For it is not the design of GOD to raise one Man, or a certain Order of Men, to a proper and par­ticular Happiness. Concupiscence deceives in the very first Step it makes you take in your Search of the Supream Good. You en­quire after a particular Happiness, a distin­guished Glory, so much the worse for you if you chance to find it, since the true Good whereunto you ought to Aspire, is a com­mon Felicity which should be participated by an Infinity of Creatures, that ought to make up the Family of GOD.

Having consider'd the Man of Concupi­scence, who made himself, let us now con­consider the Man of Nature, who is the [Page 18] Work of the Creatour, and to that end take a Survey of the Faculties of his Soul.

We shall not insist upon the Faculty of Imagination, which, properly speaking, is nothing but a Collection of weak Sensations, that do still subsist in our Soul, by occasion of the Traces which outward Objects left in our Brain: A Collection, I say, of Sensations, which the Soul disposes and afterwards makes use of in the Perception of other Objects.

But we cannot sufficiently admire this In­tellect of Man, which rectifies the Senses, corrects the Fancy, purifies and enlarges Bodily Perceptions, which unites together various Ideas in the Judgment it frames of Things, and various Judgments in Discourse; which weighs, compares, examines, enquires, and by the Relation it finds between Things, makes the Dependance of Arts, Sciences, Go­vernments, and produces all the Wonders of reasonable Society.

Is it not a piece of Extravagance to say that this Intellect hath for its Principle a natural Motion, that it is nothing but a meer Congeries of Atomes, which agitated after a certain manner, obtain a new Situation? Does any Man clearly conceive that an Atom without going beyond the Confines of the Body, runs thro' the Earth and Heavens in a moment, that it goes every where with­out being moved, in a more noble and won­derful [Page 19] manner than if it were mov'd? Can one Portion of Matter have the Knowledge of others, and afterward know it self, Act upon it self, reflect not only upon it self, but also upon its manner of Acting, upon the Manner of this Manner, and upon the Re­flection which it makes upon this manner in Infinitum? Can a parcel of Atomes, in­cluded in I know not what little Pipe, judge of the Model of the Universe, the Design of the World, and understand the Wisdom of the Creatour? Is it a property of this Think­ing Motion, not only to put these Atomes into Motion, but also to represent that of the Celestial Bodies, which are only in the order of possible Things? Have these Atoms, whose jumbling and clashing is a Thought, this ad­mirable Faculty of being able, as often as they meet and justle, to hit only the general Degree of Being or Substance, without hit­ting the Individual in this Motion, which Thought we term, Precision.

Did we ever hear of a Motion, properly so call'd, without a proper Translation of one Body from another; like Thought, which goes from the Time past, which is no more, to the future, which is not yet come; and from that Nothing which preceded our Be­ing, to that Annihilation which terminates the Hopes of the Incredulous.

The Mind of Man is not only above the Condition of Matter; but, which is Admi­rable, [Page 20] it hath a kind of Infinity in its Actions, for it flies from Object to Object, and multi­plies them in Infinitum: 'Tis never wearied with Knowing, and altho' its Perfections be really limited, since it does not know all Things; yet certainly its Excellency is in some Sense unlimited, since it can know all Things successively.

As the Mind of Man is never wearied with Knowing, so his Heart is never weari­ed with Desiring, and such as is our Abyss of Knowledge, such is the Abyss of our Desire. This Ambitious Prince, whose Heart was greater than the Universe, of which he was Master, had not in the Bottom more vast and elevated Inclinations, than are hidden in the secret Dispositions of every One of us; and the Heart of an Heroe is not different from any other Man's. He that dwells in a Cottage wants nothing but Prosperity, and great Occasions, to inspire him with Wishes for new Worlds to Conquer.

When a Man is opprest with Poverty, a Supply of Things necessary is the utmost Term of his Wishes. After he has possession of those Things which Nature requires, he demands Things necessary to State and Qua­lity, when he has arrived to that Pitch of Grandeur, he has obtain'd all that his Heart seems capable of Desiring: Yet still against the Dictates of Reason, he forms new De­sires. Behold the Masters of the World, who [Page 21] after having been at a Height of Greatness above other Men, wish for the Condition of Beasts; this they cannot but desire, tho' they are never like to obtain it.

Such is the Excellency of Man, that it shews it self even in his most shameful Ir­regularities: For I do not imagine, that this insatiable Desire of our Heart does origi­nally spring from our Corruption. Men are to be blamed for applying themselves with too great Earnestness to the Research of Worldly Goods, but they have good Reason for not placing their Contentment in finite Enjoyments, who are designed for the Pos­session of the Supream Good.

It must needs fall out thus, For we see that in Nature every Thing is satisfy'd with those Goods that are proper to its species. The Fish are contented with the Water they swim in, Birds are satisfy'd with flying in the Air, the Beasts of the Field obtain the End of their Desire, when they have met with such Grass as serves for their Nourish­ment: whence then does it come to pass, that Man has so little satisfaction in Tem­poral Advantages, if these be all that fall to to his share? Shall we believe that the Wis­dom of the Creatour is inconsistent with it self precisely in this? Has it not had a com­petent Knowledge, either of the Nature of Worldly Goods, as uncapable of yielding us Satisfaction, or of the Nature of our [Page 22] Heart, as uncapable of being satisfy'd with 'em? Or rather, does it not proceed from this, that having known the Goods of the World, our Heart, and the natural Dispro­portion between them both, GOD has fram'd things after this manner, because he reserv'd our Soul to himself, that he might fill it, satisfy it, and answer by his Excellency and infinite Beatitude, the infinite suc­cession of our Thoughts and Desires: Or, if you will, the infinite Enquiries of a Mind, which searches for the Knowledge of all Things, because 'tis design'd for the Know­ledge of GOD; and the infinite Desire of an Heart, which is not satisfy'd with the Pos­session of any particular Good, because it is design'd for the Possession of the supream Good, which includes all the others.

The Nature, Perfections and End of Man, do make up what we call his Natural Dig­nity; but all this depends upon the Eter­nity of his Duration. We should reap but little Profit from being Spiritual in our Es­sence, did not this Idea include that of Immor­tality: But 'twould be extravagant to ima­gine, that because whatsoever is dissolv'd perishes, therefore what is uncapable of Dissolution doth perish also. What do I say? Extention is not lost tho' it acquire o­ther manners of Being, and the Body of Man after Death doth not cease to be a Body by being turn'd into Ashes, Flesh, Clay, Worms, [Page 23] Vapour or Dust. Death, in its proper No­ [...]ion, is a Destruction of the Organs, or [...] Dissolution. If therefore it does not anni­ [...]ilate the Body, whose parts it separates one [...]rom another, how shall it annihilate this Mind, this Intelligence; which is nei­ [...]her Extension, nor Motion, nor Union of [...]arts, and evidently bears no relation or [...]imilitude to any of those things that are [...]usceptible of Dissolution?

The Perfections of Man do also depend [...]pon his Immortality. In vain should we [...]nd a kind of Infinity in the Sensations of [...]he Soul, diversify'd in Infinitum according [...]o the Diversity of outward Things which [...]ccasion them; in our Imagination, capable [...]f assembling innumerable Images for giving [...]s a representation of Objects; in our Mind, [...]hich is never wearied with Knowing, and [...]n our Heart, whose Desires are boundless; [...]f being made only for Time, and to endure [...]ut for the space of some Years, we could [...]ave but a limited Number of Sensations, [...]ould exercise our Imagination but during a [...]ery short time, could have but a succession [...]f Thoughts, proportion'd to the brevity of [...]ur Life, and at last possess but a transient [...]nd finite Happiness. For no less than an [...]nfinite succession of Duration, bears a pro [...]ortion to this infinite succession of Percep­ [...]ions, Thoughts and Desires, of which Man [...]nds himself naturally capable.

[Page 24]Let us then conclude, That 'tis in the Im­mortal Man, that we discover the Nature, the Perfections, and the End of Man, which make up his natural Dignity.

But as the Nature and Perfections of Man have given us a prospect of his End, so his End informs us what are his Duties and na­tural Obligations, which we shall consider in the following Chapter.

CHAP. II. Where we endeavour to know Man, by con­sidering the Nature and Extent of his Duties.

OUr Duties flow from Nature, and owe not their Birth to Education, as some Men imagine. To make out this we need but suppose Two Principles: The First is, That we naturally love Our selves, being sen­sible of Pleasure, hating Evil, desiring Good, and taking care of our Preservation. The Second is, That together with this Propen­sity to love our selves, Nature hath given us a Faculty of Reason to conduct and guide us. We love our selves naturally; this is [...] sensible▪ Truth: We are capable of Reason▪ this is a Truth of Fact. Nature inclines us [Page 25] to make use of our Reason for directing this Love of our selves, this most necessarily rises from the Principles of this latter, it being impossible for us to love our selves really, without employing all our Lights to search for what is agreeable to us.

Now from thence, that Nature orders us to search for our own Good, it follows that Man cannot be said, without an evident Contradiction, to be void of Duty and Law. We must grant an Essential Difference be­ [...]wixt Moral Good and Evil, since the for­mer consists in obeying the Law of reasona­ [...]le Nature, the other in breaking it.

This natural Law in general, may be di­ [...]ided into Four others, which are its par­ [...]icular Species; the Law of Temperance, which obliges us to avoid Excesses and De­ [...]aucheries, that ruine our Body, and injure [...]ur Soul; the Law of Justice, which inclines [...]s to render unto every Man his due, and [...]o by others as we would they should do by [...]s; the Law of Moderation, which pro­ [...]ibites Revenge, knowing that we cannot do [...] but at our own Cost, and that to respect [...]n this case the Rights of God, is to take [...]are of our selves; and lastly the Law of [...]eneficence, which engages us to do Good [...]o our Neighbour.

'Tis certain, that the Immortality of Man [...]akes the Perfection and Extent of these [...]our kinds of Laws. He, who knows him­self [Page 26] under the Idea of an immortal Being, will not place his End in those Pleasures, which the Author of Nature affixes to that, which causes the Preservation or Propaga­tion of the Body. We shall not desire to injure other Men, if we do not only fear a return of Justice in this Life; but if more­over we dread the doing to our selves, by that means, an eternal Prejudice. Whosoever is buisy'd as he ought, about his Natural Dig­nity, which undoubtedly raises him far above the Abuses he can possibly receive, will be so far from satisfying himself at the Expence of God's Glory, that he will hardly conceive any Resentment, how ill soever he be dealt with. Lastly, if this Natural and Temporal Communion, which we have with Men in Society, be capable of producing any mutual Benevolence, which is intended and encreas'd according to the Degree of the Temporal Commerce we entertain with them; what Motives of Love and Beneficence do we not discover in the Idea of this Eternal Society, which we ought and can have with them?

Thus the Natural Law is in Man; but the Perfection and Extent of this Law is in the Immortal Man.

But these Four kinds of Laws do consti­tute what we call the Law of Nature, which is the most Ancient, most General, most Essential of all, and the Foundation of the rest. 'Tis the most Ancient, Seeing that the [Page 27] Love of our selves, and Reason, are antece­dent in us to all manner of Inclinations and Laws. 'Tis the most General, For there have been many Men, who never heard of Reveal'd Right; but never did any come into the World without this Law, which inclines 'em to search for their proper Good. 'Tis the most Essential, For this is neither the Jewish nor Christian, simply taken, it is the Law of Men: it does not belong only to the Law, or simply to the Gospel; but to Nature, in what State soever it be. Lastly, 'tis the Foundation of all the rest.

This plainly appears if we consider, That all other Laws are nothing else but the Law of Nature renewed and adapted to certain Conditions of Men; you discover the Natu­ral Law, in that which God gave to our First Parents: The Legislator does there suppose that Man loves himself, seeing that his Law is grounded upon Promises and Threatnings. Good and Evil are set before him; he is en­lighten'd to know the one, and the other: He is engag'd to the Acknowledgment and Gra­titude, which Nature it self prescribes to us. God requires an Homage of him, in token of those many Favours he bestows upon him, and this Homage consists in abstaining from [...]he Fruit of One only Tree; the Duty of his preservation is prescribed to him, In the Day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely dye the Death. As also the Law of Justice, for [Page 28] what is more just, than to yield to the Crea­tor the Empire and Dominion over his Creatures, and not to gape at the use of his Creatures whether he will or no. This then is the Law of Nature accommodated to the Condition wherein Adam was at that time placed.

Indeed he could not be as yet prohibited the use of Idols, which were unknown to him: nor Blaspheming the Name of the Lord when he had but just began to Bless it: nor to rest one Day of the Week, who was to rest always: nor the Killing his Neigh­bour, that was not yet in Being: nor com­mitting Adultery, when there was but one Woman in the World: nor Stealing, when he was Master of all Things: nor bearing false Witness, when he could bear it against no one but himself: nor Coveting, since all Things were his own.

But when Men were multiplied upon the Earth, as their Condition chang'd, God from time to time made new Editions of this Na­tural Law, and gave it to Men under another Form, because it was to be proportion'd to their particular Circumstances; for which Reason it must not be imagin'd, that when we say the Decalogue contains the Law of Nature, we mean, that it includes nothing else but these simple and common Prin­ciples, which are to Guide the Conduct of all Men. I confess indeed, the Deca­logue [Page 29] is the Natural Law renewed and fresh drawn to the Eyes of the Israelites: but withal it is certain, that 'tis the Natural Law accommodated to the State of the Israelites at that time. The following Observations will set this Point beyond all doubt.

The Israelites had been delivered from the Egyptian Captivity, whence the Legisla­tor covers and shrouds himself, as it were, with this Benefit, in order to draw them to the Obedience they owe to him: I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Aegypt, out of the house of Bondage, thou shalt have none other Gods, &c. 'Tis plain that this Motive has not the same Force upon the Heart of those Men who did not partake of this Deliverance; 'twill be to no purpose to say, that tho' they did not all partake of the Temporal Deliverance of the Israelites, yet have they been Spiritually deliver'd from the Egypt of Sin. Mystical Senses are good in a simple Doctrine, design'd to instruct: but are of no use in a Precept, which requiring an exact Obedience, cannot be conceived in Terms too precise or too proper. And again, what a number of Peo­ple are there in the World, to whom God hath certainly given the Natural Law as well as to other Men, who yet have never heard of the Deliverance of the Israelites, by the Ministry of Moses: and who conse­quently cannot find an Emblem of their Spi­ritual Deliverance?

[Page 30]2. The Israelites being in a Desart, where they could have no other Drink but Water, nor other Meat but Manna, had no need of any Instruction or Precept to incline them to Sobriety, by making them to avoid Drunkenness and Gluttony. No other reason can be given of this, why the Lawgiver has not forbidden this kind of Intemperance in the Decalogue, which hath always pass'd for a Capital Vice.

3. The Canaanites, who had incurr'd the Displeasure of God, and born the Punish­ment of their own Sins, did nevertheless seem accursed outwardly and interpreta­tively, as the Schools speak, by occasion of the Crime of Cham, who discover'd his Fa­ther's Shame, and was punished by this Pro­phetick Malediction, which presag'd the Ruine of Canaan's Posterity, The Son of the Impious One. It cannot be deny'd, but that the Decalogue manifestly alludes to this in the Fifth Commandment, conceiv'd in these Words: Honour thy Father and thy Mother, that thy Days may be long in the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 'Tis certain that by the Land must be understood, not the Land of the Living in general, but this Land which had been allotted to the Israelites; which evidently appears from this Expressi­on, which the Lord thy God giveth thee: And doubtless the sense of the Law is, That they ought to avoid the Crime of Cham, who be­came [Page 31] fatal to his Posterity; and endeavour to obtain, by an opposite Conduct and Beha­viour, the Benediction of God, who is able to confirm them in their Possessions.

4. 'Tis certain, that Nature teaches us to Consecrate a part of our Life to the Service of God: For since we receive from him e­very moment of our Duration, Gratitude and Justice require us to Dedicate some of them to Him; and particularly to set apart some certain Seasons for Piety and Devotion. But to observe the Seventh Day, and to extend the Observation of it even to Beasts, is an Injunction that bears no relation to Nature, but to the Condition of this People at that time. God was not willing the memory of the Benefit of the Creation should be for­gotten, thro' neglect of observing a Feast that had been instituted with a design to perpetuate the Remembrance of this great Event.

It appears by all these Characters, That the Law of the Decalogue doth not differ from the Law of Nature, as to its Essence and first Principles; but only as to its man­ner, and the Extension which were requisite to be given it to adapt it to the Condition and Exigencies of the People of Israel. This is evident from a general Observation which may be made upon this Subject: name­ly, That the grand Motives, which support the Precepts of this Law in general, are [Page 32] Temporal Benedictions and Maledictions, Motives, which the Soveraign Law-giver imploy'd to make himself obey'd; he who could menace Men with eternal Punish­ments design'd for the Wicked, and promise to those who observ'd his Law, an eternal and most happy Life; how does he come to suppress these powerful Motives, these dreadful Objects, or at least to declare them but darkly and confusedly, whilst he takes all the Force of his Promises and Threats from the greatness of Bodily Goods and E­vils? 'Tis because he proportions his Law to that present State of the Israelites, the Time being not yet come for clearly reveal­ing Life, and most Blessed Immortality in Jesus Christ, who among other Characters of his Divine Vocation was to have this of a clear and abundant Revelation.

CHAP. III. Where we continue to make certain Re­flections upon theDecalogue,consider­ing it as the Expression of the Law ofNature,accommodated to the State of the Israelites.

THe first Precept, which it contains, is of so great Importance, that it seems of it [Page 33] self to be a Compendium of Morality and Re­ligion. It includes a Command and a Pro­hibition; the Command is to love God with all our Heart, with all our Strength, and with all our Mind; the prohibition is, not to have any other God before the Lord.

For the better understanding of this pre­cept, 'tis to be observ'd in general, that a Man may love Three ways, by Sense, or by Reason, or by Sense and Reason both toge­ther. To love by Sense, is to love One for the Good he doth us, or for the Pleasures he creates to us. To love by Reason is to love Perfection for Perfection's sake. To love by Sense and Reason too, is to love One both upon the account of the Merit and Perfection wherewith he is endued, and of the Good which he does, or is capable of doing us.

Love of Reason seems not essentially to differ from Esteem, and it imports no more than an Esteem, interess'd in the behalf of the Object esteem'd, which searches for Oc­casions of doing it Good, or wishes it Well. Thus we love extraneous and remote De­sert, such as no way relates to us; but as we shall see hereafter, Love of this Character is rarely to be found.

We love our selves on the contrary by Sense, and not by Reason. The Love of our selves precedes the Judgment which we make, that we ought to love our selves; and tho' we should propose a thousand Argu­ments [Page 34] against this Inclination, yet for all that, we should not cease to love our selves.

Lastly, God loves Himself both by Reason and Sense; by Reason, because He knows His proper Perfections; by Sense, because He tasts His infinite Beatitude: And in like manner we are obliged to love Him both by Reason and Sense; by Reason, because he is endued with all Perfections; by Sense, because He communicates to us all the Goods we can enjoy and possess. God seems here to demand the Love of Sense; He doth not say, I am the God of all Perfections, &c. But I am the Eternal, thy God who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, &c. And 'tis remark­able that this Character is common to all His Revelations, which he addresses to Men upon Earth: this is to manifest Himself unto them, cloathed with some of His Benefits, that He may win their Heart by an Acknow­ledgment and Gratitude. He was serv'd in the Old World under the Name of God who is, and who is the Rewarder of them that call upon Him. He was afterwards known under the Name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. After that He gave His Law by declaring Himself the Lord who had brought this People out of the land of Egypt. Afterwards a Prophet declares that the Time is come, in the which Men will no longer say, the Eternal is He who brought His Peo­ple out of the Land of Egypt; but the Eter­nal [Page 35] is He, that hath brought up His People out of the Country of Babylon. Lastly, so soon as the time for Man's Redemption is ac­complish'd, God is no longer call'd by any o­ther Name, than the God of Mercy, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

They therefore are very much mistaken, who fancy 'tis an Offence against God to love Him any otherwise than for the Love of Himself, and His intrinsick Perfections; and that there is no interested Motion in our Heart but what is Criminal. In order to re­fute these Speculations, we need but make reflection upon the Conduct of God, who not only consents that we should love Him by the Motives of the Good which we find in the Possession of Him: but also wills and proportions His Revelations to this Design; and it may likewise be said, that we glorify the Supream Good, when we desire it ar­dently, and feel no Repose or Joy but in Communion with it.

This grand Precept may be proposed to the Mortal Man, to confound and baffle him, by shewing him the Impossibility he lies un­der, of fulfilling the Divine Law; but 'tis the Immortal Man alone, that is capable of fulfilling this Duty. 'Tis not the dying Man that perceives himself under great Obliga­tions to God: but the Man that subsists to E­ternity. And 'tis not in a heap of perishing Favours, but in the Assemblage of incorrup­tible [Page 36] Goods that we find the Motives of such a Love and Gratitude, as are worthy of God.

So also the Man of Nature, consider'd as a Man that hath short and transitory Re­lations to other Men, neither can nor ought to love others so much as himself. Were we obliged to love an indifferent and unknown Person, with the same degree of Affection that Children love their Parents, certainly the whole World would be a Scene of Disorder and Confusion. We ought to love our Chil­dren more than Persons that are indifferent to us; now as it is the Love of our selves, that makes this Inequality and this Variety of our Affections: it follows that there is an Original Law of Nature, which dictates that we should love our selves more than other Men.

But the immortal Man hath other Views and Obligations; all the divers kinds of Proximity and Relation, which respect this Life, disappear and vanish at the prospect of the Relations of that Eternal Society, which we are to enjoy. A Temporal Neigh­bour whom Nature points out to us, is not so considerable as the Eternal Neighbour which Faith discovers in him. But some persons love themselves to such an exorbi­tant Degree, that 'tis in no wise convenient they should be affected with the same Love if others as of themselves. For pray tell me, of One should say to a Man, I wish you were [Page 37] Ungrateful, Blind, Passionate, Revengeful, Proud, Voluptuous, Covetous, that you might take more Pleasure and Enjoyment in the World, would he not have Reason to think that either we dote, or have a Mind to make him a very course Compliment; and yet this would be to love our Neigh­bour, as we love our selves.

If we would love our Neighbour as our selves, we ought to love him with Relation to Eternity. None but the immortal Man is in a Capacity of observing this Precept strictly and well.

Perhaps the Question may be ask'd, whe­ther, when the Law enjoyns us to love our Neighbour as our selves, it means that we should love by the Motives of that Love we bear to God, or of that which we have for our selves?

I answer by distinguishing still betwixt Rational and Sensual Love; when we love our Neighbour with a rational Love, 'tis certain that the Motives of this Love ought to proceed from the Love we have for God. When we love our Neighbour with a Love of Sense, or sensual Love, the Motives of Love should proceed purely from the Affe­ction we have for our selves. Thus it may be reply'd, that we ought to love him by both these Motives, and the Law of the De­calogue seems to confirm us in this Opinion: for it puts the Precept which refers to our [Page 38] Neighbour, immediately after that which refers to God, to teach us, that the One de­pends upon the Other; and that we are o­bliged to love our Neighbour with the same kind of Affection that we bear to God: And on the other side, it calls him, whom it re­commends to our Love, by the Name of Neighbour, to intimate to us, that we are concern'd to love him, because he is a Person that belongs to us.

Reason tells us, That God, being the su­pream and infinite Beauty, is Amiable for his own Sake; and that all things become so for the Love of him. It therefore requires us to love Objects according as they stand related to God. The Experience we have of our own Being, accompany'd with Joy and Delight, obliging us to love our selves in the first place, Nature teaches us to love Persons according to the degree of Proximi­ty and Relation which they have to Us. These two Laws are not opposite to each other; the One, as I may say, is the Law of Reason, the Other is the Law of Sense; the one is the Instinct of the mortal and perish­ing Nature, the other of the immortal and incorruptible Nature; the one relates to the short and transient Society, which we ought to have one among another; the other to the Eternal Commerce and Friendship we ought to have in God.

CHAP. IV. Where we shew the Extent of the Natural Law, by considering it in the Gospel, and with Relation to the Immortal Man.

IF the Law of Moses were the Law of Na­ture, accomodated to the Condition of the mortal Man, and to the State of the Is­raelites in particular; the Gospel is the Law of Nature, accommodated to the State and Relations of the immortal Man.

This sufficiently appears from the diffe­rent Genius and Conduct of the two Oeco­nomies▪ Under the Oeconomy of the Law, God seems to make no farther Manifestation of Himself, than to break thro' Walls, open the Abysses of the Earth, inflame Mountains, send down Fire from Heaven, menace the Body with his Judgments, or to execute the Arrests of his Justice upon the perishing Na­ture; but, under the new Dispensation of Grace, we see Persons animated with the Spi­rit of God, contemn the Injury of the Ele­ments, and the persecution of Men: suffer with so great Constancy as if they suffer'd in a Body which was not their own; tran­sported with Joy in the midst of consuming Flames, and triumphing to see the Dissolu­tion [Page 40] of that Compound, which is so precious­ly and carefully preserved by other Men, be­cause they are supported and encouraged by the Idea of Eternity, whereof the Divine Mercy has given them a distinct Knowledge. Not but the Law of Moses includes some Relation to Eternity; for this Law had at least the Shadow of good things to come: also it cannot be deny'd, but that the Gospel supposes the Idea's of Man's Vile­ness and Mortality; for it includes all our Remedies and Consolations against it: but thus much is true, that the Law of Moses regards the present Life directly, and Eter­nity indirectly, whereas the Gospel regards Eternity as its principal Object, and the pre­sent Life indirectly. As for Nature, that is equally discover'd under both Oeconomies. The Gospel, if I may so speak, is hidden in in Nature, Nature in the Gospel: but we must here understand the immortal Nature, and that will put us in a way to unravel some Difficulties, which might possibly in­tangle and perplex us.

Indeed it seems contrary to Nature to love our Enemies, to look upon Adversity as a Blessing, and Afflictions as a subject of Joy, and so far to yield up the Cudgels to Justice, as to render not only as much, but even more than it demands, which are Maxims of the Gospel.

[Page 41]I confess all this goes against the Grain of the Corruptible Nature, which mea­sures every Thing according as it stands re­lated to this present Life: but 'tis far from being opposite to the Interests of the immor­tal Nature, which values not Time, and ex­erts all its Actions in a prospect of Eternity.

Our Enemies are an Obstacle to the esta­blishment of our Fortune in the World; but nothing except the Hatred we may possi­bly bear them, is an hindrance to our Salva­tion; and this is the Thing which the im­mortal Man considers, he despises those lit­tle Reasons of Hating, which Concupiscence suggests to our Heart, and regards those e­ternal Relations we have to Others in God, who is our common Father, as the most pow­erful Motives of the Love we have for our Neighbour.

Plenty and Prosperity charm such a Heart as hath limited the utmost of its Hopes and Pretensions to the transitory World; but the immortal Man finds in that State so much more subject of Fear as there is more of Sense, he dreads these imaginary Goods which buisy us, and never satisfy; these lively Sensations which hinder the Know­ledge of his real Interests. He looks upon Prosperity as the Reign of the Passions, which seduce and misguide us. He's perswaded that Afflictions, by depriving us of these a­greeable Sensations, do but only chase an in­finite [Page 42] Troop of Impostors from the Territo­ries of our Soul.

And he does not think that Worldly Goods deserve our Envy, and to make us rival each other in pursuing them; especi­ally when Religion assures him, that these Hatreds and Contestations which are occa­sion'd by the corruptible World, are capa­ble of doing him an Eternal prejudice: For which Reason, tho' Man has a Right of de­manding what belongs to him, God having for this End establish'd Tribunals in Society, which would be but an union of Robbers, and a succession of Murthers and Villanies without the Exercise of Justice; yet the pru­dence of the immortal Man permits him not to exact his Rights with rigour and severity, when he sees but the least probability of in­juring, by that means, the Interests of his Soul. Whence we may conclude, That the Morality of the Gospel is but purely the Ex­pression of the immortal Man's Heart: but we shall have an Opportunity to speak more of this elsewhere.

We have seen, that the Perfections of Man roll upon his Immortality, which alone can render him capable of Happiness; and we have just now seen, that this Immortality founds the Extent of our Duties and Obli­gations. We proceed to shew that 'tis this also that makes the Strength of our Soul, or the Weight that can determine us to well-doing.

CHAP. V. [...]f the moral Strength of Man, or the Mo­tives which he finds in himself, for deter­mining him in his Actions.

HAd God been an Enemy to Man, He would have fix'd Pain to all those Ob­ [...]ects whereunto it pleas'd Him to fix Delight [...]nd Pleasure; he could have done One as easi­ [...]y as the Other: and then Man would have [...]een his own Enemy, whereas now he is naturally a Lover of himself.

For it needs must follow, by an essential Consequence, that he who feels Pain, hates [...]t; and if this Pain be constant and insepara­ [...]le, he hates his own Being, as knowing ve­ [...]y well that unless he existed, he should not [...]ndure this Pain. 'Tis very easy to conceive, That the damn'd Spirits hate themselves, for [...]heir Punishment; and that, tho' Self-love has been in this World the Source of their Corruption, Hatred of themselves becomes hereafter Instrumental to their Punishment. Moreover we conceive that 'tis impossible to have a Sense of Pleasure, without loving it, and wishing the preservation of this Self which is the Subject of it. Pleasure makes [...] love our Existence, because without [Page 44] our Existence this pleasure cannot subsist. Thence it follows, that 'twas in the power of God, when He form'd Man, either to make him love, or not love Himself, since it depended upon His Will to affix, or not affix Pleasure to certain Objects.

Thus the Love of our selves is in it self a natural Inclination; 'tis Nature that cau­ses us to love Pleasure, and hate Pain; and 'tis Nature that makes us love our selves. This Inclination does not wait for intelle­ctual Reflections to give it Birth in our Soul; it precedes all our Reasonings. The Stoicks have justly deserv'd to be scorn'd and ridi­cul'd by all posterity, if they really held those Opinions, which are usually attributed to them. They pretended that the way for a Man to be Wise, was to put off Humanity; this at the first dash was a very great piece of Extravagance: but they fail'd no less in conceiving a kind of Infirmity and Baseness in the most natural Spring of our Heart.

Secondly, Self-love is an Inclination most Divine in its Original: We love our selves for this very Reason, because God has loved us. Had God hated us, we should like­wise hate our selves; therefore 'tis unreaso­nable and groundless to cry down all those Actions which Self-love excites us to, as if they were so many Crimes and Infirmities: according to the dangerous Morality of some, who have pretended to annihilate the Ex­cellency [Page 45] of all the Vertues upon this princi­ple, That they all proceeded from the Womb of Self-love, and were grounded meerly in Interest, a very bad Consequence; since Self-love is an Inclination of a most Divine and Heavenly Extraction. Lastly, the Love of our selves is a necessary Inclination, it must not be imagin'd, that our Soul is indifferent to tend or not tend towards that, which it judges advantagious and profitable; these Indifferences of Free-will are the Dreams and Fancies of those who have not suffici­ently study'd Nature, or are not willing to have the Knowledge of themselves.

But God has thought fit to mingle Know­ledge and Sense together, that the former might regulate and guide the latter; and the latter might fix the former. Had Man no other Faculty but Reason, we should Err in our Thoughts, and spend our selves in vain Speculations, applying our selves to know e­very thing else, but what would be of great­est Concernment to us. Sense is therefore design'd to fix this Intellect, and confine it principally to those Objects which concern it. Were there nothing else but Sense in Man, he might indeed then have such pro­pensities and desires as this Sense should produce: but would fail of Light and Di­rection for finding out those Things to which these Desires do naturally tend, and the Love of pleasure being blind and mis­guided, [Page 46] would throw him down into a thou­sand Precipices; wherefore Reason is de­sign'd to regulate Sense.

Reason is the Soul's Councellor: Sense, i [...] as it were, the Force and Weight that deter­mines it. And these Forces are greater or lesser proportionably to the Difference [...] of Sense. In the Comparison we make of them, the Soul considers not only what excites in it present, but also what is ca­pable of creating to it future Pleasure. It compares Pleasure with Pain, the present Good with Absent, the Good it hopes for, with the Dangers to be endur'd; and deter­mines it self according to the Instruction it receives in these various Enquiries: its Li­berty being, as I may so speak, no more than the Extent of its Knowledge, and the Pow­er it hath of not choosing, after having made a deep Scrutiny, and throughly examin'd.

The Case being thus, 'tis easy to judge, that 'tis either present Advantage, which con­sists in an actual Sense of Pleasure; or future, which consists in whatsoever can hereafter caress us with Delight, and render us Happy, or preserve our Happiness by preserving us our selves; that makes all the Strength of our Soul for determining it self in its De­signs and Conduct.

This Strength is very small, when inclu­ded within the Circle of worldly Objects. The Power we have, as Men, for avoiding [Page 47] Covetousness will consist in the Fear of in­juring our Honour by the sordidness of In­terest; the Power we have to hinder us from being Prodigal, will consist in the Fear of ruining our Affairs, when we aspire at gain­ing a famous Reputation by our Liberali­ties. The Fear of Diseases will make us re­sist the Temptations of Pleasure; Self-love will render us moderate and circumspect, and even thro' Pride we shall appear humble and modest. But this is only to pass from one Vice to another; if we would give our Soul strength enough to rise above one Infirmity without relapsing into another, we must ex­cite and stir it up by Motives not taken from the World. The prospect of Time may cause it to pass from Disorder to Disorder; but the bare view of Eternity includes such Mo­tives as are proper to elevate it far above the Region of all its Infirmities. None but this Object touches and sanctifies, because this alone mounts us high enough for to­tally renouncing the World. We have seen some Preachers, of a sublime and lofty Elo­quence, work no Effect, because they did not well understand how to interest and engage the Immortal Nature; and on the contrary, we have seen a very mean Talent touch and affect all the World by inartificial Discour­ses, because they shot the right Mark, and [...]aid hold of Men by the Motives of Eternity. Motives, which repeated a thousand ways [Page 48] and sometimes very grosly and unpolitely, have won the most enlighten'd and purify'd Souls, because they take them by what is greatest and most weighty in them, and most considerable in all external Objects. The Motives of Time have but a limited, but the Motives of Eternity have as it were an infinite Strength, which is suspended meer­ly by our Corruption.

Hence it follows, that as Self-love is the general Source of those Motives which de­termine our Heart, so 'tis Self-love, as it looks towards Eternity, that makes all the strength we have to raise ourselves above the Confines of the World. There is no better way to justify this last Truth, than by seeing what the sense of our Immortality is capa­ble of working in us, what Influence it has upon our Motions and Actions, and of what use it is in our Heart. This we proceed to examine at large.

CHAP. VI. Where we explain what the Sense of our Immortality is capable of working upon our Heart.

WE certainly see, that whatsoever comforts, raises and satisfies us, takes its Birth from this Original; 'tis only [Page 49] in the Idea and Sense of our Immortality, that we find true and solid Consolations a­gainst the Fears of Death, as 'tis easy to shew by considering this Object every way.

The Idea of Death includes Six others: an Idea of Desertion or Leaving, an Idea of Necessity, an Idea of Solitude, an Idea of Destruction, an Idea of Judgment, and an I­dea of Misery. The Idea of Desertion or Leaving imports, that we leave All, and all leaves us. This Idea mortifies and afflicts Self-love, because it represents to it the rup­ture and disappointment of its Applications and Desires. It beholds its loss of the Time present, and a Curtain is drawn upon the Future; and indeed, I confess, Man has very good reason to be afraid till the Curtain is, as it were, drawn back by Repentance; and he can assure himself of the Remission of his Sins, without which, he is uncapable of any Comfort either in Life or Death; but when he hath made his Peace with his God, which he may know by the State of his Heart and the Sentiment of his Conscience, he certainly ought to have quite different Ideas of Death: what he regrets and bemoans is of very small Moment, if he compare it not only with the glorious Eternity, promis'd him in the Gospel, but also with his own natural Excellency. He ought to make it a Matter of the greatest Wonder, that a Mind, which by the inviolable Inclinations [Page 50] of its Nature flies up to Infinity, should so long buisy it self with the Trifles of this Life; and one may say, without adding an Hyperbole to this Mind, that if it has lost any thing, 'tis Life, and not Death, that ought to bear the Blame. Life has involv'd it in the Loss of many precious things, its Sanctity, the sense of God's Love, &c. and to retrieve its Damage, has given it nothing but Shows and Appearances, but Death will advanta­giously indemnify and repair its Loss, pro­vided it depart in the Lord.

Death deprives us of our Five Senses; whereupon Self-love makes this Resentment, That if it be a great Affliction for a Man to lose his Seeing or Hearing, 'tis a much greater to lose all his Senses at once: but Self-love is mistaken, for we are so far from losing all our five Senses, that 'tis certain we do not really lose one of them: we don't become uncapable of Seeing, Hearing and Speaking; 'Tis not the Nature of Things, but the free Institution of God, that hath affix'd these Perceptions of our Soul to the Organs of our Body, to which they had naturally no more Relation, than to the Matter which is hid­den in the Center of the Earth, howsoever Men may be prejudic'd in this Matter. Would we say such a Man has lost his Sight, the natural Disposition of whose Faculties God should have so chang'd as to have order'd that his Eyes should have no more Priviledge [Page 51] than the rest, and that all the parts of his Body should be capable of Seeing? This is the Idea of a Man that loses one way of per­ceiving, and sees this infinite Abyss of Sen­sibility, which is naturally in him, adequate­ly fill'd.

These Losses which prejudic'd Nature imagines it is at by Death, become so much the more sensible as they are unavoidable, and impos'd by a fatal Necessity, which can­not be resisted. Men have always look'd upon [...]his Necessity as a dreadful Misery; the ir­ [...]egular Inclination they have to love forbid­ [...]en Things with so much the greater ar­ [...]our, which caused One to say, Define vitiae [...]rritare, vetando, augments and encreases [...]heir Love of Life, by the Impossibility they [...]nd themselves under of extending its Li­ [...]its, and makes 'em look upon Death with [...]o much the more horour, as they are unca­ [...]able of avoiding it. But had the Wisdom [...]f God impos'd upon Men the necessity of [...]iving, as it has the necessity of Dying, we [...]ay be almost assur'd that in time they would [...]e as much afflicted and troubled at the [...]houghts of their Immortality, as now they [...]re at those of their Mortality. Now the ne­ [...]essity of Dying makes them attend more to [...]e Pleasures than the Crosses of Life; but [...]en the necessity of Living would cause [...]em to apply more regard and attention to [...]e Evils, than to the Agreements and Plea­ [...]res of Life.

[Page 52]Our Soul assuredly owes a great part of its Repugnancy, and Unwillingness to leave the Body, to Custome and Prejudices; to see this, we need only reflect upon our past Life, re­mark and muster up together all its Pleasures and seriously ask our selves, whether all that countervails our past Grief and Trouble? On one side, what if it pleas'd the Author of Nature to endow a Soul, which is form'd to animate a Body, with a most distinct Know­ledge of the Dignity and Perfections of its Nature, the Grandeur of its End, and the Nobility of its Extraction; and on the other it were inform'd distinctly of all the Infirmi­ties, of all the base and painful Dependances which it goes to espouse, by espousing this Body, pray would not the very first Moment of its Life certainly seem the beginning of Death? So for this reason 'twas necessary that the confus'd Sensations of Nature, which alligate and fasten us to Life, should precede the distinct Ideas which are proper enough in themselves to free and loosen us from it, and that the former should be naturally of greater Force and Activity than the latter. For tho' God would not have us be excessive­ly fond of Life, yet the Author of Nature was oblig'd to interess and engage us in the Preservation of Corporeal Nature, without which there would be no Society.

Death has two very different, and also very opposite Aspects, as we consider it with [Page 53] reference to the Soul. For Life and Death may both be said to make the Debasement and Glory of Man. Life makes the Glory of the Body, and the Debasement of the Soul; 'tis by Life, that the Body is extended to the just and natural Proportion of its Parts. Life gives it Health, Strength, Agility, Beau­ty, and makes, in a word, all its Perfections. But Life causes the Debasement of our Soul, it confines it to such Objects as are no ways related to its natural Excellency, it makes this Mind buisy it self in trivial Affairs, and place its whole Concern in the management of a Family, a Field, a Vineyard, and the most abject and sordid necessities of the Body, as if this immortal Mind was made for no higher and nobler Imployment, but to pro­long for some Moments the Duration of this frail Machine, to which it is united.

If Life makes the Glory of the Body, and the Debasement of the Soul, Death may be said to make the Glory of the Soul, and the Debasement of the Body. The Body falls, but the Soul rises up and soars, as it were, to its native Heaven. The Body consumes, and in process of time relapses into Dust, but the Mind extends and enlarges it self like a Divine Sphere, which becomes greater and greater proportionably to the nearness of its Approach to God. The Body is depriv'd of its former Motion, the Soul acquires such Knowledge as it had not before. The Body [Page 54] mingles it self with the Earth, the Soul is re-united to God.

The Debasement, which ensues upon Death, lights upon an insensible lump of Matter. A Carcass, gnaw'd by devouring Worms, endures no Pain, it smells not those noisom Odours it exhales, is not terrify'd with the surrounding Darkness, nor is out of Conceit with it self, even when 'tis nothing else but an horrid Miscellany of Blood and Dirt, of Bones and Putrefaction. 'Tis an Illusion and Cheat of prejudic'd Nature, that makes us affix our proper Ideas and Perceptions to such Objects as do only occasion them.

Matter, when depriv'd of Life and Sense, is plac'd in its natural State; this is no Im­basement or Degradation to it; all the seem­ing Dishonour and Turpitude is meerly in our Fancy. But the case is not the same, in respect of that Imbasement and Degradation to which Life exposes us. This is not the natural State of such a Soul as ours; and doubtless the Author of Nature had never abandon'd it to such a Condition but upon the account of Sin: Man indeed would have liv'd, but his Life would have been more Noble and Excellent. 'Tis a great mistake to pretend, that Man's Death commences the Punishment of his Corruption. Life has already punish'd criminal Man by those sad Dependances, which alligate and confine the Thoughts, Cares, Desires and Affections of so great and [Page 55] noble a Soul, to the support and preservation of this sordid Mass of Clay, which we term our Body.

Yet such is the Imbecillity and Weakness of Man, that he would needs fancy himself Debased where really he is not; and is not willing to perceive himself Debas'd where really he is so. An imaginary Debasement frightens and terrifies him, and yet he can­not see a proper and real Debasement.

But what if the Body be truly Degraded, so the Gain of the Soul does infinitely pre­ponderate the Losses of the Body? Are we so weak as to think, that our Happinessness is so confin'd and fix'd to certain Affairs, Possessions, Offices, Housholds, and a certain Circle of Persons, with whom we have So­ciety, as that we cannot be Happy without all these things?

We have almost the very same Notions of Death, as Children have, when they fancy they shall be weary with abiding in the Grave; and not dare to be alone in the Abyss of surrounding Darkness. We terrify our selves with our own Phantomes and Chimae­ra's, we make such a Confusion of our proper Perceptions with the Grave, which is their Object, that we are ready to imagine and re­sent that Horrour in the Sepulchre, which is meerly a Creature of our own Fancy, and exists no where else but in our own Soul.

[Page 56]We should not fear this pretended Solitude, and apparent Privation which attend Death, if substituting the distinct Ideas of Reason, instead of the confused Perceptions of Na­ture, we would consider that by Death we are not depriv'd either of the Subject, or the Cause of those Delights which this World may have afforded us. For the Subject is our Soul, which still remains; and the Cause is GOD, who is immortal and immutable. The reason why we regret and bemoan the loss of the Sky, Earth, Elements, Society, is because we invest these Things, with those agreeable Sensations which they occasion'd; not considering that we carry away with us the Colours, Cloth, Paint and Pencil which are necessary for drawing this admirable Picture; and that if God fail us not, we can nev [...]r want any thing.

Nor ought the Idea of Destruction, which is included in Death, to trouble us any more than this Idea of Solitude, which we have been speaking of. 'Tis true, Death seems to destroy Man several ways. In his account it destroys the World, it being certain that the Sun, Moon, Stars, Air, Earth, Sea, although they be not absolutely Annihilated in themselves, may yet be said to be annihila­ted in respect of him, seeing that he cannot enjoy any longer Use of them. Man is not annihilated in himself, but in the Nature which he admires, and which perishes as to [Page 57] him; in the Society he has been us'd to, and which ceases to be any longer in his Ac­count; in his Body, the Instrument of his Pleasures, which perishes and moulders a­way in the Dust of the Grave. Let us see whether there be any thing Real in either of these Three kinds of Destruction.

First then, external Things cannot be said to be annihilated both in themselves, and in respect of thei. Use; for how do we know but the same Institution in kind may still remain and be in Force, tho' the manner of it cease. Indeed there is no great likely­hood of our having such kind of Sensations after Death, as we had during our Life; for 'tis no longer necessary that these Sensations should be proportion'd to the Condition and Preservation of a Body, which in respect of us, ceases to subsist: The design which the Author of Nature hath had of engaging us in the Preservation of this Body, by the Pleasure which the Aliments excite in us, being accomplish'd, and come to its intended Period, we easily conceive, that there being no longer Pleasure to be excited in us by A­liments, Tasting has no place after Death, and is not a proper Faculty for the Enjoy­ment of the other World, unless God affix it to other Objects for different Ends. But methinks Hearing and Seeing being not only design'd for the Preservation of the Body, but also for the Search and Pursuit of all [Page 58] that may nourish the Admiration and Grati­tude we bear to the Creatour, we have no reason to believe, that these Sensations are terminated by Death. Indeed, I own, we shall not see by the Motion of the Optick Nerve; but yet we may be said to see for all that. For pray, what has the shaking of the Optick Nerve common with the Percep­tion of Light? These things have no natu­ral Relation to each other; and if we see Light and visible Things, by the occasion of the Optick Nerve, mov'd after a certain manner, nothing hinders but we may have the same Sensations, by the occasion of the Aethereal Matter, which us'd to agitate the Optick Nerve; which may be said propor­tionably of Hearing. But suppose we should not have these very Sensations, what does that signify, since we shall certainly have Others, and those of a more noble and ele­vated Kind? For as by losing the Body we shall not be depriv'd of any thing but what confin'd and degraded us, we ought not to fear that our Soul will lose any thing of the Purity and Excellency of its Operations, by disentangling it self from the Embraces of Matter.

'Tis neither our Duty nor Interest to meddle, and spend our Conjectures about those things, which God thought fit to con­ceal from our Knowledge: but, I believe, 'twould not be a piece of too great Boldness [Page 59] and Presumption to conjecture, That as the Imbasement and Vileness of Man during this Life, consists in having his Reason subjected to Sense; so the Glory, that will follow Death, consists in a perfect submission of Sense to the Empire of Reason. Indeed at present, as the Soul is descended from Heaven to inha­bit a Tabernacle of Clay, it buisies not it self in enlarging its Views, or extending its Lights: but on the contrary, 'tis employ'd in [...]cking and confining 'em, that it may not di [...]dain to use them in preserving the Body. But then, as the Soul will take its flight from these lower Regions, to its Heavenly Station, where it will have no longer need to care for the Support and Preservation of the Body, but its whole Business will be to glo­rify God; 'twill no longer bestir it self to li­mit and confine, but to purify and enlarge its Knowledge, in order to render it more worthy of God, about whom it will be con­versant.

The second Destruction we apprehend in Death is no less Imaginary; for tho' we see the Links which ty'd us to Society dissolve and break, yet we ought not, for all that, to think we shall be exempted from all manner of Friendly Obligations. The Society of Spirits does very well countervail the Society of Bodies, whatever weak and prejudic'd Nature may think of it. And when we shall put off these Eyes and Ears, which are de­sign'd [Page 60] for our Commerce and Conversation with Men, we solace our selves with this Lenitive, That we shall undoubtedly acquire other ways of Sensation and Knowledge, by vertue of another Institution, proportion'd to our future Condition.

Lastly, I grant that One, who still lives in this World, and is depriv'd of the Mem­bers of his Body, is to be pitty'd. But when a Man is transported into another World, sees another Oeconomy of Objects, what should he do with these Senses, which have indeed some Relation to this present World, but not to his glorify'd State? The Mischief arises from hence, That in the ordinary Idea we have of our selves, we attribute too much to the Body, and too little to the Soul; where­as following the distinct Ideas of Things, we cannot ascribe too much to a Spirit, nor too little to Matter.

And here I durst advance a Maxim, which will seem a very great Paradox: Namely, That altho', according to the confus'd No­tion we have of these things, Death be more capable of humbling us than Life; yet ac­cording to the distinct Notion, and in the reallity of the Thing it self, Life is a more humbling and debasing Object than Death.

Death humbles the Grand Seignior, the Prince, the Monarch: but Life humbles the Man, which is more than all that. Death snatches from us the props and supports of [Page 61] our Vanity: but Life in the Debasement, to which it pulls us down, suspends in us most of the Sense of our true Grandeur. Death brings the Body down into the Grave; but Life, as it were, calls down our Soul from Heaven. Death puts a Period to our secular Commerce with Men; but Life suspends that natural Commerce we ought to have with God, and which our Heart perceives to be the End for which it was made. The Pur­suivants of Death are, Darkness, Worms and Putrefaction, whereof we are not sensible: Life is totally made up of Weakness, Base­ness, Infirmities, Disgraces, of which we are sensible.

Wherefore we are certainly prejudic'd and mistaken, when we terrify our selves with the Ideas of Desertion, Necessity, Soli­tude, Destruction, which are not really in­cluded in the Image of Death; but herein indeed we do not mistake, when we dread the Judgment of God, which accompanies Death; for certainly this cannot but seem terrible to a Conscience that feels it self la­den with the Weight of a multitude of Sins, and pray where is there a Man, that finds not himself in this Condition, if he reflect but never so little upon his past Life? This Moment truly is dreadful, upon which we conceive all Eternity to depend; but 'tis certain that, even in this, the Heart of Man suggests to it self many Cheats and Illusions. [Page 62] It fancies the Moment of Death to be the Price of Eternal Life: And considers not, that 'tis not this Instant, but its whole Life which God requires; that this moment hath nothing more pleasing to God than any o­ther; and that its whole Importance consists simply in this, That it is the concluding Mo­ment of Life: And Lastly, That 'tis not this Moment that contracts and covenants with the Divine Justice, but all the Time we past in our Impenitence.

The Sentiments therefore of our Immor­tality, our Perfections, and our End, will har­monize and agree together admirably well; and with the other Sentiments and Inclina­tions of Nature, and the Principles of Reli­gion, which God has given us for our Con­solation, against all the seeming Frightful­ness and Horrour of this King of Terrors.

CHAP. VIII. Where we continue to shew, what Effect the Sentiment of our Immortality can work upon our Heart.

CErtainly the Idea of our Immortality can never be too present to our Mind, for our Comfort and Consolation, amidst this eternal Circle of those sad and dismal [Page 63] Objects which compass us about; and those publick and private Calamities, which the Severity of God has vary'd so many ways, to give Occasion to the sweet Variety of His Deliverances and Consolations.

After all, what signifies it that we are in­firm and mortal in our Bodies? This State cannot last long. Why should we embarass and perplex our selves with Cares and Sol­licitude for the short Futurity of this transi­ent Life? Have we not another Futurity in View, which very well deserves the princi­pal Care and Occupation of our Heart and Mind? What need we value the Menaces and Threats of the World? What can it do to us? It may indeed crush our Body into Atomes, but cannot destroy us. What if the Frame of the World perish, Nature decline and shake, the Elements corrupt and decay, what if our Body be converted into Dust, Worms or Vapour, what if it descend again into the Womb of its Mother Earth, or be dispers'd into the fluid Air; the Ruines of the World will not crush and destroy our Soul, nor dissolve that Divine Principle, which is in its own Nature uncapable of a Dissolution? We think the Body, which cloaths us, is Our-self: This is a mistake; this Clay is not Our-self, nor ever will be. God indeed will re-establish and raise it in Honour, to serve for a Tabernacle of that Spirit, which was its original Guest and In­habitant; [Page 64] but this Union will not be with the same Submission and Dependance: The Soul will not then follow the Condition of the Body, but the Body will be adjusted, as far as is possible, to the State and Nature of the Soul; and as the Soul was once debased, even to the mean Condition of the Body, so as to fly God, and bend its Inclinations to Earthly Things; the Body will now be de­sirous to elevate it self to the State of the Soul, so as to decline and quit all Earthly Cares, and to betake it self to a joyful Cele­bration of the Glory of God in the Heavenly Choir.

Certainly 'tis not to be wonder'd, That the Gospel administers more Comfort to us, I will not say, than Humane Wisdom has e­ver done; but yet much more than the Law, as Divine as it was: This is, because it clear­ly reveals to us Life and Immortality, which are the only Objects that are capable of sa­tisfying such a Mind and Heart as ours, and so have Divine Relations to our Nature: But as this Obj [...]ct affords us all imaginable Comfort under the sense of so many Miseries that continually surround us; so it yields us whatsoever may elevate and truly raise us.

The Sentiment of our Immortality, joyn'd with the Consideration of that Glory and Happiness, which Religion promises, ele­vates us more than the World; more than [Page 65] the so much boasted Wisdom of Philosophers; and even more than all those Vertues which have fallen within the Verge of Humane Knowledge.

Here we discover the Grandeur of the Passions, the Grandeur of the Mind, to whose Empire they are Subject; and the Grandeur of Vertue, which regulates the Mind. I say, we do in this View discover the Grandeur of the Passions, and no Man need be offended at this Expression: For tho' the Passions be in some sense great Infirmities, yet may they truly be said to be ingrafted upon the na­tural Dignity, and Excellency of Man.

Hatred, Fury, Anger, which are such criminal Passions, and by which we equally contradict the Rules both of Humanity and Christianity, proceed, if you observe, from an Opinion of our proper Excellency, ill-directed and accompanied with the Illusions of Self-love, which makes us conceive an Excellency in our selves exclu­sively to those, that have offended us; as if our Enemies were not Men as well as we. That this Sense of our natural Excellency is in all Men, appears from hence, That even those Persons, who are least of all esteem'd in the Minds of Others, do notwithstanding this, esteem and value themselves, and so re­ceive a kind of Domestick Consolation at their publick Infamy and Disgrace, from their own Conceit.

[Page 66]We don't here pretend to justify all the Extravagancies of a Man, pufft up with Presumption, who prefers himself before those, to whom he justly owes Respect and Veneration; No, by no means, I know there is an Excess, and a criminal Excess in this Disposition of Heart: But perhaps this Ex­cess may not consist in that wherein Men fan­cy it does: And to declare my Opinion; the Irregularity proceeds not so much from this, That Men esteem themselves too much, but that they value themselves at too low a Rate. I say, that they value themselves at too low a Rate, and do not esteem themselves enough, because they think they are preferable to o­ther Men, who have the same Nature and Perfections. A Man that values himself upon any exterior Advantage, that distinguishes him, seems by that very Thing to renounce the Perfections of Humane Nature, which are common to him, with the rest of Man­kind. Such a Man's Condition is much like Nero's, who being in a Capacity of valuing himself, upon the Character of Emperour, aspir'd at the Glory and Credit of seeming a good Coachman. Nothing certainly is so noble in Man, as Man: He may be said in some Sense to despise himself, that would set a Value on himself principally by those Ad­vantages, which make the Difference of Conditions, and Distinction of Persons in So­ciety; since this is to despise what is most [Page 67] of all estimable in his Nature. We must here reverse the Ways and Methods of Pride, as Pride seems desirous of reversing and o­verthrowing the Methods of Providence: External Advantages ought to be an Occa­sion of rendering to God the Homage that is due to him, and not of derobing him of what is his Right.

Those who have Capacities and Opportu­nities of soaring above the level of their Brethren, don't much value or mind these Things: But when Fortune, as they term it, or the Injustice of Men has dispos­sess'd 'em of these Advantages, Nature does not fail 'em; and having no longer a Sense of this imaginary Grandeur, which drew its Original from outward Things, they still are sensible of their natural Grandeur and Excellency, whose lawful Effect ought to be this, To make 'em endure, with a generous Indifferency, the Contempt and Scorn of all the World; but which notwithstanding, thro' an Effect of their Corruption, serves to render 'em inflexible; and to sow in their Soul, which does not deserve it, the Seeds of a discontented Pride, which though com­manded by Fear to hold its Peace, yet upon the least Opportunity of appearing, bursts forth, and shews that in whatsoever Condi­tion Men happen to be, they are no more tractable to bear the Contempt of a King, than of a Beggar.

[Page 68]The Grandeur, at which Pride aspires, consists in two Things: First, to extend and enlarge, and then to continue and perpetu­ate it self; to enlarge it self, maugre the narrow and limited Condition of Corporeal Nature; and to perpetuate it self, maugre the Fate of temporal Things, which are allotted so short and transient a Duration.

'Tis not requisite to shew, that our Vanity fails of obtaining these two Ends at which it aims. This sufficiently appears to every Man, since the Enlargement of Conquests is but an Enlargement and Extension of In­justice, rather than Excellency; and the Mar­bles which seem to perpetuate our Glory, do for the most part, but eternize our Vanity.

But Nature and Grace are more happy than Corruption. Nature expands and spreads Man, as it were, over all the Universe, by affix­ing his Senses to outward Objects, and making, by that means, the Majesty, Beauty, Magnificence and Value of all those parts of the World, which raise in us the greatest Admiration and Wonder. Grace extends Man to yet larger Dimensions, thro' the Com­merce it procures him with God; and on the account of Immortality, we are not care­ful to make an imaginary Enlargement, when we have a real One; nor buisy and torment our selves, that we may live in the Memory of other Men, being assur'd of Living eter­nally in our selves and God.

[Page 69]So Death appointed and design'd by God, to confound the Designs and Intrigues of our Pride; this Minister of his Majesty and Justice, which makes him so signal a Re­paration and Satisfaction for the Insolency of our desire, to glorify our selves even in despight of his Will, does but confirm us in the Sentiment of this Elevation of the Man, who follows Nature, and is attended by Grace.

This is a vain Piece of Grandeur, which accompanies a Prince when seated on the Throne, but attends him not in the Bed of Infirmity; which stands at his Elbow during Life and Health, but disappears and vanishes at the moment of Death; which is seen by us, but not by the Eyes of his own Mind. All the World remarks, and sees in him the Master of other Men, whilst he discovers in himself, a Man wearied and afflicted, and presently yielding to the Laws of Mortality.

Wherefore I will not cloath my self with Goods, Riches, Possessions, Offices, Dignities, Glory, Knowledge, Eloquence, memorable Actions, Applause, to aggrandize and aug­ment the Phantome of Pride, and to appear more Great and Excellent than the rest of mankind: But I'le cut off the Tumour, the forc'd Grandeur and unnatural Extension, by removing the Objects of Concupiscence, and keeping my self at the common Level: I shall get more by this humble Equality, [Page 70] than a proud and haughty Preference would ever have done: I'le invest my self with all the Splendors of Heaven, and Beauties of the Earth; with the Blessings of Grace, and the Treasures of Nature, that I may render all these things to their bountiful Donor; and find, in this very Restitution, such a Glory as I never could meet with in all my Usur­pations. I shall elevate my self above all out­ward Things, by the distinct Idea of my own Perfections, whereof they are in no wise ca­pable; but, like a Ball, I shall rebound so high, only that I may descend and fall lower in his Presence, who is the Author and Fountain of all my Perfections, and who is also able infinitely to vary and diversify the Sen­timents of my Excellency, and his own Bounty.

Ambition thinks to be advanc'd to a lofty Pitch, and to elevate it self beyond an Equa­lity with other Men, because it puts us in a State of commanding them; and indeed 'tis in the right of it, according to the System of Pride, which measures the Price of those Advantages, it possesseth, meerly by the De­gree of that Elevation, to which they raise it beyond the common Level of Men.

But in the first place 'tis certain, that Hu­mane Authority gives them not an Empire and Dominion over the Mind of their Fel­lows: Tho' perhaps they themselves think otherwise, supposing that those exterior De­ [...]erences [Page 71] and Submission, we give them, seem [...]o be address'd to their Person, whilst [...]hey are really directed to their Fortune. They who judge best of this Matter, re­ [...]pect the Order of God, and the Methods [...]f his Wisdom, in their Elevation and Pre­ [...]erment. They submit their Bodies to Prin­ [...]es and Rulers, because they submit their [...]ouls to God: Yet they, who govern the [...]ody, don't, for all this govern and reign over [...]ouls. They are Esteem'd if they deserve it; [...]f they are worthy of Contempt, they are [...]espis'd and slighted; and this too with so [...]uch the greater Delight and Pleasure, as Men are vex'd, and grated at that which sub­ [...]ects, and makes 'em crouch under. So that [...]o' Fear obliges 'em to respect and reve­ [...]ence the Authority establish'd for their own [...]nterest, and Religion makes 'em regard the [...]rder of God, yet still there remains, in the [...]ottom of their Heart, a secret Disposition [...] murmur and grumble at this lawful Ele­ [...]ation, which makes Men so precipitate and [...]ash in the Judgments they pass upon their [...]rinces; and that they excuse not the least [...]p in their Masters, thro' the secret Aver­ [...]on they have to Dependance and Command. [...]astly, 'tis certain that Empire is not sound­ [...]d in any natural Prerogative, which some Men may have above Others; for which [...]eason the Custome of fixing Temporal [...]randeur to Birth, has been wisely and pru­dently [Page 72] establish'd; this is undoubtedly done to manage the Pride of other Men, who would suffer too great Mortification, did all the Preferences, we are oblig'd to make of Others before them, for the good of Society, proceed from a Preference of Merit & Desert▪

It seems in this, that God has thought fi [...] to take Measures in the Tablet of his Wis­dom, to hinder Man from yielding to the Temptations of Vain-Glory; for he was wil­ling the confus'd Perceptions of our Nature should affix the Glory of the World to ex­ternal Objects, and that it should not be in the power of our distinct Ideas to revoke and call us back from this Errour; and to teach us that the chief Perfection and Ex­cellency of this Glory arises from the Wom [...] of our own Essence, without knowing that 'tis God, who immediately produces it in us.

We discover in the Principle, we have e­stablish'd, not only the Grandeur of the Passions, but also of the Vertues.

'Tis not necessary, in order to make this out, to give you an exact Catalogue of them: We need but consider 'em confusedly, as they occur to our Imagination.

Temperance is a Venue, which undoubt­edly elevates and raises Man; but Tempe­rance can have no solid Basis and Supports, unless from the Motives of his Immortality, and the eternal Felicity to which he aspires. I confess, Reason of it self is capable of [Page 73] [...]eaching us to beware how we injure our Health, and become our own Enemies, thro' Excesses of Debauchery; but this Considera­tion does not lead us very far, since Intem­perance consists not simply in Excess of Plea­ [...]ure, but also in making even but a moderate Use of forbidden Pleasure. The only thing [...]apable of raising us to this high Situation, [...]t which we ought to be, in order to abstain [...]rom unlawful Pleasure, is the Consideration of Eternity, for which we are made.

Nor has the Justice which is commonly practic'd in the World, any greater Eleva­ [...]ion and Excellency, since it imports no more but the fear of a Return of Injustice [...]nd Retaliation, and we are apprehensive of [...]njuring Others meerly thro' fear of enda­ [...]aging our selves: this Exercise of Justice [...]s not to be blam'd in the base and limited Views of Mortality; but when a Man is Just because he is fill'd with the thoughts of E­ [...]ernity, he's willing to confine himself to [...]uch an Interest and Concern as deserves his Care and Application, we may say that he is [...]quitable without Fault or Infirmity, and [...]hat his Vertue is Uniform, and always [...]ike it self.

Dis-interestedness passes for a Sport of Self- [...]ove, which takes Advantage by an apparent Renunciation of small and inconsiderable Things, to arrive with more surety to a greater Utility and Profit. This holds true of [Page 74] the Politick and Artificial Dis-interestedness of a Worldly Man: for including all his Pre­tences and Advantages within the narrow Limits of this Life, how can we conceive that he desires not those Goods which other Men pursue, or rather who does not see that he seems to turn his Back to Fortune, with a Design to meet her more infallibly another way. The Case is far otherwise with a Man that considers himself in reference to Eternity; if he be interested, 'tis with an Interest so great, so sublime and lofty, that he may be so far from being a­sham'd to own it, that indeed 'tis this, that makes all his Glory and Perfection. As he is Immortal, 'tis Honourable for him to take his flight towards the Coasts of Eternity, and prosecute all those things with Disdain and Contempt, which are capable of divert­ing and putting him out of that Road. In this State he resembles a great Monarch, who blushes when surpriz'd in base and sordid Occupations, and is cautious of seeming con­cern'd in trivial and inconsiderable Affairs, being call'd, as he is, to so great and impor­tant Imploys, and oblig'd to roll none but vast Designs in his Mind.

Liberality hath ordinarily but a meer shew of Dis-interestedness. A liberal Man values that, which he bestows, but he has a yet greater Value for the Glory of Bestowing; and is also desirous of [Page 75] [...]btaining sacred and inviolable Rights [...]ver the Hearts of those, whom he fa­ [...]ours with his Benefits. The usual Libe­ [...]ality is but a sort of Commerce, and a Gen­ [...]eel Traffick of Self-love; which making an [...]utward Appearance of obliging Others, [...]oes but oblige and gratify it self, by win­ [...]ing and gaining them to its own Interest. [...]ll this holds true in the Sphere of tempo­ [...]al Goods, wherein the Worldling supposes [...]imself to be; in this Circle of corruptible [...]bjects, Concupiscence gives meerly with a [...]esign to receive; it ne're will go so far as [...]o impoverish it self by its Gifts. But ele­ [...]ate your selves above these corruptible Ob­ [...]ects, and you'll discover another World, [...]hich rendering, what you saw before, mean [...]nd contemptible in your sight, will put you [...]n a Condition to give, without any hope of [...]estitution from Men.

You are very careful to hide the interest­ [...]d Views of your Heart, because on one side [...]ou are sensible of what you are, and on the [...]ther you know the Vileness of those Ob­ [...]ects, about which you are conversant. Do [...]ut become capable of this infinite Interest, [...]nd you need not endeavour to conceal it. [...]n Heart open'd to the Embraces of Heaven [...]as no need to disguise it self; all it has to [...]o is, to know it self, to act upon that Prin­ [...]iple, and to set out it self in its native and [...]al Hue. The Shame, which confounds us, [Page 76] when Men look hard upon us, proceeds not from this, That we know our selves too well, But that we know not our selves enough.

Such is Bashfulness, the most polite and reasonable of all the Vertues: Or rather the Artificial Disguisement of our Intemper­ance and Pleasure, which tho' suffering us even with delight to think of those Pleasures, of which we do not speak without trouble and uneasiness, has the Care of regulating our Desires; as if Corruption consisted ra­ther in Expressions than Thoughts.

This Vertue, as Defective and False as it is, springs from a very good Source; it certainly rises from a sense of our natu­ral Excellency. Had Nature design'd us for none but Animal Actions, as we conceive Beasts to have no other End, we should be as far from Blushing, as they, at those Actions which bear a Character of our Conformity and Likeness to them: But Immortal and Incorruptible, as Naturally we are, 'tis hard, That, notwithstanding that State of Vileness and Ignorance, to which Sin has reduc'd us, we should not see something of that Dignity which does so nobly Distinguish us; and consequently, that we should not have some sense of Shame, at any Thing which seems to Vilify and Degrade us.

But Lastly, this Vertue, as we have alrea­dy said, does not rise very high, when we exercise it only by the confus'd Sentiment [Page 77] of Nature and Education: If you desire it [...]hould purify your Heart, as it does your Tongue, you need only go out of this Hori­zon of Vanity, and ascend to the Throne of God; who is the Principle and Source of [...]our Immortality. The Commerce you'll have with him, will so elevate and raise you, [...]hat, without any Difficulty and Violence, you'll feel your self dispos'd and inclin'd to [...]enounce all unworthy and ignoble Affecti­ons. Certainly 'tis not the Property, of the Carnal and Animal Man, to Blush at the Vileness of Nature; 'tis the incommunicable Property of the immortal Man, to be Con­founded at this: The Shame indeed, of a Worldling, may aspire at gaining the Esteem of other Men, by an affected Purity; but the [...]mmortal Man, seeks for Grounds where upon to Value himself, if he fear that he shall not be in a Capacity of valuing himself in the View of his Perfections. Indeed, Debauchery [...]ncludes a Doubt of One's true Condition: Consummate Intemperance is the Prostitu­tion of a Soul, that renounces its own Dig­nity, and implies, That a Man becomes a Beast by renouncing Shame, and abandoning himself to Sensuality.

Much the same is to be said of Modesty, as of Bashfulness: Were the Approbation of Men a sufficient Reward, we should have no Reason to conceal and cloak our Design of at­tracting it, nor the Joy wherewith it caresses [Page 78] and tickles us; but as the Instinct, that per­swades us of our Excellency, secretly con­vinces us, That this Esteem is too trivial and inconsiderable for limiting all our Pre­tensions, 'tis not to be wonder'd, if we take care to hide our Desire of being esteem'd, or the Esteem and Value we have for our selves: Yet if we look somewhat closely in the Mat­ter, we shall find, that most commonly there is nothing but Falshood and Hypocrisy in this Vertue, as 'tis usually practic'd in the World. Men that seem Modest when they are prais'd, are not so when they are Blam'd and repre­hended; This is no wonder, for that Vertue cannot be of any great Force, which ows its Original to our Infirmity; and we are not rais'd very high, when we fall down again to the Center of our Vanity, which makes an apparent Grandeur and real Debasement. The Modesty, which springs from the Know­ledge of our immortal Condition, and conse­quently of our Situation above the Sphere of that Esteem, which ties and confines us to temporal Things, has a much greater Forcc and Elevation: It seems almost in­different to Praise and Dis-praise, and is ready to put 'em in an equal Ballance; and makes us Esteem and Value none but those Things which relate to this grand Eternity; which is the Rule, whereby we measure the Price and Worth of all other Things: And as we see, that Persons very Eminent, or [Page 79] who are so at least in their own Conceits, seem more capable of Modesty than others; because their real, or imaginary Elevation and Advancement, places 'em above the Sen­timents of the Vulgar sort: So may we more truly say, That One well instructed by the distinct Ideas of Nature, and the Promises of Religion, concerning the lofty Destinies of Man, has no great Temptation to be tran­sported and dazzled, at what Degree soever of Prosperity, and temporal Glory he finds himself Advanc'd.

To this I add, That Humility, which is the very Soul of Modesty, and all the other Vertues, cannot proceed from any other Source, than a sense of our Natural Excel­lency. Whilst you make light of Man, as Man, you can Esteem only those weak and mean Advantages, which make the Differ­ence of Conditions, and the Distinction of Persons; and consequently, cannot but con­temn and despise those, who fail of these Advantages; deal with 'em Disrespectfully, prefer your selves before 'em, and Advance, as it were, above their Lowness, which is the most dangerous Character of Pride: But if you are perswaded, that Man is the prin­cipal Thing, which deserves Esteem in Man, you'll respect in your Neighbour, whatever is common to him with you: And tho' the Order of Society, which is that of GOD Himself, establishing a mutual Subordina­tion [Page 80] assures you of his Submission, and ex­ternal Homages, yet will you have for him an inward Respect and Veneration, as he hath for you; and discover thro' these nar­row Dependances, which make you his Supe­riour, an Original and Eternal Grandeur, which renders him your Equal in that, which you look upon, as the most estimable Part of your Nature.

Then indeed we may conceive Man to be moderate, in the Abundance of temporal Goods, constant in Adversity, and magnani­mous in all Conditions; tho' the Modera­tion, which Worldlings make a show of, in the highest Elevations of Earthly Pageantry be but a secret Desire of seeming Greater, than those things which raise 'em: The Moderation, of the immortal Man, is purely a Sense of his own Excellency, which truly raises him above all those things that seem'd capable of raising and advancing him. 'Tis the Property of Pride to disguise it self, that it may hide the Disproportion betwixt what a Man is, and what he believes is in the World. Piety, which looks on those things as Atomes, which seem like vast Colossus's in the World's Eye, need but bear it self up in the Height of its natural Situation, to see under its Feet the vain Pomp of Humane Grandeur; and the equally vain Multiplicity of Disgraces and Calamities, which, like a Whirl-wind; agitate and toss this Lump of [Page 81] Clay, and reverse these Tabernacles of Dust. The Worldling can put on an affect­ed Constancy, to make People think him stronger than Adversity; and that this For­titude places him above the reach of bad Fortune: This Sentiment becomes not a Man that includes all his Remedies in Time ▪ but is fitly plac'd in his Breast, who finds himself made for Eternity: without a counterfeit and feign'd Magnanimity, Na­ture and Religion do sufficiently raise him for making him patient under all Afflicti­ons, and constant without Affectation.

Such a Man can fill, and adequately an­swer, the Idea and Model of the highest Va­lour, when his Vocation calls him to expose his Person to the Dangers of War; and to let Men see what they never yet saw in the World, A Man valiant by Reason, and stout without external Cultivation and Discipline His Fortitude will not owe its Force to Stu­pidity, which hinders him from reflecting on what he does; nor to Example, which obliges him to follow in Danger, the Steps of other Men; nor to Worldly Concerns, which bid him not flinch and give Ground, where Honour calls; nor lastly, to an heap of Considerations, wheh may serve as a Veil to hinder him from seeing the impendent Danger: The immortal Man exposes himself to Death, because he very well knows that he cannot Dye.

[Page 82]The World cannot produce One Heroe [...] since all its brave Men are either fearful of Death, or owe their Intrepidness to their own Infirmity: Thinking to be Valiant, they cease to be Men; and going to look Death in the Face, they lose the Sight of themselves; but the immortal Man exposes himself, be­cause he understands and knows himself.

Tho' we cannot find a true Heroe in the World, yet we cannot but love those who appear to be such: Heroism in that Man's Principles, who includes all his Hopes in the World, is a meer Extravagance; yet we can­not choose but admire those Persons who bear this Character: This undoubtedly pro­ceeds from a Sense of our Grandeur and Dig­nity, which teaches us confusedly, and with­out the admission of Reason to these Myste­ries of the Heart, that Man is above all. We are inwardly pleas'd and delighted to see a Fellow quarrelling with Fate and Fortune; we love to see him rais'd above Dangers by his Valour, and above all Applause by his Modesty: we would have nothing shake his Stoutness and Courage, and tho' we cannot bear, that his Pride should despise us, yet we love he should despise all the Injuries of the Elements, the Persecution of Men; and shew himself greater than all those Things, which seem'd capable of pulling down his Crest. Constancy suits not with a perishing Man; but agrees with, I know not what, confus'd [Page 83] Sense of our Grandeur, which finds nothing too Great for its vast Capacity.

Hence undoubtedly sprung that Idea of a Wise Man, which the Stoicks vainly en­deavour'd to answer: For truly their Para­doxes in the Principles of One, who believes not an Eternity, are highly Extravagant; yet however Extravagant they may be, they excite a kind of Admiration in our Heart, which we use not to have at Things purely impossible. We should laugh at that Man's Folly, who should fancy he had Wings to fly with; and indeed the Notion of a Sage, who pretends he is rais'd above all adverse E­vents, and yet casts not his Eye beyond the Limits of Mortality, is no less unreasonable and senseless; yet we find in this Senti­ment, something not altogether displeasing, which our Soul insensibly admires: This undoubtedly proceeds purely from this Cause, That these Paradoxes agree, and suit with a confus'd Sense of our natural Dig­nity; which forsakes us not, tho' it be usu­ally unknown.

This Sense is disguis'd and hidden, in the midst of the apparent Infirmities, and Baseness of our Nature, as Diamonds are in the Entrails of the Earth, mingled with Dirt or Dross▪ and as these must be purify'd and cleansed to give 'em their native Lustre and Brightness, and to know their Value or Worth: so is it necessary to purify this Sense, of our [Page 84] natural Excellency, by the Ideas of Religion, that we may see its Beauty and Perfection.

The Christian mantains these Paradoxes, and fills the prodigious Vacuity of these Maximes: All of 'em become reasonable upon the Principle of Immortality, provided they be rightly understood.

If they tell us the Wise Man is without Passion, we shall find, that this Character suits with the Immortal Man; provided, that by Passion you mean the Alteration, which usually attends the Passions, as these Philosophers, seem to have done: For how can a Man that is made for Eternity, if he act conformably to the exact and true Know­ledge, he ought to have of himself, be very much embarass'd and perplex'd, with Cares and Passions, which wholly relate to Time? Plac'd, as it were, upon a lofty Mountain, he hears, with a serene and undisturb'd Mind, the Wind blow; the Thunder roar, and the Lightning Clouds burst under his Feet: If few Men enjoy this Tranquillity and Regard, with a generous Indifferency, the Goods and Evils of this Life, 'tis because they are too ignorant of their immortal Con­dition; whereof even Nature gives 'em an obscure Glimpse, and a confus'd Informa­tion: Or, because they can't keep up in that lofty Situation, to which Religion advanc'd 'em. All this shews, that there is no com­pleat Wise Man; yet this does not hinder [Page 85] us from concluding, that 'tis the Character of a Wise Man, to live without Alteration; & that we find this Character more or less perfect, ac­cording as a Man remembers what himself is.

If the Wise Man ought to be sufficient to himself, may we not very well apply this I­dea to the Immortal Man; who cannot per­cieve his true Condition of coming from, and returning to God, without being assur'd, That Worldly Objects, which hinder him from knowing his true Original and End, are far from satisfying his Wants? For this Maxim must not be understood, in a Sense exclusive of God; without whom we are Nothing at all: But in a Sense exclusive of the World; without which, 'tis true, we both are, and are Happy. I confess that he, who has fix'd all his Desires upon Earthly Objects, can't live without Company and Con­versation; without that, he is plung'd in the Ideas of the Misery and Vanity of all temporal Things: He cannot Live, unless he be diverted from the Thoughts of Death; he cannot Dye, unless he see those Persons, who still buisy him with the Thoughts of Life: His Prosperity and Fortune become insupportable, unless those Persons have a share with him, who divert his Mind; hin­der it from thinking of the fatal Necessity that's impos'd upon him, of seeing it speedily come to a Period. A weak and silly Creature, that stumbles into a Precipice, and to retard [Page 86] its Fall for a Moment, lays hold of any thing it can catch by; but he's surpriz'd with falling down, maugre these vain Supports, into the inevitable Abyss, which he sees be­fore him. The Immortal Man has no need of making these Disguisements, in order to obtain Consolation and Comfort, and keep the Possession of himself: He affixes, even to Death, an Idea of Glory and Excellency; which makes him look upon all that with Anger and Vexation, which diverts his Thoughts from this Object: He's never bet­ter pleas'd than when he considers the glo­rious Condition of his Soul. The Farrago of temporal Goods, seems to him like an Heap of Dust thrown into his Eyes, to hinder him from the Enjoyment of his own Perfections; whatsoever diverts, and pleases the Heart and Mind of other Men, is a Burthen to him; be­cause it keeps him from meditating, and thinking of his real Happiness. This Para­dox therefore is not at all Extravagant in the Mind of that Man, who knows and loves himself as he ought; if it fail of Truth, this is to be imputed to our Weakness and In­firmity, and nothing but our Error and Folly do render it Unreasonable and Senseless.

Let the Wise Man command and govern the Stars, be rais'd above Fate, and more happy and perfect than Jupiter himself; these Expressions are so much the more Ex­cessive, as they seem Impious and Wick­ed; [Page 87] but we may put a favourable Con­struction upon them: And certainly if the immortal Man be said to be rais'd above the Stars, above the Concatenation of natural Things, and those Heroes, who, after their Death, were set up for Gods; or, even those Gods, so much like weak and sinful Men, which Paganism invented, 'tis no more than what is true. We know the Stars, tho' they know not us; we owe them Nothing, but they are beholding to us for the glittering Lustre of their Perfections: And, I dare say, 'tis more Natural, that they should be in a State of Dependance upon us, than we upon them; and tho' it pleas'd the Author of Nature, that they should make a necessary Impression upon us; yet 'tis not for their Glory, but our Advantage, that he establish'd this Order in the Universe. The Sun rules over the Day, and the Moon the Night; but God alone rules over Man: And his Preroga­tives are excellently confirm'd by Religion, when it teaches us, That God made him Master over the Works of his Hands, and King of the visible World. If Fate be a Con­nection of external Objects, and second Cau­ses, it can have no power over Man; because these Objects perish and come to an End, but Man does not. If Jupiter be a God, guilty of Ambition, Injustice and Intemper­ance, the Idea of this pretended Divinity is much more ignoble and inferior than that of a [Page 88] Man; whom the sense of his Immortality and the Grace of God, elevate and raise far above Pride, Interest, and the Pleasures of this Life.

The immortal Man is as invincible as the Stoicks Sage was represented to be. How should his Courage be pull'd down, to whom the Dangers o [...] this Life, seem no Dangers at all; nor the Miseries of this World, real Miseries?

But the Worldling cannot choose but be weak and cowardly; his Infirmity appears even thro' those outward shews of Magna­nimity and Strength, which he affects, meerly to dazzle the Eyes of his Spectators, and Admirers; and that he may reap this miserable Satisfaction, of making it be said, That he acted his Part very well upon the Theatre of Humane Life; which is the whole Reward of this Master of the World, who took so much Pains to raise himself a­bove the common Level of Mankind. The World can't give us an Instance of a stedfast Constancy: The Courage and Resolution of Heroes is but a machinal Vertue, which is defeated and vanquish'd by the Disorder of the least Spring. He that so proudly defy'd the Gods and Fortune, in the midst of Dan­gers, at the Head of Armies, trembles at the Thoughts of Dying in his Bed: He dar'd a Death, accompany'd with Noise and Tu­mult; but cannot away with the Prospect of a quiet and peaceable Departure. The Phi­losopher, [Page 89] that hugg'd himself, and rejoyc'd at suffering a Thousand illustrious Misfortunes and famous Disasters, cheer'd up and solac'd by their Approbation, who admir'd his Constancy; yet conceives a kind of Despair, when reduc'd to Adversity, in a private Cor­ner: But tho' the Worldling be necessarily weak and cow-hearted, the immortal Man can hardly avoid the Character of Constancy and Valour; all the Infirmity he has, pro­ceeds meerly from the Regards and Opini­ons of Men, and temporal Society; which make the whole Strength and Courage of the Heroes of the Age. He's troubled to see People crying about him; the sympathising of Others, with his pretended Misery, casts him down, and calls him back, as it were, from Heaven, to these gloomy Regions: In Solitude and Retirement, he finds himself advanc'd above outward Accidents, and the Opinions of Men; he can freely say, what a confus'd Notion of Man's Excellency, caus'd a Heathen Poet to utter:

Si fractus illabatur Orbis,
Impavidum ferient Ruinae.

And may cry out with Him, whom Re­ligion had much better instructed: Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ? Shall Oppression or Anguish? O Death, where is thy Sting? O Grave, where is thy Victory? He that thinks to get above Disgraces and [Page 90] Adversity, by standing upon other Men's Heads, is mistaken: He must return back a­gain, by the way that he came, to find what he hitherto in vain search'd after. 'Tis not Pride, that with its forc'd Distinctions and eternal Constraints, can render him stedfast and constant; but Humility must do this, by reducing him to that natural Equality of Perfection and Excellency, which is com­mon to all Mankind; who have the same Original and End of coming from God, and returning to God.

But if our Comfort and Elevation be grounded in the Sense of our Immortality, 'tis from thence likewise, that our real Sa­tisfaction and Contentment proceeds.

Our Heart is a kind of devouring Fire, which mounts up higher and higher, and never says, 'tis Enough: Give it all it can reasonably ask, 'twill but still form new De­sires; if it be Master of the Universe, 'twill either, like Alexander, Wish for new Worlds to Conquer; or will grow out of Conceit with its proper Grandeur, like those Roman Emperours, who, when come to be Lords and Masters of Mankind, dis-relish and nau­seate their Puissance and Greatness; find an extream Disproportion betwixt the Good they have obtain'd, and the Ardour where­with they desir'd it. Tho' Masters of other Men's Fortune, they are not content with their Own; they miss of the Fullness of [Page 91] their expected Satisfaction. Tiberius had need be an Emperour, to go and Cloister up himself in the Isle of Capreae; and take full Draughts of those infamous Pleasures, whose Ragoo consists in singularity and ex­cess of Crime! His being simply a Man, without the Character of Emperour, was sufficient for this: Nay, he need not be a Man to entitle him to this; he must put off Humanity, and by a monstrous Debauchery, descend even below the Condition of Beasts: But the Reason of it is, Because those Ex­cesses of Pleasure, were the Despair of Am­bition. He was forc'd to descend so low, because he saw no possibility of rising higher than he was: For the Heart of Man can never rest. These famous Deboches had always a Fancy, That Happiness consisted in outward Grandeur; when they are mount­ed to the height of that, they presently dis­abuse themselves, and see their Errour: Then, like the Conqueror of the Persians, They believe that another kind of Great­ness is requir'd to make a Man Happy; or weary'd with the Fatigues of Grandeur and State, they betake themselves to the Fruition of Pleasure: They endeavour to repair the Time they have lost, and to regain, by Sin­gularity, what they lose in Duration; but in a while they become more out of Conceit with Pleasure than Greatness, and Ambition calls 'em back to their former State; as ap­pears [Page 92] in the Case of Tiberius, who after having given up the Empire to his Favorite, that he might with more Quiet and Tran­quillity tast the Excess of Sensuality, is at length tempted to quit his Pleasures for the sake of the Empire; the Cares of which he again finds fault with, after the Death of Seja [...]s; being as much discontented at Rome, as he was at Capreae, always having an insatiable and restless Heart.

This Picture represents the Heart, not only of Tiberius, but of all Mankind; who are in a perpetual, and, as it were, necessary Tossing and Agitation, whilst they fix them­selves upon Worldly Objects. God has en­du'd Man with a Capacity proportionable to his Immortality; Namely, an infinite Capa­city. 'Tis therefore impossible he should be satisfy'd with corruptible and transitory Goods; what is finite can by no means fill him: But perswade him once of his Immor­tality, and give him Goods Eternal, like him­self, and you'll presently see him contented and satisfy'd. Having endeavour'd to know the Nature, Duties, and the most powerful Motives, or moral Force, which naturally determine the Heart of Man, 'twill not be amiss, in the next place, to pass to the Con­sideration of his Irregularities; the Spring of which we shall consider first, in order to know the Rivulets that flow from it.

The End of the First Part.

The SECOND PART. Where we Enquire after the Source of our Corruption, and Treat of Self-love, of the Force of its Applications, the Extent of its Affections, and Irregularities in General and in Particular.

CHAP. I. Where we Enquire after the Source of our Corruption,by handling the First of our Faculties, which is the Understanding.

I Don't take the common School-Distin­ction o [...] Understanding and Will, Mind and Heart, Reason and Appetite, to be proper for disentangling and clearing our Ideas; but we must be forc'd to follow this too much receiv'd Custome: We call Under­standing, Mind, or Reason, the Soul, as it knows; that is, as it conceives, judges, rea­sons, remembers, reflects and methodizes its [Page 94] Knowledge. We term Heart, Will, or Ap­petite, the Soul, as it has the Affections of Love, Hatred, Desire, Fear, Joy, Hope, De­spair, or any other of the Passions. I think we shall not be much out of the Way, if we define the Mind, the Soul as it knows; and the Heart, the Soul as it loves: For as Conceptions, Judgments, and Discourses, are but different Modes of Knowledge, so 'tis certain that Desire, Fear, Hope, and in gene­ral all other Affections, are only Modes or different Manners of Love; but this is not to be insisted upon at present.

Our Business here is to know, Whether the Original Source of our Corruption, be in the Mind, or in the Heart: Whether the first Spring of our Evil, be in the Know­ledge of our Soul, or in its Affections. We answer, That 'tis not in the Mind, because then the Mind would have been order'd to conduct and regulate it self, by the Dictates of the Heart; whereas we see the Heart has been order'd to regulate it self by the Mind. For 'twould be unreasonable, that what is less Corrupted, should be guided by that which is more irregular and disorderly; and that the Source of our Corruption, should be the Rule of our Conduct: and indeed were it so, A Man would not be oblig'd to steer and guide himself by his Reason, 'till he should have been assur'd, that God had extraordi­narily enlightned him; and he must wait [Page 95] for an Enthusiasm, and immediate Inspira­tion, before he could have Right to act in the Quality of a Rational Creature.

Also the Holy Scripture always attributes the Offuscation, and Darkness of the Mind, to the evil Affections of the Heart: If our Gospel be hidden, says St. Paul, 'tis hidden to them that perish, whose Understandings the God of this Age has blinded. 'Tis easy to con­ceive, That by the God of this Age, he means the Demon of Concupiscence: And upon almost the like Account, our Saviour said to the Jews▪ How can ye believe, seeing that ye seek for Glory one of another?

Certainly, were the Mind the Original of our Depravation, 'twould always, and in all Circumstances, have its natural Obscura­tion and Darkness; 'twould be as blind in the Study of the Sciences, as of Religion, and 'twould succeed no better in knowing such Objects, as are indifferent to it, than those, which interess and concern it. When an Eye is cover'd with a Web, or clos'd up by an Obstruction, 'tis not in a Condition to see one Object, more than another; but when its Darkness proceeds from the Obstacle of Clouds▪ Fog, or any exterior Veil, 'tis easier for it to perceive distant Objects, and 'twill see very clearly when the extraneous Im­pediment is remov'd, without receiving any Change or Alteration in it self. So say we, if the Understanding were in it self natu­rally [Page 96] darken'd, 'twould be as liable to Error in its curious and needless Enquiries, as 'tis in those which import and concern it; for its Darkness would be Uniform, and always the same: But because 'tis cover'd only with Fogs and Mists, which rise from the Seat of the Affections, no Wonder if its Obscura­tion ends, so soon as the Heat of Passion ceases.

This is a common Matter of Fact▪ One that has a Rectitude of Mind, and Exactness of admirable Reason, for apprehending what is most abstruse, and intricate in the Scien­ces; who knows when to doubt and suspend his Assent to things that are Dubious; to affirm true Things, and deny False; to have a simple Opinion of probable Things, to de­monstrate those that are Certain, who will not mistake True for False, nor one Degree of Truth for another; will no sooner have a Point of Interest to manage, but his former Rectitude of Mind forsakes him; his Reason bends to the Humour of his Desires, and Evidence is confounded with Utility and Profit. Whence proceeds this Darkness? From the Objects? No, For these Objects are easier and clearer, than those of the sublime and lofty Sciences, which he so well-pene­trated and understood. Is it from any natu­ral Defect of the Mind? No, From this much less than the other: That has reason'd perfectly well touching Matters of Specula­tion; [Page 97] and put it to Discourse of secular Con­cerns, provided they be not its own, but a­nother Man's, 'twill reason about 'em with the same Exactness.

But if after you have carried the Mind of this Man, from the Objects of the Sciences, to the Affairs of Life, you call it again from thence, to the Consideration of the Truths of Religion, you'll perhaps find his Mind yet more obnoxious to Falshood and Illusi­ons: Because a greater Interest, does also produce a greater Errour. Such a Passion as Interest, is of very great Prevalence and Force, in obscuring the Light of Reason, but yet those Passions, which directly oppose Reason, are more capable of producing this ill Effect: For, 'tis not, as Men commonly imagine, the Degree of Darkness, which is originally in the Understanding, that causes the Number of our Passions; but 'tis the Number and Vehemency of the Passions, that cause this Degree of Darkness in our Understanding.

But were the Understanding originally Darken'd, it would not be remedied, unless by a new and extraordinary Infusion of Light, which is contrary to Experience: For the Understanding of a Sinner, that be­takes himself to a strict Repentance for his Transgressions, is not fill'd with other Ideas and Knowledge, than he had before: I mean, according to the ordinary Course of [Page 98] Things. A Man indeed, after his Conversion, has the Ideas of God, Salvation and Eternity, he's convinc'd of his own Mortality, and the Frailty of Humane Things: He looks upon Piety, as a most proper Means, for procuring Repose and Tranquillity in Life; Consola­tion and Comfort in Death, and a Glorious Resurrection from the Grave. But yet he was fully perswaded, of all these Truths, before his Repentance: (For I suppose he Sinn'd not in Incredulity.) Wherefore he cannot be said, to have acquir'd any new Know­ledge; but to have transcrib'd that Know­ledge into Practice, which before was meer­ly Speculative. And our Saviour does partly testify this, in declaring to his Enemies, That the Degree of their Knowledge, aggra­vated their Blame. Indeed the want of Light excuses a Man from the Faults he commits, when this Privation is necessary and vo­luntary: For is any One to be blam'd, for not seeing that which 'twas impossible for him to see? Nor can we excuse him, whose Blindness we suppose to be voluntary, and willful. He that is deceiv'd and mistaken by reason of the Heart, and not thro' any na­tural want of Light, sees and not sees: He has Knowledge enough to perceive, that he follows not his own Light; and this seems the only Means of reconciling two Expressi­ons of the Holy Scripture, which appear very Contradictory: For one while it accuses the [Page 99] Sinner of Ignorance, Folly, Stupidity, Blind­ness, of walking in Darkness, of not know­ing what he does; another while it blames him for Sinning against his own Light; for resisting the Truth which enlightens him; for being condemn'd by his own Thoughts, and reprehended by his Conscience. All these Expressions are true, and only seem to be opposite: The Sinner does both see, and not see: He sees by the Understanding, which God hath given him, capable of knowing and making use of the Truth; he is Blind, and does not see, by his Heart, which evaporates and sends up, to the Seat of the Superior Fa­culties of the Soul, continual Fumes and Clouds, which obnubilate and darken the Understanding.

I am not ignorant, that the Schools use to make a Distinction, betwixt two sorts of Knowledge or Light, that they may solve this Difficulty: viz. Speculative and Practi­cal; they draw this Definition from their Effects: Speculative Light, which goes no farther than simple Contemplation, does but [...]loat, as it were, in the Understanding; where­as, what they call Practical Knowledge, does not stop at the Mind, but takes a farther Descent, down into the Heart; gains the Will, makes it self Mistress of the Affecti [...]ns, and inclines us to Practice, whatsoever it orders and appoints: But it must needs be own'd, that this Distinction leads us not far [Page 100] in the Discovery of Things; seeing it im­ports no more than this, That we have some Knowledge that is operative and useful, and other that is dead and inefficacious.

If we look narrowly into this Point, we shall find, That Knowledge is ordinarily ei­ther Speculative, or Practical, according as it concerns, or not concerns our Heart. When we consider Truth, in the Sciences, we have usually no more than a Speculative Know­ledge of it; but considering it in the Objects, which interest and concern us, as in the Af­fairs of civil Life, or Points of Religion, we hate it, or love it, according as 'tis agree­able, or disagreeable; and it determines us to Action, or Aversation, according as it bears one, or t'other of these Characters: Hence you see, that the Practical Truth of the School-men is that, which has some Force and Efficacy; but Truth draws its whole Force from the Heart.

The Case is much the same, with the Light of the Understanding, as with that we behold in Nature: It enlightens all things, but of it self moves not any thing: It has Lustre and Brightness, but no Strength; It can con­duct and guide, but not support and hold us up. When none but Reason speaks, we shall look upon its Decisions as meer Dreams, as dry and barren Truths, which are good for nothing, but to be plung'd into Oblivion; we shall look upon 'em as the importunate [Page 101] Councels of a Pedant, that wearies and vexes [...]s with unseasonable Advices. Were Men de­termin'd in their Actions by Reason, Philoso­phers would be more prevalent, in Perswa­ing, than Orators: For the former have a just and exact Reason, a severe Judgment, which weighs, and examines, and makes just Comparisons of all Things; whereas the lat­ter do often abound in Fictions, Lies, Fi­gures, which would be but pompous and splendid Impostures, did not Necessity it self justify these Excesses of Speech; and were not Men agree'd in mitigating and allaying their signification: But because they are de­termin'd by their Affections, it falls out quite contrary to Reason, that Oratours are com­monly much more successful, in Perswading, than Philosophers: 'Tis because the Soul does not balance, and weigh the Reasons, but its own Interests; and considers not the Light, but its own Utility and Advantage.

Good attracts our Love, Evil our Aversion; pure Reason does neither of these, but only as it represents the Objects to us: And here, by the By, we may see the Errour of those, who place Man's Free-will in the indiffer­ency of his Soul, to pursue, or not pursue the Good which is presented to it. Certain­ly this Indifferency is no where else, but in the Imagination; 'tis not in the Objects: Good is not indifferent to its being Good, nor is Evil indifferent to its being Evil; [Page 102] nor is it in the Reason, for this is not free to assent to that which seems False, nor to reject what is True: 'Tis not indifferent▪ to judge, that, what it apprehends to be E­vil, is Good; nor that, what seems Good, is Evil. The Soul is not indifferent to love or hate, what it apprehends as good and agree­able; for if so, 'twould be indifferent to love or hate it self, which is against Nature.

CHAP. II. Where we continue to shew, that the Source of our Corruption,is not in the Un­derstanding.

IN saying, That the Corruption of the Un­derstanding, proceeds from the Will, we don't mean, that all our Ignorances and Er­rours, without exception, are deriv'd from our Affections: For as to the former of these, certainly all Kinds of Ignorance, are not to be look'd upon as Defects. 'Tis not the Pro­perty of Men, or Angels; or in General any Creature, how Perfect soever, to be Omnisci­ent: This is the Character of the Supream Being, and infinite Understanding, which go­verns and rules the Universe. In General, we should not make any matter of that Igno­rance, which proceeds from either of these Reasons, That our Nature is too finite and [Page 103] limited, and the Object too sublime; or, from the shortness of our Life, which will not permit us to attain the Knowledge of all Things, &c. For Mortality is not a Crime to our Body, nor is our Soul to be blam'd for not being Infinite.

Neither the Ignorance of the Mysteries of Nature, nor of the Secrets of Providence, can be look'd upon as the Corruption of the Understanding. Jesus Christ was the Mo­d [...]l and Pattern of Perfection, and yet as Man, He had not the Knowledge of all Things, for He was ignorant of the Day of Ju [...]ment. The Ignorance of our Duties, of our Sins, and of the Benefits we have re­ceiv'd, is that, which makes the Corruption of our Understanding; this Ignorance pro­ceeds not from want of Light, and can bear no Apology or Justification; nor are specu­lative Errours to be thought Vices of the Understanding: So far are they from it, that they have often remain'd in Souls, which GOD had enlighten'd by His Revelation, after an immediate and extraordinary man­ner: For it does not appear, that either Moses, or any of the Prophets, had other I­deas of the Sun, Stars, Earth, &c. than what were obvious to the Vulgar sort; and in­deed, 'twas not requisite, that GOD should make those Men Philosophers, by his Reve­lation, whom He design'd for the Instruction of the most simple and illiterate Persons.

[Page 104]Its no matter, tho' the Vulgars are mis­taken, in apprehending the Stars like Flam­boys: But 'tis a great exorbitance and ex­cessive Fault for those Sages, who have such exact Ideas of the Magnitude of the Heavenly Bodies, yet to look upon Eternity, GOD, and Religion, as but so many Points, or rather so many Shadows and remote Ap­pearances. Our Reason may be enlighten'd, tho' it has the former Prejudice; but if it has the latter, it must needs be blind.

But 'tis very easy to justify the Mind, and to make it appear, that 'tis not the original Fountain of our Corruption, by examining its different ways and manners of Knowing: For, to begin with the simple Conceptions of our Understanding; no Idea in our Soul is Evil as such, or as it represents an Object to us. The Objects of Pleasure, Glory, nay, and of Sin it self, have nothing Criminal in themselves, seeing we are permitted to know these Objects; the same may be said of the Judgments, and Discourses of the Soul. Nor are the first Notions Criminal, seeing that they are of so clear and so easy Evi­dence, that the Mind no sooner begins to exercise and use its Reason, but it presently apprehends 'em. Discourse is a kind of acqui­r'd Knowledge, which will never deceive us unless the Heart interpose and mingle it self with it; For 'tis an usual saying, that Common Sense never deceives; to denote that Man Reason's well Naturally.

[Page 105]Yet, by the way, 'tis to be observ'd, that, among our different kinds of Knowledge, Ideas have more Force to determine our Will, than the Judgments, or Discourses of the Mind; this is true Generally speaking: The reason of it is, because our Notices, as we have already remark'd, have no Force of themselves; but borrow it all from the Affections of the Heart. And hence it comes to pass, that Men are never very successful in Perswading, unless they interpose, as it were, a mixture of Sense among their Rea­son or Knowledge. Now none, but a remote Good, can be mingled with Reasons; for seeing you are oblig'd to use Reasonings and Discourses, in order to make it known, it appears, that 'tis at some Distance off: Whereas an Idea, or simple Perception, par­taking of the Quality, and being either pleasant or unpleasant, according to the Dis­position of its Object, makes you of it self actually feel and perceive that which Dis­course makes you only expect and wait for.

But yet this is not the Source of the Evil. The Irregularity proceeds from this, That spiritual Ideas don't make near so great Im­pressions upon our Soul, as Corporeal Ideas, which enter'd in by the Channel of Sense; whereas by right they should make a much greater, since the Perception of our own Soul ought to be more vivid and lively than that of external Objects, and the experience [Page 106] of spiritual Things should more nearly touch and affect us than the Knowledge of the Senses, which concern us only in out­ward Objects. Corporeal Ideas seem to be design'd for no other Purpose but for the good of the Body, which they conduct and guide, whereas Spiritual Ideas ought to di­rect our Soul, and lead it to the Sources and Fountains of its Happiness; so that as much as the Value of our Soul exceeds that of the Body, so much are Spiritual Ideas Naturally more important, than Corporeal, and as they are more necessary, so ought they Naturally to make a greater and more lively Im­pression.

As Ideas are a kind of internal Sense, be­ing pleasant or unpleasant, according to the Character of the Things they represent, be­cause they partake of the Quality of their Objects; 'tis no mistake to say, that they belong in some sort to the Affections or Sen­timents of the Soul, which are either Cor­poreal, as Sensations, or Spiritual, as the Affections of the Heart; so tho' we say the Corruption of Man arises from hence, That Corporeal Ideas make too lively and strong Impressions upon the Soul, yet this does not contradict our Principle, that the Corrup­tion of Reason proceeds from that of the Heart.

CHAP. III. Where we Enquire after the Manner, how the Heart deceives the Mind.

THis Imposture of the Heart, which de­ceives the Mind, proceeds from volun­tary Inapplications, affected Distractions, be­loved Ignorances, from Errours, occasion'd by the ardent Desire we have to Cheat our selves, and from this Inclination, which re­moves and alienates our Mind from all that is Afflictive, and firmly binds it to all that is pleasing and delightful.

The first Thing then, which the Heart does, is to fill us with unprofitable Ob­jects, that it may distract and divert us from those, the Consideration whereof would be more important and useful to us, tho' the sight of 'em seem afflictive and unpleasant. We find, among Others, two Ideas in our Soul, which we fear and dread above all the rest; which are the Ideas of our Misery and our Duty ▪ The Idea of our Misery compre­hends that of the Frailty of the World, of our own Mortality, our Sins, the Justice of GOD, our Vices, Infirmities, and of the Shame, which naturally follows 'em. The Idea of Duty includes a Thousand Obliga­tions, which are painful to such a voluptu­ous [Page 108] Soul as ours, troublesome and disagree­able to an Heart affected with nothing but Pleasure, mortifying to Pride, and intolera­ble to Self-love. Hence the most trivial Oc­cupations, the most insipid Diversions, the most infructuous Knowledge, the most un­acceptable Employments, become the Object of our Application or Enquiry, as if they were capable of rendering us Happy. No­thing seems delightful but what unsettles and distracts us. Any thing that passes the Time away merrily and insensibly, and plunges us in the Ignorance of our selves, charms and allures us. The Gamester spends his whole Life in a continual Transport from Joy to Sadness, from Hope to Fear; if any one should hinder him from the turbu­lent Succession of his Thoughts and various Agitations, he would certainly deprive him of the whole Pleasure of his Life: But you need not wonder at it; this Agitation and Hurry buisies and employs him, and that's enough. He thinks himself Happy, if he can but be dispenc'd with from Reflecting upon his Misery: His Hope flatters him, even when he Loses; and his Soul is always so flexible to any pleasing Prospect, that when he Wins, he believes he can never Lose; and when he Loses, he fills himself with Hopes of Winning. The Case is the same with the divers Professions of Men: Good and Evil follow by turns in that Path, and [Page 109] are connected to it, as we know too well by Experience; but our Soul is constant in ap­plying its Regard to nothing else, but what tickles and flatters it; and if it chance to meet with an Evil, instead of the Good it expected, it forms to it self an imaginary Felicity, made up purely of its own Chimera's and Illusions. Give an Ambitious Man what he demands; place him in the Rank he a­spir'd at, yet he'll hardly reap any other Ad­vantage, than to be able to conceive farther Hopes, and to put upon himself new Cheats and Impostures. We love and delight in War, not as 'tis an hazardous Profession, that often exposes us to Danger; or as 'tis in­commodious, by putting us to suffer great Hardship, but because it buisies our Mind and Heart, by the extream Variety of the Ob­jects it presents to 'em; and in some measure answers this eternal Agitation of our Soul, which flies and shuns the Sight or it self, and seeks after Subjects for new Illusions, wherewith to feed and divert it.

You don't think how remarkable the Il­lusions, and Impositions of the Heart are in the Affairs of civil Life. We first deceive and cheat our selves, and afterwards, if possible, other Men. Don't trust my Sin­cerity, my Honesty, nor my long experienc'd Fidelity: Indeed I have Maxims of Equity and Rectitude in my Mind, which I use to regard; but the Corruption of my Heart [Page 110] makes a Play-Game of these general Rules. To what purpose do I respect the Law of Justice, if I do it no farther than it stands with my Pleasure and Conveniency; and if it be in the Power of my Heart, to perswade me of the Justice, or Injustice of a Thing? Don't put any Confidence in it; the Vertue and Justice, by which I have attracted a great Name, and Reputation thro' the whole Course of my Actions, are not really in me, they only make an outward Appearance, to the end that Men may trust and confide in me; whilst Injustice lies in the Bottom of my Heart, to put Reason upon Action; and absconds and hides it self, that it may catch and surprize you with more Facility and Ease. But the greatest Mischief of it is, that one Illusion breeds a great many others: For as an Heart, interested to pre-occupy and prejudice the Mind, to its own Advan­tage and Concern, in opposition to the Truth, makes use of a multitude of proba­ble, but false Reasons, in order to support its Pretences. The Soul, which affects its Reasons, considering 'em with Pleasure, of­ten re-collecting 'em and turning their best side outward, comes insensibly to take the Degree of its own Application for the De­gree of their Evidence, and then it receives 'em as infallible Maxims, makes 'em a Source of Prejudices, which being false, yet con­stantly supposed to be true, become to it a [Page 111] perpetual Fountain of Error and Illusion. Moreover, when in any Concern we are pre­judic'd against a Man for our own Interest and Profit; the Hatred we bear to his Pre­tension, makes us condemn all his Reasons, and any that are Kin to those which he im­ploy'd in defending his Cause; as we see the Aversion we have to an Enemy will make us hate even an indifferent Person, if he do but any way resemble him; and I leave any Man to guess, what Influence these Prejudices afterwards have upon our Actions and Conduct.

But to return to our Distractions, and vo­luntary Inapplications: I think nothing is more extraordinary, than the Carriage and Proceeding of Democritus, who after having judg'd the Affairs, and Common-pleas of the Abderites, for many Years, with such Up­rightness and Ability, as put the whole World in Admiration, considering the Meanness of this Occupation, and willing to enjoy and live to himself, abandon'd Hu­mane Society, and retir'd into a Desart, that he might diligently follow the Study of Wisdom, and the Knowledge of Himself; where Hippocrates thinking to go and Cure him of the F [...]lly, with which People fancy'd him Cr [...]s'd and Sick, finds him buisy'd and wholly taken up in ridiculing the Extra­vagancies of Mankind. He that dares sup­port the View of himself, exceeds the Cha­racter [Page 112] of an Heroe. Indeed our Philosopher's Retirement from the World made Wise Men esteem him, which he valu'd much more than the injudicious Opinions or the Vul­gars: Perhaps his main Design, even in this, was to acquire a Reputation and Fame. It may be he thought the Approbation of the Abderites, was not Considerable enough to satisfy his greedy Thirst of Vain Glory; if so, his Solitude was not so great as Men ima­gin'd: He left the Society of the Abderites meerly for the sake of better Company; and he retir'd into the Wilderness with a Design of being more visible, and conspicuous to the Eyes of Mankind.

What can be less reasonable than this saying of Cyneas to Pyrrhus, which History relates as a very wise Speech, Rest without going so far: Does he imagine 'tis so easy a Thing for a Man to rest himself; Pyrrhus might more easily Conquer the Romans, sub­due Italy, Sicily, and Carthage, than over­come the natural Repugnance of his Heart to Quiet and Repose, which this importu­nate Fellow advis'd him to, thinking it might hinder him from going out of the Territo­ries of himself.

Most of the Philosophers, finding the Study of Man so painful and laborious, betook themselv [...]s to dry and barren Contempla­tions of Nature; which charm'd 'em on one side, because they buisy'd and employ'd their [Page 113] Mind; and on the other, because they sig­naliz'd and distinguish'd 'em: For, by the way, 'tis an Errour to imagine, that our Soul loves Truth purely for its own sake. No Truths are more evident and certain, than those which are obvious to the Know­ledge of all Men; yet none seem more in­different. How comes this to pass? 'Tis because Truth, as such, seems not Amiable, but only as 'tis capable of distinguishing, and raising us to Fame and Reputation.

But if the Sages themselves are cully'd and impos'd upon, by the Effort of their Passions, it cannot be imagin'd that those, at the lower End of the World, are exempted from this Voluntary Darkness of the Heart. Every Passion has a particular Imposture: The Passions heretofore form'd a Religion exactly suited to their own Humour; namely, the Pagan. Indeed they could not prevail quite so much in the Sun-shine of Christianity: Yet they endeavour it the utmost they can; and though they have not been compleatly Successful, they have very near the matter shot the Mark they aim'd at: So prodigiously do they disguise the Religion, which our Saviour Christ brought into the World, and which declares open War against the whole Circle of the Passions. 'Tis certain that every Vice has its Morality: There's a Morality of Interest, Pride, Pleasure, Revenge, &c. According as these Views imprint their [Page 114] Maxims in the Understanding. No wonder at this, seeing that when Truth appears to enlighten us, the Heart rejects, and sends it away with such a kind of Speech as Felix did Paul: Go thy way now, and when I have a convenient season, I'll send for thee: But the Heart takes a course to darken the Lustre and Clearness of this Truth; for that it may not hear its Voice, it fills it self with the Noise and Clamour of the World; and to wave and divert the Consideration of what 'tis most highly concern'd to know, it employs it self wholly about a multitude of Objects, that are utterly unprofitable, and not worth knowing.

Sometimes 'tis forc'd to make a Compa­rison of two Objects, One whereof is the Object of a lawful and reasonable Desire, the Other of a Temptation and Irregula­rity: It must needs side with one or t'other. Reason is call'd to judge and pass Sentence; but with how great Partiality does it exe­cute this Office? Where the Object of Duty has Ten Degrees of Evidence, the Soul will perceive scarce Two; it discerns not the rest, because a clear Manifestation often re­quires a particular Search, which it dreads, and never makes but with regret and un­willingness. On the contrary, the Object of the Temptation appears in its full Lustre, this it turns every way, takes a distinct View of all its Faces and Appearances, be­cause [Page 115] such a Consideration as this, fixes its Application with Delight and Pleasure; the Soul is Inventive in discovering such Rea­sons as favour and countenance its Desire, because each of these Reasons excites in it a sensible Agreement and Delight; but on the contrary, 'tis very slow and dull in ap­prehending those which oppose its Inclina­tion, tho' never so obvious and plain; be­cause 'tis troubled and mortify'd at finding that, which it does not seek, and can never have a very good Opinion of that, which it does not receive, but with Regret and Uneasiness.

Thus the Heart breaking off, and disap­pointing the Reflections of the Mind as often as it pleases, and carrying away its Thoughts to the Interest of its Passion, re­specting meerly its own Pleasure, and Ad­vantage in its Comparison of Things, vo­luntarily omitting what opposes its Desires, having but languid and frozen Perceptions of Duty; conceiving on the contrary with all possible Attention, Delight and Ardour, whatsoever favours its Inclination: no wonder, if it make sport, and put tricks upon the Light of the Mind; and if we judge of Things, not according to Truth, but the Biass of our own Propensities.

CHAP. IV. Where we Consider the mutual Illusions be­tween theHeartand the Mind,and how GODalone destroys 'em by his Grace.

IF the Heart corrupt the Mind, the Mind, in like manner, fill'd with false Preju­dices, may be thought to corrupt the Heart, by communicating its Darkness, and nourish­ing it with its own Errours.

'Tis easy to conceive, that in this State, the Corruption of Man, can't be Cur'd by na­tural Remedies: For in this continual Cir­cle of Illusions and Deviations, which make the Mind deceive and impose upon the Heart, whence can there be any Light and Rectitude? If you would enlighten the Reason of Man, the Affections presently re­ject the Evidence you bring; if you go to cor­rect the Exorbitance of the Affections, you find you can't do it, but by shewing the Soul in what Errours and Precipices 'tis perplex­ed and engag'd; which is impossible to be done, unless it be enlighten'd. Thus nothing but Reason can correct and reform the Heart, but Commerce with the Heart can't enlighten the Reason; what Remedy can there be found for this Disorder? Rack your Invention, set your Wit and Fancy to [Page 117] work; you'll find no other Cause capable of producing this Effect, but GOD Himself, acting by his Grace.

If the Case be so, 'tis reasonable to suppose that GOD, who so perfectly knows the Origine of our Malady, begins the Cure by correct [...]ng that Faculty which is productive of all the rest. We have already said, That the first Root of this Disorder is grounded in this, That our Imagination acts in a more vigorous and lively manner than our Reason; that is, Corporeal Ideas make a vivid and strong Impression upon our Soul, whilst Spiritual Ideas seem weak and languid. 'Tis easy to conceive, that in order to re-establish our Soul, in its due State of Rectitude and Uprightness, 'tis requisite that God should so bring it about, by his Grace, that the Spiritual Ideas of Duty, Vertue, Eternity, &c. may make a stronger and more lively Im­pression than they us'd to do; and that on the contrary, the Images of the World, of Pleasure, Delight, and in General of sensible Goods, may seem but dull, and almost imper­ceptible.

God does the first, by fixing in the Mind Spiritual Ideas, afterwards by rendering 'em pleasant and agreeable; and Lastly, by ex­tending and enlarging 'em Grace fixes in our Mind good Ideas, just as Melancholly fixes sad and dismal Notions in the Soul▪ Let a melancholy Person use his utmost en­deavour, [Page 118] to chase from his Mind horrid and afflictive Ideas, they'll still return, and haunt him wherever he goes. So those salutary and good Ideas we speak of, being fix'd by Grace, in vain will our Corruption strive to remove 'em, they still return, present them­selves again, repress and bridle Concupiscence, stop its Exorbitances; nay, and sometimes prevent, even the Reflections of our Mind: For we see, an Honest Man exerts good Actions, as it were by Instinct, and without Premeditation. Because, tho' not perceiving it, he follows the Ideas which Grace has fix'd in his Understanding. God enlarges Spiritual Ideas, by fixing 'em in our Mind, thro' His Grace; that is, He makes us con­sider Spiritual Objects in their just Propor­tion and natural Form Whence 'tis to be observ'd, that the Ideas of Piety, having a kind of Opposition to the Ideas of the World, the one cannot be enlarg'd, without the o­thers be contracted and limited. The Idea of Time, hides that of Eternity, the Idea of Eternity, extreamly abbreviates and con­tracts that of Time.

As 'tis the Pleasure, which Self-love causes us to take in considering the Ideas of the World, that enlarges and fixes 'em in our Imagination; the Soul, to the utmost of its Power, magnifying and eternizing whatso­ever is agreeable and delightful to it: So may we suppose, that Grace causes the good [Page 119] Impression, which Spiritual Ideas make upon us; that is, it fixes and enlarges 'em, by ac­companying 'em with a certain Sense of Con­solation and unspeakable Joy, which the Scripture sometimes calls the Joy of the Holy Ghost, and sometimes, the Peace of God which [...]a [...]seth all Understanding.

As the Mind, apply'd by our Passions to Corporeal Ideas, may be term'd the Intellect of the Mortal Man; so the Mind, apply'd by Grace to Spiritual Ideas, may justly be call'd the Intellect of the Immortal Man. There is an extream Difference betwixt these Two, the One is almost continually bewil­der'd in Errours, the Other is almost exempt from Errour: For as our Errours, at least those which are of dangerous Consequence, have their Source in the Violence of the Passions, and these Passions cannot but be very moderate in One, who is conducted by the Views of Eternity, and not of temporal Things; we may judge, that he is not subject to those Illusions, which commonly cheat and deceive us.

The Immortal Man, finding himself Glo­rious in his own Nature, most Happy in the State propos'd to him by Religion; and ele­vated far above Time and the World, by Nature and Revelation, has no reason to shun the Prospect of himself, nor fear being afflict­ed by considering his End.

[Page 120]No Diversion relishes with him, at least not such as pleases the Worldling's Palate; for he seeks, not only the Refreshment of his Body, and Recreation of his Mind, (in this Design there would be nothing unreasonable) but he searches for all that may buisy his Thoughts, and bar him from taking a View of himself; which appears from this, That even after Repose and Ease, he still reaches after farther Divertisements, and is so charm'd and caress'd with the Enjoyment of 'em, that he cannot be given up, and retir'd to himself, for a Moment, without great Anxiety and Disquietude, which proceeds from hence, that the Weight of what is Past, which is no more in his Account, but an Object of Trouble and Regret; and the Future, which he looks upon as an Object of Doubt and Un­certainty, combine together to crush his Heart with their Gravity and Burthen, and plunge it into the sad Reflections of an in­evitable Misery: But the Immortal Man conceives all those things as Vexatious and Afflictive, which are capable of diverting and carrying him away from the Confines of himself; and is fretted and troubled at those importunate Veils, which intercept the sight of his own Grandeur; and at those Objects, which suspend the Joy he perceives in the perfect Knowledge of himself.

Affection can't impose upon the Immortal Man, his Passions are moderate, seeing that [Page 121] he cannot long enjoy and partake of those things, which bear so little Proportion to the Extent of his Duration; blameless and untainted, he casts his Eyes on Earthly things, because he consider's 'em all with Indifferency.

He is not pre-possest with Pride: A Man is not very careful to raise himself a great Name in a Place, where he is to sojourn but for a very short time: Nor with Interest; his Reason does not shew it self partial for his Lucre and Profit, seeing he is in View of an other Interest, to free him from all other Prejudices.

And certainly right Reason and Prudence may be said to be proper to him alone; tho' a Man be Cunning and Ingenious to heap up Riches, to Conquer or Govern Provinces, yet if his Knowledge reach no farther, he is still no better than a Fool: Indeed he has fram'd the Edifice with a great deal of Reason and Dexterity, but he laid its Foundation upon the Sand.

Worldly Men are Wise enough in the Choice of those Means, which they employ to bring about the Ends of their Designs; but are irrational and senseless in choosing the End which they propose. The Immortal Man is as Wise in the Choice of the End, as of the Means; and consequently Exactness of Mind, Uprightness, Reason, Judgment and Prudence, are proper to none but him.

[Page 122]The Gospel affords us an illustrious Ex­ample, of this Elevation, in the Person of Jesus Christ; in whom we discover, not only an Immortal Man, but the Prince of Immor­tality: 'Tis equally surprizing and admira­ble to find in him a God, crawling on the Earth, and conversing with Men; and a Man, enthron'd in the Kingdom of Heaven, and rais'd above the Region of all Temporal things. Consider but the simple and plain Manner, in which his Disciples relate his Doctrines, Actions, and the divers Circum­stances of his Life, and this will perswade you, that they had not a Design to make a flattering Description of their Divine Ma­ster: For certainly these poor Men, were not sufficiently skill'd in the sublimity of Man­ners, for successfully broaching a fictitious Portraicture of Him. Yet must it withal be granted, that the History of our Saviour, tho' compil'd without the Affectation of Study, and Elegance of Art, carries with it such a Loftiness and Elevation of Style, as was never known before his Appearance: For he's the first that Acts, and Speaks like an Immortal Man, and teaches us to steer, and conduct our Lives, by the Views of E­ternity. He seeks not any thing that may distract, and take him off from the Duties of his Charge, or divert him from meditating and thinking of himself; he spends the Day in instructing the Multitude, and the Night [Page 123] in Praying to GOD. That which Men use to covet and desire, is an Object of his Con­tempt and Disdain; he's not Ambitious of any Man's Esteem; nor does he eagerly fol­low great Mens Heels, with hopes of Bene­faction and Preferment: He uses not a sordid Indulgence, nor a false Complaisance to any Rank, or Condition whatsoever. He has been said to have had the Knowledge of Nature, for no other End but only, that he might understand how to take Emblems from it; which he makes use of and employs to lead Men to God. Those are not his Friends which have a temporal Relation to him, but those that are related to him in God; that is, who are truly his Disciples, and do the Will of his Heavenly Father: He measures the Wisdom and Folly of Men, not by their Craftiness and Ingenuity in the Things of this Life, but by a Dexterity and Wisdom, which tends to the infinite and incorruptible Good. His Desires, Fears, Anger, Thoughts, Discourses, Works, Occupations and Studies, stop no longer at the Confines of Time then 'tis necessary, in order to separate and loosen Men from it, but are all directed to Eternity.

And doubtless tho' the intimate Commerce he has, with his Eternal Father, should not fill his Mind with supernatural Lights; yet his own Sanctity, which disengages him from holding Commerce with Creatures, would be sufficient to secure him from those Illu­sions [Page 124] and Cheats, whereby Men are common­ly inveigled and deceived.

Having now consider'd the first of our Faculties, and seen that the original Source of our Corruption is not in the Mind, we must in the next place consider the Heart, which is the Soul as it loves, or the Seat of the Affections.

CHAP. V. Where we continue to search for the Sources of our Corruption,by considering the Motions and Inclinations of the Heart.

AS there are first Principles, or Notions in our Mind, which are of an infallible Truth and Certainty, and the Foundation of natural Light, which is so far from deceiv­ing, that it puts us in a Way to return from our Errours; so in our Heart, there are certain primary and radical Affections, which are necessarily Lawful: Sentiments, with­out which the Nature of Man cannot subsist and which are not only exempt from all Corruption in themselves, but also serve, when rightly directed, to reclaim us from our Vices. Such is the natural Love of E­steem, and of Our-selves, the Care of our Pre­servation, the Desire of Happiness.

[Page 125]These Passions are good in themselves, [...]eeing they naturally relate to the Good of Man: There are Two sorts of 'em, the One are term'd, by the School-men, Prosequutivae because they incline us to Good; the O­ther Adversativae, because they remove and avert us from Evil. But yet as they tend to our Advantage, by the Design and Intention of Nature, thro' an Effect of our Corruption, they are perverted to be instruments of our Damage and Prejudice; which happens, when false Goods excite in our Heart reall Affections: When we are but coldly bent, towards that which deserves the whole Ap­plication and Study of our Souls; and on the contrary, we desire with all the Ardour imaginable, such Goods as deserve but a mo­derate and indifferent Affection: For then we reverse the Order of Nature, change the End into the Means, and the Means into the End; are rash and precipitate in our Actions, err in our Conduct, and a meer shadow of Good makes us lose the original Source of it; and running after Appearances we miss the Truth. Hence proceed all our Vices and Dis­orders, in enquiring after which we must spend some time, since 'tis they that make the Corruption of the Heart.

Now as we search for the Source of our Irregularities, we must not insist upon any particular One, unless it has an Influence upon all the others. 'Tis evident, that the [Page 126] Root of our Natural Evil, consists not in a peculiar Disposition of the Temperament, seeing that those who are of quite contrary Temperaments, are corrupted for all that: Nor is Interest the Principle of our Evil, since that has commonly something in it in­compatible with Pride; neither is Pride, seeing that is in some sort repugnant to Interest.

Yet 'tis certain, that there is something, wherein the Vices are opposite, and some­thing, wherein they agree: They are, in some respect opposite, seeing that one serves as a kind of Remedy for the other; and they agree in some respect, since the Soul, after it has fall'n into one, has a further Inclination after another, which seem'd of a quite con­trary Nature.

This Truth will appear more plainly, if we, as it were, Anatomize and Dissect the Heart, by entering upon the Consideration of all its particular Passions. Robbery springs from Injustice, Injustice from Interest, In­terest from an Excess of Self-love: Obsti­nacy is nothing but a strict Adherence, which Self-love make us have to our own Fancies and Opinions. Pride is a meer Drunkenness, and Intoxication of Self-love, which represents us to our own Imagination greater and perfecter than really we are: Revenge is but a desire to defend our selves against those that hate us, or to reap a kind [Page 127] of Self-satisfaction by punishing those who have offended us. In a word, Take a through Survey, and Consideration of all the Vices, and Passions of Man, and you'll find they ter­minate in Self-love: 'Tis this, that gives 'em Birth; forasmuch as all the Motives of Vice have this Foundation, That we seek for e­very thing which flatters and relates to this Me, which is the first Object of our Know­ledge and Affections: Upon this depends, either their Life or Death; for when two Passions violently Combat, Fear, for instance, and Revenge, the Soul retires into its own Tent; and makes use of no other Counsel, but that of Self-love, to know which side it ought to take; and according as Self-love judges, or not judges, Revenge to be ne­cessary, it pronounces in Favour either of Resentment, or Moderation: So that as Self-love first produc'd these two Passions, so likewise it foments and causes the One to live, and continue to the Prejudice of the Other. Now what else can we say of that Passion, to which all our irregular Inclina­tions tend, in which all the Vices terminate, by whose means they both Live and Die, which stops and suspends their Career, but that this general Disorder, is undoubtedly the original Fountain of all the others; and what we call'd the primitive Root of our Evil and Corruption?

[Page 128]And, which may serve to confirm us in this Opinion, at the same time we per­ceive all the Vices flattering and caressing Self-love, we find all the Vertues unani­mously opposing it. Humility debases and pulls it down; Temperance mortifies it; Li­berality, as it were, robs it; Moderation discontents it; Fortitude exposes it; Mag­nanimity, Piety and Zeal sacrifice it.

And indeed Self-love is so essential an In­gredient, of the Definitions of the Vices and Vertues, that without it we can't have a [...]ight Conception, either of the one or the other. In general, Vice is a Preference of One-self, before other Men; and Vertue seems to be a Preference of others, before One-self; I say, it seems to be so, Because in Effect 'tis certain, that Vertue is only a more noble, and rational Mode of Loving One-self.

Now here there is a seeming Contradiction in our System, For on One hand Self-love appears to be the Principle of our Irregula­rities and Disorders; on the Other, 'tis cer­tain, that the Love of Our-selves, is a Qua­lification for the Discharge of our Duties. Corruption draws its whole Force from Self-love; and GOD on the other side derives from it all the Motives, He makes use of, to incline us to the Study of our Sanctification: For to what purpose, would he have made Promises and Threatnings, were it not with a Design to interest Self-love.

[Page 129]This Difficulty presently vanishes, after we suppose the same thing, touching Self-love, which we have already said of the Affections of the Heart in general: Namely, That they have something of innocent and lawful which belongs to Nature, and some­thing of vicious and irregular, which is at­tributed to their Corruption. 'Tis an Ad­vantage of the French Tongue, that it can distinguish betwixt L'amour propre, and L'a­mour de nons mêmes; the former signifies Self-love as 'tis vicious and corrupted, the latter denotes this Love as 'tis lawful and natural.

Now our present Enquiry being after the Sources of Man's Corruption, our Design here engages us to examine, wherein the Disorder of Self-love consists. This Query is no less considerable for its being singular: And I dare say, that few Questions in Morality and Religion, are more important, as I hope will appear by the following Discussion.

CHAP. VI. Where we Examine the Faults of Self-love.

SElf-love can sin but only Two ways, either in Excess or Direction; its Irre­gularity must consist either in this, That we love our selves too much, or that we take [Page 130] not a right Method in shewing this Love to our selves, or in both these Faults together.

Self-love does not sin in Excess, as appears from this, That we are permitted to love our selves, as much as we please, so it be with good and reall Love: Indeed to love One-self, is to desire One's Good, to fear One's Hurt, and to search for One's Happi­ness. Now I confess, that many times our Desire and Fear are too great, or we are too eagerly addicted to our Pleasure, or that, which we look upon as our Happiness: But you may observe, that the Excess proceeds from the Fault that refers to the Object of your Passions, and not from the too great Measure of the Love of our selves; which appears from hence, That you both can, and ought to have an unlimited Desire of the Supream Good, and a boundless Fear of Ex­tream Misery: And 'twould be a Vice for us to desire an infinite Good, but with a finite and limited Appetite.

Truly, were Man oblig'd to love himself, but to a certain Measure, the Vacuity of his Heart ought not to be infinite; and were not the Vacuity of the Heart infinite, it would follow, that he was not made for the Possession and Enjoyment of God; but only for the Fruition of finite and limited Ob­jects: Yet we are taught the contrary, both by Experience and Religion. Nothing is more lawful and reasonable, than this insatiable [Page 131] Desire; which even, after the Possession of worldly Advantages, makes us still reach after the Supream Good, which no Man ever found in the Objects of this Life. Brutus, who made a particular Profession of Wisdom, believ'd he should not be mistaken, if he search'd for it in Vertue; but as he loved Vertue for its own sake, whereas indeed it has nothing amiable and laudable but in Re­lation to GOD; guilty of a Genteel and Spiritual Idolatry, was no less mistaken then those who sought for Happiness in Tempo­ral things; and at his Death was oblig'd to acknowledge his Errour, when he Cry'd out: O Vertue! I own that thou art nothing but a miserable Phantom. &c.

Wherefore this insatiable Desire, of Man's Heart, is not Evil in it self: 'Twas ne­cessary Men should be endu'd with this In­clination, to qualify and dispose 'em for seek­ing after GOD.

Now what in a Figurative and Metapho­rical Idea we term an Heart, that has an in­finite Capacity, a Vacuity which cannot be fill'd by the Creatures, signifies in the proper and literal Notion a Soul, that naturally de­sires an Infinite Good, that desires it without Limits, and cannot be satisfy'd till it has obtain'd it. If then it be necessary, that the Vacuity of our Heart, should not be fill'd with created Goods, 'tis necessary that our Desires should also be infinite; which is as [Page 132] much as to say, that we ought to love our selves without Measure; For to love One-self, is to love One's Happiness.

And as we may be truly said, not properly to love the Creature, when we love it in­finitely, because then we place the Creature upon the Throne of the Creatour, which is an Idolatry of the Mind, and most dangerous of all; so also may we be said, not to love God as our Supream Good, when we love him but finitely, and conceive but moderate De­sires after him; for then we debase God to the Condition of the Creatures, thro' an Im­piety of the Heart, no less Criminal than Idolatry.

Whether we look upon God as our Sove­raign Good, or represent him as a Being in­finitely Perfect, tis certain that our Applica­tion and Adherence to him ought to be un­limited; and to this End the Creatour [...]lac'd a kind of Infinity in Man's Know­ledge and Affections, to capacitate him, in some measure, for the Enjoyment of this Infinite Good

I know very well, that our Nature being finite, is not capable, exactly speaking, of forming Desires intensively infinite: But tho' these Desires be not infinite in this Sense, yet they are so in another; for 'tis certain, that our Soul desires according to the whole Extent of its Powers; that if the Number of Spirits, necessary to the Organ, [Page 133] could be multiply'd in Infinitum, the Vehe­mence of its Desires would encrease propor­tionably; and that tho' the Act it self have not an Infinity, yet the Disposition of the Heart has, which is naturally insatiable.

I own, if we lov'd our selves by Reason, we might conceive, that Self-love would be in a limited Measure in the Heart: for we don't find in our Mind an Infinity of Rea­sons for loving our selves: But the Author of Nature, whose Wisdom judg'd it not re­quisite, that Men should be Philosophers, in order to take care of their Preservation, thought fit that we should love our selves by Sense; which is so true, that 'tis not even conceivable how we can feel Delight and Joy, without loving this Self, which is the subject of it; so that as there is an unlimit­ed Variety, and an Infinity of Degrees, in the Joy we are capable of tasting, so in like manner, there is not any measure or bounds in the Desire of that Happiness, in the which this Joy essential [...] [...]ters; nor consequently, in the Love of our selves, which is the Prin­ciple of this Desire.

I also grant, That had Man been made to be a Rival of the Deity, he would not be o­blig'd to love himself without Measure; because then Self-love would stand in Com­petition, and interfere with the Love of God▪ But Man naturally loves himself, with so great Vehemency, meerly that he may be [Page 134] capable of loving God. The unmeasurable Measure of Self-love, and these kind of infi­nite Desires, are the only Links that tye, and unite him to God; since, as I have al­ready said, finite and moderate Desires are capable of binding Man's Heart to none but the Creatures, and we don't properly love God, but only a Chimaera, which we form to our selves instead of God, when our Love of him exceeds not a Mediocrity.

And indeed, 'tis a great Errour to oppose Self-love to Divine, when 'tis well regulated: For pray, what else is it, duly to love our selves, but to love God; and to love God, but duly to love our selves? The Love of God, is the right sense of the Love of our selves, and that gives it Life and Perfection. When Self love is diverted, and carried to other Objects, it no longer deserves the Name of Love, 'tis of more dangerous Consequence than the most cruel and savage Hatred; but when 'tis converted towards God, it falls in, and mingles with Divine Love.

And certainly, Nothing is so easy as to de­monstrate, beyond all Dispute, what our En­quiries have taught us in this Matter. I de­mand, for instance, Whether the Blessed A­bove, who undoubtedly love themselves neither too much nor too little, seeing that they are in a State of Perfection, can love God with an infinite Affection; and yet not perceive the Joy, arising from the Pos­session [Page 135] of him? I would know in the next place, Whether we can feel Joy and Delight without loving One-self, proportionably to this Perception?

Why then should we trouble our selves with such vain and contradictory Queries, As whether the Saints love God, better than themselves? I had as live they'd ask me, Whether they love Themselves, better than Themselves: For these two Expressions have in reallity the same signification; and not to love God is, in some measure, to hate One-self.

To let you see, that this is but meer Pun­ning and Quibling in words, we must divide the Love of God into two Sorts, a Love of Interest, and a Love of pure Friendship, as Divines call it. I understand this latter to have no Intercourse at all with Self-love, ac­cording to the common Notion of it; but I would know, which of these two Kinds of Love you mean, when you ask me, Whether the Love, we ought to have of God, be not greater than that of our selves: If you un­derstand, by the Love of God, Love of pure Friendship, whose only Object is Known-Per­fection, I answer, that this Love cannot be compar'd with the Love of our selves, which is of quite another Nature; since, as I have already said, we love not our selves by Rea­son, but Sense; and Corporeal, or Spiritual Pleasure, naturally engages us to love our [Page 136] selves, even before we are capable of making Reflection. But if by the Love, we ought to have for God, you mean Love of Interest, which is ty'd to him as our Supream Good, you don't apprehend, that you oppose the same thing to it self; seeing that to love One-self, and the Soveraign Good, is all one; and does not make two distinct species of Love, but are one and the same, consider'd under different Respects, namely, in reference to its Principles and its Objects.

It therefore appears, That the Irregula­rity consists not in this, that we love our selves too much, seeing we are allow'd to love our selves, as much as we please, with Relation to the Supream Good: But herein lies the Evil, that we take a wrong Method, in exerting this Love; that is, we love our selves with relation to false Objects.

Self love, simply taken, is innocent and harmless: It becomes corrupted, when 'tis diverted towards the Creatures; and Holy, when converted and steer'd towards God. Pursuant to the fore-going Doctrine, we may distinguish Three Hearts in Man; the Heart of the Man, the Heart of the Sinner, and the Heart of the Faithful: The Heart of the Man is the Soul, as it naturally loves it self; the Heart of the Sinner is the Soul, as it loves the World; and the Heart of the Faithful is the Soul, as it loves God. The Natural Heart is essentially included in the [Page 137] other Two, and the natural Love of our selves, which is the Principle of all our Af­fections, the Mobile that actuates either Grace or Corruption, and receives either the Love of God, or the World. The Heart of Man loves. The Heart of the Worldling loves Vanity. The Heart of the Faithful loves the infinite, and eternal Good. The first is the Heart of Man, the second the Heart of the mortal Man; the third is the Heart of the immortal Man.

CHAP. VII. Where we shew, that Self-lovekindles all our Affections, and is the general Prin­ciple of our Motions.

I Said before, that Self-love is the Principle of all our natural Affections: For all our Desires, Fears and Hopes, are the devoted Servants, and Off-spring of Self-love.

I confess, the Affection we have for other Men, sometimes causes us to Desire, Fear and Hope: But what is the Principle of this Affection, but the Love of our selves? Do but throughly consider, and weigh all the Sources of our Friendship, and you'll find they are reduc'd to Interest, Gratitude, Re­lation, Sympathy, and a delicate Agreement of that Vertue with Self-love, which makes us think, that we love it for its own [Page 138] sake; whereas indeed, we love it meerly for the sake of our selves, and it wholly termi­nates in Self-love.

'Tis from hence, that Relation borrows all its Rapture, and Strength, for kindling our Affections. We love our Children, be­cause they are our Children. Were they a­nother Man's Children, they would be in­different to us: Therefore we don't pro­perly love them, but the Relation which links us to 'em. 'Tis true, Children don't love their Parents, with the same Degree of Affection, as Parents do their Children; tho' these two Affections seem to be founded upon the same reason of Relation, but this Difference proceeds from another Cause, Children see themselves Die in the Person of their Parents; and Parents, on the contrary, see themselves Revive in the Person of their Children: Now nature inspires us with the Love of Life, and Hatred of Death. Also Parents behold in their Children, as it were, other selves; but other selves subject, and dependant upon 'em: They think it an Hap­piness to have brought 'em into the World; they consider 'em with Delight, because they consider 'em as their own Workmanship: They are exceedingly pleas'd, at having sa­cred, and inviolable Rights over 'em. This is their Magistracy, Royalty, and Empire: But the same Pride, which causes the Parents to love Superiority, makes the Children hate [Page 139] Dependance. Nothing lays so heavy a weight upon us, as a Benefit when 'tis too great; because it depresses us to too great Sub­mission: We look upon it as a delicate, but very strong Chain, which links our Heart, and constrains our Liberty. This is the My­stery of that common Maxim; Blood never rises: But as there is a Relation of Blood, Profession, Religion, Country, &c. the Affe­ctions are infinitely diversify'd, according to these various Respects: But woe be to Re­lation if it be combated by Interest: For In­terest will infallibly get the better: That tends to us directly, Relation only by Re­flection. Hence Interest is always more strong and prevalent, than Relation; but in this, as in every thing else, particular Circumstan­ces very much alter the general Proposition.

What we commonly experience, That no Hatred is more violent, than that which happens between those who were formerly very great Friends; is to be im­puted to almost the same reason. 'Tis be­cause these Persons found either Profit or Pleasure in loving one another. This in­terested their Self-love: but when they come to change their Sentiment, the Motives of Love joyn themselves with the Motives of Hatred; they revolt and rise up in Arms, both by reason of the Idea of the Wrong that's done 'em, and of the Pleasures of that Friendship which they renounce; and they [Page 140] suffer, not only by the Hatred, which is kindled, but also by the Affection, which is extinguish'd; which excellently confirms our System, and shews, that there's no Af­fection kindled in our Heart independently from Self-love.

We shall be further convinc'd of the Truth of this Opinion, by considering, not only, that Relation is a Source of Friendship; but also, that our Affections vary and differ, ac­cording to the Degree of Relation, that we have to those Persons, who are the Object of 'em. The Quality of Man, which we all bear, makes this general Benevolence, which we term Humanity, Homo sum, humani nihilà me alienum puto. 'Tis certain, that if there were but only Two Men in the World, they would have a tender Affection for each o­ther; but this general Relation being min­gled and confounded, with the infinite num­ber of those different Relations, we have one among another, it happens, that this natural Affection, which it first produc'd, is lost in the rabble and throng of the Passions; which so great a Variety of other Objects produce in our Heart. We don't see in our Neigh­bour the Quality of Man, whereby he re­sembles us, whilst we see in him a Rival, an Emulator, and Enemy of our Welfare and Prosperity (as we are of his;) A proud Man, who esteems nothing but himself; who by the Lustre of his Qualities and Accomplish­ments, [Page 141] attracts the Esteem and Attention of the World, and puts us in Obscurity and Dis-repute; and who by his Passions is con­tinually buisy'd in circumventing us, and en­croaching upon our Properties: But no sooner has Death uncloath'd his Person of these odious Relations, but we find in him that general Relation which made us love him; never thinking him a Man, till he ceas'd to be a Mortal, and then at last, wil­ling to enroll him in the Number of our Friends, when Death has retrench'd him from the Society of the Living.

The Relation of Country, usually inspires Men, with a kind of Benevolence, whereof they are insensible whilst they dwell in their own Nation; because this Relation is weak­ned, and too much divided, by the Number of those that have a Title to it; but becomes very sensible, when two or three Natives of the same Country, happen to meet in a strange Climate: Then Self-love, standing in need of some Supports and Consolations, and find­ing 'em in the Person of those, whom a paral­lel Interest, and like Relation ought to in­spire with the same Disposition, never fails to make a perpetual Attention to this Rela­tion; unless it be prevented by a more powerful Motive of its own Interest.

Relation of Profession, commonly produ­ces more Aversion, than Friendship; by the jealousy it causes Men to have one of ano­ther: [Page 142] But that of Conditions, is generally ac­company'd with Benevolence and Love. 'Tis no wonder, that Grandees have no great Affection for ordinary People; the reason is, because looking with the Eyes of Self-love, they see them at a great distance off; they look not upon 'em as Neighbours; they are very far from perceiving this Proximity and Nearness, whose Mind and Heart are wholly concern'd about the Distance, that separates and removes 'em from other Men; and who make of this Object the Delights of their Vanity.

Yet must it be granted, That Relation of Blood, is usually more prevailing than any other: tho' it be a common Saying, That a Good Friend is better than many Parents; and this be true in it self, yet 'tis certain, that Men naturally prefer their Parents before their Friends, and especially upon any great and important Occasion: The Reason of it is, because they consider their Parents as necessary Friends, that can by no means be dis-united from 'em; and their Friends as voluntary Parents, whose Affection reaches no farther than their Pleasure. Now tho' free and unconfin'd Friendship be of greater Obligation than necessary, yet 'tis not re­garded as such by the Eyes of Self-love: It may indeed inspire us with a greater degree of Gratitude, but can't so much touch our Interest.

[Page 143]The Barbarous Constancy that appear'd in Brutus, when he caus'd his Children to be Kill'd before his Eyes, is not so Dis-in­terested as it seems to be: The best of Latin Poets discloses the Motive of it in these Words; ‘Vincet amor Patriae, laudum (que) immensa Cupido.’

But he has not dis-entangled, and laid open all the Reasons of Interest, which caus'd the apparent Inhumanity of this Ro­man. Brutus was like other Men: He lov'd himself above all Things in the World; His Children were guilty of a Crime, that tended indeed to Rome's Destruction and Ruine, but much more to Brutus's. If Pa­ternal Affection excuses Faults, Self-love ag­gravates 'em whenever 'tis directly wound­ed. Rome undoubtedly owes the Honour of Brutus's Exploits to the Love of himself; and his Countrey accepted the Sacrifice which he Offer'd to the Idol of his own Affection; and rather Infirmity than true Fortitude was the Motive of his Cruelty.

Interest is the Sovereign Empress of Souls, we seek it in the Object of all our Applica­tions; and as there be various Kinds of In­terest, so may we distinguish a Variety of Affections, which Interest causes in Society. An Interest of Pleasure, causes Gallant Friendship; an Interest of Ambition, causes Politick Friendship; an Interest of Pride, [Page 144] causes Noble Friendship; an Interest of Ava­rice, causes Profitable Friendship. Gene­rally speaking, our only Motives of Loving Men are either Pleasure or Profit; but if these different Interests happen to be all u­nited together, to kindle our Affection for a Person, then we are presently his very hum­ble Servants, and stick to him as close as a Burr.

The Vulgars, who declaim against in­terested Friendship, understand not what they say: Their Mistake lies in this, be­cause generally speaking, they know but one sort of Interested Friendship, which is that of Avarice; whereas there are as many Kinds of Interested Affections as there are Objects of Desire. Moreover they find fault with Men for Loving by Interest, and that this is the main Principle and B [...]ass of their Affection and Kindness; not apprehending, that to love by Interest is to love One-self directly; whereas to love by any other Prin­ciple is to love One-self only reflexively: They don't perceive, that Men find fault with interested Friendship in the Heart of another, but never in their own. Lastly, They think it criminal and blamable for a Man to be Interest [...]d; not considering, that 'tis Disinterestedness, not Interest, that ru­ines and destroys us. If Men would offer us Goods that are great enough to satisfy the Desires of our Soul, we should do well to [Page 145] love them with a Love of Interest; and no One ought to blame us for preferring the Motives of this Interest, before those of Re­lation, and every Thing else.

Even Gratitude it self, so highly valu'd in the World, and so much commended in Morality and Religion, cannot claim an Ex­emption from this Traffick of Self-love: For in the main, what difference is there be­twixt Interest and Gratitude? No more but this, That the latter is conversant about a past Good, the former about a Future. Gra­ [...]itu [...]e is nothing but a delicate Return o [...] S [...]lf-love, when it finds it self oblig'd: 'Tis in some sort an Elevation and Advancement of Interest. We don't love our Benefactor, be­c [...]se he's amiable; Gratitude, at least of it [...]el [...], goes not so far as that: We love him because he lov'd us.

But to explain more particularly this Com­parison between Gratitude and Interest, we'll [...], that the Affection produc'd by Gratitude is more Noble, and that which is caus'd by Interest is more strong and prevalent: The former respects the Time past, which is no more; whereas Interest hath the Future for its Object, of which it would make its best Advantage. Gratitude loves even without Hope; but Interest hopes and expects. Gra­titude loves the Benefit for sake of the In­tention; but Interest loves the Intention for sake of the Benefit. Lastly, the I­dea's [Page 146] of Gratitude, having Reference to the Time past, are commonly rang'd among an­tiquated, abstract Ideas, and such as have no very prevailing Influence upon our Soul; whereas the Ideas of Interest respecting the present Time, are sensible and lively, and such as more particularly import and con­cern us.

'Tis also certain, that for this very rea­son, there is some kind of Opposition be­twixt the one and the other; because all Men are as naturally Ungrateful, as they are naturally Interested. Ingratitude is always proportion'd to Interest, because the more the Soul attends to the Idea's of the present, so much the more it loses of that Applica­tion and Attention which it ought to have for what is past: And in this respect the same is to be said of Dis-interestednes [...] as of Gratitude; Namely, that it consists very often in an outward Appearance, and sel­dom rises in the Heart of Man, unless In­terest it self give it Birth, or causes him, as sometimes it falls out, to endeavour to make a Sh [...]w of it.

CHAP. VIII. Where we continue to shew, that Self-loveis the Principle of all our Affections.

THe lively and real Perception we have of a Benefit, at that very Instant when 'tis bestow'd upon us, never fails to produce a kind of Gratitude in our Heart, which Mark wears out by little and little with the Memory of the Kindness receiv'd; because 'tis repugnant, and goes against the Grain of the Heart, to think often of those Things which put us in a State of Dependance and Submission; the Case is not the same in re­spect of those Favours we have bestow'd up­ [...]n others; as they give us a Title to the [...] [...], Friendship and Gratitude: And, in a [...], pull 'em down to [...] kind of Subjection [...]; we revolve and think of 'em with Pleasure and Delight. Whence it comes to pass, that we are much more inclinable to love th [...]se that are beholding to us, than those to whom we our selves are beholding. They who think to insinuate and creep into great Men's Favour, by laying Obligations upon 'em, are often frustrated in their Design: For cer­tainly the only way to obtain their Love is for them to oblige others, and not for others to oblige them. Their Pride, which is en­creas'd [Page 148] by the Complaisance that Men use to 'em upon the account of their Greatness, ap­plauds it self at the Thoughts of having done you a Benefaction: It considers with delight the Obligations you owe it, and by that means inclines the Heart to have a Kind­ness for you: But 'tis dangerous to do very great Services, when our whole Design is to insinuate into the Favour of those whom we oblige. I tremble to think of this great Ser­vice, said a Courtier to a Noble Man, who told him he should never forget the Obliga­tions he ow'd him; and he was in the right of it: Great Obligations do oftentimes prove great Offences, and at least it always hap­pens so then, when either we cannot or will not acknowledge 'em.

Shall I tell thee Araspe? He serv'd me too well,
Increasing my Power, he has robb'd me of all.

But tho' the Heart has its reasons to for­get Benefits, yet has it others for making as if it remember'd 'em. Gratitude is a Vertue very highly esteem'd; the Appearances of it are fine, and attract Respect; and a Heart accustom'd to traffick in outward shews of Vertue, to make a Commerce of vain Glory, at the cost of Sincerity, by seeking not what is in it self Estimable, but what is valu'd by Men's Opinions, is diligent in affecting an Appearance of Gratitude, when it can by this means lay hold of the Estimation of Men. [Page 149] Also Gratitude is very subservient to the De­signs of Interest; because 'tis a Means of drawing new Benefits· 'Tis a Pleasure, say they, to oblige such a Man, he has a sense of the Kindness one do him. Gratitude mounts us as it were above the Benefit receiv'd, when 'tis prompt, active and desirous to shew it self; this is a fine and delicate Policy of an enlighten'd Self-love, for avoiding the suspicion of Ingratitude; because this Vice is a Mark of a sordid Baseness, and as it were a forc'd Homage which we do to a Benefactor. Ingratitude tho' it think of him with great Uneasiness, being oblig'd to confess whether we will or no, that we are under his De­pendance, and owe him more than we wish we did. Moreover 'tis very natural to a Man to let People see, by his Carriage towards a Benefactor, that he deserves the Benefit. Lastly, we are very glad to be deliver'd from the Remorse which attends Ingratitude; which Remorse is more biteing, and more na­tural than that which is consequent upon the Violation of Justice; for tho' Injustice be repugnant to Reason, as well as Ingrati­tude, yet certainly 'tis more opposite to the Dictates of Self-love to be Ungrateful, than Unjust; and doubtless that Remorse is great­est which arises not only from Reason, but also the Love of our selves, when its Laws have been transgressed.

[Page 150] Sympathy, which we observ'd to be the [...]ourth Source of our Affections, is Twofold▪ A Bodily Sympathy, and a Sympathy of the Soul. The Cause of the former is to be search'd for in the Temperament, that of the latter is to be sought among the secret Spring, that actuate and move our Heart: And indeed 'tis certain, that what we believe to be a Sympathy of Temperament, proceeds sometimes from the hidden Principles of the Heart ▪ For what reason, pray, do I hate such or such a Man at first sight, tho' I have no Knowledge of him? 'Tis because he resem­bles some Person, that has offended me, this Resemblance affects and strikes upon my Soul and excites an Idea of Hatred, tho' I reflect not upon it. How come I, on the contrary, to love an unknown Person as soon as I see him, without informing my self either of his Merit, or unworthiness? 'Tis because he has some Conformity or Likeness either to my self, my Children, Friends, or in a word, to some One that I have an Affection for, and without my making any distinct Reflection, awakens an Amour which laid dormant in my Heart. You see then how much Self-love is concern'd in these mysterious and hidden Inclinations, which one of our Poets de­scribes in this manner:

Some se [...]ret Knots, some Sympathies we find,
By whose agreeing Tyes Souls are Conjoyn'd.

[Page 151] But if after having spoken of Bodily Smypa­thies, we would make an Induction of Spiri­tual Sympathies, we should find, that to love Men by Sympathy implies no more, but to [...] their Conformity, and Likeness to [...]: this is to enjoy the Pleasure of loving [...] selves in their Person; this charms the Heart, that it can safely commend it self, without offending against Modesty; this Ad­ [...]age Men obtain, when they seem to have [...] great Affection for certain Persons, the Principle of which Love, is because they re­s [...]mble 'em. We don't only love those that are naturally like us, but also those that have an artificial Resemblance of us; and make it their Endeavour to be our Imitators. Cato, as Proud and Austere as he was, took it not amiss that Favonius imitated him: and per­haps the most stiff and uncomplaisant Man in the World is so weak and flexible, as not to be quite out of Conceit with this indirect Method of flattering and caressing his Self-love. Not but a Man may indeed hate those who don't imitate him well: No person cares to be ridiculous; 'tis more Eligible to be o­ [...]s. Thus we never like those Copies, [...]hose Ridiculousness reflects upon the O­riginal.

But if you'd know why one Gallant does [...]o [...] love another, or why one Learned Man [...] not always just to another; 'tis easy to give you an Answer: The reason is, Because [Page 152] a Motive of Conformity does not countervail a Motive of Interest, and the mutual Hatred of Rival [...] is proportionable to the Accom­plishments which they discover in each o­ther. The Heart, as I said before, considers the Profit▪ and not the Light; and 'tis not Reason, but the Love of our selves, that deter­mines us in placing our Affections. Even our Love [...]f a Vertuous Man is not to be except­ed from this Rule, who notwithstanding fails not to be belov'd even by those who are not like him, for Vice is forc'd to pay Homage to [...]his Vertue; they esteem and respect him▪

— Qui pectore magno
Spemq, metum (que) domas, vitio sublimior omni,
Exemptus Fatis, indignantemque refellis.
Fortunam, dubio quem non in turbine Rerum
Deprehendet suprema Dies, sed abire paratum
At plenum Vita, &c.
Tu, cujus placido posuere in pectore sedem
Blandus Honos hilaris (que) tamen cum pondere Virta [...],
Cui nec pigra Quies, nec iniqua Potentia, nec spes
[...]mproba; sed medius per honesta & dulcia limes
Incorrupte fidem, nullos (que) experte Tumultus,
Et secrete palam qui Digeris Ordine Vitam,
Idem Auri facilis Contemptor & optimus Idem
Condere Divitias, opibusque immittere Lucem
H [...]c longum florens Animi, morumque juventa
[...]acos aequare Senes, & vincere praesta.
Stat. Lib. 3. Sylvar.

[Page 153]Let Men examine themselves by this Por­traiture, and I'm sure they cannot choose but love the Original; and upon what Princi­ples can this Affection be founded, which Men have naturally even for those Persons, whom they are not careful to resemble.

I answer, that there be very few, who have bid a final Renunciation and Adieu to Vertue, and who don't think, but that they shall be Vertuous one time or other, tho' they are not so at present. I add, that as Vice is essentially Odious, so Vertue is essentially Amiable to Self-love: The reason is, because Vice is a Sa­crifice of other Men, which we Offer upon our own Altars; and Vertue is a Sacrifice of some Pleasure, or [...]attering Profit, which we O [...]fer to the Good of other Men.

Moreover 'tis observable, that the Objects which act upon our Soul, have a twofold Re­lation to Self-love, certain particular Corres­pondences which vigorously move and b [...]ass it▪ such is the Correspondence of Interest or reciprocal Friendship: For as this reason of [...]oving regards us, and none but us, 'tis I, that [...]d an Advantage in loving this Man, and [...] Me he loves, and not another: No wonder then, if this particular Agreement obliges me to have a particular Adherence and Applica­tion to him: But besides this, there are cer­t [...]in general Relations, which an Object may have to our Heart; which happen, either when any One does us a Kindness for the [Page 154] Good of the whole Society, whereof we are Members, or when we find our selves oblig'd by the general Inclination which a Man ap­pears to have towards doing Good, because 'tis possible we may some time or other be the Object of it; or when being accustom'd to love one certain Beneficence, which is profitable to us in particular, we also come to love Beneficence in general, and all those Persons to whom we apply its Idea: Only 'tis to be observ'd, that as particular Agree­ments and Relations produce lively and vi­gorous Affections; general Agreements, as not concerning or interesting our Soul, but at a Distance, and a great way off, excite only a frozen and languishing Friendship, which partakes much more of the purity of Esteem than the Ardour of Affection. All the Ver­tues, at least in this general manner, favour and countenance Self-love. Your finest De­scriptions of Vertue are grounded upon the secret Agreements and Correspondences they have to us▪ as may be seen from the Exam­ple of these fine Expressions, in that Por­traiture of Vertue, which we just now ob­serv'd.

Cui nec pigra Quies nec iniqua Potentia,
Nec spes improba —

These Lineaments of Vertue are Amiable, be­cause they flatter and caress Self-love: There be others which are rather productive [Page 155] of our Esteem, than our Love; because they are more Dis-interested:

— Qui pectore magno
Spem (que) metum (que) domas, vitio sublimior omni.

Vertue, when it has not these delicate Agree­ments with Self-love, is only Es [...]imable: But we render it more Amiable when we repre­sent it as interesting our Heart.

How should we choose but be in Love with Clemency; 'tis very ready to pardon our Offences: Liberality, to do us good, Beggar's it self: Humility never controuls, but submissively yields to our pretensions Temperance respects our Honour, and not our Pleasure: Justice defends our Rights, and renders us our Due: Fortitude protects; Prudence conducts; Moderation spares us; Charity does good to us &c.

You'll say perhaps, what do these Vertues signify to me, they do me no Good? It may be they don't Benefit you at present, but were you under other Circumstances, they might do you a Kindness: Th [...] suppose a Disposition of doing you Good, when an Opportunity is offer'd; have you not experi­enced, that tho' you never expect the Suc­cour or Protection of a Rich Man, yet you can't avoid having a secret Consideration and Respect for him; which proceeds, not from your Mind, for that often despises the personal Qualities of such a Man, but arises [Page 156] from the Love of our selves, which respects in him even the simple Power of doing you a Kindness.

But if Self-love makes you have a Venera­tion and Esteem for a Person, whom you are assur'd you shall never be the better for, meerly by considering in him the bare Power of doing you a good Turn, is it at all to be wonder'd at, that this same Principle causes you to love One, who by his Vertue is dis­pos'd to be Beneficent to you, tho' you very well know that he cannot actually exert this Inclination?

Say we then, that the Heart has its Ab­stractions as well as the Mind; and as this knows how to define Good in general, tho' [...]t can draw more to the Life in our Imagina­tion any particular Good: So the Heart loves these general Conformities and Agree­ments of Objects to it self, tho' particular ones do infinitely more affect and touch it; and it cannot but think well of a Vertuous Man, by reason of these delicate Relations, Vertue has to Self-love. This is beyond all doubt, because your Love of the Vertues in­creases proportionably to their Relation and Agreement to you. We have naturally a bet­ter Opinion of Clemency, than Severity; of Liberality, than Oeconomy and Thrifty­ness; tho' they all equally partake of the Nature of Vertue; which can be for no o­ther reason, but because our Affection is [Page 157] not altogether Dis-interested, and we love in it the secret Relations it has to our selves.

But the Vicious and Exorbitant are not to be exempted from the Number of those, who are thus enamour'd with the Beauty of Vertue. On the contrary 'tis certain, that [...]p [...]n the very Account of their being Vici­ous, they are oblig'd to have a greater Affe­ction and Opinion of Vertue. Humility le­vels, and smooths the Way for Pride; and therefore 'tis lov'd by an haughty Spirit: Liberality is diffusive, and free in Giving; and therefore can't displease an Interested Person: Temperance does not rob you of your Pleasures, and therefore must needs be agreeable to a Voluptuary, who would not willingly have either Rival or Comba­tant. Could one think, that the Affection, which Worldlings ▪ testify themselves to have for Vertuous Persons, should spring from so [...]thy a Source; and shall I make bold to ad­vance this Paradox, That our own Vices are often the Causes of our loving other Men's Vertues: Nay more than that, I dare say, That Self-love bears no small Part in the most pure Sentiments, which Religion and Morality give us of God. Divine Love is commonly distinguish'd into three Species, A Love of Interest, a Love of Gratitude, and a Love of pure Friendship. Love of In­terest, according to the Vulgar Accepta­tion, falls in with Self-love ▪ Love of Grati­tude, [Page 158] as we before observ'd, is deriv'd from the same Source with that of Interest; Love of pure Friendship seems to rise inde­pendently from all Interest and Self-love; yet if you look narrowly into the Matter, you'll find, that it has in the Bottom the very same Principle: For first, 'tis observa­ble, that Love of pure Friendship, rises not all at once in the Heart of a Man, whom we instruct in points of Religion. The first [...]tep to Sanctification is a Detachment, and [...]nhampering from the World; the Second is, to love God with a Love of Interest, by giving up our selves wholly to Him, because we consider him as the Soveraign Good; the Third is to have a due Acknowledgment and Gratitude for his Benefits; the Last is [...]o love his intrinsick Perfections? 'Tis cer­tain, that the first of these Sentiments dis­poses and makes way for the Second, the Second for the Third, and the Third for Fourth. We can't throughly consider, what a great Unhappiness and Misery it is, to abandon and forsake God, without desiring his Communion, by Motives taken from our Interest. We can't love God as the Principle of our Joy and Felicity, without a grateful Acknowledgment of Benefits receiv'd at his Hands. 'Tis natural, and even necessary, that he who loves God as the Supream Good, and as his great and eternal Benefactour, should attend with Complacency and Delight [Page 159] to the Consideration of his adorable Per­fections; that this Meditation should excite in him Joy and Satisfaction, and so bring him to love God in the View of his Excel­lencies and Vertues. Now all the previous Dispositions to this last Affection, which is the Noblest of all, being taken from Self-love, it follows, that neither the pure Friend­ship, which is conversant about God, does [...]se independently from it.

Also Experience teaches us, that among the Vertues of God we particularly love those, which have the nearest Agreement and Affinity to us. We love his Clemency more than his Justice; his Goodness than his Jealousy; his Beneficence, than his [...]mensity, &c. Of which there can [...]o other reason be given, but that even this pure Friendship, which seems to have for [...]ts proper Object the Divine Perfections, derives its principal Force from the Rela­tion of these Perfections to Our Sel [...]es. Were there any entirely pure Friendship towards God in our Heart, wholly [...] ­empt from the Commerce of Self-love, it would necessarily spring from Known Per­fection and Excellency, and not from our own Affections. As Self-love would not produce, so neither could it destroy this Friendship. Yet the Devils know the Perfections of God without loving Him; and Men before their Conversion know the Vertues of God, tho' [Page 160] it can't be said that they have for him, in that reprobate State, the Affection which we term pure Friendship; and consequently there must be some other Motives of this Love, besides Known Perfection; if Light be not sufficient to kindle it, it must rise from the Flame of some Affection of our Heart; since Affections and Knowledge are the whole Contents of our Soul. Perhaps you'll say, that in order to capacitate a Soul for conceiving this Love of pure Friendship, 'tis not requisite that Self-love should directly produce it, but only that it may not oppose and hinder it: But I say, if Pure Friendship a­rises from Known Perfection, and nothing else be required to produce it, the Opposition of Self-love is insignificant; and as the Love of our selves can't derobe God of these Per­fections, nor hinder our Soul from knowing 'em, so neither can it obstruct the Birth of this pure Affection.

Whilst we consider God as a Judge, as a terrible Executioner of Vengeance, and as standing ready with a Thunderbolt in his Hand, we may indeed admire his infinite and adorable Excellencies, but can't con­ceive an Affection for Him. And 'tis very certain, that could we but any ways Evade even this Admiration of God, we should be very cautious in applauding him with it, for in this State we regard him as our Enemy, & render to him no more but what we needs [Page 161] must. And whence can this Necessity of ad­miring God proceed, unless it spontaneously arise from Known Perfection? If then we conceive pure Friendship to have precisely the same Source with Admiration, that is to say, if we conceive it to have no other Ori­gine but Known Perfection, we may safely conclude that pure Friendship will arise in our Soul, beyond all Possibility of any [...]mpedi­ment from Self-love, as well as Admiration.

Twill be to no purpose to make a wild and indefinite Answer, that 'tis the Corruption of our Heart, which renders us uncapable of lov­ing God purely for his own sake, and his in­trinsick Perfections, whilst we suppose him not to love us. This is to run into a Laby­rinth of Generalities, for avoiding the di­stinct Ideas of Things. For our Corruption does not hinder the Admiration of our Soul, it being certain that the Devils, who far ex­ceed us in Wickedness, admire God, tho' they are at the same time conscious of his being the Object of their Hatred and Aversion; so neither can this Corruption hinder pure Friendship, if that, as well as Admiration, de­rives its Birth from Known Perfection.

Nothing will better confirm this Truth, than by seeing what's the Use of Faith in Religion. So long as Men live in a State of Ignorance, which makes 'em imagine that God looks upon 'em with Indifferency and Disregard, they in like manner seem to have [Page 162] but indifferent Sentiments of the Deity, such were the Pagan Philosophers. Whilst Men think they are the Object of God's Hatred, they detest and abhor the Divinity. The Romans, who had already kindled the Fire of their Sacrifices, to give Thanks to the Gods, at the false Report of the Recovery of Germanicus, run into their Temples with Fury and Rage; when they hear the too true News of his Death, they drag their Images in the Dirt, throw 'em into Tiber, and signalize their Grief by a Specimen of Impiety. All Men seem to have the same in­ward Disposition which the Romans out­wardly shew'd, and the Violence which they [...]s'd to the Images, is an Expression of what Man would be willing to execute upon God, when he thinks him his Antagonist and Enemy.

No sooner does the Gospel resound in the World for the Consolation of Men; but, as the Testimoines of the Divine Love to Man­kind are every where manifested, so likewise Men's ardent Love of God becomes univer­sally Conspicuous, Faith, which assures us of this immense Charity of God, is there look'd upon as the Key of our Heart, and the first Degree of our Sanctification; to this the Scrip­ture attributes our Salvation. When Faith has throughly perswaded us that we are the Objects of God's Love, we are sufficiently dispos'd to affect and love Him.

[Page 163]But as our Affections essentially spring from Self-love, our Hatred and Aversions proceed from the same Original. We hate Men by Interest, when they are our Com­petitors in the Pursuit of Temporal Goods. We hate one that is Intemperate, because he'd rob us of our Pleasures; we can't en­dure an Ambitious Man, because he takes the upper-hand of us in Preferment and Ho­nour; nor can we love a Proud Man, because [...] contemns and tramples us under Feet; nor a Miser, because he hoards up the Riches that might possibly come to us; nor an Unjust Man, because he oppresses us. We don't only hate those who actually prejudice and injure us, but even those that have an Inclination to hurt us, tho' they want fit Occasions, or some Impediment hinder 'em from exerting their Malice. Our Hatred reach­eth as far as a Man's Power of doing us an Injury: For which reason Power and Autho­rity are many times the Incentives of Aver­sation and Ill-will; and as there are few Persons in the World but meet with some who either actually do 'em a Mischief, or would at least, if it laid in their Power, or were it for their Interest; it must be own'd, that secret Motives of Hatred do perpe­tually enter in our Heart, and that nothing is more dangerous than the Temptations to which we are expos'd on this Account. In­deed we are oftentimes Enemies to one ano­ther [Page 164] when we are ignorant of it. We many times both love and hate the same Person, because Self-love considers him under diffe­rent Respects: And it happens that we real­ly hate those, whom we think to be the Objects of our best Affection: and sometimes those, whom we have all the reason imagi­nable to love and esteem; which appears from this, That in all their Disgraces and Misfortunes, there's something that does not wholly displease us. This unjust and unnatural Sentiment which the Vail of Pride hides from our Eyes, proceeds from these two Principles: Namely, That we Our selves are not the Objects of this Disgrace, (which is a Reflection that Self-love instantly makes) and that we see a Man degraded and pull'd down, who in regard of his being a Man, can't fail to rival us upon some Account or other; a Sentiment, which is chang'd into Compassion, when either Death, or some irre­coverable Adversity, finally exempts him from the Number of those, who pretend and aim at the Goods, which are the Objects of our own Desire.

But Hatred is a turbulent Passion, which puts the whole Body into a violent Commo­tion, and all whose Effects are so sensible and obvious, that 'tis the most faithful Mirrour for discerning the Degree of Vehemence which attends all our other Affections. If you would know how much you love Vain-Gl [...]ry, [Page 165] it may be your Heart gives you a false Intimation; do but only consider the Vio­lence of the Hatred, which you conceive at One, that has offended you in point of Honour; this is the just Degree and Mea­sure of it; this Mirrour is your safest Guide for discovering and fathoming the Bottome of your Heart.

We hate by Interest, Persons, Things, and Words. If seeing an Abyss under our Feet, we are put into Horrour and Consternation, 'tis the Image of our Destruction appearing before us, that causes this trembling Motion; and Reason is not so strong and prevalent as to correct and allay that Fear, which a too lively Idea of our own Destruction exhibits to our Conceit. Many People can't forbear swooning when they see the shedding of Man's Blood: this proceeds not so much from a weakness of Temperament, as an in­firmity of the Heart. Whatsoever repre­sents to 'em the Ruines of Humane Nature, threatens their Self-love; and that which imbues the Fancy with Blood, draws a live­l [...] Picture of Death in the Soul, and con­ducts it to that inward Recess by meer [...]nt of Conceit, where Reflection shuts the Doors against it.

CHAP. IX. Where we consider the most general Inclina­tions ofSelf-love;and in the first place the Desire of Happiness.

THe first Inclination of Self-love, is a De­sire to be Happy▪ and I believe, that in the Main, these two Expressions do but sig­nify the same Thing under different Ideas. For what else is it to love One-self, but to desire Happiness, and to desire Happiness, but to love One-self? Truly he must be a very nice Subtiliser, and Mincer of Things that can find any Difference. As therefore the Desire of Happiness can't be too Great, and it has always been reckon'd a Crime t [...] pursue a false, and not ardently to affect a real Felicity; it follows that we are not to be blam'd for loving our selves to Excess, but for taking a wrong Method in exerting this Love.

All Men most certainly agree in the gene­ral Idea, Desire, and Sentiment of Happiness.

The Diversity of Philosophers Opinions, touching the Nature of Happiness, is not really so Great as at first it seems to be. All their Sentiments are reduc'd to Epicurus's, who plac'd the Essence of Beatitude in Plea­sure; which will appear very reasonable, [Page 167] provided you separate pure, noble, durable, [...]ertain Pleasure from sensual, which has quite opposite Characters; and you distin­gui [...]h betwixt Happiness and its Foundations, [...]hich Men have been pleas'd to confound t [...]gether, that they might cavil and contra­ [...]ict one another, meerly thro' a mistake in the Notion of Happiness: For Boetius de­fines Happiness, The Absence of all Evils, [...]nd the Possession of all Goods: You must ob­serve that his Design was to define a perfect and compleat, not a defective and imperfect Happiness; and yet this is to define Happiness by its Foundations. The Absence of Evils i [...] necessary indeed to keep us from being miserable, but does not render us happy. The Possession of Goods is the Foundation of our Happiness, but not Happiness it self; for what would it signify to have 'em in our Power, if we have not the Perception and Fruition of 'em? That Fool of Ath [...]ns, who thought that all the Ships which arriv'd to [...] belong'd to him, tasted the Happiness [...] Riches without possessing 'em; and it may [...] the reall Owners of these Vessel [...] pos­s [...]s [...]d 'em without any Fruition or Pleasure, [...]eing intoxicated with their insatiable A­ [...]rice, or afflicted with Disquietudes▪ which infallibly attend the Possession of Temporal Goods: Wherefore 'tis not the Possession, generally speaking, but the Sentiment and Fruition of the Goods, we are possess'd of, that constitutes our Happiness.

[Page 168]So when Aristotle places Happiness in the Knowledge and Love of the Supream Good, its plain that his Intention was to define Happiness by its Foundations, otherwise he would be under a gross Mistake; for if you separate Pleasure from this Knowledge and Love, you'd find that something more would be requir'd to make you happy: And on the other Hand, if you suppose a lively and du­rable Pain to be conjoyn'd with this Know­ledge and Love, you'd see that we should certainly be Miserable.

The Stoicks, who thought Happiness con­sisted in Wisdom, were not so senseless as to imagine, that the Satisfaction, wherewith this Wisdom inspir'd 'em, was to be separa­ted from the Idea of Happiness: Their Joy proceeded from the Drunkenness, and Infa­tuation of their Soul, which applauded it self at a Fictitious Constancy.

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere Causas,
Atque Metus omnes & inexorabile Fatum
Subjecit Pedibus, strepitum (que) Acherontis avari.

All Men in general are necessarily agreed in this Principle, and I wonder the Schools should set 'em at Variance about it. The Covetous Man feeds himself meerly with Hopes of enjoying his Riches, and of tasting the Pleasure of possessing 'em: Indeed he never truly enjoys his Wealth, but 'tis his Delight to hoard it up, and that's his whole [Page 169] Fruition. The Ambitious Man's aim, in seeking after Dignities, is to be rais'd in the World above the Level of his Brethren▪ And the Revengeful would never make any Retaliation, did he not hope to find Satis­faction in Vengeance.

This true Maxim is not opposite to the Religion, and Morality of Jesus Christ; for he says, that he did not come to destroy, but to perfect Nature. He does not oblige us to renounce the Love of Pleasure, but proposes to us more pure, more noble, more spiritual, more certain, and more lasting Pleasures, than those which the World promises: And he defines Happiness by its Sources; This is Life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. And he very well knows, that Happiness essen­tially consists in Joy, and unspeakable Plea­sures: For 'tis a Feast, new Wine, a River of Delights, Torrents of Peace and Joy, &c. which Expressions, under the Emblem of temporal Pleasures, inform us of the eter­nal Pleasures of Paradise.

Men's Idea of Happiness, assuredly pro­ceeds from a sense of Pleasure. The Vicious seeks after the Pleasures of Intemperance, Vain-glory, Revenge, Ambition: On the other Hand, the Vertuous Man pursues the Pleasures of Vertue; namely, of Mode­ration, Beneficence, Temperance, of Con­science and Piety.

[Page 170]He that should pretend to strip Vertue, of the sense of Joy and Pleasure, would cer­tainly discourage our Heart; and tho' possi­bly we might esteem; yet we should not study and labour after it.

I confess, that all Men don't relish the same Pleasure; some are for gross, others for delicate, others for lively, others for durable, others for sensual, others for men­tal, and others for cordial Pleasure; but all, without exception, are for Pleasure.

So say we, that all Men agree in their general Desire to be Happy: They may re­nounce all their Affections, but they'll never renounce this Inclination, which is the primitive Source of all the others. 'Tis Hap­piness that Poor and Rich, Young and Old, Covetous and Liberal, Temperate and Vo­luptuous do all aim at: This Happiness is the Pleasure which they conceive; and from the infinite Diversity of this Pleasure, there arises a prodigious Variety of Passions and Applications.

The Irregularity consists in this, that Men would fain tast and enjoy their Happiness, before they have obtain'd it: They wait not for the direction of Reason, to conduct 'em to the Haven of Beatitude: They begin with desiring to possess it, as if they had regard to no other Pleasure, but what they actually perceive. These Disciples of the Senses, want not Tutors to instruct [Page 171] 'em, in the Art of Voluptuousness; who tell 'em:

Non est, mihi crede, sapientis, dicere, vivam:
Sera nimis Vita est crastina, vive hodie.
Mart. L. 1. Epig.

'Tis no great Wonder, that the most eleva­ted Genius's of the Heathen World, knew no other Good but the present; and exhorted Men to enjoy the Delights that offer'd them­selves, for fear of losing 'em by Delays: But 'tis very much to be wonder'd, that they, who have the Knowledge of Eternity, should be capable of the same Extravagance.

The Pleasure that constitutes our Happi­ness ▪ must have other Characters. In the first place, 'tis requisite it should be spiritu­al: Can one that tasts, and enjoys Bodily Pleasure, be in a State of Happiness, if his Soul be, at the same time, fill'd with the Re­morse of Fear and Sadness? Secondly, It must be durable: Momentany Pleasures, are more proper for rendering us miserable, than happy; because not only the Fruition of 'em is transient, but they leave a durable Regret behind 'em.

And certainly Duration is so essential to Happiness, that I dare say, even the Felicity of Paradise would be inconsiderable, were it possible for it to pass away in an Instant; and that the Felicity of this lower World, [Page 172] would be worth looking after, were it but capable of lasting to Eternity: For the for­mer, tho' it be never so great and transcen­dent, would be swallow'd up with the fright­ful and melancholy Thoughts, of our going to lose the Foundation of an infinite Joy; the Latter would be supported by a Comfor­table Hope, which connecting together an Infinity of Ages, would make up that De­ig [...]ht in the Duration of these Goods, which they wanted in Quality.

Nothing is finer in Speculation, than this Description which a Latin Poet gives of Temporal Happiness.

Res non parta Labore, sed relicta,
Non ingratus Ager, Focus perennis,
Lis nunquam, Toga rara, Mens quieta,
Vires ingenuae, salubre Corpus,
Prudens simplicitas, pares Amici,
Con [...]ictus facilis, sine Arte Mensa,
Nox non ebria, sed soluta Curis;
Non tristis Thorus, attamen pudicus,
Somnus qui faciat breves Ʋmbras,
Quod sis, esse velis, nihilque malis,
Summum nec metuas Diem, nec optes.
Mart. L. 10. Epig.

But tho' this Definition of Happiness appear so reasonable, as it had been Dictated by the Oracle of Wisdom her self; yet but an in­different Knowledge of Man's Heart, and [Page 173] his natural State, would suffice to shew its Faultiness in many Respects.

In the first Place, 'tis made up of such Goods, as for the most part, are not in our Power, Res non parta Labore, sed relicta, non ingratus Ager, Focus perennis, Lis nunquam, [...]ires ingenuae, salubre Corpus, somnus qui fa­ciat breves Umbras. For who can give him­self an Estate, and cause it to descend from Father, to Son; or render his Field fruitful, or avoid Brangles with injurious Persons? 'Tis not in our Power to sleep securely, to have a healthy and vigorous Temper of Body, and yet Nature it self teaches us, that Happiness is in some measure in our Power: For why should it have engraven, upon the Heart of Man, a Desire to be Happy, if he were uncapable of arriving to that End? But Men mistake in this Point, because they don't understand a double Language, which Nature speaks to 'em, in this respect. For on one Hand, by shewing 'em so many Goods, which they naturally desire, and which are not in their Power, it plainly declares to 'em that Happiness is not in their own Breast; and on the Other, by inspiring into 'em so natural a Desire of Happiness, as that they can never deface, or put it off, in what State soever they be, it teaches 'em that they are notwithstanding capable of obtain­ing that End.

[Page 174]But to return to our Poet, I add, that this Description of Happiness is not made up of Goods, sufficiently noble and excellent; cer­tainly 'tis not much above the Condition of Beasts, of which it may be truly said, that their Goods come by Succession; that their Riches are not got by Labour, that the Earth is fruitful to 'em, and that they fail not of Cloaths agreeable to their State, made by the Hand of Nature; that they want not Health, Strength and Rest, that their Sim­plicity is prudent, and tho' they seem unca­pable of Reflection, yet we see 'em most In­genious, and Discreet in the Sphere of those Objects, which their Interest obliges 'em to know; namely, for the Propagation of their Species, and Self-preservation, that their Life is pleasant and sedate, that they live without Trouble and Disquietude, that their Cups are not mingled with the Worm­wood of Suspicions and Jealousies, that they are not troubled with Law-suits; and, which is most of all considerable, that they neither fear nor hope for Death: So that Beasts come very near to the Enjoyment of that Happiness, which is represented to us, as the most perfect and compleat of all. Strange! What a Misery then is it, that we are born capable of Reason, that the Quality of Rational, should bar us from pretending to that of Happy; that the Degree of our Perfection, should make the Degree of our [Page 175] Misery; that Beasts should be happy, for not being Men; and Men should be miserable because they are not Beasts! Certainly this can never be true: Nature is too Wise in all other Things, for being so imprudent in this Particular; and unless Men are willing to degrade themselves, and to disparage the Excellency of their Nature, they must needs acknowledge a Soveraign Good, which may be found, and does not cheat our Desires ▪ but is not to be met with in the Objects of this Life, which will always deceive our craving Appetite.

Moreover, the finest Strokes, in the Poets Description of Humane Felicity, are contra­dictory: For if a Man be so far Happy, as to be satisfy'd with his Condition, and not to desire a better, how can he choose but fear Death, which puts a fatal Period to this Beatitude? And, if what it Deprives us off be so trivial and inconsiderable, as that we nei­ther desire nor fear to Die, how is it possible we should be contented with that Condition? This Fellow spoke at random: He thought there was nothing in these Verses;

Quod sis, esse velis, nihilque malis,
Summum nec metuas diem, nec optes.

A Man content with his Condition, and not fearful of Death, is the Philosopher's Stone in Morality. Besides, these Ideas de­stroy one another, they annihilate the Na­ [...]ure [Page 176] of Man; who, as we have seen before, necessarily loves himself beyond all Limits: His Love of Happiness stays not at a Medi­ocrity, and consequently he cannot be satis­fy'd, but in the Possession of an Infinite Good: He dreads Misery above all Things; and for that Reason cannot but fear Death, till he is assur'd of his Immortality.

Also this is one of the greatest Defects of that Happiness which Men search after; or the Pleasure, which they so ardently pursue, that the Foundations of it are uncertain; it depends upon a Thousand Causes, which are not in your Power. What Reliance can you have upon the Health of a Body, which e­very thing threatens with Ruine and De­struction; and what Tranquillity can you build upon this, if you behold the Image of its Death in every outward Object; in the Aliments, that nourish you, in the Air which you breath, in the Contagion of a sick Per­son, whom you visit, in an Insect, that stings it, and in a multitude of other secret Causes, which we can neither prevent, nor avoid? Who'll assure me of the Possession of my Riches? Who'll secure me of the Preser­vation of those Friends, whom I love and delight in? Who'll protect me and mine from the Accidents that are so ordinarily incident to Society.

The Fourth Defect of this Humane Fe­licity is, that 'tis not only corruptible, but [Page 177] also transient and fading: 'Tis of a much shorter Duration than the Term of our Life. Sleep, which locks up our Senses, ex­hausts a good part of it; nor does it last so long as this Moiety of Life, which we pass in Reflection and Awake; for we are not continually buisy'd with tasting Pleasure. Nay, it subsists not so long as the Presence of those Objects which first give it Birth; it lasts but for the momentany Passage, from Privation to Enjoyment. We perceive some Delight indeed in the Pursuit, but this Joy expires with the Acquisition: The greatest of temporal Goods, after we have possess'd 'em, but for two Days, don't very much affect and please us. This Happiness seems to consist in the Satisfaction of Desire, which makes us not Happy, either in Life or Death; but only at the instant of Extinction or An­nihilation▪ The most excellent Wisdom of Nature thought fit to let us know, that worldly Goods are not wholly to be neglect­ed, seeing it has affix'd Delight and Joy to the Acquisition of 'em: But withal it would teach us that our Souls ought not to acqui­esce in this Enjoyment; since we no sooner commence the Perception of this Pleasure, but it presently vanishes, and cheats our Desire.

The Fifth Defect of Humane Felicity con­sists in this, That our Happiness has al­ways a mixture and allay of Misery. Every [Page 178] Good brings some Evil at its Heels:

Impia suo Dulci, melle venena latent.

Ovid. L. 7. Met.

And I know not how it happens so, conse­quent Calamities bear a proportion to pre­cedent Blessings.

Ʋt rebus loetis par fit Mensura malorum.

Idem. L. 1. Eleg.

The last is, that this Happiness does not fill the Capacity of our Soul, nor answer the ardent Eagerness of the pursuit, so that find­ing an extream Disproportion betwixt the Good we have obtain'd, and the Ardour wherewith we pursu'd it, we find our selves tantaliz'd and starv'd, as it were, in the midst of Plenty.

Tho' Self-love delights not in thinking of all those Things, which may shew it the Vanity of its Applications, yet certainly it has a Glimpse of all these Defects, in the Happiness it reaches at. 'Tis conscious, that sensual Pleasure is the Happiness rather of Brutes, than of Men: It owns, that a solid and substantial Happiness, must necessarily be durable: It denies not, that a certain Fe­licity is preferable to that, whose Founda­tions are uncertain. It perceives, that in order to make a Man happy, this transitory Pleasure, which lasts no longer than the in­stant of Acquisition, ought to be fix'd and [Page 179] stay'd in its Career. It grants, that true Fe­licity, should be commensurate to the Appe­tite of our Soul.

Wherefore right Reason commands us to search for other Sources of Happiness: But the present Delight which interests it, and seduces the Understanding, by tying it ra­ther to the inquest of Pleasure, than Truth, takes it off from executing that Design; its own Illusions still serve it after the old Rate; If they fail of Objects, they take the Place of Qualities, and set up themselves for Powers or Habits. When Man can't obtain such a temporal Happiness as satisfies his Reason, he makes his Reason knock under, and condescend to satisfy his Pleasure. The prejudic'd Mind gives an extravagant, and undue Character to these false Goods; and here 'tis most of all admirable, to see what a prodigious Ascendant the Heart has over the Mind. For to disguise abstract and spe­culative Truths is no great Matter, but to disguise sensible and experimental Truths, is a Thing that gives us a special Evidence of the Force of our Corruption: To see this we proceed in the next place, by unfolding the most hidden Mysteries of Self-love.

CHAP. X. Where we consider the Cheats, which Self-loveputs upon it self, to correct the Defects, which it finds in the Happiness it aims at.

SElf-love perceiving, that worldly Happi­ness is too gross and impure to satisfy our Mind; and that indeed, 'tis not fit an Hap­piness, enjoy'd by none but the Body, should satisfy the Thirst of the Soul; seeks how it may spiritualize and refine Corporeal Plea­sures, in order to cheat and impose upon us, by making us think, that they are equally satisfactory to the Soul and Body: Hence Self-love has been pleas'd to tye, unto this gross and carnal Felicity, the Delicacy of Sentiments; the esteem of the Mind, and sometimes even the Duties of Religion, by conceiving it as Spiritual, Glorious and Sa­cred.

For as to the first of these, who would not be amaz'd to see the prodigious number of Thoughts, Opinions, Fictions, Writings, Histories, which sensual Pleasure has caus'd to be invented. Muster up together all the Tracts, that have ever been written about Morality, which is the Science of Living well; and compare 'em with those, that have [Page 181] been made about the Pleasures of Intemper­ance, and you'll find a great Disproportion between their Number. Considering these Actions in their natural Hue, there appears in 'em a sordid Baseness, which dis-heartens our Pride; namely, the vile and abject Con­formity they have to other Animals. Now what Course can be taken to elevate, and render 'em worthy and becoming the Gran­deur of Men? Why, the ready way is to spiritualize and refine 'em, to present 'em for an Object of the Delicateness of the Mind; make 'em a Subject of fine and delightful Sensations; to make some sport of 'em to the Imagination, and turn 'em agreeably to the Humour, by the flourishes of Eloquence and Poetry: And lastly, to imploy all the Faculties, and Lights of the Rational Prin­ciple, to make the Delights of a Voluptuous Body go down glib and pleasantly into an haughty Soul. I express my self according to the Vulgar Prejudice, for truly speaking, the Body has not in it self any Perception or Sensation. Hence Self-love has also ty'd an Esteem and Respect to the most shameful De­basements of Humane Nature. Pride and Pleasure are two Passions, which tho' they spring from the same Original of Self-lov [...], yet for all that, there is some Difference and Opposition betwixt 'em. Pleasure humbles, whereas Pride exalts us: The former en­graves us with the Image of Brutes, the lat­ter [Page 182] with the Picture of the Devil. Also these two Passions have many a Combat and Duel in our Heart; but the Heart can by no means approve of this Conflict, being a Friend and Well-wisher to 'em both, and all most equally sensible of the charms of Glory and Pleasure: It must bestir its Stumps to make a Reconcilation, and to bring this a­bout, it takes one of these Methods, either it transports Pleasure, if I may so speak, to the Confines of Pride, or Pride to the Region of Pleasure. If it renounce sensual Pleasure 'twill search for a greater in the acquest of Esteem; and so Pleasure is wholly indemni­fy'd: Or, if we take a Resolution to satisfy its Thirst of sensual Pleasure, 'twill apply to it the Credit of Esteem; and by this means Pride is solac'd at its loss.

Were there but one only Man of this Dis­position of Mind, he would not easily suc­ceed in his Design; but Men unhappily meeting together, they understand one ano­ther, and having the same Inclination, they willingly agree to consecrate it.

This is a Ragoo to Pleasure, which ren­ders it much more exquisite than the Glory which Men's exorbitant Fancies have ty'd to it: But 'tis yet better season'd, when we regard this Pleasure, as an Ordinance of Re­ligion. A debauch'd Woman, that would make People believe in the Heathen World, that she had a God for her Sweet-heart, had [Page 183] a more sensible Relish of intemperate Plea­sures; and a Zealot, that takes his Pleasure, or executes Revenge, under the shelter of some sacred Pretext, tasts in Pleasure a more piquant and delicious season than is Pleasure it self.

Thus the Humane Felicity, of which we are speaking, may be divided into two Parts, Gross and Sensible, which is as it were the Matter of it; and a more refin'd and deli­cate, which we'll term its Form. 'Tis cer­tain, that as all the Perceptions of Joy and Pleasure, which this World affords us, ag­grandize and enlarge the Matter of this Happiness; so all the Illusions and Tricks, which Self-love puts upon us on this account, to make it appear either reasonable, glorious or sacred; all the false Discourses of Men, who are continually speaking of the Objects of their Desire; all the unhappy Idea's of Education, which administer infinite Oc­casions of deceiving us in this respect, all the naughty Lectures, and impious Studies, a thousand Prejudices, and false Maxims, serve to augment and encrease the Form of it, and to transplant this vain Felicity, into the supream Seat and Escurial of our Soul, which sprang up before in the meanest part of its Royalty, by the occasion of Sense.

These are the Measures, which Self-love takes against the first Defect, which it saw its pretended Happiness; but 'tis not de­fective [Page 184] only in this: 'Tis likewise so much adulterated and mix'd, that it renders us ra­ther Miserable, than Happy; and in this, Self-love is pleas'd to put another Trick and Cheat upon it self. For fearing lest our ear­nest Attention, to the Defects and Emptiness of worldly Goods, to their appendant Misery and Incommodities, might disabuse us in this Matter, it diverts our Consideration from whatsoever is most capable to represent that Misery to our View, which attends the Goods and Enjoyments of this World: It finds a pretty hard Tug of it; for how should it go beyond experimental and sensible Proofs? But yet for all this it fails not of good Suc­cess, by reason of Men's extream Desire to put a merry Trick and Cajole upon them­selves.

To understand the whole substance of this Matter, you must know, that as the Present, how sweet soever it appear to us, and tho' we have never so great an Inclination to sa­crifice all for the Sake of it, yet notwith­standing seems too narrow and limited to a Soul, which loves to aggrandize and ex­tend its Bounds by Imagination; it most commonly intermingles the Past and Future in the Idea of our Condition; not the Past and Future as they are in Reality, but such as our Soul would have 'em be. Our State therefore seems to us an Assemblage of Goods which both follow and precede us. By the [Page 185] Remembrance of Pleasures already enjoy'd, we bring back the past to present; and by the Ideas of Temporal Goods we hope to en­joy, we anticipate the Future. If we would carry a direct and steddy View over all these Differences of Time, we should find in the past, what we meet with in the present; namely, Goods mingled with the Bitterness and Gall of a great many Evils. For the Good we have possess'd was not more pure and unmingled, than what we now possess; and what we are like to possess hereafter, will not differ from what we before enjoy'd: But as the Soul loves to think of nothing else, but what delights and tickles its Fancy, it happens, that it retains the Ideas of these Goods which it formerly possess'd, because these Conceptions are agreeable and plea­sant; and it forgets the Ideas of the Evils intermingled, because such Thoughts are attended with Melancholy and Sadness, un­less the past Evil seeming Good to us, be­cause we are deliver'd from it; for this rea­son also draws in our Mind a delightful Image: As for the Future we know it only by Hope; now Hope hath not Evil, but Good for its proper Object: The past and future, one whereof is no more, and the o­ther is not yet come, Occupying a large Space in our Imagination, and always pre­senting themselves in the Livery of their Pleasures, and never in the mourning Weeds [Page 186] of their Misery: No wonder, if by degrees, a bright Idea of Happiness be form'd in our Mind; which can hardly be destroy'd by the Sense of our Misery. Our past Delights do still remain; the Applauses, which recom­penc'd our Merit, seem really present, be­cause Pride has drawn 'em to the Life, in the Tablet of our Imagination: And what if we could add future Advantages to present, and obtain their Fortune, who are Objects of our Envy? Thus by a second Disorder of our Imagination, which hath the same Source with the first, we frame to our selves an Idea of those Goods, which be­ing in another Man's Power, are become the Objects of our own Desire; an agreeable and flattering Representation, because we see not the Troubles which attend 'em, but only cast a Glance upon their specious and glit­tering Out-side. So that the Idea of our own Condition, and other Men's, the pleasant Images of the Past, and a thousand Hopes, whose Object are the Uncertainties of the Future, continually occurring to our Mind, whereas the Evils of the future are perceiv'd but now and then; no wonder if the Soul get Drunk with this Folly, and a thousand Experiences fail of reclaiming it from its Errours and Illusions.

This Blindness is sometimes so bold and daring, as to regard this Felicity as built upon sure and stable Foundations. This [Page 187] Truth appears by the Speech of him, whom the Son of God represents feeding up him­self with certain Fancies of a Happiness, which he was presently to be depriv'd of: My Soul, said he, Eat, Drink and take thy Ease, we have Goods laid up for many Years: Presently he hears a terrible Voice, saying to him, Thou Fool, this night shall thy Soul be required of thee, and then whose shall all those Goods be which thou hast laid up?

But lastly, Man is not so Blind but that he can see the End of this Happiness, which so enchants and bewitches him; he knows the World will not be a perpetual Fountain of his Pleasure, because it consists of corrup­tible Objects; and he is not ignorant, that himself shall not always be in a Capacity of enjoying worldly Delights, forasmuch as he is not Immortal. For want of this perpe­tuity of Sentiment and Fruition which he can't obtain, he endeavours to perpetuate his Memory; and so he saves what he can from the Ship-wrack of temporal Things; but yet all that he saves, does not countervail his Labour: For what is Man's Glory after he is Dead? It is, says an Ancient, a pros­perous Gale after a Ship-wrack; And certain­ly nothing is more Vain, than all those Means, which Self-love has invented to eter­nize our Glory. Urns, Tombs, Pyramids, Mausoleum's, Theatres, Temples, Cities dedi­cated to the Memory of famous Personages; [Page 188] Poetry and Eloquence, Painting and Engra­ving employ'd to preserve some Ideas of their Vertue, or certain Lineaments of their Visage, can't avoid the Fate of corruptible Things; and as they are unable to perpetu­ate themselves, they can't be capable of eter­nizing their Objects: This would be but to perpetuate Shadows, and how should they perpetuate the Sensation? ‘Nos quo (que) floruimus, sed Flos fuit ille caducus.’ I think we should not be guilty of a greater Extravagance, if by the Effort of our De­sires, we should at length be brought to doubt of our Mortality, than whilst by the Seduction of our Heart, we search for so vain an Immortality. I know indeed, that no Man seriously denies himself to be subject to the Fate of Death; but yet scarcely any Man perhaps tells himself in earnest, that he shall Die: For tho' these two Terms have too true a Relation, yet no one is willing to joyn 'em together; and if we do happen to con­sider 'em, 'tis with a Design to dis-unite and part 'em. We shall be apt to consider Death, without considering our selves; or our selves without considering Death: We never love to connect those Ideas both together; and certainly nothing can be imagin'd, let Men think what they please of it, more extraor­dinary and more uneasy to the Heart, than the Conjunction of these two Sentiments in our Imagination.

[Page 189]Yet this is not all; Self-love undertakes to fix the Pleasure, which rises from the Ac­quisition of temporal Goods: with this De­sign it seeks to have a frequent Enjoyment of the Good it possesses, whether by Thought, representing it to its Mind as often, and in as lively a manner as is possible; or by endea­vouring to invent new Methods of enjoin­ing the Pleasure, whereunto it is accustom­ed. 'Twas a great Extravagance in Caligula, to propose the making his Horse Consul, to have him led before the Senate in Consular Robes, and the Bundles of Rods carried be­fore him: But this Extravagance, which so much grates and contradicts the Mind, was a Feast of Delights to such an Heart, as being us'd to Supream Power, and scarcely perceiving it now, found out a Means of giving it self an Air of Novelty, by the sin­gularity of its Gust, and the Fantasticalness of its Capricio. Caligula, in his Folly, had the Pleasure of seeing how much other Men were subject to his Dominion.

Lastly, Self-love, which one would think ought to be dis-abus'd of the excessive Opinion, it conceiv'd of temporal Goods, when it sees what a great Vacuity they leave in our Heart, yet puts upon it self a further Illusion: For finding that this Measure of temporal Goods, which it has obtain'd, can't render it Happy, it pre-possesseth it self with Thoughts of finding that Happiness in the [Page 190] Quantity, which it could not meet with i [...] the Quality of these Advantages. Thus a Rich Man, who ought to have dis-abus'd himself as to the Vanity of Riches, by the Ex­perience he makes of 'em, feeds himself with a Fancy, that he shall be Happy when he has made a further Augmentation of his Trea­sures; and as the Degrees of temporal Pros­perity are not limited, no wonder if, in what State soever he be, he form a Succession of new Desires.

And because our Soul sees, that worldly Goods are less considerable by their Reality than Fictitiousness, 'tis so Ingenious as to deceive it self in this too; it covets the Esteem of other Men, and would fain be thought happy by the Mind's of the Multi­tude, that it may hereafter make use of this Esteem, to cheat and warrant it self of Hap­piness, upon the Word of those that, don't know us. Oh! 'Tis a brave and delightful Object, for a Grandee to behold the covetous and interested Rabble cringing at his Heels, whose Officiousness plainly shews what O­pinion they have of Greatness. This per­swades him, that he is not mistaken in think­ing that his lofty Elevation render'd him Happy: And if the inward Experience he has of his Condition, does not suit with his Conception, he suspends the sad Reflections of his Mind▪ and says to himself, that doubt­less so many Persons who esteem him Happy [Page 191] can't be mistaken; and resolves to be satis­fy'd with his Condition, maugre all the Sense and Experience of his Misery.

I very well know, that Men many times discourag'd by some Danger or present Mis­fortune, which m [...]kes a lively and deep Im­pression upon their Heart, dislike their own Condition, and envy other Men's: But this Dislike is quickly over, it vanishes with the Object which gave it Birth, and pleasant Ideas succeeding in the place of sad and unpleasant, which had struck, and as it were▪ wounded our Soul, by rushing impe­tuously into the Mind; then we see none but the best side of our Condition, and re-assume the Bent of our former Designs. This is what one of the most Facetious Wits, of Augustus's Time, express'd with a great deal of Plainness and Elegance in one of his Satyrs.

Qui fit Maecenas, ut Nemo, quam sibi sortem
Seu Ratio dederit, seu sors objecerit, illâ
Contentus vivat, laudet diversa sequentes?
O fortunati Mercatores, gravis Annis
Miles ait, multo jam fractus membra Labore.
Contra Mercator, navem jactantibus Austris:
Militia est potior: quid enim? concurritur: horae
Momento cita Mors venit, aut victoria laeta.
Agricolam laudat Juris, Legumque peritus,
Sub Galli cantu Consultor ubi, Ostia pulsat.
Ille datis Vadibus, qui rure extractus in Ʋrbē est▪
S [...]os felices viventes clamat in Ʋrbe.

[Page 192]And certainly 'tis not greatly to be won­der'd, that other Men's Conditions seem bet­ter than our own in the Eyes of Self-love, seeing that we feel the Pressure of our own Evils and Miseries, but not of theirs; and their Enjoyments appear without any Allay of Unhappiness and Trouble, because we see but the meer surface and out-side of their Condition. But lastly, whether it be the I­dea of those temporal Goods, which we our selves possess, or the Image of other Men's Goods, that so advantagiously Prejudices and Bigots us to the Esteem of worldly Enjoy­ments; 'tis certain that our Conception of 'em is very extravagant▪ and herein Men commonly place their Supream Good.

For to do this, 'tis not necessary that our Mind should expresly and distinctly judge the World to be the Soveraign Good; nor yet that our Mouth should openly pronounce so in plain Terms. Man is naturally too Glorious and Proud to think or speak very gross and sensible Absurdities; but he loves the World so much as to say it in his Heart, tho' not in his Mind.

But 'twill not be amiss to continue our Consideration of the most general Inclina­tions of the Heart, which proceed from Self-love: For we shall easily know the Rivu­lets, after we have throughly discovered the Springs.

CHAP. XI. Where we continue to consider the general Inclinations of Self-love;the Second whereof is a Desire of Perfection.

HAppiness and Perfection are the Two general Goods which Man naturally desires, but not without some Dependance and Subordination to each other; for he de­sires not Happiness for the sake of Perfection, but Perfection for the sake of Happiness. Man can't be throughly contented, whilst the Idea of his Imperfections is fresh in his Mind. This obliges him to disguise 'em, as much as is possible, and to get rid of 'em, unless by renouncing his Defects, he re­nounce a part of that Pleasure, wherein he plac'd his Happiness.

Indeed the Mind always passing Sentence in Favour of the Applications of the Heart, oftentimes leads us into Errors, by con­founding Vices with Vertues, Defects with Perfections. The Aethiopians count the Blackest People the most Beautiful, but in Europe, and the other parts of the World, the Whitest are esteem'd the most handsome and fine. 'Tis not so easy, as some may think, to decide which of 'em is in the wrong. Just so stands the case with the Qualities of the [Page 194] Soul. Vivacity and Sprightliness, which pass in some Countries for very great Excellen­cies, are counted in others most essential Imperfections.

And certainly 'tis a very difficult Matter, to make this just Discernment betwixt De­fects and Perfections, amidst the Darkness and Prejudices which attend our Corrup­tion; 'tis not sufficient, that we consult pub­lick Opinion, for Men oftentimes agree to­gether to consecrate their common Infir­mities, and a Propensity, in which they sym­pathize and agree, they most frequently judge to be worthy of Esteem, or at least not to be rejected and despis'd. Drunkenness in some Countries is counted a very scandalous Vice; in others it passes for a modish Infir­mity, and is not thought an essential Crime.

Wherefore 'tis no hurt for Men to suspend their Judgment, touching what is term'd Vice and Vertue, Perfection and Imperfection, till they have had Time and Leisure to con­sult the clear and distinct Views of their Mind, or of Religion, which is a yet shorter way to the Knowledge of our real Duties.

Now for putting us in a way to make this Discernment, 'tis to be observ'd, that GOD differs from the Creature in this, that he is a Being invested with all Perfections: So that we may affirm him to have either Formally or Eminently, every Good that falls under our Knowledge, or deserves our Esteem; that is, he [Page 195] possesses these Qualities and Perfections, ei­ther in the highest Degree, or other Per­fections which are equivalent to 'em.

But as for the Creature, it can't pretend to be endu'd with any Perfections, but what belong to its Species. 'Tis not necessary a Stag should have Wings, 'tis enough for him that he hath Swiftness for his share. Birds have no use for Fins, Wings are sufficient to their End of Flying.

Now in this, Men are under a double Failing: First, for pretending to have such Perfections as are in no wise due to their Species. Secondly, for renouncing those which do really belong to 'em, and very well suit with their essential Perfections; for they give their Body more than is its due, and de­prive their Soul of what it justly challenges. The former they endeavour to perpetuate and enlarge: They would fain procure it a kind of Eternity, whereof 'tis uncapa­ble, and a sort of Grandeur, or rather Im­mensity, which by no means suits with its Condition.

But Men lie under a yet greater Failure, by being unwilling to enter within the Con­fines of themselves, or to take a Survey of their own Nature; falsly imagining that the Quality of Man includes nothing but Baseness and Misery; they are not very eager in the re­search of those Perfections which are due to this general Quality, but aspire at an Exemp­tion [Page 196] from this common Condition, by the help of those external Goods, and forreign Rela­tions, which distinguish 'em in Society.

They leave off searching after the Perfecti­ons which belong to Man, and pursue those of a Magistrate, an Artist, a Scholar, a Burgess, a Gentleman, a Grand-Seignior; they no longer place their Honour in what may per­fect or adorn Humane Nature, and enrich the Mind, this immortal Essence, and lively Image of the Deity: But in that, which is capable of making 'em succed and excel in their Profession, tho' never so mean and sor­did in it self, or of putting 'em in a Con­dition to maintain, with Credit, the Gran­deur of that publick Station, wherein the Circumstances of their Life have plac'd 'em.

Hence it appears, that Men use to measure the Perfection or Imperfection of their Qua­lities and Endowments, meerly by the Rela­tion they have to that State wherein they suppose themselves to be, and to which Self-love and Pride advance 'em with a Design of gaining a famous Reputation. A profess'd Scholar does not stand upon points of Va­lour: And a Souldier seldom concerns him­self with Scholarship. Tell the former that he's a Man of no Courage, he'll but laugh at you; but make the same Reproach to the latter, you'll move his Choler, and put him in a Rage: The Reason is, because Learning is no Qualification for a Souldier, nor Valour [Page 197] for a Scholar. But this is to be understood when Self-love fixes the one in the Station of a Scholar, and the other in that of an Heroe; for it many times happens that a Man, thro' an incentive of Pride, affects to appear, what we term, Omnis homo, and then the Maxim changes with the Supposition.

It can't be express'd, how many false Pre­judices spring from this Original. Injustice, Debauchery, Fury, make use of this Occasion to consecrate themselves. The ordinary Theft, or Burglary, suits not with a private Man's Fortune and Condition, whose Neck is forc'd at last to pay for his Crimes; and therefore this is counted a base and unwor­thy Fault: But grand Robberies, such as the Conquest of Cities, and Provinces, do out­wardly match and agree with the Greatness of a Potentate, and these therefore pass for Heroick Enterprizes. Horrour and Infamy necessarily attend the ordinary Murther, which is subject to the Rigour of the Law, and consequently comports not with the In­terest of private Persons, whom the Laws retain and keep within the bounds of Duty: But an unjust War, which includes an In­finity of Murthers and Robberies, if happy and successful, is an Object of the greatest Esteem and Admiration.

Not to say, as some have done, that Inju­ries are consecrated by their Greatness, and that Excess is the Glory of a Crime: This [Page 198] Opinion would be somewhat extravagant; but yet we may safely say, that this fantasti­cal Inequality of our Prejudices, touching the very same Things, proceeds from an Habit, we have gotten, to judge of Qualities meerly by their Relation to the State and Condition of those that possess 'em. A Wo­man is branded with Shame and Disgrace for being mis-led and abus'd, and yet he who is the Author of this Seduction, makes it a Motive of his Vanity: This prejudice is assuredly very extravagant; yet the Disor­der is founded upon the Maxim we have e­stablish'd. Men are thought to have a thou­sand Topicks, whereupon to build an Esteem and Reputation; all the Fountains of Glory lye open to their Appetite. A Woman is limited in this respect; She can neither go­vern States, command Armies, nor make a successful progress in Arts and Sciences, at least according to the ordinary Course, and for the Generality; and the Examples of the contrary are too few to lay any great stress upon: But she can be Honest and Modest, for which reason nothing is more Honour­able in a Woman than Chastity. Also that Empire of Beauty, which the World esteems the Glory of Women, fails of adding the same Honour to Men, who are naturally design'd for other Purposes, than to make them­selves Amiable, and display some Skill in throwing the Darts of Cupid. And some­times [Page 199] it happens that a Vice well plac'd, passes for a great Vertue; and a Vertue ill plac'd, is thought a great Vice. Prodigality becomes Alexander very well, who being Master of the World has, in his Custody, the Treasures of it. Frugality suits very well with Hannibal, who supports his Armies by a Miracle, when block'd up in Italy on every side. Even Cruelty it self, which at another time would in no wise become him, agrees with the Circumstances of that Condition.

But Wisdom, Prudence, Honesty, Fideli­ty, &c. being Qualities which suit with all States and Conditions, no wonder if the greatest part of Mankind are equally con­cern'd about 'em: They don't endeavour to obtain these Vertues as being worthy of Man, but as they match and agree with their States and Interests.

They seek for true Judgment and Pru­dence, because 'tis the Reality, and not the bare Appearance of these Vertues, that serves their turn, and promotes their Advantage; but they usually content themselves with a meer shew of Honesty, because they think that outward Appearances of Sincerity, are more for their Ends, than the Vertue it self.

Men have sufficient reason to hate Hypo­crisy, and to be angry at this Imposture of Vice, which seems desirous to make Fools, both of God and Men, by an execrable Traf­fick of Appearances, and affected Out-sides: [Page 200] But to speak the down-right Truth, Hypo­crisy is a Vice which seems common to Man­kind. All Men study to appear, as may be most for their Advantage.

'Tis a mistake to imagine, that there be Hypocrites or Dissemblers of none but De­votion; there be Hypocrites of Honour, Con­stancy, Valour, Liberality; and there be more that counterfeit themselves in civil Life, than who put on a Vizard in the Church.

'Tis pretty to see two Fellows, that scrape Acquaintance, or are going to swap Wares, take each other for Cullies and soft-Heads; and neither say nor do any thing but what is to carry on the Design of Cheating. Men affect a shew of Complaisance, Politeness, Probity, Honour, meerly to be thought really endow'd with these Qualities.

All this assuredly proceeds from a too short View of Self-love, and lest we should Err, and go out of the way, 'tis necessary to return from the Road we went in before, to search after Man, whom we desir'd to avoid; and taking for Perfection, not what­soever distinguishes us in the World, but what suits with this natural Equality of Perfection and Excellency, which we have in common with other Men; to consider our selves not in Our selves, but God.

The Perfections belonging to the Mortal Man are very inconsiderable: But those of the Immortal Man are all worthy of Admi­ration; [Page 201] he need not put on the Mask of Hypocrisy to counterfeit himself to the Eyes of Mankind: He need only renounce the Fallacies of his Pride, the vain Prejudices of the World; and take off the Veil which in­tercepts the prospect of himself, to find that he's advanc'd above the Sphere of Admira­tion.

Even the Passions of Men set up for real Perfections, when they have their just Ex­tent in the Immortal Man; and if you nar­rowly observe, you'll find that the Baseness we conceive in these Affections of our Soul, proceeds from the too narrow Limits, where unto Concupiscence and Self-love have confin'd 'em: Give the Soul Liberty to take its whole flight, let it act with the full extent of its Powers, and you'll find 'tis a Divine Sphere, that grows bigger and bigger the nearer it comes to GOD.

CHAP. XII. Where we Treat of the general Vices which flow from Self-love,and first of Plea­sure.

THere are Three sorts of Goods, where­unto Self-love is principally apply'd the Full, which is of it self sensible, and this is Pleasure: A Second, which is Desirable for its own sake, but becomes not sensible of it [Page 202] self, this is Esteem: A Third, which is nei­ther sensible nor desirable for its own sake, and hath only (as the Schools speak) a Good­ness of the Means, and this is Riches; to which we must add a Fourth Good, which seems to include all those before-mention'd, namely, Dignities; which according to the ordinary Notion Men have of 'em, are a Compound of Pleasure, Glory and Support, in order to lead a commodious and agreeable Life.

The love of Pleasure is Natural, that of Esteem is Lawful, the Desire of Riches hath nothing Criminal in it self; But all these Inclinations immediately commence Vices, when they become head-strong, and cease to be directed by the Dictates of Reason.

Self-love apply'd to irrational Pleasure, is term'd Voluptuousness; as it irregularly pursues Esteem, it has the Name of Pride; and when 'tis conversant about Riches, desi­ring 'em with an excessive Ardour, 'tis term­ed Covetousness: Lastly, Self-love eagerly aspiring at Dignities, beyond the measures of right Reason, and the Tenour of Justice, is call'd Ambition: But as worldly Goods are reduc'd to Pleasure and Glory, so the most general Disorders of Self-love are re­duc'd to Voluptuousness and Pride, an Exa­mination of which will be the Conclusion of our present Enquiries.

Pleasure may be consider'd, in reference either to the Person, who is the subject of [Page 203] it, or in reference to Society, or GOD; for 'tis undoubtedly necessary in these Three respects. 'Tis by Pleasure that the Author of Nature hath engag'd our Soul in the Pre­servation of the Body; we should omit to repeat the use of Food, had it not an agree­able Tast. 'Tis Pleasure that puts us upon mutual Commerce, whether in Oeconomical or Political Society, since the Union of Men, and even the Propagation of Mankind, is to be ascrib'd to this Sentiment. Lastly, 'tis the Pleasure we find in loving, and being lov'd by God, in hoping for his Blessings, in receiving his Benefits, and in having a sense of his Peace and Favour, that incites us to have our Conversation with him.

Hence it follows that Pleasure is Crimi­nal, either when 'tis opposite to the Good of the Man, who is the subject of it; or to the Good of Society, or the Commerce we ought to entertain with God.

The imbitter'd Pleasures, which for a mo­mentany Delight, cost Men very durable and lasting Torments, are to be rang'd in the first Order. As the Goodness of God manifestly appears in this, That he hath affix'd Senti­ments of Pleasure to Food, and other things which naturally relate to the Preservation of the Body; so his Justice becomes most sen­sible in the rigorous Punishment and Scourge of Incontinence. But we ought not to look only upon that Voluptuousness, which af­flicts [Page 204] the Body, as contrary to Man; the same Judgment is also to be pass'd upon that which weakens or dis-composes the Mind.

Moreover Pleasure is to be thought Cri­minal, either when it tends to destroy So­ciety, or disturb the mutual Order of it. Such are the Pleasures which are founded upon Insincerity and Infidelity, which establish in Society a Confusion of Family and Children, and which are attended with Suspicions, Distrusts, and many times with Murthers, and Attempts upon the most sacred and inviola­ble Laws of Nature.

Lastly, That Pleasure is to be esteem'd Criminal, which God hath forbidden, either by his natural Law, which he has given to all Men, or by a positive Law; as also such Pleasure as weakens, suspends or destroys our Commerce with him, by too much confining and fixing us to the Creatures.

Upon this Principle 'tis easy to see, what Judgment ought to be made of all the diffe­rent kinds of Voluptuousness, and to exa­mine all their Characters. In general, as 'tis a natural and fundamental Truth, that the Cor­ruption of the best Things is always worst, so 'tis certain, that by how much more impor­tant and necessary any Pleasure is to Man, in the natural and regular use of it, so much more dangerous and criminal is the Abuse of it.

The Pleasure of Seeing, Smelling and Hearing is perhaps the least Blameable of all; [Page 205] because we don't destroy our Being, injure any Man, or offend God, generally speaking, either in beholding agreeable Objects, in smelling delicious Odours, or hearing melo­dious Harmonies: I say, generally speaking, because there are infinite Circumstances, which may render these Pleasures Criminal, tho' they seem never so innocent in them­selves. A Man is to be blam'd for having such an eager Desire after publick Spectacles, Smells, or Musick, as to neglect his own Af­fairs, omit to fulfil the Duties of Society; or lastly, for being taken off, by the continual Use of Pleasures, from the spiritual Com­merce which he ought to have with God; not to mention those many dangerous Pleasures which are involv'd in the first. We think many times to pursue the Pleasure of Sight, in our fine Walks and magnificent Houses; Yet all this while our Bent is after the Plea­sure of Pride and Ambition, saying almost the same thing to our selves as the Assyrian King did in his arrogant Heart: Is not this Babylon, the great City which I have built by the Power of my Might?

'Tis easy to conceive that Gluttony is a more criminal Pleasure than those we have been speaking of; it destroys the Health of the Body, debases the Mind, calling it down from those sublime and lofty Contempla­tions, to which it naturally tends, to the sordidness of Sensuality, which makes it a [Page 206] Slave to Banquets and Tables, as if they were the Sources of its Happiness; ‘Atque affigit humi Divinae particulam Aurae.’

But the Pleasure of Excess in Eating, ge­nerally consider'd, is not near so Criminal as Drunkenness; which not only impairs the Body, and debases the Mind, but dis-compo­ses our Reason, and suspends us, for some time, from the glorious Character of Ratio­nal Creatures: A Man by this dangerous Pleasure, mortgages his Reason, and becomes responsible for all the Misdemeanours, which this Deprivation may occasion him to com­mit; so that as there is no Vice in Nature, but may possibly ensue upon this loss of our Understanding, Drunkenness may be said to involve and comprehend all other Vices.

The Pleasure of Love produces not quite so sensible Irregularities, but yet 'tis of no less dangerous Consequence. Love is a kind of Drunkenness, and infatuation of the Mind and Heart of One, who gives up himself to the swinge of this Passion; this is the In­toxication of the Soul, as the other of the Body.

The former is guilty of an open Extrava­gance, expos'd to the sight of all the World; the latter Dotes in reality, tho' he seem to have the Use of his Reason: Also the for­mer renounces only the Use of Reason; whereas the other renounces at once both [Page 207] his Mind and Heart. Notwithstanding I must own, that thus far the Disorder of Drunkenness is much more sensible, and per­haps, really more enormous.

But when we come to consider the Oppo­sition of these two Passions, to the Good of Society, and our Conversation with God, we find irregular Love to be, in some sort, more Criminal than Drunkenness; because this occasions in us but a transient Disorder, whereas the other is attended with a con­tinu'd and lasting Exorbitance. Moreover, Love is oftner the occasion of Man-slaughter than Wine. Drunkenness is sincere and open-hearted, but the whole Intrigue of Love is made up of Artifice and Infidelity: Lastly, Drukenness is a short Fury, which withdraws us from God to serve our Passion; but irregular Love is a perpetual Idolatry.

Self-love is not wholly confin'd to the pursuit of corporeal Delights, but it has a Hundred ways of mingling 'em together to highten the Gust, and encrease their Relish: Most Arts are the Servants of Pleasure, they are exercis'd in mixing Colours to delight the Eyes, Odours and Essences to please the Smell, Instruments, Tunes and harmonious Sounds to flatter the Ear. We make volup­tuous Miscellanies of Colours, Sounds and Odours; these we make use of to raise and set off the Pleasure of Feasting, and this with all those other agreeable Objects, we make [Page 208] instrumental to yet more vicious Delights: And this sensual Pleasure is so considerable in the Eyes of Men, that when they have a Mind to raise themselves Credit and Esteem, they think there's no fitter way for it, than to flatter the Senses of their Associates and Visitants. They love to have rich and gaudy Ornaments to please the Sight, fragrant Es­sences to flatter the Smell, a fine Voice and skill in Musick to charm the Ear. All these are the Ingredients of Men's Esteem; we confound Pleasures with Perfections, and think nothing Excellent but what diverts us.

Tho' this Pleasure seem so much the more Criminal, by how much greater space it takes up in our Soul, and so much more dangerous as 'tis common to all Mankind, yet indeed I am not of their Mind, who, by Sub­tleties and nice Speculations would dispute the natural and lawful Use of the Creature; and fancy that either all Pleasures are equally sinful, or that none of 'em can be tasted without a Crime, unless we have at the same moment an explicit Intention of referring 'em to the Glory of God. This Opinion is extravagant, there being infinite Occasions of taking honest and innocent Divertise­ments, tho' we find no positive Relation they have to the Glory of God. It therefore suffi­ces, [...]hat we use 'em with Gratitude and Thankfulness to the Creatour, and not de­sire [Page 209] to spiritualize and consecrate those things which are not capable of such a Re­finement.

CHAP. XIII. Where we continue our Consideration of the divers Characters of Pleasure.

THe Generality of Men acknowledge but one kind of Voluptuousness, which is that of the Senses; they reduce all to Bo­dily Intemperance, and don't see that in the Heart of Man there are as many different sorts of Voluptuousness, as there are varie­ties of Delight for it to abuse; and as great diversity of Delights as there are Passions, which move and agitate our Soul.

Covetousness, which seems willing to de­prive it self of the most innocent Pleasures, and to adopt in their place none but Labour, Fatigues, Disquietudes and Fears, fails not of its Pleasure for all that, which retrieves the loss of that Sweetness it renounces. Populus me sibilat, says the Miser describ'd by Horace, at ego mihi plaudo ipse domi, dum nummos contemplor in Arcâ. The power of enjoying temporal Goods is the same to him, that the actual Enjoyment is to other Men.

But as some Passions are more Criminal than others, there's a kind of spiritual Plea­sure, [Page 210] which is particularly dangerous. It may be reduc'd to three Species; Namely, the Pleasure of Hatred and Revenge, of Pride and Ambition, of Incredulity and Impiety.

Pride takes a delight in appropriating to us those Goods which are none of our own, or such Qualities as are in us, but are not properly ours; or a Glory which ought to be ascrib'd to God, and not our selves. As the Soul resents a kind of Grief at being stript of its Honour, to cloath and adorn another, which causes the secret Repugnancies it has to Humility, so it finds a very sensible Plea­sure in derobing others of this Glory, to cover and set off it self with their Feathers.

We may very well wonder, what Pleasure the Romans could find in the bloody Pastime of the Circus, to see the Gladiators kill and mangle one another, to make them Sport and Recreation: This barbarous Delight may be reckon'd a Pleasure of Ambition and Vain-glory: The Thoughts that these Com­batants were Slaves, made the Romans for­get 'em to be Men. This was a Flattery to Ambition, letting 'em see that the Men were made for no other purpose, but their Recrea­tion and Divertisement.

There's a Pleasure of Hatred and Revenge which consists in the Joy we perceive at other Men's Misfortunes. This is an hideous Plea­sure, which is nourish'd by our Neighbours tears: Yet if you look closely into the Matter, [Page 211] you'll find 'tis most agreeable to the Palate of worldly Men. This Pleasure is propor­tion'd to the degree of that Hatred which gave it Birth. Hence a Poet of our Age, who had a competent Knowlede of Man's Heart, expresses the Excess of Hatred, by the Ex­cess of Pleasure:

Should Clouds disgorge their Flames upon this Place,
And Thunder to the ground these Buildings rase;
Should thy proud Laurels into Ashes wast,
And all the Roman Stock new breathe their last;
I cou'd endure these Objects in my fight,
Cause 'em my self, and Dye ev'n with Delight.

Incredulity fortifies it self with the Plea­sure of all the other Passions which attack Religion, and are delighted with upholding such Doubts as favour the Interest of their Disorder; and Impiety, which seems to do Evil for Evil's sake, and without any further Advantage, yet has its secret Pleasures, which are so much the more dangerous, the more the Soul hides 'em from it self at that time, when it most exquisitely tasts 'em.

It often happens, that an Interest of Va­nity, makes us irreverent to the Supream Being. We wou'd fain seem formidable to Men, by seeming to have no fear of God: To menace and threaten the Earth, we blaspheme Heaven.

But yet that is not the principal Ingredi­ent of Impiety: Man naturally hates God, because he hates the Dependance which sub­mits him to his Dominion, and the Law [Page 212] which restrains his Desires. This Abhor­rence of the Deity lies hid in the bottom of Man's Heart, or Infirmity and Fear many times conceal it from the Eyes of Reason: This inward Aversion perceives a secret Pleasure at any thing that dares and affronts GOD; Men love those flights of Wit which scandalize the Divinity.

Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
Il dédaigne de voir le Ciel qui le trahit.
He scorns to see the Heaven, which betrays him.

This seem'd Brave and Great, because it was Impious.

I am inclinable to their Opinion, who hold that Fear is the original Source of Superstition, provided we join Hatred and Fear together, as they are often found in the Heart of Man; it being hard for us not to have some Hatred and Aversion at that which we very much fear and dread. 'Tis certain, that Superstition would not be so common in the World (for ordinarily 'tis made up of an inhumane Extravagance) did not Pleasure inveigle Men to that which Reason forbids; and this Pleasure consists in an inward Sa­tisfaction, at seeing the Deity abus'd and de­graded. The Pagans did not only meet with a Pleasure of Pride, in raising Men to the Order of Gods, but also a Pleasure of Hatred and Impiety, in debasing the Gods to the Con­dition of Men; and it may be they were not [Page 213] so much delighted with reading those Fa­bles of their Poets, which related the Apo­theoses of Men, as those which feign'd the Wounds and Defeats of the Gods, by Hu­mane Arms.

So that whoever sounds the Depth of our Heart will find, that Superstition and Pro­faneness are not so opposite as Men commonly imagine; and that they are united in this secret Hatred of God, which follows the State of our Corruption, and which nothing can cure but Grace.

As Pride and Hatred are united to form that vast Pleasure, which Superstition aims at, and the Delight we find in Impiety; so also they combine to make the Pleasure of Malignity, Slander and Calumny.

Here we find a Pleasure of Vain-glory: For we many times dispraise other Men, with a Design indirectly to commend our our selves. Any Man in the World would openly praise himself, if he dar'd be so bold; but fearing least a breach of Modesty might make a Blemish in his Escutcheon, he's obli­ged to go a By-way to work, to use Cunning and Artifice in displaying his Merit to the Eyes of Mankind, so as not to attract the Reproach of too great Vanity: He dares not commend himself in plain Terms, but hopes that by speaking of others, he shall give an indirect Description of himself; that by ma­king a shew of Horrour and Detestation of [Page 214] an evil Action, he shall testify how much his Vertue removes him from the like Fault▪ And that the more he blames the Vices o [...] others, the greater Evidence will he give of his own Exemption from 'em, and make People think him endu'd with the op­posite Vertues. A dull and unpolitick Self-love draws this Discourse, saying, As for my part, tho' I have very great Defects, yet may I boast that I have not This: But an in­genious and prudent Self-love knows better how to manage its Modesty, and many times hides its Contempt, but much more the de­sign it has in Contemning.

But besides this Interest of Pride, which makes us delighted in despising other Men, there's also an Interest of Hatred, which creates in us the like Disposition. We look upon other Men as our Enemies, because we regard 'em as Competitors in the pursuit of temporal Enjoyments: You'll always be pleas'd at seeing 'em Degraded, whilst you think 'em in a Condition to rival you in any thing: But no sooner does this Opposition cease, but there's also an End of that Plea­sure you conceiv'd in their Debasement; hence it happens that Slander has for its Object, not the Dead, but the Living.

After this 'tis easy to judge, that the Plea­sure of Conversation, is not so innocent as Men commonly fancy. Indifferent things are tedious to us; those which concern and [Page 215] nearly relate to us, excite a Pleasure either of Pride, Hatred, Impiety, Ambition, or some other Passion no less Criminal.

As there is a Pleasure of Conversation, there is also a Pleasure of Thoughts, which proceeds from the same Source with the for­mer: It arises from this, that our Heart, being prepossess'd with certain Passions, can't enjoy it self, but when it thinks upon certain Ob­jects; and therefore suspends all our other Thoughts and Reflections. Such is the Plea­sure of a Lover, who forgets every thing else to think of the Object of his Love; he perceives a sort of Delight in his Amorous Contemplations, (which is destroy'd by Passion) because the Pleasure of Thought yields to that of Sense.

Men commonly imagine, that the usual Distractions and Wanderings of those that pray to God, or exercise any other Duties of Religion, are the least of Faults; but if they enquire into the Cause of 'em, they'll change their Opinion: For indeed these proceed meerly from the too great Pleasure, which the Ideas of temporal Things excite in our Minds; and that, as I may so speak, we de­sire to retain those worldly Objects by the Pleasure of Thinking, which escape our reach thro' the Suspension of our sensual Delights.

We every where seek for Pleasure, just as Bees for those Flowers which afford 'em [Page 216] Nourishment; and as they many Times find what they search for in foul and moorish places, so it frequently happens, that we per­ceive a kind of Pleasure in Affairs, Dangers▪ Labours, and sometimes even in Affliction▪ if it be not very great. There's a Pleasure which might justly be term'd, the Pleasure of Complaints and Tears: We take delight in lamenting the Death of illustrious Persons the Glory of those, who are bewail'd, signa­lizing, in some sort, even those who bewai [...] 'em. We take a Pleasure to prolong and eter­nize our Sorrow: We think to give a Speci­men of the Constancy of our Soul, by an inconsolable Affliction. Lastly, we are very glad to make an appearance of the Greatness of our Loss, thinking to engage the Com­passion of others to reflect upon our own Worth.

In the last place, we perceive a sort of Pleasure even in Idleness, which oftentimes causes us to renounce all the rest. It pro­ceeds from a certain Effeminacy and Soft­ness, which makes us hate even the least Pain and Incommodity: For our whole Bu­siness being the search of Pleasure, we ac­custom our selves to think, love, desire, speak and act with Pleasure; to seek for such Com­pany as delights us, and to avoid all manner of disagreeable Occupations. Hence the least Inconveniency puts us in Despair, it being contrary to this prevailing Habit, and sus­pending [Page 217] the Perception of so many different Pleasures, the Thoughts whereof are al­ways present to our Mind.

Wherefore we must not think to find Stedfastness and Constancy in Voluptuous Souls: Pride indeed may cause 'em to affect a sort of Hardiness, to support Disgraces and Calamities, but certainly they never put on a real Fortitude till they are freed from the charming Idea's of Pleasure.

Bodily Pleasure is more sensible than Spi­ritual, yet this appears more Criminal than that: For the Pleasure of Pride is Sacrile­gious, which appropriates to it self the Ho­nour belonging to God; the Pleasure of Ha­tred is Barbarous and Blood-thirsty, which is delighted in nothing but Desolation and Tears; and the Pleasure of Incredulity and Superstition is, as we before shew'd, full of Impiety and Wickedness, which is nourish­ed and upheld by any thing that seems to deba [...]e or annihilate the Deity.

This shews us, in the first place, that Plea­sure is as universal as our Corruption, it being certain, that they who are abandon'd to one sort of Pleasure, seldom fail to enslave themselves to another. It signifies but little, for Instance, to make great Scruples about the Use of sensual Pleasures, when we are given up to that of the Mind, which is far more criminal and dangerous.

[Page 218]Secondly, we may reasonably conclude, that 'tis impossible to cure One-self of this Vice, by Motives purely Temporal. For when you allege to a Voluptuous Man, the Considerations of Honour and Decorum, of his Interest and Establishment in the World, you may perhaps so far work upon him, as to oblige him to prefer the Pleasures of Pride and Ambition before sensual Pleasure; but this will but transport him from one Vice to another.

If you'd find such Motives as are capable of withdrawing him from all kinds of Plea­sure, you must put the case to him of for­saking all worldly Delights, if need be; and to this End, set him upon making this Re­flection, That himself shall last to Eternity, and those Pleasures but for a Moment.

Indeed upon the Principles of a mortal and perishing Man, the Cause of Pleasure seems just and reasonable; for 'tis natural to One that is not to be very long in a Con­dition of enjoying the sweetness of Pleasure, to seek and pursue it, so long as he has an Opportunity: This Piece of Morality is prettily express'd by Horace: ‘Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longam.’ Were all Man's Hopes and Pretensions con­fin'd to the short Duration of this Life, there would be Truth and Reason in these Max­ims: [Page 219] But being destin'd to live after Death, the Light of Nature teaches us, that he ought in like manner to aspire at those eter­nal Delights, whereof Religion so happily informs him.

To this I add, that the Immortal Man, or as I have already describ'd him, he who be­lieves he is Eternal, and acts according to this Principle, easily renounces the Allure­ments of Pleasure, thro' his desire of an end­less and unlimited Happiness. 'Tis impossible he should become a slave to sensual Delight, which he knows the Author of Nature im­ploy'd purely as a Motive to engage us in the Preservation or Propagation of the Body. He's as far from placing his Supream Felicity in the Pleasure of being applauded and extoll'd by a Society of Mortals, as any Man in his right Senses would be from placing his Glory in the Praise and Commendation of one that's to see him but for a Moment. He is not affected with the Pleasure of Revenge; he'll hardly look upon those Persons as Enemies, who do him but a temporal Prejudice. He patiently supports the short D [...]pendances of this Life, and for the same reason tasts not any crimi­nal Pleasure, in being a Superiour, regarding his Condition as a provisional and transitory State, which scarcely deserves his Care and Attention. In a word, the Immortal Man has no Passions but what are very moderate a­bout [...] Objects of this Life, and as his plea­sure [Page 220] in the World, is proportion'd to the Degree of his application to these Objects; 'tis easy to conceive, that he finds himself situated above the Sphere of Voluptuousness; in which certainly he cannot be said to lose any thing, being advantagiously indemnify'd by the Commerce of Love, Gratitude, Zeal, Joy and Consolation, which he holds with God, who by the Sentiment of his holy and unspeakable Delights, raises him above the melancholly Scene of our sad and intoxicated Pleasure.

Wherefore Man does not escape the fond Embraces of Pleasure, as 'tis usually fancy'd, either by Pride, Interest, Revenge or Am­bition; he that shuts himself up in the nar­row limits of this Life, will be Voluptuous, do what he can. Let the Pagan Philosophers tell us as many fine Precepts of Vertue, and prescribe as many Remedies as they please against Intemperance, we'll indeed admire their Maxims, because of the secret Relation they have to our natural Dignity, of which we have a confus'd and imperfect Knowlege: But shall never find our selves any farther dispos'd to practice 'em, than as we are con­vinc'd of our Eternity.

CHAP. XIV. Wherein we Treat of the general Disorders of Self-love,and particularly of Pride.

PLeasure and Glory are the two general Goods, which give a season and relish to all the rest: They are, as it were, the Spirit and Salt of all the others, differing in this, as we before observ'd, That Pleasure becomes a­miable and desirable purely for its own sake, whereas Glory is perceiv'd meerly upon the account of that Pleasure which attends it.

But tho' Glory be perceiv'd only by means of that Pleasure, wherewith 'tis accompa­ny'd, yet may it still be said in some sense to be desirable for its own sake; at least it must be certainly acknowledg'd that 'tis no easy matter to find out the primitive and ancient Reason, upon which our Love of Esteem is founded. This is no satisfactory Solution, to say, that we desire Esteem because of its ap­pendant Pleasure: For this Pleasure being a Pleasure of Reflection, the Difficulty is not so easily ended, since it still remains to know why this Esteem, which is something for­reign and remote in respect of us, should cause our Satisfaction?

Nor is it more to the purpose, to alledge the Utility and Profit of Glory, for tho' the [Page 222] Esteem and Repute, we acquire, may serve to make us succeed in our Designs, and procure us divers Advantages in Society, yet there are Circumstances, under which this Supposition will not hold good. What prospect of Advan­tage could Mutius, Leonidas, Codrus, Cur­tius, and all those other Heroes propose to themselves, who laid down their Lives in the Field, and pursuit of Honour? What Advantage could they see in sacrificing their Goods and Themselves upon the Altar of Pride? Thro' what Principle of Interest do those Indian Women, who burn themselves in the Funeral Pile of their deceas'd Hus­bands, seek even in despight of Laws and Remonstrances, for an Esteem which they Survive?

A certain Person hath said upon this sub­ject, That Self-love delights to foster and cherish an Idea of our Perfections, which is, as it were, its domestick Idol, being un­able to endure any thing that opposes this Idea, as Contempt and Injuries; and on the other hand, passionately searching after all that flatters and magnifies it, as Esteem and Commendations. According to this Principle the Advantage of Glory would consist in this, That the Esteem which others have for us, confirms the good Opinion we have of our selves: But that this is not the principal Source of the Love of Esteem and Honour, appears from hence, That Men for the ge­nerality [Page 223] make more account of the apparent Merit which they obtain by the Esteem of others, than of the real Merit which at­tracts the Esteem of themselves; or, if you will, that they had rather have those Faults which Men esteem and value, than such good Qualities as are not priz'd in the Eyes of the World; and that moreover there are mul­titudes of Persons, that seek to make them­selves considerable and valu'd by such Ac­complishments and Qualities, as they very well know they are not endu'd with, which destroys the Opinion, that they have recourse to an outward and forreign Esteem, to con­firm the good Sentiments they have of them­selves.

'Tis equally groundless to imagine, that we desire Esteem meerly for this reason, That we may be distinguish'd and rais'd a­bove the common Rank; for this is to ex­plain the Cause by the Effect. We don't seek for Esteem, that we may distinguish our selves, but we distinguish our selves, because we would be esteem'd, by departing from the Multitude, and leaving the Dungeon of our former Obscurity.

Lastly, The Love of Esteem in its gene­ral Idea, can't be said to proceed from this Idolatry of Self-love, which aims at being Eternal and Immense like GOD, exhibit­ing to us an imaginary Eternity in the me­mories of Men, to save us from the Ship­wrack [Page 224] of Time, and maugre its consuming Malignity to perpetuate our Name; and try­ing to enlarge our Dimensions, and extend 'em to the utmost limits of the World, by buisying the Minds of Men with the Con­sideration of our Actions and Grandeur. If that were the only Source of the Love of Esteem and Honour, 'twould follow, that we cou'd not innocently desire the Esteem of other Men, nor consequently be blamable for dreading Infamy and Disgrace, which is contrary to Reason.

Tho' we search ne're so long for the Springs of this Inclination, I'm perswaded, that the reason of it will no where else be discover'd, but in the Wisdom of the Creatour. For as God imploys the Use of Pleasure, in order to preserve and propagate our Body, to unite us together, and make us sensible of the Good and Preservation of Society, wherein we are plac'd, so there's no doubt, but his Wisdom makes use of the Love of Esteem, to defend us from the Debasements of Pleasure, and put us upon exerting honest and laudable Actions (which so well agree with the Dig­nity of our Nature) and at the same time to unite us more conveniently one with ano­ther.

This Pre-caution would not have been ne­cessary, had Humane Reason acted only by it self, and independently from Sense: For then this Reason would be able, not only to [Page 225] shew us what is Honest, but also to prefer it before what is Pleasant: But because this Reason is Partial, and many times judges in favour of Pleasure, tying Honour and Deco­rum to that which delights us; the Wisdom of the Creatour thought fit to give us for the Arbitrator of our Actions, not only our own Reason, which suffers it self to be corrupt­ed and brib'd by the softness of Pleasure, but also the Reason of other Men, which is not so easily seduc'd.

Wherefore, because the Author of Nature was so pleas'd, that other Men's Reason should be in some sort our Law and Judge as to moral Honesty, and the Decorums of rea­sonable Nature: Upon this very account he form'd us with a natural Desire of raising an Esteem of our selves in the Minds of o­thers; a Desire, which assuredly precedes the Reflections of our Mind.

For tho' the Utility, Pleasure and Desire of finding Confirmations of the Opinion we have of our selves, &c. may be capable of satisfying the Love of Esteem, yet we have shewn, that they are not the Cause of it.

And here we might distinguish Three Worlds, which the Wisdom of the Creatour has founded upon Three natural Inclina­tions: The Animal, the Rational, and the Religious World. The first is a Society of Persons united by Sense, the second of Per­sons united by Esteem, the third of Persons [Page 226] united by natural Religion. The first has for its Principle the Love of Pleasure, the second the Love of Esteem, the third Con­science. All these three Principles are Natural, and the Grounds of 'em is not elsewhere to be search'd for, than in the Wisdom of the Creatour. The first of these Worlds relates to the second, the second to the third, and the third to the last. Wherefore these things are thus subordinated to each other, Esteem regulates the Love of Pleasure, and Religion ought to regulate the Love of E­steem; and this Subordination is no less na­tural than these Inclinations.

The Love of Pleasure may truly be at­tributed to Nature: But the Irregularities of Voluptuousness are to be reckon'd to ano­ther Account. The Love of Esteem may be said to be Natural; but yet we are not to suppose, that the Extravagancies and E­normities of Pride arise from the Womb of Nature. To this we may ascribe the Fear of God, and the Love of Vertue: But we ought not to give it an Appennage of all those Su­perstitions, which Men have been pleas'd to ingraft upon the Principles of Nature; and consequently 'tis necessary, that the Love of Pleasure, of Esteem, and Conscience, should have their natural Law, Rules and Limits: But 'twill not be amiss to insist upon the Love of Esteem.

CHAP. XV. Where we examine all those Irregularities, which are the Ingredients of Pride.

IT seems, that hitherto we have not had a very perfect Knowledge of Pride, and doubtless the reason was, because we have not throughly distinguish'd its several Parts, nor with sufficient Attention examin'd all its Characters. Pride in general may be re­duc'd to Five principal Branches: Namely, to the Love of Esteem, to Presumption, Va­nity, Ambition, and Haughtiness. For tho' Men are wont to confound these Terms, and use 'em indifferently to signify the same Thing; 'tis certain that these Expressions have somewhat different Significations. The Love of Esteem is Natural and Lawful in it self, as we before observ'd; but 'tis Vicious and Disorderly when it rises to Excess: This is the most general Irregularity of Pride, for when our Desire of Esteem is ex­cessive, 'tis natural to romage in our selves for some estimable Qualities, and finding we have none, our Imagination presents us with some in Complaisance to the Inclinations of the Heart, from whence arises Presump­tion. Moreover this immoderate Love of Esteem makes us value our selves upon any [Page 228] Endowment, whether good or bad, and for want of real Sources of Glory, to aim at an Esteem upon the account of those things which are in no wise Estimable, unless in our own Fancy; this is properly our Va­nity. For this Expression originally signifies the Emptiness of those Objects, wherein we erroneously seek for Esteem, and which are naughty Sources of Vain-glory. From this excessive Love of Esteem arises the Desire we have to raise our selves above other Men, having a Perswasion, that we can't attract a publick Esteem and Consideration, whilst we are confounded with the Vulgar Rabble; and this produces Ambition. Lastly, The Desire we have to make a great Show, by distinguishing our selves from the common Rank, makes us despise other Men, seeking all possible means to degrade and pull 'em down, that we may stand upon their Heads. All the Irregularities of Pride being reduc'd to the excessive Love of Esteem as their first and original Principle, we can't use too much Diligence in considering this latter. The two general Faults of this Inclination are Excess and Irregularity; the First con­sists in this, That we love Esteem too much: the Second, That we love false Esteem as well as true.

In order to understand what is the Excess of th [...] Love of Esteem, we must consider the Design of God in placing this Inclination [Page 229] in our Heart. He gave it to us for the Pre­servation of the Body, the Good of Society, and the Exercise of Vertue. I say, for the Pre­servation of the Body, seeing that the Love of Esteem defends us from those Extrava­gances of corporeal Pleasure, which would presently tend to our Destruction and Death: For who doubts, that the Desire of raising an Esteem of our selves, is a powerful Motive to stave us off from that excess of Debauch­ery and Sensuality, to which we are drag'd by the Love of Pleasure, and which is of so fatal Consequence even to our Body. He plac'd in us this Inclination for the Good of Sciety; for 'tis this Desire to obtain an E­steem in the World, that renders us Affable and Complaisant, Obliging and Civil; that makes us love Decency and Sweetness of Conversation. And yet all this while, who does not know, that the finest Arts, the most lofty Sciences, the wisest Governments, the most just Establishments, in general, most that is Admirable in reasonable Society, proceeds from this natural Desire of Glory? Let us not fancy, that our own Corruption and Con­cupiscence brought this excellent Benefit to Mankind; doubtless the wise Instructions of the Author of Nature had the chiefest Hand in this Matter. Lastly, 'tis certain, that the Design of God was to steer and in­cline us to honest and laudable Actions, by giving us for the Judge of our Conduct, not [Page 230] only our own Reason, which is oftentimes brib'd by the Enticements of Pleasure; but also the Reason of other Men, who are not so partial in our Favour as we our selves. Indeed God may be consider'd either as the Author of Society, or Religion. As the Au­thor of Society, he thought fit Men should enter into mutual Commerce, during some Time; and with this Intent he endow'd 'em with such Inclinations as were necessary to the Good and Preservation of Society. A­mong these are to be reckon'd the Love of Pleasure, and the Desire of Esteem: This latter is the Spring of Humane Vertues, which ought not to be so much cry'd down, as usually they are, for if they are not inser­vient to eternal Salvation, yet are they de­sign'd for the Good of temporal Society; they proceed from the Intention of the Au­thor of Nature; they are a part of his Model and Platform; Love of Esteem being the means he makes use of to perfect Society, as the Love of Pleasure is design'd to found it. As for Religion, that has more lofty Views; for it undertakes to direct Men to the eternal and infinite Good.

Hence it follows, that the Love of Esteem is Excessive: First, when it tends to destroy the Body, instead of preserving it; Secondly, when it disturbs the good and order of So­ciety, instead of maintaining and supporting it; Thirdly, when it causes us to violate [Page 231] the Precepts of Vertue, instead of putting us upon the Practice of 'em.

We find a pat Example of the first of these in the Fury of Duels: That, in my Opinion, is a very extravagant point of Honour, which would have us love Glory, and yet despise Life, which is the main Foundation, and partly the End of it, as we have already seen. What will Men's Esteem signify to me, when I am not in Being to enjoy it? Without Life this Honour is nothing. Life is something, even without this Honour, and God himself thought fit to let us know by his Conduct, that the former is more Esti­mable than the latter; for he incites us to the Love of Honour, but by one bare Motive of Glory, and makes us in love with Life, by Pleasure and Glory too.

But if it be answer'd, That 'tis not so much the love of Honour and Esteem, as fear of Contempt and Shame, that makes a Man expose himself to revenge an Affront; and that 'tis natural to a Man of Honour to be unable to live under the pressure of Infamy: this Reply is not satisfactory, because as 'tis a Weakness not to be able to endure Grief, 'tis no less One to be unable to suffer an un­just and groundless Contempt.

In the bottom we find the Love of E­steem, as to this Example, to be irregular in every Respect. For this is to love Esteem too much, To love false Esteem, and that [Page 232] too more than Life, and consequently more than the Preservation of the Body, than Society, which is depriv'd of one or many Members by the Fury of those infamous Combats: And lastly, more than Vertue; since 'tis to love it more than Humanity, Justice, Charity and Moderation.

I know when the Case is put to spend one's Blood for the good of Society, and the Service of the Prince, who is its Represen­tative, and has its Rights and Properties deputed into his Hands, a Man ought not to make the least resistance, or scruple to expose his Life; but then 'tis Vertue, and not Esteem, that he prefers before Life: He pursues the Design of the Author of Na­ture, conforms himself to his Model and Will; since he that made us has plac'd us in a State of Subordination and Dependance. All the Irregularity proceeds from this, That Men have not a competent Knowlege of Honour, and love it Blindfold; they have only a confus'd Notion of it, which Educa­tion, Examples, and the Judgment of other Men do incessantly change. Honour, in its ordinary Idea, includes three Things; 'tis a Sentiment of one's Excellency, a Love of Duty, and a Desire to be Esteem'd. A Man of Honour should be sensible of Vertue and Merit, and consequently be grated and offend­ed at any outward Contempt or Disrespect. He should so far love his Duties, as even to [Page 233] expose himself to the greatest Dangers, ra­ther than fail of observing 'em; and he ought to love the Esteem of rational Per­sons, and make it his endeavour to deserve it.

This general Idea is just and true, but the Application, Men make of it, is ordinarily False; for they attend not sufficiently to their real Merit, which is far greater than they imagine, in not having an Idea of their Duties, which are of much larger Extent than they suppose, and being unable to dis­cern false Esteem, from true, which is the Thing to which they ought to aspire.

Nevertheless 'tis probable, that Men, even in their Irregularities, have a sort of con­fus'd Sentiment of their natural Dignity, which joyning it self with their false Pre­judices of Esteem, and worldly Glory, causes that Impatience, or rather Fury, at receiving Abuses and Affronts. Would one, whose Merit reaches no higher than that of a Mor­tal and Dying Man, resent so great Horrour in Debasement? And would he be so ex­cessively vex'd at being reduc'd, even to that Nothing, which surrounds him on every side? No certainly, there's an Instinct in Man, which continually puts him in Mind of his Condition, and renders him sensible of all that opposes the Idea of his Perfections.

But 'tis certain, that this Glory to which we aspire, includes many different Senti­ments, [Page 234] which are the constituent Parts of it. We may distinguish Four: Namely, Esteem, Consideration, Respect, and Admiration. Esteem is a Tribute we pay to a Man's proper Qua­lities, and Personal Merit; Consideration has for its Object, not only the Merit of a Per­son, but also his external Accomplishments, as Birth, Riches, Power, Credit, Reputation; and in general all those Advantages, which make the Difference of Conditions, and Di­stinction of Persons in Society. Respect is nothing else but an high Consideration; and Admiration is no more but a great Esteem. The finest, or at least the most proper Glory, consists in Esteem and Admiration: But the most sensible and conspicuous Glory, con­sists in Consideration and Respect; the rea­son of it is, Because all the World are not capable of discerning a worthy and deserv­ing Man, from an unworthy; whereas every one can distinguish a great Lord, from a pri­vate Man.

'Tis certain, that every Man which wears a Head, may justly demand this Sentiment of us, when we consider his Excellence, and natural Dignity. We owe Esteem and Ad­miration to those Perfections which GOD has pleas'd to endow a Man with. We owe Consideration and Respect to the Rank and Station he has in the World: But this origi­nal Glory of Man has been darken'd, and almost defac'd by Sin; and here we can't [Page 235] without Surprize and Amazement consider the prodigious Depravation and Irregula­rity of corrupted Man; see his Pride, as it were, springing up from the Ruines of his Glory, and his Humility ending, where his real Vileness begins.

'Tis somewhat strange, to see Men Com­plementing and Praising one another, whilst they equally deserve an eternal Shame and Reproach:

But we need not wonder at it, God being willing to preserve Society, even after the Corruption of Man, was not oblig'd to de­prive us of this natural Inclination towards publick Esteem, which makes, as we said be­fore, the Perfection of civil Conversation.

The Example of those Philosophers is not to be minded, whom we have seen despise Men's Esteem to such a Degree, as even to count themselves Unhappy if they chanc'd to attract it. It may be, these Heroes in Hu­mility did not really despise Glory, but only made an appearance of despising it to the Eyes of Men. Cicero says, that none of all those who wrote Books concerning the Contempt of Vain-glory, ever forgot to put their Names to 'em; this is a politick Con­trivance of Pride, to aspire after Glory by seeming to shun it. When a Man openly professes his Desire of Esteem, he meets with a great many Emulators and Rivals, who observing his Designs, are so much the [Page 236] more eager to stand in his Light with their own Esteem; and more vigorously endea­vour to deprive him of the Esteem of other Men, with how much greater Ardour he reaches after it: But when a Man seems to despise this Esteem of the World, which is so much courted and sought after, then as he voluntarily separates himself from the Number of those, who directly aim at it, he's very well thought of, Men like his Dis­interestedness, and would even force him to accept of that which he seems to refuse. Gloria, says St. Augustine, sequitur fugien­tem.

Moreover, Merit and Fortune have always been at Daggers-draw, for the Upper-hand in the way to Glory. Grandees are invested, by the Priviledge of Fortune, with the most illustrious Honours, which usually attract the Affections of the Multitude. The Phi­losophers, maintaining the Rights and Pro­perties of Vertue, and Wisdom, opposition to Fortune, have rais'd, as it were, a Party of Confederates against Grandeur and Renown; being uncapable of obtaining it, they betake themselves to contemn and despise it. 'They made a Show of renouncing that ambitious Desire, which makes Men cringe and run after the Dispensers of the Goods of For­tune, lest an eager Officiousness might be a tacit Confession of their Inferiority; and because the Multitude condemn'd 'em by [Page 237] their interested Conduct, they pretended to despise vulgar Esteem, and popular Applause; but let 'em once change their Condition, they'll presently be of another Mind.

But the Irregularity consists principally in this, That our Thoughts are so much taken up with gaining an Esteem amongst Men, that we don't take time to think of approving our selves to God: Not but the Approbation of God seems to us, in the Bot­tom, more precious and valuable than Men's Esteem: But it falls out thus, because to ob­tain the Esteem of Men, 'tis not requisite that our Heart should be chang'd, it suffices that we disguise our selves to the Eyes of the World; whereas we can't approve our selves to God, unless we change the very Foundation of our Heart. Now 'tis no hard matter for Self-love to put on a counterfeit Visage; but 'tis a point of Difficulty to be willing, in good Earnest, to become new Men.

CHAP. XVI. Where we consider the Second Irregularity of Pride.

OUr excessive Desire of Esteem, inspires us with an ardent Desire to have esti­mable Qualities, and an extream Dread of [Page 238] being stain'd with those Faults which do u [...] a Disparagement in the Minds of Men, or o [...] betraying our selves by not raising a very advantagious Opinion of our Persons. Now as we are perswaded of what we desire, and of what we vehemently dread, it happens▪ that we either conceive too good on Opini­on, or fall into an excessive Distrust of ou [...] selves. The first of these Faults is term'd Presumption, the Second, Timorousness; and tho' they seem opposite, yet they both spring from the same Original, or rather they are but the very same Fault under two differen [...] Forms. Presumption is a confident Pride; and Timorousness is a Pride fearful of betraying it self: We are inclin'd to one or the othe [...] according to the Diversity of our Tempera­ment. A predominancy of Blood usually makes Men assur'd and perswaded of what is for their Profit and Advantage; hence a­rises Confidence. Melancholly causes a Man to believe whatsoever he fears; 'tis the Principle of Distrusts and groundless Suspi­cions: But Diffidence and Confidence are both grafted upon the Stock of Pride, seeing they both spring from the excessive Love of Esteem, which is the First-born of our Ir­regularities.

'Tis the Opinion of all the World, that a presumptuous Man values himself too highly▪ But I may venture to say against all the World, that he esteems not himself enough▪ [Page 239] and that his Fault lies in a Defect, and not [...] of Elevation, beyond what he really [...] truly s [...]nsible, that he's endu'd [...] Excellency than the Object [...] that the Desert of the perishing Man [...] light and inconsider­able, if weigh'd [...] [...]n equal Balance with that [...] the immortal Man.

Yet tis not to be wonder'd, that he had rather consider himself with relation to Time than Eternity, since in the first of these Views he usurps Glory, ascribing all to him­self, and none to the Supreme Being; where­as in the prospect of Eternity, he's oblig'd to derobe himself of all his own Glory, to offer it a Sacrifice to God. Strange Blind­ness! Which permits him not to see any other real Happiness, but what is confounded with the Glory of God.

But yet I own, That in one sense a Man may esteem himself too much; and that 'tis common to see Persons have immoderate Pretensions to Humane Glory. To know this we need only call to Mind what we have already said, that the Love of Esteem was en­graven in our Hearts, with relation to So­ciety: For thence it follows, that they have a Right to the greatest share of this outward Glory, who most promote the Good of Society, and are most considerable in the Eyes of the Publick; whether thro' their Services, Offices, or the Eminency of the Rank to [Page 240] which Providence may have ty'd Dominion. Great Persons have reason to pretend to ex­ternal Homages, because these things are measur'd with respect to Society: But they'd be vain and unreasonable, if they suppos'd the intrinsick Foundation of their Merit to be ever the greater upon this account, than that of other Men; and would not own, that theirs is a Preference of Order, and not of real Excellency; for again I say, that the Advantages of the mortal Man are no­thing, if compar'd with those of Him, who subsists to Eternity: Nay, so far are they from this, that the whole temporal Society of Men, taken all together, with its various Governments, Power, Dignities, &c. don't counterbalance the Immortality of one Man.

CHAP. XVII. Of the Third Irregularity that goes to make up Pride, which is Vanity.

THe excessive Love of Esteem does not only deceive us, by perswading us, that we have those good Qualities and Accom­plishments which we really want: But also makes us take for Sources of Glory, either estimable Goods, or even the most inestima­ble Objects.

The end of Vanity is consecrated by the [Page 241] Custome of making the same Estimate of that Man's Disposition, who attributes to himself those Qualities which he truely possesses, that we do of his, who endeavours to build a Foundation of Honour upon false Advantages.

It seems, that Man's Vanity commenced, when he lost the Sources of his real Glory, by quitting that State of Sanctity and Hap­piness, wherein God had originally plac'd him. For being unable to renounce the De­sire of Esteem, and finding nothing wor­thy of it in himself, after Sin, or rather not daring after that to cast a steady view upon himself, when he found he was guilty of so many Crimes, and become an Object of the Divine Vengeance: What must he needs do, but see abroad into the World, and seek for Honour, by cloathing himself with the ap­parent Gayety of outward Things? And Mankind are so much the more willing to agree, and universally consent to this, as they all find themselves by Nature equally expos'd to Nakedness and Poverty.

Methinks the Condition of Men, in this respect, is very well like that of a Monarch, rob'd of his Treasures, who having neither Gold, nor Silver, is forc'd to make Copper Money pass.

We shall plainly see this, by considering, that the Sources of Humane Glory are re­duc'd either to things that are indifferent [Page 242] on this Account, being susceptible neither of Praise nor Dispraise; or to ridiculous Things, which are so far from raising any real Honour, that they are the fittest Mark to denote our Vileness; or to criminal Things, and which by consequence can't but be Shameful and Unworthy in them­selves; or lastly, to those things, all whose seeming Perfection and Glory consists in the Relation they have to our Defects and In­firmities.

I place Riches in the first Rank, which tho' they have nothing Contemptible, yet neither have they any thing Glorious in themselves.

Our covetous and interested Desire never informs it self either of the Source, or Use of the Riches it sees in other Men's Bags. Their meerly being Rich is sufficient to ob­tain its first Homages, and tho' it be not actually profited by their Wealth, yet it still respects 'em upon the bare Possibility of being the better for 'em one time or other.

But if your Heart would please to receive a distinct, instead of a confus'd Idea, 'twould be often surpriz'd at the Extravagance of its Sentiments; for since Riches are not es­sential to Man, and there must be some ac­cidental Cause to give him his Estate, it would find, that it many times esteems his Person, because his Father was a Profligate, or himself a Knave; and that when it pays [Page 243] external Homages to Riches, it either blows a Kiss to Robbery, or commends Infidelity and Injustice.

'Tis true, this is not its direct Intention: It follows the Hankerings of its Desire, ra­ther than the Dictates of Reason: But is a Person whom you thus court and accost, o­blig'd to correct, by all these distinctions, the Baseness of your Carriage; and to separate that which your Interest gives him, from what your Reason would pay him, if it did but follow its own Counsel and Advice? No, no, He receives your outward Defer­ence and Respect, as a Tribute to his Excel­lency. As your covetous Desire draw'd you in to make a Fool of you, so his Pride fails not to Chowse, and put a Trick upon him. If his Riches don't encrease his Desert, yet the greatness of your Complaisance enhances and augments the Opinion he has of 'em. He interprets all in a literal Sense, and fails not to magnify and aggrandize himself, in his own Thoughts, at the outward Ceremo­nies and Veneration you pay him, when you are scarce a Farthing the better for his Wealth. Not but there is something in Riches which seems to render 'em an Object of E­steem to the Eyes of Men, as there's some­th [...]ng in Poverty, which makes it an Object of Contem [...]t; and this I believe is, because by the former we are invest [...]d with a kind Power, which advances us to a pitch above [Page 244] other Men, and puts us in a Condition to live without being beholding to 'em; whereas Poverty places us in a State of Necessity and Weakness, which forces us to rely upon the Assistance and Succour of others: But we may say even in this, That Opulence owes its Glory to our Ambition, and Poverty is not Shameful, but meerly thro' our Pride.

Nevertheless, we don't by any means ap­prove of their Carriage, who can't endure any Persons should receive the Blessings of Providence, but they must presently vent their Malice and Outrages against 'em. We turn 'em every way, diligently examine all their Faults, and in that bate 'em not an Ace. Certainly if the Esteem Men have for Riches proceed from Self-love, the Contempt and Scorn which some affect for wealthy People is always a Mark of Envy; and this very Envy is extreamly shameful and unworthy. In the bottom, the dependance of Interest is much more prevailing than that of Envy ▪ and Men had rather voluntarily give Place to those, from whom they expect some Be­nefit, than to spurn above 'em, and do, as it were, a forc'd Homage thro' a Displeasure at the Prosperity of them, whom they envy.

Riches are to be estimated meerly by the good or bad Use Men make of 'em; as also Birth, Authority, and Dignities. All these things put Men in an Engagement to do good and laudable Actions. If you practice the [Page 245] Duties to which they engage you, they be­come Fountains and Causes of your Glory; if you transgress the Obligations they lay on you, they serve to no other purpose but to brand you with Infamy and Disgrace.

They, who being arriv'd to some Degree of signal Prosperity, get Drunk with the Thoughts of their Grandeur, are not curious Artists in the Trade of Vain-glory; would not an apparent Moderation, which should make a Shew as if they were above those Things which elevate and raise 'em, gain 'em much more Honour, than this hair-brain'd Stateliness, which gives People oc­casion to think they are beneath their For­tune; since they so little understand how to manage and support it? This is so much the more surprizing, as 'tis not the Fate of those alone, who are not sufficiently en­lighten'd to know the Prejudice which this Conduct does 'em, to forget their own Con­dition: But also of those who perfectly know this Truth. The reason is, Because when Men are advanc'd to some Dignity or Prefer­ment, they change, if I may so speak, their inward Station, Pride mounting 'em to an higher Post than they were in before. In vain will Reason advise 'em to abide in their former Situation, and to affect for their Glory an Evenness of Temper, which may hinder 'em from taking notice of the Advancement of their Fortune: Men choosing rather to [Page 246] follow the Sentiments of the Heart, than the Lights of the Mind; it happens, that they insensibly forget the refin'd Intentions of their Vanity, and pursue the Career of their Inclination, to make the best Market of all their Advantages. They, whose Gran­deur is of long standing, or to whom the Splendor of a lofty Fortune was Hereditary, are not altogether so subject to those Daz­lings of Vain-glory; because their Mind be­ing long accustomed to look down upon o­thers, from the Tallness of its Station, does not much concern it self to render that Difference remarkable which causes their Distinction: But yet the common People are mistaken in thinking, that these Perso­nages are more humble and modest than o­thers; they'd undoubtedly shew the very same Insolence, were they in like manner apprehensive, that Men did not sufficiently remark their State and Elevation; their Courteousness and Civility is owing to a confirm'd, and (as they think) incontestable Opinion of their Superiority. To be certi­fy'd of this, you shall see those very Persons, which are so Affable and Modest to those that are extreamly Below 'em, Haughty and Insupportable towards those who are almost their Equals; the Reason is undoubtedly this, That the Civilities they shew to those, who are much their Inferiors, seem to 'em of no unlucky Consequence; they are sure [Page 247] their Civilities and Condescensions won't be taken in a literal Sense, and they may gain the Name of Courteousness without blemish­ing their Rank: But the Case is not the same when they have to do with such as may enter into a kind of Comparison with 'em; as the Distance, that separates 'em from these latter, is not very great, their Pride seeks to extend and enlarge it as much as lays in its Power, and puts 'em upon doing a Thousand unreasonable and unnatural Things, that they may cause all the World to take notice of that, which they are afraid is not suffici­ently remark'd.

There are certain Temporal Advantages, which we take for Sources of Glory, tho' in themselves, and separately from the Use Men make of 'em, they deserve neither E­steem, nor Commendation; but we must bring under this Head, That Man oftentimes values himself upon such Qualities as ren­der him ridiculous.

I don't only mean those who affect such Accomplishments, as they are not really en­dow'd with, tho' 'tis this that properly makes those we term ridiculous People, or Natu­rals: Men give this Quality to whom they please, and laugh at the Cost of whom they think fit: It may be if there were an Order of reasonable Creatures exempt from our Imperfections, they'd find the Ridiculous­ness of Humane Nature to be greater than [Page 248] we imagine. Man indeed, consider'd in his natural Excellency, is assuredly a Work of God, most worthy of Admiration: But this is because he's Admirable in one sense, and Ridiculous in another. Is there any Thing, for Instance, more unsuitable to our natural Dignity than the Vanity which is display'd in Luxury of Habits, and Superfluity of Cloaths; is it not a more Ridiculous thing than all that Men use to laugh and make sport at, that Embroidery and Gilding should be Ingredients in the Formal Reason of E­steem, that a Man well Dress'd should claim an Exemption from the Lash of Men's Tongues more than another; that an im­mortal Soul should give its Esteem and Con­sideration to Horses, Equipages, Furnitures, Liveries, &c. and that we should attribute that Glory to the Ornament of the Body, which is the most glittering Jewel of the Soul? Cicero reproaches it; he calls One who left off the Glory of his Profession, to follow this ridiculous Vanity; Virum in di­cendis causis bene vestitum: But he need not have pass'd this flouting Jeer only upon one Man, who follow'd the common Prejudice, but in general upon all Mankind, who may justly be reproach'd for being in so great want of Glory, that they are put to the shift to seek for it even in that, whose primitive Design was to serve for a covering of their Shame and Nakedness. The Art of Dance­ing, [Page 249] which some People seriously study, is a Quality that would render us Ridiculous, if consider'd in that high and lofty Situa­tion wherein we are plac'd by Nature and Religion. An immortal Soul Dancing and Capering, is an Object equally odious and ridiculous.

I know, indeed, this Ridiculousness does not appear, because 'tis too general. Men never laugh at themselves, and consequently they are not much affected by this universal Ridiculousness, wherewith all, or at least, the greatest part of Mankind are liable to be charg'd: But their Prejudice does not change the Nature of Things, and the wide Disagreement between their Actions, and their natural Dignity, is no less Real for be­ing conceal'd from their Imagination.

But, what is more grievous, Men don't only value themselves upon Qualities which would make 'em Ridiculous, could they but duely weigh and consider 'em, but also seek to gain a Reputation by Crimes and Villa­nies.

We have said before, that Men tye Re­proach and Disgrace to Unfortunate, but Esteem and Credit to Successful Crimes: Theft and Murther, which are Harbingers to the Gallows, are disdain'd in a private Man, but in a Potentate the greatest Robbe­ries, and most notorious pieces of Injustice, which mount him to the Empire of the [Page 250] World, are very well thought of.

Old Rome is a famous Example of this: In her Birth she was a Colony of Rogues and High-way Men, who fled to her Sanctuary for an Impunity of their Crimes. After­wards she was a Re-publick of Murderers, who extended their Injustices, far and wide, over all the Earth: So long as these Villains make it their Business to rob and plunder Passengers, to banish Peace and Security, from a little Corner of the World, to en­rich themselves at other Men's Cost, they have no very creditable Reputation, and in­deed they don't so much as pretend to Glory: But no sooner does a notable Prosperity put 'em in a Condition to rob whole Nations, and signalize their Fury and Injustice by dragging Princes and Sovereigns to their Triumphal Chariots, but they have no more to say of Impunity, they pretend to Glory; they don't only dare to justify, but also con­secrate their famous Robberies. They as­semble, as it were, the whole Universe in the Pomp of their Triumphs, to expose to open View the success of their Crimes. They open their Temples, as if they'd bring in Heaven it self for an Accomplice of their Ravages and Fury.

Moreover, There are very many things which Men esteem meerly as they relate to some or other of their Infirmities. Pleasure many times makes 'em think Debauchery [Page 251] honourable; Riches are beholding to poor People's greedy Desires, for all the Conside­ration they have in the World. Puissance derives its Worth from a certain Power of doing what one list, which is the most dan­gerous Present that can be made to Men; Honours and Dignities draw their principal Lustre from our Ambition; and so it may truly be said, That our Depravation, and Irregularity, is the only Source of the Glory of most temporal Things.

CHAP. XVIII. Where we continue to examine the Chara­cters of Men's Vanity.

OUr Vanity is so palpable and manifest in all these Things, that we need not be at any trouble to find it out: For what a piece of Blindness is it, for a Man to value himself upon those Advantages, which don't go to make up the Merit of his Person; and upon such Things as render us ridiculous, by shewing the extream Disproportion betwixt what we are, and what we ought to be: Or lastly, upon criminal Things, and conse­quently those which are essentially Shame­ful and Unworthy?

But methinks one may, at first sight, make quite another Judgment of the Qualities of [Page 252] the Soul, which are reduc'd to intellectual Qualities, that belong to the Understanding and Virtues, that belong to the Heart, since the one and the other make up what we term, Personal Merit.

Yet if we look closely into the Matter we should find, that this is far from being the Seat of such real Sources of Glory as is commonly imagin'd. What if we grant the Philosophers, who made choice of this sort of Advantages, to raise themselves Esteem and Credit, that there's something more pure in their pretended Glory, than in that which Fortune and the Prejudices of the World tye to external Goods, yet we shall not fail to convince 'em of Vanity, and per­haps in the bottom they will not appear more reasonable than the rest of Mankind.

The natural Qualities are, Memory, Ap­prehension, and Judgment; the acquir'd Qua­lities are Sciences or Arts: and in general, all experimental or speculative Knowledge, which adorns our Mind, by instructing us in that which we knew not before, or which is useful to the purposes of Life.

Memory is not reckon'd to be very sig­nificant in point of Vain-glory. Men don't pretend to build much Grounds of Esteem upon this Faculty, which appears from this, That they think they may safely boast of having a good Memory without offending against Modesty; and that they are not fear­ful [Page 253] of blemishing their Character, by own­ing that they have a bad One. 'Tis to be imputed to this Reason, That there being in Man Two Qualities: Inferior, which are serviceable to some higher; and Superior, which direct and rule the rest: We natu­rally more esteem the Superior and ruling Faculties, than the Inferior and instrumen­tal, such as Memory is, which serves only to furnish the Understanding with Memoirs; and some say that there are various Apart­ments in the Mind of Man, and that when one Power is enlarg'd, another is contracted and lessen'd; whence 'tis thought, That Want of Memory betokens Wit and Judg­ment. In general 'tis certain, That Men never own their Faults and Imperfections for any other reason, but meerly to acquire a piece of Glory by vertue of this Confession, which they value much more than the Qua­lity they acknowledge themselves to want; or to appease the Pride of others, by an ap­parent Humility, and oblige 'em by an arti­ficious Dis-interestedness to render 'em their Due.

Men are as diligent and concern'd in point of Wit, as they are neglectful and careless in point of Memory; this appears both by the Sensibility they express, when they are upbraided with the Want of it, and by the delicate Pre-cautions, their Mo­desty takes to shew that they are Witty, tho' [Page 254] they don't pretend to it. He that should openly say; I have a great deal of Wit; would be insupportable to Mankind; yet this would be no more than what he commonly thinks: but 'tis requisite he should disguise his Thoughts, and strive to gain a Commenda­tion, by seeming to turn his Back to it.

Men are undoubtedly very much behold­ing to this kind of Vanity, seeing they owe to it very many agreeable Productions, not to reckon the Pleasure they take in the Con­versation of those Persons who act or speak by this Motive: But indeed sometimes this Vanity becomes troublesome and unpleasant.

Whence arises the Habit Men have of contradicting in Company, but from a secret Envy and Desire to make the World think that themselves are more Enlighten'd than others, and better understand the Things spoken of, or at least from a strong Perswa­sion they have of it themselves? They op­pose those, who take an Ascendant, and pre­tend to be Masters in Conversation, more freely than others, because thro' a Principle of Pride they can't away with the Pride of those who would be thought to have taller Understandings than their Brethren. They more voluntarily contradict in a very great Company, where there are many Witnesses of what is spoken, than when they are pri­vately Discoursing with a single Person, with whom they can't enter into a Contestation, [Page 255] because then the same Man would be Judge and Plaintiff both at once. It also happens, that Men contradict, tho' they have nothing Material to urge, for when themselves can't shew any specimen of Wit, they strive at least to oppose the Glory of those, who seek to make an Appearance of it.

To the same Principle may be imputed that Liberty, which most Men take to blame the Conduct of their Superiours. In this there is undoubtedly both Injustice and Blindness: Injustice, because they judge of what they neither do, nor can understand; it being impossible for private Persons, that have not enter'd in the Councel of their Governours, to know, unless very imper­fectly, the Reasons of their Conduct: Of Blindness, because 'tis commonly seen, that those very Men, who set up for Judges, and Censurers of their Master's Actions, prove very great Bunglers, when they happen to be call'd to the like Employ; and how should they be off of it, since they are uncapable to frame a right and exact Judgment, of what is before their Eyes? It being a grand Rule, among the common Sort, That Adversity is a constant Token of Disgrace; and Prospe­rity is a sufficient Ground of Esteem and Commendation.

Yet who is ignorant, that Men confound an unfortunate Ingenuity, with Ignorance; and a fortunate Ignorance obtains the Glory [Page 256] of Ingenuity? Nay, I dare say, and boldly maintain, that few great Events are owing to Humane Prudence; 'tis the Concourse of Circumstances, that causes the Happiness and Success of grand Exploits: There be Heroes of Fortune, if I may so express my self, and those in a greater Number than Heroes of Merit.

But Wit, taken for that vivacity and sprightliness of Imagination, which makes us conceive things with Quickness, and ex­press 'em with Facility and Ease, has a kind of Inconsistency with Judgment. It most frequently happens, that these impetuous ebullitions of Fancy embarass, instead of di­recting us: They are false Lights, which lead us into Precipices. Wit, to define it in a word, Is, in the Hand of the Passions, an In­strument of committing great Faults.

I don't say the same of Judgment, which is undoubtedly the most Estimable of all the intellectual Qualities. 'Tis certainly a mi­stake to attribute great Things and Actions to Wit: 'Tis not Wit, but Judgment, that governs States; disciplines Armies; excels in Trading; soars in the study of Arts and Sciences: But not to set two Qualities at Variance, which are in no wise opposite; Wit must be said to be the Perfection of Judgment, and Judgment reciprocally the Perfection of Wit, yet with this difference, That Judgment without Wit is Something; [Page 257] whereas Wit without Judgment, is worse than Nothing.

The reason of Men's general Mistake is, because they imagine upon a Vulgar Preju­dice, that Wit is rarely found, and Judg­ment is very common; 'tis quite and clean the contrary. Wit, that imagines, invents, refines, and subtillizes, in every Thing is frequently met with; but Judgment, which compares, examines, weighs, considers the Connection and End of Things, determines not it self but upon solid Reasons, is the rarest Thing in the World.

Most Men have a Portion of Wit, every Passion inspires 'em with that, and even the Strength of Wine creates a Vivacity; but there's scarcely a Man upon Earth, who wants not Judgment; since there's rarely One, that makes a just Discernment of what is truly Advantagious to him, from what is of little or no Concernment.

As in the World, Vivacity makes Hair-brains, and Judgment Persons truly Ingeni­ous. We need not wonder, to see in Re­ligion, that Good-sense believes, and Wit is incredulous; 'tis because the later deter­mines it self, upon the least Appearances, without any Attention; whereas Judgment compares, and examines all things before 'tis determin'd.

In vain have the Learned endeavour'd, to raise a Veneration of Learning, thro' an [Page 258] Interest of making that Respected, which causes their Distinction in the World: It may be, by attracting the vain Approbation of the Vulgars, they have found out the Secret of satisfying Themselves; if so, then Learn­ing it self stands in need of the Succour of Vanity: For pray, of what Advantage is most of our Knowledge, to One that is made for Eternity? What does Humane Learning teach us? Words, Etymologies, Dates, Facts, which are of no concern to us, and serve to no other purpose but to shew, that we know 'em; vain Questions, either ridiculous or dangerous; endless Specula­tions; a multitude of Fictions and Falsi­ties, and scarcely any Thing that's profita­ble to us, or capable of nourishing our Soul. Moreover, How came the greatest part of Men to know these Things, in so troubled and confused a manner, that their pretend­ed Knowledge, serves but meerly to throw them into Errors? To have confused No­tions, and a great deal of Vanity, is the ready way to perpetual Mistakes; and 'tis certain, that the ordinary Learning implies the one, and the other: For 'tis impossible to make a Distinction of those various Ideas and Kinds of Knowledge, which Men heap together in so great a Number; and it com­monly happens, that they are mightily puft up, with the Attainment of this tenebrous Booty; as if a Man had any grounds to think [Page 259] himself Happy, for acquiring new Preju­dices and Errors; and as if a confused heap of Knowledge, which hinders the Exact­ness and Rectitude of the Mind, was more valuable than clear and distinct Notions, which produce a quite contrary Effect. In this they may take an Advantage of the Er­rors of the Vulgars, who use to confound these Things; but they'll never impose up­on Persons truly ingenious and enlighten'd, nor will they have much reason to be satis­fy'd with themselves; even those, who have a clear and perfect Knowledge of what they pretend to know, who join natural Qualities to acquir'd, who are accustom'd, by the ex­actness of diligent Meditation and Atten­tion, to refine and purify that Knowledge, which by its confusion embroils and puzzles the Brain of other Men; don't in the main reap any other Fruit of their Studies, than to know how limited and finite Man's Knowledge is; they find themselves every way surrounded with impenetrable Depths, can't move a Step without finding a Diffi­culty: Their distinct Knowledge is but small and inconsiderable, and all that little is, as it were, Bury'd in almost an infinite Number of Prejudices and Errors, from which 'tis to be separated and sifted; and which is a yet greater Misery, tho' Know­ledge of this Character may enlighten the Mind more than any other, yet we don't [Page 260] see that 'tis a whit more inservient, at leas [...] for the generality, to the Satisfaction of the Heart. There are some, says an Ancient, who Know meerly to Know; this is the Effect of an unprofitable Curiosity: Some obtain Knowledge in order to obtain Honours or Riches; this is the Effect of a shameful Traffick: Lastly, There be some who Know, that they may make a great show of their Knowledge; this is the Effect of a swelling Vanity.

In fine it may be said, that the ordinary Knowledge is unprofitable in Nature; dan­gerous very often in Society; pernicious in the Heart, and most commonly mortal in Religion. 'Tis unprofitable and useless in Nature; you may reason long enough about the Cause of Storms and Diseases, but can't avoid the Insults of either. 'Tis often dan­gerous in Society, for there it stirs up Trou­bles and Disorders; hence Augustus in the Model of Politicks, which he left to his Successors, would have Philosophers banisht the Common-wealth, because the Infatua­tion of their pretended Wisdome, was wont to make them despise Authority. 'Tis dan­gerous in the Heart, seeing it most com­monly costs us our Humility: And mortal in Religion, because it sets up it self for a Judge of Revelation; and would have us ap­prehend that of our Selves, which Faith credits meerly upon Divine Testimony.

[Page 261]The Incredulous do mightily Triumph and Insult in this, That 'tis rarely seen, that Men of very great and eminent Learn­ing, have the same Belief with the common sort of People, as to the Mysteries of Re­ligion. Let 'em not mistake themselves, the Objection is not of such Force as they imagine: For a Learned Man, to define him exactly, is but a Man perplext with more Prejudices than others; and with Preju­dices so much more dangerous, as he is set at a farther distance from the Knowledge of 'em, by the Preventions of his Pride. His great Reading serves to furnish him with Materials for his Errors, by supplying him with indistinct Notions; and his great Va­nity gives 'em a Form, by putting confus'd Ideas in the place of distinct, and changing his least Conjectures into so many Demon­strations.

'Tis the Property of none, but the Im­mortal Man, to rid the ordinary Knowledge of all these Defects: For by employing it in the Views of Eternity, he may be said to Consecrate the least Degree of Knowledge, in directing it to so noble an End; the Mo­deration, in the Motions of his Heart, leaves a clear Distinction in his Ideas; he does not promiscuously keep up all Kinds of Know­ledge, but selects and picks it; he makes not Merchandize of that, for the Interest of Time, which may be serviceable to the pur­pose [Page 262] of Eternity; his Heart is not imposthumated and puffed up with Learning, bu [...] Learning derives its whole Perfection, from the relation it has to the lofty Views, and Motions of his Heart; his Light, instead of disturbing Society, procures the Good and Peace of it, by the Prospect of that Eternal Conversation we ought to have with God: And lastly, He places not the Honour, and Perfection of his Mind, in an Independance, which mounting him above the Revelation of God, subjects and pulls him down to the Prejudices of Men, or the Illusions of his own Vanity; but he thinks his Knowledge sufficient, when he knows what it pleased God to teach him for his Good.

'Twould now remain, that we value our selves upon Humane Vertues; as Courage, Intrepidness, Fortitude, Liberality, Magna­nimity; but this would but betray our Ig­norance of Man's Heart, to take them for real Sources of Glory. We won't say, that they always proceed from an Excess of our Corruption, neither will we set 'em up for true Sources of Esteem.

For pray, What is Vertue taken in this Sence? 'Tis a Sacrifice of the inferiour Passions to the superiour; 'tis to offer up One's other Affections as Victims to Pride, and the love of Glory.

[Page 263] Liberality is nothing else, as we before observ'd, but a Traffick of Self-love, which prefers the Glory of giving, before what it gives. Constancy is but meerly a vain Osten­tation of the Strength of One's Soul, and a Desire to seem above the reach of Adversity. Intrepidness is but an Art of hiding One's Fear, or of putting off a natural Infirmi­ty. Magnanimity is only a Desire to make an outward Show, of great and elevated Thoughts.

Love of One's Country, which made the noblest Character of the Ancient Heroes, was but a secret and by-road, their Self-love took, to arrive to Consideration, Glory and Dignities; and sometimes 'twas only Am­bition, disguised under noble and venerable Names. Cicero's Revenge, Augustus's Am­bition, Lucullus's Interest, would not have been very well taken by the Romans, had they appear'd in their true and native shape; they were oblig'd to cover 'em with this Pretext, The Love of their Country. There have also been Cases, wherein Men ha­ving some confus'd Sentiment of their Per­fections, and seeking for natural Grandeur, left no Stone unturn'd, to give their Actions and Conduct such an End, as was worthy of what they conceiv'd of their Excellency; but wanting good Direction, they diverted to false Objects. Brutus commends Vertue, and afterwards repents of it▪ Cato sacrifices [Page 264] to his Country, and considers not, that under the specious Name of the Country, he adores, he works for a Company of Robbers and Usurpers; and tho' a confus'd Idea of the Publick seem so Glorious, a distinct ought to cover him with Shame and Confusion.

In a word, there's a Falshood in Humane Vertues, which is obvious to all the World, and hinders us from setting a Value upon 'em, without a gross Extravagance. Is there any more Sincerity in the Injustice of those other Heroes, who became Ennobled by Crimes and Villanies, and Renown'd by their injurious Exploits? They Sacrifice their Lives and Fortunes, as if all were their own; Alexander is a lively Instance of this Disorder: One would guess, from the furious Conduct of this Prince, that all Things were made for his Pleasure and Glory; and that Mankind was good for no­thing else, but to serve his Desire. He Burns Cities, Ravages Provinces, Reverses Thrones, makes other Powers the Play-game of his own, as if the Nation of the Earth were but Dust and Worms in his Sight. Is it tole­rable, that a Man should make such Sacri­fices to himself, as he would dread to Offer to the greatest of his Gods?

CHAP. XIX. Of the Two last Characters of Pride,which are Ambition, and the Contempt of the World.

THE excessive Love of Esteem produces another Irregularity, which is Am­bition, because our too violent Ardour, to make our selves Considerable in the World, causes us to aspire at all that may render us eminent, and great upon the Theatre of Hu­mane Life: Whilst we are confounded with the common Rabble, others are equally re­spected by the Publick; if we would draw Attention, and a peculiar Deference, we must depart from their Company. Superiori­ty challenges the Preferences of Considera­tion and Esteem, and for this reason we are ambitious of attaining it.

Every One strives to excel in his Pro­fession, be it never so mean; and that, not because he loves the Excellency of his Art, for its own sake; but because he would be­come more Famous and Considerable than others: They that expose themselves to War, are not in love with the Dangers, but the distinguisht Glory.

But lest the Distinction, which proceeds from Merit and great Actions, may p [...]ssiblyly [Page 266] hid, be subject to Contestation, or not expos'd to general View, our Heart am­bitiously covets another kind of Elevation, which is Incontestable, and acknowledg'd by all Men; namely, Grandeur, Dignities, and Power, as we before observ'd.

The Fancy of Self-love is particularly tickl'd, when it sees those, whom it fear'd as Rivals in the Field of Vain-glory, court and crouch under its Superiority: 'Tis charm'd, and mightily taken with the Power that brings them under it; and loves them so much the more, as it less fears the Obsta­cle of their Competition. But the same Sen­timent of Pride, which excites us to love those, that are subject to our Empire, so much tempts them to abhor the Necessity, which puts 'em in a state of Dependance, that no less than an heroick and eminent Vertue, on our side, can force them to hide their Malignity.

Lastly, The same Reason that makes us endeavour to mount our selves to a distin­guisht Rank, that we may no longerly in the Obscurity and Confusion, which hinder us from being Remarkt in the World, inspires us with that Inclination we have to despise and contemn our Neighbour: We are not contented to stand on Tip-toe, to seem Taller than other Men; but must also endeavour to Trip up their Heels, and throw 'em down, that we may seem Greater by their Fall and Debasement.

[Page 267]The Pleasure we take in Satyr, and Co­medy, is not only to be imputed to our Spite and Malignity, but also to our Pride. 'Tis Nuts to us to see other Men disgrac'd and pull'd down; especially those Persons, who hereby become uncapable of being our Ri­vals in the Suit of Vain-glory; we take a particular Delight to see these Ridicule'd, because this Debasement seems greatest and most incurable of all, Men being asham'd to make those the Objects of their Esteem, whom before they derided and reproacht.

How comes it to pass that Men, who never Laugh to see a Stone, or a Horse fall down, can hardly forbear it when they see a Man fall; since the One is undoubtedly in it self no more Ridiculous than the Other? 'Tis because our Heart is not at all con­cern'd, or interested in the Fall of a Beast; whereas we are so much interested in the Fall and Debasement of other Men, that even the Image of it delights and pleases us: Men think their Laughing is always in­nocent, and indeed 'tis always criminal and blamable.

This same Propensity inspires us with the Contempt of our Neighbour, which is term'd Insolence, Haughtiness, or Arro­gance; according as 'tis Conversant about Superiours, Inferiours, or Equals. We are eager to Debase those who were beneath us before, thinking we shall rise higher, pro­portionably, [Page 268] as they fall lower; or to dis­parage and injure our Equals, that they may no longer be at the same Level with us; or to slight and undervalue our Superiours, because the Lustre of their Grandeur ex­tinguishes ours: Herein our Pride visibly betrays it self; for if others are an Object of our Contempt, why should we ambitiously covet their Esteem? Or, if their Esteem be so much worth, as to deserve the most pas­sionate Desire of our Souls, how can we de­spise 'em? Is it not because the Contempt of our Neighbour, is rather affected, than real? We behold his Grandeur and Excel­lency, seeing his Esteem appears to us so Valuable; but we use our utmost Efforts to hide and conceal it, thinking we shall seem to spin our Honour out of our own Bowels.

Hence arise Slanders, Calumnies, Ironi­cal Praises, Satyr, Malignity and Envy: In­deed we are very careful to conceal this lat­ter, because 'tis a forc'd Confession, we make of the Merit or Happiness of others, and an Homage we do 'em by a kind of Constraint and Violence.

Of all the Sentiments of Pride, Contempt of our Neighbour is the most dangerous; because this directly opposes the Good of Society, which is the End, whereunto the Love of Esteem, by the Intention of Nature, ought to tend; and also renders Men most odious, and detestable in the Eyes of the World.

[Page 269]When we see two Fellows, one whereof makes an outward shew of Vanity and Pre­sumption; the other swears he can't endure this Pride of all things in the World, we may boldly conclude that the latter is more dangerously tainted with this Fault than the former; 'tis meerly his own Pride that gives him an Idea of the Pride of others; and 'tis a less criminal Effect of Pride, to presume too much upon One-self, than to degrade one's Neighbour.

Presumption and Confidence are a kind of Drunkenness in the Soul; but Hatred, Envy, Malignity, are a down-right Fury and Madness.

Envy is an implacable Sentiment, you may silence and stop its Mouth, by Be [...]fits and Kindness, but you'll never bend, or alter its Course; 'twill last as long as your Merit: It may pardon the last Affronts and Abuses you offer'd, or Time at least, will blot out the Remembrance of 'em; but 'twill never excuse your Desert and Accomplishments.

Envy and Flattery are two very opposite Faults: The former makes a shew of an ap­parent Contempt, tho' it secretly carry a real Esteem; for Envy, in the bottome, is an honouring Sentiment; it tends to no­thing but what it Esteems; it lives and dies with Merit and Desert: whereas Flattery cloaks a most real Contempt, under the Mask of an apparent Esteem, since it arises meerly [Page 270] from a supposition of his Infirmity and Weakness, who is the Object of it: And it may be said, that some Satyrs are very Com­mending, and some Panegyricks most highly Abusive. Alexander, intoxicated with the Fumes of his Vanity, sees not, that the Ma­cedonian Strength and Vigour gains him more Honour, than the Idolatry of the Persians; yet he's much oblig'd to his Friends, if they won't ridicule and make sport at him.

'Tis easy to judge, from what we have said upon this Subject, how odious a Fault Pride is; for all its Irregularities are most criminal and sinful. The excessive Love of Esteem makes us reverse the very Course of Nature, by changing the End, into the Me [...]ns; and the Means into the End: For since the Love of Esteem, as well as of Plea­sure, is only a Means, which God imploy'd to steer us to Vertue, and the Good of So­ciety, is it not repugnant to the Rules of Nature, for Men to act as if they were born for no other End, but meerly to be honour­ed and esteem'd? Presumption casts a Mist before our Eyes, that we may not discern what is truly Estimable in us; it being cer­tain, that what we are, is infinitely beyond what we think we are; and that our real Perfections; much better deserve the Atten­tion of our Soul, than those imaginary Qua­lities we falsly boast of.

[Page 271]The Vanity, which applies it self to false Sources of Glory, makes us lose the sight of the true and solid Foundations of Honour; which are Piety, and the Fear of God. The Contempt of our Neighbour necessarily re­flects upon our selves, seeing we are not very different from Beasts, if we truly differ so much from other Men; and the Distin­ctions of Pride, destroy all the Ideas of our natural Excellency.

But besides all these, there's a more la­tent and hidden Fault in Pride, which ex­ceeds all the rest; for it makes us Usurp the Glory of God himself. Our Perfections are Talents, wherewith God intrusted us, to the end we might improve 'em; the Profit resulting from 'em is the Glory, which ought to be ascrib'd to him, as being a Rivu­let of his own immense Goodness: But this unjust and sacrilegious Pride, which robs and pillages all it meets with, has no more Respect to Divine, than Humane Rights: All the Reverence it has for God is, That it dares not confess the Injuries and Wrongs it hath done him; and, that 'tis tormented with so great Horrour for its Sa­crileges, that 'tis afraid to shew 'em in open View, or bring in Reason for its Accomplice and Confederate.

It may be gather'd, from what we have here said, that Pride, as well as Corruption, in general, is almost equal, and the same in [Page 272] all Men: In some it does not shew it self so manifest as in others. All are not alike sol­licitous and thoughtful to raise themselves Esteem and Reputation; because Poverty imposes upon many Men more pressing Oc­cupations; but all have undoubtedly the same Inclination to Esteem. This Dispo­sition may indeed ly hid, and the Sentiment of it be suspended; but yet, absolutely speak­ing, 'tis alike in all Mankind; or rather, there is no difference, but what is made by Grace. Some perhaps will make a greater Appearance or Presumption than others; but there's no less Pride in Timidity, and those punctilious Umbrages of One, who is continually afraid, that either himself or others, will blemish his Character, than in open Presumption.

Some Men seem civil and good-natur'd to others; but yet they look to take the upper hand in the way to Glory: Outward Civili­ty being, to speak the plain Truth, nothing but an apparent Preference we make of our selves before all the World.

Again, there be some who are Masters of themselves, when commended; but not, when they are blam'd. Modesty holds out against the Impressions of Flattery, but is disturb'd, and out of Tune, at the Insults of Abuse. Pride makes it self Mistress of its Joy and Satisfaction, but can't command its Grief and Resentment. Lastly, There are [Page 273] some, who seem elevated above the reach of of Esteem, and make as if they are troubled at being caress'd with publick Approbation; but search deeply into the Motives of this Philosophical Grief, and you'll find that Pride has a very great Hand in 'em. One puffed up with an Opinion of his Merit, thinks many times that Men don't render him his Due: Till all Mankind fall down to him on their Marrow-bones, he'll not leave his ill Humour; and if he be not A­dor'd, you'll see him a Mysanthropist.

Hence, in the last place, it appears, that Pride lives by the Errour of other Men, and the Illusions it puts upon it self: It has establish'd, I know not what, false Maxims in the World, upon which all Men reason as upon true and solid Principles; by Ver­tue whereof it endeavours to promote, and put forward its Pretensions. Let no Man fancy, that these Prejudices can be destroy­ed by opposing 'em directly with Reason; Men hold fast these Errours, maugre the Dictates of their Judgment, which tell 'em how Irrational they are, because they pro­ceed from the Disposition of the Heart. The ready way to be cur'd, of these Cheats, is to moderate the excessive Love of Esteem, which reigns in our Heart; and there's no other Means of destroying this latter, but by turning the Bent of our Soul towards the eternal and infinite Good, which is GOD, [Page 274] the only Source of our Happiness and Glory

This is the Summ of the Reflections had to make at present, upon our most general Inclinations, and Irregularities; wait­ing till I make more particular Discoveries in the Knowledge of the Heart, which is so excellent, so important, and so worthy our Study and Application. May God, by his Grace, Bless those I have made in this Writing; and make them Succeed to his Glory, and my Eternal Salvation. Amen.


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