By THO. TRAHERNE, B. D. Author of the Roman Forgeries.

LONDON, Printed for Jonathan Edwin, at the Three Roses in Ludgate-street, 1675.


THE design of this Treatise is, not to stroak and tickle the Fancy, but to ele­vate the Soul, and refine its Apprehensions, to inform the Judgment, and polish it for Conversation, to purifie and enflame the Heart, to enrich the Mind, and guide Men [Page] (that stand in need of help) in the way of Vertue; to ex­cite their Desire, to encourage them to Travel, to comfort them in the Journey, and so at last to lead them to true Felici­ty, both here and hereafter.

I need not treat of Vertues in the ordinary way, as they are Duties enjoyned by the Law of GOD; that the Au­thor of The whole Duty of Man hath excellently done: nor as they are Prudential Expedients and Means for a mans Peace and Honour on Earth; that is in some mea­sure done by the French Char­ron [Page] of Wisdom. My purpose is to satisfie the Curious and Un­believing Soul, concerning the reality, force, and efficacy of Vertue; and having some ad­vantages from the knowledge I gained in the nature of Fe­licity (by many years earnest and diligent study) my business is to make as visible, as it is possible for me, the lustre of its Beauty, Dignity, and Glory: By shewing what a necessary Means Vertue is, how sweet, how full of Reason, how de­sirable in it self, how just and amiable, how delightful, and how powerfully conducive also [Page] to Glory: how naturally Ver­tue carries us to the Temple of Bliss, and how immeasura­bly transcendent it is in all kinds of Excellency.

And (if I may speak free­ly) my Office is, to carry and enhance Vertue to its utmost height, to open the Beauty of all the Prospect, and to make the Glory of GOD appear, in the Blessedness of Man, by setting forth its infinite Excel­lency: Taking out of the Trea­suries of Humanity those Ar­guments that will discover the great perfection of the End of Man, which he may atchieve [Page] by the capacity of his Nature: As also by opening the Nature of Vertue it self, thereby to display the marvellous Beauty of Religion, and light the Soul to the sight of its Perfection.

I do not speak much of Vice, which is far the more easie Theme, because I am in­tirely taken up with the abun­dance of Worth and Beauty in Vertue, and have so much to say of the positive and intrin­sick Goodness of its Nature. But besides, since a strait Line is the measure both of it self, and of a crooked one, I con­clude, That the very Glory of [Page] Vertue well understood, will make all Vice appear like dirt before Jewel, when they are compared together. Nay, Vice as soon as it is named in the presence of these Vertues, will look like Poyson and a Contagi­on, or if you will, as black as Malice and Ingratitude: so that there will need no other Exposition of its Nature, to dehort Men from the love of it, than the Illustration of its Contrary.

Vertues are listed in the rank of Invisible things; of which kind, some are so blind as to deny there are any existent [Page] in Nature: But yet it may, and will be made easily appa­rent, that all the Peace and Beauty in the World proceed­eth from them, all Honour and Security is founded in them, all Glory and Esteem is acquired by them. For the Prosperity of all Kingdoms is laid in the Goodness of GOD and of Men. Were there no­thing in the World but the Works of Amity, which pro­ceed from the highest Vertue, they alone would testifie of its Excellency. For there can be no Safety where there is any Treachery: But were all [Page] Truth and Courtesie exercis'd with Fidelity and Love, there could be no Injustice or Com­plaint in the World; no Strife, nor Violence: but all Bounty, Joy and Complacency. Were there no Blindness, every Soul would be full of Light, and the face of Felicity be seen, and the Earth be turned into Heaven.

The things we treat of are great and mighty; they touch the Essence of every Soul, and are of infinite Concernment, be­cause the Felicity is eternal that is acquired by them: I do not mean Immortal only but wor­thy to be Eternal: and it is [Page] impossible to be happy without them. We treat of Mans great and soveraign End, of the Nature of Blessedness, of the Means to attain it: Of Know­ledge and Love, of Wisdom and Goodness, of Righteous­ness and Holiness, of Justice and Mercy, of Prudence and Courage, of Temperance and Patience, of Meekness and Humility, of Contentment, of Magnanimity and Modesty, of Liberality and Magnificence, of the waies by which Love is begotten in the Soul, of Gra­titude, of Faith, Hope, and Charity, of Repentance, De­votion, [Page] Fidelity, and Godli­ness. In all which we shew what sublime and mysterious Creatures they are, which de­pend upon the Operations of Mans Soul; their great ex­tent, their use and value, their Original and their End, their Objects and their Times: What Vertues belong to the E­state of Innocency, what to the Estate of Misery and Grace, and what to the Estate of Glory. Which are the food of the Soul, and the works of Nature; which were occasio­ned by Sin, as Medicines and Expedients only: which are [Page] Essential to Felicity, and which Accidental; which Temporal, and which Eter­nal: with the true Reason of their Imposition; why they all are commanded, and how wise and gracious GOD is in en­joyning them. By which means all Atheism is put to flight, and all Infidelity: The Soul is reconciled to the Lawgiver of the World, and taught to delight in his Commande­ments: All Enmity and Dis­contentment must vanish as Clouds and Darkness before the Sun, when the Beauty of Vertue appeareth in its [Page] brightness and glory. It is impossible that the splendour of its Nature should be seen, but all Religion and Felicity will be manifest.

Perhaps you will meet some New Notions: but yet when they are examined, he hopes it will appear to the Reader, that it was the actual know­ledge of true Felicity that taught him to speak of Ver­tue; and moreover, that there is not the least tittle pertaining to the Catholick Faith con­tradicted or altered in his Pa­pers. For he firmly retains all that was established in the [Page] Ancient Councels, nay and sees Cause to do so, even in the highest and most transcendent Mysteries: only he enriches all, by farther opening the grandeur and glory of Reli­gion, with the interiour depths and Beauties of Faith. Yet indeed it is not he, but GOD that hath enriched the Nature of it: he only brings the Wealth of Vertue to light, which the infinite Wisdom, and Good­ness, and Power of GOD have seated there. Which though Learned Men know perhaps far better than he, yet he humbly craves pardon for cast­ing [Page] in his Mite to the vulgar Exchequer. He hath nothing more to say, but that the Glory of GOD, and the sublime Perfection of Humane Na­ture are united in Vertue. By Vertue the Creation is made useful, and the Universe de­lightful. All the Works of GOD are crowned with their End, by the Glory of Vertue. For whatsoever is good and profitable for Men is made Sa­cred; because it is delightful and well-pleasing to GOD: Who being LOVE by Na­ture, delighteth in his Crea­tures welfare.

[Page]There are two sorts of con­current Actions necessary to Bliss. Actions in GOD, and Actions in Men; nay and Acti­ons too in all the Creatures. The Sun must warm, but it must not burn; the Earth must bring forth, but not swal­low up; the Air must cool without starving, and the Sea moisten without drowning: Meats must feed but not poy­son: Rain must fall, but not oppress: Thus in the inferiour Creatures you see Actions are of several kinds. But these may be reduced to the Actions of GOD, from whom they [Page] spring; for he prepares all these Creatures for us. And it is necessary to the felicity of his Sons, that he should make all things healing and amiable, not odious and destructive: that he should Love, and not Hate: And the Actions of Men must concur aright with these of GOD, and his Creatures. They must not despise Blessings because they are given, but esteem them; not trample them under feet, because they have the benefit of them, but magnifie and extol them: They too must Love, and not Hate: They must not kill and mur­ther, [Page] but serve and pleasure one another: they must not scorn great and inestimable Gifts, because they are com­mon, for so the Angels would lose all the happiness of Hea­ven. If GOD should do the most great and glorious things that infinite Wisdom could devise; if Men will resolve to be blind, and perverse, and sensless, all will be in vain: the most High and Sacred things will increase their Mi­sery. This may give you some little glimpse of the excellency of Vertue.

[Page]You may easily discern that my Design is to reconcile Men to GOD, and make them fit to delight in him: and that my last End is to celebrate his Praises, in communion with the Angels. Wherein I beg the Concurrence of the Rea­der, for we can never praise him enough; nor be fit enough to praise him: No other man (at least) can make us so, without our own willingness, and endeavour to do it.

Above all, pray to be sensi­ble of the Excellency of the Creation for upon the due sense of its Excellency the life of [Page] Felicity wholly dependeth. Pray to be sensible of the Ex­cellency of Divine Laws, and of all the Goodness which your Soul comprehendeth. Covet a lively sense of all you know, of the Excellency of GOD, and of Eternal Love; of your own Excellency, and of the worth and value of all Objects what­soever. For to feel is as ne­cessary, as to see their Glory.

The Contents.

OF the End, for the sake of which, Ver­tue is desired.
Chap. II.
Of the Nature of Felicity; its excellency and perfection.
Chap. III.
Of Vertue in general. The distribution of it into its several kinds. Its definition.
Chap. IV.
Of the Powers and Affections of the Soul: What Vertues pertain to the estate of In­nocency; what to the estate of Grace; what to the estate of Glory.
Chap. V.
Of the necessity, excellency and use, of Knowledge: Its depths and extents; its Objects, and its End.
[Page] Chap. VI.
Of Love and Hatred. The necessity and sweetness of Love. Its general use and efficacy. The several kinds of Love. Of the power, inclination and act of Love; its extent and capacity.
Chap. VII.
What benefit GOD himself does receive by his eternal Love: That when our Love is made compleat and perfect, it will be like his, and the benefit of it will be eternal.
Chap. VIII.
Of the excellency of Truth, as it is the ob­ject and cause of Vertue. The matter and form of Vertuous Actions. That their form is infinitely more excellent than their matter, and the Heathen Morality infinitely defective and short of the Christian.
Chap. IX.
Wisdom is seated in the Will; it attaineth best of all possible Ends by the best of all possible Means.
Chap. X.
Of Righteousness, how Wisdom, Justice, and right Reason are shut up in its Nature. [Page] What God doth, and what we acquire, by the exercise of this Vertue.
Chap. XI.
Of Goodness natural, moral, and divine; its Nature described. The benefits and Works of Goodness.
Chap. XII.
Of Holiness: Its nature, violence and plea­sure. Its beauty consisteth in the infinite love of Righteousness and Perfection.
Chap. XIII.
Of Justice in general, and particular. The great good it doth in Empires and King­doms; a token of the more retired good it doth in the Soul. Its several kinds. That Gods punitive Justice springs from his Goodness.
Chap. XIV.
Of Mercy. The indelible stain and guilt of Sin. Of the Kingdom which God reco­vered by Mercy. The transcendent nature of that duty; with its effects and bene­fits.
Chap. XV.
Of Faith. The faculty of Believing implan­ted [Page] in the Soul. Of Nature its Objects are. The necessity of Faith: Its end; its use and excellency. It is the Mother and fountain of all the Vertues.
Chap. XVI.
Of Hope. Its foundation: its distinction from Faith; its extents and dimensions; its life and vigour; its several kinds; its sweetness and excellency.
Chap. XVII.
Of Repentance. Its original; its nature; it is a purgative Vertue; its necessity; its excellencies. The measure of that sor­row which is due to Sin is intollerable to Sence; confessed by Reason, and dispensed with by Mercy.
Chap. XVIII.
Of Charity towards God. It sanctifieth Re­pentance, makes it a Vertue, and turns it to a part of our true Felicity. Our Love to all other objects is to begin and end in God. Our Love of God hath an excel­lency in it, that makes it worthy to be desired by his eternal Majesty. He is the only supream and perfect Friend; by Loving we enjoy him.
[Page] Chap. XIX.
Charity to our Neighbour most natural and easie in the estate of Innocency: Adams Love to Eve, and his Children, a great exemplar of our Love to all the World. The sweetness of Loving. The benefits of being Beloved. To love all the World, and to be beloved by all the World, is perfect security and felicity. Were the Law ful­filled, all the World would be turned into Heaven.
Chap. XX.
Of Prudence. Its foundation is Charity, its end tranquility and prosperity on Earth; its office to reconcile Duty and Conve­nience, and to make Vertue subservient to Temporal welfare. Of Prudence in Religion; Friendship, and Empire. The end of Prudence is perfect Charity.
Chap. XXI.
Encouragements to Courage. Its Nature, cause, and end. Its greatness and renown. Its ornaments and Companions. Its ob­jects, circumstances, effects, and disad­vantages: how Difficulties increase its vertue. Its Victories and Triumphs. How subservient it is to Blessedness and Glo­ry.
[Page] Chap. XXII.
Of Temperance in matters of Art, as Mu­sick, Dancing, Painting, Cookery, Physick, &c. In the works of Nature; Eating, drinking, sports and recreations: In oc­casions of passion, in our lives and Con­versations. Its exercise in Self-denial, measure, mixture and proportion. Its effects and atchievments.
Chap. XXIII.
Of Temperance in God. How the Modera­tion of Almighty Power, guided in his Works by Wisdom, perfecteth the Creati­on. How it hath raised its own Glory and our Felicity beyond all that simple Power could effect by its Infiniteness.
Chap. XXIV.
Of Patience. Its original. How God was the first patient Person in the World. The nature, and the glory, and the blessed effects of his eternal Patience. The Rea­son and design of all Calamities. Of Pati­ence in Martyrdom. The extraordinary reward of ordinary Patience in its mean­est obscurity.
Chap. XXV.
The cause of Meekness is Love. It respects the future beauty and perfection of its [Page] object. It is the most supernatural of all the Vertues. The reasons and grounds of this Vertue in the estate of Grace and Misery. Its manifold effects and excellen­lencies. Of the Meekness of Moses and Joseph.
Chap. XXVI.
Humility is the basis of all Vertue and Feli­city, in all estates, and for ever to be ex­ercised. As Pride does alienate the Soul from God, Humility unites it to him in adoration and amity. It maketh infinite Blessedness infinitely greater, is agreeable to the truth of our condition, and leads us through a dark and mysterious way to Glory.
Chap. XXVII.
That Contentment is a Vertue. Its causes, and its ends: Its Impediments, Effects, and Advantages. The way to attain and secure Contentment.
Of Magnanimity, or greatness of Soul. Its nature. Its foundation in the vast Capa­city of the Understanding. Its desire. Its objects are infinite and eternal. Its en­quiries are most profound and earnest. It disdaineth all feeble Honours, Pleasures [Page] and Treasures. A Magnanimous Man is the only Great and undaunted Creature.
Chap. XXIX.
Of Modesty. Its nature. Its original. Its effects and consequences.
Chap. XXX.
The excellent nature of Liberality. Rules to be observed in the practice of it. Re­gard to our Servants, Relations, Friends and Neighbours must be had in our Libe­rality, as well as to the Poor and Needy. How our external acts of Charity ought to be improved for the benefit of mens Souls. Liberality maketh Religion real and substantial.
Chap. XXXI.
Of Magnificence in God. Its resemblance in Man. The chief Magnificence of the Soul is Spiritual. It is perfectly expressed in the outward life, when the whole is made perfect, and presented to God. God gives all his Life to us: and we should give ours all to him. How fair and glorious it may be.
[Page] Chap. XXXII.
Of Gratitude. It feeds upon Benefits, and is in height and fervour answerable to their Greatness. The Question stated, Whe­ther we are able to love GOD more than our selves. It is impossible to be grateful to GOD without it. A hint of the glori­ous Consequences of so doing.
The Beauty of Gratitude. Its principal Cau­ses. Amity and Communion are the great effect of its Nature. The true Character of a grateful Person. Gods incommunica­ble Attributes enjoyed by Gratitude. All Angels and Men are a grateful Persons Treasures, as they assist him in Praises. He sacrifices all Worlds to the Deity, and su­preamly delighteth to see him sitting in the Throne of Glory.
Of Enmity and Triumph: Of Schism and Heresie, Fidelity, Devotion, Godliness. Wherein is declared, how Gratitude and Felicity inspire and perfect all the Vertues.

To the Reader.

The Author's much lamented Death hapning immediately after this Copy came to the Press, may reasonably move the Readers charity, to pardon those few Errata's which have escaped in the Printing by so sad an occasion.

CHRISTIAN ETHICKS OR DIVINE MORALITIE. Opening The Way to Blessedness By The rules of Virtue and Reason.


Of the End, for the sake of which, Vir­tue is desired.

IT is the Prerogative of Humane Nature to understand it self, and guide its Operations to a Known End: which he doth wholly for­feit, that lives at random, with­out considering what is worthy of his Endeavors, or fit for his Desires.

THE End is that which crowns the Work; that which inspires the Soul with Desire, and Desire with a quick and vigo­rous Industry. It is last attained, but first [Page 2] intended in every Operation. All Means which can be used in the Acquisiton of it, derive their value from its Excellen­cy, and we are encouraged to use them only on the Account of that End, which is attained by them.

IT is the Office of Morality to teach Men the Nature of Virtue, and to encou­rage them in the Practice of it, by ex­plaining its use and Efficacy.

THE Excellence of Virtue, is the Ne­cessity and Efficacy thereof in the Way to Felicity. It consisteth in this, Virtue is the only Means, by which Happiness can be obtained.

SINCE the Consideration of the End is that alone, which does animate a Man, to the use of the Means, they that treat of Virtue do worthily propose the End in the beginning, and first shew the Excellency of Bliss before they open the Nature of Virtue. For it is a vain thing to discover the Means, unless the End be desired by those to whom the Na­ture and use of them, in their tendency to that End, is taught and commended; for if the End be despised, all endeavors are but fruitless, which instruct us in the Means; and the Knowledge of them [Page 3] vain, if they never be used or improved.

THAT Reason, whereby Man is able to Contemplate his End, is a singular Ad­vantage, wherein he is priviledged above a Beast. It enables him not only to ex­amine the Nature and perfection of his End, but the Equity and fitness of the Means in Order thereunto and the singu­lar Excellency of his first Cause, as its Glo­ry and Goodness appeareth in the Design and Contrivance: Especially in making mans Happiness so compleat and perfect.

THE Heathens, who invented the name of Ethicks, were very short in the Knowledge of Mans End: But they are worse then Heathens, that never consider it.

THE more Excellent the End is, the more prone by nature we are to pursue it, and all the Means conducive thereunto are the more Desirable.

REASON, which is the formal Es­sence of the Soul of Man, guides Him to desire those Things, which are absolutely supreme. For it is an Eternal Property in Reason to prefer the Better, above the Worse: He that prefers the worse above [...]he Better acts against Nature, and [...]wervs from the Rule of Right Reason.

WHATEVER Varieties of Opi­nion [Page 4] there are concerning Happiness, all conclude and agree in this, that Mans last End is his perfect Happiness: And the more Excellent his Happiness is, the more ought his Soul to be enflamed with the Desire of it, and inspired with the grea­ter Industry.

THE more perfect his Bliss is, the greater is the Crime of despising it. To pursue an infinite and Eternal Happiness is Divine and Angelical; to pursue a Terrene and Sensual Felicity, is Brutish; but to place Felicity in Anger and Envy is Diabolical: the pleasures of Malice being Bitter and Destructive.

TO live by Accident, and never to pursue any Felicity at all, is neither An­gelical, nor Brutish, nor Diabolical: but Worse then any Thing in some respect in the World: It is to act against our own Principles, and to wage war with our very Selves. They that place their Ease in such a Carelessness, are of all others, the greatest Enemies and Disturbers of themselves.

IT is Madness and folly to pursue th [...] first object that presents it self, und [...] Notion of felicity: And it is [...] to content ones self in the Enjoyme [...] [Page 5] of a mean estate, upon a suspicion there is no true happiness, because the nature thereof is so much doubted in the World. The Disputations concer­ning its nature argue its existance. And we must cease to be Men, before we can extinguish the desire of being Hap­py. He only is truely Generous, that aspires to the most perfect Blessedness of which God and Nature have made him Capable.

BY how much Greater the Uncertain­ty is, by so much the more Heedful ought we to be, lest we should be sedu­ced and deceived, in the Choice of Happiness: For the Danger is the Grea­ter. And by how much the more Eager Men are in their Disputations, concern­ing it, by so much the more weighty is the Nature of the Theme to be presum­ed.

HASTINESS in catching at an un­examined Felicity, is the great Occasion of all the Error about it, among the Vul­gar: who are led, like Beasts, by their Sense and Appetite, without discerning or improving any other faculty. The lip of the Cup is annointed with Hony, which, as soon as they taste, they drink [Page 6] it up, tho the liquor be nothing but Gall and Poyson. Being deluded with a shew, instead of Pleasure, they rush hand over head on their own Destruction.

IT is as natural to Man to desire hap­piness, as to live and breath: Sence and Instinct carry him to Happyness, as well as Reason: onely Reason should rectifie and direct his Instinct, inform his Sence, and compleat his Essence, by inducing those perfections of which it is capable.

THINGS Good in themselves, when they stand in Competition with those that are better, have the notion of Evil: Better Things are Evil, if compared with the Best; especially where the Choice of the one hinders the Acquisi­tion of the other. For where Good, Better, and Best, are subservient to each other, the one is the better for the o­thers sake; but where they interfere, and oppose each other, the Good are bad in comparison of the Better, and the Better worse than the Best of all. This is the Cause why Reason cannot ac­quiesce in any Felicity less than the Su­preme: which must needs be infinite, be­cause Almighty Power, which made Reason active, is illimited in its Operati­ons; [Page 7] and never rests, but in the produ­ction of a Glorious Act, that is infinite in Perfection.

IF Felicity be infinite, the Loss is as great, that attends our Miscarriage, and the misery intolerable, that follows our Loss. For (our eyes being open) a Loss that is incomprehensible must needs produce a Greif unmeasurable, an An­guish as infinite as our Damage.

ALL inferiour felicities are but Mi­series compared with the Highest. A far­thing is good and pleaseth a Beggar in time of distress: but a piece of Gold is Better. An Estate of a thousand pounds a year is better than a Piece of Gold; but our Ambition carries us to Principa­lities and Empires. An Empire is more desirable than a Province; and the Wi­der, the Richer, the Better it is, the more Desirable. But the Empire of all the Earth is a Bubble compared to the Heavens: And the Heavens themselves less than no­thing to an infinite Dominion.

PERFECT Felicity is not Domi­nion, nor Pleasure, nor Riches alone, nor Learning, nor Virtue, nor Honour; but all in Perfection. It requires that every Soul should be capable of infinite [Page 8] Dominion, Pleasure, Learning, and Honor for the full and perfect attainment of it.

IF all these be infinite and Eter­nal in that Felicity which is prepa­red for Man, those Actions are of inestimable Value, by Virtue of which his Felicity is gained; and it becomes his Wisdom and Courage to suffer ma­ny Things for so noble an End: E­specially if in this Life it may in any measure be thereby acquired and en­joyed.

THE Great Reason why GOD has concealed Felicity from the Knowledge of man, is the enhancement of its nature and value: but that which most con­ceals it, is the Corruption of Nature. For as we have corrupted, so have we blinded our selves. Yet are we led by Instinct eagerly to thirst after things un­known remote and forbidden. The truth is, our Palates are vitiated, and our Di­gestion so Corrupted, that till our Na­ture be purified by a little Industry, to make felicity Known, is but to Expose it to Contempt and Censure. It is too Great and Pure for perverted Nature.

THE Concealment of an object whets our Appetite, and puts and Edge [Page 9] upon our endeavours, and this carries some thing of Mystery in it; For where­as the Maxime is Ignoti nulla Cupido, All Love comes in at the Eye, we affect an Ob­ject to which we are Blind, and the more Blind we are, the more restless. We are touched with an unknown Beauty which we never saw, and in the midst of our Ignorance are actuated with a Ten­dency, which does not abate the value of our Virtues, but put Life and Energy in­to our Actions.

THO Felicity cannot, perfectly be understood, because it is incompre­hensible to Men on Earth, yet so much of it may be discerned, as will serve to meet our Instinct, and feed our Capaci­ty, animate our Endeavour, encourage our Expectation (to hope for more then we enjoy) enable us to subdue our Lusts, support us in temptations, and assist us in overcoming all obstacles what­soever.

INFINITE Honors and Pleasures, were there no more in Felicity, are enough to allure us: but the fruition of all in the Best of Manners, in Communion with God, being full of Life, and Beauty, and Per­fection in himself, and having the certain [Page 10] Assurance that all shall be included in his Bliss, that can be thought on; it is a Thing so Divine, that the very Hope of it fills us with Comfort here, and the At­tainment with perfect Satisfaction here­after.

HE that can enjoy all Things in the Image of GOD, needs not covet their frui­tion in a Baser Manner: Man was made in GODS Image, that he might live in his Similitude.

I am not so Stoical, as to make all Feli­city consist in a meer Apathy, or freedom from Passion, nor yet so Dissolute, as to give the Passions all their Liberty. Nei­ther do I perswade you to renounce the Advantages of Wealth and Honor, any more then those of Beauty and Wit: for as a Man may be Happy without all these, so may he make a Happy use of them when he has them. He may be happy with Diffi­culty without them, but Easily with them. If not in Heaven, yet certainly on Earth, the Goods of fortune concur to the Com­pleating of Temporal Felicity, and there­fore where they are freely given, are not to be despised.

THAT which I desire to teach a man is, How to make a Good use of all the Ad­vantages [Page 11] of his Birth and Breeding; How in the Increase of Riches and Ho­nors, to be Happy in their Enjoyment: How to secure himself in the temptations of Affluence, and to make a man glorious in himself, and delightful to others in Abundance: Or else if Affliction should arise, and the State of Affairs change, how to triumph over adverse Fortune, and to be Happy notwithstanding his Ca­lamities. How to govern himself in all Estates so as to turn them to his own ad­vantage.

FOR tho felicitie be not absolutely perfect in this World, nor so compleat in Poverty, as in a great and plentiful Estate; you are not to believe that wealth is absolutely necessary; because some­times it is requisite to forfeit all for the sake of Felicity. Nothing is absolutely necessary to Bliss, but Grace and ver­tue, tho to perfect Bliss, Ease and Ho­nour be absolutely necessary.

THERE are many degrees of Bles­sedness beneath the most Supream, that are transcendently Sweet and delightful: And it sometimes happens, that what is most bitter to Sence, is pleasant to Reason.

[Page 12]RATHER then make Shipwrack of a good Conscience, we must do as Ma­riners in a storm, cast our riches over board for our own Preservation. It is better losing them, then our selves.

VERTUE is Desirable and Glori­ous, because it teacheth us through many Difficulties in this Tempestuous World to Sail Smoothly, and attain the Ha­ven.


Of the Nature of Felicity, its Ex­cellence and Perfection.

THE Peripateticks, so far forth as they contemplated the Nature and Estate of man in this World, were Wise, in defining the Goods of the Bo­dy, Soul and Fortune to concur to Mans perfect Happiness. For Difficulties and Conflicts are not Essential to the Na­ture of Bliss, nor confistent with the frui­tion of its fulness and Perfection.

THERE is the Way, and the jour­neyes end.

IN the Way to Felicity many things [Page 13] are to be endured, that are not to be desired. And therefore is it necessary, to make a Distinction between the way to Felicity, and the Rest which we attain in the end of our Journey.

THE Goods of the Soul, are abso­lutely necessary in the Way to Happiness; the Goods of the Body are very conve­nient, and those of Fortune Commodi­ous enough. But the latter of these are not with too much eagerness to be pur­sued.

THE Goods of the soul are wisdom, Knowledg, Courage, all the Virtues, all the Passions, Affections, Powers and faculties. And these you know are ab­solutely necessary.

THE Goods of the Body are Health, Agility, Beauty, Vivacity, Strength and Libertie: and these shall in Heaven it self, together with those of the Soul, he enjoyed. By which you may dis­cern that the Goods of the Body are real Parts and Ingredients of Happiness.

THE Goods of Fortune are food and Rayment, Houses and Lands, Rich­es, Honours, Relations and Friends, with all those convenient Circumstances without the Body, that are subject to [Page 14] chance. By which vertue is assisted, and of which a noble use may be made, in Works of Justice, Hospitality, Cour­tesie and Charity, which may redound to our greater Felicity here and in heaven.

THE more Honor and pleasure we enjoy, the Greater and more Perfect is our present Happiness: Tho many times in the Way to Felicity, we are forced to quit all these, for the Preservation of our Innocence.

GALLANT Behavior in flighting all Transitory things for the Preservation of our Virtue, is more conducive to our fu­ture Perfection, then the greatest ease imaginable in our present condition.

IT is incumbent upon us, as a spe­cial part of our Care, to take heed, that we be not ensnared by the easiness of Prosperity, and that we do not set up our Rest in the Way to Happiness, nor deceive our selves in thinking the Goods of Fortune Essential: nor discou­rage our selves, by thinking it impos­siable to be Happy without them. Our Thoughts and Affections must be al­ways disentangled, that we may run, with Alacritie the Race set before us, and close with the Sublimest Perfection [Page 15] of Bliss, as our only portion and De­sire.

FELICITY is rightly defined, to be the Perfect fruition of a Perfect Soul, acting in perfect Life by Perfect Virtue. For the Attainment of which Perfection, we must, in the Way to Felicity, endure all Afflictions that can befall us. For tho they are not Parts of Felicity them­selves, yet we may acknowledge them great Advantages for the Exercise of Virtue, and reckon our Calamities among our Joys, when we bear and overcome them in a virtuous Manner, because they add to our Honor, and contribute much to our Perfection, both here, and hereafter.

FOR this purpose we are to remem­ber, that our present Estate is not that of Reward, but Labour: It is an Estate of Trial, not of Fruition: A Condition wherein we are to Toyl, and Sweat, and travail hard, for the promised Wages; an Appointed Seed Time, for a future Harvest; a real Warfare, in order to a Glorious Victory: In which we must expect some Blows, and delight in the Hazzards and Encounters we meet with, because they will be crowned with a Glorious and joyful Triumph; and at­tended [Page 16] with ornaments and trophies far surpassing the bare Tranquillity of idle peace.

WHEN we can cheerfully look on an Army of Misfortunes, without Amazement we may then freely and Delightfully con­template the Nature of the Highest Felicity.

ARISTOTLE never heard of our Ascension into Heaven, nor of sitting down in the Throne of GOD, yet by a lucky Hit (if I may so say) fell in point blanck upon the Nature of Blessedness. For a perfect fruition by perfect virtue, is all that can be thought of: It implies our Objective, and our formal Happi­ness.

OBJECTIVE Happiness is all the Good­ness that is fit to be enjoyed either in GOD or in his Creatures: while For­mal Happiness is an active Enjoyment of all Objects by Contemplation and Love, attended with full Complacency in all their Perfections.

PERFECT Fruition implies the Per­fection of all its Objects. Among which GOD himself is one, Angels and Saints are next, the World also with all the va­riety of Creatures in it, the Laws of GOD, and his wayes in all Ages, his Eter­nal [Page 17] Counsels and Divine Attributes are other Objects of our Content and Pleasure. Unless all these be perfect in their Nature, Variety, Number, Extent, Relation, Use and Value, our fruition can­not be simply perfect, because a Greater and more perfect fruition might, upon the production of better Objects, be con­trived, and no fruition can be truly perfect, that is not conversant about the highest things. The more Beautiful the Object is, the more pleasant is the enjoy­ment. But where Delight may be in­creased, the Fruition is imperfect.

A Perfect Soul is a Transcendent Mystery. As GOD could not be Perfect, were it possible there could be any Better Essence then he; so neither would the Soul be per­fect, could any more Perfect Soul be crea­ted.

IT is a Soul in which no Defect, or Blemish can be discerned; perfect in the variety and Number of its Powers, in the fitness and Measure of every power, in the use and value of every Endow­ment. A perfect Soul is that whereunto nothing can be added to please our De­ [...]re. As all its Objects are perfect, so [...] it self. It is able to see all that is to be seen, to love all that is Lovely, to [Page 18] hate all that is Hateful, to desire all that is Desirable, to honour all that is Ho­norable, to esteem all that can be valued, to delight in all that is Delightful, and to enjoy all that is Good and fit to be enjoy­ed. If its Power did fall short of any one Object, or of any one Perfection in any Object, or of any Degree in any Per­fection, it would be imperfect, it would not be the Master piece of Eternal Power.

PERFECT life is the full exertion of perfect power. It implies two things, Perfection of Vigour, and perfection of intelligence, an activity of life, reach­ing through all Immensity, to all Ob­jects whatsoever; and a freedome from all Dulness in apprehending: An exqui­site Tenderness of perception in feeling the least Object, and a Sphere of activity that runs parallel with the Omnipresence of the Godhead. For if any Soul lives so imperfectly, as to see and know but some Objects, or to love them remisly, and less then they deserve, its Life is im­perfect, because either it is remisse, or if never so fervent, confined.

PERFECT Fruition, (as it implie [...] the Perfection of all objects) more near­ly imports the intrinsick Perfection o [...] its own Operations. For if its Object [Page 19] be never so many, and perfect in them­selves, a Blemish lies upon the Enjoy­ment, if it does not reach unto all their Excellence. If the Enjoyment of one Ob­ject be lost, or one Degree of the enjoy­ment abated, it is imperfect.

PERFECT Vertue may best be un­derstood by a consideration of its Parti­culars. Perfect Knowledg is a thorow compleat understanding of all that may be Known. Perfect Righteousness is a full and adequate Esteem of all the va­lue that is in Things. It is a Kind of Spiritual Justice, whereby we do Right to our selves, and to all other Beings. If we render to any Object less than it deserves, we are not Just thereunto. Per­fect Wisdome is that whereby we chuse a most perfect end, actualy pursue it by most perfect Means, acquire and enjoy it in most perfect manner: If we pitch upon an inferiour end, our Wisdom is imperfect; and so it is, if we pursue it by feeble and inferior Means, or neglect any one of those Advantages, whereby we may attain it. And the same may be said of all the Vertues.

NOW if all Objects be infinitely Glorious, and all Worlds fit to be en­joyed, [Page 20] if GOD has filled Heaven and earth, and all the Spaces above the Hea­vens with innumerable pleasures, if his infinite Wisdome, Goodness, and Power be fully Glorified in every Being, and the Soul be created to enjoy all these in most perfect Manner; we may well conclude with the Holy Apostle, that we are the children of GOD, and if Children, then Heirs, Heirs of GOD, and joynt heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. That our light Afflicti­on, that is but for a Moment, worketh out for us, a far more exceeding and eter­nal Weight of Glory: That beholding as in a Glass the Glory of the Lord, we shall at last be transformed into the same Image from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spi­rit of the Lord. For all his Works, of which the Psalmist saith, They are wor­thy to be had in remembrance, and are sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, are like a Mirror, wherein his Glory appeareth, as the face of the Sun doth in a clear fountain. We may conclude further that Vertue, by force of which we attain so great a Kingdome, is infinitely better then Rubies, all the Things thou [Page 21] canst desire, are not to be compared to her: So that with unspeakable comfort we may take Courage to go on, not on­ly in the study, but the Practice of all kind of Vertues, concerning which we are to treat in the ensuing Pages. For as the Apostle Peter telleth us, He hath given to us all things that pertain to Life and Godliness, through the Knowledge of him that hath called us to Glory and vir­tue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious Promises; that by these you might be Partakers of the Di­vine Nature, having escaped the Corrupti­on that is in the World through List. And besides this, saith he, giving all dili­gence, adde to your Faith vertue: and to vertue, knowledge; and to knowledge, tem­perance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kind­ness Charity. For so an Entrance shall be Ministred to you abundantly into [...] everlasting Kingdome of our Lord and Sa­viour Jesus Christ. Which Kingdom be­ing so Divine and Glorious as it is, we have need to bow our Knees, to the GOD and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole Family in Heaven and [Page 22] Earth is named, that he would grant us according to the Riches of his Glory, to be strengthened with might, by his Spirit in the inward Man, that Christ may dwell in our Hearts by Faith, that we being root­ed and grounded in Love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the Breadth, and Length, and Depth, and Height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth Knowledg, that we may be filled with all the fulness of GOD.

TO be Partaker of the Divine nature, to be filled with all the Fulness of GOD, to enter into his Kingdom and Glory, to be transformed into his Image, and made an Heir of GOD, and a joynt Heir with Christ, to live in Union and Communion with GOD, and to be made a Temple of the Holy Ghost; these are Divine and transcen­dent things that accompany our Souls in the Perfection of their Bliss and Hap­piness: the Hope and Belief of all which is justified, and made apparent by the explanation of the very nature of the Soul, its Inclinations and Capacities, the reality, and greatness of those Vertues of which we are capable, and all those objects which the Univers affordeth to our Con­templation.


Of Vertue in General. The Distributi­on of it into its several Kinds, its Definition.

BEfore we come to treat of particular Vertues, it is very fit that we speak something of VERTUE in Gene­ral.

VERTUE is a comprehensive Word, by explaining which we shall make the way more easy to the right Understand­ing of all those particular Vertues, into which it is divided. Forasmuch as the Nature of Vertue enters into knowledge, Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Cou­rage, Meekness, Humility, Temperance, Justice, Liberality, &c. Every one of these hath its essence opened in part, by the explication of that which entreth its Nature, which is VERTUE in Ge­neral.

THE Predicament of Quality contains within it either Natural Dispositions or Ha­bits: Habits may be either Vertuous or Vicious; Virtuous Habits are either [Page 24] Theological, Intellectual, Moral, or Divine And these are branched into so many Kinds of Vertue, as followeth.

THE Theological Vertues are generally divided into Three, Faith, Hope, and Charity: which are called Theological, be­cause they have GOD for their Princi­pal Object, and are, in a peculiar man­ner, taught by his. Word among the Myste­ries of Religion. To which we may add Repentance; forasmuch as this Vir­tue, tho it be occasioned by sin, is chiefly taught by the Word of GOD, and re­spects GOD as its Principal Object. For which reason we shall account the Theological Virtues to be four, Faith, Hope, Charity and Repentance, to which, if we making them more, we may add Obedience, Devotion, Godliness.

THE Intellectual Vertues are gene­rally reckoned to be five, Intelligence, Wisdome, Science, Prudence, Art. Which, forasmuch as the Distinction between them is over-nice and curious (at least too obscure for vulgar Apprehensions) we shall reduce them perhaps to a fewer number.

INTELLIGENCE is the Knowledg of Principles; Science the Knowledg of [Page 25] Conclusions. Wisdom, that knowledg, which results from the Union of both Prudence and Art, have been more darkly explained. The Objects of Wisdom are alwayes Sta­ble; Prudence is that knowledge, by which we guide our selves in Thorny and uncertain Affairs; Art is that Habit, by which we are assisted in composing Tracts and Systems, rather then in regula­ting our Lives, and more frequently ap­pears in Fiddling and Dancing, then in noble Deeds: were it not useful in Teach­ers for the Instruction of others, we should scarce reckon it in the number of Vertues.

ALL these are called Intellectual Ver­tues, because they are Seated in the Un­derstanding, and chiefly exercised in Contemplation. The Vertues that are brought down into action, are called Practical, and at other times Moral, Be­cause they help us in perfecting our Manners,Minners in Latine are called Mores whence the English word Moral is derived. as they relate to our Conversati­on with Men.

THE Moral Vertues are either Prin­cipal, or less Principal. The Prin­cipal are four: Prudence, Justice, Tem­perance, and Fortitude. Which, be­cause they are the Hinges upon which [Page 26] our whole Lives do turn, are called *Cardinal, Cardo is a [...]ing. and are commonly known by the name of The four Cardinal Ver­tues. They are called Principal, not onely because they are the chief of all Moral Virtues, but because they enter into every Vertue, as the four Elements of which it is compounded.

THE less Principal Vertues are Magnifi­cence and Liberality, Modesty and Magna­nimity, Gentleness of behaviour, Affability, Courtesie, Truth and Urbanitie, all these are called less Principal, not because they are indifferent, or may be account­ed useless, for then they would not be Vertues: but because, tho their Practice be of extraordinary Importance in their places, they are more remote, and less Avail in the Way to Felicity, and are more confined in their Operations.

DIVINE Vertues (which we put in­stead of the Heathenish Heroical,) are such as have not only GOD for their Object and End, but their Pattern and Example. They are Vertues which are seen in his eternal Life, by Practicing which we also are changed into the same Image, and are made partakers of the Di­ [...] Knowledge and [Page 27] Truth, in the Sublimest Height we con­fess to be Three: but we shall Chiefly insist upon Goodness, and Righteousness, and Holiness. All which will appear in Divine Love, in more peculiar manner to be handled.

BESIDES all these, there are some Vertues, which may more properly be called Christian: because they are no where Else taught but in the Christian Religion, are founded on the Love of Christ, and the only Vertues distin­guishing a Christian from the rest of the World, of which sort are Love to Ene­mies, Meekness and Humility.

ALL these Virtues are shut up un­der one common Head, because they meet in one common Nature; which bears the name of Vertue. The Essence of which being, well understood will conduce much to the clear Knowledge of every one in particular.

VERTUE (in General) is that habit of Soul by force of which we attain our Happi­ness. Or if you please, it is a Right and well order'd Habit of mind, which Facilitates the Soul in all its operations, in order to its Bles­sedness. These Terms are to be unfolded.

1. VERTUE is a Habit: All Habits [Page 28] are either Acquired, or Infused. By call­ing it a Habit, we distinguish it from a Natural Disposition, or Power of the Soul. For a Natural disposition is an inbred Inclination, which attended our Birth, and began with our beings: not chosen by our Wills, nor acquired by Industrie. These Dispositions, be­cause they do not flow from our Choise and industry, cannot be accounted Virtues. Tis true indeed that vertuous Habits are sometimes infused in a Mi­raculous Manner, but then they are ra­ther called Graces then Vertues: and are ours, only as they are Consented to by our Wills, not ours by choise and ac­quisition, but only by Improvement and exercise. Tho they agree with Virtues in their Matter and their end, yet they differ in their Original and form. For as all Humane Actions flow from the Will and the Understanding, so do all Ver­tues, when they are rightly understood; whereas we are Passive in the reception of these, and they flow immediately from Heaven.

AND it is far more conducive to our Felicity, that we should conquer Dif­ficulties in the attainment of Vertue, [Page 29] study, chuse, desire, pursue, and labour after it, acquire it finally by our own Care and Industry, with Gods Blessing upon it; then that we should be Dead and Idle, while virtue is given us in our Sleep. For which cause GOD ordered our state and Condition so, that by our own Labour we should seek after it; that we might be as well pleasing in his Eys, and as Honorable and Admirable in the Acquisition of vertue, as in the Exercise and Practice of it. And for these reasons GOD does not so of­ten infuse it, and is more desirous that we should by many repeated Actions of our own attain it.

GOD does sometimes upon the Ge­neral Sloth of mankind inspire it, rai­sing up some persons thereby to be like salt among corrupted men, least all should putrifie and perish: Yet is there little reason why he should delight in that way, without some such uncouth and Ungrate­ful necessity to compell him thereunto.

FOR any man to expect that GOD should break the General Order and Course of Nature, to make him Vertu­ous without his own Endeavours, is to Tempt GOD by a presumptuous Care­lesseness, [Page 30] and by a Slothful abuse of his Faculties to fulfil the parable of the unprofitable Servant.

THE Powers of the Soul, are not ver­tues themselves, but when they are clo­thed with vertuous Operations, they are transformed into Vertues. For Pow­ers are in the Soul, just as Limbs and Members in the Body, which may in­differently be applied to Vertues and Vi­ces, alike be busied and exercised in either.

AS the Members are capable of Va­rious Motions, either comely, or Deform­ed, and are one thing when they are nak­ed, another when attired, and capable of being modified with several Habits: so are the Powers and Faculties of the Soul. As they are in the Nature of Man with­out Exercise, they are void and Naked: But by many acts of Vice or Vertue, they put on a Habit, which seems chiefly to consist in an Inclination and Ten­dency to such Actions, a Facility of Working, an Aquaintance with them, a Love to them, and a Delight in them; For by long Custome it turns to a se­cond Nature, and becomes at last as Necessary as Life it self; a confirmed [Page 31] Habit being taken in and incorpora­ted with the Powers of the Soul by frequent exercise.

2. IN the second Definition we add, that Vertue is a right and well ordered Habit. A Habit is something added to that, which wears it, and every Power of the Soul is naked, without the Qua­lity wherewith long Custom cloaths it. Much of the Formal Reason of Vertue is shut up in those Words, Right and well ordered. For confused, irregular, and careless Habits will be alwayes errone­ous and Deformed, and must consequent­ly end in Dishonor and Miseries. He must aim at the Mark, that hits it, for only those actions that are well guided, produce right and well order'd Habits, which right and well orderd Habits a­lone can carry us to our Sovereign end.

A Mind in Frame is a Soul clothed with Right Apprehensions: Thoughts and af­fections well ordered, Principles and Contrivances well proposed, Means and Ends rationaly consulted, all considered, and the Best chosen. [Long Custom in uring us to the Benefit and Excellence of these, disposes the Soul into a right [Page 32] and well ordered Habit, or Frame of spi­rit, which regards that Glorious End for which we were created.

BY force of which we attain our Hap­piness. Idleness and vertue are as De­structive to each other, as fire and water. In all vertue there is some force, and in all Force much action. A vertuous, Habit ceaseth to be virtuous unless it actually in­cline us to virtuous Operations. As the Powers of the Soul when they are well ex­erted turn into Vertues, so is it by that Ex­ertion that we attain our Happiness. Ver­tue is that right and well ordered Ha­bit by force of which we attain our Hap­piness.

ITS force is never expressed but in exercise and operation. Yet even when we are asleep, it may tacitely incline us and make us ready, when we awake, to be Vertuous. Perhaps the Habit Sleeps and awakes with the Body: But if the Habit and its Energie be the same thing; it still sleepeth when its energie ceaseth: if they be Divers, the Habit may continue for some time without the force of its O­peration.

BUT not to Divert into Blind and Obscure Corners: Whether the Soul [Page 33] of a man a sleep may be stiled Vertuous [...]r no; Whether the Habits continue in him at that time without their Acts, is nothing to our purpose. It is Suffici­ent, that when he is awake, he, that hath a Vertuous Habit, is in all his Actions inclined and Carried to his own Fe­licity, unless he falls into an oblivion worse, than Sleep, because without some such Damnable and vicious Lethar­gy, he is always mindful of his Last End, and tends towards it in a Direct Line.

ALL his Actions derive a Tincture from the first Principle, that Habit of Soul by which he is carried toward his own Felicity. All those Actions, that Spring from that Habit tend to Bliss, and by force of that Habit are made Vertu­ous, and with facility performed.

ALL the Difficulty is in the Begnining. Vertues in the beginning are like green fruits, four and imperfect, but their Ma­turity is accompanied with sweetness and delight. It is hard to acquire a ver­tuous Habit at first, but when it is once gotten; it makes all Virtue exceeding Easie, nor Easie alone, but Happy and delightful. For a virtuous Habit as cer­tainly acts according to its own nature, [Page 34] as the Sun shines, which is light by Con­stitution. It acts freely, yet when it does Act, it must needs act Vertuous, and can do nothing else. For it is no vertuous Habit; but some other Principle that exerteth vicious and bad Operations.

HAPPINESSE is with so much Necessity the end of Vertue, that we cannot take a Due Estimate of the Excellence of Vertue without consi­dering the tendency which it has to Felicity. For as the Means are extra­vagant (and indeed no means) that have no Relation nor Proportion to their End: so would all the Vertues be inept and Worthless (no Vertues) if they did not in some Sort conduce to our Happiness. For Happiness is the adequate End, which by nature we seek Wether it be Glory, or pleasure, or He nor that we design, or wealth, or Learn­ing; all that is Delightful, and Grate­ful to our reason, is comprehended in our Happiness. If we desire to glori­fie GOD, or to please the Angels, or be grateful to men, it is because we love our selves and delight in our own Hap­piness, and conceit all those action whereby we so do, either a Means, or [Page 35] a part of it. So that in the Partition and Distribution of Vertues we must take a­nother Course to display their Glory, by exhibiting them in such a prospect, as that is, wherein their Place and office will appear in their Tendency towards mans last End, his Blessedness and Glory.


Of the Powers and Affections of the Soul; What virtues pertain to the Estate of Innocency; what to the Estate of Grace; what to the estate of Glory.

TWO things in Felicity are ap­parent to the Eye, Glory and Trea­sure; and the Faculties of the soul do in a several manner affect both. The Under­standing was made to see the value of our Treasure; and the freedome of Will, to atcheive Glory to our actions; Anger, to stir us up against all Difficulty, and op­position, that might stand in our way; Appetite, to pursue the Pleasure in ei­ther; Fear to heighten our concern­ment, that we might more dread the dan­ger of losing that Happiness, wherein [Page 36] no less then Glory and Treasure are in­finitely united: Reason it self, to com­pare Felicities and weigh which is the most perfect. Desire, to covet it; Hope, to encourage us in the pursuit of it; Aver­sion, for the avoiding of all Temptati­ons and Impediments; Love, to the good­ness of it; Joy, for its fruition; Hatred, to keep us from the Misery which is contrary thereunto; Boldness, to attempt it; Sorrow and Despair, to punish and torment us, if we fail to attain it. For these two, being unpleasant affections, serve to engage us in the pursuit of Hap­piness, because we are loath to experi­ence the Sence of such Troublesome passions.

AMBITION and Covetousness are In­clinations of the Soul, by the one of which we are carried to Glory, by the other to Treasure. And as all the rest, so may these be made either Ver­tues, or Vices. Vertues when they are Means conducive to the Highest end; Vices when they distract and entangle us with inferior Objects.

THE Inclinations and affections of the Soul may be Defective or excessive in their exercise towards Objects. In [Page 37] relation to the Highest Object there is no danger of excess. We can never too violently either love or desire our Su­pream Happiness; our Hope can never exceed its greatness, we can never too much rejoyce in the fruition of it; Nor can we exceed in Anger or Hatred against those Things, that would bereave us of it; or too much fear the Misery of that Life, which will be ever without it; or be affected with too much Sorrow and Despair at the Losse of it. But if we look upon inferior Things, which are meerly Accidental to the nature of Fe­ [...]icity, such as the Favour of men, Inju­ries, Crosses, Temporal successes, the Beauty of the Body, the goods of For­tune, and such like; our affections and passions may be too excessive, because [...]he good or evil of these is but finite; whereas the Good of Sovereign Bliss is altogether infinite, and so is the evil of Eternal Misery.

WHEN our own Actions are Regu­ [...]ar, there is nothing in the World but may be made, conducive to our highest Happiness: Nor is there any value in any Object, or Creature in the World, but [...]s it is Subservient to our Bliss. No [Page 38] member of the Body, no sence or en­dowment of any Member, no Inclina­tion or Faculty of the Soul, no passion or affection, no Vertue, no Grace, no Spiritual Gift, no Assistance, no Means of Grace, nothing (how great or Pre­cious soever) can be of any Value, but in order to Felicity. In real truth, no­thing without this can be Great or Esti­mable. Every Vertue therefore must have this, in common with all the Laws and Ordinances, and Works of GOD, they must all directly or Obliquely tend to our supreme Happiness; upon this de­pendeth all their Excellency.

SOME Vertues are necessary in the Estate of Innocency, some in the Estate of Grace, some in the Estate of Glory.

WITHOUT seeing, it is impossi­ble to enjoy our Happiness, or find out the Way unto it; therefore is Knowledge necessary in all estates: without Loving it is impossible to Delight in its Good­ness. The Office of Righteousness is to render to every Thing a Due esteem; And without this it is apparent that no Treasure can be to us, (tho in it self never so great) of any value. Holiness is the [Page 39] conscience that we make of discharging our duty, and the Zeal wherewith we avoid the Prophaness of its Contra­ry. Goodness is necessary, because we our selves cannot without that be Ami­able, nor unless we be Delightful to o­thers, enjoy our selves, or acquire Glo­ry. The office of Wisdom is to chuse, and pursue the Highest end, by the Best of all means that can be chosen.

THESE are Transcendent Ver­tues, whereby even GOD himself doth enjoy his Felicity. They are in­cumbent on us by the Law of nature, and so essentially united to our For­mal Happiness, that no Blessedness or Glory can be enjoyed without them. Therefore are we to look upon them as the Life and Soul of Religion, as Eter­nal Duties in all Estates for ever to be exercised. They are all Exercised in the very fruition it selfe, as will more ap­parently be seen, when we come to e­very one of these Vertues in particular. They were enjoyned in the Estate of In­nocency, without any need of a positive Law, by the very nature of GOD and the Soul, and of things themselves, and must be exercised in the state of Grace and will [Page 40] abide for ever in the State of Glory.

THAT Vertues might be ours, in being wrought by our selves; and be Vertues indeed, in being wrought with Difficulty; that we might be so much the more Laudable and Glorious in our eter­nal Condition, GOD gave us Li­berty, in the beginning, that we might chuse what we would, and placed us in such an Estate; that, having in us only the Seeds and Principles of all Vertue, we might exercise our natural Powers of our own Accord, for the Attainment of that actual Knowledge, Wisdom and Righteousness, wherein the Perfection of our soul consisteth, and by which the Perfection of our Bliss is to be enjoyed. That being Naked by Nature, tho Pure and clean, we might cloath our selves with our own Habits, attain the Glory of those Ornaments, in our own Acts, for which we were created; And work our own Righteousness, in such a Way as GOD had appointed.

FOR the Glory which we were to at­tain, is that Goodness which we are to shew in our own voluntary Care and obedience; and that Goodness is chiefly expressed in the kind and Genuine Ex­ercise [Page 41] of our own Liberty, while we are tender of Displeasing him, to whom we are Obliged, and so Good as to gratifie his Desires, tho we had no restraint up­on us.

TO make our selves amiable and beautiful, by the Exercise of our own Power, produces another kind of Beauty and Glory, than if we were compelled to be good by all his preventing Power. All Goodness is spoiled by Compulsion. Our own Actions, springing from an in­teriour Fountain, deep within the Soul, when voluntarily and freely exerted, are more acceptable; and the Will, whence they spring, is more excellent and perfect. This I would have you to note well, for the intrinsick Goodness and Glory of the Soul consists in the Per­fection of an excellent Will, and with­out this it might be a piece of Dirt sur­rounded with Gold; but no imputed or annexed value could make it a Jewel.

THE Actions of GOD, or of the Angels, or of other men towards it, add no value to the Soul, if it will do no­thing of it self. If it be Idle or unactive, the more excellent the Actions of GOD, [Page 42] and of all other Creatures are towards it, so much the more deformed and per­verse is the Soul: nor will all the Glory of its Powers and Inclinations excuse it, but the more Great and Divine they are, the more abominable will it make it self by abusing them, in frustrating their Inclinations.

FOR the removing of all Constraint, and the infusing of greater Excellency and Beauty into these holy Actions; which he required from them, it pleas­ed GOD to make Men obnoxious to Temptations, that having obstacles to overcome, and disadvantages to strugle with, Mans Righteousness might be more full of Vertue, and himself made capable of Victory and Triumph. For this End he seated him in a low Estate; even in an Estate of Trial: where­in was the Occasion of Exercising Faith and Hope, because his Felicity was distant from him: Faith in believ­ing the Promises of God, and Hope in waiting for the Accomplishment of his Bliss: He had Occasions for Fear also, in in relation to Gods Power and Justice, who was able to remove his Happiness, upon the least offence, and to bring up­on [Page 43] him that Misery that was denounced for his Transgression. In this Estate of Trial, Prudence, which is conversant in nice Affairs, was to watch, and consider, and direct his Behaviour, in the midst of those Dangers and Temptations, that might possibly be expected: His Tempe­rance was to be exercised in the Govern­ment of his Appetite; so that all inferi­our satisfactions, and sensual Pleasures might be limited and ordered, as it most consists with his highest Happiness: Humility, in the acknowledgement of his own Unworthyness, who was taken out of Nothing; and Gratitude in a kind of just Retribution to his Benefactor, for all the Glory to which he was advan­ced.

ALL these Vertues are in themselves Delightful, and Easie in their Exercise; they immediately respect Felicity, and are by nature necessary to Mans enjoy­ment of it, they are consonant to Rea­son, and agreeable to the Circumstances of his Happy Condition: His Fear and Humility, which were in Paradise the se­verest, were aided and comforted, with a Transcendent Hope and Assurance, that upon his Diligent Care, he might [Page 44] be Eternally Blessed; and with the Sweet Sence of his Happy Change, and a Glorious Admiration resulting from the Comparison between his present E­state, and the Estate to which by his Creator he was to be exalted.

I will not say but there were more Vertues than these to be Exercised in Eden: But by these you may discern of what nature they all are, and conje­cture they must be such as obedience to God, and Charity to one another.

ALL Harsh and Sour Virtues came in by Sin: and we are to look upon them, not as Vertues intended by God and Nature, but occasioned afterwards, be­cause their Use and Existence is acci­dental.

WHEN we fell into Sin, we let Death and Misery into the World, con­tracted shame and guilt upon our selves, defiled our Nature with Deformities and Diseases, and made many Things upon that Occasion, necessary to our Happiness, that before were not so: And whereas they have a Mixture of Bitter­ness and Advantage in them, we may thank our selves for the Bitterness, and GOD for the Advantage: For as [Page 45] we, by Sin forfeited our Happiness, so a new Obedience, consisting in the pra­ctice of proper Vertues, was necessary to recover it. Vertues, whose Names and Natures were of another kind, and ne­ver heard of before: All which we must look upon, not as Food, but Phy­sick, and considering them under the notion of Remedies, not admire that there should be something in them Di­stasteful to Sence, tho they are now, when their Occasions are known, infi­nitely agreeable to Reason.

THEY are but an AEquivocal Off­spring of the Fall: Sin could never be­get such beautiful Children, as Meek­ness, Repentance, Patience, Alms-Deeds, Self Denyal, Submission and Resignati­on to the Divine Will, Fortitude, Con­tentment in all Estates, &c.

WHILE there was no Sin, there was no need of Penitence; while there was no Pain or Misery, no Patience; Without wrongs and Injuries there is no use of Meekness; nor place for Alms­Deeds, where there is no Poverty: no Courage, where are no Enemies. In Eden there was no ignorance, nor any Supernatural Verities to be confirmed [Page 46] by Miracles; Apostles therefore and Pro­phets, Ministers and Doctors were su­perfluous there, and so were Tythes and Temples, Schools of Learning, Masters and Tutors, together with the unsavoury Duty incumbent on Parents to chastife their Children. For as all would have been instructed by the Light of Nature, so had all been Innocent, and Just, and Regular: Whereupon no Magistrate had been needful to put any to Shame, no Courts of Judicature, nor Lawyers in the World. No Buying and Selling, and thereupon no commu­tative Justice, because the Blessed Earth had naturally been fertile, and abounded with rich and Glorious Provisions: Na­kedness had been the Splendor and Or­nament of Men, as it will be in Heaven: the Glorious Universe had been their common House and Temple, their Bo­dies fited for all Seasons, no Alien or Stranger, no Want, Distress, or War, but all Peace, and Plenty, and Prospe­rity; all Pleasure, and all Fellow Citi­zens throughout the World. Masters and Servants had been unknown, had we continued in that Estate, all had en­joyed the Liberty of Kings, and there [Page 47] had been no Dominion, but that of Husbands and Fathers, a Dominion as full of sweetness, as so gentle and free a Re­lation importeth. I can see no Use that there had been of Trades and Occupa­tions, onely the pleasant Diversion that Adam had in dressing the Garden, and the consequents of that: I am sure there had been no Funeral Pomps, no Sickness, Physick, or Physician. There had been no Faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God, because no occasion for that Incarnation, no Ceremonial Law of Mo­ses, no Baptism, nor Lords Supper, be­cause there were no supernatural My­steries to be Typified, but the clear Light of a Diviner Reason, and a free Communion with God in the Right dis­charge of those Vertues, Divine and Moral, which naturally belong to the Estate of Innocency. All which Origi­nal and Primitive Vertues ought now to continue, as it were the Face of Re­ligion beneath that Mask or Vizor of Ordinances and new Duties, which Sin and Corruption hath put upon it; Tho we have forgotten the Vertues of our first Estate, and are apt now to terrifie our selves with that Disguise, wherewith [Page 48] we have concealed their Beauty, by regarding only the Vertues, that were occasioned by. Sin and Misery.

IT is a great, Error to mistake the Vizor for the Face, and no less to stick in the outward Kind and Appearance of things; mistaking the Alterations and Additions that are made upon the Fall of Man, for the whole Business of Re­ligion. And yet this new Constellati­on of Vertues, that appeareth above­board, is almost the only thing talked of and understood in the World. Whence it is that the other Duties, which are the Soul of Piety, being unknown, and the Reason of these together with their Original and Occasion, unseen; Reli­gion appears like a sour and ungrate­full Thing to the World, impertinent to bliss, and void of Reason; Where­upon GOD is suspected and hated, Enmity against GOD and Atheism, be­ing brought into, and entertained in the World.

FOR it is an Idea connatural to the Notion of GOD, to conceive him Wise and Good: And, if we cannot see some Reason in his Ways, we are apt to suspect there is no Deity, or if there be, [Page 49] that he is Malevolent and Tyrannical, which is worse then none. For all Wis­dom and Goodness are contained in Love: And if it be true that GOD is Love, he will shew it in our Beings, by making us Great and Excellent Crea­tures; in his Gifts and Bounties, by sur­rounding us with real and serviceable Treasures, in all his Laws, as well as in all his Works, by consulting our Welfare in the one and in the other. And as he makes the World Glorious and Beautiful for us to dwell in, so will he make such Actions and Vertues only needful to be exercised by us as are excellent and Divine: he will impose no Duties but such as are full of reason, and lead us more Advantage­ously to Bliss and Glory.

We are apt to charge our own Faults on God, by confounding all things: and because we see not how Penitence, and Meekness, and Acts of Charity, in roliev­ing the Poor, directly and immediately bring us unto Bliss, are apt to repine at their Imposition. But when we see all these Virtues in their several Places and Offices, their Objects and their Uses, the Ends for which, and the occasions on which they were introduced, all are De­lightful [Page 50] to the Reason of mans Soul, and highly Eligible, while GOD is adored and admired for the depth of his Wisdom and Goodness, and beloved for the Equi­ty and Excellency of his Proceedings. For all these Occasional Vertues are but Temporary, when our Life, and this pre­sent World are past and gone as a Dream, Love, and Joy, and Gratitude will be all that will continue for ever, in which Estate, Wisdom and Knowledge, Good­ness and Righteousness, and True Holiness shall abide, as the Life and Glory into which the Souls of all that are Blessed will be transformed. Repentance shall be gone, and Patience cease, Faith and Hope be swallowed up in fruition, Right Reason be extended to all Objects in all Worlds, and Eternity in all its Beauties and Treasures, seen, desired, esteemed, enjoyed.

Let it be your Care to dive to the Bot­tom of true Religion, and not suffer your Eyes to be Dazled with its Superficial Ap­pearance. Rest not in the Helps and Re­medies that it bringeth, but search for the Hidden Manna, the substantial Food un­derneath, the Satisfaction of all Wishes and Desires, the true and Coelestial Pleasures, [Page 51] the Causes of Love, and Praise, and Thanks­giving founded in the Manifestations of Gods Eternal favour, especially in the Ends, for the sake of which all Helps and Remedies are prepared. For it is exceed­ing true, that his Laws are Sweeter then the Hony and the Hony Comb, and far more precious then thousands of Gold and Silver.


Of the Necessity, Excellency, and Use of Knowledge; its Depths and Extents, its Objects and its End.

KNOWLEDGE and Love are so necessary to Felicity, that there can be no Enjoyment or Delight without them. Heaven and Earth would be Dark and obscure, Angels and Men vain and un­profitable, all the Creatures base and un­serviceable, Felicity impossible, were there no Knowledge. Nay GOD himself, with­out Knowledge and Love, could not well exist; for his very Essence is seated in infi­nite Knowledge.

GOD is Light, and in him is no Dark­ness [Page 52] at all; He is Love by nature and there is no hatred in his Essence. His ve­ry Godhead is all Perfection, by the infi­nite Knowledge and Love in his Nature.

THE Original of our Knowledge is his Godhead, His Essence and his will are the Fountain of it; and the stream so excel­lent, that in all Estates it is for ever to be continued, as the Light and Glory of the whole Creation.

THE understanding Power, which is seated in Soul, is the Matter of that Act wherein the Essence of Knowledge con­sisteth: Its form is the Act it self, where­by that Power of knowing apprehendeth its Object.

ITS nature is invisible, like that of all other Spirits, so simple and uncompoun­ded, that its form and matter are the same. For all Powers, when transformed into Act, are Acts themselves. And the facul­ty of understanding, in a Compleat and Perfect Act of Knowledge attains its Perfection, and is Power exerted, or an Act in its Exercise. For every Act is Power exerted.

THE Power of Knowing is vain if not reduced into Act; and the Soul a me­lancholly and Dreadful Cave, or Dunge­on [Page 53] of Darkness, if void of Knowledge. Had GOD himself a Power of Knowing Distinct from its Operation, if he never exercised that Power, it would be use­less to him. His Glory and Blessedness are seated in the Light of that Know­ledge, whichto us upon Earth appea­eth Inaccessible.

IF we would be perfect, as our Father which is in Heaven is perfect, our Power of knowing must be transformed (into Act,) and all Objects appear in the inte­rior Light of our own understanding. For tho all Eternity were full of Trea­sures, and the Whole World, and all the Creatures in it transformed into Joys and our Interest to all never so perfect; yet if we are Ignorant of them, we shall conti­nue as poor and Empty, as if there were nothing but Vacuity and Space. For not to be, and not to appear, are the same thing to the understanding.

WERE a Man a Seraphim by his Es­sence, or something by nature more Glo­rious and Divine then the Highest Order of the most Blessed Angels, nay the great­est Creature that Almighty power was able to produce, his Soul and Body would signifie nothing, if he were unknown to [Page 54] himself, and were not aware of his Ex­cellence.

IF you would have a solid Prospect of any Vertue, you must understand, that Vertues are Powers transform­ed into right, wise, and regular Acts, avoiding all extremes of remissness on the one hand, and excess on the other. The Extreams of Know­ledge are Ignorance and Error.

FOR ought you know Heaven and Earth are as full of Treasures, as Al­mighty Power was able to create them, and you by Nature, the best and high­est of all possible Creatures, made like GOD, for the highest and best of all possible Ends, and called to live in Communion with him, in all his fruitions: but being vilely corrupt­ted, you have lost the sence of all these Realities, and are ignorant of the Excellences of your own Estate and Nature.

I am sure that GOD is infinite in Wisedom, Goodness and Power, and nothing is wanting on his Part, to per­fect your Desires: But yet you may be blind, and idle, and ignorant, and dead in a manner, while you are wanting to [Page 55] your self, and have need of nothing, but clear and perfect apprehensions, but because they are Sottish and Erroneous at present, they may make you mise­rable, and Poor, and Blind, and Na­ked.

IF Sin had been like Circe's Cup, and changed the shape of Mans Body, to that of a Swine or Dragon, the Depra­vation of his Nature had been plain and visible; yet without knowing what kind of Form he had before, it, would not appear, because we should be un­sensible of his first Form, and unable to compare the one with the other: But Sin is a Moral Obliquity, and the change it produceth in the Soul is Spiritual. It makes a man to differ far more from himself, than any alteration of Body can do; but withal so blinds his Understan­ding, that he does not remember what he was in his first Parent; Tho the first Man (who had experience of both E­states) was able to compare them, be­cause in his Corruption, he might pos­sibly retain a Sence of that Nature, and Life which he enjoyed in his integrity: Yet all his Posterity, that are born Sin­ners, never were sensible of the Light [Page 56] and Glory of an Innocent Estate, and for that cause may be wholy ignorant both of GOD and themselves, utterly un­able to conceive the Glory of the World, or of that Relation, wherein they should by Nature have stood towards all the Creatures.

IT is impossible to conceive, how great a change a slight Action may pro­duce. It is but pressing the Wick a little with ones Finger, and a Lamp is extinguished, and Darkness immediate­ly made to overspread the Room. The Glory and Splendor of the whole World would vanish upon the Extinction of the Sun: And one Instants Cessation from the Emission of its Beams would be its Extinction. A Soul is a more Glorious Thing than the Sun: The Sphear of its Activity is far Greater, and its Light more Precious, All the World may be filled with the splendor of its Beams; Eternity it self was prepared for it! Were there but one Soul, to see and en­joy all the Creatures, upon the suspen­sion of its Light all the Creation would be rendred vain. Light it self is but Darkness without the Understanding.

THE Existence of many Souls is so [Page 57] far from abating the value of one, that it is by reason of their multitude more useful and Excellent. For the va­lue of the Objects, imputes a Lustre and Higher value to the Light wherein they are enjoyed. And if Souls themselves are more excellent than all other Crea­tures, and arewith, and above all other, to be enjoyed, that Power, whereby this Soul is able to enjoy them, is more to be esteemed, upon the account of those Souls, than for all the other Creatures, which are made for the same: GOD himself and his holy Angels are Objects of the Understanding. Those Felici­ties and Glories, which the Sun cannot extend to, the Soul can comprehend. All which, since their Fruition depends upon that Act of the Understanding by which they are considered, reflect a Lu­stre, and add a value to that Knowledge by which the Soul does attain them. Whereupon it follows that the infinite value of all these is seated in the intel­lect; and as the Power, so the Act of Knowledg, on which their Fruition de­pendeth, is of infinite use and Excel­lency. As the loss is infinite, when the Soul is bereaved of them, so is the [Page 58] mage, which it suffers by failing of its Light, whether that Defect be volun­tary, or imposed by some outward Im­pediment.

AS for the Use of Knowledge, it is apparent enough. For the Relation between the Use and Excellency of things is so near and intimate, that as nothing Useless can be at all excellent, so is every Excellence in every Being founded in its usefulness. The use of Souls is as great as their Excellency: The use of Knowledge as endless in Va­riety, as in Extent, and Value.

KNOWLEDGE is that which does illuminate the Soul, enkindle Love, excite our Care, inspire the mind with Joy, inform the Will, enlarge the Heart, regulate the Passions, unite all the Pow­ers of the Soul to their Objects, see their Beauty, understand their Good­ness, discern our Interest in them, form our Apprehensions of them, consider and enjoy their Excellences. All Content­ments, Raptures, and Extafies are con­ceived in the Soul, and begotten by Knowledge, all Laws, Obligations and Rewards are understood by Knowledg: All Vertues and Graces of the Mind are [Page 59] framed by Knowledge, all Advantages are by it improved, all Temptations discerned, all Dangers avoided, all Af­fairs ordered, all Endowments acqui­red; all the Ornaments of Life, all the Beauties of the inward Man, all the Works of Piety are affected by Know­ledge. In the Light of knowledge all Pleasures arise, and as Fruits and Flow­ers are begotten in the Earth by the Beams of the Sun, so do all kinds of Joy spring from the Creatures, and are made ours, by the help of that Know­ledge, that shineth on them; its last Off spring are Eternal Thanksgivings and Praises. The Divine Image and the Perfection of Bliss are sounded in Know­ledge, GOD himself dwelleth in the Soul, with all his Attributes and Per­fections, by Knowledge: By it we are made Temples of the Holy Ghost, and Partakers of the Divine Nature, And for this cause it is that St. Paul prayeth, That we might be filled with the Know­ledge of his Will, Col. 1: 9, 10, 11, 12. in all Wisedome and Spiritual Understanding, that we might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every Good Work, and increasing in the Knowledge of GOD, [Page 60] strengthened with all Might according to his glorious Power, unto all Patience and long-suffering, with Joyfulness giving Thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light: who hath delivered us from the Power of Darkness, and tran­slated us into the Kingdom of his Dear Son.

THE Sun is a glorious Creature, and its Beams extend to the utmost Stars, by shining on them it cloaths them with light, and by its Rayes exciteth all their influences. It enlightens the Eyes of all the Creatures: It shineth on forty King­domes at the same time, on Seas and Continents in a general manner; yet so particularly regardeth all, that every Mote in the Air, every Grain of Dust, every Sand, every Spire of Grass is wholly illuminated thereby, as if it did entirely shine upon that alone. Nor does it onely illuminate all these Ob­jects in an idle manner, its Beams are Operative, enter in, sill the Pores of Things with Spirits, and impregnate them with Powers, cause all their Ema­nations, Odors, Vertues and Operations; Springs, Rivers, Minerals and Vegeta­bles [Page 61] are all perfected by the Sun, all the Motion, Life and sense of Birds, Beasts and Fishes dependeth on the same. Yet the Sun is but a little spark, among all the Creatures, that are made for the Soul; the Soul, being the most High and Noble of all, is capable of far higher Perfections, far more full of Life and Vigour in its uses. The Sphere of its Activity is illimited, its Energy is endless upon all its Objects. It can ex­ceed the Heavens in its Operations, and run out into infinite spaces. Such is the extent of Knowledge, that it seem­eth to be the Light of all Eternity. All Objects are equally near to the splen­dor of its Beams: As innumerable mil­lions may be conceived in its Light, with a ready capacity for millions more; so can it penetrate all Abysles, reach to the Centre of all Nature, converse with all Beings, visible and invisible, Corporeal and Spiritual, Temporal and Eternal, Created and Increated, Finite and In­finite, Substantial and Accidental, A­ctual and Possible, Imaginary and Real; All the Mysteries of Bliss and Misery, all the Secrets of Heaven and Hell are Objects of the Souls Capacity here, [Page 62] and shall be actually seen and known hereafter.

WERE Almighty Power Magnifi­ed by filling Eternity with created ob­jects, and were all the Omnipresence of God full of Joys, it is able, when assisted by his Divine Knowledge, to look upon all: and tho every one of them should have an infinite Depth within, an Endless variety of Uses, a Relation to all the rest of the World, the Soul, as if it were able to contract all its strengths, from all the expansions of Eternity and space, and fix them up­on this Moment, or on this Centre, in­tirely beholding this alone, in all its fulness, can see its Original, its End, its Operations, Effects and Properties, as if it had nothing to consider but this alone, in a most exquisite and perfect manner.

IT is not to be denied, that every Being in all Worlds is an Object of the Understanding: nor can that of the Psalmist be doubted, In his Presence there is fulness of Joy, and at his right hand there are Pleasures for evermore: that is, his Om­nipresence is full of Joys, and his Eter­nity of Riches and Pleasures: nor is it [Page 63] to be denied, that the Soul is by its Creation intended for the Throne of GOD. For it is made capable of his Omnipre­sence and Eternity, and, as the Apostle speaketh, may be filled with all the fulness of GOD, which fulness is adequate to the Immensity of his Eternal Power (of which you will see more in the Vertues of Love, Wisdom, Righteousness and Holi­ness:) This only is here to be noted, that Nature never made any Power in vain, but ever intendeth the Perfection of what it produceth; and prepareth ob­jects for the understanding, the Per­fection of which Power is the actual at­tainment of that Knowledge of which it is capable.

THE principal objects of our Know­ledge are GOD, and a Mans self: The Kingdom of GOD, his Laws and Works, his Ways in all Ages, his Counsels and his Attributes, Mans Interest and Duty, Transactions of the World, the Thoughts and Actions of Angels and Men are con­siderable; which tho they may be stiled less material Objects of the understand­ing, yet in relation to GOD and a Mans felf, are of great Importance.

GOD as he is the Life and fountain [Page 64] of all Felicity, the End of all Perfection, and the Creator of our Being, Almighty in Power, infinite in Wisdom and Good­ness, Author of the universe, and Lord of all the Creatures, is most fit to be Known. Plato makes him the very Light of the understanding, and affirms, that as three Things are necessary to Vision, the Eye rightly prepared, the object conve­niently seated, and Light to convey the Idea to the Eye; so there are three things required to compleat and perfect Intelli­gence, an understanding Eye, an Intelli­gible Object, and a Light intelligible in which to conceive it: Which last is GOD. Nor is the Royal Psalmist and Divine Philosopher David far from the Notion, while he saith, In thy Light we shall see Light. For GOD is the Light of the understanding. His Nature is the Light of all the Creation. Therefore it is said by Christ himself that the Knowledge of GOD is Life Eternal. For his Light is the Life of men, and without him we can do nothing. Till we Know his Nature, we cannot apprehend the Excellency of his Works: For all their Goodness is de­rived from him, and ends in him. His Love, moved him to create the World, and the [Page 65] principal End for which it was made, is the Glory of the Creator in the Fe­licity of his Creatures. The Glory of the Creatures is seen in his. By his Wisdom and Goodness we are guided to the Hope, and Investigation of their Excellence. His infinite bounty made them all our Treasures, that for the Per­fection of their Beauty and Worth we might celebrate his Praises.

HE that would not be a stranger to the Universe, an Alien to Felicity, and a foreiner to himself, must Know GOD to be an infinite Benefactor, all Eternity, full of Treasures, the World it self, the Beginning of Gifts, and his own Soul the Possessor of all, in Communion with the Deity. That the Business of Religi­on is Complacency in GOD, and that GOD never laid aside his Wisdom in any Operation of his Power, never forgot to make the least of his Works agreeable to his Goodness. Nay rather he is so per­fect, that his infinite Goodness, Wisdom, and Power, are exerted wholy and wholy Conspicuous in every Operation. It is the Beauty of Truth that maketh Know­ledge of such infinite Value. For if all the Treasures of Wisdom and Know­ing [Page 66] be ordained for a Wise and Know­ing Man, if all Objects in the clear Light of Heaven and Eternity be laudable and Glorious, if Divine Wisdome hath so far obtained, that the number and Va­lue of GODS Gifts is accurate, and exactly answerable to the nature of its causes; if every Soul, that will live in his Image, may be the friend of GOD, and acquire the Empire of the World, and be Beloved of Angels, and admired of Men; if fruition be the End of Knowledge, and all Things made that they may be enjoyed: Knowledge is the on­ly Thing that enriches the Soul, and the Knowing Man is the friend of GOD. The Exercise and Pleasure of this Divine Amity is the End of the Creation, and the Perfection of the Soul.

The Knowledge of a Mans-self is high­ly conducive to his Happiness, not on­ly as it gives him Power to rejoyce in his Excellencies, but as it shews him his End, for which he was created. For by Knowing what Inclinations and Powers are in his Soul, he discerns what is agreeable with, and fit for his Essence; what objects and what Operations are couducive to his Welfare, what means [Page 67] he is to use for the Attainment of his End, and what that is, wherein his Per­fection consisteth. If the Powers of his Soul are illimited, his Desire infinite, and his Reach Eternal, if he be able to see and enjoy all Worlds, and all that is above all Worlds in the Image of GOD. If his Ambition carry him to be Pleasing to all Angels and Men, and to be Glorious in the Eyes of all Kingdoms and Ages; if his Abilities are indeficient for the fruition of all that is Excellent in eternity it self, it is a token that he is or­dained for GOD, and the enjoyment of his Kingdom: and a wicked folly to restrain himself to the miserable Con­tentment of a Cell, or Cottage, and to delight in nothing but some frag­ments of the Creation, that in Compa­rison of the whole are infinitely Defective.

OF all other things I would have this most deeply engraven in the mind, that GOD hath exceeded all Imaginati­on in the Works of his Hands, that he that overcometh shall be the Son of GOD and inherit all Things, that there is an infinite end why the secrets of all hearts shall at last be revealed, that in Hea­ven all Thoughts and Things shall be [Page 68] Known, that the Kingdome of Heaven is so Glorious, that all the blessed are Perfect Sovereigns, every one the Pos­sessor and End of it all: that all Things proceeding immediately from GOD, are the Best that are possible: that the best and the worst things as ordered by him, are perfectly amiable, and subservient to Felicity, that he himself alone hath a Proper Right to all that is excellent, and that GOD is in every Thing to be enjoyed, that he is enjoyed only when his essence and his Works satisfie the Desires of perfect reason, and exceed all Wishes in filling and delighting the soul: That hav­ing filled the soul with infinite Wisdome, he has laid infinite Obligations upon us, and set infinite Rewards before us, made Laws in finitely amiable, and given us Duties infinitely Desirable: for which he deserves eternal Adorations and Thanks­givings.


Of Love and Hatred. The necessity and sweet­ness of Love. Its General use and effi­cacy. The several kinds of love. Of the Power, Inclination and act of Love. Its extent and capacity.

BECAUSE Love is the most Desir­able Employment of the Soul, the Power of Loving is to be accounted the most High and Noble of the Faculties. It is not seated by it self in the mind, but attended with a mighty Proneness and Inclination.

THERE is no Creature so unsociable and furious but it is capable of loving something or other. Wolves and Tygres live at peace among themselves, Lions have an Inclination to their Grim Mis­tresses, and Deformed Bears a natural Affection to their Whelps, expressed in their Rage, when they are bereaved of them. Things must either be absolute­ly Dead, or live in misery, that are void of love. Whatsoever is endued with Life and sence delights in easie and grate­ful [Page 70] Operations. Love is a necessary Af­fection of their Souls, because it is im­possible to apprehend any thing Delight­ful, but it must be pleasing; and what is Pleasing must be Lovely. For to be Pleased, and to love are the same thing. If there be any difference, the pleasure we take in any Object is the root of that Desire, which we call Love; and the affecti­on, whereby we pursue the pleasure that is apprehended in it, is part of the Love that we bear unto it; the end of which is the Completion of that pleasure which it first perceives: All is Love variously modified, according to the Circum­stances wherein the Object is represent­ed.

AS Love is the only Easie and De­lightful Operation, so is Hatred of all other the most troublesom and torment­ing. Displeasure and Enmity are the In­gredients of its nature; and the fruits of it (allyed to their Root) as Bitter as Gall, and Wormwood. Murder, and Vexation, and Grief are the off-spring of the one, with Separation, Contention, and Horror; Peace and Embraces are the Fruit of the other, with Praises and Complacencies, Honors, Services, Benefits [Page 71] and Pleasures. These are the little Cupids that flie about this coelestial Venus, when it is, what it ought to be, the Mother of Felicity, and the Daughter of GOD.

ALL Creatures that are sensible of Pain or pleasure, must of necessity be addicted to Love and Hatred; to the Love of what is pleasing, to the Hatred of what is Painful. And if any Questi­on be made, which of these Twins is the First born? the answer is; that they may seem Twins in respect of Time, but in nature Love is the first born, and the Mother of Hatred. For where nothing to be hated does at all appear, pleasant Things are Beloved for their own sake: whereas if there were no pleasant thing to be beloved, nothing could be hated, because nothing could be Hurtful, which appeareth by this, because where there is no Love, there is no Interest, and where there is no concernment, there can be no Affection, no Fear, or Hope, or Joy, or sorrow.

AS Fire begets Water by melting Ice, so does Love beget contrary passions in the soul of a living creature, Anger, Ma­lice, Envy, Grief and Jealousie: not by its own nature, but by the accidental [Page 72] Interposure of some Obstacle, that hin­ders or endangers the fruition of its Object. Were there no Love of Ease and Pleasure, there could be no An­ger or Quarrel between Competitors; no Emulation or Desire, no Aversion or Endeavour. All Enmity and Hosti­lity Springs from a Contention, who shall enjoy what is Desirable; or from some other Principle of Envy or Re­venge, in relation to what is Good: as is Obvious to Daily Experience.

LIFE and Love are so individualy united, that to live without Loving some­thing is impossible. Even in Hell, where their whole Life seemeth to be spent in Detestation and Hatred, and actual Love is, like fire under those Embers, covered and continued, Could they put off self Love, all Love of Feli­city, and Interest, their Torments would be gone: Punishments and Rewards are things impossible, where there is not self­Love: For without Love to something, Pains and Joys are equally Grateful.

AS Love is the Root of Endeavor, so is it the Spring of all the Passions: They all depend upon Love alone. We are Angry at that which stands in our Way, [Page 73] between our Love and its object: We Desire an absent Good, because we Love it: We Hope for it, when we conceive its Attainment feasible: We rejoyce in it, when we have it: We fear to lose it: we grieve when it is gone: we despair, if we cannot get, or recover it: We hate all that is opposite to it. And for this Cause is our Love, when well regulated, the greatest Vertue, be­cause upon the right Choise of its Ob­ject, and true Goverment of it self, all the Powers and Affections of the Soul are well employed; and when we Love all that we ought as we ought to do, we ful­fil all Laws, Hope and Fear, and Hate, and Grieve, and Desire, and Rejoyce, and do every thing in a regular Manner.

THERE is a Sensual and Brutish Love, there is a Humane and Divine: Brutish Love is of two sorts, the one Springs from a Harmony of Complexi­ons and a Sympathy of Bodies, the o­ther from the Consideration of Plea­sure abstracted. The First of these is occasioned by a secret and unexpressi­ble Agreement of Tempers, by which upon the presence of each other, the Senses are delighted, we know not why; [Page 74] it being a mystery in nature; and per­haps founded in a grateful Transpi­ration of Spirits from one to the other.

THE Consideration of Beauty seem­eth peculiar to the Love of Men; be­cause no Beast is observed to make any Distinction between Lineaments and Fea­tures, nor upon any account of shape and Colours to be delighted with each other. Wherein Man exceeds the Ca­pacity of Beasts, in being able to note and admire the Workmanship of GOD in the decent Order of Symmetry and Proportion.

HUMANE Affection and Divine Love are near allyed, yet of several Kinds. If you take the Love of Rea­son in its utmost Height, it is always Divine. For it is comformable to the Love of GOD in its measures and De­grees, in its Effects and Causes. For the Love of GOD is it self the Love of perfect Reason. And as the Reason of his Love is Infinite and Eternal, so is its Operation. But in a lower Accep­tation Humane Love differs from Divine; it being founded upon Temporal Causes, Vivacity, Wit, Learning, Beauty, Be­haviour, [Page 75] Moral Honesty, Fidelity, Kind­ness, Goodness, Power, Majesty, Wealth, Nobility, Worth, Vertue, and the like. But all these may be exalted, when they are Sanctified, and made Divine by the superadded concurrence of Coelestial Causes. For when a Man loves another, because he is made in the Image of GOD, and by the Beauty of his Soul is something more than Humane, this Love is made Sacred, and receives a Grace from the Influences of Reli­gion.

DIVINE Love strictly so called, is founded on Eternal Causes, agreeable to the Life of Heaven, Delightful to GOD, and Pleasing to the An­gels.

IF Divine Love be taken in the highest Sense, there is none but in GOD. For it is his Peculiar Prerogative to Love without Obligation or Reward, to be the Sole Author of all Felicity, and to over-flow with Goodness of himself freely, without any Motive, to prevent the Beauty and Existence of his Object, and to Love from all Eternity in an immutable manner: And this is the nature of Divine Love. Howbeit [Page 76] even here, are infinite Ends and Causes of his Love, tho they are all in Himself: For he Loves, that he may Love, and begets that Love which is his Essence. His Love is the foundation of all his Treasures, the Cause and End of the whole Creation, and that alone by which he proceeds from himself (to all his Creatures, and by those) to himself again for ever. All his Kingdome and Greatness and Pleasure, all his Wisdome and Goodness, all his Life and Perfection is seated in Love, which is his Beauty and his Holiness, his Boun­ty and his Godhead. He Loves there­fore that he may be all Beauty and Goodness, and Holiness, and that he may enjoy himself and the Eternal Pleasure of his Essence in Glory and Blessedness for ever.

IT is GOD alone that Loves by his Essence, Angels and Men may Love by Inclination, but their Affection is Acci­dental to their nature, begins in time, may alter and cease. It is subject to Chance, Obligation and Reward, and ought to be guided according to the Plea­sure of an Higher Agent. In this it differs from the Love of God, but in many things there is a great Agreement [Page 77] and proportion between them. For GOD has made the love of Angels and men so like his own, by extending their Knowledge to all objects, that in­finite Perfections are contained in their love. It is as GODLIKE as any Thing created is capable of being; for Almigh­ty Power and infinite Wisdome are em­ployed in the production of it.

FOR the better understanding of this Love, we will consider it in the power of Loving, in the inclination to Love, in its act and Perfection. It may seem a surprizing verity; but the Pow­er of Loving is as necessary to Blessed­ness and Glory as life it selfe; an in­clination to love as necessary as the Pow­er; and the act of Love as necessary as the Inclination. The world is useless without Life, and Life without Love, the Body without the Soul, the Soul without the Power of Loving, the Power of Loving, without the Inclina­tion, the Inclination without the Act.

IN the Power of Loving I shall note nothing at present, but its Extent and Capacity. In Beasts it is confined, but in Men it is Endless. As a Beast is un­able to examine what spaces are above [Page 78] the Heavens, so is it unable to extend its Affections beyond the memory of things perceived, for a Beast cannot represent to it self the Idea's of its Proge­nitors; nor see into Ages that are be­fore its birth, nor contemplate Objects that will be after it is Dead. But man can see, and know, and love any object, in any Age or Kingdom in the World. He can look into any Region, tho it be never so far removed and be as familiary conversant with any Person or Transaction there, when represented once in a clear Light, as with any Ob­ject in his own country. He can look in­to Eden consider Adams Dust in its first Creation, survey the Procedure of God in his Six Dayes Works, pass out of Time into Eternity it self, run up to the Original and fountain Head of all existence, ponder the nature of GOD, search in his Bosom for his Eternal Coun­sels, pierce into the Centre of the Earth, and survey the Circumference of all Im­mensity. His Love can follow his Know­ledg in all its flights, while in spirit he can be present with all the Angels. He is able to Love not only his Family and Relations, but all the City and Coun­try [Page 59] where he liveth, all the Kingdom, all the Cities and Kingdoms in the world, all the Generations in all Kingdoms, all the Spirits of Just men made perfect, all the Cherubims and Seraphins, and GOD blessed for ever. This is the extent: The capacity of Love is so alsufficient, that his Affection is not diminished, but the more he loves one, the more he is able, and the more inclined to love all that are united to him. As in ordina­ry friendship, the more we love the Fa­ther, the more we love his Wife and all his children. For the more we love any Person, the more we love all that love him, or are beloved by him. As the reasons of our Love increase, so may our Love it selfe; the capacity of Love being so indeficient, that it never can be exceeded, or surmounted by its Object.

THE Capacity of Love being so ex­ceeding vast, multiplies and heightens in the Soul of man, that is apt to overflow of its own Accord. For nothing is so prone to communicate it self as that Active Principle of Love; that Soul which is Generous and Divine, being disposed to the exercise of Love, be­cause therein it findeth its Proper Ele­ment. [Page 80] The very Sun is not more inclin­ed to communicate its Beams, then the Soul to love. For the Soul being made in the Image of GOD, who is Love by his Essence, must needs be like him in Power and Inclination, and is made for nothing else but the Attainment of its perfection, so that it can never rest, till it actually love after his similitude. Some Operation it must of Necessity have. For as all Life, so all pleasure is founded in Action.

IF Love in its Perfection be consi­dered, all that is lovely is Beloved by the soul; all the Capacity of Love is filled with its objects, and all the Good­ness of the Creator and his Creatures, at once enjoyed. It is the Life and plea­sure and enlargment of the Soul, it is the Wisdom, and Goodness, and Glory of the Soul. I confess there be many Errors and Diseases in Love; and that Love is alwayes miserable, in its Effects, that is vicious: yet it so bewitches the Sences, that the Soul being captivated by the Force of present Delight is vi­olently carried in an irresistible appetite to those Things which Reason con­demnes, and advises to shun as Evil. [Page 81] Medea's faction most prevails in the World.

—Video meliora proboque,
Deteriora Sequor.

LOVE is then a vice, when it is ir­rational and illegal, rebellious and Sen­sual, Blind, Defective, Unjust, Absurd. When Evil things are beloved, when Good things are preferred above the Better, and the Best neglected.

VERTUOUS Love is that which proceedeth from a well governed under­standing, and is seated in a Will that is guided by Reason. It renders to all things their just Due, and is the Power­ful Parent of all Kind of Vertues. This Love may be considered either in its Properties, or Effects, the last of which relate to the Soul it self, to the Con­versation of the whole man, to all its Objects, when it is well under­stood, it will be found the proper and immediate Means by which we attain our Perfection and Felicity.


What Benefit GOD himself does re­ceive by his Eternal Love. That when our Love is made compleat and Per­fect, it will be like his, and the Be­nefit of it will be Eternal.

BEFORE we can fully discern the Benefit of Love, or see the Glo­ry of it in all its high and admira­ble Effects, we must consider what Love is and doth in GOD. For as we have said, The Life of GOD is Love; nay the Apo­stle saith, GOD is Love: By Loving he be­got his Love. And if his Love be his God­head, his Essence is an infinite and Eternal Act of Love, by extending which through all infinity, and by Loving Eternally, he begot his infinite and Eternal Essence: which is the Love that filleth all Worlds with Beauty and Glory. When you consider it well, An Act of Love is begot­ten by Loving: And if his Wisdome, and Goodness, and Blessedness, and Glory be seated in Love, his Love is his Wisdome which is the Son of GOD, and his Good­ness, and his Glory, and his Blessedness. For all these, tho we conceive them diversly, are the same Thing: and of [Page 83] the Son of GOD it is said, that he is the Wisdom of the Father, and the Bright­ness of his Fathers Glory. He is the Life of the Father, by whom also he made the Worlds, and the Love of the Father for whom all Things were created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be Thrones, or Dominions, or Principa­lities, or Powers: all Things were created by him, and for him. Col. 116. For GOD en­joyeth all Things by his Love, which is his Eternal Son; and made them as perfect and delightful as it was possible for things created to be, that he might take Pleasure in them. As he himself is made Glorious and Delightful in the Eyes of all Angels and Men by Love, so doth his whole Kingdom arise and Spring from Love; the Beauty and felicity of all his Creatures, their Joys and Praises, their Uses and Perfections are founded in his Love', by his Love he begetteth all his pleasures in himself, by his Love he made his Treasures infinite, and by that alone doth he take infinite Pleasure and De­light in himself and his Kingdome. Thus useful is the Love of GOD.

Had not GOD from all Eternity Loved, [Page 84] had he never desired, nor delighted in any thing; he had never exerted his Al­mighty Power, never communicated his Goodness, or begot his Wisdom, never en­joyed Himself, never applyed himself to the Production of his Works, never ap­peared in his Glory to any eie whatsoever. Removing his Love we remove all the Properties and Effects of his Essence, and are utterly unable to conceive any Idea of his Godhead. For his Power, tho it be Al­mighty, yet if it be Dead and idle, is fruit­less and Deformed. Idle Power is not the Essence of the Deity, but a meer Privation and Vacuity; or at least a positive Being as ignoble as it is unactive. The Reason of his Works is founded in Love, so are all the Obligations, that are laid upon his Creatures to adore him. All their Re­wards are founded in Love, and by Love prepared: All his Laws are the Laws of Love, all his Attributes and Counsels are Love, in several formes, acting up­on several occasions. When his Love communicates it self in Joys to inno­cent Creatures, it is Goodness; when it at­tains the most perfect End by the most perfect means, it is Wisdome; when it rescues guilty Creatures from Hell, it [Page 85] is Mercy; when it punishes the Rebelli­ous it is Justice; when it inspires Obedi­ence into any obstinate Person, it is Grace; when it delights in the Beauty of all its Works, it is Blessedness; when it appears in the perfection of its works, it is glory. For Glory is the perfection of Beauty, that ariseth from, and is seat­ed in the lustre of excellent Actions, dis­covering the internal Properties of an ex­cellent Agent, which is by those his Pro­perties and Actions made Delightful to all Judicious Spectators.

NOR is it onely in GOD, but in us also that the fruits and Benefits of Love are ineffable. For by loving, as it ought to do, the Soul acquires its own Perfecti­on, and is united to all its Objects. By loving as it ought to do, it is made Holy, and Wise, and Good, and Amia­ble. Onely by Loving does it embraces the Delights of which it is capable. Love is the root and Soul of those Acti­ons for which a Creature is desired, and praised by others.

IT is an infinite Advantage, that we are able to live in GODS Image, if we please: For if GOD alone be in­finitely Glorious and Blessed, there is [Page 86] no way for us to become Glorious and Blessed, but by being made, either by our selves, or some other, like unto him.

BY nature he hath implanted the Si­militude of his power: which we are to improve by Grace, turning it into Act after his Similitude. To be able to Love is neither Grace nor vertue, but a meer Gift of GOD, a natural Endowment, which may be Blasted, or compleated. Actually to love is the Work of vertue; for by that Act we enjoy our Felicity.

HAD GOD limited and confined our understanding, our power of Lov­ing had been shut up in Bounds. Had he made it infinite, but not prepared objects for the same, our Love had been deluded, and had lost its force. Had he made some Objects, but not so ma­ny as it was capable of Loving, it had been Superfluous and dissatisfied; Had he prepared Objects innumerable and Endless, but made them evil, our Love had been irrational, had he command­ed us to Love them; Had he made more Objects then we were able to love, we had been discontented: But having made all Objects infinitely Amiable and [Page 87] Glorious, and filled his Immensity and Eternity with himselfe, and with the Lustre of his Actions, Love is an infinite Vertue, because nothing is wanting, but an Act of Love to enjoy them.

IF they are all Amiable in all Re­spects, they are all according to our Hearts desire, in their Natures, Places, Durations, Ends, Occasions, Causes, Uses, Service, Relations, Properties, Operations, &c. All things, as they im­mediatly proceed from him, are in all respects most perfectly pleasing. And if we have an Eye to see and discern this, and a Soul able to resent the Be­nefit; if our nature be so vast and per­fect, as to see and take pleasure in all their Circumstances; it is the most un­reasonable and bruitish thing in the world to withdraw our Affection from them, nay it is worse then Diabolical. For we Kill our selves, we blast our Felicity, we offend GOD, we slight the Beau­ty of all his Creatures, we break his Laws, we act against nature, we dark­en the Light and Splendor of our Souls, we deface his Image, we grieve his Love, we do the most vicious and abo­minable thing that is imaginable. But [Page 88] if we excite and a waken our Power, we take in the Glory of all objects, we live unto them, we are sensible of them, we delight in them, we transform our souls into Acts of Love and Know­ledge, we proceed out of our selves into all Immensities and Eternities, we render all Things their Due, we reap the Benefit of all, we are Just, and Wise, and Holy, we are Grateful to GOD, and Amiable in being so: We are not divided from, but united to him, in all his Appearances, Thoughts, Counsels, Operations; we adorn our souls with the Beauty of all objects whatsoever, are transformed into the I­mage of GOD, live in communion with him, nay live in him, and he in us, are made Kings and Priests unto GOD, and his sons forever; There is an exact and pleasant Harmony between us and all the Creatures: We are in a Divine and spiritual Manner made as it were Omni­present with all Objects (for the Soul is present only by an Act of the understand­ing) and the Temple of all Eternity does it then becom, when the Kingdom of GOD is seated within it, as the world is in the Eye; while it lives, and feels, and sees, [Page 89] and enjoyes, in every object to which it is extended, its own & its objects Perfection.

IF by our voluntary Remisness, or Mistake, or Disorder, we dote upon one Object, or suffer some few things to engage our Souls so intirely, as to forget and neglect all the rest, we rob all those we desert, of their due Esteem, and abridge our selves of that Liberty and Extent, wherein the great­ness of our soul consisteth. As if the Sun, that is made to shine upon all the World, should withdraw its Beams from the Stars and the Heavens, and chuse to shine upon nothing else but a Spire of Grasse, a grain of Dust, or a little sand. We lose innumerable Objects, and confine our selves to the Love of one, by sacrificing all our Affection to that, become guilty of Idolatry in one respect, of Atheism in another. For we elevate that Creature which we love alone, in­to the place of GOD, and we rob the Creator of that supream affection which is due unto him: And in so doing bereave our selves of the Sovereign Object, in the fruition of which all the rest are hap­pily enjoyed. Thus when a man so Loveth his Wife, or Children, as to de­spise [Page 90] all mankind, he forfeits his Interest in all Kingdoms, and the Beauty of all Ages is taken from his Eys, his Treasures are contracted, and his Fe­licity is maimed, and made Defe­ctive. When a Covetous man doteth on his Bags of Gold, the Ambitious on Titles of Honor, the Drunkard on his Wine, the Lustful Goat on his Wo­men, the foolish Hector on his Dice and Duels, they banish all other Ob­jects, and live as absurdly, as if a King should relinquish his Crown, and con­fine his Thoughts and Care to a Coun­try Mannor.

I will not deny, but that there are many Disorders and Evils in the World, many Deformities, Sins, and Miseries: but I say two things; first that in the Estate of innocency, wherein all things proceeded purely from GOD, there was no Sin, nor sickness, nor Death, nor Occasion of Complaint or Calamity. Secondly, that all the Evils that are now in the world, men brought on them­selves by the Fall: And there is great need of distinguishing between the works of GOD, and the works of men. For all that GOD did is Lovely and [Page 91] Divine: nothing is bitter and distasteful, but what we have done: himself surveyed the whole Creation, and pronounced concerning every Thing, that it was ex­ceeding Good. So that he was in all his Works an Object of Complacency. To these we add two Considerations more; That of all the Evils and Mis­cheifs which men have introduced, there is not one left uncorrected in his Kingdome. Secondly, that GOD bring­eth Order out of Confusion, Light out of Darkness, Good out of Evil, and by a Providence irresistable, and a Power infi­nite, so limiteth and divideth all, that even Evils themselves become the Matter of his Victory, the Ground of his Triumph: They are all improved; and he makes the Greatest Evils Objects of Joy and Glory.

NOW if all Things before GOD are fit to be enjoyed, all Good Things perfect, all Evil overcome; if without any Change of Place or Scituation, all Things are naked and open before his Eyes, and there be no Walls to exclude, or Skreens to hide, no Gulph to pass, nor Distance to over come, but all things equally neer and fair; there is some Hope, that the same Felicity is prepared for [Page 92] the soul which is made in his Image and that every thing, being fit for GOD is full of infinite Depth and Beauty. For which Cause St. John being in Spirit saw all the Kingdomes of the World, become the Kingdomes of the Lord and of his Christ, and heard every Creature which is in Heaven, and on the Earth, and under the Earth, and such as are in the Sea, and all that is in them, say­ing Blessing, and Honor, and Glory, and Power, be unto him that Sitteth upon the Throne, and to the Lamb for evermore. This we are the rather induced to believe, because the Faithful Servant is comman­ed to enter into the Joy of his Lord, and our Masters Joys are the Rewards of Believers. Our Savionr telleth us his Lord will make his Wise Servant Ruler over all his Goods, in one-place, and over all that he hath in ano­ther.

TO see beyond all Seas, and through all interposing Skreens and Darknesses, is the Gift of the Understanding, and to be able to Love any Object beyond the Skies, any Thing that is Good from the Centre of the Earth to the Highest Heavens, is the Property of the Soul; [Page 93] which it exerciseth here by Parts, and De­grees, but shall at once exert at the Day of Consummation. The Infinity of the Fa­ther in the Son, & the Godhead of the Son in the Holy Ghost will entirely be enjoyed.

IT is the Glory of man, that his Avarice is insatiable, and his Ambition infinite, that his Appetite carries him to innumerable Pleasures, and that his Curiosity is so End­less, that were he Monarch of the World, it could not satisfie his Soul, but he would be curiously inquisitive into the original and End of Things, and be concerned in the Nature of those that are beyond the Heavens. For having met with an infinite Benefactor, he would not be sit for his Bounty, could any finite Ob­ject satisfie his Desire: and for this Cause is his Reason so inquisitive, to see whe­ther every thing be Delightful to his Essence; which, when he findeth agrea­ble to his Wish, and to exceed his Ima­gination, it is impossible to declare how his Avarice and Ambition will both re­joyce, how much his Appetite will be satisfied, and his Curiosity delighted. To sit in the Throne of GOD and to enjoy Communion with him, in those Things which neither Eye hath seen, nor [Page 94] Ear heard, nor hath it entered into the Heart of Man to conceive, is no mean thing: the Advancement is infinitely Greater, then we are able to understand. No young man can gaze upon a Beau­teous face with greater Pleasure, no Epicures Sence he ravished with more Delight, than that which he apprehends in so Glorious a fruition.

THE very sight of other mens Souls, shining in the Acts of their Understand­ing throughout all Eternity, and ex­tending themselves in the Beams of Love through all Immensity, and thereby transformed (every one of them) into a Sphear of Light comprehending the Heavens, every Angel and every Spi­rit being a Temple of GODS Omni­presence and Perfection; this alone will be a ravishing Spectacle to that Goodness, which delights to see innumerable Pos­sessors of the Same Kingdome: Much more will the Perfection of the King­dome it self, which by infinite Wisdome is so constituted, that every one is the Sovereign Object, the First born, and Sole heir, and End of the Kingdome; Every one the Bride of GOD, every one there a King, yet without Confusion, [Page 95] or Diminution, every one distinctly, enjoying all, and adding to each others fruition.

TO understand all this, and not to delight in it, is more miserable then not to understand it. To see it, with­out being able to enjoy it, is to pine away in a prison, from whence we see the Glory of a Palace, and repine in our misery at the Pleasures of those that are about it: To delight in these Things, without being affected with them; is im­possible. Nor is there any Affection but that of Love, whereby we can en­joy them.

THE Angels see the Glory of GODS Kingdom and delight in it; the Damn­ed see the Joys of the Blessed, and are tortured by them; the Wicked upon Earth neither see, nor are affected with them; the Saints on Earth apprehend them in part, and believe them, desire and endeavour after them; they wait with Expectation for the whole, and by certain degrees, as it were in a Glass, en­joy the Image and Reflection of them: As many as they comprehend, they actu­ally delight in: for their love is awak­ened, and extended to the goodness of [Page 96] all they understand, which it feeds upon by meditation, and turnes into Nourishment, for the Beneffit of their Souls, which are made more Great, and Strong, and Vigorous by their Fruiti­ons. But without Love, it is easie to see, that no Goodness can be at all en­joyed.

GOD does desire Love from us, because his Wisdom very well knows, that without Love the World would be in vain, and the End of the Creati­on frustrated: his Goodness is diffusive and infinitly desires to communicate it self, which it cannot do, unless it be Beloved. To receive it, is the highest service we can do unto it, nothing be­ing more agreeable to the Nature of his Goodness, then that it should be en­joyed. His Blessedness consisteth in the pleasure he taketh in the Felicity of o­thers, and brancheth it self out into two Parts, the Pleasure of Communi­cating all to others, and the pleasure of receiving all from others, in the satis­faction which he taketh to see others Blessed, in the Returns of those joys and Praises, which are offered up to his Goodness and Glory. His Glory desires [Page 97] to be seen, and delighted in: To be esteemed and beloved: to be honored and admired, is natural to Glory, the Brightness of whose splendor is more Sensibly Pleasant in the Reflection of its face, and in the Joy that it makes in anothers Soul. His Holiness takes Pleasure in pure and upright Actions, of all which Love is the fountain. There is an Objective fitness and Excellency in Love, for which it is infinitely valued by him. It is one of the first and im­mediate Properties of Love to desire to be beloved, to make its object most Amiable and Beautiful, as well as Bles­sed; to be united to it, to have its own Goodness acknowledged, its Essence ap­proved, its excellency desired, admired and delighted in; to see all its Actions, Appearances, Gifts and Tokens esteem­ed; and to feel its own Efficacy, in the Grateful Acceptance it finds in the Raptures it occasions, in the flames it enkindles in anothers Soul. Now Love is the fountain of all Honour, Gratitude, Praise and Esteem: By Love the Soul is transformed into the Similitude of GOD, by love made Bright and Beau­tiful, all its Blessedness and Glory are [Page 98] founded in its Love, it is by Love it self made Communicative and Diffusive, and Great, and Rich, and as the Scripture speaketh, fit for Delights. All Obedi­ence and service are founded in Love; And if a Creature, that is Beloved, must freely give up it self to anothers Plea­sure, before it can shew its Love, or in­tirely be enjoyed; Love is of all other things in the World most fit to answer Love, because the very heart and Soul is given thereby to the Person that de­sires it.

LOVE is the Fountain of all Be­nefits and Pleasures. House, Estate, and Lands, Authority, Wealth, and Pow­er, Life it self is consecrated and De­voted by a Lover to his Object. So that on our side all is given to GOD by Love, as well as by Love it is re­ceived from him. The Heavens and the Earth and all the Creatures are Gifts and Tokens of his Love, Men and An­gels are a Present of his Love, which he hath infinitely adorned, and made endlessly serviceable to every Soul that is Beloved. All these his Love would have us to receive with a due Esteem and therefore, is it than of his Love [Page 99] he will have us to exercise our reason aright, and Love them as much as their Goodness deserveth. When we see and un­derstand their Excellence, and Esteem them according to the transcendent va­lue that appeareth in them, we adorn our selves with their fair Ideas, we enlarge and beautifie our Souls with Bright and clear Apprehensions, and which is much more, with regular and well ordered Affections, we enrich our selves, and increase our Greatness (in the fruition of his Gifts) we are lively, and pleasant, and vigorous Creatures, full of Knowledge, and Wisdome, and Good­ness, and fit to offer up all these things unto him again, while we empty them as Helps and Advantages in that Service which we pay unto him: For our Love to himself is enkindled by these Incen­tives, and while we sacrifice our selves and them unto him, we delight in nothing more then to see him, that is so Great in Love and Bounty, the Author and Posses­sor of all his Glories.


Of the Excellency of Truth, as it is the Object and Cause of Vertue. The Matter and form of Vertuous Actions. That their form is infinitely more Excellent then their Mat­ter, and the Heathen Morality infinitely defective and short of the Christian.

I do not see that Aristotle made the End of Vertue any other then a finite and temporal Felicity, which is infinitely short of that felicity which is here begun, and enjoyed for ever. He did not make GOD the Object and End of the Soul, and if all Acts are distinguished into their Kinds by their Objects and their Ends, those Vertues must be infinitely base, that have no other Objects or Ends, but Crea­tures; and those only Divine and Noble, that flow from an infinite and Eternal O­riginal, respect an infinite and Eternal Object, rest in an Infinite and Eternal End. His Difinition of Felicity import­eth all this, but his Behavior makes me to fear he did not understand it: As Sene­ca luckily hit upon that saying, Deus me [Page 101] solum dedit toti mundo, totum Mundum mi­bi soli, GOD gave me alone to all the World, and all the World to me alone; yet could not understand it. For had he Known what it was he said, he would have made a better use of it, and been more co­pious and explicite in the Illustration. An actual Respect had to infinite Obligations and Rewards, a Desire in every action to please an infinite and eternal Lover, to Glorifie a Divine and Endless Benefactor, to bring forth the fruits of infinite Bene­fits, and to be truely Grateful for all the Advantages of a mans Creation, that is made to have Dominion over all the World; these are higher and better Qualifications of those Vertuous A­ctions which Christians perform, than Heathens understood. And yet if nature were divested of its Corruption, the Natural Man, that is, no Christian, might, by the Light of Nature, be fitted to un­derstand them. And the Truth is, I won­der much, (the World being so Beau­tiful and Glorious in every Eye, so really deep and valuable in Worth, so peculiar­ly applied to the use and service of every person;) that the Heathens did miss the fruition of it, and fail to measure them­selves [Page 102] and their Felicity, by the Great­ness of its Beauty, and the Joy which all the Creatures ought to produce in the mind of Man by their real Services. For the Earth is really better than if all its Globe were of beaten Gold, the Seas are better than if all their Abysses were full of Diamonds, the Air is better, than if all the space between us and the Skys were full of Scepters, and the Sun alone a grea­ter Treasure then all the wealthy Mines in the Indies: every man is surrounded with all the Light of their Advantages, and so much served by them, as if no man but himself were alive in the World. So that it is a natural and easie Investigation, even for Heathens themselves, to discern the mystery of Bliss, and to discover the misery of Humane Nature to be founded in some Disease of the Will, or Under­standing: And to return from Inadver­tency and Sloth, to Truth and Righ Rea­son, which was the ready Way to true Felicity. For they Knew not the Arca­num or Hidden mystery of Divine Laws, nor the Excellency and Perfection of im­mortal Souls, which make every one a So­veraign and Transcendent Creature; yet they might easily observe the miserable [Page 103] Effects of Eternal Solitude, and in ex­ternal Services, how useful and comforta­ble men were ordained by Nature to be to one another.

EVERY man Loves to have many Eys fixt on his Beauty, and to have many De­lightful Objects and Transactions for his own. Be the Theatre never so Magnifi­cent, the Actions and the Actors, are more Delightful to the Spectators than the Gildings, and Dead Engravings. Were all other men removed out of the World to make room for one, the empty Theatre would remain, but the Spectacle be lost, all the Cities, and Kingdoms, and Ages would be removed, with all that was lively, and rare, and Miraculous in all their Occurrences. Palaces, and Tem­ples had been prevented, Houses and Villages, Fields and Vineyards! The World had been a Wilderness overgrown with Thorns, and Wild Beasts, and Ser­pents: Which now by the Labor of ma­ny hands, is reduced to the Beauty and Order of Eden. It is by Trades and Oc­cupations that a man gets him Corn, and Wine, and Oyl, &c. all which he would have been without had he never seen a­ny Company but himself; condemned [Page 104] to Idleness and melancholly. Vertues and Praises had been things unknown, Admiration and Honor, Love and Know­ledge the mysteries of Religion and Pie­ty, all the speculations of Wisdom, for want of Education had been lost, at least the Sence and Exercise of these Bright and Glorious Things, for wont of Conver­sation: Corrupted Nature being prone to afford no other fruits but Barbarism and Ignorance in that Solitary Conditi­on. For the Powers of the Soul are im­proved by Tradition: and it is by the Information of others that our minds are awakened to perceive the Dignity of our own Nature, the Value of all the Crea­tures, and our Interest unto them.

But Religion teaches us far more, the Beginning and the End of the World, how highly we are honored, and beloved of GOD, the Manner wherein we are to converse with him, the transcendent Excellency of Souls, and the Divine Per­fections of the Deity, What his Omni­presence and Eternity is, how we are to be enlarged in our Apprehensions and Desires, and prepared for infinite and E­ternal fruitions; in what Quality, and Capacity, we are to live in the world, [Page 105] and Exercise Vertue, how we are to spend our Time, and employ our Powers on all Objects, every one as Lord of the Crea­tion and the friend of GOD! How all Angels and Men are commanded to Love us as themselves, and by that Love to serve and delight us more, than by all o­ther Actions and Offices whatsoever: That every Soul is a more excellent Being than the visible World, more nearly ally­ed to God, and more precious in it self than any Treasure whatsoever: That it is endued with Powers, Inclinations and Principles so fitly subservient and condu­cive to Blessedness, that any one of these is more Delightful then all inanimate Things; in the Contemplation and En­joyment of which we may justly be lost in Wonder and Extasie. All this by the Light of Nature is asserted, but covered with so Gross a vail, that we discern it not, till it is newly revealed by the Ministery of Men. And upon all these Ac­counts are Men themselves, (which are ge­nerally mistaken to be Impediments) Means & Assistances of our Happy living.

BUT however familiar, and near, and easie these Great and evident Truths ap­pear, it so happened, that the Heathen [Page 106] Philosophers were Blind unto them, and in the midst of their Searches after Fe­licity; failed of the Discovery; they became vain in their Imaginations, pla­cing felicity in a meer Apathy, or conceit­ed [...] a self-sufficiency, or in a brave Contempt of all misfortunes, in a forced Contentment Dark and empty, or in Sensual Pleasures, or in the Goods of fortune, either alone, or conjoyned with those of the Soul and Body, which they lamely enumerated, and knew not how to imploy; as if the Discovery of the highest and best Truths in nature, had been reserved for him that redeemed Na­ture, and the Plainest Truths had been ap­pointed to honor and attend that Religi­on which brought supernatural My steries to Light, by the Preaching of the Gospel.

BY this last the Qualifications of an humble and pious Soul, a Penitent and Grateful Person, sensible (at once) of his infinite Guilt and Grandure, were introduced: Another foundation laid upon the Meritorious Death and Passion of GOD, the Son of GOD, a Second Love continued in the Deity to the mise­rable after an infinite forfeiture; all the Oracles, and Visions, and Miracles, by [Page 107] which the Nature of Man is magnified, and Ages enlightned, the Ministry of An­gels, and the Dispensations of Provi­dence, by which the Care and Tender­ness of GOD is shewn, the infinite mea­sures and Violences of his Love, the infi­nite Variety and Number of Obligations, the present Advantages and Benefits, the Eternal Rewards, the Relation of GOD to Man as a Father and a friend, a Bridegroom and a King, a Light and Example, the sweetuess of our Union and Communion with him, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; all these Things, which the Angels desire to look into, were by the Christian Religion (with the rest before mentioned) plainly revealed, with our victory over Death, the Resur­rection of our Bodies, and Life Eternal.

IN the Light of these Circumstan­ces the Interior form of Vertuous Acts more evidently appears. For to exercise Vertue in the Quality and Capacity of a Son of GOD, is another sort of Business, than to exercise Vertue as an ordinary Mechanick: and to do all things being clothed with a Sence of our Coelestial Grandeur, as we are [Page 108] Heirs of the World, infinitely Belov­ed of GOD, ordained for his Throne, Delightful in the Eyes of all, Angels and Men, Beloved and honored by all the Creatures, made Partakers of the Divine Nature, intending and design­ing to Please all Spectators in Heaven and Earth (by the excellency of our Actions;) This makes every little Deed as it were infinite within; while the Matter of the Action seemeth nothing; it renders the Form Divine and Bles­sed.

THE best Actions of the prophaner Heathen fell under the notion of Dead Works: By which name the Apostle cal­leth all wicked Deeds, to intimate the Privation of all that excellency that ought to be in Humane Actions. E­very Deed and Thought, of ours ought to be Inspired with Life from Heaven. The Light of the Understanding, and the vigor of the Will is the Soul that informes it. When it is void of Know­ledge, and springs not from that series of GODS infinite Love, that ought to a­nimate it, nor regardeth those Eternal Joys that are set before us, nor at all considers those Obligations that are laid [Page 109] upon us, it is bereaved of its Vital and Es­sential form, it is like a fair Carcase with­out a Soul, unsensible of those Interests and Concerns, that ought chiefly to be va­lued and promoted. And by this you may see clearly, that the Matter of a Good act falles infinitely short of that Per­fection wherewith it ought to be inspired, if this Soul, or Form be wanting; which tho less visible to the Eye of flesh, is of as much greater Excellence and Im­portance, as the Soul in nature is above Body.

THUS when a Heathen giveth to the Poor, the matter of the Act is the very self same which a Christian man does: So is an Act of Courage, or Patience, in encoun­tring Death; the subduing of the Ap­petite, and the Denial of a Lust, a piece of Justice against Interest and friendship, an Act of Prudence, Temperance, or Fide­lity: In all these, if we respect the Mat­ter of them, Heathens have acted (in a manner) as high as any Christian, and con­sequently appear to vulgar Apprenhen­sions as Heroick and Stupendious. But consider the inside, the Heathen did it that he might satisfie his Conscience and and please the GODS, that he might [Page 110] acquire honor and immortal fame, or please the generous Inclination of his own Soul, which delighted in Honor and Worth, or assert his own Principles, or five his friends, or preserve his Coun­try. And doubtless these are Great and brave considerations, but they are li­mited and finite: and Sick of two De­fects, (for the most part) that are in­curable. They were Sacrifices of O­bedience to false Gods, plain Idolatry, and attended with an ignorant Loftiness and Height of Mind, that confided in them: and besides this, they aspired to little more then a Glorious name in fol­lowing Ages.

WHEREAS the Christian makes all Kind of Graces to meet and con­centre in every Action, Wisdom, Good­ness, Justice, Courage, Temperance, Prudence, Humility, Penitence, Pati­ence, Meekness, Liberality, Cheerful­ness, Gratitude, Joy in the Holy Ghost, Devotion, Piety, Faith, Hope, Cha­rity, all Kind of Holiness, And his Action extends to all the Objects of these Graces, and includes their Causes. He remembers the infinite Obligations that are laid upon him by that Deity, which [Page 111] infinitely Loves him; the Benefit of the Creation, and the Glory of the Divine Image, the Guilt of fall, and that blot and misery that lyes upon him, the Won­der of his Redemption, and the Love of Christ, his Death and Passion, the Mira­culous Pains and Endeavors of GOD in all Ages, to reclaim him, the Giving of the Holy Ghost, and his holy Baptism, the New Covenant which he is in with GOD, the Height and Glory of his Place and sta­tion, the Beauty of the World, and his Do­minion over all the Living Creatures, the Joy and Amity of all the Angels, the Be­nefit and Welfare of all his Neighbours the Joy and Prosperity of future Ages; the Glory of GOD, the Honour of his Church, and the Propagation of Religion, the Salvation of others Souls, and the E­ternal State and condition of his own, the Acquisition of a Coelestial and Eter­nal Kingdom, and the Delight he taketh in an infinite Sphere of Eternal Joys, the fervent Desire he has to be Grateful to the Almighty; all these by the Light of his Divine and Coelestial Knowledge enter into the Act, for want of which the other work, that is wrought by an Ignorant Heathen, is in a Manner rightly called a Work, of Darkness.

[Page 112] I do not speak this, as if I would discourage a Heathen from doing the Best that he is able; or condemn those reasons upon which he proceedeth in his Vertuous Deeds; No, nor as if all this were necessary to the Acceptance of an Action. But to shew how highly Chri­stianity does ennoble the Soul of Man, how far more sublime its Principles are, and how far more perfect it makes his Actions: When they are what they may be: And withal to provoke Christians to a more Intelligent and lofty Practice of Christian Vertues, lest they differ not in their Morals from the better sort of Heathens. All these things are necessa­ry to the perfection of an Action, tho not to its Acceptance; And GODS Om­nipresence, and Power, and Wisdom, and Love ought to be considered in all places, among all Persons, upon all occasions; And the Blood of Christ, and the infi­nite Glory of Eternal Bliss. But that which above all I chiefly intend, is to shew what influence the great Perfe­ction of Felicity hath upon all our Ver­tues: not only to stir us up to do them, but by entering their Constitution, to inspire them with their Beauty and form [Page 113] for their fuller Lustre, Glory and Per­fection: That we may see also, how Great and Transcendent that Life must be, wherein every Act is capable of so much Majesty and Magnificence, if I may so speak, by reason of the variety of its Ends and Causes. And how abominable and absurd they are all that ex­clude GOD out of their Thoughts and Considerations; Who is alone the Foun­tain of all the Beauty in every Vertuous Deed, and the proper fulness, Cause and End of all its Perfection!

HOW Ambitious we ought to be of Knowledge, which is the Light wherein we are to adorn and compleat our selves, we may learn and collect from all that is said. It is rightly called the Key of Know­ledge, it admits us into the spacious Reces­ses of every Vertue, openeth the Gate by which we enter into the Paths of Righte­ousness, that lead to the Temple and Pa­lace of Bliss. Where all the Treasuries of Wisdome are exposed to the Eye of the Soul, tho hidden from the World. How Great and Amiable every Vertue is, how Great and Perfect it may be made, is only discerned by the Eye of Knowledge; It is by this alone that men come to discern [Page 114] how full of Reason Religion is, and with what Joy and Security and Sweetness it may be practised.


Wisdom is seated in the Will, it attaineth best of all possible Ends by the best of all possible Means.

KNOWLEDGE, how excellent soever it may be conceived, is without Wisdome like skill without Pra­ctice; which whether, it be in Musick, or Painting, or in any other Art, as Govern­ment, Navigation, Preaching, Judicature, is altogether vain and fruitless, if it be not reduced into Act and Exercise. For Wisdome is that Excellent Habit of Soul by which we chuse the most Excellent End of all those which may be Known, and actually prosecute it, by the best Means that are conducive thereunto.

TO Know the best of all possible Ends and not to embrace it, is the greatest folly in the World. To chuse and em­brace it, without Endeavouring after it, is a folly contending with the other for [Page 115] Eminence. To chuse any means less then the best in Order thereunto, is a new piece of solly, even then when we pursue what Wisdom requires. For no less than the best of all possible Means is requisite to the Acquisition of the best of all possible Ends. And by all this we discern, that Wisdome is not a meer Spe­culation of Excellent Things, but a Practical Habit, by Vertue of which we actually atchieve and compleat our Hap­piness. For it is impossible for the best of Means (when they are well used) to fail; we may grow remiss, and suspend our Endeavor, which is another Kind of folly, and so be diverted from the best of all possible Means by some strong Temptation, or cease from using them through our own Inconstancy, or yield to some Light and easie Allurement, or be discouraged by some terrible Danger, [...]nd thus may abandon the Best of all Ends, but without some such folly it can ever be lost.

POSSIBILITIES are innumera­ [...]le, so that nothing less than infinite Wisdome can find out that which is [...]bsolutely the Best. But when the best [...]f all possible Ends is by infinite Wis­dome [Page 116] sound out, it is an Easie thing for Wisdome to discover that End to the Knowledge of others, to whom it is a­ble to communicate it self by way of Gift and Participation.

WHAT the best of all possible Ends is, only GOD fully comprehendeth. But in General it is such, that it includeth all Kind of Goods in the highest Perfecti­on, infinite varieties and Degrees of Possibility turned into Act, all Sweetness and Beauty Empire, Dominion, and Pow­er, all Riches, Pleasures, and Honors Victories, and Triumphs, and Possessi­ons, will be in it, and nothing possible or Desirable be wanting to it. GOD alone is the Best of all possible Ends, who includeth all things in himself as then Cause, and End: the Perfection of his Will is his Blessedness and Glory, and his Essence the only Means by which he can attain unto it. By himself it is that we come unto him in a manner afterward more fully to be explained. His Essenc [...] is the Best of all possible Means; by which he attains himself, and by which he is enjoyed. Our Conformity to h [...] Essence is our Way, by a Wise Appli­cation of our Souls to that Eternal A [...] which is his End.

[Page 117] THAT Sweetness and Beauty are Attributes of the best of all possible Ends, is evident and clear: As it is also that these must be infinite in their Degree and Measure, because nothing but what is infinitely convenient, is absolutely E­ligible. Now what is infinitely conve­nient is infinitely Sweet and Beauti­ful. What is infinitely Desirable is in­finitely Good, because it is Agreeable to that Love wherewith every Existence intends it self, and pursues its own sub­lime Happiness.

IT is easie to conceive how GOD should be the End of his Creatures, but how he should really be his own End is difficult to understand: Because his Creatures are Defective, and have some­thing besides themselves to aspire after: but GOD from all Eternity is infinite­ly perfect, and being all that he can be, needeth nothing that he can endeavor to attain. But if we consider the na­ture of Wisdome, which is a voluntary Act, we may be freed from the Despair of understanding the Mystery. For Wisdome must of necessity intend it self in its Operations, because it becometh Wisdome by doing the Best of all Excel­lent [Page 118] Things; and doth them all that it may be Wisdome, or Wise in doing them. It implies Deliberation and Freedome; being a Vertue seated in the Will and Understanding, It implies a Power of Knowing, and Chusing, and Doing all Things, it consisteth not in the Power of Knowing only, nor in Power of Chu­sing, nor in the Power of Doing. No­thing else is Wisdome, but to chuse and do what we Know is absolutely most Excellent. Wisdome then is found­ed in the Act of Doing, nay it is the Act of Doing all that is Excellent. And if it be a free and voluntary Act, as it must needs be, because nothing is Wis­dome, but that which guideth it self by Counsel freely, to a Known End, which it discerneth to be most Excellent, it implies an Ability to forbear, in him that is wise, by chusing to do what he might forbear. Had it forborn to do what is most Ex­cellent, it had turned into folly, be­cause it had by that means lost the most Excellent End: but by chusing to do all that was best, it became an act of Wisdome; which being most Lovely, it chiefly desired to be. And so by Chusing and Doing the most Excellent [Page 119] of Things, begot it self; and by it self proceeded to all its Operations, which must needs be infinite, if Wisdome be so, because any thing less would (if rested in) be infinitely Defe­ctive.

THAT Riches and Pleasures may be infinite, is evident from the Nature and extent of space, which is illimited and Endless, from the Omnipresence and Eternity of GOD, in which there is infinite Room for innumerable varie­ties, especially from his Wisdom and Goodness which are Infinite Treasures. It appears also from his Almighty Power, which is able in all Parts of his Omnipre­sence and Eternity, to work without any Bound or Period, without cessation at once to work in all Places of his Do­minion, and throughout all his Immen­sity to act, and do what he will. So that in one Instant he can fill both E­ternity and Time with enjoyments, Every Part and Particle of which shall be infinitely Delightful, because of the vigor of his Eternal Power in very Operation. Thus is he intirely Acting in Heaven, and Earth, and Hell, at the same time, and at all conceiva­ble [Page 120] Distances beyond all Heavens ever Acting, because he is Willing Decree­ing seeing and ruling there, and every where accomplishing his Counsel and Pleasure. His Essence and his Will are both the same, his Essence is his Act, and his Act his Pleasure.

BY exerting his Almighty Power he begot that Act, which is the Means and End of all his Endeavors. An Act of Wisdome infinite and Eternal is his Blessedness and Glory. We must take heed of conceiving GOD to be one Thing, and his Act another, for all his Wisdom and Goodness, all his Bles­sedness, and Life, and Glory are in the Act, by which he became the Fountain and the End of all Things. He became so freely, and yet was so by his Essence from everlasting, for Eternity is an infinite Length of Duration, altoge­ther present in all its parts in a Stable manner. To fill one part of space with Treasures, and leave another Emp­ty, was not Wise. Common Reason will instruct us, that it is better to have all spaces full of Delights, than some sew or none. And by his infinite Wis­dome it is that he Knows how to enjoy, [Page 121] what he never needed, and to im­prove his Enjoyments by giving them a­way.

INFINITE and Eternal Wisdom does not onely imply the Possibility, but the certain Reality and Existence of Eternal Treasures. Where least you should wonder how such should be infinite, you must needs be inform­ed that God is his own best and most perfect Treasure. For if Treasures are by nature those precious Things, which are Means whereby we acquire our Ends, or those Things which we most Esteem, as the Sovereign Objects of our Joy; GOD is in both those respects his own Wealth, because his Essence is the Means by which he atchieveth all his ends, and the Sovereign End of all those Means which he by his Wisdom useth for his Ends. For of him, and by him and to him are all things: As the Scripture witnesseth. Matter is the Dreg of Na­ture, and Dead without Power; Pow­er is the Abyss of Nature, but void without act: Act is the Top and Perfe­ction of Nature, it is the fulness of Pow­er, the fountain and the means of all that is; for Power by transforming it [Page 122] self into Act, becometh, an act, and by that Act produceth and perfecteth all its Works both outward and in ward; so is it the Means of all its Productions: being so infinitely Simple and various together, that nothing but Power exerting it self is in the Nature of the Act by which it is exerted. All the Essence of that Act is the compleat Exertion of Eternal Power, and yet to it alone we ascribe the Original and Means of all: it is the Cause, and Means and End of it self, as well as of o­ther Things, which for its own sake, are Produced by it. For idle Power can do nothing: Meer Power is neither the Cause, nor the Means, nor the End of any thing. Power not Idle, but exert­ed, and throughly employed, is all Act: And this is the Cause of all its Pro­ductions, because of this Power exerting it self they spring: and the Means of all, because by this Power exerting it self, they are; and the End of all, because it did all, that it might be not Idle, but Pow­er Exerting it self, or a Glorious Act in its full Perfection.

IT was an effect of infinite Wisdom, wherein GOD by one Act acquired him­self, [Page 123] and all his Dominion, prepared his own, and his Creatures blessedness, made himself and all his Kingdome Glo­rious. But this is scarcely intelligible, because the manner of his Life is in­comprehensible: we cannot tell how to conceive, what the Learned constantly affirm, that all Eternity is at one Time. All I shall observe in Or­der to the explaining of this Mystery, is onely this, that tho the World be­gins and Ends with Time, yet Eterni­ty does immutably include Time, and the Operations of Divine Wisdome are various, and exactly fitted to their se­veral Seasons, yet all the parts of Eter­nity are filled with Operations, which, tho they are one in GOD, like that of shi­ning in the Sun, are manifold in Effects, as the Beams of the Sun in their diffe­rent Works among all the Creatures.

IT is a natural Effect of infinite Wisdome to make every of its Treasures suitable to its own excellence. And that the Wisdome of GOD has done, by mak­ing every the smallest Thing in his King­dome infinitely serviceable in its Place, and station, for the manifesting of his Wis­dom Goodness, and Glory to the Eye of a [Page 124] clear Beholder And this he hath done by making all his Kingdome oneIntire Ob­ject, and every Thing in it a Part of that Whole, Relating to all the innumerable Parts, receiving a Beauty from all, & com­municating a Beauty to all, even to all ob­jects throughout all Eternity. While e­very one among Millions of Spectators, is endued with an Endless Understand­ing to see all, and enjoy all in its Relations, Beauties, and Services.

I cannot stand to enlarge on this, o­therwise I might illustrate it by a fami­liar Example. No single Part of a state­ly Monument is so Beatutiful out of its Place, as it is in its Place: because if it be seen alone, it is not understood; for the Beauty that results from all, consists in Order and Symmetry, which by any Division is broken to pieces. He Knoweth nothing as he ought to Know, who thinks he Knoweth any thing, without seeing its Place, and the Manner how it relateth to GOD, An­gels and Men, and to all the Creatures in Earth, Heaven, and Hell, Time, and Eternity.

IT is an Act of Wisdome to prize and enjoy, what is by Wisdome prepa­red, [Page 125] and Because infinite Wisdome in­cludeth all Wisdome, infinite Wisdome at once Knoweth, Chuseth, Doth, Esteem­eth, and Enjoyeth, all that is Excellent. It is an Act of Wisdome to make ones self Good and Delightful to others, be­cause Honor, and Peace, and Amity, are founded therein. It is infinite Wis­dome to become infinitely Good and De­lightful to others, and for that cause to be infinite in Bounty. For what is infinitely Good is infinitely Glorious. And therefore is it, that GOD needing Nothing in himself, gives all Things to others, Gives them in enjoying them, en­joys in Giving them, while his Good­ness delights in the Felicity of others, and in being the Felicity of others. For by making them Great and Blessed he magnifieth himself; and by replenish­ing them increaseth his Treasures.

HOW little soever of this you are able to conceive, you may understand, that to be like GOD is the way to be Happy: And that if GOD hath put it in your Power to be like him, it is the extremest Madness in the VVorld to a­buse your Power, and to neglect his Treasures, but it is infinite VVisdome by [Page 126] the best of all possible Means to em­brace and enjoy them, Because an in­finite End is thereby attained, even GOD himself, who is thereby made the portion of the Soul, and its Reward forever.

THE best of all possible Means whereby we can acquire his Eternal Treasures, is to imitate GOD in our Thoughts and Actions; to exert our Powers after his Similitude, and to at­tain his Image, which is after GOD in Knowledg, Righteousness, and true Holiness. For by Knowing all Things, as GOD Knoweth them, we transform our Souls into an Act of Knowledge, most Bright and Glorious: By Loving all Things as GOD Loveth them, we transform our VVills into an Act of Love, which is most Sweet and Blessed. VVe enrich and Beautifie our selves with the Image of his Goodness, while we communicate our Souls (in our Powers) to all Objects in his whole Eternity. VVe magnifie our selves by magnifying Him in all his Works: We do right to our selves by doing right to GOD, and all other Things. VVhich for as much as we must here on Earth learn by Degrees, and can ne­ver [Page 127] perfectly accomplish the VVork, till it is given us in Heaven, it is VVisdome to walk in the Paths of Righteousness as far as we are able, and to do those Things here, tho small and defective, which he will recompence with a Re­ward so perfect hereafter.

IF ever we be so happy as to come to Heaven, his VVisdome shall be our VVis­dom, his Greatness our Greatness, his Blessedness our Blessedness, his Glory our Glory, All his Joys and Treasures shall be ours, his Life and Love ours, and Himself ours for evermore.

HIS VVisdome is made ours because it is the Light in which we shall see Light, and learn thereby to inherit all Things: the Exemplar and Original of our VVisdome, the Fountain and Patern of all our Joys, the Author and Inventor of all our Delights, the End and Sum of all our Desires, the Means of all our Felicity, our very Blessedness and Glory.


Of Righteousness. How Wisdome, Justice, and Right Reason are shut up in its Nature. What GOD doth, and what we acquire, by the Exercise of this Vertue.

RIGHTEOUSNESS and VVis­dome are neer allyed. For to be Just towards all Objects is to render them their spiritual Due, their Due Esteem. It is VVisdome, because thereby we at­tain our End, and enjoy their Excel­lency. It is Right Reason, because to value all Things just as they are, ten­dering to them neither more nor less then they deserve, is to do Right to our selves and them, it is a Vertue, be­cause by force thereof we attain our Happiness.

For the better understanding of this Vertue we must Know that there is a Righteousness of Apprehension, a Right­teousness of Esteem, a Righteousness of Choise, and a Righteousness of Action. Righteousness of Thought is that Habit [Page 129] by Vertue of which we think aright; forming and framing within our selves aright Apprehensions of all Objects what­soever. This, tho it be the First and smallest Part of Righteousness, is of Great importance; because no man can use that aright, the Nature of which he does not apprehend. He that mistakes his Hand for his Meat, will rise hungry from Table. He that mistakes a Fid­dle for an Axe, will neither cut Wood well, nor make good Musick. The Misapprehension of Great and Transcen­dent Objects, whether visible or Spiri­tual, is not perhaps so Gross, but more pernicious and Destructive. He that apprehends GOD to be a Tyrant, can neither honour GOD, nor Love him, nor enjoy him. He that takes Vertues to be vices, and apprehends all the Actions of Religion unpleasant will loath and avoid them. He, that conceits Nothing in the World to be his own but his low Cot­tage and course diet, will think it needless to praise his Maker, and will deny himself to be happy in those narrow and Mean enjoyments. He that thinks all the wealth is shut up in a Trunk of Gold, will lit­tle regard the Magnificence of the Hea­vens, [Page 130] the Light of the Sun, or the Beauty of the Universe.

RIGHTEOUSNESS in esteem is that Habit, by Vertue of which we value all things according as their Worth and Merit requires. It presupposes a right Apprehension of their Goodness, a clear Knowledge of all their excellencies. It is a Virtue by which we give to every thing that place in our Soul which they hold in Nature. It is wonderful both for its extent, and Value. For there is Room enough for all Objects in the esteem of the Soul, and it is by esteem that they are honored, perfected and en­joyed.

A wise man will actually Extend his Thoughts to all Objects in Heaven and Earth, for fear of losing the Pleasure they afford him, which must necessari­ly spring from his esteem of their ex­cellency.

HONOUR and Esteem are neer a kin. How the Creatures are honoured by esteem, needeth not to be unfold­ed: but how they are perfected by it, is a little Misterious. A thing is then perfected when it attains its End. Now the End for which all things were made [Page 131] is that they may be seen and enjoyed. They are seen that they may be esteem­ed, and by an intelligent and right esteem are all enjoyed. In our esteem therefore they find and attain their end, and by attaining that are consequently perfected. The Application of Actives to Passives is a mystery in Nature of ve­ry great and General Importance; In all Pleasures, Cures, and Productions. All satisfactions, Joys, and Praises are the happy off-spring of Powers and Objects well united. Both the one and the other would lie void and barren if they never met together: and when they meet their Union must be regular, wise and holy.

GOD is an Object of Mans Esteem: Which unless it were able to render him his Due and Quadrat with his Excellen­cies, a man could never be Righteous to­wards GOD. For that Esteem is void of Righteousness, that either exceeds, or falles short of its Object. If it becometh us to fulfil all Righteousness, it becometh GOD, to endue us with the Power of Esteeming all, that is Good and Ex­cellent, according to the Worth and Va­lue thereof. For which cause he enables [Page 132] us to Esteem all that we can see in Heaven and Earth, and in the Hea­ven of Heavens. For this Esteem is the Foundation of that choise which is the Original Spring of all excellent Actions. Even GOD himself meeteth his Honour in the esteem of our Souls. He is injured by the Sacrilegious Impiety that robs him of his Esteem; being infinitely Quick and Tender in apprehending, he is more jealous of his Honour, and more griev­ed when he loseth it then any other. His Wisdom and his Love are infinitly offended, when they are slighted and profaned; but pleased extreamly when they are sanctified and honored: and that they are by a just Esteem. And for this cause he hath made us able to at­tend him in all his Works, and in all his ways, and to have Communion with him in all his Counsels and Perfections that as our Saviour saith,Joh. 3. 35. The Father loveth the son, and hath given all things into his hand, And again, The Father loveth the Son,Joh. 5. 20.and sheweth him all things that himself doth: so we might be­come the Sons of GOD and see his Love and to delight in all that he hath done for us.Joh. 15. 15. For which cause he afterwards saith, [Page 133] Henceforth I call you not Servants, for the Servant Knoweth not what his Lord doth. But I have called you friends, for all Things that I have heard of my Fa­ther, I have made Known unto you.

THE Omnipresence and Eternity of GOD are so far from filling the Soul, that they fit it only to be filled with in­finite Objects. For by the Indwelling of GOD all Objects are infused, and con­tained within. The Spiritual Room of the Mind is Transcendent to Time and Place, because all Time and Place are contained therein: There is a Room in the Knowledge for all Intelligible Objects: A Room in our Esteem for all that is worthy of our Care and Desire. I confess this Room is strange and My­sterious. It is the Greatest Miracle per­haps in Nature. For it is an infinite Sphere in a Point, an Immensity in a Centre, an Eternity in a Moment. We feel it, tho we cannot understand it.

WHATEVER we close our Eye against, we exclude out of our Know­ledge. Whatsoever we Hate, we reject, tho we Know it. We give a Place in our Heart only to that, which we re­ceive and embrace with a Kind Affection.

[Page 134]ETERNITY it self is an Object of Esteem, and so it is the infinity of Almigh­ty GOD: there are infinite Causes for which they ought to be Esteemed. Our Esteem of these cannot be abridged, for upon the least substraction of the smallest Part, Infinity is lost, and so is Eternity. We must be able to esteem the utmost Extent of every Perfection of GOD, or our Righteousness in relation to that will be infinitely Defective. The Pro­portion, between our Esteem and its Ob­ject, is that wherein Righteousness is seated, if our Esteem be finite, it is ut­terly destroyed: for where the Object is infinite, insteed of Proportion, there is infinite Disproportion.

FROM Righteousness in Esteem we proceed to Righteousness in Choice. We weigh and consider what is fittest to be valued, and what we find of great­est Esteem, we most desire. To prefer the Better above the worse is a righte­ous Choise; but to prefer the Worse, is abominable Impiety. The Election of GOD may be more strictly, or Gene­rally conceived. His Election of perti­cular persons from the Rebellious Mass of Mankind to be employed, as Ministers, [Page 135] in restoring the residue, is a matter of Grace; which as Arbitrary and free, is occasioned by the Accident of their Ge­neral Rebellion, and his Mercy thereup­on. Howbeit it is Righteous: for he does Right to himself, and to all his Creatures, and Perfections therein. For thereby notwithstanding the universal Apostasie of the World, he upholdeth and continueth his Righteous Kingdome. But the Primitive Election (by which, when he had considered the nature of all Possible Things, he chose the fittest and the Best) was wholy Natural. For according to the Merit of all Objects he chose them, which Merit nevertheless was to be infused by himself, in their first Creation. Whether a star were a Thing fit to be made, Whether the Sun should be limited, whether his Image should be infinite, whether naked Spi­rits, or Bodies should be created, or Bodies and Spirits personally united: Whether Men should at first Instant be placed in Glory, or in an Estate of Tri­al, whether when they fell into Sin they should be redeemed or no, what Laws were most fitting under the Co­venant of Works, what conditions were [Page 135] most proper for the Covenant of Grace; What Helps and Assistances Men should have, what Impediments and Obstacles; all these and many Millions of Objects more passed his Examination, in order to the Perfection of his Kingdome: as it did also whether he should Create a King­dome or no? and look what surpassed in Esteem, as best and most Eligible, that he chose to create, and Perform. To fail in a Tittle had been an infinite fault, because had he in any one perticular pre­ferred the Worse above the better he had contracted a Blot upon his own Wisdome and Goodness, and made the whole Crea­tion deformed. For there is such a Love to Righteousness implanted in our Natures, that should GOD be unjust to a poor In­dian beyond the Seas, we should be griev­ed at the Blemish, and any Blemish in him would blast our Felicity. For the Justice of the Soul is an impartial Thing, and its Severity Greatest, where its Expectations is the Highest. It is more easie with GOD to be infinitely Wise then with Man to be any thing; He may be Exact and perfect in every action with Greater Ease, then any other of his Creatures can, because he is Almighty, Omniscient, and [Page 136] Omnipresent: all the Advantages of his Wisdom, and Knowledge, and Good­ness, and Power, would be Aggravati­ons of his fault should he Sin against him­self. The least offence would be an infinite Blot in him because committed against all Wisdome, Goodness, and Power, and a misery to us, because it would tend to the Ruine of his Creatures: The Accurate Perfection which he acquires in all his Ways, (having to do with so many mil­lions of Objects) becomes our infinite Joy, our Amazement and Wonder, a Transcendent Cause of Complacency and Adoration, it fills Eternity with De­lights and Praises. The possibility of doing otherwise, in him that is Sub­ject to no Laws awakens our Concern­ment: But the prevention of our fear, by the establishment of our Security, sup­plies our contentment, he is an Absolute and free Agent, and therefore we may fear a miscarriage in his Choise: but as from all Eternity he hath determined himself, and is by his Essence an Eter­nal Act of Wisdom and Righteousness, he secures our Felicity and makes it more Great, because he is not imposed on by another, but freely of himself, de­lights [Page 138] in the most Excellent things.

THIS relateth to the Righteous­ness of action, whereby GOD did ex­ecute all his Decrees, and does Eternally. For Nothing is past, but all things in him are immediately neer and present for ever. If you desire further Informati­on, concerning the Nature of Righte­ous Actions, Those Actions are properly called Righteous, that are adequately fit­ted to their ends and Causes. And in this respect there is in every being under seve­ral Circumstances a several Righteousness.

THE Effect of Righteousness with men is Peace and Assurance for ever: because Righteous men are Agreable to GOD and all his Creatures: rightly answer all their Natures, and assist in the Harmony of the whole Creation. It is Fruition and Blessedness, because all the perfection and Goodness of GOD is, with his Kingdome, received into the Soul, by the Righteous esteem of all Objects. It is the Beauty and Glory of the Inward Man, because a voluntary Agent, that does incline himself to such excellent Actions, is highly Amiable and and Delightful to be seen; Not only because his soul is transformed into an [Page 139] Intelligible World, transcendent to all that is created, by the Ideas of GOD, and his Works erected in the mind, but his Affections are framed in a liv­ing and incomparable Order, according as every Cause and Object requires. There is something in the Soul of a Righteous man, that fitly answers all Obligations and Rewards, It is trans­formed into the Image of GOD in such a sort, that in the Righteous Act, which it becomes, GOD for ever dwel­leth and appeareth.

THE Effect of Righteousness in GOD is so Great, that whereas all Im­possibles are stark naught, all things which it is possible for GOD to do, are fair and excellent, all the Best are made actual, by the execution of his Righteous Decree. By this the Son of GOD is in the bosom of the Father, and the Spirit of GOD proceedeth through­out all Eternities to his own perfection. For the Righteousness of GOD is not like the Righteousness of Men, that may be permitted to sleep, and intermit their Operations, an Accidental Habit, di­stinct from their Essence, which may sometimes exist, when it doth not work [Page 139] but it is Quick and Powerful, and ever in action and is indeed the Act it self which is his eternal Essence and his Son begotten of it self for ever.Wis. 7. For Wisdom is more moving then any motion, she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her Pureness, It is the Breath of the Power of GOD, and a pure In­fluence flowing from the Glory of the Al­mighty, the Brightness of the Everlasting Light, the unspotted Mirror of the Pow­er of GOD, and the Image of his Good­ness. Being One it can do all things, and remaining in it self, maketh all things new, and in all Ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them Friends of GOD, and Prophets. GODS Righteousness is the end and effect of it self. His Es­sence is an infinite and Eternal Act of Righteousness and Wisdome, which filleth his Kingdom with the Majesty of its Glory, and by coming into Being in a voluntary Manner giveth to all Things their Essence, and Perfection. Because it cometh into Being in a voluntary manner it is mysterious and incomprehensible.

THE Glory of this Act is derived from himself, and springeth purely from the Perfection of its pleasure. Of its [Page 140] Pleasure it is what it is, and as the Son of GOD is LIGHT of LIGHT, so he is Wisdome of Wisdome, Righteousness of Righteousness, Life of Life, and Good­ness of Godness. For it is infinite VVisdome that found out the Perfecti­on of this Act, and Eternal Righteous­ness that first atcheived it. The Righteous­ness atcheived could not spring from any but Eternal Righteousness in it self atcheiving it, which is unbegotten in the Person of the Father, Begotten in the Per­son of the Son, and Proceeding in the Per­son of the Holy Ghost to all its Creatures and Operations, in its Actions, existing and abiding Perfect for ever.

IN GOD, to Act and to Be, are the same Thing. Upon the suspension of his act, his Essence would be gone; whereas our Es­sence may without its Act, or Operation, remain. And if his Act existeth, by Act­ing, his Righteousness is, and existeth of it self, and by it self compleateth its Essence forever. It is not the Power of being Righteous, but the Exertion of that Power, which is the Parent of Eter­nal Righteousness.

GOD, having such an infinite De­light in the Righteous Act, which [Page 142] himself, is, designed to make us such Righteous Acts as himself is. And when we perfectly do what we ought, we shall in Operation and Extent be like unto him, being perfect, as our Father which is in Heaven is perfect, for we shall see as we are seen, and Know as we are Known. In the mean time GOD hath taken care to endue us with Power, to make our perticular Actions compleatly Righteous. Every little Act we perform is a fruit & Off-spring of the whole Creati­on, infinite Love is delighted by it, infinite Glory and Blessedness acquired. A Crea­ture of infinite Value is preserved, the Crown is put upon all GODS VVorks, and all the Spectators, Angels and Men, are Eternally pleased. For being done it is admitted into Eternity, and shall remain in its Place, and be visible for­ever.1 Cor. 4. 5. For the Lord will Come, who both will bring to Light the hidden Things of Darkness, and will make manifest the Counsels of the Hearts: And then shall every man have Praise of GOD. All that was done shall be remembred forever, and be praised and admired by the Holy Angels, Esteemed by all Saints, and Crowned with Acceptance [Page 143] by GOD Almighty. VVhich will turn to the Joy of the Righteous, because of the innate Goodness of their Souls, which moveth them to delight in no­thing more then in becoming (in all their Righteous Actions) Objects of Complacency to GOD and his Creatures.


Of Goodness Natural, Moral and Divine; its Nature described, The Benefits and Works of Goodness.

GOODNESS is a vertue of the first Estate, a Divine Perfection in GOD by which he is, and enjoys his Blessedness. In Men it is an Habit or an Act of the Soul, by force of which they Love, and delight in all that is Blessed. Tis that by which all Creatures Commu­nicate themselves to others Benefit, all Li­ving Creatures affect others, and delight in doing Good unto them. In GOD it is that infinite and Eternal Act from which all other Goodnesses spring, and on which they depend. The Nature of Goodness is founded in a Convenience, [Page 144] between that which is Good, and that to which it is profitable. If we consult its several Kinds, there is a Natural Goodness, a Moral, and a Divine.

NATURAL Goodness is the Aptitude of Corporeal Beings, to produce such pro­fitable and healing Effects as the enjoyer desires. The Nutritive Power in Aliment, the Medicinal Vertue in Herbs, the Plea­sing Quality in Perfumes, the Grateful Lustre in Precious Stones, the Com­fortable. Heat in fire, the Beautiful splendor in the Sun, the Refreshing Moi­sture in the Sea, the Reviving Nature of the Air, the solid Convenience and fertili­ty of the Ground, all these are Physical­ly Good. But this is Goodness in the mean­est Degree, being no more then the na­tural fitness of Dead Agents that are made to act by a Fatal Necessity, without sence or Desire; tho their Action be answera­ble to the several Exigencies of other Creatures.

MORAL Goodness includeth all the Perfections of the former, and something more. For Life and Liberty enter its Existence; and it is Wisely exercised in Love and Vertue. A clear Understanding and a free will are the principles of those [Page 145] Actions that are Morally Good: they must flow from Ingenuity and Desire; tho the Person doing them be subject to anothers Empire, and made to give Account of his Actions. The Nature of its Excellence is very deep and retired, because it con­sists more in the Principal and Manner of its Operation, than the Thing that is Done; and is measured more by the Intention, then the Benefit. A mad man, or a fool, may by accident save a mans Life, or preserve an Empire, yet be far from that Goodness which is seated in the VVill and Understanding Which plainly shews, that the Goodness chiefly regarded is in the Soul of him that does any thing convenient, not in the Benefit re­ceived, but in the Mind of the Benefact­or. And the Truth is that the External Benefit, tho it saves the Lives, and Souls, and Estates, and Liberties, and Riches, and Pleasures, and Honors, of all mankind, acts but Physically by a Dead or passive Application, the root of its influence and value is seated in another place, in the Soul of him whose Goodness was so Great as to sacrifice his Honor, and Felicity for the Preservation and Welfare of those whom he intended to save. It is feated in [Page 146] the Counsel and Design of the Actor. It is a hard matter to define it, but it is something like a willing Conformity to the Interests and Affections of his fellow Crea­tures, attended with a voluntary Conve­nience in a person Obliged and subject to Laws, to all those Obligations that are laid upon him, & to all the Rewards that are set before him, but especially to the Desires and Commands of his Superior, to whom he Naturally owes himself and desires to be pleasing. To Act upon Great and Mighty Principles, in a vigorous free and Genorous Manner, for the sake of those that obliged him, and for the sake of those to whom his Kindness is shewn, increases the Measure of Moral Good­ness: but its Perfection is seated in a Loyal Respect, and Perfect Gratitude to GOD Almighty. Who, by being in­finitely Good to us, has infused and created such a Goodness in the Soul, that its principal Joy and Delight is to please him. For tho all Creatures consult themselves & their own Preservation, yet the force of Gratitude upon an Ingenu­ous Soul is very powerful. Moral Good­ness is an Alacrity and Readiness of the Will, to sacrifice it self, upon considera­tion [Page 147] of the Benefits a Man hath receiv­ed, to anothers Benefit, Enjoyment, Com­fort, Satisfaction.

DIVINE Goodness is an Active and Eternal Principle, stirring up it self with­out Obligation or reward, to do the best and most excellent Things in an Eter­nal manner. It is proper only to GOD; Its Excellency is Supreme, its Beauty in­finite, its Measure endless, its Nature in­effable, its Perfection unconceiveable. It hath no Cause, but it is the Cause of all other Things whatsoever. It is a Living and Eternal Act of free and undeserved Love, an indeficient Ocean of Bounty, which can never be fathomed, or (by fi­nite Degrees be) wholy received. It is Invisible in its Essence, but Apparent in its effects, Incomprehensible, but manifest enough, to be believed and adored. It is an infinite and Eternal Essence, which is Good to it self, by being Good to all, infinitely Good to it self, by being with­out Bound or Measure Good to all its Ob­jects. It is an infinite and Eternal Act, which continually ponders, and intirely intends the Welfare of others, and esta­blishes its own (in a voluntary manner) by that intention: An Act whose Essence [Page 148] is seated in the Preparation of all De­lights and the Communication of all its Glories. Its Felicity is Eternal and In­finite, yet seated intirely in the Felicity of others. It doth infinite Good, to all its Recipients Meerly for the sake of the Excellency of the Act of Doing Good. It delighteth in the Excellency of that Act, and useth all its power in doing Good, that the Act in which it delighteth might be infinitely perfect. And the perfect Act in which it finally resteth is the Good­ness which all adore and desire. Its Sovereign Joy and Pleasure, is to be de­lightful to others. All its Creatures are Delightful to it self, only as they imi­tate, and receive its Goodness. Should we run into its Properties, they are in­numerable and Endless; but as infinite in Beauty, as variety and greatness. It is the utmost Height of all Goodness as well as the Original, and end of all. It exceedeth Moral Goodness, as much as that exceedeth Natural, and infinitely more. In Physical Good­ness there is a Mechanical fitness, and Dead convenience: but all it can pre­tend to, is the Benefit and Pleasure of Moral Agents. For the Sun, and Moon, and [Page 149] Stars, and Trees, and Seas, and Minerals are made for Men. Whereas Moral Good­ness is made to enjoy all Physical Good­ness, that in a higher sphere it might be pleasing to GOD and is immediately sub­servient to his Divine & Essential Goodness.

THIS Divine Goodness is the first Perfection of the efficient Cause of the Worlds Creation, which of necessity de­rives an immediate Excellency into all the Creatures, because it is the most Communicative and active Principle that is. But the Necessity is attended with a Liberty no less then infinite. For it freely pleaseth it self in all its operati­ons, and its Pleasure is to delight it self in the Acquisition of Felicity for o­thers. Its freedom is a necessary Circum­stance of its operation. For the Glory of its inclination and Kindness could not be, much less be seen, did it act by Neces­sity of Nature, Imposition, Chance or Accident. When the Act is in Being it worketh Physically, and it is no Won­der that such an Act should produce such Effects, and be so Beneficial. For when it is done it cannot be otherwise, but that such and such Effects must fol­low its Existence; They are as Natural [Page 150] as if they were Essential to it: All the, Wonder is, what should determine the Liberty of the Agent at first to do such Great and Mighty Things for others sake, and all that can be said, is his own Goodness and the Excellency of the Acti­on. For it is not with GOD as it is with Men: few men will be at the expence of Doing, what all admire: all that re­ceive the Benefit, applaud and delight in the Action; and so much the more by how much the more Hazzardous, and great, and Painful it was; but scarcely one will endure the Difficulty of an He­roick Deed for the sake of others. GOD on the contrary takes infinite Delight in the Action which all admire, and be­cause it is infinitly great and Heroick, and perfectly Divine, finds his Liberty and Ease in that Act, and is so taken with the Beauty of the Work, that his infi­nite Pleasure exceeds all the necessity and fate in Nature.

THAT Pleasure, which he taketh in promoting the Happiness of all Exist­ences created and increated, is his Goodness. It is the infinite use of Per­fect Liberty freely Delighted in: as Plea­sant to himself as to all Intelligent Specta­tors [Page 151] and all Enjoyers. It is easie to dis­cern that this goodness is the Foundation and Essence of his Happiness and glory.

BY it he becomes Delightful to him­self, by it he becomes Delightful to o­thers. By it he communicates all his Powers and Perfections with pleasure, and receives the Services of all the Creatures with high Satisfaction. By it he is concerned in the Joy of others, and enjoys their Blessedness. By it he is capable of all their Affections, and of the Services which his Laws require. By it all Angels and Cherubims are moved to admire and adore his Glory. By it all Creatures visible and invisible are made his Treasures. By it he is multiplied and magnified in every Soul, as the same Object is in several Mirrors, be­ing intirely represented in every living Temple of his Eternal essence. By it he becometh his own end, and the Glo­rious Author, and the King of Heaven. By it he liveth a Divine and a Blessed Life, and by it he is what he is for ever By it all the Graces, Exaltations, and Ver­tues of all his Creatures are made his Joys and their Persons and Praisers are De­lightful to him. Of all his Laws and [Page 152] Decrees, and Counsels his Goodness is the fountain. It is the Original and fi­nal Cause of all our Thanksgivings. Our ease, and repose, and Satisfaction, our Bliss and enjoyment are founded in it, and caused by it. For its own Pleasure all our Delights are made exquisite in their place, and the most of them Eternal. For its own Glory it maketh all its Crea­tures Glorious, and prizeth its own Glory, because it is the Sovereign Delight of all its Creatures. It is every way com­pleat and perfect, as infinitely Conve­nient, as it is Great in Bounty, as Good to it self as to all others. There is no End of all its Perfection, and for that Cause it is Incomprehensible.

TO be made Partaker of the Divine Nature, without having the Goodness of Almighty GOD is impossible. Nor can we enjoy his Goodness, or bear the si­militude of his Glory, unless we are good in like Manner. We enjoy the Goodness of GOD, and may be said to have it, either when we have its Si­militude in our selves, or the Pleasure of it in others. Since the Goodness of GOD is the great Object of our Joy, its Enlargment is our Interest; and the [Page 153] more there are to whom he is Good, and the more he communicates his Felici­ty to every one the Greater Pleasures he prepares for us, and the more is our good­ness therein delighted. To see innumer­able Millions in Communion with him, and all of them made Glorious and Bles­sed, and every one seated in his throne, is the greatest Elevation of our Souls, and the highest Satisfaction in the World. When our Goodness meeteth his in all Places, and congratulates the Felicity of every person, we may then use the Words of our Saviour, because we are endued with the same Mind and Affecti­on: And as he accepts all the Good that is done to his Members as done to him­self, saying Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my Brethren, ye have done it to me. Our Souls will re­ply, Inasmuch as thou hast done all this to the least of these my Brethren, thou hast done it to me, for loving our Neigh­bours as our selves, all Angels and Men will be our fellow Members, our Bre­thren, our other selves! As we de­light in all Acts of Goodness for their own sakes, that are done to us, so shall we delight in all the Bounties of GOD for theirs, who are the partakers of them, [Page 154] and in GOD for this very reason, Be­cause he is good to all. We shall be as Hap­py in others, as in our selves; and Esteem the Goodness of GOD our Felicity, because it hath prevented our Goodness, and done all for them, which were it un­done, we should desire to do our selves. because our Goodness is a principle that carries us to delight in their perfect Fe­licity. VVhich that we may do the more Sweetly, and with more full Satisfaction and perfect Reason, his Goodness to all others is but the Perfection of Good­ness to us, for they are all made Bles­ed for our fuller and greater Felicity.

HAD GOD withheld, or withdrawn his Goodness from all others, it had not been Greater to us, but less. The Stars are no hindrance to our Enjoyment of the Skie, but the Light and Beauty of the place which we contemplate. Were they all annihilated, the Heavens would be obscure. They do us many Services, of which we should be bereaved, by their Absence and Destruction. GOD by giv­ing Beams and influences to them! made our Treasures more rich and fair, which are increased and multiplied by their Beauty and Number. Did the Sun shine upon us, and upon Nothing else, it would [Page 155] be less beneficial to us, than now it is. Its Beams that are scattered, seem to be lost; yet were they contracted upon one, his Body would be consumed, and all the rest of the World be dark about him; those Rays which fly from the Sun to the utmost parts of the World, illuminate all Objects, and from them more conveniently return to the Eye with their Beauty and Glory, which by those Rayes that are dispersed become visible and Profitable. They fall not all upon every single man, but work for him in other places, begetting Herbs, and Fruits, and Flowers, and Minerals, and Springs, and Trees, and Jewels, with all that is rich and delectable in the VVorld for his fruition. It serves Beasts, and Fowles, and Fishes, for my sake, and for my sake does it serve even Men and Angels: That they, being more Divine and Glorious Creatures, might adorn Heaven and Earth with their Per­sons, which without them would be void and Empty. For we all desire to be seen, and Known, and Beloved, and for that Cause, without Living Agents, should be very Desolate and discontented.

THUS you see, if GOD had given [Page 156] all Eternity and Immensity to a man, if he had made no other Creatures but him alone, his Bounty had been defective: Whereas by the Creation of these he hath filled Eternity and Immensity with Treasures. All which he hath made ours by commanding them to Love us as themselves; fit to be enjoyed, and be­loved by us, by filling them with his Goodness, and making them in his Image. For every one of them is to Love all his Creatures as he does, and to de­light in the Beauty and Felicity of all, and to be the joy and Delight of all, as as he is: And the Greater, and the Richer, and the fairer they are, the more Great and Happy are we, because they are made our Lovers and Friends, our Brides and Brethren, our Sons and Daughters, our Fathers, and our Servants, which the more Honourable and Excellent they are, the more Delightful: the more Glori­ous and Blessed these are, their Love is the more precious and Acceptable. True Goodness removes all Envy and Conten­tion out of the VVorld, and introduces nothing but Peace, and Bounty, and Joy, unspeakeable and full of Glory.

WE Love nothing more then to [Page 157] be Delightful to others, and to have our Glory seen is a natural Desire, which our Saviour has countenanced by his own Petition. It is our Interests; that the Eys should be innumerable, that see and ad­mire the Glory which we had with the Fa­ther in some Sense before the VVorld was; that they should see (I mean) how much we are Beloved of GOD from all Eternity; that there should be Millions of Blessed Persons to whom we may communicate our selves, concerns our Glory, as it doth also that, that they should be Great and Perfect, that are made to Admire and Delight in us. If we en­ter Into his Eternal Glory, as the Scripture saith, and our Bliss be individually one with his, or so perfectly like his, as is pro­mised, it is no fault to desire Glory, for it is Goodness it self that desires Glory and Esteemeth all those its Best and Sovereign Treasures, that are capable of Loving and Delighting in it.

THERE is in the Goodness of GOD, and Men, and Angels, a Living Power, that is exquisitely tender in Sence and and feeling, which as it feels and appre­hends it self, doth also feel its Object, and apprehend both its own, and its Objects [Page 158] Excellences. By Vertue of which Living Power, it is able to delight in its own Goodness, and its Objects Glory. The Apple of its Eye is not more ten­derly regarded, than the Person which it Loveth. It is afflicted in all our Afflicti­ons, and crowned and delighted in all our Prosperities. It tendeth by its na­ture to the Benefit of others, and cannot endure the least Damage or Detriment to any. It infinitely hates the least De­fect in it self, or in its Creatures. No­thing can be Evil to it, but what is Evil to another. Its Interests, and its Objects are so united, that it intirely lives, and sees, and feels, and enjoys, in others. All its inclination is to be doing Good, and it has no other Element than the Feli­city of its Creatures. In friendship it appeareth, and from Love it proceedeth, it endeth in felicity. It hath many Great and Glorious Designes, all contending with each other for Supremacy. It cloths it self with Glory, and adornes its Es­sence with all Kind of Beauties. It endures all Afflictions and Hazzards, It undertakes all Labors, It builds a Palace, and pro­vides a Kingdome for its Beloved. And yet when all is done nothing can exceed [Page 159] the Delight which it taketh in the Person of its Beloved. All the Honour, and Esteem, and Glory it desires, it findeth there, the Use and Value of all its Trea­sures consists in the Benefit they do to its. Beloved. Infinite Goodness can be seated no where but in Love alone, for that one­ly is capable of infinite Benevolence and Complacency.

THE Liberal Soul deviseth Liberal Things, and by Liberal Things shall he stand. The more Good it doth, the more Good it is, and the more Good, the more Great and Honourable, the more perfect and Happy. There can be no Excess in Goodness; because the more Delightful it is to its Object, and the more Divine and Glorious its Object is, the more abundant Pleasure it taketh in communicating all Felicities to its Object, & the more Great and manifold its Treasures are, the more Sweet and Precious the Things are which it giveth away, and the more its Beloved delighteth in them; by so much the more Admirable and Divine it is, its Goodness and its Blessedness are both the Greater. There is no Inconvenience which it can possibly meet, but a stop or Impediment. It cannot be hurt by it self, because its Es­sence is always overflowing, and the on­ly [Page 160] Evil it can fear from others is the un­kindness of its Object, or the Wrong that it may receive from free Agents. For Angels and Men being made free, that they may Love, and Honour, and Praise in a voluntary manner, and be, and be­come Good of their own Accord, (be­cause they cannot be made Morally or Divinely Good, without the Liberty of their Concurrence, and their own Con­sent.) there is some fear, that they may abuse their Power, because for the more Illustrious use of it, they are left in the Hand of their own Counsel. Howbeit he has endeavoured as much as as is possible, without prejudicing their Excellence, to secure their Duty; he hath infused into them the greatest In­clinations to goodness imaginable, and the Greatest principles of Honour, he hath shewn them the Glory and felicity of Goodness by his one Example, he hath commanded them by the Severest Laws that are possible, to be Good, he hath founded their Peace and Pleasure in Goodness, he hath made the suspension of Goodness uncouth and unnatural, all evil Actions Dark and disagreeable, he has laid infinite Obligations upon them to exercise Goodness, and set Eternal [Page 161] Rewards before them. He hath made the Object unto which they must shew it extremly amiable, he hath given them all Advantages, Helps and Assistances. He hath prepared the Severest Penal­ties and Torments to punish the O­mission of it. And for a Complement of all, will extremely be grieved, if they fail to shew it. This in the Estate of Innocency. Since the fall indeed we must be kind and Good to injurious Persons: but this is founded in his own Goodness toward us Sinners, and tho it be a difficult. Work in the first Appearance, Carries us to higher and more Perfect Glory.

THAT such a Goodness as this should be, cannot be incredible to them that are acquainted with the Nature of the Universe: tho it seem­eth hard at least, if not impossible to them that converse with peevish men. Being corrupt in their Under­standings, they are narrow and base and servile in their Affections. They start at a shadow, and boggle at a fea­ther. Sin hath transformed them into slaves and Cowards. They misappre­hend the Nature of their Duty like [Page 162] Fools; that were made to be great and Mighty as Kings. They think they shall be undone, if they become too Great and Good: they fear they shall grow weak and Contemptible by Goodness: whereas nothing makes them so Amiable and Glorious as Excess of Goodness.

TO shew that there is such a Goodness as that, which infinitely de­lights in powring out its Glory upon all Creatures, the Sun was made: Which continues Night and Day pow­ring out its Streams of Light and Heat upon all Ages, yet is as Glori­ous this day as it was the first Mo­ment of its Creation. To shew this the Stars were made, that shine in their Watches and Glitter in their Motions only to serve us. The Moon was made to shew this Goodness, which runs her race for ever to serve us. The Earth was made to support us, Springs and Rivers expend their Streams to revive us. Fruits, and Flowers, and Herbs, and Trees delight us. All cor­ruptible Things wast and consume a­way, that they may sacrifice their Essence to our Benefit. For if they [Page 163] were made Stiffe and unalterable they could not feed us, nor communicate their Essence and Perfection to us. The Emanations and Effusions of Mi­nerals are unknown, but that of Spi­cies and Odours is well understood. And if these by Disbursing their pro­per sweetness, become more sweet and enlarge themselves, if they are made Bright and fair for our sake, if they en­joy any Light and Pleasure in their Service, as the Sun and Stars do, as Herbs and Flowers do, as Beasts, and Birds, and Fishes do; the Goodness of the Creator is abundantly more clear and apparent herein, for in all those Creatures that perfect themselves by the Service which they do, the Service it self is a sufficient Recom­pence: while those upon which we feed, being more Corruptible, are ex­alted in their Beings, by being turned into ours. And the Trade of Bees, in the Hony they make for us, and the Warmth of sheep, in the fleeces they bear for us, the Comfort of Birds in the feathers they wear, and the Nests they build for us, and the pleasures of Beasts in the off-spring [Page 164] they beget and bring up for us, these things shew that GOD is Good to all, and that his mercy is over all his Works. And if any perish in our Service, the Bloody Characters of his Love and Goodness are the more Stupendious. All Nature is sacrifi­ced to our Welfare, and all that we have By pure Nature to do (till Sin marres all) is to admire and en­joy that Goodness, to the Delight of which we sacrifice our selves in our own Complacency.Note, All this is spo­ken for En­couragement and Imita­tion. And in re­al truth, if it be a great Wonder that any Goodness should be thus infinite, the Goodness of all other Things without that Goodness, is a far Greater, If it be Wonderful, ad­mire and adore it.


Of Holiness: Its Nature, Violence, and Pleasure. Its Beauty consisteth in the infinite Love of Righteousness and Perfection.

THE infinite Love of his own Goodness is the Holiness of GOD. There are infinite Pleasures and perfections in its Nature, that Me­rit an infinite Esteem and Desire. His Goodness is all Beauty, and his Holi­ness all Fire and flame in pursuing it. His Holiness is all Beauty, and his Good­ness all Fire and flame to enkindle it. The infinite Excess of his Eternal Good­ness is its own Holiness, and the Beauty of Holiness is Excess of Goodness. For if Righteousness and Holiness be well distinguished, Righteousness is that Vertue by which GOD doth appre­hend affect and Esteem all Excellent Things according to their value, and chuse and do always the Best and most Excellent: Holiness is the Love which he beareth to his own Righteousness: [Page 166] Which being infinite, makes him in­finitely enflamed with the Love of the most perfect Actions; and carries him with an infinite Ardor to the perfor­mance of them. For tho it be a Righ­teous Thing to esteem the Righteous­ness of GOD in an infinite manner, yet there is as much difference between Righteousness and the Love of Righ­teousness, as between an Object and the Affection embracing it. Tho here also the Affection & the Object are the same Thing: For this Holy Esteem and Love of Righteousness is Righteousness it self: for it does but render Righteousness its due, tho the Affection be infinite which it bears unto it.

HOLINESS (if it be strictly de­fined) is that Vertue in GOD, by which he Loveth the most Perfect Things, and infinitely delighteth in them. For by Vertue of this Affecti­on he shunneth and hateth all that is profane, pursuing and delighting in all that is Holy. For the Object of Holiness may be Holy, as well as the Affection, Whereupon it followeth, that Holiness is of two kinds, either the Holiness of the Affection, or the Holiness of [Page 167] the Object They bear a Relation to each other, yet are absolute Per­fections in themselves. For the Ha­tred of all Defects, Imperfections, Ble­mishes and Errors is a Glorious thing in itself, yet relates to the Perfection of those Objects from which it would re­move those odious Imperfections. The Perfection of all Objects when they are free from all Blemishes is a Glorious Thing in it self too, yet is Accep­table to that Affection, that desires to see a Compleatness and Perfection in every Object. And all is resolved into the same Goodness of which we have been speaking

FOR infinite Goodness must needs desire with an infinite violence, that all Goodness should be compleat and Per­fect: and that Desire, which makes to the Perfection of all Goodness, must infinitely avoid every slur and Miscar­riage as unclean: and infinitely aim at every Grace and Beauty, that tends to make the Object infinitely perfect, which it would enjoy. It cannot desire less then infinite Perfection, nor less then hate all Imperfecti­on, in an infinite Manner. All Ob­jects [Page 168] are made, and Sanctified by the Holiness of GOD. It is the measure and strength and Perfection of Goodness.

THE Holiness of GOD is some­times, called in his Oracle, The Beauty of Holiness. As if all the Beauty of GOD were in this. It extends to all Objects in Heaven and Earth, from the Highest to the Lowest, from the Greatest to the Meanest, from the most Pure to the most profane, with a Goodness and Wisdome so infinite­ly perfect disposing all, that some way or other every Thing might answer its infinite Affection. It infinitely hates all that is Bad, and as infinitely desires to Correct the same. The Influence of that Affection, by which GOD abhor­reth the least Spot in his Kingdome, rea­ches to the Perfection of every Object, and the is real & proper fountain of all the Perfection of Life & Glory. And for this Cause in all Probability, do the An­gels so continually cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord GOD of Hosts; because the Bright­ness of his Infinite Glory and Perfection appeareth in his Holiness, the violence of his Eternal Love, and the Excess of Goodness. It may be, also because [Page 169] all the Heights of Created Perfecti­on owe themselves to this Holiness, all the Raptures and Extasies of Heaven de­pending on the Zeal wherewith GOD is carried to perfect Blessedness. All which are occasioned by those pure and Quin­tessential Joys, those most sublime and Perfect Beauties, which they see and feel every where effected by the irresi­stible Strength of that Eternal Ardor.

SINS of Omission have an unknown Guilt and Demerit in them. They un­sensibly bereave us of infinite Beauty. To let alone that Perfection which might have been infinite, to pass by, or neg­lect it, to exert Almighty Power in a re­miss and lazy manner, is infinitely Base and Dishonourable, and therefore unclean because so Odious and Distast­ful. Lukewarmness is Profane, as well as Malice. And it hath pleased GOD to brand it with a worse and more fa­tal Censure. No folly or iniquity can dwell with him; Omission is both. To be hated is to be rejected; but to be beloved Lukewarmly is to be embraced with polluted and filthy Armes. And for this Cause, the fire of his Jealousie burns most devouringly about the Altar. [Page 170] He will be sanctified in all them that draw nigh unto him, and but to touch his Ark irregularly, is to be consumed. Nor is this any other then a concomi­tant of his Holiness, and an evident Testimony of his Love to perfection, For it First shews, that on his own Part, he maketh our Powers Perfect, that we may be able to see and adore him worthily; and next that he delights in no Adoration but the most Worthy. It moreover shews that he infinitely de­lights in the Perfection of his own Acti­ons, for otherwise he would not be so severe against the Imperfection of ours.

NOR is the reason of his Love to the utmost Perfection less then infinite: You Know that all impure Things upon Earth are dull and Obscure; as Vile in Esteem, as Base and faint in their Ope­rations. Neither will a Lump of Dirt shine like the Sun, nor a Mudwall be Resplendent like polisht Marble. All Glorious Things have a Height of In­tensness in them; and owe most of their Beauty to the Motion of their Strength and Activity. But GOD is a more High and Necessary Thing than these. Perfection is his Essence, and he could [Page 171] not be himself upon any Abatement. It is a great Wonder I But the smallest Thing in the world may spare somewhat of it self rather than that which is infinite. Upon the least substraction, that which is infinite is made finite, and the Loss is infinite. We cannot be at all Beloved by Almighty GOD unless we are infinitely Beloved. For to Love and neglect us at the same time is impossible, and to be a­ble to do infinite Things for us, and yet to do but some of them, is to Love and neglect us at the same time. Tis Love in what it does, & neglect in what it leaveth undone. The Reason why it is our duty to Love him infinitely, is because he infinitely Loved us. Did he not exert all his Power himself, he would never command us to exert ours. The Love of all Perfection is his Essence and must be infinite for its own Per­fection. The least flaw in a Diamond abates its Price: one Tooth awry, or wanting in a Clock, doth make it use­less. Dead flies corrupt the Apotheca­ries Oyntment, so doth a little folly him that is in Reputation for Wisdome and Honour. The Greater his Reputation and Wisdome is, the more Grievious a [Page 171] Disparagement is any Srain. Nor is GOD above these Rules, for his Es­sence it self is the Ruled of ours: and the Higher his Divinity is the more Exquisite is its Care of its own Perfecti­on. There is no Danger of being Se­vere in our Expectations, for GOD does infinitely hate any Defect in him­self, more then we, tho we infinitely hate it; and enjoys himself only as he is an Object Worthy of his own infinite Love and Honour.

FROM GODS Love of Righte­ous Action it proceedeth, that he made ours so compleatly capable of becom­ing Righteous, and that he adventured a Power into our Hands of offend­ing. It is a strange thing, that the Excess of the Hatred of all Sin should make Sin possible, and that the most perfect Righteousness should be the Ac­cidental Cause of Unrighteousness. But yet it is so, an infinite Love to the Best of all possible Things made the worst of all things that could be possible, ex­cepting those that are impossible, which yet we need not except.

TO read these Riddles aright, you must vnderstand, that even Impossibles them­selves [Page 173] are conceiveable Things, and may be compared with Possible, and Actual. That the Highest and Best of all that are Possible, are the most Easie with GOD, and most near to his Nature; that in­forior Possibles are more remote, and only thought on in the second place; that Things Impossible are the worst of Evils, and Things Actual the Best of GOODS. For nothing is impossible but that GOD should lye, or Disho­nour, or displease, or deny himself, or abuse his Power, or suspend his Good­ness, or injure his Creatures, or do some such thing, which is contrary to his Nature, yet very conceiveable, because he is a free Agent; and has a kind of Power, were it not prevented by his Eternal Act, whereby he is able to do these Impossible things. Nothing is Eternally Actual, but the Goodness, and Wisdome, and Holiness of GOD, or some such Thing; as his Righteousness, and Blessedness, and Perfection. All which spring from his Will, and are E­ternally his pleasure, as well as his Es­sence. In the idle Power of being, and doing all Excellent Things, there is much Hazzard and danger; but he free­ly [Page 174] and voluntarily became all these from all Eternity. He wrought all Righteousness and Wisdom, and Good­ness from everlasting, and by so doing became the fountain of all that is Glori­ous from all Eternity. The Worst of all Possible Evils are the Sins of Men: Which have an infinite Demerit and Vileness in them, yet are truely possi­ble. And the reason of their Possibi­lity is thus accounted. Impossible, which are worst of all, are Sins in GOD.

TO make Creatures infinitely free and leave them to their Liberty is one of the Best of all Possible Things; and so necessary that no Kingdome of Righte­ousness could be without it. For in every Kingdome there are subjects ca­pable of Laws, and Rewards, and Pu­nishments. And these must be free A­gents. There is no Kingdome of Stones nor of Trees, nor of Stars; only a King­dome of Men and Angels. Who were they divested of their Liberty would be reduced to the Estate of Stones and Trees; neither capable of Righteous Actions, nor able to Honor, or to Love, or praise; without which Opera­tions [Page 175] all inferior Creatures and meer Na­tural Agents would be totally Useless. So that all the Glory of the World depends on the Liberty of Men and Angels: and therefore GOD gave it to them, because he delighted in the Perfection of his Creatures: tho he ve­ry well knew there would be the Haz­zard of their abusing it, (and of Sin in that abuse) when they had received it. The abuse of it he infinitely hated yet could not prevent it, without being Guilty of a Greater Evil. He infinitely hated it, because those Actions of Love and Honor which should spring from the right use of it, were the onely fair off-spring, for the sake of which the whole World was made, and with­out the right right use of their Liber­ty all Creatures, Angels and Souls would be in vain: he could not Pre­vent it without being himself Guilty of what in them he abhorred.

FOR himself to be Guilty, was the worst of Evils, and absolutely impossi­ble. Twas better let them make their Power vain themselves, then do so himself. For the Author of that va­nity, be it who it will, is the Au­thor [Page] of the Sin. If they would make it vain, He could not help it, for him to divest them of the use of Liberty after he had given it, was as inconsistent with himself, as it was with their Beauty to abuse it: the Act of giving it by taking it away being made vain. He infinite­ly hated that the Liberty should be fru­strated, which he gave unto men, for their more perfect Glory: he laid all Obligations upon them to use it well, and deterred them (as much as was possible) from abusing it, but would not transfer their fault upon himself, be­cause he fore saw they were about to do it; which he certainly had done, had he made their Power vain himself, after he had given it. Either to refuse to give the Power, or Having given it, to in­terpose and determine it without their Consent, was alike detrimental to the whole Creation. For indeed it is im­possible, that he by determining their Wills, should make them the Authors of Righteous Actions, which of all things in the World he most desired. There is as much Difference between a Willing Act of the Soul it self, and an Action forced on the Will, determined [Page 177] by another, as there is between a man that is dragged to the Altar, whether he will or no, and the man that comes with all his Heart with musick and Dancing to offer sacrifice. There is Joy, and Honour, and Love in the one, fear and constraint, and shame in the o­ther. That GOD should not be able to deserve our Love, unless he himself made us to Love him by violence, is the Greatest Dishonour to him in the World: Nor is it any Glory or Repu­tation for us, who are such sorry Ste­wards, that we cannot be entrusted with a little Liberty, but we must needs abuse it.

GOD adventured the possibility of sinning into our hands, which he infi­nitely hated, that he might have the Possibility of Righteous Actions, which he infinitely Loved. Being a volunta­ry and free Agent, he did without any Constraint Love and desire all that was most high and Supreamly Excellent of all Objects that are possible to be thought on, his own Essence which is a Righteous Act is the Best: and the Righteous Acts of Saints and Angels are the Highest and Best next that which [Page 178] Creatures could perform: The very ut­most Excellence of the most noble Created Beings, consisted in Actions of piety freely wrought: which GOD so Loved, that for their sake alone, he made Angels and Souls, and all Worlds. These Righteous Actions he so Loved, that for their sake he prepared infinite Rewards and Punishments. All the Business of his Laws and Obligations are these Righteous Actions. That we might do these in a Righteous Manner he placed us in a mean Estate of Liberty and Tryal, not like that of Liberty in Heaven where the Object will deter­mine our Wills by its Amiableness, but in the Liberty of Eden, where we had absolute Power to do as we pleas­ed, and might determine our Wills our selves infinitely, desiring and Delight­ing in the Righteous use of it, hating and avoiding by infinite Cautions and Provisions all the unjust Actions that could spring from it. If we Love Righ­teous Actions as he does, and are holy as he is holy, in all manner of Wisdome and Righteousness; then shall we de­light in all Righteous Actions as he doth, shall Love Vertue and Wis­dome [Page 179] as he doth, and prefer the Works of Piety and Holiness above all the Miracles, Crowns and Scepters in the World, every Righteous and Holy Deed will be as pleasing to us, as it is to him: all Angels and Men will be as so many Trees of Righteousness bearing the fruit of Good Works, on which we shall feast in Communion with GOD; Or if our Righteous Souls be vexed, as Lots Soul in Sodom was, in seeing and hearing the unlawful Deeds of the wic­ked, they shall be recreated and revived with the sight of GODS most Righ­teous Judgments, and with the Beauty of his holy Ways, by which he recti­fies the Malignity of the Wicked, over­comes the evil of their Deeds, and turnes all the vices of men into his own Glory, and ours, in the Kingdome of Heaven. The Delights of Wis­dome, and Righteousness, and Holiness are suitable to their Nature as those of Goodness are to the nature of Good­ness: Which no man can enjoy, but he that is qualified for them, by the Principles of Goodness and Holiness implanted in his Nature. For as he that has no Eys, wanteth all the Plea­sures [Page 180] of sight, so he that has no Know­ledge wanteth all the pleasures of Know­ledge, he that is void of Holiness, is void of the Sence which Holiness inspires, and he that is without Goodness must needs be without the Pleasures of Goodness, for he cannot delight in the Goodness of GOD towards other Creatures. To be Good, to be Holy, to be Righteous is freely to delight in Ex­cellent Actions which unless we do of our own Accord no External Power whatsoever can make us, Good, or Ho­ly, or Righteous: because no force of External Power can make us free; whatever it is that invades our Liber­ty, destroys it. GOD therefore may be infinitely Holy, and infinitely desire our Righteous Actions, tho he doth not intermeddle with our Liberty, but leaves us to our selves; having no Reserve but his Justice to punish our of­ences.


Of Justice in General, and Particulars. The Great Good it doth its Empires and Kingdoms, a Token of the more retired Good it doth in the Soul. Its several Kinds. That GODS Pu­nitive Justice Springs from his Good­ness.

THO following the common Course of Moralists, in our Di­stribution of Vertues, we have seated Justice among the Cardinal Moral; yet upon second Thoughts we find reason to reduce it to the number of Divine Vertues, because upon a more neer and particular Inspection, we find it to be one of the Perfections of GOD, and under that notion shall discover its Ex­cellence far more compleatly, then if we did contemplate its Nature, as it is li­mited and bounded among the Actions of Men.

THE Universal Justice of Angels and Men regards all Moral Actions and Vertues whatever: It is that Ver­tue [Page 182] by which we yield Obedience to all righteous and Holy Laws, upon the Account of the Obligations that lye upon us, for the Publick Welfare of the whole World. Because we Love to do that which is Right, and desire the fruiti­on of Eternal Rewards. There is much Wisdome and Goodness, as well as Cou­rage and Prudence necessary to the Exercise of this Vertue, and as much need of Temperance in it, as any. For he that will be thus just must of necessity be Heroical, in despising all Pleasure and Allurements that may sof­ten his Spirit, all fears and dangers that may discourage and divert him, all in­ferior Obligations and Concernes that may intangle and ensnare him, he must trample under foot all his Relations and friends and particular Affections so far as they incline him to partiality and sloth; he must be endued with Great Wisdome to discern his End, great Constancy to pursue it, great Prudence to see into Temptations and Impediments, and to lay hold on all Ad­vantages and Means that may be im­proved, he must have a Great Activity and Vigor in using them, a Lively sence [Page 183] of his Obligations, a transcendent Love to GOD and felicity, a mighty Pati­ence and Long-suffering, because his E­nemies are many, his Condition low, his Mark afar off, his Business manifold, his Life tho short in it self, yet long to him, his undertaking Weighty, and his na­ture corrupted.

THEY otherwise define Justice to be that Vertue by which we render unto all their Due. Which is of large Extent if the Apostles Commentary comes in for Explication, For this Cause pay you Tribute also, for they are GODS Ministers attending continually on this very thing: Render therefore to all their Dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is Due, Custom to whom Custom, Fear to whom Fear, Honour to whom Honour: One no man any thing, but to Love one another for the he that Loveth another hath fulfilled Law. Kings, and Magistrates, and Mi­nisters, and Parents, and Children, must have all their Due, and so must GOD, Blessed for ever: Adoration, to whom Adoration is due, and Obedience, to whom Obedience. In strict Justice we must render Hatred to whom Hatred is Due, and Love to whom Love. Hope [Page 184] is due to certain Grounds of Encou­ragemeut, and Sorrow to certain sor­rowful Objects. But all our Passions must still be guided by the Rule of the Law, and all our Actions as Honour and Equity require.

PARTICULAR Justice is con­versant in the Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, or else it observes the Rules of Equity and Reason in Buying and Selling. It is called particular, be­cause the Excercise of it is not allotted to all, the Power of rendring Rewards and Punishments being committed to a few, namely to the Magistrates: and among Private persons many not at all accustomed to Buying and Selling. This Vertue, being to be exercised by some particular men, is particular Justice. However it has occasioned a Distincti­on in the Thing, whereby Justice is di­vided into Distributive and Commuta­tive: the one being used in Courts of Judicature, the other in the Market.

IT was a notable Observation of Plato, that by reason of our Dim Eyes we are not able to see immediately what Vertue does in Secret in the Soul. And therefore he sayes, that as an Old man [Page 185] that is blear-ey'd if he hath something given him to read in little Characters, finds it necessary first to see the same in Capital Letters; so to observe first what Vertue doth in a Commonwealth, is expedient to him, that would under­stand what it doth in his own Soul. The Throne is upholden by Justice, the Majesty of Kings, and the Glory of Kingdomes is preserved by Justice. When Vertue is rewarded, and Vice supprest, the City flourisheth, as the Laws are the Rampart of Mens Estates, Justice is the Rampart of the Law, the Guardi­an Angels of every family, State and Kingdome. Kings and Counsellors, and Priests, and Soldiers, and Trades­men, have all their several Office, and proper Duty in a Kingdome: and that Nation is blessed (with order and Beau­ty) where every one contains himself in his proper Duty. But where Trades­men invade the Priests office and defile the Altar, the Soldiers turn Counsel­lors, and every Consellor deposes the King, nothing but Confusion can fol­low in such a State. The Senses and Members of the Body are like Trades­men they traffick with sensible Objects, [Page 186] the Irascible passions of the Soul are Soldiers, and very apt to rebel and Mu­tiny; the Conscience is the Priest in the Temple of the Mind; Right Reason is the King, and the Concupiscible Af­fections or smoother Passions, especial­ly Avarice and Ambition may pass for Counsellors. They may do well to put a man in mind of his Interest, but when they depose Right Reason, and usurp the Throne, Ruine must follow in the Soul, the Passions will turn Consellors, the Trades-men invade the Temple, and all Rights (Sacred and Profane) be blended together. To sell offices of Trust and Places of Judicature, is for a King to do that himself which Rebels attempt in violence; to put unworthy men in places of Trust promiscuously, that will sell Justice by Retail, as they bought it by Whole Sale. Justice is a a Severe Vertue, and will keep up all the Faculties of the Soul upon hard Duty. For otherwise it would not pay to Felicity its Due: But where its Care is remiss in taking an Account, and so­lid Goods are barterd away to counter­feit false Commodities, the Soul will grow loose and poor in a moment: All [Page 187] its Powers subordinate and Superior will forget their Duty, and the Healthy Estate of the Mind fall into Anarchy and Confusion. All its Hopes and Fe­licities will be lost, for want of that Ju­stice which Distributes to every Power its proper office.

THERE are two passages that I mightily desire to be imprinted in the Memory of all the World: and they are both of our Saviour. The one is, He that is faithful in a little, shall be Ruler over much: The other is this, Who then is that faithful and Wise Servant, whom his Lord hath made Ruler over his Houshold, to give them meat in due season: Blessed is that Servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. He that is faithful in a little, is faithful also in much. To be Just in a little Silver and Gold, and accurate in deciding Causes between a Man and his Neighbour, are Actions that in their own Nature seem to have little tendency to Bliss and Glo­ry. But when we consider that we are Servants for a time, entrusted by a Lord, that will come and examine what we have done, we are not to mea­sure our Hopes by those little Acts, as [Page 188] they determine in a Moment, but in relation to the Recompences which our Lord will give when he cometh. For our Saviour hath added, Blessed is that Servant &c. Verily I say unto you that he shall make him Ruler over all his Goods. But and if that evil Servant shall say in his Heart my Lord delayeth his Coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow Servants, and to eat and drink with the Drunken, the Lord of that Servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not ware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with Hypocrites, there shall be Weeping and gnashing of Teeth.

IF GOD should be loose and care­less in his Kingdome, as it is infinitely Greater then all other Dominions, so would it quickly be more full of con­fusions: Especially Since the King would then himself be so loose and Careless. For Licence and profaness are of a spreading Nature, and such as the King is, such is the people. The vi­ces of Kings do always punish them­selves in the Imitation of their subjects, especially where the Distinction be­tween Profane and Holy is lost, and [Page 198] there is no Hope and Fear of Punish­ments or Rewards. If GOD should declare it by any Act of his, to be a Thing indifferent whether men did well or ill; it would mightily abate the Rectitude of his nature, and E­clipse his Majesty. His Sovereignty would be slighted, and his Will despis­ed, which ought infinitely to be dread­ed. While Justice is infinite and there is an infinite difference put between Good and Evil, his Creatures we see are apt to abuse their Liberty, and Re­bel, and become Apostates; tho they have an infinite pleasure to aspire after, and an infinite destruction, or Wrath to fear. What would they do, if the Di­vine Will were feeble and remiss, and exacted no reverence to its Law and Pleasure? It is the Height and Glory of GOD, that he sets an infinite Rate upon Excellent Deeds, and infinitely detests and abhors the Wicked. Their last ends are not more distant then their first Beginnings; in his Esteem, and Displeasure. Because he is infinitely Offended and displeased at Evil Deeds, he guards and fortifies his Law, deterres men from displeasing him by the fear [Page 911] of infinite Punishments; Encourages men to please him by proposing infinite Rewards, and the Truth is the infinite Approbation and Esteem which he hath for Wise and Holy Deeds, produceth a Delight and Complacency in them, which is the principal Part of the Re­ward. Nothing is more honourable then to be Praised and honoured by the King of Kings; The infinite Hatred of Evil Deeds is the very Torment it self, that afflicts the Wicked. Tis but to see how much we are hated of GOD, and how base the Action is, no other fire is needful to Hell: The Devils chiefest Hell is in the Conscience. They are obdurate and feared that can­not discern and feel.—The Wound which they inflict on themselves, who grieve and offend their Creator. It is easie to see, the Necessity of that Justice which springs from Holiness, and that GOD could not be infinitely Holy, were he not infinitely Just in like manner.

THAT his Punitive Justice springs from his Goodness, is next to be observ­ed. He punishes them that are hurt­full to others. He is most severe in [Page 190] pleading the Cause of the Fatherless and the Widow. Himself is persecu­ted when his Saints are molested: and he faults for which the untoward servant was punished, are particularly those of beating his fellow Seruants. A good man by how much the more tender and compassionate he is, by so much the more is he provoked at any gross Affront or abuse of the Innocent. Every soul is the Bride of GOD: and his own infinite Goodness, which deserves infinite Love, is infinitely Beloved by him. He infinitely ten­ders it and avoids its least Displeasure: but its Displeasure is infinite at every Sin, and consequently his An­ger, when such a Sovereign Beauty as his infinite Goodness, is offended by it.

THE foundation of his Righteous Kingdome, and of the Room prepared for his Eternal Justice to act in, is in­finitely deeper, and must in other Dis­courses more full and copious (on that Theme) be shewn. And to those we refer you. All we shall observe here is, that this Punitive Justice being GODS infinite Zeal whereby he vin­dicates [Page 192] his abused Goodness: His Goodness must of necessity proceed it, and be abused, before he can be Angry, and before his Anger can be accounted Justice. His Dominion is infinite, but cannot be Arbitrary (in a loose Con­struction) because it is infinitely Divine and Glorious.


Of Mercy, The indelible Stain and Guilt of Sin. Of the Kingdom which GOD recovered by Mercy, The trans­cendent Nature of that Duty, with its Effects and Benefits.

SUCH is the infinite Justice of God, and the Severity of his Displeasure at Sin, his Holiness so Pure, and his Na­ture so irreconcilable, his Hatred so real and infinite against it, that when a Sin is committed, his Soul is alienated from the Author of the Crime, and his infi­nite Displeasure will ever see the Obli­quity, and ever loath the Deformity therein.

THE Person of a man is concern­ed [Page 193] in (and always represented in the Glass of) his Action. Union between him and his Deeds is Marvellous. Tis so close, that his Soul it self is hated or Be­loved in his Actions. As long as it ap­peareth in that deed which is Odi­ous and Deformed, he can never be Beloved.

HOW slight soever our Thoughts of Sin are, the least Sin is of infinite De­merit, because it breaketh the Union between God and the Soul, bereaveth him of his Desire, blasteth his Image, corrupteth the Nature of the Soul, is committed against infinite Goodness and Majesty, being as the Scripture speaketh Exceeding sinful, because it is committed against infinite Obligations and Rewards, displeasing to all the Glorious Angels, abominable to all the Wise and Holy, utterly against all the Rules of Reason, and infinitely Oppo­site to the Holiness God, who is of pu­rer Eys then to behold the least Iniqui­ty. So that unless there be some way found out to deliver the Soul from the Guilt of Sin, to blot out the Act and to purifie it from the Stain, there can be no Reconciliation between GOD and [Page 194] a Sinner. That an offence so infinite should be Eternally punished, is the most reasonable thing in the World.

NOTHING but infinite power and Wisdome is able to wash away Le­prosie of guilt, and to restore the Soul to its former Beauty and Perfection. Without which all Pardon is vain, and the Soul dishonourable, and sick unto Death, as long as the shame and Confu­sion of its Guilt does lie upon it. Which cannot be removed by feeble Tears, nor by Acts of Indignation against our selves, nor by any Penitence or Sor­row of ours. For if these could pre­vail, the Divels might repent, and be cleared of their Trespasses; long a­goe.

THAT no Law of Works can justi­fie Sinners is evident enough from that of the Apostle, For if there had been a Law given which could have given Life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law. Gal. 3. 21 GOD was not so prodigal, as without an infinite Cause to expend the Blood of his Son. And the principal Cause for which he came, was that he might be made a Curse and Sin for us, that we might be delivered [Page 195] from the Curse of the Law, and be made the Righteousness of GOD in him. 2 Cor. 5. 21.

THE reason why the Devils cannot he saved, is because the Son of GOD took not upon him the Nature of Angels, but the seed of Abraham. And there is no other name given under Heaven among men whereby we may be saved, but on­ly the name of Jesus, who offered up himself a sacrifice for us, that he might purifie to himself a peculiar people Zealous of Good Work. He pacified the Wrath of God by his Death, and satisfied his Justice in our nature, and washed us in his Blood, and made us Kings and Priests unto GOD. To him be Glory and Dominion forever. Amen,

IT was the Design of Christ, and it became the Mercy of GOD in our redemption, to take away all the filth and Deformity of Guilt, in which the Perfection of his Love and Power ap­peareth.Eph. 5. 25, 26, 27. Even as Christ also Loved his Church, and gave himself for it,; that he might Sanctifie and cleanse it with the washing of Water, by the Word, That he might present it to himself a [Page 196] Glorious Church, not having Spot, or Wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it might be holy and without Blemish. For the Church of GOD being his Bride, and we Members of his Body, and of his Flesh, and of his Bones; it was meet that we should be restored to the Per­fection of Beauty, and if not recover the same, enjoy a Better Righteousness than we had before.Eph. 5. 30.

THE Light of Nature could dis­cover nothing of all this, and there­fore it was taught by Revelations, and Miracles, and Oracles from Heaven.

AS all things before his fall were subservient to mans Glory and blessed­ness, so all things after his fall became opposite to him; all creatures up braid­ed him with his Guilt, every thing ag­gravated his Sin and increased his Damnation. The glory and Blessed­ness which he lost was his Torment, the Honour which he had before, was turned into shame; the Love of GOD which he had offended, increased his Guilt, Eternity was a Horror to him, his Conscience a Tormentor, and his Life a Burden; Nothing but shame and Despair could follow his Sin, the Light of nature it selfe condemned him, and [Page 197] all that he could see was, that he was deformed, and hated of God. For that of the Psalmist is an Eternal verity, Thou art not a GOD that hath pleasure in Wickedness,Psal. 5. 4, 5, 6.neither shall Evil dwell with thee: The Foolish shall not stand in thy sight, thou hatest all Workers of iniquity: Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: The Lord will abhor the Bloody and Deceitful man.

THE Express Declaration of GOD assured Adam, that his Recovery was impossible, In the Day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the Death. For not being able to dive into the Secret Re­servation, which depended absolutely upon Gods holy Will and pleasure, as an Act of Sovereignty above the Tenor of the Law, all that he could see was, that he must die the Death, be­cause the Veracity of GOD (as well as his nature) obliged him to fulfil the Denunciation of the Sentence: at least as Adam conceived.

IN the midst of this Black and Horrid Condition, the Mercy of GOD appeared like a Morning Star, and the Redeeming Love of GOD was that alone which was able by its Dis­covery [Page 198] to dispell the Mystes of Darkness that were round about him.

AS all things were before turned into Evil, by the force of Sin, and con­spired to sink him lower into the Bot­tomless Pit; so all the Evils of his pre­sent condition were, by this infinite Mercy, turned to his Advantage, and his Condition in many Respects far bet­ter than before.

IT is fit to see how Sin enfeebled his Soul, and made him unable to serve GOD; that we might the better un­derstand the Manner of his Recovery, and how his Spiritual Life and Power is restored, in the new strength which he received in his Saviour.

THE Atcount of it is this: By his self Love he was prone to desire all that was Profitable and Delightful to him: While therefore GOD infinitely Loved him, being apparently the foun­tain of all his Happiness, he could not chuse, (as long as he considered it) but Love GOD and Delight in him, it was natural and Easie to celebrate his Praises. But when he was hated of GOD, tho he could not chuse but acknowledge that hatred Just; yet his [Page 199] Self Love made him to look upon GOD in a Malevolent manner, as his Greatest Enemy and his Eternal Tormentor. All that was in GOD was a Terror to him. His power, his Eternity, his Justice, his Holiness, his Goodness, his Wisdome, his Unalte­rable Blessedness, all was a grief and Terror to his Soul, as long as the Ha­tred of GOD continued, against him it made him desperate to think it would continue forever, and reduced him to the miserable slavery of hating GOD even to all Eternity.

BUT when the Love of GOD to­wards Man appeared, the Joy where­with he was surprized, was, in all Likely­hood, so far beyond his Expectation, and his Redemption so far above the Powers of Nature, that his very Guilt and Despair enflamed him with Love. GOD appeared now so Welcome to him, and so Lovely above all that was before, that it was impossible for him to look upon GOD, and not to Love him with Greater Emazement and Ardor then ever. Self Love, that Before compelled him to hate GOD, carri­ed him now most violently to the Love [Page 200] of GOD; and the Truth is, the Love of GOD in the Eye of the Under­standing, is the influence of the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father by the Son into the Soul of the Spectator. For GOD is Love, and we therefore Love him, because he first Loved us. A faln man is Still a reasonable Crea­ture, and having more reason to Love GOD then he had before, is by the pure Nature of his Essence infinitely more prone to Love GOD and de­light in him, and praise him for ever, be­cause he is so mercifully and so Strange­ly restored. Thus are we in Christ re­stored to the Exercise of that Power which we lost by Sin: But without him we can do Nothing.

WHEN all the Kingdom of GOD was at an End by the fall of man, and all the Labor of the Creation lost, by the Perversness of him for whom the whole World was made; GOD by his Mercy recovered it, and raised it out of the Rubbish of its Ruines, more Glorious than before. Which is the chief rea­son for the sake for which we introduce the Mercy of GOD, as our best pat­tern. For when a man has injured us, by Nature there is an End of all the [Page 201] Lovely Exercises of Peace and Amity. If natural Justice should be strictly ob­served; but then the Season of Grace arrives, and the Excellencie of Mercy shews it self in the Lustre of its Wis­dome, and so our Empire is continued, our loss retrived: For by shewing Mer­cy we often recover the Love of an Ene­my, and restore a Criminal to the Joy of our freindship. We lengthenout our Goodness, and Heighten its measure; we make it victorious, and cloath it with a Glory above the course of Nature. And all this we are enabled to do by Coming of Jesus Christ, who hath restored us to the Hope of Salvation, and taught us a Way to increase our own Goodness by other mens Evils, to turn the vices of others into our own Vertues, and to Live a Miraculous Life of Worth and Excellency in the midst of Enemies, Dealing with men better than they de­serve, adornig our selves with Trophies by the Advantages of their vileness, making our selves more Honourable by the Ignominy they cast upon us, more Lovely and Desirable by the Hatred which they bear towards us.

THE foundations upon which we [Page 202] Exercise this Vertue, are wholy Super­natural. To be kind to the innocent is but Justice and Goodness, but to be Kind to the Malevolent is Grace and Mercy. And this we must do, because our Father which is in Heaven Causeth his Sun to rise on the Just and the unjust and his Rain to descend on the Righteous and the Wicked. Because Mercy is the Head Spring of all our Felicities, therefore should we shew Mercy, as we have ob­tained Mercy. As the Blood was sprinkled upon the Tabernacle and all its Uten­sils; so is the Blood of Christ upon the Heathens, and the Earth, and all our Enjoyments. They are Daily Moni­tors of Mercy to us, because they are purchased by the Blood of Christ. For of him it is, that the Heavens declare the Glory of GOD, and the firmament sheweth his Handy work to us sinners at this day. The Salvation of Sinners being the only End for the sake of which we can be permitted now to enjoy them.

THE Incarnation of our Lord Je­sus Christ is an incredible mystery to them, that do not consider the Love of GOD towards Men, in the Creation of the World. But they that mea­sure [Page 203] it by his Laws and works, and see it in the value of their own Souls, would think it very Strange, if that Love which appeareth so infinite in all other things, should be defective only in its Ways of Providence. They easily believe, it may express it self in the Incarnation. Especially Since all Ages are Beautified with the Effects and Demonstrations of this verity, that GOD so Loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believ­eth in him should not perish but have E­verlasting Life. For Love is apt to trans­form it self into all shapes, that the necessity of its Object requires; and as prone to suffer as rejoyce with it, as apt to suffer for it, as with it. Many fathers have died for their Children, many for their Country, but the Love of GOD exceedeth them all. To be beloved in our Guilt is exceeding Wonderful: but this also is in the Na­ture of Love, it may be provoked with the Guilt, or moved with Compassion at the misery of a Sinner.

WHERE the Love is extreamly violent, and the weak Estate of the Ob­ject fit for Compassion, it is more incli­ned [Page 204] to Pity than Revenge: Tho where the Object is strong, and endued with all advantages, it is more offended at the Outrage of its Rebellion.

WHETHER we consider the Nature of Man, or his Estate before the Fall, we have some reason to believe that he was more Beloved then the Ho­ly Angels for there was more exquisite Care and Art manifested in the Creati­on of his Person, and his Condition was fitted for a more curious Tenderness and Compassion, if he offended.

IF you look into the Nature of An­gels and Men you will find this mighty Difference between them, Angels are more Simple Spirits, Men are Images of GOD carefully put into a Beautiful Case. Their Souls would seem equal to the Angels were they not to live in Hu­mane Bodies, and those Bodies are Su­peradded, certainly for unspeakable and most Glorious Ends; the visible World was made for the sake of these Bodies, and without such persons as men are, it would be utterly useless. The Hypostatical Union of two Natures so unspeakable different as the Soul and Body are, is of all things in the World [Page 205] most mysterious and Miraculous. Man seems to be the Head of all Things visi­ble, and invisible, and the Golden clasp whereby Things Material and Spiritual are United. He alone is able to beget the Divine Image, and to multiply him­self into Millions. His Body may be the Temple of GOD, and when it pleased GOD to become a Creature, he assumed the Nature of Man. Angels are made Mi­nistring Spirits for the sake of Man, and by him alone GOD and his works are United.

IF you respect his Condition he was made a little lower than the Angels, that he might be crowned with Glory and Honour; Lower for a Time, that he might be Higher for ever. The An­gels were placed in such an Estate, that if they fell, it would be with more shame; yet if they stood, it would be with less Glory: For having the Ad­vantages of Greater Light and strength, to Sin against them was more Odious, and to stand in them less Wonderful. While man, being more remote from GOD, was more Obnoxious to Dan­gers, and more Weak to resist them; His Want of Clear Light if he fell, would lessen his offence; And the Dif­ficulties [Page 206] wherewith he was surrounded, if he stood, would increase his Vertue, which by consequence would make his Obedience more pleasing, and much augment his Eternal Glory. All which put together, when Angels and Men both fell, fitted Man rather to be chosen and redeemed; he being the Greater Object of Compassion and Mercy.

THE Degrees and measures of that Mercy which was shewn to Man in his Redemption, are very considerable. When he was Weak and unable to help himself, when he was Guilty, when he was an Enemy, when he was Le­prous and deformed, when he was Miserable and Dead, before he de­sired, or Thought of such a Thing, God freely gave his Son to die for his Salvation, and condescended to propose a reconciliation. Which should teach us, tho higher then the Cherubims, and more pure then the Light, tho our Enemies are never so base, and injurious, and ingrateful, nay Obstinate and Rebellious, to seek a reconciliation by the most Laborious and Expensive Endeavors, to mani­fest all our Care and kindness to­ward [Page 207] them, pursuing their Amendment and Recovery. For the same Mind ought to be in us that was in Christ Je­sus: who being in the form of GOD thought it no Robbery to be Equal with GOD, yet took upon him the Form of a Servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled him­self to the Death, of the Cross: Wherefore GOD also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name above every Name that at the Name of Jesus every Knee might bow. The very reason why we so infinite­ly adore him, being the incompara­ble Height and Perfection of his Mercy, expressed in his Humiliation and Abasement for us. If we would enter into his Glory, we must walk in the Way which he hath trod before us, for that only will lead us into it.

THO GOD hath in his infinite Mercy redeemed us from the unavoid­able Necessity of being Damned, yet hath he with infinite Prudence ordered the Way and Manner of our Redemp­tion: in such sort that we are not im­mediately translated into Heaven, but restored to a new Estate of Trial, and [Page 208] endued with Power to do new Duties, as pleasing to him, as those which he required from us in Eden. For he Lov­ed a Righteous Kingdome from the Be­ginning, wherein his Laws were to be obeyed, Rewards and Punishments ex­pected, and administred in a Righteous manner.

THE Great and necessary Duties in this second Kingdome are Faith and Repentance introduced by his Wisdom, and occasioned by Sin, necessary for our Justification, and Sanctification, and Su­peradded to the former.

THIS Kingdome of Evangelical Righteousness, being founded on the Blood of Christ, is by Death and Sin, and by the Supernatural Secrets of Love and Mercy, made infinitely more Deep and mysterious than the former.


Of Faith. The Faculty of Believing im­planted in the Soul. Of what Nature its Objects are. The Necessity of Faith; Its End, Its Use and Excellency. It is the Mother and Fountain of all the Vertues.

FAITH and Repentance are the Principal Vertues, which we ought to exercise in the Kingdome of Evan­gelical Righteousness: because by them alone a Sinner is restored to the Capa­city and Power of living in the Simi­litude of GOD, in the Practice of his Divine and Eternal Vertues. For with­out Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because we can never believe that he is the Rewarder of all those that dili­gently seek him, without that Credit which is necessary to be given to the Discovery of his Love to them that are defiled by the Guilt of Sin. For as long as we think GOD to be an infi­nite and Eternal Enemy to all Offen­ders, we cannot use any Endeavor to [Page 210] please him, because we Know there is no Hope of Reconciliation, and the va­nity of the Attempt appears like a Ghost that always haunts us, and stands in our Way to oppose and discourage us, in the Archievment we would undertake. For to Fight with Impossibility is so Foo­lish a thing that Nature it self keeps us back from doing it. Till therefore we believe our Reconciliation possible, we have no Strength at all to endeavour our Salvation. Our Despair oppresseth and frustrates our Desires, with the in­evitable Necessity of our Eternal shame, and Guilt, and misery.

TO believe that GOD will be so Gracious, as to pardon our horrible A­postacy and Rebellion, is a Work so Great, that GOD accepteth it instead of all other Works of Innocence and Piety: to believe that he hath given his Eternal Son to dy for us, and that he so Loved us as to come down from Hea­ven to suffer the wrath of GOD in our stead, is so much against the Dictates of Nature and reason, that GOD imput­eth this Faith alone for Righteousness, not as if there were no Good Works necessary beside, but by this alone [Page 211] we are justified in his Sight, and out Justification cannot be ascribed to any other Work of ours whatsoever. How­beit that which maketh Faith it self so Great a Vertue, is that we thereby re­ceive a Power and an Inclination with all, to do those Works of Love and Piety, the Performance and the Re­ward of which was the very End of our Saviours Coming.

THAT there is implanted in Man a Fa­culty of believing, is as certain as that his Eys are endued with the Faculty of see­ing, or his Soul with Knowledge, or any other Faculty. And that this Power im­planted is of some Use in Nature, is as sure, as any Thing in the World. For nature never gave to any thing a Power in vain, this therefore being one of the Powers of the Soul, must have a certain End ordained for it: And its use is the Excercise of Faith, in order to that End.

OBJECTS of Faith are those Things which cannot be discovered but by the Testimony of others. For some things are known by Sence, some by Reason, and some by Testimony, Things that are Known by Sence, are [Page 212] present, some time or other, to the Senses themselves. Those Things which Rea­son discovers, are Known, as Effects are by Causes, or as Causes by Effects; a Good and rational Demonstration being made by the Concatenation of Causes and Effects depending upon each other, whereby Things remote from Sence are evident to Reason, be­cause the one is necessarily implied by the existence of the other. But some Things there are, which have no such necessary Dependance at all: such are the fortuitous Occurences that have been in the World, with all those Actions of free Agents that flow meer­ly from their Will and pleasure. For of these, there can be no certain Know­ledge when they are past, but by Histo­ry and Tradition. That the World was made so many years ago, that Man was created in an estate of Innocency that he fell into Sin, that GOD ap­peared, and promised the seed of the Woman to break the Serpents Head; that there was a Flood, that Sodom and Gomorrah was burnt by fire, that all the World spake one Language till the Confusion at Babel, that there were such [Page 213] men as Julius Caesar, or Alexander the Great, or such as Abraham, and Moses, and David, that the children of Israel were in Egypt, and were delivered from thence by Miracles; that they received the Law in the Wilderness, and were after­wards setled in the Land of Canaan, that they had such and such Prophets, and Priests, and Kings: that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that he was GOD and Man, that he died and rose a­gain, that he ascended into Heaven, and sent the Holy Ghost down upon his A­postles. Nay that there is such a City as Jerusalem; all these things can no other Way be understood but only by Faith, for no Light of Nature nor principle of Reason can declare such verities as these, among which we may reckon these, that all the Nations in the World, except that of the Jews, were Pagans and Idolatrous, till the Gospel began to come forth from Jury; that by the Mi­racles, and Perswasions, and Faith, and Patience, and Persecutions, and Deaths of the Martyrs, they were converted, and forsook their Dumb Idols, and e­rected Temples to the GOD of Hea­ven; that his Eternal Son was crucifi­ed [Page 214] in Judea; that such Emperors made such Laws, that such Councils were held in such Ages, that such and such Fathers sprung up in the Church; that there is such a Place as Rome, and Con­stantinople: these and many Millions of the like Objects, to them that live in this Age, and never stirred any further then the English Coast, are revealed on­ly by the Light of History, and receiv­ed upon Trust from the Testimony of others. Nevertheless there is as great a Certainty of these Things, as if they had been made out, by Mathematical Demonstration, or had been seen with our Eys.

FOR tho there are some false and some Doubtful Testimonies, yet there are also some that are True and Certain. And least all Faith should be utterly blind, and vain, and uncertain, there are Exter­nal Circumstances and inward Proper­ties, by which those Testimonies which are true and infallible are distinguished from others.

ALL those Things that are absolutely necessary to the Welfare of Mankind, the Knowledge of which is of general Importance, that are unanimously at­tested [Page 215] by all that mention them, and u­niversally believed throughout all the World, being as firm and certain, as the Earth, or the Sun, or the Skye it self. We are not more Sure that we have Eys in our Heads, then that there are Stars in the Heavens; tho the Distance of those Stars are many Mil­lions of Leagues from our Bodily Or­gans.

THE Objects and Transactions which in former Ages occur to our Eys, (I mean the Spiritual Eys of the intelligible Soul, that are seated within) are by Faith received, and brought to the understanding. When they are transmitted to our Knowledge, their Nature is apprehended immediately by the Soul, and their existence examined by Reason. There being certain clear and infallible Rules, by which their Truth or falshood may be dis­cerned. And for this Cause is it that we are commanded, to Try all Things, and bold fast that which is Good; 1 Pet. [...]15. It is our Duty, to be ready always to give a reason of the Hope that is in us. For Reason is a transcendent faculty, which [Page 216] extendeth to all Objects, and penetrates into all misteries, so far as to enquire what probability may be in them; what A­greement or repugnance there is in the Nature of the Things revealed; what Harmony or Contradiction there is in the Things themselves, what Corre­spondence in all the Circumstances, what consistence between those Things which we certainly Know, and those which we are perswaded to believe, what Authority the Relation is of, what is the Design and integrity of the Relators, what is the Use and End of the things revealed, whether they are im­portant or frivolous, absolutely neces­sary, meerly convenient, or wholy Su­perfluous, things to be abhorred, or things to be desired, Absurd or Amia­ble, what Preparations went before, what Causes preceded their Existence, what Effects followed, what Concomi­tants they had, what Monuments of them are now left in the world, How the Wise and Learned judge of them, what Consent and Unity there is in all the Relations, and Histories, and Tradi­tions, of the Things reported.

[Page 217]WHERE there is no Repugnance be­tween the Objects offered to our Faith and the Things we already know, no Inconsistance in the Things themselvs, no difference, no Contention between the Relators, no fraud in promoting, nor folly (discernable) in the first Em­bracing of the Things that are pub­lished, no Want of Care in Sifting and examining their Reality, nor any want (in the Hearers) of Industry, Skill and Power to detect the Imposture, there is a fair Way laid open to the Credi­ble of such Objects attested and re­vealed with such Circumstances. But if the Things attested were openly transacted in the face of the World and had Millions of Spectators at the first, if they were so publick as to be taken no­tice of in all Kind of Histories of those times and places, if they were founded on great and weighty causes, if they were pursued by a constant Series, and succession of affairs, for many Ages, if they produced great and publick al­terations in the World, if they over­came all suspicious oppositions, obsta­cles, and impediments, if they chan­ged the state of Kingdoms and Em­pires, [Page 218] if old Records, and Monuments and Magnificent Buildings are left be­hind, which those Occurrences oc­casioned; our Reason it self assists our Belief, and our Faith is founded up­on Grounds, that cannot be removed: Much more if the Things be agreeable to the Nature of GOD, and tend to the Perfection of Created Nature, if ma­ny Prophesies and long Expectations have preceded their Accomplishment, if the misteries revealed are attested by Miracles, and painted out many A­ges before, by Types and Ceremonies, that can bear no other Explication in Nature, nor have any Ratio­nal use besides; if all the Beau­ty of former Ages is founded in and compounded by their Harmo­ny, if they fitly answer the Exigencies of Humane Nature, and unfold the True Originals of all the Disorder and Corruption in the world, if the Greatest and Best Part of Learning it self consists in the Knowledge of such affairs; if the Doctrines on which they attend, be the most pure, and Holy, and Divine, and Heavenly; if the most of them are rooted in Nature it self, [Page 219] when they are examined and consi­dered, but were not discerned nor Known before; if they supply the Defects of our Understanding and lead us directly to felicity, if they take off our Guilt, and are proper Remedies to heal the Distempers and Maladies of our Corruption; if they direct and quiet the passions of Men and purifie their Hearts, and make men Blessings to one another; if they exter­minate their vices, and Naturally tend to the Perfection of their Manners, if they lead them to Communion with GOD, and raise up their Souls to the fruition of Eternity, enlarge their Minds with a Delightful Contemplati­on of his Omnipresence, enrich [...] them with infinite varieties of Glorious Ob­jects fit to be enjoyed, if they perfect all the Powers of the Soul, and Crown it with the End for which it was was prepared: Where all these Things meet together, they make a Foundation like that of the Great Mountains which can never be moved. But if there be any flaw, or Defect, in these Things, if any of them be wanting, our Faith will be so far [Page 220] forth lame and uncertain, as our Reason shall discern its Cause to be failing.

NOW of all the Thingsthat the World doth afford, the Christi­an Religion is that alone wherein all these Causes of Faith perfectly con­cur. Insomuch that no Object of Faith in all the World is for Certainty Comparable to that of Religion. Never had any Truth so many Witnesses, ne­ver any Faith so many Evidences, they that first taught and published it, despis­ed all the Grandeurs and Pleasures in the World, designed nothing but their Eternal Felicity, and the Benefit of men, trampled all Honours and Riches under feet, attested the Truths they taught and revealed, by Miracles wrought, not in obscure Corners, but in the Eye of the Sun, many Nations far distant from each other were in a Moment reduc­ed, and changed at a time. Millions of Martyrs were so certain of the Truth of these Things, that they laught at Per­secutions, and Flames, and Torments. The Jews that are the great enemies of Christianity, confess those Histories, and Prophesies, and Miracles, and [Page 221] Types, and Figures upon which it is founded. They reverence the Book wherein they are recorded above all the Writings in the World, confess that they had it before our Saviour was born, and glory that it was theirs, before it was ours. Their whole Faith and Religion is made up of Such Mate­rials, which being granted, it is impos­sible the Christian Religion should be false, Turks acknowledge the Histori­cal Part. The Artifices of Corruptors have been all detected, and must of ne­cessity so be as long as there are inquisi­tive Men in the World: All Schisma­ticks and Hereticks have cavilled and disputed about the true Interpretation of certain. Texts, but never so much as Doubted, much less shaken the foundation. Nay when you look into Matters well, the very Certainty of the one was the occasion of the o­ther. The great Moment of what they took for granted made the strife the more Eager.

THIS Advantage our Faith has a­bove all, it is suspected only by Lazy and Profane, half witted men that are as Empty as self conceited, as [Page 222] rash as Wanton, and as much Enemies to Felicity and Vertue, as to Truth and Godliness. But the more you search into it, the more Light and Beauty you shall discern in the Christian Religion, the Evidences of it will appear still more deep and abundant, as endless in Num­ber, force, and Value, as they are unex­pected.

AMONG other Objects of Felici­ty to be enjoyed, the Ways of GOD in all Ages are not the least considerable and Illustrious. Eternity is as much Beautified with them, as his Omni­presence is with the Works of the Crea­tion. For Time is in Eternity, as the World is in Immensity: Reason expects that the one should be Beautiful, as well as the other. For Since all Time may be Objected to the Eye of Know­ledge altogether, and Faith is prepar­ed in the Soul on purpose, that all the Things in Time may be admitted into the Eye of the Soul, it is very Dis­pleasing to Humane Reason, that Time should be horrid, and Dark, and empty, or that he that has expressed so much Love in the Creation of the World, should be Unmindful of our Concerns [Page 223] in the Dispensations of his Providence. Especially Since the World, how Glori­ous soever it is, is but the Theatre of more Glorious Actions, and the Capa­city of Time as Great and Large as that of the Universe, Ages are as long and as Wide as Kingdoms. Now if GOD have altogether neglected the Govern­ment of the World, all Time will be Dark and vain, and innumerable Bright and Delighful Objects, which were possible to be desired, denied to the Soul, and the better half of GODS Love be removed. But if GODS. Will and Pleasure be Uniform in his O­perations, and Time it self Beautified by this Wisdome, Goodness, and Pow­er, as well as the World, our Faith will have a peculiar Excellency because, it is that by which all the Beauties in Time and Providence are enjoyed: E­specially if it be able to see and feel them in clear Light, and in as lively a manner as the Reason of the Soul can do, when most fully inform­ed. It is evident that without this Faith, the Greater half of our Felicity can never be enjoyed.

TO Know that we are Men, en­compassed [Page 224] with the Skies, and that the Sun and Moon, and Stars are about us, with all the Elements and Terrestrial Creatures, is matter of Sence and Reason; as it is also, that we have the Domini­on and use of them; and that such Ex­cellencies and Degrees of Goodness are Connatural to them: But their ut­most Perfection is discovered only by the Truth of Religion; that alone dis­closes their first Cause, and their last End, without which all their Interme­diate uses are Extremely Defective: It is for more Pleasant to see the Infinite and Eternal GODHEAD from the incomprehensible Height of his Glory, shooping down to the abyss of Nothing, and actually making all these Transcen­ent Things out of Nothing for our sakes, then to see our selves at present surrounded with them. This is the first Act of all the Ornaments of Time and Nature. Which tho it be founded on clear Reason, yet is it an Object of our Highest Faith, as it is revealed by the Word of GOD: and therefore it is said, Through faith we understand that the Worlds were made. For Faith and Rea­son are not so divided, but that (the [Page 225] formally Distinct) they may enter into each others Nature, and Materially be the same. The very same Object (I mean) that is Known to Reason, may by Faith be believed: Reason not destroying but confirming Faith, while it is Known upon one account, and believed on ano­ther. For there is a Mutual Conveni­ence between these two, Faith is by Rea­son confirmed, and Reason is by Faith Perfected.

TO see GOD stooping down to Create the World, and Nothing fol­low, is not so Beautiful, as to see him af­terward in the Act of making Man, and Giving him Dominion over all the Creatures. It is more pleasant to see Man made in GODS Image, then to see the World made for the use of Man. For the End of the Creation is that, upon which all the Perfection of its Glory does depend, and the more Noble Man is, for whose use the World was made, the more sub­lime and Glorious its End is. To see him placed in the Estate of Innocency, Light, and Glory, wherein he was secure from Death, and Sin, and Sickness, and Infelicity, if himself pleased, is very De­lightful; [Page 226] so it is to see, that Nature ne­ver intended any of those Abortive Er­rors, that now so confound us: But to see the End why man was placed in such an Estate, to be his Trial, and the End of that his freindship with GOD, whose Exercise consisteth in voluntary Acts of Gratitude and Amity; and the End of those the Beauty of his Life, and his fuller Exaltation to Bliss and Glory; this is far more Pleasant then the other. To see him fall is infinitely Displeasing, but the fault is intirely charged on himself: And had GOD Eternally destroyed him, tho we per­haps had never lived to see it, yet we confess it would have been just in it self, and the Justice Adorable. But to see GOD exalting his mercy in par­doning the offence, and for all our sakes redeeming Man by the Death of his Son is sweet still: as it is also to see his infi­nite Justice and Holiness in the Manner of our Redemption. To see him lay the foundation of our Hope on a cer­tain Promise, seconded with his Long­suffering, yet defer the Accomplishment of it for our greater Benefit, wisely for­bearing to send his Son till the fulness of [Page 227] Time, is very transporting, but the Rea­son of it is very Difficult to understand. His foresight of our Obstinate Blind­ness and Incredulity was the Cause of His Dealy. That he might gain Time, be­fore our Saviour came, to speak of him, to paint him forth, to make him the expectation of the World, and the Hope of all Nations; To see him for that End reveal himself to Abraham, I­saac, and Jacob, and bringing down their Posterity into the Land of E­gypt, that he might make that Nation, out of which our Saviour was to spring, Famous by Miracles, and by his Conduct and Government of them, more Glorious then all Nations, to appear himself among them, and give his Oracles unto them, and to make them conspicuous to the Eye of all the World, by mighty Signes, and Wonders, and Judgments, punishing them for their offences, yet Gracious­ly continuing a Seed among them, that christ might be raised up accord­ing to the Prophesies, that went before concerning him. To see all the Myste­ries of the Gospel painted out in so Lively a Manner, in all the Types and Figures of the Ceremonial Law, and [Page 228] that Service with so much splendor and Glory continued, before he came by the Space of two thousand years, wherein all the mysteries of his King­dome are exhibited; to see the Volumen of the Book in which it was written of him, so highly magnified and exalted, by them that crucified him after it was written, and that now continue so much to oppose him as the Jews do; To see the Prophets at various Times, and in Divers manners, so clearly to describe all the particulars of his Life and Do­ctrine, his Eternity, his Godhead, the Hypostatical Union, his Incarnation in the Virgins Womb, his Poverty, his Meekness, his Miraculous Life, his Death and Passion, his Resurrection and As­cention into Heaven, the Sudden and Miraculous Conversion of the Gentiles, compared to a Nation's being born at once, the very Town where he should be born, and the City from whence the Law should go forth into all the World, and the Temple in which the Gospel should begin to be preached. To see the Accomplishment of all these Things attended with so many Glorious and Transcendent Wonders, and the utter [Page 229] subversion of that Nation, for their In­credulity when they had slain him; To see Kings and Queens become the Nursing Fathers and Mothers of the Church, and so many Glorious Em­pires receive his Law that was hanged on a Tree; To see Temples erected o­ver all the World to a Crucified GOD, and Nations upon Earth adoring his Glory in the Highest Heavens; Especi­ally to see the manner of his satisfacti­on, by way of Sacrifice in our stead, the laying of our Sins upon his Head, & the sprinkling of his Blood upon all Nations so lively represented, the Necessity of such a Saviour exhibited by the Rigor and Severity of the Law, his Person and his Office being pointed out in so par­ticular a Manner; all this as it is sweet & Heavenly, so does it enrich the Con­templation of the Soul, & make it meet to walk in Communion with GOD in all Ages, adoring his Wisdome, and Good­ness, and Power, admiring & delighting in the fulness of his Love, And all these most Great & Transporting Things we receive into our souls by Faith alone.

BUT that which above all other Things is most satisfactory is to see Je­sus [Page 230] Christ the end of the Law, and the centre of time, the main Business of all the Dispensations of GODS Pro­vidence, and the only Hinge upon which all mysteries both of the Law and Gos­pel Principally turn.

HAD he come in the Beginning of the World, there had been no Room nor Place for all these Prophesies, and Figures, and Expectations, and Mira­cles, Precedeing his Birth, we had had nothing but a bare and naked Tradi­tion, that he had been in the world, which by the carelesness of men had passed away like a Dream, and died unprofitably; As we may plainly see by their Backwardness to believe these Things, notwithstanding their strength and Beauty, and the reiterated Appea­rances of GOD to excite and awaken Man-kind, notwithstanding his care to erect a Ministery among us, for this ve­ry end, that Jesus Christ might be Known.

HAD he not been GOD and MAN in one Person, had no satisfaction been necessary for our sins, had he not made satisfaction for us; there had been no Necessity of believing on his name. The light of nature had been sufficient to [Page 231] guid us to sorrow and Obedience; all this trouble and care might have been spared, all this Oeconomy might have been changed into a Govern­ment of less expence, and the most of these proceedings had been imper­tinent and superfluous. For they all receive their Attainment and Perfecti­on in Jesus Christ, who is the fulness, and substance, and Glory of them.

NOR is it, the excellency of Faith alone, that it looks back upon Ages past: it takes in the Influences of all these, that it may bring forth fruit, in our Lives for the time to come. For what is it but the Faith of these things, attended with the Glory which is intimated by them, that made so ma­ny Divine and Heavenly persons, so many Wise and Holy Heroes, so ma­ny Saints and Martyrs! What can en­flame us with the love of GOD, in­spire us with Courage, or fill us with Joy, but the Sence of them! A true and lively Faith is among Sinners the only Root of Grace and Virtue, the only Foundation of Hope, the only Fountain of excellent Actions. And there fore it is observed by the Apostle [Page 232] Paul, Heb. 11. that by Faith Abel offered a more Excellent sacrifice than Cain, by Faith Enoch walked with GOD, by Faith Noah prepared an Ark, in which being warned of GOD, he saved himself from the general Deluge; by Faith Abraham did such Things, as made his Seed to multiply above the Stars of Heaven; by Faith Moses despised the Honours and Treasures of Egypt, and endured, as seeing him that was invisible; What should I say more (saith the Apostle) For the time would fail me to tell of Gi­deon, and of Barak, and of Sampson, and of Jeptha, of David also, and of Sam­uel, and of the Prophets: who through Faith subdued Kingdoms, wrought Righ­teousness, obtained Promises, Stopped the mouths of Lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the Edge of the Sword, out of Weakness were made strong, wax­ed valiant in fight, turned to flight the Armies of the Aliens. Women received their Dead raised to Life again; and o­thers were tortured, not accepting Deli­verance, that they might obtain a better Resurrection. and others had tryal of cruel Mocking and Scourges, yea more­over of Bonds and Imprisonments. They [Page 233] were stoned, they were sawn asunder were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandred about in Sheep-skins and Goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tor­mented; of whom the World was not wor­thy, they wandered in Deserts and Moun­tains, and in Dens and Caves of the earth. All these things were done through Faith, while yet there were but a few Things seen to encourage them. But the whole Accomplishment of mysteries and myracles is far more fair, and vigo­rous, and enflaming; the Beauty of the whole Body of GODS Dispensations fit­ly united in all its Parts, being an eter­nal, Monument of his Wisdom and Pow­er, declaring the Glory of his Love, and Kingdom in a more Eminent manner, and making us more then conquerors in and thorrow Jesus Christ, who loved us, and gave himself for us.


Of Hope. Its foundation, its Distincti­on from Faith, its Extents and Di­mensions, its Life and Vigor, its Seve­ral Kinds, its Sweetness and Excel­lency.

JANUS with his two Faces, look­ing backward and forward, seems to be a fit Emblem of the Soul, which is a­ble to look on all Objects in the Eter­nity past, and in all Objects before, in Eternity to come. Faith and Hope are the two Faces of this Soul. By its Faith it beholdeth Things that are past, and by its Hope regardeth Things that are to come. Or if you please to take Faith in a more large and Comprehensive Sence, Faith hath both these Faces, being that Vertue by which we give Credit to all Testimonies which we believe to be true concern­ing Things past present and to come: Hope is a Vertue mixt of Belief and Desire, by which we conceive the Possibility of attaining the Ends we [Page 235] would enjoy, and are stirred up to endeavour after them. Faith respects the Credibility of Things believed to be True; Hope, the Possibility and Goodness of their Enjoyment. The Simple Reality of Things believed is the Object of the one, the facility of their attainment, and our In­terest united are the Object of the other.

HOPE presupposes a Belief of the Certainty of what we desire. It is an Affection of the Soul of very ge­neral Importance. Which forasmuch as it is founded on Faith, and derives its strength from the Sure Belief of what we hope to attain, and there can be no fruition of that which is not really ex­istent, to lay the foundation of our Hope more firmly, we will again con­sider the Objects of Faith in the best Light wherein their apparent certainty may be discerned.

THE Objects of Divine Faith re­vealed in the holy Scripture may fitly be ranked into three Orders. For the Matter of the Bible being partly Histo­rical, and partly Prophetical, and partly Doctrinal, the Objects of Divine Faith [Page 236] fall under these three Heads, of Do­ctrine, History, and Prophesie.

THE Doctrine of the Scripture is of two sorts: for some Doctrines are Natural, some are Supernatural. The Natural are again divided into two. For some of them are Laws that teach us our Duty, some of them Propositi­ons only, or bare and Simple Affirma­tions, which we call Articles guiding our Apprehensions in the Truth of those Things which are meet to be Known. Speculation is intended in the one, and Practice in the other.

NATURAL Doctrines are Objects of Divine Faith, only as they are re­vealed by the Word of GOD. For the Authority of the Witness is that which maketh our Faith Divine. They are called Natural, because how ever Blind any man is, in his present con­dition; upon a diligent Search, those Things may be clearly discerned by the Light of Nature. Those Doctrines which are Objects of Divine Faith, and yet may be found out by the Investi­gation of Reason, are such as these. That there is a GOD, that the World was made, that man was created in GODS [Page 237] Image, that he hath Dominion over the works of his Hands, that he is or ought to be tenderly Beloved of all mankind, that he is to be good, and full of Love to others: that he is to render all Objects their Due Esteem, and to be Grateful for the Benefits he hath received of his great Creator: that the first Estate of the Worlds Creation was pure and per­fect, that Sin came in by the Acciden­tal abuse of the Creatures Liberty, that Nature is Corrupted, that Death was introduced as the Punishment of Sin, that the Soul is Immortal, that GOD is infinitely Just, and Wise, and Ho­ly; that he will distribute Rewards, and Punishments according to Right; that there is such a Thing as Eternity and Immensity; that the Body is frail and subject to Diseases; that we re­ceive all Things from GOD, and de­pend in the fruition of all upon his Power and Providence; that it is Wife to please him, and foolish to displease him; that Punishment is due to Sin, and that GOD hateth it; that Reward is due to Vertue, and GOD delighteth in it; that there is a Conscience in the Soul, by which it feels and discovers [Page 238] the Difference between Guilt and In­nocence. That man is a Sinner, that he is prone to Evil, and Obnoxious to GODS Wrath, that nevertheless he is spared by the Long-suffering of GOD, and that GOD Loveth him, and desireth his Salvation. That there is a felicity and a Supream Felicity appointed for man: that he is a free Agent, and may lose it, if he pleases: that misery is the Consequent of the Loss of Felicity: that GOD delighteth in all those that Love and practice Vertue: that he hateth all those that drown their Excellencies in any Vice: that Sorrow and Repen­tance are necessary for all those that have offended GOD: that there is Hope to escape the Punishment of Sin, if we endeavour to live as pi­ously as we ought. All these things are evident in themselves by the Light of Nature, because they may either be clearly deduced from the principles of Reason, or certain­ly discerned by plain Experience: And are therefore taught by the Word of GOD, either because they had need to be revived and raised up [Page 239] to light from under the Rubbish of our Fall, or because GOD would sancti­fie Nature by his express Consent, or make its Dictates more remarkable and Valid by his Approbation, and confirm all by the Seal of his Au­thority: or because a fair Way is laid open by these to more retired and Coelestial Mysteries.

FOR when we know these Things we are prone to enquire what GOD hath done, what Way there is to re­cover our ancient Happiness, what Re­medies are prepared for the corruption of Nature, how the Guilt of Sin may be removed, how we may be aided and assisted in the works of Virtue, by what Means our Reconciliation with GOD is wrought, and in what man­ner we ought to demean our selves that we may be accepted of him? for the knowledge of our former health is necessary for the clear apprehension of our present Sickness, and the sense of our Infirmitie fits us for the Physi­cian. When we know all that Nature can teach, and see something need­ful, that Nature cannot, unfold; when we are condemned by our Conscience [Page 240] yet feel our selves beloved, find that we have forfeited all, yet see the Glo­ry of the creation continued (for our use and service,) stand in need of an Atonement, yet Know not where to get it; our Exigency meeting with the grace of GOD, the sence of our Mi­sery and Hope united, our own Guilt and GODS Mercy (of both which we have the feeling and experience,) adopts us for the Reception of the Holy Gospel, wherein those thing are reveal­ed that come in most fitly to answer our Expectations. Satisfaction for Sin by the Death of Christ, and the Incar­nation of his GODHEAD above the course of Nature, for that End; His active and passive Obedience in our Stead, our Justification thereby, the application of his Merits to our souls by faith, the Glory which we owe him for so great an undertaking, the coming down of the Holy Ghost to Sanctifie our Nature, and the digni­ty of Both these Persons by reason of their Unity in the eternal Essence; for the manifestation of which the Myste­rie of the Trinitie is largly revealed, these supernatural Points come in so [Page 241] suitably and are so agreeable to Nature, so perfectly fit in their places, so mar­vellously conducive to the perfection of the Residue, that the very Harmony and sweetneess of altogether is enough to perswade us of their Credibility; and then the Matter of fact comes in with the Testimony and Authority of GODS Word, assuring us that these Things are so, by History and Pro­phesie. The Miracles at our Saviours Birth alone one would think enough to clear the business: much more if we take in all the Miracles of his life; wherein his Glory appeared, as of the only begotten of the Father; more fully yet, if we take in the Miracles of his Death; and abundantly more, if the Glory of his Resurrection and As­cension be added. But especially the Coming down of the Holy Ghost, and the Power the Apostles received from hea­ven, all the Prophesies that went before, and all the successes that followed after, all the Faith and Learning of the Fathers, all the Canons and Decrees of Councils, all the Transactions of the World drawn down to our own Age in a continued se­ries, illustrate and confirm all that is re­vealed.

[Page 242]BUT you will say, How shall we know such Histories to be true, and that such Prophesies and Prophets were in their several Ages; Since we never saw the same with our eyes, and there are many sleights and Fables in the World: How dost thou know there are any Antipodies? Thou didst never see them! Or that there is any Sea, which thou didst never behold! Or that the next River has a Fountain Head? Is not the Universal Traditi­on of all the world (wherein the Church of Rome, nay the Catho­lick Church, is but a little Part) a clear Light for a matter of Antiquitie, attended with a Stream of Effects and clear Monuments concurring together, without any Dissonancy in the Things themselves, or Contention of Parties? How dost thou know that there was such a man as King James, or William the Conqueror. Is he not a mad man that will doubt, or Dispute it? All that thou hast to confirm thee in the certainty of these, and infinitely more, conspires together, to confirm thee in the certainty of the other, The Histo­ry of the Bible is confest by Turks, and [Page 243] Jews, and Infidels, and which is far more, by the Testimony of the Church, which deserves to be believed above them all. And if the History be true, there were such Persons as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elias, Eli­sha, Josiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Eze­kiel, Daniel, and the rest of the Pro­phets; such persons as Jesus Christ, and his Apostles in such Ages; such Prophesies, and such Accomplishments at vast Distances; such Acts, and such Miracles, and such Doctrines upon such occasions: And if all this Matter of fact be true, tis impossible but these Doctrines must be Divine, which the Devil and wicked men so much Op­pose and Blaspheme in the World. And if these Doctrines are true, then all the Promises of GOD are true, and there is a large foundation of Eternal Hope pre­pared for the Soul: because if all these Preparations be not Eternally disgraced by the feebleness of their End the Glory and Felicity which is designed by them, is infinite and Eternal.

THAT all these Things are intend­ed for thy Benefit, thou mayst clear­ly [Page 244] see, by thy very Power to see them, and by the Natural Influence which they have upon thy Estate and condition. For tho it may hap­pen by some succeeding Accident, that thy Power to see and enjoy all may be bereaved of its Objects, when thine Interest is Eclipsed and forfeited by thy Rebellion, and the Influence of all may at last through thine own De­fault be ineffectual and Malevolent to Thee; yet thou art assured by the Na­ture of GOD, and of thy own Soul, that it could not be intended Evil from the Beginning; nay the very Order and disposition of the Things them­selves importeth the Design to be Fe­licity and Glory. For all these Things were written for our Admonition, up­on whom the Ends of the world are come: And the Apostle expresly saith, that whatsoever Things were written a­foretime,Rom. 15. 4were written for our Learning, that we through Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures might have Hope. This Hope maketh not ashamed, because the Love of GOD is shed abroad in our Hearts. We Delight in Beauty, and by that very Inclination that we have un­to [Page 245] it, are apt to Delight in any Thing that is Amiable. We delight to see the Order and Perfection of GODS Ways, and GOD himself taketh Plea­sure in manifesting his Wisdome and Goodness, for the Behoof of our Souls, because he is Great in Bounty, and infi­nite in Love by his very Essence: Nay further we are every one Capable of all the Benefit that accrueth thereby, and by Nature fitted to celebrate his Praises for all the Advantages that by any of his Dispensations are imparted to us, and have Liberty to improve them all for the Acquisition of that Glorious End to which we are ordain­ed. The Nature of GOD, which is hereby manifested to be Love to his Creatures, is that which enableth thee by this very means to honour and a­dore him, and by so doing to enter in­to his Kingdome, where he, that did all these Things for a farther End, will appear in Glory, and shew thee a Perfection of Life and Bliss, that is worthy of all this Care and Provi­dence, being as great as thy Heart can Wish or desire.

HOPE is for its Extent and Di­mensions [Page 246] vast and wonderful. All the Honour, Advancement, Exaltation, Glory, Treasure, and Delight, that is concievable in Time or Eternity, may be hoped, for: all that the Length, and Breadth, and Depth, and Height, of the Love of GOD, which passeth Knowledge, is able to perform; All that Ambition or Avarice can desire, all that Appetite and Self-Love can pursue, all that Fancy can imagine Possibles and Delightful; Nay more then we are able to ask or think; we are able to desire, and aspire after (if it be pro­mised to us) the very throne of GOD, and all the Joys of his Eternal Kingdom. And the more Sublime its Objects are, the more Eagerly & violently does our Hope pursue them, because there is more Goodness in them to ravish our Desire.

TO fall from the Height of ones Hopes, where the Kingdome and Glory was infinite, to which we aspire, is to fall from the Height of Hea­ven into the Depth of Hell, it pro­duceth a misery and Anxiety in the Soul, an Indignation and Sorrow, an­swerable to all the Greatness of our Objects, and the expectancies of our [Page 147] Hopes: Especially where the Hope is Lively and Tender, and Strong, and Sen­sible of all it conceiveth.

FOR it is the property of a true and lively Hope to Elevate the Soul, to the Height of its Object: tho dull and drowzy Hopes make no Impression or Alteration in the Mind. The Soul ex­tends it self with a kind of Pleasure in its Wishes and in touching. The Possibi­lity of such Goodnesses, as it proposes to its self in its own Imagination. Love and Beauty even in Romances are De­lightful: the very Dreams and Ideas of the Perfections of Bliss, have a Pleasure as well as their Reallity. The Desires of it are something more Rich and Sa­cred then the fancy or Imagination: but to Hope for such a Thing with a clear and joyful expectation, is to grasp at its fruition, with a faint Kind of Promise, that it shall at last be ours. Had our Hopes in Spiritual Things, as much Sence as they have in Temporal, those Beams of Assurance that enlighten our Hope and fill it with Glory, would in­fuse a solid Strength into our Desire and our pleasures would be so Great that we should not exchange them for [Page 248] all the Empires in the World. Especi­ally if it ascended so high as to be found­ed on infinite and Eternal Causes, and the only fears that did chequer our Hope, sprung from Nothing but the Danger of being Wanting to our selves. For who would think, That when our Lives and Liberties are at stake, we should be false to our selves, that infinite Love and Power should be tendered to us, infinite Beauty and Goodness be before us, infinite Ho­nour and Pleasure be offered us, E­ternal Delights, inestimable Riches, E­ver flourishing Joys, an infinite Empire be without fraud attainable, and we be so Treacherous and false to our selves, as to fleight it all! It is an Absurdity so incredible, that we should lose all these, Enjoyments by our own Default, and bare Remissness that we shall hate our selves Eternally if we lose so fair an Advantage. Yet this is our Case, we daily do that which in point of Reason is impossible to be done, and for doing which we judge our selves Guilty of Eternal Tortures. All the Misery that is lodged in infinite Despair has comfort and refreshment answerable to it in in­finite [Page 249] Hope. 'Tis the present food and Support of our Lives, 'tis the Anchor of our Souls in the midst of all the Storms and Tempests in the World,'tis the fore­taste of Bliss and Coelestial Glory, a Glympse and Appearence of the Beati­fick Vision, without which to Live is to Dye, and to Dye is to perish for ever­more.

THE Great Reason for which a right Hope is accounted so Great a Ver­tue, is because its Objects do really surpass all Imagination. The fulness of the GODHEAD in the Soul of Man, the Perfection of the Divine I­mage, a Transformation for Glory, to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, Communion with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, infinite Love and Bounty, the Estate of a Bride in Com­munion with GOD the Possession of his Throne, with another Kind of sweet­ness then the Bridegroom, himself enjoys, the Resurrection of the Body, and Life Eternal, in a Kingdome where all Occa­sions of Tears and Fears shall ever be removed, Where all Regions, and A­ges, and Spaces, and Times, and Eter­ternities, shall be before our Eys, [Page 250] and all Objects in all Worlds at once Visible, and infinitely Rich, and Beauti­ful, and Ours! Our very Appetites also being ravished with Sensible Pleasures in all our Members, not inconsistent with, but springing from these high and Supe­perior Delights, not distracting or con­founding our Spiritual Joys, but pure­ly Superadded, and increasing the same; while our Bodies are made like to his most Glorious Body, by that Almighty Power whereby he is able to subdue All Things to himself, all these infuse their Value; and the Hope that is exercised about these Things is a Vertue so great, that all inferior Hopes, which this doth Sanctifie, are made Vertues by it, but without this all other Hopes are Debase­ments and Abuses of the Soul, meer Di­stractions and delusions, and there­fore Vices.

I Know very well that Presumption and Despair are generally accounted the Extreams of Hope, and the only vices that are Opposite thereunto. But I Know as well, that there may be many Kinds and Degrees of Hope, of which so me may be vicious, and some Vertuous: and that some sorts of Hope [Page 251] themselves are Vices. When ever we make an inferior Desire the Sovereign Object of our Hope, our Hope is abo­minable Idolatrous and Atheistical. We forget GOD, and magnifie an in­ferior Object above all that is Divine. To Sacrifice all our Hopes to Things unworthy of them, or to be Remiss and sluggish in Hoping for Things of infinite Importance, is apparently Vicious: But to be just to all our Encouragements, and to lift up our Eys to the Eternal GOD, with an humble Expectation; to wait upon him, and to hope for all that from his Bounty, which his Good­ness has promised, to desire the most high and perfect Proofs of his Love, is the Property of a most Great and No­ble Soul, by which it is carried above all the World, and fitted for the Life of the most high and perfect Vertue.


Of Repentance. Its Original, its Na­ture, it is a Purgative Vertue. Its ne­cessity, its Excellencies. The mea­sure of that sorrow which is due to Sin is intollerable to Sense, confessed by Reason, and dispensed with by mer­cy.

REPENTANCE is a Sowre and austere Kind of Vertue, that was not created nor intended by GOD, but introduced by Sin, made fair by Mercy, in remitting the offence, and par­doning the Sin. It is a Strange Kind of off-spring, which flows from Parents so infinitely different, and has a mix­ture in its Nature, answerable to either an Evil which it derives from Sin, and a Goodness which flows from Mercy. Its Evil is that of Sorrow, Indignation and Shame, Its Goodness is the usefulness, and necessity of the thing, considering the Condition we are now in. It is highly ingrateful to Sence, but transcen­dently convenient and amiable to Rea­son; [Page 253] for it is impossible for him that has once been defiled with sin, ever to be cleansed, or to live after in a Ver­tuous manner, unless he be so ingenious as to lament his Crime, as to loath, acknowledge, and detest his Error.

THE Union of the Soul and Body is mysterious, but that Sin and Mercy should be united, as Causes so infinitely different, for the production of a Child so Black and so Beautiful, is the Great­test Wonder which the Soul can con­template on this side Heaven; and will continue to be remembred for ever, and appear more Wonderful than before when the perfect Disparity and Opposi­tion between them is clearly seen, in the Light of Glory.

THE Efficient Cause of Repentance is either Remote, or Immediate: Its immediate Efficient Cause is the Graci­ous Inclination, or the Will of the Pe­nitent, its remote Efficient is GOD, the Father of Lights from which every Good and Perfect Gift descended. Its Material Cause is Sorrow. Its Formal Cause, which makes it a Vertue, is the Reason and Manner of that Sorrow, the Equity and Piety wherewith it is [Page 254] attended, containing many ingredi­ents in its Nature too long a particu­lar to be described here. Its Final Cause is either immediate, or ultimate, the first is Amendment, the last Salvation.

BEING thus bounded by its Causes, its Definition is Easie, Repen­tance is a Grace, or Christian Vertue, wherein a man confesses, hates and for­sakes his Sin, with Grief that he hath been Guilty of it, and purposes of A­mendment of Life in Order to His Peace and Reconciliation with GOD, that he may answer the Obligations that lye upon him, discharge his Duty, lay hold on the Advantages of GODS Mercy, escape everlasting Damnation, and be made a Partaker of Eternal Glory.

AMONG the Vertues some are Purgative, and some are Perfective. The Purgative Vertues are all Prepa­ratory to Bliss, and are occasioned only by the Disorder of the Soul: the per­fective are Essential to our formal Hap­piness, and Eternally necessary by the Law of Nature. Repentance is not in its own Nature, (If Simply and abso­lutely considered) necessary to Bliss: [Page 255] But, in Relation to Sinners, it is as ne­cessary as Physick to the Recovery of Health, or as the Change it self is, by which we pass from the Distemper we are Sick of, to the right and Sound E­state which we had lost by the Disease. As the malady is accidental, so is the Cure. For the Nature of Man may be well, and perfect, without either this, or the other. He that is originally pure, has no need of a Purgative Vertue; but he that is faln defiled musts needs rise, and wash away the filth, before he can be clean.

FOR this Cause, even among the Heathens themselves, the more Know­ing and Learned have a Conscience of Sin; their Priests and Philosophers, de­vised several Rites and Manners of Pur­gation, which they taught, and impos­ed on their Disciples with much Circum­stance and Ceremony, in order to their Reception. Nor was there any Tem­ple, or Religion in the World, that pre­tended not something to Diviner My­steries: Which were graced & beautified with Preparatory Washings, Humiliati­ons, Fashions, Attirs, Watchings, Retire­ments, Shavings, Sprinklings, Anoynt­ings, [Page 256] Consecrations, Sacrifices, or some other Disciplines like unto these, to be endured and past thorow, be­fore their Votaries could be admitted to their mysteries. All which Rites as they made a great shew, because they were sensible, so were they apt to put a magnificent face on their Religion to dispose the Persons exer­cised by them to a more complying Obedience, and to beget a Reverence mixt with Awful Admiration in their ignorant Spectators. All which ne­vertheless were but Emblematical Ordi­nances, signifying something invisible that was necessary to be done, of which the Priests themselves knew not the meaning. They had the name of Paenitentia in their Common Con­versation, but applied it to profane and Trivial occasions: But Repentance in Religion, which is the Soul and substance of those mystical Observa­tions, a broken and Contrite Heart, an internal Sorrow for their sin, was a thing unknown; so that all their Ap­pearances, how magnificent soever, were but Empty shells.

REPENTANCE alone though [Page 257] never so simple and short in its name, being of such value, that GOD ac­cepts one contrite Groan above all the Ceremonies, even of his own Law. And therefore he saith,Psal. 51. 16. 17. Thou desirest not sacrifice else would I give it; thou delightest not in Burnt offering. The Sacrifices of GOD are a Broken Spirit: A broken and a contrite Heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

FOR tho Repentance be not in it selfe a desirable Vertue, nor so much as a Vertue, till there be a sphere and Occasion for it, wherein to be exer­cised, tho Repentance in it selfe be far worse then obedience, yet upon the Account of our Saviours Merits, and GODS Love to Sinners, it is pre­ferred above the Greatest Innocency and Purity whatsoever. For there is more Joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, then over Ninety and nine Just persons that need no Repentance. Luke 15. If the Soul be of greater value than the whole World, if the loss of any Thing we esteem, increaseth the sence of its excellency; if our Saviour just­ly and rationally compareth himself to a Shepheard, that leaveth Ninety and [Page 258] nine sheep in the wilderness, to seek one that is gone astray; if he rejoyc­eth when he hath found it, more for that one that was lost, then for the ninety and nine which he had in safe­ty; if his Delight in the success of his Labours be answerable to their Great­ness; if the frustration of all his De­sires, and painful endeavours in seek­ing it, be infinitely Grievious; and the Vertues more Amiable and Won­derful, which sinners exercise after their Redemption; if their Love, and their joy, and their praise be increas­ed, by the extreamity of their Distress and the multitude of the sins that are forgiven them; if their Communion with GOD be more sweet, and their Happiness more exalted, and the Kingdom of GOD it selfe made more sublime and Glorious thereby; Repentance hath something more in it then Perfection had before the fall, and as sinners have made themselves more infinitly Indebted, so are they infinit­ly more subject to the Arbitrary Dis­posal of Almighty Power, infinitly more Capable of Obligations and Rewards, infinitely more Obliged for Pardon and [Page 259] deliverance, as well as infinitly more Obnoxious to Divine Justice, their Fear and Danger is infinitly Greater, they stand in need of infinite Grace, and Mercy, which when they receive and enjoy, their Love and Gratitude are proportionably greater, their Delights are more quick, and vi­gorous, and full, and so are their praises.

BUT before a sinner can atchieve all this, or GOD enjoy the fruit of his Salvation, he must needs repent, for Repentance is the true and sub­stantial Preparation of the Soul, the only Purgative Vertue, by which it is fitted for these Divine Attainments. It is, we confess in outward Appearance a slight invisible Act, but as Great with­in, as Wide and Comprehensive as the Heavens. It receiveth the Vertue of the Divine Essence of the whole Creation, of infinite Mercy, of the Blood of Christ, of his Humiliation, Merit, Exaltation, Intercession, and glo­ry, of all the Work of Redemption into it self; and having fed it self, dige­sted them, it receiveth strength by the Influence of these to dispence all their [Page 260] Vertue again, in the Production of those Fruits, for the sake of which GOD hath filled all the World with miracles, the Verdure, and Maturity, and Perfection of which shall with their beauty and sweetness continue in life and Florish for ever.

IF we respect Man alone, and the things that are done in himself by Re­pentance, it seemeth a Vertue of infinite value: It divests him of all his Rebel­lion, Pride, and vain Glory, strips him of all his Lust and Impiety, purges him of all his corruption, Anger, and Malice, pares off all his Superfluities, and excesses, cleanseth his Soul of all its filthiness and pollution, removeth all that is so infinitly Odious to GOD, and makes him amiable and Beautiful to the holy Angels. It sits and pre­pares him for all the exercises of Grace and Piety, introduces Humility and Obedience into his Soul, makes him capable of a Divine Knowledge, and makes way for the Beauty of his Love and Gratitude, inspires Fortitude, and Prudence, and Temperance, and Justice into his soul; renues his Nature, and makes [...]im a meek and patient Person re­stores [Page 261] him to that Wisdom and Good­ness he had lost, cloaths him with right­teousness and true Holiness, and seats him again in the Favour of GOD. By Repentance he recovers the Divine Image, and by Consequence it extends to all that Blessedness and Glory which is for ever to be enjoyed.

REPENTANCE is the Begin­ning of that Life, wherein all the sweat Labour of the Martyrs, all the Persecu­tions and Endeavours of the Apostles, all the Revelations of the Prophets, all the examples of the Patriarchs, all the Miracles of old Time, all the Mysteries of the Law, all the Means of Grace, all the Verities of the Gospel begin to take full force and Effect, in obtaining that for which they were intended. Which sufficiently intimates the value of the Grace, and how highly well pleasing it must be to GOD: It is the Conception of Felicity, and the New Birth of the Inward Man the Dereli­ction of the Old, and the Assumption of a New, and more coelestial Nature. It is the Gate of the Heavenly King­dome which they that refuse to en­ter at, can never enjoy. It is one of [Page 262] the Keys of Death and Hell, by which the Gate of the Prison is un­lockt, nay the very knocking off the Chains, and Manacles of Satan; the very Act wherein we regain our Liber­ty, and become the Sons of GOD, and Citizens of Heaven; It was fitly Typisied in the old Law, by the Laver that was set at the Door of the Taber­nacle for the Priests to wash in, before they entred into the Sanctuary, to walk in the Light of the Golden Candle­sticks, to offer their Devotions at the the Incense Altar, and to partake of the shew bread on the Golden Table. In the Outward Court they enjoyed the so­ciety of the visible Church, the sight of the Bloody Altar, (which answers out Saviors Cross erected in the World) and the Benefit of their Outward Pro­fession, which consisted in their Admis­sion to the Visible Ordinances, and ex­terior Rites of Religion: But that Court was open over head, obnoxions to showers, in Token that a bare Pro­fession is not Enough to shelter us from the Dangers and Incommodities that may be rained down in Judgments upon us from the wrath of GOD: [Page 263] whence the face of Heaven is overcast with Clouds, and Covered with black and Heavy Displeasure, till we wash and be clean, and enter by penitence into the Invisible Church, of which the Second Court is a Figure, wherein we are illuminated by the Holy Ghost, and of­fer up the sweet Perfumes of our Thanksgivings and Praises; being ad­mitted to feed upon the Heavenly Feast represented by the Shew-bread. Table; we are never received into the Society of the Saints and Angels, bainted out in the Cheruhims and Palm Trees round a­bout on the inside of its Walls, nor Covered over head with a vail to protect us: A vail of Blew to re­present the inferior Heaven, wherein Cherubims were interwoven to repre­sent the Angels looking down upon us, a vail of Goats-hair concealed and un­seen above that of Blew, to signifie the fruits of our Saviour Life, and ano­ther of Rams-skins died Red, to signi­fie the Blood of Christ, by which we are secured from all the Displeasure which otherwise for Sin, was due to us. The Goats hair fitly resembles the Active Obedience, or the Righteous­ness [Page 264] of Christ; for as much as Hair may be clipped off, and a Covering made of it, while the Beast is alive: For so might Christ have been perfectly Righteous, tho his Life had never been Taken away: But red is the Color of blood, the Skin importeth Death for as much as it cannot be fleyed off, with­out the destruction of the Creature. These vails therefore as they were a­bove the other, were of higher and more mysterious importance: And spread over the inclosed, and invisible Court, into which none but Priests and Levites entered, that washed at the La­ver, to intimate the security only of those, that are washed in the Laver of Regeneration, and make Kings and Priests unto God, being purged from their old sins, and sanctified and illu­minated, in a secret Spiritual man­ner. For as they only that tarried in their Houses, were under the prote­ction of the Paschal Lamb, whose Blood was sprinkled on the Lintils of their Gates and Doors, when the destroying Angel past through the Land of Egypt to kill the First-born of Man and Beast: So onely they that keep within the [Page 265] Pale of the Invisible Church, are under the Shaddow of the Almighty, because they only dwell in the secret place of the most High, and they alone are under the Coverture of that Powerful Blood, which speaketh better things than the Blood of Abel, but pleads for the pre­servation of them onely, that repent and believe, and is therefore effectu­ally spread over the Invisible Church a­lone. Which in another Type is exhi­bited by the mixture of the Blood and Oyl, which was sprinkled upon the Priests and Lepers that were cleansed: Sanctification and Justification moving alwayes together hand in hand, the Unction of the Holy One, or the Oyl of Love and Gladness annointing all those that are washed, and only those are washed in clean and pure water, they alone being effectually sprinkled with the Blood of Christ who of GOD is made unto us Wisdome, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption.

FOR if God should take Pleasure in us before we were pure, his Com­placency would be false, and his De­light unrighteous. Till we are De­lightful to him we can never be Hono­rable [Page 266] nor Glorious before him: Nor e­ver be pleasing to that Goodness, which is indelible (tho latent) in our own Souls, till we feel our selves clean and Beautiful.

IF any thing in the World can commend the value of Repentance, or discover the infinite use and necessity of it, this will certainly be a conside­ration Effectual: That tho GOD love us with an infinite and eternal Love, tho he magnifies his Mercy in­finitely over all our Deservings, tho Jesus Christ loved us so, as to sacri­fice himself in our places, tho he made infinite satisfaction to the Justice of God for our Sins, tho the Holy Ghost came down from Heaven for our sakes, may tho we ourselves were taken up into Heaven, all this would he of little avail, and we should quick­ly be tumbled down again, if only Sin were Delightful to us, and our Wills so obstinate, that there was no place for Repentance in our Hearts, no sor­row, nor Contrition for the Offences we had committed. It is not the Love of GOD to us, so much as our love to him, that maketh Heaven. It may [Page 267] surprize you perhaps, but shall certain­ly instruct you, for the Love of GOD may be infinite, yet if it be unseen, breed no delight in the Soul: if it be sleighted and despised, it shall increase our Cuilt, Shame, and Deformity, and make us the more Odious, which it must needs do, when we are impenitent. For so long, it is manifest that we are neither Sensible of his Love, nor Just unto it. The taste of its sweet­ness, and the Pleasure we take in his in­finite Love, is the Life of Blessedness, and the Soul of Heaven. It is the Concur­rence of our Love and His, when they meet together, that maketh Heaven.

HERE upon Earth we ought actual­ly to grieve, and repent for our Sins: —But should GOD require a measure in our Grief answerable to its Causes, our Repentance it self would be an Hell unto us: For the Grief would be Endless and insupportable. Right Rea­son requires that we should be infinitely afflicted for the infinite folly and mad­ness of Sin. But the Mercy of GOD dispenseth with our Grief so far, that it takes off the Pain, which its infinit [...] Measure would inflict upon our sense, [Page 268] and accepts of an Acknowledgement made by our Reason that it ought to be infinite, if strict Justice were exacted at our Hands. Our intention is (in the Course of Reason,) to be infinitely and Eternally grieved for the Baseness of the Act, and the Vileness we have contracted, and so we should be, d [...]d its Effects continue and abide forever; for then we should be hated of GOD and become his Enemies World with­out End. But the Removal of that Ha­tred, and the infinite Mercy whereby we are forgiven, hath a kindly Opera­tion on the Soul of every Penitent, and the Joy it infuseth restrains and li­mits the Excess of our Sorrow, it leaves the Intension of Grief, and its inclinati­on in the Mind, yet stops the persecuti­on, and relieves our Reason, by divert­ing the stream of its Operations and Exercises; it engageth its actual Re­sentments upon other Objects, which turn it all into Love and Adoration, Praise and Thanksgiving, Joy and Com­placency. For the Love of God con­tinued after our fall, and the Felicity to which we are called out of the Depth of our misery all the Advantages we [Page 269] receive upon our Redemption, the Im­provements of our miserable Estate the Degrees and Ornaments that are added to the Beauty and perfection of Gods Kingdome upon so sad an occasion as Sin is, all these things take up our Thoughts in such a manner that while we are actually and fully Just to these, and Loving GOD, for his Eternal Love, infinitely more than we Love our selves, we live in him, and are all in raptures of Blesseduess. yet is there a Vertual Sorrow which Reason conceives as most due to Sin, which being expres­sed only in the Humility of our Souls, and seen as it were underneath the frui­tion of our Joys, in the lowly Conceit we retain of our selves (in the confessi­on of our vileness and the deep Sence of our own unworthiness;) is far Greater, now we are restored to the favour and Love of GOD, far sweeter to be seen, and deeper to be understood; than the Grief for Sin would have been, had we been not redeemed, but Damned for­ever.


Of Charity towards GOD. It Sancti­fieth Repentance, makes it a Vertue, and turns it to a Part of our true Felicity. Our Love to all other Ob­jects is to begin and End in GOD. Our Love of GOD hath an Excellency in it that makes it worthy to be desired by his Eternal Majesty. He is the on­ly Supreme and Perfect friend. By Loving we enjoy him.

REPENTANCE without Love is so far from seating us in the Fe­licity of Heaven, that it is one of the In­gredients of the Torments in Hell, a natural Effect of Sin, and a great Part of the Misery of Devils. Love is a ge­nuine Affection of the Soul, and so pow­erfully Sweet, when it is Satisfied and pleased, that it communicates the Relish of its own Delightfulness to every Thing near it, and Transformes the most Vir­ulent Affections into Smooth, Healing, Perfective Pleasures. Insomuch that in Heaven our Sorrow for Sin shall per­haps [Page 271] be infinite, yet the malignity of it so perfectly correctd, that tho we con­tinue Eternally Just, in rendring our Sins that grief which is their due, it shall not discompose our peace, norcorrode our Delighs, but increase our Repose in the Beauty of our souls, and make our Joys more full of Extasie, by those Melting, Lively, Bleeding, Resent­ments, which our Love will occasion in the very Grief; where with it perfects our Felicity. For as the falling out of Lovers is the Renewing of Love, so is the Mercy and Kindness of the one, e­ven of him that was injured; and the calm and secure Indignation wherewith the other hates himself for being guilty of so vile a miscarriage, the very Grace and Beauty of the Re­conciliation; it is a great means of their mutual Endearment and Tenderness e­ver after: the Compassion of him that is Innocent, and the humble grief of the Guilty making the Joy of their future Correspondence more Deep and Seri­ous, more Vigorous and Enflaming, more lasting.

LOVE is that which Sanctifies Re­pentance, and makes it pleasant both to [Page 272] him that is Beloved, and to him that is adored; Acceptable and Delightful to him that repenteth, as well as to him that had been injured. For the Sin­ners Restauration makes it as Natural to grieve for his Fault as to rejoyce in his Felicity, his fad and humble Resent­ments are his own Satisfaction, because he sees himself Just and Rational in them he delighs in his Sorrow, because it is Honourable, and finds a new Kind of plea­sure in his Abasement, because it is re­lieved by the Wonder of his Happy condition; and what he hath lost in himself is regained in the pefection and Goodness of his Object.

THAT GOD is the sovereign Object of Love I scarcely need to mention; all I shall observe upon this occasion, is; that we are more to Love him for his Mercy and Compassion to­wards us as Sinners, then for his Goodness and Bounty expressed at the first, as we were Innocent Creatures. The Bleeding Spectacle of his In­carnate Deity, and the Perseverance of his Miraculous and Transcendent Love after all our Offences, is another Kind of Motive to heighten our Charity [Page 273] of, and gives it another form, as much more Mysterious, so much more perfect and Delightful then ever. Our Sor­row for Sin infuses a New Sense into Nature, a New Beauty into Love, and gives as much unto it, as it receiveth from it. But this being better known by Experience, then by description I shall refer you to the Life of Heaven and Grace, for more ample satisfacti­on.

LOVE, as we have shewed, may be extended to all Objects in Heaven and Earth; all that is Goodly and A­miable being capable of that Affection. Hereupon the Word Love is generally used for that Liking and Esteem we have for any thing, whether Dead or a­live. We can Love Life, and desire to see Good Days; we can Love the Sun, and Wine, and Oyl, and Gold; Love our Dogs and Horses, fine Clothes and Jewels, Pleasures, Honours, Recreati­ons, Houses, Riches, and as well as Love Men and Women, Souls and An­gels. And evermore our Love ex­presseth it self in Tenderness and Care for the Preservation of what we Love, in Esteem of its Worth, and Delight in [Page 274] its Beauty, in endeavours also to pro­mote its Welfare as far as it is capable. But there is another sort of Love to­wards Living Objects, Divine and reaso­nable, which we call Charity. This is that Vertue of which the Apostle saith, (af­ter he had spoken of all the Miracles, Helps, Governments, Prophesies, Tongues, and other Gifts of the Holy Ghost, that were then in the Church) And Yet shew I unto you a more Excellent Way. 1 Cor. 12. ult.1 Cor. 13 1. And in the next Chapter. Tho I speak with the Tongues of Men and of Angels, and have not Chari­ty, I am become as sounding Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal. And tho I have the Gift of Prophesie, and understand all my­steries, and all Knowledge, and tho I have all Faith, so that I could remove Moun­tains, and have no Charity, I am no­thing, and tho I bestow all my Goods to feed the poor, and tho I give my Body to be burned, and have not Charity it profi­teth me nothing. It is that concerning which our Saviour Speaketh, The first of all the commandements is, Mark. 12. 30, 31. Hear O Israel, the Lord our GOD is one Lord, and thou shalt Love the Lord thy GOD with all thy heart, and with all thy Soul, [Page 275] and with all thy Mind, and with all thy Strength: This is the first Commande­ment: And the Second is like, namely this, Thou shalt Love thy Neighbour as thy self: There is none other Commandement greater then those. Nay perhaps it is that of which he saith to his Apostles, when they had admired at his Miracles. He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater Works then these shall he do, because I go to the Fa­ther. For Faith worketh by Love, Love is the Life of Faith, and without the Works of the one the other is Dead: The Works of Love are the End of all Miracles, and more Blessed then they. Nay Love is the End of Faith as well as it is of the Law: for the Apostle saith, The End of the Commandment it Chari­ty, out of a pure Heart, and of a good con­science, and of Faith unfeigned. It is the End of the very Creation of the World, of all Gods Labors and Endea­vours, of all his Ways in all Ages, all the faculties and powers of the Soul, the very End of the Redemption of Man­kind, the End of the Jewish Oecono­my under the Law, the End of all the Dispensations of Grace and Mercy under [Page 276] the Gospel; the End of our Saviours coming down into the World, the End of all his Miracles, Tears, and Blood, the End of the Holy Ghosts ap­pearing upon Earth, the End of all the Means of Grace, and in some sort the very last End of all Rewards and Pu­nishments whatsoever. The everlasting Continuance of this Love is the End of Eternity it self in a manner, and if our Love be not the End of GODS Love, his is of ours. And if the Truth be deeply inquired into, the Intermixture is so sweet, that his is the End of ours, ours of his. For he Loveth us with the Love of Benevolence, that we may Love him; and he desires to be belov­ed of us, that he may Love us, with a­nother Kind of Love, distinct from the former, even that of Complacency. Which Love of Complacency is the Crown of ours, and so Delightful to us, that it is the very End of our De­sire, and begetteth in us a new Love of Complacency fitly answering his unto us.

NOW if Love be the End of all the laws, Works, and Ways of GOD, of all our Saviours Labours and suffer­ings, [Page 277] of our souls and Bodies, of the whole Creation, of all the Endeavours and Desires of the Deity, in all the Dis­pensations of his Grace and Provi­dence, there must be something in its Na­ture Equivalent to all these Transcen­dent Undertakings, to justifie the Wis­dom that selected Love for its Sovereign Object, for it is the office of Wisdome to suit the means and their End together, so that the Excellency of the one may be worthy of all the Cost and Difficul­ty of the other. For it is a foolish thing to pursue a base and feeble End by Glorious and Wonderful Methods, because its Vileness will Disgrace the Design, and with it their Beauty, their very Grandure will be absurd, where their Issue is but contemptible. The Apostle therefore telleth us that Love is the fulfilling of the Law, and that it is the Bond of Perfectness. And pursuing its properties a little more Ample, he saith, Charity suffereth long, and is kind, Charity envyeth not, Charity Vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up, doth not behave it self unseemly, 1 Cor. 13. 4, 5, &c. seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, re­joyceth not in iniquity, but rejoyceth in [Page 278] the Truth, beareth all Things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endur­eth all things. Charity never faileth, &c.

IT is one noble Effect of Charity, that it suffereth afflictions cheerfully and patiently for the sake of its Beloved: Another is its Kindness to its Object; its sweet and Courteous inclination to do all manner of Good: Another, for which it is highly valuable, is, that it envieth not the Felicity or Glory of its Beloved but taketh Pleasure to see it far higher and greater then its own: is not apt to vaunt and brag of its Perfections, but hath an hum­ble Esteem of all its Atchievments: doth not behave it self in distasteful manner, but studies and designes the Honour Benefit and satisfaction of its Object. But that which of all other is its greatest Perfection, is, that it seeketh not its own: it is not Mercenary or self ended, but truly Generous and Heroick in its Performances. It Sacri­ficeth it self, and all its interests, to the Advantage of its Object; it prefer­reth the person it Loveth above it self, [Page 279] desires its Exhaltation, and delights in its Glory more then its own, It is not easily provoked, because it puts the best sence upon all that is done by its Ob­ject: Thinketh no evil, is not suspici­ous, or malevolent, or censorious, but frameth honourable and fair Ideas of all that is thought or done by its Be­loved: Hateth all Impurity that may displease its Object, all black and crooked Apprehensions, that may wrang and disguise it; beareth all with Hope and Equanimity, because it be­lieveth its Object to be Good, and Wise, till it must of necessity change its Opinion, and entertain a Judge­ment tending to its condemnation. It is no longer Charity then, but dis­like and aversion, when it ceaseth to think well of its Object: for it is ano­ther Principle or distinct in Nature from Love, as its Actions are from the Actions of Love; the diversity of the Effects evidently proving a Difference in their Causes.

THE Quality, by which Charity rejoyceth in the Truth, is an incompa­rable excellence and commendation of its Nature. Because the Truth is [Page 280] GODS infinite Goodness, and Love, and Providence, which are exercised in preparing Delights and Treasures for his Beloved. The truth is the Fe­licity and Glory of the Soul. And if it be true that all Eternity is full of Joys, and all the World enriched with Delights, that a man is infinitely belov­ed of GOD, and made in his Image on purpose, that he might enjoy all the Best of all possible Treasures in his similitude, he may well rejoyce in the Truth: because no Truth can be grea­ter or more delightful, than that him­self is exalted to the Throne of GOD, and ordained to live in Communion with him.

BUT that Quality, by which the Soul believeth, and hopeth all things, that concern the Honour and Fidelity of its Beloved, is yet more acceptable and delightful than the former. For a good opinion of the Nature and In­tention of the Person with whom we are united, is the Basis and Foundati­on of all our Respect, the Cement of our Peace, and the Life and Soul of all that Honour that is paid unto him. The very Grace and Beauty of all our [Page 281] Conversation dependeth upon it, and if it be true, that we are more to love GOD for the intrinsick Perfections of his Essence, then for all his Gifts, the chief Business of our Knowledge is to Frame glorious Apprehensions of his Nature, and to Believe him in all things so Kind and Wise, that he is True and Faithful in all his Declarations, and most fit to be Honoured in all the Dispensations of his Providence, be­cause he is ever mindful of his Prote­stations and Promises. For then we can believe, that all things shall work together for our Good, can safely trust our selves, and all that is ours in his hands; resign our selves up to his Disposal with Joy, and say Thy Will be done, for it is Holy, Good, and accepta­ble? Thy Will alone is of all other Wilis most Perfect and Desirable. There are on Earth indeed more nice Emergencies, many Obscurities and Riddles, in the midst of all which to think so well of GOD as he deser­veth, is the most acceptable thing in the World; for it argues a great con­fidence of his Worth, and a Love that is founded on Substantial Causes never to [Page 282] be removed. It feedeth the Soul with a lively hope, and fair Expectation of great Things from him: by which a­lone we do right to His GODHEAD, in acknowledging the Perfection of his Love and Goodness, and by which a­lone we are made able to adore him and to live in Union and Communi­on with him.

THERE is great Talk of Friend­ship, it is accounted the only Pleasure, in the World; Its Offices are highly magnified of all: Kindness of Behavi­our, a through and clear communica­tion of Souls, a secure Reliance upon each others Fidelity, a perfect Disco­very of all our Thoughts, Intentions, and Resentments, an ardent willing­ness to impart Lives and Estate for the Benefit of our Friend, the Reposing of all our Secrets in each others Bo­somes, to do all services, and suffer all afflictions, for each others sakes, to prefer the Concerns of our Friend up­on all Occasions above our own, these are the Magnalia Amicitiae, & Arcana mutuae Benevolentiae, the Great and mighty Effects for which Friendship is admired: But all these, without a good [Page 283] Opinion of our Friend, are nothing worth, they are but Externals of Friendship, the greatest Secret in its Nature is, the mutual agreement of Souls and Spirits, the Delight which either taketh in the other, the honour and esteem they give and receive, the Approbation and Love of each others Dispositions, the Sence and Admira­tion of each others Vertues, the con­tinual Desire of being alwayes toge­ther, peculiar Extasie, which the Beau­ty of either occasioneth in the other, when of all other Treasures in the World their Persons are the greatest to one another. Either is the proper Ele­ment and Refrigerium of the others Soul. Their Bosomes are the mutual Receptacles and Temples of each o­thers accomplishments, whereinto they are received in all their Desert, and have Justice done to every degree and Perfection in their Nature; their Hearts are the Thrones where they are exalt­ed, and magnified, and live at Ease, are honoured and worshipped, extol­led, and reign as absolute in each o­thers Souls. There are some slight aims and Adumbrations of this Friend­ship [Page 284] on Earth; but the best and highest Degree of it here beneath is but a rude and imperfect shadow, only GOD is the Sovereign friend, all Adoration paid to any one beside is meer Idolatry. Our Hearts can be absolutely Sacrificed to none, but him; because he alone is immutable in Goodness. We cannot infinitely honour and delight in any but Him, it is he alone that can infi­nitely honour, and delight in us. All our Lives, Estates, and Services are Due to him, his Will alone is to be wholly ours, because no other Will is infallibly Right, Wise, Holy, but his alone.

THE Union of our Wills is a Perfecti­on of Love: but that at which he aimeth by all his Labours, and Gifts, and Bene­fits, is our Right and Good Opi­nion of his Excellencies and Perfecti­ons. That we should see and discern his interior Properties, admire his Graces, adore his Perfections, adore and magnifie his Beauty and Glory, this is the End for which he communi­cates himself in all his Works and Ways unto us; it is the End of the Whole Creation, and of all the Excel­lent [Page 285] Things in the universe: for by this he establisheth his Empire in our souls and makes us Pleasing to himself in all our Operations. And for this Cause it is, that the Apostle plainly tells us that tho we give our Body to be burn­ed, and all our Goods to feed the poor, without Charity it profiteth no­thing. To render to GOD the Ho­nour that is due to his Name, to receive and admire all his Bounties, to rejoyce in all his Operations, to adore him in all his Ways, to take pleasure in all his Works, to fill Heaven and Earth with our Joys and Praises, is a Work which cannot but be agreeable by its Nature, to his Eternal Essence. And if this be the Work of Love, it is that which is most Excellent, because he is therein both pleased and enjoyed. GOD and all his Creatures are united together by Love alone, and in the E­ternal Exercise of pure and perfect Love all Blessedness and Glory consisteth.

IF you require what it is to love GOD, you will find it worthy of his Highest de­sire, because thereby all our souls, nay all his Creatures, and his whole Kingdome are perfected, for to Love GOD as we [Page 286] ought to do, is to Honour him as our Father, Benefactor, Bridegroom, and King, to contemplate him as our Cause with Complacency, and to rest in him as our End, to delight in him as our Creator, Preserver, Lawgiver, and Re­deemer, to dedicate our selves, wholly to that Service, whatever it be, wherein he is chiefly pleased and delighted. It is to love him in himself, in all his Works, in all his Ways, in all his Laws, in all his Attributes, in all his Thoughts and Counsels, in all his Perfections; It implies the Knowledge of all Objects, the Use of all Means, the Attainment of all Ends; all Wisdome and Goodness, all Obedience and Gratitude, all Righ­teousness and Holiness, all Joy and Praise, all Honour and Esteem, all Blessedness and Glory. For it is to Love him with all our Heart, and with all our Soul, with all our Strength, and with all our Might, with all our Un­derstanding, with all our Will, with all our Affection, with all the Powers of our soul, with all our Inclinations and Faculties in all his Creatures, in all his Appearances, in Heaven and Earth, in Angels and Men, in all Kingdoms [Page 287] and Ages. It is to see and desire, to Esteem and delight in his Omnipre­sence and Eternity, and in every Thing by which he manifesteth himself in ei­ther of these, so that all Enlarge­ment, and Greatness, and Light, and Perfection, and Beauty, and Pleasure, are founded in it, and to Love him to Perfection implies all Learning and At­tainment, because we must necessarily be acquainted with all Things in all Worlds, before we can thorowly and compleatly do it. Which here upon Earth to do by Inclination and Endea­vour to the utmost of our Power, is all that is required of us; And if we do it to our utmost, it shall be rewarded in the Beatifick Vision, with a full and Blessed Pefection with an actual Love exactly resembling his, and fully answe­rable to it in the Highest Heavens.

THERE are two common Motives of Love among Men, the one the Good­ness and Excellency of the Person, the other his particular Kindness and Love to us: And both these are in the High­est Degree in GOD. He is of infinite Goodness and and Excellency in him­self, for there is nothing Good in the [Page 288] world, but what hath received all its Goodness from Him. His Goodness is the Ocean, and all the Goodnesses of Creatures little Streams flowing from that Ocean. Now you would think him a Madman that should say the Sea were not greater then a trifling Brook: and certainly it no less folly to suppose that the Goodness of GOD doth not as much (nay infinitely more) ex­ceed that of all the Creatures. The Sun is a lively Mirror of that Eternal Act of Love which is the Glory of his Essence, but it is infinitely less prone to communicate its Beams, and doth less Good to it self, and infinitely less to all other Creatures. It shines for their sakes nevertheless, and clothes it self with Glory, by the splendor of its Beams and is an Emblem of GOD, who exerteth his Power with infinite Plea­sure, and by communicating his Essence in an infinite Manner, propagates his Felicity, and Glory, to the utmost Height and Perfection. By proceeding from himself to all Objects throughout all Worlds, he begets, and dwelleth in himself, he inhabits Eternity in a Blessed and more vigorous Manner, [Page 289] by establishing the Felicity of all his Creatures, and become theirs infinite and Eternal Glory. Wherein his parti­cular Kindness and Love to us appeareth because he hath fitted us with Quali­ties and Powers adapted for so great an End, and as particularly appropri­ated all to us, as the Sun to the Eye of every Spectator. For our Bodies and our Souls are made to enjoy the Benefit of all, and his Desire is that we should attain the End for which we are creat­ed. On his side all is prepared; on ours nothing is wanting but Love to embrace and take pleasure in his Good­ness, which shineth in all these Things, and created them on purpose, that be­ing manifested by them, we might de­light in it for ever.

HE that loveth not GOD with all his Heart, liveth a Life most contrary to Nature. For to Love is as natural for the Soul, as to shine for the Sun: and the more Lovely any thing is, the more prone we are to Delight in it: if any thing be in­finitly Amiable, weare prone to Love it in an infinite measure, we prefer the Better above the worse, & cannot rest but in the best of all, Reason, is the Essence of the Soul, and tends always to the utmost Per­fection. [Page 290] The more Divine and Glorious any Thing is, the more high and Noble is the Love that we bear it: No Beauty less then the most Perfect, no Pleasure, no Wisdome, no Empire, no Learning, no Greatness, Wealth, or Honour, less then the most sublime can be our full Satis­faction: no little degree of Love, no­thing less then the most Supreme and violent can content us: So that GOD being most truely perfect in all these, is the Adequate Object of all our Desires, and the only Person sit to be esteemed in an infinite manner. It is as natural for Man to Love him, as to de­sire and delight in any being, which supplies the ordinary and daily necessi­ties of his Life.

TO Love him as we ought implies two things, that are agreable to the Nature of Love, yet very rarely to be found among the Sons of Men, a de­sire to please him, and a Desire to enjoy him. The Desire of Pleasing is a con­stant fruit and effect of Love. For he that Loves, is very desirous to approve himself, and to do whatsoever he thinks will be grateful to his Beloved. Ac­cording to the Decree of Love, the de­sire is more or less. Where we Love [Page 292] Earnestly, we are extreamly Earnest and Careful to please: Where Love is re­miss, there is little need or Regard of a­ny thing: But infinite Love! It is impossible to declare what favour and Zeal it will produce. If we Love GOD, we shall keep his Commandements with a Tenderness and Desire so extreme, that no Joy will be so great as the Ob­servation of his Laws; It will be with us, as it was with our Lord Je­sus Christ; it will be our Meat and Drink to do the Will of our Father which is in Heaven. The measure of our Love will not infuse some slight and faint Endeavours of Pleasing, but put us on the most painful and costly Duties, make us willing to forsake our own Ease, Goods, Friends, yea Life it self, when we cannot keep them without of­fending our Creator.

THE desire of Enjoying is constant­ly seen in our Love to one another. If any man hath a friend whom he intirely loveth, he desires his Conversation, Wishes to be always in his Company, and thinketh the Time long till he and his friend be together. And thus will it be in our Love to GOD, if as great and Hearty as it ought to be. In this [Page 292] Life our Enjoyment of GOD is more imperfect, more compleat and perfect in the Life to come. Here upon Earth we desire to converse with him in his Ordinances, in Prayer, Meditation, hearing his Word, in receiving the Sa­crament, which are intended all for this purpose, to bring us into a neerer Inti­macy, and familiarity with GOD by speaking so to him, & hearing him speak, and shew himself to us. If we love him indeed, we shall highly Value these Ways of Conversing with him: it is all here upon Earth whereby we can enjoy him. It will make us with David e­steem one Day in his Courts better than a thousand. We shall delight in all the Means of approaching to him as often as possible, and use them diligently, to the End of uniting us more and more unto him, who is the Object of our Desire and the Life of our Souls. And for as much as there is another Enjoy­ment of GOD which is more compleat and perfect, we shall groan earnestly, desired to be dissolved and be with Christ, where we may see no more in a Glass, but Face to Face, and Know as we are Known. For Love is strong as Death, many Waters cannot quench Love, nei­ther [Page 293] can the floods drown it. Affliction, Persecution, Sickness, any thing that will bring us to Heaven, will be accept­able and Delightful.

IF you would know more fully, why GOD desires to be Beloved, you may consider, that Love is not onely the Motive, and Incentive to Vertue, the Cause of Obedience, but the form and Essence of every Grace, and the fufil­ling of the Law, We shall chuse him for our GOD, and have no other GODS but him, no Delights, no Sovereign En­joyment but him alone. We shall ho­nour him with all our Souls, and adore him with every Power of our Will and Understanding: We shall not regard Images and shadows, but worship him immediately in Spirit and in Truth. We shall not take his Name in vain, nor con­tentedly stand by when others abuse it: But shall praise his Name, and desire to see it glorified throughout the World. For Love desires the Honour, and de­lights in the Glory and Advancement of its Beloved. We shall reverence his Sanctuary, and keep his Sabbaths, desiring Rest from other Avocations, that we may contemplate his Glory in [Page 294] all his Works. For his sake we shall observe the Laws of the second Table, and Love our Neighbour as our self. For to Love him is no Impediment, but a Strong Engagement, and incentive to the Love of all his Creatures. We shall honour our Parents for his sake, and preserve the Life of our Neigh­bour: We shall not rob him of his happiness in his Wife, nor wrong him in her Chastity and Fidelity towards him. We shall not steal from him, nor dimi­nish his Possessions. We shall not defame him, nor hurt him by Lies; but vindicate and preserve his Re­putation: it will be our joy and Sa­tisfaction to see his honour clear and unblemished. We shall not injure him so much as in a thought, nor covet ought that is his, either for necessi­ty or pleasure: but study to add to his Contentments.

WERE all the World as full of this Love as it ought to be, Para­dice would still continue, and all Man­kind would be the Joy and Glory of the whole Creation. The Love of GOD towards all would dwell and abide in every Soul, and the Felicity of [Page 295] all would be the particular Joy of eve­ry person. All the Earth would be full of Repose, and Peace, and Pros­perity, nothing but Honour, and Kindness, and Contentment would replenish the World. Which leads me now to that other Branch of Love, which is Charity to our Neigh­bour.


Charity to our Neighbour most natural an Easie in the Estate of Innocency: Adams Love to Eve and his children a great Examplar of our Love to all the World. The Sweetness of Loving. The Benefits of being Beloved. To Love all the World, and be beloved by all the World is perfect security and Felicity. Were the Law fulfilled all the World would be turned in Heaven.

CHARITY to our Neighbour is Love expressed towards GOD in the Best of his Creatures. We are to Love GOD in all the Works of his Hands, but in those especially, that [Page 296] are most near unto him, chiefly those in which he manifesteth himself most clearly, and these are they that are most like him, most exalted by him, most loved of him, and most delightful to him.

ANGELS and Men, are so distinct from the residue of the Creation, that all the Works of GOD, as if they were Things of another Kind, are put in Subjection under their feet. They were made in his Image, and are often called the Sons of GOD. They are the Sovereign Objects of his Eternal Love, every one of them, considered a part, is so Glorious; as if he were the Sole individual friend of GOD, and King of the Universe, so that they are to be treated in another Manner, as High and Sacred Persons, elevated a­above the Race of ordinary Creatures, as a Progeny of Kings that are all of them friends to the King of Kings, Ambassadours representing his Per­son, in whom he is injured, or Oblig­ed.

I confess there are many Disguises, that overcast the Face of Nature with a vail, and cloud these Sovereign [Page 297] Creatures: the Excellency, the Ab­sence, and Distance, and unknown Na­ture of Angels; the Perversness of Nature, the Ignorance, and Unkind­ness, and Disorders of Men Darken, and Eclipse this Glorious Duty, and make it uncouth and difficult to us: But all these Disorders came in by Sin, and it is expedient to remove the Confu­sions that blind us, in our miserable E­state, and to look upon this Vertue of Charity, in the Naked Beauty which appeareth to us in the Light of E­den.

IN the Purity of Nature, Men are Amiable Creatures and prone to Love. To great Advantages; of which Sin and misery hath bereaved us, and to which we are restored but in Part, even then when we are Sanctified. Where the Beauty of the Object is intire, and per­fect, and the Goodness of the Spectator clear and undefiled, to Love is as Natu­ral and Easie as for fire to enflame, when applied to convenient matter. For the Beauty of the Object is Oyl and Fuel to the affection of the Spectator. It is not more Easie to delight in what is pleasant, than it is to desire what is [Page 282] Good and Amiable. To be commanded to take pleasure in it is Liberty, not Constraint. To be forbidden would be hard. A Prohibition would be the Severest Law, and the most cruel Bon­dage. There was no Possitive Law in Eden, that required a Man to Love his Neighbour, it was a Law of Nature. The Nature of the Object required it, and our Nature prompted it self there­unto. The Service that Law required was perfect freedome. Adam was com­manded to Love Eve, by a silent Law, Surprized by her Beauty and captivat­ed by the Chains of Nature. He was amazed at so fair a Creature, her Pre­sence was so Delightful that there was no need of a Law; an injunction had imported some Sluggishness in the zeal of his Affection. His Appetite and Reason were united together, and both invited him to lose himself in her Embraces: She was as acceptable a Pre­sent of the Love of GOD, as Wisdome and Goodness could invent for him. He was too apt to admire her, had not her Soul been as worthy; as her Symmetry was transcendent. He admired the Boun­ty of the Donor in so Great a Gift, and [Page 299] Great Part of his Life was to be spent in the Contemplation of his Treasure. He had a Noble Creature made in the I­mage of GOD for him alone! Her soul was far more excellent in Beau­ty then her Face, a Diviner and more Glorious Object than the whole world. Her Intelligence and Vivacity, Her Lof­ty and clear Apprehensions, Her Ho­nour and Majesty, Her Freedome of Action, her Kindness of Behaviour, her Angelical Affections, Her fitness for Conversation, Her sweet and Tender Principles, a million of Graces and En­dowments conspiring to enrich Her Person and Perfection, made all the World to serve Adam with one Degree of Pleasure more in serving and pleasing her. The Universe seemed to be Nothing but the Theatre of their mutual Love, as if all the World were made for nothing else, but to minister to her for his sake, and to make him happy in the Enjoy­ment of Her. While the fruition was san­ctified by a Just acknowledgement and Thanksgiving to the Author.

WE produce Eve only for a Presi­dent; this first sweetness is but a Pat­tern and Copy of what follows, [Page 300] fair Prologue to a more magnificent scene, and used by us as a meer In­troduction. Adam was able to Love Millions more, and as She was taken out of his side, so were they to spring from his Bowels: All to be as Great, and fair, and Glorious as she, as full of Soul, and as full of Love. As the Woman was the Glory of man, so were their Off-springs the Glory of both: I mean they had been so, by the Law of Nature, had not the due course of it been disturbed. Which Accident is wholy to be fathered on Adams fondness to please his Wife, and to be mothered upon her Light­ness and Credulity. But we being here to disclose the Felicity which is hid in the fulfilling of GODS Laws and to justifie his Love in commanc­ing this Charity to our Neighbors, must not regard the Malevolence of Men, but look upon the pure Intention of the Law; and the success that would have followed, had it been, as it might have been, perfectly observed.

ALL Adams Children had been himself divided, and multiplied into millions, and every one a Greater [Page 301] Treasure to him than the whole world. The Stars had not been by a thousand Degrees so great an Ornament to the skies, as they to the Earth, an of­spring of Incarnate Angels, an assem­bly of corporeal Seraphims, a Race of Celestial Kings, every one loving and Honouring Adam, as the Fountain of their Being, and the Author of their Well being, of the one in beget­ting them, of the other by standing and abiding in his Integrity. They had all been so many Pledges of his Wives Affection; Monuments of love, New and Powerful Endearments, En­largements of their Parents, Being Mirrors and Memorials of both their perfections; For all had been made for every one; and every one had been the Joy, nay and the Beauty of all. All had been every ones Objects, and every one the Spectator of all, every one would have delighted in the Beau­ty of all, and all had conspired and strived together in the love of every one, their concurrence infulfilling the Law would have banished all sin and Oppression, Discontentment and sor­row, Wrong and Injury, Theft and [Page 302] Murder, and Adultery, and Lying out of the World, there had been no noise of War or Contention, or anger, or Envy, or Malice, or Revenge, this accursed the Black Guard had never appeared; but all would have been Delightful to one another: Affections, Honours, Benefits, and Services, Plea­sures, Praises, and Prosperities, these alone had filled the World, with Beau­ty, Security, Peace, and Glory, Wis­dome, Goodness, Love, and Felicity, Joy, and Gratitude had been, all that had been Known, had Love been in­tirely and inviolably observed.

BUT where GODS Laws are bro­ken there is confusion and every Evil Work. Which nevertheless does more highly commend the excellency of his Nature, and reflect a Praise up­on that Authority, which must first be despised, before any Misery can come into the World. If the Duty which the Law requires be all sweet­ness, and Felicity, and Glory, Com­pleatly good, and on every side Ad­vantageous and Profitable; we that fail in the Discharge of our Duty may be condemned, but GOD is to be [Page 303] admired, and still to be confessed most Glorious and Holy, because he delights in the welfare of his Crea­tures, and makes Religion so desirea­ble a Mystery, and enjoynes such ad­mirable Things, as would make all transcendently Blessed, and Good, and Perfect were they perfectly ob­served. He designes that all should be amiable, whom we are command­ed to Love, and that we should be not only prone to Love, but actually full of it, and the reason why he con­sistutes Love, as the Sovereign Law; is, because, as our Saviour saith, There is none other greater Commandement, none more Blessed, or Divine, or Glo­rious, none more conducive to our Bliss, his pleasure, the perfection of his Kingdome. Removing the Law of Love, it is impossible to put another Law in its Place, which can answer the Designs of his Wisdome and Goodness, of comply with the Exigencies of our Estate and condition. It is as easie to change the Nature of GOD; and de­vise another deity as Good and conve­nient, as to invent a better Law then this, which is plainly of all other the most Divine and Holy.

[Page 304] If we ascend up into Heaven, and take a perfect account of all the Op­perations and Effects of Love as they appear in Glory; we may first give our selves the Liberty of Wishing, and consult, what of all Things possible is most fit to be desired. Had we a Power to chuse, what Kind of Crea­tures would our selves be made? could we desire to be any thing more great and Perfect then the Image of GOD? In the full extent and utmost height of its Nature it is the Resemblance of all his Blessedness and Glory. To have Beings without Power, or pow­er without Operations, will never make us like GOD, because by an infinite and Eternal Act of Power he is what he is. Actions are so necessa­ry that all Felicity and Pleasure is con­tinually founded in some act or other, and no Essence is of any value, but as it employs it self in a delightful man­ner. What Law then would we have to regulate our actions by? Since Acti­ons are of different Kinds, some good, some Evil, some convenient, some Hurtful, some Honourable and some Delightful, some Base and Odious, [Page 305] some are Miserable, and some are Glo­rious, we would chuse such a Law to guide our Actions by, as might make them honourable and delightful, and good and Glorious. All these are with Wisdome and Blessedness shut up in Love. And by Love it is that we make our selves infinitly Beautiful, and Amiable, and Wise, and Blessed, while we extend that Delightful and Blessed Affection to all objects that are Good and Excellent, so that on this side we have all we can desire, Essences, Laws and Actions that most tend to our full and compleat perfection. If on the other side, we look after objects for this Affection, and desire to have some Creatures most Excellent, and fit for their Goodness to be Beloved, what Creatures can we wish above all other, that can be made to satisfie and please us? Can any thing be more high and perfect then the similitude of GOD? GOD is LOVE, and his Love the Life and Perfection of Goodness. There is no Living Goodness so sweet and ami­able as that alone, none so Wise, none so Divine, none so Blessed. VVhat Laws can we desire those Creatures to [Page 306] be guided by, but the Laws of Love? By Love they are made Ami­able and delightful to us; by Love they are made Great and Blessed in themselves. All Honour and Praise, Benevolence and Good-will, Kindness and Bounty, Tenderness and Compas­sion, all Sweetness, and Courtesie, and Care, and Affabilitie, all Service and Complacency are shut up in Love: It is the Fountain of all Benefits and Pleasures whatsoever. All Admirati­on, Esteem and Gratitude, all Indu­stry, Respect, and Courage are shut up in Love, and by Love alone doth any object of ours Sacrifice it self to our Desire and Satisfaction. So that on that side our Wishes are Compleat­ed too: while the most High, and Blessed, and Glorious Creatures love us as themselves. For thereby they are as much our Felicity as their own, and as much take pleasure and De­light therein. As for GOD his Way is perfect; like curious needle work on either side, compleat and exquisite.

ALL that we can fear, or except against, is his Omission, in forbearing to compell his Creatures to love, whe­ther [Page 307] they will or no. But in that Liberty which he gave them, his Love is manifested most of all. In giv­ing us a Liberty it is most apparent: for without Liberty there can be no Delight, no Honour, no Ingenuity, or Goodness at all: No action can be Delightful that is not our Pleasure in the Doing. All Delight is free and voluntary by its Essence. Force and Aversion are inconsistent with its na­ture. Willingness in its operation is the Beauty of the Soul, and its Honour founded in the freedom of its Desire. Whatsoever it does not desire and de­light in, tho the matter of the perform­ance be never so excellent, the Man­ner is spoiled, and totally Blasted. Now can we compel another to desire or delight in any Thing? The Soul in it self hath an Inclnation to, or an a ver­sion from every object. The Ingennity and Worth of the Soul is expressed in the Kindness of its own Intention, in the freedom of its Desire to do what is Excellent, in the delight it taketh to love, its Goodness is founded. Now tho GOD infinitely hated Sin, yet he gave us an irrevocable Power to do [Page 308] what we pleased, and adventured the Hazzard of that which he infinitely hated, that being free to do what we would, we might be Honourable and delightful in doing (freely, and of our own Accord) what is Great and Excellent. For without this Liberty there can be no Love, since Love is an active and free affection; that must spring from the Desire and pleasure of the Soul. It is the Pleasure of a Lov­er to promote the Felicity of his ob­ject. Whatsoever Services he is com­pelled to do, he is either meerly pas­sive in them or Cross unto them, they are all void of the Principal Grace and Beauty that should adorn them, and make them pleasant and satisfacto­ry: men may be Dead, and moved like stones; but in such causes there is no Love, neither do they act of them­selves, when they are over-ruled, and forced by another. For this cause hath it pleased God, in order to our Perfection, to make the most Sublime and Sovereign Creatures all Free, wherein he hath expressed the greatest Love in the World. As we may see by all the Displeasures and Pains it [Page 309] hath cost him, through our Abuse of so illimited and great a perfection. But where his Love is most Highly and Transcendently expressed, there are we most prone to suspect it, Na­ture is so Cross and disorderly. There can be no Wisdom without a volunta­ry Act, for in all Wisdome there is Counsel and design. Where no consulta­tion nor Election precedes, the best operation in all the World is Blind and Casual. Fortune and chance must have no hand in that which wisdom Ef­fecteth: no more then Force and neces­sity must have in that Goodness, where all the kindness ought to be in the In­tention of the Benefactor. There is something in it which I cannot explain. It is easily conceived, but will never (I think) in Words, be expressed. The Will has a mighty hand in all the Divi­nity of perfect Goodness. It is the Mind of the Doer that is the principal ob­ject of all our Desire and Expectation.

HAVING for these Causes made his Creatures free, he has forfeited their Choise, and secured their Determinati­on, as far as was possible. He hath done all that can be devised to make [Page 310] them Love us, and left nothing undone but only that which was, absolutely necessary that they might Love. They could not Love us, if they were not left to themselves to do it freely. And their Ability being provided for, nay an Inclination given to make them willing he has strictly commanded & enjoyned them to Love, by Nature allured them, & ordered us so, that we might be fit to be Beloved, he hath made it sweet and ratio­nal to Love, given them his own Exam­ple, and solemnly protested that he will accept of no Love to himself, but what is accompanied with Love to his friends and servants, engaged them to Love, or be Eternally miserable. And if for all this they will not Love, the fault is none of his. All that he has done to let secure then Love to himself, he has done to secure then Love to us: and is as much or more concerned in their Love to us, then in that which himself requireth and Expecteth. Nay he hath made it impossible for them (truly) to Love themselves without doing of it: And if they will neither Love GOD nor themselves, we may well be despised for Company. He infinitely desires their Love, and would take infinite Plea­sure [Page 311] in the Operation. There is no Way to make themselves Honoura­ble and Delightful to GOD, but only by Loving us, as his soul requireth. And by all these Inducements and Causes, are we our selves stirred up to Love, freely to exert the Power of Love to others in like manner.

THAT which yet further commen­deth this Vertue of Love unto us, is, that it is the only Soul of all Pleasure and Felicity in all Estates. It is like the Light of the Sun, in all the King­domes, and Houses, and Eyes, and A­ges, in Heaven, in Earth, in the Sea, in Shops and Temples; in Schooles and Markets, in Labours and Recrea­tions, in Theatres and Fable. It is the Great Daemon of the World, and the Sole Cause of all Operations. It is evident­ly impossible for any Fancy, or Play, or Romance, or Fable to be composed well, and made Delightful, without a Mixture of Love in the Composure. In all Theatres, and Feasts, and Wed­dings, and Triumphs, and Coronations, Love is the Soul and Perfection of all, in all Persons, in all Occupations, in all Diversions, in all Labours, in all Ver­tues, [Page 312] in all Vices, in all Occasions, in all Families, in all Cities and Em­pires, in all our Devotions, and Reli­gious Actions, Love is all in all. All the Sweetness of Society is seated in Love, the Life of Musick and Dancing is Love; the Happiness of Houses, the Enjoyment of Friends, the Amity of Relations, the Providence of Kings, the Allegiance of Subjects, the Glory of Empires, the Security, Peace and Wel­fare of the World is seated in Love. Without Love all is Discord and Con­fusion. All Blessings come upon us by Love, and by Love alone all Delights and Blessings are enjoyed. All happi­ness is established by Love, and by Love alone is all Glory attained. GOD Knoweth that Love uniteth Souls, maketh men of one Heart in a House, filles them with Liberallity and Kind­ness to each other, makes them Delight­full in presence, faithful in Absence, Tender of the Honour and Welfare of their Beloved, Apt to obey, ready to please, Constant in Trials, Patient in sufferings, Couragious is Assaults, Pru­dent in Difficulties Victorious and Triumphant. All that I shall need to [Page 313] observe further, is, that it compleated the Joys of Heaven. Well therefore may Wisdome desire Love, well may the Goodness of GOD delight in Love. It is the form and the Glory of his Eter­nal Kingdome. And therefore it is that the Apostle saith, Charity never faileth: but whether there be Prophesies, they shall fail; whether there be Tongues, They shall cease; whether there be Know­ledge it shall vanish away; For we know in part, and we Prophesie in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. For now we see through a Glass, darkly, but then Face to Face; now I Know in part, but when shall I know, as also I am Known. And now abideth Faith, Hope and Charity, these three, but the Greatest of these is Charity.


Of Prudence. Its Foundation is Chari­ty, its End Tranquillity and Prosperity on Earth, its Office to reconcile Duty and Convenience, and to make Vertue subservient to Temporal Welfare. Of Prudence in Religion, Friendship, and Empire. The End of Prudence is perfect Charity.

CHARITY is that which en­tereth into every Vertue, as a main Ingredient of its Nature and Per­fection. Love is the fountain and the End of all, without which there can be no Beauty nor Goodness in any of the Vertues. Love to one self, Love to GOD, Love to man; Love to Felicity, a clear and intelligent Love is the Life and Soul of every Vertue, without which Humility is but Baseness, For­titude but Feirceness, Patience but Stu­pidity, Hope but Presumption, Mode­sty but Simpering, Devotion but Hypo­crisie, Liberality is Profuseness, Know­ledge vanity, Meekness but a sheepish Tameness, and Prudence it self but fraud and Cunning. For as all other Vertues, so is prudence, founded on Cha­rity. [Page 315] He that is not Good can ne­ver be Prudent: for he can never bene­fit himself, or others. For the Designes of Prudence are to secure one self in the Exercise of every Vertue, and so to order the Discharge of ones Duty, as neither to hurt a mans self in his Life, Estate, Honour, Health, or Content­ment, nor yet to fail in the Attainment of that Worth and Beauty, which will make our Lives Delightful to others, and as Glorious to our selves, as Benefi­cial and Delightful.

PRUDENCE hath an eye to every Circumstance, and Emergence of our Lives. Its Designe is to make a mans self as Great and glorious as is possible, and in pleasing all the World, to order and improve all Advantages without incurring the least inconvenience: To reconcile our Devotion, Obedience and Religion, to our Interest and Prosperi­ty in the World: To shun all extreams, to surmount all Difficulties, to overrule all Disadvantages, to discern all Oppor­tunities, and lay hold on all Occasions of doing Good to our selves. Its Office is to consult, and contrive, and effect our own Welfare in every Occurrence that can besal us in the World, and [Page 316] so to mingle all Vertues in the Executi­on of our Duties, that they may relieve, and aid, and perfect each other, in such a manner as at once to be pleasing to GOD, profitable to his Creatures, and to our selves. To take heed that we do nothing out of Season, nor be guilty of any Defect, or Excess, or Mis­carriage. All the Vertues are United by Prudence like several Pieces in a Compleat armour, and disposed all like Souldiers in an Army, that have their se­veral Postes and Charges, or like the se­veral Orders and Degrees in a Kingdom, where there are Variety of Trusts, & ser­vices to be done, and every Man has his Office assigned by the King, and knows his own work, and is fitted for the same.

FOR as no one man is sufficient for all; the same person cannot be chief Priest in the Temple, and General in the Army, and Admiral at Sea, &c. So neither can every Vertue serve for all purposes but there must be several Ver­tues for several Ends.

AS the King ordereth and direct­eth all his Officers and subjects in their several Places; if they do their duty in their own sphere, the Great End is at­tained [Page 317] by all, which no one of them alone, was able to Effect: so here, one Vertues supplies the Defects of ano­ther, and tho every one of them moves in his own Precincts, and does not at all intermeddle with anothers charge, yet the Work is done as effectually as if a­ny one Vertue did all alone.

WHILE all the Vertues conspire to supply what is wanting in each other, Prudence is the general Overseer, and Governour of all, which, while every single Vertue is ignorant of what the other are doing, fits and proportions the subservient Ends, to which every one of these Directeth its Care, and Labour, and Skill, to the Great and last End of all, the intire Perfection and Glory of the Kingdome. So that here upon Earth Prudence seemeth to be the King of Vertues, because we have such a Multiplicity of Concernes and Affairs to look after, that it is impossible for a­ny one Vertue, but Prudence alone to attend them all.

THIS discovereth the Excellency of Vertue,ys & detected a very great Error to which we are liable, while we are prone imprudently to expect more from a­ny [Page 318] Vertue than it is able to perform. We are apt to believe that in every Vertue there is an infinite Excellency. And this great Expectation of ours is a good opinion of Vertue, yet turneth (not seldome) to its Disgrace and In­famy. For when we look upon a­ny single Vertue, and see it so Defe­ctive, that it scarce answereth one of many Ends, because we find our selves deceived in our expectation of its per­fection, and the Service of that Vertue so Curt and narrow, which we thought to be infinite; we are distasted at its Insufficiency, and prone to slight it as a poor inconsiderable Business, infinit­ly short of our Hopes and expectations. Nay and to be discouraged from the practice of it, because we find it at­tended with many Difficulties and in­conveniences, which it is not able to remedy or answer. Thus are we de­terred from Liberality for fear of the Poverty to which it exposeth us; from Meekness, because it encourageth all People to trample us under feet, from Holiness, because it is scorned and hated in the World; from Fortitude and Courage, because of the Perils and [Page 316] Hazzards, that attend it; from self­Denial, because of the Displeasures we do to our selves in crossing our Appetite. Nay sometimes men are so wicked as to hate to be obliged, for fear of the Inconveniences of Gra­titude, and are much Prejudiced a­gainst Fidelity, and Love, and Truth, and Constancy. For all these Vertues can answer but one exigence, for which they are prepared (especially in our Daily Conversation with men) and a mistake in one of them doth expose us to more Inconveniences, then its Benefit is worth.

THIS is the Offence: and the Truth is no Vertue is of any Value as cut off from the rest. We may as well expect all Beauty in a Nose divided from the Face, or an eye pluckt out of the head, all Perfection in an Ear, or a tongue cut off, all serviceableness in a Hand, or Foot dismembred from the Body; as a full and perfect Security from any one Vertue whatsoever. If one were sufficient, the rest would be Superfluous. Mans Empire and Dominion would be a very narrow Thing, (at least a ve­ry Empty and Shallow thing) if any [Page 320] one Vertue were enough for his Feli­city. As his Exigencies and Concerns are Innumerable, so are his Cares and Endowments, his Honors and Plea­sures, his Offices and Employments, his Vertues and Graces. His Offices and his Vertues must be at least so many, as will serve to regulate all his Concerns. And if any be so compre­hensive as to cure many Exigencies at the same time, his Vertues are the Greater in force and Extent, but the fewer in Number. Their perfect suffi­ciency is to be measured by the ends for which they are prepared: and their Beauty Consists, (like that of an Army with Banners) in the Proportion and Symmetry of the entire Body, the mu­tual Supplies and Succors they afford to one another, the Unity of such a Great Variety of things in order to the Attainment of the same great and ultimate end the full and compleat Number of Offices and inferior Ends, and the Extream Providence where­with they are reducible to one su­pream End, which is most High and Excellent. It is enough for the Ear if it can hear well, tho it is no more [Page 321] able to See, or Taste, than a Stone. it is enough for the eye to see well, tho it is no more sensible of Noise, then a Rock or a Tree The Of­fice of the Tongue is to Tast well, of the Nostril to smell well, &c. and there is no Defect in any of these, be­cause they are every one sufficient for its own immediate end, and also tem­pered and united together, that the rest are Supplies to make up the Defect of every single Sence and Organ, and altogether perfectly subservient to the whole Man, for whose sake they were prepared, that he might enjoy the be­nefit of them all. The eye sees for the Ear, and the Tongue, and all the rest of the Members of the Body: the foot supports and carries the eye, the hand defends and feeds the Eye, the Ear instructs and Counsels the Eye, the Nostrils smell for the eye, and the Tongue tasts and talks for the Eye, which the eye cannot do for it self, because it was made to need the assist­ance of the rest, the eye directs all these in Liew of their Services, and is of far greater Value, then if a man had no other Member, but an eye alone. For [Page 322] the Eye is the Light of all the mem­bers, and Great in its Relation to the whole man: It sees for the Ear, and the Hand, and for all, and is to all these after some manner Beneficial, but without these would be to no pur­pose. There is an infinite Excellency in every Vertue, but it is to be sought in its Relation to all the Rest. It is Good for nothing in its Place but for that Particular End to which it is as­signed, in attaining that end it is sub­servient to all other Vertues; and while it serves all, is aided by all. The other Virtues remedie the incon­veniences to which this doth expose us, and being all joyned together ear­ry us safely and securely to our Last end: Because the Influence of every one passeth thorow all, every single Vertue is Pleasing to God, and a means in its place of our whole Felicity. The Beauty of all the Vertues is to be sought in Prudence, for there they meet in an intire Body: their Correspondence and convenience, their Symmetry and pro­portion, their Unity and Variety, their ful and perfect Harmony, makes up the features of the Soul, and compleats its [Page 323] Graces, just as the Diversity of Members perfects the Body. Knowledge gives Light to Love, but Love gives Warmth and Feeling to Knowledge. Love may perhaps, like a Separate Soul, dwell in Heaven, alone; and yet even then it must include all Knowledge, and Righ­teousness, and Wisdome, and Holiness: for if Love know not how to guide it self, it will never attain its End, nor be a perfect Vertue. But here upon Earth tis like the Soul in the Body, it must Eat, and Drink, and see, and hear, as a thousand Works to do, and therefore standeth in need of many Vertues. Love without Goodness is perhaps a Thing impossible, because it always designs well. But Love without Wis­dome is a Common Thing: for such is all that mistakes its End. Love with­out Discretion is a mischievious Thing, Love without Prudence an Helpless Thing, Love without Courage a fee­ble and Cowardly Thing; Love with­out Modesty an impudent and Trouble­some Thing; Love without the Fear of GOD is Lust and Wantonness; and if the most Great and Glorious of all the Vertues stands in need of all its [Page 324] Companions. The less and inferior must needs be lame and maimed without the residue, especially without the Superior.

UPON this account it is, that so much Care and Study goes to the mak­ing up of a Vertuous man. All kind of Vertues must concur to Compleat his Perfection. The Want of any one Deno­minates a Vice, and makes him Vicious. Nay the Want of any one destroys the form and Essence of the rest. Vertue is not Vertue but in order to felicity. If it hath lost its force, it hath lost its Na­ture. As a little Poyson turnes the best Meat from Nourishment into Poyson so doth one Vice cherished and allowed corrupt and viciate all the Vertues in the whole World. Hence it is that the Phylosophers say, all the Vertues are linked together in the golden Chain of Prudence. And that a Thing is made Good by all its Causes, Evil by the least Defect. For as one Tooth wanting in a Clock, makes all the other wheels and Materials Useless; tho the frame be never so Elaberate and Curious; so doth the abscence of the smallest Ver­tue make void and frustrate all the re­sidue. A man of a Kind and Bountiful Dis­position, [Page 325] that is loose and intemperate, may ruine his Estate, and dye like a Prodigal and vain-glorions fool. A stout Couragi­ous person that is proud and debauched will be little better then a Souldierly Russi­an, and Live if not like a Thief for Want of Honesty, yet like a Swag­gering Hector for Want of Discreetion. A Man endued with all Kind of Learn­ning may be Morose and Covetous, and by one Vice lose all the Benefit of his Education. A Religious Votary that is Splenetick and Revengeful, brings a Disgrace upon his whole Pro­fession. But he that is Wise, and Learn­ed, and Holy, and Just, and Tempe­rate, and Couragious, and Kind, and Liberal, and Meek, and Humble, and Affable, and Cheerful, and Prudent, and Industrious, shall be serviceable, and Honourable, and delightful to o­thers, profitable to himself, and alwayes Triumphant: Especially if he be so dis­creet and Prudent, as to make all these Vertues move like the Stars in their Courses, and knows how to apply and manage their Excellencies in their due and proper places upon all occasions: for they are so many different in nature [Page 326] that some of their Influences, will hit every business, and all of them together pass a Grace and Lustre upon each other, so Divine and Heavenly that they will make their owner Venerable in the Eys of the World, and correct the Malig­nity of the most injurious and Censo­rious. Which moved our Saviour to exhort us to be Wise as Serpents, In­nocent as Doves, to joyn many Vertues together: And occasioned that of the Apostle,1 Pet. 3. 10. He that will love Life and see good Days, let him refrain his Tongue from Evil, and his Lips that they speak no Guile: let him eschew Evil, and do Good, let him seek Peace and ensue it, for the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous: And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is Good? The only sure Way to live happily here up­on Earth, is to joyn all kind of Ver­tues together, and to let them work in season according to their several Na­tures.

WHAT the efficacy of Prudence is may be seen in friendship, in the Re­giment of States and Kingdoms, in the Rule and government of Private Fame­lies. He that is fitted for all these is an Excellent Person.

[Page 327] IT is the office of Prudence in all Estates, to find out the Temper of those with whom we are to deal; and so to suit the Exercises of all Vertues with their several Humours, as may make their Operation consistent with our own Repose, and their Benefit, without infringing our Duty.

IN Friendship it often falleth out by reason of the spiritual Sickness of those to whom we relate, that we must either make shipwrack of Fidelity and a good Conscience, or run the Hazzard of losing our Friend by displeasing, that we may be Profitable to him. There is no Duty so necessary, as that of free and faithful Reproof: no Duty so nice as this. A Good man Knows it is incumbent upon him, and yet is ve­ry Averse from the Discharge of it. It is as Troublesome to himself as to the Person that needs it. Tis difficult to be done well, and so unpleasant to both. Here Prudence comes in, and deviseth expedients for all Inconvenien­ces, and with a strange facility scatters all Doubts and Fears. Three Things it discovers to be necessary in the founda­tion of the Business, Three in the Su­perstructure, [Page 328] and Three in the Conclu­sion. He that reproves well, must shew a great respect and Tenderness to the Person, a necessity of the Discharge of that Duty, his Aversness to it, and how Nothing but his Perfect Love could make him undertake it. The founda­tion of the Success is laid by these Pro­visions: In the Superstructure, he must consider whether it be best to be done merrily or severely; by a Brief Hint or a strong Enlargement, according to the Temper and Degree of the Person. He must chuse out the Best Opportunities, and consult the Honour of him he re­proveth. And if he be displeased and grow angry at the Liberty, he must in the Close of all bear it patiently, sur­mount it with Courtesie, and pursue him with Kindness. He that rules his own Passion is Master of another mans: He must needs win him and Melt him: For no man thus dealt with, is so very a Beast, as to be angry long. Or the mis­chief is, when he that reproveth miscar­rieth in some of these Rules, especially the last: for there are few so prudent as not to be exasperated with the Affront that is put upon their kindness and Fi­delity, [Page 329] when they are injured for their Good Will: few so discreet as to con­sider which way their patience and Meakness are to be made the Instru­ments of Amity and Happiness.

IN the Management of Empires, and Kingdomes Prudence hath a vast and Mighty Province to reign in. A Good King when he designs the extir­pation of Vice, and the Establishment of Righteousness and pure Religion, meets with many Rubs and Obsta­cles in his Way, all which are sweetly and easily by Prudence removed. His Great encouragement is the Beauty of Religion, and the Assistance of GOD. For he Knows very well that Equity and Piety are such Glorious Things, that tho few practice them as they ought to do, yet all admire them.

GODLINESS, and Honesty, need nothing but to be maintained and as­sented by the Prince, when they are once countenanced by authority all the Enemies of Religion are confounded, and dare not lift up their face against it. Wise an Holy men may easily be exalted, and are more capable of Exaltation then others. As they are [Page 330] more faithful when they are in power, they will be more Grateful to the Prince, and more Obliging to the people; and in all Respects more able to serve them both. The Good will secure the Throne and exalt the Kingdome. Pru­dence in such a work Knows where to begin and where to end, by what steps and Degrees to proceed, what Instru­ments to use, how to Oblige, and how to Awe; whom to Oblige, and Awe; where to remit the Rigor of the Law and where to be severe. The Truth is Prudence consists most in attempt­ing the Business, for it will go on, and is ever waited with success when undertaken. A King that is so Wise as to design and endeavor, the Refur­mation of his Nation, must needs be Prudent. GOD has assured him, The Throne is established by Righteousness. When it Goeth well with the Righteous the City rejoyceth, and when the wicked perish there is shouting. By the blessing of the upright the City is exalted, but it is overthrown by the Mouth of the Wick­ed.

IN Families the force of Prudence is prodigious. Some men by the as­sistance [Page 313] of this Vertue live more hap­pily upon a mean state, then others up­on Thousands, they have more respect among their Servants, more honour a­mong their Neighbors, more plenty at home, more Authority abroad, more peace & comfort every where, then Men forty times above themselves in State & Grandure. Its first care is to be Wary in the Choise of Servants: For they that are good act well by Nature, and have little need of Force and compulsion. Its next Business is to oblige them, which is done by a religious example which instilles a Reverence, a strict prohibi­ [...]tion of all Debauchery, a sweet and affable Behaviour, a plentiful Provision for their comfortable Subsistence, a prudent connivance at smaller faults, a Distribution of Rewards as well as punishments for the Encouragement of their Vertues, a meek and Gentle re­proof of their Faults, a kind acknow­ledgment of their Good deserts; which is a cheap and easie kind of payment, yet more Obliging then any Dry gift of Gold or Silver. A prudent man will so demean himself in his Fa­mily, as to make himself cordially [Page 332] beloved of all: so ordere [...] his affairs, that the Services of those about him shall be like Preferments. By which Means it will first come to pass, that he shall have his choise of servants, because it will be esteemed a Blessing to be with him: and in the next place their service will be mingled with re­spect and Love. They will befaithful as well for his sake, as their own. In the Midst of all this, his Prudence will guid him to take a strict account, and to make all his Servants see, it is impossible to cheat him. Thus in all Affaires Prudence happily demeans it self; and of this Gift especially is that of solomon to be understood, A gift is as a precious stone in the hand of him that hath it, whithersoever it turneth, it pros­poreth. Prov. 17. 8.

FOR the Foundation of all kind of Prudence you must remember, that he that winneth Souls is Wise. Mens Hearts are the stars by whose Influences the af­fairs of the World are regulated: they are as our Savour calleth them Good or Evil Treasures; out of which proceeds Murders, Adulteries, Thefts, Slanders, &c. Or Praises, Honours, [Page 333] Preferments, Riches, Pleasures, all kind of Gifts, and Benefits: And the pru­dent mans main Business is to make him­self intirely beloved by all the World. which can never be without great Fide­lity, Courage, Goodness, Prudence and Dexterity. Flattery and Base compli­ances makes a man Odious.

THE Last End of prudence is Eternal Happiness and Glory, to which it moveth by crooked Mean­ders and windings out as occasion re­quireth. It is a strange Vertue, for its Conversant amongst Terrene and infe­rior Objects, and yet a far more Diffi­cult Vertue then Wisdom it self. Wisdome is a more High and Heaven­ly Vertue, but its Rules are always fixed, and its objects Stable, where as Prudence hath no set and Stated Rules, but in all occasions, is to mould and shape it selfe, it knows not which way, till it comes to Action. Its Paths are in the Deep and mighty Waters, among Storms and tempests.


Encouragements to Courage. Its Nature cause, and End. Its Greatness and Re­nown. Its Ornaments and Compani­ons. Its objects, Circumstances, Ef­fects and Disadvantages; how Diffi­culties increase its vertue. Its Ver­and Triumphs. How subservient it is to Blessedness and Glory.

LOVE and Prudence are the pa­rents of Courage. A Feeble Hen, a Timerous Mother, will Sacrifice their Lives for their young ones. And he that forgetteth all his own Interests, divests himself (together with them) of his Fears, and despising Death first, ea­sily slighteth all other Things. Even a Coward by Nature, is made more Bold and confident by Skill at his weapon. And he that is always assured of the Victory, can never be afraid of the En­counter, or the Enemy. He that is Dex­ter [...]ous at the use of all Vertues, and knows how to apply them so, as ever to come off more honourably, will laugh [Page 325] at the Trial of his own Innocence and make a Game of Difficulties and Terrors.

VALOUR is a right and strong Resolution of the Soul whereby it dare encounter with any Difficulty and Trouble, for Vertues sake. It is the Armour of the Soul against all Impressi­ons of Fear, its Effect is an Equal and uniform stayedness of Mind, against all Dangerous and Terrible Accidents. It containeth Magnanimitie, Patience, Constancy, Invincible Resolution, Boldness and Industry in its Nature. Its cause is the Love of Vertue, and the sence of Honour, Indignation a­gainst any thing that is Base and vile, a High Ambition and desire of Glo­ry. Its End is the preservation of a Mans person and Honesty, the Con­quest of all Opposition in the Way to Bliss, the Destruction or Subjection of Enemies, Triumph and Conquest, the Establishment of Peace, the Attain­ment of Liberty and Glory. Its Atten­dants are Prudence, Justice and Tem­perance, the principal Ornament and Grace of valour is Worth and Goodness. its Aids and Encouragements are insi­nite, [Page 336] it groweth Great and High, by making use of all the Causes of Hope and Confidence. Conflicts and Dan­gers are the Element in which it lives, It owns its whole being to them; for without Causes of Fear, there could be no courage in all Nature. The Know­ledge of GOD is the root of Divine Valour, and Fidelity to his Laws its Commendation. The Assurance of his Love, and all those Things that serve to beget and confirm it, are subser­vient to it. It draws in strength and Encouragements form all Obligations and Rewards, from all Great and Ho­ly examples, from the Knowledge of its own Sublimity, from the Greatness of Felicity, from the Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and Providence of the Deity, from his Truth and Good­ness, and from all those Things where­in he has manifested his Love above the Heavens.

OF all the Vertues in greatest Esti­mation, this is most renowned. For its Prerogative is so great, that it is simply called VERTUE. Vertue being the Word to express and signi­fie [Page 337] Valour among the Latines; be­cause the Force and Efficacy that is in it, is most visible and Apparent, and by that all other Vertues are secured, vindicated, Exercised, and made Use­ful. It is stiled Manhood among the English, with a peculiar Emphasis. As is the Essence of a man was founded in Courage, because his Vigor is emas­culated, and his Dignity lost, that is E­ffeminate and Timerous; for he is scarce a Man that is a Coward.

WHAT a Glorious and incompara­ble Vertue this is, appeareth from the Baseness and Ineptitude of its Contrary. A Coward and an Honest Man can never be the same; a Coward and a constant Lover can never be the same; a Coward and a Brave Man can never be the same: Cowardice, and Wisdome are as incompatible forever, as Love and Wisdom were thought to [...] be of Old. A Coward is always de­spicable and Wretched; because he dares not expose himself to any Haz­zards, nor adventure upon any Great Attempt for fear of some little Pain and Damage, that is between him and an Excellent Atchievment. He is [Page 338] baffled from the Acquisition of the most Great and Beautiful Things, and non plust with every Impediment. He is con­quered before he begins to fight. The ve­ry sight of Danger makes him a Slave; He is undone, when he sees his Enemy a far off, and wounded, before the Point of the Sword can touch his shadow. He is all wayes a Terror and Burden to himself, a Dangerous Knave, and an useless Creature.

STRANGE is the Vigour in a [...] Brave Mans Soul. The Strength of his Spirit and his irresistible Power, the Greatness of his Heart, and the Height of his Condition, his migh­ty Confiedence and Contempt of Dan­gers, his true Security and Repose in himself, his Liberty to dare and do what he pleaseth, his Alacrity in the midst of Fears, his invincible Temper, are advantages which make him Master of Fortune. His Courage fits him for all Attempts, renders him serviceable to GOD and MAN, and makes him the Bulwark and Defence of his King and Country.

LET those Debauched and unrea­sonable men, that deny the Existence of [Page 339] Vertue, contemplate the Reality of its Excellency here, and be confounded with shame at their Prodigious Blind­ness. Their Impiety designs the Abolish­ment of Religion, and the utter Extir­pation of all Faith and Piety, while they pretend the Distinction between Vertue and Vice to be meerly feigned, for the Awing of the World; and that their Names have no foundation in Na­ture but the Craft of Politicians and the Tradition of their Nurses. Are there no Base fellows, nor Brave Men in the World? Is there no difference between a Lion and a Hare? a faint hearted Coward, and a Glorious Heroe! Its there Nothing Brave nor vile in the world? What is become of these Rodomontadoes wits. Where is the boasted Glory of their Personal Valour; if there be no De­fference, but Courage and Cowardize be the same thing!

HOW empty these Self, but shal­low conceited Ranters are, is evident by their short and narrow measures. They place all Gallantry and Worth in Valour: all the Vertue of a man they think seated in this: They forget that Policy, and Learning, and Prudence, and Gratitude, and Fidelity, and Tem­perance, [Page 340] and Industry, and compassion and Bounty, and Affability, and Cour­tesie, and Modesty, and Justice, and Honesty are Vertues, and that in every one of these there is something fitting a Man for the Benefit of the World. Nay they have lost the Notion of Vertue, and know not what it is. Those things by which a man is made serviceable to himself and the World, they think not to be Vertues, but imagine [...] Chimeraes which they cannot see, & then deny they have any Existence. A Man is capable of far more Glorious Qualities then one of them: And his Courage it self may be raised to far higher Ends and purposes then Buffoons and Thrasonical Heroes can dream of.

IT is to be noted here, that any one of those Things that are called Vertue, being alone, is not a Vertue. It is so far from aiding and setting us forward in the Way to Happiness, that often­times it proveth a Great and intollera­ble Mischief, and is never safe, but when it is corrected and guided by the rest of its Companions. To stir no further then Courage alone: What is Cou­rage in a Thief, or a Tyrant, or a Tray­tor, [Page 341] but like Zeal and Learning in a pernicious Heretick.

YOU may note further, that Good­ness is a principal Ingredient in the ex­cellency of this Vertue, tho it be di­stinct in its Nature from the Being of Courage. A brave man will expose his Life in an Honest cause, for the Be­nefit and preservation of others, tho not for the Dammage or Destruction of any. He will slight his own safety, and despise his Repose to make himself a Saviour, and a Benefactor. A true Courage holdeth Vertuous Actions at such a Price, that Death, Imprisonment, Famine, Dishonour, Poverty, Shame, Indignation, all Allurements and Temp­tations are nothing, compared to the Performance of Heroick Deeds. He exceedeth all constraint, and walketh in the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of GOD.

THE last note which I shall offer to your Observation on this Occasi­on, is this, (for the Illustration of the Reason and excellency, of GODS Dispensations:) The Great End for which GOD was pleased not to seat us immediately in the Throne, but to place us first in an estate of Trial, [Page 342] was the Multiplication of our Ver­tues. For had we been seated in the Glory of Heaven at the first, there had no such Vertues as Patience, and Courage, and Fidelity been seen, no Faith, or Hope, or Meekness, no Tem­parance, or Prudence, or self Denial, in the World. Which Vertues are the very clothes and Habits of the Soul in Glory. The Graces and Beau­ties of the Soul are founded in the ex­ercise of them. Actions pass not away, but are fixed, by the permanent Con­tinuance of all Eternity, and tho done never so long ago, shall appear before the Eye of the Soul for ever in their places, be the Glory of their Au­thor, the Lineaments and Colours of his Beauty, seen by GOD and his holy Angels, and Delightful to all that love and delight in worthy things. Our Life upon Earth, being so diversified like a Sphere of Beauty, so variously adorned with all sorts of Excellent Acti­ons, shall wholly and at once be seen as an intire Object, rarely and curi­ously wrought; a Lively Mirror of the Nature of the Soul, and all the Ele­ments of which it is compounded, all the Parts that conspire in its Symetry, [Page 343] all the Qualities, Operations, and Perfections that contribute to its Glory, shall afford won­der and pleasure to all Spectators. While every Soul shall be concerned more in its Acti­ons then in its Essence; indeed its Essence, (how ever considerable) is of little or no Value in Comparison of its Operations. Every Vertue being the Natural Off-spring and pro­duction of the Soul, in which its Vigor prin­cipally appeareth, an effect discovering the Nature of the cause, and the sole occasion of its shame or Glory. For if the Essence of the Soul be all Power and its power exerted in its operation, the Soul must needs enter into its Actions, and consequently be affected with all that befalls its Operation. All Acts are Immortal in their places, being enbalm­ed as it were by Eternity, till the Soul revive and be united to them. Then shall it appear in its own Age, and in eternity too, in its last life enjoying the Benefit of its first. And in that sence is that voice from Heaven to be understood, which com­manded the Divine to write Blessed are they that die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their Labours, and their Works do follow them. Rev. 14. 15. For the Glory of the place is nothing to us, if we are not endued with those Glorious Habits, which will make our Souls all Glorious with­in. [Page 344] We must be Glorious and Illustrious our selves, and appear in Actions that will Beautifie the Throne to which we are exalted.

THAT these Actions may be Great and Amiable, manifold and Excellent, is the de­sire of every soul, the natural Wish and Expectation both of Reason it self and of self Love.

HOW Glorious the Counsel and Design of GOD is for the Archieving of this Great End, for the making of all Vertues more compleat and Excellent, and for the Heightening of their Beauty and Perfection we will exemplifie here in the Perfection of Courage. For the Hieght, and depth, and Splendor of every Vertue is of great Con­cernment to the Perfection of the Soul, since the Glory of its Life is seated in the Accomplishment of its essence, in the Fruit it yeildeth in its Operations. Take it in Verse made long ago upon this occa­sion.

For Man to Act as if his Soul did see
The very Brightness of Eternity;
For Man to Act as if his Love did burn
Above the Spheres, even while its in its Urne;
For Man to Act even in the Wilderness,
As if he did those Sovereign Joys possess,
Which do at once confirm, stir up, enflame,
And perfect Angels; having not the same!
It doth increase the Value of his Deeds,
In this a Man a Seraphim exceeds:
To Act on Obligations yet unknown.
To Act upon Rewards as yet unshewn,
To keep Commands whose Beauty's yet unseen,
To cherish and retain a Zeal between
Sleeping and Waking; shews a constant care;
And that a deeper Love, a Love so Rare,
That no Eye Service may with it compare.
The Angels, who are faithful while they view
His Glory, know not what themselves would do,
Were they in our Estate! A Dimmer Light
Perhaps would make them erre as well as We;
And in the Coldness of a darker Night,
Forgetful and Lukewarm Themselves might be.
Our very Rust shall cover us with Gold,
Our Dust shall sprinkle while their Eyes behold
The Glory Springing from a feeble State,
Where meer Belief doth, if not conquer Fate,
Surmount, and pass what it doth Antedate.

THE Beatifick Vision is so sweet and Strong a Light, that it is impossible for any thing that Loves it self, (and sees the Face of GOD) to turn away to any vanity from so Di­vine and Strong a Blessedness. To Love GOD in the clear and perfect Light is a cheap and Easie Thing: The Love that is shewed in a more weak Estate to an absent Object, is more remiss perhaps, and Black in appea­rance; but far Deeper, if in the Lovers Weakness, and its Objects absence; it be Faithful to the Death; constantly Solici­tous, and Careful to please, Laborious and Industrious, Wakeful and Circumspect, e­ven [Page 346] and immutable, and freely springing from its own Desire, not out of bare pleasure; but humble Obedience to the Laws of its Benefactor. All the Courage which it shews in such Occasions is more full of Mystery and Divinity then is imaginable; far more Moving and full of Vertue, while it strug­gles with Impediment, Disadvantages, and Difficulties, then if without any such Occa­sion of shewing its Vertue, it did smoothly and Peaceably proceed in the Highest Rap­ture. Add to that the mysteriousness of its Beauty in all the varieties of its Operati­on, and the Different Sweetnesses that still appear in all its several Effects upon new oc­casions. The very Representation of Love upon the stage, in its Conflicts and Agonies, produces another kind of sence in the Spe­ctator, then that of Embraces. It is more Tender and endearing, touches the Soul (of its Beloved especially) in a more Vigorous and lively manner, it makes all fruitions (af­terward) more precious; by Fidelity, Cou­rage, and Immoveable Perfection it maketh the Lover more Honourable, and Effects far more Serious. Alterations in the Soul, solid Joys and tender Compassions, moving and Bleeding Resentments; all which, End in sa­tisfactions heightened with more Perfect Complacencies.

[Page 347]THUS you see Courage in the Root made more Glorious by a Persons Exposure and Abasement. In the fruit and Exercise it is otherwise to be considered. Where there is no Evil to be endured, or no Strength to be resisted, there can be no Courage or Vertue at all. Where the conflict is more sharp the Victory is more pleasant, and the success of the fight is far more Honourable. Where a Giant is to fight with a Gnat, or a Dwarf, the Disproportion of his Strength takes away the Pleasure of its Trial, and a Glory of the Combate. There is no Room, or occasion for its Exercise. And tho it might without any Trial be known by him that sees all things in their hidden Essences, yet without its Exercise it remaineth unex­crted, is wholly vain, especially when there is no occasion for it in Nature, The Pleasure of the Spectacle springeth from its Operation.

TO see a Seraphim surmount one of our Difficulties, in the midst of all his Strengths and Advantages, is no more then to see a Giant destroy a Gnat, or subdue a Grass hopper. But in Man there is a cer­tain Degree of strength, that makes him a fit Match for the appointed Encounter. In the Estate of Innocency indeed his Enemies and Difficulties were very few, just as many as were needful for the trial of his Obedience, Gratitude, Fidelity. All [Page 348] the Hardship he was to undergo, was to cross his Appetite in an Apple, and and tho, he did not as yet see which way it was reserved for him, to be so Couragi­ous as to hope well, so Grateful to GOD, as to dare to confide in him, rather let go the Knowledge he might gain by eat­ing it, than break his Commandement. All other Duties were his Pleasure and Felicity: here lay his Trial, and his O­bedience should have been crowned with infinite Reward. All which would in some Measure have risen out of the Du­ty discharged by him. For by this Resig­nation and Self-Denial he had manifest­ed his Obedience, and acquitted himself, and shewed his Love, and his Prelation of his Makers Pleasure above all other Concernes, wherein he had been approv­ed; and Wise, and Holy, and well plea­sing to GOD, he would have put the Crown upon all Gods Works in accom­plishing the End for which he was made, and been very Delightful to all the An­gels: He had been crowned with Glory and Honour in all their Complacency. If that were too little, because he had then no enemy but his Appetite, the Dimness of his Sight maketh up the My­stery. If his Clarity was too Great, and [Page 349] there was no Proportion between his Strength and the Temptation; that pro­ceeded of the Tenderness of GODS Love, which feared to adventure him too far, and had rather something of Ho­nour should be endangered, then his Soul lost, or thrust upon the Hazzard of too great a Temptation. When the Angels fell, the Devil was let loose upon man, for the increase of his Honour and Do­minion: Yet like a Dog in his Chain so far, and no further. He had but one Way, and that was to perswade our first Parents to do what was forbidden: Per­swade he might, and try his Skill to de­ceive, but could not compell, nor other­wise afflict, or hurt him in the least. He had not Power so much as to diminish the least Hair of his Head: yet so Gracious was Almighty GOD, that upon this Trial of his Prudence and Courage, the Exercise of these Vertues had been infi­nitely pleasing to his Eternal Love, be­cause he infinitely delighted in the Wel­fare and Preservation of what was so precious to himself, as a Soul is, that is infinitely Beloved. In that Complacen­cy Adam had found little less then infi­nite Glory. It did not become the ten­derness of GODS Love to expose him to any Severer Trial.

For there are certain Periods and fit Bounds,
Which he that passeth, all his Work confouds.

But when Adam fell, and brought more Hazzards and Difficulties on himself GOD might justly leave him to them, for his greater Trial and more per­fect Glory. Now we are more blind and Weak by Nature, yet infinitely Be­loved and more Precious: For the price of the Blood of the Eternal Son of GOD is laid upon the Soul as an Ad­dition to its interior Value. We are e­ven in our corruption to Grap­ple with Sin, and Hell, and Death, and Sickness, and Poverty, and Fear, and all the Devils, and Afflictions in the World; nay which is worse then all, with our own Errors, Lusts and Passi­ons, more neer and Bitter Enemies: A poor Clod of Earth is to overcome all the World, to fight (as the Apostle speaks) with Principallities and Powers, with the Rulers of the Darkness in this World, with spiritnal Wickednesses in high places. And to return laden with Victories and Trophies into the King­dome of Heaven. Nor is the Combat so unequal, but that there is a mighty Hope and Assurance of triumphing, tho Lucifer and all his Angels are to be [Page 351] trampled under fect. For under the Disguise of this apparent Clod, there lies concealed a mighty Great and Coe­lestial Personage, a Divine and Glori­ous Creature, Miraculous and M [...]steri­ous, even the Image of the Deity, that can derive Strengths and Succours from all e­ternity, and being aided by the Conduct of so great a Captain as our Lord Jesus Christ who has taught us by his example not to fear, because he has overcome the World, we may safely sing, O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy Victory! And challenge all the powers of Heaven, Earth, and Hell to the combat, Which for one single person to do against all the Creation, is the most Glorious Spectacle which the universe affords. Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? shall Tribulation, or Distress, or Persecution, or Famine, or Nakedness, or Peril, or Sword? as it is writen, for thy sake we are Killed all the day long, we are accounted as Sheep to the slaughter. Nay in all these things me are nore then Conquerors through him that loved us. For I am perswaded, that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor Height [Page 352] nor Depth, nor any other Creature shall be able to separate us, from the Love of GOD which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


To be Couragious is the Easiest thing in the World, when we consider the cer­tain success, which Courage founded on Goodness must needs attain. For he that makes his Fortitude subservient onely to the excess of his Love, has all the Powers of Heaven and earth on his side, and the Powers of Hell that are already subdued are the only foes that are to be vanquish­ed by him. To dare to be Good, is the Of­fice of true and Religious valour. And he that makes it his Business to oblige all the world, he whose design it is to be delight­ful to all mankind, has nothing to over­come, but their error & bitterness, which by meekness, and Kindness, and Prudence, and liberality will easily be accomplished. For they all love themselves, and cannot chuse but desire those that are kind and Serviceable to them, and must so far forth as they love themselves, honor & delight in their Benefactors. So that Courage thus guided by Prudence to the works of Cha­rity and goodness must surely be safe and prosperous on earth, its Admirableness and its Beauty being a powerful Charm, an In­vincible Armour.


Of Temperance in Matters of Art, as Musick, Dancing, Painting, Cookery; Physick, &c. In the works of Nature; Eating, Drinking, Sports and Recrea­tions: In occasions of Passion, in our Lives and Conversations. Its exercise in Self-denial, Measure, Mixture and Proportion. Its effects and atchiev­ments.

PRUDENCE giveth Counsel what Measure and Proportion ought to be held in our Actions, Fortitude inspires Boldness and Strength to undertake, and set upon the Work; but it is Tem­perance doth execute what both of them design. For Temperance is that Vertue, whereby the actions of Prudence and Power are moderated, when they come to be exerted.

IT is the Opinion of some, that as Pa­tience respects Afflictions, so Temperance is wholy taken up in moderating our Pleasures, and hath no employment but in the midst of Prosperities. But since there are certain bounds which Fear and Sorrow ought not to exceed, Tempe­rance hath its work in the midst of Cala­mities, [Page 324] and being needful to moderate all our Passions, hath a wider sphere to move in, than Prosperity alone; its Pro­vince is more large and comprehensive, including all estates and conditions of Life whatsoever.

OTHERS there are that admit of its use in all Conditions, but confine it to one particular employment, even that of enlarging or bounding the Measure of every Operation: but in real truth it has another Office, and that more deep perhaps, and more important than the former. For Actions are of two kinds, either Mixt, or Simple. Where the work is single and but one, it is exprest in no­thing else but the Measure of the Action, that it be neither too short, nor too long; too remiss, nor too violent; too slow, nor too quick; too great, nor too little: But where many things are mixt and meet together in the Action (as they generally do, in all the affairs of our Lives;) there its business is to consider what, and how many things are to enter the Composition, and to make their Pro­portion just and convenient. As in pre­paring Medicines, the skill whereby we know what is to be put in, and what left [Page 325] out is of one kind, and that of discerning how much of every Ingredient will serve the turn, of another. The skill of Ming­ling is like the vertue of Prudence, but the actual tempering of all together, ex­hibits the vertue of Temperance to the Life, because it reduces the Skill to its operation. Its End is the beauty and success of our Endeavours.

OF what use and value Temperance is in our Lives and Conversations, we may guess by its necessity, force and ef­ficacy on all Occasions.

THE fit mixture and proportion of the four Elements in all Bodies, is that upon which their Nature, Form and Per­fection dependeth. Too much of the Fire, too much of the Water, too much of the Air, too much of the Earth, are pernicious and destructive. There is an infinite wisdom exprest in the Mixture and Proportion in every Creature.

BEAUTY and Health, Agility, Re­pose, and Strength, depend upon the due Temperament of Humane Bodies. The four Humors of Choler, Melancholy, Flegm, and Blood are generally known: But there are many other Juyces talkt of besides, by the discreet and accurate [Page 326] mixture of which the Body of a Man, or Beast, is perfected. Some great in­convenience alwaies follows the excess or defect of these. Disorder and Dis­proportion go hand in hand, and are attended by Sickness, and Death it self.

IN matters of Art, the force of Tem­perance is undeniable. It relateth not only to our Meats and Drinks, but to all our Behaviours, Passions, and Desires.

All Musick, Sawces, Feasts, Delights and Pleasures,
Games, Dancing, Arts consist in govern'd Measures;
Much more do Words, and Passions of the Mind
In Temperance their sacred Beauty find.

A Musician might rash his finger over all his strings in a moment, but Melody is an effect of Judgment and Order: It springs from a variety of Notes to which Skill giveth Time and Place in their U­nion. A Painter may daub his Table all over in an instant, but a Picture is made by a regulated Hand, and by variety of Colours. A Cook may put a Tun of Sugar, or Pepper, or Salt in his Dishes: but Delicates are made by Mixture and Proportion. There is a Temperance also [Page 327] in the Gesture of the Body, the Air of the Face, the carriage of the Eye, the Smile; the Motion of the Feet and Hands, and by the Harmony of these is the best Beauty in the World either much commended, or disgraced. A Clown and a Courtier are known by their Postures. A Dancer might run into Extreams, but his Art is seen in the measure of his Paces, and adorned with a variety of sweet and suitable Be­haviours. A Physician may kill a man with the best Ingredients, but good Me­dicines are those wherein every Simple hath its proper Dose, and every Compo­sition a fit admixture of good Ingredi­ents. A Poem, an Oration, a Play, a Sermon, may be too tedious, or too dull, or too feeble and impertinent; but all its faults are avoided by a fit Temperance of Words and Materials. Temperance e­very where yields the Pleasure: And Excess is as destructive as Defect, in any Accomplishment whatsoever; Vertue be­ing seated in the Golden Mean; It is by an Artificial limiting of Power that eve­ry Thing is made as it ought to be, Com­pleat and Perfect. All kind of Excel­lence in every sort of Operation springs from Temperance. A curious Picture, [Page 328] a melodious Song, a delicious Harmony by little invisible motions of the Pen or Pencil, or by Ductures scarce perceiva­ble in the throat, or fingers, finisheth the Work, where Art is the only power of performing.

WE know that upon Mens Actions far more does depend, than upon Dancing and Painting: their Wisdom and Vertue, their Honour, Life and Happiness. And therefore more Care ought to be exhi­bited in the Actions of which their Con­versation is made up and accomplished. In their Meats and Drinks, and Recrea­tions, it is apparent, that without Tem­perance there can be no Success or Or­der. The best Wine in the World makes him that is lavish in the use of it a Sot. The most wholsom and delicious Meat upon Earth by excess in eating, may turn to a Surfeit. If Sports and Recrea­tions take up all a mans Time, his Life is unprofitable: their End is lost, and their Nature changed; for instead of recrui­ting, they consume ones Strength; and instead of sitting a Man for it, devour his Calling.

[Page 329]AN exact hand over all our Passions, and a diligent Eye to extravagant Acti­ons, tend much to our Welfare, Repose, and Honour. Loose and impertinent Laughter, excessive Cost in Apparel, a Lascivious wandering of the Eyes, an ungoverned Boldness which turns into Impudence, an extremity of Fear which degenerates into Baseness, a Morose and sour Disposition, Anxiety and needless Care, immodest and violent strivings af­ter Things we too eagerly desire, inor­dinate Love, too keen and bitter Re­sentments, a fierce and raging Anger, a blockish Stupidity, a predominant Hu­mour of Melancholy, too much Sloth and too much Activity, too much Talk, and too much Silence: all these are di­ligently to be ordered and avoided: for upon the right Temperament of these we are made Acceptable and Amiable, and being so, are full of Authority, and can do within the compass of Vertue and Reason, all that we desire, among our Friends and Companions, for our own good, or the benefit of others. And by this means also we shall be admitted to the society and friendship of Great men, where a Nod or a Word is able to pre­vail [Page 330] more, than the strength of Oxen and Horses among the dregs of the Peo­ple. But for lack of tempering these Ingredients aright, and as we ought, we become odious and insupportable, lose all Esteem and Interest, are rejected, and trampled under feet, as vicious and de­formed.

HERE you may observe, that all the qualities and dispositions in Nature, are ingredients and materials in our Lives and Conversations, and for the most part it is their Excess or Defect that makes the miscarriage, when we erre in the Measure. There is a certain mixture of Gravity and Chearfulness, Remisness and Severity, Fear and Boldness, Anger and Complacency, Kindness and Displeasure, Care and Carelesness, Activity and Idle­ness, Joy and Sorrow, Forwardness and Reservedness; nay of Envy, Pride, and Revenge in every Mans life, as well as of Selfishness and flowing Courtesie, Plain­ness and Policy; at least the grounds of these things, which are neither Vertues nor Vices in themselves, yet make Con­versation transcendently Vertuous, when they are wisely tempered and united to­gether.

[Page 331]I do not look upon Ambition and A­varice, nay nor upon Envy and Revenge, as things that are evil in their root and fountain. If they be, Temperance has a strange vertue in its Nature, for as Chy­mists make Antidotes of Poysons, so doth this vertue turn the Matter of all these into a Quintessential perfection. Nay Selfishness and Pride it self escape not its influence. A little touch of some­thing like Pride, is seated in the true sence of a mans own Greatness: with­out which his Humility and Modesty would be contemptible Vertues. In all baseness of Mind there is a kind of folly and Cowardice apparent; and more ve­neration follows an humble Man that is sensible of his Excellency. An aiery Hu­mor without something of the Melan­choly to ballast it a little, would be light and trifling: And a melancholy Humor without something of Air and Jovialness in it, too sour and disobliging. Anger without Softness is like untemper'd Steel, brittle and destructive: and a plyant Humor without some degree of stiffness, too near to Flattery and Servility. Anger is the matter and fuel of Courage, and its appearance afar off puts a Majesty [Page 332] into Meekness, that makes it redoubted. A sorrowful Humor neatly allayed with a mixture of sweetness, begets a tender­ness and compassion in the Spectator, that turns into a deeper and more serious Love: A little Selfishness puts our Com­panions in mind of our own Interest, and makes them perceive that we understand it: which adds a lustre to our Self-de­nial, and renders our Liberality more safe and precious. Plainness without Po­licy is downright Simplicity, and Policy without Plainness void of Honesty. The one makes us Crafty, and renders us sus­pected; the other exposes us, and makes us Ridiculous; but both united are vene­rable and prudent. By the appearance of Revenge in its shady Possibility, a man that never does other than Actually forgive, does oblige for what is past, yet threaten and discourage from the like Offences. All these are the Subjects of Temperance. A little spice of Jealousie and Emulation are advantagious, in the midst of our Security and Resignation. They give a relish to our Confidence in, and Prelation of others; and make our Security and Civility taste of our Love to the Person we prefer, and of our Love [Page 333] to Vertue. There is not one Humor, nor Inclination, nor Passion, nor Power in the Soul, that may not be admitted to act its part, when directed by Tempe­rance.

NOR is it unlawful to alter the Natu­ral Complexion by Care and Study. I know very well, that the Complexion of the Body can hardly be changed by the strongest Physick: and that Choler, and Phlegm, and abundance of Blood, will, where they are, have their Natural Course without any remedy. But the Humors of the Soul are more tractable things; they are all subject to the Will in their operations: and though they in­cline, yet they cannot act, but by consent and permission. I know furthermore that Custom and Habit is a Second Na­ture: what was difficult at first, becomes at last as easie in its Exercise as if it were innate; and that the Soul of a Vertuous man does in process of time act by a new Disposition. I know further that all ver­tuous Operations are free and voluntary; and that the office of Vertue is to correct and amend an Evil Nature. Let no man therefore be disgusted, because a Made­up man is Artificial, and not Natural: for [Page 334] when the Conversation is sincerely gui­ded to a good End, the more free and voluntary it is, it is the more Noble: the more Industry and Desire a man expres­ses in attaining all these measures and perfections, they are the more Vertuous: and the Probity of his Will is to be the more accepted. For Vertues are not ef­fects of Nature, but Choice. Which how free soever it may appear, is as stable as the Sun, when founded on Eternal prin­ciples: it secures any Friend in the good and amiable Qualities he desires in his Beloved, as much as Nature it self could do, though they depend upon the Will, which is capable of changing every mo­ment. This of Temperance in the Go­vernment of our Humors.

I shall add but one Note more, and that is, That a wise man discards the Pre­dominancy of all Humors, and will not yield himself up to the Empire of any: for he is to live the life of Reason; not of Humor. Nor will he have any Humor of his own, but what he can put off and on, as he sees occasion. He will cleave eternally to the Rules of Vertue, but will comply in his Humor so far as to make his conversation sweet and agreeable to [Page 335] every Temper. Religion and Charity, as well as Courtesie and Civility, prompt to this; and where these concur with his Reason, and favour his Interest, he may well do what S. Paul taught him, become all things to all men, that he might gain some. And this encouragement he hath, A man by sacrificing his own, may comply with the satisfaction of all the World: and find his own far more great and honourable, and sweet and amiable in the End, far more high and blessed, in the Love and Esteem he shall obtain thereby, than if he had gratified his first inclination without any respect to the Prelation of others. It will bring him to the fruition of Pleasures, far greater than those he despised.

TEMPERANGE in the full composi­tion and use of Vertues, is far more sub­lime, and more immediately approach­eth the end of Vertue, than any Tempe­rance in Meats and Drinks: It is resident nearer the Throne of Felicity, and seat­eth us by her. You may see its Task as it is prescribed in Prudence. But for Example sake we will instance it in Meekness, which of all the Vertues is the most weak and naked. A meek Spirit [Page 336] receiveth its Temper, its encouragement, strength, and facility, from the union and concurrence of all the Vertues. Knowledg is its light, and Love the prin­ciple of its life and motion. Wisdom guideth it to the highest End; Righte­ousness is a great incentive thereunto, while it teacheth us to esteem the favour of God, and the excellency of those Souls, whose value maketh us tender of their Repose, and prone to honour them with a due esteem, as well as to desire their peace and salvation. Holiness ma­keth us to delight in our Duty. Good­ness inclines us to sacrifice our own, to the welfare of others. Mercy leads us to pity their Infirmities, and more to com­passionate their Misery, than to be pro­voked with their Distemper. Justice makes us to pay our Saviours Love and Merits, what we owe unto him. All these establish the habit of Meekness in our Souls. Fortitude does several waies conspire thereunto, for it makes us to adventure upon any Trouble that we can fall into thereby, and puts a lustre upon us in the act of Meekness. Patience ha­bituates the Soul to Afflictions, and makes our sence of Injuries easie. Re­pentance [Page 337] minds us of other employments than Anger and Revenge, even a con­trite Sorrow for our own Offences. Humility gives us a sence of our own Unworthiness; and a willingness to be yet more low than our Enemies can make us. It inclines us also to confess, that we have deserved far worse, and more bitter Evils; and to despise our selves; which when we truly do, no Injuries or Wrongs can move us. Faith carries us up to higher Enjoyments. Hope hath respect to the promised Re­ward. Our Love towards GOD en­flames us with Desire to please him, Cha­rity to our Neighbour is prone to for­give him. Prudence teacheth us to ex­pect no Figs from Thorns, nor better entertainment from Briars and Brambles: but rather to right our selves by impro­ving their Wrongs, and to turn their Vi­ces into our Vertues. Magnanimity de­spiseth the Courtship of Worms, and scorneth to place its rest and felicity in Trifles. Liberality is industrious to find out occasions of Obliging and Conque­ring: Contentment is fed by higher De­lights, and beautifies our Meekness with a chearful Behaviour. Magnificence car­ries [Page 338] us to the most high and illustrious Deeds, and by very great and expensive Methods to multiply favours and bene­fits on our Beloved: for all are our Be­loved whether Friends or Enemies. Temperance it self takes off the stupi­dity and sluggishness of our Meekness; puts activity and vigour into it, that it may not be a Sleepish, but Heroick Ver­tue; nay, adorns, secures, and perfects it by the Addition and Exercise of all these; and by giving to every other Ver­tue its Form and Perfection, makes them more fit and able to aid and assist us here. It moderates our Passions, and puts a better dose of Life into our Considera­tion. If there be any other Virtue, it is not so remote, but that it may lend us its helping hand, and be subservient to the perfection of our Love and Meek­ness. Which, however simple it may ap­pear in Solitude, is very strong and irre­sistable, amazing, as far from Contempt as the Sun is from Darkness, when it is animated with Courage, and made illu­strious by Love, enriched with Libera­lity, and made bright by Knowledg, guided by Wisdom to the highest End, and by Prudence to well-known and [Page 339] advantagious, tho inferiour Purposes. When the Soul appeareth neither foolish, nor Cowardly, nor base, nor soft, but High and Magnanimous in its Operation, Meekness is redoubted.

IN the Throne of Glory all the acts of Faith, and Hope, and Repentance shall be for ever perfected, or swallowed up in fruition. The fruit of all occasional and transient Vertues shall remain, the Divine Vertues shall be so firmly united, that in their Act and Exercise they shall be one for ever. By Knowledg we shall see all that the light of Heaven and E­ternity can reveal. By Love we shall embrace all that is amiable before GOD and his holy Angels. By Wisdom we shall use the most glorious Means for the attainment and enjoyment of the high­est End; which is GOD in all his Joys and Treasures: in the use of those Means we must actually enjoy all Blessedness and Glory. Righteousness and Holi­ness, and Goodness and Charity shall with all the rest be the Lineaments and Colours of the Mind, the Graces and Beauties of the blessed Soul: They shall shine upon its face, and it self shall be glorious in the perfection of their Beauty, [Page 340] as GOD is. Its Goodness shall make it a fountain of Delights to all the other Creatures. It shall be all Humility, yet all Enjoyment: Amazed at its own No­thingness and Vileness, yet ravished with wonder and the height of its Felicity: For the lower it is in its own Eyes, the more Great doth the Goodness of GOD appear, and the more transcendently Sweet is its Adoration and Satisfaction. By its Gratitude it sacrifices it self Eter­nally to the Deity, and taketh more plea­sure in his Glory than its own. It is all Godliness and Contentment. All these Vertues are exercised together in the state of Glory, not so much by our own Temperance, as by the Infusion of his most Heavenly Grace, who fills us with his own Fulness and Perfection by way of Reward, and causing us to enter into his Eternal Rest, maketh us to cease from our own Works, as he also did from his, by inspiring us with his own Wisdom, Life and Strength, and actuating all our Pow­ers by his own for ever: That we, by vertue of his Grace infused, may live in the Image of his Eternal Moderation, and attain that extremity of Bliss and Glory, which he hath (exceeding his [Page 341] Almighty Power) by an exquisite and mysterious Temperance in all his Ope­rations, Divinely attained.


Of Temperance in GOD. How the Mode­ration of Almighty Power guided in its Works by Wisdom, perfecteth the Crea­tion. How it hath raised his own Glory and our Felicity beyond all that Sim­ple Power could effect by its Infinite­ness.

IF Moderation hath such happy effects in Men, where the Strength is small, the Wisdom little, the Matter base, the Occasion low, as in divers Instances it is manifest it hath: how glorious must this Vertue be, where the Power is Almigh­ty, the Wisdom Infinite, the Subject­Matter Perfect, the End, and the Occa­sion most Divine and Glorious!

IT would seem a strange Paradox, to say, That Almighty Power could not exist without Infinite Wisdom: but it is [Page 342] infinitely true: For the Wisdom and Power of GOD are one. No Blind Power can be Almighty, because it can­not do all that is Excellent. That Power would without Wisdom be Blind, is as evident as the Sun, the want of that be­ing as great an impediment to its Opera­tions, as the lack of Eyes is to a Man up­on Earth: which so Eclipseth and dark­neth his Power, that he cannot perform those excellent Works, to which Light is necessary. There is no Blind Power in GOD, and therefore no Power distinct from his Understanding.Prov. 3. 19, 20. By his Wisdom he made the Heavens, by his Understand­ing be established the Earth. By his know­ledge the Depths are broken up, and the Clouds drop down the Dew. Wisdom is the Tree of Life, which beareth all the fruits of Immortality and Honour. In­artificial Violence will never carry it: There is a Mark to be hit; and that is in every thing what is most fair and eligi­ble. It may be miss'd as much by shoot­ing over it, as by falling short of it. Na­ked Power cannot tell what to propose as its Aim and Object. Only that which is able to contrive, is able to effect its Desire, in the Work it conceiveth most [Page 343] fit and excellent for its Power to per­form.

IT is a stranger Paradox yet, That Power limited is Greater and more Ef­fectual, than Power let loose; for this importeth, that Power is more infinite when bounded, than Power in its utmost liberty. But that which solveth the Rid­dle, and removeth the Inconvenience, is our Assurance of this, That GOD can do nothing but what is Wise, and that his Wisdom therefore is all his Power. And of this it followeth, That nothing is possible with GOD, but what is infi­nitely Excellent: for to do any thing less than the Best is unwise; and being so, is contrary to the Nature of Wisdom which is his Power.

THE Will of GOD is his Wisdom: By the meer Motion of his Will he Crea­ted all things, and therefore it is his Power: his Power and his Wisdom meet in his Will and are both the same. By his Word he made the Worlds, and his Eternal Word is his Eternal Wis­dom.

ALL this I speak because it is the Office of Wisdom to propose the most excellent End, and to pursue it by the [Page 344] most efficacious Means: And because the Wisdom of GOD will be found one with his Eternal Moderation.

THE utmost End of all that is aimed at, is indeed illimited: It is the Best and Greatest Thing that infinite and Eternal Wisdom could conceive: but being out of all measure High and Excellent, it includeth innumerable Varieties, that are shut up in bounds for their greater Perfection. Whereupon it followeth, that GOD hath attained a more excel­lent Effect, than if he had made any one Thing singly infinite.

HIS Love being Infinite and Eternal, in sacrificing it self in all its Works for its Objects welfare, became an infinite and eternal Act; Which was not contented, unless in all its Works, it added Art unto Power, and exerted its Wisdom in all its Productions. Had it made one Infi­nite, some are of Opinion, it had exceed­ed it self; at least done all that was pos­sible, both for it self, and for its Object, and that one Infinite, being so Created, must be its only Object. For more than Infinite what can be? We are apt to think that nothing can be beside. But to shew that GOD is infinitely more than [Page 345] what we conceive, while we think him infinite; and that we infinitely wrong him, while we limit his Essence to one single Infinity; Who is every way Infi­nite, in Himself, in all his Works, in all his Waies, in all his Counsels, in every one of his Perfections; He hath made every thing either Infinite, or better than so. For by variety of Effects he hath attained an End in the Beauty and Correspondence of all his Productions, far more Amiable and Divine than any one Effect is capa­ble of being. All Things by a kind of Temperance are made and ordered in Number, Weight and Measure, so that they give and receive a Beauty and Per­fection every thing to, and from all the residue, of inestimable value, in relation to the Goodness and Love of their Cre­ator.

I doubt not but GOD (would his Wisdom have permitted such a thing) could have made an infinite Object. For whereever GOD is, he is able to Act; and his Omnipresence is infinite Wisdom and Power; which filling Infinity is able to exert it self beyond all the bounds of Space in an infinite Manner all at once. If it so do, it cannot rest in a less Attain­ment, [Page 346] than one that answers the measure of its Operation: if it did, that Attain­ment would be infinitely defective: For infinite Wisdom could certainly con­ceive one infinitely Better. But this I will aver, that GOD hath wrought abun­dantly more, than if he had made any one single Effect of his Power infinite. He hath wrought a Work that pleaseth him infinitely Better, and so will it please us, when we are Wise as he is.

HAD he made any one single Infinite, it must be either Corporeal, or Spiritual: Be it either, there is room enough in his Understanding and Omnipresence to re­ceive it. Empty Space is an infinite Ob­ject in his understanding. But for the Glory of his Moderation, it is evident that he hath attained a far greater and more perfect End.

HAD he made an Infinite Object of a Spiritual Nature, it must be a Spirit en­dued with illimited Power, to see his Omnipresence and Eternity. And had he made no more but only this, it is to be feared that the Spectator would be dis­pleased for want of Objects, in prepa­ring which the Love of GOD should [Page 347] have glorified his Wisdom and Goodness for its fruition.

IF you say, the Omnipresence and E­ternity of GOD had been filled with that Creature, it is evident that Spirits fill no Room, though they see all things: and that it had been much better if Ob­jects had been prepared for its Enjoy­ment.

HAD he prepared any one Corporeal Object for the fruition of that Creature; any Corporeal Object if infinite in Di­mensions, would be wholly useless: nay pernicious and destructive: for it would exclude all other Beings to which it might be serviceable, out of place, and have nothing whereto to be benefi­cial.

IF you say it would be Beneficial to GOD, or to that Spectator, or that In­telligible Power, that Spirit for whom it was made: It is apparent that no Cor­poreal Being can be serviceable to a Spi­rit, but only by the Beauty of those Ser­vices it performeth to other Corporeals, that are capable of receiving them: and that therefore all Corporeals must be li­mited and bounded for each others sake. And for this Cause it is, that a Philosophi­cal Poet said;

As in a Clock, 'tis hinder'd-Force doth bring
The Wheels to order'd Motion, by a spring;
Which order'd Motion guides a steddy Hand
In useful sort at Figures just to stand;
Which, were it not by Counter-ballance staid,
The Fabrick quickly would aside be laid
As wholly useless: So a Might too Great,
But well proportion'd, makes the World compleat.
Power well-bounded is more Great in Might,
Than if let loose 'twere wholly Infinite.
He could have made an endless Sea by this,
But then it had not been a Sea of Bliss;
A Sea that's bounded in a finite shore,
Is better far because it is no more.
Should Waters endlesly exceed the skies,
They'd drown the World, and all whate're we prize.
Had the bright Sun been Infinite, its Flame
Had burnt the World, and quite consum'd the same,
That Flame would yield no splendor to the Sight,
'Twould be but Darkness though 'twere Infinite.
One Star made Infinite would all exclude,
An Farth made Infinite could ne're be view'd.
But all being bounded for each others sake,
He bounding all did all most useful make.
And which is best, in Profit and Delight,
Though not in Bulk, he made all Infinite.
He in his Wisdom did their use extend,
By all, to all the World from End to End.
[Page 349]In all Things, all Things service do to all:
And thus a Sand is Endless, though most small.
And every Thing is truly Infinite,
In its Relation deep and exquisite.

THIS is the best way of accommoda­ting things to the Service of each other, for the fruition of all Spectators.

MODERATION is not so called from Limiting and Restraining, but from Moderating and Ruling. If Reason re­quire that a Thing should be Great, it is the part of Temperance to make it so. Where Reason requires it is a point of Moderation to enlarge and extend Pow­er: Nay to stretch it out to the utmost of its Capacity if Wisdom order it, is but equal. To moderate Almighty Pow­er is to limit or extend it, as Reason re­quires. Reason requires that it should be so limited and extended, as most tends to the perfection of the Uni­verse.

IF it be more Wise, and more tends to the perfection of the Universe, that Millions of intelligible Spirits should be Created, and every one of them be made in finite in Understanding, it shall be done: If not, Temperance forbears. [Page 350] If Sands and Atoms tend more to the perfection of the World than Angels; there where they do so, Sands and Atoms shall be made, and Angels there where they tend more to the perfection of the World. So that every thing is best in its proper place. Were there no Sands or Atoms there would be no Universe: For the Earth, the Sea, the Skie, the Air, all Bodies consist of these, either united or divided. If they had been lest un­made, and Angels had been created in their Places, there had been no visible World at all.

TO make Visible Objects useful it was necessary to enshrine some Spirits in Corporeal Bodies, and therefore to make such Creatures as Men, that might see, and feel, and smell, and taste, and hear, and eat and drink by their Bodies, and enjoy all the Pleasures of the World by their Souls: And by their Souls moreover know the Original and End of all, un­derstand the design of all, and be able to celebrate the Praises of the Creator. For by this means pure Essences abstra­cted from all Corporeity might enjoy the World, while they delight in the glory of its Uses, and especially in those [Page 351] compleat and amiable Creatures, for whom it was prepared.

IT was expedient also to make their Bodies finite, that they might converse together: but their inward Intelligences of endless reach, that they might see the holy Angels, delight in them, and by their Love be delightful to them: that they might also be able to search into the depth of all Things, and enjoy Eternity; Nay, that they might be fit Recipients for the infinite Bounty and Goodness of GOD, which is infinite in its Communi­cations.

THAT they should be subject to his Laws, and depend upon him, was neces­sary in like manner. For by that distin­ction an infinite difference was between him and them: that disparity being laid in the foundation, though the bene­fits they receive are altogether infinite, the distance is still the more infinite be­tween them: for the greater the Bounty is, the deeper is the Obligation. The Love and Service they owe is infinite, and so is the Gratitude.

TO see all his Glory is to be able to admire it, and to adore it with infinite amazement and joy, which is to be com­pleatly [Page 352] just unto it, and perfectly bles­sed.

There is but one thing more, wherein Almighty Power was by Wisdom infinite to restrain it self for the perfection of his Kingdom: And that is to create them free, that were made to enjoy it. Not to de­termine their Wills by a fatal Necessity, but to make their esteem and fruition of GOD and his Works their duty, and to leave them to themselves for the more free and voluntary discharge of their duty. For by that means, it would make them capable of Rewards and Punish­ments, in the Righteous distribution of which the nature and the glory of a Righteous Kingdom consisteth.

THUS did GOD by infinite Mode­ration, and by a sublime and transcen­dent Temperance prepare his Kingdom, and make every Thing exquisite in his whole Dominion, to the praise of his Glory, and the satisfaction of his infinite and Eternal Reason. The similitude of which Reason being the Essence of the Soul, all these things fall out for our glo­ry and satisfaction also.

[Page 353]NOW if GOD himself acquired all his Joyes by Temperance: and the glo­ry of his Kingdom is wholly founded in his Moderation: We may hope that our Moderation and Temperance in its place, may accomplish Wonders, and lead us to the fruition of his, by certain steps and degrees, like those that are observed in the Womb towards Manhood, and in the School of our Childhood towards perfect Learning.

TOO much Rain, or too much Drought will produce a Famine: the Earth is made fertile by a seasonable mixture of Heat and Moisture. Excess of Power may overwhelm, but mode­ration is that which perfecteth and bles­seth the Creation.

ALMIGHTY Power is carried far be­yond it self, or really is made Almighty, by vertue of that Temperance, wherein Eternal Wisdom is eternally Glorifi­ed.

IF any thing be wanting to the full demonstration of the perfection of GODS Kingdom, it is the consideration of his Delay: for we are apt to think, he might have made it Eternally before he did. But to this no other Answer is ne­cessary [Page 354] (though many might be made) then that all Things were from all Eter­nity before his Eyes, and he saw the fit­test Moments wherein to produce them: and judged it fit in his Wisdom first to fill Eternity with his deliberations and Counsels, and then to beautifie Time with the execution of his Decrees. For were there no more to be said but this, his Empire is eternal, because all Possibi­lities, nay and all Impossibilities are sub­ject to his Will. But if it be confessed that Eternity is an everlasting Moment, infinite in duration, but permanent in all its parts, all Things past, present, and to come, are at once before him, and e­ternally together. Which is the true Reason, why Eternity is a standing Ob­ject before the Eye of the Soul, and all its parts, being full of Beauty and Per­fection, for ever to be enjoyed.

IF any man be disposed to cavil fur­ther, and to urge, that GOD might at the very first have placed Angels and Men in the state of Glory, the Reply is at hand: that GOD very well under­standeth the beauty of Proportion, that Harmony and Symmetry springs from a variety of excellent Things in several [Page 355] places, fitly answering to, and perfecting each other: that the state of Trial, and the state of Glory are so mysterious in their Relation, that neither without the other could be absolutely perfect: In­numerable Beauties would be lost, and many transcendent Vertues and Perfe­ctions be abolished, with the estate of Trial, if that had been laid aside, the continual appearance and effect of which is to enrich and beautifie the Kingdom of GOD everlastingly: That GOD lo­veth Man far more than if he had placed him in the Throne at first, and designeth more Glory and Perfection for him, than in that dispensation he could have been capable of: all which springeth from the Restraint of his Power in some oc­casions, that it might more fully be ex­erted in the perfection of the whole, and of all things that were possible to be made, might end in the Supream, and most absolutely Blessed.

Therefore upon the whole Matter, we may conclude with solomon, Happy is the man that findeth Wisdom, and the man that getteth Understanding. For the Merchan­dize of it is better than the Merchandize of Silver, and the Gain thereof than of [Page 356] fine Gold. She is more precious than Ru­bies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared with her. Length of Daies is in her right hand, and in her left hand Riches and Honour. Her Waies are waies of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace. She is a Tree of Life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by Wisdom hath founded the Earth, by Under­standing hath he established the Heavens. My Son, let not them depart from thine Eyes: Keep sound Wisdom and Discretion. Wisdom is the principal Thing: there­fore get Wisdom, and with all thy Get­ting get Understanding. For the same Wisdom which created the World, is the only Light wherein it is enjoyed.


Of Patience. Its Original. How GOD was the first Patient Person in the World. The Nature, and the Glory, and the blessed Effects of his Eternal Patience. The Reason and Design of all Calamities. Of Patience in Martyrdom. The extra­ordinary Reward of ordinary Patience in its meanest obscurity.

PATIENCE is a Vertue of the Third estate; it belongs not to the estate of Innocence, because in it there was no Affliction; nor to the estate of Misery, because in it there is no Vertue: but to the estate of Grace it appertains, because it is an estate of Reconciliation, and an estate of Trial: wherein Affliction and Vertue meet together. In the estate of Glory there is no Patience.

THIS is one of those distastful Ver­tues, which GOD never intended. It received its bitterness from Sin, its life and beauty from GOD's Mercy. If we dislike this Vertue we may thank our selves, for we made GOD first to endure [Page 358] it. And if all things are rightly weighed, no Creature is equal to GOD in Suffer­ings. We made it necessary for the E­ternal GOD-HEAD to be Incarnate, and to suffer all the Incommodities of Life, and the bitter Torments of a bloody Death, that he might bear the Penance of our Sins, and deliver us from eternal Perdition.

THE Corporeal Sufferings of our Saviour are not comparable to the Affli­ctions of his Spirit. Nor are there any Sufferings or Losses so great as those we cast upon the GOD-HEAD. He infinite­ly hateth Sin, more than Death: and had rather be Crucified a thousand times o­ver, than that one Transgression should be brought into the World. Nothing is so quick and tender as Love, nothing so lively and sensible in resenting. No loss is comparable to that of Souls, nor any one so deeply concerned in the loss, as GOD Almighty: No Calamity more peircing, than to see the Glory of his Works made Vain, to be bereaved of his Desire, and frustrated of his End in the whole Creation. He had rather we should give him the Blood of Dragons, or the cruel Venom of Asps, to drink, [Page 359] than that we should pollute our selves, or his Kingdom with a Sin. Nay it were better (if without a Sin it could be done) that the whole World should be annihi­lated, than a Sin committed. For the World might be Created again with ease, and all that is in it be repaired with a word: but a Sin once committed, can never be undone; it will appear in its place throughout all Eternity: Yet is so odious, and so infinitely opposite to the Holiness of GOD, that no Gall or Wormwood is comparable thereunto. To see his Beloved blasted, his Love despised, and his Son rebellious; to see the most amiable Law in the World bro­ken, his Kingdom laid waste, and his Image defaced; to see all his Labour marred and spoiled, his Benefits slighted; and his infinite Goodness abused and undervalued; all Obligations imposed, and all Rewards prepared, in vain: is worse than to see ones Palace on fire as soon as it is builded, or ones Wife smit­ten with Leprosie, and ones only beloved Son run mad. For a Child to trample on his Fathers Bowels is nothing in Com­parison! He therefore that feels what he made GOD to endure, what Grapes [Page 360] of Sodom, and Clusters of Gomorrah he offered to his Teeth, how evil a thing and bitter it is, to forsake GOD, how the Scripture saith, He was grieved at the Heart, when he saw the Corruption and Impiety of the Earth; and how the Sor­row inflicted was so sore, as to make him repent that he had made Man in the World: he surely will be more con­cerned at the Evil he hath done, than at any Evil he can otherwise suffer: and his Godly Sorrow (as Moses's Rod did eat up all the Rods of the Egyptians) will devour all other Sorrows whatsoe­ver.

TO consider that GOD was the first Patient Person in the World, must needs sweeten the Bitterness of Patience, and make it acceptable unto us: to consider that we alone brought it upon our selves, and may thank our selves for the folly of its Introduction, must make us out of very Indignation against our selves con­tented to suffer, and in pure Justice, quietly to digest it: but to consider yet further, that GOD, by bearing our Of­fences with Patience, took off the trou­ble of them from us, and by refusing to ease himself of the greatness of his dis­pleasure, [Page 361] in pouring it back again on our own heads, digested it so, as to turn our eternal Torments into transitory Woes, nay into his own Agonies and Pains on the Cross: this will help our Reason to rejoyce at our light Afflictions which are but for a moment; especially since they work out for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of Glory.

The first Impression of that abomina­ble Mischief, which occasioned Patience in GOD, made it a Calamity, but not a Vertue. Detestation and Grief in them­selves are but Sufferings, and meer Suf­ferings have no Vertue, nor so much almost as Action in them. If his dete­station and grief had broken out in Im­patience, we had all been destroyed: Anger and Fury had been poured down upon us. That which made it a Vertue was the great and mighty Continence, whereby it was kept in, and governed for all our Benefit. For it was full of Goodness, and Compassion, and Mercy, and Love; and that was indeed the vertue of Patience, in which so much Magnanimity and Government did ap­pear, so much Wisdom, and Stedfastness, and Immutability; and upon this vertue [Page 362] of that Act whereby he retained his dis­pleasure, the whole Kingdom of Grace, and the glory of his Mercy and Love, and the blessedness and exaltation of his Church is founded, it depended upon it, and from his Patience it pro­ceeded.

PATIENCE then is that Vertue by which we behave our selves constantly and prudently in the midst of Misfor­tunes and Troubles: That Vertue where­by we do not only forbear to break out in Murmurings and Repinings, or sup­port our selves from sinking under Af­flictions, or suppress our Discontent­ments, and refrain from Anger and Dis­quiet; but whereby we retain our Wis­dom, and the goodness of our Mind, notwithstanding all the Confusions and Disorders that would disturb us, and demean our selves in a serene and ho­nourable manner, surmounting the Pains and Calamities that trouble us, and that would otherwise overwhelm us. While we move in a quick and vigorous man­ner under our Burthen; and by a true Courage improve our Afflictions, and turn them into the Spoils of Invincible Reason.

[Page 363]IT is an easie Observation, that Trou­blous Times are the Seasons of Honour, and that a Warlike-Field is the Seed­Plot of great and Heroical Actions. Men that live in quiet and peaceful Ages, pass through the World as insensibly as if they had all their daies been asleep. Hazards, and Calamities, and Battles, and Victories fill the Annals with Won­der, and raise Great Men to an eminent degree of Fame and Glory. It is Saint Chrysostoms opinion, That a Man shews far greater Bravery, that grapples with a Disease, or surmounts his evil Fortune, or behaves himself with Courage in di­stress, bears the burning of his House, or the loss of his Goods, or the death of his Children with an equal Spirit, in the midst of all Calamities retains his Inte­grity with Humility and Patience, and Blesses GOD, chearfully submitting with Resignation to his Will, and shews him­self Constant in all Estates: then he that in the midst of a prosperous Condition, buildeth Hospitals and Temples, shineth in the exercise of Bounty and Magnifi­cence, and obligeth all the World with­out any other Expence than that of his Monies. A Pelican that feeds her young [Page 364] ones with her Blood, is a more Noble Bird than an Eagle, that fills her Nest with Ravine, though taken from the Al­tar: For though that of a Sacrifice be the more Sacred food, that of ones own Blood is more near and costly.

TIMES of Affliction are Seed-times for a future Harvest. We are made per­fect through Sufferings: though the Way be mysterious, and the Manner almost incomprehensible, whereby the Suffer­ings we endure conduce to our Perfecti­on. Consider the Patience of Job, how great a spectacle his Sufferings made him to GOD, Angels, and Men, and how glo­rious he became by his Patience to all Generations.

THIS Vertue has an Appearance, by reason of its Objects and Materials, so cross to its disposition, that if any thing be difficult in all Nature to be under­stood, Patience is one, it being a thing of the most deep and obscure value. Its Nature and Effect seem contrary to each other. It raises a Man by depres­sing him, it elevates by overwhelming, it honours by debafing, it saves by killing him. By making a Man little and no­thing, it magnifies and exalts him. No [Page 365] Act of Love is attended with such bleed­ing Circumstances as that of Cruel Re­solution, in exposing our selves to all Calamities that can befal our Souls, for our Beloved's sake. It is the glory of the good Shepheard that He laies down his life for the Sheep. And for this very Cause is our Saviour honoured by GOD and Men, because being in the form of GOD he made himself of no Reputation, but took on himself the form of a Servant, and died the most cursed Death of the Cross, for the sake of the World: Where­fore, saith the Text (that is, For which very Cause) GOD also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every Name, that at the Name of JESUS every Knee should bow, of things in the Heaven, things in the Earth, and things under the Earth. Nor is this Gift of GOD so purely Arbitrary, but that it has a foundation in Nature. Angels and Men do not bow their Knees only because they are commanded; but because they see Reason to incline them to bow their Knees. There is something in our Sa­viours Nature, Action, and Merit, that deserves it at their Hands. The won­derful Love wherewith he loved us is [Page 366] the Root, the Soul, and Glory of his Passion. It is wonderful as it made him willing to become Death, and Sin, and a Curse for us. But the height of our Extasie is in the Reality of his Passion, and in the full accomplishment of all its Purposes.

IT is the Vertue of Love which is in­fused into Patience, and the chief Elixir of its Nature is founded in the Excellen­cy of a Spirit, that Suffers for anothers sake. This therefore we ought ever to remember, That Patience when it is a Vertue springs from Love; and that this Love is chiefly towards GOD, and next that to our Neighbour. When we suf­fer any thing for GOD's sake, or for our Neighbours good, we suffer in a Wise and Vertuous manner. And the Honour which follows such a Suffering is the Crown of Glory which it shall for eyer wear. It is a vain and insipid thing to Suffer without loving GOD or Man. Love is a transcendent Excellence in e­very Duty, and must of necessity enter into the Nature of every Grace and Vertue. That which maketh the solid Benefit of Patience unknown, its Taste so bitter and comfortless to Men, is its [Page 367] Death in the separation and absence of its Soul. We Suffer, but Love not. O­therwise Love to the Person for whose sake we Suffer, is its own support and comfort; It makes the Action to be va­luable; and insuses a sweetness into all the Affliction it can make us endure: A Sweetness answerable to the Welfare and Pleasure, which is either caused or secu­red, to our Object thereby. Our own growth in the approbation and esteem of the Person we love, is the desirable Greatness which we covet to attain, which can no way be confirmed, and increased so perfectly, as by Suffering for him. For our Fidelity, Sincerity, Rea­lity, Vigour, Life and Industry, can never be made so fair and apparent, as when we pursue our love, and are carried by it to the utmost extremities of Death and Misery, and labour through all dis­asters, Persecutions, and Calamities, to obey, and honour, and please, and glori­fie the Object which in times of quiet we pretend to love. In an easie and prosperous Estate there is little diffe­rence between Friendship and Flattery: but he that sticks firm in Calamity is a Friend indeed. The Trial of Love [Page 368] consists in the difficulties it endures for its Beloved.

AND for this Cause it is, that GOD will expose us to so severe a Trial: him­self ordaining some Trials in the begin­ning; but permitting more, when we brought them upon our selves: Many also he suffereth to come, which we daily bring upon our own heads by our own folly. Some he inflicteth perhaps him­self, for the Chastisement of our Sins, or the Medicine of our Souls, to abate our Confidence, and to excite our Care; to awaken us out of our Lethargy, and to quicken our sence both of our Miserable Condition, and our need of his Favour: to humble our Rebellion, to heal and purge our Corruptions, to moderate our Passions, to heighten our Penitence, to abate our Pride, to increase our Ardour in Devotion and Prayer; to make our subjection to, and dependance on him Clear; to stir us up to a more strict Ex­amination of our selves in our Thoughts, Words, and Deeds, least some Jonas or other should lie in the Ship, that conti­nues the Tempest upon us; to enkindle our Compassion towards our afflicted Brethren, and to enflame us with more [Page 369] perfect Zeal, and Love towards GOD; It is like Wormwood that imbitters the Nipple, to wean us from the World, and augment our desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ; to make us groan after our Eternal Rest, and long for the glorious Liberty of the Sons of GOD. Sometimes he suffereth Tribulations and Trials to come upon us, by the Perverseness of Men, who being left at Liberty in their dominion over the World, are the prin­cipal Authors of all the Troubles and disorders in it. To know the several springs and sources of Affliction is very expedient; for our Patience and Con­tentment much dependeth upon it. A confused Apprehension makes us blind, but a clear Sight distinguisheth between the Will of GOD, and the Corruption of Nature; which in our selves and others is the principal Cause of all our distur­bances.

BE it by which of all these Occasions it will, or for which of all these Ends it can befal us, it is evermore to increase our Conquest, and to make us like the King of Sufferings pure and perfect. And the Consideration of Gods over-ruling Power and Providence therein, which [Page 370] makes all these Things work to together for our good, begetteth a grateful Ad­miration in us as well as a sence of our dependance on his Goodness, which in­creaseth the Fear of GOD in our Souls, and animates us with great Wonder, that he should put his hand to touch the vile and evil Off-spring of our Sin, and turn all into Good, and make it to rest in our Exaltation and Glory by his Wisdom and Mercy.

Concerning GOD's End in bringing, and permitting all these Evils, the Scri­pture is very frequent: It was one of Job'sJob. 7. 17, 18. Contemplations, What is Man that thou shouldest magnifie him, and that thou shouldst set thine Heart upon him; and that thou shouldst visit him every Morning, and try him every Moment? Man is magnified by his Trials. It was David's Observation, The LORD is in his holy Temple, the Lords Throne is in Heaven: his Eyes behold, his Eye-lids try the Chil­dren of Men.Psal. 11. 4, 5. The Lord trieth the Righ­teous; but the Wicked and him that loveth Violence his Soul hateth. It was Daniel's Prophesie, Dan. 11. 35. And some of them of Under­standing shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them White, even to the time [Page 371] of the End. GOD himself expresseth his own Resolution, I will bring part of them through the fire, and will refine them as Silver is refined, and try them as Gold is tried: They shall call on my Name and I will hear them; I will say, It is my People, and they shall say, The LORD is my GOD.Zech. 13. 9.

THE meaning of all which places is, not as if GOD did stand in need of all these Trials to know what is in us: for he knoweth what is in Man from all E­ternity: before these Trials come he searcheth the Heart, and trieth the Reins, and discerneth the thoughts, and purpo­ses of the Soul: He seeth every Inclina­tion in the seed, every Grace in the se­cret habit of the Mind, and every Ver­tue in the Root. They lie in the Seed, but yet he seeth a mighty difference be­tween quiet Habits, and effectual Ope­rations: for they differ as much as the Root and the Blossom, or the Blossom and the Fruit. For Vertues to lie asleep in the Soul, and for Vertues to be actu­ally and fully perfected, is as great a difference, as for a Vine to be of a ge­nerous kind, and prone to bear, but to remain without Fruit; or for a Vine to [Page 372] bring forth, and to be really laden with all the bunches of Grapes that beautifie it. The Excellency of its Nature is vain, if its Fruit be never brought to perfection. There is a Glory in the Work which the silent Habit is uncapa­ble of. It is the Life and Vigour of the Exercise in which all the brightness con­sisteth. Even Diamonds in the Quarry are dull and dim, they receive not their full lustre and Price till they are cut and polished. GOD hath placed our Trial in sharp and bitter Atchievments, be­cause the Love that is exprest in Agonies and Conflicts, acquires other kind of Beauties, that produce more violent and strong Effects in the Mind of the Specta­tor, and touch the Soul of the Beloved with more quick and feeling Compassi­ons, than any Love expressed in Ease and Pleasure can pretend to. And since all our Felicity consists in the violence of Gods Love, his great and perfect Sence of our Beauty and Honour, his full and compleat delight and Complacency, all that which affecteth his Soul with more feeling and tender Resentment, must be [...] and precious to us, because [...] us more dear and precious to [Page 373] him. We live in him more effectually, and feel our selves rooted in his Love, and crowned with his Com [...]lacency more abundantly, by how much the more his Affection bleedeth, and his Pi­ty (which enbalms Love) is stirred up to receive us. And therefore it is that St. Peter saith, We are in Heaviness for a season through manifold Temptations, that the Trial of our Faith being much more pre­cious than of Gold that perisheth, though it be tried with Fire, might be found unto Praise, and Honour, and Glory at the Ap­pearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1. 6, 7. For as we have before observed, Love is more effemi­nate in a condition of Repose, where all is sweet and easie to our selves: there can be no Fidelity, no Patience, no Fortitude, no actual Sacrificing of all our Content­ments and Joyes to our Beloved; no Victory over Death, and Hell, and the Grave; no Self denial, no Endearments springing from the same, no Prelation of our Object above our selves; no loss of Honours, Riches, Liberties, and Lives for our Objects sake; and the more of this is Actually done, the more of Necessity must be the following Joy of Glory. And for this Cause doth St. Peter further [Page 374] exhort us, Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery Trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoyce, in as much as ye are Partakers of Christs Sufferings: that when his Glory is revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding Joy. If ye be reproa­ched for the Name of Christ happy are ye, for the Spirit of Glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorisied. 1 Pet. 4. 12, 13, 14.

THIS he speaketh I confess of the Persecutions, Imprisonments, and Flames of the Martyrs, that were Gods Friends, and the Champions of his Truth in the World, that in vindication of his Glory endured the Brunt, and received all the Arrows of his Enemies in their Bosom: but no Man has cause to be discouraged. For where the greatness of the Cause is wanting, and the apparent glory of the Consequence unseen, as for the most part it is in all our common and ordinary Af­flictions; there to submit to the Will of GOD, where there is so much Baseness as in Poverty: in Sickness where there is so much Unprofitableness, in private Losses and Calamities where there is so much Obscurity; meerly because it is [Page 375] GODS pleasure, and because in o­ther things he hath infinitely obliged us, and prepared infinite and eternal Joyes: this hath a peculiar Grace in its nature, that in ordinary occurrences makes our Patience more rare and extraordinary.

THERE are a thousand things that may be said on this Theme, which for brevity I must pass: All I shall observe further is this, that as the Scriptures o­pen the design of Patience, and unvail the face of its mysterious Nature, so doth Reason shew its invincible height and magnanimity. Patience is a Vertue whose element is in Miseries: it owes its being to Pains and Calamities: were there no Miseries there could be no Patience. E­vils are its Play-sellows, it feeds upon Sorrows, thrives by Disadvantages, grows rich by Poverties, it must needs sur­mount all Opposition, for the more it endures the greater it is. It is impossible for Calamity to hurt Patience: it is made perfect by Sufferings. The more Patient a man is, his Patience is the grea­ter: and the greater his Patience is, the more strong and mighty his Soul is. No­thing can quell him, or discourage, or overcome him, that is compleat in Pati­ence.

[Page 376] He dareth all things, because he can endure them. All his Martial and Heroical Vertues are knit together in Patience. Fortitude it self cannot win the field without it. The most valiant Souldier is but useless if he cannot en­dure Hunger and Cold, and Heat and Rain, the Incommodities of a March, and lying on the Ground. VVhile he that endures all things marches on, and gets into the Field where Fidelity, Love, and Loyalty are tried, and cannot be hindered from the full and perfect exer­cise of all these, because he can bear any thing that is Evil, he can do any thing that is Good: He will fight the good fight with alacrity, and at last most cer­tainly attain the Crown of Righteous­ness, and the Kings favour.


The Cause of Meekness is Love. It respects the future beauty and perfection of its object. It is the most supernatural of all the Vertues. The Reasons and Grounds of this Vertue in the estate of Grace and Misery. Its manifold Effects and Ex­cellencies. Of the Meekness of Moses and Joseph.

MEEKNESS is a Vertue of the Third estate, as well as Patience. Pa­tience regards Calamities, Meekness VVrongs. The Injuries that we receive from others are its proper Objects. It springs from Love, and tends to its Con­tinuance and Preservation. It hath something peculiar in its nature, because it gives Immutability to Goodness, and makes our VVorth not to depend on other Mens Deservings, but our own Resolutions. It is fed by Charity, and like a grateful Off spring of a Parent so amiable, helps in its greatest extremity to preserve it from its extinction. For all Love by Nature dies into Distaste, [Page 378] when its Object hath offended: because Approbation which is the first step to E­steem, and Esteem it self which is a de­gree to Love, have no other Object but something that is Amiable and sit to be beloved. And again every thing that is divested of all its excellence, is common, if not odious; and lost to our Affection, till Meekness comes in to rescue and save both our Love and it from its dismal Period. Its End is the Recovery of what has offended, Hope and Possibility are the foundation of its exercise, Pru­dence is the Guide by which it is con­ducted to the satisfaction of our desire in the restitution of Amity between us and our Adversary.

WHERE there is no hope that the Beauty of what we love may be regain­ed, Meekness hath lost its Vertue, and with that its Existence. For if it be im­possible that an evil Person should ever be reclaimed, it is to no purpose to be Meek. He that can never be delight­ful more, is utterly useless: Meekness therefore which derives its solidity and Power from its End, is in such cases utterly abolished. For this cause it is that we are to esteem our Saviours Blood [Page 379] the ground on which it stands: since all Nature without his Incarnation, Death, and Passion, could never restore a Sin­ner to the possibility of becoming Just and Amiable. This Vertue of Meekness respects the future beauty and perfecti­on of an Object that is now deformed; It must needs be of transcendent excel­lency, since the practice of Meekness is acquired by the price of our Saviours Blood, and the first step to its exercise did cost the death of the Eternal GOD.

IT is a transcendent Vertue, because the Means of introducing it are wholy Supernatural. It carries us above all the Rules of Nature, above all the Principles of Reason, and in that is Supernatural. For by Nature we are to be Just and Good towards all that are Innocent, and kind to all those to whom Kindness is due: but it is not by Nature either just or rational that we should love any Crea­ture that is Evil: and how GOD came to do it first is an infinite VVonder. Though now since he hath first loved us who are so vile, nothing is more natural than that we should do as we are done unto, imitate him, and love those whom [Page 380] our Creatour loveth: With Pity and Be­nevolence at first, that we may hereafter do it, with full Complacency.

That Humane Nature is infinitely ex­alted by the Incarnation of the Son of GOD is confessed by all those, that be­lieve the Article of our Saviours Incar­nation: that the Earth how base soever it seem is the Bride of Heaven, its own quiet, and the embraces of the Skies, that make it the Centre of all their Re­volutions, sufficiently demonstrate; though few have observed that the Sun, and Moon, and Stars dance attendance to it, and cherish it with their Influences, while the Earthly Globe is crowned with the fruits of all their secret Endeavours: That the Angels desire to look down into those things which are done upon Earth, the very Scriptures witness; and yet for all this, it would seem a New Doctrine, to affirm, that there are Works done here upon Earth, that are by Na­ture above the Heavens. Yet all the O­perations of the Holy Ghost, and all the Good Works of Holy Men, especially the Meekness and Patience of the Saints, which are founded on the greatest Mira­cle in all Eternity, the Love of GOD to [Page 381] Sinners, and his stupendious Humiliation and Passion for them, are set upon a higher Basis than all Nature, except that of the Deity, can afford unto us. Which Note I make for our greater encourage­ment to the works of Meekness. They are all in Nature like the effects of our Saviours Love to the greatest Offendors. Reason it self is now exalted above all its former heights, and there is reason since our Saviours Death for the doing of that which no reason, before he designed to forgive, and Die for us, could lead us to do.

THAT GOD through the greatness of his Love may condescend to such In­dignities as are infinitely unworthy of him, we see by the Examples of Kings and Queens, and other high and delicate Personages, that suffer their Children to play with their Beards, and the Tresses of their Hair; which other Persons dare not so much as approach, for the Reverence of their Majesty. I have oftentimes admired at the mean Offices to which Parents stoop, and the familiar boldness they permit to their little ones, to play with their Scepters, and Crowns, and Eyes, and Lips, with their Breasts [Page 382] and Jewels, and sometimes to pinch and hurt, nay and to defile them too, being unmindful of their State, and far from all Anger and Indignation. But the free Pardon, and desire of the Return of vi­cious and debauched Children, is a near­er instance and resemblance of GOD, in his gracious Dispensations, who suffers all Nature still to attend us, though we continually prophane his Name, and in­jure his eternal Goodness by our mani­fold Transgressions.

THIS Example of GOD, who died for Sinners, in the Person of his Son, and prayed for his Tormentors, in the very Act of their Cruelty and Rage against him, should prevail with us to esteem all those whom he owneth for his Chil­dren, as our own Bowels, and to be as Meek and Condescending to all Man­kind, as Parents are to their Children. The Reasons of which Duty are thus variously offered to our Considerati­on.

TO labour after those Principles only that establish our repose in the estate of Bliss and Innocency, is utterly imperti­nent to our present Condition.—

Were all the World a Paradice of Ease
'Twere easie then to live in Peace.
Were all men Wise, Divine, and Innocent,
Just, Holy, Peaceful, and Content,
Kind, Loving, True, and alwaies Good,
As in the Golden-Age they stood;
'Twere easie then to live
In all Delight and Glory, full of Love,
Blest as the Angels are above.
But we such Principles must now attain,
(If we true Blessedness would gain)
As those are, which will help to make us reign
Over Disorders, Injuries,
Ingratitudes, Calamities,
Affronts, Oppressions, Slanders, Wrongs,
Lies, Angers, bitter Tongues,
The reach of Malice must surmount, and quell
The very Rage, and Power of Hell.

NO Man but he that came down from Heaven, and gave his Apostles power to handle Vipers, and drink any deadly thing without harm, was able to reveal the way of Peace and Felicity to Sinners. He, and only he that made them able to trample Satan under feet, and taught them how to vanquish all the Powers of [Page 384] Darkness, was worthy to make known this glorious mystery of Patience and Meekness, by which in despite of all the Corruptions and Violences in the World, the holy Soul of a quiet Man is armed and prepared for all Assaults, and so invironed with its own repose, that in the midst of Provocations it is undistur­bed, and dwells as it were in a Sanctu­ary of Peace within it self, in a Paradice of Bliss, while it is surrounded with the howlings of a terrible Wilderness. No­thing else can make us live happily in this World, for among so many Causes of Anger and Distaste, no man can live well, but he that carries about him perpetual Antidotes and Victories.

THERE are two things absolutely necessary to Felicity, outward Security, and inward Contentment. Meekness is as it were the Bulwark of Security, which though it be as soft as Wool, is able with more success to repel the violence of a Cannon-Bullet, than the rough temper of a Stone-Wall. Contentment springs from the satisfaction of Desire in the sight and fruition of all Treasures and Glories: And as the Sun is surrounded with its own Light, the felicity of the Enjoy­ment [Page 385] becomes its own fortress and secu­rity. For he that is throughly Happy, has so much work to do in Contemplation and Thanksgiving, that he cannot have while to be concerned with other mens disorders, he loves his Employment too well to be disturbed, and will not allow himself the thoughts of Revenge or An­ger.

IN two things Meekness is greatly profitable to a Mans self, Possession and Triumph. He that permits the Tumult of the World to enter into his Soul, and suffers the Temple of the Holy Ghost to be defiled with Rage and Anger, makes it an unfit habitation for the Blessed Spi­rit. Doves will not dwell in Pigeon­Houses disturbed, or haunted with Ver­min: nor can Felicity be enjoyed but by serene and quiet Thoughts that are full of tranquillity. For where Envying and Strife is, there is Confusion and every evil Work. But the Wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easie to be intreated, full of Mercy and good Fruits. And the fruit of Righteousness is sown in Peace of them that make Peace. Which must of necessity precede fruiti­on, as Triumph followeth.

[Page 386] WERE I for my life to interpret that Text of our Saviour, The Meek shall in­herit the Earth, I should in the first place say, that every Knowing man may en­joy the beauty and glory of the whole World, and by sweet Contemplations delight in all the abundance of Trea­sures and pleasant Varieties that are here upon Earth, especially since by the Or­dinance of Nature all men are to be his peculiar Treasures. This he might do, I say, did all men love him, and fill the World with Glory and Vertue. But since all is confounded by their perverse­ness and disorder, his Fruition is utterly lost, unless he will forgive all Injuries, and by the vertue of Meekness maintain the quiet of his own Soul in the midst of their distempers. The Meek man is not fretted nor disturbed, but may enjoy all Still: and the unspeakable Joy which all the Glories of Gods Kingdom do af­ford him, shall make him more meek, and able also to pacifie, and rule, and heal the minds of his Enemies, and even by the love of Sinners to recover his Right, and ancient Fruitions.

[Page 387] TO be able to live at quiet, and enjoy the felicity of Heaven and Earth, not­withstanding all the attempts of our E­nemies, makes them mad when they see they cannot fret us, and so by Conse­quence a greater Revenge is seated in Meekness than in Revenge it self. For our Repose is their punishment and tor­ment that hate us. Their vexation falleth on their own head, when they see they miss of their aim, and cannot molest us: but it is a joy to see our selves seated in a throne of Repose, clean out of their reach; it breeds a kind of triumph and ovation in the Soul. The secret Consci­ence of its own Power is a glory and satisfaction unimaginable.

HE that masters his own Passion is master of anothers mans, and seldom falls into those Broils and Inconvenien­cies that are the destruction of ungover­ned and hasty Spirits. Which made Solo­mon to say, He that is slow to Anger is bet­ter than the Mighty, and he that ruleth his Spirit, than he that taketh a Ci­ty.

HE that troubleth his own house shall inherit the Wind; he that is nice and exquisite in exacting all Faults shall ne­ver [Page 388] be beloved. They are disobliging, angry, testy men that are hated; and the Revengful that do frequently fall into mischief. But to be kind to the Un­thankful and the Evil, and to deal with all men better than they deserve, is the way to be beloved by the worst of men, and admired by the best.

MEEKNESS is the retreat of Good­ness, and the only force in the rear of Liberality. He that does one Injury after forty Kindnesses, blots out the me­mory of all his Courtesies; and he that revenges an Injury seems to do one. For he that did the Wrong, seems innocent to himself, because he felt it not; and seeming innocent takes the Revenge as an undeserved Injury, and is lost for ever. Now some Injuries we must ex­pect from our best Friends, which are alwaies lost for want of Meekness. So are all the Benefits we do, unless we will forgive as well as give. But an Injury forgiven is forgotten by him that did it, and the Friendship continues at the ex­pence, and to the honour and comfort of the Pardoner, as if no Offence had ever been committed: Nay if afterwards he comes to see the Candor of his abused [Page 389] Friend, he that did the Injury loves him better than before, because he pardoned the Wrong.

MEEKNESS as it preserves Friend­ship between two, makes Goodness in­vincible and unalterable in one. He shall not be good long whose Goodness de­pendeth on others Merits. He is a miserable weak man, that is of an Ex­ceptious humor; he is a trouble to his own flesh, and subject to the power of every Wasp, whether he shall be good or no. He is quickly stopt in his Careir of Vertue, and easily turned out of the way, that is apt to be infected with ano­thers Malice. He carries no Antidotes about him, and for want of a Preserva­tive, is in danger of the Contagion. Meekness is a means of the health of the Soul: a Passionate man being all over sore, is covered with hot and angry Boils, which cannot be touched.

IT preventeth much mischief in Fa­milies. An occasion of Anger is like a spark of Fire, it is of great Consequence where it falleth. If it falls into barrels of Gunpowder, it blows up the World; if into green Wood or watery places, it does no harm. Penitent Tears, and the [Page 390] verdure of Humility prevent such flames, and extinguish the quarrel. If Wild-fire be thrown, I will put it out with my foot, and not by throwing it back, give my Enemy the advantage of retorting it up­on me. A soft Answer pacifieth much Wrath, but virulent Speeches are a fire­ball tossed to and fro, of them that love Death.

BY Revenge a man at best can but preserve himself, by killing his Enemy: but Meekness well managed, destroys the Enmity, preserves the Person, and turns the Enemy into an excellent Friend.

MEEKNESS is not the way to Peace, and Repose, and Victory only, but to Honour and Glory. As it is the strength, it is the Glory of a man to pass over a Transgression: He that is lightly angered is quickly lost, and a fickle Friend is not worth a farthing. A straw and a feather shall forfeit all the Obligations in the World, in some Tempers. Nay he that is Revengful, is a dangerous Person: and with an Angry man thou shalt not go: He has the Plague upon him and is pro­hibited Company. All this is dishonou­rable. But a man that is a resolved and [Page 391] stable Friend, that cannot be alter'd, that will not change, though he be wronged, but forgive, and pity, and continue to serve and love his Friend, though he shews him some dirty Tricks; he that will surmount all by invincible Kindness, he is a solid and weighty Friend, a rare Treasure, and exceeding precious. Neither my Errors nor Mis­fortunes are able to change him that loveth me purely because he will love me. When his Excellency be found out, he will more highly be esteemed, not only by his Friend, but by all that see him, and note his Fidelity.

INJURIES well forgiven are the highest Obligations in the World: espe­cially if a man has been injured after many Benefits. A Friend that will so oblige, is more to be preferred than the Gold of Ophir

MEEKNESS brings a man into respect with his Servants, and into power with his Neighbours. Anger resteth in the bo­som of Fools, but Meekness hath alwaies this advantage, it is attended with Wis­dom, and other Vertues, as Goodness and Courage. A man that is prudent in Affairs, and zealous of Good Works, [Page 392] faithful in retaining Secrets, and so full of Love, that he is prone to do all man­ner of Good with industry, and is cou­ragious to expose himself to any Ha­zard, for the benefit of his Neighbours, shall keep his Servants in awe, and yet be beloved of them: He shall be able to do among his Neighbours what he pleaseth: He shall when known well, become the Father of all their Families, they will en­trust their Wives and Children in his hands, as I have often experienced; their Gold, their Bonds, their Souls, their Affairs, their Lives, their Secrets, Houses, Liberties, and Lands; and be glad of such a Friend in whom to be safe, and by whom to be assisted. But though you have all the Vertues in the World, the way to the use of them is blockt up without Meekness: for your Neighbours are few of them Wise, or Good; and if you will be provoked by Injuries, you will upon forty occasions so distaste them, that they will never trust you. You will look as like a Trifle, a Knave, or a Fool, as one of them; and be as very a Mad man. He that will not do good but to deserving Persons, shall find very few to do good to. For he shall [Page 393] not be acquainted with Good men, and from doing good to others he excludes himself. But if all his other Vertues are beautified by Meekness, such a man will be like an Angel, and live above all his Neighbours, as if he were in Heaven. So that Meekness is his real exaltation. And this made our Saviour to cull out that Blessing for the Meek, The Meek shall inherit the Earth. Even here upon Earth the Meek are they that are most blessed.

TO do good to an innocent Person is Humane, but to be kind and bountiful to a man, after he has been Injurious, is Divine. Philanthus gave Laws and Coun­tries to the Parthenians, and was dis­graced and banished: But he did them good after the Injury, and was made their God, as Justine recordeth.

THE very nature of the Work en­courageth us to its exercise, because it is GOD-like, and truly Blessed. But there are many other Considerations mo­ving us unto it.

Mankind is sick, the World distemper'd lies,
Opprest with Sins and Miseries.
Their Sins are Woes; a long corrupted Train
Of Poyson, drawn from Adam's vein,
Stains all his Seod, and all his Kin
Are one Disease of Life within.
They all torment themselves!
The World's one Bedlam, or a greater Cave
Of Mad-men, that do alwaies rave.
The Wise and Good like kind Physicians are,
That strive to heal them by their Care.
They physick and their Learning calmly use,
Although the Patient them abuse.
For since the Sickness is (they find)
A sad Distemper of the Mind;
All railings they impute,
All Injuries, unto the sore Disease,
They are expresly come to ease!
If we would to the Worlds distemper'd Mind
Impute the Rage which there we find,
We might, even in the midst of all our Foes,
Enjoy and feel a sweet Repose.
Might pity all the Griefs we see,
Anointing every Malady
With precious Oyl and Balm;
And while our selves are Calm, our Art improve
To rescue them, and shew our Love.
But let's not fondly our own selves beguile;
If we Revile' cause they Revile,
Our selves infected with their sore Disease,
Need others Helps to give us ease.
For we more Mad then they remain,
Need to be cut, and need a Chain
Far more than they. Our Brain
Is craz'd; and if we put our Wit to theirs,
We may be justly made their Heirs.
But while with open eyes we clearly see
The brightness of his Majesty;
While all the World, by Sin to Satan sold,
In daily Wickedness grows old,
Men in Chains of Darkness lye,
In Bondage and Iniquity,
And pierce and grieve themselves!
The dismal Woes wherein they crawl, enhance
The Peace of our Inheritance.
We wonder to behold our selves so nigh
To so much Sin and Misery,
And yet to see our selves so safe from harm!
What Amulet, what hidden Charm
Could fortifie and raise the Soul
So far above them; and controul
Such fierce Malignity!
The brightness and the glory which we see
Is made a greater Mystery.
And while we feel how much our GOD doth love
The Peace of Sinners, how much move,
And sue, and thirst, intreat, lament and grieve,
For all the Crimes in which they live,
And seek and wait, and call again,
And long to save them from the pain
Of Sin, from all their Woe!
With greater thirst, as well as grief we try,
How to relieve their Misery.
The life and splendour of Felicity,
Whose floods so over flowing be,
The streams of Joy which round about his Throne,
Enrich and fill each Holy One,
Are so abundant, that we can
Spare all, even all to any Man!
And have it all our selves!
Nay have the more! We long to make them see
The sweetness of Felicity.
While we contemplate their Distresses, how,
Blind Wretches, they in bondage bow,
And tear and wound themselves, and vex and groan,
And chase and fret so near his Throne,
And know not what they ail, but lye
Tormented in their Misery
(Like Mad-men that are blind)
In works of darkness nigh such full Delight:
That they might find and see the sight,
What would we give! that they might likewise see
The Glory of his Majesty!
The joy and fulness of that high delight,
Whole Blessedness is infinite!
We would even cease to live, to gain
Them from their misery and pain,
And make them with us reign.
For they themselves would be our greatest Treasures
When sav'd, our own most Heavenly Pleasures.
O holy JESUS who didst for us die,
And on the Altar bleeding lie,
Bearing all Torment, pain, reproach and shame,
That we by vertue of the same,
Though enemies to GOD, might be
Redeem'd, and set at liberty.
As thou didst us forgive,
So meekly let us Love to others shew,
And live in Heaven on Earth below!
Let's prize their Souls, and let them be our Gems,
Our Temples and our Diadems,
Our Brides, our Friends, our fellow-Members, Eyes
Hands, Hearts and Souls, our Victories,
And Spoils and Trophies, our own Joyes!
Compar'd to Souls all else are Toyes!
O JESUS let them be
Such unto us as they are unto thee
Vessels of Glory and Felicitie!
How will they love us, when they find our Care
Brought them all thither where they are!
When they conceive, what terrour 'tis to dwell
In all the punishments of Hell:
And in a lively manner see,
O Christ, eternal Joyes in thee!
How will they all delight
In praising thee for us, with all their might,
How sweet a Grace, how infinite!

WHEN we understand the perfection of the Love of GOD, the excellency of immortal Souls, the price and value of our Saviours Blood, the misery of Sin, and the malady of distemper'd Nature, the danger of Hell, and the Joyes of which our sorest Enemies are capable, the Obligations that lie on our selves, and the peace and blessedness of so sweet a Duty. Compassion it self will melt us into Meekness, and the wisdom of knowing these great things will make it as natural to us as Enjoyment it self, as sweet and easie, as it is to live and breath. It will seem the harshest and most un­natural thing in the World to sorbear so fair, so just, so reasonable, so divine a Duty.

[Page 399] NOR is it a small comfort, that the more vile our Enemies are, the more price and lustre is set upon our Actions. Our Goodness is made by their Evil, the more eminent and conspicuous: we im­prove their Injuries and turn them into Benefits, we make a Vertue of Necessity, and turn their Vices into Graces, make them appear more abominable and vile if they continue obstinate; and the greater their Perversness is, the more great and honourable is our Vertue. It was the praise of Moses, that the Man Moses was the Meekest man upon all the Earth, yet one passionate expression lost him so much in the esteem of GOD, that it hindered his entrance into the Land of Canaan. How great an In­strument he was nevertheless in the Conduct and Felicity of the Jews, and how much he profited the whole Nation by his Meekness Sacred story does re­cord. How Joseph also dealt with his Brethren, how he saved all the Family of Israel in the Root by his Meekness, and by Meekness purchased an everla­sting Name of Glory and Renown, all Christian Ages and Nations understand, where his Praises are celebrated to this [Page 400] day: And the benefit thereof is spread abroad, and propagated throughout all Generations for evermore.


Humility is the basis of all Vertue and Fe­licity, in all Estates, and for ever to be exercised. As Pride does alienate the Soul from GOD, Humility unites it to him in Adoration and Amity. It maketh infinite Blessedness infinitely greater, is agreeable to the Truth of our Condition, and leads us through a dark and mysteri­ous way to Glory.

MEEKNESS respecteth others faults; Humility and Penitence our own. But Humility is more large than Peni­tence, and is a distinct Affection of ano­ther nature. Penitence is an exercise of the Affection of Sorrow, and that only for Sin. Humility is an acknowledg­ment of all our Vileness; it respects our Original out of nothing as well as our Guilt, our Weakness and Unworthiness, [Page 401] our dependance upon anothers Will, our Debt and Obligation, the duty of Obe­dience and Allegiance which we owe, and all the naked Truth of our Condi­tion. It confesseth our homage, and is sensible of our Smallness and Subjection. All that a man hath received it distin­guisheth from what he is of himself: And its Fruits or Effects are suitable to its Nature. It is the Vertue by which we think basely of our selves, and be­have our selves in a lowly and submissive manner. It makes us soft and pliant as Wax, susceptible of any form that shall be imposed on us by our Benefactour, and prone to Gratitude. It is accompanied with a high and mighty sence of Bene­fits received, and made Noble by the honour which it inclines us to return to GOD and Man for all the goodness which they shew unto us. It is of incom­parable use in our Felicity, because it magnifies our esteem of all our happiness and glory.

IT is not through Ignorance, or want of good Will, that we speak nothing of Vices, the woful deformity of which be­ing exposed to view, near the excellence of Vertue, would put a greater lustre on [Page 402] all their brightness: but the abundance of matter which Vertue it self doth af­ford, forbids us to waste our Time and Paper in the description of their Contra­ries. The glory of their nature being so full and perfect in it self, that it need­eth not the aid of those additional Arts, which labour to set off the dignity of imperfect things by borrowed Commen­dations. And besides this, the mischief and inconveniency of every Vice is so great and manifold, that it would re­quire a distinct and intire Volume to unfold the deformity of their destructive nature, so fully as their baseness and de­merit requires. It is sufficient therefore here to observe, that Pride is of all other things most odious to GOD; because it puffeth up the Soul with Self-conceit, is forgetful of its Original, void of all Gratitude, and prone to Rebellion. Is it not an odious and abominable thing, for a Creature that is nothing in himself to flie in his Creators face, and to usurp a dominion over it self to the apparent wrong of its Soveraign Lord, to rob its Benefactor of all the glory of his Boun­ty, to renounce and deny all dependance on him, and to forswear its homage and [Page 403] allegiance, to ascribe all its Glories to it self, and abhor all sence of honour and gratitude, to look upon it self as the sole original and author of all its Greatness, and to be dazled so with the brightness of its condition, as to forget the true fountain of it, the goodness and the love of him that first raised him to all that Treasure and Dominion: to dote on its own Perfections without any reflexion on the Bounty of him that gave them! All this is to act a Lie, and to be guilty of apparent Falshood: It is as full of Fraud and Injustice as is possible: and as full of Folly as it is of Impiety. For Pride aimeth at the utmost height of Esteem and Honour; and is fed by its own beau­ty and glory: yet foolishly undermineth and blasteth the Person it would advance with the greatest baseness and shame i­maginable, it devours the Beauty which ought to seed it, and destroies the Glo­ry in which it delighteth. The higher, the greater, the more perfectly glorious and blessed the Person is that is exalted, his Ingratitude (which is the dregs of Baseness) is the more black and horrid, and provokes the greater detestation. It forfeits and renounces all the Delight [Page 404] which the goodness of its Lord and Be­nefactor affordeth, it cuts off the Soul like a branch from the root that gave it life and verdure, it tends all to division, alienation and enmity, it turns that Com­placency, which is its only bliss, into wrath and indignation: And whereas it delights in nothing more than appearing highly amiable in the eyes of all Specta­tors, it falleth into contempt and extream disgrace before all the Creatures in Hea­ven and Earth, that look upon it, and behold its Unworthiness. No Toad has so much deformity, or poyson, or malig­nity as Pride, in its nature. It is the ruine of all that is great, and turns the bright­est of the Seraphims into the most abomi­nable of Devils.

NOW if Pride be so pernicious, and be by nature (though a meer Phantasie) so destructive: what shall Humility be which is full of truth and reality! How forcible, how divine, how amiable, how full of truth, how bright and glorious, how solid and real, how agreeable to all Objects, how void of errour and dispari­ty, how just and reasonable, how wise and holy, how deep, how righteous, how good and profitable, how mightily prone [Page 405] to exalt us in the esteem of GOD and Man! How agreeable to all its Causes and Ends, how fit and suitable to all the circumstances of Mans Condition! I need not say more: It bears its own evi­dence, and carries Causes in it that will justifie our Saviours words, He that hum­bleth himself shall be exalted. He that is puffed up has but a counterfeit glory, but Humility is full of solid glory. Its beauty is so amiable that there is no end of counting its proportions and excel­lencies. The Wise man that saw into the nature of all things very clearly, said long before our Saviour was born, Pride goeth before a fall, but before Honour is Hu­mility. He that exalteth himself must needs be humbled, because the Colours are envenomed wherewith he painteth his face, which in a little time is discer­ned, and at the very first instant the Painting begins to turn into a Can­ker.

THE Amiableness of Humility ap­peareth by its Excellency; on these two the greatness of its beauty and success is founded. It is so agreeable to all the principles of Nature, and Grace, and Glory, to all the desires of Angels and [Page 406] Men, to all the designs of GOD himself, and to all the interests and concerns of the Soul, that it cannot but be the most advantagious Vertue in the vvhole World. It is strange that a man should look with the same Eye upon two Ob­jects so infinitely distant and different from each other. But at the same time he seeth GOD and Nothing, Heaven and Earth, eternal Love and Dust to be his Original. Self-love and Justice, Wis­dom and Goodness, Joy and Gratitude have the same Objects, but look upon them in a several manner: and are very differently affected with them. Humi­lity regards all Objects high and low, Good and Evil: but with a peculiar re­mark and notice of its own. It takes them in in another light, and discerns them all with another kind of sence. It is in some manner the taste of the Soul. Their Truth appeareth to the eye of Know­ledge, their Goodness is apprehended by the [...]fe of Love, the perfection of their serviceableness to the most perfect End is discerned by Wisdom, the benefit which all Spectators receive is the delight of Goodness, the incomprehensible depth and mysterious intricacy of their [Page 407] frame and nature is the peculiar Object of our Wonder and Curiosity: they help our Faith as they shew a Deity, and the truth of all Religion and Blessedness. As they are the gifts of GOD they are the provocations of Gratitude, and as they are aggravations of Sin they are respected by Repentance. As they are the means of our Glory, and our proper Treasures, they are the Objects of Con­tentment; but Humility looks upon them in relation to its Unworthiness, compares them with it self and its own deserts, and admires the disproportion that is be­tween them. It useth them all as grounds of a deeper and profounder Lowness in the esteem which it ought to have of it self, and as the incentives to Love and Gratitude; which it paies in the depth of a more profound Acknowledgment and Adoration.

THIS habit or affection of the Soul is not inconsistent with its Joy and Glory (as by some foolish people, that are by Ignorance and Errors far from GOD, is generally supposed) but highly condu­cive and subservient to its perfection. It gives us the tenderest and greatest sence; it passeth thorow all things, embraceth [Page 408] the Poles, and toucheth all Extreams to­gether. The Centre it self is but the middle of its profundity: it hath a Na­dir beneath it, a lower point in another Heaven, on the other side opposite to its Zenith. In its own depth it containeth all the height of Felicity and Glory, and doubles all by a mystery in Nature. It is like a Mirror lying on the ground with its face upwards: All the height above increaseth the depth of its Beauty with­in, nay turneth into a new depth, an in­feriour Heaven is in the glass it self; at the bottom of which we see the Skie, though it be not transplanted, removed thither. Humility is the fittest Glass of the Divine Greatness, and the fittest Womb for the conception of all Felici­ty; for it hath a double Heaven. It is the way to full and perfect Sublimity. A man would little think, that by sinking into the Earth he should come to Hea­ven. He doth not, but is buried, that fixeth and abideth there. But if he pierceth through all the Rocks and Mi­nerals of the inferiour World, and pas­seth on to the end of his Journey in a strait line downward, in the middle of his way he will find the Centre of Nature, [Page 409] and by going downward still begin to ascend, when he is past the Centre; through many Obstacles full of gross and subterraneous Darkness, which seem to affright and stifle the Soul, he will arrive at last to a new Light and Glory, room and liberty, breathing-place and fresh­air among the Antipodes, and by passing on still through those inferiour Regions that are under his feet, but over the head of those that are beneath him, finally come to another Skie, penetrate that, and leaving it behind him sink down in­to the depth of all Immensity. This he cannot do in his Body, because it is gross and dull, and heavy and confined: but by a Thought in his Soul he may, be­cause it is subtile, quick, aiery, free, and infinite; Nothing can stop or exclude it, oppress or stifle it. This local de­scent through all the inferiour Space and Immensity, though it brings us to GOD, and his Throne, and another Heaven full of Joyes and Angels, on the other side the World; yet is it but a real Emblem of the more spiritual and mysterious flight of Humility in the mind. We all know that the way to Heaven is through Death and the Grave, beyond which we [Page 410] come to another Life, in Eternity: but how to accommodate this to the business of Humility, few understand. By this Vertue we are inclined to despise our selves, and to leave all the garish Orna­ments of Earthly bliss, to divest our selves of the splendors of Temporal prosperity, and to submit to all Afflicti­ons, Contempts and Miseries, that a good Cause can bring upon us. In the eyes of other men we are beneath their feet, and so we are in our own, till we are gone a little further: but on the other side of all this Baseness, we find a better Life in Communion with the Deity. For asmuch then, saith St. Peter, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh,1 Pet. 4. 1, 2, 3, 4.arm your selves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suf­fered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of Men, but to the will of GOD. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in Lascivi­ousness, Lusts, Excess of Wine, Revellings, Banquettings, and abominable Idolatries; wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of Riot. There is a motion from Vice to Vertue, [Page 411] and from one degree of Grace to ano­ther: by which we leave the phantastick World, with all its Shews and Gaude­ries; and through many Afflictions and Persecutions, come to the real and solid World of Bliss and Glory.

WHAT hand Humility has in leading us through all Afflictions, and in facili­tating the way of Pressure and Calami­ty, I need not observe; I shall note the Errour which men incur, by their Weari­ness and Haste; who because they do not immediately see the Bliss of Humi­lity and Patience, if they do not curse, yet they boggle at all Calamity. These men ought to be informed, that the middle of the Way is not the place of Rest and Perfection. They must pass thorow all these things to the further Regions of Clarity and Glory. Men are not to stick in Calamities themselves: but if Humility lead them to suffer all Indignities with Patience, it must lead them further to the bottom of their e­state and condition; to the true light, and to the clear and perfect sight of their own Vileness: In which they shall see their Original, their Misery, their Sin, their Glory; their GOD and themselves, [Page 412] their Bliss and their Forfeiture, their Recovery and their Saviour, their Hope and Despair, their Obligations in the height of eternal Love and Bounty, and their shame and confusion in the depth of their Apostasie and Ingratitude; their infinite demerit, and GODS infinite Mercy; the riches of free Grace, and their own Unworthiness: And in all these, the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the Love of GOD which passeth Know­ledge, that they might be filled with all the Fulness of GOD.

HUMILITY makes men capable of all Felicity. All deep Apprehensions and great Resentments, all extents and distances of things, all degrees of Grace and Vertue, all Circumstances that in­crease the guilt of Sin, all Adorations, Prostrations, Admirations, Debasements, Thanksgivings, Praises, Exaltations, are founded in Humility. All the Fulness of all Estates, all Honour and Obedience, all Devotion and Worship, all the beauty of Innocence, all the deformity of Sin, all the danger of Hell, all the cost of our Redemption, all the hatred of our Stupidity and Perverseness, all the hope of Heaven, all our Penitence and Grief, [Page 413] all our Fear and Expectation, all our Love and all our Joy are contained in Humility: there they are expressed, there they are exercised: There they are enlarged, and beautified in like manner: There they grow deep, and serious, and infinite: there they become vigorous and strong; there they are made substantial and eter­nal. All the Powers of the Soul are employed, extended and made perfect in this depth of Abysses. It is the basis and foundation of all Vertue and Gra­titude whatsoever. It is in some sort the very fountain of Life and Felicity it self. For as nothing is great but in comparison of somewhat less; so nothing is sweet but what is New and Eternal. All Life consists in Motion and Change. The pleasure of Acquiring is oftentimes as great, and perhaps alwaies greater than that of Enjoying. The long possession of that which we have alwaies had, takes away the sence, and maketh us dull: Old and Common things are less esteemed, unless we rub up our Memo­ries with some helps, to renew them and our sences together. Gifts are alwaies sweeter in the coming, than in the abi­ding with us. And if what I observe in [Page 414] the course of nature be of any force, there is no possibility of enjoyment, at least no perfection in fruition, without some relation to the first Acquisition. Old things are apt to grow stale, and their value to be neglected, by their continuance with us. I have noted it often in the joy that young Heirs have, when they first come to their Estates, and the great felicity which Lovers promise to themselves, and taste also when they meet together in the Marriage-bed. The pleasures of all which pass off by de­grees, not solely by reason of our dul­ness and stupidity, but far more from a secret in the nature of things. For all Delight springs from the satisfaction of violent Desire: when the desire is for­gotten, the delight is abated. All Pleasure consists in Activity and Motion: While the Object stands still, it seemeth dead and idle. The sence of our want must be quick upon us to make the sence of our enjoyment perfect. The rapture proceeds from the convenience between us, the marvellous fitness that is in such Objects to satisfie our Capacities and In­clinations. The misery and vacuity must needs be remembred to make that Con­venience [Page 415] live, and to inspire a sence of it perpetually into us. The coming of a Crown, and the joy of a Kingdom is far more quick and powerful in the surprize and novelty of the Glory, than in the length of its Continuance. We perceive it by the delight which Lovers taste in recounting their Adventures. The Na­ture of the thing makes the memory of their first Amours more pleasant, than the possession of the last. There is an instinct that carries us to the beginning of our Lives. How do Old men even dote in­to lavish discourses of the beginning of their lives? The delight in telling their old Stories is as great to themselves as wearisom to others. Even Kings them­selves, would they give themselves the liberty of looking back, might enjoy their Dominions with double lustre, and see and feel their former Resentments, and enrich their present Security with them. All a mans Life put together con­tributes a perfection to every part of it, and the Memory of things past is the most advantagious light of our present Condition. Now all these sparkles of Joy, these accidental hints of Nature, and little raies of Wisdom, meet together [Page 416] in Humility. For an Humble man con­descendeth to look into his Wants, to reflect upon all his Vices, and all his Be­ginnings, with far deeper designs than is ordinarily done.

WE recount these ordinary discove­ries of the inclination of Nature, because Humility is (if I may so speak) the Rendezvous of their perfection. All the stirrings of Grace and Nature, all the acts of GOD and the Soul, all his Con­descensions, and beginnings to advance us, all his Gifts at their first coming, all the depths and changes of our Condi­tion, all our Desires, all our primitive and virgin Joyes, the whole story of our Creation, and Life, and Fall, and Re­demption, in all the newness of its first appearance, all our Wants and Dangers, Exigencies and Extremities, all our Sa­tisfactions and Delights are present toge­ther in our Humility; and are so infi­nitely near and present thereunto, so sweet and vigorous in their mixture, so strangely powerful in their influence, that they inspire our Hearts, enter our Thoughts, and incorporate with our Souls, and are as near and sweet, as our present condition, be it never so blessed: [Page 417] All put together is far more sweet than our present Condition, a great part of our felicity and glory is in it, while we take it in by our Conceptions here, and apply it to our Souls, in an humble man­ner; but it will be much more our feli­city in Heaven. It is of so much concern­ment, that a Great Divine in our English Zion said,Dr. Ham­mond. The greater part of our eternal happiness will consist in a grateful Recogni­tion (not of our Joyes to come, but) of Benefits already received.

NOW look into the office and work of Humility. I will not tell you how here upon Earth it shunneth all strife and contention about Places; and all the Mischiefs consequent thereto; nor of the Unity, and Peace, and Honour it produ­ceth. These are all but Temporal Be­nefits. It has ten thousand other Walks and Circuits, and periods of Revolution. I will tell you how it behaves it self in Paradice and in Heaven.

HUMILITY by leading us to the bottom of our Condition, sets our Ori­ginal before our eyes, considers that e­ternal abyss of Idleness and Vacuity out of which we were taken, that miracle by which we were made of Nothing.

[Page 418] How destitute we should have been in our selves had not GOD created the World, had he not been pleased to communicate himself and his Glory to us. How weak and unable we were to devise or desire any Felicity, yet how in­finitely necessary the preparation of it after we were created. How great our desires and expectations were, how sore and urgent our wants and necessities: how much we needed infinite Wisdom, and almighty Power to fill Immensity with the omnipresence of their Glory, and to fill their omnipresence with Ef­fects and Treasures: How gracious and good GOD was to do all this for us, without our asking: and how justly Davids rapture may be taken up by the Soul,Psal. 21. The King shall joy in thy strength, O Lord, and in thy Salvation how greatly shall he rejoyce! Thou preventest him with the blessings of Goodness, thou settest a Crown of pure Gold on his head! His glory is great in thy Salvation, Honour and Majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most Blessed for ever; thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy Countenance! We might have been made, and put, in the condition of Toads; [Page 419] who are now created in the Image of GOD, have dominion over all his Works, and are made capable of all Eternity. The infinite condescention of GOD is the amazement of the Soul: The depth of its low estate increaseth the height of its exaltation. All that it wanted in it self it findeth in the goodness of its Be­nefactour, and the joy of being so Be­loved, is greater than that of having all these things of our selves for ever. For the Love of GOD alone, and his good­ness in Giving, is our last, and best, and proper Felicity. Hereupon follows the extinction of all Envy, Regret, and Dis­contentment; the sacrificing of our selves, the annihilating of our selves, the lowli­ness of our selves; And the Exaltation of GOD, and the Adoration of GOD, and the Joy of adoring the Greatest of all other; The Amity and Friendship be­tween GOD and his Creature, the Uni­ty of both, and their happiness for ever. Without this Humility of looking into the bottom of our first Condition, all this is impossible: And for this cause is Hu­mility an eternal Vertue, in all estates for ever to be enjoyed; (I might have said) exercised.

[Page 420] THUS in the estate of Sin and Mi­sery, all the odiousness of our Guilt, all our despair and deformity, all our shame and misery, all the necessity of Hating GOD and being hated of him, comes before the eyes of an humble Soul, with all the mercies and condescen­tions of eternal Love in the work of Re­demption.

AND in the state of Glory it self all the particular Sins, Neglects, Rebellions, Apostasies, and Villanies we committed against GOD after all his mercy and goodness in the Death of his Son; how infinitely base we were in despising all his Bounties and Glories; how infinitely those Offences made us unworthy of Heaven, and the eternal Glory we now enjoy; how marvellous and incompara­ble his Love was, in pursuing us with so much Long-suffering and Patience; how amiable he is, and how vile and un­worthy we are in all this, it is the office of Humility to feel and ponder. Thus you see its work, and you may easily con­jecture at its eternal Reward. All things are in it, in the utmost height and depth of Resignation and Contentment, en­joyed.

[Page 421] I need not observe that sweetness of Conversation, that Civility, and Courtesie, that springs from Humility. The Meek and Lowly are the same men: the Kind, and Charitable, and the Affable and the good are all of them Humble, and so are all they that prefer others above them­selves, and render themselves amiable by honouring their Inferiours, and giving place to their Equals. At least they imi­tate Humility as Complemental Courti­ers do, for their advantage. And it is no small token of its excellency, that the greatest enemies of Humility and Ver­tue, are forced sometimes to flie to it for succour; as those that well know they can never thrive, nor prosper in the World without Esteem, nor gain Esteem without covering their Vices under the mask of Vertue. All the advantages and effects of this will be enjoyed eternally.


That Contentment is a Vertue. Its Causes and its Endi: Its Impediments, Effects, and Advantages. The way to attain and secure Contentment.

THOUGH we have not named it, in our first distribution of Vertue into its several kinds, yet the commen­dation which Contentment hath in Scri­pture, imports it to be a Vertue: so does the difficulty of attaining it, and the great and mighty force it is of in our Lives and Conversations. Having Food and Rayment, saith the Apostle, let us therewith be content: For Godliness with Contentment is great Gain. Where he fitly noteth, that Godliness is the origi­nal of true Contentment, and that the Gain of so great a Vertue is inestimable. The truth is, it is impossible to be happy, or grateful without it. A discontented Mind is exceeding prone to be peevish and fretful, and throws a man into all the indecencies of Avarice, Ambition, Envy, Treason, Murther, Contention, [Page 423] Turbulency, Murmuring, Repining, Me­lancholy and Sowrness, Anger, Baseness and Folly, into all the Malevolence and Misery which can disorder the Soul, or disturb the World. Suspicion, Un­belief, Enmity against GOD, Fear and Cowardice, Barrenness in good and praise-worthy Employments, Weariness and Complaint, hatred of Retirement, Spiritual Idleness and Ignorance are its Companions, followed by Debaucheries, and all the sorts of vile and wicked Di­versions. For Man is an unwelcome Creature to himself till he can delight in his Condition, and while he hates to be alone, exposeth himself to all kind of Mischiefs and Temptations, because he is an active Creature, and must be do­ing something, either Good, or E­vil.

TRUE Contentment is the full satis­faction of a Knowing Mind. It is not a vain and empty Contentment, which is falsely so called, springing from some one particular little satisfaction, that however Momentany it be, does for the present de­light our Humour: but a long habit of solid Repose, after much study and se­rious Consideration. It is not the slavish [Page 424] and forced Contentment, which the Phi­losophers among the Heathen did force upon themselves; but a free and easie Mind attended with pleasure, and natu­rally rising from ones present Condition. It is not a morose and sullen Contempt of all that is Good. That Negative Contentment, which past of Old for so great a Vertue, is not at all conducive to Felicity, but is a real Vice: for to be Content without cause, is to sit down in our Imperfection: and to seek all ones Blis in ones self alone, is to scorn all o­ther Objects, even GOD himself and all the Creation. It is a high piece of Pride and stiffness in a man, that renders him good for nothing, but makes him Arro­gant and Presumptuous in the midst of his blindness, his own slave and his own Idol, a Tyrant over himself, and yet his only Deity. It makes a man to live with­out GOD in the World, and cuts him off from the Universe. It makes him in­capable either of Obligation or Grati­tude, his own Prison and his own Tor­m [...]ntour. It shuts up the Soul in a Grave, and makes it to lead a living Death, and robs it of all its Objects. It mingles Nature and Vice in a confusion, and [Page 425] makes a man fight against Appetite and Reason. Certainly that Philosopher has a hard task, that must fight against Rea­son, and trample under foot the essence of his Soul, to establish his Felicity!

Contentment is a sleepy thing!
If it in Death alone must die;
A quiet Mind is worse than Poverty!
Unless it from Enjoyment spring!
That's Blessedness alone that makes a King!
Wherein the Joyes and Treasures are so great,
They all the powers of the Soul employ,
And fill it with a Work compleat,
While it doth all enjoy.
True Joyes alone Contentment do inspire,
Enrich Content, and make our Courage higher.
Content alone's a dead and silent Stone:
The real life of Bliss
Is Glory reigning in a Throne,
Where all Enjoyment is
The Soul of Man is so inclin'd to see,
Without his Treasures no mans Soul can be,
Nor rest content Uncrown'd!
Desire and Love
Must in the height of all their Rapture move,
Where there is true Felicity.
[Page 426]Employment is the very life and ground
Of Life it self: whose pleasant Motion is
The form of Bliss:
All Blessedness a life with Glory Crown'd.
Life! Life is all: in its most full extent
Stretcht out to all things, and with all Content!

The only reason why a Wise and Ho­ly man is satisfied with Food and Ray­ment, is because he sees himself made possessour of all Felicity, the image of the Deity, the great Object of his eter­nal Love, and in another way far more Divine and perfect, the Heir of the World, and of all Eternity. He knows very well, that if his honour be so great, as to live in Communion with GOD in the fruition of all his Joyes, he may very well spare the foul and feeble Delights of men: And though the Law be not so severe, as to command him to be Con­tent without Food and Rayment: yet if for GOD's sake he should by the wicked­ness of Men be bereaved of both, he may well be Patient, nay and die with glory. And this indeed is that which maketh Contentment so great a Vertue. It hath a powerful influence upon us in all Estates; to take off our Perplexity, [Page 427] Sollicitude and Care, and to adorn our lives with Liberty and Chearfulness, by which we become acceptable and ad­mirable to the Sons of Men. It makes us prone to be Kind and Liberal, where­by we become Obliging and full of good Works. For it delivers us from all servile Fear, and gives us Courage and Confidence in GOD. For well may we dare to trust him in such little Matters, who has manifested his Friendship and Bounty in such infinite good things, and made it impossible for us to be Misera­ble, if we are pleasing to him. An in­telligent and full Contentment elevates the Soul above all the World, and makes it Angelical: it instills a Divine and Heavenly Nature, enflames the Soul with the love of GOD, and moves it to delight in Devotion and Prayer. The sweetness of his Thoughts, and the beauty of his Ob­ject draws a Lover often into Solitudes. And a Royal Man in a strange Country (especially when he has heard tidings of his Fathers Death, and the devolving of his Crown and Throne on himself) de­sires to be alone, that he may digest these Affairs in his Thoughts a little: He de­lights in being retired, because he can [Page 428] find nothing worthy of himself in Com­pany. Magnanimous Souls are above Garlands and Shepherds: And there is no greatness of Soul like that which per­fect Contentment inspires.

BUT that which above all other things makes me to note the Vertue of Contentment, is its great influence, ef­ficacy, and power in confirming our Faith. For when I see the Beauty of Religion I know it to be true. For such is its excellency, that if you remove it out of the World, all the things in Heaven and Earth will be to no purpose. The business of Religion is the Love of GOD, the Love of Angels and Men, and the due esteem we owe to inferiour Creatures. Remove this Love, this Cha­rity, this Due Esteem, this delight that we should take in all amiable Objects; Life and Pleasure are extinguished. I see Nature it self teaching me Religion: And by the admirable Contexture of the Powers of my Soul, and their fitness for all Objects and Ends, by the incompa­rable Excellency of the Laws prescri­bed, and the worthiness and Beauty of all the Objects for which my power are prepared, see plainly, that I am infinitely [Page 429] Beloved: and that all the cross and dis­orderly things, that are now upon Earth, are meer Corruptions and depravations of Nature, which free Agents have let in upon themselves. All which since they are reducible to the Government of Reason, and may be Wisdom be impro­ved to my higher happiness, I am sure I am redeemed, and that there is some eternal Power that governs the World with so much Goodness for my felicity, since I my self was not able to do it. That all Ages are beautified by his Wis­dom for my enjoyment I hope in like manner: nay I see it plainly. And of all these Joyes the Cross of Christ is the Root and Centre.

I confess it is difficult to gain this high and divine Contentment, because its measure and value is infinite: Nay there are other causes both Temporal and E­ternal that may seem to be impediments. One was a business which David did experience, The prosperity of the Wicked. They live in so much Splendour, Pomp, and Grandeur, have so much Respect and Reverence paid unto them, and reign as it were in the high Esteem of all that are round about them in such a manner, that [Page 430] a Poor good man is hardly lookt upon among them. His condition seemeth Servile, and he is little regarded. David carried the Temptation far higher, yet triumphed over it, Psal. 73. 1, &c. Truly GOD is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipt. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the Wicked. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. Whether it be through Nature, or its Corruption, I cannot tell (at least I will not stand to dispute it) but it is somewhat grievous, to see men of the same mould with our selves so highly magnified, and our selves slighted, and unable to appear with E­quality among them: because the true Greatness of our Souls is hidden, oppres­sed, and buried as it were in the Mean­ness of our Condition. But yet we have excellent Company, David and the Pro­phets, Christ and his Apostles, and all the Martyrs, that are now so glorious. And if you please you may consider, what these Great men do when the shew is over: We when we come abroad are weak and despised, and they when they [Page 431] are alone. A Vertuous man is Great with­in, and glorious in his Retirements, is honoured also among men in Truth and Reality; the rest make an outward shew, and are honoured in Ceremony. We are accepted in the eyes of GOD and his holy Angels, and they are condemned: Their Life is a Dream, and ours is Eter­nal: We expatiate over all the World with infinite Joy and Pleasure in our Solitudes, and they are nothing when they return to themselves. That where­in the greatest difficulty of all doth con­sist, is the boundless desire and ambition of the Soul, whereby we are tempted to envy any thing that is above us, and for ever to be displeased unless our glory and blessedness be Eternal; I do not mean Immortal only, but of everlasting Extent, and infinite Beauty. We soar to the Best and highest of all that is pos­sible: And unless in all Ages and King­doms our Satisfaction be compleat, and our Pleasure exquisite; we are prone to be tormented with the perfection of our Desires. But GOD having given him­self, and all his Kingdom and Glory to us, there is no room for Complaint. All his Power being glorified by his Wisdom [Page 432] and Goodness for our advancement, we need nothing but a clear sight of the face of Truth, and a lively sence of our Condition, to ravish and transport us in­to Extasies, and Praises.

THE happiness of a Contented Spirit consists not alone in the fruitions of its Bliss, but in the fruits and effects it pro­duceth in our Lives. It gives us many advantages over Sin, Temptation, Fear, Affliction, Poverty, Sickness, Death, and all other Casualties to which we are ob­noxious, by reason of our frail and fickle condition. But all these I shall pass over, and only mention two, which are worth our care and desire; Security and Pow­er.

AS there is a vain and empty Content­ment, so there is a rash and foolish Se­curity. For a man to wink at all Ha­zards to which he is exposed, and with­out any consideration of what may be­fal him, to give himself up to his ease and pleasure, is as great a madness, as it is for a General environed with Enemies to sleep without his Guards, or be to­tally negligent of his Camp, and his Ar­my. But when he has Conquered all his Enemies, then to be filled with Melan­choly [Page 433] fears, and Pannick terrours, is as great a weakness, as a man of Worth can be capable of. Even in the midst of them, when he has surveyed all their strengths, and made full provision for their incursions; he may take his rest with liberty: provided he be moderate and wary in his proceedings. This last is our Condition. We must not live as if there were no Sickness and Death in the World. We must remember there are Calamities of every kind, and forti­fie our selves with Principles and Resolu­tions against them all, put on the whole Armour of GOD, which is called some­times the Armour of Light, and stand pre­pared for all Assaults whatsoever. When we have so done, as it is a terrible thing to be surprized, so it is a glorious thing with open eyes to see and know all the Evil that is in Death, Imprisonment, Per­secution, Shame and Poverty, Famine, Banishment, Pain and Torment; and yet to be secure in the midst of our frui­tions. There is a worthless, and there is a divine Security: It is a poor business for a man to be secure, that has nothing to lose. A Beggar sings upon the Road without any fear of Thieves. But to be [Page 434] full of Gold and Jewels, yet safe from danger; to be secure in a Palace of Delights; in the midst of a Kingdom, and in the possession of all its glory to rest with safety, this is a valuable and sweet Security, a safety enriched with solid Enjoyments, much more is it here upon Earth to have the bliss and security of Angels. Among Wolves, and Ty­gers, and Bears and Dragons; among Thieves and Murtherers, Bloody Men and Devils; among Dead-mens Bones, and Graves and Sepulchres, when show­ers of Arrows fall round about us, and Hell is beneath us; this is something more than to be secure where no danger is near, no Calamity possible. It is a kind of triumph in Security, and hath a peculiar glory in it which the very secu­rity of Heaven is incapable of. And yet poor frail Man obnoxious and liable to all these destructions is safe among them all, when he is once gotten into the heart of GOD's Kingdom, and sur­rounded with Felicity. Its very Beau­ties are its Strengths. He knows himself beloved of the eternal GOD, and that the King of Terrors is but a disguised Bug-Bear, a dark and doleful passage to [Page 435] the Ignorant, but to him a bright and transparent way to the King of Glory. This Blessedness is of stable, incorrupti­ble nature, which nothing can destroy. It digesteth all kind of Evils, and turn­eth them into nourishment. There is a Wisdom above us, and a Wisdom within us, that maketh all things work together for good to them that love GOD, and nothing is able to hurt us but our selves.

Now for Power which Felicity gi­veth: There is an intrinsick power in the enjoyment it self, for which Felicity is to be admired: in comparison of which all other Powers are but poor and feeble. To speak with the tongue of Men and Angels, to move Mountains, or turn them into Gold, to raise the Dead, to command the Sun, are common things: The power of creating Worlds is but vain, without the power of en­joying them. All Honour, Pleasure and Glory are shut up in Felicity. Had we a power of Creating and enjoying all Worlds, it were infinitely short of the power of enjoying GOD, because he is infinitely greater and higher than all. the Creating Power is superfluous to us, [Page 436] because all is most exquisite and perfect already. The fools Wishing Cap, and the Philosophers Stone are but trifles: All things (that are not gold) are better than gold. Felicity giveth us the power of enjoying all, even GOD himself, all Angels and Men, and all Worlds, nay all their Riches, Splendors and Pomps in their places, which is the most amiable and desirable, the most sweet and profi­table Power of all other.

BUT when we are Contented, there is another Power worth the having, which Felicity giveth us. It enables us to despise the Menaces and Angers of Men, it setteth us above their reach, and inspires us with a comely boldness to dare to do any thing that is good, as well as with ability to dare to suffer any thing that is evil. He that is secure, and he that hath enough, is independant, and bold as a Lion: And besides all this he has a certain lustre in his Actions, that gives him authority and power over o­thers, to intercede and prevail in his re­quests, to live in honour and good e­steem, and to make many subservient to his best occasions. He is great in Hea­ven, and whatever he asks of his eternal [Page 437] Father in his Sons Name, with Wisdom and Piety, shall not be denied him. He can touch the hearts of millions by his Fathers Mediation: For the hearts of Kings are in the hands of the Lord, to turn them as the Rivers of water. He made his people to be pitied of all them that carried them away Captive, and gave them favour in the sight of the Egyptians. And this secret alone is of more value then we can well describe.

To receive power from Heaven to be Vertuous, to delight in Vertue, to be irresistible and invincible in the practice of it, is a very divine and glorious Privi­ledge. Felicity it self is the fountain of this Power, and the knowledge of its greatness that which enflames us with the love of it. Felicity is excellent not only as it is the end of Vertue, but the encouragement of it. He that is Con­tent has a great advantage above all o­ther men, because he moves with greater ease, and passeth through all difficulties with greater pleasure. A general of an Army, that works with the Common Souldiers in the Trenches, does the same work, but with more honour and less labour. He is not servile in it as the rest [Page 438] are, but his pleasure is to do it for all their encouragement. He does it in the quality of a Prince, and with less molestation; he has higher Incentives, and more sublime Rewards. Yet he does it too with greater merit and ac­ceptance. A man that sees and knows the glory of his high and heavenly E­state, does all things triumphantly. The sweetness of his Bliss alters the very na­ture of his Fights and Battles. He does all things in the light, without groaning and reluctancy: He marches on with dancing and melody, and chearful looks, and smiles, and thanksgivings: whereas they that know not the glory of Felicity groap in the dark; they that are discon­tented move heavily, and are in all their proceedings lame and maim­ed.

THE way to attain the felicity of Contentment, is to attain Felicity that we may be contented. True Felicity is the source of Contentment, and of all Vertue. It is never to be gotten but by digging after Knowledge as for hidden Treasures. Praying for it is a good way, but Prayers without Industry is a meer mockery. Industry on the other [Page 439] side without Prayer is loose Presumpti­on. For a man to pray to GOD to make his Field fruitful without plough­ing and sowing is madness, and to ex­pect all from his own labour, without GOD's Blessing, impiety. But GOD never yet said to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain.

WHEN Contentment is gotten, it must be secured by the same means by which it was obtained. Care in fencing is as necessary as Care in ploughing, and there is Labour too but sweet and de­lightful even in reaping in the Harvest. But all the work is reduced into narrow room: Thou hast no charge over any other than thine own Vineyard. When thou hast gotten the knowledge of Fe­licity and thy self, the grand means of Contentment is continually to enjoy it. With all thy getting get Wisdom, and with all thy keeping keep thy Heart; For out of it are the Issues of Life and Death. Nothing can waste thy Con­science but Sin, and nothing trouble thy Repose, but what disturbs thy Consci­ence. Let Vertue and Felicity be thy only good, and believe firmly that no­thing can hurt thee but SIN alone.

[Page 440] One evil action done by thy self, is more mischievous to thee, then all the Cala­mities and Sufferings in the World.


Of Magnanimity, or Greatness of Soul. Its Nature. Its Foundation in the vast Capacity of the Understanding. Its Desire. Its Objects are infinite and e­ternal. Its Enquiries are most profound and earnest. It disdaineth all feeble Honours, Pleasures and Treasures. A Magnanimous Man is the only Great and undaunted Creature.

MAGNANIMITY and Content­ment are very near allyed, like Brothers and Sisters they spring from the same Parents, but are of several Fea­tures. Fortitude and Patience are Kin­dred too to this incomparable Vertue. Moralists distinguish Magnanimity and Modesty, by making the one the desire of greater, the other of less and infe­riour Honours. But in my apprehension [Page 441] there is more in Magnanimity. It in­cludes all that belongs to a Great Soul: A high and mighty Courage, an invin­cible Patience, an immoveable Grandeur which is above the reach of Injuries, a contempt of all little and feeble Enjoy­ments, and a certain kind of Majesty that is conversant only with Great things; a high and lofty frame of Spirit, allayed with the sweetness of Courtesie and Re­spect; a deep and stable Resolution founded on Humility without any base­ness; an infinite Hope; and a vast De­sire; a Divine, profound, uncontrolable sence of ones own Capacity, a generous Confidence, and a great inclination to Heroical deeds; all these conspire to compleat it, with a severe and mighty expectation of Bliss incomprehensible. It soars up to Heaven, and looks down upon all the dominion of Fortune with pity and disdain. Its aims and designs are transcendent to all the Concerns of this little World. Its Objects and its Ends are worthy of a Soul that is like GOD in Nature; and nothing less than the Kingdom of GOD, his Life and Image; nothing beneath the Friendship and Communion with him, can be its [Page 442] satisfaction. The Terrours, Allurements and Censures of men are the dust of its feet: their Avarice and Ambition are but feebleness before it. Their Riches and Contentions, and Interests and Ho­nours, but insignificant and empty trifles. All the World is but a little Bubble, In­finity and Eternity the only great and so­veraign things wherewith it converseth. A Magnanimous Soul is alwaies awake. The whole globe of the Earth is but a Nutshell in comparison of its enjoy­ments. The Sun is its Lamp, the Sea its Fishpond, the Stars its Jewels, Men, An­gels its Attendance, and GOD alone its soveraign Delight and supream Compla­cency. The Earth is its Garden, all Pa­laces its Summer houses, Cities are its Cottages, Empires its more spacious Conrts, all Ages and Kingdoms its De­means, Monarchs its Ministers and pub­lick Agents, the whole Catholick Church its Family, the eternal Son of GOD its Pattern and Example. Nothing is great if compared to a Magnanimous Soul, but the Soveraign Lord of all Worlds.

[Page 443]Mistake not these things for arbitrary flourishes of Luxuriant fancy: I speak as I am inspired by Felicity. GOD is the Cause, but the knowledge of a Mans self the Foundation of Magnanimity. Trismegistus counteth thus, First GOD, secondly the World, thirdly Man: the World for Man, and Man for GOD. Of the Soul that which is sensible is Mortal, but that which is reasonable Immortal. The Father of all things being full of Light and Life, brought forth Man like unto himself, whom he loved as his proper Off-spring: for he was all Beauteous having the Image of his Father. This in his Poemander. A­gain he saith, Man is a divine and living thing, not to be compared to any Beast that lives upon the Earth, but to them that are above (in the highest Heavens) that are called Gods. Nay rather if we shall be bold to speak the truth, he that is a MAN IN­DEED is above them! He is infinitely greater than the gods of the Heathen: And a God like unto himself (as the Wise Man observes) he cannot make. At least, saith Trismegistus, they are equal in Power: For none of the things in Hea­ven will come down upon Earth, and leave the limits of Heaven: bur a Man ascends [Page 444] up into Heaven, and measures it. He know­eth what things are on high, and what be­low. And that which is the greatest of all, he leaveth not the Earth, and yet is above: so mighty and vast is the greatness of his Nature! Wherefore we must be bold to say, that an Earthly Man is a Mortal God, and the Heavenly GOD is an Immortal MAN.

THIS is the Philosophy of the anci­ent Heathen: wherein though there be some Errors, yet was he guided to it by a mighty sence of the interiour Excel­lency of the Soul of Man, and the bold­ness he assumes is not so profane, but that it is countenanced here and there in the Holy Scripture. GOD himself said unto Moses, Lo, I have made thee a God to Pharoah. Again he telleth him concerning Aaron, He shall be to thee in­stead of a Mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. And again concerning all the Great men of the World in gene­ral, I have said ye are Gods, but ye shall die like Men. But let us see the Reason of the Heathen a little, on which he foundeth his great Opinions. In one place he maketh his Son Tatius to say, I conceive and understand, not by the sight [Page 445] of mine Eyes, but by the intellectual Opera­tion, &c. I am in Heaven, in the Earth, in the Water, in the Air: I am in the living Creatures, in Plants, in the Womb: every where. Whereupon he asketh him, Dost thou not know (O my Son) that thou art born a God, and the Son of The One as I am? And the ground of this Question he unfoldeth in another place thus; Consider him that contains all things, and understand, that nothing is more Capacious than that which is Incor­poreal, nothing more swift, nothing more powerful: but (of all other things) it is most Capacious, most swift, and most strong. And judge of this by thy self. Command thy Soul to go into India, and sooner than thou canst bid it, it will be there. Bid it pass over the Ocean, and suddenly it will be there: not as passing from place to place, but suddenly it will be there. Command it to flie into Heaven, and it will need no wings, neither shall any thing hinder it; not the fire of the Sun, nor the AEther, nor the turning of the Sphears, nor the bodies of any of the Stars, but cutting through all it will flie up to the last and furthest Body. And if thou wilt even break through the Whole, and see those things that are without [Page 446] the World (if there be any thing without) i.e. if the World be confined,] thou maist. Behold how great Power, how great swiftness thou hast! Canst thou do all these things, and cannot GOD? After this manner therefore contemplate GOD to have all the whole World in himself, as it were all Thoughts or Intellections. If therefore thou wilt not equal thy self to GOD, thou canst not understand GOD. For the like is intelligible by the like. Increase thy self to an immeasurable Greatness, leaping be­yond every Body, and transcending all Time, become ETERNITY; And thou shalt un­derstand GOD. If thou belive in thy self that nothing is impossible, but accountest thy self Immortal, and that thou canst un­derstand all things, every Art, every Science, and the manner and custom of every living thing, become higher than all Height, and lower than all Depth, comprehend in thy self the qualities of all the Creatures, of the Fire, the Water, the Dry and the Moist, and conceive likewise that thou canst at once be every where, in the sea, in the Earth; at once understand thy self not yet begotten, in the Womb, Young, Old, Dead, the things after Death, and all these together; as also all Times, Places, Deeds, Qualities, Quan­tities, [Page 447] thou maist, or else thou canst not yet understand GOD. But if thou shut up thy Soul in thy Body, and abuse it; and say, I understand nothing, I am afraid of the Sea, I cannot climb up into Heaven, I know not who I am, I cannot what I shall be; what hast thou to do with GOD? For thou canst understand none of those fair and good things, but must be a lover of the Body and Evil. For it is the greatest evil not to know GOD. But to be able to Know, and to Will, and to Hope, is the strait Way, and the divine Way proper to the Good. It will every where meet thee, and every where be seen of thee plain and easie, when thou dost expect, or look for it. It will meet thee Waking, Sleeping, Sailing, Travelling, by Night, by Day, when thou speakest, and when thou keepest silence. For it is nothing, which is not the Image of GOD. His Close is most divine; And yet thou sayest, GOD is Invisible; but be advised: for who is more manifest than he? For therefore he made all things, that thou by all things mightst see him. This is the Good of GOD, his Vertue is this, to appear, and be seen in all Things. This is the bottom of all o­ther Greatnesses whatsoever: GOD is infinitely communicative, infinitely prone [Page 448] to reveal himself, infinitely Wise, and able to do it. He hath made the Soul on purpose that it might see him: And if the Eye that was made for the World, being so little a ball of Earth and Water, can take in all, and see all that is visible, if the sight of the Eye be present with all it beholdeth; much more is the Soul both able to see, and to be present with all, that is Divine and Eternal.

I know very well that a Man divided from GOD is a weak inconsiderable Creature, as the Eye is, if divided from the Body, and without the Soul: but united to GOD a Man is a transcendent and Celestial thing. GOD is his Life, his Greatness, his Power, his Blessedness and Perfection. And as the Apostle saith, He that is joyned to the Lord is one SPIRIT. His Omnipresence and E­ternity fill the Soul, and make it able to contain all Heights and Depths, and Lengths and Breadths whatsoever. And it is the desire of the Soul to be filled with all the fulness of GOD.

Magnanimous desires are the natural results of a Magnanimous Capacity. The desire of being like Gods, knowing Good and Evil, was the destruction of the [Page 449] World. Not as if it were unlawful to desire to be Like GOD: but to aspire to the Perfection in a forbidden way, was unlawful. By Disobedience, and by fol­lowing our own Inventions, by seeking to the Creature, to the stock of a Tree, to make us Like GOD; that is erroneous, and poor, and despicable: but to know our selves, and in the strait and divine Way to come immediately to GOD, to contemplate him in his Eternity and Glory, is a right and safe Way: for the Soul will by that means be the Sphere of is Omnipresence, and the Temple of the God-head: It will become ETER­NITY, as Trismegistus speaketh, or ONE SPIRIT with God, as the Apostle. And then it must needs be present with all things in Heaven, and in the Earth, and in the Sea, as GOD is: for all things will be in it, as it were by Thoughts and Intellecti­ons.

A Magnanimous Soul then, if we re­spect its Capacity, is an immovable sphere of Power and Knowledge, far greater than all Worlds, by its Vertue and Pow­er passing through all things, through the Centre of the Earth, and through all Existencies. And shall such a Creature [Page 450] as this be contented with Vanities and Trlfles, Straws and Feathers, painted Butterflies, Hobby-horses and Rattles. These are the Treasures of little Chil­dren! but you will say a Man delighteth in Purses of Gold, and Cabinets of Jew­els, in Houses and Palaces, in Crowns and Scepters. Add Kingly Delights, and say he delighteth in Armies and Victo­ries, and Triumphs and Coronations. These are great in respect of Play-things. But all these are feeble and pusillani­mous to a great Soul.Tully in Somn. Sci­pion. As Scipio was go­ing up to Heaven, the Earth it self seem­ed but a Nutshel, and he was ashamed of all his Victories and Triumhs, amazed at his madness in Quarrelling, and fighting about Territories and Kingdoms con­tracted to a Star, and lost into nothing. the whole Earth is but one invisible Point, when a man foareth to the height of Immensity, and beholdeth and com­passeth its everlasting Circumference, which is infinite every way beyond the Heavens. It is the true and proper Im­mensity of the Soul: Which can no more be contented with the narrow confine­ment of this World, no more rest in the Childishness of all the noise of the In­terests [Page 451] of Men, be no more satisfied with its Earthly Glories, than the SUN can be shut up in a Dark-Lanthorn. It is true indeed it would desire to see, as the Angels do, the least and lowest of all the Creatures full of the Glory and Blessedness of GOD, all Wisdom and Goodness in every thing, and is apt to complain for want of some eternal and Celestial Light wherein to behold them: but if all the expansions of Time and E­ternity should be void, and all the ex­tents and out-goings of Infinity empty round about them; though things upon Earth, nay and things in the Heavens, should be never so Rich, and divine, and beautiful, yet such is the Magnanimity of a Great Soul, that it would hugely be displeased: its loss and its distaste would be alike Infinite. Infinite Ho­nours, infinite Treasures, infinite Enjoy­ments, things endless in number, value, and excellency are the Objects of its Care and Desire; the greatness of its Spi­rit leads it to consider and enquire, whe­ther all the spaces above the Heavens, and all the parts of GOD's everlasting King­dom be full of Joyes, whether there be any end or bound of his Kingdom; whe­ther [Page 452] ther there be any defect or miscarriage, any blemish or disorder in it, any vile and common thing, any remissness or neg­lect, any cause of complaint or defor­mity? As also whether all the Ages of the World are Divine and Sacred; whe­ther after they are gone, they abide in their places; whether there be anything in them to entertain the Powers of the Soul with delight, and feed them with satisfaction? What end, what use, what excellency there is in Men? Whether all the waies of GOD are full of beauty and perfection; all Wisdom, Justice, Holiness, Goodness, Love and Power? What Regions eternal Blessedness is seat­ed in? What Glory, what Reason, what Agreeableness and Harmony is in all his Counsels? Whether those durations of Eternity before the World is made, are full or empty, full of bright and amiable Objects, or dark and obscure? Whether the government of the World be per­fect; whether the Soul be Divine in it self; whether it be conducive to its own felicity, or to the happiness of all those in whom it is concerned? Whether the World shall end? If it shall, after what manner; whether by Design or Acci­dent? [Page 453] Whether All Ages and Nations shall rise from the Dead? Whether there shall be a general Doom, or a day of Judg­ment? Whether I am concerned in all the transactions and passages at that day? Whether all Mankind shall be united into one, to make up one compleat and per­fect Body, whereof they all are the fellow-Members? What shall be after the End of the VVorld? Whether we shall live for ever? Whether we shall see GOD, and know one another? Whe­ther we shall reign in eternal Glory? Whether in the Confusions of Hell there be any Beauty, and whether in the Tor­ments of the damned we shall find any joy or satisfaction? Whether all the Riches, Customs and Pleasures of this World shall be seen? Whether in the World to come any fruit shall appear and arise from them, for which they shall be esteemed to have been not in vain, but profitable in relation to all Eternity? What kind of Life we shall lead, and what kind of Communion and fellow­ship Angels and Men shall have with each other? VVhether the VVorks of GOD were unworthy of his Choice, or the best of all that were possible? What [Page 454] his Laws are as to their nature and ex­cellency? Whether his Love be really sincere and infinite? Whether there be any such thing as infinite Wisdom, Good­ness and Bounty, Blessedness and Glory? Such things as these are the Concerns and Inquiries of a Magnanimous Soul. And if its expectations and desires are absolutely satisfied, it will easily appear, and break forth upon all Occasions, into the most high and Magnanimous Actions.

Trismegistus (or whoever else was the Author of that Book) saw the deep Capacity of his own Soul, but if a Conjecture may be made by the residue of the discourse, did not understand the end (at least not clearly) for which it was implanted. Some knowledge he had, that all the things in Eternity were the Objects of that Power, by reason of which he calls them Fair and Good: but that they were to be the Treasures and Enjoyments of the Soul I do not find him affirming. He that knows this must needs be of our Saviours mind, who when all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them were shewed him by Sa­tan in a moment of time, despised them all. For the divine and Celestial King­dom [Page 455] is infinitely greater, and in a far more perfect manner to be enjoyed.

HE that knoweth the Honour which cometh from above, will despise the Ho­nour which men can pay, and in compa­rison of that Honour which cometh from GOD only, esteem all the Honour of this World but false and feeble. Not as if Men were in the truth of Nature vile and despicable Creatures; a Mag­nanimous man knows all others to be by Nature like himself, and is apt to reve­rence all of his kind as sublime and Celestial Creatures. But he is a Man of a clear and discerning Spirit, and the Corruption of Nature makes him to slight all that is defiled. He sees that Men are generally Evil, deformed and blind, erroneous, perverse and foolish, poor and miserable: And that all the Honour which they generally give is ir­rational and feigned. A little colour in the face, a gay Coat, a fine Horse, a Pa­lace and a Coach, an Exchequer full of Gold, or some such light and superficial Causes, are all the grounds of the respect that they pay us.

And if the Glory and Esteem I have,
Be nothing else than what my Silver gave;
If for no other ground
I am with Love or Praises crown'd,
'Tis such a shame, such vile, such base Repute,
'Tis is better starve, than eat such empty Fruit.

IF a King be dejected from his Throne, it is but a poor comfort that he is admired by Persons condemned to die, and praised by Beggars. The dig­nity and power of the Persons that ad­mire us, is of great consideration, in the love and delight which they take in us. They all must vanish and perish as a Dream: no Honour is truly great, but that which is continual and endless too. A great and mighty Soul can care for no Honour but that which comes from wise and amiable Persons, that are themselves great and honourable, most rich and powerful, holy, just, blessed and glori­ous. Honour from GOD and his holy Angels, from the eternal Son of GOD and all his Saints, is marvellous and sub­stantial. That Honour which is paid upon great and solid causes; because a Man is well-pleasing to GOD, and ex­alted to his Throne; because he is the [Page 457] very true Image of GOD, and has do­minion over all the Creatures; because he is infinitely beloved of GOD, and all Angels and Men are commanded to love him; because he is redeemed by the Blood of Christ, and made a Temple of the Holy Ghost; because he is a Priest and King to his eternal Creatour, because he is full of Goodness and Wisdom, a­dorned with all kind of Vertue, and made an Heir of eternal Glory; because he is Faithful and True, and Just and Holy; because he hath conquered Death, and Hell, and Sin, and the Grave, and triumpheth over them, this is being paid by such Persons, Honour indeed: and to desire this Honour is the Property and the Vertue of a Magnanimous Soul.

An Eagle cannot stoop at Flies. An Alexander, or a Caesar cannot debase or confine their Souls to the pleasures of a Cottage in a Wilderness. Infinite Hopes and infinite Desires, infinite Fears, and Despairs, and Sorrows, infinite Joyes, and Delights, and Glories, infinite Ado­rations, Praises and Thanksgivings, infinite and eternal Objects are the only fit and proper Concerns for the Affections of a [Page 458] Great and Magnanimous Soul. The very signification of the word is Greatness of Soul, or if you please, of Mind: For a distinction may be made between the Soul, and Mind. The Soul of Man is the immutable essence, or form of his Na­ture, unimployed. His power of Rea­soning is alive, even then when it is quiet and unactive; and this is his Soul. It is one and the same in all men, and of it self equally inclined to all great and tran­scendent things: but in the most it is misguided, baffled and suppressed, and though it be never so great it is to no purpose. This greatness implanted by Na­ture is not Magnanimity: It is a Natural disposition, not an acquired habit, as all Vertue is. A Man is then said to be of such a Mind, when he determines, or thinks in such a manner. His mind is Good that intendeth well, his mind is Evil that designeth mischief. So that the Mind is the Soul exerting its power in such an act: and the greatest Soul in all the World is but Pusillanimous that mindeth little things. A great Soul is Magnanimous in Effect, a Mind applyed to mighty Objects. Some men have a Magnanimity infused by the power of [Page 459] Education, and are led by Custome to Great things, and in a manner by Ne­cessity, for such is their Place and Cal­ling, that they are frequently led to greater Objects than other men. Of this sort are the most eminent rank of Gran­dees, and Princes: Kingdoms, and Thrones, and Privy Councils, and Queens, and Armies are their natural Dialect. This is no Vertue, for though it be not innate by Nature, yet they are born to it, and it is given by Fortune. Others consider what they have to do, and make an election, and though they are born in a poor and despicable estate, are not Magnanimous by Nature, or Fortune, but by Choice and voluntary Election. Not to satisfie the humour of a high Blood, choler and fire, nor to answer the necessities of a higher Cal­ling; but to discharge the office of Ver­tue and Wisdom. And this is the Off­spring of the Will, the true and genuine Vertue. Which as it is far more worthy than any of the rest, is guided to far better and more glorious Objects, and more diffusively given by the Bounty of GOD to all kind of Men in all Condi­tions. In the Poor it is more marvellous [Page 460] than in the Great and Rich: It has such an undaunted property in its Nature, that though the disproportion between them and their Assurance, or Hope, or Desire seem infinite, and the end which they aim at by their Magnanimity is judged impossible: though their attempt appear a ridiculous madness to them to whom the Verities of Religion appear incredible, yet they are no whit discou­raged or disheartened at the matter, but stoutly march on, being animated by the alarum of such a Trumpet, such a Drum as Magnanimity is. His Faith is more Divine by conquering the discourage­ments of the World, than if he met with no censure or opposition.

IF you would have the Character of a Magnanimous Soul, he is the Son of eternal Power, and the Friend of infinite Goodness, a Temple of divine and hea­venly Wisdom, that is not imposed upon by the foul and ragged disguises of Na­ture, but acquainted with her great Ca­pacities and Principles, more than com­monly sensible of her interests, and depths, and desires. He is one that has gone in unto Felicity, and enjoyed her beauties, and comes out again her per­fect [Page 461] Lover and Champion: a Man whose inward stature is miraculous; and his Complexion so divine, that he is King of as many Kingdoms as he will look on: One that scorns the smutty way of en­joying things like a Slave, because he delights in the Celestial way, and the Image of GOD. He knows that all the World lies in Wickedness; and admires not at all, that things palpable and near, and natural, are unseen, though most powerful and glorious; because men are blind and stupid. He pities poor vici­ous Kings that are oppressed with heavy Crowns of Vanity and Gold, and ad­mires how they can content themselves with such narrow Territories: yet de­lights in their Regiment of the World, and paies them the Honour that is due unto them. The glorious Exaltation of good Kings he more abundantly extols, because so many thousand Magnanimous Creatures are committed to their Trust, and they that govern them understand their Value. But he sees well enough that the Kings glory and true repose con­sists in the Catholick and eternal King­dom. As for himself he is come unto Mount Sion, and to the City of the living [Page 462] GOD, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable Company of Angels, to the General Assembly and Church of the First­born, which are written in Heaven, and to GOD the Judge of all, and to the Spirits of Just men made perfect, and to JESUS the Mediatour of the New Covenant: And therefore receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, he desires to serve GOD acceptably with reverence and godly fear: And the truth is he can fear nothing else, for GOD alone is a con­suming fire. He very well understands what the Apostle saith, and dares believe him: I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my Prayers, that the GOD of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Fa­ther of Glory, may give unto you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the know­ledge of him, the eyes of your Understand­ing being enlightened, that ye may know what is the HOPE of his Calling, and what the RICHES of the GLORY of his IN­HERITANCE in the Saints. And what is the EXCEEDING GREATNESS of his POWER to us-ward who believe, according to the WORKING of his Mighty Power: which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own [Page 463] RIGHT HAND in the HEAVENLY places: far above all Principality, and Power, and Might, and Dominion, and every Name that is named, not only in this WORLD, but in that also which is to come: And hath put ALL THINGS under his feet, and he gave him to be HEAD over all Things to the CHURCH which is his BODY, THE FULNESS OF HIM THAT FIL­LETH ALL IN ALL. Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly a­bove all that we ask or think, according to the Power that WORKETH in us, Unto him be Glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all AGES, World without end. Amen.

A great and a clear Soul knoweth that all these intimations must needs be true, for it is an amazing Miracle that they should be otherwise. Infinite Love and Eternal Blessedness are near allyed; and that these should cease, is contrary to all Nature, in GOD, in the Soul of Man, in Heaven, in Earth, in the order of the Universe, and contrary to all that VISI­BLE GLORY which in the World ap­peareth.


Of Modesty. Its Nature. Its Original. Its Effects and Consequences.

MODESTY is a comely Grace in the Behaviour of a Man, by which he piously dissembleth his own Perfecti­ons, and blusheth at his Praises. It sprin­geth from a certain fear and sence of his Imperfection. 'Tis the shadow of Guilt, and a beautiful cover of Original Cor­ruption. It is sometimes Natural, and, which is contrary to all other Vertues, more truly vertuous for being so. For then it is Simple, Genuine, and Real; but studied Modesty is affected and arti­ficial: yet where Nature has not been so obliging as to give the endowment, 'tis not altogether to be condemned, since it is agreeable to the best of our condi­tions in this World, and supplies a defect in his Nature, that is born without it.

IT is akin to Shame, yet increases the honour of him that wears it; it is the shade of Vertue, yet makes it brighter: [Page 465] It is a tincture of Humility, visible in a vermilion and deeper die; and the more natural and easie, the more sweet and de­lightful.

IT charms the Envy of those that admire us, and by seeming to extinguish our worth gives it a double beauty. It reconciles a man to the Enemies of his Grace and Vertue, and by a softness ir­resistible wins a Compassion in all Spe­ctators. It is a Vertue which by refusing the honour that is due unto it, acquireth more; a real Counterfeit, and the only honest and true dissimulation. It is an effeminate, yet a laudable quality; a spice of Cowardice, more prevalent than Courage; a Vertue by which we despise all meaner Honours, while we are ambiti­ously carried to the highest Glory. It seemeth inconsistent with Magnanimity, yet is her youngest Sister.

IT hath not many Objects, nor are its Aims apparent, nor its Ends conspicu­ous. It is the Mother of fine and deli­cate Resentments; its strength consisteth in tenderness and fear. He that is Mag­nanimous in one respect, may be modest in another. Praises and Commendati­ons are the fuel of its Nature, it feedeth [Page 466] upon them, while it grows by rejecting them. It delights in what it feareth; and is full of discords, but more full of harmonies. It is pleased in its displea­sure, and alwaies fighteth with its own Repugnancies. It is a Vertue mixt of Sence and Reason; its region is in the Body more than in the Soul, and in all its Spiritual motions it is attended with Cor­poreal impressions. The Blood and Spi­rits dance in the Veins, as if Nature were delighted with its own Confusions. By captivating the favour of Men upon Earth, it affecteth the very Angels in Heaven, with much of pleasure. It put­teth us in mind of Guilt and Innocency at the same time, and by confession of the one adds lustre to the other. By making way for the acceptance of a mans Person, it giveth more esteem, suc­cess, and efficacy to his other Vertues. And by this means it hath much of ex­cellency in a little.

HE that hath it not, must needs ac­quire something like it; and if he be elaborate in expressing it, must hide his Art under the vail of Nature. Though it be remote from the highest End, it may be guided to it, and when so dire­cted, [Page 467] is alwaies innocent. It is very just, for while other Vertues make it a Ver­tue, it is a Grace unto them all. You may look upon it as a tangible flame and see it in others, but must feel it in your self before you can understand it. It is old in Children, young in middle Aged men, at last an Infant. It is greatest in the be­ginning of our life, it decayeth in Youth, in Old Age it vanisheth; at least chang­eth its dwelling, for it ceaseth to be in the Body of an Aged man, and turneth into Courtesie or Civility, in the Con­versation. When it dieth, it is buried in Humility, and liveth in its Tomb, being empaled in as it were with Meekness, and waiting daily for its Resurrection. Much cannot be said of it precisely: but it is best commended, when left to your Practice. It is the only tender Infant of all the Vertues: like Cupid among the gods: it appeareth frequently, and is much exercised, in the School of Venus: but is capable of more high and more noble uses.

MODESTY in Apparel is commen­ded in the Scriptures. It implies Mode­ration and Chastity together. It is sometimes opposed to Lasciviousness, [Page 468] sometimes to Excess, sometimes to Im­pudence: And is a great Vertue, if for nothing else, but the exclusion of these abominable Vices.

THE other Vertues seem to be the Members, and substantial parts of the Body of worth: Modesty like the Air, and Meen of them all. It is the guard of the Soul against Loosness and Pride, a Vertue repressing the sumes of self­conceit, and a kind of silent restraint of all that Arrogance, that delights in pomps and superfluities.

THOUGH it be a little Vertue, its Reality is apparent: for unless it be made up with some other supplies, the want of Modesty is pernicious and destru­ctive.

IT is exercised in small things, but is of long extent in the vertue of its in­fluence; and because of the multiplicity of its uses and occasions, amounts to a considerable degree of Goodness. It hath something like Love in its nature, for it preferreth another above it self, and in that its magnetical and obliging quality much consisteth. In honour pre­ferring one another. It fulfils that Law, wherein our most near and tender In­terest [Page 469] is concerned. In preferring one a­nother there is a lovely [...], more sweet and happy than the best Agree­ment. It is of all other the most [...] strife, and [...] Cont [...].


The excellent Nature of Liberality. Rules to be observed in the practice of it. Re­gard to our Servants, Relations, friends and Neighbours must be had in our Libe­rality, as well as to the Poor and Needy. How our external acts of Charity ought to be improved for the benefit of mens Souls. Liberality maketh Religion real and substantial.

LIBERALITY, in the common use and acceptation of the Word, dif­fers from Magnificence, as Modesty from Magnanimity. There is much of liberty and freedom in its Nature. For Avarice is a strict and sour Vice, and they that are guilty of it are called Misers; but a Bountiful man hath a good eye, and is as free from Anxiety, as he is free in disbur­sing. [Page 470] His Communicative humor is much his enlargement: he knows little of Con­finement, Care or Bondage.

THERE are two Vertues that endan­ger a Mans welfare in this World; and they have all the Temporal Promises. Meekness seems to encourage our Ene­mies to trample us under feet, because it promiseth Impunity: And it is directly said The Meek shall inherit the Earth: may he so far from having Enemies, that the Meek shall inherit the abundance of Peace. And concerning Liberality which makes a man a Beggar, at least threatens to make him so, by wasting his Estate, the Scripture saith, The Liberal Soul shall be made fat. The Liberal Heart deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall be stand.

MEN are almost in all things contrary in GOD. For since they tumbled out of Eden, they have lost their wits, and their heads are downwards: They think it wisdom to keep their Mony against a rainy day: and to lay it up for fear of Poverty. But Solomon adviseth them to the direct contrary, and maketh it an Ar­gument why they should be Liberal, Be­caus they know not what evil may come up­on [Page 471] the Earth. We cannot put our Trea­sures into safer hands, than into GOD Al­mighty's: Nor can we make any use of Gold and Silver, comparable to that of Charitable uses. By this it is that we lay up a good foundation against the time to come; and oblige others to receive us in­to Mansions here, into everlasting habi­tations hereafter.

MY Lord Bridgeman, late Lord Keep­er, confessed himself in his Will to be but a Steward of his Estate, and prayed GOD to forgive him all his offences, in Getting, Mispending, or not Spending it as he ought to do: And that after many Cha­ritable and Pious works, perhaps sur­mounting his Estate, though concealed from the notice and knowledge of the World.

I have heard of a smart obliging Calum­ny fastned on a Great Man of France, by one that had largely tasted of his Boun­ty: for having been in his House honou­rably entertained for some space of time, and observing how much the Palace was frequented by all kind of Learned Men: and how Liberal the Master of it was, e­specially to men of Worth and Vertue; he charges the Man with the greatest Co­vetousnes [Page 472] in the World: because he turned all his Riches into Obligations: As if he had put all his Estate and Monies to Use: But to covet affections, and be rich in hearts is no deformity.

THE truth is, when the waies where­by Love is begotten in the Soul are well examined, and the happiness of being truly beloved, and delighted in, is known; no man is so wise as the Liberal man. He is his own end, while he thinks not of it. For nothing is more conducive to his [...] and [...], than the bounty of Munificence which enriches his Soul. There are three things which beget Love, Beauty, Benefits and Praises: They are all three shut up in Goodness, which is the fountain of Liberality. The beauty of the face is a silent Oratory, a high stile of Commendation without an Epistle: yet by doing Benefits it prevaileth more, than by any of its Charms; and maketh it self great by enriching others. Love inspires it with an amiable Soul; and if others are delighted with their own Prai­ses, he that is liberal in the acknowledg­ment of m [...]ns Vertues, and giveth Ho­nour to the Worthy, is full of musick in his words, of a sweet and pleasing beha­viour, [Page 473] agreeable in his deeds, and fraught with the Honour which he imparteth so freely. A Liberal man is cloathed like the Sun with the Raies of his own glory, and establishes himself in the hearts of his Neighbours, and reigns like a King by the sole interest of Vertue and Goodness. Every man is a Friend to him that giveth many Gifts. He may be as holy, and as temperate, and as wise as an Angel, no man will be offended at him, because he beautifies his Religion with so much goodness. He enjoys himself, and his Riches, and his Friends, and may do what he will (with perfect liberty) because he delights in the felicity of all that accost him. He puts embroideries on Religion by the chearfulness of his Spirit, and car­ries a light wherever he goes, that makes men to reverence his Person, and esteem his Censures. He moves in a sphere of Wonders, his life is a continual stream of Miracles, because he is alwaies sacrificing himself and his Possessions, to the benefit of the World, and the comfort of others. Benefits and Blessings are his Life-guard, like his guardian Angels alwaies atten­dant on him. His House is the habitation of joy and felicity, and yields a spectacle [Page 474] of Contentment to every beholder. His Neighbours are his Security, not his Sus­picion; and other mens Houses the forts and ramparts about his own. No man will hurt him, because they extinguish their own contentment and benefit in him. Theytender him as the apple of their eye, because he is a greater comfort and ad­vantage than that unto them. The ancient custome of Paradice, so long since lost and forgotten in the World revives in its Fa­mily, where all men are entertained as Brothers and Sisters, at the expences of GOD and Nature. He taketh care, be­cause Thrift is the suel of Liberality; and is Frugal, that he may be Bountiful. All his aim and labour is that he may main­tain Good Works; and make his light so shine before men, that they seeing his good works may glorifie his Father which is in Heaven. There is a generous Confidence discove­red in all his Actions, and a little glimpse of Heaven in his Behaviour; for he lives as if he were among a company of An­gels. All mens Estates are his, and his is theirs: If he had them all he would im­part them, and restore them to supply their Wants; perhaps not with so much wisdom as GOD hath done, but with as [Page 475] much pleasure and contentment, as his goodness can inspire, in the exercise of power so kindly and well employed. But because the designs of GOD are infinite­ly deeper than he can well apprehend, and laid all in eternal Wisdom, he is plea­sed and delighted, that his Care is pre­vented; and that GOD hath done that for other men, to which his own inclina­tion would readily prompt him were it left undone. If it were permitted him to wish whatsoever he listed, of all other things he would chiefly desire to be a Blessing to the whole World; and that he is not so, is his only discontentment. But for that too there are remedies in Felici­ty: when he knows all, his desire is gran­ted. For a Life beautified with all Ver­tue is the greatest gift that can be pre­sented to GOD, Angels and Men. And when all Secrets shall be revealed, all hidden things brought to light, his life shall be seen in all its perfection, and his Desires themselves be the enjoyments and pleasures of all the Creatures. There is a certain kind of sympathy that runs through the Universe, by vertue of which all men are fed in the feeding of one: even the Angels are cloathed in the Poor [Page 476] and Needy. All are touched and con­cerned in every one. Like the Brazen Pillars in the Temple of Minerva, if one be smitten all resound the blow through­out the Temple: or like the strings of se­veral Lutes skrewed up to Unisones, the one is made to quaver by the others motions. If Christ himself be fed in the Poor, much more may Angels and Men. At the last day we find no other scrutiny about Religion, but what we have done or neglected in Liberality. Come ye blessed of my [...]ather, inherit the Kingdom prepa­red for you from the foundations of the World, for I was hungry and ye gave me meat, thirsty and ye gave me drink, naked and ye cloathed me, a Stranger and ye took me in; I was sick and ye visited me, I was in Prison and ye came unto me. In­as much as ye have done it to the least of these my Brethren, ye have done it unto me. LOVE it seems will sit in Judgment on the World: and the Rule of Trial shall be the fulfilling of its Laws. Love shall be the glory too of all the Ass [...]ssors. And every act of Cruelty and Oppression in­finitely odious in all their eyes.

THERE was a certain King which would take account of his Servants: and [Page 477] when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, that ought him 10000 Talents. But for asmuch as he had not to pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The Servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the Lord of that Servant was moved with Compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the Debt. But the same Servant went out, and found one of his fellow-Servants which ought him 100 pence, and he laid hold on him and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow-Servant fell down at his feet and besought him, Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not, but went and cast him into Prison till he should pay the Debt. So when his fel­low-Servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told to their Lord all that was done. Every neglect and con­tempt of our fellow Brethren is injurious and grievous to GOD, Angels and Men: for there is one common Principle in all Nature, to hate evil Deeds, and especial­ly those of Rigour and Severity, when we our selves stand in need of Mercy, and have received Favour. This com­mon [Page 478] principle of Sympathy and Com­passion intitles us to all the good, that is done to any Man in the World. The love of Equity and Reason, and the natu­ral inclination that carries us to delight in excellent Deeds, gives us an interest in all that are performed. The beauty of the one is as sweet and blessed as the de­formity of the other is odious and di­stastful. And if we our selves are infi­nitely obliged, and live by the bounty and goodness of another, after we have forfeited the Kings favour, have received it again with pardon and forgiveness, nay and with more and greater benefits; if we shall not be liberal to one another, it is a strange inequality. But the discharge of our duty will make us amiable and delightful.

That the King of Glory is so concern­ed in the welfare of his Subjects, were there nothing else in the Duty but that consideration, is an infinite encourage­ment. He that receiveth you, receiveth me, is such an obligation, that as it is all Goodness in it self, so is it all Motive unto us. Eternity will scarce be sufficient to fathom its depth. Do we feed GOD him­self in feeding the Poor, and his eternal [Page 479] Son Jesus Christ? Are these Needy per­sons the Representatives of the GOD­HEAD, in whom we are to shew all our affection, love and gratitude to the foun­tain of all Life and Happiness? How in­finite ought our Liberality to be, when we consider the excellency of our Bliss and Benefactour? Are they beloved, are they all his Sons, the very express image of himself; all disguised and concealed Kings; all Temples of eternal Glory? What measure can confine or shut up our bowels? Are the Spectators so innu­merable, so divine, so blessed, so nearly allyed to our selves, so rich, and great, and beautiful, are they so deeply con­cerned in the welfare of others, and does every act of Charity extend to all; shall we appear in the very act it self eternally before them? What a vast ambition of pleasing all these glorious Persons, should be exprest in every operation of the Soul? As every Thought is seen throughout all eternity, and every Word that is spoken here on Earth) heard in the utmost ex­tents of immensity; so is there a kind of Omnipresent greatness in the smallest a­ction, for it is vertually extended through all the omnipresence of Almighty GOD: [Page 480] even as every Centre, wherein it can be done is eternally near, nay and within him in the remotest part of his omnipre­sence. 'Tis dilated in a moment, and fills the immensity of GOD with its nature. According to its kind it affecteth all his Essence in all spaces whatsoever.

YET is there a Rule for the bounding of all external acts of Charity, and ano­ther for improving it. Intelligence is the light wherein Alms-deeds ought to shine, and attain their glory: Love is the soul of Compassion, and Zeal the fervour of Perfection: without which though a man bestow all his Goods to feed the Poor, and give his Body to be burned, it profiteth no­thing. Where this great abyss of good­ness is, Prudence may dispence it, as it seeth occasion. All other Vertues attend­ing upon it, it is impossible to destroy it self here on earth, unless the case be so urgent, that it is better die, than to live in the World. For a good man sheweth fa­vour and lendeth; but it is added, He will guide his affairs with discretion.

The first Rule is, to secure the life and growth of the tree, by causing it so to bear one year, that it may bring forth fruit a­nother. It is no good husbandry to cut it [Page 481] down: nor any charity to make it wither and expire. And on this very account a Charitable man must preserve himself, that he may do more good, by continu­ing longer able to do it.

HE that will examine the proportions and measures of his Liberality may take this Rule for the second: Let thy Super­fluities give place to other mens Conve­niencies, thy Conveniencies to their Ne­cessities, thy Necessities to their Extre­mities.

A third Rule is this; Our Riches must be expended according to the several Circumstances and occasions of our lives. A Liberal man will not pinch and starve his Servants. For it is contrary to the na­ture of Bounty to oppress any, to hurt any, to trample upon any. He will be good to all, and to those most, that are near unto him. GOD hateth robbery for burnt Offering, or that Strangers should eat the Childrens meat, or that Beggars or Riotous persons should devour the right of a mans Servants. He that does brave acts abroad, but is a Niggard with­in doors, has a glorious train spread a­broad like a Peacock, but stands upon black feet; and may bear that unlucky [Page 482] bird for his Crest, which is the emblem of Pride and Vain-glory. So is it with young Prodigals that oppress poor Tradesmen, by defrauding them of their Debts, yet are lavish enough to the Poor and Nee­dy. This is a defect with which Goodness is inconsistent, and it blasteth their Cha­rity. It is better take off 100 pound a year from ones benevolence to the poor, than wrong a Servant or Creditour of a shil­ling. The Rule therefore is this, First se­cure the works of Necessity; have food and rayment for thy self: keep out of debt. Next render to every man his due in point of Justice, and employ no man thou canst not pay; rather perish thy self than oppress another. If thou art able, and hast any thing to spare, then let the miseries of the Needy be supplied in the works of Compassion and Charity: but let not all be swallowed up here, thy Neighbours, and Acquaintance, and Friends, and Kindred claim a share; and thou must secure something for the works of Courtesie and Hospitality. So order all both in thy Estate and Life, that the kindness of GOD may shine in all. So do­ing thy Stewardship shall be acceptable to the whole World, and thy Memory blessed among men and Angels.

[Page 483] Our Saviour when he wrought his Mi­racles, as he opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, cast out Devils, raised the dead, gave food to the hungry, tongues to the dumb, ears to the deaf, and legs to the lame: so did he give ad­vice to the ignorant, and interpret all his design, by those Parables and Sermons which attended his Cures. Good Counsel is oftentimes a greater gift than a Trunk of Mony. While the Iron is hot it is time to strike. Good Counsel is like a bitter Pill, that must be gilded with Liberali­ty. If the Word of GOD be like good seed, the heart in which it is sown is sof­tened by Sorrow, and ploughed up by affliction, and prepared to receive it by the husbandry of Providence. And the properest Season that can be chosen for Instruction is the time of Obliging. He that intendeth the welfare of the Soul by all the good works he doth to the Body, is deep and perfect in Charity. A wise man will improve his advantages, and enrich his Gifts with pious discour­ses. A Benefactour has authority to talk what he listeth, and bribes his Auditor to patience by his Bounty. Since He that winneth Souls is wise, a profound Libera­lity [Page 484] will not let slip a golden Opportu­nity, nor suffer his Gift to be dark and insignificant. He will make mention of the glory of GOD, and the Love of Christ, the guilt of Sin, the danger of Hell, and the hope of Heaven, and alwaies en­deavour to make his Love apparent to that GOD, for whose sake he pities the Poor, and is kind towards all. For as much as man hath two parts, and his Body is without the Soul but a putrid Carkass; he will put life into his Mony, and inspire his Munificence with all his Reasons, that his Bounty may consist of two parts in like manner, and have a Soul for its In­terpreter. Liberality to the Soul is the Soul of Liberality. Paradice and Hea­ven are better to be given than Gold and Silver. And every Good man will imitate the Apostle, who was ready not to im­part the Gospel of GOD only, but his own Soul to the benefit of those for whom Christ died.

THIS one thing further I desire you to note, He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, but he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Cor. 9. 6 In the Kingdom of Heaven every man receiveth his Pen­ny: because all their Joyes are common [Page 485] and equal. Their Treasures shall be the same, but they will differ in Glory. The same GOD, the same Angels, the same Men, all the same Objects shall be round about every man. Every man shall see and enjoy all the Glory of his eternal Kingdom, because every ones life and felicity shall be perfect. But yet their works follow them; and every man shall be cloathed in the beauty of his own actions, Vertues and Graces. There may be twenty Children in the same family, yet all of several Features. There may be a thousand Trees in the same Orchard, yet all of different kinds. The same brightness and glory may be round a­bout them, the same skie cover them, the same Earth support them, the same Stars serve them, the same Sun shine upon them, the same Sea, the same Dew, the same Air and Nourishment feed them, and yet the one be more fair, and honou­rable, and excellent than the other. All the World does know that a Tree laden with Fruits and Blossoms is far more beau­tiful than a Tree that is barren and un­fruitful. And the degrees of Beauty are according as the Fruits are, more or less. And as the Fruits they bring forth adorn [Page 486] them, so do their own works praise them in the Gates. Heaven as it is a Kingdom of Light and Knowledge, is a Kingdom of Perfection; Righteousness and Justice flourish there in their fulness: and every several degree of excellence is entertain­ed with an answerable degree of esteem: according to the number and greatness of their Vertues every one is honoured by Saints and Angels.

NOW least these Fruits should receive any impediment by the Vices and Cor­ruptions of men, order is taken, that we should love our Enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, pray for them that despightfully use, and perse­cute us. By which means it is that a Libe­ral man surmounts all obstacles whatsoe­ver, lives among Dragons as if he were surrounded with Doves, and though he be environed with Devils, is as if he were conversant with Angels: Because he takes no notice of any Vice in any man, to stop him, but is as Liberal as if all were full of worth and vertue. Nay he is more good and more miraculous. Their Vices, their Provocations, their Disorders cannot stain or imbitter his Nature: but he will be alwaies chearful, [Page 487] and bright, and fair, and free and perfect. To love the amiable, and be kind to the beautiful is natural and easie. It is not given to the Angels but to visit the Faith­ful and the Penitent. But to love the Evil, to be kind, and good and serviceable to the Deformed and the Odious, to the Injurious and Ungrateful, is somewhat more than Angelical. We learn it not of them but of GOD, and of his eternal Son: who hath commanded us to be the Chil­dren of our Father which is in Heaven; for he maketh his Sun to rise on the Evil and on the Good, and sendeth rain on the Just and on the Unjust. Even Publicans and Sinners do in some manner as much as Angels, love them that love them. In Hea­ven they have no malignity, or malice, or wrong to overcome, all that they love is Beauty and Goodness: unless they learn of Jesus Christ, and imitate him here on Earth towards us Sinners. But our duty is far greater, and our opposition more. Which is intimated also in our Saviours words: For if ye love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the Publicans the same? And if ye salute your Brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the Publicans so? Be ye there­fore [Page 488] perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.

In the Close of all, I beseech you to consider this one most cogent and weigh­ty expostulation. It is the beloved Dis­ciples, If a man say, 1 Joh. 4. 20. I love GOD, and ha­teth his Brother, he is a Liar: for he that loveth not his Brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? Our Neighbours are not only the repre­sentatives of GOD, but they are here upon Earth, are visible, are present with us, are Corporeal as we are, and alwaies near us, our actions among them are pal­pable, and our Conversation with them real. GOD is invisible, and absent from us, he is afar off in the highest Heavens, Incorporeal, and Incomprehensible: If we are remiss and careless in our duty to­wards our Neighbour, all our devotion towards GOD will be but imaginary, our Religion will degenerate into an idle and vain Chimera, become a weak and feeble shadow, be seated in the fancy, and dwindle away into an aiery Speculation. The reality of Religion consists in the solid practice of it among the Sons of men that are daily with us. The difficult and serious actions of our Lives abroad, [Page 489] feed our Meditation in all our retire­ments, and infuse a reality and strength into our Devotions, which make them so­lid and substantial.


Of Magnificence in GOD. Its resemblance in Man. The chief Magnificence of the Soul is Spiritual. It is perfectly expressed in the outward Life, when the whole is made perfect, and presented to GOD. GOD gives all his Life to us: and we should give ours all to him. How fair and glorious it may be.

GOD being proposed as the Pattern of our Liberality and Kindness by our Saviour, the nature of his Bounty is sit to be considered for our Information: which is great, and publick, and advan­tagious to many. In some of his private dispensations it walks under the notion and form of Liberality, as it giveth food and Rayment, Gold and Silver, Houses and Lands to particular persons: But in other effects of his eternal love, which [Page 490] are great and publick, its nature is chan­ged into the highest Magnificence.

MAGNIFICENCE is a Vertue scarce­ly to be found, but in Kings and Empe­rours. It is busied in erecting Temples and Triumphal arches Magnificent The­atres, Colledges and Universities, Aquae­ducts and Palaces, Royal Momuments and Pyramids, Marts, Havens, Exchanges, and all those other great and mighty things wherein the glory of Imperial Power is made conspicuous, and where­by whole Nations are benefited, and Kingdoms adorned.

GREAT Power, Riches, Wisdom and Goodness must concur in the effect which is truly Magnificent. It must be of great lustre and glory, as well as of publick use and benefit; and as it is wrought with great labour and expence, be im­parted by a great Soul, and freely given to the good of the People. For Magni­ficence implies Greatness and Bounty united.

THE Creation of the Universe was a great and Magnificent work, because the lustre and beauty of the WORLD is a sublime and wonderful Gift imparted to millions. The bounty of GOD in adorn­ing [Page 491] all ages with Cities and Empires, for the benefit and enjoyment of all the World is another piece of his Royal Magnificence. The infusion of a Soul so divine and everlasting into the Body of a Man is an act of love transcendently greater than all the Aquaeducts and Tro­phies in the World. For such a Celestial presence, such a sublime and illimited power, such a vast and noble Workman­ship, as that is, which can see and com­prehend all Eternity and Time together, extend to all Objects in all Worlds, and fill Immensity with life and joy, and love and knowledge, with light, and beauty, and glory, with adorations and praises; though its essence be invisible, and all its splendour within, is next under GOD the highest Object of all the admiration of Men and Angels: It is a being as pub­lick as the Sun, the great occasion of all the extasies of the Seraphims, the won­der and the rapture of all the Cheru­bims, the glory of GOD communicated to the World in so divine a Creature; a miraculous effect of his eternal Power, and the resemblance of his Godhead a­mong all the Creatures.

[Page 492] THE Incarnation of his Eternal Son, and the giving of the Holy Ghost was another Magnificent effect of his almigh­ty Power: so was the preparation of his Word, with the Gifts he gave unto Men in the Patriarchs, Prophets and Apostles, adorned with all the varieties of their Labours and Vertues, Wisdom, Courage and Patience, Lives and Examples, Deaths and Sufferings, Oppositions and Successes, Miracles and Revelations. The Jewish Nation alone is a Magnificent gift to the whole World. The Apostle phraseth the Regiment of it as a matter of Bounty:Rom. 11. 12. Now if the Fall of them be the Riches of the World, and the diminishing of them the Riches of the Gentiles, how much more their Fulness! And again, When he ascen­ded up on high, and led Captivity captive, he gave Gifts unto Men, some Apostles, and some Prophets, &c. When he presented all Nations and Kingdoms as a token of his love to the Angels; when he gave all those glorious Hosts in the Heavens to the vision, service and pleasure of Men; much more when he gave all these in their marvellous order and amity u­nited, to every Soul: When he filled the Heaven of Heavens with Joyes; [Page 493] and gave all the glory of his Kingdom to one (and that one to every one) he manifested the glory of his Magnificent power, in that of his great and transcen­dent goodness. And in relation to this we may cry out with the Apostle (more than for the mysterious Regiment of a little Nation, as he doth upon the ac­count of GODS dealing with the Jews) O the depth of the riches both of the Wis­dom and Knowledge of GOD! Ro [...] How un­searchable are his judgments, and his waies past finding out! For all things are yours,1 C Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the World, or Life or Death, or things pre­sent, or things to come, all are yours, and ye are CHRISTS, and CHRIST is GODS. Wherefore he saith,Isai. 55. My Thoughts are not your Thoughts, nor your Waies my Waies. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my Waies higher than your Waies, and my Thoughts than your Thoughts. You give triflles, and give them but to one, I give Worlds and give them to every one. You divide and disperse your Gifts, and lessen by dispersing them, I communicate and unite my Gifts, and augment by giving them: You think it impossible for one man to enjoy all [Page 494] things, I think it possible for innumerable Millions. You think your interest is a­bated, and your fruition endangered by the communication of your Treasures to many, I know they are increased and multiplied by the number of the En­joyers. You think Gold and Silver to be the greatest Gifts, and that nothing is yours but what is shut up within such Shores, and Walls, and Hedges, I know that Men are the greatest Treasures, and that your interest is extended through all Worlds, and your Possessions illimi­ted. For according to the tenour of these words, and a little before he saith, Thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, Isai. 54. 3, 4, 5. and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate Cities to be inhabited. Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy Youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy Wi­dowhood any more. For thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his Name, &c. Isai. 62. 3. 4, 5. And a little after he saith, Thou shalt also be a Crown of Glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal DIADEM in the hand of thy GOD. Thou shalt no more be termed For­saken, [Page 495] neither shall thy land any more term­ed Desolate, but thou shalt be called Heph­zibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord de­ligheth in thee, and thy Land shall be marri­ed. For as a young Man marrieth a Virgin, so shall thy Sons marry thee: and as the Bride­groom rejoyceth over the Bride, so shall thy GOD rejoyce over thee. For a Son to mar­ry with his Mother is Incest: it is Confu­sion also for a Child to go in unto his Fa­thers Wife: And yet the Church of GOD shall be the lawful Bride of every one of all her Sons. Here is Magnificence! GOD giveth himself, and his eternal Son, and his Holy Spirit, and his Bride, and his Apostles and Prophets, and all the Uni­verse to every Soul! Which justifieth that saying of St. Chrysostome, GOD loveth every one with all the Love wherewith he loveth the whole World. His Magnificence ex­ceedeth all Limits, Laws, Imaginations, Wishes, Possibilities, and he maketh eve­ry oneRom. 4. 13. Heir of the World, Ro. 8. 17. Coheir with Christ, Rev. 21. 7. to inherit all things; every one more than the sole end of all his King­dom. For all the Ornaments and Riches of a Bride are given with her Person: her Palace and Attendants are her Lov­ers upon the Marriage, as well as she: [Page 496] and all things that magnifie, or make her amiable, are subservient to his enjoyment, and really his that is her Husband. So that GOD giving us his Church to be our Mother and our Bride, hath intended us in all the things whereby he benefited her in all kingdoms and ages: and hath loved us in all the Love which he hath exercised towards her: and all the fruit of all his Love to the whole World resteth in our Exaltation. This is the Mag­nificence of Almighty GOD to every Soul in his Kingdom. And for this it is that the Church is called, The Assembly of the First-born, because all her Children are the perfect Heirs, and Kings, and Bride­grooms, every one compleatly, and more to his satisfaction, than if he were so a­lone. For as GOD is wholly every where, and the more here for being in other pla­ces; and infinitely here because he is Omnipresent: So does he wholly see and intend every one, as if him alone; and love him far the more, by loving every one; for his Love being infinite, it is ex­pressed towards him in all the parts of his Kingdom: and the more rich and glo­rious he maketh all things, the more great and happy he maketh Him, according to [Page 497] the immeasurable All-sufficiency of his infinite Wisdom.

THERE is in the Goodness of GOD an infinite Greatness that makes it Magni­ficent: for he gives Himself. When a Queen gives her self, whether it be to a Beggar, or to one of her Courtiers, or to another King, if it proceed from an ardent Love the Gift is full of sweetness within; but it is alwaies attended with great Magni­ficence without: together with her self she gives him her Palace, her Exchequer, Gardens of Pleasure, her Crown and Throne, her Soveraignty, her Nobles, At­tendants, and all her Kingdom. GOD doth infinitely more. He gives himself by Loving, and with himself gives us all his Wisdom, Goodness and Power, by making them full objects of Complacency: by doing with them for us, all that we could devise, or desire, or effect with them, had they been our own and seated in our selves. His bounty in giving himself is attended with infinite advantages, innu­merable wonders of love and goodness; a care to make himself (as a Bridegroom does) exceeding amiable and glorious, a care to purifie and fit his Queen for himself with all kind of greatness and [Page 498] beauty: a care to adorn his Palace with all kind of delectable things, Riches, Plea­sures, magnificent Furnitures, Perfumes, Musicians, Pictures, Jewels, Dainties, Feasts, Attendants, Nobles, &c. In all which he infinitely exceedeth all the Mo­narchs of the World. His Kingdom is ce­lebrated by David with great Exulta­tion, Psal. 145.

NOW if we would be Magnificent as GOD is, we must have a love within our Souls, that is willing to impart all these incomprehensible Treasures and Glories to every Soul, and to all his Hosts; and if it be possible, to out-do all this, to give all these Worlds, nay GOD himself, and every Soul to all with greater ardour, and joy and gratitude: Angels and Men, our selves to all, and all to every one. For that Love which is the fountain of all is grea­ter than all, a greater Gift, and a greater Treasure. And that love which imitates the first is in its place the only desirable and excellent thing that is possible. GODS love in its place is infinitely better then all. Removing it you shake and a­bolish all. But in such a Creature he de­sires to be beloved. He made him free, that he might be capable of Loving, for [Page 499] it is impossible to love by constraint or necessity: and having made him free and left him to himself, infinitely desires to be beloved of him. All his own love unto him, and all the glories of Heaven and Earth which are prepared for him, are means for the obtaining of that end, Obli­gations, Motives, Allurements, Incentives of that Love which GOD desires. If he will not return Love, all are imbittered and made distastful. Infinite Love infi­nitely desires to be beloved, and is infi­nitely displeased if it be neglected. GOD desires to take Complacency in all, to see the beauty of his Bride, and the accom­plishment of his design, in the Love of his Beloved. And nothing in all Worlds but the love of that Person can be his satis­faction. For nothing can supply the ab­sence or denial of that Love which is his end. For in its place it is the only needful and proper thing, far more desired than all that went before: All that went before was but the Means, this is the thing de­signed and endeavoured by them. For upon this Return all the sweetness of the rest dependeth. All is made sweet and compleat, and delightful, if this Soul doth love GOD in all these things; if not, they [Page 500] are all made vain, and his love is turned into sour displeasure. All the other things are so far from alleviating that they in­crease his displeasure; the glory and a­bundance of them is so far from making him to despise this Love, that in respect of these things he the more desires it; because he would not have his labour vain; and his own infinite Love makes him more to esteem the love of this Crea­ture, which is (in its place) his Soveraign object; and for that very cause so be­loved and admired by all Angels and Men. Is not then the Love which a man returneth a Magnificent thing! Certain­ly if it answers all these preparations and obligations as their end, and be lookt upon as that without which all the Crea­tion is vain and frustrate, it is the most great and marvellous thing in all the World, and is in its own place of all other things most highly desired by all Angels and Men; and is the greatest Gift which (in, and by that Soul) can possibly be gi­ven. It is esteem of, honour paid to, and delight in, all these great and most glo­rious things. It contains in it self a desire to see GOD pleased with more than the fruition of all Worlds, and of becoming [Page 501] it self the greatest Treasure to his eternal essence of all that is possible. And if this desire be not satisfied, all the grandeurs of his eternal Kingdom are to no pur­pose. But the desire satisfied is a Tree of Life. What the Sun is to the Eye, that is Love to the Desire. GODS infinite desire of our Love makes it infinitely delightful to him. Davids purpose to build the Temple was more accepted than Solomons perfor­mance. And if one Contrite groan be better than all Sacrifices, to love GOD with all the Soul and Understanding is better than to give him all Worlds. We sacrifice all by Loving him as we ought. We see the Beauty and Glory of all, and offer it all up to him, with infinite Desire, our selves also with infinite Gratitude. Could we make millions of Worlds, in­finitely greater and more perfect than this, they should all be his. No delight, no joy, no pleasure can be greater to us, than to see him reigning. He gives all to us, that we might give it all to him: In our Affection and with our Love it is most delightful. Our Affections are the flames and perfumes that enrich the Sacrifice. He is a Spirit to be served in a Spiritual manner: all that we would do, we do. [Page 502] Infinite desires and intentions of Pleasing him are real objects to his Eye. The Goodness of the Soul, and the Greatness of his Goodness consisteth in them. A Will enlarged with an infinite Fancy is a prodigious depth of goodness when it is all Love. It would do millions of things for its Object! But GOD is incapable of more Worlds: and all that are possi­ble he can make himself: our Magnifi­cence must be shewn in something he cannot do, unless he were in our Circum­stance, and which of all things in the World he knows most fit to be done, were he in our places. He cannot be the Soul of any of his Creatures: but would be the Soul of that Soul: the joy and delight of that Soul; the life and glory of that Soul: and that he cannot be, un­less that Soul will delight in him, and love and honour him. It is not he must honour himself: but that Soul: His de­sire is, that that Soul would freely turn, and delight in him freely, of its own ac­cord, would incline it self to consider his Excellencies, and dedicate it self to love and honour him. This is one way for the Soul to be Magnificent towards Men too: who by Nature delight to see [Page 503] GOD beloved, and satisfied in a point of such infinite importance.

IT is true indeed, that GOD can be full of Indignation and punish: but for love to turn into anger is no compensa­tion for the pleasure it lost by our mis­carriage: and to punish is a strange and troublesome work, in which Love is ex­tinguished, or else afflicted. Infinite Love puts an infinite value on the Gift. And I think it is Magnificence to give a Gift of infinite value.

OUR Magnificence towards Men must be laid on a deep and eternal foun­dation. We must be willing to give our selves to their comfort and satisfaction. And that we cannot do, but by imitating GOD in all his Goodness, studying their felicity, and desiring their love with the same earnestness to the utmost of our power: doing in all places, in all things, in all Worlds, the things they desire: supposing them to be what they ought to be, like Gods themselves.

THE best Principle whereby a man can stear his course in this World, is that which being well prosecuted will make his Life at once honourable and happy: Which is to love every man in the whole [...] [Page 502] [...] [Page 503] [Page 504] World as GOD doth. For this will make a man the Image of GOD, and fill him with the mind and spirit of Christ, it will make every man that is, the Repre­sentative of GOD and of all the World unto him. It will make a man to reve­rence GOD in all Mankind, and lift him up above all Temptations, Discourage­ments and Fears. It will make him to meet the love of GOD, Angels, and Men, in every Person. It will make a man truly glorious, by making him pleasing to GOD, and universally good to every one; diffusive like the Sun, to give him­self to all, and wise to enjoy their compleat Felicity. If there were but one, the Case is evident: supposing more than one, his duty is to love every one the more for all their sakes. For since he must love all, and they are all to love one, and every one, he must please them all by gratifying their love to one, and by doing so to every one, they are all con­cerned in the welfare of one, and plea­sed in the love that is born to every one. This in the state of Glory will be clear, where every one like the Sun shall be clearly seen extending his love to all; though here upon Earth, where our e­state [Page 505] is imperfect, by reason of the im­perfection of our Knowledge it doth not appear. Our actions are limited: for being finite in our outward demeanour, they must needs be regulated by Justice and Wisdom. But two things come in here to the assistance of Magnificence, whereof the first is the inferiour perfe­ction of our Love to all, the second is the universal Satisfaction which the beauty of our outward life will afford at last. Concerning the last, two things are fit to be considered. First, that as GOD has communicated the Sun, by making it visible, to all; and there is not a Star but is seen by all Nations and Kingdoms: so has he communicated the Soul, by ma­king it visible, to all; and there is not a Thought that shall remain uncovered; nor an action, but it shall be seen by all for ever. Secondly, that as GOD him­self is admired for his Inward Love, so is he for the operations of his Outward Life, I mean for his Works and Judgments. When they saw his Works finished, The Morning Stars sang together, and all the Sons of GOD shouted for joy. Job. The Elders are represented before his Throne, cast­ing down their Crowns, and saying, Thou [Page 506] art worthy, Rev. 4. 11. O Lord, to receive Glory, and Honour, and Power, for thou hast created all these things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. Where the per­fection of GODS Pleasure in the GLO­RY of the Creation is evidently disco­vered, to be one of the Joyes of Heaven; a great matter of their Contemplation, an eternal cause of their Praises. His infinite and eternal Love is that by which he is All Glorious within: all the sweet­ness of his Essence, and all the perfe­ction of the Soul is there: but yet his Saints in the Church Triumphant, sing the Song of Moses, and the Song of the Lamb, Rev. 15. 3, 4, 5. saying, Great and Marvellous are thy WORKS, Lord GOD Almighty, Just and True are thy WAYES thou King of Saints! His Works are the substantial Creatures in Heaven and in Earth: his Waies are his proceedings and dispensa­tions among them in all ages. For all shall appear together for ever, the one being Great and Marvellous, the other beautified with Truth and Justice. So that neither of these doth swallow up the other, but both are distinct and per­fect. Our Love may be infinite on the Inside, and yet our Life be diversified [Page 507] with many limited and particular acti­ons. Now if our Life be like GODS, eternally to be seen; and our Actions in passing pass not away, but in the sphere of our life abide for ever, our Life all at once is a mysterious Object, interwoven with many Thoughts, Occurrences, and Transactions; and if it be to be pre­sented to GOD like a Ring, or a Gar­land, we had need to be very choice in the mixture of our Flowers, and very curious in the Enammel of so rare a Token. Perhaps it is his Crown, nay our own; His and our Royal Diadem. It shall shine like a glory about our Souls for ever. That there should be any dirt or blemish in it, is inconsistent with our Felicity: but it is a Magnificent Present if it be enchased with Jewels, well chosen and curiously set, I mean with the most pure and fit elections, the most Wise, and Just, and excellent Actions, the most bright and clear Apprehensions, the most divine and ardent Affections. The last are like Gold, the ground work of the Crown: but the work it self is a mixture of elaborate Distinctions that sparkle in their lustre like Gems of several cuts and colours. An imperial Crown is a [Page 508] Magnificent Present from a King to a King: But a Life like GODS in a sphere, for which Time was lent that it might be well wrought, and presented before him when made perfect, as far surpasseth the most glorious Crown that did ever sit upon Monarchs brows, as that can be supposed to excel a dull Clod of Earth, or a piece of Rusty Iron. There all Ob­ligations, and Laws, and Duties, and Occasions are interwoven, all our Ver­tues, and Graces, and Vices, all our Tears, and Devotions, and Prayers, our Servants, the Poor, the Rich, our Re­lations, Parents, Friends, Magistrates and Ministers are set, and exhibited in their proper places; they appear to the life with all our Behaviors towards them: and though we did deny a Poor mans Request for the sake of another, and this and that, and the other particular action did not at present extend to all: but the Soul was feign to use much wisdom in contracting its operation for the greater advantage, in finding out its Duty, in moderating its Behaviour, in ballancing its occasions and accounts; yet in the result of all, it will be found full of Bounty and Goodness to all, by taking care to be [Page 509] just and pleasing to all in the beauty of its Conversation. When two things it desires to do, are incompatible to each other; it studies which of the two was more just, and fit, and necessary; which tends most to the full and final perfe­ction of its Life; the interest of a Child sometimes carries it from another man, a debt of Necessity is paid with that we would give, for a work of Charity: yet when all is Obedience, Duty, and Love, that life is a most Magnificent Gift. A Wife, a Sister must be respected in her place, a Son, a Servant, a Friend, before a Stranger; if the case be such that one of them only can be relieved. All in the Family, being made in the Image of GOD, as well as the Beggars without doors, are Objects of our Charity. But so much Goodness being in the bottom of the design, and so much Prudence and Justice in the denial: Where his Gold and Silver faileth, his affection may be infinite, and the restraints he sets upon his Actions, be the several cuts and di­stinctions in the Work, the very true Engravings that make the Jewel, or the Crown Glorious. Its Matter is Life it self, yet the Workmanship far excess the [Page 510] Matter, when it is as Accurate and Divine as it ought to be. This great and deep Thought makes every little act of Life magnificent and glorious, a better Gift to GOD in its place, than the Creation of all Worlds before him. While a mans Love is really infinite towards all, and he is ready to sacrifice himself with Mo­ses, and St. Paul, for the good of the World: but is fain to set a restraint upon himself for the sake of others. The very grief which true Goodness conceives at the deficiency of its power, and the force that lies upon it in so ungrateful a Necessity, where it must be an Umpire and a Judge between its Bowels and its Children, is a molestation which he en­dures in the midst of his duty, filling all Spectators with as much pleasure as him with pain. All shall be remembered, and all these things which are now so grievous, shall themselves become a part of our future Glory.

REMEMBER alwaies thou art about a Magnificent work: and as long as thou dwellest here upon Earth lay every acti­on right in its place. Let not Patience only, but every Vertue have her perfect work. Let Wisdom shine in its proper [Page 511] sphere: let Love within be infinite and eternal, in the light of true Knowledge it is impossible to exceed: be right in all thy Conceptions, and wise in all thine Elections, and righteous in all thy Affe­ctions, and just in all thy Actions; let the habits of Compassion and Mercy ap­pear and break out fitly upon all occa­sions: and the severity of Justice too for the preservation of the World! Let all be underlaid with solid Goodness, and guided with Prudence, and governed with Temperance, ordered with Care, and carried on with Courage: lay hold on thy Incentives by a lively Faith, and on all the strengths of Eternity by a glorious Hope, let all be sweetened with a gracious Charity, fortified and secured with invincible Meekness, and profita­bly concealed, and vail'd over with Hu­mility; let thy Contentment put a lustre and grace upon all: let Magnanimity and Modesty appear in thy actions, Mag­nificence and Liberality act their part; let Resignation to the Divine Will, and Gratitude, come in to compleat all these, and thy Life be beautified with the sweet intermixture of Obedience and Devo­tion: Thy GODLINESS will be so di­vine, [Page 512] that all Angels and Men will be perfectly pleased, especially when thou hast wiped out the Miscarriages by the bloud of the Lamb, which in a little chrystal Vial pure and clear thou ought'st alwaies to carry about with thee, when thou hast washed away the defilements contracted in the work, with the Tears of Repentance: Those Tears too he put­teth in his Bottles, and they will turn into Jewels. There is not one drop so small, but it shall turn into a Precious Stone, and continue for ever as it were frozen into a Gem.Psal. 40. 5. Many, O Lord my GOD, are thy wonderful Works which thou hast done, and thy Thoughts which are to us ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can he numbered: how preci­ous also are thy Thoughts O GOD, how great is the sum of them! if I should count them they are more in number than the Sand! Psal. 183. 17, 18. When I awake I am still with thee! And with whom else can I be! for thou only art infinite in Beauty and Perfection: O my GOD, I give my self for ever unto thee!


Of Gratitude. It feeds upon Benefits, and is in height and fervour answerable to their Greatness. The Question stated, Whe­ther we are able to love GOD more than our selves. It is impossible to be grateful to GOD without it. A hint of the glori­ous Consequences of so doing.

WHAT GOD has made us able to do by way of Gratitude, you must see in the Chapter of Magnificence. The Love wherewith all these things ought to be done, shall be so great in the estate of Perfection, our Charity and Wisdom so directly intend all Angels and Men, and especially GOD above all blessed for e­ver, our Gratitude and Goodness make us so zealous for their satisfaction, that no pleasure in the whole World shall be comparable to that of being Delightful to them. To receive all is sweet, but to com­municate all (adorned thus within the sphere of our own lives) is infinitely be­yond all that can be sweet in the recep­tion, both for our glory and satisfaction. There is ever upon us some pressing want in this World, and will be till we are infi­nitely [Page 514] satisfied with varieties and degrees of Glory. Of that which we feel at pre­sent we are sensible: when that want is satisfied and removed, another appear­eth, of which before we were not aware. Till we are satisfied we are so clamorous and greedy, as if there were no pleasure but in receiving all: When we have it we are so full, that we know not what to do with it, we are in danger of bursting, till we can communicate all to some fit and amiable Recipient, and more delight in the Communication than we did in the Reception. This is the foundation of real Gratitude, and the bottom of all that Goodness which is seated in the bent and inclination of Nature. It is a Principle so strong, that Fire does not burn with more certain violence, than Nature study to use all, when it hath gotten it, and to im­prove its Treasures to the acquisition of its Glory.

THE Holiness of all the work consists in the Fervour wherewith it is done, and if our Love shall in Heaven answer all its Causes, it will be equal to all its Obliga­tions and Rewards, and as infinite in a manner as the excellencies of its objects, the very love of GOD towards all things [Page 515] will be in it, our Love shall be in all his, and his in ours. And if we love GOD, An­gels and Men, all Vertue, Grace and Feli­city as they deserve; we shall so delight in excellent actions, and in appearing a­miable and glorious before them, that we would not for all Worlds miscarry in a tittle: And therefore every defect (even after pardon) will be an infinite disaster as well as blemish. This is one effect of Gratitude in Nature. And if it were not for the Satisfaction of Jesus Christ, and the efficacy of Faith and Repentance in his Blood, the least Sinner in all Nature would be eternally miserable, notwith­standing the advantages of Christs blood. It is the desire of the Soul to be spotless in it self. And if it be so prophane as to build upon these advantages, without taking care to be as excellent as it is able, it is the most ungrateful Creature in the World, and is too base and dirty, to ap­pear in Glory.

TO talk of overflowing in the disburs­ments and effusions of Love and Good­ness, till our emptiness and capacity be full within, is as impertinent and unsea­sonable, as to advise a Beggar to give a­way a Kingdom, or a dead man to breath, or one that is starving to give Wine and [Page 516] Banquets to the Poor and Needy. But when a man is full of blessedness and glo­ry, nothing is so easie as to overflow unto others: to forbid, or hinder him, is to sti­fle and destroy him. Breath with the same necessity must be let out, as it is taken in. A man dies as certainly by the confine­ment, as the want of it. To shut it up and deny it are in effect the same. When a man hath the glory of all Worlds, he is willing to impart the delights wherewith he is surrounded, to give away himself to some amiable Object, to beautifie his Life, and dedicate it to the use and enjoy­ment of Spectators, and to put life into all his Treasures by their Communication. To love, and admire, and adore, and praise, in such a case are not only pleasant, but natural, and free, and inevitable ope­rations. It is then his supream and only joy to be amiable and delightful. For the actions of Love and Honour belong in a peculiar manner to a plentiful estate: Wants and Necessities when they pinch, and grind us in a low condition, disturb all those easie and delicate Resentments, which find their element in the midst of Pleasures and Superfluities. Hence it is, that high-born Souls in Courts and Palaces are addicted more to sweet and honoura­ble [Page 517] excesses, than Clowns and Peasants. The one spend their life in Toil and La­bour, the other in Caresses and soft Em­braces. Amities and Bounties, Obligations and Respects, Complements and Visits are the life of Nobles: Industry and Care is that of the meaner People. Honours and Adorations are fit for the Temple not for the Market. Soft and tender Affections are more in the Court, than in the Shop or Barn. There is some difference in this re­spect even between the City and Coun­try. But Heaven is the Metropolis of all Perfection. GOD is a mighty King, and all his Subjects are his Peers and Nobles. Their life is more sublime, and pleasant, and free, because more blessed and glo­rious. Their very Palaces and Treasures are infinite Incentives to the works of honour and delight, and they cannot rest either day or night, but continually cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord GOD of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of the Majesty of thy Glo­ry. Their Beauties and Perfections en­flame one another. Their very Joyes in­spire them with eternal Love: and as all Care and Labour are removed, so are all delights and extasies established. Ravish­ments and Caresses, Adorations and Com­placencies, all the force and violence of [Page 518] Love, Charms, Allurements, high Satisfa­ctions, all the delicacies and riches of sweet Affection, Honours and Beauties are their Conversation. Towards GOD, to­wards themselves, towards each other, they are all Harmony, and Joy, and Peace, and Love: they flie upon Angels wings, and trample upon Spices. Aromatick O­deurs and Flowers are under feet; the very ground upon which they stand is beset with Jewels. Such you know were the foundations of the Walls of the New Jerusalem, and the pavement of the Street was beaten Gold. GOD and the Lamb were the Light, and the Temple of it.

THAT we are to Enjoy all Angels and Men by communicating our selves unto them, is a little mysterious: but may more easily be understood, than a thing so ob­scure as The Enjoyment of GOD by way of Gratitude. That we are to love GOD more than our selves is apparently sure, at least we ought to do it, but whether it be possible, is a question of importance. That we gain infinitely by his Love, is certain; but that we gain more by our own, is pro­digiousl [...] It is our duty to love him more than our selves, but whether it be our Na­ture, or no, is doubtful. It is impossible to ascend at the first step to the top of the [Page 519] Ladder. Even Jacobs Ladder will not bring us to Heaven, unless we begin at the bottom. Self-love is the first round, and they that remove it, had as good take a­way all: For he that has no love for him­self can never be obliged. He that cannot be obliged cannot delight in GOD: He that cannot delight in him cannot enjoy him: He that cannot enjoy him, cannot love him: He that cannot love him cannot take pleasure in him, nor be Grateful to him. Self-love is so far from being the impediment, that it is the cause of our Gratitude, and the only principle that gives us power to do what we ought. For the more we love our selves, the more we love those that are our Benefa­ctors. It is a great mistake in that arrogant Leviathan, so far to imprison our love to our selves, as to make it inconsistent with Charity towards others. It is easie to manifest, that it is impossible to love our selves, without loving other things: Na­ture is crippled (or if it has her feet, has her head cut off) if Self-preservation be made her only concern: We desire to live that we may do something else; without doing which life would be a burden. There are other principles of Ambition, Appetite, and Avarice in the Soul: And [Page 520] there are Honours, and Pleasures, and Riches in the World. These are the end of Self-preservation. And it is impossible for us to love our selves without loving these. Without loving these we cannot desire them, without desiring canot enjoy them. We are carried to them with greater ar­dour and desire by the love of our selves. Preservation is the first, but the weakest and the low'st principle in nature. We feel it first, and must preserve our selves, that we may continue to enjoy other things: but at the bottom it is the love of other things that is the ground of this principle of Self-preservation. And if you divide the last from the first, it is the poorest Principle in the World.

TO love another more than ones self is absurd and impossible. In Nature it is so, till we are obliged; or perhaps till we see it our interest, and find it our pleasure: It is a surprize to an Atheistical fool; That it should be ones interest to love another better than ones self: yet Bears, Dogs, Hens, Bees, Lions, Ants do it: they die for their young-ones. Nurses, Fathers, Mothers do it. Brides and Bridegrooms frequently do it; and so do Friends. All valiant Hero's love their Country better than them­selves: Moses would have his Name blot­ted [Page 521] out of the Book of Life rather than the Israelites destroyed. St. Paul could wish himself accursed from Christ for his Brethren the Jews: and they both learnt it of their Master, who made himself a Curse, and even Sin for us. And it was his interest to do it! If we are immortal, and can­not but be blessed, it must needs be our interest to love him that is more blessed than we, better than our selves; because by that love we enjoy his blessedness, which is more than our own, and by that Love it is made ours and more than ours. Is not all our Glory, and Vertue, and Goodness seated in the excess of this per­fect love! Do not all brave and heroical deeds depend upon it? and does not the man deserve to be burnt as an enemy to all the World, that would turn all men into Knaves and Cowards, and destroy that only principle which delivers them from being Mercenary Slaves and Vil­lains; which is the Love of others! That alone which renders a man useful to the World is the Love of others. He that de­stroyeth this would pluck up all Grati­tude by the roots: all Worth, Goodness, and Honour! No wonder therefore he should be an Atheist, since Nature is so base and abominable before him. But its [Page 522] Principles are oftentimes so generous, in Truth, that they are too great for them­selves. Nothing is so ordinary in the false way, as that of loving others better than our selves. Even Dogs have starved them­selves to death upon the absence of their Masters. How many Fathers have gone down with sorrow to their Graves, and lost all the comfort of their lives in the death of their Sons! How many Mothers have broken their hearts for the death of their Children! How many Widows have buried themselves alive for the loss of their Husbands; I mean, by sequestring themselves from all the delights and plea­sures of the World! How many Lovers dote, and wax pale, and forget their Meat, Sleep, and Employment, and run mad for their Mistresses! Are there no such Examples; or is there no strength in such Examples as these? But to love GOD better than ones self seemeth more unna­tural. Ah vile! the more base, and more wicked we! How we should love GOD better than our selves is easie to unfold by the principles of Self love, and Self exal­tation. Take it in the manner following: (and when you have seen its possibility, consider the glory of doing it, the benefit, and felicity, and honour that is in it. For [Page 523] it is all worth and pleasure, goodness and beauty, Gratitude and Vertue, wisdom and security, perfection and excellency. We love our selves more in doing it, than it is possible to do without it.)

IT is natural to all them that love themselves, to love their Benefactors, and all those things that are conducive to their welfare, pleasure, satisfaction: And the more they love themselves, the more apprehensive they are of the benefit they receive, and the more prone to love that which occasions it. The more goodness we find in any thing, the more we are prone to love it; and the more we love it, the more to take pleasure in it. And if we find it highly convenient, and ex­treamly delightful, we had (not seldom) rather die than part with it: we love our selves only that we might live to enjoy that glory, or delight, or beauty, or con­venience that we find so agreeable. It often falls out, for want of acquaintance with delightful things, that we think no­thing so powerfully sweet, as to engage our Soul, beyond the possibility of re­trieving it self: and that nothing can cleave so strangely to our minds, as to be nearer and dearer than Life it self. Yet oftentimes we find men of this opinion [Page 524] changing their minds, when they have chanced to taste some sweetness in Na­ture, they were not aware of, and then to become such miraculous Converts, that they love not themselves but for the sake of that delight which they have found in the World. I make it a great Question, would men sink into the depth of the bu­siness, Whether all Self-love be not foun­ded on the love of other things? And whether it be not utterly impossible with­out it? Only the love of those things is so near and close to the love of our selves, that we cannot distinguish them, but mi­stake them for one and the same. If the Sun were extinguished, and all the World turned into a Chaos; I suppose there are few that love themselves so, but they would die, which plainly shews that the love of the World is inseparably annexed with the love of our selves, and if the one were gone, the other would be extingui­shed: especially if the sweetness of the Air, and its freedom and ease, were chan­ged into fire and torment. For then we would surely desire to die, rather than en­dure it: which shews that the love of ease and repose is greater than the love of our very Beings, though not so perceiva­ble, till we have examined the business. [Page 525] But if there be any pleasure, or goodness, or beauty truly infinite, we are apt to cleave unto it with adhaesion so firm, that we forget our selves, and are taken up only with the sence and contemplation, of it. The ravishment is so great, that we are turned all into extasie, transportation and desire, and live intirely to the object of our fruition. The power of infinite de­light and sweetness is as irresistible, as it is ineffable. And if GOD be all beauty and delight, all amiable and lovely, truly infinite in goodness and bounty, when we see him, and taste the grace of his excel­lency, the blessedness and glory where­with we are amazed, possesseth us intirely and becometh our sole and adaequate concern. After that sight it is better perish and be annihilated, than live and be be­reaved of it. The fall from so great a height would fill the Soul with a cruel remembrance, and the want of its former glory and bliss be an infinite torment. Now if it loved nothing but it self, it could endure all this; rather than forsake it self, or lose, or be bereaved of its essence, it would endure any misery whatsoever. Or to speak more correct and accurate sence, it would be incapable of any Passi­on, Patience or Misery, but only that [Page 526] which flow'd from its abolition. Nothing could prejudice it but the change of its Being.

THAT is not likely to love it self after the way which some conceive proper to Self-love, which is willing to forsake it self upon any Misery, and apt to forget it self upon any great felicity. It loves it self that it might enjoy such a pleasure, but loves that pleasure so much beyond it self that it is ready to go out of it self, and is almost beside it self for the fruition of it. Loving it self only for that end, and that chiefly and for its own sake, it loves that far more than it loves it self. And there is no limit nor bound, when it once begins to love any thing more than it self, it may proceed eternally: and provided its Ob­ject be infinitely more excellent, it will easily and greedily love it infinitely more than it can it self, and value the continu­ance of its own life only for the sake of that which it so infinitely esteems and de­lights in. It is true indeed it presupposes its Capacity: but what would that capa­city be worth, were it not for Objects.

WERE there no SUN it were impos­sible for so fair an Idea to be conceived in a Mirror, as is sometimes in a Glass, when it is exposed to the skie. The Mirror is in [Page 527] it self a dark piece of Glass; and how so much fire, and flame, and splendor should come from it while it is a cold Flint or piece of Steel, how it should be advanced by any Art whatsoever to so much beauty and glory, as to have a Sun within it self, and to dart out such bright and celestial beams no man could devise. Yet now there is a Sun, the Matter is easie, 'tis but to ap­ply it to the face of the Sun, and the Glass is transformed. And if GOD dwelleth in the Soul as the Sun in a Mirror, while it looketh upon him, the love of GOD must needs issue from that Soul, for GOD is love, and his love is in it. The impression of all his Beauty swallows up the Being of the Soul, and changes it wholly into another nature. The Eye is far more sensible of the Day, and of the beauty of the Universe, than it is of it self, and is more affected with that light it beholds, than with its own essence. Even so the Soul when it sees GOD is sensible only of the glory of that eternal Object: All it sees is GOD, it is unmindful of it self. It infinitely feels him, but forgets it self in the Rapture of its Pleasure.

BUT we leave Illustrations, and come to the reason of the thing in particular. The Soul loving it self is naturally con­cerned [Page 528] in its own happiness, and readily confesseth it oweth as much love to any Benefactour, as its bounty deserveth. And if the value of the Benefit be the true reason of the esteem, and Reason it self the ground of the return, A little Kindness deserveth a little love, and much deserv­eth more. Reason it self is adapted to the measure of the good it receiveth, and for a shilling-worth of Service, a shilling­worth of Gratitude is naturally paid. For a Crown or a Kingdom the Soul is enfla­med with a degree of affection that is not usual. Now GOD created and gave me my self; for my Soul and my Body there­fore I owe him as much as my Soul and Body are worth: and at the first dash am to love him as much as my self. Heaven and Earth being the gifts of his Love superadded to the former, I am to Love him upon that account as much more as the World is worth; and so much more than I love my self. If he hath given all Angels and Men to my fruition, every one of these is as great as my self, and for e­very one of those I am to love him as much as that Angel or Man is worth. But he has given me his Eternity, his Almigh­ty Power, his Omnipresence, his Wisdom, his Goodness, his Blessedness, his Glory. [Page 529] Where am I? Am I not lost and swallow'd up as a Centre in all these Abysses? While I love him as much as all these are worth, to which my Reason, which is the essence of my Soul, does naturally carry me, I love him infinitely more than my self; unless perhaps the possibility of enjoying all these things makes me more to esteem my self, and increases my Self-love for their sake more than for my own. Thus when I see my self infinitely beloved, I conceive a Gratitude as infinite in me, as all its Causes. Self-preservation is made so natural and close a Principle, by all the hopes and possibilities to which I am created. Those Hopes and Possibilities are my tender concern: and I live for the sake of my infinite Blessedness. Now that is GOD: And for his sake it is that I love my self, and for the glory and joy of delighting in him, I desire my continuance; and the more I delight in him, my Continuance is so much the more dear and precious to my self. Thus is GOD infinitely preferred by Nature a­bove my self, and my Love to my self, being thoroughly satisfied, turns into the Love of GOD, and dies like a grain of Corn in the Earth to spring up in a new and better form, more glorious and ho­nourable, [Page 530] more great and verdant, more fair and delightful: more free, and gene­rous, and noble; more grateful and per­fect. The Love of GOD is the sole and immediate Principle upon which I am to act in all my Operations.

NOW if you enquire what Advanta­ges accrue by this Love, to the Soul of the Lover, we are lost again in Oceans of infinite Abundance. The strength, and brightness, and glory of the Soul, all its Wisdom, Goodness and Pleasure are ac­quired by it, founded in it, derived and spring from it: as we have before decla­red upon the Nature of Love. The solu­tion of that one Question will open the mystery, Whether we gain more by his Love, or our own? All that we gain by his Love amounts to the Power of Lo­ving, the Act of Loving we gain by our own, and all that depends upon it.

BY his Love he existeth eternally for our Enjoyment, as the Father of GLO­RY which is begotten by it self: but we do not gain all this by his Love; but by our own. Some man would say, We gain our Souls and Bodies by the Love of GOD, all Ages and Kingdoms, Heaven and Earth. Angels and Men, infinite and eternal Joyes, because all these were [Page 531] without our care or power prepared by him, and his love alone. They were pre­pared indeed by his Love, but are not ac­quired, or enjoyed by it. He so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, and with him all the Laws and Beauties of his Kingdom: but unless we love him, unless we are sensible of his Love in all these, and esteem it, we do not enjoy our Souls or Bodies, Angels or Men, Heaven or Earth, Jesus Christ or his Kingdom: Rather we trample upon all, and despise all, and make our selves deformed. All these do but serve to increase our Dam­nation, and aggravate our Guilt, unless we love and delight in their Author, and his Love it self will eternally confound us. So that we gain and enjoy the Love of GOD by ours. Now Love returned for Love is the Soul of Gratitude. In that act, and by it alone, we gain all that is ex­cellent: And beside all these become il­lustrious Creatures. It is more to our avail to be Divine and Beautiful, than to see all the World full of Delights and Treasures. They would all be nothing to us, without our Love. Nothing does so much alienate and estrange the Soul from any Object, as want of Affection. All the Kingdom of Heaven is appropri­ated [Page 532] and made ours by Love alone. The inferiour perfections of our own Essence are gained by Love, and by it we accom­plish the end of our Creation. We receive and enjoy all the benevolence of GODS former Love by ours; are made excel­lent in our selves, and delightful to GOD, which can never be brought to pass any other way, but by our Love alone. By Loving him as we ought to do, we enable him to take pleasure in us! And this is of all other the greatest benefit. We cloath our selves with the similitude of all his Attributes, and shine in his Image by Love alone. Our Love, as it acquires, crowns our Perfections with his infinite Complacency. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, is a voice that can be directed to none, but him only that loveth GOD with an eternal Love. He cannot rest satisfied in any that hate, or despise him. The eternal complacency and delight of GOD, whereby we are crowned with eternal Glory is acquired, and receives its Being in a manner by Love alone.

NOW to love GOD is to desire Him and his Glory, to esteem him and his Es­sence, to long for him and his Appear­ance, to be pleased with him in all his [Page 533] Qualities and Dispositions, or (more pro­perly) in all his Attributes and Perfecti­ons, to delight in all his Thoughts and Waies. It is to love him in all his Excel­lencies. And he that is not resolved to love every Excellency in him, as much as it deserveth, does not love GOD at all: for he has no design to please him. But he that purposes to do it, must of necessi­ty love GOD more than himself, because he finds more Objects for his Love in GOD, than in himself; GOD being infi­nitely more excellent than he. But if this seem a grievous task, it is not a matter of Severity, but Kindness. We mistake its na­ture, the Duty does not spring from any disorder in GOD, not from any unrea­sonable or arrogant Selfishness, as base and foolish men are apt to imagine, but from his Excellency: it naturally springeth from the greatness of his Worth: And it is our freedom, when we see his infinite Beauty, to love it as it deserveth. When we so do, we shall infinitely love it more than our selves: because it is infinitely better: And indeed, shall find it so conveniently seat­ed in the Deity for us, that could it be transposed or remov'd, it would no where else be fit for our fruition. It is that eter­nal act of Love and Goodness that made [Page 534] all the Kingdom of Glory for us: that Care and Providence that governs all Worlds for our Perfection, that infinite and eternal Act that gave us our Being. That Beauty is it self the Deity, and wherever it appeareth there GOD is, The GOD HEAD is the Beauty in which we are all made perfect. And because we were nothing, we must be infinitely plea­sed that he is Eternal; because it is his e­ternal Act that gives us a Being: and the Act, Oh how Divine! It is his Beauty and Glory. Can we chuse but love that Act, which is all Goodness and Bounty! Which prepares for, and gives to, us, infinite feli­city! If we love our selves we must needs love it, for we cannot forbear to love the fountain of all our delights, and the more we love it, the more ardently we delight in it, the sweeter and more transporting will all our Raptures be, the more feeling and lively, the more divine and perfect will our Souls and our Joyes be: When we know GOD, we cannot but love him more than our selves: and when we do so, his Blessedness and Glory will be more than ours; we shall be more than Deified, because in him we shall find all our Per­fection, and be eternally Crowned. We must of necessity sit in his Throne, when [Page 535] we see him enjoying all his Glory, because his Glory is his Goodness to us, and his Blessedness our Felicity: Because in the acts of our Understanding we shall e­ternally be with him, and infinitely be satisfied in all his Fruitions. That Excellency which obliges us, will enable us to love him more than our selves: and while we delight in him for our own sakes, we shall steal insensibly in­to a more divine and deeper Delight, we shall love him for his. And even in point of Gratitude adore his Glory.

To Adore and Maligne are opposite things: to Envy and Adore are inconsistent. Self-love is apt to leap at all advantages, and the more we love our selves, the more prone we are to covet and wish whatsoe­ver we see Great and Excellent in another. But he hath conquered our Envy by his infinite Bounty: and made us able to adore him by the Perfection of his Essence. To cover the Perfections of him we adore, is impossible. It is impossible to adore him whom we would spoil, and rob of his Perfections. For Adoration is a joyful acknowledgment of the infinite Perfecti­ons of an Adorable Object, resting sweetly in them with acquiescence and rejoycing. It is prone to add and to offer more. An [Page 536] adoring Soul is in the act of sacrificing it self to the Deity, and with infinite Com­placency admiring and adoring all his Glories.

HIS Glories will be inspired into the Soul it self, for the healing of that Envy to which it is otherwise addicted. And instead of Robbery, and Discontentment, and Blasphemy, and Covetousness, the Soul shall be full of Honour and Grati­tude, and Complacency: and be glad to see its GOD the full and eternal act of Perfection and Beauty. It was from all eternity impossible there should be any other but he; and he from all eternity has so infinitely obliged us, that were it possi­ble for any other to have been, it would not be desirable. He hath obliged us, and we love him better than any other. Should we fancy or conceive another, a Power from all Eternity acting, should we sup­pose it possible that a Power besides him might have bin; it must be just such a Pow­er as this is, and act just in such a manner as this hath done: or it would be displeasing. This hath done all that we can desire, all that all Powers infinite and eternal can do well: and therefore all possible Powers are conceived in him. He is the full and adaequate object of all Desire; because [Page 537] the Fountain of all the most Glorious things, and the sole perfect cause of all Enjoyment whatsoever.


The Beauty of Gratitude. Its principal Can­ses. Amity and Communion are the great effect of its Nature. The true Character of a Grateful Person. GOD'S Incommu­nicable Attributes enjoyed by Gratitude. All Angels and Men are a Grateful Per­son's Treasures, as they assist him in Prai­ses. He sacrifices all Worlds to the Deity, and supreamly delighteth to see him sit­ting in the Throne of Glory.

GOD having prepared the way to Gratitude by infusing generous and noble Principles into the Soul, beautified the Exercise of it by divers other provi­sions, that conspire to make it amiable and delightful. By the one he made it Possible, by the other desirable.

ONE of the greatest ornaments of this Vertue, is the Grateful Sence of Benefits re­ceived: For in it the Felicity of the Re­ceiver consisteth; on it his Grateful be­haviour dependeth; by it he is made Grateful, or Acceptable; and it is one of the [Page 538] great Ends intended in the Gift bestow­ed by the Donor, whose Satisfaction ought to be regarded highly by every honest and worthy Receiver. That Grate­ful Sence is the crown of the Gift, the Light wherein its Beauty appears, the Temple of its Honour as it were, the Womb wherein it is conceived, and find­eth its life and value perfected.

SHOULD we stand upon the Explica­tion of these, we should have little room for the Fruits and Effects of Gratitude, which are the principal things intended in this Chapter. But in short you may take this account. The greatest Benefits we can receive, are but Abortive, or rather turn­ed into Curses, without a Grateful ac­knowledgment of them: All Gifts are but Carkasses devoid of Life, unless inspired with that Sence, which maketh them De­lightful. For as Causes without Effects are not Causes; of Blessings, if they Bless not, are falsely reputed Blessings. No Benefits can be Blessings, unless they are crowned with our Complacency. They must be conceived in the Mind before they can be transformed into Joy, and be trans­formed into Joyes before they can pro­duce those Praises which are the musick of the Benefactors Soul, as well as of the [Page 539] Receivers. They are not conceived, unless they are quickened with the Life of the Receiver, nor are they reputed Blessings, till they are had in Reputation. An interior Sence is the Life and Soul of every Bles­sing: without which a whole World of Delights would be but a Chaos, the very Kingdom of Heaven but a Confusion to him for whom it is prepared, and a Soul among the Angels but a Fool in Paradice. An Ungrateful Person bereaves himself of the Pleasure, that should spring from his Enjoyment, for the stifles the enjoy­ment of the Gift he receiveth. He Eclipses and extinguishes his own blessedness by the dulness of his Soul, and the perversness of his Behaviour. He may be surrounded with Causes of Delight, but is not blessed, that is not full of the Joyes wherewith he is surrounded. When he is full of Joyes he must needs overflow with Complacen­cies; which are the very element of Thanksgiving, the matter and fuel, as well as the Soul of Praises. Were there nothing in a Grateful Sence but this, Gratitude were an incomparable Vertue, because all the effects of infinite and eternal Bounty are by vertue of that Grace applyed to the Soul, and enjoyed thereby, but are lost without it. That certainly must be a great [Page 540] Vertue, by force of which we inherit all things.

AS for the Beauty of the Receiver, it is evident that a dull and heavy Complexi­on is the disgrace of his Nature. His Stu­pidity makes him a worthless piece of Clay, that cannot be improved to any ad­vantage. A carelessness and contempt of Benefits springeth from his Sottishness, which maketh him Ingrateful, that is, Odi­ous: because he cannot be won by Kind­ness, nor wrought upon by Gifts. But he is more deformed, because he acts in a bruitish manner, against Reason; while he faileth to do what is fit and proper on such occasions. It is a base and dirty Tem­per that cannot be enflamed with the Love of a Benefactor. It is incapable of high and generous Sentiments; is dull and dry, insipid and untractable, as dead as a Log of Wood, a crabbed and knotty piece of matter, that cannot be wrought, and only fit for the fire! But a quick and lively Perceiver, a tender Sence, and sprightly Intelligence, is all honour and delight upon the Reception, all activity, life, and vigour, Angelical in his nature, sweet and heavenly; apt to come up to the Benefactor, and answer his desires: He is rich and abundant in amiable Resent­ments, [Page 541] and prone to make Returns suita­ble to the Kindness wherewith he is affe­cted. He has a strange kind of Beauty lodged in his Soul; there is a sweet Cor­respondence, and a delicate Convenience between his Nature and his Benefactors. All his Inclinations are Purity and Praise, he is a great encouragement to the Love of his Benefactor, an ornament to his Per­son, an admirer of his Worth, an appendix of his Honour, and a pleasure to his Dis­position; all Life and Goodness. He is capable of Amity in the heights of its ex­ercise.

A wise and worthy Benefactor designs the felicity and contentment of the Per­son, to whom he imparteth his Bounties: and if he were able, would do that for him, which above all other things is most to be desired; not compel him to be Grate­ful, whether he would or no; for that would but spoil the beauty of his Return, but make him capable of the best and highest Resentments; that he might have the Joy of seeing his Benefits work kind­ly. All which are lost and thrown away upon an ungrateful Person. This GOD hath done. He has put brave Principles and Inclinations into the Soul of Man, and left him freely to exert them, with [Page 542] infinite desire to see him act freely, but generously and nobly. For by this means only, is he made capable of Honour, and the essence of Gratitude consists in the freedom of its operation. Having so made him, and desiring nothing more than a lovely Behaviour, his Joy is as great as his Goodness can inspire, when he sees that sweetness which attends the Operation and the work of Reason, in a Grateful Person; and the Joy which he occasions is his own Joy, in the Soul of his Creature. Of which to rob GOD is a kind of Spi­ritual Sacriledge, and a cruel Murther committed on our selves. For we have an inclination to delight in the Joyes, of which we are the Authors, and by a kind of Eccho, or reflection, find the Pleasure doubled which we take, and which is ta­ken in the communication of our Boun­ties. And in this there is founded a certain sympathy of Delight, which carries us to feel and be affected with anothers Joy, and makes it an Object, and a Caufe of ours, nay almost the very Form aud Es­sence of ours, when we are the Authors of it. A Grateful Soul holds Intelligence with GOD; as it receives his Bounties, it delights in his Complacencies.

[Page 543] THE great effect of Obligation and Gratitude, is Amity and Communion. A Grateful Soul is deeply concerned in the Honour of his Benefactor; in his Benefa­ctors Pleasure, Life, and Safety, in all his Successes, Prosperities, Advancements; in all his Felicity and Glory! He is afflicted in all his Afflictions, he is delighted in all his Enjoyments, he is crowned in all his Promotions, he is wronged and injured in all his Affronts, he is touched with the least Displeasure that can befal him: Nay he is more tender of his Benefactors Re­pose than his own: The apple of his Eye is the tenderest part in himself, yet he had rather have it touched, than the Person of his Benefactor. No wounds can wound him more than those which his Bene­factor receiveth, and he in him. His own wounds may kill his Body, but these destroy his Contentment. A thousand In­juries and Calumnics against himself he can forgive, and is never provoked but when his Friend is offended. He slights himself, and prefers his Benefactor: He would make his Face a Stepping stone to his Benefactors Glory. He exposes his bo­dy to Swords, and Spears, and Arrows, for his Benefactors safety: He would ra­ther be torn to pieces, and suffer a thou­sand [Page 544] Deaths, than permit his Benefactor to be slain or dishonoured. Now all this in time of Trial and distress, would seem disadvantagious. But besides the Obliga­tion there is Sence of Honour that com­p [...] a man thereunto, and a certain beau­ty in the act of Gratitude, distinct from the goodness of the Benefit, that is so na­turally sweet to the goodness of the Soul, that it is better to die than renounce it. And a certain Baseness on the other side, an odiousoess in Ingratitude (in the very act) so abominable, that it blasts any Safety and Repose that can be gotten by it.

WHERE the Benefits are small, the Ver­tue of Gratitude is less powerful and per­fect: for its strength depends upon its food and nourishment. A thin and spare diet is not very healthful for it. Though all the benefits that are done upon the Earth by Men to Men are infinitely mean, if compared to those which the Godhead does to the least of his Creatures; yet the World is full of the praise of this Vertue, and an Ingrateful man is the most hateful Object living. Former Ages afford us ma­ny rare and glorious Examples of the power of Gratitude, and its sacred Zeal for, and tenderness of its Object. The u­nion between the Body and the Soul is [Page 545] nothing comparable to the union of Love and its Beloved, though the Causes are but slight upon which it is founded. The Soul will often forsake its mansion to dwell with its beloved. It esteems all its beauties and Members only for its Belo­loveds sake. Yet Colours and Features, a little red and white, a sparkling Eye, a brisk Conversation, and a delectable Hu­mor, are all that breed it, all that pro­duce this mighty effect, this prodigy of Nature. There is something more, where the Life and Honour of a man has been saved, by the kindness of a Benefactor: e­specially if he be rich and amiable that has delivered us. If he be great and ho­nourable that was the Author of the be­nefit, the obligation is the greater. For the Worth of the Person enters into the na­ture of the act, and enhances its value. Yet all this put together is exceeded by the Gratitude of a worthy Soul, because his own Worth inclines him to be more Generous than the Cause requires, and to magnifie the benefit, by the mighty addi­tion of his own goodness. It is the natural property of Goodness to communicate it self, any occasion of doing it, is instead of a Cause. But when there is a Cause, it is like a spark to Powder, it enkindles [Page 546] a flame in his Inclination. All acts of Gra­titude have a great deal of sweetness in their own nature, and for the sake of that beauty which is seated in themselves will not be rigorous and exact in their pro­portions, since it is a beautiful thing to exceed in Goodness. Its own disposition prompts it to do more than is deserved by the Kindness it receives, and if not to conceive it self more obliged than it is, yet to be more honourable in its Returns, than the meer goodness of its Benefactor can exact; because it conceives it self by its own Vertue obliged to be Noble and Munificent, in all its acknowledgments.

BUT however slow Gratitude may be in the Returns which it maketh for smal­ler benefits, it is infinitely prone to exceed all measure, when it is infinitely obliged. Praises are not fed by mean Content­ments, but by sublime ones. The acknow­ledgment is cool, where the benefits are small; and the Contentments imperfect, where they are limited and restrained: Full Satisfaction hath another kind of in­fluence on the Soul of Man, than single Kindnesses, or some few particular Sup­plies. An infinite Bliss produces more vi­gorous and joyful efforts, than bare Ac­knowledgments. Here upon Earth there [Page 547] are disquiets, and destres, and expectati­ons, and Complaints, and defects, and im­perfections, fears and interests to be still secured, that lame and darken our Con­tentment and Gratitude. But in Heaven all these admixtures of alloy are remov'd. The glory of the light in which our Gra­titude appeareth, adds lustre and beauty to the increase of its Perfection. In the utmost height of our Satisfaction there is such an infinite and eternal force, that our Gratitude breaks out in exulting and tri­umphing Effusions; all our Capacities, In­clinations, and Desires being fully satisfi­ed, we have nothing else to do, but to Love and be Grateful. An infinite and e­ternal Kingdom given to him that was taken out of Nothing, by a King that is infinite in greatness and beauty; all his Joyes, and all his Treasures! it makes the Soul a fountain of Delights, whole nature is to receive no more, but overflow for ever. When the Soul cometh once to love GOD so infinitely above it self, as the cause requireth, its only delight is to mag­nifie him and to see him blessed. The beau­ty and sweetness of its own Gratitude is as rich and divine as all his Gifts. It is temp­ted here infinitely more to exceed its Causes than ever before. Amazements, [Page 548] Admirations, Affections, Praises, Hallelu­jahs, Raptures, Extasies, and Blessings are all its delights: The pleasure of Loving is its only business; it is turned all into flame, and brightness, and transportation, and excess. It infinitely passes Light and Fire in quickness and motion: all Impe­diments are devoured, and GOD alone is its Life and Glory. The more Great, the more high, the more excellent he is; the more blessed is it self, the more joyful, and the more contented. Its Nature is to shine, and burn, and admire; to offer, and to sa­crifice up it self to its Joyes: And GOD is its soveraign Joy, its perfect happiness. To suspend its beams were to act against Nature. All overtures of Pleasure, Beauty, Glory, Power, Exaltation and Honour it would have added to its happiness. The more Great, the more Good, the Wiser GOD is, the greater is its Happiness. The more he is admired and praised, the greater is its Happiness. The more he is magnified and pleased, the greater is its Happiness. All the Excellencies and Per­fections in its Objective bliss, though they are not locally removed, are removed in­to the Soul of him that enjoyes it; and there express themselves far more pow­erfully and effectually, than if they were [Page 549] there alone. No joy can be like that of seeing its Creatour adored, no Service like that of magnifying its Beloved, no pleasure like that of delighting its Belo­ved, no melody like that of praising its Benefactor, no honour like that of obey­ing its Preserver. All Worlds are its Trea­sures, because they manifest his Power and Glory; all Angels and Men its De­lights, because they see and acknowledge the beauty of its Soveraign, and eternal Perfection; all Creatures the Instruments of its Joy, that celebrate his Praises! In him it enjoyes the glory of all Eternity, the infinite beauty of all Immensity, the innumerable riches of all Worlds, the pleasures and adorations of all the Angels, the state and magnificence of all Empires, the splendour and perfection of all Ages; all which it has in it self, by his infinite Bounty, as its own immediate and pro­per Possessions; but far more divinely and sweetly enjoyes them, by vertue of its Gratitude and Love, to him, whose they originally are, and from whom they proceeded. For the very true reason why it enjoyes it self, and all its own Treasures, is because it loves it self: And the more it loves him, the more it will be delighted with his fruitions. It is more concerned, [Page 550] it feels more, it sees more, it tastes more, it possesses more, it rejoyces more in its Object than it self. The imagination and fancy that is in Love frames all the thoughts of its Beloved, in it self; it has an exquisite and tender sence of every change and motion in the mind of its Be­loved. Stir not up, nor awake my Love, till he please, is the song of a feeling and affe­ctionate Soul. Every prick with a Needles point in its Object, is a stab with a Dag­ger to it self. Its heart bleeds in every drop of its Objects finger. It loves his Be­loved ten thousand times more than it self: and is infinitely more pleased with its exaltation, than its own. The happiness of its Object is most its own. True Gra­titude is crowned in its Benefactor, en­throned in its benefactor, admired in its benefactor, adored in its benefactor. No­thing in all the World is so easily ravished as Love, nothing is so lively as Love, no­thing so lovely! Nothing so violent in its grief or joy, nothing so capable of pain or pleasure: All the Victories and Tri­umphs of its Saviour are its own. My Joy, my Life, my Crown, my Glory; my ex­ceeding great Reward, my Love, my Soul, my Idol, nay the GOD of my Soul! my All in all! This is the language of [Page 551] Love in its Rapture. Seraphick Love! It is Altar, Heart and Sacrifice, Angelical Love! It is Priest and Temple: All Ser­vice, Freedom, Duty, Reward, Desire, En­joyment, Honour, Praise, Adoration, Thanksgiving, Extasie, Pleasure, Bliss and Happiness. It is all Goodness and Beauty, Paradice, Heaven; the life and Soul of Heaven! All that is incommunicable in GOD, Eternity, almighty Power, supream Dominion, independent Majesty, infinite Immensity, with all the adorations and praises of all the Creatures, are by such a Love and Gratitude enjoyed. Loving GOD more than it self, it is more happy in GOD, than if it were a GOD. Could Is Deity be taken away, and seated in it self, the Soul of a Grateful Creature would be grieved at the exchange. Even GOD in his place is perfectly enjoyed. All Envy is by perfect Gratitude remo­ved: All Discontentment at any thing in its Object, especially at its Objects Bles­sedness is abolished. It is carried above all Thrones, Dominions and Powers, and still ascends eternally higher, the higher its Object is exalted. Could it be misera­ble in it self, it would be happy in its Ob­ject: but the higher it is exalted, the more is its Creatour delighted. If the resent­ment [Page 552] be wholly Spiritual, the Soul per­haps may be transformed to Gratitude, as Gratitude is to Contentment, and Praise, and Thanksgiving. But it will have no Body, no frail and corruptible Flesh, no bones or members to look after. All its operations are of one kind, all its works and concernments are the same. It has no Fear, or Care to divert it; no impedi­ment, or danger, or distraction. Pure Gratitude is so divine a thing, that the Soul may safely wish to be turned all into Gratitude. Its Employment and Nature are all one, acknowledgment and bene­volence united together. It sacrifices all Worlds to the Deity, and with infinite delight desires to offer all Honour and Glory to him. It is very sensible, that it can never pay so much Honour to GOD as is his due, unless it be assisted with all the Tongues of Men and Angels. It goes along with their Joyes, and consents to their Praises. In them it adores, and by them it admires, with them it conspires, and takes in all their powers and divine affections. It fees with all their Eyes, hears with all their Ears, speaks with all their Mouths, and useth all their Hearts in loving and adoring. All the tenden­cies and operations of Universal Nature [Page 553] are subservient to its desires. It surmounts the Songs of David, and yet we know how earnestly he exhorted all Creatures to praise him. Praise ye the Lord: Praise him in the Sanctuary; Praise him in the Firma­ment of his Power; Praise him in his migh­ty Acts; Praise him according to his ex­cellent Greatness. Praise him in the Heights; Praise him all ye Angels; Praise him all his Hosts: Praise him Sun and Moon, Praise him all ye Stars of light. Praise him ye Heaven of Heavens! And when all is done, it still confesseth, that his Name is exalted far above all Blessing and Praise.

HE that praiseth GOD only for his Health, and Food, and Rayment, and for his blessing on his Calling (as too many only do) either is very ignorant, or upon a strict scrutiny, will be detected for upbraiding GOD, for the meanest of his bounty. For his Love must infinitely be defective, that is able to bestow Gifts infinitely more, yet giveth us none but these. He that sees not more Causes of Joy than these, is blind and cannot see afar off: The very truth or Religion is obscure to him, and the cause of Adora­tion unknown. He wanteth ten thousand demonstrations of the Love of GOD, and as many Incentives to coflame his [Page 554] Soul in the Return of Love, that is un­acquainted with these high and mighty bounties. No man can return more Bles­sings than he receiveth: nor can his Prai­ses exceed the number (and greatness) of his Joyes. A House is too little, a King­dom is too narrow for a Soul to move in. The World is a confinement to the pow­er, that is able to see Eternity, and con­ceive the Immensity of Almighty GOD! He that can look into infinite Spaces, must see them all full of delights, or be infinitely displeased. How like an Angel doth he soar aloft, how divine is his life, how glorious and heavenly; that doth converse with infinite and eternal Wis­dom, intermeddle with all the delights of GOD, assume the similitude of his knowledge and goodness, make all his Works his Riches, his Laws his Delights, his Counsels his Contemplations, his Wayes his Joyes, and his Attributes his Perfections! He that appropriates all the World, and makes it his own peculiar is like unto GOD, meet to be his Son, and fit to live in Communion with him. The Kingdom of GOD is made visible to him to whom all Kingdoms are so many Mansions of Joy, and all Ages but the streets of his own City. The man that [Page 555] sees all Angels and Men his Fellow­members, and the whole Family of GOD in Heaven and Earth, his own Dome­sticks, is fit for Heaven. As he hath more encouragements to believe in GOD, and to delight in him, so hath he more con­cerns to engage his fear, more allure­ments to provoke his desire, more incen­tives to enflame his love, and more ob­ligations to compel his obedience: More arguments to strengthen his Hope, more materials to feed his Praises, more Cau­ses to make him Humble, more fuel for Charity to others, more grounds of Contentment in himself, more helps to inspire him with Fortitude, more rewards to quicken his Industry, more engage­ments to Circumspection and Prudence, more ballast to make him Stable, more lights to assist his Knowledge, more sails to forward his Motion, more em­ployments in which to spend his Time, more attractives to Meditation, and more entertainments to enrich his Soli­tude. He hath more aids to confirm his Patience, more avocations from Injuries to Meekness, more wings to carry him above the World, and more Gates to let him into Heaven. He hath more With­holders to keep him from Sin, more ag­gravations [Page 556] to increase his Guilt, more odious deformities in every Vice, more waters to augment his Tears, more mo­tives to Repentance, and more Conso­lations upon his Reconciliation: More hopes to relieve his Prayer, more bounds to secure his Prosperity, more comforts in Adversity, and more Hal­lelujah's in all Estates: More delights to entertain his Friends, more sweetness in his Conversation, more arts to con­quer his Enemies, more Feasts in abste­mious Fasts, more and better sawce than other at his Feasts, innumerable Compa­nions night and day, in Health, in Sick­ness, in Death, in Prison; at his Table, in his Bed, in his Grove, in his Garden, in the City, in the Field, in his Journy, in his Walk, at all times, and in all places. He hath more antidotes against Tempta­tion, more weapons in his Spiritual War­fare, more balsom for his Wounds, and more preservatives against the contagion of Worldly Customs. From this Spring of Universal Fruition all the streams of Living Waters flow that refresh the Soul. Upon this Hing all a mans Interests turn, and in this Centre all his Spiritual Occa­sions meet. It is the great Mystery of Blessedness and Glory, the Sphere of all [Page 557] Wisdom, Holiness and Piety, the great and ineffable Circumstance of all Grace and Vertue, the Magazine and Store­house of all Perfection.


Of Enmity and Triumph: Of Schism and Heresie, Fidelity, Devotion, Godliness. Wherein is declared, how Gratitude and Felicity inspire and perfect all the Vertues.

I Should here have ended all my dis­course on Vertue, had it not been ne­cessary to speak something of our Ene­mies. Since there was never any man so Wise but he had some, it is not to be expected that the most Vertuous Man living should be altogether without them. Moses, and David, and Elijah, and Daniel had Enemies, so had our Lord Jesus Christ himself: Joseph had some in his younger daies, and Solomon some in his Old age: Of all the Prophets I find Samuel the most clear and exempted from them. But this I observe, that [Page 558] Men of great and transcendent Princi­ples, of staid and well-govern'd Passions, of meek and condescending Behavi­ours, highly kind and serviceable in their Age, free from the spots and ble­mishes of the World, have frequently arrived to an universal Applause and Honour, and moved in a sphere so high above the Nation in which they lived, that as if they had been Creatures of a­nother World, they have enjoyed a Ve­neration above their Degree, and been surrounded with a repose, that makes them look like Angels in a kind of Hea­ven; that that Heaven which they en­joyed upon Earth, was the Work, and the Reward, and the Crown of Vertue. Thus Moses after his long Meekness, and invincible Fidelity to the Jewish Nation, was in the close of his life most exceeding­ly honour'd by all the People, and lament­ed after his death by a million of Persons, that felt the disastre of so great a loss. Jo­seph suffered much by the Envy of his Bre­thren in the beginning, and the Lust and Slander of his Mistress. But after he had once been the Saviour of the Land of E­gypt, and of his Fathers Family, his Vertue being known, he enjoyed a long life of Glory and Honour, and of the abun­dance [Page 559] of his own peace and tranquility, communicated a repose and prosperity to his Nation. Joshua did run the ha­zard of being stoned for crossing the perverse humour of the Jews, when he returned from searching the Land of Ca­naan: but from Moses's death, through­out all his life afterwards was an absolute Prince among his own People, and a glorious Victor over all their Enemies. Samuel was from his Infancy chosen of GOD, and from Dan even to Beersheba they knew he was established to be a Prophet of the Lord. The honour of his Communion with Heaven joyned with his great Integrity and Gravity on Earth, gave him a Reputation that made him Greater than all the Elders in the Land. And it is very apparent, that the eminent Holiness, and Goodness, and great Wis­dom of these Men made them to pre­vail, with GODS blessing on their Ver­tues, and to reign like Benefactors, and magnificent Patriots of their Country. Solomon was by his Wisdom exceeding glorious, till he revolted from GOD: and those Mischiefs which befel David after he came to the Throne did spring from his Fall in the matter of Urias. These things I note to encourage Men [Page 560] to Vertue. For though our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Apostles, were persecuted to the Death, yet two things are very considerable: First, that their Glory surmounted the Rage of all their Ene­mies, and continues immortally shining throughout all Kingdoms and Ages: Next, That they were born to trouble­some Times, and were to break the Ice for all their Followers. For their busi­ness was extraordinary, to change the state and condition of Kingdoms, to alter the publick Rites of Religion both among Jews and Gentiles, and therein to shake and dissetile the Secular Inter­ests of Millions, as well as to touch and offend the Conscience, in defaming that for which so many Ages had so great a Veneration. This created all the diffi­culty in their Lives. But where the publick Rites of Religion are approved, and a Man is born in peaceable and quiet Times, I do not see but the most Ver­tuous Men inherit all the Honour and Esteem of the People, and whatever e­state and degree they are of, reign in the fullest and freest Prosperity. Nor has the Death of Christ of little pre­vailed upon Earth, but that all the World does now take notice of the [Page 561] Glory of his Doctrine, and far better understand the excellency of Vertue than they did before: They feel and admire its influences. Insomuch that as fome Vertuous Men grow contemptible by their Vices; so do the most debanch­ed and vicious Men, find a Necessity of appearing Vertuous, if they mean to be Honourable; for as all Errours receive their strengths from some Truths pro­fessed by Hereticks, so do all Vices and vicious Persons owe their supports to the powerful strengths of those Vertues on which they lean, and which they use (though in a wicked manner) for their own security. For they cannot rise and thrive in the World without some Ver­tue, or shew of Vertue at least, to cover and help out their Vices. Three things I desire you to note seriously, when you have first observed, that it is a very hard matter to hate an Excellent Man, or contemn him, when he is known. The one is, that Enmities and Disgraces are like the pangs and throws of the New-Birth, they fall like Storms and Showers upon budding Vertues in their spring and greeness: When a Man first begins to be Vertuous he is despised, suspected, unknown; it may be cen­sured [Page 562] and hated: But when he has made himself eminent and conspicuous, is a man of tried and approved Vertue, well known for a Person of Honour and Worth; the first Envies and Censures a­bate; and if he constantly exercise all Honesty and Goodness with great acti­vity, courage, and prudence, he shall conquer all his Enemies, and inherit the benefit of his own Vertues in the peace and tranquility of his happy Condition. Note also, that it is not so much the Ma­lignity of the World, as some Vice of the Proficient, or some occasion that Religious men give the World to blas­pheme Religion by some Infirmity or o­ther, that makes them to be hated. And this I note, because I would have you not cry out of other Mens Corruptions, so much as of your own. There is a little Pride, or Covetousness, or Lazi­ness, or Scorn, or Anger, or Revenge, some one Deformity or other, that gives Men advantage against us, when they deride at our Profession: but under the Name and Notion of Vertue no Man was ever yet upbraided. As a Fool perhaps, and a Coward (but not as a Wise and gallant Man) he may be scorned. Thirdly, Some Secular Interest [Page 563] may put People together by the Ears, but no Man is hated for being perfectly Vertuous. Misapprehensions, Slanders, In­juries, Quarrels about Estates and Posses­sessions may arise; but where the Land is at peace, and the True Religion e­stablished, no Man is hated for being Wise, and Good, and Holy, and Chaste, and Just, and Liberal, and Honest, and Merciful, and Meek, and Couragious, but the more admired for being Holy and Blessed, when he joyns all GODS Vertues together. A man may be per­verse and turbulent, a Schismatick and a Heretick,Of Here­ticks and Schisma­ticks. and by a rash and erro­neous Zeal bring many Enemies and Pe­nalties on himself, while he rails against the Magistrates, and reviles the Bi­shops and Pastours of the Church, breaks the Laws, and disturbs the Kingdom, prophanes and blasphemes GODS publick Worship, and endea­vours to overthrow the established Re­ligion and Discipline among us. But all the Troubles which a man brings on himself by any such means as these, are not to be fathered on Vertue, but rightly to be ascribed to their proper Causes Had he that suffered them been more Vertuous, he had been less [Page 564] miserable. And truly this I may say for the glory of Christianity, Where it is freely and purely Professed in any Na­tion or Kingdom (as at present in Ours) a Man may be as divine and heavenly as an Angel. And if he be Liberal, and Kind, and Humble, and Cheerful, especially if withal he be Un­daunted and Couragious, most exceed­ingly Honest and Faithful in his deal­ings; the more Holy and Divine he is, the more he is commended and valued in the Land: but if he have any flaw the greater stir he makes in Religion the more he is hated. He loses his Cre­dit, and undergoes the Censure of a supercilious Hypocrite.

AS for all the Enemies which Strife and Contention about Worldly Goods occasion to a Vertuous Man, he is no more liable to them than other persons: And yet when he meets them, he has far more advantages over his Enemies than other Men. For being full of Courage, he dares do any thing that is fit against them, and that sparkle of the Lion makes them to dread him: whereas a Coward is baffled and run over in a moment. Being full of Tem­per and Humility, he is not apt to exas­perate [Page 565] them, and make them mad, as hot and angry Spirits are apt to do. By Kindness he obliges, and wins, and softens them: By Prudence he knows how to manage them, and all his other Vertues come in as so many strengths against them. Being Just he never quarrels but in a Good Cause; being Good and Mer­ciful, he is not apt to make an Enemy: Being Wise and Holy his Soul is in ano­ther World, and it is no trivial Injury that can make him contend: Being Li­beral and Magnanimous he is prone to do Heroical things, and to make him­self Venerable to his very Adversary: And above all to tender and to love his Soul, and to steer all the Conten­tion to both their benefit. We rail on the World when the fault is in our selves. The most of Men professing Vertue are but Children in Worth; very weak, and very defective: And too timorous too, GOD knows. They neither trust GOD enough, nor carry Vertue to the height. Vertue is base and not Ver­tue, while it is remiss: It never shineth gloriously and irresistibly, till it be acted almost in a desperate manner. He only is the Great Man, that contemns Danger, Life, and Death, and all the [Page 566] World, that he may be supreamly and compleatly Vertuous.

ENEMIES may sometimes spring from Envy. And indeed there alone lies the Core of the Matter: when some Men imperfectly Vertuous, abhor others for being more Excellent than them­selves; at least for being more Honou­red, and more Prosperous. Here a­gain Temporal Interest is the ground of the Enmity. For thus our Saviour was hated by the Scribes and Pharisees. Pilate knew that they delivered him for Envy. But the main pretext and Cause of his Condemnation, was the Testi­mony of those that heard him say, He would destroy the Temple: Without which, and his imputed Blasphemy they could hardly have killed him. But he came to die, and was the less solicitous. Where these publick Cases are away: They that envy Vertuous Men are ge­nerally Men of equal rank and degree with themselves; but a Man truly Ver­tuous will out-strip them, as far as a Swallow will a Snail, all his Inferiours, and all his Superiours that understand him, and the most also of his Equals, and all they too, if he invents wayes and methods to oblige them, will at [Page 567] last be won to confess and acknowledge him. But in the mean time he grows, and thrives, and enjoyes their very Enmity. He never speaks ill of them behind their backs. He is not a jot dis­couraged, nor exasperated, he pities their Weakness, and is humble under the sence perhaps of his own: He is careful to give them no advantage a­gainst him: He confides in GOD, and strengthens himself in hope of Divine assistance: He rejoyces exceedingly that he has the opportunity of Forgiving, and considers how many Vertues he has to exercise upon that Occasion. It makes him to exult, when he considers that these Enemies are the Instruments and Materials of his greater Glory. He foresees the Victory, and delights in the Triumph. And besides all this, He is obliged by Jesus Christ to for­give greater Wrongs than these, and gladly yields some Trials of his Obe­dience: He has an infinite felicity in daily View, and remembers he is a Pil­grim in a strange Country. He is dead to the World, and alive unto GOD. The Moon is beneath his feet, and so are all fickle and transitory things. He is cloathed with the Sun, and walk­eth [Page 568] in the Light, environed with the beams of his own Enjoyments. If his Enemy be able to do him a Mischief; (which to a man perfectly Vertuous seldome happens) he turns it into Good, which a Foolish and a Vicious Man cannot do: He sinks not under it, but plunges out again, and furmounts it altogether: immediately forgives it, and can after cheerfully serve his Ene­my. For his part he will be an Ene­my to no man in the World. He knows his Duty and his Master: the value of Souls, and the excellency of Vertue: His very Gratitude to GOD and Jesus Christ is enough to make him go through a thousand greater and more terrible brunts than these.

I would not have Men ingrateful to Jesus Christ; not blind to themselves. I know very well that the Age is full of Faults, and lament it: but withal I know, it is full of Advantages. As Sin abounds, so does Grace also super­abound. Never so much clear Know­ledge in any Age: Learned Ministers, multitudes of Sermons, excellent Books, translated Bibles, studious Gentlemen, multitudes of Schollers, publick Liberty, Peace and Safety: [Page 569] all great and eminent Blessings. There were many disorders in the Church of Corinth, and yet the Apostle tells them of their Reigning, and wishes, Would to GOD he did reign with them! after their City had a little flourished in peace, and received Religion: and makes his Comparison between them and himself after such a manner, that when it is considered, it would make one apt to think the Reigning of the Saints, which is spoken of in the Book of the Revelations, were either now present or already past. Now ye are full (saith he) now ye are rich, ye have reign­ed as Kings without us, and I would to GOD ye did reign,1 Cor 4. [...]that we also might reign with you. For I think GOD hath set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to Death: for we are made a spectacle to the World, and to Angels, and to Men: We are sools for Christs sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong: Ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even to this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place. A small matter will make a Saint to Reign, by reason of the greatness of his interior Bliss. If he be [Page 570] not buffetted and cast out of doors; having Food and Rayment, with his Godliness it is Great Gain. Especially when Kings and Princes yield a professed subjection to the Gospel of Christ. For then all the Kingdoms of the World become the Kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ: When the Cross is exalted a­bove the Crown, and the Kings Palaces surmounted by the magnificence of our Saviours Temple, and there is no Ido­latry nor Poyson in the Church, but a pure publick worship, when the very Laws and Magistrates countenance Re­ligion, and those Apostles that were once persecuted and cast out as Vile, are now glorified and admired for their Sanctity. Men may be Christians pub­lickly and in the face of the Sun, it is horrible ingratitude to be unsensible of the advantage, to calumniate, and re­proach, and disturb the Church, as if it were a sink of Paganisme. Rather we should admire and adore GOD Almigh­ty, that other men laboured, and we are entered upon their Labours. We inherit the blood, and toyl, and sweat of the Martyrs, they bore the burthen and heat of the day, and we enjoy the vi­ctory and the peace they acquired. [Page 571] This is one, but not one of the least of GODS Mercies for which we should be Grateful.

THAT all the business of Religion on GODS part is Bounty, Gratitude on ours, and that this Gratitude is the sphere of all Vertue and Felicity, easily is discerned after the first intimation. Gratitude is all that is to be expressed here upon Earth, and above in Heaven. All our Complacencies in his infinite Highness, all our Delights in his eternal Praises, all our Adorations, Extasies, and Offerings, all our Joyes and Thanks­givings, are but the Feathers and the Wings of that Seraphim in Glory. All the Acknowledgment, and Faith, and Hope, and Repentance, all the Obedi­ence and Resignation of a Sinner upon Earth, all his Care and fear to offend, all his Desire and Endeavour to please, all his Worship and Charity, all his Cou­rage, and Perseverance, and Patience, all his Fidelity, Devotion, and Godli­ness, are but Gratitude in several dresses, as Time, Place, and Occasion require. Sermons are to inform and assist our Gratitude, Sacraments to revive and exercise its vertue. Vertues themselves are our Aids to bring us thereunto.

[Page 572] Upon Sabbaths it enjoyes a Rest, that hath something in it of Heaven; and it is a hard matter to be wicked in the Sanctuary. But in ordinary Conversa­tion, in Shops and Taverns, in the Camp, in the Navy, at a Feast, or in a Journey, to retain the Sence of all Mer­cies, and to carry all these Vertues and Graces about a Man, is not ordinary for a Common Christian. But that which does realize our Gratitude, and make it perfect, is a true Fidelity to GOD and our selves, which is an acquired habit, or a Grace infused, by vertue of which we keep all those Promises which we made to GOD in our holy Meditations, and all those holy Resolves which in our best Retirements we put upon our selves to do his Will, even in the midst of all Assaults and Temptations. It is a Vertue by which we remain Constant in all Persecutions and Allurements; not warping, or moving aside on any Consi­deration; neither melting with Plea­sures, nor flinching at Distresses; but continuing faithful to the death, that we may obtain the Crown of Life. He cer­tainly that sees himself a King of all Worlds, and Brother to our Lord JESUS CHRIST (who hath said, [Page 573] He that doth the will of my Father, is my Mother, Sister, and Brother:) will not be wrought on to forsake or hazard so great a Bliss. His knowledge of its Per­fection will animate his Soul with all Fidelity.

IT will draw him from the World too, and make him desire to be much alone, that he may be much with GOD. A Covetous man will be telling his Mo­nies, an Ambitious man aspires to be alwaies near the Kings Person, an Epi­cure is for his Wine, or Women, or Feasts continually. A Vertuous man is more Covetous, more Ambitious, more prone to Celestial Epicurisme, if I may so speak, than all the World besides: And so art thou, if thou art really en­gaged in the study of Felicity. A Pi­ous man has greater Treasures, higher Honours, more pure Pleasures, sincerer and truer Delights, a more glorious Friend than all the Earth beside. Why should we not enjoy him, why should we not retire to adore him, why not de­light in Devotion and Communion with him? There a Man is to feed by sweet Contemplation on all his Felicities: He is there to pray for open Eyes, and a [Page 574] pure Heart, that he may see GOD. There thou art to exercise thy strengths, and acquaint thy self with him, to look into all Ages and Kingdoms, to consider and know thy self, to exp [...]ciate in the Eternity and Immensity of GOD, and to gain that GODLINESS, which with real Contentment is Great Gain. There thou art to stir up thy self, by way of pure Remembrance, to recollect thy scattered and broken Thoughts, and to cloath thy self with all thy necessary Perfecti­ons.

FOR Godliness is a kind of GOD-LIKENESS, a divine habit, or frame of Soul, that may fitly be accounted The fulness of the stature of the Inward Man. In its least degree, it is an Inclination to he Like GOD, to Please him, and to Enjoy him. He is GOD-LIKE that is high and serious in all his Thoughts, humble and condescending in all his Actions, full of love and good-will to all the Creatures, and bright in the knowledge of all their Natures. He delights in all the Works of GOD, and walks in all the Wayes of GOD, and meditates on all the Commandements of GOD and covets all the Treasures of GOD, and breaths after all his Joyes! [Page 575] He that hates all that GOD hates, and desires all that GOD desires, and loves all that GOD loves, and delights in all his delights, is GODLY: He that aspires to the same End, by the same Means, and forms himself willingly to the same Nature. Every Like in Nature draw­eth to its Like, the Beautiful, and the Wise, and the Good, and the Aged; but especially the GOD-Like. There is more reason why they should delight in each other. They have more Attra­ctives and Incentives. GODLINESS, or GOD-LIKENESS is the cement of Amity between GOD and MAN. Eternity and Immensity are the sphere of his Activity, and are often frequen­ted, and filled with his Thoughts. No­thing less than the Wisdom of GOD will please the GOD-LIKE Man: No­thing less content him, than the Blessed­ness and Glory of his Great Creatour. He must enjoy GOD, or he cannot en­joy himself. That is, he must rest satis­fied in him, as the Creatour, the Law­giver, the Lord and Governour of the World; and for that end must be com­pleatly satisfied with the Glory and Per­fection of all his Works, and Laws, and Wayes. He must delight in all his [Page 576] Counsels, that he may enjoy him as the Great Counsellour of all Nature; and see the Beauty of his Mind, that he may take pleasure in him as the Blessedness of the Angels, the Redeemer of Men, the Sanctifier of his Elect People, and the Soveraign End of all things. He must enjoy him as his own supream and eternal Object, his King, his Father, Bridegroom, Friend, Benefactour, All in all. Which he can never do, till he sees GOD to be the best Father, the best King, the best Benefactour, Bridegroom and Friend in all the World: Nor that, till he sees the Beauty of the whole Creation, the great and wonder­ful things of his Law, the marvellous glory of his All-wise dispensations, the Sacred perfection of his Decrees, and the nature of his Essence: And all these must be as sweet and satisfactory to him­self, as they are to the Deity. To be GOD-Like is a very sublime and most glorious Perfection: which no man can attain, that is not either curiously satisfied in all these things, or humbly confident of their Beauty and Perfection. And for Cause have we thus written upon all the Vertues, that all that need it, and read the Book may be elevated a little higher [Page 577] than the ordinary Rate, have something more erect and Angelical in their Souls, be brought to the Gates (at least) of GODS Kingdom, and be endued with GODLINESS a little more compleatly by their Care, than hitherto they have been; because they know, both that GOD is, and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


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