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“ ly circumstantiated, allowable to human natures: € such as the sweet reflexion on the success of our |
political management-the general tribute of " honour and respect for our policy and wit, and " that ample testimony thereof, our acquisition “ of power and riches; that great satisfacijon of “ foiling and bearing down our enemies, and " obliging and making sure our more serviceable " friends; To which finally you may add all the “ variety of mirth and pastime, that fleth and "blood can entertain itself with, from either “ music, wine, or women." mm, of the Souls L. ii. Ch. 18. Sect. 9.
Dr. Goodman, in his Winter Evening Gonfer: ances, a book received with general applause, and now in every one's hands, represents one of the persons in his Dialogue speaking as follows: “It is is plain, that nothing but the hope of another " and better world at last, can enable a man to « lerably to enjoy himself in this present-Nothing « but eternal life is a sufficient antidote against the ** fears of death. And all these are the effects © and benefits of religion. Therefore if this be « uncomfortable, mankind must needs be the \ most deplorably-unhappy kind of Being in the " whole world. For though other sort of crea. «tures are in some sort fellow-fufferers in the « common calamities of this world ; yet, besides « that their share is ordinarily not fo great as hiš, « it is evident that they fear nothing for the future, “ but only feel the present evil, and they have " no restraint upon them for what they desire; “ nor any remorse' for what they have done. “ Therefore, if mankind have not the glory of
" his conscience, when he doth well, to sec “ against the checks and girds of it when he doth "amiss; and if he have not hopes to counterbalance s his fears, and a reward hereafter for his self“ denial at present, his condition is far the worst « of any creature in the world." Part iii. p. 43.
In like manner (Part ii. p. 114.) after allowa ing, that “Several sorts of brute creatures con“ tinue longer in the world, and have as well a “ quicker sense of pleasure, as a more unlimited " and uncontrolled enjoyment of it,” he makes the same inference from hence that I have done ; “ That upon these very considerations, there is « great reason to believe that there is such a thing “as another world, wherein man may have “ amends made him, for whatever was amiss or “ defective in this. For it is not credible with “ me, that such power and wisdom, as is plainly k displayed in the constitution of man, should « be so utterly destitute of goodness, as to con. “trive things so ill, that the noblest Being Jould « be finally the most unfortunate."
Bishop Wilkins, in his Princ. of Nat. Relig, “ p. 159, 160.“ There is a strong aversion among “ men against a dark state of annihilation, which “no man can think of without great regret of "mind; and likewise a natural desire in all men " after a state of happiness and perfection. And “ no natural desire is in vain. All other things “ have somewhat to satisfy their natural appetites. “ And if we consider the utter impossibility of at“ taining to any such condition in this life, this « will render it highly credible, that there must “ be another state wherein this happiness is attain
66 able : « able : Otherwise mankind must fail of his chief “ end, being, by a natural principle, most strong“ ly inclined to such a state of happinness as he “ can never attain to; as if he were purposely " framed to be tormented betwixt these two pal“ fions, defire and despair ; an earneft propention " after happiness, and an utter incapacity of en“joying it; as if nature itself, whereby all other " things are disposed to their perfection, did serve s. oniy, in mankind, to make them mest miserable. « And, which is yet more confiderable, the « better and wiser any man is, the morg “ earnest desires and hopes hath he after such a “ state of happiness. And if there be no such ► thing, not only nature, but virtue likewise, muf , contribute to make men miserable.”
I have searched the Volumes of Sermons pube lished by Divines here in England, and find as get but two on the same text with mine ; one preached by the learned and pious Mr. Pemble, the other by Dr. Straaling, the late worthy Dean of Chichester ; and both of them full of the same points of doctrine, and the same ways of explaining those points, as I have employed. I refer the reader to the Sermons themselves, and shall mention here but a paffage or two out of them.
Mr. Pemble's first position is, that “ True 66 Christians are more unhappy than other men, if “ their happiness be confined to this life only—are « in a worse state than Epicures and Atheists, and “ other ungodly persons, &c. in regard to the “ nature of true religion which they profess, “ which agrees not with the good liking of the ♡ world, and therefore it (the world) cannot
“ agrec « agree with that, nor with them that sincerely " profess it. — They are men of another gene6 ration, their lives are not like other men's, and « therefore the world wonders at them -and t always fees, in their well-doing, a reproof of 6 their own evil-doing," doc. He concludes thus -“ We see then the point to be plain enough,
that true Christians, barred in their hope in « Chrift for the life to come, are more miserable
than other men; because all are alike hereafter; “ and for this life, the godly miss of thosc con« tentments which the wicked enjoy; nay, are « more miserable, not only than men, but than beasts “ alf."-p. 480.
Dr Stradling's second head is, " That, upon * fupposition of no better hope [than this life affords] « all good Christians foruld be not only miserable *, « but of all men m st miferable-more unhapsy than “ the most brutis men, yea, thin the beasts that “ perill. For whereas these feel their misery when “ it comes, but do not anticipate it, doc. p. 474. u Chriftians make themselves yet more miserable, “ by their severe principles of mortification and es self denial, debarring themselves of those com. “ forts and satisfactions which others enjoy. p.478. -“ They lose the good tidings here, and fail of “ those hereafter." p. 479.
To these modern instances from our own writers, I shall add that of Mr. Calvin, who says t,
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* p 453 + Sapientiflime apud Plutarcbum Gryllus ratiocinatur, dum homines affirmat, fi ab eorum vita semel absi religio, non nodo brutis pecudibus nihil exeillere, led multis partibus effe
" That Gryllus, in Plutrach, reasons wisely, 6 when he affirms, that men, who live without “ religion [i. 2. without a sense of God, and a bea “ lief of future rewards] de not only not excel brute « beasts, but are by ma y degrees far inferior to “ them, in as much as they are liable to various « forts of evils, and live always in a tumultuary “ and restless state.” And again,-" There is « none of us but who would be thought, through« out the whole course of this life, to aspire after « immortality. For we are ashamed in nothing « to excel the brute berts, whole condition would “ be no ways inferior to our', if we had not the “ hope of eternity a ter death to fur fort us *."
I Thall trouble the reader with one ci ation more, out of athenagoras : bec:use the words of that ancient writer are very fulll and expressive. “ If “ (says he ) human aciions we e not to be judg. « ed, Men would have no udvantage over beltsi
ionge inferiores, ut qui tot malorum formis obnoxii tumultuo ariara et irrequieram vitam perpetuo trabant, &c. in it, Cap. i Sect. 10.
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