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see him collecting, from a survey of the history of man, the accumulated wisdom of past ages, and applying it to the improvement and comfort of the ages to come ; see him, not confining his researches to the plants he treads on, and the animals around him, but following the stars in their courses, ascertaining their motions and revolutions, and demonstrating, at once, the immensity of the works of God, and the simplicity of the laws by which they are regulated. Behold him in a different aspect, united to his species by a thousand ties; in the family, seeking solace and repose in scenes of domestic affection; in the state, forgetting himself in zeal for the many, and studying only the interests of mankind. Finally, contemplate him distinguished as the subject of the moral government of God; with thoughts, desires, and affections that address themselves to objects beyond the sphere of created being and mortal existence; endowed with conscience, the delegate of the Most High ; accosted by prophets and apostles, the oft-returning messengers of heaven; and, o last effort of allconquering mercy! visited and reclaimed by God himself, wearing the veil of sin-degraded humanity. Ah! could we but learn to estimate our souls by the price God has put upon them, we should not so basely vilify their powers, so boldly misapply their godlike attributes.
The mind of man is doubtless the noblest work of God which he has subjected to our inspection. How divinely is it constituted ; how richly endowed with faculties; how nice in its adaptation to the material frame, formed for its use; how well fitted for its rank in the order of creation; how exquisitely gifted with powers for holding communication with other intelligent beings, probably far beyond any thing of which this state gives us experience! Capable of what happiness, the fond insatiable aspirations of nature give us to conjecture; susceptible of such woe as only a spirit of immortal origin may experience, fallen, and in a fallen world.
THE SUBLIME CONTEMPLATIONS OF A HOLY
But that lofty soul that bears about with it the living apprehension of its being made for an everlasting state, so earnestly intends it, that it shall ever be a descent and vouchsafement with it, if it allow itself to take notice what busy mortals are doing in their (as they reckon them) grand negotiations here below. And if there be a suspicion of an aptness, or inclination to intermeddle in them to their prejudice, to whom that part belongs, can heartily say to it, (as the philosopher to the jealous tyrant,) We of this academy are not at leisure to mind so mean things: we have somewhat else to do than to talk of you. Ho hath still the image before his eye, of this world vanishing and passing away : of the other, with the everlasting affairs and concernments of it, even now ready to take place, and fill up all the stage ; and can represent to himself the vision not from a melancholic fancy, or crazed brain, but a rational faith, and a sober well-instructed mind, of the world, dissolving monarchies and kingdoms breaking up, thrones tumbling, crowns and sceptres lying as neglected things. He hath a telescope, through which he can behold the glorious appearances of the Supreme Judge; the solemn state of his majestic person; the splendid pomp of his magnificent and vastly numerous retinue; the obsequious throng of glorious celestial creatures, doing homage to their eternal King; the swift flight of his royal guards, sent forth into the four winds to gather the elect, and covering the face of the heavens with their spreading wings; the universal silent attention of all to that loud sounding trumpet that shakes the pillars of the world, pierces the inward caverns of the earth, and resounds from every part of the encircling heavens; the many myriads of joyful expectants arising, changing, putting on glory, taking wings and contending upwards, to join themselves to the triumphant heavenly host; the judgment seat; the books opened; the frightful amazed looks of surprised wretches; the equal administration of the final judgment; the abjudication of all to their eternal states; the heavens rolled up as a scroll; the earth and all things therein consumed and burnt up.
That men do things against their conscience, is no otherwise than as they do things against their reason; but a man may as well cease to be a man, as to be wholly without conscience. For the drunkard will be sober, and his conscience will be awake next morning: this is a perpetual pulse, and, though it may be interrupted, yet if the man be alive, it will beat before he dies; and so long as we believe a God, so long our conscience will at least teach us, if it does not also smite us. But as God sometimes lets a man go on in sin, and does not punish him, so does conscience; but in this case, unless the man be smitten and awakened before he dies, both God and the conscience reserve their wrath to be inflicted in hell. It is one and the same thing, God's wrath, and an evil guilty conscience; for by the same hand by which God gives his law, by the same he punishes them that transgress the law. God gave the old law by the ministry of angels, and when the people broke it, he sent evil angels among them. Now God gives us a law in our consciences, and there he hath established the penalty. This is the worm that never dies ; let it be trod upon ever so much here, it will turn again. It cannot die here, and it shall be alive for ever.
A GOOD CONSCIENCE THE GREATEST
No bed so soft, no flowers so sweet, so florid, and delicious, as a good conscience, in which springs all that is delectable, all that may sustain and recreate our spirits. I am pleased in nothing so much as in the remembrances and conscience of my duty, said Cicero. Upon this pillow, and on this bed, Christ slept soundly in a storm; and Peter in prison so fast, that the brightness of an angel could not awake him, or make him rise up without a blow on his side. This refreshed the sorrows of Hezekiah when he was smitten with the plague, and not only brought pleasure for what was past, and so doubled the good of it, but it also added something to the number of his years.
And this made Paul and Silas sing in prison, and in an earthquake; and that I may sum up all the good things in this world, I borrow the expression of St. Bernard, -It is here a perpetual comfort, it will be hereafter an eternal crown.
THE NECESSITY OF A MEDIATOR, The God of the Christians is a God who makes the soul perceive that he is its only good; that its only rest is in him; that it can have no joy but in his love; and at the same time causes it to ablior those obstacles which hinder and withhold it from loving him with all its strength. Self-love and concupiscence which do this are insupportable to it. God makes it feel that there is this self-love deeply rooted within it, and that He alone can remove it. This it is to know God as a Christian. But, to know him in this manner, we must at the same time know our own misery and unworthiness, and the need we have of a Mediator, in order to draw nigh to God, and unite ourselves to him. We must never separate these truths, because either by itself is not only unprofitable but hurtful. The knowledge of God, without the knowledge of our own misery, produces pride. The knowledge of our own misery, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ, produces despair. But the knowledge of Jesus Christ exempts as both from pride and despair ; because in him we see God, our own misery, and the only way of recovery from it.
may know God without knowing our own miseries, or our own miseries without knowing God; or we may know both, without knowing