صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

powers and faculties of men in this present state, that we may be happy and glorious in the powers and faculties of angels, in the world to come.

How ignorant therefore are they of the na: ture of religion, of the nature of man, and the nature of God, who think a life of strict piety and devotion to God to be a dull and uncomfortable state, when it is so plain and certain, that there is neither comfort nor joy to be found in

any thing else?

CHAP. XI.

The most regular life, which is not governed by devo

tion, shows its emptiness and misery,

IT is a very remarkable saying of our lord and saviour to his disciples in these words, • Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.' They teach us two things; First, That the dulness and heaviness of men's minds, with regard to spiritual matters, is so great, that it may justly be compared to the want of eyes and ears.

Secondly, That God has so filled every thing and every place with motives and arguments for a godly life, that they, who are but so blessed, so happy, as to use their eyes and their ears, must be affected with them. ? Though this was in a more special manner the case of those, whose senses were witnesses of the life, and miracles, and doctrines of our blessed lord ; yet is it as truly the case of all christians at this time. For the reasons of religion, the calls to picty are so written and engraved upon every thing, and present themselves so strongly and so constantly to all our senses, in every thing which we meet, that they can be disregarded only by eyes, which see not, and cars, which hear not.

What greater motive to a religious life, than the vanity, the poorness of all worldly enjoyments? Yet who can help seeing and feeling this every day of his life?'

What greater call to look towards God, than the pains, the sickness, the crosses, and vexations of this life? Yet whose eyes and ears are not daily witnesses of them?

What miracles could more strongly appeal to our senses, or what message from heaven speak

[blocks in formation]

louder to us, than the daily dying and departure of our fellow creatures does ?

So that the one thing needful, or the great end of life, is not left to be discovered by fine reasoning and deep reflections ; but pressed upon us in the plainest manner by the experience of all our senses, by every thing, which we meet with in life.

Let us but intend to see and hear ; and then the whole world becomes a book of wisdom and instruction to us; all, which is regular in the order of nature; all, which is accidental in the course of things ; all the mistakes and disappointments, which happen to ourselves ; all the miseries and errours, which we see in other people, become so many plain lessons of advice to us; teaching us with as much assurance, as an angel from heaven, that we can in no way raise ourselves to any true happiness, but by turning all our thoughts, our wishes, and endeavours after the happiness of another life.

It is this right use of the world, into which I would lead you, by directing you to turn your eyes upon every shape of human folly, that you may thence draw fresh arguments and motives of living to the best and greatest purposes of your creation

.

If you would but carry this intention about you of profiting by the follies of the world, and of learning the greatness of religion from the littleness and vanity of every other way of life if, I say, you would but carry this intention in your mind, you would find every day, every place, and every person, a fresh proof of their wisdom, who choose to live wholly unto God. You would then often return home the wiser, the better, and the more strengthened in religion by every thing, which has fallen in your way.

Octavius is a learned, ingenious man, well versed in most parts of literature, and no stran ger to any kingdom in Europe. The other day, being just recovered from a lingering fever, he took upon him to talk thus to his friends.

My glass, says he, is almost run out ; and your eyes see, how many marks of age and death I bear about me. But I plainly feel myself sinking away faster, than any standers by may imagine. I

I fully believe, that one year more will conclude my reckoning.

The attention of his friends was much raised by such a declaration, expecting to hear something truly excellent from so learned a man, who had but a year longer to live. When Octavius proceeded in this manner. For these reasons,

errour.

says he, my friends, I have left off all taverns. The wine of those places is not good enough for me in this decay of nature. I must now be nice in what I drink. I cannot pretend to do, as I have done ; and therefore am resolved to furnish my own cellar with a little of the very best ; though it cost me ever so much.

I must also tell you, my friends, that age forces a man to be wise in many

other

respects, and makes us change many of our opinions and practices. You know, how much I have liked a large acquaintance. I now condemn it as an

Three or four cheerful, diverting companions, are all I now desire ; because I find, that, in my present infirmities, if I am left alone, or to grave company,

I am not so easy to my. self.

A few days after Octavius had made this de claration to his friends, he relapsed into his former illness, was committed to a nurse, who closed his eyes, before his fresh parcel of wine came in.

Young Eugenius, who was present at this discourse, went home a new man, with full resolutions of devoting himself wholly unto God.

I never, says Eugenius, was so deeply affect: ed with the wisdom and importance of religion,

« السابقةمتابعة »