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carefully then, we may preserve a confidence in them afterwards, though we should lose sight of the reasons whereon they were grounded.

11. But fears cannot be banished presently, nor ought they to be let go unless in proportion as there is a better principle springing up to actuate our motions: therefore the best way of casting out fear is by inuring the mind to hope, and making it our business to seek for those sources from whence it may be drawn, which, after a little practice, will appear not to be so scarce nor scanty as might have been imagined before making the trial. But it behoves us not to take up our hopes too hastily before we have well satisfied ourselves of their foundations, and settled them thoroughly in our judgment : for if any of them stand upon hollow ground, or appear 10 totter upon a subsequent review, this will fix such a suspicion upon the rest that we shall never be able to place a secure dependence upon them.

The hope of a blessed immortality, if well grounded, is a never-failing source of satisfaction whenever the mind stands in a situation and temper to contemplate it strongly, and throws in many a pleasing reflection at intervals between our worldly engagements. But this is too remote a prospect for mortal eye to feed constantly upon : nor need it, having other supplies from nearer objects lying in the line towards this. Therefore it is a mistaken zeal that would fix our thoughts always upon heaven or heavenly joys, and keep up a perpetual glow of ardency towards them: for they are propounded to us not so much for our present amusement, as for engaging our desire of taking the steps leading to them; and is it be recommendable sometimes to raise a degree of fervor in contemplating them, it is in order to transfer a proportionable warmth to our resolution, sufficient to carry us through the measures requisite to obtain them, and surmount the obstacles lying in the way.

The persuasion of this lise being in every part of it preparatory to the next, may satisfy us that there is always something to be done more or less, for advancing our future interests : for there is a right and a wrong in every action, how trivial soever, and the acquitting ourselves well in it is a step in our progress, which affords an immediate object for the eye to fix upon. Our knowledge of the divine goodness gives us assurance that the way to happiness lies open to every man, and the paths of it discernible to such as earnestly seek them : therefore if we be heartily desirous of the end, we have a reasonable hope of finding the means; for desire naturally, urges to seek, and he that seeketh shall find, to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Thus hope generates

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hope, and our attachment to the ultimate aim is a certain security for success in the intermediate, for success consists in having acted for the best upon every particular occasion, and the desire of so doing will direct to the means of its own gratification.

If we lie sometimes under uncertainty which part to take, we may hope for a speedy issue of our doubts, and that we shall neither determine too hastily nor remain diffident of the determination when made: for the business here is not to decide unerringly, but to make a proper use of the lights we have. Our faculties and means of information come from Providence, which we may be sure has apportioned them to us in such measure as to suffice for our purposes: therefore while following what they clearly point to, we are secure of a solid satisfaction. If difficulties overpower us, there is a pleasure in having struggled with them, which will urge us to hope we may succeed better another time. If conscious of not having done so well as we might, we may reflect that perfection is not attained presently, and may expect that our habitual desire of acting right will strengthen itself by frequent exercise. If we do not discern the expedience of our rules, yet we may confide in them that sooner or later we shall feel their good effects. Even when we deny and humble and afflict ourselves, which there is no reason to do unless for the sake of some greater good appearing consequential therefrom, either to our own judgment or upon the authority of rules, we may encourage ourselves to proceed by contemplating the prospect of that greater good; when pains and losses and afflictions fall upon us, we may reflect they will have an end, that we shall receive a joy from the degree of fortitude wherewith we have supported them, and may say with Eneas, The time will come when we shall look back upon these scenes with pleasure.

But though we may justly expect great things from our fortitude when hope and practice have nourished it up to some degree of vigor, yet it will become us to avoid the arrogance of the Stoics, who set up their Wise-man in defiance of Heaven, as standing above the reach of fortune : for that being wrapped up in his integrity, he could remain unhurt amid the sorest evils. But it is a vain imagination to think we can ever raise ourselves above the reach of accident, or gain such a firmness of mind as can never be shaken ; our dependence must rest upon that Power whose disposal fortune lies under, and what fortitude we can acquire will serve as being a recommendation to his favor: while we strive to do what we can for ourselves we have a rational ground to trust in his goodness, that he will suffer no evil to befall us, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, or supply us

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VOL. III.

with better strength than we have now belonging to us, that we be able to bear it.

The same Power likewise having placed us in this world, assigned to every man his station therein, given us appetites, desires, and necessities, formed us into a composition requiring continual refreshments both of body and mind, we may presume all things were ordered for our benefit: therefore in the business of our profession, the provisions for our accommodation, our compliance with customs, our little intercourses of friendship and civility, our recreations and innocent amusements, provided there be no vicious indulgence, but everything be done in its proper season without being a hinderance to any more important work, we may hope that what we do will tend to some further profit besides the present engagement. For every moment of time that is not misspent, is well spent, and is not lost nor fruitless, how trivially soever employed, provided there were no feasible opportunity at hand for employing it better.

Would your righteous people, instead of striving to work themselves up into continual transports greater than human nature can support, consider the duties of active lise; what they owe to the world, to society, to the care of their health, and preservation of their spirits, without which they cannot perform their higher duties with effect and vigor, and lay out their plan of time accordingly; this would furnish them with variety of practicable employments, the prospect of succeeding wherein, would prove a constant succession of under-hopes, branching out from the principal, or at least compatible therewith : and while actuated severally by these inferior hopes, they may be truly said to be doing the Will of God, though they had him not at the time in their thoughts, and would promote their future interests in the gratification of their present desires. For enjoyments rightly pursued, is our proper aim: we are not sent here to be miserable, and there wants nothing more than the fixing our desires upon their suitable objects, to reconcile the pleasures of this life with the hopes of another.

But till we can provide ourselves with a set of hopes, all growing from the principal, to fill up our time and answer all occasions that may happen, it will be necessary to employ fear as a succedaneum to supply the place of such as are wanting ; therefore it well deserves our best diligence and contrivance to increase our stock, that we may have the less need of such a troublesome succedaneum; for when hope and desire urge to the same point that fear would drive at, the latter becomes wholly superfluous. The Apostles, though they preached up the wrath to come, for prevailing with such as could not be worked upon without it, yet for their own use they had not in contemplation the terrors behind them, but the joy that was set before them. And whoever could find means of imitating them, so far as to live always by hope, must lead a happy life: the service of God would to him be perfect freedom, he would think nothing of duty and obligation, but do his work continually out of choice and inclination. Nor would he confine his hopes within his own centre; he would study to make his demeanor not only right but inviting, and communicate his happy temper by sympathy to as many as he could : for soft-handed Hope, whose soothing touch makes the possessor easy in himself and pleased with all around him, never fails to open the heart for giving a readier admittance to her elder sister Charity.

CHAP. XVII.

CHARITY.

The last, but not the least in dignity or value, thee everlasting Charity, let me invoke : and well may I style thee everlasting, for tby years are not to be counted, nor of thy Being is there beginning or end. Thou wast with God before the worlds were made, coeval with the Attributes: thy mild persuasions moved him to create; it was they first prompted Infinite Wisdom to contrive, and employed Omnipotence to execute, the glorious universal plan. Thou still inclinest the Almighty Maker to preserve his stupendous work, to uphold the perfect order running throughout the whole, to bless the creatures he has made; and under thine unceasing influence will he proceed throughout all the boundless ages of eternity. Thy younger sisters, Faith and Hope, he gave for solace and direction of mortal men while grovelling in this vale of wretchedness and darkness; but when admitted to their native Home, then shall Faith be lost in intuition, and Hope be swallowed up in blissful experience: thou alone, immortal Charity, shall enter with us into the heavenly abodes, shall place us in our stations there, and incorporate us into the blessed society.

For thou fillest heaven and earth, pervadest the mighty Whole of Nature, and formest the sinews that knit together all the parts and members in amicable concord. Thy silken cords suffice to hold the most perfect creatures to the throne of Glory; through them they derive their blessings, and by them are drawn to pay

their free obedience; for they know not fear, they think not of obligation, but thine impulses are to them instead of laws, to keep them steady in performing the Will of God, and mutually promoting the happiness of each other. From thee proceed their mighty powers; for thou producest perfect union, and union raises weakness into strength.

The earth that holds down heavy bodies in her surface, is but a mass of matter divisible beyond the reach of human comprehension ; the Sun, whose potent grasp compresses the wide wandering orbs around him, is but an assemblage of innumerable atoms: it is the united force of imperceptible particles that together form that gravitation which fixes the everlasting mountains, binds down the restless ocean within his capacious bed, entangles the unconnected air that it dissipate not in empty space, keeps the Moon constant in her monthly courses, curbs in the huge planetary Worlds and roving Comets that they transgress not the due bounds in their wildest excursions. Yet matter joins in those great works by blind necessity, one general law runs through the component parts of an enormous mass, and compels them to act in concert as one agent: but this law must be administered, and the force whereby it prevails, begun by spiritual substance; for body can only transmit the motion it has received, and is but the channel, not the origin of the impulse it conveys.

Whence then that all-affecting power of the Mundane Soul, which agitates the stupendous whole of universal matter? that ceaseless energy, unfailing source of gravitation, cohesion, and repulsion, which draws remotest bodies to one common centre, which binds the parts of metals in indissoluble compact, which works the wheels of animal and vegetative life, darts the expanse of light around with inconceivable velocity, excites the still swifter vibrations of all-pervading ether, and gives exhaustless vigor and activity to the lifeless lump. From harmony and union springs this prodigious strength of the Mundane Agent, for the component spirits are singly weak, perhaps scarce able to stir a grain of dust that flies before the wind; it is the efforts of innumerable hosts, uniting in the same design, that suffice for every mighty work of nature. But what cements this perfect union, and makes them act as one individual Agent? What else but unreserved, fervent, unabating Charity ? For blind necessity binds them not, impulse cannot affect them, to pain and fear they are utter strangers, and rigorous law holds not her scourges over them: but choice and judicious inclination are the constant springs of their activity,

Their filial love to the almighty Father, perpetual fountain of endless blessings, holds them attentive to observe, and ever ready to ful

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