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imagery; but when thou hast rifled and discomposed them with enjoying their false beauties, and that they begin to go off, then behold them in their nakedness and weariness. See what a sigh and sorrow, what naked unhandsome proportions and a filthy carcass they discover; and the next time they counterfeit, remember what you have already discovered, and be no more abused.-Ibid.

USEFUL STUDIES.

SPEND not your time in that which profits not; for your labour and your health, your time and your studies, are very valuable; and it is a thousand pities to see a diligent and hopeful person spend himself in gathering cockle-shells and little pebbles, in telling sands upon the shores, and making garlands of useless daisies. Study that which is profitable, that which will make you useful to churches and commonwealths, that which will make you desirable and wise. Only I shall add this to you, that in learning there are variety of things as well as in religion: there is mint and cummin, and there are the weighty things of the law; so there are studies more and less useful, and everything that is useful will be required in its time: and I may in this also use the words of our blessed Saviour, "These things ought you to look after, and not to leave the other unregarded." But your great care is to be in the things of God and of religion, in holiness and true wisdom, remembering the saying of Origen, "That the knowledge that arises from goodness is something that is more certain and more divine than all demonstration," than all other learnings of the world.-Ibid.

THE OMNIPRESENCE OF
DEATH.

You can go no whither but you tread on dead men's bones. The wild fellow in Petronius, that escaped upon a broken table from the furies of a shipwreck, as he

was sunning himself upon the rocky shore, espied a man rolled upon his floating bed of waves, ballasted with sand in the folds of his garment, and carried by his civil enemy, the sea, towards the shore to find a grave.

And it cast him into some sad thoughts, that peradventure this man's wife, in some part of the continent, safe and warm, looks next month for the good man's return; or, it may be, his son knows nothing of the tempest; or his father thinks of that affectionate kiss which still is warm upon the good old man's cheek, ever since he took a kind farewell, and he weeps with joy to think how blessed he shall be when his beloved boy returns into the circle of his father's arms. These are the thoughts of mortals; this is the end and sum of all their designs. A dark night and an ill guide, a boisterous sea and a broken cable, a hard rock and a rough wind, dashed in pieces the fortune of a whole family; and they that shall weep loudest for the accident are not yet entered into the storm, and yet have suffered shipwreck. Then, looking upon the carcass, he knew it, and found it to be the master of the ship, who, the day before, cast up the accounts of his patrimony and his trade, and named the day when he thought to be at home. how the man swims, who was so angry two days since! His passions are becalmed with the storm, his accounts cast up, his cares at an end, his voyage done, and his gains are the strange events of death, which, whether they be good or evil, the men that are alive seldom trouble themselves concerning the interest of the dead.

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It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood; from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and deadly paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror of a three days' burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and, at first, it

was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as a lamb's fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk; and at night, having lost some of its leaves, and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and every woman; the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonour, and our beauty so changed, that our acquaintance quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror, or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursings, that they who, six hours ago, tended upon us either with charitable or ambitious services, cannot, without some regret, stay in the room alone, where the body lies stripped of its life and honour. I have read of a fair young German gentleman, who, living, often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friends' desire by giving way, that, after a few days' burial, they might send a painter to his vault, and if they saw cause for it, draw the image of his death unto the life. They did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and back-bone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change; and it will be as bad with you and me; and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? what friends to visit us? what officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our-faces from the sides of the weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funeral?

A man may read a sermon, the best and most passionate that ever man preached, if he shall but enter into the sepulchres of kings. In the same Escurial where the Spanish princes live in greatness and power, and decree war or peace, they have wisely placed a cemetery, where their ashes and their glory shall sleep till time shall be no more; and where our kings have been crowned their ancestors lie in

terred, and they must walk over their grandsire's head to take his crown. There is an acre sown with royal seed, the copy of the greatest change, from rich to naked, from ceiled roofs to arched coffins, from living like gods to die like men. There is enough to cool the flames of lust, to abate the heights of pride, to appease the itch of covetous desires, to sully and dash out the dissembling colours of a lustful, artificial, and imaginary beauty. There the warlike and the peaceful, the fortunate and the miserable, the beloved and the despised princes, mingle their dust, and pay down their symbol of mortality, and tell all the world that, when we die, our ashes shall be equal to kings', and our accounts easier, and our pains for our crowns shall be less.-Ibid.

[DR. ROBERT SOUTH. 1633-1716.]
SANCTIMONIOUSNESS.

BODILY abstinence, joined with a demure, affected countenance, is often called and accounted piety and mortification. Suppose a man infinitely ambitious, and equally spiteful and malicious; one who poisons the ears of great men by venomous whispers, and rises by the fall of better men than himself; yet if he steps forth with a Friday look and a lenten face, with a blessed Jesu! and a mournful ditty for the vices of the times; oh! then he is a saint upon earth: an Ambrose or an Augustine (I mean not for that earthly trash of book-learning; for, alas! such are above that, or at least that's above them), but for zeal and for fasting, for a devout elevation of the eyes, and a holy rage against other men's sins. And happy those ladies and religious dames characterised in the 2nd of Timothy, c. iii. 5, 6, who can have such self-denying, thriving, able men for their confessors! and thrice happy those families where they vouchsafe to take their Friday night's refreshments! thereby demonstrate to the world what Christian abstinence, and what primitive, selfmortifying vigour there is in forbearing a

dinner, that they may have the better abilities, and what is excellent in the stomach to their supper. In fine, the world forsake the church, we may easily whole world stands in admiration of fortel its ruin without the gift of prothem fools are fond of them, and wise phecy. And when ignorance succeeds in men are afraid of them; they are talked the place of learning, weakness in the of, they are pointed out; and, as they room of judgment, we may be sure order the matter, they draw the eyes of heresy and confusion will quickly come all men after them, and generally some- in the room of religion.-Ibid. thing else.-Sermons.

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RELIGION NOT HOSTILE ΤΟ
PLEASURE.

it is. For pleasure, in general, is the consequent apprehension of a suitable object suitably applied to a rightly disposed faculty; and so must be conversant both about the faculties of the body and of the soul respectively, as being the result of the fruitions belonging to both.

IGNORANT PREACHERS. We know how great an absurdity our THAT pleasure is man's chiefest good Saviour accounted it for the blind to lead (because, indeed, it is the perception of the blind, and to put him that cannot so good that is properly pleasure), is an much as see to discharge the office of a assertion most certainly true, though, watch. Nothing more exposes to con-under the common acceptance of it, not tempt than ignorance. When Samson's only false but odious. For, according to eyes were out, of a public magistrate this, pleasure and sensuality pass for terms he was made a public sport. And when equivalent; and therefore he that takes Eli was blind, we know how well he it in this sense, alters the subject of the governed his sons, and how well they discourse. Sensuality is indeed a part, or governed the church under him. But rather one kind of pleasure, such an one as now the blindness of the understanding is greater and more scandalous, especially in such a seeing age as ours, in which the very knowledge of former times passes but for ignorance in a better dress; an age that flies at all learning, and inquires into everything, but especially into faults and defects. Ignorance, indeed, so far as it may be resolved into natural inability, is, as to men at least, inculpable, and consequently not the object of scorn, but pity; but in a governor, it cannot be without the conjunction of the highest impudence; for who bid such a one aspire to teach and to govern? A blind man sitting in the chimney-corner is pardonable enough, but sitting at the helm he is intolerable. If men will be ignorant and illiterate, let them be so in private, and to themselves, and not set their defects in a high place, to make them visible and conspicuous. If owls will not be hooted at, let them keep close within the tree, and not perch upon the upper boughs. Solomon built his temple with the tallest cedars; and surely when God refused the defective and the maimed for sacrifice, we cannot think that he requires them for the priesthood. When learning,

Now, amongst those many arguments used to press upon men the exercise of religion, I know none that are like to be so successful as those that answer and remove the prejudices that generally possess and bar up the hearts of men against it: amongst which there is none so prevalent in truth, though so little owned in pretence, as that it is an enemy to men's pleasures, that it bereaves them of all the sweets of converse, dooms them to an absurd and perpetual melancholy, designing to make the world nothing else but a great monastery; with which notion of religion nature and reason seem_to have great cause to be dissatisfied. For since God never created any faculty, either in soul or body, but withal prepared for it a suitable object, and that in order to its gratification, can we think that religion was designed only for a contradiction to nature, and with the greatest

[DR. WILLIAM SHERLOCK. 1678-1761.] LONGING AFTER IMMORTALITY.

LET us now consider the force of this

and most irrational tyranny in the world, to tantalise and tie men up from enjoyment, in the midst of all the opportunities of enjoyment? to place men with the furious affections of hunger and thirst in the very bosom of plenty, and then to tell argument; how far these natural desires them that the envy of Providence has of immortality prove that we are by nature sealed up everything that is suitable under immortal. For [say the objectors] is the character of unlawful? For certainly there anything in the world more extrava first to frame appetites fit to receive plea-gant than some men's desires are; and sure, and then to interdict them with a Touch not, taste not, can be nothing else than only to give them occasion to devour and prey upon themselves, and so to keep men under the perpetual torment of an unsatisfied desire; a thing hugely contrary to the natural felicity of the creature, and consequently to the wisdom and goodness of the great Creator.

He, therefore, that would persuade men to religion both with art and efficacy, must found the persuasion of it upon this, that it interferes not with any rational pleasure, that it bids nobody quit the enjoyment of any one thing that his reason can prove to him ought to be enjoyed. 'Tis confessed, when, through the cross circumstances of a man's temper or condition, the enjoyment of a pleasure would certainly expose him to a greater inconvenience, then religion bids him quit it; that is, it bids him prefer the endurance of a lesser evil before a greater, and nature itself does no less. Religion, therefore, entrenches upon none of our privileges, invades none of our pleasures; it may, indeed, sometimes command us to change, but never totally to abjure them.-Ibid.

APPARENT IMPOSSIBILITIES.

IT is idleness that creates impossibilities; and where men care not to do a thing, they shelter themselves under a persuasion that it cannot be done. The shortest and the surest way to prove a work possible, is strenuously to set about it; and no wonder if that proves it possible that for the most part makes it so.-Ibid.

is this an argument, that we shall have whatever we desire, because we fondly and passionately, and, it may be, very unreasonably desire it? And therefore, to explain the force of this argument, Í shall observe two things; Ist, That all natural passions and appetites are immediately implanted in our nature by God; and, 2ndly, That all natural passions have their natural objects.

As for the first, it is certain, as I have already shewn at large, that our passions and appetites are the life and sense of the soul, without which it would be dead and stupid, without any principle of vital sensation. For what is life without fear, and love, and hope, and desire, and such like passions, whereby we feel all things else, and feel ourselves? Now, whatever fancies men may have about our notions and ideas, that they may come into our minds from without, and be formed by external impressions, yet no man will be so absurd as to say, that external objects can put a principle of life into us; and then they can create no new passions in us, which are essential to our natures, and must be the work of that God who made us.

And therefore, secondly, every natural desire must have its natural object to answer that desire, or else the desire was made in vain ; which is a reproach to our wise Maker, if he have laid a necessity on us of desiring that which is not in nature, and therefore cannot be had. We may as well suppose that God has made eyes without light, or ears without sounds, as that he has implanted any desires in us which he had made nothing to answer. There is no one example can be given of this in any kind whatsoever; for should any man be so extravagent as to desire to

fly in the air, to walk upon the sea, and the like, you would not call these the desires of nature, because our natures are not fitted for them; but all the desires which are founded in nature have their natural objects. And can we then think that the most natural and most necessary desire of all has nothing to answer it? that nature should teach us above all things to desire immortality, which is not to be had? especially when it is the most noble and generous desire of human nature, that which most of all becomes a reasonable creature to desire; nay, that which is the governing principle of all our actions, and must give laws to all our other passions, desires, and appetites. What a strange creature has God made man, if he deceive him in the most fundamental and most universal principle of action; which makes his whole life nothing else but one continued cheat and imposture !-Sermons.

HUMAN LIFE NOT TOO SHORT

FOR ITS PURPOSES.

SUCH a long life as that of the antediluvians] is not reconcileable with the present state of the world. What the state of the world was before the flood, in what manner they lived, and how they employed their time, we cannot tell, for Moses has given no account of it; but taking the world as it is, and as we find it, I dare undertake to convince those men, who are most apt to complain of the shortness of life, that it would not be for the general happiness of mankind to have it much longer: for, 1st, The world is at present very unequally divided; some have a large share and portion of it, others have nothing but what they can earn by very hard labour, or extort from other men's charity by their restless importunities, or gain by more ungodly arts. Now, though the rich and prosperous, who have the world at command, and live in ease and pleasure, would be very well contented to spend some hundred years in this world, yet I should think

fifty or threescore years abundantly enough for slaves and beggars; enough to spend in hunger and want, in a jail and a prison. And those who are so foolish as not to think this enough, owe a great deal to the wisdom and goodness of God that he does. So that the greatest part of mankind have great reason to be contented with the shortness of life, because they have no temptation to wish it longer.

2dly, The present state of this world requires a more quick succession. The world is pretty well peopled, and is divided amongst its present inhabitants; and but very few, in comparison, as Í observed before, have any considerable share in the division. Now, let us but suppose that all our ancestors, who lived a hundred or two hundred years ago, were alive still, and possessed their old estates and honours, what had become of this present generation of men, who have now taken their places, and make as great a show and bustle in the world as they did? And if you look back three, or four, or five hundred years, the case is still so much the worse; the world would be over-peopled; and where there is one poor miserable man now, there must have been five hundred; or the world must have been common, and all men reduced to the same level; which, I believe, the rich and happy people, who are so fond of long life, would not like very well. This would utterly undo our young prodigal heirs, were their hopes of succession three or four hundred years off, who, as short as life is now, think their fathers make very little haste to their graves. This would spoil their trade of spending their estates before they have them, and make them live a dull sober life, whether they would or no; and such a life, I know, they don't think worth having. And therefore, I hope at least they will not make the shortness of their fathers' lives an argument against providence; and yet such kind of sparks as these are commonly the wits that set up for atheism, and, when it is put into their heads, quarrel with every thing which they fondly conceive will weaken the belief of a God and a providence, and,

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