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could be worthy of an all-perfect and infinitely good Being, in this Exertion of his Power, in giving us Life? And what is the regular and uninterrupted Pursuit of all this, but, in other Words, to be truly religious ? To believe in, obey, and glorify the God who made and redeemed us ; to improve and perfect the Soul that animates us, and to love, comfort, and do Good to all about us, this, and this only, is true Religion ; and a due Sense and Consideration of this is that Understanding which the Psalmist so devoutly implores at the Hands of God. Give me Understanding to consider what I am, and for what Purposes I was made ; Give me Understanding to difcern, and Wisdom attentively to weigh and consider, what are the most noble and sublime Pursuits, in which the Mind of Man can be employed; and the Consequence will be, that I shall keep thy Law. The Laws of God are the only Means to attain these glorious Ends, the several Steps by which we must advance to this final Perfection ; and to obey them is therefore 'to know Wisdom and Instruction, and to perceive the Words of Understanding. Which Wisdom does farther appear in this, that the End it proposes is not only thus noble, but it is likewise,

II. Attainable by us.

If it be Wisdom to pursue the most noble Ends, it is only fo, on condition that they be within our Reach. To

employ

employ our Labour and Application in the Search of any absent Good, how excellent soever in itself, which we can never attain, were vain and unprofitable, and therefore foolish. And yet this Mark of Folly evidently appears in most of those Views which the World calls great and noble. We set our Affections on Things out of our Power ; propose Attainments not only difficult and uncertain, but absolutely out of our Reach, which must therefore end in certain Sorrow and Disappointment. Riches neither are nor can be every

Man's Portion; and Power and Distinction are the Allotments only of a few; and of the many

therefore who place their Happiness in them, the greatest part must neceffarily consume their Days in Vanity, and their Years in fruitless Trouble. But the religious Man has this Advantage, that he cannot be disappointed. The excellent End he pursues he is sure to compass. It is in every Man's Power to believe the Truths of Religion, and to be just and benevolent, and consequently to improve his own Faculties, and promote the Honour of his Maker. Every Advance in Christian Graces is a Step to Perfection ; and whoever does most Good to others, is sure to do most Service to himself. He is fure to improve his own Mind, and to please his God; is sure to draw down upon him the Blessings of Heaven, and to procure the Affistance of God's holy Spirit; he is sure to meet with no

Difficulty

B 4

Difficulty in his Way which will be too hard for him to conquer, and to bestow no Labour which shall not meet with its Reward. And therefore to labour after a Conscience void of Offence towards God and towards Man, is every Man's true Wisdom; because it is pursuing an End, not only great, but within his Reach. Įt is in his own Power, through the Grace of his blessed Redeemer, to improve daily in it; and, by so doing, secure that Happiness hereafter, which will exceed his Expectation, and

beyond Expression. Which leads ine to observe,

IIIdly, That the Wisdom of Religion does yet more fully appear in this, that the End it proposes is not only the most noble and most easily attainable ; but when attained will fully answer all our Expectations and Desires, Earthly Attainments and Delights have universally this Defect, that though they satiate, they cannot fatisfy: Įf they gratify one Appetite, they leave others craving. If they could indulge all the inferior Faculties in the highest Degree, the Mind would still be restless

, and as anxiously aspire after superior Gratifications. And if they could at once fill every Appetite, both sensitive and rational, they would still be wanting in Duration, tho? not in Degree; and the Man would in the inidit of all be in Pain and Disquietude, for fear of daily losing what he knew to depend

on

on so precarious a Tenure as human Life. But the Rewards of Religion are allowed to be as pure and perfect, as they are certain. This is readily granted by all who admit there will be any ; the Glimmerings of Reason difcover something of it, the Testimonies of Revelation ascertain it. If they are wanting in Degree or Duration, it must proceed either from the Inability of the Donor to give better, or the Unsuitableness of the Object to the Faculty ; or the perishable Nature of the Person enjoying, or the Thing enjoyed. But neither of these Cases can happen in the future Mansions of Bliss. The God of Nature can want no Power ; what he proposes for the Gratification of every Appetite, must be correspondent and equal to it, and every thing of a perishable Nature will be done away. This we may probably infer by the Deductions of Reason; this we know by the Declarations of God himself; and this is all we shall or can know of future Glory, till our present Imperfections are removed, and this Mortality is swallowed up of Life. All the Images we can now forın of future Happiness are but very feint and imperfect Representations of what shall be hereafter. Nothing that we know or converse with on Earth can convey to us equal Sentiments of heavenly Objects; we now see all celestial Joys as through a Glass, darkly. But this we know, that the Happiness of Heaven will be the Happiness of the 4

whole

all we

whole Man, and that we then mall know, as
we ourselves are known. And it matters not
of whát Kind these Enjoyments are, or how
conveyed to or received by the Soul;
want and desire is perfect Faculties, and perfect
Bliss; and since these are ascertained to the
good Man, the Wisdom of his Choice is very
apparent, though he can neither describe nor
comprehend the Nature of them. But to
this it may be objected, that these Joys, how
perfect and how certain soever, muft yet be
allowed to be at a Distance ; and that there-
fore great Abatement ought to be made on
that Account, with respect to the Prudence of
preferring them, when weighed in the Ba-
lance with those which are as certain and
nearer at hand. And therefore I add, as a far-
ther Proof of the Wisdom of Religion, that
the good Man not only chooses such an End
as is most noble, most attainable, and most
satisfactory and blissful, but also such a one
as will,

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IVthly, Have the most happy Influences on him in all his other Pursuits, till such time as he arrives at the Enjoyment of it: Or in other Words, that the Belief and Practice of true Religion will not only procure a Man eternal Felicity hereafter, but likewise be of the greatest Advantage to him here in the mean while ; and will have the most happy Effects on his Mind, however situated in Life,

or

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