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« and worldly fruition; and I find myself wholly « deceived in what I expected. I expected, indeed, “'as great contentation as you do, but now I have -« tasted of every dish, I find them all to be but
vanity and vexation of spirit. I have not been “ only disappointed in what I expected from them, “ but instead thereof, I have reaped nothing but
sorrow, anxiety, vexation : you do therefore de“ ceive yourselves in all the pains you take, while
ye think from these worldly enjoyments, ye shall “ acquire happiness, yea, or contentation in them. “ Be wise therefore, and take warning by me, the
greatest example that ever the world knew of “ this kind; give over those laborious, busy, and “ vain pursuits of your's, and take out but this “ concluding lesson of mine, which I have learned “ by infallible experience, Fear God and keep his " commandments, for this is the whole duty of " man."
SIR MATTHEW HALE.
DID we consider this world as becomes us, even as wise men, we may easily find, that this world below, neither was intended, nor indeed can be, a place of rest, but only a kind of laboratory to fit and prepare the souls of the children of men for a better and more abiding state; a school to exercise and train us up into habits of patience and obedience, till we are fitted to another station; a little narrow nursery, wherein we may be dressed
and pruned till transplanted into a better Paradise. The continual troubles, and discomposures, and sickuesses, and weaknesses, and calamities, that attend our lives, the shortness and continued vexation occurring in them; and finally, the common examples of death and mortality of all ages, sexes, conditions of mankind, are a sufficient instruction to convince reasonable men, that have the seriousness and patience to consider and observe, that we have no abiding city here. And on the other side, if we will give ourselves but the leisure to consider the great wisdom of almighty God, that orders every thiug in the world to ends suitable and proportionable; the excellence of the soul and mind of man; the great advances and improvements his nature is capable of; the admirable means the merciful and wise God hath afforded unto mankind, by his works of nature and providence, by his word and instructions, to enable him for a nobler life than this world below can yield, will easily confess that there is another state, another city to come, which becomes every good, and wise, and considerate man to look after, and fit himself for. And yet, let a man look upon the generality of mankind with a due and severe consideration, they will appear to be like a company of mad or distempered people. The generality of the world make it their whole business to provide for a rest and happiness in this world, to make these vain acquests of wealth, and honour, and preferments, and pleasures of this world, their great, if not only business and happiness, and, which is yet a higher degree of frenzy, to esteem this the only wisdom, and to esteem the careful provision for eternity, the folly of a few weak, melancholy, fanciful men. Whereas it is in truth, and in due time it will most evidently appear, that those men that are most sedulous and solicitous touching the attaining of their everlasting rest, are the only true wise men, and so shall be acknowledged by those that now despise them. “ Wisd. v. 4, We “ fools accounted his life madness, and his end to “ be without honour. How is he numbered among “ the children of God, and his lot is among the “ saints ?"
SIR MATTHEW HALE,
UPON the whole matter, I conclude that the happiness of mankind is not to be found in this life, but it is a flower that grows in the garden of eteruity, and to be expected only in its full complement and fruition, in that life which is to succeed after our bodily dissolution : that although peace of conscience, tranquillity of mind, and the sense of the favour of God, that we enjoy in this life, like the bunches of grapes brought by the spies from Canaan, are the prelibations and anticipations of our happiness, yet the complement of our happiness consists in the beatifical vision of the ever blessed God to all eternity; where there is a vita perfecta, 'a perfect life, free from pain, from sorrow, from cares, from fears; vita perfecta, a perfect life of glory and immortality, out of the reach or danger of death, or the loss of that happiness, which we shall then enjoy in the presence of the ever glorious God, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. Amen.