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ly in his Presence, to be Partaker of his Glories, -to be ravished with his Love, to be acquainted with his Counsels, to know and be known by Angels, Arch-Angels^ and Serashims j to enjoy a Converfation with Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, and all the Raised and Glorified Spirits of brave Men ; and with all these to spend a happy and a rapturous Eternity, in Adoring, in Loving, in Praising God for the Infiniteness of his Wisdom, and the Miracles of his Mercy and Goodness to all his Creatures. Can there be any Pleasure like this? Can any thing in the World put you into such an Ec st a fie of Joy, as the very Thought ofthefeThings? With what a mighty Scorn and Contempt, will you in the Sense of them look down upon all the little Gauderies, and sickly Satisfactions, that the Men of this World keep such a stir about? How empty and evanid, how flat and unfavoury will the best Pleasures on Earth appear to you, in comparison of these Divine Contentments? You will perpetually rejoice, you will sing Praises to your Saviour, you will bless the Day, that ever you became acquainted with him; you will confess him to be the only Master of Pleasure in the World, and that you never knew what it was to be an Epicure indeed, 'till you became a Christian. «
. Thus have I gone through all those Heads which I at first proposed to insist on. What
now remains, but that I resume the Apostle's 1 Exhortation, with which I began this Discourse, That since, as you have seen, Godliness is so exceedingly profitable to all the Purposes of this Life, as well as the other; since as ypu have seen, Length of Days is in her Right-Hand, and in her Left-Hand Riches and Honour; and all her Ways, are Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace; You would also be persuaded seriously to Apply' yourselves to the Exercise of it. Which that you may do, God of his, 8cc.
Eccl Es. iii. 12.
I know that there is no Good in them3 hut for a Man to Rejoyce and to do Good in his Life.
'HIS Book os Ecclefiafles gives us an Account of the scveralExperiments that Solomon had made, in order to the finding out, wherein the Happiness of Man in this World doth consist: And these Words are one ot the Conclusions he drew from those Experiments.
No Man had ever greater Opportunities of Trying all the Ways wherein Men generally seek for Contentment, than he had; and no Man did ever more industriously apply himself to, or took a greater Liberty in enjoying those Good Things that are commonly moft admired, than he did : And yet, after all his
Labours, Labours, and'all his Enjoyments, he found nothing but Emptiness and Dissatisfaction.
He thought to become Happy by Philosophy ; giving hit Heart, as he tells us, to seek and search out all the Things that come to pass un- Ecd 1.13. dertheSun: Yet, upon Trial, he found all this to be Vanity, and Vexation of Spirit.
He apply'd his Mind to Political Wisdom, and other Sorts of Knowledge; and his Attainments in that kind were greater than of any that were before him: Yet he experienced at last, that in Wisdom Was much Grief \ and heVer. 18. that increaseth Knowledge, increafeth Sorrow.
He proved his Heart (as he tells us) with Chap. 2. Mirth and Wine, and all Sorts of Sensual Plea-Ver* "> ?• sures, to find if those were good for the Sons of Men: And yet so far was he from his desir'd Satisfaction in these Things, that he was forced to fay of Laughter, that it was Mad- and Vet. 2. of Mirth, What Good doth it?
He turned himself to Works of Pomp and Magnificence: He built him Stately Houses, and made him Gardens, and Vineyards, and v«"- 4« Orchards, and Fountains. He increased his Possessions, and gathered Silver and Gold, andVct. 8. the precious Treasures of Kjngs, and of the Provimes. He got him a vast Retinue, and kept him the most splendid Court that ever any Prince of that Country did: Yet (as he tells us) when he came to look upon all the Works vet. u. that his Hands had wrought, and on the Labour that he had laboured to do, behold all was Vanity, and Vexation of Spirit, and there was no Profit und er the Sun.
F 4 But
But wherein then is there any Prosit, if not in these Things? What is that Good that the Sons of Men are to apply themselves to, in order to their living as comfortably as the State of Things here will allow? This Question (after an Imitation of the Uncertainty and Perplexedness of all Humane Events; but withal,- of the Exactness of the Providence of God, who hath made every Thing beautiful in its Season) he thus resolves in the Words of the Text, I know (faith he) that there is no Good in them, but for a Man to Rejoice and do Good in his Life. That is to fay,
I have found by long Experience, that all the Happiness that is to be had in the Good Things of this Life, doth arise from these Two Things, Rejoicing in the Enjoyment of them, and Doing Good to others, with them, while we live. Take away these Two Uses, aqd there is no Good in them.
Or, if you please, we may interpret the First Part of his Proposition, not of Things, but of Men; thus; I know there is no Good in them; /. e. I am convinced that there is nothing so Good for the Sons of Men; or, nothing that more contributes to their Happiness in this World, than that every Man should Rejoice and do Good in his Life. And to this purpose the Words are rendered by several Interpreters : But it is no matter which of the Senses we pitch upon, since in effect they come both to one thing.
Two Things, then, Solomon here recommends %o every one that would live comfortably in this World; Rejoicing, and Doing Good;