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delight or satisfaction, which admits of no allay, is love in possession of the beloved object, and at the height of its ambition.

LECTURE III.

Of the HAPPINESS of Man, and that it is really to be

found. You will not, I imagine, be offended, nor think I intend to insult you, because I have once and again, with great earnestness and sincerity, wished you and myself a sound and serious temper of mind ; for, if we may represent things as they really are, very few men are possessed of so valuable a blessing. The far greater part of them are intoxicated either with the pleasures or cares of this world; they stagger about with a tottering and unstable pace; and, as Solomon expresses it, “ The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them; because he knoweth not how to go to the city *.” The heavenly city, and the vision of peace, which very few have a just notion of, or are at pains to seek after nay, they know not what it is they are seeking ; they flutter from one object to another, and live at hazard ; they have no certain harbour in view, nor direct their course by any fixed star : but to him that knoweth not the port, to which he is bound, no wind can be favourable ; neither can he, who

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* Eccles. X. 15.

has not yet determined at what mark he is to shoot, direct his arrow aright. That this may not be our case, but that we may have a proper object to aim at, I propose to speak of the chief end of our being.

And to begin at the father of spirits, or pure intelligences. God, blessed for ever, completely happy in himself from all eternity, is his own happiness. His self-sufficiency *, that eternal and in. finite satisfaction and complacency he has in himself, is the peculiar and most complete felicity of that supreme Being, who derives his existence from him. self, and has given being to every thing else; which Chrysostom has well expressed by saying, “ That it is God's peculiar property to stand in need of nothing t." And Claudius Victor beautifully describes him, “as vested with all the majesty of creative power, comprehending in his infinite mind all the creatures to be afterwards produced, having all the revolutions of time constantly present to his all-seeing eye, and being an immense and most glorious kingdom to himself f.”

Yet, all we can say of this primary uncreated Majesty and felicity, is but mere talking to little or no sort of purpose; for here not only words fail us,

* 'Αυτάρκεια.
ή Θεέ μάλισα ίδιον το ανένδεες.
# Regnabatq; potens in majestate creandi,

Et facienda videns, gignendaq; mente capaci,
Secula despiciens, et quicquid tempora volvunt
Presens semper habens : immensum mole beata

Regnum erat ipse sibi.
VOL. IV,

B

:

but even thought is at a stand, and quite overpowered, when we survey the supreme, self-existent Being *, perfectly happy and glorious in the sole enjoyment of his own infinite perfections, throughout numberless ages, without angels, men, or any other creature: So that the poet had reason to say, « What

eye is so strong, that the matchless brightness of thy glory will not dazzle it, and make it close + ?”

Let us, therefore, descend into ourselves, but with a view to return to him again, and not only so, but in such a manner, that the end and design of our descending to inquire into our own situation be, that we may, with greater advantage, return and re-ascend to God : for, if we inquire into our own ultimate end, this disquisition must rise above all other beings, and at last terminate in him ; because he himself is that very end, and out of him there is neither beginning nor end. The felicity of angels, which is an intermediate degree of happiness, we shall not insist on, not only because it is foreign to our purpose, but also because our felicity and theirs will be found upon the matter to be precisely the

same.

With regard to our own happiness, we shall first shew, that such a happiness really exists; and, next, inquire what it is, and wherein it consists. We assert then, that there is such a thing as human felicity: and this ought rather to be taken for granted as a matter unquestionable, than strictly proved. But when I speak of human felicity, I am well satisfied

* Ανθειαςον τον όντα. + Tiyos öje pa oopov

Tais oais segonais 'Ου καταμώσει. .

Synos. Hym. Tert.

you

will not imagine, I mean such a happiness as may be had from human things, but that I take the term subjectively, and understand by it the happiness of man. Now, he who would deny, that this is not only among the number of possibles, but actually attained by some part, at least, of the human race, would not only render himself unworthy of such happiness, but even of human nature itself; because he would thereby do all in his power to deprive it of its highest expectations, and its greatest honour: but, whoever allows, that all things were produced by the hand of an infinitely wise Creator, cannot possibly doubt, that man, the head and ornament of all his visible works, was made capable of a proper and suitable end. The principal beauty of the creation consists in this, that all things in it are disposed in the most excellent order, and every particular intended for some noble and suitable end; and if this could not be said of man, who is the glory of the visible world, what a great deformity must it be, how great a gap in nature * ; and this gap must be the greater, that, as we have already observed, man is naturally endued with strong and vigorous desires towards such an end : yet, on this absurd supposition, “ all such desires and expectations would be vain, and to no pur

* Μεγα χασμα,

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pose * ;” and so something might be said in defence of that peevish and impatient expression, which escaped the Psalmist in a fit of excessive sorrow, and he might have an excuse for saying, “Why hast thou made all men in vain + ?” This would not only have been a frightful gap in nature, but, if I am allowed so to speak, at this rate the whole human race must have been created in misery, and exposed to unavoidable torments, from which they could never have been relieved, had they been formed not only capable of a good quite unattainable, and altogether without their reach; but also with strong and restless desires towards that impossible good. Now, as this is by no means to be admitted, there must necessarily be some full, permanent, and satisfying good, that may be attained by man, and in the possession of which he must be truly happy.

When we revolve these things in our minds, do we not feel from within a powerful impulse exciting us to set aside all other cares, that we may discover the one chief good, and attain to the enjoyment of it? While we inhabit these bodies, I own we lie under a necessity of using corporeal and fading things; but there is no necessity that we should be slaves to our bellies and the lusts of the flesh, or have our affections glued to this earth : nay, that it should be so, is the highest and most intolerable indignity. Can it be thought, that man was born merely to cram himself with victuals and drink, or

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