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God himself (z). Whereas they who know not what they are, must necessarily be ignorant of what they shall be. A man that
(z) · When we say that the state of the other $ world is unknown, we mean that it is a state • of such happiness, so far beyond any thing we
ever yet experienced, that we cannot form any o notion or idea of it : we know that there is ' such a happiness; we know, in some measure, • wherein this happiness consists, viz. in seeing • God and the bleffed Jesus, who loved us, and
gave himself for us: in praising our Creator and
Redeemer; in conversing with saints and angels. * But how great, how ravishing and transporting
a pleasure is this, we cannot tell, because we never yet felt it.--Now this should not make the
thoughts of death uneasy to us, should not make ' us unwilling to go to heaven; that the happiness 6 of heaven is too great for us to know, or to
conceive in this world. For men are naturally
fond of unknown and untried pleasures; which, * far from being a disparagement, raises our ex
pe&tations of them, that they are unknown. In
the things of this world, enjoyment usually ' lessens our esteem for them, and we always va• lue that most which we have never tried ; and,
methinks, the happiness of the other world should not be the only thing we despise before
we try it. It is some encouragement to us that • the happiness of heaven is too immense to be • known in this world; for did we perfe&tly know .it now, it would not be very great.'
Sherlock on Death.
is all darkness within, can have but a dark prospect forward (a).
O, what would we not give for folid hope in death! Reader wouldst thou have it, know GOD, and know thyself.
(a) Illi mors gravis incubat,
Qui, notis nimis omnibus,
Sen. Tha. Thyes;
How Self-Knowledge is to be attained.
da ROM what hath been said unF
der the two former parts of the
subject, Self-knowledge appears to DODD be in itself so excellent, and in its effects so extensively useful and conducive to the happiness of human kind, that nothing need farther be added, to excite us to make
it the great object of our study and pursuit. If we regard our present peace, fatisfaction and usefulness, or our future and everlasting interests, we shall certainly value and prosecute this Knowledge above all others; as it will be most ornamental to our characters, beneficial to our interests in every state of life, and as it will abundantly recompense all our labours.
Were any further motives necessary to incline us to this, I might lay open the many dreadful effects of Self-ignorance, and show how plainly it appears to be the original spring of all the follies and incongruities we see in the characters of men, and of most of the disappointments and miseries they meet with here. This would soon appear by only mentioning the reverse of those advantages before specified, which result from Self-Knowledge : for what is it, but a want of Self-knowledge and Self-government that makes us so unsettled and volatile in our dispositions ? fo subject to transport and excess of passions in the varying scenes of this mortal life ? so rash and unguarded in our conduct ? so vain and self-sufficient ? fo censorious and malignant? so eager and confident ? so little useful in the world, in comparison of what we might