« הקודםהמשך »
It is not a fool's paradise, or a Turkish dream of sensitive gratifications. It must be a happiness suited to the nature of the foul, and what it is capable of enjoying in a state of feparation from the body. And what can that be, but the enjoyment of God, the best of beings, and the author of ours?
The question then comes to this, “What « is that which fits us for the enjoyment “ of God in the future state of separate “ fpirits ?”
And methinks we may bring this matter to a very sure and short issue, by faying, it is “ that which makes us like to “ him now.” This only is our proper qualification for the enjoyment of him after death, and therefore our only proper preparation for death. For how can they, who are unlike to God here, expect to enjoy him hereafter ? And if they have no just ground to hope that they shall ena joy God in the other world, how are they fit to die? :/
So that the great question, “ Am I fit “ to die?” resolves itself into this, " Am “ I like tờ God ?" for it is this only that fits me for heaven ; and that which fits me for heaven is the only thing that fits me for death.
Let Let this point then be well searched into, and examined very deliberately and impartially.
Most certain it is, that God can take no real complacency in any but those that are like him; and it is as certain, that none but those that are like him can take pleasure in him.--But God is a most pure and holy being ; a being of infinite love, mercy, and patience; whose righteousness is invariable, whose veracity inviolable, and whose wisdom unerring. These are the moral attributes of the Divine Being, in which he requires us to imitate him; the express lineaments of the Divine Nature, in which all good men bear a refemblance to him, and for the sake of which only they are the objects of his delight: for God can love none but those that bear this impress of his own image on their souls. Do we find then these visible traces of the divine image there? Can we make out our likeness to him in his holiness, goodness, mercy, righteousness, truth, and wisdom? If so, it is certain we are capable of enjoying him, and are the proper objects of his love.-By this we know we are fit to die, because by this we know we are fit for happiness after death. Thus then, if we are faithful to our M 2
consciences, and impartial in the examination of our lives and tempers, we may soon come to a right determination of this important question, “What is the true “ state of our souls towards God? and « in what condition are we to die * ?” Which, as it is the most important, so it is the last instance of self-knowledge I shall mention, and with it close the first part of this subject.
* « Nor do I apprehend the knowledge of our “ state (call it assurance if you please) so uncommon « and extraordinary a thing as some are apt to ima. “ gine. Understand, by afsurance, a satisfactory evje « dence of the thing, such as excludes all reasonable e doubts and disquieting fears of the contrary, though, « it may be, not all transient suspicions and jealousies. “ And such an assurance and certainty multitudes “ have attained, and enjoy the comfort of; and, in« deed, it is of so high importance, that it is a won« der any thoughtful Christian that believes an etes. « nity can be easy one week or day without it.” Bere nei's Cbrift. Orat. pag. 569.
PART II. Showing the great Excellency and Advan
tages of this kind of Science. LAVING in the former part of the 11 subject laid open some of the main branches of self-knowledge, or pointed out the principal things which a man ought to be acquainted with, relating to himself, I am now (reader) to lay before you the excellency and usefulness of this kind of knowledge, (as an inducement to labour after it), by a detail of the several great advantages which attend it, and which Hall be recounted in the following chap ters.
CHAP. I. Self-Kriowledge the Spring of Self-Polesion. 1. “ ONE great advantage of self-know
« ledge is, that it gives a man “ the truest and most constant self-pole“ fron.”
A man that is endowed with this excellent knowledge is calm and easy.
(1.) Under affronts and defamation. For he thinks thus : “ I am sure I know my
self better than any man can pretend to “ know me. This calumniator hath in“ deed at this time miffed his mark, and “ shot his arrows at random; and it is “ my comfort that my conscience acquits “ me of his angry imputation. However, «s. there are worse crimes which he might “ more juftly accuse me of, which, though 66 hid from him, are known to myself. “ Let me set about reforming them, left, « if they come to his notice, he should 6C attack me in a more defenceless part, “ find something to fasten his obloquy, “, and fix a lasting reproach upon my cha66 racter *."
* Ear Tu en árayyuan,
o duva CE XXXW, deysi, tema