« הקודםהמשך »
“ the lower class of beings, which were « made to serve thee ? Offer an indignity « to thyself, and despise the work of thy “ Maker's hands? O remember thy hea“ venly extract ; remember thou art a fpi“ rit. Check then the solicitations of the 6 flesh; and dare to do nothing that may “ diminish thy nåtive excellence, disho“ nour thy high original, or degrade thy « noble nature*.But let me still urge it. “ Consider (I say), O my soul, that thou « art an immortal spirit.' Thy body dies ; « but thou, thou must live for ever, and " thine eternity must take its tincture from « the manner of thy behaviour, and the « habits thou contractest, during this thy « short copartnership with flesh and blood. “O! do nothing now, but what thou “ mayest with pleasure look back upon a ~ million of ages hence. For know, O « my soul, that thy self consciousness and “ reflecting faculties will not leave thee 6 with thy body; but will follow thee ss after death, and be the instrument of ss unspeakable pleasure or torment to thee « in that separate state of existence *.”
* Major fum, et ad majora natus, quam quod fim corporis mancipium: quod equidem non aliter afpicio quam vinculum libertati meæ circumdatum. Sen. Ep. 66.
« I am too noble, and of too high a birth” (faith that excellent moralift), “ to be a llave to my body, “ which I look upon only as a chain thrown upon " the liberty of my soul."
(2.) In order to a full acquaintance with ourselves, we must endeavour to know not only what we are, but what we Shall be.
And O! what different creatures shall we foon be, from what we now are ! Let us look forward then, and frequently glance our thoughts towards death; though they cannot penetrate the darkness of that palsage, or reach the state behind it. That lies vailed from the eyes of our mind; and the great God hath not thought fit to throw so much light upon it, as to satisfy the anxious and inquisitive desires the soul hath to know it. However, let us make the best use we can of that little light which
scripture * As it is not the design of this treatise to enter in. to a nice and philosophical disquisition concerning the nature of the human soul, but to awaken men's attention to the inward operations and affections of it (which is by far the most necessary part of self-knowledge); so they who would be more particularly in. formed concerning its nature and original, and the arious opinions of the ancients about it, may consult Jemef. de Nat. Hom. cap. I. and a treatise called the overnment of the Thoughts, chap. 1. and Chambers's sclopædia, under the word SOUL.
fcripture and reason have let in upon this dark and important subject.
« Compose thy thoughts, O my soul, “ and imagine how it will fare with thee, is when thou goeft a naked, unembodied « spirit into a world, an unknown world « of spirits, with all thy self-consciousness 6 about thee, where no material object 6 shall strike thine eye ; and where thy « dear partner and companion, the body, “ cannot come nigh thee. But where, “ without it thou wilt be sensible of the « most noble satisfactions, or the most s exquisite pains. Embarked in death, « thy paffage will be dark; and the shore, " on which it will land thee, altogether « strange and unknown.--It doth not yet « appear what we shall be *.”
*“ Thou must expire, my soul, ordain'd to range Through unexperienc'd scenes, and mysteries
That revelation, which God hath been pleased to make of his will to mankind, was designed rather to fit us for the future happiness, and direct our way to it, than open to us the particular glories of it; or distinctly show us what it is. This it hath left still very much a mystery; to check our too curious inquiries into the nature of it, and to bend our thoughts more intently to that which more concerns us, viz. an habitual preparation for it. And what that is, we cannot be ige norant, if we believe either our Bible or our reason. For both these assure us, That “ that which makes us like to God, " is the only thing that can fit us for the “ enjoyment of him.”-Here then let us hold. Let our great concern be, to be “ holy as he is holy.” And then, and
then Some courteous ghoft, the secret then reveal; Tell us what you have felt, and we must feel, You warn us of approaching death, and why Will you not teach us what it is to die?
But having shot the gulf, you love to view · Succeeding spirits plung'd along like you, Nor lend a friendly hand to guide them through.J
When dire disease shall cut, or age untie • The knot of life, and suffer us to die: When after some delay, some trembling strife, The soul ftands quiv'ring on the ridge of life; With fear and hope she throbs, then curious tries Some Itrange bereafter, and some hidden fkies.”
then only, are we sure to enjoy him, “ in “ whose light we shall see light.” And be the future state of existence what it will, we fhall some way be happy there, and much more happy than we can now conceive ; though in what particular manner we know not, because God hath not Tevealed it.
The several Relations in which we fand to
God, to Christ, and our Fellow Creatures. II.“ SELF-KNOWLEDGE requires us
W« to be well acquainted with the 66 various relations in which we stand to « other beings, and the several duties that « result from those relations.” And,
(1.) « Our first and principal concern « is to consider the relation we stand into di « him who gave us our being.”
We are the creatures of his hand, and the objects of his care. His power up. : 9 holds the being his goodness gave us; his
bounty accommodates us with the blessings of this life ; and his grace provides for us the happiness of a better.--Nor are
we merely his creatures, but his rational pro and intelligent creatures. It is the dig