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an inestimable treasure which might for a while render our abode on earth as happy as that in heaven, did not that wise Providence, that formed us for heaven and not for earth, refuse us the possession of it.
It is clear by the writings of Solomon, and more so by the history of his life, that his heart was very accessible to this kind of pleasure. How often does he write encomiums on faithful friends! "A friend," says he, "loveth at all times, he is a brother born for adversity. A friend sticketh closer than a brother," Prov. xvii. 17, and xviii. 24. But where is this friend, who sticketh closer than a brother? Where is this friend, who loveth at all times? One would think the Wise Man drew the portrait only to save us the useless labour of inquiring after the original. Perhaps you are incapable of tasting the bitterness of friendship, only because you are incapable of relishing the sweetness of it.
Ah, charms of friendship, delicious errors, lovely chimeras, you are infinitely more capable of deceiving than of satisfying us, of poisoning life than of sweetening it, and of making us break with the world than of attaching us to it! My soul, wouldst thou form unalterable connexions! Set thy love upon thy treasure, esteem God, obey his holy voice, which from the highest heavens says to thee, "Give me thine heart!" In God thou wilt find a love fixed and faithful, a love beyond the reach of temporal revolutions, which will follow thee, and fill thee with felicity for ever and ever.
What friends do we make upon earth? At first lively, eager, full of ardour: presently dull, and disgusted through the ease with which they had been gratified. At first soft, gentle, all condescension and compliance: presently masters, imperious tyrants, rigorously exacting as a debt an assiduity which can arise only from inclination, pretending to domineer over our reason, after they have vitiated our taste. At first attentive and teachable, while prejudices conceal their imperfections from us, ready to acquiesce in any thing while our sentiments are conformable to their inclinations: but presently intractable and froward, not knowing how to yield, though we gently point out their frailty, and endeavour to assist them to correct it. At first assiduous, faithful, generous, while fortune smiles on us: but presently, if she betray us, a thousand times more faithless, ungrateful, and perfidious than she. What an airy phantom is human friendship!
3. In fine, I will venture to affirm, that if any thing seems capable to render life agreeble, and if any thing in general renders it disagreeable, it is rectitude, and delicacy of conscience. I know Solomon seems here to contradict himself, and the author of the Book of Proverbs seems to refute the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes. The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes informs us, that virtue is generally useless, and sometimes hurtful in this world: but according to the author of the Book of Proverbs virtue is most useful in th:3 world. Hear the author of Ecclesiastes. "All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. All things come alike to all, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath, chap. vii. 15. ix. 2. Hear the author of the Book of Proverbs. "My son, forget not my law: but let thy heart keep my commandments; for length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck, write them upon the table of thine heart. So I wish, however, through the favour of hea- shalt thou find favour, and good understandven, that what is only an airy nothing to other ing in the sight of God and man. Happy is men may become a reality in regard to you, the man that findeth wisdom, and the man and I will take it for granted, that you have that getteth understanding. For the merfound what so many others have sought in chandise of it is better than the merchandise vain. Alas! I must, yes, here I must deplore of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. your destiny. Multiplied, so to speak, in the She is more precious than rubies; and all the person of that other self, you are going to mul- things thou canst desire are not to be compartiply your troubles. You are going to feel ined with her," chap. iii. 1-3. 13-15. that other self ills which hitherto you have felt only in yourself. You will be disgraced in his disgraces, sick in his sicknesses. If for a few years you enjoy one another, as if each were a whole world, presently, presently death will cut the bond, presently death will dissolve the tender ties, and separate your entwined hearts. Then you will find yourself in a universal solitude. You will think the whole world is dead. The universe, the whole universe, will seem to you a desert uninhabited, and uninhabitable. Ah! You who experience this, shall I call you to attest these sorrowful truths? Shall I open again wounds which time has hardly closed? Shall I recall those tremulous adieus, those cruel separations, which cost you so many regrets and tears Shall I expose to view bones, and infection, and putrefaction, the only remains of him who was your support in trouble, your counsel in difficulty, your consolation in adversity?
How shall we reconcile these things? To say, as some do, that the author of Proverbs speaks of the spiritual rewards of virtue, and the author of Ecclesiastes of the temporal state of it, is to cut the knot instead of untying it. Of many solutions, which we have no time now to examine, there is one that bids fair to remove the difficulty; that is, that when the author of the Book of Proverbs makes temporal advantages the rewards of virtue, he speaks of some rare periods of society, whereas the author of Ecclesiastes describes the common general state of things. Perhaps the former refers to the happy time, in which the example of the piety of David being yet recent, and the prosperity of his successor not having then infected either the heart of the king or the morals of his subjects, reputation, riches, and honours, were bestowed on good men: but the second, probably, speaks of what came to pass soon after. In
the first period life was amiable, and living in the world delicious: but of the second the Wise Man says, "I hated life because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me."
To which of the two periods does the age in which we live belong? Judge by the description given by the preacher as he calls himself.
Then mankind were ungrateful, the public did not remember the benefits conferred on them by individuals, and their services were unrewarded. "There was a little city besieged by a great king, who built great bulwarks against it, and there was found in it a poor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered the city, yet no man remembered that same poor man," chap. ix. 14, 15.
Then courtiers, mean and ungrateful, basely forsook their old master, and paid their court to the heir apparent. "I saw all the living under the sun walking after the child, who shall stand up next instead of the king,"* chap. iv. 15. Then strong oppressed the weak. "I considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforters, and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter."
Then the courts of justice were corrupt. "I saw the place of judgment, that wickedness was there" chap. iii. 16. We will not finish this disagreeable picture. "I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me."
Such is the idea the Wise Man gives us of the world. Yet these vain and precarious objects, this world so proper to inspire a rational mind with disgust, this life so proper to excite hatred in such as know what is worthy of esteem, this is that which has always fascinated, and which yet continues to fascinate the bulk of mankind.
This it was that infatuated the inhabitants of the old world, who, even after God had pronounced this dreadful decree, "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for he is flesh, and after a hundred and twenty years he shall be no more," forgot themselves in the pursuit of present pleasure, "They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that the flood came, and took them all away," Matt. xxiv. 38, 39.
This was what bewitched the whole heathen world, who lived "without hope, and without God in the world," Eph. ii. 12.
This was what enchanted that highly favoured nation, which God distinguished from the rest of the world, and to which he gave his laws, and intrusted his prophecies, yet they "forsook the fountain of living waters, and
hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water," Jer. ii. 13.
This was what influenced Christians, more inexcusable in this respect than Jews and Pagans, because their religion breathes nothing but disgust with the world, and alienation from the idols of life: and yet they are as much in love with worldly splendour, as eager in pursuit of wealth, as much intoxicated with diversions, gaming, amusements, and dissipations, as ever Jews and Pagans could possibly be.
*The sense given to this passage by our author is agreeable both to the French version, and to the original. J'ai oui tous les vivans qui marchent sous le soleel apres l'enfant, qui est la seconde personne qui doit etre en la place du roi. Per puerum secundum intellige, regis filium et hæredem, quod a rege secundus est, ac post eum regnaturus. Poli. Synops. in loc.
Gen. vi. 3. The sense given by Mr. Saurin is that of many commentators, and seems preferable to our English text, which is obscure. Accipiunt de spatio pœnitentiæ
isti ætati concesso, &c.
This was the charm that operated on your ancestors; on those who governed the state before you, magistrates: on those who ascended this pulpit before you, ministers: on those who attended the worship of God in this place before you, Christian people: all these, except a few, followed the multitude, ran, with the world, to the same excess of riot, and made the world their god, just as we all, except a few, yet make the world our god, yet follow the multitude, yet run with the wicked, to the same excess of riot.
God, in order to undeceive mankind, and to dissolve the charms that fascinated their eyes, often showed them the world in its true light. He often added extraordinary ills to the ordinary calamities of life; he made winds his angels, and flaming fires his ministers," Ps. civ. 4; he sent war, mortality, flaming eruptions, pestilence, and earthquakes: in a word, he often visited them, as he yet visits us, and with the same design. To them he says, as he yet says to us, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. Vanity of van all is vanity. Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man," 1 John ii. 15; Eccles. i. 2, and xiii. 13. All this was useless, just as it is now. Then mankind made a god of the world, and so they continue to do.
My brethren, taste is not subject to argument, and if life seems to you supremely amiable in spite of all the imperfections and sins that imbitter it, in vain do I stand here describing it to you. However, condescend at least to see whither every living thing is tending; and allow me to perform the duty of this day, which requires me to treat of the dying and the dead. A modern author has published a book with this singular title, "Subterranean Rome," a title full of instruction and truth, a title that may serve to teach that living haughty city, that there is another Rome dead and buried, a natural image of what the present Rome must shortly be. Such an object I present to you. I present you your republic, not the republic you see composed of living magistrates, generals, and heads of families; this is superficial, the surface of your republic: but I would fix your eyes on an interior subterranean republic. There is a state under your feet. Go down, go into the cells under the earth. Lift up the lids of the coffins. What do you see there, what have you found there? My God! What inhabitants! What citizens! What a republic!
This is not all. Go farther. Carry your Exercise that eyes beyond these caverns. faith which gives substance to things not seen. Think of the souls which once animated this
dust, and ashes, and bones. Where are they? Some are in a state of felicity, others in depths of misery. Some in the bosom of God, others in prison with devils. Some drinking of rivers of pleasures for evermore, others having their portion in the lake of fire, the smoke rising up for ever and ever, Ps. xxxvi. 8, and xvi. 11; and Rev. xix. 3. To say all in one word, some for abandoning themselves to the world are suffering such punishments as the world inflicts on its slaves: and others for devoting themselves to God, are receiving such rewards as God bestows on his servants. May this contrast penetrate, affect, and transform you all! And thou, great God, give weight to our exhortations, in order to give success to our benedictions!
I gladly embrace the opportunity of assisting at this solemnity, of coming to you, my dear brethren, at this auspicious season, and of preaching to you, now that it is allowable to open the bottom of a heart always full of most respectful affection for this city and this church.* Receive my good wishes as affectionately as they are dictated.
Magistrates, to whom Providence has committed the reins of government, you are above our benediction. But we are ministers of a Master who governs all mankind, and from that source of splendour, magnificence, and wealth, we derive the benedictions, which we diffuse on your august heads. May God inspire you with that elevation of mind, that magnanimity, and holy ambition, which impel magistrates, with whom he has intrusted the sword of justice, to found all their deliberations and decrees on equity! May God inspire you with such charity, condescension, and affability, as may blend the parent with the master! May God inspire you with such humility and self-denial as incline Christian magistrates to lay their power at the feet of the great Supreme, and to place their glory in rendering to God a faithful account of their administration! Great will that account be. You are, to a certain degree, responsible both for the temporal and eternal happiness of this people. The eternal happiness of a people often depends on the conduct of their governors, on the care they take to restrain licentiousness, to suppress scandalous books, to make solemn festivals observed, to procure wise, zealous, and faithful ministers for the church. Magistrates, who enter into these noble designs, have a right to expect from God all the assistance necessary to effect them. To thee, Almighty God, we address our prayers for such assistance for these illustrious persons! O that our petitions may enter heaven, and our prayers be heard and answered!
Ministers, my dear coadjutors in the great work of salvation, successors of the apostles in the work of the ministry "for the edifying of the body of Christ!" Eph. iv. 12, God has set narrow limits to what the world calls our preferment and fortune. The religion we profess does not allow us to aspire after such highsounding titles, eminent posts, and splendid equipages, as confound the minister of temporal kings with the ministers of that Jesus whose "kingdom is not of this world:" but what we
⚫ Of Rotterdam,
lose in regard to the glittering advantages of the world, we gain in regard to real and substantial advantages; if we ourselves understand that religion which we teach others, and if we feel the spirit of that calling, with which God has honoured us. May God grant, may the God who has honoured us, grant us such knowledge and virtue as are essential to the worthy discharge of our duty! May he bestow all that intrepidity, which is always necessary to resist the enemies of our holy reformation, and sometimes those, who under the name of reformed, endeavour to counteract and destroy it! May he support us under the perpetual contradictions we meet with in the course of our ministry, and invigorate us with the hopes of those high degrees in glory, which await such as "turn many to righteousness, who shall shine as the stars for ever and ever!" Dan. xii. 3.
Merchants, you are the pillars of this republic, and you are the means of our enjoying prosperity and plenty. May God continue to bless your commerce! May he cause winds and waves, nature, and every element, to unite in your favour! Above all, may God teach you the holy skill of placing your "heart where your treasure is;" of making yourselves friends of the "mammon of unrighteousness," Matt. vi. 21; Luke xvi. 9; of sanctifying your pros perity by your charity, especially on such a day as this, in which we should make conscience of paying a homage of love to a "God who is love," and whose goodness has brought us to see this day.
Fathers and mothers of families, with whom I have the honour and happiness of joining myself, may God help us to consider our children not merely as formed for this world, but as intelligent and immortal beings made for eternity! May God grant, we may be infinitely more desirous to see them happy in heaven than prosperous on earth! May God continue these children, so necessary to the pleasure of our lives, to our last moments! God grant, if we be required to give them up to the grave, we may have all the submission that is necessary to sustain such violent shocks.
My brethren, this article cuts the thread of my discourse. May God answer all the prayers I have uttered, and that far greater number which I have suppressed! Amen.
1 PETER ii. 2.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
THE words you have heard, my brethren, offer four subjects of meditation to your minds. First, the nature of the passions-secondly, the disorders of them-thirdly, the remedies to be applied-and lastly, the motives that engage us to subdue them. In the first place we will give you a general idea of what the apostle calls "fleshly lusts," or in modern style the
passions. We will examine secondly, the war | prejudice a greater interest. Observe well this
I. In order to understand the nature of the
of which is more excellent than the other; a 3. A being composed of two substances, one being placed between two interests, one of which is greater than the other, ought, when these two interests clash, to prefer the more before the less. This third principle is a third noble before the less noble, the greater interest clew to what St. Peter calls "lusts," or pasterests. sions. Man has two substances, and two inhis eternal interest he ought to endeavour to As far as he can without prejudicing promote his temporal interest: but when the two clash he ought to sacrifice the less to the greater. "Fleshly lusts" is put for what is irregular and depraved in our desires, and what makes us prefer the body before the soul, a temporal before an eternal interest. That this is the meaning of the apostle is clear from his calling these passions or "lusts fleshly." What is the meaning of this word? The Scripture generally uses the word in two senses. times it is literally and properly put for flesh, Someand sometimes it signifies sin. St. Peter calls the passions "fleshly" in both these senses; in the first, because some come from the body, as voluptuousness, anger, drunkenness; and in the second, because they spring from our depravity. Hence the apostle Paul puts among the works of the flesh both those which have their seat in the body, and those which have in a manner no connexion with it. works of the flesh are these, adultery, lascivi"Now the ousness, cording to this the "works of the flesh" are not lolatry, heresies, envyings." Aconly such as are seated in the flesh (for envy praved dispositions. and heresy cannot be of this sort,) but all de
1. An intelligent being ought to love every thing that can elevate, perpetuate, and make him happy; and to avoid whatever can degrade, confine, and render him miserable. This, far from being a human depravity, is a perfection of nature. Man has it in common with celestial intelligences, and with God himself. This reflection removes a false sense, which the language of St. Peter may seem at first to convey, as if the apostle meant by eradicating fleshly lusts" to destroy the true interests of man. The most ancient enemies of the Christian religion loaded it with this reproach, because they did not understand it; and some superficial people, who know no more of religion than the surface, pretend to render it odious by the same means. Under pretence that the Christian religion forbids ambition, they say it degrades man, and under pretence that it forbids misguided self-love, they say it makes man miserable. A gross error! A false idea of Christianity! If the gospel humbles, it is to elevate us; if it forbids a self-love ill-directed, it is in order to conduct us to substantial happiness. By "fleshly lusts," St. Peter does not mean such desires of the heart as put us on aspiring after real happiness and true glory.
2. An intelligent being united to a body, and lodged, if I may speak so, in a portion of matter under this law, that according to the divers motions of this matter he shall receive sensations of pleasure or pain, must naturally love to excite within himself sensations of pleasure, and to avoid painful feelings. This is agreea--thirdly, what they are in the imaginationble to the institution of the Creator. He in- and lastly, what they are in the heart. Four tends, for reasons of adorable wisdom, to pre- portraits of the passions, four explications of serve a society of mankind for several ages on the condition of man. earth. To accomplish this design, he has so In order to connect the ordered it, that what contributes to the support "fleshly lusts" are in these four views, we will matter more closely, as we show you what of the body shall give the soul pleasure, and endeavour to convince you that in these four that which would dissolve so that by these means we may preserve our second part of our discourse therefore, which would give pain, respects they "war against the soul." The selves. Aliments are agreeable; the dissolution was to treat of the disorders of the passions, of the parts of our bodies is painful; love, hatred, will be included in the first, which explains and anger, properly understood, and exercised their nature. to a certain degree, are natural and fit. The stoics, who annihilated the passions, did not know man, and the schoolmen, who to comfort people under the gout or the stone, told them that a rational man ought not to pay any regard to what passed in his body, never made many disciples among wise men. This observation affords us a second clew to the meaning of the apostle: at least it gives us a second precaution to avoid an error. By "fleshly lusts" he does not mean a natural inclination to preserve the body and the ease of life; he allows love, hatred, and anger, to a certain degree, and as far as the exercise of them does not
as it is vague and obscure, we will endeavour This is a general idea of the passions: but view we will show-first what the passions do to explain it more distinctly, and with this in the mind-next what they do in the senses
attention to whatever can justify and gratify 1. The passions produce in the mind a strong them. The most odious objects may be so placed as to appear agreeable, and the most lovely objects so as to appear odious. There is no absurdity so palpable but it may be made to appear likely; and there is no truth so clear but it may be made to appear doubtful. A passionate man fixes all the attention of his mind on sueh sides of objects as favour his passion, and this is the source of innumerable false judgings, of which we are every day witnesses and authors.
If you observe all the passions, you will find
they have all this character. What is vengeance in the mind of a vindictive man? It is a fixed attention to all the favourable lights in which vengeance may be considered; it is a continual study to avoid every odious light in which the subject may be placed. On the one side there is a certain deity in the world, who has made revenge a law. This deity is worldly honour, and at the bar of this judge to forget injuries is mean, and to pardon them cowardice. On the other side vengeance disturbs society, usurps the office of a magistrate, and violates the precepts of religion. A dispassionate man, examining without prejudice this question, Ought I to revenge the injury I have received? would weigh all these motives, consider each apart, and all together, and would determine to act according as the most just and weighty reasons should determine him: but a revengeful Inan considers none but the first, he pays no attention to the last; he always exclaims my honour, my honour; he never says my religion and my salvation.
What is hatred? It is a close attention to a man's imperfections. Is any man free? Is any man so imperfect as to have nothing good in him? Is there nothing to compensate his defects? This man is not handsome, but he is wise: his genius is not lively, but his heart is sincere: he cannot assist you with money, but he can give you much good advice, supported by an excellent example: he is not either prince, king, or emperor, but he is a man, a Christian, a believer, and in all these respects he deserves esteem. The passionate man turns away his eyes from all these advantageous sides, and attends only to the rest. Is it astonishing that he hates a person, in whom he sees nothing but imperfection? Thus a counsellor opens and sets forth his cause with such artifice that law seems to be clearly on his side; he forgets one fact, suppresses one circumstance, omits to draw one inference, which being brought forward to view entirely change the nature of the subject, and his client loses his cause. In the same manner, a defender of a false religion always revolves in his mind the arguments that seem to establish it, and never recollects those which subvert it. He will curtail a sentence, cut off what goes before, leave out what follows, and retain only such detached expressions as seem to countenance his error, but which in connexion with the rest would strip it of all probability. What is still more singular is, that love to true religion, that love, which, under the direction of reason, opens a wide field of argument and evidence, engages us in this sort of false judging, when we give ourselves up to it through passion or prejudice.
This is what the passions do in the mind, and it is easy to comprehend the reason St. Peter had to say in this view, "fleshly lusts war against the soul." Certainly one of the noblest advantages of a man is to reason, to examine proofs and weigh motives, to consider an object on every side, to combine the various arguments that are alleged either for or against a proposition, in order on these grounds to regulate our ideas and opinions, our hatred and our love. The passionate man renounces this advantage, he never reasons in a passion, his VOL. II.-10
mind is limited, his soul is in chains, his "fleshly passions war against his soul."
Having examined the passions in the mind, let us consider them in the senses. To comprehend this, recollect what we just now said, that the passions owe their origin to the Creator, who instituted them for the purpose of preserving us. When an object would injure health or life, it is necessary to our safety, that there should be an emotion in our senses to affect a quick escape from the danger; fear does this. A man struck with the idea of sudden danger has a rapidity which he could not have in a tranquil state, or during a cool trial of his power. It is necessary, when an enemy approaches to destroy us, that our senses should so move as to animate us with a power of resistance. Anger does this, for it is a collection of spirits. . . . but allow me to borrow here the words of a modern philosopher, who has admirably expressed the motions excited by the passions in our bodies. "Before the sight of an object of passion," says he, "the spirits were diffused through all the body to preserve every part alike, but on the appearance of this new object the whole system is shaken; the greater part of the animal spirits rush into all the exterior parts of the body, in order to put it into a condition proper to produce such motions as are necessary to acquire the good, or to avoid the evil now present. If it happen that the power of man is unequal to his wants, these same spirits distribute themselves so as to make him utter mechanically certain words and cries, and so as to spread over his countenance and over the rest of his body an air capable of agitating others with the same passion with which he himself is moved. For as men and other animals are united together by eyes and ears, when any one is agitated he necessarily shakes all others that see and hear him, and naturally produces painful feelings in their imaginations, which interest them in his relief. The rest of the spirits rush violently into the heart, the lungs, the liver, and the other vitals, in order to lay all these parts under contribution, and hastily to derive from them as quick as possible the spirits necessary for the preservation of the body in these extraordinary efforts."* Such are the movements excited by the passions in the senses, and all these to a certain degree are necessary for the preservation of our bodies, and are the institutions of our Creator: but three things are necessary to preserve order in these emotions. First, they must never be excited in the body without the direction of the will and the reason. Secondly, they must always be proportional, I mean, the emotion of fear, for example, must never be, except in sight of objects capable of hurting us; the emotion of anger must never be, except in sight of an enemy, who actually has both the will and the power of injuring our wellbeing. And thirdly, they must always stop when and where we will they should. When the passions subvert this order, they violate three wise institutes of our Creator.
The emotions excited by the passions in our senses are not free. An angry man is carried
* Malebranche, Recherche de la verite 1. 5. c. 3.