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It is not in any of these senses that the Wise procure materials, must carry on works, which, Man says, “I hated life, because the work that in a word, more properly belong to the beasts is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me." of burden of the learned world than to himself, He would have us understand, that the earth whose time should be better employed in exerhas more thorns than flowers—that our condi- cising, and improving his own natural abilities. tion here, though incomparably better than we An individual seldom has it in his power to deserve, is however inadequate to our just and gain access to the museums of great men, and constitutional desires--that our inconveniences to procure the productions of their pens, or to in this life would seem intolerable, unless we consult the oracles that proceed from their were wise enough to direct them to the same mouths. An individual is often condemned to end that God proposed by exposing us to suffer turn the studies that naturally employ his libethem in a word, that nothing but hope in a ral mind into a mercenary trade, the only future state formed on another plan can render means of providing bread for himself and his the disorders of this world tolerable. So much ! family. In some protestant states youth are may serve to explain the meaning of the Wise but half educated for want of endowments, and Man.
people choose rather to pluck the unripe fruits II. Let us now proceed to justify the sense of the finest genius than to furnish bim with given, and to this I shall devote the remainder the means of bringing them to perfection. A of this discourse, and all the moments of atten- king, a rich king like Solomon, is free from all tion which we shall take the liberty to require these difficulties. He has all the assistance of you.
necessary to the cultivation of his mind, and I will make use of no artifice to obtain my to the full gratification of his avidity for science. end. I will not affect, in order to detach you He says, what perhaps you have not sufficiently from the world, to exhibit only the odious things observed, “I turned myself to behold wisdom," of the world; nor will I combat an excessive that is, I applied myself to the sciences, and love of life by opposing against it the pains and what can the man do that cometh after the the miseries of the living; but I mean to attack king?” chap. ji. 12. That is, who will ever your idols in their fort, to decry life by showing have such innumerable means of acquiring and its most amiable sides, and to endeavour to dis- perfecting knowledge as those with which royal gust you with the world by exposing the most advantages furnish me? desirable objects in it.
Accordingly the world was filled with the The phantoms that seduced Solomon during science of this prince, and bis science has given his dissipation may be reduced to two classes. occasion to a great many fabulous histories. The first suppose in the dissipated man very To him has been attributed a book entitled the little knowledge, and very little taste; and it is “Contradiction of Solomon," condemned by astonishing that a man so eminently endowed Pope Gelasius, and other works named “Inwith knowledge could set his heart upon them. chantments, clavicula, necromancy, ideas, neoThe second may more easily impose on an en mænia, letters to king Hiram.” Some ancient lightened and generous mind. In the first class fathers thought that the pagan philosophers I place riches, grandeur, and voluptuousness, had read his writings, and that Aristotle in with all their appendages. If these be, as they particular had taken his “ History of animals” certainly are, the most common idols of man- from the works of this prince. Josephus says, kind, it is for a reason inglorious to them, it is that he composed a “book of charms” to heal because most men have very little knowledge the incurable, and that one Eleazar, a Jew, and very little taste.
bad found in it a secret, by which he freed a The world has phantoms more specious, life person from possession, a reverie mentioned by has charms more capable of seducing a generous Origen. The schoolmen have agitated a great heart, and of imposing on a liberal mind. I many indiscreet questions concerning the put these into three classes. In the first I put science of Solomon, and have inquired, whethe advantages of science-in the second thether he were more learned than the angels and pleasures of friendship-in the third the privi- the Virgin Mary; and they have persuaded leges, I mean the temporal privileges of virtue themselves not only that he was a great poet, and heroism. I will endeavour to unmask these a great physician, and a great astronomer, but three figures, and to prove, that the very dis- also that he understood all the mysteries of the positions which should contribute most to the theology of the schools, and was well acquaintpleasure of life, mental abilities, tenderness of ed with the doctrine of transubstantiation. hicart, rectitude and delicacy of conscience, are We have better evidence of the science of actually dispositions which contribute most of Solomon than these visionaries. The Scripall to imbitter life.
ture itself informs us, that God “ gave him a 1. If ever possessions could make man happy, wise and an understanding heart, so that there Solomon must certainly have been the happiest was none like him before, neither after him of mankind. Imagine the most proper and the should any arise like unto him,” | Kings iii. most effectual means of acquiring knowledge, 12; that he was “ wiser," that is a greater phijoined to an avidity to obtain it, both were losopher, “than all the children of the east united in the person of this princo. We indi- country, and all the Egyptians," chap. iv. 30, viduals, when we have received from Heaven 31. By the chililren of the east we understand abilities for science, we generally want assist the Arabian philosophers, Chaldeans, and the ance to cultivate them. What individual is Persians, so famous for their erudition, and able to send emissaries into distant climes to particularly for their profound knowledge of make observations to perfect geography, physic, astronomy. He was wiser than all the Egypastronomy, botany, navigation? An individual, tians, that is, the most consummate doctors of to make collections, to ascertain reports, to Egypt, a country famous in the time of Moses
for its literature, called by the pagans the mo- condemn your discourses and your publications, ther of arts, and who boasted that they first of and will pronounce with decisive tone this is all men knew how to take dimensions of the not solid, that is superficial! The superiority of stars, and to calculate their motions, as Macro- your understanding will raise up against you a bius, Diodorus of Sicily, and many other au- world of ignorant people, who will say, that thors affirm. The Scripture says that Solomon you corrupt the youth, because you would was “ wiser than Ethan, Heman, Chalcol, and guard them against prejudice; that you stab Darda:" names which the Jews understand in orthodoxy, because you endeavour to heal the a mystical sense, meaning by Ethan Abraham, wounds which pedantry and intolerance have by Heman Moses, and Chalcol Joseph. The given it; that you trouble society, because you Scripture says farther, that he composed endeavour to purify morality, and to engage "three thousand proverbs, and a thousand and the great as well as the small, magistrates as five songs; that he spake of trees, from the ce- well as people, to submit to its holy laws. dar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hys. They will prefer before you, both in the state sop, that springeth out of the wall, also of and in the church, novices who are hardly fit beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, to be your disciples. and of fishes,” ver. 32, 33. Some of these Blessed idiots! You, who surrounded with a works are a part of the canon of Scripture, but circle of idiots like yourselves, having first the rest are lost.
stupified yourselves with your own vanity, are Now what says this great man concerning now intoxicated with the incense offered your science? He acknowledges indeed that it was admirers; you, who, having collected a few preferable to ignorance, “the wise man's eyes,” | bombastic phrases, are spreading the sails of says he, “are in his head,” that is, a man of your eloquence, and are bound for the ocean education is in possession of some prudential of glory: you, whose sublime nonsense, stale maxims to regulate his life, whereas an illite- common-places, and pedantic systems, have rate man “walketh in darkness:” but yet says acquired you such a reputation for learning he“ it happeneth even to me, as it happeneth and erudition as is due only to real merit: your to the fool, and why was I then wise?" ver. 15. condition seems to me often preferable to that And again," the eye is not satisfied with see- of first-rate geniuses, and most accomplished ing, nor the ear filled with hearing; for in scholars! Ah! “Wisdom is vanity and vexamuch wisdom is much grief, and he that in- tion of spirit-of making many books there is creaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow," chap. no end-—it happeneth even to me as it happeni. 8. 18. So again, in another place, after he eth to the fool--there is no remembrance of had proposed some rules for the government the wise more than of the fool, for all shall be of life, he adds, “My son be admonished by forgotten—therefore I hated life, because the these, for of making many books there is no work that is wrought under the sun is grievous end, and much study is a weariness of the unto me." flesh,” chap. xii. 12. I wish I could weigh 2. The socond disposition, which seems as if every expression. Observe however two im- it would contribute much to the pleasure of perfections of science.
life, but which often embitters it, is tenderness of 1. Obserye first the litlle progress made in heart. Let the sacred names of friendship and science by those who pursue it to the highest tenderness never come out of some mouths; let pitch. As they advance in this immense field them never be used by profane people to exthey discover, shall I say new extents, or new press certain connexions, which far from havabysses, which they can never fathom. The ing the reality have not even the appearance more they nourish themselves with this rich of rational sensibility! Would you give these pasture, the more keen do their appetites be- names to such vague associations as are formed
“The eye is never satisfied with see- only because you are a burden to yourselves; ing, nor the ear with hearing, and of making to connexions in which the sentiments of the many books there is no end.
heart have no share, in which nothing is in2. Remark next the liule justice done in the tended except the mutual performance of some world to such as excel most in science, “He capricious customs or the assuaging of some that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow, criminal passions, to the impetuosity of which and it happeneth even to me as it happeneth you like brute beasts are given up? Would to a fool." Yes! after you have spent all your you give these names to those unpleasant inyouth, after you have impaired your health, terviews, in which while you visit, you inwardafter you have spent yonr fortune to improve ly groan under the necessity of visiting, in your own mind, and to enable you to improve which the mouth protests what the heart dethose of other men, “it will happen to you nies, in which, while you outwardly profess to even as it happeneth to a fool." You will be be affected with the misfortunes of another, told, that sciences have nothing in them that you consider them inwardly with indifference deserve the attention of a man of quality. A and insensibility, and while you congratulate man of mean extraction, who carries himself them on the prosperity which Providence belike a lord, will tell you that a man of birth stows, you envy their condition, and sometimes ought to aspire at something more noble than regard it with a malice and mortification you meditating on questions of law, studying cases cannot help discovering? of conscience, and explaining holy Scripture. By friendship and tenderness, I mean those You will be told, that there is not half the affectionate attachments produced by a secret knowledge required to sparkle in political bo- sympathy, which virtue çements, which piety dies, and to decide on a bench the lives, and sanctifies, which a mutual vigilance over each fortunes, and honours of mankind. Presump- other's interests confirms with indissoluble, I tuous youths will judge, and without appeal had almost said eternal, bonds. I call a friend
an inestimable treasure which might for a Ah, charms of friendship, delicious errors, while render our abode on earth as happy as lovely chimeras, you are infinitely more capathat in heaven, did not that wise Providence, ble of deceiving than of satisfying us, of poithat formed us for heaven and not for earth, soning life than of sweetening it, and of makrefuse us the possession of it.
ing us break with the world than of attaching It is clear by the writings of Solomon, and us to it! My soul, wouldst thou form unaltermore so by the history of his life, that his heart able connexions! Set thy love upon thy treawas very accessible to this kind of pleasure. sure, esteem God, obey his holy voice, which How often does he write encomiums on faith- from the highest heavens says to thee, “ Give ful friends! " A friend,” says he, “loveth at me thine heart!” In God thou wilt find a love all times, he is a brother born for adversity. A fixed and faithful, a love beyond the reach of friend sticketh closer than a brother,”. Prov. temporal revolutions, which will follow thee, xvii. 17, and xviii. 24. But where is this and fill thee with felicity for ever and ever. friend, who sticketh closer than a brother? 3. In fine, I will venture to affirm, that if Where is this friend, who loveth at all times? any thing seems capable to render life agreeOne would think the Wise Man drew the por- ble, and if any thing in general renders it trait only to save us the useless labour of in- disagreeable, it is rectitude, and delicacy of quiring after the original. Perhaps you are in conscience. I know Solomon seems here to capable of tasting the bitterness of friendship, contradict himself, and the author of the Book only because you are incapable of relishing the of Proverbs seems to refute the author of the sweetness of it.
Book of Ecclesiastes. The author of the What friends do we make upon earth? At Book of Ecclesiastes informs us, that virtue first lively, eager, full of ardour: presently dull, is generally useless, and sometimes hurtful and disgusted through the ease with which they in this world: but according to the author of had been gratified. At first soft, gentle, all the Book of Proverbs virtue is most useful in condescension and compliance: presently mas- this world. Hear the author of Ecclesiastes. ters, imperious tyrants, rigorously exacting as “ All things have I seen in the days of my vania debt an assiduity which can arise only from ty: there is a just man that perisheth in his inclination, pretending to domineer over our righteousness, and there is a wicked man that reason, after they have vitiated our taste. At prolongeth his life in his wickedness. All first attentive and teachable, while prejudices things come alike to all, there is one event to conceal their imperfections from us, ready to the righteous and to the wicked; to him that acquiesce in any thing while our sentiments sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: are conformable to their inclinations: but pre- as is the good so is the sinner; and he that sently intractable and froward, not knowing sweareth, as he that feareth an oath, chap. how to yield, though we gently point out their vii. 15. ix. 2. Hear the author of the Book of frailty, and endeavour to assist them to correct Proverbs. “My son, forget not my law: but it. At first assiduous, faithful, generous, while let thy heart keep my commandments; for fortune smiles on us: but presently, if she be length of days, and long life, and peace shall tray us, a thousand times more faithless, un- they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth grateful, and perfidious than she. What an forsake thee: bind them about thy neck, airy phantom is human friendship!
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 in ed with her,” chap. iii. 1—3. 13-15. that other self ills which hitherto you have felt How shall we reconcile these things? To only in yourself. You will be disgraced in his say, as some do, that the author of Proverbs disgraces, sick in his sicknesses. If for a few speaks of the spiritual rewards of virtue, and years you enjoy one another, as if each were the author of 'Ecclesiastes of the temporal a whole world, presently, presently death will state of it, is to cut the knot instead of untycut the bond, presently death will dissolve the ing it. Of many solutions, which we have no tender ties, and separate your entwined hearts. time now to examine, there is one that bids Then you will find yourself in a universal soli- fair to remove the difficulty; that is, that tude. You will think the whole world is dead. when the author of the Book of Proverbs The universe, the whole universe, will seem to makes temporal advantages the rewards of you a desert uninhabited, and uninhabitable. virtue, he speaks of some rare periods of soAh! You who experience this, shall I call you ciety, whereas the author of Ecclesiastes de to attest these sorrowful truths Shall I open scribes the common general state of things. again wounds which time has hardly closed? Perhaps the former refers to the happy time, Shall I recall those tremulous adieus, those in which the example of the piety of David cruel separations, which cost you so many re- being yet recent, and the prosperity of his grets and tears? Shall I expose to view bones, successor not having then infected either the and infection, and putrefaction, the only re- heart of the king or the morals of his subjects, mains of him who was your support in trouble, reputation, riches, and honours, were bestowyour counsel in difficulty, your consolation in ed on good men; but the second, probably, adversity?
speaks of what came to pass soon after. In
the first period life was amiable, and living in hewed them out cisters, broken cisterns, that the world delicious: but of the second the can hold no water," Jer. ii. 13. Wise Man says, “I hated life because the This was what influenced Christians, more work that is wrought under the sun is griev- inexcusable in this respect than Jews and Paous unto me.”
gans, because their religion breathes nothing To which of the two periods does the age but disgust with the world, and alienation in which we live belong Judge by the de- from the idols of life: and yet they are as scription given by the preacher as he calls him- much in love with worldly splendour, as eager self.
in pursuit of wealth, as much intoxicated Then mankind were ungrateful, the public with diversions, gaming, amusements, and disdid not remember the benefits conferred on sipations, as ever Jews and Pagans could posthem by individuals, and their services were sibly be. unrewarded. “ There was a little city be- This was the charm that operated on your sieged by a great king, who built great bul ancestors; on those who governed the state warks against it, and there was found in it a before you, magistrates: on those who ascendpoor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered ed this pulpit before you, ministers: on those the city, yet no man remembered that same who attended the worship of God in this place poor man," chap. ix. 14, 15.
before you, Christian people: all these, except Then courtiers, mean and ungrateful, base- a few, followed the multitude, ran, with the ly forsook their old master, and paid their world, to the same excess of riot, and made court to the heir apparent. "I saw all the the world their god, just as we all, except a living under the sun walking after the child, few, yet make the world our god, yet follow who shall stand up next instead of the king, the multitude, yet run with the wicked, to the chap. iv. 15.
same excess of riot. Then strong oppressed the weak. “I con- God, in order to undeceive mankind, and to sidered all the oppressions that are done un- dissolve the charms that fascinated their eyes, der the sun, and behold, the tears of such as often showed them the world in its true light. were oppressed, and they had no comforters, He often added extraordinary ills to the ordinary and on the side of their oppressors there was calamities of life; he made winds his angels, power, but they had no comforter."
and flaming fires his ministers," Ps. civ. 4; he Then the courts of justice were corrupt. “I sent war, mortality, flaming eruptions, pestisaw the place of judgment, that wickedness lence, and earthquakes: in a word, he often was there"
chap. iii. 16. We will visited them, as he yet visits us, and with the not finish this disagreeable picture." I hated same design. To them he says, as he yet says life, because the work that is wrought under to us, “Love not the world, neither the things the sun is grievous unto me.”
that are in the world. Vanity of vanities, all Such is the idea the Wise Man gives us of is vanity. Fear God, and keep his commandthe world. Yet these vain and precarious ob- ments, for this is the whole duty of man,” I jects, this world so proper to inspire a rational John ii. 15; Eccles. i. 2, and xiii. 13. All this mind with disgust, this life so proper to excite was useless, just as it is now.
Then man hatred in such as know what is worthy of es- kind made a god of the world, and so they teem, this is that which has always fascinated, continue to do. and which yet continues to fascinate the bulk My brethren, taste is not subject to arguof mankind.
ment, and if life seems to you supremely amiThis it was that infatuated the inhabitants able in spite of all the imperfections and sins of the old world, who, even after God had that imbitter it, in vain do I stand here depronounced this dreadful decree, “My spirit scribing it to you. However, condescend at shall not always strive with man, for he is least to see whither every living thing is tendflesh, and after a hundred and twenty years ing; and allow me to perform the duty of this he shall be no more,"'t forgot themselves in the day, which requires me to treat of the dying and pursuit of present pleasure, They were eat- the dead. A modern author has published a ing and drinking, marrying and giving in mar- book with this singular title, “ Subterranean riage, until the day that the flood came, and Rome," a tiile full of instruction and truth, took them all away,” Matt. xxiv. 38, 39. a title that may serve to teach that living
This was what bewitched the whole hea- haughty city, that there is another Rome then world, who lived “ without hope, and dead and buried, a natural image of what the without God in the world,” Eph. ii. 12. present Rome must shortly be. Such an ob
This was what enchanted that highly favour- ject I present to you. I present you your reed nation, which God distinguished from the public, not the republic you see composed of rest of the world, and to which he gave his living magistrates, generals, and heads of familaws, and intrusted his prophecies, yet they lies; this is superficial, the surface of your re“ forsook the fountain of living waters, and public: but I would fix your eyes on an interior
subterranean republic. There is a state under * The sense given to this passage by our author is your feet. Go down, go into the cells under agreeable both io the French version, and to the origi- the earth. Lift up the lids of the coffins. nal. J'ai oui tous les vivuns qui marchent sous le so. What do you see there, what have you found leel apres l' enfant, qui est la seconde personne qui doit there? My God! What inhabitants! What etre en la place du roi. Per puerum secundum intellige, regis filium et haeredem, quod a rege secundus est, ac citizens! What a republic! post eum regnaturus. Poli. Synops. in loc.
This is not all. Go farther. Carry your | Gen. vi. 3. The sense given by Mr. Saurin is that of
Exercise that many commentators, and seems preferable to our English eyes beyond these caverns. text, which is obscure. Accipiunt de spatio pænitentiæ faith which gives substance to things not seen. isti ætati concesso,
Think of the souls which once animated this
dust, and ashes, and bones. Where are they? | lose in regard to the glittering advantages of
we gain in regard to real and subof misery. Some in the bosom of God, others stantial advantages; if we ourselves understand in prison with devils. Some drinking of rivers that religion which we teach others, and if we of pleasures for evermore, others having their feel the spirit of that calling, with which God portion in the lake of fire, the smoke rising has honoured us. May God grant, may the up for ever and ever, Ps. xxxvi. 8, and xvi. God who has honoured us, grant us such 11; and Rev. xix. 3. To say all in one word, knowledge and virtue as are essential to the some for abandoning themselves to the world worthy discharge of our duty! May he bestow are suffering such punishments as the world all that intrepidity, which is always necessary inflicts on its slaves: and others for devoting to resist the enemies of our holy reformation, themselves to God, are receiving such rewards and sometimes those, who under the name of as God bestows on his servants. May this reformed, endeavour to counteract and destroy contrast penetrate, affect, and transform you it! May he support us under the perpetual all! And thou, great God, give weight to our contradictions we meet with in the course of exhortations, in order to give success to our our ministry, and invigorate us with the hopes benedictions!
of those high degrees in glory, which await I gladly embrace the opportunity of assist- such as "turn many to righteousness, who ing at this solemnity, of coming to you, my shall shine as the stars for ever and ever!" dear brethren, at this auspicious season, and of Dan. xii. 3. preaching to you, now that it is allowable to Merchants, you are the pillars of this reopen the bottom of a heart always full of most public, and you are the means of our enjoying respectful affection for this city and this church.* prosperity and plenty. May God continue to Receive my good wishes as affectionately as bless your commerce! May he cause winds they are dictated.
and waves, nature, and every element, to unite Magistrates, to whom Providence has com- in your favour! Above all, may God teach mitted the reins of government, you are above you the holy skill of placing your heart where our benediction. But we are ministers of a your treasure is;" of making yourselves friends Master who governs all mankind, and from that of the “ mammon of unrighteousness,” Matt. source of splendour, magnificence, and wealth, vi. 21; Luke xvi. 9; of sanctifying your proswe derive the benedictions, which we diffuse perity by your charity, especially on such a on your august heads. May God inspire you day as this, in which we should make conwith that elevation of mind, that magnanimity, science of paying a homage of love to a “God and holy ambition, which impel magistrates, who is love," and whose goodness has brought with whom he has intrusted the sword of jus us to see this day. tice, to found all their deliberations and decrees Fathers and mothers of families, with whom on equity! May God inspire you with such I have the honour and happiness of joining charity, condescension, and affability, as may myself, may God help us to consider our chilblend the parent with the master! May God dren not merely as formed for this world, but inspire you with such humility and self-denial as intelligent and immortal beings made for as incline Christian magistrates to lay their eternity! May God grant, we may be infipower at the feet of the great Supreme, and to nitely more desirous to see them happy in place their glory in rendering to God a faithful heaven than prosperous on earth! May God account of their administration! Great will continue these children, so necessary to the that account be. You are, to a certain degree, pleasure of our lives, to our last moments! responsible both for the temporal and eternal God grant, if we be required to give them up happiness of this people. The eternal happi- to the grave, we may have all the submission ness of a people often depends on the conduct that is necessary to sustain such violent shocks. of their governors, on the care they take to My brethren, this article cuts the thread of restrain licentiousness, to suppress scandalous my discourse. May God answer all the prayers books, to make solemn festivals observed, to I have uttered, and that far greater number procure wise, zealous, and faithful ministers which I have suppressed! Amen. for the church. Magistrates, who enter into these noble designs, have a right to expect from God all the assistance necessary to effect them.
1 PETER Ïi. 2.
pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war narrow limits to what the world calls our prefer
against the soul. ment and fortune. The religion we profess The words you have heard, my brethren, does not allow us to aspire after such high- offer four subjects of meditation to your minds. sounding titles, eminent posts, and splendid First, the nature of the passions-secondly, the equipages,
as confound the minister of tempo- disorders of them--thirdly, the remedies to be ral kings with the ministers of that Jesus whose applied-and lastly, the motives thæt engage kingdom is not of this world:” but what we us to subdue them. In the first place we will
give you a general idea of what the apostle + Of Rotterdam.
calls “fleshly lusts,” or in modern style the