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is like the troubled sea, which cannot rest.' • God (as St. Austin speaketh) hath said it, and so it is, every inordinate mind is a punishment to itself.'*

Doth content spring from a hearty approbation of, or a complacence in a man's own actions ;t from reflexion that he constantly doth act according to reason and wisdom, to justice and duty ? Then can the pious man alone pretend to it, who knoweth that he walketh. inoffensively toward God and man;' that he consulteth his own best interest and welfare; that assuredly no bad consequence can attend his unblameable behavior; that most wise men have declared their approbation of his proceedings; that if he prove in his chief design mistaken, yet no mischief can thence befal him ; yea, that he is not thereby quite disappointed, seeing even much present satisfaction and convenience do arise up to him from his practice.

Doth content grow from a sound and healthful constitution of soul? It is the pious man alone that hath that, whose mind is clear from distempers of vice and passion. The impious man is infirm, out of order, full of disease and pain, according to the prophet's description of him;—The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint: from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.

Doth content arise specially from good success in our attempts, or from prosperous events befalling us ? Then it is the pious man who is most capable thereof : for he only is secure, that what seemeth good and prosperous is really such to him, as meant for his good by the divine goodness, as tending thereto by the guidance of infallible wisdom. As he only hath ground to hope for success, because he confideth in God, because he dutifully seeketh God's help, because God is favorably disposed toward him, because God ' ordereth his steps,' because God is

* Nulla major poena nequitiæ est, quam quod sibi ac suis displicet.-Sen. Ep. 42. Truwpía táons ådıklas åkódovdos.—Plat. de Leg. 5.

Deus jussit, et ita est, Sibi poena est omnis inordinatus auimus.Aug. Conf.

+ Nisi sapienti sua non placent: omnis stultitia laborat fastidio sui.-Sen. Ep.9.

by promise engaged to bless him, because he is conscious of intentions to render God thanks and praise for it, to employ his success to God's honor and service : so he only can be satisfied with the appearance of success, being able with assurance to say after St. Paul, we know that to those who love God all things cooperate for good.'

Is security from danger, from trouble, from want, from all evil, a source or matter of content ? It certainly doth attend the pious man; God being his especial protector, his comforter, his purveyor.

• There shall no evil befal the just: there shall no plague come near his dwelling. God keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.' • He delivereth the righteous out of their troubles.' . The desire of the righteous shall be granted. There is no want to them that fear God.' So do the holy oracles assure us.

Doth contentedness spring from sufficiency, real or appre. hended? This appertaineth peculiarly to the pious man: for, having God, the master of all, for his portion,' he hath the richest estate that can be; he hath all that he can desire, he cannot but take himself to have enough. Hence "godliness with contentedness (uer' aŭrapkeias, with sufficiency) is,' as St. Paul saith, méyas Toplouos, the great way of gaining.' He saith it not, as supposing godliness and contentedness to be separable ; but rather as implying godliness therefore to be most gainful, because sufficiency and contentedness do ever attend it. In fine, if that saying of Seneca be true, that, “if to any man the things he possesseth do not seem most ample, although he be master of the whole world, he is yet miserable ;'* then assuredly the pious man only can be happy; for to him alone his possessions can seem the largest and best, such as there can be no possible accession to, or amendment of. For nothing can be greater or better than God, in whom he hath a stedfast propriety, whose infinite power and wisdom are engaged to do him the utmost good that he is capable of. And farther,

III. Seeing we have mentioned happiness, or the summum

* Si cui sua non videntur amplissima, licet totius mundi dominus sit, tamen miser est..Sen. Ep. 9.

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bonum, the utmost scope of human desire, we do add, that piety doth surely confer it. Happiness, whatever it be, hath certainly an essential coherence with piety. These are reciprocal propositions, both of them infallibly true, He that is pious is happy; and, He that is happy is pious. No man doth undertake or prosecute any thing which he doth not apprehend in some order or degree conducing to that which all men under a confused notion regard and tend to, which they call happiness, the highest good, the chiefest desirable thing. But in their judgments about this thing, or the means of attaining it, as men dissent much; so of necessity most of them must be mistaken. Most, indeed, do aim and shoot at a mere shadow of profit, or at that which is very little considerable, and in comparison nothing at all; which little conduceth to the perfection of their nature, or the satisfaction of their desire. If they miss the mark, they are disappointed; if they hit it, they are no less, and in effect hit nothing. But whatever this grand matter is, in whatever it consisteth, however it be procured; be it the possession and fruition of some special choice goods, or an aggregation and affluence of all goods ; piety surely is the main ingredient and principal cause thereof. All other goods without it are insignificant and unuseful thereto; and it cannot be wanting where piety is. Be a man never so rich, so powerful, so learned and knowing, so prosperous in his affairs, so honorable in the opinions and affections of men : yet nowise happy can he be, if he is not pious; being he wanteth the best goods, and is subject to the worst evils; being he wanteth the love and favor of God, he wanteth peace and satisfaction of conscience, he wanteth a right enjoyment of present things, he wanteth security concerning his final welfare. Be he never so poor, so low in the eyes of men, so forlorn and destitute of worldly conveniences; yet if he be pious, he cannot be wretched; for he hath an interest in goods incomparably most precious, and is safe from all considerable evils; he hath a free resort to the inexhaustible fountain of all happiness, he hath a right to immense and endless felicity, the which eminently containeth all the goods we are capable of; he is possessed thereof in hope and certain reversion, there is but a moment to pass before his complete fruition of it. The want of all other petty

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things no more can maim the integrity of his felicity, than cutting the hair, or paring the nails, do mutilate a man : all other things are but superfluities or excrescences in regard to the constitution of happiness. Whatever happeneth, that will assuredly be true, which is so much inculcated in holy Scripture, • Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways; happy shall he be, and it shall be well with him. Piety is indeed fraught with beatitudes, every part thereof yieldeth peculiar blessedness. To the love of God, to charity toward our neighbor, to purity of heart, to meekness, to humility, to patience, to mercifulness, to peaceableness, beatitude is ascribed by our Lord, the great Judge and Dispenser of it.

Each religious performance, hath happy fruits growing from it, and blissful rewards assigned thereto. All pious dispositions are fountains of pleasant streams, which by their confluence do make up a full sea of felicity.

IV. It is a peculiar advantage of piety, that it furnisheth employment fit for us, worthy of us, hugely grateful and highly beneficial to us. Man is a very busy and active creature, which cannot live and do nothing, whose thoughts are in restless motion, whose desires are ever stretching at somewhat, who perpetually will be working either good or evil to himself; wherefore greatly profitable must that thing be which determineth him to act well, to spend his care and pain on that which is truly advantageous to him; and that is religion only: It alone fasteneth our thoughts, affections, and endeavors, on occupations worthy the dignity of our nature, suiting the excellency of our natural capacities and endowments, tending to the perfection and advancement of our reason, to the enriching and ennobling of our souls. Secluding that, we have nothing in the world to study, to affect, to pursue, not very mean and below us, not very

base and misbecoming us, as men of reason and judgment. What have we to do but to eat and drink, like horses or like swine; but to sport and play, like children or apes; but to bicker and scuffle about trifles and impertinences, like ideots ? what, but to scrape or scramble for useless pelf; to hunt after empty shows and shadows of honor, or the vain fancies and dreams of men ? what, but to wallow or bask in sordid pleasures, the which soon degenerate into remorse and

bitterness? To which sort of employments were a man confined, what a pitiful thing would he be, and how inconsiderable were his life! Were a man designed only, like a fly, to buzz about here for a time, sucking in the air, and licking the dew, then soon to vanish back into nothing, or to be transformed into worms, how sorry and despicable a thing were he ? And such without religion we should be. But it supplieth us with business of a most worthy nature and lofty importance; it setteth us

on doing things great and noble as can be ; it engageth us to free our minds from all fond conceits, and cleanse our hearts from all corrupt affections; to curb our brutish appetites, to tame our wild passions, to correct our perverse inclinations, to conform the dispositions of our soul and the actions of our life to the eternal laws of righteousness and goodness : it putteth us on the imitation of God, and aiming at the resemblance of his perfections; on obtaining a friendship and maintaining a correspondence with the High and Holy One ; on fitting our minds for conversation and society with the wisest and purest spirits above; on providing for an immortal state, on the acquist of joy and glory everlasting. It employeth us in the divinest actions, of promoting virtue, of performing beneficence, of serving the public, and doing good to all : the being exercised in which things doth indeed render a man highly considerable, and his life excellently valuable.

It is an employment most proper to us as reasonable men. For what more proper 'entertainments can our mind have than to be purifying and beautifying itself, to be keeping itself and its subordinate faculties in order, to be attending on the management of thoughts, of passions, of words, of actions depending on its governance ?

It is an employment most beneficial to us; in pursuing which we greatly better ourselves and improve our condition; we benefit and oblige others; we procure sound reputation and steady friendships ; we decline many irksome mischiefs and annoyances; we do not, like those in the prophet, spend our labor for that which satisfieth not, nor spend our money for that which is not bread:' for both temporal prosperity and eternal felicity are the wages of the labor which we take herein.

It is an employment most constant, never allowing sloth or

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