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Heb. xi. 25.

ριότητι, και

x. n.

SERM. perance, that, at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and

XLVI. stingeth like an adder; with us, I say, who reflect thus, Prov. xxiii. that (Tpór xaspos. dpaprias étórauois) enjoyment of finful

pleasure for a season cannot obtain much esteem and love; but will rather, I hope, be despised and abhorred by us.

I will add only, Δοκεί γεν και 4. Concerning secular wisdom and knowledge; the σοφία θανpas às üdovàwhich men do also commonly with great earnestness and zuv xaa- ambition feek after, as the most specious ornament, and w Balaim. pure content of their mind; this consideration doth also Arif. Eih. detect the just value thereof; so as to allay intemperate

ardour toward it, pride and conceitedness upon the having or seeming to have it, envy and emulation about it. For imagine, if you please, a man accomplished with all varieties of learning commendable, able to recount all the stories that have been ever written, or the deeds acted, since the world's beginning; to understand, or with the most delightful fluency and elegancy to speak all the languages, that have at any time been in use among the fons of men; skilful in twisting and untwisting all kinds of subtilties; versed in all sorts of natural experiments, and ready to affign plausible conjectures about the causes of them; ftudied in all books whatever, and in all monuments of antiquity; deeply knowing in all the mysteries of art, or science, or policy, such as have ever been devised by human wit, or study, or observation; yet all this, such is the pity, he must be forced presently to abandon; all the use he could make of all his notions, the pleasure

he might find in them, the reputation accruing to him Pl.cxlvi.4. from them, must at that fatal minute vanish; his breath

goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his Eccl. ix. 10, thoughts perish. There is no work, nor device, nor know

ledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither he goeth. It is Plal. xlix. seen, faith the Psalmist, seen indeed every day, and ob

served by all, that wise men die, likewise the fool and bru. Eccl. ii. 14, tish perfon perisheth; one event happeneth to them both;

there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; (both die alike, both alike are forgotten ;) as the wisest man himself did (not without loine distaste) observe


5, &c.

and complain. All our subtile conceits and nice criti- SERM. cisms, all our fine inventions and goodly speculations, XLVI. shall be swallowed up either in the utter darkness, or in the clearer light of the future state. One potion of that Lethean cup (which we must all take down upon our entrance into that land of forgetfulness) will probably Pf. lxxxviii, drown the memory, deface the shape of all those ideas, with which we have here stuffed our minds &; however they are not like to be of use to us in that new, so different, fate; where none of our languages are spoken; none of our experience will suit; where all things have quite another face unknown, unthought of by us; where Aristotle and Varro Thall appear mere idiots; Demofthenes and Cicero shall become very infants; the wisest and eloquentest Greeks will prove senseless and dumb barbarians; where all our authors shall have no authority; where we must all go frefh to school again; muft unlearn, perhaps, what in these misty regions we thought ourselves best to know, and begin to learn what we not once ever dreamed of. Doth therefore, I pray you, so transitory and fruitless a good (for itself I mean and excepting our duty to God, or the reasonable diligence we are bound to use in our calling) deserve such anxious desire, or so restless toil; so careful attention of mind, or assiduous pain of body about it? doth it become us to contend, or emulate so much about it? Above all, do we not most unreasonably, and against the nature of the thing itself we pretend to, (that is, ignorantly and foolishly,) if we are proud and conceited, much value ourselves or contemn others, in respect thereto? Solomon, the most experienced in this matter, and best able to judge thereof, (he that gave his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things, that had been done under heaven, and this with extreme success; even he,) passeth the same fentence of vanity, vexation, and unprofitableness, upon this, as upon all other fubcelestial things. True, he commends wisdom as an excellent and


8 Την δ' 'Ισοκράτες διατριβήν επισκώπτων, γηράν φησι παρ' αυτώ τες μαθητές, ως έν έδε χρησομένες ταϊς τέχναις, και δίκας ερέντας. Cato Sen, apud Ρlut. p. 641.

Edit. Steph.


useful thing comparatively; exceeding folly, fo far as XLVI. light exceedeth darkness; but since light itself is not perAltdor bo die manent, but must give way to darkness, the difference osvoi pez-tóvsoon vanished, and his opinion thereof abated; confidering, Les gedule that as it happened to the fool, so it happened to him, he Eccl. ii. 15. breaks into that expoftulation; And why then was I more

wife? to what purpose was fuch a distinction made, that fignified in effect fo little? And indeed the testimony of this great personage may serve for a good epilogue to all this discourse, discovering fufficiently the fender worth of all earthly things: seeing he, that had given himself industriously to experiment the worth of all things here below; to found the depth of their utmost perfection and use; -who had all the advantages imaginable of performning it; who flourished in the greatest magnificences of worldly pomp and power; who enjoyed an incredible affluence of all riches; who tasted all varieties of mott exquisite pleafure; whose heart was (by. God's special gift, and by his-own-in

dustrious care) enlarged with all kind of knowledge (far1 Kings iv. nished with notions many as the fand upon the fèa-fhore)

above all that were before him; who had pofféffed and enjoyed all that fancy could conceive, or heart could wish, and had arrived to the top of secular happiness; yet even he with pathetical reiteration pronounces all to be vanity and vexation of Spirit; altogether unprofitable and uøsatisfactory to the mind of man. And so therefore we may justly conclude them to be; fo finishing the first grand advantage this present confideration affordeth us in order to that wisdom, to which we should apply our hearts....

I should proceed to gather other good fruits, which it is apt to produce, and contribute to the same purpose; but since my thoughts have taken fo large scope upon that former head, so that I have already too much, I fear, exercised your patience, I shall only mention the rest. As this confideration doth, as we have seen, First, dispose us rightly to value these temporal goods, and moderate our affections about them; fo it doth, Secondly, in like manner, conduce to the right estimation of temporal evils; and thereby to the well tempering our passions in the re


sentment of them; to the begetting of patience and con- SERM. tentedness in our minds. Also, Thirdly, it may help us XLVI. to value, and excite us to regard those things, good or evil, which relate to our future state; being the things only of a permanent nature, and of an everlasting consequence to us. Fourthly, it will engage us to husband carefully and well employ this short time of our present life: not to defer or procrastinate our endeavours to live well; not to be lazy and loitering in the dispatch of our only confiderable business, relating to eternity ; to embrace all opportunities, and improve all means, and follow the best compendiums of good practice leading to eternal bliss. Fifthly, it will be apt to confer much toward the begetting and preserving fincerity in our thoughts, words, and actions; causing us to decline all oblique designs upon present mean interests, or base regards to the opinions or affections of men; bearing single respects to our conscience and duty in our actions; teaching us to speak as we mean, and be what we would seein; to be in our hearts and in our clofets, what we appear in our outward expresfions and conversations with men. For considering, that within a very short time all the thoughts of our hearts shall be disclosed, and all the actions of our lives exposed to public view, (being strictly to be examined at the great bar of divine judgment before angels and men,) we cannot but perceive it to be the greatest folly in the world, for this short present time to disguise ourselves; to conceal our intentions, or fmother our actions. What hath occurred, upon these important subjects, to my meditation, I must at present, in regard to your patience, omit. I shall clofe all with that good Collect of our Church.

Almighty God, give us grace, that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost; now and-ever. Amen.




So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our

hearts unto wisdom. serm. In discourfing formerly upon these words, (expounded XLVII. according to the most common and passable interpretaJob xiv. 14. tion) that which I chiefly observed was this : That the All the days serious confideration of the shortness and frailty of our of my ap• pointed

life is a fit mean or rational instrument subservient to the time will 1

bringing our hearts to wisdom; that is, to the making us wait, till my change discern, attend unto, embrace, and profecute such things,

as according to the dictates of right reason are truly best


for us.

1. The truth of which observation I largely declared from hence, that the said confideration disposeth us to judge rightly about those goods, (which ordinarily court and tempt us, viz. worldly glory and honour; riches, pleasure, knowledge; to which I might have added wit, strength, and beauty,) what their just worth and value is; and consequently to moderate our affections, our cares, our endeavours about them; for that if all those goods be uncertain and transitory, there can be no great reason to prize them much, or to affect them veheniently, or to spend much care and pains about them.

2. I shall next in the same scales weigh our temporal evils; and say, that also, The confideration of our lives'

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