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to the Divine Wisdom to lay a Restraint upon him with Respect to one, to make him fenfible that he was under the Dominion of a higher Lord, on whom he had a constant Dependence, and to whom he owed his all; that he was not to feek or place his Happiness in an unlimited Indulgence to his own Inclinations and Appetites, but in an unreserved Obedience to God, and Conformity to his Will, and in a Senfe of his Love and Favour, and that the Pleasure he took in other Things was to be all in Subordination to him the chief Good.

If Man had perfifted in his Obedience and Innocence, he would have enjoyed all the Happiness for which his Nature was originally formed and defigned. He would have rejoiced in God and in his glorious Perfections, and in him would have found an Object capable of filling and fatisfying the vaft Defires of his Soul. This would have both purified and heightened the Pleasure he took in inferior Objects and Enjoyments, and all the delectable Things in the Creatures around him would have been as fo many Steps by which to afcend, in Love, Gratitude, and Admiration, to the supreme and abfolutely perfect Being. But, feduced by the deceitful Infinuations of the Tempter, he broke from his regular Subordination to

his Sovereign Lord and Benefactor, and, fetting up his own Will and Appetites to be his Rule, and indulging too great a Love to inferior fenfible Good, he fell from God and Happinefs. And ever fince have the Sons of Men been prone to feek for Happiness in the Goods of this present World, and in the Gratification of their: own irregular Appetites and Paffions, in a Preference to the Will and Law of God. And the main Design of all the Discoveries and Revelations he hath made to Mankind hath been to recover them to a right Senfe and Pursuit of true Happiness, to draw off their Hearts and Affections from a too close Attachment to inferior Good, and from those mean and vicious Pleasures which are unworthy of the rational Nature, and to engage them to feek for Happiness in an Imitation of his moft amiable. moral Perfec-, tions, in Obedience to his Laws, and in the Enjoyment of his Love and Favour. This efpecially is the great End of the Gospel Revelation. For this Purpofe God fent his Son into the World, the unfpotted Image of his own Goodness and Purity, by whom he hath made the most attractive Discoveries and Difplays of his own Glory and Lovelinefs, and the exceeding Riches of his Grace to allure and draw us to his Service, and

and engage us to come to him for Happinefs. And for our greater Encouragement he hath been graciously pleased to set before us a State of everlafting Felicity in the heavenly World, confifting in the immediate Vifion and Fruition of himfelf, and in a complete Conformity to him. And it is his Will that by our delighting ourselves in him here on Earth we should endeavour to get our Minds prepared for the Joys of his beatific Prefence.

This Duty of delighting in God is of a noble Extent, and comprehends a great Deal in it.

To delight in God is to delight ourselves in the Fulness of his infinite Perfection, and in all thofe glorious and amiable Attributes and Excellencies which render him the worthy Object of the highest Admiration and Efteem of reasonable Beings.

It is to delight in his Works of Creation and Providence, as exhibiting the Displays of his Glory; and in the admirable Methods of our Redemption and Salvation by Jefus Chrift.

It is to delight in his holy and most excellent Laws, and in the Practice of the various Duties which he requireth of us, and which are really conducive to the true Perfection and Felicity of our Natures.

And,

And, finally, it is to rejoice in the Hope which he hath fet before us, the Hope of that eternal Life which is the Gift of God in Jefus Chrift our Lord, to all those that love and ferve him with Sincerity.

Now it is evident that these Things take in the Whole of Religion and of a holy and virtuous Life. From this View of them it appears that all the Pleasures of Religion may be comprehended in delighting in God. This is the central Point to which they all tend, and in which they all unite. And I fhall endeavour to fhew that in each of these Respects, the Knowledge and Practice of Religion is a Source of true and folid Satisfaction and Joy to a well-difpofed Mind; and that therefore there is no just Ground for the Prejudices many are apt to entertain against a Life of real Piety and Virtue.

The firft Thing to be confidered, and which most directly and properly cometh under the Notion of delighting in God, is that we should delight in the Fulness of his infinite Perfection, and in all thofe amiable and glorious Attributes and Excellencies which render him the worthy Object of the highest Love, Admiration, and Esteem of reasonable Beings.

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That God is abfolutely perfect is the Voice of Reason and Nature as well as Scrip

ture.

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ture. All other Beings owe their Existence, and whatever Powers or Excellencies they are poffeffed of, to an higher Cause, and therefore must be dependent and limited. But God deriveth not his Being or Perfections from any other, but hath the Source of his Perfection and Bleffedness eternally and independently in himself, and therefore hath nothing to limit him from without or from within. To him alone belongs that adorable Character, I am that I am. Of all other Beings it must be faid, that fome have one Perfection and fome another, and that they differ in their Degrees of Excellence; but God alone hath all Perfections in the highest poffible Degree of Eminency, and in the most amiable and perfect Harmony. If therefore we are pleafed and delighted with the scattered Rays of Goodness and Beauty which we behold in Creatures like ourselves, what a fublime Pleasure must it yield to contemplate the fupreme, original unbounded Excellence, in whom there is a Fulness of Perfection never to be exhaufted? and then to confider him as ready to communicate of his All-fufficiency to us to make us happy! Such is the Pleasure that Religion opens to us! To this glorious Object it teacheth us to raise our Views. Admiration, when fixed on an excellent Object,

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