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on our Parts, and apply our utmost Efforts to rectify what is amifs in the Temper of our Minds, as ever we would hope for his gracious Affiftances and Divine Communications. And certainly, as has been already hinted, one of the propereft Means for this Purpose is the stirring up the Powers of our Souls to an attentive Confideration of thofe Things which have a Tendency to remove and overcome our Prejudices against Religion, and recommend it to our Affection and Efteem.
As an Introduction to what I intend ty largely to infift upon in Profecution of this important Subject, I have chosen these remarkable Words "of the pious Pfalmift: Delight thyfelf in the Lord, and be fhall give thee the Defires of thine Heart. He begins this Pfalm with cautioning Men not to give Way to the Frettings of Envy and Difcontent, because of the feeming Profperity of the Wicked, who often flourish in an Abundance of Riches, Honours, and Pleafures of this prefent World, whilft good Men, the excellent of the Earth, are in a poor mean Condition, afflicted and defpifed. Fret not thyfelf because of Evil-Doers, neither be envious against the Workers of Iniquity. He obferves that their Profperity is a vain Shew, and at best very tranfitory in its Duration:
They fhall foon be cut down as the Grass, and wither as the green Herb. Men of real Piety and Virtue, who place their Truft in their God, and go on in a Course of Well-doing, may not have a large Affluence of this World's Goods, but they fhall have what is neceffary for their Support, and the Favour and Bleffing of God with it, which sweetens every thing, and is a better Security for their Subfiftence, than any worldly Wealth or Power can furnish: Truft in the Lord, and do Good; fo fhalt thou dwell in the Land, and verily thou fhalt be fed. And then the Pfalmift adds, Delight thy felf alfo in the Lord, and be fhall give thee the Defires of thine Heart. Whilft others feek for Pleasure in the Vanities of this tranfitory World, do thou place thy highest Happiness in God alone, make him the chief Object of thy Joy, and fo fhalt thou never be disappointed. He shall give thee what is really beft for thee, and through his Grace and Goodness thou fhalt attain to that true Happiness which is able to fatisfy the most enlarged Defires and Capacities of thy Soul.
This Precept of delighting in the Lord is not to be understood in fo ftrict a Senfe, as if he were to be the only Object of our Joy, and we were not allowed to delight or take R. Pleasure
Pleasure in any Thing elfe. It is evident to any one that confiders the human Frame, that Man is capable of taking in a Variety of Joys, fuited to the various Powers and Affections of his Nature; Pleasures flow in upon us at our Eyes, our Ears, our Tafte, and all the Senfes; and the Author of our Beings has ftored the World about with a Variety of Things admirably fitted to excite in us the most agreeable Senfations. The Pleasures of the Imagination are still of a larger Extent, and of a more exquifite Kind And fuperior to these are the Pleafures arising from the Pursuits and Acquifitions of Knowledge, and the Improvement of our rational intellectual Powers, and from the Exercise of the kind and focial Affections, fo natural to the human Heart, when it is not greatly perverted and depraved. Religion is not intended to deprive us of any of thefe Pleafures. On the contrary it tends. in many Inftances to heighten and improve them. It teaches us to confider them all in a Subordination to the Delight we should have in God the chief Good. This must be the fupreme ruling. Affection in our Souls, and all other Joys and Pleasures must be governed and regulated by it, and must be kept in their proper Place and Order, and this will give them their nobleft Relish.
The inferior Animals of the brutal Order are manifeftly defigned for no higher Enjoyments than thofe of the fenfitive Life. When they attain to thefe, they attain to the true Happiness of their Nature, an Happiness adequate to the feveral Powers, Inftincts, and Capacities with which they are endued. Religion and a Regard to the Deity does not enter into their Gratifications and Joys. They receive many Benefits from the bountiful Hand of Divine Providence, but without being fenfible of their Obligations to the Sovereign Benefactor, to whom they owe their Exiftence, and from whom all their Bleffings and Enjoyments flow. This is not to be charged upon them as a Fault They have not Faculties capable of rifing above the Objects of, Senfe to the Fountain of all Perfection and Excellence. But Man is a Creature of an higher Order, and defigned for nobler Joys. He is capable of knowing and contemplating God himself, of loving, adoring, obeying and enjoying him, of thankfully acknowledging him as the glorious Author of all the Bleffings he enjoys, and of raifing his Affections and Views above them to him the fupreme, the infinite Good. This therefore is juftly required of him as his Duty. He is not to place his chief Felicity in any inferior
Good; the Defires of his Soul must be supremely fixed upon God, and in him must ultimately center and terminate. Then it is that he acteth up to the proper End of his Being, and in a Manner worthy of the excellent and fublime Faculties which God hath given him.
Man was at firft created in an innocent and happy State, and this lower World was really prepared for his Entertainment. As it was then in its original Beauty, and was come fair and lovely out of the Creator's Hand, it could not but produce the most pleafing Senfations. And it was no Doubt agreeable to the Will of God, that Man fhould take Pleasure in that Variety of delightful Objects, which the Divine Goodness hath provided. Efpecially fince Paradife was in a particular Manner affigned him for his blissful Seat, where he was placed amidst a Profufion of Joys. But certainly God never defigned that he should take up with these Things as his proper Portion and Felicity, but that he should lift up his Soul above them to the fupreme original' Goodness and Beauty, and in him place his chief Delight and Happiness. And therefore, though he had an ample Liberty gi ven him to entertain himself with the delicious Fruits of Paradife, yet it seemed fit