« ZurückWeiter »
Another very considerable addition vto my happiness is, that what I have written from my own experience, in order to recommend temperance, has been of great use to numbers, who loudly proclaim their obligations to me for that work, several of them having sent me word from foreign parts, that, under God, they are indebted to me for their lives. But that which makes me look on myself as one of the happiest of men, is, that I enjoy as it were, two forts of lives ; the one terrestrial, which I possess in fact; the other celestial, which I possess in thought; and this thought is attended with unutterable delight, being founded on such glorious objects, which I am morally sure of obtaining, through the infinite goodness and mercy of God. Thus I enjoy this terrestrial life, partly through the beneficent influences of temperance and sobriety, virtues so pleasing to heaven; and I enjoy, through cordiH al al love of the same divine Majesty, the celestial life, by contemplating so often on the happiness thereof, that I can hardly think of any thing else. And I hold, that dying in the manner I expect, is not really death, but a passage of the foul from this earthly life, to a celestial, immortal, and infinitely perfect existence. And I am so far charmed with the glorious elevation to which I think my soul is designed, that I can no longer stoop to those trifles, which, alas! charm and infatuate too great a part of mankind. The prospect of parting with my favourite enjoyments of this life, gives me but little concern ; on the contrary, I thank God, I often think of it with secret joy, since by that loss I am to gain a life incomparably more happy.
O! Who then would be troubled, were he in my place? what good man, but must instantly throw off his load of
wordly Worldly sorrow, and address his grateful homage to the Author of all this happiness ? However, there is not a man on earth, who may not hope for the like happiness, if he would but live as I do. For indeed I am no angel, but only a man, a servant of God, to whom a good and temperate life is so pleasing, that even in this world he greatly rewards those who practise it.
And whereas many embrace a holy and contemplative life, teaching and preaching the great truths of religion, which is highly commendable, the chief employment of such being to lead men to the knowledge and worship of God. O that they would likewise betake themselves entirely to a regular a&d temperate life! They would then be considered as saints indeed upon earth, as those primitive Christians were, who observed so constant a temperance, and lived so long. By living like them, to the age of one
hundred hundred and twenty, they might make such a proficiency in holiness, and become so dear to God, as to do the greatest honour and service to the world ; and they would besides, enjoy constant health and spirits, and be always happy within themselves; whereas they are now too often infirm and melancholy. If indeed they are melancholy, because they see God, (after all his goodness) so ungratefully requitted; or because they see men (notwithstanding their innumerable obligations tojpve) yet hating and grieving each other: such melancholy is truly amiable and divine.
But to be melancholy on any other account, is, to speak the truth, quite unnatural to good christians ;"*such persons being the servants of God and heirs of immortality; and it is still more unbecoming the ministers of religion, who ought to consider themselves, as of all
others, others, in the most important, serviceable, and delightful employment.
I Know, many of these gentlemen think that God does purposely bring these occasions of melancholy on them that they may in this life do penance for their former sins; but therein, as I think, they are much mistaken. I cannot conceive, how God, who loves
. mankind, can be delighted with their sufferings. He desires that mankind should be happy, both in this world and the next; he tells us so in a thousand places in his word, and we actually find that there is not a man on earth, who does not feel the good Spirit of God, forbidding and condemning those wicked courses, which would rob him of that happiness. No; it is the devil and
. sin which bring all the evils we suffer, on our heads, and not GOD, who is our Creator and Father, and desires our happiness: his commands tend to no other H 2 purpose.