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ness, the rage of envy, the torment of lust, the noise of drunkenness, and the foolish explosions of immoderate laughter? He who places his affections on such objects as angels are delighted with, is raised to an higher sphere of life than other mortals. A person in such a state is delivered from the storms of passion, and is above the reach of disappointment. If he meets with any innocent gratifications in his passage through life, they are tasted without terror and enjoyed without remorse. The light of the sun gives more pleasure to him than to other men. If he admires the works of God which he now beholds, he understands them as so many pledges, that God will shew him greater things than he hath yet seen or heard*.
* I have often admired it as a great sentiment in the orator and philosopher of Rome, that men in another life will not only be superior to the sensual pleasures of this life; but that even the virtues required of us in our present state, will then be superfluous and out of place. Si nobis, cum ex hac vitâ migraverimus, in beatorum insulis immortale avum degere liceret, quid opus esset eloquentiâ, cum judicia nulla fierent? Aut ipsis etiam virtutibus? nec enim fortitudinis indigeremus, nullo proposito aut labore ant periculo? nec justitiâ, cum esset nihil quod appeteretur alieni: nec temperantiâ quæ regeret eas, quæ nullæ essent, libidines? ne prudentiâ quidem Una nullo delectu proposito bonorum et malorum. egeremus, igitur essemus beati cognitione naturæ et scientiâ, quæ
If he is in distress, and tossed about upon the waves of a tempestuous world, he has an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast, fixed in the region of eternity, and is thereby secured against all the agitations of grief and despair. And is not this an enviable state? Yet is it such a state as we may all obtain. Here ambition is laudable, and will not be punished with disappointment. And let me add, that he who does not aspire to this state, is forgetful of his profession as a Christian. In the greatest service of the Church, that of the holy communion, the Priest calls upon the people to lift up their hearts; to which they give consent, and make answer, we lift them up unto the Lord. They use the language of men, who profess to be above the world, and aspire to heavenly things. And this indeed is their proper character. By their baptism they are risen with Christ to a new and heavenly state of life; and, if they are consistent with themselves, they must think, and speak, and act, as menwho are raised to new and sublime expecta
deorum vitâ laudanda. Ex quo intelligi potest, cætera necessitatis esse, unum hoc voluptatis. This is from a fragment of the Discourse of Cicero, intitled, Hortensius; which was extant in the time of St. Augustine, and, by his own account, pared his mind for the purer doctrines of Christianity.
tions. Thus argues the Apostle in the words of the text: if ye be risen with Christ, says he, seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God: set your af fection on things above. If he has overcome death, and we as members of him are partakers in that victory, we are not to lie like the dead Lazarus, bound about with the grave-clothes of our worldly affection. If Christ sitteth above, as our representative and fore-runner; we must rise up from darkness and the shadow of death, to follow him with our hearts and affections; knowing that we shall hereafter follow him in body as well as in spirit. For though it is undoubtedly true, that death shall prevail over our mortal part; yet the grave shall give up our bodies, when he who now sitteth at the right hand of God shall descend from his seat of glory, and call them from the four winds of heaven. This is what the Pfalmist alludes to in those remarkable words
though ye have lien among the pots, broken to pieces like frail earthen vessels, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, that is covered with silver wings, and her feathers like gold: the spirit of God, that mystic dove, shall lend its wings to raise you from dissolution, and convey aloft to the regions of eternity.
This prospect is so well secured to us, that our hopes may now begin to take possession of our inheritance. And this is the encouragement given us by the Apostle, to set our af fection on things above. He has another reason, which is indeed but a member of the same argument. For if we are risen with Christ in our baptism to a new life; it is equally true, that in the same baptism we are dead with him to the things of this life. And thence he argues, if ye be dead with Christ, why, as though living in the world are ye subject to such things as are to perish with the using? This subjection to perishable things, is the great mistake of mortal man; separating him from the knowledge and love of God; and consequently, from all the great objects of the world to come. It is not possible to know the things of God, while our hearts are set upon the world. Ignorance of God will cherish earthly affections; and earthly affections will end in a separation. from God. One of these cases was exemplified in the heathens; the other in the Jews. The heathens did not like to retain God in their knowledge, and so were given up to vile affections: the Jews had set their affections on the world, and so lost the knowledge of God. It signifies
signifies not which end we begin at: for the issue is the same either way.
Upon the whole then, it is the proper business of man in this world, to set his affections on things above: in this is our wisdom, our wealth, our hope, and our happiness: therefore it should be an affront to the understandings of rational men, to desire them to follow what is so desirable in itself. Let me then take it for granted, that they who hear me, wish to attain to this heavenly practice, and only want to know how it is to be done. To this the answer is short consider what your hope is as Christians, and learn what this world is, and then your affections cannot make any mistake, without doing it wilfully. To know that you have an inheritance in a better world, purchased by the death of Christ, and sealed to you by his Resurrection; I say, to know this, and not to desire it is impossible. And on the other hand, to see that the Things of this world are vain, deceitful and perishable; and yet to admire and seek them, is equally impossible. How then does it happen, that we see so few aspiring to the things above, and such multitudes swallowed up by the things on the earth? What can be said, but that men are blind to