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doctrine cannot be of God, as I am sure that God is good and just ; because this grates upon the notion that mankind have of goodness and justice. This is that which no good man would do, and therefore cannot be believed of infinite goodness; and therefore if “an apostle or angel from heaven” teach any doctrine which plainly overthrows the goodness and justice of God, “ let him be accursed.” For every man hath greater assurance that God is good and just, than he can of any subtle speculations about predestination and the decrees of God.
And to give but one instance more: I can never believe, upon the authority of any man, or church whatsoever, that our Saviour, in the celebration of his last supper, did with his own hands give away his own natural body into the hands of his disciples, and give his blood shed, before it was shed; that the whole doctrine of Christianity should mainly rely upon the evidence of miracles, the assurance of which depends upon the certainty of sense; and yet that an essential part of that doctrine should overthrow the certainty of sense. I can never while I live believe these two things, that the last thing our Saviour did before his death, should be to teach his disciples not to believe their own senses, as he must do if he taught them transubstantiation; and that the very first thing he did after he was risen from the dead, should be to teach them the quite contrary, by appealing to the certainty of sense for the proof of his resurrection ; for when they doubted of his resurrection, “He said unto them, why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” If this be a good argument, that it was a real body which they saw, because they saw and felt flesh and bones; is it not as good an argument on the other side, that what they saw in the sacrament was not his real and natural body, because they could neither see nor handle flesh and bones ? So that I cannot believe transubstantiation, unless I can believe that truth itself can contradict and destroy itself.
SERMON, 1 Tim. i. 2.
I will consider what we are to understand by the blessedness or happiness of God, and what are the essential ingredients of it. Now the notion of happiness taken at its highest pitch, as we must necessarily do when we apply it to God, is no other than a fixed and immoveable state of contentment and satisfaction, of pleasure and delight, resulting from the secure possession and enjoyment of all that is good and desirable, that is, of all excellency and perfection ; so that these following ingredients must go to make up a perfect state of happiness.
1. Perfect knowledge, to understand what it is that constitutės happiness, and to know when one is really possessed of it. For as he is not happy, who is so only in imagination or a dream, without any real foundation in the thing ; for he may be pleased with his condition, and yet be far enough from being truly happy : so on the other hand, he that has all other necessary ingredients of happiness, and only wants this, that he doth not think himself so, cannot be happy. For this we often see in the imperfect felicity of this world, that many men who have all the materials and circumstances of a worldly happiness about them, yet by the unskilful management of the matter, and from a lightness and injudiciousness of mind, not knowing when they are well, they make an hard shift, even when they are in as good circumstances as it is almost possible for men to be in this world, to be very discontented and miserable in their own opinions. But God perfectly knows both what makes happiness, and that he is possessed of it.
2. To perfect happiness is likewise required a full power to do whatever conduceth to happiness, and likewise to check and controul whatever would be an hindrance and disturbance to it; and therefore no being is as
happy as it can be, that is not all-sufficient, and hath not within its power and reach whatever is necessary to an happy condition, and necessary to secure and continue that happiness against all attempts and accidents whatsoever.
3. There is wisdom also required to direct this power, and manage it in such a manner, as it may effectually conduce to this end; and this is very different from mere power, abstractedly considered; for one may have all the materials of happiness, and yet want the wisdom and skill to put them so together, as to frame an happy condition out of them; and he is not happy, who doth not thoroughly understand the proper method and means of compassing and securing his own happiness. . 4. Another most considerable and essential ingredient of happiness is goodness; without which, as there can be no true majesty and greatness, so neither can there be any felicity or happiness. Now goodness is a generous disposition of mind to communicate and diffuse itself, by making others partakers of its happiness in such degrees as they are capable of it, and as wisdom shall direct : For he is not so happy as he may be, who hath not the pleasure of making others so, and of seeing them put into an happy condition by his means, which is the highest pleasure, I had almost said pride, but I may truly say glory, of a good and great mind: For by such communications of himself, an immense and all-sufficient being doth not lessen himself, or put any thing out of his power, but doth rather enlarge and magnify himself; and does, as I may say, give great ease and delight to a full and fruitful being, without the least diminution of his power and happiness. For the cause and original of all other beings can make nothing sơ independent upon itself, as not still to maintain his interest in it, to have it always under his power and government; and no being can rebel against his maker, without extreme hazard to himself.
5. Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of allother virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a being, upon all proper and fitting occasions ;, that is, that so perfect a being do nothing that is contrary to, or unbecoming his holiness and righteousness, his truth and faithfulness, which are essential to a perfect being; and for such a being to act contrary to them in any case, would be to create disquiet and disturbance to itself: For this is a certain rule, and never fails, that nothing can act contrary to its own nature without reluctancy and displeasure, which in moral agents is that which we call guilt : for guilt is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariseth in one's mind, from the consciousness of having done something which is contrary to the perfective principles of his being, that is, something that doth not become him, and which, being what he is, he ought not to have done; which we cannot imagine ever to befal so perfect and immutable a being as God is.
6. Perfect happiness implies in it the settled and secure possession of all those excellencies and perfections ; for if any of these were liable to fail, or be diminished, so much would be taken off from perfect and complete happiness. If the Deity were subject to any change or impairment of his condition, so that either his knowledge, or power, or wisdom, or goodness, or any other perfection, could any ways decline or fall off, there would be a proportionate abatement of happiness. And from all those do result ; in the
7th and last place, Infinite contentment and satisfaction, pleasure and delight, which is the very essence of happiness.
1. Infinite contentment and satisfaction in this condition. And well may happiness be contented with itself; that is, with such a condition, that he that is possessed of it, can neither desire it should be better, nor have any cause to fear it should be worse.
2. Pleasure and delight, which is something more than contentment: for one may be contented with an affliction, and painful condition, in which he is far from taking any pleasure and delight. “No affliction is joyous for the present, but grievous," as the apostle speaks. But there cannot be a perfect happiness without pleasure in our condition. Full pleasure is a certain mixture of love and joy, hard to
be expressed in words, but certainly known by inward sense and experience.
And this is one great part of the misery of those degenerate and accursed spirits, the devils, who are for ever banished from the presence of God, that they are of a temper quite contrary to God, wicked and impurè, envious and malicious, mischievous and cruel ; and such a temper is naturally a torment and disquiet to itself. And here the foundation of hell is laid in the evil disposition of our minds; and till this be cured, and set right, it is as impossible for any of us to be happy, as it is for a limb that is out of joint to be at ease. And the external presence of God, and a local heaven, if we could imagine such a person to be admitted into it, and see all the glories of that place, and the pleasures and delights of that state, all this, I say, would signify no more to make a bad man happy, than heaps of gold and diamonds, and consorts of the most delicious music, and a well-spread table, and a rich and costly bed would contribute to a man's ease in the paroxysm of a fever, or in a violent fit of the stone ; because the man-hath that within which torments him, and until that be removed, he cannot possibly be at ease. The man's spirits are out of order, and off the hinges, and tossed from its centre, and till they be set right, and restored to their proper place and state by goodness and holiness, the man will be perpetually restless, and cannot possibly have any ease or peace in his mind : for how can there be peace, how can there be happiness to him, who is of a temper directly opposite to it? “ The wicked," saith the prophet Isaiah, “is like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” So long as there is impurity in our hearts, and guilt upon our consciences, they will be restlessly working ; “ there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” The Hebrew word which we translate peace, signifies all kind of happiness ; there can be no felicity to a bad man. The consideration whereof should put us upon the most serious and earnest endeavours to be like