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one and the other entangle and ensnare the mind; the one and the other leave in it a peculiar relish, which continues long after the hurry both of pleasure and business is over. But all this while, I would not have what I have said to be extended further than I design it, to raise fcruples in virtuous and good men, instead of reforming the too eager applications of the earthly to the things of this world.
CH A P. VIII.
Of the motives to Perfe&tion, Şeveral motives summ’d up in short, and that
great one, of having the other life in our view, inhisted upon.
Nnumerable are the motives to Per. fe&tion, which
offer themselves to any one that reflects seriously, on this argument. An hearty endeavour after Perfection is the best proof of fincerity; the neara eft approach to Perfection, is the neareste approach to the utmost security this life is capable of Great is the beauty and loveliness of an exalted virtue, great the honour and authority of it ; and a very happy influence it has even upon our temporal affairs, and to this may be added, the peace and tranquillity of a wife
mind, fanctified affections, and a regular life. Besides, the love of God is boundless, and the love of Jesus is so too ; and therefore demand not a lazy, feeble, or unsteddy virtue, but a strong and vigorous one, a warm and active; such as a true faith, great hopes, and a passionate love. do naturally excite us to." To all this. I might add, that the Spirit of God is always pressing on and advancing, desirous to communicate himself to us more and more plentifully, if we be not backward or negligent our selves. But these, and many other inforcements to the duty of Perfe&tion, should I enlarge on them, would swell this treatise to an intolerable bulk.. Nor indeed is it neceffary: for the 4th chapter, where I treat of the Fruit of Pera fection, does contain such motives to it, as are sufficient to excite, in any one that reads them, a most vehement defire and thirst after it. Here therefore all that I think fit to do, is, to put my reader in mind of another life in the glories and pleasures of which, I need not prove that the perfe&t man will have the greatest share. This is a motive that must never be out of the thoughts of the man that will be perfe&t; and that for three reasons, which I will but just mention.
1. Without another life, we can never form any true notion of a perfect virtue.
Sociable and civil virtues may be supported by temporal motives, and framed and modelled by worldly conveniences ; but a divine virtue must be built upon a divine life, upon a beavenly kingdom. The reason of this assertion is plain ; the means must always bear proportion to the end; where therefore the end is an imperfect temporal good, there needs no more than imperfect unfinished virtue to attain it; but where the end is heavenly and immortal, the virtue ought to be fo too. Were there no other life, the standard and measure of the good or evil to be found in a&tions would be their subserviency to the temporal good or evil of this world; and by a necessary consequence, it would be impossible to prove any higher degrees of poverty of spirit, purity of heart, charity, and the like, to be truly virtue, than what we could prove truly necessary to procure the good, or guard us against the evil of this life : and if so, 'tis easy to conclude what mean and beggarly kind of virtues would be produced from this ground.
2. Without another life, all other motives to Perfection will be insufficient. For though, generally speaking, such is the contrivance of human nature, that neither the common good of civil society, nor the more particular good of private men,
can be provided for, or secured, without the practice of sociable and political virtues; yet ’tis certain, that not only in many extraordinary cases there would be no reward at all for virtue, if there were not one reserved for it in another world ; but also in most cases, if there were not a future pleasure, that did infinitely outweigh the enjoyments of this life, men would see no obligation to Perfection. For what should raise them above the love of this world, if there were no other? or above the love of the body, if when they died they should be no more for ever? and certainly our minds would never be able to foar very high, nor should we ever arrive at any excellence or Perfection in any action, if we were always under the influence of the love of the world, and the body.
3. A life to come is alone a sufficient motive to Perfection. Who will refuse to endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jefus, who firmly believes that he is now a Spectator, and will very suddenly come to be a judge and rewarder of his sufferings ? how natural is it to run with patience the race that is set before us, to him who has an eternal joy, an eternal crown always in his eye? and if a life to come can make a man rejoyce even in suffering evil, how much more in doing good? If it enable him to conquer in the day of the
church's tryal and affliction, how much more will it enable him to abound in all virtues in the day of its
prosperity ? how freely will a man give to the distressed members of Christ, who believes that he sees Christ himself standing by, and receiving it as it were by their Tands, and placing it to his own account, to be repaid a thousand-fold in the great day of the Lord? how easily will a man allay the storms of passion, and cast away the weapon of revenge and anger, with indignation against himself, if his faith do but present him often with a view of that Canaan, which the meek in heart fall inherit for ever? how importunately will a man pray for the pardon of sin, whose sense, whose soul, whose imagination is ftruck with a dread of being for ever divided from God, and excluded from the joys and virtues of the blessed ? how fervently will a man pray for the Spirit of God, for the increase of grace, whose thoughts are daily swallowed up with the contemplation of an eternity; and whose mind is as fully possessed of the certainty and the glory of another world, as of the emptiness and vanity of this ? how natural, finally, will it be to be poor in spirit, and to delight in all the offices of an unfeigned humility, to that man who has the image of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and a