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divine Lovers, in which they have every one a Share, and of which proportionably to the Degrees of their Love to him, they do actually participate to all Eternity. And could they but love him as much as he deferves, that is infinitely, they would be as infinitely blessed and happy as he. For then all his Happiness would be theirs, and they would have the fame delightful Senfe, and Feeling of it all, as if it were all transplanted into their own Bofoms. God therefore being an infinitely lovely, infinitely loving, and infinitely happy Being, when once we are admitted to dwell for ever in his blessed Prefence, our Love to him can be productive of none but sweet and ravishing Emotions; for the immenfe perfections it will then find in its Object, must necessarily refine it from all thofe Fears and Jealoufies, Griefs and Displeasures that are mingled with our carnal loves, and render it a pure Delight and Complacency. So that when once it is grown up to the Perfection of the heavenly State, 'twill be all Heaven, 'twill be an eternal Paradise of Delights within us, a living Spring whence Rivers of Pleafures will iffue for evermore. O blessed State, in which my heart fhall be brim-full of Love, and my Love fhall triumph alone within me, and be all Joy and Ravishment, being removed for ever out of the Noife and Neighbourhood of all thofe difquieting Affections which here are wont to mingle with, and continually disturb and incom-mode it!
IV. As we are rational Creatures related to God, we are obliged attentively to imitate him in all his imitable Perfections and Actions. For this
is an allowed Maxim, Perfectiffimum in fuo genere eft menfura reliquorum, that is, that which is moft perfect in its kind is to be the rule and measure of all thofe Individual natures that are contained under it. For Perfection is the measure of Imperfection, even as a straight Line is of a crooked, and every Individual of a kind must needs be fo far defective in its nature, as it falls short of that which is most perfect in its kind. God therefore being the most perfect of all in the whole kind of reasonable Beings, muft needs be the fupreme Pattern of all thofe Individuals that are under him; and fo far as any of them disagree with him, fo far they are defective in their Natures. ΑρχέτυπΘ φύσεως λογικῆς ὁ Θεός ἐςι, μίμημα δὲ A) THÓIμa avoço, Phil. lib. 2. pag. 132. καὶ ἀπεικόνισμα άνθρωπθ, i.e. God is the Archetype of every reasonable Nature, and Man is his Imitation and Image, For he is a Being that is infinitely reasonable in all his Volitions and Actions, that hath not the least intermixtese either of Humour or Folly, or Prejudice in his Choices, but is always, and in every thing governed by his own pure and all-comprehending Wifdom. Upon which account he ought to be owned and looked upon by every reasonable Being, as the Soveraign Standard and Pattern of their Natures; and fo far as any reasonable Nature moves or acts counter to his, which is the most perfectly reasonable, fo far it ought to be looked upon as monstrous and unnatural in its kind. For as it is monftrous in a Humane Body to have its parts difplaced, its Mouth opened in its Belly, or its Legs growing out of its Shoulders, because thefe are unnatural Pofitions, that are directly contrary
contrary to the true Idea, Form and Figure of a humane body; fo every reasonable Nature that doth not imitate and take after God's, but chuseth and acts contrary to him, is so far monstrous and mishapen, because 'tis writhed and distorted into a Figure that is directly contrary to its natural Pattern and Exemplar. And while it continues fo, it is not capable of true Happiness. For that which renders God fo infinitely happy in himfelf, is not fo much the Almighty Power he hath to defend himself from foreign Hurts and Injuries, as the exact Agreement of all his Motions and Actions, with the all-comprehending Reafon of his own Mind. For he always fees what is beft, and what he fees is beft he always chufes and affects, and this makes him perfectly fatisfied with himself, and fills him with infinite Joy and Complacency; because whenever he furveys himfelf in the glorious Mirrour of his own Mind, he difcerns nothing in himself but what is infinitely lovely, nothing but what exactly correfponds with the fairest Ideas of his own infinite Reason. Whereas if, upon an impoffible Suppofal, it were otherwise, there would arife a Civil War within his own Bofom, against which Omnipotence it felf could not protect or defend him. For in defpight of himself he would be continually expofed to the just reproaches of his own Mind, and his own Allfeeing Eye would every moment detect, and libel, and upbraid him, and render him a most inglorious Spectacle to himself. So that he would be fo far from being infinitely pleafed and fatisfied with himself, that his own infallible Reason would be an everlasting vexation to him,
And fo will ours be to us, unless we take care to imitate God in thofe his divine Perfections, from whence his inhnite felf-fatisfaction arifes. For fo long as we are confcious to our felves that we wilfully Swerve and deviate from the great Exemplar of our Rational Natures, we cannot but be ashamed of and condemn our felves, and be highly diffatisfied with our own Actions. Our Confcience must neceffarily reproach our Will, and our Reafon upbraid our bafe Inclinations. Now what an intolerable plague is it for a man to be forced to make Invectives against himself, and continually to carry his own Satyrs in his bofom? In this life indeed, what by difguifing our Faults with specious Names, or colouring them over with plaufible pretences; what by bribing our Confcie ce with falfe Prefumptions, or diverting our felves from liftning to their reproaches by hurrying into Vice or Business, we may happily make a fhift to deal well enough with our felves. But alas! what fhall we do when we come into the other world, where all fair Colour and pretence fhall be wiped off, and our Vices and We fhall appear to our felves in our own naked and undifguifed Uglinefs; where all our false Presumption fall be baffled by a woful Experience, and all the dn of worldly Pleasure and Business in which we were wont to drown the clamours of our Confcience fhall be for ever filenced; fo that we shall be exposed without Fence or Guard to the furious Reflections of our own Mind, and lie ftark naked under the lash of an enraged Confcience for ever? Ogood God! what Tongue can exprefs the intolerable Anguish of fuch a State; wherein our
own Deformities fhall be continually objected to our Eyes, and we shall have nothing to palliate or excufe them, but be always forced to condemn, and hate, and curfe our felves for them, and yet not be able to correct and reform them; wherein we fhall ftill be hurried on to fuch Actions by our own furious Inclinations, as when we have done them will startle and amaze us, fet on our Reafon and Confcience to worry us with their reproachful Reflections, yet in defpight of all their Reproaches we shall still reiterate and repeat them! Like a defperate Murderer who having killed an innocent perfon, reflects with Horrour upon his own Act, tears his Hair, beats his Breaft, curfes and calls himself a thousand Villains; but being hereby chafed into a greater Fury, instead of reforming grows more mischievous, and fo murthers another, and then rages afresh, but still the more he rages, the more he murthers. And this will neceffarily be our State in the other world, if, through our neglect of imitating God, we go away thither under an habitual Contrariety of nature to him. Befides that we fhall be wholly indifpofed to those beatifical Acts of divine Love, Worship and Contemplation, in which, as I have fhewed, a great part of the pleasure of Heaven confifts. For fince all Love is founded in Likenefs, and Likeness is the effect of Imitation, how is it poffible we should love God unless we imitate him? and if we do not love him, what Pleafure can we take in contemplating and adoring him?
Wherefore in profecution of its great Defign, which is to make us happy, the Gospel