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torments us with shame and remorse, and dreadful expectations of an avenger: these are the sickness and distempers of the soul : these are pains indeed, more sharp and pungent and killing pains than our podies are capable of: The spirit of man can bear his infirmity, natural courage, or the powers of reason, or the comforts of religion, can support us under all other sufferings, but a wounded spirit who can bear ? And therefore a man, who loves ease, should in the first place take care of the ease of his mind, for that will make all other sufferings easy ; but nothing can support a man whose mind is wounded.
Are we fond of bodily pleasures ? are we ready to purchase them at any rate ? And if we be men, why should we despise the pleasures of the mind ? if we have souls, why should we not reap the benefit and pleasures of them ? do you think there are no pleasures proper to the soul ? have we souls that are good for nothing ? of no use to us, but only to relish the pleasures of the body ? Ask those who have tried, what the pleasures of wisdom and knowledge are, which do as much excel the pleasures of seeing, as truth is more beautiful and glorious than the sun : ask them what a pleasure it is to know God, the greatest and best being, and the brightest object of our minds, to contemplate his wisdom, and goodness, and power in the works of creation and providence ; to be swallowed up in that stupendous mystery of love, the redemption of sinners by the incarnation
and sufferings of the son of God: ask them, what the pleasures of innocence and virtue are ; what the feast of a good conscience means; which is the greatest happiness, to give or to receive ; what the joys even of sufferings and persecutions, of want and poverty and reproach are for the sake of Christ. Ask a devout soul, what transports and ravishments of spirit he feels, when he is upon his knees, when with St. Paul he is even snatched up into the third heavens, filled with God, overflowing with praises and divine joys: and does it not then become a man, who has a reasonable soul, to seek after these rational, these manly, these divine pleasures, the pleasures of the mind and spirit, which are proper and peculiar to a reasonable creature ? Let him do this, and then let him enjoy the pleasures of the body as much as he can, which will be very insipid and tastless, when his soul is ravished with more noble delights.
In a word, if we are so careful to preserve the life of our bodies, which we know must die, and rot and putrefy in the grave, methinks we should not be less careful to preserve the life of our soul, which is the only immortal part of us : for though our souls cannot die, as our bodies do; yet they may be miserable, and that is called eternal death, where the worm never dieth, and the fire never goeth out : for to be always miserable, is infinitely worse than not to be at all, and therefore is the most formidable death. And if we are so unwilling to part with these mortal bodies, we onght in reason to be much more afraid to lose our souls.
II. That death is our putting off these bodies teaches us, that the soul is the only principle of life and sensation : the body cannot live without the soul, but as soon as it is parted from it, it loses all sense and motion, and returns to its original dust; but the soul can and does live without the body, and therefore there is the principle of life. This may be thought a very common and obvious observation, and indeed so it is ; but the consequences of this are not so commonly observed, and yet are of great use and moment.
For, 1. This shews us, that the soul is the best part of us, that the soul indeed is the man, because it is the only seat of life and knowledge, and sensations ; for a man is a living, reasonable, and understanding being, and therefore a living reasonable soul (not an earthly body, which has no life nor sense, but what it derives from the soul) must be the man: Hence in scripture, soul so frequently signifies the man ; thus we read of the souls that were born to Jacob, and the souls that came with him into Egypt, Gen. xlvi. that is, his sons : and soul signifies ourselves, a friend which is as thy own soul ; that is, as dear to us as ourselves, Deut. xiii. 6. and Jonathan loved David as his own soul ; that is, as himself, 1 Sam. xyüi. 3. For in propriety of speech, the body
has no sense at all, but the soul lives in the body, and feels all the motions and impressions of it : so that it is the soul only that is capable of happiness or misery, of pain or pleasure ; and therefore it is the
nly concern of a wise man to take care of his soul ; as our Saviour tells us, What shall it profit a man, though he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? Matth. xvi. 26. The reason of which is easily apprehended, when we remember, that the soul only is capable of happiness or misery ; that it is the soul which must enjoy every thing else : and what can the whole world then signify to him who has no soul to enjoy it ; whose soul is condemned to endless and eternal miseries ? Such a miserable soul is as incapable of enjoying the world, or any thing in it, as if it had lost its being.
2ly. Hence we learn the true notion of bodily pleasures, that they are such pleasures as the soul feels by its union to the body ; for it is not the body that feels the pleasures, but the soul, though the body be the instrument of them : and therefore how fond soever we are of them, we may certainly conclude, that bodily pleasures are the meanest pleasures of human nature ; because the union to these earthly bodies is the meanest and most despicable state of reasonable souls. These are not its proper and genuine pleasures, (which must result from its own nature and powers) but are only external impressions,
the light and superficial touches of matter; and it would be very absurd to conceive, that the soul, which is the only subject of pleasure, should have no pleasures of its own, but borrow its whole happiness from its affinity and alliance to matter ; or that its greatest pleasures should be owing to external impressions, not to the actings of its own natural faculties and powers : which may convince us, as I observed before, that the pleasures of the mind are much the greatest and noblest pleasures of the man; and he who would be truly happy, must seek for it not in bodily entertainments, but in the improvements and exercise of reason and religion.
3ly, Hence we learn also, that the body was made for the soul, not the soul for the body ; as that which in itself has no life and sense, is made for the use of that which has : the body is only a convenient habitation for the soul in this world, an instrument of action, and a trial and exercise of virtue ; but the soul is to use the body and to govern it, to taste its pleasures, and to set bounds to them, to make the body serviceable to the ends and purposes of reason and virtue, not to subject reason to passion and sense : if the body was made for the use of the soul, it was never intended the soul should wholly conform itself to it, and by its simpathy with corporeal passions, transform itself into a sensual and brutish nature. Such degenerate creatures are those who live only to serve the body, who value nothing else, and seek