Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

The Vanity of the World. It was a pertinent Difcourfe of Citwu, diffuading Pyrrhw from undertaking a Wa·r againfi: the Romans: Sir~ (faith he) When you have conquer'd them, what will you do next? Then Sicily is near at hand, and eafy to mafter. And what when you have fulx:lued Sicily! Then we'll pafs over to .Aftick, and take Carthage, which cannot long withft:andus. When thefeareconquer'd, what will be your next attempt? Then (faith Pyrrhm) we'll fall in upon Greece, and Macedon, and recover what we have loft: there. Well, when all are fhbdued, what Fruit do you expeCt from all yonr Victories? Then (faith he) We'll fit' down and enjoy our felves. Sir, (replies CineM) May we not do it now? Have you not already a Kingdom of your own? And he that cannot enjoy himfelf with a Kingdom, cannot with the whole World. Snch are the Defigns of Men., and fo we may anfwer them. Moft are projetl:ing how they may get fuch an Eftate; then how they may raife themfelvcs to Honour, and think that their advancement in both, will bring them fatisfadion. Alas! This will not do. Their defires will Itill nin before them: And they may as well fit down content where they are, as where they hope to be. And the reafon of this unfatisfaCl:orinefs in worldly things is, becaufc none of them are fo good as the Soul is. The Soul, next to Angels, is the very Top and Cream of the whole Creation, other things are but Dregs and Lees compared to it. Now that which is our Happinefs, muft be better than our felvcs; for it rnuft perfeCt 11s. But thefe things being far worfe, and inferiour, the Soul in deaving to them, is fecrctly' confcious that it abafeth and difparageth it felf; and therefore cannot find true fatisfaaion. Nothing can fill the Soul, but that which eminently con ea ins in it all good. But now, as Light is only divided, and parcell'd out among the Stars, hut is all united in the Sun: So Goodnefs is only parcell'd out among the Creatures; this Creature hath one fhare, and that another; not any of them contains the whole fum ofGoodnefs. This is proper to God only, who is the Author and Original of them all, in whom all Excellencies and PerfeCtions are concentred. And therefore jn him alone can be found that reft and fatisfaCi:ion which the Soul in vain fecks for, in any thing befides himfelf. Thefe are the Dcmonftrations of the World's Vanity; which, tho' they be many and various, yet I doubt not but every Man's particular experience may furnifh him with divers others. But whatever our Obfcrvations are, the ·ures we may make of them are thcfe: I. Firft; It fhould teach us to admire and adore the good Providence of God to his Children., in fo ordering it, that the World Ihould be thus vain, and deal fo ilJ with thofe who fervc it. For if it were not fo infamous and deceitful as it is, if it did not frufi:rate and difappoint our Hopes, and pay us with Vexation, when it promifeth. Fruition and Content: What thinkeft thou, 0 Chriltian, would be the end of this? Would any one think of God, or remember Heaven, and the Life to come? St. Augvftine fomewhere fpcaks excellently, Turbat me Mut~d:u, & ego cum diligo; quid fi non rurbarct? The World troubles and mo/efts me, nndyet l/01Je it; rohat if it did not trouble me! Certainly we Ihould full into an utter forgetffilnefs of God, if we could find any tnte fatisfaaion here. We fhould never think of returning to the Fountain of living Waters, if we could find enough in Cifterns to quench theThirft ofour Son Is. And therefore God deals with us, as fame great Perfon would do with a difobedient Son., that forfakcs his Houfe, and riots among his Tenants: His Father gives order they fhould treat him ill, affi·ont, and chafe him from them, and all, that he might reduce him. The fame doth God: Man is his wild and debauch'd Son; he flies from the Commands of his Father, and cannot endure to live under ~is ftriCi: and fevere Government. Whither goes he, but to the pleafures of the World, and Revels and Riots among the Creatures? But God refolves to recover him, and therefore commands every Creature to handle him roughly. Burn him Fire, tofs him Tempcfrs, and Shipwrack his Efratc; forfake him Friends, Defigns fail him; Children be rebel~ lious to him as he is to me; let his Supports and Dependances fink under him, his Riches melt away, leave him poor, and defpis'd, and deftitute. Thefe are all God's Servan(s, and muft obey his Will. And to what end is all this, but that fceing himfelf forfaken.of all, he may at length, like the beggar'd Prodigal, return again to his Father ? · Stc<mdly; If the Vanity of the World be fuch, and fo great, if it be only an empty Bubble, a fwclling Nothing, Iefs folid than the dream of a Shadow; if it be thus unfuitable, uncertain, and unfatisfactory, as I have demonftrated to you: what grofs folly