Several discourses upon the attributes of God viz. Concerning the perfection of God. Concerning our imitation of the divine perfections. The happiness of God. The unchangeableness of God. The knowledge of God. The wisdom, glory, and soveraignty of God. The wisdom of God, in the creation of the world. The wisdom of God, in his providence. The wisdom of God, in the redemption of mankind. The justice of God, in the distribution of rewards and punishments. The truth of God. The holiness of God. To which is annexed a spital sermon, of doing good. By the most reverend Dr. John Tillotson, late Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury. Being the sixth volume; published from the originals, by Raph Barker, D.D. chaplain to his grace.
Tillotson, John, 1630-1694., Barker, Ralph, 1648-1708.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  67

SERMON III.* The Happiness of God.

1 TIM. 1.11.

The Blessed God—

The whole Verse runs thus, According to the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

SINCE all Men naturally desire happiness, and thirst after it; me∣thinks we should all desire to know what it is, and where it is to be found, and how it is to be attained by us, in that degree in which Creatures are capable of it. What Job says of Wisdom, may be said also of Happiness, God un∣derstandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. He only, who is perfect∣ly possest of it himself, knows wherein it consists, and what are the true ingredi∣ents of it.

Page  68So that to direct us in our search af∣ter happiness, the best way will be to Contemplate and Consider the Divine Nature, which is the perfect Pattern and Idea of Happiness, and the Original Spring and Fountain of all the Felicity that Creatures are capable of. And to that end, I have pitched upon these Words, wherein the Apostle attributes this Perfection of bessedness or happi∣ness to God, The Blessed God.

And tho' this be as Essential a part as any other of that Notion which Man∣kind have of God from the Light of Nature, yet I no where find in all the New Testament, this Attribute of Hap∣piness given to God, but only twice in this Epistle. 'Tis true indeed, the Ti∣tle of Blessedness is frequently given both to God and Christ, but in another Sense, and in a quite different Notion: As Mark 14.61. where the High-Priest asks our Saviour, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of him that is to be Celebrated and Praised; and 2 Cor. 11.31. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever∣more. So likewise, Rom. 1.25. The Crea∣tor, blessed for evermore: Which likewise is said of Christ, Rom. 9.5. Of whom Page  69 Christ came, who is over all, God Blessed for evermore; that is, for ever to be praised and celebrated. But in all these Texts the Greek Word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which tho' we Translate Blessed, yet it is a quite different Notion from the Title of Blessedness which is given to God in the Text, where the Word is not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Blessed, or the Happy God; and this Title is not any where in all the New Testament, (that I know of) given to God, but here in the Text, and Chap. 6. v. 15. where our Lord Jesus Christ (who also is God) is called the blessed and the only Potentate. And whether this Title of the Blessed, or the Happy God, be here in the Text given to God the Father, or to his Eter∣nal Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; is not so much material to my present purpose to enquire. For, suppose it be Christ who is here call'd the Blessed God; this however is certain, that Blessedness or Happiness is a Title belonging to God, which is all that is necessary for a Foun∣dation of my present Discourse.

In speaking of this Argument, I shall do these three Things.

I. Shew what we are to understand by the happiness of God, and what Page  70 are the essential Ingredients of it.

II. That this Title doth belong to God, and that the Divine Nature is perfectly blessed and happy.

III. How far Creatures are capable of Happiness, and by what Ways and Means they may be made partakers of it: And shall then make some Inferen∣ces from my Discourse upon this Ar∣gument.

I. I will consider what we are to understand by the blessedness or happiness of God, and what are the essential In∣gredients 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 fixt and im∣moveable state of Contentment and Sa∣tisfaction, of Pleasure and Delight, re∣sulting from the secure possession, and enjoyment of all that is good and de∣sirable, that is, of all Excellency and Perfection; so that these following In∣gredients must go to make up a perfect state of happiness.

1. Perfect Knowledge, to understand what it is that constitutes happiness, and to know when one is really possest of it. For as he is not happy, who is so only in Imagination or a Dream, without Page  71 any real Foundation in the thing; for he may be pleased with his Condition, and yet be far enough from being tru∣ly 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 im∣perfect felicity of this World, that ma∣ny Men who have all the Materials and Circumstances of a worldly happiness a∣bout them, yet by the unskilful ma∣nagement 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 perfect∣ly knows both what makes happiness, and that he is possest of it.

2. To perfect happiness is likewise re∣quir'd a full Power to do whatever con∣duceth to happiness, and likewise to check and control whatever would be an hind∣rance and disturbance to it; and there∣fore no Being is as happy as it can be, that is not All-sufficient, and hath not within its Power and Reach whatever Page  72 is necessary to an happy Condition, and necessary to secure and continue that happiness against all Attempts and Ac∣cidents whatsoever.

3. There is Wisdom also requir'd 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 meer Power, abstractedly consider'd; 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 tho∣roughly understand the proper method and means of compassing and securing his own happiness.

4. Another most considerable and es∣sential 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 it self, by making others partakers of its happiness in such degrees as they are ca∣pable of it, and as Wisdom shall direct: For he is not so happy as he may be, who hath not the pleasure of making o∣thers so, and of seeing them put into an Page  73 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 Im∣mense and Allsufficient Being doth not lessen himself, or put any thing out of his Power, but doth rather enlarge and magnifie 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 or Happiness. For the Cause and Original of all other Beings, can make nothing so indepen∣dent upon it self, as not still to main∣tain his Interest in it, to have it always under his Power and Government; and no Being can Rebel against his Maker, without extream hazard to himself.

5. Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of all other Virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a Being, upon all proper and sitting occasions; that is, that so perfect a Being do nothing that is contrary to, or unbecoming his Holiness and Righteousness, his Truth and Faith∣fulness, which are essential to a perfect Being, and for such a Being to act con∣trary to them in any case, would be to create disquiet and disturbance to it self: Page  74 For this is a certain Rule, and never fails, that nothing can act contrary to its own Nature without reluctancy and displea∣sure, 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 con∣trary 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 befall 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 dimi∣nish'd, so much would be taken off from perfect and compleat Happiness. If the Deity were subject to any change, or impairment of his Condition, so that ei∣ther his Knowledge, or Power, or Wis∣dom, or Goodness, or any other Perfe∣ction, could any ways decline or fall off, there would be a proportionable abate∣ment of happiness. And from all these does result in the

7th, and last place, Infinite Con∣tentment Page  75 and Satisfaction, Pleasure and Delight, which is the very Essence of happiness.

1. Infinite Contentment and Satisfacti∣on in this Condition. And well may hap∣piness be contented with it self; that is, with such a Condition, that he that is possest 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 De∣light. No affliction is joyous for the pre∣sent, but grievous, as the Apostle speaks, Heb. 12. But there cannot be perfect happiness without Pleasure in our Condi∣tion. Full Pleasure is a certain mixture of Love and Joy, hard to be exprest in Words, but certainly known by inward Sense and Experience.

And thus I have endeavour'd to de∣scribe to you, as well as I could, accord∣ing to our imperfect Conceptions and Expressions of God, the happiness of the Divine Nature, and wherein it consists. I proceed to the

II. Thing I proposed, which was to Page  76 shew, that this Attribute of Perfection doth belong to God; and that the Di∣vine Nature is perfectly Blessed and Happy; and this is so universal an acknowledg∣ment of Natural Light, that it would be a very superfluous and impertinent Work, to trouble you with particular Citations of Heathen Authors to this purpose; nothing being more frequent in them, than to call the Deity, beatissi∣mam & perfectissimam naturam, the most happy and most perfect Being, and therefore happy, because Felicity doth naturally re∣sult from Perfection. It shall suffice to take notice of these Two things out of Hea∣then Writers, to my present purpose.

1. That they accounted happiness so essential to the Notion of a God, that this was one of the Ways which they took to find out what Properties were fit to attribute to God, and what not, to consider what things are consistent with happiness, or inconsistent with it; and whatever did signifie happiness, and was a perfection consistent with it, they ascribed to God, as a suitable Property of the Divine Nature; and whatever was otherwise, they remov'd it from God, as unfit to be said of Him.

Page  772. Whatever differences there were among the Philosophers concerning the Perfections of the Divine Nature, they all agreed in the perfect felicity of it; e∣ven Epicurus himself, who so boldly at∣tempted to strip the Divine Nature of most of its Perfections, by denying that God either made or govern'd the World, whereby he took away at once his be∣ing the first Cause and Original of all things, and his Goodness likewise, and Wisdom, and Power, and Justice; or, at least made all these useless, by taking away all occasion and opportunity for the exercise of them; yet this Man does frequently own, and profess to believe the happiness of the Divine Nature; and then out of an ignorant, and officious kindness to the Deity, and (as he pre∣tended) for the security of his Felicity, did in effect take away his other Per∣fections; he would by no means put God to the Trouble and Burden of making the World, or taking care of the Affairs of it, lest this should discom∣pose the Deity, or be an interruption or disturbance of his Ease and Felicity. For thus Lucretius, the great Disciple of Epicurus, describes his Opinion of the Divine Nature,

Page  78
Omnis enim divûm, per se, natura ne∣cesse est,
Immortali aevo summâ cum pace fru∣atur,
Semota à nostris rebus, sejunctaque longè.
Nam privata dolore omni, privata pe∣riclis,
Ipsa suis pollens opibus, nihil indiga nostrî.
Nec benè pro meritis capitur, nec tan∣gitur irâ.

That is, It is necessary that the Divine Nature should be Happy, and therefore al∣together unconcern'd in our Affairs; free from all grief and danger, sufficient for it self, and standing in need of no body, nei∣ther pleased with our Good Actions, nor provoked by our Faults. This was a ve∣ry false Notion both of God and Hap∣piness, to imagine that the Care of the World should be a pain and disturbance to Infinite Knowledge, and Power, and Goodness. But this is not now my business to consider; that which is to my present purpose, is, That the happi∣ness of the Divine Nature was Univer∣sally owned; and that blessedness is Page  79 so inseparable from the Notion of a Dei∣ty, that whoever professes to believe a God, must acknowledge him to be per∣fectly happy.

As for the Testimony of Scripture, I have already told you, that there are but two Texts wherein this Title of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the happy or blessed, is given to God; but by consequence the Scrip∣ture every where declares the happiness of the Divine Nature, viz. wherever it speaks of the Excellency and Perfection of his Being, of his Knowledge, and Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness, and Righteousness, and of the Eternity and Unchangeableness of these, and of the infinite Delight and Complacency which he takes in the Enjoyment of these per∣fections. I shall now proceed to the

III. And last thing, which I proposed to consider, viz. How far Creatures are capable of happiness, and by what ways and means they may be made partakers of it. They are not capable of absolute and perfect happiness, because that results from infinite perfection, which is no where to be found but in God: It remains then that Creatures are only ca∣pable of being happy in a finite and limi∣ted degree, by the resemblance of God,Page  80 and by the enjoyment of him; by be∣ing like to him, and by our likeness to him, being qualified for his favour, and for the enjoyment of him.

As we are Creatures of a finite Power, and limited Understandings, and a mu∣table Nature, we do necessarily want many of those perfections, which are the Cause and Ingredients of a perfect hap∣piness. We are far from being suffici∣ent for our own happiness; we are nei∣ther so of our selves, nor can we make our selves so by our own Power; for neither are we wise enough for our own direction, nor good enough for our own satisfaction. All the happiness that we are capable of is, by communicati∣on from him, who is the Original and Fountain of it; by our being made par∣takers of the Divine Nature, (as St. Peter speaks) by our resemblance of God in those perfections which are the most es∣sential Ingredients of happiness, his Good∣ness, and Righteousness, and Truth, and Holiness; these do immediately qualifie us for the Favour and Friendship of Almighty God, and for the blessed sight and enjoyment of him; and the Favour of God, and the Light of his Countenance lifted up upon us, and his Page  81 Friendship and Good-Will to us, sup∣plies all the defects of Power and Wis∣dom in us: For God being our Friend, we have an Interest in all his Perfections, and a Security, that as occasion requires, they will all be employ'd for our benefit and advantage; so that tho' we are weak in our selves, we are strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and are able to do all things through him strength∣ning us; and tho' we want Wisdom, we may have free recourse to the Fountain of it, and ask it of God, who gives to all liberally, and upbraideth not. And it is next to having these perfections in our selves, to know where to have them for asking, whenever we stand in need of them, so far as is necessary to our happiness.

So that tho' our happiness depend upon another, yet if we be careful to qualifie our selves for it, (and God is always ready to assist us by his Grace to this purpose) it is really and in effect in our own power; and we are every whit as safe and happy in God's care and pro∣tection of us, as if we were sufficient for our selves. However this is the high∣est happiness that the Condition of a Creature is capable of, to have all our Page  82 defects supply'd in so liberal a manner by the Bounty of another, and to have a free recourse to the Fountain of Happi∣ness, and at last to be admitted to the Blessed sight and enjoyment of Him, in whose presence is fulness of Joy, and at whose right hand are Pleasures for evermore. I have done with the Three Things I pro∣posed to speak to.

But to what purpose, may some say, is this long Description and Discourse of happiness? How are we the Wiser and the Better for it? I Answer; very much, in several respects.

1. This plainly shews us, That A∣theism is a very melancholy and mischie∣vous thing; it would take away the Fountain of happiness, and the only per∣fect Pattern of it; it endeavours at once to extinguish the Being of God, and all the Life and Comfort of Mankind, so that we could neither form any Idea of happiness, or be in any possibility of at∣taining it. For it is plain, we are not sufficient for it of our selves; and if there be not a God, there is nothing that can make us so? God is the true light of the World, and a thousand times more ne∣cessary to the comfort and happiness of Mankind, than the Sun it self, which is Page  83 but a dark Shadow of that infinitely more bright and glorious Being; the happy and only Potentate (as the Apostle describes him in the latter end of this Epistle) who only hath immortality, dwel∣ling in that light which no man can ap∣proach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, meaning in this mortal state.

So that the greatest Enemies, and most injurious of all others to Mankind, are those who would banish the Belief of a God out of the World; because this is to lay the Ax to the root of the Tree, and at one blow to cut off all Hopes of hap∣piness from Mankind. So that he is a Fool indeed, that says in his heart there is no God; that is, that wisheth there were none; because it is not possible for a Man to wish worse to himself, and more effe∣ctually to destroy his own happiness.

2. If the Divine Nature be so infi∣nitely and compleatly happy, this is a very great confirmation of our Faith and Hope concerning the happiness of another Life, which the Scripture describes to us, by the Sight and Enjoyment of God. As we are Creatures, we are not capable of the happiness that is absolutely and in∣finitely perfect, because our Nature is but finite, and limited; but the blessed Page  84 God who is infinitely happy himself, can al∣so make us happy according to our finite Measure and Capacity. For, as he that is the First and Original Being, can com∣municate Being to other things, so He that is the Fountain of Happiness, can de∣rive and convey happiness to his Crea∣tures.

And we shall the more easily believe this, when we consider that Goodness, as it is the prime Perfection, so is it likewise the chief felicity of the Divine Nature. It is his Glory and Delight to commu∣nicate himself, and shed abroad his good∣ness; and the highest expression of the Divine Goodness, is to communicate happiness to his Creatures, and to be wil∣ling that they should share and partake with him in it. Base and Envious Na∣tures are narrow and contracted, and love to confine their Enjoyments and good Things to themselves, and are loth that others should take part with them; but the most Noble and most Gene∣rous Minds are most free and enlarged, and cannot be happy themselves unless they find or make others so.

This is the highest pitch of Goodness, and consequently the highest Content∣ment, and the supream delight of the Page  85 Divine Nature. Now it is natural to every Being, to be most frequent and abundant in those Acts in which it finds the greatest Pleasure; to be good, and to do good is the supream Felicity of God himself; therefore we may ea∣sily believe, that he is very ready and forward to make us happy, by all the ways that are agreeable to his Wis∣dom and Righteousness; and that He is also willing to make us abundantly so, and to advance us to the highest degree of Felicity, of which our Na∣ture is capable, if we do not render our selves incapable of such a Blessing, by an obstinate refusal of it, and utter indisposition for it.

This, I say, is very credible, because the happiness of God himself consists in that propension and disposition of Na∣ture, which tends to make others hap∣py. And if there can be any accession to that which is infinite, God himself finds a new Pleasure and Felicity in the communication of his goodness to his Creatures, and therefore is repre∣sented in Scripture, as glad of the Conversion of a sinner, because the sinner hereby becomes capable of the happiness which God design'd for his Creatures, Page  86 and is always ready to confer upon them, whenever they are qualified for it, and he can, with the Honour of his other Perfections, bestow it upon them.

There are Two things which raise our Hopes and expectation of Good from any Person; if he be Able and Willing to bestow upon us what we hope for from him. Now if any one can confer Happiness upon us, it is He who is infinitely possest of it, and hath all the Treasures of it in himself; and that God only is; who, as he is able, so is willing to make us happy, if we be qualified for it; and it is no im∣pairing of his happiness to make others happy; for even that Goodness which inclines him to communicate happiness to others, is a great part of his own Fe∣licity; so that, as our Saviour argues, because I live, you shall live also; we may reason in like manner, that because God is happy, we shall be happy also, if we do but sincerely desire and endeavour to qualifie our selves for it. The Goodness of God does strongly incline him to de∣sire our happiness, and makes him wil∣ling and ready to bestow it upon us, when ever we are capable to receive it.

Page  87So that the Goodness of God is the great Foundation of all our Hopes, and the firmest ground of our assurance of a Blessed Immortality. It is the hap∣piness of the Divine Nature to commu∣nicate himself; and the communicati∣ons of God's Goodness to us are the cause of our happiness; and therefore, both for our Example and Encourage∣ment, the Goodness of God ought al∣ways to be represented to the great∣est Advantage, and we should endea∣vour to possess our Minds with a firm Belief and Perswasion of it, and to re∣move from the Divine Nature (which we all acknowledge to have infinitely more goodness than is to be found in any of the Sons of Men) whatever we would not attribute to a good Man, and to vindicate God from all suspici∣on of Envy and Ill-will, of Cruelty and Arbitrary dealing with his Crea∣tures. And I cannot apprehend why Men should be averse from these so agreeable and delightful apprehen∣sions of God; or how it should be a∣ny Man's Interest to lessen the Good∣ness of God; for most certainly the better God is in himself, the better Page  88 and happier it will be for us all, if it be not our own fault.

3. From what hath been said con∣cerning the happiness of the Divine Na∣ture, we may learn wherein our hap∣piness must consist, namely, in the Image and in the Favour of God; in the Favour of God as the Cause of of our happiness; and in the Image of God, as a necessary inward disposition and qualification for it. Unless God love us, we cannot be happy, for mise∣rable are they whom he hates; for God to say of any Man, that his Soul hath no pleasure in him, imports as great Misery, and as dreadful a Curse as can be imagin'd, and his Soul can have no pleasure in a bad Man; for he loveth Righteousness and hateth Iniquity, he is not a God that hath pleasure in Wickedness, neither shall Evil dwell with him; the Wicked shall not stand in his sight; he hateth all the workers of Ini∣quity. Nay, if we could suppose that he could love and take pleasure in a∣ny Person that is unlike to him (which is impossible) yet that Person could not be happy, because he would want that inward Frame and Disposition of Mind, which is necessary to happiness.Page  89 For the very same Causes and Ingre∣dients which make up the happiness of God, must in an inferior degree be found in us, otherwise we cannot be happy; no, tho' a Man were in Hea∣ven, if he be still a bad Man, Coelum, non animum mutavit, he hath only changed the Climate, and is gone into another Countrey, but he bears him∣self still about him, and his Mind is not changed, which would signifie a thousand times more to his happiness, than any Place or outward Circumstance whatsoever. A bad Man, wheresoever he goes, hath a Root of Gall and Bit∣terness within him, and is miserable from himself; he hath a Fiend in his own Breast, and the Fuel of Hell in a guilty Conscience.

For there is a certain Temper and Disposition of Mind, that is necessary and essential to happiness, and that is holiness and goodness, which is the Na∣ture of God; and so much as any Person departs from this Temper, so far he removes himself, and runs away from happiness: And as Sin is a de∣parture from God, so the Punishment of it is likewise exprest by departing from him; Depart from me ye Cursed; de∣part Page  90 from me all ye that work Iniquity, I know you not.

And this is one great part of the Misery of those degenerate and ac∣cursed Spirits, the Devils, who are for ever banish'd from the Presence of God, that they are of a Temper quite contrary to God, Wicked and Impure, Envious and Malicious, Mis∣chievous and Cruel; and such a Tem∣per is naturally a torment and disqui∣et to it self. And here the Foundation of Hell is laid in the evil disposition of our Minds; and 'till this be cur'd, 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 signifie no more to make a bad Man happy, than heaps of Gold and Diamonds, and Con∣sorts of the most delicious Musick, and a well-spread Table, and a rich and costly Bed would contribute to a Man's Ease in the paroxysme of a Fe∣ver, Page  91 or in a violent fit of the Stone; because the Man hath that within which torments him, and 'till that be removed, he cannot possibly be at ease. The Man's Spirit is out of order, and off the Hinges, and tost from its Cen∣tre, and 'till that be set right, and re∣stor'd to its proper place and state by Goodness and Holiness, the Ma will be perpetually restless, and cannot pos∣sibly 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, Isa. 57.20, 21. is like the troubled Sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. So long as there is im∣purity in our Hearts, and Guilt upon our Consciences, they will be restlesly 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 felici∣ty to a bad Man. The consideration whereof should put us upon the most serious and earnest endeavours to be like God, that we may be capable of his Favour, and partakers of his Feli∣city. The Divine Nature is the only Page  92 perfect Idea of happiness, and nothing but our conformity to it can make us happy.

I have been so long upon this Ar∣gument, on purpose to convince Men of the Necessity of Holiness and Good∣ness, and all other Virtues, to our pre∣sent and future happiness. They under∣stand not the nature of happiness, who hope for it, or imagin they can attain it in any other way. The Author and the Fountain of happiness, he that made us, and alone can make us hap∣py, cannot make us so in any other way, than by planting in us such a dis∣position of Mind, as is in Truth a participation of the Divine Nature, and by endowing us with such Qualities as are the necessary Materials and Ingre∣dients of happiness. There is no way to partake of the Felicity of God blessed for ever, but by becoming Holy and Righteous, Good and Merciful as he is.

All Men naturally desire happiness, and seek after it, and are as they think travelling towards it, but generally they mistake their way. Many are eager in the pursuit of the Things of this World, and greedily catch at Plea∣sures Page  93 and Riches and Honour, as if these could make them happy; but when they come to embrace them, they find that they are but Clouds and Sha∣dows, and that there is no real and substantial felicity in them. Many say, who will shew us any good? meaning the good things of this World, Corn, and Wine, and Oil; But wouldst thou be happy indeed? endeavour to be like the Pattern of happiness, and the Fountain of it; Address thy self to him in the Prayer of the Psalmist, Lord lift thou up upon me the light of thy Countenance, and that shall put more joy and gladness into my heart, than the Men of the World can have, when their Corn and their Wine increaseth.

Many say, lo here, and lo there! That happiness is in a great Place, or in a plen∣tiful Estate, or in the enjoyment of sen∣sual Pleasures and Delights; but believe them not; happiness is something that is nearer and more intimate to us, than any of the Things of this World; it is within thee, in thine heart, and in the very inward frame and disposition of thy mind.

In a Word, if ever we would be happy, we must be like the Blessed God, we Page  94 must be holy, and merciful, and good, and just, as he is, and then we are secure of his Favour; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance will behold the upright. Then we shall be qualified for the enjoyment of him, and take pleasure in communion with him, because we shall be like him. For the surest foundation of Love and Friendship is a similitude of Temper and Disposition; every thing naturally affects its own likeness, and moves to∣wards it, and greedily catcheth at it, and gladly runs into the Embraces of it. God and Man must be like one a∣nother, before they can take pleasure in one another: If we be unlike to God, it is in the nature of the thing impossible that we should be happy in one another, and therefore there must be a change either in God or us, to bring about this likeness. The Na∣ture of God is inflexible, fixt, and unchangeable; therefore change thy self Sinner, and endeavour to be like God; for since he cannot depart from his Holiness, and Purity, thou must leave thy Sins, and be holy as he is holy, if ever thou hopest to be happy,Page  95 as he is: Every Man that hath this Hope in him, must purifie himself, even as he is pure.

Now to this happy and only Potentate, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who only hath Immortality, and dwelleth in that Light which no Man can approach unto, whom no Man hath seen, nor can see; To him be Honour, and Power everlasting.