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Quanto quisque sibi plura negaverit,
Since the firm mind that curbs desires,
Far happier gifts from heaven await,
Him, purest happiness attends,
Who heaven's distinguish'd gifts employs
Ir is observed in the life of the famous Dr. More, that by a constant adherence to one temperate and regular course of diet and exercise, he fitted and prepared his body to be an assistant to his mind in contemplative studies: till
at length the evil tendency of nature was almost entirely subdued, and his appetites were no otherwise perceived by him than by their admonition for his necessary corporal refreshment, and their assistance of his elevated conceptions. His passions were refined by his virtues, his vir. tues were strengthened by his passions: the vivacity of his imagination gave life to the soli. dity of his judgment; and in the same manner, his corporal functions coincided so willingly with the rectitude of his thoughts, that the body never led the mind astray, nor did the mind need to exert a painful sovereignty over the body
Perhaps the author of this account may have carried the point too far; but though such a union of intellectual and sensual pleasure may not be found in extreme perfection, it is certainly probable, and even actual, in a degree. So close a union must have been designed by providence for wise purposes, and happy effects ; and even in this life the energy of religion, the prevalence of custom, and the watchfulness of a well-disposed mind, may produce such a har. mony in the human frame, as may soften the cares of this life, and lift both soul and body into most delightful foretastes of a better. Our bodies are no other than temples of the Divine
Grace, where, if good thoughts and pious intentions be the assistant priests, and the fire of devotion still kept alive (though perhaps not always vigorously burning), the Almighty Being will condescend to inhabit corruption, and carnal affection shall vanish in the brightness of his presence; and the body, purified and illuminated, shall assist the soul in her sublime speculations and righteous dealings: and if the body must be thought an incumbrance by that spark of divi nity still longing for releasement, it will be such a one, as will, by the weight it adds to the zealous traveller, increase his merit, and double his reward.
Intellectual pleasure is in vain pursued, till the passions and appetites are brought under proper restraints. The thinking faculty can have no true satisfaction in examining, comparing, and surveying her own attainments, till the prospect within is cleared from the disagreeable views which vice and depravity raise ; till these are removed, she flies from her own reflections; science but increases her dismay, and solitude (the nurse and parent of true speculative feli, city) but gives light to the shocking scene.
To look on our bodies as enemies to our peace, would be ingratitude to the wise and good Author of them: to cherish them as friends or iza
dulge them as favourites, would be destructive of our own spiritual advantage. They are, in short, such as we ourselves make them : it is in the power of temperance, attention, and resolu. tion to correct them into promoters, and of luxury, negligence, and instability to soothe them into destroyers, of our real happiness.
The senses are the wings of contemplation; we see the present operations of providence, we hear the mighty works of God to them who lived in the days before us, we feel his mercies to ourselves, and the very means by which we observe his goodness are the immediate gifts of it.
In pursuance of this union of sense and understanding we are to take proper care of our health, in justice to both these faculties; but particularly that we may enjoy the contemplations of the latter in their full perfection. Sick, ness and pain disturb and cloud their beauty, and distract the sobriety of reflection. If God should see fit to afflict us with weakness and an. guish of body, he will undoubtedly make allowance for the disturbance they occasion ; but we have additional guilt to account for, if, by our own debaucheries or want of care, we throw ourselves into a state of torment or dispiritedness, and consequently into an incapacity for religious duties; embittering with pain of our own procuring those last moments in which we have the greatest occasion for tranquillity, to call to our sober and serious reflexion the things in which we have offended.