If this world and the good things of the same could be enjoyed forever, it would be but of small value. We have seen that riches are so, inasmuch as they afford no solid satisfaction to the mind and generally bring more vexation than comfort, and when they are in abundance are more of a burden than a delight. We have seen that worldly honor and pomp is so, and that the pleasure that is enjoyed therein is but a mere shadow and vanity. We have seen that worldly pleasures are so, inasmuch as they always bring disappointment and always cheat and deceive those who pursue them, and because they are naturally incapable of enduring long and generally bring distaste and loathing after them. We have seen that friends are also so, inasmuch as their love is not very profitable to us, they being unable to save us from misfortunes, and besides, they are uncertain and inconstant. And in short, that all this world, with all its riches, glories, pleasures and delights, is but the greatest of vanities, and a mere vexation of spirit.

But the life and salvation of the soul is of inestimable worth and value. Though the whole world is good for nothing in comparison, yet the life of the soul is of inestimable worth and value, insomuch that the value of the same cannot be conceived of nor imagined. This appears to be so, firstly, because the salvation of the soul is the deliverance of it from so great a misery, and secondly, because so great a happiness is to be enjoyed in the salvation of the soul.

—Jonathan Edwards
Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale University Press, 1992), 319–320.


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