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SECT. I. That we ought to have a love for truth in all things, but more especially in such as are of great moment.

I THINK that person judged very rightly, whoever be was, that said, there is an eternal alliance betwixt truth and the mind of man;903903   John Smith, in his Select Discourses, published at London, 1660. Hence St. Austin, in his cxlth Sermon concerning the words of the evangelist St. John, tom. v. col. 682. “Every man searches after truth and life; but every man does not find the way to them.” And Again, Sermon cl. col. 716. “The mind cannot endure to be deceived. And how much the mind naturally hates to be deceived, we may learn from this single thing, that every man of sense pities a changling. If it were proposed to any one, whether he would choose to be deceived, or to persist in the truth; there is nobody but would answer, that he had rather persist in the truth.” the effects of which, though they may sometimes be, as it were, suspended or discontinued for a while, by reason of the inconstancy and affections of human nature, yet the alliance itself can never be entirely broke. For nobody is desirous of being deceived; nay, there is nobody but had rather know the truth in any matter whatsoever, but especially in any matter of moment, than be mistaken, though it be only in things of mere speculation. We 278are naturally delighted with truth, and have as natural an aversion to error; and if we knew any way in which we could certainly arrive at truth, we should most readily enter into it. Hence it is, that there always have been found very eminent men, whom all the world have most highly applauded, because they spent their whole lives in the pursuit of truth. There hove been, and are at this day, innumerable natural philosophers and geometricians, who have taken incredible pains to come at truth; and who affirm, that they never feel so great pleasure as when they find out a truth which they have long been in search after.904904   See the Life of Pythagoras in Diogenes Laërtius, book viii. 12. So that the love and the knowledge of truth may very justly be reckoned amongst the many other things that men excel brutes in.

But all truths are not of the same moment, and many theoretic notions, though they be true, may be laid aside, because little or no advantage can be had from them, and therefore it is not worth while to be at much pains about them; but, on the other hand, there are some truths of so great moment, that we justly think them worth purchasing at any rate. Of this sort are all those that relate to our well-being and happiness; the knowledge of which is most valued by every body, and most diligently pursued by them. To which if we add, that the consequence of a well-spent and happy life, (and we must always allow, that what is good, that is, agreeable to truth, is also an ingredient of happiness), during our short stay here, will be an eternal happiness hereafter, as all Christians of every sect whatsoever profess to believe; we cannot but own, that the knowledge of the way by which we may arrive at such happiness cannot be purchased at too dear a rate.

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