A beautiful harlot sitting in her chariot

(Thomas Brooks, "Apples of Gold" 1660)

"I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with
pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved
to be meaningless. "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And
what does pleasure accomplish?" Ecclesiastes 2:1-2.

Solomon's question bids a challenge to all the masters
of mirth
, to produce any one satisfactory fruit which it
affords, if they could.

The hearts of young men usually are much given up
to pleasure. Sensual pleasures are only seeming and
apparent pleasures--but the pains which attend them
are true and real. He who delights in sensual pleasures,
shall find his greatest pleasures become his bitterest
pains. Pleasures pass away as soon as they have
wearied out the body, and leave it as a bunch of
grapes whose juice has been pressed out.

Xerxes, being weary of all pleasures, promised rewards
to the inventors of new pleasures, which being invented,
he nevertheless remained unsatisfied.

As a bee flies from flower to flower and is not satisfied,
and as a sick man moves from one bed to another for
ease, and finds none; so men given up to sensual pleasures
go from one pleasure to another, but can find no contentment,
no satisfaction in their pleasures. "Everything is so weary
and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never
satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content!"
Ecclesiastes 1:8.

There is a curse of unsatisfiableness, which lies upon the
creature. Honors cannot satisfy the ambitious man, nor riches
the covetous man, nor pleasures the voluptuous man. Man
cannot take off the weariness of one pleasure, by engaging in
another pleasure.

Pleasures seem solid in their pursuit; but are mere
clouds in the enjoyment.

Pleasure is a beautiful harlot sitting in her chariot--
The four wheels are pride, gluttony, lust and foolishness.
The two horses are prosperity and abundance.
The two drivers are idleness and security.
Her attendants and followers are guilt, grief, shame,
    and often death and damnation!

Many great men, and many strong men, and many
men, and many hopeful men, and many young
men--have come to their damnation by her; but never
any enjoyed full satisfaction and contentment in her.

Ah! Avoid this harlot--'pleasure', and come not near
the door of her house!

Augustine, before his conversion, could not live without
those pleasures which he much delighted in. But after
his nature was changed, and his heart graciously turned
to the Lord, he said, "Oh! how sweet it is--to be without
those sweet delights!"

And as for lawful pleasures, let me only say this--it is
your wisdom only to touch them, to taste them, and to
use them as you use medicines--to occasionally fortify
yourselves against maladies.

There are no pleasures so delighting, so satisfying, so
ravishing, so engaging, and so abiding--as those which
spring from union and communion with God--as those
which flow from a from a humble and holy walking
with God.