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converse most. And hence it comes to pass, that Men do really value themselves, and place their top Character and Perfection in things, which, were they to consider them, would appear the most beastly, shameful, and unworthy, the most destructive of their own and other Men's Happiness, of any they could have singled

This Affection therefore calls us to our Guard, as it yields us many Pleasures, many that are deceitful and dangerous, and which of consequence must be examined warily, and chose or rejected with great Caution. . Much is due to Society, much Complaisance and Compliance. A stiff and churlish Behaviour is odious and insupportable, it neither gives nor receives Pleasure. But too caly a Temper, a Promptness to oblige others without Reserve, gives indeed and receives Pleasures, but such as are closely followed by Misery and Ruin. Such

a Con

a Conduct, our own and other Men's Happiness forbid. And should it lo happen, and so it will happen in the greatest Part of the Conversation of the World, that we must fall under their contempt, unless we conform to their Manners, the Regard we owe to them as well as ourselves, will induce us to chuse the Disgrace as the less Evil; and we must deny ourselves the Pleasures of Conversation, where they cannot be purchas'd but at too dear a Rate. It is indeed a severe Case, when things are lo circumstantiated as to demand of us an almolt total Restraint of so delectable an Affection; an Affection so fruitful of Pleasure, lo adapted to Publick and Private Interest. But when the Exercise of it is so perverted, there is no Remedy: We have more Affections than one to gratify, and are so consticuted, that

an excessive Indulgence of any one must impair and weaken


the rest in proportion to its Degrees and Duration, and in some Instances close up and destroy the very Sources of Pleasure themselves, and cancel some other Capacities of En oyment. In our Conversation with the World therefore, in displaying our own Excellencies, and recommending ourselves mutually to each other's Favour and Esteem, and furnishing out our several Shares of Pleasure and Entertainment, we must well consider, what things are really excellent and creditable, what is, upon the whole, pleasant and entertaining, and what is most so, in its Degrees; otherwise we shall fall in with every extravagant Humour, applaud and be applauded for, the most dishonourable and scandalous Atchievements, and administer Pleasures, which will too soon, and perhaps too late for any remedy, shew chemselves to be the greatest of Evils. Vol. I. K


There is a third Affection, which how necessary and good soever it be in it self, has and still does cause the greatest possible Irregularities and Diforders: We see Men daily hazard all to provide for the undue Gratification of it. An Affection, which is ca. sily gratify'd, in the Order of Nature, but out of this Order, does not only defeat the Design of its Institution, but is attended with innumerable other Evils and Mischiefs. What I mean, is that which is emphatically stiled the Lust of the Flesh. The Regulation of this Affection is so well known, that nothing particular need be faid of it. All who offend in this point, offend not through Error but Wilfulness.

I come in the last place to consider the Relations we stand in to God, and the Acts of Self-Denial, which may arise out of thosc Rela


As God is a Being of infinite Wif dom and Goodness, so we may assure our selves, that he can place his Creatures in no Relation to himself, but what must be wise and good. Whether we consider his abstract Nature, or the Manifestations of himself in his Works, or his Word, Infinite Perfection displays it felf; All is Grace and Truth and Wisdom. That there is much Evil in the World, both natural and moral, is not to be dissembled or denied. But the moral is wholly of our own making, and much of the natural does evidently proceed from it; and cho' we cannot distinctly fee, how the other Kind of natural Evils, viz. those which we are no ways the Authors of, are intended us for Good, and are really Favours and Blessings; yet have we the utmost Reason to conclude in general, that they are such. Because it is impossible, that a Being, whose Bounty and Beneficence is lo

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