תמונות בעמוד

ed by them as honourable and advantageous, which he must condemn in his Reason and disapprove in his Experience, but nevertheless is drawn in to practise himself and recommend unto others, barely upon account of the Praises that are annex'd to them, and the Disapprobation that must attend a contrary Behaviour.

If the World still lies in Wickedness, if the Manners of Men are generally irregular and pernicious, if there is a kind of Combination or Confederacy to honour those Manners,

and discountenance and speak evil of those who rup not with us to the same Excess of Rior; and lastly, if we are under those powerful Inducements to seek the Praises of Men at all Adventures, and receive Honour one of another, as was before set forth; then the extreme Difficulty which must arise from hence of Believing in Christ, and entering upon

[ocr errors]

a regular Behaviour, which must be a Part or Concomitant of that Belief is very apparent.

Shew me the Man that dares enter upon a Behaviour which, he before knows, will involve him in general Disgrace, or walk in a way which is every where spoken against; that can encounter forbidding Looks and contemptuous Words on every Hand, that can bear up under Scoffings and Shame, and will not be guilty of almost any Compliance to avoid Mockery and Insult.

We may imagine perhaps, that the Testimony of a good Conscience may be Armour to us on the right Hand and on the left, that it may carry us thro’ Honour and Dishonour, thro' good Report and evil Report.

It must be acknowledged indeed, that this is the first and most necessary Ingredient of Happiness, and were we solitary Creatures, might suffice us.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

But as we have social Faculties and
Inclinations, we must exert and in-
dulge these as well as the 'relt ; 'ris
neither possible nor reasonable for us
to suspend or obliterate one Half of
our Powers. The Fire neither can nor
ought to be pent up in our
Breasts, it endeavours by its own na-
tural Force to emit its Rays, and must
shine as well as burn. If our Con-
science condemns us for those very
Things, for which others admire and
applaud us, we can extract but little
Comfort from thence, our Praises are
our Reproach. And if we can acquit
ourselves when we are condemned
by the World, this must be rather a
State of severe Trial and Exercise,
than of Freedom and Happiness, vaft-
ly remov'd from that Enlargement we
enjoy when our single and silent Te-
stimony is echoed and multiplied by
the Approbation, and seald to us by
the joint Consent of the Society aa


round us; when every Man's Heart speaks the same things in our behalf with our own, and stands as open to our Converse, to our Intimacy and Familiarity, as our own doch.

From what has been said it must appear with sufficient Evidence, thac the Honours and Friendships of the World, as wicked as it is, or can be, have so powerful an Ascendant over us, are so adapted to our Inclinations, that it is impossible, in the nature of things, but we must seek and delight in them, 'till some superior Motive be exhibited to us, I mean some Motive which is better accommodated to our Affections, and brings with it a greater Recompence of Reward.

Now the Honour which comes from God only, is propos’d, and will casily appear to be such.

By the Honour which comes from God only, we are principally to understand the Honour which will sucVol. I.



ceed in our future State of Existence, the Glory that shall follow.

Of all the Circumstances of our future State reveald in the Scriptures, the Glory, Honour, and Immortality of it are most frequently insisted upon as the best suited to our Natures, to our Love of Being and Perfection.

If the Things of this Life do work upon our Affections, and excite our Endeavours by a necessary Causality, the Things of the next will be found more efficacious by every one who considers them, and applies them to his Affections.

Animmortal and incorruptible State must be preferable to a mortal and corruptible; a State of Perfection and complete Happiness, to one diseased, imperfect, and mixt with Good and Evil; the Society of Angels and the Spirits of just Men made perfect, to the Conversation of Men very frail


« הקודםהמשך »