« הקודםהמשך »
into his Manners, must be Partakers with him in his everlasting Torments. Let us not, upon this important Occalion, make use of the common Arrifice, whereby Men evade the Force of all moral Instructions. When any Vice is treated and exposed, we immediately single out some Person who is notorious for it, and make the whole Application to him, wiping our own Mouchs, and acquitting our selves, who appear at first View to be much less concern'd. Let us not, I say, delude our selves with this Artifice. Our own Reformation is nearest to us. Would the inferior Dealers in Scandal reform their Conduct, and openly discountenance this Practice wheresoever it occurr’d, the more eminent ones, meeting with so many Rebuffs, would be greatly discouraged; their Sphere of Activity would be much contracted, and their Reign still shorter than it is; and we might R 3
hope hope to see them soon as much avoided, or rather as eagerly pursued on all hands, as Highway-men and Rob. bers, who are by far less frequent and less pernicious to Society.
Phil. iv. s. Let your Moderation be known unto all
Men. The Lord is at hand. DW HE Word in the Original, K T which is here translated Mo
deration, sometimes signi
fies Meekness, a yielding and dispassionate Temper, a Readiness to forgive Injuries, and to be reconciled to our Enemies. It is also sometimes used for Moderation; in which Sense I shall discourse upon it more at large, and enforce the Ducy injoin'd from
the Motive in my Text, The Lord is at hand.
By Moderation then, we are to understand such a Conduct as keeps in the Middle-way, avoiding the Extremes on either hand; neither coming short, nor exceeding, in any Particular. There is no Character or Circumstance of Life whatsoever, in which we are not liable to err; to be immoderate ; to deviate from the Middle-pach, the Line of Duty; and it is a common Observation, That those Persons who find themselves in one Extreme, whilst they endeavour to avoid that, run into the very opposite. From one Extreme to another, is become a Proverbial Saying. And if Men, upon the Discovery of one Piece of Immoderation, and in their Endeavours to avoid it, are thus apt to transgress on the very opposite Side, we need not wonder, that the generality of the World, who peshaps have never given
themselves much Care or Thought about the Matter, live in a continued, uninterrupted Extravagance ; are always cutting the Line of Duty, or flying further from it, and never make three Steps directly forward. · It must be allow'd, that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for such frail and ignorant Creatures as we are, to know the exact Mean, in all Cases, or perhaps in any. In things relating to our own Welfare and Preservation; to our Neighbour's; to the Community, there are so many Particulars absolutely out of our View, that we can never be thoroughly certain in the Choice of our Actions, that this Action will directly promote our Purpose in either Relation, more than any other Action somewhat differently circumstantiated; yet the gross Extremes are as distinguishable as Light and Darkness; which, when mixed and blended together, are nevertheless not