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disabled and is by being fise themselves
moft illiterate Mechanic? Why, the Drud-Serm.X, gery of Business cannot more effectually sink and debase the Mind of the latter, than a constant Circle of gay Follies does that of the former : for even innocent Amusements, when too often repeated, and too mạch indulged, do as effectually deftroy true Piety, as sensual Pleasures themselves; because the Mind, by being fixed on Trifles, is disabled and indisposed for greater and more important Businefs. , These Diverfions, however innocent in themselves, may yet, by an Excess of them, become criminal, as they are attended with very bad Consequences; as they destroy all Manliness of Soul, and occasion that Levity of Temper, which exposes us to the Ínroads of Temptation, and makes us susceptible of ill Impressions. When Steadiness, the Anchorage of the Soul is once loft, she becomes the Sport of the Passions, and is carried away with every Wind.
From this Fountain, from that amazing Folly of our Great Ones in running after every public Entertainment, how trifling and ridiculous soever it may be, has flowed that fashionable Indifference and Difregard for every Thing that is Serious and Sacred. The Day, which is more immediately fet apart for the Service and Worship of God, is generally profaned ; and an Habit of
Serm. X. Gaming has extinguished every Sentiment bands of Devotion. Nor does the Misfortune end
here: Inferiors are proud to form themselves upon the Model of their Superiors ; and when those, who are bound by all the Ties of Gratitude to that God, who giveth them all Things richly to enjoy, to advance the Interests of Religion, and to enlarge it's Empire, stamp a Credit upon Vice and Irreligion ; by this Means a Gate is opened to all Manner of Profaneness : Men commonly thinking it some Excuse for their Crimes, if they can plead the Example of their Betters in Favour of them.
What then? will fome One fay; is this your Way to Happiness ? Must we bid Adieu to all Diverfions? - By no MeansI would not be understood to decry Amusements in general; I only condemn them, when they take up too much of our Time, and interfere with nobler Pursuits. For certainly We were not placed in this World, like thé Leviathan in the Deep, only to take our Pastime therein. There are Duties to be performed by Us; and, as a Motive to our-Obedience, the great Lawgiver has made these Duties and our Happiness confiftent with each other : they go Hand in Hand, and the Pleasure which results from Virtue is sufficient Recommendation of it to our Practice. Who ever relieved the
Indigent without feeling within himself the Serm. X.
We may therefore lay it down as a
The Conclusion of all is, Happiness consists in our placing it upon true and
Serm. X. proper Objects. We have seen, that the
Lust of the Flesh, the Luft of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, cannot secure it to Us. Let us therefore seek for it, where it is only to be found, in the Practice of Virtue and Religion. And pure and undefiled Religion is this, to relieve the Distressed, to have an universal Charity for all Men, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the World.
E P H E s. iv. 26.
I TOWEVER unequal the Dispensation S ERM.
N of Providence, upon a careless and. XI. transient View, may seem to be; yet, upon a more close and accurate Survey, we shall find a greater Equality therein than we were aware of. Thus, for Instance, the Men in whose Composition Fire and Spirit are the predominant Ingredients, have generally much nobler Designs, and are capable of greater Attainments, than those of a phlegmatic and more difpassionate Make. But then the fame Life and Energy, which pushes on the former to undertake generous and heroic Actions, often precipitates them into fatal Excesses. If they are more than the common Run of Men in some Respects ; Providence, to humble them and reduce them to a Level