Imágenes de página

What Reason then can be assigned for foows of Poverty, when so much Excellent Duty, and so much True Happiness may be drawn from Riches? When Those, whom God first Qualifies, by his Spirit, to Resemble him in his Goodness, may, Providentially, be Qualified to Resemble him in this Blessed Fruit of it, an Extensive Beneficence to Mankind? 3dly, and Lasily, Honour is oftentimes allotted to Good men, by the special Providence of God. And this seems Manifest from 2 Chrom. i. 12. P/. xci. 14, 15. and many other places of Scripture. Thus was Daniel advanced to the Honour of being the * First President over the Princes, in Darius's Kingdom; and David to the Throne of Israel. And the Excellency of their Virtues bore full Proportion to the Eminency of their Stations, and Titles of Honour. Upon This depended the Completion of their Happiness, and their Glory. 'Tis with Honour, as with every Other Talent, That the Happiness arising from it

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

consists in the Use and Improvement of it, and 'tis properly a Blessing unto Good men Alone; For They Alone can graft upon it, an Assured Expediation of God's Favour. And indeed, They Alone are secure of This Principal Ingredientin

it, the Love and Effeem of Mankind. Titles of Honour, whether Hered:tary, or, Accessional, when they are not Supported by Pirtue, do lose a great part of their Value; and therefore a great Part of the Tribute, which would, Otherwise, be paid to Them, is Generally withheld from them. Wealth, or, Honour, in the Possession of an Unworthy person, hath much the same effect upon Mankind, as Bribery hath upon Corrupt Witnesses; It Extorts, from some men, the Outward Testimonies and Expressions of a Deference and Respect, which, in their Hearts, they Feel nothing of. It is not in Nature to have a Real, Inward Esteem and Reverence, for Vicious, Profligate, Dissolute, and Therefore Dishonourable Persons. The Deference paid to Them, is only Forced, and Superficial; Whilst That, which is paid - to to Others, those Happy Others, whose Noble Charaćters and Noble Qualities do conspire to render them Aimiable and Dear to the Societies of Men, is looHuntary and Generous, the effeót of Hearts flowing with Love and Zeal towards them. . . . . - When the Highest Titles are thus Joyn'd by the Brightest/irtues, they cannot Fail of raising the Highest Approbation and Effeem in all the Wisest and Best of Men. : And Such Honour may well be accounted a Blessing, which hath excited the Greatest Persons to the Greatest Aćtions and Enterprizes, in all Ages of the World. So long as the Desire of it does not proceed from Pride, nor Degenerate into /ainglory; so long as it is not mens Chief, but Subordinate Aim; so long as it is Subservient to the Love of God, and Bounded by the Laws of Religion; all which Circumstancesare Supposed in the Chara&er of a Goodman; That Desire of it is a Natural and Just Affection, as the Attainment of it is a Proper Refreshment and Reward of Pure and Virtuous Minds, And the Stability of this Blessing is

- Y Equal

Equal to the Purity and the Excellency of it. Riches, or Life, may be taken away by Force, or, however, Each of them is the Certain Prey of Devouring Time; But Honour is a Blessing too Great to be Destroyed by the most Potent and Bitter Enemies: It riseth the Higher, by the Opposition it meets with, and is so far from yielding to the Cankering Efforts of Time, that it gathers Strength by it's Continuance, and is ever gaining new

Degrees of Beauty and Perfeótion. Having gone through the Particulars proposed from the Words, I should now briefly Apply them to the Occasion of this Discourse; And yet, such an Application is so Obvious, that it seems almost

needless to Offer it.

What hath been observed concerning Length of Days, must Already have affected us with full Joy, under the Thoughts of that Honourable Person, whom we here see attended with the Blessings of Long Life, without the Burthen of it; Whom God is still pleased to Guard against This Great Cause of Complaint, which is Usually Incident to Others, in a much Ear• . lier


her Period, That their strength is 7hen but Labour and Sorrow; And, Who is now as Happy, in being Free from the Infirhities of the Mind, as He hath all along been in that Course of /irtue, which is the Necessary Provision of soValuable a Freedom. I only Mention that Course of Virtue, without Venturing to Offend, by a Particular Account of it; for Good men do Agree with Others of a Quite Different Charaćter, in This Respect, that Neither of them can Easily bear an Account of their Own Lives and Aćtions, However; Neither the Fear of Offending the Chastest ears, even by a Detail of plain Truths, on the One hand; nor yet an Utter Abhorrence of the Abominable fin of Flattery, on the Other, should restrain me from suggesting the Necessity of our Offering up Praises to God, for the Beneficial Use, which this Noble Hand

hath made of Riches, the Second Advan

tage proposed in the Text. His Generous and Lasting Provisions for the Education of Touth, the Advancement of Learning, and the Defence and Propagation of Religion, Cannot be Concealed, and shall never

« AnteriorContinuar »