Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

in chem, or be unwilling to part with them, even when they are called for by God bimself.

[ocr errors]

The second sort of alluring Baits, with which the World enticeth Men, are its Pleatures. And none certainly are in greater Danger of being ensoared, and ruined by Pleasures, than those who have both the abundance of Wealth to procure them, and the Vigour of Youth to enjoy them. 'Tis no easy thing for such to suppress the Transports of the Voluptuous Apperice, who are continually furnished with all variety of delicate Provisions for its Gratification; and carry a. about them such plenty of Blood and Spirits, as natarally produces the strongest inclination towards, and the most quick and lively Relishes of all corporeal and fenfitive Delights. Young Persons of Qualicy have their Lot and Station in a very charming and bewitching World, where they meet with all that their Hearts, can desire for the entertainment of the Animal Life. They are surrounded with a thousand Objects, that awaken corrupt Imaginations, foment impervous Lysts, and fill them with intoxicating Joys. There are suitable Allurements daily presented to every one of their Seoses. For the Taste they have the most delicious Fruits, che most palatableMeats, and the richest Wines.For theSmell they have all the fragrant Herbs and Flowers, and all the odoriferous Perfumes that either Art or Nature can producę. Their Eyes are fed with diverting Prospects, with all manner of Ornaments and Beauties, not only in their Houses, Gardens, Furniture and Apparel, but also for the most part in the Persons, that either dwell with, or visit, or attend them. Their Ears are Ravilh'd with harmonious and musical Sounds. And ?ris feldom but they have at command whatever Pleasure can affect any other Sense. Now, though a prudent and node rate Gratification of all these inferior Faculties, within the Rules and Measures prescribed by Reason and Religion, may be allow'd them; yet how hard is it for

such

such Darlings and Favourites of the World, not to devote themselves to Earthly Enjoyments, and sensitive Delights, not to immerse themselves in Matter, and become intirely in the Interests of Corporeal and Carnal Things ? How difficult is it for such Perfons to entertain in their Minds, any just Esteem, or fincere Love, of those Pure and Spiritual, Divine and Heavena ly Joys, which the piops Exercises of Religion do ada minister to holy Souls?

Neither in the third place are the Honours of the World, such as Nobility, Preheminence, Dignity, Fame, Reputation, Applause, without their Temptations. Those Titles and honourary Badges that diftinguish the Gentleman from the Crowd, and the outward Respects given him upon the account of those Advantages, do too often lift him up' beyond Meafure, filling bim with a wonderful Opinion of himself, and a haughty and disdainful Contempt of others. The Height of his Place or Rank makes him sometimes adventure to speak, and act, as if he were above the Laws of God and Man, and beyond Reproof or Punishment from either. The pretence of Quality has emboldned fome to affume such Liberty, as have readred them at length the very Scan. dal of Christianity, and the Reproach of Human Nature. The splendor of their Dignity has cast such a glaring Light about them, that in the midst of the Glory and Gaieties of the World, and the Applauses of the admiring Multitude, they have not been able to know themselves; but imagining they were something more than Men, first they have learned to despise all their Fellow-Creatures, and from thence their Ambition taa king a higher flight, has taught them to defie-their God. There have been those who have efteem'd it a part of their Earthly Grandeur, to value themselves upon their reje&ing and contemning the Laws of Heaven; as if the greatness of their Impiety made them fo much the Greater Men. Such are those Heroes of Venus, who' taking their Shame for their Glory, seek to Debauch

che felves

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

themselves into Reputation, to derive Honour from their Lewdness, and shew their Magnificence in the Pomp and Riches with which they maintain their impudent Proftitutes. Such are those brave and valiant Sons of Bacchus, who boast of mighty Conquests at the Bottle and the Glass, first in drinking down the Company, and then in triumphing over their own Reason. To name no more, such are those Men of Honour, who adore their Maker with Oaths and Blasphemies, but think it beneath them to bow their Knees in de vout Prayers; who give strange Proofs of a prodigious Courage in fighting against invincible Power, infallible Wisdom, and inflexible Justice. These are they who bless themselves in the bold attempts and high pursuits of their Pride and Luxury, and Irreligion ; who having got above the pusilanimity of Conscience, deride the fear of an Invisible Judge ; and Being brim-full of their present Enjoyments, have no roont left for any thoughts of their future State, whether it shall be in Heaven or Hell. By such Instances as there we may perceive, how great Temptations they are concerned to watch against, whose Birth and Fortunes have advanced them above the ordinary Ranks of People, and how difficult it is for them to perform fincerely that necessary part of their Baptismal Vow, the Renouncing the Pomps and Vanities of this wicked World.

But 'tis also to be 'remembred in the last Place, that amidst all the Snares of the World, with which the Young People of Quality are surrounded, our Adverfary the Devil,is very Busie and Active,to reprefent to them those various Allurements with the greatest Advantage, flattering them in all the ways of their Hearts, and endeavouring by the most fubtile Arti. fices, to draw them on void of Fear in the Paths that lead to everlasting Misery. His implacable Malice against Mankind, makes him perpetually exercised in his Machinations, Wiles and Devices, for our Ru-'

ins

ine and Perdition. And tempt by Objects without, and the corrupt Affections within, callina.com mies, the World and the Fles, which are in Combination with him. He is stiled the God of this World, and he works powerfully on the Men of the World, the Children of Disobedience, by employing and managing the Things of the World as his Baits, and Engines, to take them Captive at his Will, 2 Cor. 4. Eph. 2. 2. 1 Tim 2. 26. Hence it comes to pass, that where there is an affluence of Wealth and earthly Prosperity he is furnished with great variety of Materials, out of which he may form his fatal Snares: For his Strenghth and Art to tempt and Destroy, principally lies in specious Representations, and fallacious Promises much of Happinefs in the enjoyment of Worldly Things.So that if Men have in their Poffesion, or at their Command, a vast plenty of inviting Obje&ts near' at Hand, and almost continually in their View, Satan easily conveys to their Fancies the most lively Images of them, together with all that Sweetness which he perswades them to expect, from indulging themselves in the free and unlimited Enjoyment of them, without being tied up to Laws and Rules. He dresses the World's Temptations in all their Pomp and Lustre, and sets them off with so many seeming Beauties and Delights, that their false Colours cannot be discerned, without a careful and impartial Consideration, nor their Charms refifted without a mighty Resolution, accompanied with continual Watchfulness, and fervent Prayers to God for the Grace, and Asistance of his Holy Spirit.

Our subtile Adversary makes also great Use of that variety of Allurements, which Wealth affords, to prevent the fatiety and dislike, the same repeated Tempo tations would cause. For in the midst of such Abun. dance, where he can entice Men to divers Lufts and Pleasures, as soon as they are weary and cloy'd with onc, he is presently ready to to offer them another.

And

[ocr errors]

And he may well be suppos’d to be the more diligent and restless in his Endeavours to tempt the Great and Potent, the Rich and Noble, because if he prevails with them to espouse the Interest of his Kingdom, they may be much more serviceable to him in the promoting thereof, than meaner Persons can. He knows that by gaining one of these, he shall quickly have many other Proselytes. For if these walk in the Paths of Sin, 'there are great Numbers that will follow them. Their very Immoralities and Vices receive a kind of Reputation from the Honour that is given to their Persons ; and their Impiety is the sooner imitated, because of their Wealih and Power. Thus' we have feen how the Affluence of Wealth, the Variety of Sen suał Pleasures, and the long Train of Earthly Pomp, make the narroto Way and the streight Gate which leads to Life, narrower and streighter to the Rich and Great, than they would otherwile be, and how the Subtile

Adversary of Mankind makes use of all these, to ob| Itruct their Passage to Heaven, or to render it more

difficult.

[ocr errors]

Di: : :
CHA P. II.
The Possibility of overcoming the greatest Difficulties

and Temptations, to which any Young Persons of

better Rank may be exposed. I

N representing the various and difficult TemptaHonour do generally meet with, in a higher degree than others ; my only Design has been to excite their greater Care and Diligence, and their stronger Coulrage and Resolution to encounter and relilt them. I shall therefore in the next Place, evince and prove

the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »