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meet with fome things of Importance, which he doch not so plainly set before you, but will become thereby the more capable of making a good Proficiency in the reading of him.
He insists upon five of your particular Advantages above others, and acknowledging my self beholden to him, I shall endeavour to consider the same in a more easy Sțile, with such brief Reflections as I shall judge to be most Pertinent and useful. They are enumerated by him in this Order.
I. The Advantage of an ingenuous Education.
especially your Dependents and Inferiors.
As your Condition of Life does commonly expose you to great Temptations ; fo for the enabling you to resist and overcome them, you have also considerable Advantages, if rightly used. And the very fame things which some make the fatal Occasions of their Sin and Ruine, are to others that wisely manage them, the effectual Instruments of greater Virtue and Felicity.
Now, that all these your Advantages may become real Blessings unto you, remember I beseech you, in the first Place, who is the Author and Donor of them; who hath made you to differ from others; who has given you all your Distinctions of Quality and Estate ; all your Endowments, Possessions, and Privileges, of what Kind foever. You cannot surely imagine, that either your selves, or any of your Ancestors, were the prime Authors of them. For whatever hath not been from all Eternity; whatever was once Nothing, and did afterwards begin to be, that must owe itself, and all it hath, to some Superior Cause, which never
had a Beginning, but is Originally and Eternally of Itself: And such alone is the ever Blessed God, who has no dependence upon any other, but is the immense and inexhaustible Fountain, from which all other Existence, and all Enjoyments, Priviledges, and Advantages, are derived. Whoever were your Earthly Parents, you are the Offspring of God; in him you Live and Move, and have your Being. He giveth to all Men, whether High or Low, Life and Breath, and all Things. Nor have you any sort of Good, of Mind, or Body, or Fortune, but what is totally from his Bounty ; which infinite Obligation to him, ought most humbly and gratefully to be acknowledged, with the profoundest Reverence, and the highest Praise. Do you hear your selves saluted with Titles of Honour, and see the redundant Affluence of the Good Things of this Life, with which you are surrounded ? Do you make a Figure in the World, whereby you appear Great and Happy to all the gazing and admiring Crowd, and perhaps to your felves alfo ? Recollect, beseech you, with your Morning Thoughts, that it was not your Auspicious Fate or Destiny ; it was not your lucky Chance or Fortune, that brought about this Happiness unto you, but it is the free and unconfined Kindness of your Good and Gracious God, that has shewn you such distinguishing Favours.
Next, let me desire you to consider the general Nature and Design of these Advantages : They are all so many Talents committed to your Trust, by receiving of which, you have not the absolute Propriety, do do with them what you please ; but are only Stew ards, to employ them all according to the Will of the Donor, who has reserved to himself the Supream Right of ordering and appointing how they shall be used. Whatever you posless, or are endowed, or in-. trusted with, is a Depofitum, not only to be kept, but by a righit employment of it, by an industrious Traf fick and Negotiation, to be managed and improved
for the Service of your Lord, who when the time of your Stewardship shall be at an end, will demand an account of all that you have received, and expect that you make him such returns
as may bear some proportion to the largeness of his Donations. Fer unto whomsoever much is given, faith our Saviour, of bim Mall be much required, and to whom Men have committed much, of him they will ask the more, Luke 12. 48. The Omnipotent Lord of Heaven and Earth, may certainly do what he will with his own. He hath an absolute, s sovereign, and unquestionable Right to dispose of his Gifts and Talents as he pleaseth: And his infinite Wisdom chuseth to distribute them with such Variety and Inequality, as tends to his own greatest Honour, and greatest Good of the whole Universe. Unto some he gives much, unto others less : Unto some he commits a higher Trust, unto others a lower. His Beneficence is most free and unlimited, furnishing diverse Men with diverse Kinds and Degree of Endowments, and placing them in no less different Conditions. But then his impartial Justice will incline him to make an exa& Enquiry into the respective Gifts they have received, according to their various Measures and Proportions, and to call for such Improvements of them as are answerable and agreeable to their feveral Receipts. This is graphically represented by our Savi. our in the Parable of the Talents,Matt. 25. 14, 15,&c. Where, after the Lord of the Servants, to whom the several Talents were committed, came to reckon with them, he highly commended and greatly rewarded the Fidelity and Diligence.of. those that used their respective Talents to good purpose, and returned them to their Lord with a suitable Increase. But as for the Slothful and Wicked Servant, who hid his Lord's Money, and took no care to employ and improve it, he commands, that the Talent should be taken from him, and that he should be cast into outer Darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth.
But to descend to more particular Advice for your improving the Advantages before mentioned, I begia
I. The first of them, That of your Education, which is generally such as gives you greater Opportunities of Knowledge and Learning, both Divine and Humane, than meaner People can ordinarily reach. As your Birth and Fortune has elevated you above the Vulgar, and made you stand on a more Eminent Height, whereby you do as it were naturally enjoy a more free and open Profpe&t ; fo you are commonly furnished with all the Instruments of Art, to enable your Natural Organs to see the further, and penetrate the deeper. There is no Gentleman that ha's any regard to the Honour and Welfare of his Family, but will take an early care to put his Children under some good Discipline,either at Home by Domestick Tutors and Instructors, or by sending them abroad to the most flourishing Schools ; and their Sons seldom want an Academical Erudition, whereby they may have all imaginable Opportunities of Leisure, and Books, and Conversation with the most Learned in every Profession.
Having therefore so good Helps and Means, for the furnishing and adorning your selves with the noblest Accomplishments of Knowledge and Wisdom, and Virtue, nothing can be of greater Concern to you, than do devote your younger Years to the early and auspicious Improvement of them. The Regularity and good Conduct ; the Usefulness and Happiness; the Comfort and Satisfaction of all your Life in this World, as well as your eternal Felicity in the other, will very much depend on the Use you make of this advantage of Education : For without some Care and Pains in the Seed time, there is little Reason to expeat the Joy and Pleasure of a fruitful Harvest. If then, while any of you are under the Direction and
Government of others, an overweening conceit of your superiority in Wealth and Honour, weakens your Respect to their Persons, and makes you unwilling to submit to their Discipline and Instruction ; or if the love of Ease, Idleness, and softness, render you impatient of Study, Enemies to serions Thinking, averse to the charging your Memory with Rules and Precepts, or the exercising your Judgment with any close Application for discerning the difference of Truth and Falshood, Good and Evil ; you are not like to be very well provided to make a Voyage through a dangerous World, amidst those Difficulties and Temptations to which you may be exposed. Neither is there any great hope that you should be in any measure fitted and qualified for the chief Business and End of Life, such as the Glorifying of God, the serving your Prince and Country, and the promoting your own Welfare.
It is absolutely necessary, both to your own good State, and to the better State of others, who have any Relation to you, or Concern with you, That your Understanding be illuminated with the Rays of Truth, ard the Principles of Wisdom ; and that your Will and Affections, and all your Appetites and Inclinations, be under the Conduct of such a clear and found Understanding ; that you may both know and do, what your Great Creator designed and made you for ; and this not only in general, as you are reasonable Creatures, but in particular, as you are Gentlemen or Ladies, placed in a higher Rank than others; else you will have received your Being, and all your Advantages, to no purpose ; you will never attain your End. But this is not all, you will be certainly Miserable ; you will not only fall short of the End and Use for which God designed you, but 'oppose it. You will be so far from being Wise, and Good and Happy your selves, and contributing to the good State of others, that you will pull down Ruine upon your own