Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

more regarded, than the fame things would be, if they came from Persons of a lower Extraction.

But suppose it should not be your Lot to be in any Publick Office in Church or Scate, yet if you be only considered in your private Capacities, the due improve ing your more liberal Education will be of unspeakable Benefit and Service to you, for your better improving all those your other Advantages in respect of your Wealth, Leisure, Power, and Honour; concerning each of which I crave Leave to add a few Words.

II. The next in order to be considered is that of Wealth, unto which you are commonly born, but you are never born with Skill to manage it. That never descends to you from your Ancestors, bot is to be learned by your own Industry. There is indeed no great Art or Knowledge required towards the wasting or misemploying a fair Estate ; but you must be willing to bestow some studious and serious Thoughts if you desire to understand how you may preserve it and rightly use it. This is to be done by Prudence, Diligence, and Frugality, together with a liberal and generous Piety and Charity, all which greatly conduce to the truly honourable, pleafant, and advantageous managing an'ample Revenue.

The first of these, Prudence, which teaches us in all Affairs how to judge, chuse, and act, is well known to be one of the most comprehensive Virtues, of universal Neceflity in the whole Conduct of Human Life. Without this none can be bappy in any Condition, but 'tis of the highest Usefulness to the Rich and Great, as in all their Concerns, fo particularly in the managing their Eftates. Wisdom is good with an Inheritance, says Solomon, Ecclef. 7. 11. By how much the larger Portion of worldly Goods the indulgent Benignicy of Heaven hath favoured you with, so much the more need have you to get your Minds as largely stock'd with Wisdom and Prudence. “For great Fortunes I have been well compared to mighty Engines, which, M 2

4 if

“ if they are wisely and carefully managed, will per“ form great and beneficial Effecs : but if not, instead " of serving their End, they may dalh out the Brains u of him that vsech them. Thus, without a vigilant and discerning Precaucion, that Wealth, which mighe be employed for the doing much Good, may only ensnare and ruio you, by chose its (trong and powerful Temptations, of which I discours’d in the first Chapter. When valt Treasures are in the Poffeffion of the foolin and vicious, they tend to make their Folly the more conspicuous, their Vices the more mischievous, and themselves in the Ifue both more ridiculous and more miserable. What wretched Work is made with the accnmulated Product of the Sweat of Thousands, when 'uis all sacrific'd to the wild and lewd Genius of some soucih or wancon Voluptoary. Such a one often appears plainly infatuated with his Grandeur, and most excellively conceited, when most extravagantly wicked, having his Head fill'd with the Magottry of an Hundred Caprices, for the more nice and delicate gratifying the Riot and Luxury of himself, and his Parasites and Prostitutes, and all that minister to his Follies, until at length his whole Etate is exhausted in those inglorious Ures, and wasted away upon the very Scum and abjea part of Mankind. But where Riches are disposed of, noc by the boundless Cravings of ravenous Lusts, but by the Rules and Measures of true Wisdom, they will not only be kept from being consumed in the Service of Sin, but made great and valuable Blessings to the Owners of them and many others.

Such, a prudent Conduct will Mew it self by an induftrious Diligence, and necessary Frugality, for the preserving, augmenting, and improving your Wealth, ia a literal Seose, that under the Direction of the same Prudence you may be the better enabled to make a higher and more noble Improvement thereof in such Works of Liberality, Piety, and Charity, as may bear a jut Proportion to the Greatness of your Poflellions.

Your

Your Estates, how large foever, may be diminished apace, if you fall think it beneath your Quality co look into them with your own Eyes, to see and know what Rents are paid, and what Dedu&tions are made for Taxes and Repairs, and other Charges, and to examine the Accounts your Stewards and Servants give you. Without some Care and Diligence herein you will make a wiong Estimate in calculating the Valoe of your Revenues, and be altogether ignorant how to proportion your Expences. Justice will not allow you to spend any more than what is truly your own, and a discreet Frugalicy will teach you co spend somewhac less. Now that is only to be accounted yours which remains with you after your Debts, Taxes, Repairs, óc. are deducted. And every wise Man that owes Money will consider what some have reminded us of, viz. That a proportionable part

of our Eftates will seldom answer the Equivalent of our Debts. For if a Man owe a Hundred Pound a Year, or be obliged to pay so much abaually, no part of his Éstate that pays him a Hundred Pound a Year will ordinarily be sufficient to pay it, be. cause many Accidents may often hinder bim from get. ting his own Rent, but 'cis very seldom that any ACCIA dent can procure an Abatement of his Debt. A pro, vident Frugality will call to mind the various, acci, dental, and occasional Expences, that may unavoidably intervene, and make a sufficient Allowance for them, And some think that a third, or at least a fourth pare of a Man's Estate, is little enough to be laid by for Accidents.

Such a frugal husbanding your Estates is fundamentally necessary to all the good uses that are to be made of them. But if you suffer your selves to be cheated of any considerable part of them thro' a stately Negle&t or a slothfol Carelesness, or if you squander them away in Luxury and Profuseness, you are not only un grateful to the Donor of them, but oppose and defeat the true Ends for which they were given yon. Now

the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

M 3

the Ends and uses for which your Wealth was be-
Itowed upon you are such as these. First, the inno-
cent, fober, and chearful Enjoyment of so much there-
of as may decently support you in that Quality where-
in you are placed. Then the laying up what may be
a competent Provision for your Posterity, if you have
any. And lastly, the liberal, pious, and charitable
dispensing the rest of your Store for the Good of
others.
Į If God has given you a more plentiful Share of
Earthly Blessings, it is not to be doubted but that they
may be used and enjoyed by you in a larger Measure
and in more splendid and magnificent Manger than may
be allowed to People of meaner Condition, provided
you live in a due Compass, and keep within the Bounds
of Temperance, Sobriety, and just Decorum. But if
any Mall give up themselves to a soft, delicate, and vo-
loptuous Life, or be extravagantly expensive in Build-
ings, Furniture, Cloaths, Equipage, Entertaigments,
Feaftings, or any unnecessary Pomps, beyond the Li-
mits of their Fortune, these are no obscure Indications
of Pride, Sensualicy, and inordinate Self-love, these
are Auch Devourers of a fair Patrimony as will leave
but a small part of it for the Owner's future Support,
and perhaps none at all for Works of Piety and Chari.
tý... When a Man has been incircled with the greatest
Affluence of the Divine Bounty, when the East and
West have filled him with all their Treasures, and the
Heavéns have, as it were, rained down upon him mi,
raculous Showers. of Gold, and Silver, and precious
Things, it has been sometimes known that even such a
Man, instead of doing more Good, and being more li-
beral and charitable with all this Redundancy of
Wealth, has only made it an loftrument of greater
Dishonour to him that gave it, greater Oppression to
them who ought to have been protected or relieved by
it, and more exorbitant Pride and Diffoluteness in
himself, and those about him, that flatter his Húmours,
and serve his Lusts.

But

[merged small][ocr errors]

But I hope better

Things of those among the wealthy and Honourable who Thall condefcend to look into these Papers; and I would hømbly beseech all such to observe what St. Paul exhorts Timorhy, not only to beseech, but to charge them that are rich in this World, viz. that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain Riches, but in the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy ; that they do good, that they be rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for tbemselves a good Foundation against the Time to come, that they may lay hold on Eternal Life, i Tim. 6. 17, 18, 19,. Charge them, says the Apo{tle, who are rich in this World, noting or implying that Riches are only for this present World, and cannot be carry'd into the other Life. And he intimates how uncertain our Enjoyment of them is even while we live here. I'most therefore be an indubitable part of Wisdom, by a right and charitable pfe of that which is so uncertain, and at longest but for this present World, to establish a good Foundation against the Time to come, and by the pions and liberal Distribution of Things Temporal to secure the Things Eternal. The nobleft Employment of your Riches, and that which will most promote your own Happiness, is the doing Good with them to others, the labouring to be rich in good Works, and the making to your selves Friends of the Mammon of Onrighteousness, (as our blessed Saviour adviseth) that when ye fail they may receive you into their everlasting Habitations, Luke 16. 9. He calls Riches, which are not evil in their own Na ture, the Mammon of Unrighteousness, because they are often the Portion of bad Men, often acquired by Fraud and Violence, and no less frequently used as the Instruments of all Injustice and Sensuality. But by a liberal and charitable use of them you shall gain both the Love and Friendship, and the Portion and Happiness of the Righteous ; so that when at Death all your Riches Thall fail, and be useless to you, and your felves

shall

M4

1

« AnteriorContinuar »