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may be used to very good or abused to very bad Purposes, as you are well or ill disposed. And the greater Interest you have upon either of these Aco counts, you are thereby capable of doing either the greater Good or the greater Mischief in the World. For the Words and Aäions, the Counsels and Examples, of the Rich and Honourable, of what kind foever, have no small Force to draw almost all sorts of Persons into the Observance or Imitation of them. In all the Conduct of your Lives, which comes under the View and Notice of Men, you can neither be vicious nor yet virtuous to your selves alone ; either of which Ways you take you carry many with you.

How desirable then is it that you be sincerely and eminently good, not only for the securing and promoting your own Happiness, but also that by The Authority and Influence, the Esteem and Reputation you have in the World, you may propa. gate Religion and Virtue among all that have any Dependence upon you or Respect for you, and powerfully contribute towards the making them good and happy as well as your selves. On the other side how pernicious will it be both to your selves, and the World round about you, if by the Irregularity of your Lives you give Countenance and Encouragement to Sin and Vice, corrupt the Manners of the Places and Times in which you live, and not only ruin and destroy your own Souls, but bring upon your felves the accumulated Guilt of destroying many others.

Let me therefore beseech you to use and manage all the Power and Influence you have in such a manner, as may give you the Opportunity of shewing a more illustrious and a more generally bencficial Piety than that of ordinary Persons, a Piety which is not confined to the Endeavours of correating and improving your selves only, (which is


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the utmost that many Persons of a lower Rank can attain to) but which may confpicuously shine forth in promoting the general Virtue, and securing the common Felicity (so far as is possible) of all that are round about you, or any way related to you. While meaner Persons can only reform themselves, and grieve and lament at the Vices of the Age, it is in the Power of our Nobility and Gentry utterly to discountenance them, and bring Religion and Virtue into Reputation. When a vulgar Sinner repents he may make Foy in Heaven, and rejoyce himself to fee Piety flourish upon Earth ; but for the most part the utmost he can do in so worthy a Cause is to add one to the Number of good Men : Whereas you that are in the upper part of the World may, by a Zeal for Godliness proportionable to your Advantages, encourage, support, and propagate it, within the whole Sphere of your larger and more prevailing Influence; and being bright Examples thereof your selves you will be followed by Multitudes, not only of those that hope such Imitation will recommend theni to your Favour, but of those also who think it their Honour to form their Manners by the Rules and Patterns the Men of Quality are pleased to set them.

According to that historical Remark Solomon gives us, Ecclef. 9. 14. the Poor Man's Actions though never so wife and beneficial, are neither much heeded nor long remembred. But the Examples of those truly noble and honourable Perfons, in whom Greatness, Wisdom and Goodness are united", do commonly work marvellous Effects, and carry all before them. They often change the very inward Springs and Principles of Men's Adions, and by the Divine Blessing make them fincerely good ; or if they have not Force enough to do that, they outwardly bind them to their good Be


haviour, and mightily fupprefs that open Impiety, Profaneness and Immorality, into which many would otherwise break forth.

It has been frequently observed, that wherever an eminently pious, prudent, and virtuous Gentleman hath the seat of his Residence, not only his own Family and Domesticks, but the Generality of the Inhabitants in the Town or Parish where he lives, and the Places adjacent, grow more sober and regular, better Christians, better Subjects, and better Neighbours, by the efficacious Instructiveness of his Conversation, and the powerful Influence of his Example. And though perhaps he has no coercive Jurisdiction or Authority as a Magistrate, to chaItise Wickedness, and encourage Religion and Virtue, by the impartial Execution of our good and wholsom Laws, yet there usually appears such a Majesty and Sweetness in his wife Discourses, his kind Advice, his generous and obliging Behaviour, and all his Praise-worthy A&ions, both Religious and Civil, as do conspicuously represent Piety and Loyalty, Justice and Charity, Humanity and Peaceableness, Temperance and Sobriety, and all other Virtues, in their delightful Amiableness, Beauty and Ornament, so as not only to command, but even to charm Men into the Love and Practice of things fo excellent, and so advantageously recommended. But the contrary Effects' are visible where the great Man in the Neighbourhood is either atheistical and profane, or vicious and immoral, or factious and disloyal, or turbulent and schismatical ; his single Example Thall have more Force to seduce, poyson, and corrupt, than Ten or Twenty of the religious and virtuous, the wise and good, whose outward Quality is inconsiderable, can have to reclaim, reform, or keep in order, those among whom they live.

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By the Instances I have given you may perceive what a general Veneration and Esteem Men are naturally apt to have for your Wealth and Grandeur, and how much it inclines them to a particular promiscuous Approbation and Imitation of you in the Course of your Actions, whether right or wrong. From whence it is easy to infer how much greater Obligations you are under to look well to your Conduct and Example, that the Authority and Ascendant which your Fortunes give you over your Inferiors may be wjsely, honourably, and usefully employ'd, for the auspiciously directing, and not the misleading any of them. And as the Influence of your Power is greatest over your own Servants, so it well becomes those of you who are Masters of a large Family to take the more Care to promote the Piety and Virtue, as well as to maintain the Splendor of your numerous Retinue, fince they are, or ought to be, God's Servants as well as yours; so that, properly speaking, how much soever your Wealth and Dignity have exalted you, above them, you and they are but Fellow-Servants to one great and supream Master, only in different Rauks; he allows you, after the manner of Stewards, to have many under you to do the inferior Business, but still they are his Servants more properly than yours, and must therefore have not only Liberty and Leisure to serve him the common Lord of all, but just and fit: Encouragement so to do. Let it also be remember'd, that the more faithful and diligent they are in the Service of God the better Servants they will prove to you. It is your very Temporal Interest to endeavour that they become sincerely religious; and though it be not altogether in your Power to make them fo, or to put Grace into their Hearts, yet by virtue of your Authority over them, and the Estcem for you which the discreet, benign, and


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gentle Exercise of that Authority may produce, you have great Opportunities' of doing Good to their Souls as well as Bodies. If by kind Words, fair Usage, and Hụman Treatment, you make their Lives under their State of Servitude as easy as is consistent with the Performance of their Duty and Office, they will pay no small Regard to your good Advice, 'necellary Admonitions, and feafonable Reproofs, especially when they are enforced by your own good Example. A prudent Care to govern and adorn your Family with a religious, just, and orderly Oeconomy, and in particular with conftant regular Hours set apart for daily Prayer, will not only derive a venerable Lustre as well as Blessing on the whole Conduct and Administration of your Domestick Affairs, but may also greatly promote Religion and Virtue amongst all that dwell within your Walls. And if to this there be added your diligent ! frequenting the Publick Offices of Divine Worship in the Church, and caufing your Servants to do the same, such exemplary Piety and Devotion may spread it self in the whole Parish and Neighbourhood where you reside.

The Interest you have towards the making Men good is very great and valuable, and you will do a most acceptable Service to God by obliging all your Dependents to serve and honour him, and by engaging thereunto as many others as you can; for the accomplishing of which no more is ordinarily necessary than that you discriminate between the good and the bad, favouring the one and discountenancing the other, and that you your selves give unto both a good Example. There is hardly any Man who is not defirous to obtain the Favour and Friendship, or at least to avoid the Frowns, of the Rich and Potent, and few will be so disingenuous as to remain incorrigible under the gentle and insinuating, but yet no less forcible Red proof of a great and good Example. Oh that our Nobility and Gentry would therefore



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