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Man, that is put to his Shifts in his strait and indigeno Condition, though he be honestly inclin'd, will find it nd easy thing to continue Just and True, when he has ao inviting Opportunity, First, To supply his Wants by Fraud and Rapine; and then to defend his Title to his Stolen Goods by a false Oath. He will also be prone to harbour a malevolent Envy towards those whom he dares not Injure. But the Temptations of the Rich and Great, are more numerous and considerable. The abundance of their Wealth and Honour frequently begets Pride, vain-Confidence, Imperiousness, Op. preslion, Idleness, Luxury, Sensuality, Forgetfulness of God, Contempt of Men. · They that swim in a Sea of Plenty, flowing with all the Enjoyments that the greatest Store and variety of Creatures can afford, are commonly so taken up in the Fruition of them, that they have hardly room left for any serious Thoughts of the Almighty Creator: And though it be a strange unbateral Consequence, it is often seen, that by the multitude of the Benefits, the Benefator becomes the Tefs Regarded. God made Jefhurun to ride upon the high Places of the Earth, that be might eat the increase of the Fields: He made him to fuck Honey out of the Rock, and Oil-out of the flinty Rock. He gave him Butter of Kine to cat; and Milk of Sheep, with Fat of Lambs, and Rams of the Breed of Balhan, and Goats, with the fat of Kidneys of Wheat, and the pure Blood of the Grape for his Drink.' But when Jeshuron waxed Fat, be kicked, and when he was grown thick and covered with Farness, then be forfook God which made him, and lightly efteemed the Rock of bis Salvation, Deut.'32. 13, 14, 15.
Both Ancient and Modern Inquirers into the Errors of Mankind, have observ'd, that many of the ongo+ vernable Passions and Sallies of Youth, many of those extravagant Caprices, wild Fancies, and voreasonable! Appetites, which infek that Season of Life, Wither and Perish in the Embrio, where they are check'd by a narrow Fortune, and a mean Estate: But where there : is Wealth to enliven then, that commonly Hatches B 1
and Fledges the unhappy Brood. Those Projects of Pleasure and Lust, Ambition and Vapicy, foolih Amours, and uncootrollable Libercies, which are too of Len the Objects and Entertainments of young Minds, are apt to start out and flourish in the Sun-fhine of Earthly Grandeur and Prosperity, and will carry on a Person in these Circumstances, unless he resolutely suppresses them, to higher degrees of Sia than can ordinarily be practis'd, by those in a meaner and obscurer State.
The poor Labouring People are kept from the Ex. cesses and Irregularities of a licentious and disorderly Life, by the emptiness of their Purses, the smallness of their Stores, and the neceslicies of their Condition. They are daily exercised under a sort of good Disci. pline both of Mind and Body, by the Care they are forc'd to take, and the Pains they must undergo to get a Livelyhood, which makes them ordinarily more Hum. ble in their Behaviour, and more sparing and moderate in the gratification of their Appetites. But it is a Work of conliderable difficulty for a Rich Man, especially for a Rich Young Heir, co lay a just restraint upon his Desires, and contain himself within the Bounds of a Regular and Vertuous Life. His Passions are raised by the warm Blood and Spirits within him, and the abundance of his External Goods affords him the means of obtaining almost every thing that he hath a mind to, or that can any way, please his Humour or Fancy. And when it is thus in his power to command all the Delights of Human Life, and all the Enjoyments both Lawful and Unlawful, thạc this World can afford; in the midst of so many and various diverting Objects, and in the full Tide of his Youthful Ioclinations, as it will be hard for him to raise in himself any great Desire, or so much as hearty Willingness.co exchange his Earthly Paradise for the Heaven above, so he will not easily discern the use and neceility of those Graces and Virtues that qualify him to be an Inbabitant of that high
and holy Place. How many are there both Young and Old, that have little or no Sense of their needing the support of Faith, or the belief of another World, while they are more than well enough content with the large Portion they have in this ? Such Perfons seldom see the use of dependence upon God, and daily imploring his Blefling and Protection ; but they make their Wealth their strong City and as a bigla Wall in their own conceit, Prov. 18. il. As if their Station were such, that they could defy the comnion Events of Providence to reduce them to a niean Cona dition. And when they thus trust in their Wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their Riches; as the Psalmist speaks, their inward thought is, that their Houses shall continue for ever, and their Dwelling-places to all Generations, Pfal. 49.6, 11.
I confess indeed Riches are really God's Blelling, and if rightly employ'd, may administer not only the Lawful Delights and Comforts of Nature, but the Means and Opportunities of eminent Virtue, as I shall afterwards thew. This great World, with all the Parts and Creatures of which ’tis Comipos'd, and the Plenty and Pleasures it affords, has an inherent Goodness'imparted to it in its Original Formation, whereby it may be useful to Man, both in the Support of himself, and the Service of God. There is no la. tent Contagion in the Nature of Things that are agreeable and delightful to our Faculties : Neither do they pervert the Minds of Men from any noxious Qualities of their own, but as they are corrupted by the Concupiscence and vicious Affections of those that possess them. The Poyson is not in the Floiver but the odoriferous Vapour is by the malignity of the Spider, converted into Venom, while the Bee draws Honey from it. Tis: evident both froin the Records of History, and the visible Instances of the present Age, that Holy and Virtuous Men have enjoy'd fair Estates, and all variety of Temporal BlefB 3
fings sings very innocently, and have become more Holy in themselves, and more Beneficial to others by such Enjoyments. But yet let our Young Gentry remem; ber, that the managery of great Wealth is so nice and hazardous, that in very many it occasionally prodụces much Evil, and sometimes becomes the most mischievous Instrument of Sin ; upon which account our Saviour stiles it the Mammon of Unrighteousness, Luke 16. 19. And daily Experience shews how hard it is for the Great and Rich not to pervert and abuse their Wealth some way or other; either by Arro gance and vain Glory, or by carnal Confidence, or by potent Injustice, or by Riot and Voluptuousness, or at least by an undue complacency in their possessions, and an immoderate Affection for them.
There are four Things, which create Difficulties to all Persons of what Rank soever, in embracing and practising Religion; and these are
The Depravity of corrupt Nature,
i The Temptations of Satan. The two first of these are as great Obstacles to the Young Gentry in their way to Heaven and Happiness, as they are to any other sort of People ; but the two last are greater.
1. They come into the World with the fame De pravity and Corruption of Nature, with which all the rest of Mankind are infected, and have the fame In disposition from within towards Holiness and Virtue, which others have. Those that are honoured for their Birth, and Blood, and high Descent from Noble Progenitors, are conceived and born in Sin, as well as the meanest of Human Race, and have by Nature the like Propensions to Eviland averseness to Good and the fame hard Task to resist and overcome those innate Propensions and Aversions. Every Son and Daughter of sinful Adam, hosvever dignified or distinguished in out
ward Respects, has a laborious and painful Work within their own Souls, to oppofe and withstand, to mortify and destroy the corrupt Inclinations, with which their Natures are polluted. Whoever, will be a 'Disciple of Christ, mult crucify the Flesh, with the Affe&tions and Lufts, and cut off the right Hands, and pluck ont the right Eyes that offend. He must abandon his most beloved Sins,and endeavour to extirpate even those Vices which are most Natural and Delightful. And as this is an irksom Employment, a kind of waging War against our felves, fo no Priviledge of Natural Birth, even where there is the highest Parentage, can either exempt any Chriftian from engaging in this difficult Warfare,or make it become more easy to him
2. As for vicious Customs, 'tis certainly as hard for the Sons of Nobles to break them off, as 'tis for the Children of Peasants; and the particular Habits which many of them contract, make it harder. Those that are born to great Estates, being many times bred up and indulged too long in Ease and Pleasure, get such Habits of Idleness and Voluptuousness, that they will not take the pains to overcome their evil Inclinations. And they are the more indisposed to all Earnestness of Endeavour in the Business of Religion, because they have not been very much accustomed to Labour or Diligence about any Matter. There are few thus de. licately Educated, that will give themselves the trou. ble to read a Book of Advice, or to hearken to any good Inftru&ion ; unless it be infinuated with great Artifice, and surprizingly convey'd, in the agreeable Vehicle of some ingenious Apologue, or witty Poem. Such Persons have hardly the Patience to consider the most important and weighty Counsel, or any thing else that requires Thought and Attention.
If we search into the Reasons, why fome People of Fashion are distinguish'd from their Inferiors, as much by their Vices, as by their Birth and Quality, we can of afçribe it to a greater Depravity of Nature in