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Man, that is put to his Shifts in his ftrait and indigent Condition, though he be honestly inclin'd, will find it no eafy thing to continue Juft and True, when he has an inviting Opportunity, Firft, To fupply his Wants by Fraud and Rapine; and then to defend his Title to his Stolen Goods by a falfe Oath. He will alfo 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 confiderable. The abundance of their Wealth and Honour frequently begets Pride, vain Confidence, Imperiousness, Oppreffion, Idleness, Luxury, Senfuality, Forgetfulness of God, Contempt of Men. They that fwim in a Sea: of Plenty, flowing with all the Enjoyments that the greatest Store and variety of Creatures can afford, are commonly fo taken up in the Fruition of them, that they have hardly room left for any ferious Thoughts of the Almighty Creator: And though it be a strange unnatural Confequence, it is often feen, that by the multitude of the Benefits, the Benefactor becomes the lefs Regarded. God made Jefhurun to ride upon the high Places of the Earth, that he 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 eat, 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 Jeshurun waxed Fat, he kicked, and when he was grown thick and covered with Fatnefs, then he forfook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his Salvation, Deut. 32. 13, 14, 15.
Both Ancient and Modern Inquirers into the Errors : of Mankind, have obferv'd, that many of the ungo+ vernable Paffions and Sallies of Youth, many of those extravagant Caprices, wild Fancies, and unreasonable Appetites, which infeft that Seafon of Life, Wither and Perish in the Embrio, where they are check'd by a narrow Fortune, and a mean Eftate: But where there: is Wealth to enliven them, that commonly Hatches B 1 and
and Fledges the unhappy Brood. Those Projects of Pleasure and Luft, Ambition and Vanity, foolish Amours, and uncontrollable Liberties, which are too of ten the Objects and Entertainments of young Minds, are apt to start out and flourish in the Sun-fhine of Earthly Grandeur and Profperity, and will carry on a Perfon in these Circumftances, unless he refolutely fuppreffes them, to higher degrees of Sin than can ordinarily be practis'd, by thofe in a meaner and obfcurer:
The poor Labouring People are kept from the Exceffes and Irregularities of a licentious and diforderly Life, by the emptiness of their Pur fes, the fmallness of their Stores, and the neceffities of their Condition. They are daily exercised under a fort of good Difcipline 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 Humble in their Behaviour, and more fparing and moderate in the gratification of their Appetites. But it is a Work of confiderable difficulty for a Rich Man, efpecially for a Rich Young Heir, to lay a juft reftraint upon his Defires, and contain himfelf within the Bounds of a Regular and Vertuous Life. His Paffions 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, that this World can afford; in the midst of so many and various diverting Objects, and in the full. Tide of his Youthful Inclinations, as it will. be hard for him to raife in himself any great Defire, or. fo much as hearty Willingness to exchange his Earthly Paradife for the Heaven above, fo he will not easily difcern the Ufe and neceflity of thofe Graces and VirLues that qualify him to be an Inhabitant of that high
and holy Place. How many are there both Young and Old, that have little or no Senfe of their needing the fupport 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 feldom fee the ufe of dependence upon God, and daily imploring his Bleffing and Protection; but they make their Wealth their strong City and as a high Wall in their own conceit, Prov. 18. 11. As if their Station were fuch, that they could defy the common Events of Providence to reduce them to a mean Con dition. And when they thus trust in their Wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their Riches; as the Pfalmift fpeaks, their inward thought is, that their Houfes fhall continue for ever, and their Dwelling-places to all Generations, Pfal. 49. 6, 11.
I confefs indeed Riches are really God's Bleffing, and if rightly employ'd, may adminifter not only the Lawful Delights and Comforts of Nature, but the Means and Opportunities of eminent Virtue as I fhall afterwards fhew. This great World, with all the Parts and Creatures of which 'tis Compos'd, and the Plenty and Pleafures 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 Concupifcence and vicious Affections of those that poffefs them. The Poyfon is not in the Flower but the odoriferous Vapour is by the malignity of the Spider, converted into Venom, while the Bee draws Honey from it. 'Tis evident both from the Records of Hiftory, and the visible Inftances of the present Age, that Holy and Virtuous Men have enjoy'd fair Eftates, and all variety of Temporal Blef B 3
fings very innocently, and have become more Holy in themselves, and more Beneficial to others by fuch Enjoyments. But yet let our Young Gentry remem→ ber, that the managery of great Wealth is fo nice and hazardous, that in very many it occafionally produces much Evil, and fometimes becomes the most mischievous Inftrument of Sin; upon which account our Saviour stiles it the Mammon of Unrighteoufness, Luke 16. 19. And daily Experience fhews how hard it is for the Great and Rich not to pervert and abuse their Wealth fome way or other; either by Arrogance and vain Glory, or by carnal Confidence, or by potent Injustice, or by Riot and Voluptuoufnefs, or at least by an undue complacency in their Poffeffions, and an immoderate Affection for them.
There are four Things, which create Difficulties to all Perfons of what Rank foever, in embracing and practising Religion; and thefe are
The Depravity of corrupt Nature,
The Allurements of the World.
The Temptations of Satan.
The two firft of these are as great Obftacles to the Young Gentry in their way to Heaven and Happiness, as they are to any other fort of People; but the two laft are greater.
1. They come into the World with the fame De pravity and Corruption of Nature, with which all the reft of Mankind are infected, and have the fame Indifpofition from within towards Holiness and Virtue, which others have. Those that are honoured for their Birth, and Blood, and high Defcent from Noble Progenitors, are conceived and born in Sin, as well as the meaneft of Human Race, and have by Nature the like Propenfions to Evil and averfeness toGood,and the fame hard Task to refift and overcome thofe innate Propenfions and Averfions. Every Son and Daughter of finful Adam, however dignified or distinguished in out
ward Refpects, has a laborious and painful Work within their own Souls, to oppofe and withstand, to mortify and deftroy the corrupt Inclinations, with which their Natures are polluted. Whoever, will be a 'Difciple of Chrift, muft crucify the Flesh, with the Affections and Lufts, and cut off the right Hands, and pluck out the right Eyes that offend. He must abandon his most beloved Sins,and endeavour to extirpate even thofe Vices which are moft Natural and Delightful. And as this is an irkfom 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 eafy 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 Eftates, being many times bred up and indulged too long in Eafe and Pleasure, get fuch Habits of Idleness and Voluptuoufnefs, that they will not take the pains to overcome their evil Inclinations. And they are the more indifpofed to all Earneftnefs of Endeavour in the Bufinefs of Religion, becaufe they have not been very much accuftomed to Labour or Diligence about any Matter. There are few thus delicately Educated, that will give themselves the trou ble to read a Book of Advice, or to hearken to any good Inftruction; unlefs it be infinuated with great Artifice, and furprizingly convey'd, in the agreeable Vehicle of fome ingenious Apologue, or witty Poem. Such Perfons have hardly the Patience to confider the most important and weighty Counsel, or any thing elfe that requires Thought and Attention.
If we fearch into the Reasons, why fome People of Fashion are diftinguifh'd from their Inferiors, as much by their Vices, as by their Birth and Quality, we can not afcribe it to a greater Depravity of Nature in