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exceffive Lengths of Riot; who are prostituting their Reputation, and facrificing their Peace, to their Lufts; who are fapping the Foundations of their Health in Debaucheries, and fhipwrecking the Interefts of their Families, in their Bowls; and, what is worse, are forfeiting the Joys of an eternal Heaven, for the fordid Satisfactions of the Beaft, for the tranfitory Sensations of an Hour.. -O! ye Slaves of Appetite, how far am I from envying your inordinate Revels? Ah! little are you fenfible, that while Voluptuous ness showers her Roses, and Luxury diffuses her Odours, they scatter Poisons alfo, and fhed unheeded Bane*. Evils, incomparably more malignant than the Wormwood and Gall of the fharpeft Affliction.-Since Death is in the Drunkard's Cup, and worfe than Poiniards in the Harlot's Embrace, may it ever be the Privilege of the Man whom I love, to go without his Share of thefe peftilent Sweets †,
* Yes; in the Flow'rs that wreathe the sparkling Bowl,
Fell Adders hifs, and pois'nous Serpents roll.
Quam fuave eft fuavitatibus iftis carere!-In this fine Sentence quoted from St. Auguftine, there is much the fame beautiful Turn, and noble Sentiment, as in thofe Lines of Mr. Pope;
Count all th' Advantage profp'rous Vice attains, 'Tis but what Virtue flies from, and disdains.
ARUNDANCE of living Sparks glitter in the Lanes, and twinkle under the Hedges. I fuppofe, they are the Glowworms; which have lighted their little Lamps, and obtained Leave, through the Abfence of the Sun, to play a feeble Beam. A faint Glimmer juft ferves to render them perceivable; without tending at all to diffipate the Shades, or making any Amends for the departed Day. Should a Traveller, dropping with Wet, and fhivering with Cold, hover round this Mimickry of Fire, in order to dry his Garments, and warm his benumbed Limbs: Should fome unfortunate Rover, groping for his Way in a black and dark Night, take one of thefe languid Tapers, as a Light to his Feet and a Lantern to bis Paths: How certainly would both the one and the other, be fruftrated of their Expectation?And are They more likely to fucceed, who, neglecting that sovereign Balm, which diftilled from the Crofs; fly to any carnal Diverfion, to heal the Anxiety of the Mind? Who, deaf to the infallible Decifions of Revelation; refign themselves over to the erroneous Conjectures of Reason, in order to find the Way that leadeth unto Life? Or laftly, who apply to the Froth of this vain World, for a fatisfactory Portion, and a fubftantial Happpiness? Their Conduct is F 4
in no Degree wifer; their Difappointment equally fure; and their Miscarriage infinitely more difaftrous. To speak in the delicate Language of a facred Writer, "They fow the Wind, and will " reap the Whirlwind *."
To fay the Truth, the Pleasures of the World, which we are All so prone to dote upon; and the Powers of fallen Reason, which fome are fo apt to idolize; are not only vain, but treacherous. Not only a painted Flame, like these sparkling Animals; but much like thofe unctuous Exhalations †, which arife from the marfhy Ground,
*Hof. viii. 7.
+ I hope, it will be obferved, That I am far from decrying that noble Faculty of Reason, when exerted in her proper Sphere; and acting in a deferential Subordination to the revealed Will of Heaven. While She exercises her Powers, within these appointed Limits, She is unfpeakably ferviceable; and cannot be too induftriously cultivated.-But, when She fets up herself in proud Contradiftinction to the facred Oracles; when, all arrogant and selffufficient, She fays to the Word of Scripture, I have no Need of Thee: She is then, I must be bold to maintain, not only a Glow-worm, but an Ignis fatuus; not only a Bubble, but a Snare.
May not this Remark, with the ftrictest Propriety, and without the leaft Limitation, be applied to the Generality of our modern Romances, Novels, and of our theatrical Entertainments? These are commonly calculated, to inflame a wanton Fancy: or, if conducted with fo much Modefty, as not to
Ground, and often dance before the Eyes of the benighted Wayfaring Man. Kindled into a Sort of Fire, they perfonate a Guide, and feem to offer their, Service: But, blazing with delufive Light, miflead their Follower into hidden Pits, headlong Precipices, and unfathomable Gulphs; where, far from his beloved Friends, far from all Hopes of Succour, the unhappy Wanderer is fwallowed up and loft.
NOT long ago, we obferved a very furprizing Appearance, in the western Sky. A prodigious Star took its flaming Route through those Coasts; and trailed, as it paffed, a tremendous Length of Fires almost over half the Heavens. Some, I imagine, viewed the portentous Stranger with much the fame anxious Amazement, as BelShazzar beheld the Hand-writing upon the Wall. Some looked upon it as a bloody * Flag, hung out by Divine Resentment, over a guilty World. Some
debauch the Affections; they pervert the Judgment, and bewilder the Tafte. By dreffing up romantic Images, and forming extravagant Characters, widely different from Truth; they inspire unnatural Conceits; beget idle Expectations; introduce a Difguft of genuine Hiftory; and indifpofe their Admirers to acquiefce in the decent Civilities, or to relish the fober Satisfactions of common Life.
Some read, in its glaring Vifage, the Fate of Nations, and the Fall of Kingdoms *. To others, it shook, or feemed to shake, Pestilence and War from its horrid Hair.For my Part, I am not fo fuperftitious as to regard, what every Aftrologer has to prognofticate upon the Acceffion of a Comet, or the unusual Aspect of the Planets Nothing can be more precarious and unjustifiable, than to draw fuch Conclufions from fuch Events: Since they are neither preternatural Effects, nor do they throw the Frame of Things into any Disorder. I would rather adore that omnipotent Being, who rolled them from his creating Hand; and leads them, by his providential Eye, through unmeafurable Tracts of Æther: Who bids them, now, approach the Sun, and glow with unfufferable Ardors †; now, retreat beyond the utmoft Bounds of our Planetary Syftem,
Sideris, & terris mutantem regna cometem.
"The Comet in the Year 1680, according to "Sir Ifaac Newton's Computation, was, in its "nearest Approach, above 166 times nearer the "Sun than the Earth is. Confequently, its Heat
was then 28000 times greater than that of Sum46 mer. So that a Ball of Iron as big as the Earth, "heated by it, would hardly become cool in 50000 "Years." Derh. Aftr. Theol. p. 237.