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The Gentlemans CALLING

[...] 1. Cor. VII. 24

LONDON Printed for Tim; Garthwait 1660

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Reputation

‘When I prepared my Seat—The Aged Stood up
Princes Layd their hand on their Mouth.’
Iob. Chap. 29. ver. 7. 8. 9

Nobility
Religion

The Gentlemans CALLING

Former Felicityes

‘—The Lillies—They neither Toyle nor Spin & yet Sollomon &c.’

LONDON

Printed for T. Garthwait at the Little North-doore of S. Pauls 1660.

THE PREFACE.

1. THe Authority of Cu­stom hath so much a more general praeva­lency then that of Truth; that he that shall adven­ture to assault that with this, may be thought not to have well digest­ed the prudent Caution of our Sa­viour, Luk. 14. 31. To sit down and consider whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him, that cometh against him with twen­ty thousand; for doubtless such, and much greater is the ods between the Abettors of these two Litigants. And to the imputation of this un­wariness [Page] I cannot but foresee the present designe very lyable.

2. GENTILITY has long since confuted Jobs Aphorisme, Man is born to labour, and in stead thereof, has pronounced to its Clients the Rich mans Requiem, Soul take thine ease, eat drink and be merry. A Gentleman is now supposed to be onely a thing of pleasure, a crea­ture sent into the World, as the Leviathan into the deep, to take his pastime therein (and the bet­ter to compleat the Parallel to de­voure his underlings too) and then 'twill be no wonder if it be ad­judged a ridiculous soloecisme to attempt to define his Calling, whose very Essence is thought to consist in having none. Nay perhaps it will be deemed not onely absurd but mali­cious, a Levelling project, of rob­bing him of his Birth-right, of de­grading [Page] him from those priviledges, which belong to his quality, and of moulding him again into that vul­gar Mass, from which divine Pro­vidence and humane Laws have di­stinguished him. But from this jealousie I dare trust the ensuing leaves to be their own vindicators.

3. I have been no unconcerned (much less insulting) spectator of the depressions the Gentry have fallen under in these latter years, but have pay'd them my just tribute of compassion, yet I confess, I think those scarce worthy a regret, in com­parison with those voluntary de­scents, too many of them have made from true worth and virtue. 'Tis sure a far less deplorable spectacle to see a Gentleman spoiled of his Fortune by his Conscience, then his Luxury, & to behold him under the stroke of the Headsman, then un­der [Page] those more infamous Executi­oners, his Lust, or Intemperance. Yet I fear if the Martyrologie even of these suffering times were scan­ned, Venus and Bacchus would be found to have had many more Mar­tyrs, then God and Loyalty.

4. But I confess it an imperti­nence thus to balance the two mis­chiefs of doing and suffering ill, since 'tis certain the latter is to be resolved into the former, and has no existence of it self, but what it derives from that. Punishments are but the results of sins, and therefore whatever Malignity is in the Effect, becomes intirely charge­able upon the Cause, and we are to look upon our Vice not only as our greatest, but our only unhappiness. This Consideration shews us the source of all our sufferings, and is it self no less obvious, then those; [Page] though one would think it as con­cealed as the head of Nilus, that should only observe how many other Originals of our Calamities are as­signed, whilest this is scarce dreamt of. This Jonah is suffered to sleep securely in the ship, while her more innocent fraught is cast over board, Jon. 1. 5. Every the least sparkle from without is charged as an In­cendiary, when alas, like Aetna, our own bowels send out that fire, which has so neer reduced us to ashes. But as in Diseases we ac­count the discovery of the Cause the first and most necessary step to the Cure, so certainly is it here, the con­viction of our guilt is a most indi­spensable preparative towards the ease of our Pressures, and we must be heavy laden in the Christian sence, Matth. 11. 28. before we shall cease to be so in the Civil.

[Page] 5. But I fear men proceed in this affair rather like Mountebanks then good Physitians, use some palliating Medecines to allay the Effects, or perhaps Anodynes to stupifie the patient, and wholly neglect the root of the malady. Nor do I appropriate this error to the Gentry, 'tis too visible that all sorts and qualities have too just a claime to it, to let any one go away with the inclosure: But because the pre­sent design makes them my peculiar Province, I shall, waving all o­thers, address my self at this time to them onely, with this most pas­sionate request, that they would not use that cruelty to themselves, for which Amalek stands branded to­wards Israel, Deu. 25. 18. By their persevering impieties smite and destroy those feeble and faint re­mains of their former felicities, [Page] but that they would now at last seriously advert to this their so great and important concernment, and pitch upon the true Achan, that has thus long troubled their Israel; and that being done, that story directs the next step of the Process, even the bringing him to execution, cutting that off, which will else in­fallibly bring down a fatall excisi­on upon themselves. Nor is this to be deferred, for alas the Disease is come to too great a height, too dan­gerous a Crisis, to admit any de­lay of the remedy.

6. When Egypt had smarted under a succession of miraculous plagues for deteining the Israelites, the Servants of Pharaoh importune him to release them, and conclude their advice with this Pathetique enforcement, Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? And [Page] God knows I may but too properly give the same edge to mine; For alas, Gentlemen, are not your E­states wasted, your Priviledges vio­lated, your Splendors eclipsed, your Persons restrained, your Families broken and shattered, your Digni­ties trampled upon by the meanest of the Vulgar, and finally your selves quite transposed in your station, now made the Tail who were once the Head, Deut. 28. 44. And is it not yet time to dismiss those Sins which are the Authors of all this? If you are still of Pharaohs minde, and re­solve to retain them, you are certain­ly no less obstinate then he, but much more irrational: he had somewhat of visible advantage to tempt him to detein the Israelites, they were his Slaves, wrought hard at his work, built him Cities. But how far is that from the case here, they are not [Page] your Slaves, but your Task-masters, which you are so unwilling to part with, those that set you to the vilest and most servile drudgeries, and are so far from bringing you in profit, that I may boldly make the Apostles challenge, Rom. 6. 21 What fruit have you had of those things? and doubt not the only account you can bring in of your harvest, must be the Inventory of your miseries; we are witnesses of many Houses, ma­ny Cities they have demolish'd and laid waste, but we have no structure of theirs to shew, but a Babel of confusion.

7. But alas, these your secular Ruines are but their modest and petty outrages, Take another view of them, and it will like Eze­kiels vision, Ezekiel 8. 6. pre­sent you with more and greater abominations then these, even [Page] the abomination of desolation in the holy place. Your sins have not only desolated your own houses, but Gods: That Beauty of his Ornament which he set in Majesty, Ezek. 7. 20. hath by these your de­testable things been exposed to spoil and pollution; we are not yet grown so old in our miseries as to have out-worn the aggravati­on of remembring our happier estate, and how sad, how wounding a contemplation is it to compare the past and present condition of this Church? When the Temple was rebuilding, the joy of that restaura­tion could not suppresse the grief of those who remembred the so much more Glorious Fabrick of the first, but they layd the foundation in their tears, the text sayes, They wept with a loud voice, Neh. 3. 12. But what teares, what ejulations can be [Page] bitter or loud enough for us, who are to lament not partiall and imperfect repairs, but totall ruines and vasta­tions, that see the materialls of our Sion now reduced to dust and rub­bish, who once saw them happily compacted, built together as a City at unity in its self!

8. And while we thus remember Sion, and are our selves by the wa­ters of Babylon, 'tis sure but proper we sit down and weep, bid, as those Captives Ps. 37 a solemn Adieu to all entertainments of joy and plea­sure; and would God we all, particu­larly you to whom I now speak, did as exactly parallel them in this sad and pious resentment, as we do in the motives of it, that so your quar­rell to sin might be accended to its full height, as that which robs you not only of your spiritual, but (that which many of you have more gust [Page] of) your carnal joyes also. Tis your sins, I would I could say, yours a­lone, which have been the persecu­ting Sauls, that have thus made ha­vock of the Church; The Securi­ties, Profaness, and Licentiousness of your prosperous dayes made the first breaches in her walls, and now the Impenitence and Incorrigibleness of your calamitous, like the Edo­mites, cry down with her, down with her even to the ground. 'Twas among the Jews a Capital Guilt to curse a Parent, and shall it now pass for an easy, or no crime, not only to curse, but destroy our common Mo­ther, to abette and maintain those Troops which thus defie, yea invade her? O why should you not at last recall your exiled Pietie, and assume a holy and becoming indignation against these her cruel her impla­cable Enemies?

[Page] 9. But this you cannot be supposed to do, whilst You arraign only other mens sins, and leave your own out of the Indictment. I doubt not many of you do with displeasure, perhaps more then enough, charge her ruine upon the immediate Instruments, ac­cuse the bold Intrusion of ignorant Teachers, of having depraved her Doctrine, Ambition & Envy of im­patient inferiours, of subverting her Discipline, the Pride and Faction of busie Spirits, of disturbing her Peace, the greedy Avarice of Sacrile­gious persons, of devouring her Pa­trimony; & these I shall not deny to have been the Weapons, that have thus mortally wounded her, but let it be remembred that these were wield­ed & whetted by the more general im­pieties, from whence they borrowed their destructive power, & therfore to transfer the guilt here, is but the [Page] artifice of slaying Uriah with the sword of the Children of Ammon, which you know acquitted not Da­vid from being a murderer. No, God knowes, here lies a Carcass of a poor bleeding Church, but which of you our Elders are qualified for the pur­gation the Law assignes in that case Deu. 21. 8. which of you can say, our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.

10. Yet the less capable you are of thus washing your hands in inno­cence the greater need you have to VVash them in Penitence, and therefore since as you are Sons to this Mother, the Office of A­venger of blood devolves on you. O bring forth fruites of repentance by discharging that part faithfully, drag out these Criminals which have taken Sanctuary in your breasts, and there dwell securely, as [Page] in a City of Refuge, and hew them in pieces, as Samuel did Agag before the Lord. And as your incentives to this are infinitely greater and more pressing, then in o­ther murders, so will the effects also vastly transcend those of Common Justice, that onely revenges, but this may repaire the mischief, recall the vitall spirits and reunite the scatterd limbs of this mangled body, such an Omnipotencie is there in sin­cere Repentance, that it is able even to effect a resurrection. O that you would be ambitious of working this Miracle, and by this pious Prodi­gie beget your Mother, that you would weep so long over her ashes, till that moisture had rendred them prolifical, and you see her spring out of her Urne.

11. This, this is your only way of reversing that extirpating De­cree [Page] which these Hamans, your sins have procured, and if You neglect this, Mordecaies menace to Hester, will be too applicable to you, if God in his unfathomable mer­cy should cause deliverance and enlargement to arise from some o­ther place to this poor desolate Church, Yet your selves can expect nothing but Destruction. If you have no sence of the desolations of Sion, no pitty to see her in the Dust, but still chuse to Cherish those impieties, which have brought her thither, yet even they will at the last avenge her quarrell, bring You those mi­series, the sence whereof it will be impossible for You to avoid, or extinguish.

12. For alas to represent your sins to you as the Originalls meerly of Temporall, whether Private or [Page] Publick Ruines, is to give you too faire and flattering a portraicture of them; these are but the light pre­lusory skirmishes to a more dismall Slaughter, the Prologue to the fa [...]all Tragedie; Take their fuller cha­racter from the Apostle, Ro. 6. 21. The end of these things is death, e­ven death eternall. It is our usuall comfort against the persecutions of men, that they can pursue us no far­ther then to the Grave, there, as Job speaks, the weary be at rest; But this Tyrant in our own breasts has no such limits to its malice, but then especially begins, when all o­ther cruelties cease, tortures infi­nitely by the g [...]wings of that worm which never dyes, and the scorch­ings of that fire which never shall be quenched.

13. And now who can sufficiently wonder at the Infatuation, that you [Page] should demurre upon the dismis­sing of so treacherous a Guest, that you should cherish this Vi­per in your Bosoms, which you alreadie feel cating your Bowels, devouring all your temporal Fe­licities, and yet takes those but in the way to your Heart, your more pretious and eternal part. Tis the common Maxime even of those that receive advantage by the perfidiousness of Others, to love the treason but hate the Trai­tor, but here is that Rule quite in­verted; you hate the treason, are impatient of the afflicting Con­sequences of your sin, yet love the Traitor, hugge that in your closest Embraces. The Apostle indeed for­warnes us of the Deceitfulness of sin, Heb. 3. 13. but sure this is a pitch beyond that, this is not deceit, but inchantment, some powerfull [Page] Philtrum it must needs be, that can thus make men in love not only with deformitie, but disease.

14. But all the Magicians of Egypt are not able to stand be­fore Moses, this Magick is not so irresistible, but that Reason and Religion will yield you counter­charmes, able to disenchant You, if You will but suffer them to come in to your aid. Do but once step out of the Devils Circle, the actual vertiginous pursuit of Your sinful appetites and give your Fa­culties some intermission, so much breath from that hot chase as may qualifie them for a calme conside­rate view of Other things, and then 'tis certain You will discerne that Vertue has a much more ra­vishing appearance, infinitely more delectable and enamouring, then all the Devils Opticks could put [Page] upon your highest and most gustfull sensualities. Do you only bestow some attentive looks upon her, let her once in at your eyes, and then leave her to make her own way to your heart. And this is sure a very moderate request, that you will but vouchsafe to look upon what is thus amiable, and with what pretence can you deny it; You who to gaze on those transitorie beauties which are only your snares, stick at no difficul­tie, will be content to come (those of you that have no other motives) even to Church upon that errand, O do not here put off your curiositie, where alone it may Availe You, but rather take this opportuni­tie of hallowing that (hitherto pro­phane) part of your temper.

15. It has been none of the De­vills meanest or unluckiest Arts to infuse prejudices into mens minds [Page] against Christian practise, by re­presenting it in the most averting formes, he changes shapes with it, and as he transformes him­self into an Angel of light, so he does this into one of Dark­ness, makes it appear a State of the most dismall sadness, and hor­rour, a region of Antipodes to all Joy and Cheerfulnesse. And how much more ready men are to take the Devill at his word, then Christ at his, who profes­ses his Yoke easy and his Bur­den light, appears too visible in the generall aversation those have to Piety, who never so much as tryed it, but take up implicite confused prejudices against it, and reteine those as fast, as if they were the products of many years costly experiences, and 'tis to be fear­ed these have taken the deepest root [Page] in the richest Soil, they seeming no where more to flourish, then among You of the highest Quali­tie, yet sure, of all others You are most obliged to eradicate them, they implying such a gross in­justice, as any ingenious minde must be ashamed of.

16. You will your selves readily pronounce, that Judge not onely corrupt, but impudent, that con­demns a person whose plea he ne­ver heard, yet if you will but re­flect, You will find your owne ver­dict rebound upon your selves, with a Tu [...]s homo, for 'tis evi­dently your case here. It is time for you therefore to be so just, if not to Vertue, yet to your own Re­putations, as to retract that con­demnatory sentence, you have past upon her, and put on so much at least of the form of Justice, as to [Page] give her a fair Triall. But this you cannot doe by hearing the tongues of men and Angels plead for her, none but her self can ma­nage her cause, you must admit her into your societie, and converse, take her into such a familiaritie, as may bring her within distance of your Observation, before you pronounce of her. In short if you will indeed render your selves competent Judges, whither a Vertuous life be a pleasant or a dismall thing, enter upon it, and let your owne experiences be your informers.

17. I cannot suspect the age so degenerous, as not to beleeve there are divers particular persons a­mong you, who have made the experiment, and to their Testimonie I dare appeal, and doubt not they will from Judges turne Advo­cates, and recommended it to you, [Page] and sure you will have no cause in this instance to wave your wonted Priviledge of being tryed by your Peers, to except against their judg­ment in the case, who being pla­ced in equall circumstances with you must be supposed to understand your utmost Temptations to Vice, from whence alone all the seeming difficulties and uneasinesses of Ver­tue doe arise.

18. It were the work of many Volumes to describe the severall distinct Advantages towards a pleasant Being, which are wrapt up in this one comprehensive Fe­licitie. I shall instance onely in that, to which the ensuing Tract particularly relates, and that is that it furnishes you with a suc­cession of very Agreeable and Cheerfull Imployments. Vertue is of a busie and active Nature, [Page] and as in its severall Operations it has an opposition to all the se­verall sorts of Vice, so in its very Constitution and Principle it beares an avowed Antipathie to that one fertile Seminary of most other Sins, Idlenesse; and sure the rescuing you from that is no contemptible Benefit. For though you seeme to challenge it as a considerable part of your Inheri­tance, that you may live and do Nothing, and are very tenacious of that Claim, yet, tis most evi­dent, that what you contend for, as your Priveledge, your selves esteem your burden, yea so much so, that to be rid of it, you cast a­way Estate, Health, Soul and all for Company, imploy your selves the most ruinously, rather then endure to be Idle; nay, quite confute your owne Pretensions [Page] to ease, by those laborious and toilsome Vices, wich you are fain to call Pleasures, to render them tolerable; but have certainly no pretence to that Title on any other score, but that they keep you doing.

19. And now what more grate­full Office can possibly be done for men in this Condition, then to shew them how they may free themselves of this load without contracting a worse; I mean the guilt of those sins which like Re­hoboam converts Whips into Scorpions, yet are now fain to be resorted to, as the onely in­struments of their relief. And this a Christian Life will be sure to do for you, It will constantlie provide you with innocent di­vertisements, nay much more, it will give You business, so excel­lent, [Page] and worthie the dignitie of Your Natures, so Noble and an­swerable to the Splendour of your Qualities, so every way agreeable to the aims of Rational Men, that You will have cause to acknow­ledge with Our Church, that Gods Service is perfect Freedom.

20. I shall not undertake to give you a particular view of all the Severals of those Emploi­ments; Those Precepts of the Gospel which assigne your Tasks, doe sufficiently informe You of the Nature and Excellencie of them, my whole Scheme is com­prised in that One, which directs an Attendance on that Calling wherein God hath placed men, and therefore I am to treat onely of those particular Duties which are incumbent on You as Gentle­men, and therein shew You that [Page] considered as such, You have a Cal­ling, and so free you of that reproach and miserie of being unprofitable burdens of the earth, and then e­vince to you also that that Calling is so far from implying any thing of reall toil or uneasiness, that it is on­ly an Art of refining and sublima­ting your Pleasures, rendring them more gustfull and exquisite and so will (if attended to) make good to you in earnest your mistaken pre­tence to a Life of sensuality and de­light.

Mr. Garthwait,

I Need not tell you with what success you published the Ex­cellent Treatise, The whole Duty of Man: It is your Feli­city to be again instrumental to the profit of this Church and Nation, by your Edition of these Religious and Prudent Instructions. And although the Address be not so Universal in this, as in the for­mer; yet this will have a large influence upon other Conditions besides Gentle­men: Their Converse, if reformed, will be exemplary, and operative upon others. A Gentry that would afford an obedient Ear to these Admonitions, and a Clergy that would to Piety and Learning, joyn Humility, Modesty, and Sobriety, will be the best Humane means to recover this sinful Nation, and oppressed Church, from the miseries, Spiritual and Civil, under which we now groan. So that the Argument is well chosen, and it is so managed, that I know not what a Reader that is somewhat morose can desire, [Page] which is not here. The Author keeps close to his intended province and design, his Reasons are sinewy and convincing, his Reproofs are severe and grave, yet pleasing; and they whom he chides, must needs love him. There is nothing in his Periods redundant or defective; he hath a Native Elegancy that invites his Reader; variety of Learning couch­ed, not vaunted; and a Perspicuity such, as will make his Reasonings appear to a weak Eye: A Manual which is enriched with all these Graces, shall (I trust) not onely be frequently and attentively per­used, but that it will lively affect, and sit close to the Reins, and penetrate the Heart of the Reader, especially that Reader for whom it is designed; and for this Blessing on the Gentry, it is our Duty to sollicite the Divine Goodness.

Your assured Friend H. H.

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IEREMIAH—13. 17. ‘—Mine Eye shall run downe with teares because the Lords, flock is carried away Captive—’

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ZEDEKIAH—Ier. 39. ‘-The Anointed of the Lord was taken in their Nets under whose shaddow we said we should live in peace &c - Lament: 4. 20’

The Gentleman's Calling.

SECT. I. Of Business and Callings in general.

1. HE that by sloth and improvi­dence dissipates and consumes that Stock which is properly his own, falls justly under the blunt censure of folly, and usually under the sharper and more smarting penance of poverty and want: But he that is but a deputed manager, if he neglect his depo­situm, is liable to a heavier weight both of ob­loquy and discipline: The weakness of the one may possibly meet with somewhat of pity; but the falseness and treacherie of the other is the object of an universal detestation, and is often­times very severely sentenced by those, who, if they would impartially reflect, would find themselves deeply involved in the same guilt.

2. God has placed Man in the world not as a Proprietary, but a Steward; he hath put many excellent things into his possession, but these in trust to be not only kept, but negotiated with, and by traffick improved to the use of [Page 2] the true owner: Yet herein dealing as a most bountiful Master by not only promising tran­scendent rewards in the future to his fidelity, but even annexing at the present (as to the Heifer that treadeth out the corn) a most li­beral subsistence, interweaving his Interest so with his Duty that the discharge of it is his onely means of being happy even in this world.

3. This certainly is the state of mankind in general; every (I mean Rational) person having something of this kind intrusted to him: No man that hath understanding, be that of a higher or lower size, but hath variety of abilities of one sort or other, and withal that actuating power, which should set them on work; and then surely he that hath not been excluded from the receits, must not pretend an exemption from the disbursements, the tasks, but is under a strict obligation of improving what he hath thus received, of bringing in fruit to the granary, as well in order to his own account and joy in the auditing of the harvest, as also to the glory of God from whom alone he derives (and must impute) both the seed, and irrigation, and the very increase. And he that on these grounds and according to these measures decently administers his pro­vince, sedulously attends his duty in this mat­ter, will find himself placed in such an active state of business, that he shall have little cause to suspect himself neglected, or forgotten by [Page 3] God and Nature, or placed in the world with­out a Calling.

4. From what is thus indispensably required of all men, no one rank or individual of that species can plead an immunity: And therefore till those whom birth, education and wealth, and the common d [...]alect of the world hath made known by the stile of Gentlemen, shall think fit to expunge the latter part of that title and disclaim the nature of men, as they are willing to do the duty, they must certainly re­tract this error, and acknowledge they have their shares in this common obligation.

5. Nay indeed if they could so far imitate the Prince of the morning, as to succeed to that rank which he was willing to leave, I mean to ascend above humanity and assume the nature of Angels, yet even thither would this pursue and overtake them. Among all the orders of that divine Hierarchy they would not find one patron or president of Idleness: For as the spirituality of their essence renders them more agile and active, so that activity is perpetually exercised in imploying the di­vine abilities they have received, to the glory of God the donor, and that not only in bear­ing a part in that Celestial quire which inces­santly sings his praises, but in the more labori­ous and servile offices of being ministring spi­rits, yea even to those to whom both in respect of nature and innocence they are [...]itely su­perior. And this they do with perfect alacrity [Page 4] and cheerfulness, thinking it their greatest honor and dignity to be thus busied; their re­gitive power over the world, saith Gerson, is not so suitable an ingredient for a Magnificat of their composing, as that greater dignity of receiving, and performing God's commands: An evidence how much the measures of honor differ between the Courtiers of heaven, and earth; the inhabita [...]s of that refined, and this gross region. Thus then the prospect lies be­fore the Gentleman; if he choose either to look level on the same nature with himself, or direct his eyes upward on that of the glorious spirits that encompass Gods throne, he will not in all the records of earth or heaven find ever a patent for sloth, any clause of exemption in this universal law.

6. Nay if this man in honor would bid fare­wel to his birthright, and become like the beasts that perish, Ps. 49. 20. if he could be con­tent, in pursuit of this one fancied priviledge of a Gentleman, to renounce all the real ones of a man, and make Nebuchadnezzar's punish­ment his option, yet neither the field nor for­rest could give him sanctuary, afford him any number of associates to aid, or but countenance him in his muting against this divine decree, they would rather be his tutors and monitors to obey it: For what rank even of the most sa­vage animals is there, which we can indict of the not imploying those faculties they have received? Are they not generally in a perpe­tual [Page 5] and regular motion to those ends for which they were created? in continual exeir­cise of those powers with which they are n­dued? yea some of them with such improve­ment to all their necessary purposes, that it hath raised a doubt whether they act by in­stinct or reason, by fancy or judgment: Py­thagoras is discernibly on their side; and A­ristotle that was less kind to them, seems by one saying to have yielded the cause, when of those creatures which he saith want reason, he confesseth that fancy supplies its place. I need not take part in this dispute; whatsoever their faculties or talents are, none can doubt of their use of them, or whether this their uninter­rupted obedience to the law of their creation reflects the proportionable glory on their Creator.

7. To descend one degree lower yet; The very inanimate creatures afford their consort to this divine harmony; every one of them perform those offices, fail not in the exercise of all those (not unactive) qualities God hath put into them: The Sun hath received a power of cherishing and enlivening terrestrial bodies, and it folds not up its rayes, but communicates and dispenceth them freely; the Earth has received a power of fructifying, giving sap and verdure to that which grows upon it, and it withholds not that vital moisture, but like a tender nurse sends it forth liberally to all that expect nourishment from her breasts; and so [Page 6] proportionably do all other parts of this great body; and that all this serves to illustrate the glory of that omnipotent wisdom which hath placed them in this so excellent a subordina­tion, is most visible without the help of a per­spective. When the Queen of Sheba saw the magnificence and regularity of Solomon's Court, she brake out into an admiration of his wis­dom: And surely a far greater occasion is mi­nistred to all those who contemplate the admi­rable order of the Universe, with all transpor­tation of soul to magnifie and adore the Divine Disposer of it, as we see frequently exemplified to us in the sublime raptures of the holy Psalm­ist, who never better approves his right to be called the sweet singer of Israel, then on this ra­vishing theme.

8. And now can it be fancied a priviledge and dignity, to be the one jarring string in this great instrument? to discompose this di­vine melody, and become the onely unprofi­table useless part of the creation? Shall those whom God hath made little lower then the Angels, subdue and debase their natures be­neath the very lowest rank of creatures? and shall this (not humble but) sordid exinanition be look'd upon with reverence, courted as a preferment? This certainly is such an absur­dity, as wants nothing to its confutation, but merely to be consider'd: And therefore if Gentlemen would but soberly reflect, there is little doubt but they would resigne at once [Page 7] their claim, and their value of this so defa­ming a piece of honor, so abasing an exal­tation.

9 We can let down our thoughts but one step lower, and that is into the bottomless pit; and from thence sure none will desire to fetch a president; yet if he did, even that black region could not afford it: For though it must be confessed, those accursed spirits accord not with the former instances, in respect of the end of their actions, yet they do in the activity it self; theirs is a busie state, though to an ill purpose; Sathan goes to and fro in the earth, Job 2. 2. and he walks about seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pet 5. 12. yea he imploys all his faculties too, makes diligent use of all that a­cuteness and dexterity which either his nature or experience have furnished him with, to­wards that end he pursues; so that it were a wronging, a calumniating even of the very Devil, to charge him with idleness; which though it be a sin which yields him such liberal crops, that he may well seek both to plant and cherish it in humane nature, yet he cannot offer such violence to his own, as to become an example of it.

10. We may hence make a measure, how scandalous, reproachful a thing this is, which neither Heaven Earth, nor Hell it self will owne, but is like an illegitimate birth, dis­claimed by all: How unreasonable, nay how infamous will it then be, for those to take up [Page 8] this exposed brat, to foster this vice in their bosoms, who have of all others the greatest and most particular obligation to detest it, as having received the most of those Talents which engage them to action. And that such is the Gentlemans condition, a slight inspecti­on will serve to demonstrate.

SECT. II. Of Varieties of Callings.

1. NOw since the universal obligati­on, which is incumbent upon all and renders it strict duty to have a Calling, rests upon this undenia­ble ground, that all men have received from God some abilities to actuate, some Talents to im­prove; it follows by all laws of inference, that those who have received the most of these, can of all others the least reasonably pretend to an exemption, but must on the contrary be acknowledged under the constraint of the stronger and more numerous ties, the general duty which herein lies upon all, extending and spreading it self into several branches, ac­cording to the quality and proportion of mens re [...]its.

[Page 9] 2. Hence it comes to pass, that mens call­ings and imployments become so various, not only by the free choices of the several men, but even by the direction and assignation of God and nature, because one man is furnished with an ability, which qualifies him for one sort of calling, another is by his distinct pro­priety markt out for another. And hence also it is, that those callings, which are distinct in several persons, may come to be united in one man, because the several abilities, which constitute those Callings, concurring in him, the duties must by unavoidable consequence do so also. This is in some degree observable in most men, who besides the general powers common to mankind, do receive some pecu­liar in order to some special end, and so are ob­liged not onely to those exercises which be­long indifferently to their whole species, but to those also for which they are individually qualified. Thus those whom God hath called to Christianity, are by that impowered for those performances which that holy profession exacts; and so have the calling of Christians superadded to the other, which either natural or civil obligation had laid upon them; so that the same man may have various callings, in relation to his differing capacities, un­less as we distinguish mens souls into the vegetative, the animal and the rational, which in stricter speaking may be said to be only di­vers operations of the same soul; so in [Page 10] truth what we terme several callings, be but the same comprehensive one, stretching it self in­to the several faculties of the person.

3. I need not attempt to evince the impro­priety of the phrase 'twill serve my end as well that they pass for several, and the appli­cation I shall make of it, is to shew those who are unwilling to heare of any Calling at all, that they have obligations indispensable to more then one. They have whatever can belong to them as men, they have also what belongs to them as Christians; and they have also a peculiar addition appertaining to them as Gentlemen, that is by interpretation, those who are distinguished from the vulgar, not only by empty names and aery titles, but by real donatives, distributed to them by God, as so many distinct advantages, fertile and pro­lifical abilities, towards the bringing him in his expected harvest of honor and glory.

4. It is too much to be doubted, many of them may need admonition concerning the two former of these callings; the duties even of men, much more of Christians being so farr worne out of practice, that they seem to be out of memory too, or if they be at all reflected on, 'tis with the same scorn that the antiquated habits of our forefathers are, as things fit only to dress a man up, an ob­ject of laughter and derision. But this would be too vast a Theme, and besides is superse­ded by the many pious labors of others; my [Page 11] purpose therefore is not to crea [...] at all of them, otherwise then they shall happen to be linked and interwoven, [...]s in many particulars they are, with the third that of the Gentleman

5. And here they need not fear that I mean to put the Spade or Hammer into their hands, to require them to become either Husbandmen or Mechanicks; my whole design is founded in their distinction from these, namely in those things; wherein either in kinde or degree they excel them. That many such things there are, they will need no Monitor at another time, when the Question is onely of the Re­verence and Respect due from such their Infe­riors: In such cases every one can m [...]ke large Scrolls and Catalogues (written, like [...]kiel's Roll, within and without) of his Advantages and Prerogatives, and stretch them to the ex­acting the very last mite of Tribute they can possibly pretend to But let them remember, that God is as jealous of his Ho [...]r, as they can be of their own; and therefore as th [...]y make those Pre-eminences, instruments of at­tracting Glory from those below them, so they must also of reverberating and returning it home to that divine Power above them, who bestowed them to that end, and will not final­ly be deluded; but if they will disappoint his primary intention, that of having his Grace glorified in their faithful managery of those Talents, they shall not be able to defeat his secondary, that of having his Justice mag­nified [Page 12] in the fatal doom of such slothful Ser­vants; if they will envy him the more agree­able satisfaction of bestowing rewards, they cannot defraud him of that (though inferior) of executing vengeance.

SECT. III. The Particulars of the Gen­tleman's Advantages above others.

1. BUt to dwell no longer on Generals, I shall descend to Particularize those Advantages, by which they are severed and discriminated from the vulgar, and which consequently by being peculiar to them, devolve on them an obliga­tion of a distinct Duty. And here I shall be careful to prevent dispute, and therefore take in none but what are so obvious, as to be uni­versally acknowledged; and then having my premisses granted, I shall hope they will not betray themselves such ill Logicians, as to re­sist or disclaim the Conclusion.

2. I begin with that advantage which they [Page 13] are earliest possest of, that of an ingenuous and refined Education; of which, I hope none that hath had it, will so far confute the Efficacy, as to despise and undervalue. What the Apostle urges in a higher Argument, Rom. 9. may be appliable here. Mens mindes are naturally of the same Clay, Education is the Potters hand and wheel that forms them into Vessels of ho­nor or dishonor; and though experience shews us, it is too possible for Men to deface those nobler Impressions which they have thus re­ceived, yet that makes it not cease to be in it self a most estimable Blessing, any more then that excellency of Gods Image wherein Man was created, could be defamed by his fall. It is certain, there is no Humane means more ef­fectual towards the refining and sharpning Mens intellects, giving them an edge and quick­ness, and that the more, because it takes them in that Age wherein their faculties are, as their joynts, pliant and tractable, and so capable of being by exercise improved into great de­grees, both of strength and activity. This Ad­vantage the meaner sort generally want, the expencefulness of such a breeding, sets it be­yond their reach: The indigence of whose condition, doth on the contrary determine their pursuits to that onely, which may bring them in a subsistence, fastens them to the Shop or Plough, and so leaves their mindes unculti­vated and unapt for those more excellent pro­ductions which the happier Institution of Gen­tlemen [Page 14] enable them for; as we see it observed by the Wiseman, Eccles. 38. 25. to the end of that Chapter.

3. A second Advantage is that of Wealth which to Gentlemen seems to be, as it were, rained down from the Clouds, both in respect of the plenty and the easiness of its acquisition Fair Patrimonies, large Inheritances descend on them without one drop of their sweat, one minutes toyl or sollicitude, as if they were the undoubted Heirs of the Israelites Blessings, Successors in their Canaan, who were to Possess Houses full of all good things which they fi [...]ed not, and Wells digged which they digged not; Vineyards and Olive-trees which they planted not, as it is D [...]ut 6 11. The Poet hath placed it in the front of his Inventory, the prime in­gredient in the compleatest felicity of this life, Res [...] [...]erta labore sed relicta; whereas on the other side the lower rank of Men fetch their meer necessaries out of the Earth, which be­ing, as it were, hardned and petrified by Adams sin, must be mollified and suppled with their sweat, before it will become penetrable, will not yield them food, but gives them also a portion of sorrow with it: They must first be torn with those Thorns and Briars which co­ver her surface, before they can fetch nourish­ment out of her Bowels, they must buy their Bread with their sweat, as if they had ingrossed the penalty of their first Fathers sin, whilest Gentlemen sweat onely by the engagement of [Page 15] their sports, or by the direction of the Phy­sitian, to digest their fulness of Bread, which every one must confess a sufficient inequa­lity.

4. A third is that of Time. This depends by way of consequence on the former; for God having made such liberal provisions for them, thus prevented them with the Blessings of his Goodness, they can have no need to employ their time to gain that, wherewith they already abound; and so being exempted from that one devouring expence of it, have a great stock to bestow on other more excel­lent purposes; whereas the poor Man hath scarce any vacant minute, or such as he can call his own; they are all forestalled by those press­ing necessities which lie unremoveable upon him; his day-hours are challenged by his la­bor, his nights by his rest; and the satisfying of these Claims so necessary, that his own support, perhaps that also of a numerous fa­mily depends upon it; and therefore he may not attempt to defeat them: So that if Time be to be accounted a Treasure, as undoubtedly it is, here is a second sort of Poverty to which he is exposed as a result of the former; and another manifest inequality between him and the Gentleman.

5. A fourth is that of Authority, by which I mean not that which belongs to those which are advanced to Publick Office; for that being peculiar to some few onely, will not bear a [Page 16] distinct part in my present consideration; b [...] I understand by it that more private influence which Gentlemen generally have on those tha [...] are their Dependents. And this also may be reckoned an effect of the former, their Wealth. For in proportion to that, the number of Ser­vants, Tenants, and Pensioners, (yea, perhaps of Friends too) is to be measured; and over all these they have somewhat (though not o [...] absolute despotical dominion, yet) of sway and prevalency. On the other side, the poor Mans authority is bounded within the narrow circuit of his little Cottage, being in effect no other then the propagation of that Pow [...] Nature hath given him over his own Body to those Branches that spring from it, hi [...] Children; and to that Cien which is ingraf [...] into it, his Wife: And if he shall but pee [...] out of this little Principality, attempt to in­large his Territories, and prescribe to any forreigner, he will soon be taught how little hi [...] power is acknowledged, and consequently a [...] how great a distance he stands in this particula [...] also from the Gentleman.

6. The fifth is that of Reputation and Esteem; which as the World goes is a shadow that waits only on the greater Bodies. Wealth and Honor, are the things that render any person considerable amongst Men, prepar [...] them with an aptness to embrace his Dictates to consider his Counsels, to transcribe hi [...] Copies; and though now it often falls out to [Page 17] be an unjust measure, yet perhaps it may have no unjust Original: For if such persons did make use of those advantages they have, to make their Mindes as rich as their Fortunes, this were but their due: And therefore if it be paid them upon this supposition, it is they onely that are guilty of the injustice, by de­feating the ground of it. But by what tenor soever they hold it, 'tis sure; it may be made an apt Instrument to many good purposes, and therefore well deserves to be accounted into the number of their advantages. But now if you look on the poor Man, you shall see him loaded with Contempts; from which, no in­ward Excellencies he possesses can rescue him. It is the observation of the wisest of Men, that the poor mans wisdom is despised, Eccles. 9. 16. So hated and scorned a thing is Poverty, that it seems the Fate of it is infectious, and casts reproach upon the most estimable things that cohabit with it The World is so full of in­stances of this truth, that we need go no higher then our own times; but if we should look back, we may finde one as ancient as Job, who in his own person experimented these distant effects of Prosperity and Adversity; while he was in a flourishing condition Men gave ear to him, and waited, and kept silence at his coun­sel. After his words, they spake not again, and his soul dropped on them, Job 29. 21, 22. But in the next Chapter we finde the Scene quite changed, and this reverenced and adored per­son [Page 18] is become a song and a by-word to the basest of men I shall readily acknowledge this in­jurious treating of the poor to be a great Bar­barism: But though there can nothing be in­ferred from it as de jure, yet its being so d [...] facto, proves all I am about to assert, vi [...] The great unevenness that is (in this instance as well as the former) between Gentlemen and their Inferiors.

7. Having given this Schedule of undeni­able Priviledges they enjoy, I shall before I proceed farther, beseech them here to make [...] stand, and sob [...]rly to consider whither it be imaginable, that God hath put so many excel­lent Instruments of Action into their hand [...] onely to make them less active. That were t [...] accuse the Divine Wisdom of such an unskil [...] kinde of managery, as the shallowest Huma [...] Providence falls not under. Will any of them be at the care and expence to furnish a Servan [...] with all Materials and Utensils for Work, with no other design, but that he may spend h [...] time either in sleep or riot. If they will not, [...] shall ask how they would like a Servant tha [...] should so absurdly pervert their intentions And according to the answer they give to that, leave them to conclude of their own accept­ableness, with their great Master; who no [...] onely in a single instance, but in an habitu [...] course behave themselves as preposterously. [...] cannot see how such a reflexion, if made wit [...] any seriousness, can miss of being attend [...] [Page 19] with a severe self condemnation, and then that [...]eing so proper a basis and ground-work, [...]hould me thinks by a kinde, even of natural [...]nergy, invite them to superstruct on it more Noble and Christian purposes; that they who [...]re so apt to expect Adoration from others, [...] willing to be Idolized, may not yet any [...]nger be willing to be indeed Idols (have [...]ouths and speak not, &c. Psal. 135, as many [...]nactive powers, as those have Organs) but [...]ay rather aspire to some degree of resem­ [...]lance to that Divine Essence, whose opera­ [...]ons are as Incessant as Excellent, and by an [...]intermitted Industry in employing those ad­ [...]antages God hath put into their hands, answer [...]s design in bestowing them.

SECT. IV. The Branches of his Calling founded in the first Ad­vantage, that of Educa­cation.

1. I Presume it is by this time rendred suf­ficiently evident, that a Gentleman hath a Calling; it is now seasonable to ad­vance, and shew what that is, and o [...] this the ground hath already been laid in the last Section by the enumeration of those pecu­liar Advantages he possesses; which being those Talents committed to his managery, h [...] Calling will be the most exactly anatomize [...] and distributed into its parts, by unfolding those several Branches of his Receits, and e [...] ­amining what improvements each of them [...] capable of, which as so many distinct Lim [...] make up the entire Body of his Calling.

2. This I shall do, not onely in the gro [...] but severally, through every one of them, an [...] shall take the liberty of doing it with the ad­dition of a double reflection; the one on t [...] contrary practice, the other on the pleasu [...] [Page 21] and satisfaction that will infallibly attend the discharge of this Duty.

3. I begin with that of their Education; the former part whereof commonly Com­mences as timely as the first Exercises of their Reason: It is so creditable a thing to have Children put into an early nurture, that there are few Parents so careless of their own repu­tation, as to neglect it, but do either by them­selves, or some others to whom they assign the charge, put them under such a Discipline as may break their natural rudeness and stubborn­ness, mould them into some form of Ci­vility, and teach them that first Fundamental Lesson of Obedience, on which all future In­structions must be built. And this is a huge Advantage, not onely towards the succeeding parts of Education, but towards the regula­rity of the whole life: For by having their Infant-Passions thus checked and bridled, they become more tame and governable ever after. The next part of Education, is Erudition and Instruction, and under a Succession of this they are for many years: Scarce any that owns the name of Gentleman, but will com­mit his son to the care of some Tutor, either at home or abroad, who at first instils those Rudiments, proper to their tenderer years, and as Age matures their parts, so advances his Lectures, till he have let them in to those spacious Fields of Learning, which will afford them both Exercise and Delight. This is that [Page 22] Tree of Knowledge, upon which there lies no interdict, which instructs not, as that in Ed [...] did, by sad and costly experience, but by fai [...] and safe intuitions, and may well be looked o [...] as a principal Plant in that Paradise, wherei [...] God hath placed this rank of Men.

4. These two parts of Education united qualifie a man for many excellent purposes. It will be impossible to enumerate all, becaus [...] a minde thus subdued and cultivated, must y [...] owe the opportunities of many actions to ou [...] ward circumstances and occasions, which be­ing various and accidental, can with no cer­tainty be brought into the account, but ab­stracting from these, there are divers more i [...] trinsick benefits, which nothing but a Ma [...] self can frustrate; and those alone I shall i [...] ­sist on.

5. First, a Man thus Educated, is better pre­pared to resist all Errors that may invade h [...] Understanding, his discerning Faculty is mo [...] nimble and agile, can suddenly surround Proposition, and discover the infirm and se [...] ble parts; and so is not to be imposed upo [...] by such slight Sophisms as captivate who [...] herds of the vulgar. This Advantage, it apparent he hath, and it is his duty to ma [...] use of it, to examine cautiously the grou [...] of an Opinion, before he give up his ass [...] to it, and not to betray his Reason, either [...] hi [...] Slo [...]h by neglecting to give it a compet [...] discussion; or to his Interest, by electi [...] [Page 23] Tenents rather by their profitableness then their truth. This certainly is the least that is supposeable to be required of them in this par­ticular, and sure it is so moderate an injuncti­on, as the most mutinous humor can have no temptation to quarrel at; For who could think him a severe imposer, who having fur­nished a man with a light to direct him through some dark passage, should onely require him not to blow it out?

6. And as he hath this Advantage in respect of his Understanding, so hath he in the second place, in relation to his Will; which though it be a free faculty, and consequently cannot be forcibly determined to any thing, yet it is capable of perswasions and inducements, and is usually bended and inclined by them; it must therefore be a fair step towards the rectifying of the Will, when the intellect is stored with Arguments and Incentives to goodness: And this Learning must be supposed to provide for, unless we will exclude out of the Scheme, both Morality and Divinity; for each of those will yield variety of such Arguments: Morality will present Vertue as perfectly amiable in it self, and so fit to be embraced for its own sake, and not onely so, but also as highly profitable and advantagious to us, as being that which gives the sublimest perfection to our Natures, the sweetest rest and tranquility to our Mindes; and in a word, a full satisfaction to all our Ra­tional Appetites: Divinity confirms all this, [Page 24] and superadds what infinitely transcends it, the assurance of those eternal and glorious rewards in another world; and these surely are such tempting allectives, as are very proper to attract the will to chuse what appears thus excellent, thus desireable, provided they be justly represented to it. And the doing that, the pressing these motives home upon the will, and that in refutation of all the contrary de­ceiveable pretensions of vice, is the first part of their obligation. But then there is also a second, and that is, that they permit themselves to be perswaded by such efficacious arguments, and actually conform their wills to these di­ctates of their understanding, that is, that they really and effectively be such men, as their edu­cation directs and requires them to be: Which being the work of their wills, 'twill be absurd to plead impossibility or infirmity, since 'tis manifest they may if they will; which is such a degree of liberty, as serves in all other in­stances to denominate a man a free agent, and such as all punishments and rewards both di­vine and humane are founded on

7. A third advantage is in relation to his Affections; which being the inferior and more brutish part of the man, are yet so impetuous and assuming, that they are very apt to usurp the dominion over the nobler faculties; and where they gain it, the event is answerable to what we see in States where the Common­people have wrested the Scepter, all is put into [Page 25] confusion. Now that which may prevent these civil broils in the soul, and secure the govern­ment to the proper Soveraign, may well be reputed an advantage And to this, nothing meerly humane is more conducing then Edu­cation. For first, that early discipline which we presumed, one part of it puts a bridle in the mouths of these headstrong passions, which by many repeated acts of restraint at last forget their native feritie, and become more calm and tractable. But then Erudition compleats this conquest, backs this unruly beast, and by a dextrous managerie not only restrains, but guides him, and makes him serve to many use­ful purposes, renders these mutinous Rebels not only captived Slaves, but good Subjects, obedient to the laws of Reason All this Edu­cation is of it self aptly disposed to do, if men will not take the Beasts part against it, en­courage him to plunge, till he have thrown the Rider. And all that is in this particular required of them, is but to hold fast those reins that are thus put into their hands, to keep their Affections in such a just subjection, that they may receive, not give laws. Thus we see the in­fluence which Education hath on all the essen­tial parts of a mans mind: And were it here so immured and closed up, that it could make no sallies at all thence; did the soul, like Gedeon's fleece, ingross all this precious dew; yet whilst that received such liberal infusions, it would irrefragably evince this to be no mean incon­siderable [Page 26] advantage. But it is indeed impossible it should be so confin'd; for if it be permitted to make these impressions within, as heat in the center fails not to diffuse it self to the cir­cumference, so certainly will it extend and manifest it self in the more visible effects, all the products and emanations of a mind thus regu­lated will own their original, bear the image of the [...]r parent.

8. And first his Behaviour will be affable and civil, not insolent and imperious; as one that knows humanity and gentleness is a com­mon debt to mankind, and therefore will not think fit to contract or dam up his civility into so narrow a compass, that it shall swell into complement, and mean flattery towards those above, and not suffer one drop to descend on those beneath him; but disperse its streams so, that all channels may be filled with it. 'Tis true, the depth of some will require a greater proportion to that filling, then others; and there 'tis not to be doubted but he may be more liberal; only in the mean time the shallower are not to remain dry: Let the inequality be such as proceeds only from the capacities of the Subjects, not from the partiality of the Agent, and he prevaricates no part of his duty in this matter.

9. S [...]condly, his Words will be temperate and decent, the product of judgment, not of rage: For he that hath calmed his passions hath nothing to betray him to rash, angry, or [Page 27] rude language; this is a foam which is cast up only by the billows of a turbulent tempestuous mind, and can never be the issues of a serene composed temper. To this it is but proporti­onable, that they be also weighty and material. A wise mans words, saith the Son of Sirach, are weighed in the ballance; and therefore he that hath improved his Education to that pitch of proficiencie, will surely look his discourse be such, as may answer that character, which must at the least suppose it to have something of solidity, no man ever attempting to put froth and bubbles into the scales: And not only so, but it must also presume it to have something of use and value; for, who ever takes pains to weigh what for its uselesness and meanness he intends to cast out as refuse? And both these qualifications are very essential parts of a Gentlemans dialect, the one opposed to light and foolish, the other to unseasonable discourse: For as the one hath nothing of weight (unless it be that of a burden to the hearers) so the other can have nothing of use, nor consequently of worth, that being to be measured by the aptness of it to the persons to whom it is addressed. It should be the en­deavor of those whom God hath endued with knowledge, to convey as much of benefit and instruction to others, as they can; in order whereunto 'tis necessary they adapt their speech to the capacities of those they treat with, otherwise let them discourse never so [Page 28] elaboratly, they will rather confound then edi­fie, and appear to affect more to boast, then communicate their knowledge.

10. Lastly, his Employments will be worthy and ingenuous. A Man that hath this inward Nobility of Minde superadded to that of his Birth, will abhor to busie himself viciously or impertinently; he hath those qualifications, which render him useful, and he must give himself those Exercises, whereby he may be­come the most eminently so. If by just autho­rity he be assigned to any publick charge, he is to embrace it cheerfully; not as a prize either to Ambition or Covetousness, but as an op­portunity of Vertue; a sphere wherein he may move the most vigorously in the service of God, and his Countrey. But this hapning but to few, it is necessary he have some other reserve of action, and such surely, he that in­dustriously designs it, cannot want, wherein though perhaps his influence will not be so general as in that, yet it may fall very auspici­ously on many; and when all those occasions are exhausted too, when all direct operations are at a stand, he may yet betake him to the reflex'd, imploy his activity upon himself, which will always remain a proper object of his Industry, he being, though a rich, yet still such an improveable soyl, as will incourage and reward his Husbandry, though never so often repeated. And now I shall presume it apparent, That Education is a most estimable [Page 29] Treasure, a precious Mine that contains so many rich veins. O, why should any that possess it, suffer themselves to be poor, meerly for want of diligence in digging out the Ore!

11. And would to God that were an imper­tinent complaint, such as none were concerned in: But they that look on the Manners of many that have had this happy Institution, will finde too great cause to wonder and be­wail, that so hopeful a Seeds-time should pro­duce so slender, nay, so degenerate a Crop: As if Jobs curse were here exemplified, Job 31. 40. Thistles to grow in stead of Wheat, and Cockle in stead of Barley. Plutarch tells us of a voyce frozen in the midst of a River, that became audible by the thaw, and applies it to Moral Precepts taught in youth, but actuated by age. The Simile speaks him to have lived in better times; for in these, the voyce dissolves with the Ice, leaves not so much as an e [...]ho be­hinde it. Men now make it the business of their riper years, to unravel not the follies, but the learning of their youth; no sooner are they got from under the Discipline of others, but the first act of it they exercise, is upon those notions which have been instilled into them: And here they are such severe Lictors, that the mildest infliction is to gag and binde them, de­prive them both of voice and motion; nor are they ordinarily satisfied with this, but as if they feared they would, like impatient Cap­tives, [Page 30] watch some advantage to break loose again, their final doom is Ostracism, they and their Linage; all sober Counsels derived from them, are utterly expulst, so totally rased out of their mindes, that not the least footsteps of them remain; and all this under the name of Pedantry, a title, which it is probable their great aversion to their Teachers, suggests to them, as the most pathetick reproach, as if they meant now to be revenged on Learning and Tutor together, for attempting to make them wise against their wills.

12. And now when the Root is thus stockt up, there is little expectation of Fruit; and therefore he that shall here look for those fore­mentioned effects of Education, will be more disappointed, then Christ seemed to be by the Fig-tree, That, though fruitless, yet afforded leaves; but here we are not to hope for so much, no sign that ever there was such a plant in the soyl: Let us briefly review those seve­rals, and see what of them is ordinarily to be met with.

13. And first for the resisting of Errors, we usually finde Gentlemen, no Heroes in this point, their Understandings are as pliant, as seducible, as those who never had their means of fortifying them; and if they do indeed re­ject Errors, it is commonly by the same Engine, wherewith they cast off Truth, viz. Their inconsideration of both, as not being able to endure so much seriousness and intention of [Page 31] minde, as may serve to enter them of any opi­nion: They have transplanted their discerning faculty from their Intellect to their Senses, and find it there so full, so incessant imployment, that it can never be at leisure to revert to Scholastick disquisitions. They can discern ex­actly the most minute error in their garment, hold their Artificer most rigidly to the Laws of the Mode, are most exquisite Judges in all that relates to vanity or pleasure, and can they ever think fit to trouble their heads (whose least Lock must not for a world be disturbed) with abstruser speculations, who have found out so much a more easie exercise of their faculties; if any shall think this character partakes of the Satyre, I shall beseech him to compare it with the true state of our young Gallants in this point, and then upon the same account that cold and scanty praises go for detraction, I shall expect this very imperfect and partial ac­cusation may pass for Panegyrick.

14. Next for the regulation of their Wills, that advantage depends so much on the former, that of their Understandings, that what evacu­ates that, must necessarily be supposed to doe the same for this also. It is not imaginable that he who hath defaced all his principles, whether moral or divine, or at least never revolves or considers them, should receive any influence from them, since they operate not but by a distinct application. And here should I ask many Gentlemen, when they ever so much as [Page 32] attempted any thing of this sort, I feare they would be forced to quarrel at the incivility o [...] the question, to evade the necessity of answer­ing it; But God knows their actions speak too loud, that their business is to obey, no [...] prescribe; to fulfill, not regulate their wills, Nay indeed 'tis too frequent, that instead o [...] conforming their wills to their principles, they model and transforme their principles to their wills, herein verifying Aristotles observation that Pleasures are corruptive of Principles and so by this one art of inversion, the face o [...] things is quite changed; Vertue which their books represented to them as lovely and hono­rable, is now thought to have gained that lustre only by the flattery and varnish of the painters, and so is decryed as the most unami­able, despicable creature; and on the other side, all the contrary vices are taken from under that black veile, Philosophers or Divine [...] have put upon them, and are furbished and trim'd up, set to open view, as the most splen­did, glorious things, the most adorning accom­plishments of a Gentleman.

15. And to secure this transmutation, even God himself must have his part in it, be con­cluded to have bin all this while misrepresented in those characters of Purity and Justice, his word has made of him, and to have laid no such severe restraints upon men, as that tell [...] us of. That Temperance, Chastity, Self-denial Mortification, &c. were but the creations of [Page 33] some melancholy Recluses, who would then enviously impose those bands upon others, wherewith they had foolishly fetter'd them­selves, that God is more indulgent to Mens ap­petites, which they may satiate here, as they please, without those future dangers Preach­ers fright them with. That this is the new Gentile Divinity, we need not appeale to Mens lives, their words openly proclaiming it, not without much scorn and contempt of their easie simplicity, who govern themselves by the other; yet as if this would not sufficiently provide for impiety, as if they were conscious of that absurdity, which indeed there is in de­fining God an abettor and favorer of vice, many have advanced a step higher, taking a more compendious course, and since they can­not bring God over to their party, make him such as will serve their turn, will unmake him, by becoming flat Atheists; Of this there are too too many instances, and 'tis to be feared will be many more, whilst to all other sensual alurements that opinion makes to its Proselites, this is added, that it is become a creditable thing, the badge and signature of a modern Wit, thus to be one of Davids fooles, in saying there is no God.

16. In the next place, let us descend to the Affections, and see what effects of their edu­cation is discernible there. And truly tha [...] seems to be no other, then what is observable [...] of a dam, put to intercept the course of some [Page 34] rapid streame, which so soon as it is either re­moved or borne down, the torrent gushes with so much the greater violence for having had that opposition; so here when the re­straints, which bridled their minority, are ta­ken off, their passions swell to a higher degree of impetuosity, they cease to be boyes and men together, the Man is dismounted, looses the reins, and is dragg'd whither the fury of the beast directs; A sad change, yet daily too visible in many, for alas what is more ordinary then to see Gentlemen, under the dominion of these brutish appetites; sometimes transpor­ted by a Rage to the greatest Undecencies, nay Dangers; sometimes hurried by a Lust like the possest person. Mar. 9, 22, through fire and water, the most desperate distructive attempts, and have nothing but rottenness and disease as the final prize of all those difficult adven­tures; sometimes drowned in swinish Intempe­rance; and sometimes again intombed in the Earth, buried as it were alive by fordid cove­tuousness, as if they meant to transcribe though not the innocence, yet the sufferings of the Primitive Christians, in being torne in peeces by wild Beasts. Oh, that they might once be brought to relinquish this absur'd fortitude, that those who laugh at the precept of turning the other cheek, Mat. 5. 39 would not here infinitly over-act it; and give up themselves to be [...]uffeted, yea slaughter'd by these their cruellest Enemies, nor be such Platonick lovers [Page 35] of Martyrdom, as to chuse only this, whereto there is no Crown annexed, but what is worne in the Kingdom of darkness

17. And now since we are thus to seek of these inward effects, we can with no reason hope for any of those outward, which are the results and consequences of these. And then 'twill be no wonder to observe Gentlemen be­have themselves disdainfully and imperiously, as if they could not set a just value on them­selves, without the unjust contempt of others. 'Tis true indeed, this is commonly a Wind that blows but one way, down the hill, onely upon those below them, upwards they breathe gentle gales; it being one of their most studied fa­culties, to perform all acts of the most super­erogating Civility to those above them; but when that Civility is throughly scanned, it will prove a greater injury then the contrary Rudeness; 'tis made up of such hollow pro­sessions, such gross flatteries, as are much worse then reproaches, nay seldom fail to be actually seconded with them; there being nothing more usual, then to revile and deride those at a distance, whom, when present, they admire and adore. And these now become such es­sential indispensable parts of good breeding, that the want of either inevitably betraies a man to the title of a silly Rustick; Flatteries and Despisings being the two contrary ele­ments, whereof he whom they call a Fine Gentleman, is to be compounded.

[Page 36] 18. This gives an account also of some part of his Dialect, which thus far answers little to those requisite qualifications, Weight and Usefulness; there being nothing more trivial or useless, then these two parts of conversati­on, and 'twere well if no worse epithers be­longed to them. But if we look also into the rest, they will ordinarily appear to carry pro­portion with these: 'Tis every mans observa­tion, that no spring will rise higher then its first head; And then words being but the issues of the Mind, where that wants the ballast of sober and vertuous Notions, 'tis no wonder if the discourse be light and aery. 'Twere easie to exemplifie in the several sorts of it adapted to the several humors of men; but 'tis also so needless, that the copy would be too exact by transcribing the impertinence too. But what such frothy discourse is naturally, the most serious may become by accident: And thus we see it the infirmity of some, who so far re­tain their Education, as to have their Minds better replenished, to vent their plenty so un­seasonably or affectedly, that it produces no­thing of benefit to the hearers, but rebounds injuriously with the aspersion of vanity upon themselves.

19. But such is the misery of this Age, that it were a fair composition, if Gentlemen could be perswaded to reduce their Discourse only to a privative sort of Illness; 'twere somwhat tolerable, if as on the one side they did not [Page 37] minister grace, Eph. 429. so on the other they did not breathe infection on the hearers. But alas, what are all those profane scoffings at Piety, so frequent among them, but as so many blasts and malevolent vapors to nip and de­stroy the practice of it; and so we see it too commonly does among those whose greener resolutions set them not above their malignant influence. How does their immodest and ob­scene talk disperse and scatter their own im­pure fires, to the inflaming of others! and whilst they inscribe upon these Poisons the in­viting names of Ingenuitie and Esprit, they do not only tempt men greedily to imbibe them, but even defame and prostitute that Wit they pretend to, render it a Wilderness for all savage rudeness to range in, and make as many Candidates for that reputation, as there are impious and bestial men in the world. And to this sort of Wit they have found out a very proportionable Rhetorick, I mean that of their Oaths, that hellish piece of Oratory, which so overspreads their language, that (like a prosuse Embroidery that even quite hides the Stuff) it becomes the most remark­able part of it. 'Tis not a little strange how this foulest deformity hath gotten to pass for an embellishment and ornament of Stile; but that it doth so, is very visible not only from the no pretence of other temptation to it, but also from that affected and studied variety ob­servable among them, as if they had the same [Page 38] concernment for their Discourse, which they have for themselves, viz. that it may every Year appear in some new piece of Dress, have some Oaths fresh minted to set it off.

20. To all these we may add their vain Boastings and Assumings, which are often so deplorably ridiculous, that 'tis doubtful whe­ther more of pity or contempt belongs to them. Thus oftentimes, he that has but crost the Seas to fetch a Feather and fantastick Meen, brags more of his Travels, then if he had pass'd the Line, and felt the scorchings of the Torrid Zone; and upon the strength of this he takes authority to impose on others the most absurd and incredible Relations; yet still imposing more perniciously on himself, i. e. a belief that he appears very illustrious and glorious in all this, and on that confidence the smiles which his auditors mean in scorn, shall be taken in applause of him, and so encourage those follies they deride.

21. Indeed where this vain humor dwells, it will betray it self in innumerable indecencies of speech; but never does it give it self a fuller or worse character, then when it lets loose to anger and rage, one of the most genuine and fruitful branches of this bitter root. And this we frequently see overflow in all the invenom­ed reproachful language imaginable, such as one would wonder should fall from the mouth of any, whose education had not been wholly barbarous; An inverted kind of Eloquence, [Page 39] whereto some who have been taught the rules of better Rhetorick, have a great fluencie.

22. If now we should proceed to take a view of their Imploiments, there is little doubt but that Tekel Dan. 5. 27. might be a proper inscription on them, yea a mild one too, Light­ness and Vanity being many times the most innocent ingredient in them: And this is but a natural inference from the former; for since the Principles of Actions as well as Words is within, it will certainly operate alike in both; as water sent from one fountain through seve­ral pipes, is the same, and hath equal vertues or faults in each. It were too easie to give as particular an account of these as the former; but foreseeing an occasion to do that in an­other place, I shall transfer it thither, as not desiring to iterate the importunity on so un­grateful a subject.

23. And now he that shall consider, that all this is the but partial image and representation of those, who have had that Education we so much magnified, will sure be tempted to ask Judas's question, Ad quid perditio haec? Why was all this waste of Discipline and Lite­rature? to what purpose was so costly a foun­dation laid, when the superstructure is in the Apostles phrase 1 Cor. 3. 12. nothing but hay and stubble? And I doubt many defeated Pa­rents have cause to make this complaint; but I fear also divers of them may with justice accuse themselves as Accessories to their own [Page 40] disappointments, who by an overhasty desire of seeing their Sons men, do at once anticipate and frustrate their hopes, evacuate the benefit of many years Education, by taking them too soon from under its benigne influence; which though it usually spring from immoderate in­dulgence, is yet really the greatest severity: For what can be more so, then to tie them to all the labor and toil of the Seeds time, force their Childhood to that Study and Intention of which that giddy age is most impatient, and then snatch them away at the Harvest; suffer them to converse no more with Learning, when once they grow capable of receiving either delight or profit by it? Thus of late it hath been the method of Breeding, to post them with an inconvenient speed from one Stage to another, many times bringing them too soon to the University, but much oftner taking them too early from it, before they have near gained what they came thither to furnish themselves with; and from thence the next step is over the Sea, which soon washes away those Notions, which lie crude in their brains, but have wanted maturity of years to digest into their manners. Indeed 'tis not imaginable how they should retein them, they being at their coming abroad solemnly put in a direct course of forgetting speedily what they for­merly learnt, their whole time being then by order to be taken up in other unspeculative Exercises, wherein if they do happen to attain [Page 41] to some eminencie, yet 'tis sure but a dry ex­change for what they quit for it: But then 'tis not one in twenty, that arrives to that; the negligence of Governors, or their own headi­ness, when they find the rein thus slackned, often makes their progress little in any thing they are appointed to; but in stead of that, they run a full carere in all debauch Pleasures, advance there in an instant to the highest pro­ficiencie. I say not this to decry Travelling in general, but only the unseasonable time that is chosen for it: He that would really improve his Son by that means, should send him at such a mature age, when by the help of his fore­going education his Judgment is setled, and qualified to make useful observations, his Manners well weighed and fixed, that so he may be capable of all the good Foreign climes can afford, and secured from the infection of the ill; like a Loadstone, attract things of weight only, and not, like Jet, draw nothing but chaff and straws. But I confess this a di­gression, and therefore return to those who have thus embezled this precious Advantage, (and who have too much of their own wills in it, to be able to transfer the guilt upon any error of their Parents) beseeching them seri­ously to lay to heart this their so ruinous ill husbandry, and to let at last some better fruits of that seed appear; Not to suffer a Piece of Plate, left to the School or Colledge, to be the onely Testimonials that ever they were there, [Page 42] and so bring those societies under the reproach of extortion, or fraud, of professing learning, but imparting none, of having taken some thing from them without giving them any va­luable consideration, making them any pro­portionable returnes. But that they would at last take up this Talent thus long buried in the napkin, and yet fall a trading with it; and though the time they have lost should render them desperate of the reward of the Ten Cities, 'tis yet motive enough to industry, to rescue themselves from the sentence of the Slothful servant, and yet that will not be all, for there being no middle state be [...]ween re­ward and punishment, he that delivers him­self from the one, puts himself likewise into a certain capacity of the other. But besides all, he is to expect hereafter, he is sure at the time of a very faire Antepast of pleasure here which he will immediatly reap from it, as the first fruits of the future rich harvest, which though the Law commanded to be sacrificed, yet such is the indulgence of the Gospel, that it exacts nothing, but that men would themselves enjoy them.

24. For such is the admirable goodness of God, that he is generally pleased to adapt his commands not only to our Eternal, but Tem­poral concernments, for knowing the impati­ence of our nature, that we love not to de­pend wholly upon reversions, he hath bin plea­sed to put somewhat of present gust and relish [Page 43] upon every part of duty This might be evi­ [...]enced distinctly through the whole Codex of Christian Precepts, his Yoke is an easie, nay [...]racious Yoke; his burden, a light burden, Mat. [...]1. 28. and from this general ground, I may have Warrant sufficient to affirm the like of [...]his particular I am now upon. But it may be yet more clearly evinced, by reflecting on the [...]everal improvements of this Talent, which have bin mention'd, as the Duty of all those that possess it.

25. And first, for that of an acute and ele­vated Understanding, I need appeale no fur­ther then to common Vote, to have that pro­nounced a very desirable thing, it being hard [...]o pick out a man of such an avowed bruta­ [...]ity, that will own the despising it; even those who will be at no pains to acquire, will yet profess to esteem it, and we may beleeve them [...]n earnest, if from no other argument, yet from this, that every man affects the reputation of being Wise, is pleased when he succeeds in that aime, and on the contrary is not more troubled and discomfited at any thing, then to be taxed of Ignorance or Error. If any shall deny this, [...] shall suspend his confutation, till some body reproach him with folly, and then from the displeasure he finds in himself, leave him to conclude his own value of Wisdome; and in­deed why do good men look upon a foole with so much pitty, and ill men with so much scorn, if knowledge be not both a Felicity and a Cre­dit. [Page 44] Nor is this the sentence only of the vulgar who usually admire those things most, from which they stand at the greatest distance, b [...] especially of the more discerning sort of me [...] who from every tast they have had of it, hav [...] had their appetites so raised, that they hav [...] insatiably thirsted after the fuller draughts, th [...] made so many of the old Philosophers renounce the injoyment of those sensual Pleasures, th [...] offered themselves, to go in quest after this on [...] transcendent delight, and Solomon to prese [...] this in his election before Riches and Honor the two principal parts of worldly splendo [...] to the rectitude of which choice God himself beares Testimony. And now if this be in [...] ­self so valuable, so ravishing a thing, shall its being here connected with duty, prove such an allay, as to deprive it of all the gust; cer­tainly if it doe, it must argue the palate ver [...] perverse and distemper'd; for to all other, tha [...] one consideration would give a relish and fla [...] ­vor to the dryest, the most unpleasant under­taking: The conscience that I am now imploy [...] ­ed as I ought is such a refreshment as is able to sweeten the severest labor, yea the greate [...] suffering; shame is a thing to which human [...] nature hath an innate abhorrence, yet th [...] Apostles made it matter of joy, when it befe [...] them for Christs sake. Acts 5. 41. and shal [...] this blessed Copy of theirs be transformed in­stead of transcribed; shall those who have no [...] so much Christian patience, as to beare the [...] [Page 45] slightest reproach for him, have yet so much unchristian stupidity, as to endure the greatest [...]n opposition to him; chuse rather to be ig­norant, when 'tis both their sin and shame, [...]hen wise, when 'tis their duty and reward, [...]vert St. Pauls choice, and be fools against Christ, as he owns to be for him: If there be [...]ny such Antipodes in our clime, their unha­ [...]iness will yet serve to illustrate what they [...]fuse to partake of, viz. the felicity of having performed this part of duty in the improve­ment of the understanding.

26. In the next place the regularitie of the [...]ill is extremely both amiable and profitable, for that being an uncontroulable faculty, [...]f it be wrong set, what torrents of mischief [...]nd confusion does it let in; if in all its con­ [...]eptions it permit the sensual appetite to lay, [...]ke Jacob, its pilled rods before it, all its births will be ring-straked, speckled and spotted. The [...]uinousness of a perverse will is so generally un­derstood, that there is nothing renders a man [...]ven in common account more miserable and [...]eplored; he whose Will runs counter to his Reason, every man is Astrologer enough to [...]ead his destiny, and presage his destruction. And by the undecent and pernicious effects of [...] disordered, we may make an estimate of the beauty and advantage of a rectified Will; the [...]ormer, like a vitious improvident Governor, exposes his Territories to a deluge, first of luxu­ry, and then of ruine, but this latter like a ver­tuous [Page 46] and prudent Prince, at once secures the innocence, and felicity of his Subjects. In­deed it is this alone, that really and effectively gives us the preheminence above beasts, they have choices as well as we, and they have affections, but wanting the higher principle of reason, their choices are necessarily deter­mined by their affections; now if we who have both, are guided onely by the latter, wherein does our state differ from theirs, save only that our liberty makes us guilty, whereas their necessity leaves them innocent. I presume I need say no more, to evince the happiness of a well ordered will, since none can contest it, but he must tacitly confess himself weary of his humane nature, and emulous, not of a greater dignity, but of a degradation to tha [...] of the Bruits.

27. And as much may be said concerning the Affections, which if they be not curbe [...] and held in by the understanding, will have as free and uncontrolled a sway in men, as they have in meer animals, but with worse effects, by how much we have more objects to incite them; more instruments to actuate them then these have. If any man can b [...] tempted to think this no unpleasant condi­tion, let him yet further consider, that thi [...] metamorphosis is not like the fancied trans­migration of the soule, wherein it was suppo­sed to assume the nature, and consequently the passions but of one beast alone, no, here [Page 47] is the whole Wilderness let loose upon a man, with all their contrary appetites perpetually combating one with another. He that hath the rapaciousness of a Wolf, may yet have the [...]imorousness of an Hare, and so is racked be­tween the desire of having, and the fear of suffering: He that hath the lust of a Goat, may yet have the intemperance of a Swine, and be distracted to which of the appetites to give up himself. He that hath the cruelty of a Tyger, may yet have the wiliness of the Fox, which will give him the pain of many irksom delays, in attending an advantageous oppor­tunity; and so proportionably in others: And what can be more unsupportably uneasie, then to have these continual tumults within, to be in a state of hostility not only with other men, but with himself? or what can there need beyond this consideration, to recommend the contrary condition to us? The subduing these bruitish Inclinations, is the introducing Peace into a Land, harrass'd and wasted with inte­stine War; and sure none need be told (at least in this Age) that that is a most ravishing plea­sure: And I may with the same confidence appeal to the verdict of any who hath tried these two contrary states, and doubt not but he will from his experience confirm the most profuse and even Poetique declamation that can be made on this Theme.

28. All I shall add is, in a joint relation to this and the two former, by observing that [Page 48] illuminated Understandings, regulated Wills and Affections, make up a great part of the celestial happiness. The Angels of light would no longer have right to that title, without these, The spirits of just men made perfect, were improperly so stiled, Heb. 12. 22. had they not received this accomplishment of their na­ture: And the greater degrees hereof we ar­rive to here, so much the more sensible antici­pation have we of those divine joys. And sure thus to partake with Angels and Saints, is to be happy, and will be acknowledged so by all, whose value and wishes of a Maho­metan Paradise render them not uncompe­tent to estimate these purer and refined plea­sures.

29. If from hence we proceed to those out­ward effects, which are the results of these in­ward, we shall find they are all full of delight and satisfaction. Courtesie and friendliness of Behaviour does not only cast a glorious lustre round about, attract the eyes and hearts of others, but it also reflects with cheerful and comfortable gleams upon our selves: For, Man being designed by God for a sociable creature, hath such propensions and Inclinati­ons put into him, as are proper to that end; and these are gratified and pleased, when we so demean our selves, as may answer that in­tention, towards which nothing can be more necessary then this debonnaire and gentle car­riage, for that allures people to our conver­sation, [Page 49] whereas the contrary roughness frights and deters them, (the churlishness of a Nabal makes men they cannot speak to him, 1 Sam. 25. 17.) it gives a man part of Nebuchadnezar's fate, separates him from among men, by forcing them to withdraw from him; and that the worst part of it too; the hairs like Eagles fea­thers, and the nails like birds claws, being much the lighter degree of the infliction, fit to pass for dress and ornament, compared with that more deforming disguise this rugged temper puts upon a man. And as on the one side, this morosity and sourness of humor is very uneasie, so on the other is that form of fawning and flattering compliance, which some call Civi­lity: It obliges men in many circumstances to renounce their ease, their health, yea their understandings too, and keeps them in such constraint, that one may truly say, a less mea­sure of self-denial would serve to constitute a man a good Christian, then an exact Courtier; whereas he that keeps himself in a just mean, neither drives away one sort of company, nor buyes the other so dear: He has a standard­measure, by which to dispence his Civilities, viz. The quality and worth of the persons; and confounds not himself with those more unjust and mutable rules of their expectations. So in the first of the instances he keeps himself a Man, whilst the other is in some respect a Beast; in the second he preserves himself a Freeman, whilst the other is a Slave: And sure [Page 50] I may refer it to any mans decision, which is the pleasanter state.

30. Next for the Words, 'tis not to be doubted but that calm and temperate Language has the advantage of that which is passionate and rageful; and that not only in respect of decencie, but ease too; of which there needs no other testimony, then that visible pertur­bation and uneasiness observable in all who are under such a transportation. So in like man­ner, when the words are pertinent and weighty, they give not only more satisfaction to the hearer, but to the speaker also: This may be judged by the contrary displacencie men have at themselves, when they are conscious to have spoken impertinently or undecently. By satisfaction I mean not that vanity, which men too often affect of shewing their parts, but a just and sober complacencie, arising from the conscience of having regulated their dis­course by the measures of a Wise man and a Christian, the having said that which may be of benefit, but cannot be of mischief to his auditors; And this surely is a much more real pleasure then any can be had in the contrary kind of dialect. If to this it be objected, that generally none are so much delighted with their own discourses, as they who talk the most vainly and absurdly: I answer, that even these are not pleased with the vanity and absurdity; their pleasure results from a mistake, supposing it to be the quite contrary. And this helps to [Page 51] evince, that solid and prudent speaking gives satisfaction, since even the shadow and fiction of it can be made to yield it.

31. Lastly, for the Imploiments, they surely must afford most of contentment, when they are most noble and excellent: They do so at the time, in the direct line, they having more of agreeableness to the nature and dignity of a man; but they do yet more so in the re­flexion, when a man looks back upon his day or week spent, and finds his business has been worthy of him, it exhilerates and revives him, enables him to pass his own, approbation on himself, and as it were to anticipate the Euge he shall one day receive from his great Master. But he that gives himself only the idle diver­tisements of a Child or sets to the baser drudge­ries of Vice, cannot reflect without confusion: which is so well understood by such persons, that they are fain to take sanctuary in a total Inconsideration, never daring to ask them­selves. What have I done? Which bears full testimony to the excellency and felicity of ingenuous Imploiments, since they that decline those, are forced also to decline themselves, grow out of their own acquaintance and knowledge.

32. And now what Objection can there lie against this duty, which is in all the parts of it so advantagious and eligible, that it becomes duty not only to God, but even to themselves, their own present interests and satisfaction. [Page 52] Shall Pleasure it self lose its nature, adopt the properties of its direct contrary, and become irksom and abhorred, only because 'tis twisted with Obedience? Is there so perfect an anti­pathy between God and them, that 'tis im­possible they should have the same objects of delight? or can no Joyes have any taste with them, that are not the causes and forerunners of eternal sorrows? This were such a degree of perversness, as common charity bids me no [...] to expect; and I see not what else can evacuate [...] the pleasure that attends the improvement of this talent of Education.

33. After all this, I foresee it not impossible that some may plead an exemption from th [...] Obligation, by affirming they want the ground of it, that they never had this Education. I am not willing to fancy there have been so many unjust and un [...]ind Parents as may qua­lifie any considerable number of Gentlemen for this plea: But to those few that can really make it, I shall not thick the foregoing Dis­course wholly impertinent; for [...] by shewing them the advantages of what they say they thus want, it may incite them (not to murmur [...] at the negligence of their Parents, but) to at­tempt the repairing of it by becoming the [...] own Guardians, putting themselves into Disci­pline, and by the strict Laws of Reason go­verning and restraining th [...]se Passions, which by the liberty of their Breeding have got hea [...] by this means supplying to themselves the first [Page 53] part of Education: And the like may certainly [...]e done for the latter also, if they will but de­posit that common error, of thinking it more manly to be ignorant then to learn, and be content to put themselves in a course of Eru­dition, which a man may do for himself in his Closer, as well as a Tutor may do for his Di­sciple in a School; and though he want many of those advantages the other hath, yet 'tis possible they may be in a good degree supplied by that industry and desire, which all those are supposed to have, who are thus their own Pupils; And there want not instances of the success of them who have thus attempted, but I confess there are too few examples of the attempt, men being too apt to sit down con­tentedly under this want; whereas let the same persons have an entailed Estate alienated from them by any act of their Fathers, they are not then so came, but will struggle to the [...] [...]o recover their rights; Yet certainly an In­genuous Education is as properly the Birth­right of a Gentleman, as any the most firmly setled Inheritance can be: Why should they then acquiesce in that so injurious an Aliena­tion, and not seek by all endeavors of their own to retrieve this so precious a Posses­sion?

SECT. V. Of the second Advantage, Wealth.

1. THe second advantage we are to con­sider is that of Wealth, which that it is a blessing will I know readily be assented to by all, mens desires and earnest pursuits after it sufficiently evidencing the general esteem is had of it. Yet though the Conclusion be right, it is to be doubted many inferr it not upon due Premises. 'Tis not Riches simply considered, that are the felicity, much less those luxuries, to which they are often made to minister; but they are like to a fertile ground, which if left without culture, none beares so rank weeds, but if rightly husbanded yeilds abundant profit; and thus to manage and improve them is not only the Interest, but the Duty of all those to whom God hath committed them, this being the one designed advantage, for which they were intrusted to them.

2. Several improvements there are, of which they are capable; but before I proceed to them, I must mention one part of duty, as funda­mental [Page 55] to all the rest. And that is the well husbanding of them, not in a figurative, but real sence, the having such a provident care of those goods, and possessions, wherewith God hath blest a Man, as may secure them from that Consumption, to which carelesness and sloth will infallibly betray them. This surely is obligatory in many respects. First, in Thankfulness (I had almost said civility) to God, who having dispenc'd them as a liberality 'tis ingratitude, yea affront to give them no regard. Secondly, in Justice to a mans poste­rity: He that has received a fair Inheritance from his Ancestors, if he suffer his supine neg­ligence to cut off the Entaile, he defrauds those that were to have succeeded him in it, and becomes that troubler of his own house, to whom Solomon, Prov. 11. 29. assigns no other Inhe­ritance but the Wind, which is indeed all such a person is like to derive upon his issue, the common aire being oftentimes their onely patrimony. Thirdly, in order to all those ends to which Wealth was designed by God, which depend on this, as accidents on their subjects, and so are all at once evacuated and nulled by the dissipating of that wherein they are founded▪ All which considerations, do naturally inforce upon men the necessiy of a prudent managery.

3. This being supposed, and the person ha­ving, as in our Law-forms is usual, covenant­ed to stand seised of the Estate, let us now see [Page 56] what are the proper uses, to which it is to be limited. In the first place, we may rank that of Contentedness in his portion; which though to one that is set to wrestle with want it might seem a hard precept, yet to him that flows with abundance it might be thought ra­ther a needless then difficult injunction, if ex­perience did not testifie, that contentment is oftentimes as great a stranger in Palaces as Cottages.

4. Of this excellent both vertue and feli­city, there are two parts, the one a cheerfull injoyment of so much of his Wealth, as may decently (I say not vainly) support him in that quality wherein he is placed: God does not make Rich men such meer Conduit-pipes of Wealth, that they must pass all, without retaining any thing themselves; but rather like the Earth, which though she conveys the springs through her veins, yet is allowed to suck in so much, as may give her a competent refreshment; and he that does this moderately, and with a thankfull reflection on that liberal Providence, which thus gives him all things richly to enjoy, 1 Tim. 6. 17▪ falsifies no part of his trust, nor abuses his stewardship, this be­ing as it were the allowed sees of his place, a pension allotted him by the bounty of his Lord.

5. The other part of contentment is that, by which the desires are terminated within the bounds of his own possessions; and not suffe­red [Page 57] to range wildly into other mens, like Ahabs, into Naboths vineyard, using their Wealth, as Anglers doe their Fish, to bait hooks for more, by making it an Instrument of extorting from others; which is so great a guilt, that it neerly concerns them to secure themselves against it, by a perfect satisfaction in what is properly their own. Nay even in what is said, there is caution to be had, that there be not too eager and vehement endea­vors of multiplying it, and that not only by an unlawfull commixture with other mens, which is the sin either of oppression or fraud, but even from its own stock, for that may be covetousness, and is surely a direct opposition to the divine dispensation. For when God hath given a man a full fortune, and by that manumitted him from those carkings and solli­citudes to which needier persons are exposed, for him to make it his grand business to pro­ject how he may add to that heap, or in the Prophets phrase lade himself with thick clay, Hab. 2. 6. what is it but the degrading and [...]ulling himself from that Sphere wherein God hath placed him, a voluntary sale of him­self to the Gallies or Mines? In this respect therefore I may not unaptly apply that exhorta­tion which the Apostle makes in another, [...]al. 5. 1. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free. Let not him whom God hath by a gracious and peculiar provi­dence exempted from this meaner servitude; [Page 58] and vassalage to the world, relinquish that so valuable a priviledge, give up his ear to be bored by Mamm [...]n, when God proclaims [...] Jubily. Yet 'tis possible the quality of some mens estates may be such, that they may be capable of advancement by a moderate an [...] easie Industry, such as may no way diver [...] them from more excellent Imploiments, b [...] may rather be a recreation then a toil: An [...] in that case I know no obligation lies on the [...] so to defie an Improvement, as not to chuse [...] profitable, before an expensive divertisement to spend those vacant hours upon that, which remain by way of overplus from more worthy designs and entertainments. But the perpetua [...] follicitous pursuit after more wealth, is cer­tainly a culpable inordinacie, as being incon­sistent with that contentment and acquiescence which is the duty of every man for whom God hath thus liberally provided, and such as wi [...] besides be likely to undermine another main part of his obligation.

6. Such in the next place we are to account the Charitable dispensing of his store, to sup­ply the indigencies of wanting persons; which surely is to be lookt on as the grand and mo [...] considerable end of his receits. God, who [...] the common Friend, as well as Father of [...] men, is not to be imagined so partial, as [...] provide pomps and luxuries for some, and [...] the mean time leave others destitute of the necessary supports of life; yet if we look [...] [Page 59] deeper then the visible portions of Poor and Rich, there is no evidence of the contrary. But when we examine upon what Conditions and Proviso's that Abundance is conveyed, we shall have no temptation so to asperse or charge God foolishly: For though he have not dispensed so immediately to the Poor, yet he gives them as it were Bills of Assignment upon the plenty of the Rich, a right to be supplied by them: so that the difference seems to be only that of an elder, and younger brethren; the Elder usually carries the bulk of the Estate, but then that is charged with provisions for the younger; and if the quantity of those be not distinctly exprest, but left indefinitely, that act of Trust in the Father lays the greater obligation on him, not to deceive it by too mean and scanty a distribution; for now him­self is become a Father to them, and there­fore should proportion his bounty by the ten­derness and bowels of that most affectionate relation. And this may not improperly be deemed one reason, why among such multi­tudes of commands of Charity in the Gospel, there is yet none that expresly allots the pro­portion of our Alms, that by this act of con­fidence, as it were, men might be obliged to the higher liberality: And he that shall make this incentive to it, a pretence to excuse the want of it, is sure a most criminous perverter of the Divine intention, treacherously coun­termining Gods sacred arts, as if 'twere not [Page 60] enough to rebel, unless in a further contempt he assaulted him with his own weapons. Cer­tainly God never designed Lazarus's portion should be made up only of the Crumbs from the table; For though indeed Dives is taxed that he gave him not them yet if he had, such a dole would sure never have rescued him from the place of torment. He who rests in a Rich mans bosom in Heaven, is to have some pro­portionable treatment from those on Earth, some more hospitable reception then a lying at the gate some better Chyrurgions then Dogs to cure his sores; and those that refuse it him, must be presumed to contemn not only the Lazarus, but the Abraham, yea the Heaven too that receives him, since that which quali­fies him for an admittance there, is not able to recommend him to their least regard.

7. I shall not attempt to proportion mens Charities, since God hath not; yet there are some general measures to be made to bound them on the sinking side, that they fall not to too scandalous a lowness; which having been done already by a Dr. Ham­ [...]nd's Practi­cal Cate­chism. better Pen, I shall refer the Reader thither. But those yet leave mens Compassions full scope to grow up to what greater height Gods grace and mens exigen­cies shall advance them: And surely the latter may sometimes be such, that it will become every Rich man not only to rifle his coffers, pour out whatsoever his superfluites have there ammassed, but also to defalk much of his own [Page 61] accustomed enjoyments, cause the Rasor to pass even upon his whole Equipage, to cut off all excrescencies, all exuberant expences, that so the stream may run the fuller in that one channel which Gods providence thus cuts out for it. Whether this may not be a proper season for it, I leave every considering person to judge At the present I shall beseech every man to whom God hath given wealth, sadly to ponder how scandalous a thing it will be for him who has been the Object of so great Bounty, to decline the being an Agent in any; to discover himself to have suckt in nothing of the vertue, amidst such an affluence of the commodities; and to defie the example of that Liberality, by whose effects he lives. But with­all let him consider the danger of it also, how dreadful a guilt (and consequently vengeance) he draws upon himself, if he shall defeat this so main end of his receits. It is indeed a com­plication of many crimes not only against man, but God also: I shall instance only in two, most generally decried, and yet most eminently contained in it, Unthankfulness, and Falsness.

8. God in his wisdom discerning that E­quality of Conditions would breed confusion in the world, has ordered several states, de­sign'd some to Poverty, others to Riches; onely annexing to the rich the care of the poor; yet that rather as an advantage, then a burden, a seed of more wealth both temporal [Page 62] and eternall. Now in this division of men, those on whom he hath caused the better lot to fall, can owe it to nothing but his gracious disposal; and therefore had bin certainly ob­liged to submit to any the most difficult tasks he should have dispenc'd with it. But now that in his great indulgence he has so tempered the command, as to render it not an allay, but an enhancement of the mercy, he that gives it only a bare tastless compliance, betraies him­self to want a just sence of it, but he that flatly resists it, is in the most transcendent degree, barbarously ingrate. Nay I think I might have laid the charge higher, and called it malice; for what beneath that can provoke a man thus to resist his duty and interest together?

9. Nor is this all, 'tis also the greatest Per­fidiousness: Every rich man is, as I said before, Gods Steward, and particularly intrusted to provide for the indigent parts of his family, such are the poor and needy. Now if he leave them destitute, and suffer either his riot or co­vetousness to feed upon their Portions, what more detestable falseness can be committed, not only in respect of them, whose right he thus invades, but of God also, whose trust he abu­ses? Many other enormities there are in Un­charitableness, which as so many misshapen limbs concur to the making up this deformed Monster; but I shall suppose it sufficient to have pointed out these two, which being the most profestly contrary to ingenuity, I must [Page 63] hope will carry a very averting appearance [...]o those who so especially pretend to that qua­lity.

10. To this positive part of duty, the being [...]ich in good works, we find the Apostle connects [...] negative. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Charge them that [...]e rich in this world that they be not high-minded, [...]or trust in uncertain riches: And we need not resort to implicite faith in the Author, to per­swade us of the great propriety and fitness of these cautions; 'tis too evident that Pride and Confidence are diseases, that usually breed in [...]ull and opulent fortunes, and as they spring from the same root, so do they, like neighbo­ring branches, mutually shelter, and support one another. He that is high-minded, abhorres the submission of any foreign dependance, and therefore gladly anchors on any thing he [...]an call his own; and thinking his wealth most properly so, he has as great an aptness, as holy Job expresses an aversion, to make gold his [...]pe, and to say to the fine gold, thou art my con­fidence, Job. 31. 24. On the other side, he that trusts in his Wealth, is by that fortified in his pride. It is Aristotles observation, that wealth makes contumelious and insolent; which I pre­sume lie inferrs not only from experience, but reason also; for the groundwork of humility being the sence of impotence and defect, he that assumes a self sufficiency, undermines that foundation, and in stead of it laies the Basis of the quite contrary temper, all haughtiness and [Page 64] elation of mind. A memorable, example of this we have in the insolent reflections of Nebu­chadnezar, Dan. 4. 30. which had withall so dismal a consequent, as me thinks should like Lots wife remain a perpetual monument to de­ter others from all approaches towards the like vanity.

11. And certainly it is a most important concernment of rich men, to fence themselves against this double temptation; to which pur­pose they can hardly find a more compleat armor, then what they may borrow from one short sentence of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 4. 7. What hast th [...] that thou hast not received? Let them look on themselves as meer receivers, and then with what pretence can they pride themselves in that wherein they are barely passive; Nay indeed if it be throughly scann'd, these receits imply cause rather of shame then boasting; the being filled from anothers hand, is a sure argument (and tacite reproach) of a natural and original emptiness; and if God have dealt, so liberally with them, they may collect 'tis in compliance not with their merits, but infirmities; his having made them rich is a strong presumption, he saw them not prepared to be innocently poor: And sure Pride must be a subtile Alchimist, that can hence extract matter of vanity, and might with e­qual logick have perswaded the Jews to glory in those indulgences, which were granted them only for the hardness of their hearts.

[Page 65] 12. In like manner if they reflect on their riches as received, it renders them also a most unfit object of trust; for if they were given, they may also be taken away. We hold all by that old tenure, which the Lawyers stile Alo­dium, because it is from none but God; and his gifts (of this kind at least) are never so absolute, as to exclude power of revocation. He then that enjoys a thing not upon right but bounty, must ask his benefactor how farr he is to presume on it: And if they would do so in this case, they would soon be resolved how little confidence were to be reposed in Wealth. They may hear God the great Patron tell them by Solomon, that riches make them­selves wings and fly away as an eagle, Pro. 23. 5. by Christ, that the Treasures which they lay up here are liable to the Moth and r [...]st, and Theeves; and by the Apostle, that they are uncertain riches. Nay indeed if they would but ask themselves their own daily experience and observation, that would beare the same testimony; Every day almost gives some re­newed instance of it. What multitudes of ac­cidents are there to which mens goods are lia­ble? a rough Winde, a tempestuous Sea sinks at once the Merchant and his ship; an ill sea­son, a hungry soyle eats out the Husband­man; and they who run not either of these hazards, those whom neither the water nor the earth swallow up, a fire may yet consume. And can there any security be fanci'd in that [Page 66] wealth, which is thus a prey to each element single, and yet more often to them united in man, to whose frauds or violences more have owed their impoverishing, then to any of the former accidents. And now what greater in­fatuation can there be, then to place a trust on that which is so fleeting and unsteady, to lean on a broken reed, or in Solemons phrase to set ones eyes upon that which is not?

13. But if by an impossible supposition, we should imagine Riches to be as Permanent, as they are indeed transitory, yet unless they had as well Strength as constancy, they could with no reason be depended on. He that staies by his friend to the last minute, if he have no power to assist him, is onely a spectator, not a reliever of his sufferings: And alas, how many miseries are men subject to, in which wealth can give them no aid! Is a man afflicted in his body with paine, the Indies are not a com­petent price for a minutes ease, an hours sleep; Is he persecuted in his Name with reproach, 'tis not whole Ingots of gold that will stop the mouth of Fame, nay oftentimes the obloquy is it self meerly the progeny of his wealth, that breeding envy, and envy detraction. But if the sore lie yet deeper. if it be the Soule that suffers, that is yet farther removed from possi­bility of relief this way; If it suffer as a slave under the dominion of sin, no treasure can re­deem from that vassalage: Wealth does in­deed too often by administring temptations [Page 67] strengthen those chains, but it cannot break them, as appears too evidently by the number of such rich bondmen. If it groan under the guilt of sin, labor under the terrors of an ac­cusing Conscience, alas gold is no balm to a wounded spirit: the luxuries which that has supported may help to pierce, but it has no power to heal. Or lastly, if the soul fall finally under the punishment of sin, there is no com­muting that pennance, buying off that smart; Riches abused may indeed swell the accompt, and multiply the stripes, but they can never bribe the remission of any. The Wise-man hath assured us this, Pro. II. 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. Nor does this carry any opposition to the councel of our Saviour Luke 16. 9. of making friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness; for he refers not there to any natural or inherent property of riches, but only to that extrinsick and accidental advan­tage may be made of them, proportionably to what was said before of the unjust Steward whose dexterous managery was it that rendred his Lords debts so usefull to him, not that they had any proper innate vertue to secure him from the necessity either of begging or dig­ing; and therefore we see Christs words run not in an Annunciative, but an exhortatory stile, He tels us not that Mammon shall make us friends, but excites us to make that our own care, and by a prudent disposure to make it subservient to an end above its native efficacy; [Page 68] But all this is sure very reconcileable with that natural impotency we have observed in it: wealth charitably disposed may have excellent effects, but yet those are to be ascribed to the charity, not the wealth, which still remains in its own essence the same unactive lump in the Chest that it was in the Mine, like the heathen Deities unable to protect its most zealous Ido­laters; as a further instance whereof I may add that which will Sound very like riddle, That riches cannot deliver even from present Want; which yet is demonstrably true in all those rich Misers, whose bellies are lank, while their coffers are full, a sort of Tantalized creatures, not peculiar only to this latter age, for we find them described by Solomon, Eclesiastes 6. 2. A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth and honor, so that he wanteth nothing for his soule of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof. So unsignificant a thing is wealth, that without the addition of a new power it enables him not to receive the least benefit from it.

14. When all this is considered, what is there in wealth that can invite the least confi­dence, since it appears so utterly unable to se­cure men in their most important interests, nay to do that which it most immediatly and most colourably pretends to, the keeping them from want. And therefore he that will not run him­self upon that sad defeat of being disappointed in his trusts, failed in his greatest exigents, [Page 69] must look out for some firmer ground whereon to build. But alas, our soil affords it not: Al here below was long since pronounced by one that wanted neither wisdom nor experience, to be Vanity; such mutations and vicissitudes attend all sublunary things, that he that at­tempts to erect any durable satisfaction on them, outdoes the folly of that absurd architect Christ mentions, and builds not on the sand, but water; and in this sense the world is still under a deluge, not so much dry ground, as where a dove may rest her foot.

15. We are then driven by way of necessary refuge, to that which should be our voluntary choice, to come home to the Ark to shelter our selves under his wings, where alone we may securely rest, and according to the advice which the Apostle subjoins to these cautions, to trust in the living God. And to do this amidst all the seducements of Wealth, to see through all those mists which the fumes of Plenty raise, and whilst they enjoy the gift, to confide only in the Giver, is indispensably the duty, and should be the care of every one, to whom S. Paul directs this charge, All that are rich in this world.

16. And such in the last place are to take notice of another branch of their obligation, and that is to use that advantage which their Wealth gives them, towards the exercise of Temperance; which indeed can never be known to be truly such, but when there are [Page 70] opportunities and temptations to the contrary. He that hath nothing wherewith to maintain a Riot, leaves it doubtful both to others and himself, whether his Abstinences be the effects of Poverty or Temper; but he that has all the suel for Luxury, and yet permits it not to kindle, he approves his Sobriety to be in­deed his Choice, not his fate. And this is a most excellent priviledge of Wealth; and though 'tis to be doubted it scarce finds room in most of our Catalogues, yet certainly it merits a principal place, as being much the greatest of all those, which reflect only upon the Person himself. This resisting of Tempta­tions, is truly that Heroique courage worthy of those that pretend to Honor, fit to deno­minate [...]a Gallant man: I wish those who seek that reputation by many rash and unwar­rantable Adventures, would here entertain their youthful Ardors, this being a Field where they may be assured never to want Comba­tants. One while Gluttony presents it self, armed with the allurements of a full and de­licate Table; and though one would think him but a despicable Assailant, that has only the Kitchin for his armory, yet experience shews us, those edgless weapons may vie with the keenest, for the mortalness of their effects. At another time Drunkenness sends a Chal­lenge by delicious Liquor, cheerful and di­verting Company, and that not without me­nace of infamy to him, who shall own so much [Page 71] religious cowardise, as to fear to hazard his Sobriety in the encounter. Sometimes again Lust attaques him with the piercing darts, the killing glances of a prostitute Beauty. In the mean time Pride, the most flie and treacherous of all the rest, is perpetually laying ambushes for him in the adorations of his Flatterers, the vanity of his Attire, and innumerable kinds of Excesses. And now what Knight-Errant would wish for more Encounters? or why should men range abroad to invite Quarrels, whilst they tamely suffer such Troops of enemies to bid them daily defiance? 'Tis, they say, a Maxim among the Swordmen, That he that has once been baffled, is ever after an incom­petent Challenger: I wish it might have this one sober application, That men would suspend all other Duels, till they have righted them­selves on their Vices, and by some signal Conquests redeemed themselves from that obloquy and defamation, which these mean, yet insulting Adversaries have exposed them to.

17. Having shewed what uses are duly to be made of Wealth, let us now look back, and consider whether any of them be ordinarily discernible in Practice. And here we shall meet with one sort of men, who stumble at the very threshold, that fail in that first part of duty, on which all the rest depend: I mean those who by a supine negligence suffer their Estates to moulder and consume insensibly, [Page 72] for want of an easie inspection and oversight. Of such as these former Ages have afforded in­stances, and doubtless the present also, though the number of the luxurious wasters do now so overwhelm them, that they are the less di­scernible. And though this seem to be the effect only of sloth, yet certainly there are other con­currents to it, generally these two: First such an overweening of their wealth, that they think it Inexhaustible; And secondly an opi­nion that it is a mean and peasantly thing for a Gentleman to give himself the trouble of looking after his fortune. The motives are too ridiculous to deserve a confutation; but in the mean time it cannot but extort pity, to see Families ruined by such vain whimsies: And what tolerable account can such a Parent give to his begger'd Offspring, to whom 'tis very likely he may propagate the pride and sloth which made the meer managery of an Estate too hard for him, and yet withall be­queaths them the sadder toil of getting one? Nay, what account can he give to God, from whom he received it, in order to several ends, if he thus at once defeat them all? 'Twas a Command to the Jews, that they should not cut down Fruit-trees, though it were for so ne­cessary a use as to advance a Siege, Deut. 20: 19. But this is the hewing down that Stock, from which so much good Fruit should spring, and that without any pretence either of necessity or reason.

[Page 73] 18 Our next view will present us with an­other sort of person, who as much transgresses the duty of Contentedness in both the parts of it. 'Tis no prodigie to see men, whom God hath afforded the portion of the rich, scarce to allow themselves that of the poor; so letting their eye be evil even to themselvs, because Gods is good. The Egyptians were such jealous Reve­rers of those Creatures which they worship'd, that he that violated them was in danger of stoning, Ex. 8. 26. So these men who have set up their Wealth for their God, pay it so much veneration, that as they are impatient to have it invaded by others, so they are afraid to offer the least violence to it themselves; they have Inshrined it to receive their adorations, and it is now become sacrilege (indeed the onely one they scruple) to debase it to the supply of their necessities: They are strange austeri­ties which the Votaries of this Deity will en­dure, even beyond the mortifications of the most rigid Ascetick, their whole lives are a perpetual contradiction to all the appetites of Nature; yet alas, that inferrs here no compli­ance with those of Grace, but as if they meant to set up a Third party in the world, they e­qually oppose these. And now he that thus oppresses himself, no wonder if he do the like to others, if he extort the utmost that either power or fraud can wring from any. And that this work may not be retarded, he is pro­vided of variety of instruments for it. Some­times [Page 74] Bribery must give him a legal colour to rob his neighbor; or if a Witness prove a better penniworth then the Judge, Subor­nation shall do the business. Sometimes Ex­tortion shall prey upon a needy Creditor, and that not only with the flower gnawings of the Canker, but with the more ravenous devourings of the Vulture. Sometimes the Rack is brought out, and a poor Tenant fastned on it, and there so streined and distorted, that he can never knit again to any competent sub­sistence. Sometimes again a poor neighboring Prodigal shall be spurred on to farther riot, fed with money, that so by a forfeited Mort­gage he may seise on his Estate. In a word, 'twere endless to reckon up all the engines of rapine which this greedy Invader hath in his magazine; and of such a one I presume every man will pronounce, that he notoriously vio­lates the precept of Contentedness.

19. But though this be the grossest, yet is he not the onely Transgressor; there is also another more plausible sort, who though they do not thus seek to increase their wealth at other mens costs, yet do it too much at their own; whose Brains are meer forges of Pro­jects, perpetually hammering out some new Contrivance for gain, that continually travel in birth of some fresh Improvement, suffer all the pangs and throws of a carking sollicitude in pursuit of it. I know this piece of Cove­tousness hath better luck then the rest, and [Page 75] passes for a creditable thing, under the speci­us name of Good husbandry; but sure if it be broughly penetrated, it will appear no less op­ [...]osite to Contentment then the former. Nor [...]n that guilt be evaded by those that say, they [...]eek to advance their Fortunes, not out of the [...]isers design of hoarding up, but out of the [...]ore generous purpose of living more splen­ [...]idly; for sure he that covets more to spend, [...] as little contented in his portion, as he that [...]ovets more to lay up; he that thinks his Table [...]oo scanty, his equipage too low, is as far [...]rom being satisfied, as he that thinks his land [...]oo little, his bag too empty; so that 'tis ap­parent these arrowes come out of the same quiver, though they be shot at several marks

20. And between both these motives of gri­ [...]ing, no wonder if the duty of Almes giving [...]e crouded into a very narrow compass. That excellent vertue of Charity has indeed much of the Image and impress of Christ upon it, [...]ut the world has given it a further kind of con­formity with him then he ever design'd, its [...]rucifixion between Covetousness and Luxury, being the counterpart of his hanging between the Theeves; there wants only one member of the parallel, the breaking the legs of these Malefactors, which God knows our Soldiers, [...]ay many Armies of them have not bin able to do The many instances these times have given of the sudden dissipation of mens Idolized [...]eaps, have not yet so disciplin'd the World­ling, [Page 76] as to perswade him to lay up his trea [...] in heaven; and the loud calls of God to we [...] ing and mourning and girding with sackcl [...] have most preposterously been ecchoed b [...] with the louder noise of mens revellings, a [...] wild jollities. And then they who thus desp [...] the judgements of God, are very unlikely compassionate the miseries of men, and I do [...] there are many who thus answer the charac [...] of the unjust Judge, Luc. 18. that neither fear G [...] nor regard man, nay that far outgo him in inex [...] rableness of temper: he was to be wrought upo [...] by importunity; but so petrified are these me [...] bowels, that no prayers nor teares can dissol [...] them. 'Tis a much easier task to dig Metal o [...] of its native Mine, then to fetch it out of t [...] covetous mans Coffer; the Earth, though s [...] hide, yet she guards not her treasure, 'tis a [...] cessible to the industry of any that will sear [...] for it, but he like an Argus stands centinel abo [...] his, and sounds an alarm upon the remot [...] appearance of a poor suppliant; with wh [...] jealousie does he eye any that he can but fan [...] to come upon that ungratefull errand, and th [...] how many arts has he to prevent the assaul [...] Or if by some extraordinary Charm all hi [...] eyes have so slept at once, that he happen to [...] surprised, yet he has so many weapons of d [...] ­fence, that the assailant shall gain little b [...] it, but the shame of an open repulse, bein [...] sure to find him impregnable. As for the Vo­luptuary he has so many expensive lusts to main [Page 77] tain, that he has difficulty enough how to gra­ [...]ie all them in the distribution of his wealth; [...]ey are competitors to each other, yet joine [...] keep out that which would be a common one [...] them all. He that grudges not the wildest [...]ofusions on his wealth, yet thinks an Alms [...]ill undoe him; 'tis the grand business of his [...]e to contrive waies of expence, yet when [...]y object of charity presents one, he becomes [...]rifty on the sudden, like the Sensitive plant [...]rinks at that touch, and that open hand of [...]is clutches as fast, as if some convulsion had [...]ontracted it. Thus totally have men forgot [...]pon what terms their wealth was given them, [...]nd thereby like miserable Chymists, extract [...]oyson out of Cordials, a Curse out of a Blessing. Riches were designed by God to [...]e subservient to that Compassion which he [...]as implanted in humane nature, but now [...]hey are become the meanes of suppressing and [...]radicating it; Rich men look upon poore, [...]s if they were creatures of another species, [...]hings wherein they were perfectly unconcer­ [...]ed. 'Tis Strada's fancy, that there is such a sympathy raised between two Needles touched by the same Loadstone, that persons at the greatest distance may by the consent of their motion maintain a correspondency: I shall not undertake for the truth of the Experiment, but however methinks 'tis matter of reproach to us, that these inanimate creatures should have so much observable accord, as to give pretence [Page 78] for such a conjecture, whilst men who have so many undoubted principles of union both from nature and grace, have quite extinguist­ed all effects of them. That too many have so, there needs no other evidence then the many unsuccour'd extremities of the Poor: For how else can it become possible, that one rank of men should gluttonize, and another starve? that he that thinks it death to endure either the want or moderation of a Meal, should never consider what are the gripings of the still empty stomach; that he should without all regret see his own humane nature pining and languishing in the person of his poor brother, whilst in himself 'tis opprest with the quite contrary excesses, and might be relieved in both by a more equal distri­bution?

21. And now who can sufficiently deplore, the wants of the Poor, shall I say, or rather the inhumanity of the Rich! This surely is the sadder spectacle of the two; the one only suf­fers, the other sins; and that suffering too may end in eternal refreshment, whereas the other in endless torment. Lazarus rests in Abrahams bosom, when the uncharitable Glutton frie [...] in perpetual flames: And oh that this were throughly weighed, that they would consider that every degree of unmercifulness they shew to others, reverts with a rebounded force up­on themselves! Alas, 'tis not so much the poor mans body, as their own souls, that sue for [Page 79] their alms; And whenever they shut up their [...]owels of compassion from the one, what do [...]hey but [...], seal up Gods store­ [...]uses and treasuries from the other? when [...]hey deny the [...]rumbs from their table, they [...]eny themselves a drop of water to cool their [...]ngues.

22. But I fear this of Illiberality may pass [...]or a moderate crime in this Age, when so [...]any are guilty of another so far transcending [...]. For do we not see divers, who instead of [...]bating their Excesses to relieve the Poor, do [...]aintain their Riot upon them? If the despe­ [...]ate Debts of poor Tradesmen were examined, [...] doubt not this would appear a sad truth; 'tis become so fashionable a thing to run into [...]cores, and so unfashionable to pay them, that [...]e is scarce thought well bred, that has not bankrupted one at least of each Trade he deals with: Their only care is to get credulous Merchants, who so long as they trust stoutly shall have fair words, but if once their faith [...]ail, then, as if the Solifidian doctrine had stretcht it self into Traffique as well as Divi­nity, they are pronounced Reprobates, and as sollicitously avoided as the Separatist shuns [...] person whom he is pleased to call carnal: Posterns and obscure passages are contrived, [...]on purpose to escape them; so that a poor Creditor must give many days, nay moneths attendances, before he can so surprise a Gentle­man, as to come but to ask his own; and then [Page 80] the best return he usually meets with, is some empty Promises, to bribe a delay; but some­times he fares much worse, and as if 'twere a crime not to starve silently, he is reviled and reproached, and harsh and contumelious lan­guage become his onely paiment It has been received as a Maxim, That we are all kinde to our own creatures: But this case shews 'tis no universal rule; for those who thus make poor men, are of all others the most barbarous to them in their poverty. But let those who thus shuffle off their Reckonings with men, remember that there will come a day, when they shall not be able to decline their Accompt to God; And with what hor­ror and confusion must they appear at that Audit, when they shall be charged not only with the mispending their own estates, but other mens, the having added Robbery to unmercifulness?

23. If in the next place we shall reflect on the Apostles caution of not being high-minded or trusting in uncertain riches, we must turn to our Bibles to be satisfied there was ever any such charge given, there is so little of it to be read in mens practices. Humility is a plant, that is carefully weeded out of all rich grounds, accounted a mean degenerous quality, that like Treason attaints the blood, and sorfeits Nobility. Gentlemen, though they are for the most part very guiltless of the Pharisees ab­stinence, the fasting twice a week, do yet [Page 81] transcribe the worse part of his copy, the think­ing they are not like other men; and believe it a justice they owe their birth to do so: They have mounted themselves aloft, and looking down from those pinacles of Honor, all below seem little and contemptible, creeping things of the earth, worms and no men. I am not so for confounding of Qualities, as to exact they should choose their Intimates and Companions out of the lowest rank; I know prudence as well as pride has drawn a Par­tition-wall between them (though perhaps the later has raised it to an unncessary height) but I wish it might be remembred, that as the precept of Not eating Blood was designed not for its self, but as a hedge against Murder, so that just distance which order recommends between the Noble and the mean, is valuable only as a fence against base and ignoble practi­ces, true greatness consisting in despising not the persons, but the vices of the vulgar; Yet here alas the sence is quite changed, and ma­ny who look the most fastidiously on the one, will yet mix freely with the other; and while they so are the highest in the opinion of their superiority, do yet stoop to the sordid bestia­lities of the most abject of men, Nay, indeed this lure does sometimes make many of them descend even from their punctilioes, and those who at another meeting must have lookt for no other treatment but what St. James de­scribes, Ia. 2. 3. stand thou there or fit here un­der [Page 82] my foot-stoole, shall in the rounds of good fellowship be equal with the best, such a Le­veller is debauchery, that it takes off all di­stinctions. But in the mean time how great a shame is it, that such vicious motives shall have force enough to make them thus degrade themselves, when all the Engagements of Christianity are not able to do that which is much less to abate any thing of those tumors those swelling conceits of their own greatness, or (in the Psalmist [...] phrase) to make them know themselves to be but Men.

24. Nor has the other branch of the cau­tion any better success among them; 'Tis in many of them too discernible, that they place that trust in uncertain [...]iches, which they should repose only in the living God, so ma­king his gifts his rivals, and raising him a competitor even of his own bounty, For this we need no other waies of probation, then only to examine, whither it is, that in any case of difficulty or distress they make their earliest and most importunate addresses, for there we may conclude them to fix the greatest confi­dence. And I feare 'tis too apparent, that where wealth makes but any the slightest pre­tences, promises the least aid, though but re­mote, and at the second hand, it has most of their applications. Thus in case of Disease, they whose plenty enables them for the costlier methods of cure, is not their first resort thither, do not their Fees fly faster then their Prayers? [Page 83] and are they not much hastier to invite the Physitian, then the Divine! Nay, indeed the latter is scarce ever admitted, till the former have forsaken them, a shrew'd indication, where their prime hopes are built; so again in any disastrous event, the first essay is whither money will heale the wound; He that is under the displeasure of a Superior, seeks to appease by presents or buyes the friendship of a Blast­us, Acts. 12. 20. to mediate for him; He that is brought before a Tribunal, endeavors with the same golden Engine to draw off his Prose­cutor, to bend and incline his Judge; He whose Wealth makes him pursued as a desire­able prey, expects his safety even from that which is the original of his danger; and as if like a Scorpion it alone could cure its own sting, tries whether a part will secure the whole. And in the mean time no attempt is made to call in God to their rescue, as if he were an idle unconcern'd spectator of humane affairs, or so inconsiderable an Ally, as not to be worth the care of engaging him on their side. Nay even in their last and dreadfullest danger, many seem not to quit their depen­dance on their wealth, some Testamentary charities must then do wonders for them, and pass for all those fruits of repentance, which should secure them from the wrath to come; Even those that have drunk the blood of the poor, suffered the most of it to incorporate in­to their Estates, think by disgorging some [Page 84] small part of it (which perhaps lies crude, not yet so digested) in a Legacy to ease their con­sciences, so adapting their restitutions to their rapines, only in this one respect, that those as well as these are of another mans goods; they never commencing, till death hath disseized them of all propriety, as if the iniquity of the Fathers were in this sence to be visited upon the Children. Thus their Wills become their only pass-port, to convey them to Abrahams bosom, and by thus cajoling the poor at parting, they trust to extinguish the clamors of all for­mer oppressions, and in spight of Solomon will hope, that Riches shall profit in the day of wrath. It will not here be pertinent to inquire how many other objects of trust they have, which divert them from that one, to which the A­postle directs them. It may suffice in general to say, that none can be supposed indeed to trust on the living God, but those who by sin­cere piety qualifie themselves for his protecti­on; according to which measure 'tis to be feared many even of the fairest pretenders will be excluded.

25. If now we proceed to the last part of the Rich mans Duty, the exercise of Temperance, we may without an Augur divine the return of that Inquest; For it having formerly ap­peared, that they turn that stream which should flow in Charity, to make the fuller current for their Luxury, 'tis visible they are far from de­signing any self-denial. But if that inference [Page 85] were not proof enough of it, they daily give us ocular demonstrations: What studious pro­visions do they make for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof? Rom. 13. 14. Nature affords not Meat delicate enough for their palats, it must be adulterated with the costly mixtures of Art, before it can become Gentile nourish­ment; and in this they are arrived to such a niceness, that Cookery is become a very my­sterious trade, the Kitchin has almost as many intricacies as the Schools. And the quantity of their meat is not less extravagant then the kind; One that did but examine their Bills of fare, would think the Dogs appetite were the epidemick disease among them, if he did not consider they had Eyes to be fed as well as bellies. Nor will they be so Ununiform, as not to have their Drink bear a full proportion with their Meat; and 'twere well if it did no more, that their Drinking had but those set hours of their Meals, that so there might be at least some intervals and pauses in their De­bauches, whereas now many persons allow themselves no longer intermissions then may just qualifie them for a new Excess; recover their wits only so far, as may put them in ca­pacity of losing them again.

26. But besides these, there is another sort of provision for the flesh, of which they are no less sollicitous, and which many buy in at very dear rates: The embraces of a Wife are as nauseous to them, as Manna to the Isra­elites; [Page 86] 'tis Variety they hunt after; and so they might have the Turks Sevaglio, they would not stick to take his Mahomitanism withall; Nay if that were as agreeable to their reason to believe, as to their inclinations to imbrace, they would certainly reckon it a considerable part of the prise, as that which to the present possession superadds a liberal reversion of those brutish delights, and would think they had made a very commodious bar­gain, to have so exchanged the Christians pre­sent purity, and future heaven.

27. To all these excesses, that of their Ap­parel does perfectly correspond; so much cost, so much business goes to it, that one may al­most as cheaply and easily rig out a Ship, as set out a Gentleman in his compleat Equipage. How many Artificers go there to the peecing him up! He that should assign him one to each Limb, would much contract the number, which is indeed so great, that if it were compu­ted 'twould be found it constituted most of the Trades in a Commonwealth. A strange dis­proportion, that the Little world should so much outvie the Greater; and a lively instance it is of the multiplying faculty of Vanity, that can improve Natures simple necessity of co­vering, to such an exorbitant excess, and has nurst up the first Fig-leaves to such a luxuriant growth, that the Hercynian Oaks which Mela tells such wonders of, are but a kind of Pigmy­plant to them that thus overspread the world, [Page 87] and from covering of Shame, are grown to shadow and darken Reason it self, so creating a Moral nakedness, whilst they hide a Na­tural.

28. To all the rest we may add their Sports and Recreations, the expensiveness whereof is no way inferior to all the former: Gaming, like a Quicksand, swallows up a man in a mo­ment; and how many such Wrecks have these latter Ages produced? Hawks, and Hounds, and Horses, &c. are somwhat slower devourers, yet as they are manag'd by some, tend much to the same end: So that methinks such men seem to make the same menace to their Estates, which Goliah did to David, 1 Sam. 17 44. I will give thee to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Such vast numbers of them they have and those kept with such niceness and curiosity, as if they had a designe to debauch the poor animals, and infect them with their luxury. 'Tis now no news in the literal sense, to have the Childrens bread given to Dogs; and it may within a while be as [...]ittle, to have not only their children, but themselves want it: For Prodigality is of the nature of the Viper, and eats out the bowels of that Wealth which gave it birth; and Actaeon's fate was both Emblem and Story, to be eaten up with his Dogs

29. We have seen now how much their Practice swerves from their Duty: Let us next a little consider, whether they might not be [Page 88] happier, if they were regulated by it. And first, a prudent oversight of their Estates is sure far from being such an oppressing burden as some are willing to fancy it: For if it be moderate, and such only I recommend, it is supposed to exclude all painful and disquieting sollicitudes, and then it becomes only of the nature of a Divertisement, helps them off with some of those spare hours, whose empti­ness becomes their load, and which they would else be in pain, and probably at no small cost to dispose of. And I see not why it should not be full as pleasant at the instant, to talk of their own affairs, as of other mens, (which yet are the usual entertainment of those that neglect their own;) to take up Accompts at home, as Reckonings at the Tavern: And I am sure 'tis much more so in the consequences of it, as much as peace is above discord and tumult, plenty above indigence and ne­cessity.

30. Next for Contentment, universal con­sent superadds the labor of proving that a happiness, it being unanimously accorded to be the Elixar and quintessence of all that pre­tends to that title; to be to all these outward things, as the soul is to the body, that which animates and inspirits them, without which they are but dead, yea noisome carcasses, pres­sures instead of enjoyments. This is the true Philosophers stone, that turns all it touches into gold; the poor man is Rich with it, and [Page 89] the Richest poor without it. Whoever there­fore desires to improve his estate, let him be­gin his culture or husbandry upon his mind, plant there this Tree of life, the shade whereof will yeeld him a perpetual refreshment, 'twill make him alwaies as Rich as he desires to be; and he certainly knows not what he asks, that demands more.

31. The next duty, that of Liberality, may perhaps be thought not to have so amiable an aspect; but it is only by those who look upon it through false Glasses: men generally consider it as a peece of spiritual rapine, an Engine framed by Divines to force open their Coffers, and plunder them without a War: but if they would but turn the right end of the perspe­ctive, 'twould then have a quite contrary ap­pearance, they would discern that it is the means to multiply, not diminish their store, a more profitable way of usury, then any the greediest extortioner hath ever found out. 'Tis a lending to the Lord. Prov. 19. 17. who sure­ly is the most solvent Debtor any can deale with, and one who never makes scanty retri­butions. This I am confident might be attested eventually true by all those who have attempt­ed to make the experiment; the only prejudice that can lie against their Testimony is the pau­city of those that have so attempted (and would to God men would conspire to solve that ob­jection) for were all charitable persons sum­mon'd to give in their accompts, I doubt not [Page 90] it would appear their bounty had enriched not impoverished them I am sure I have met with severall remarkable instances of it, but never yet with one to the contrary, and therefore if either reason or president may have force, he that considers but rightly his own temporal In­terest, cannot but have appetite to this Duty, in respect of himself. And yet where there are any bowels, this is but a faint inducement com­pared with that which arises from the calami­ties of the persons to be relieved, The wants of the Poor are loud and passionate Orators, such as cannot miss to work upon any, on whom covetousness hath not first wrought the unhap­py Metamorphisis, of turning them into stone; and these having once conveyed into a mans mind a compassionate regret, himself groanes under that pressure, which he sees crushing the other, and then what can be more pleasant then by a seasonable charity to ease both. None doubts of the Receivers delight, but sure that is short of the Givers, by how much the interi­or sence is more subtile and acute then the ex­terior; would God those who make it their trade to hunt after pleasures, would try but this One peece of Epicurisme, and then I doubt not, they would acknowledg that all meat is insipid, compared with that, which they eate with the poor mans mouth; the most splendid apparel sordid and inglorious, in respect of that they were upon his back; and all pleasures and recreations joyless and uneasie, ballanced [Page 91] with those transcendent delights, which attend the exercise of Christian liberality.

32. Nor have they in the next place any rea­son to suspect the Apostle treacherous to their present interest, when he seeks to dispoyle them of that either Pride, or confidence, which their riches are apt to create. For the former 'tis certain all haughty persons may very pro­perly interrogate themselves in that forme, we find Wis. 5. 8. What hath Pride pr [...]fited us, or what good hath riches with our vaunting brought us? It would surely puzle the most ex­perienced man to define what there is in Pride, that can afford any felicity; The utmost that can be pretended is that it is a lively cheerful thing to have good thoughts of ones self, but he that can in earnest make this plea for Pride, does in justice owe as fair an encomium to Bed­lam, for according to this measure that con­tains the happiest people, there being those, that are the most highly rapt in the opinion of their own excellencies Yet sure we should judge him in good Election for the place, that should look upon it with appetite. But admit this might indeed pass for a pleasure, yet it is the parent of a far greater uneasiness, and like a carcass breeds a worm, that devours it self; For he that looks on himself with such reve­rence, exacts that all others should do so too, and when he fails in that aime (as none so fre­quently does, as the proud) what disquiets and impatiencies is he under, such as infinitely over­whelm [Page 92] all the pleasure of his vain complacen­cies; A little disrespect from Mordecai is able to evacuate all Hamans prosperity; such a cheat and impostor is Pride, that whilst it pretends to exalt, it debases whilst it elevates a man above others, it really subjects him to them, puts him in their power to torment and cruciate, and whilst it makes shew of advan­cing, 'tis but in the same manner that the Rack extends the stature by dislocating the joynts. And then I hope 'twill be no unfriendly office to perswade men, to keep themselves from that engine of pain, or to recommend to them such an humility of mind, as may preserve them in that security and composedness, which is fundamentally necessary to all true happi­ness.

33. The very same judgement is to be made of the other branch of the caution, the not trusting in uncertain riches, but in the living God, which is most visibly every mans present concernment, he that can entertain a doubt of it, let him but fall into the hands of some trea­cherous or but impotent person, that shall in some important affairs betray his trust, or de­ceive his hopes, and then let him tell me whe­ther it be not a mans immediate and most pres­sing interest, to build his confidences on the rock, not on the sand. Nothing but the ama­zing exigencies of a sinking man, can excuse the folly of catching at reeds; but he that should deliberately elect such supporters, would be [Page 93] thought as mad, as he is sure to be miserable. Yet this is but the faint and imperfect emblem of him who rests upon his wealth, whereas on the other side he that shelters himself under the shadow of the Almighty, is possest of a most inexpugnable fortress; for how can he faile of security, that has Omnipotence for his guard, or be deluded in his trusts, that depends on Truth it self? Let these so distant states be com­pared, and then sure I shall not need to antici­pate any mans judgement, but may leave him to pronounce on which side his Interest, as well as Duty lies in this particular.

34. Lastly, Temperance also puts in her claim to Pleasure, which I presume those will be sure to resist, who place that wholly in the satisfaction of the sensuall appetite; yet I be­leeve one might take even these men in such a season, when they should be forced to give up their verdict for it. Come to the Glutton when he is laboring under the load of an over­charged stomack; to the Drunkard when his mornings qualm is revenging on him his last nights debauch; to the lustfull person, when the torment of his bones admonish him of the sins of his flesh, and then ask them whether Temperance be not more pleasant then its con­trary. I can scarce think the Devil has any such stout Confessors, but will then betray his cause. But this vertue is in it self too amiable to need any of these foyles to illustrate it; the pleasure of subduing a lust, of denying an appetite, [Page 94] is not only nobler, but greater then any is to be had in the most transporting moment of satis­fing them. Every man will call him a bruit, that when an Enemy is in the field loses the oppor­tunity of a glorious victory, and exposes him­self to certain Captivity, rather then forsake his liquor, or other sordid pleasure. And this is just the decision of the present case, our lusts are our mortallest Enemies, and every time they assault us, 'tis in our choice either by re­sisting them to gain a signal conquest, or else by stooping to those despicable cures they hold out to us, to be vanquished by them He that chuses the last, if he have any shadow of plea­sure, 'tis only that of a Beast, (like a horse who though he hath indeed the satisfaction of re­ceiving meat, yet he also takes the bridle, yea the whip too from the same hand) 'Tis the former only, that is the pleasure of a man, which I suppose sufficient to evince to which the difference belongs, for sure none can think God hath been so unkind to his own image in humane nature; as in the dispensation of feli­city to assign the larger share to the Bruits. And therefore in this particular as well as the rest we may conclude, that he is not only the most pious but the most happy person, that makes the right uses of his wealth.

SECT. VI. Of the third Advantage, that of Time.

1. LEt us now proceed to the third advan­tage, that of Time, which though men do often so industriously wast, as if it were rather a burden then an advantage, yet the differing estimates they make of it, when it is neer expiring, the passi­onate Death-bed wishes of a few daies reprieve, witness that it has a reall value; For were it an empty useless thing, it would not then be­gin to appear considerable, when all other va­nities grow in contempt with us. The unhap­piness of it is, that men learn to prize it, as they do most other good things, rather by the want, then the enjoying, buy the skill of tra­ding with the loss of the Talent, which should maintain the traffick, and then only come to account it a treasure, when they can no longer dispose it to any benefit; and that disposing alone is it that can render it truly valuable. It is therefore a most necessary providence to learn this art of improvement, this peece of spirituall husbandry, without which a mans self becomes that accursed soyle, the Apostle [Page 96] mentions, Heb. 6. 8. whose end is to be burned. Let us therefore a while examine what are those imployments of our Time, which may render it most fertile to our present comfort, and future accompt.

2. Every man saies (though perhaps few consider) that our time here is but a prologue to Eternity else where, and that the condition of that eternity, whether happy or miserable, depends upon the well husbanding of this time; That therefore and that only can be the right managery of it, which tends to make our future estate as happy, as it is sure to be lasting. To this purpose God hath chalked us out some great lines of Duty, from whence so many lesser do arise, as will, if we will permit them, twist and winde themselves with every hour of our lives. And though these duties are in the kind of them obligatory to all conditions of men, yet frequenter Acts of them are expected from those, whose Qualities and fortunes gives them more vacancy from secular toyles.

3. For certainly it is not to be fancied, that God who has put an active principle into our nature, should industriously provide for the suppressing its operations in any, devote such a Select number of men, as an Hecatombe to be offered up to Idleness; and yet much less can it be thought, that he should so promote that iniquity, which he professes to hate, as to de­sign them to the pursuits of that, Manumit them from labor, to leave them freer for vice. [Page 97] And if neither of these can be supposed, if their leisure were not indulged them either that they might do nothing, or do ill, there remains only a third end imaginable, and that is the doing good; (For as for Sports and Pastimes, the best of them come so neer to Idleness, and the worst of them to Vice, as the one is not to be allowed any, so the other no considerable part of their time.) Now because none is good but one, that is God, Mar. 10. 18. we can take our measures of good actions only from his prescription; and so those which he has com­mended as such to Mankind in general, point out to this particular rank of men the nature of their Exercises, as their especial Vacan­cie and leisure does the higher degrees of them.

4. And first those of Piety towards God justly challenge a great share of their Time: For whereas God may seem to have limited and confined the poor mans zeal, by that rule of preferring mercy to themselves before sacri­fice to him, he does by exempting the rich from those necessities tacitly require their devotion to swell up to some proportion with his bounty to them, who being freed from those weights wherewith others are clogged and incumbred, even nature it self suggests the expectation of their soaring higher; He has put them at a distance from the meaner cares and sollicitudes of life, as if he were jealous those might prove his rivals, and keep them from growing into [Page 98] a closer intimacie with himself. And shall this designe of love be defeated? and when he has thus secured himself from one sort of Compe­titor, shall more and baser be sought out, every the triflingest and vilest Entertainment be courted to come and supplant him? This were indeed to answer that odious character of the Adulteress, Ezek. 16. 34. which was not sollicited, but did sollicit. And those that can make such unworthy and provoking returns to so endearing a kindness, evince themselves destitute not only of grace, but of all degrees of common good nature: For when he so pro­jects for their familiarity and converse, what can be more inhumane and ingrate, then thus scornfully to decline it? Yet under this charge all those will certainly fall, who do not imploy (nay devote) every day some considerable part of this their vacant time to the keeping up their intercourse with God, by Reading, Prayer, and Meditation.

5. In the next place, Themselves put in for a part: But here I mean not those brutish sensual selves, which have in many (like Pha­raoh's lean kine) devoured the nobler and more excellent; but it is the more divine and sublimated part of them, on which their time is to be laid out; and here they can never want business, that being in several respects a very proper object of their diligence. For first, their Understandings, how clear and vigorous so­ever, attain not their height at once, are [Page 99] not like Adam created in a state of maturity and perfection, but like his degraded posterity make gradual motions towards it, advance by several steps and degrees of proficiencie; nor can we in this life ascend to such a Non ultra, as excludes a possibility of growth. So that no advantage of Education can supersede the use of After-industry, that being still able to make farther improvements, bring in new ac­cessions to their Knowledge: And this is so inviting an entertainment, as may very reason­ably expect their companies some hours of the day in their Studies.

6. But though this be a considerable, yet is it not the weightiest part of that care they owe themselves. For as the Soul consider'd in its Intellect, may thus become their Pupil, so in its Morals it has often need to be their Patient: For though in its Original institution it was perfectly pure and healthy, yet by in­habiting in this pesthouse the Flesh, it hath contracted much of its contagion; and by how much the more delicate and refined its composition is, so much the more mortal are the diseases to which it is subject; It will there­fore require a close and wary attendance. A Physician that has a nice and tender Patient, must be very assiduous in his care, observant of all symptoms, watchful against all accidents. And so certainly should men be here; they should make daily observations how their ghostly strength increases or decaies, what [Page 100] Humor most predominates, whether Choler boil up into rage, Phlegm freeze into sloth; whether the Sanguineness of their temper make them lustful, or the Melancholy revengeful, and accordingly apply their spiritual Purgatives, the Baths, or the Palaestra, prescribe rules of of Diet and Exercise: and doubtless whoever makes these daily strict inspections into him­self, will by the inestimable benefit he receives from it, be taught how great a blessing his Time is, and how much a greater to have grace thus to imploy it.

7. But though a Mans self be a Province wide enough to take up a good part of his time, yet must he not so ingross it, as to de­fraud his Neighbor, who has also a right to share in it. God having made man after his own Image has (as part of that) stamped upon him the Bounty and Communicativeness of his nature: And therefore when we live wholly to our selves, we rase and deface that Impress; and when 'tis remembred that the heinousness even of Murder is by God pronounced to arise from the violation of His Image, Gen. 9. 6. parity of reason must conclude this no light guilt. Nor is it only our Goods we are to im­part (for that were a very partial Transcript of that Bounty we are to imitate, which gives us so much besides) but in general whatever other Ability we have by which our neighbor may receive advantage; and so a man has as many imploiments of his time, as he either [Page 101] finds or can make opportunities of doing good to others. I say make; for sure since God hath constituted Love to our neighbor one of the fundamental laws to Mankind, we are not to look upon it only as an accident or casualty, but as a main and diliberate business of our lives; not refer it wholly to chance whether ever we shall do an act of this kind, or no, but industriously seek out and improve occasions. Thus we find the Liberality of our Blessed Lord represented to us in the parable of the great Supper, Luk. 14. 16. where there was not only liberal provisions made for such as would come in, but importunity used to draw them, particular invitations made to the poor and the maimed, the halt and the blind; and when that brought not in Guests enow, the High-ways and Hedges were to be ransacked, and a general Press, as it were, made of men, to receive not the Earnest-penny of Death, (which is usually the signification of our Press­money) but the Antepast of Eternal Life. Oh that all those who pretend to Greatness of Mind, would copie out this Munificence, that they would prevent mens desires, and invite them to come and be obliged by them. For want of this, many occasions of doing bene­fits are lost; the modesty of some, perhaps the pride of others, averts them from requesting those assistances they most need: It were there­fore the noblest Study a Gentleman could enter­tain himself with, to search the various Wants [Page 102] of those within his sphere; but then he must be sure to do it with a candid design, the more opportunely to apply himself to their aid; he must not treacherously inquire, who wants knowledge, to deride, but instruct them; not hunt out a debauched person, to make him his Companion, but his Convert; not finde out quarrels to foment, but compose them; in a word, not pry into other mens concernments, like a busie-body, but a Friend; not to comply with his own curiosity, but their need. And now he that pays a just Tribute of his Time to these three grand Duties, will (when the other dues to Nature, temporal Affairs, and neces­sary Civilities are deducted) not have much to sacrifice either to Idleness or Vice, but will rather think he wants Time then Business.

8. But alas, the full leisure they generally finde for the direct contrary employments, witnesses too irrefragably that they are not thus taken up. It is true indeed, we finde God often in their Mouths, but it is rather in Oaths, then Prayers; as if they meant their profana­tions should be the onely testimony that they believed a Deity. How many are there such profest Votaries to Bacchus, That their Knees are reserved onely for him, never to be bent but in drinking of Healths; that seem to have enacted to themselves the prophaner part of Darius's Law, Dan. 6. 7. that of asking no P [...]tition of God, onely herein out-vying him; that their's is for an indefinite, not limited [Page 103] time, who reckon saying of Prayers among those pedantick tasks of their childhood, which expire with the Rod and Ferula, and can never think fit to debase their more Manly state to it, unless perhaps a restless night may force them to call it in to supply the place of a more usual and pleasing Anodyne. Whether this be not the pitch of many Gentlemens Devotion, I appeal to any that observes their practice.

9. Nor have they much more to do in the Library, then the Oratory, unless it be stored with Romances: Any deeper sort of reading is as formidable to them, as the Mines or Gal­leys; nor do they without wonder look at those who can voluntarily set themselves to tug at those Oars: But Divinity is beyond all others under prejudice with them, decryed not onely as a crabbed, but ungentile study; so that upon pain of Reproach, none are to know more of it, then may just qualifie them to de­ride it; or read the Bible to any other purpose, then to enable them to blaspheme God in his own stile. If these men may be said at all to converse with God, it is in the same manner, that the Pharisees did with our Saviour, with the insidious design of entangling him in his talk, Matth. 22. And sure the more time is thus spent, the worse.

10. Proportionably to this they acquit themselves of the other parts of this Duty; that time which they should bestow either in preventing or curing their spiritual Maladies, [Page 104] they lay out wholly in contracting or increa­sing them; they have made a most strict league with the Flesh, and like faithful Confederates they omit no endeavor to strengthen its Party, to supply it with fresh forces, the expence of their whole day is managed wholly in order to that end. Thus that they may be sure to keep their Lust high and vigorous, they give it a nourishing breakfast of Sloth in the morn­ing, a full meal of Gluttony at noon, besides multitudes of collations in obscene Discourse and Fancies, all the day: And with these Aux­iliaries, it need not doubt to maintain the Field against poor macerated Chastity. So again, lest Sobriety should happen to surprise them, and gain but the honor of one Day, how vigi­lant are they to give it the first assault? scarce a day that they draw not up in Battalia against it, and seldom miss giving it a total Rout; and if Sleep like a Mist befriend it to steal upon them in the morning again, yet that little Suc­cess is but a preparation to a more signal De­feat in the afternoon, which is with many, a time allotted wholly to these skirmishes; per­haps the chace followed all night, nay▪ pur­sued so far by some, till an habitual Sottishness save them the labor of these Quotidian Com­bats. Nor is their Pride so affronted, as to be forgot in the distribution of their time, a good scantling of it is cut out to its use; some in contriving and designing their Cloaths, and some in putting them on; some in admiring [Page 105] themselves, and some in projecting to be ad­mired by others; some in hearing flatteries, and more in reflecting and ruminating upon them.

11. As for those broken parcels of Time, which are not thus devoted to these or some other set and solemn Sensualities, they are gleaned up by Sports and unsignificant pastimes; nay, even some who abstain from the former, do yet so wholly abandon them­selves to the latter, that their lives become ut­terly unprofitable. Under this number I have no intention to include all who allow them­selves Recreations; I know some divertisement is so necessary both to the Body and Minde of a man, that if it keep within moderate bounds, it is but a just debt to himself, and cannot fall under any ill character; but that which is re­prehensible in this matter is the excess and inordinacy of it, the making that a business, which should be but a diversion: And this we see too usual with many, who absurdly stretch this priviledge of their Gentility, even till it break; pursue their sports of Hawking and Hunting, &c. so vehemently and assiduously, that ere they are aware, they adopt these their Callings; never considering that a Faulconer or Huntsman is indeed as mean a Vocation, as those they most despise. But whatever other pastimes of this nature any man suffers to usurp his time, he does in it extreamly reproach himself, tacitely confesses, That he is unfit for [Page 106] generous and manly imployments, and calls himself Childe, while he thus trifles and plays away his days.

12. I know not whether I may rank the great and deep Gamesters in this File; for though the nature of their imployment belong to it, yet there are such considerable ruinous effects of it, as seem to place it in the number of more serious Ills And indeed, though Custom hath called it Play, yet the many anxi­ous fears and uneasie Commotions which usual­ly attend it, evince the great impropriety of the Title, and would more reasonably have given it a name of the direct contrary import­ance. But as feigned names are commonly an art of concealing persons, so this Trade as­sumes the stile of Divertisement, indeed to dis­guise its true original, which undoubtedly is Covetousness: For what imaginable cause can there be assigned, besides the desire of Win­ning, that should make men venture what they are so unwilling to loose? It is certain, he that plays for a Peece, has as much of the di­vertive part, as he that stakes a thousand; and were that all were designed, men need not, and certainly would not so profusely over­buy what offers it self at so much a cheaper rate. I know this is a motion men think too sordid to own, but would God they would once learn (in this better sence) to revere themselves as well as others, and despise to be prevailed on by what they are ashamed to [Page 107] avow: But the event ordinarily speaks it as great a Folly, as Meanness, of which there are too many sad instances in the shipwrackt Fortunes of these Adventurers; and indeed there is nothing wonderful in it, but that men will be so mad as to run the hazard: For that being supposed, it is not at all strange to see them sink under it; for a man has here to deal not with Chance alone (which yet were but a tickle bottom to imbark in) but with such com­binations of Deceit, that even good Fortune it self will not secure him; so that he that has not learnt to Plough with the same Heifer, is like to make but sad Husbandry of it; and even those that have, if they happen to get some few good Crops, yet they quite wear out the soyl with them, forfeit that Reputation with all considering men, which should let them in to farther opportunities, and leave themselves to live not so much upon their own Wits, as other mens Follies. It is true indeed, that hath in these latter days proved a pretty large Common to graze on, and some have seemed to thrive well upon it; but generally such Cattle meet at last with a pinching Win­ter, which leaves them as bare and meagre, as ever. In short, Cheating has usually a reflex­ed efficacy, and deceives none more then those that use it; yet such a stroak hath it now got in Gaming, that in most Companies it leaves men onely this miserable choice, Whe­ther they will be active or passive in it, which [Page 108] methinks should be enough to awake men, as immoderate Tyrannies use to do, to vindicate their Liberties, and reduce Gaming from this exorbitancy to its Primitive use, make it cease to be a Trade, and become a Recreation; and that too bounded within such just limits, that it may not incroach on those hours which should be destined to greater concernments. But as it is, between this and the rest, either Impertinencies or Vices, all their time is so pre-ingaged and fore-stalled, that their most important interest is left forlorn and neglect­ed; they have as little leisure as Will to con­sider the poor Soul, or scarce to remember that they carry any such trifle about them.

13. And now they that thus forget God and themselves, no wonder if they afford little con­sideration to their brethren; they will not be guilty of such an Indecorum, or deny the Body of Sin its exact symmetry, by making this part unproportionable to the rest, and there­fore they either allow no part of their time to others, or do it to such inverted perverse purpo­ses, as makes the payment worse then robbery. Thus many bestow Visits on others not out of any purpose of kindness, but either to trifle away their own time, or to make observations, what they can spie of ridiculous to entertain their laughter. A mysterie the London-visitants are generally well read in, who have put this business long since into a setled course; so that the discoveries of one Visit sets them in a stock [Page 109] of defaming, backbiting discourse for the next, and so successively ad infinitum. So again, many who call themselves Gentlemen▪ much to the reproach of that title, if they can find out a young Heir of much wealth and little prudence, how officious, how diligent are they in attending him? watching him as glad­ly as a Vulture does the fall of a Carkass, till they find an advantage to rook him at Play, entangle him in Suretiship, or perhaps betray him to some mean and unequal Match. So if they hear but of a beautiful Woman, what contrivances, what designs do they lay, first to see, and then to corrupt her; make it a business to themselves, as well as a trade to their agents and factors, to spring such game? And upon such occasions as these can liberally sacrifice their Time, of which when any Cha­ritable office would borrow from them but some few minutes, they are then such busie persons, they can by no means afford it: A Nabals blunt and churlish refusal, or at best a Felix's put-off to a convenient season, are the usual returns to such motions. But to an­ticipate the Proposal, to go in quest of such Opportunities, looks with them like a piece of Knight-errantry, has so little of their pra­ctice, that it scarce escapes their scorn.

14. And now what a heavy Bill of Indict­ment is like one day to be brought in against them, when God, their Souls, and their Neigh­bors shall all join in the Charge! Oh that [Page 110] they would seasonably consider how sadly ob­noxious they are to it, and that condemnation which will inevitably follow it; that so they may, according to Christs councel, Mat. 5. 25. agree with these adversaries while they are in the way, and by yielding to each of them for the future a just portion of their Time, com­pound the business, stop the Process against them. That they would remember, that of all their prodigalities, this of their Time is the most desperate, such as is most impossible to redeem, and yet that wherein they are of all others the deepliest concerned. And this they would certainly be convinced of, if their Aery fancies could but so condense into Earth, as to bring them into any acquaintance with their Beds of dust, give them some foretaste of their Dying terrors: For let them but sadly think what they would then give for some few of those Days they now study to fling away, and they cannot choose but infer the necessity of being better Husbands. We read in Scri­pture of the Demoniacks dwelling among the Tombs; but the Devil has sure changed that habitation; for, those whom he now Possesses he permits not to converse at all there, as knowing it is the properest preparative to his dispossession: And doubtless it would be the most powerful Exorcism, as of all others, so of this Evil spirit (this filching Devil, that thus steals from men their precious hours) often to descend into the Vault or Charnel­house, [Page 111] and by serious consideration how short their Time is, to inforce upon themselves a care of redeeming it.

15. Nor need they fear, that to redeem their Time, they must sell their Pleasures, give up themselves to a joyless state of life; for though it is true they must resign their coun­terfeit, they shall have real Delights in ex­change; they must part with their Glass, but shall have Gold in stead of it; and as none but a rude Indian will repine at that bargain in the Literal, so none but a ruder Christian can dislike it in the Moral sence. For in the first place, he that imploys his time in conver­sing with God, is not onely more honorably and more profitably, but also more pleasantly busied then he can possibly be any other way. We all say, That God is the centre of Felicity; but he gives himself the lie, that does not withal confess, that the closer acquaintance we have with him, the nearer approach we make to happiness: For who ever believed the Sun to be the Fountain of heat, and yet feared to freeze by drawing near its Rays? Indeed none but the down-right Atheist can with any tole­rable Logick▪ dispute the pleasantness of this Duty: For can any whose Faith has set up a God, suffer their fancies to dress him like a Fiend? Put on him such unlovely shapes, as may beget aversion, defer them from ap­proaching to him? Can they call him a Deity, to whom they will not attribute so much as [Page 112] they will to every ingenuous man, the honor of being good Company? This is to be not onely prophane, but absurd; and if there be any of so short Discourse, I suppose him un­capable of conviction by Argument; the com­mon Proverb hath assigned him his Teacher, viz. Experience; let him by frequent, yet re­verent Addresses to God, grow into some fa­miliarity with him, bring himself within di­stance of receiving his refreshing Influences, and then he will discover how very unkinde he hath been to himself in thus long holding off. In Humane Conversations we use not to finde the gust and relish of them, till we arive to some degree of freedom; they that converse as strangers, are under constraints and uneasi­ness; and certainly the main cause of that dis­gust men have to this Spiritual entercourse, is their unaccustomedness to it: They address to God perfectly as strangers, now and then pay him a slight Visit, as it were by way of for­mality and Complement; and then no wonder if it be neither satisfactory to God nor them­selves: But then 'tis sure great injustice to defame that as unpleasant, which becomes so only by their own ill managery; To say there is no water in the Well, only because they neg­lect to provide a Bucket for the drawing of it up.

16. In the next place 'tis sure, their Souls mean them no malice, in exacting part of their Time. For first, what they bestow in improving [Page 113] and exalting their Understandings, does not only bring them in vast advantages in the end, but affords them also very fair accommodati­ons by the way: Learning yields such variety of agreeable entertainments, that like the Manna in the Wilderness it adapts it self to every mans taste, he that likes not one sort may fit himself with another; and sure he must have a strangely vitiated palate, to whom none of them will relish. I can scarce think Nature has produced any thing so distemper'd; but men take up general and implicite preju­dices, and will look on Books in no other no­tion but as Taskmasters, whereas if they would but consider them as Companions, they could not miss of one kind or other, to find a pleasant conversation among them.

17. As for that portion of their Time which is spent in attendance on the yet more spiritual part of them, 'tis rather a gift then a robbery, to help them to such a way of expence. Inge­nuous men think it a prize, when they meet an opportunity to rescue from the sullage of time any thing that carries the stamp of an­tient worth and Nobility: But this is a piece of the greatest antiquity, of the noblest, yea divinest Impress; how can mens hours be bet­ter laid out, then in restoring it to its primitive lustre, in wiping off that soil wherewith the steam of boiling passions hath obscur'd it, and by disburdening it of those loads of noxious humors under which it labors, like good Phy­sicians [Page 114] recover it from a languishing, infirm, to a vigorous athletique habit: And sure the satisfaction of this must far exceed all other entertainments. Indeed that which is usually taken up in stead of it, can with no justice pretend to any tolerable complacencie: No man envies his felicity, but contemns his sordid and abject spirit, that picks out the basest and unworthiest company; And shall it here pass for pleasure to consort only with the plebeian part of himself, those sensual Appetites, which are the Common people of this Little world, to spend all his time in treating and Caressing of these, and in the interim let the Soul, which is of so noble an extraction, so excellent en­dowments, stand by neglected, nay be trodden to death in the croud of this vulgar rabble, Certainly this is a Tragedy, that no man could see upon the Stage without indignation; yet God knows, this is it men daily act over with applause to themselves. Would God they would once shift the Scene, and let the opprest Soul have its season of triumphing; doubtless they would find it more pleasant to share in its conquests then in its ruine. We read in­deed of some Nations, that have by the rites of a barbarous religion been forced to make Humane sacrifices; yet we find not that they had so slaughtered Humanity it self, as to make it matter of delight: And has our Civility so far outdone their Barbarism, that it shall be pleasure to do that in spight of our Religion, [Page 115] which they did in obedience to theirs? To butcher the Man within us, and leave nothing but our outward Form and inward Guilt to difference us from Beasts? He that disclaims this, must necessarily confess the pleasure lies on the other side, in rescuing the Spirit from the usurpations, yea tyrannie of the Flesh; and consequently, that the Time he thus be­stows is not lost, but improved to his own greatest present, as well as future advan­tages.

18. The like may (in the last place) be said of that part of it which is laid out to the bene­fit of others, which is that which brings us to taste the most delicious of humane delights, the pleasure of Obliging being of all those the most ravishing and transporting: And for this we need not the verdict of Christianity, the Philosopher attests it as well as the Divine, nay it is so received a truth, that scarce any man will avow so much ill nature as to resist it in discourse, how much soever his practice disowns it. Indeed this is a pleasure of so exalted, so quintessential a kind, that what Herods auditors said in flattery of his Oration, we may say in truth of this, 'Tis the delight rather of a God then a man. That Soveraign Being, though he were eternally happy in himself, yet as if he had wanted of his com­pleat felicity, whilst he enjoy'd it alone, was pleased rather to create, then want objects of his goodness: And a pleasure to which God [Page 116] himself has given such an attestation, as to make a World in order to it, sure cannot, without the most impious contradiction of his choice, be despised by man. And certainly 'tis none of the least of those benefits he hath vouch­safed our nature, that he hath given us a capa­city of it, by affording us those powers by which we may advantage and oblige one an­other; so pointing us out a course, whereby we may not only innocently, but successfully entertain Lucifers designe, of being like the most High: It really makes Men what the Heathens vainly fancied their Heroes, even Demy-gods. O that those who think it Noble to be aspiring, would thus verifie the opinion, by terminating all their wishes and endeavors in this one Generous Ambition; and then 'tis sure they would not need to be told the happiness of this so Deifying an imploy­ment!

SECT. VII. Of the fourth advantage, that of his Authority.

1. IN the fourth place we are to consider the Gentlemans advantage, in respect of his Authority over those that relate to, or depend on him: And this, if rightly managed, is of excellent use, though as capable of being perverted, as any of the former. He who has secular tyes upon men, may often, by those cords which bind their worldly in­terest, draw them to a consideration of their spiritual. A Tenant who thinks his livelihood concerned in the good Will of his Landlord, a Pensioner whose subsistence rests upon the bounty of his Patron, will strive to model themselves to such a form, as may best suit the inclinations of the person they desire to endear; they are usually Wax to him, that are Flint to others: But then, as variety of Seals make differing Impressions, so this flexibleness of theirs may be either abused to ill, or im­proved to good; this Wax may receive the image of a Beast or an Angel. It is therefore the duty of those who are possest of this ad­vantage, to use it to the impressing not of [Page 118] Vice, but Vertue; to contrive how they may most effectually discountenance the one, and encourage the other; and this they may doubt­less have frequent opportunities of towards either of those relations forementioned.

2. But to none so often as to their Dome­sticks and Menial servants; these are always so much in their road, that they seem to be marked out by God as their most peculiar Province: Every Master has so much of the Prophet, that he is set as a Watchman, Ezek. 3. 17. over his Family, and ought as jealously to observe the approach of any Vice towards it, as a Centinel does that of an Enemy. 'Tis a very pernicious error for men to think them­selves no otherways concerned in their Ser­vants, then they are in their Horses or Oxen, to look upon them only as another species of Working-cattel, and so they do their bu­siness, care not how errant Brutes they be: whereas they should remember, that they with themselves are Common servants to the one Great Master, and that the subordination of the one to the other is but the wise Oeconomie of their Lord, who has (as in great Families we see it usual) constituted the one as Stewards or Supervisors, to regulate the rest; and then 'twill appear a piece of enormous unfaithful­ness, to neglect this charge. To avoid which guilt, it will concern Gentlemen to have a sedulous care over those that are thus intrusted to them, to make strict inspections into the [Page 119] manners of their servants, and accordingly to apply instructions, and admonitions, reproofs, or incouragements. And that they may not transcribe Pharoahs Tyranny of exacting brick without straw, require the superstructure of Christian lives, where there wants the ne­cessary foundation of Christian knowledge, they must provide that none under their charge be destitute of the means of laying that groundwork, of knowing so much of Religion as may bring them into an acquaintance with their duty. But to give life to all these endea­vors 'tis indispensably necessary for them to avow such a Love to piety and vertue, and such a Detestation of the contrary, that their servants may see that there is but one way of approving themselves both to their earthly, and heavenly Master.

3. If it be here objected, That it is but a counterfeit vertue, which derives it self from the care of pleasing men, and so that this is but to teach them to convert prophaneness to hypocrisie: I must yeild so far as to confess, that where that continues the finall motive, it will never availe any man. But as God often uses temporal and outward occurrencies, to produce inward and spiritual effects, so it may here happen, that those whose first appro­ches to Goodness were mercenary, and out of compliance to others, may by coming with­in view of it discern it so amiable, that they may after love it for its self, and indeed con­sidering [Page 120] the rude ignorance usuall among the vulgar, tis scarce imaginable they should im­brace it upon the bare strength of speculation, and therefore must be allowed secular invita­tions, as baits to allure them. As for those that never advance higher then the meer Form of Godliness, what weight soever it may add to their own doom, yet perhaps that may justly be accounted less mischievious to the world, then the contrary extream, Hypocrisie being a sin that cannot well set up for Proselites, be­cause it never ownes it self of a distinct party from true Piety; and 'tis not impossible, that the example of a feigned Christian, may teach others to surmount their copie, and be that in sincerity, which he is but in appearance: where­as open Vice pretends to no such possibility, breaths nothing but contagion, and like a pest infects communities. We have therefore rea­son to conclude, that if this care were gene­rally taken, 'twere a service not only to God, but the Commonwealth, which has not more unprofitable, nay noxious burdens lying on her from any rank of men, then from lewd and idle Servants, who using their places only as a shelter for their sloth and licentiousness, when that Gourd withers, know not whither to retire, but usually either live Beggars, or die Thieves: whereas if Gentlemens families were so ordered, as to become Seminaries of Industry and Sobriety, the number of them is so great, that they might be able to send [Page 121] out many Colonies of usefull and civill per­sons.

4. There is also another sort of relative, viz a Friend, over whom though they have not that Authority, which springs from this ser­vile stock of hopes and fears, yet they have one of a much more noble descent, and more vigorous efficacy; Friendship has a key to the heart, which it may use not only to let it self into its secrets, but also to introduce its own conceptions, Sentiments, and inclinations, it so mixes with the mind, that it may insensibly convey into it any Idea. Now to use this inti­macy to the bringing in any thing base and unworthy, is the vilest treachery, such as is but imperfectly represented by the treason of him, who requites his friends Hospitality by bringing in Thieves or Murderers upon him: A guilt so vehemently to be abhorred, that none is to think himself at a sufficient and just distance from it, but he that industriously pursues the direct contrary. He therefore that hath a Friend, ought studiously to contrive how he may most promote his advantages, and those not only his outward and secular, but also (yea principally) his inward and spiri­tuall. This is the onely sence wherein 'tis law­ful to have designs upon him, and in this he is not only licensed, but obliged to have so; he must here use all friendly stratagems, to recommend and endear vertue to him, make his kindness the Vehicle, wherein the more [Page 122] gratefully to administer whatever is most wholsome, even reproofs, when they appear so; and yet by taking his own turn in being the Patient, evince, that 'tis no assuming hu­mor, that creates him a Physitian. If friendships were thus managed, it would be indeed a most sacred relation, such as would be above the violations of those petty trivial distastes, which now adaies dissolve them, Hearts that are tyed together with these consecrated bands, are like man and wife joyned together insepa­rably by God, and much for the same end of propagation; only herein as far superior to their patern, as the mind is to the body, the divine excellencies of a Saint to the natural composition of a man. We may reasonably beleive they were Friendships of this making, that first brought that name into so much vene­ration, and were they again reduced to this, no Encomiums could be too lavish for them: such a reducement were a work well worthy the spirit and ingenuity of Gentlemen, who since they generally profess much reverence to the Word, 'tis pity they should cast away their adorations on an empty shrine. The Heathens had Incantations to recall their displeased Dei­ties into their forsaken Images; I wish they would also try some holy magick to bring back somewhat of the primitive divine spirit, to animate this now liveless trunk; that they who justly think it an ungentile reproachful thing, not to have some body whom they call [Page 123] Friend, may think it much more so, not to pay all the reall kindness due to that appel­lation.

5. Having thus far given an account what are the proper and just imployments of this Authority over their several Relations, our method now requires us to reflect a little on their Practice, and that in the most we shall find as far swerving from the rule in this par­ticular, as any of the former. So far, alas, are Gentlemen from making their Power instru­mental to the infusing good, that there is no­thing more ordinary then to see them dispose it to the direct contrary. The scorn and con­tempt they publickly cast upon all piety and vertue, teaches their Dependants, how dead a trade that is like to prove to them; and then 'tis very improbable that Godliness shall with them cast the scales against Gain; he that aims to get an Exhibition, or any thing proportion­able will soon discern his way lies in a quite op­posite road, he must find out what Vice of the Gentleman he may be most serviceable to, sometimes he must purvey for his Lust, some­times for his Intemperance; and even when he has cloyed those grosser appetites, yet his Pride will alwaies remain insatiable; he must still provide▪ air for that Camelion, lay out his whole breath in flatteries (a more hellish wind then any the Laplanders sell;) 'tis this enshrining his Diana which is the craft by which he expects his wealth, and therefore [Page 124] whatever other office he execute by starts, a Parasite is to be his constant trade.

6. In like manner their Servants are disci­plined to be the Ministers of their Luxuries, and not onely to serve but transcribe them; the Master's Vices seldom miss to be taken up by the whole House, as if they were to be the Cognisances and Badges, to witness to whom they retained: And though for this they might very well trust to the efficacy of their bare Ex­ample, yet as if they could never be secure enough of corrupting their Families, they too often adde to it Precepts and Rules of Institu­tion. Thus it is one of the Fundamental Laws of their Hospitality, That no stranger be sent Sober away; so that their Houses may well pass for inchanted Castles, no Man scarce that comes into them, being able to guide himself out: They keep, as it were, solemn Justs and Turnement of Debauchery, to challenge all comers, and have variety of Champions to deal with Combatants of all ranks. In short, Gentlemens Families are become such perfect Academies of Licentiousness, that the most innocent Puny will there in a very short time become proficient. And this God knows is the ordinary improvement they make of their Authority; As if they affected to outbid the tyranny of the Turk, in sending a Halter to his Vassals, and making them their own Exe­cutioners; or thought it a disparagement to their Qualities, to go to Hell without an ho­norable Retinue.

[Page 125] 7. As for the other sort of Power, that which they have over their Friends and Inti­mates, 'tis not discernible that they manage that better; Who almost is there, that seems at all to advert to the Essential part of Friend­ship? What a Rarity, I had almost said a Pro­digy is it, to finde (even amongst those that profess the greatest dearness) any that hath either the Courage to give, or the Humility to receive an Admonition? But in stead of those wounds of a Friend, Prov. 27. 6. there is no­thing more common among them, then the kisses of an Enemy, such mutual soothing in ill, as renders it inveterate and incureable; and like Joab to Amasa, 2 Sam. 20. 10. sheds out the bowels, when it pretends to kiss; nay, as if it were not sufficient for them to nourish those Vices they finde already planted, they sow new Seeds, communicate their personal ones to each other, as if the community of Friendship obliged them mutually to diffuse their poisons. Were many of the closest in­timacies now adays ransacked to the bottom, it is to be feared this would be found the basis and ground-work of them. He that hath ad­vanced above the beaten road, arived to the more elevated mysterious parts of wickedness, (The depths of Satan, as they speak, Revel. 2. 24.) would loose much of the gust, if he should not get some Confident, to whom at once to boast, and propagate his Proficiency. Thus sacri­legiously is this venerable relation of Friend­ship [Page 126] prophaned, by being prostituted to the vilest and most detestable purposes; and by this accursed abuse suffers the saddest Metam­orphosis, becomes onely a Confederacy in sin, a Combination and League against what they account the common Enemies, God and Vertue.

8. These are such wretched perversions of their power, that one would guess it were some great and very considerable weight of present Interest, that should thus byass and distort them. But when that is examined, 'twill be found to lie wholly on the other side. The former Section gave us occasion to discern how transporting a delight it is, to be the In­struments of any good to others: But as there is no good can bear proportion with that which is done to the Soul, so certainly to be an Agent in that, must far transcend the plea­sure of all other Benefactions. He that so dis­pences his Bounty, as to engage Men to Ver­tue by it, is indeed the magnificent Person, outvies the most profuse Donations of the greatest Potentates; They can give but some little parcels of Earth, he gives Heaven, and like a mighty Monarch hath Kings to do him homage: So he that by well ordering his Fa­mily, makes his Servants to be God's, does not onely oblige the Commonwealth, but is as it were a Patriot even to Heaven it self; pro­vides it with Inhabitants, and helps to secure it from that emptiness and depopulation, where­with [Page 127] the general wickedness of men seem to threaten it; and then in relation to such his Servants, he is of all other Masters the most bountiful and obliging; they provide perhaps some petty Annuities, he gives a state of Inhe­ritance, nay of Eternity.

9. This is a vast Munificence, yet that which the arrantest Worldling can have no temptation to grudge. A Man may thus with­out a Riddle give much, yet part with nothing, nay, acquire that very thing to himself, which he dispenses to others; so that here is no place for the usual (though unjust) Objection of im­poverishing ones self, which is that alone which often deads the relish, or diverts the at­tempt of other Liberalities; and therefore this sort which is rescued from that one possi­ble allay, must certainly yield the most vigor­ous and unmixt Pleasure, it being sure, that Bounty has in it self so much of agreement with Humane Nature, as will inevitably pro­duce Complacence and Delight, where it is not so interrupted or allayed.

10. I might here add ex abundanti, that there is likewise a secular Profit attending it: For if Gentlemen had their Dependents truly conscientious, they would be of very much more use to them, they might employ them securely, and need no other Spies upon them but their own Consciences; 'twould not then be so many Servants, so many Thieves and Harpies, but so many Factors and Traffickers [Page 128] for the Masters advantages: So that here again their own Interest engages them to this Care, though I confess 'tis to be wished, that the former more ingenuous Motive may be so prevalent, as to supersede all use of this, it be­ing very unreasonable that God should need Auxiliaries from Mammon. Yet as once the Israelites borrowed of the Egyptians, so it may not be amiss to make this Inferior consi­deration a step to the other more Noble, that even they who have yet no gust of that more Heroick Pleasure, may on the intuition of this Worldly advantage, endeavor to improve their Authority to the Spiritual good of all that be­long to them.

11. But from no part of this Performance may they reap so rich a satisfaction, as from that which is exercised towards a Friend; for as their Concernment is nearer in him, then in the former more distant Relations, so the Pleasure of doing good to him, must propor­tionably encrease, as that heat is most intense which is conveyed by the nearest Reflexion. He who so maintains his Vital station in the great Body, as to sympathize with every Mem­ber of it, must yet necessarily have the most acute sense of what befals those parts, to which he is most immediately conjoyned: But there is no stricter Union upon Earth, then that of a Virtuous Friendship; and then what can be more satisfactory, then to preserve or advance the Health of that, whose Maladies [Page 129] himself is sure to feel, to improve and benefit that person, who is thus become a part of him. Persons of quality love to deck and imbellish the place where they inhabit, abhor to dwell in a Stie or Dungeon, but Friends dwell in each other; and therefore cannot but be de­lightful in beautifying and adorning those Mindes they have thus chosen to live in, in purging them from all foulness and pollutions, and rendring them as pure and immaculate; nay, as splendid and illustrious, as is possible. Certainly, there is nothing upon Earth more ravishing, then a Friendship thus entertained, 'tis some Anticipation of Heaven, where those lines of Love which stretch themselves to e­very part of the Circumference, do all meet in God as their Centre. It is indeed that which surmounts the possibility of an exact description, and reserves its full discovery to be the prize of Experience. Let it be tried, and then I doubt not, but he that hath made the Experiment, will readily attest the Pleasure of thus imploying this part also of his Autho­rity.

SECT. VIII. Of the last advantage, that of Reputation.

1. THe last advantage is that of Repu­tation and Esteem, which is gene­rally presumed the due of Persons of Quality, unless where some personal un­worthiness hath cut off the Entail, and for­feited that right. And though these days have taught the Vulgar to defalk much of that re­spect which former Ages paid to Superiors of all sorts, yet I cannot think the Levelling principle has so universally diffused it self, as totally to rase out all impressions of reverence towards them; so that there still remains somewhat of this Talent for them to negotiate with. It will be their part so to manage and dispose it, as to bring in profit to their Lord, by making it also an engine to draw men to piety and vertue.

2. This they may sometime do by Councel; to the success whereof there is nothing more contributive then an esteem of the Adviser, most men being rather apt to consider who speaks, then what is spoken: And therefore persons, whose Quality and Education have [Page 131] prepossest them with an opinion of their Wis­dom, have a great advantage towards the working on them. And this it will befit them to make diligent use of, by seasonable advices and exhortations to those whom they shall discern thus prepared for the entertaining of them, to take all prudent occasions to re­commend Christian-Practice to them, and by pulling off those disguises which the false mea­sures of the world have put upon Vice and Vertue, to represent them in their true and native shapes, the one the object of horror and detestation, the other of love and delight. 'Tis the want of this discovery, that has given Impiety so free a range, it has drest it self up in a counterfeit splendor, false Gemms and Tinsel-gaudery; and in this glittering appear­ance it marches on triumphantly, receives ac­clamations, yea and Obeisance too, nay com­mands not only the knees (as every prosperous Usurper can do) but even the hearts of men. And will none have so much charity, so much zeal for publick Concern, as to uncloak this Impostor, and shew the dazled world what it is it thus bows to? Perhaps this is lookt on only as the business of Divines; but certainly would Gentlemen also set to it, they were like to prove the more prosperous undertakers: What comes only out of the Pulpit, passes for the foolishness of preaching, 1 Cor. 1: 21. or for the discourses of those whose trade it is to in­veigh against sin; All their Thrusts being of [Page 132] course, and expected, their Wards are as well known too, and we daily see Vice approve it self an expert Fencer against them. But the endeavours of these would not be liable to those prejudices; a Blow from them would come (like the Revolt of a Confederate) with the advantage of a Surprise; and there is little doubt, but by friendly and familiar Confe­rences they might many times insinuate that into mens breasts, which the more solemn and Authoritative Exhortations of Ministers often fail of.

3. But Councel will be of little efficacie, if it be not seconded by Example; they must therefore look their Lives be such, as may shew they believe themselves, whilst they go about to perswade others. He that shall with never so pressing Arguments dehort a man from that Sin, which himself at the next op­portunity commits; will never be supposed to have any real ill opinion of it, but rather so passionate a love, that he is jealous any but himself should have its embraces: And then surely this will be so far from averting, that it will excite the appetite of the other to taste of that which he sees is thought so desireable as to be Monopolized.

4. Indeed there is nothing by which they have so universal an influence, as their Example: Things that are set in some high and eminent place, do naturally attract mens eyes to them; so that eminencie of condition [Page 133] wherein Gentlemen are placed, renders their actions more observable. They are like the City our Saviour speaks of, set on an hill, and have by that advantagious situation the means of making their light shine further then other mens. And therefore it ought to be their constant care, by the bright lustre of their exact and exemplary Conversations, to inlighten the whole sphere wherein they move. Would Gentlemen make this their united de­signe, what a happy Constellation of auspici­ous Stars would they prove, by whose benigne Aspect the sterility of Vulgar minds might be cured, and even those Clods be inspirited, and rendred capable of excellent producti­ons.

5. For what can be more perswasive to those of the lower Ranks to embrace Vertue, then to see it made the election of those whom they suppose to have most judgment to discern its value, and so fall not on it blindfold, and who have also all the contrary pleasures of Sin within their reach, nay prostrate at their feet, suing for entertainment, and so are not cast on it by impotence. What a blur and in­famy would it cast upon Vice, if it were once banished out of Gentile company, and how fair a step would it be towards its exclusion out of all? We see what a natural aspiring the lower sort have to approach to the con­dition of their Betters; and though that being [...]ow aimed only at their Pomps and Greatness, [Page 134] be no commendable temper, yet sure it were much in the power of those emulated persons to make it so: For would they so order the matter, that their Vertue should outshine all their outward splendors, that it should become the character and distinctive note of a Gentle­man, to be eminently good, this were a way to consecrate even Ambition it self, by making it an engine not to rack and torture men, as common ambitions do, but to advance them to all vertuous industry.

6. He that desired to ennoble his Family, would then begin at his Mind, cast out thence all base and degenerous Inclinations, and make himself a Gentleman without help of Heraldry. Thus hapily might they deceive men into Piety, and make those Emulations, whose first rise was meerly from Earth, a ladder wherewith to scale [...] Heaven. And how noble, how excellent a [...] charity is this, and yet of all others the cheap­est, it having that Proverbial property of Cha­rity, To begin at home: The being good, is pri­marily a kindness to themselves, and to other [...] only by way of result, and propagation, and easie consequence? How unchristian, unman­ly, yea unskilful too will it then be, to den [...] this benefaction, which has that very argume [...] on its side, which is opposed to other kinds o [...] Liberalities; that fear of lessening a mans sel [...] which in those contracts and shuts up the bow­els, is here in all reason to enlarge and dila [...] them; for in this case men cannot deny, with [Page 135] out their own greatest injury, and diminution: And sure 'twould justly pass for a prodigie both of malice and folly, for one so to avert the benefiting another, as to incur the greatest damage to himself in avoiding it.

7. But alas, it is not only Charity either to others or themselves, which exacts of them thus to promote Piety among men: They have brought themselves under another more con­straining obligation, I mean that of Justice, par­cularly the justice of Restitution, for 'tis too vi­sible they have been deeply accessory to its de­cay: so far have they been from advising and exciting men to good, that I fear their perswa­sive faculties have generally been imployed [...]o a quite distant purpose. There are few or none, that by their own pious endeavors do at all abate the need of the Priests ex­hortations; but many that do evacuate their efficacie, by decrying it as the greatest folly, the most unmanly submission, to yield them any consideration: As for their own Coun­cels, they are too often in earnest, what Solo­mon's was by way of irony, Eccl. 11. 9 Walk in the ways of thine heart & in the sight of thine eys, encouraging and animating men to all Sensua­lity; and if they discern any begin to startle at the course, to entertain but a sober thought of that dismal end to which it leads, he is to be [...]aught out of that Hypocondriack fit, taught [...]o look upon it as a spice of Phrensie, the loud noise of roaring Mirth is reinforced to drown [Page 136] that poor whisper of Conscience, and by the sound as it were of those Trumpets he is in­cited to turn to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battel, Jer. 8. 6. all arts of encourage­ment used to imbolden him to run fearlesly on to Damnation. This is their one known Recipe—for all pangs and gripes of Soul; And if it be not of every days practice, 'tis not that they have any better method of Cure, but such arts of prevention, such means of stupefaction and obduration, that the disease seldom occurrs among them.

8. Nor do they omit to back and fortifie this with proportionable Examples, which God knows are so many and so efficacious, that like a dismal Cloud they overspread our whole Horison. They who are by God design­ed as lights to illuminate all aboutthem, have been the instruments of introducing a more then Egyptian darkness, thereby exemplifying that Aphorisme of our Saviours, Mat. 6. 23. If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness?

9. What a deluge of Prophaneness and Im­piety at this day overflows this poor Nation, is too visible not only by the direct, but th [...] reflexed beams, those sad Judgments they have brought down upon it; and though there be too many springs which feed this Ocean, ye [...] there will scare any be found to have more li­berally contributed, then the open and scan­dalous viciousness of the Gentry. They who [Page 137] are placed as Stars in our Firmament, if they dart nothing but malignant Influences, what wonder is it, if an universal Pest ensue? 'Tis they that have brought Vice into countenance, made it the Mode and fashion of the times, so that people dread the singularity of being in­nocent, and a man may with less peril of scorn appear in the most superannuated dress, then own the Obsolete qualities of Meekness, Purity, Sobriety, &c. How great and fatal a snare this creditableness of sin has proved: I feare there are too many thousands of entangled Soules can witness; and on whom can they more pro­perly charge their ruine, then on those who have advanced it to this repute in the world? Mens natural pravity gives them propension more then enough to ill, and therefore it hath been the business of Laws both humane and divine to put a bridle upon those inclinations, by feare and shame to restrain their inordina­cy; but this converts the bridle into a spur when those that should discountenance Vice, thus animate and encourage it.

10. For what a Temptation is it to the vul­gar to run to all excess of Riot, when they see their superiors have beaten the path before them, and are themselves immerst in the most brutish sensualities? which of them will endure to be sober, when Drunkenness shall be ac­counted so dignifying a quality, that it may make a Peasant company for a Lord? when Gentlemen are Atheistical, Clowns will think [Page 138] themselves very modestly wicked, if they be but prophane; and when they heare their Betters discharge loud Volleys of Oaths, they will so on find they are as well qualified for that part of greatness as the best, their Tongues are as much their own, Psa. 12 4. and will be glad that by such an easie imployment of them they can be Gentlemen so good cheap. 'Twere as endless as unnecessary to enumerate the se­veral sorts of infection, which the ill exam­ples of great men have diffused; 'tis too obvi­ous in the mortal effects to need any other way of discovery; and I am sure it ought to be matter of the saddest reflection to all who are involved in that guilt, it being a most dire­ful account, which they will one day have to make, who have been the Authors of such miserable vastations, turn'd Communities of Men, of Christians, into Herds of Beasts, nay into Legions of Devils.

11. Every sin even of the privatest obscu­rest person carries much of contempt and affront to the Divine Majesty, but Great mens vices are of a yet more Giantly frame, they proclaim solemn War with Heaven, levy forces, and draw in multitudes of abettors and confederates in their hostilities; and God knows this kind of Unevangelical violence the kingdom of Heaven daily suffers. Oh that the Chieftaines and leaders of these unhappy troops, would at last think fit to sound a re­treat; that they would, in pity if not to them­selves, [Page 139] yet to their seduced followers, cease thus desperately to rush on upon the mouth of the Canon the Jaws of Hell. And not only so, but that they would also endeavor to bring them into some terms of accord with that om­nipotent Enemy they have provoked, by their own penitent and reformed lives teach them the postures of humility and submission, as they have formerly done that of defiance. This certainly is that to which common equity ob­liges them, reparation of injuries being con­fessedly an indispensable part of justice; and certainly there can no injury exceed, nay equall this of betraying men to eternal ruine, and consequently nothing less then the utmost industry to repaire it, can be any competent expiation. God grant all those, whose guilt gives them a peculiar title to this admonition, may own their right to it by a particular and serious application, such as may for the future engage them to the most zealous endeavor of reforming not only themselves, but others, for rescuing their reputation from that foulest blot, of being an agent for Satan, and advan­cing it to that highest dignity of being service­able to God.

12. But there is little hope they will rightly consider the use, who are so utterly mistaken in the nature of true reputation; A man of Honor is now understood onely to be one that can start and maintain a Quarrel, that for every the triflingest injury expects like Lamech, [Page 140] Gen. 4. 24. to be avenged seventy and seven fold; that despises the Christian precepts of Meekness long suffering, and Forgiveness, as rudiments of cowardize and unmanly pusillanimity, and has no other measure of courage and gallan­try, but by an utter opposition to all those; and whilest reputation is thus hung onely at the point of the sword, 'tis a very fit instru­ment to destroy bodies, but sure not to save Soules. We find daily many occasions to com­plain of the Tyranny of Custom and Opinion, but scarce any where so much as in those un­just and absur'd Laws they have imposed in this matter, which were they consideringly weighed would surely evince them such con­temptible Legislators, as would be enough to dethrone and depose them from that usurped Empire they now maintain in the world.

13. To take onely a short and cursory view of them, we shall in the first place find them to be horribly impious; for what can be more so, then thus to teare off those signatures of Ho­nor, which God himself hath imprest, and vilifie those whom he hath dignified? God has pronounced that it is the discretion of a man that deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression▪ Prov. 19. 11. and again he that is slow to anger is better then the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit, then he that taketh a City. Pro. 16. 32. But this new notion of Honor proclaims the quite contrary; he passes for a Phlegmatick foole, whose blood boyles [Page 141] not at the first glimpse of an Affront; and 'tis Gallantry to offer many Injuries, but igno­minious Tameness to bear one. It has always been the indisputable prerogative of Kings to be the Fountains of Honor; what an impious daring is it then to divest him of that privi­ledge, by whom Kings reign? to cancel his Patents, and mark them out as the objects of scorn, to whom God gives so glorious a testi­mony? Yet thus is it daily done to the men, whom the King of Kings will honor; these are all the Triumphs these Mordecai's must expect; An evidence how much worse they are then Haman, that allot them. Certainly there can­not be an act of greater defiance against the Divine Majesty, then thus to reverse his De­crees; And upon this hostility and opposition against Heaven it is, that all the private Quar­rels and Combats on Earth are (as on their foundation) superstructed; so that to initiate a Duellist, his first Challenge must be directed against God himself.

14. Nor are these false measures of Honor more opposite to Religion, then Prudence: The glosses the Sword-men have put upon the one fundamental Law of Not bearing an In­jury, have introduced such a multitude of ri­diculous Punctilio's, that the next Age will be in danger of receiving the Fable of Don Quixot for Authentique History; and I see not with what justice this can laugh at them in him and his Squire Sancho, and yet think [Page 142] them serious enough to govern men in their most real and weighty concernments. It would indeed astonish any sober person to consider, what Chimera's they are to which men sacri­fice all that ought to be dear to them; How many Duels have been fought, how many men kill'd, (when neither of the Combatants were so implacable but that they could willingly have compounded the matter) only because they thought Point of Honor exacted it, and the declining it would be inglorious? Certain­ly the Gallies is a state of perfect liberty, com­pared with this bondage; And were the Re­lease from those necessarily to infer a subjecti­on to this, were those Slaves obliged thus to become Gentlemen; I should cease my wonder why so many of them have despised a manu­mission: For, thus to have a mans Estate, his Life, yea Soul too, at the mercy of Popular breath, (not only to be lost, but lost by his own act) is a Slavery beyond all that the most abject creature ever groaned under. And yet so prodigiously absurd is the World, as to cut this out for the Benjamins portion, make it the especial and peculiar priviledge of Gentlemen; they are set upon a Theatre, and as the Gladi­ators of old must kill one another, only to entertain Spectators. And who would not think Bedlam the onely Seminary to breed men up for such a Trade? Yet so universal is this Lunacie, that one may suspect the Instituti­on of that Hospital is perverted, that that [Page 143] incloses only the Sober persons, whilst the Frantick run loose about the world.

15. But perhaps the more Malicious Duel­lers will think themselves exempt from this number, because 'tis their own satisfaction which they designe in it; their Enemies blood will make so delicious a draught for their re­venge, that they gasp after it, and think it a pleasure well worthy their pursuit. But sure these differ from the former, not as Wise men from Fools, but as a worse Natured Fool from a better. He that would justifie the rational­ness of any Adventure, must prove the Prize at least to equal the worth of that he hazards for it: But who that considers he has a Soul, can seriously set it at so contemptible a rate? or what man in his wits, that believes a Hell, will say the pleasure of a Revenge can counter­vail those pains? Nay indeed, none can with any pretence put it in ballance with the meer loss of Life; for he that is kill'd (as every man may be that fights) can have no sense of that pleasure, and so becomes uncapable of the compensation, if that were able to make it. Nay I shall descend yet lower, and with some confidence affirm, that the uneasie consequen­ces even of the Victory do quite overwhelm the satisfaction. For this I dare refer my self to any of those who have had the unhappy Triumph of a Murtherer, and doubt not that if they will speak their experiences, they will tell us that the cry of their Adversaries blood [Page 144] in their Conscience, did utterly extinguish the relish of it in their Fancie; or if they were persons who were hardned against all sense of Divine vengeance yet the fear of Humane was abundantly enough to defeat them of that pleasure they expected; so impossible is it to gather grapes of these thorns, to reap any con­tentment from so unchristian an Attempt: Their Revenge is not compleated without Blood; and if they have it, it proves a Tor­rent to carry away that imaginary Delight they projected from it: And then what colour of reason can any man bring, why he should thus sell his soul for nought, and become a Pla­tonick to Damnation?

16. But Revenge has two ill-matcht quali­ties, Blindness and Impetuosity; and so all its darts, though they carry force and venom e­nough to destroy all about them, yet by being ill aimed revert mortally on the breast whence they were shot. Certainly there is not in the world a more prodigious Infatuation, then that which rules in this Affair: What can be more senseless, then for me, when a man has done me an Injury, to think to wipe off that by ex­posing my self to more? when he has given me the Lye, to invite him to give me the Stab too? Did ever any man attempt to make up a breach, by widening it? to close his wound, by tearing it further? The Physicians indeed talk of a method of curing some Diseases by Majoration; but sure Injuries are not in the [Page 145] number of those maladies, nor capable of that way of remedy: The greater may, 'tis pos­sible, overwhelm, but not cure the less, as the more moderate Pains become insensible by the superveniencie of the more acute; yet I pre­sume none would applaud his choice, that should call for the Rack to drown the pain of a Cut finger, which yet is no hyperbolical embleme of this sort of Revenge.

17. But besides all this our modern Gal­lantry is treacherous to its self, confutes its own pretension, and whilst it vainly assumes the Monopoly of Courage, is indeed the mean­est Cowardise in the world. That by which we use to discriminate base Fear from just Cau­tion, is the formidableness of the object feared: No man is reproached for not standing the inundation of the Sea; but to quake at step­ping over a Gutter, would be a ridiculous ti­morousness: 'Twould be neither wonder nor shame to run from the pursuit of a Lion; but to be chased by a barking Whelp, is the pro­perty of an Hare, not of a Man. And accord­ing to this measure, what wretched Cowards are our greatest Hectors? For what can be more contemptible then those unjust Scorns of men they so tremble at? which if they were sure to be universal, yet what real ill can they do a man, who does not by his own fan [...]y lend them an edge wherewith to wound him? But neither can this be the Case, till all both Christianity and Sobriety be quite worne out [Page 146] of the world: For to a Christian, 'tis certain the irreligion of Fighting a Duel would be the most infamous thing, and even to a sober Heathen the folly of it would be so too; so that he can be in no danger of either of their reproaches, for declining it: And when these are set aside, who is there whose censure can be at all considerable? Yet this so pitiful de­spicable thing is it, which so terrifies and a­mazes them; And how shall we define Cow­ardise, if this be not it?

18. And as it has the nature, so has it the Fate of it too, which usually is by fleeing an ima­ginary danger, to fall into a real: Men fight, that they may not be thought Cowards; and by fighting they do not only become indeed so, but also rush themselves upon other far more formidable mischiefs, run from a Scar­crow into a Precipice. And now what a riddle is this thing they call Gallantry, which so startles at the weakest noise, yet stands un­dauntedly the stroke of a Thunderbolt? They who so dread the reproach of vain impotent men, do yet confidently encounter the anger of the omnipotent God; and if Valor and Fool-hardiness were not very distant things, would confute my whole argument by making it evident, that they dare be damned. Thus by a strange kind of inverted operation their Fear makes them bold; would God that Anti­peristasis might go on to work, till that Bold­ness have again brought them to a fear, I mean [Page 147] that penitential Fear, proper to those who thus deliberately provoke the Divine Ma­jesty.

19. And that very Deliberation is a cir­cumstance of so great an enhancement, as un­measurably heightens the sin: Sudden acts may be capable of some alleviations by the surprise they make on a mans spirit; but con­trived and premeditated Crimes can have no milder appearance then of obstinate Rebellion. And this aggravation can scarce ever be want­ing to a Duel, many hours, if not days inter­vening between the designment and the exe­cution; and in that interval 'tis not possible for all the Opiate Receits in Sathans Dispensa­tory to keep the Conscience so drowsie, that it shall not startle, but it will undoubtedly represent to a man the horror of that he is going about, which is no less then the en­gaging himself in a double Murder, his own, and his Adversaries, (for the wilful hazard of both fastens on him the guilt, though both happen to survive the Combat;) but if it be his own fate to fall (as he has much reason to expect, who thus puts himself out of Gods protection, nay dares his vengeance) what possible hope can remain for him, who thus dies in that very act of the greatest sin? We are generally apt to think but uncomfortably of those who make away themselves; but cer­tainly many of those deserve to be Canonized, in comparison with a man that dies in Duel; [Page 148] the principle of that being often an excessive Feare of God, which sure is less culpable, then a prophane contempt of him Besides the temptation in that case is usually more violent and impetuous, it being (if not begot, yet) cherisht and fomented by melancholly, the most untractable and obstinate of all humors, whereas the suggestion to this hath no such Auxiliary to aid it, the original of quarrel [...] being frequently from too free a jollity. And lastly, that, of how heinous a kind soever, is yet but a single sin, whereas this, as I said before, involves a twofold guilt; And of how crimson a colour must that soule appear before Gods Tribunal, that is thus double-died in blood!

20. And now who can choose but cry out in the Prophet Esay's stile, Heare O Heavens, and hearken O Earth! What strain of wonder and amazement can bear proportion with the desperate madness of men, that can thus know­ingly and consideringly rush themselves upon such unspeakable mischiefs; especially since here they want even that miserable reserve, which serves to embolden them to other sins, viz. the hope of a future repentance: for those that make but the slightest measures of that, can scarce fancy any opportunities of it in this case, since to him that dies there seldom re­mains any space of interval between his sin and his death, no time for those clouds to gather, those penitential showres to descend, which should wash away his blood-guiltiness; [Page 149] or if there did, yet what expectation is there he should imploy it to any effect? such Pre­sumptuous considerate sins naturally work an obduration in the heart, which nothing but an extraordinary grace can remove, and after such a high and daring provocation 'tis very reasonable to expect God should withdraw even the lowest degrees, but sure not that he should add higher.

21. These Considerations are all of them so obvious, that they naturally suggest them­selves, and certainly they are so weighty and pressing that 'tis a Prodigie to see they should be so universally ineffectual, which can pro­ceed from nothing but the want of close and serious application. Would men dare but to meet single with their own sober thoughts, 'twould certainly supersede all other Duels, there remains therefore nothing more for me to add but to invite them to this one encoun­ter, to beseech them to grapple a while but with the force of Reason, a combat of all others the securest, where to be subdued is more glorious then to conquer in any other; and when it has despoyled them of that false cou­rage, which exposes them to such dismal ruines, to permit it to reinspirit them with a true one, such as may give them daring enough to stand up against this so more then Barbarous a custome, to endeavor to banish it out of Christendom, and so take of that reproach which our profession lies under from so impi­ous [Page 150] a practice, which having no other Te­nure but Prescription, there needs nothing but Desuetude to destroy it. Let every man for his own part strictly abstain from it, and avow the doing so, and then by ceasing to be a fashion, it will cease to be at all.

22. But the misery of it is, no man will assume to be leader in this so noble an enter­prise, to begin this so necessary a reforma­tion; which though it have so much more of compliance even to carnal Interests, then its contrary, that I doubt not many wish it were universal, yet till it be so, they think 'twill be uncreditable to any particular person; But were that the certain event of it, 'tis sure that reproach ought to be despised, when it comes in competition with Duty; In this case the re­solution of David (as great a Swordman as any of them) is most proper; I will yet be more vile then thus. 2 Sam. 6 22. and cer­tainly a man cannot pass a more glorious Martyrdom, then to suffer ignominy upon such an account. I am sure 'tis a real shame to see that men can offer violence to all their dearest complicated Interests, to comply with that unchristian custome, yet cannot cross a single imaginary one, to suppress it.

23. Nay the truth is, they create Punctilioes in this case, by which themselves will not be govern'd in any other. In a common Fire does any man suspend his own endeavors, till he see the whole Town running to quench the [Page 151] flame? or if one of these popular persons had been of the Philistims company, when the house began to fall, Iud. 16. 30. would he have so dreaded the singularity of a solitary escape, as not to have attempted it, till sholes of others had led the way? We have had some experience, under what prejudice a pub­lick Act falls, that is by its makers precluded from being a president, and sure these men do tacitely (yet very intelligibly) accuse the un­reasonableness of this feare, whilst they con­fine it to this single instance; and me thinks 'twere but just, they should be required to be consentaneous to themselves, and act in other things by the same measures; which would prove so sharp a penance, as were more likely to reduce them to sobriety, then all the force of Argument.

24. But besides this severe remedy, there is sure an antidote against this malady, a way to separate the duty from the Contempt which their fancies have so closely annext to it, and that is by making their lives so uniformly Christian, that it may be evident, 'tis Consci­ence, not feare that works with them. Without this I know indeed no security from reproach: For to see a man who tramples upon all other commands of God, catch up this, as a buckler against a Challenger, who can be so blindly charitable, as to impute this to any thing but Cowardise but when the whole tract of a mans Life is one continued course of Obedience, [Page 152] no man will expect he should violate that upon this occasion. To this may be added a cheerfull and free exposing himself to all war­rantable dangers, when any publick occasion of hazard is offered; if he then shew himself daring, 'twill be apparent, that 'tis not the feare of Death, but Sin, which locks up his sword from private Duels. Or when there is no opportunity of this active valor, let him approve his passive by a contented, nay joy­full submission to any suffering that attends the discharge of a go [...]d conscience; and of this there is little feare (in these daies especi­ally) to want occasions. He that does this, will be in no danger to be defamed for de­clining Duels, but on the contrary such an aequable piety will extort reverence from all, there being such a venerable amiaebility in it, that the most prophane do, even against their wills, bear it some inward respect.

25. Let not men therefore pretend the fear of reproach, as an excuse, since here is so ready a Salvo to that objection, but let them by an assiduous practice of all other Christian vertues, render this also secure to them, and qualifie themselves for the propagating it to others. And Oh, that we could once see all other quarrels amongst Gentlemen converted into this one holy contention, who should be forwardest in this Heroick attempt. 'Tis the false notion of Honor, that is one of Satans principal Citadels, like Zion to the Jebusites, [Page 153] and the assaulting of that, would be an atchive­ment of so much glory that he that could prosper in it, might justly challenge the dig­nity which David there promises, 2 Sam. 5. 8. of being Chief and Captain. Here then they may lawfully quench their thirst of Honor, yea and that of Revenge too, by wrecking their utmost malice on this their so grand Ene­my: Let it be remembred how long it hath befooled and cheated the world, and be ex­posed to all the shames and detestation of a discovered Impostor; nay let it be brought to a solemn arraignment, those innumerable mur­thers of which it has been guilty, charged on it, and prosecuted to death, so utterly extin­guished, that it may never again appear in the world, whilst all good men applaud the justice, and say, So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord.

26. Having thus reflected on the common abuses of Reputation, all that remains is to con­sider how injurious men are to themselves in their ill managery of this Talent, which might be improved not only to their final ac­count, but even their present pleasure. For first, he that by seasonable advice rescues any man from a course of sin, will infallibly feel so unutterable a complacencie in having done so, that he will find he was kind to himself, as well as the other and will have no temptation to think himself unprofitably imployed, though that were to be his onely reward. This bring­ing [Page 154] sinners to repentance is so noble, so tempt­ing a design, that it drew even God himself from Heaven to prosecute it; and that not by cheap and easie means, but by all those Suffer­ings, which humane nature most trembles at: yet such was the joy of Mans salvation▪ which was set before him, as enabled him to endure the cross, and despise the shame, Heb. 12. 2. How rich a bargain will it then be to a man to par­take with him in that joy, to share with him in that prize, upon so much easier termes, to pay but a little breath for that, which ex­hausted his blood, and to become (in a lower inferior sence) a Saviour without a Cross?

27. In like manner, he that by a strict and exemplary conversation sets himself up a land­mark to direct men in this turbulent and dan­gerous Sea▪ his light, 'tis true go [...]s forth to others, but the warmth and cherishing heat of it remains within his own breast. What cheerful what exulting reflections may he make upon himself, that can make good St Pauls pro­testation, Acts. 20. 26. that he is pure from the blood of all men; that he hath not by any scan­dalous example ensnared any soule; but on the contrary hath by positive illustrious acts of Vertue endeavored so to adorn his Christi­an profession, as to draw in Proselytes not to the name, but the obedience of Christ; That hath made it his business to stand in the gap, not only by his Intercessions with God against the Plagues, but by his endeavors with Men [Page 155] against the sins of the Nation, and by a steady opposing himself against the inundation of prophaneness and licentiousness, hath in­vited others to give some stop to those impure torrents? It has alwaies been accounted so glorious a thing to redeem ones Country from slavery, that men have thought their greatest hazards amply paid with the Title of a Patriot: but there is no vassalage so ignoble, no ser­vitude so miserable, as that of Vice, and con­sequently no attempt so worthy, so ingenuous, so satisfactory to the undertaker, as to break that yoke. He that aspires to no more then a private Innocence▪ is onely on the defensive part, stands upon his guard against Satan; but he that aimes at this sort of publick reformati­ons, maintains an invasive War against him, and so more shakes his kingdom; The reducing of any sinner is the dispossessing him of so much of his usurpt territory, and weakens his Em­pire in the world. This is indeed the true Publick Spirit, which though many have pre­tended to from whom we discern nothing of these effects, yet those very pretensions bear witness to the excellency of the thing, and ought to animate men to be indeed, what so many have coveted to be thought.

28. I suppose I need not go on to the other instance; every mans sence, without consult­ing either his Reason or Religion, will be able to pronounce that 'tis better to be in Peace then Hostility, to have a whole then a [Page 156] wounded body, to keep securely his own sta­tion, then to be hunted like a Partridge on the Mountains by the Avenger of blood. The greater is the miracle, that men who in all other instances devote themselves wholly to their sensuality. should here onely abjure it; that when body and soule come in compe­tition, live as if they had no soule, yet upon this occasion can dare, as if they had no bo­dies. Oh that men should be such ill husbands of their sufferings, and thus enhance Satans markets! Alas, Hell is a purchase will never be taken out of their hands, how many chap­men soever they see about it, they may secure their Estate there firm enough by those sins they have more gust of; why should they be thus madly prodigal to outbid the common rate? Must Gentlemen buy Damnation, as they usually do Wares, dearer then other men? How is perdition become so amiable, that like Rachel a double servitude is judged light for it; whilst Heaven in the mean time, like Leah, is so much despised, that 'tis thought an injury to have that obtruded on them, though upon the easiest terms? Certainly they are strange transforming Optick's which these men make use of; would God they could be but perswa­ded, if not to break yet at least for a while to lay by those false Glasses, and behold things in their genuine and proper shapes, and then I doubt not they will discern That Honor to be infamy, which sets men at defiance with [Page 157] God; and that Reputation then alone becomes estimable, when like a River it paies its Tri­bute to the Ocean, promotes His Glory, at whose feet Kings (without diminution) cast both themselves and Crowns.

SECT. IX. The Conclusion.

1. WE have now according to our proposed Method, sur­veyed distinctly those seve­ral Advantages which Gen­tlemen enjoy, and may surely give the same Testimony, which Caleb and Jo­shua did of Canaan, Num. 14. The Land which we passed thorow to search it, is an exceeding good Land. 'Tis a rich and fer­tile soyle wherein these men are planted, such as hath a natural aptitude and vigor to produce the most excellent fruits. But Paradise it self required dressing, and therefore we find Adam had that work assigned him in his Innocence; and surely these his Sons may well submit to the same task, by the faithfull discharge whereof they may make some approa­ches towards that his pristine state.

2. It need not be again inculcated, that all these their Receits have their spe­cial and particular ends in Gods assign­ment; [Page 159] 'twill be more useful to remember them, how neerly they are concern'd not to pervert the Councel of God against themselves, by neglecting to give them their due expected improvements: For though he be a most liberal, yet is he not a negligent Master, but keeps an exact and punctual account of whatever he thus delivers out, and will not faile severely to avenge the embezeling of his goods; Indeed such an abuse has so Fatal an Efficacy, that it quite changes their nature, converts them from Bles­sings to the heaviest Curses: would God too many men had not thus exemplified their own destructive power, and by a kind of Anti-creation brought darkness out of light.

3. But 'tis pity they should be per­mitted to sleep in that darkness, which themselves have made; and therefore if this little Tract shall fall into any such hands, it must avow to come upon that uncivil, yet friendly Errand, to disturb their rest, to awake them to some Consi­deration, and as Philips Monitor was to remember him, that he was but a man, so to put them in mind, that in the middest [Page 160] of their freest enjoyments they are still but Stewards and know not how soon their Lord may summon them to their Accounts. And with what confusion and consternation must they appear at the great Audit, who have so unfaith­fully managed their trust; 'Tis therefore now no longer time to dally, but by an assiduous care and diligence to endeavor to Redeem their past ill husbandry, lest they run the Fate of that Evil-servant mentioned, Mat. 24. be surprized in the midst of their Inordinacies, and have their portion assigned them in weep­ing and gnashing of teeth.

4. And now what Objection can they possibly make against this so necessary a Caution, which is founded upon such Motives, as should me thinks infallible prevaile upon all sorts of tempers? If they have any sence of Feare, here are those Terrors of the Lord, which are amazing enough to set even a Belshazz [...] (though with the Cup at his mouth, his Concubines by his side) a trembling. Certainly he must not be onely frozen but petrified in desperate impiety, whom even a glimpse of those eternal flames will not be able to dissolve.

[Page 161] 5. But if Fear (though of God) be too degenerous a Passion for a Gentleman to own, this advice can upon as good grounds Address it self to their Hope; there is as well the Joy of the Lord for the Faithful, as the outter darkness for the unprofitable servant. For though God have Right of absolute Dominion, and might exact obedience on his bare com­mand, yet he is more pleased to shew himself a Benefactor then a Lord, and therefore descends to treat with men by the more gentle, and inviting methods of Promises and Rewards. Nay, indeed the end of his Commands is onely to make us capable Subjects of those Eter­nal Felicities he desires to bestow. And this surely is enough to excite men to a diligent negotiating with those Talents they have received, since it is indeed themselves they are trading for. The stock it is true is Gods, but all the in­crease of it will by his bounty certainly devolve on them. And therefore as Naa­mans Servants thought the cure he was in pursuit of, deserved a submission to the severest Prescriptions, If the Prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst [Page 162] thou not have done it? 2 Kings 5. 3. So surely we may conclude those endless joys proposed by God, are cheaply earn­ed even by the most exhausting Labors, the most vigorous Tasks.

6. But such is the Tenderness and In­dulgence of our gracious Master, so ear­nest his desire of dispensing his Rewards, that he will not trust mens sloth and folly with such a pretence of defeating them­selves; and therefore hath annexed no such condition. We have seen, through all the several parts of Duty, which con­stitute the Gentleman's Calling, that they are of a quite distant frame, not Toils but Refreshments, not Yokes but Crowns, such as differ onely in size from those Celestial ones to which they tend; so that here is bait even to the greatest voluptuary. And who that observes how many such there be, would expect this Fruit of Paradise should still hang un­touched; yet such a preposterous Tem­perance have they put on, that they are proof against all these alurements. Good God! what contradictions are men made up of? It is the business of their lives to pursue pleasures, and yet when those [Page 163] of the most resined and exquisite sort would run into their embraces, they grow coy, and cannot be courted to re­ceive them. We daily see the Devil hath his Martyrs, it seems he hath his Asce­ticks too; and so witty is the World grown in creating sins, that they have found out a sin of self-denial. Would God these absurd Mortifiers might be perswaded to remit somewhat of their severity, the most rigid Orders in Re­ligion have still indulged some relaxati­on, some times of Festivity; why should Satans Votaries be so much more zealous, then Gods, as to make their abstinences so perpetual?

7. It speaks indeed the Cruelty of that Master they serve, but so it does his Policy also, he well knows that if these Divine Lights should but insinuate them­selves, they would soon undermine his whole Foundation; so ravishing and at­tractive are they, that nothing but a per­fect Ignorance of them can be Amulet sufficient against their Charms; and there­fore it is his necessary concern to keep men from ever tasting of them, the least rellish whereof would be sure to make [Page 164] them despise all his adulterated delica­cies. So we see he can give some rational account of his part of the matter. But what can Men say for themselves, who play his game for him, even when their own souls are at the stake, that at once renounce that Eternal interest, and Pre­sent pleasure? This is indeed in Davids phrase, 2 Sam. 3. 33. to die as a fool dieth. Their hands are not bound, nor their feet put into fetters; no extrinsick hin­drance lies on them, why they may not stretch forth their hand to this Tree of life, and cat and live happily here, and glori­ously sor ever. And yet like Solomons Sluggard, they hide their hands in their bo­som, and will not so much as bring them to their mouths, Pro. 19. 24.

8. This is so stupid a Folly, as none that pretends to common sense, would in any worldly concernment be guilty of, Will any man renounce a rich uncharge­able Reversion, when he is not only wooed, but bribed by a considerable sum in hand not to disclaim it? I fear there are few so mortified to Wealth, as to do it upon the score of Self-denial; and sure no man would be thought in [Page 165] his wits, that should do it upon any o­ther; for what jealousies soever he had entertained of the Security, or Value of that future Estate, yet the present visible profit would deserve his consideration: There is but one circumstance imagina­ble, that could reasonably avert him, and that is the suspition of Deceit, that the Coin which is offered him is false and adulterate. And that I may not be under a necessity of pronouncing so many men mad, I shall suppose it not unlikely that this scruple may occur to them in the present Case: They have so long brought all their Bullion to Sa­thans Mint, suffered him to stamp their Pleasures, that none will now pass for current with them, which has not his Impress; and upon this account 'tis too probable they may distrust the validity of the present Paiment, disbelieve the pleasantness of those Duties I have here recommended to their Enjoyment, as well as Practice. Nor shall I desire to impose on their belief, but shall very willingly wave their Faith, and appeal to their Sense. But then they must re­member, that that is uncapable of judg­ing [Page 166] by any other means but Experience; and therefore if all that has been addrest to their Reason be ineffectual, that re­mains as the last reserve for their con­vincement. Let every one of them seri­ously and conscientiously set to the Pra­ctice, (and allow only for so much of difficulty, as naturally attends the inter­rupting a contrary Custom) and then let him, if he can, doubt of the Pleasure: Let him allow himself but this one Me­dium to infer it, and I shall defie his dis­sent to the Conclusion. Let him sow with me this handful of seed in the tears of true contrition for remembring his Duty and Interests so late, and I shall rest confident he will reap in joy in this world, and carry the news of it to another, even thither also bring his sheaves with him, abundance of fruit to his account, be blest here, and crown'd eternally.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

Pref. Sect. 17. l. 8 r. recommend. p. 17. l. 30. for soul r. speech, p. 35. l. 14. r. gentler, p. 57. l. 9. for said r. so, p. 88. l. 23 r. supersedes, p. 94. l. 21. r. de­ference, p. 96. l. 7. after vice add that, p. 98 l. 2. af­ter of add his▪ p. 99. l. 19. r. constitution, p. 106. l. 28. r. motive, p. 111. l. 32. r. deterr, p. 129. l. 7. r delight­ed, p. 192. l. 18. r, amiability.

PRIVATE DEVOTIONS. …

PRIVATE DEVOTIONS.

LONDON: Printed for Timothy Garthwait at the Little North door of St. Pauls. 1660.

A Confession.

O Blessed Lord, I thy wretched Crea­ture, thy not onely unprofitable, and slothful, but wicked Servant, do here. prostrate my self at thy Feet, humbly acknow­ledging that I have most perversly and most treacherously mis-imployed those many preci­ous Talents wherewith thou hast intrusted me. I have, O Lord, unworthily abused those com­mon Mercies which thou hast afforded me as a Man, and a Christian, my whole life having been a continued resistance to the dictates both of Reason and Religion. But I have yet farther perverted those more special Liberali­ties of thine, whereby thou hast essayed to vanquish and melt an ungrateful heart. My Knowledge hath had no influence on my Choices, but I have obstinately pursued those ways, which I knew led to the Chambers of Death, and by advancing my Sins from Igno­rances to Presumptions, hath served onely to render me lyable to the greater number of stripes. That Wealth whereby I should have glorified Thee, and succoured my Brethren, I have converted into fuel to maintain and ac­cend my Covetousness, Pride, and Luxury, so levying war against Thee with thine own Trea­sure. Thus unfaithful, O Lord, have I been [Page 170] in the unrighteous Mammon; and who then shall commit to my trust the true Riches? I have wasted that Time thou hast given me to work out my own Salvation, vainly and im­pertinently, nay often so viciously and impi­ously, that Idleness, though a Crying sin of Sodom, hath been the silentest of my guilts, the greater portion of my Days having been devoted either to the pursuit or enjoyment of my brutish Pleasures, so making it my business to provide for the Flesh to fulfil the Lusts thereof; and of those many Days and Years thou hast afforded me, how few minutes are there of which I can give any tolerable account to Thee, or my own Soul? Nay, O Lord, as if my single and personal Impieties had been too little, I have propagated them to Others, and have made that Authority and Esteem, which thou gavest me for better purposes▪ the means of ensnaring all whom my Interest or Example could seduce. And now, O Lord, how unknown astonishing a weight of guilt do I lie under, that am to answer for so many Sins of Other men, as well as my self, that have thus been a Snare on Miz [...]ah, and a Net spread on Mount Tabor, the Instrument of en­tangling and betraying so many Souls? O merciful Lord; who delightest not in the death of a sinner, look with pitty both on them, and me; Give me a sincere and earnest Repentance for my own offences, and if it be thy blessed will, make me some way instrumental to the [Page 171] begetting the like in them, that I may be as contributive to their Recovery, as I have been to their Fall: And let the consciousness of my great Sloth and Unfaithfulness in all the parts of my Stewardship, excite me to a more dili­gent and industrious improvement of all those advantages thou hast put into my hands, for thy glory, the benefit of my Brethren, and the eternal joy of my own Soul. Grant this, O gracious Lord, for his sake who came to Call sinners to Repentance, Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Thanksgiving.

O Most gracious and most bountiful Lord, who doest good unto all, but hast in an extraordinary measure a­bounded to me thy unworthiest Servant, I de­sire with all exuberant thankfulness of heart, to confess and celebrate this thy great good­ness. Lord, Thou hast not been to me a Wilder­ness, a Land of Darkness, but hast caused my Lot to fall in a fair ground. Thou hast not onely given me a Natural, and a capacity of a Spiritual life, but hast also enriched me with many Advantages for the comfortable support of the one, and the happy improvement of the other, above what thou affordest to mul­titudes of others. Thou hast liberally given [Page 172] me of the Dew of Heaven, and fatness of the Earth, an Assurance of all those good things which may both oblige and assist me cheerfully to serve Thee. O let not my Heart like Gideons Fleece remain dry, whilst all about it is thus plentifully watred from Heaven; but give me, I beseech thee, such a sence of thy Mercy, as may express it self in a constant and zealous Obedience. Thou hast done so much for this meanest Plant in thy Vineyard, drest it and fenced it about with Thy Grace and Provi­dence; and having built a Wine-press, mayest most reasonably expect some Clusters to be brought to it at the Vintage. O let not so gra­cious, so equitable a demand be frustrated, when thou lookest it should bring forth Grapes, let it not bring forth wilde Grapes; let not those Advantages I enjoy above others, tempt me to exalt my self, or despise them, but grant me always to remember that it is Thou onely that makest me differ from another. Lord, let thy Methods be my Documents, thy Dispensations of Indulgence towards me, the Engagements and Bands of the closest and most inviolable Duty, that that Eminency of Condition where­in Thou hast placed me in this World, may be an effectual Admonition to me to be eminent in Vertue that Men seeing my good Works, may glorisie Thee my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Blessed Saviour.

A Prayer.

O Thou most Righteous and Impartial Judge, who despisest not the mean, nor acceptest the persons of the Mighty, Make me always to remember and seriously to consider, that none of those outward privi­ledges I enjoy among men, can exempt me from thy severe Tribunal, but that I shall one day be brought to Judgment, as for all that I have done in the flesh, so particularly for those special and peculiar Advantages, whereby thou hast discriminated me from my meaner brethren: And oh let these Terrors of the Lord timely perswade, yea constrain me to a careful imploying of all I have received, to those ends for which thou hast bestowed them. Lord, grant that the Knowledge thou hast given me may have such an efficacie on my Practice, that it may always guide, never up­braid me. And as thou hast opened thy hand wide to me in temporal Plenty, so enlarge my heart in Thankfulness toward thee, and in Compassion and bounty toward thy poor members: I am not straitned by thee, O let me not be straitned in my own bowels; let neither Covetousness nor Riot make me poor in the midst of Riches, but grant me that true Enjoyment which consists in a Charitable dis­pencing [Page 174] of them, that forsaking all the unsatis­fying nauseated pleasures of Luxury, I may purchase to my self that more solid transcend­ing delight of succoring the distresses of my fellow Christians. Lord, suffer not my Wealth to be only a lading with thick clay, nor the rust of it to bear witness against me, but rather make me of the number of those that need relief, then of those who want hearts to give it. And since in thy gracious Providence thou hast placed me in a condition of ease and va­cancie, O let me not pervert it into a life of Idleness and Sensuality, let me not be less, but better busied then other men. O never suffer me to incur the guilt or reproach of being more remiss or indifferent in my entercourse with Thee, then others are of their traffique with the World, of having less care of my own and other mens immortal souls, then they have of their corruptible bodies; but make me so industriously to husband every minute of that precious Time thou lendest me here, as may be in order to a blessed Eternity both of my self, and as many more as thou shalt put within my reach. O let not any persons ever have cause to accuse their Relation to me, for betraying them to Sin here, or Misery here­after; but grant that all that are under my care or power, may receive such wholsom in­fluence from me, as may nourish all Christian Practice among them; And, Lord, grant that my Example may be such to all, that I never [Page 175] prove to any an occasion of Falling: Let me never contribute to that power and empire which Vice has gotten in the world, but with a steady courage oppose all Impiety, how customary or successful soever; Let me think nothing Honorable, but what bears Thy stamp and impress on it, but engage, and animate, and inflame my benumm'd breast, to the most eager and vigorous endeavor of recovering discountenanced Vertue to some esteem and reputation among men. And, O Lord, grant that by an assiduous Practice of all Duty, I may arrive to such a gust and relish of it, as may utterly supplant any sensual delights in my own heart, and may also qualifie me experimentally to assure others how sweet the Lord is, that I may be an effectual (though unworthy) In­strument in thy hand of drawing many to the Obedience of Christ, and that renouncing all the vain torturing Ambitions of this world, I may aspire to no other honor but that of be­ing approved by Thee as a good and faithful Servant; That by thy mercy having my In­firmities covered, and my Sincerity accepted, I may at last be admitted into the Joy of my Lord, through the merits of Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Mediator.

Amen.

For more particular Concernments, the Reader may be referred to the Devotions at the end of [The Whole Duty of Man.]

A Table of the Contents OF THE TREATISE.

  • Section Page
  • I. OF Business and Callings in general. 1.
  • II. Of Varieties of Callings. 8.
  • III. The Particulars of the Gentlemans Ad­vantages above others. 12.
  • IV. The Branches of His Calling founded in the first Advantage, that of Educa­tion. 20.
  • V. Of the Second Advantage, Wealth. 54.
  • VI. Of the Third Advantage, that of Time. 95.
  • VII. Of the Fourth Advantage, that of Authority. 117.
  • VIII. The Last Advantage, that of Repu­tation. 130.
  • IX. The Conclusion. 158.
The Devotions:
  • A Confession. 167
  • A Thanksgiving. 169
  • A Prayer. 171
FINIS.

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