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Confideration of another World, when they engage in these kinds of Actions, they would tremble to think what a defperate Venture they run. If either of the Parties fhould happen to die in the Encounter, in what a dismal Condition are they both! the one in dying without Repentance, with all his Sins about him; the other for being his Murderer!

But after all, what is this Honour, which we prize fo much, that we will venture upon Damnation rather than it shall fuffer? Is it not an unaccountable Fancy without any Foundation in Reason or Nature, taken up at first by boisterous unthinking Men, and afterwards as foolishly embraced by others? Sure I am, thefe Notions of Honour which obtain in the World, and which occafion these private Quarrels, were never put into the Minds of Men by God Almighty, but are rather of the Devil's devifing, because they do fo directly tend to make us of his Spirit and Temper. The natural Notions of Honour are of another Strain That Man only, according to the Measures of Reafon and Nature, is a Man of Honour, who hates to do any Thing that is mean and bafe, be it never fo much. for the gratifying his private Interests or Paffions; and who hath fuch a quick and tender Senfe of Virtue and Goodness, that he alwavs chufes to do the best, and the worthieft Actions, without any Refpect to

him

himself, or his private Concernments. Now this is truly generous, and brave, and honourable, and all the World muft acknowledge it fo; for it is to act as God doth; it is to copy out his Perfections, and to live up to the Dignity of our Nature. But now for a Man to venture upon a bad and wicked Action, an Action that he knows his Religion hath ftrictly forbidden; an Action which, befides the ill Confequences to his Family, doth expofe both his Body and Soul to Destruction; and this too for no other Reason, but to gratify a private, blind, impotent Paffion of his own, viz. either the Paffion of Anger, that he may be revenged of his Adverfary; or, which is worse, the bare Paffion of Fear, that he may not be thought a Coward: 1 fay, for a Man upon fuch Accounts to venture upon fuch an Action, (and yet there is not a Duel fought, but it is both fuch an Action, and is undertaken upon fuch Account) where is the Senfe of Honour in this? Where is the Bravery, and Greatnefs, and Magnanimity that is expreffed? Certainly thus to act is fo far from being an Argument of a great and generous Mind, that it rather fhews a Man to be of a mean, narrow, felfish, and contracted Spirit. I cannot indeed deny but that there may be a great deal of Courage expreffed in thefe kinds of Undertakings; but yet muft fay, it is a brutish Courage, fuch as is common to other Ani

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mals of our Climate as well as our Men. But if indeed it be fo abfolutely neceffary to the Preservation of a Man's Honour and Reputation, that he should express his Courage and Valour, I do believe that wife and good Men may every Day find Occafions enough of doing it without ever putting themselves to the Trouble or the Danger of fighting Duels.

But thus much is fufficient to have spoken as to the particular Inftances of fashionable Sins which are here forbidden in the Text, `which was our third Point. But it must be acknowledged that the Prohibition in the Text of not conforming to the World, may and ought to be extended further than to the Customs of the World, which are plainly finful, and against the Laws of God, fuch as all thofe are that I have hitherto mentioned. There are feveral other Things which, tho' they are not perhaps against any exprefs Command of God, yet it will be fit for fober Chriftians to abftain from them. And there are feveral Things and Cuftoms likewife, which, tho' they may be lawful and innocent in themselves, yet prove finful by Accident, at fome Times, and in fome Circumftances, and to fome Perfons; and yet at other Times, and in other Circumstances, and to other Persons, they will not be fo. Now, with respect to fuch Things and Customs as these, I put

our

IV. Fourth

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IV. Fourth and laft Enquiry, viz. By what Rules and Measures we are to guide ourselves in the Matter of Conformity to the World, that what is lawful in itself, may not become unlawful or finful to us.

And because the Circumstances of Things are infinite, all that I can do is to lay down. three or four general Rules for our Converfation, to which we are to apply Particulars, as they come in our Way. I fhall do little more than name them, and so conclude.

1. If we mean to live ferious and confcientious Lives, and not to abuse those Liberties which our Religion allows us, it is fit that we should abftain from a Conformity with the World to those Customs and Practices which, tho' they are not directly forbid by the Letter of God's Laws, yet are of ill Fame and Report among wife and good Men. This is that which St. Paul obligeth Chriftians to, when he bids them 2Cor.8.21.to provide things honeft in the fight of all Men. By honcft Things he there means Things that are decent and comely, and fuch as no good Perfon can juftly take Of fence at. Again, in the Theffalonians he bids Chriftians to abstain from all Appearance of Evil. Any Thing that looks like a Sin, or is fo accounted by wife and confcientious Men, fhould be forborn by Chriftians, unless there be great and urgent Reasons for the contrary. And accord

1Ep. 5.22.

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ingly as Chriftians are exhorted to purfue
every Thing that is juft, and good, and vir-
tuous, fo are they every Thing that is lau- Phil. 4. 8.
dable and of good Report, as the fame Apo-
ftle elsewhere speaks. Now nothing is of
good Report but what is thought well of, at
leaft thought innocent, by ferious, pru-
dent, and virtuous Chriftians. Though it
paffes never fo currently among fome of
our Acquaintance, yet if it be of an ill
Name among those whofe Judgments in
point of Prudence we ought moft to set by
in this Matter, and whofe Examples we
ought chiefly to follow, it is a fufficient
Reafon to make us forbear the Practice of
that Thing, if we will act fafely. It would
be easy to name fome Practices too much in
Ufe among feveral of us, which, if this
Rule was obferved, muft neceffarily be laid
afide.

2. A fecond Rule which I lay down is
this: Those innocent Compliances with the
World, which are unquestionably unlaw-
ful in themselves, yet if they be practised
by us out of ill Defigns; if by these Com-
pliances we mean to ferve any Ends of
Pride, or Luft, or Ambition, or the like,
they ceafe to be innocent to us, and we are
guilty thereby of an unlawful Conformity
to the World. The main Thing in those
Compliances that God looks upon, and that
we ought to look upon alfo, is the inward
Principle of the Heart from whence they
VOL. V.
U
proceed.

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