his outward Man perish, yet his inward Man is renewed Day by Day"; when bis Flesh and his Heart faileth, he triumphs in the Declaration, that God is the Strength of his Heart, and his Portion for ever". There may possibly have been much wanting hitherto of the Esteem and Honour, with which his boary Head was intitled to be crowned; but now, having fought the good Fight and

finished his Course, henceforth there is assuredly laid up for him a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord. the righteous Fudge shall give him at that Dayo.


2 Cor. iv, 16.

a Pl. lxxiii. 26.

2 Tim. iv. 7, 8.


[blocks in formation]

Charge them that are rich in this World, that

they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain Riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all Things to enjoy: that they do good, that they be rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.


culiar Dangers

VERY Condition of Life hath its pe

to be avoided, and Duties to be done, but none hath Dangers more threatening, or Duties more important, than that of the Rich and Great: whose Situation, notwithstanding, is seldom considered by those who are in it, as having any Thing to be feared ; and is generally imagined by others, to comprehend almost every Thing, that is to be wished. Now the Mistakes even of the lower Part of the World concerning this Matter are attended with some exceeding bad

[ocr errors]

Consequences ; dispofing them very unreasonably to envy their Superiors, and be uneasy at their own Lot. But the Mistakes of the Rich and Great themselves concerning the Advantages and Obligations of their Station, produce the most fatal Effects that can be, on themselves and all around them. And it greatly adds to the Unhappiness of their Case, that whilst they have many Things to divert their Attention from what is right, and prompt them to what is wrong; to make the gratifying of their bad Inclinations easy; and support them in the World, let them act as they will; they have commonly scarce any one to remind them, if they act amiss. Intimations of Misbehaviour, however prudently given, are to most Persons disagreeable : but to Perfons of Rank they appear disrespectful too. And such of them as will bear to be told of their managing their Healths or their Fortunes ill, shew a great Reluctance to let their Conduct, in Point of Religion or Morals, be touched wịth any Seriousness. So that, just where they need Admonition moft, they have the least given them. It is but few, that can with Propriety use Freedom enough with them, to do any Good : for, to flight and distant Hints they think no ferious Regard is due. And amongst those that can, there are fewer yet that will undertake an Office, in which they have little Prospect either of Success or Thanks. Indeed the Generality of those that come about them, in all Likelihood, mean nothing but their own Interest, or their own Amusement: and these, they may be sure, will take care never to offend them by giving them good Advice : but there is much Cause to suspect, what the Great, notwithstanding, seldom do suspect, that they will often court them by giving them bad : or, if they do not directly persuade them into Sin, (which might sometimes be too gross Behaviour) will however more covertly dispose them to it; encourage and countenance them in it; either to bring about some particular End, which they have to serve by it, or with a general View of making themselves agreeable.


To be thus environed with Temptations, and probably sensible of none of them, is a most pitiable Condition. And

And yet the Rich and Great, when they are led wrong, do not fo deserve Compassion, as not to deserve much Blame too. For as there are some Things to excuse their Faults, there are many that aggraK 4


vate them. Their Education, so costly and laboured in several Respects, must have been conducted with the absurdest Negligence in the most material ; if it hath not given them a much superior Knowledge of their Duty, to that which common Persons can usually acquire. Their Disengagement afterwards from Cares, that others are swallowed up in, affords them peculiar Leisure for Thought and Recollection; and the vast and evident Importance of their whole Behaviour, on such a Multitude of Accounts, one should think could not fail of engaging their Attention to every Step they take.

So that if they have fewer occafional Admonitions given them; it might be hoped they would have less Need of them: for their very Situation admonishes them constantly, that they are raised by Providence above others, in order to be Authors and Examples of Good, not Evil, to their Fellowcreatures. This is directly their Business and Trust: it is the noblest and happiest that can be.' The Labours of it are softened by many honourable and pleasing Distinctions, which God hath bestowed on them; for which he will justly expect they shall make him a Return: if it be such as it ought, they will be eminent for ever in the next World, as well


« ForrigeFortsett »