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in perfect darkness, if they take them pot by this direction); tben, continuing the same courte they now do, they are a los
All their lawful and faithful guides tell them, with one mouth, they are certainly in the broad way to damnation ; and that, how irksome and terrible foever the thoughts and apprehensions of hell are to them, yet thither they must certainly come, if they pursue this course. Their reason plainly tells them, he that chuseth the means, and engageth in the way leadiog to hell, must, and ought to make account, that hell is the place he is preparing for. .
Conscience is as plain and positive with them, that they must either retura, or perish. The fcripture confirms the teftimo. oies of both, by telling them plainly, That the end of these things is death; Rom. vi. 21.
rational and sober world, for any map to conclude, or hope he shall be happy in the world to come, whofe life is drawn through, and finifhed in all mader of obscenity, filthiness,
and profaneness in the prefear world. · For let the cafe be brought into the light of your own reason,
as dim as it is, and let it freely judge, when you are belching out your black and horrid blasphemies against God, imprecatwg dampation from him upon your own souls, wallowiog ia : beastly lusts, vomiting and roaring in taveras and ale-houses : ask, I say, your own reason, coolcience, or the scripture, whether all, or either of them, will allow you to lay or think, • Now we are io the right way to eternal bleffedoefs! This is
che very course that will bripg us to happiness in the world to ? comc: this pleafeth God better, and is a furer path to glory, • thao repentagce or faith, mortification, prayer, or reforma. • sion.' No, no, as blind as your reason is, and as seared as your consciences are, you will never briog them to comprobate, or subscribe such absurd and horrid conclusioos as these.
But, on the contrary, they will tell you, that if you will have the pleasure, you must have the pain and torment of fin." That it is madaefs to say, you are afraid to burn, but not afraid to fin; that you are loth to be damned, and yet challenge the almighty God to his iace, to damo you : as much a folly, as to drink a baneful dose of knowo poison, and think to feel no painful gripes afterwards.
As for the scriptures, they appeal to the reafon of mea in this case, as a most known and allowed thing, fcarce imagipable to lie hid from any man. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. "Kpow ye not, thac
" the unrighteous fhall oot inherit the kingdom of God. Ee * pot deceived ; ocither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adultes “ rers, por effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with man's “ kiod ; por thieves, nor covetous, oor druokards, dor' revilers, “ nor extortioders, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
It would make the bowels of a compaffionate Christiao to roll and gera within him, to behold multicudes of fools of io. valuable worth, running greedily on to their eternal ruin, wils fully stopping their ears all the way, to the voices of their own realon and conscience, as well as to the voice of God in his word ;not once making a pause, till they fall into that gulpk of eterpal and intolerable wifery, idto which, with great preci. piration, they are calling themselves.
10. And tben, for the community to which they belong how dangerous, yea, how destructive such perfoos are to it, candoi pollibly be hid from any wite and serious observer. For if one finner destroys much good ; if oic Achan trouble the whole camp of Israel; how much more will whole fwaráns and droves of drunkards, blafphemers, aod adulterers, as bow fill every place, pull down the judgments of God upon those States and kingdoms wherein they breath? If our fears and dangers were greater than they are, yet reformation might fave us, Jer. V. I. " Run ye to and fro through the streets of Je« rufalem, and fee now, and know, and seek in the broad pias “ ces thereof, if you can find a man, fi.e. a public mao, a " mao in authority,) if there be any that executeth judgment, " that seeketh the truth, and I will pardod it.” And if our hopes and confidences were much higher thañ they are, yeć unrestrained fio would vodo us. Kingdoms and common: wealths are not so much endangered by the powers and policies of their enemies without them, as they are by the voreformed. ness of profligale wretches withia, and amongst them. Re. formation quickly recovers the antient glory of kingdoms, and makes them the rerror of their enemies. · For though there will be still too much fin privately cottimita ted under the best laws, and the most vigorous add impartial ešës cution of them; yet abuodaoce of fin would thereby be pres vented, add the fins that are committed woald not become 01. tional, but perfonal only'; and these would not so much concera and hazard the public weal and tranquillity of the state.
Moreover, states and kingdoms are in no small-hazard by the public debauchery, and common profanedess of their subjects; forasmuch as in this very fink and puddle of their lofts, the maply wisdona; sprightly coutage, and true gallantry of their
fübjects, are quenched and drowoed, their spirits noftened and 'effeminated. It is hard to imagine those men will engage far in the cause of reformation, when reformation itselt is the only. thing they hate and fear. . -> Nor aeed we wonder to find men intimidated, and low-spiFited, in times and places of imminent danger, who got only ! carry about them so much guilt, (which is the fountain of fear) but are wholly addicted to seofual pleasures, which they are loth to hažard upon public accounts and considerations, chefe being the only heaven they have; or hope for : “ Whoredom, " aod wine, and new wine take away the heart," Hor. iv. 11. It is in the very nature of these fios, to make men sortish, and id the very bature of guilt to make them pufillanimous.
Seneca observes, and his observation is true) * That the ' conscience of a wicked man is a terrible scourge and torment
to him, perpetually lashing him with sollicitous thoughts and • fears; so that he distrusts all securities, and koows not where
to be safe.' Hence it comes to pass, that many men of good extraction, liberal education, aod excellent natural endowments, become so useless, yea, so pernicious as they are; who, could they be recovered but to temperance aod fobriety, would become boch excellently useful, and ornamental to the nation where they had their birth, and to the safety and honour where. of they owe their service.
gu. This molt desirable recovery and reformation of pro. fase debauched persons, is not simply and abfolutely impollible : And if magistrates and ministers were every where exem. plary themselves for sobriety and piety, zealous and impartial in the discharge of their respective duties, a general reformation would not be difficult. But when those, whore office it is to suppress wickedgels, shall associate themselves with lewd and profligate persops, and vie with them in their profane courses, or discourage more conscientious persons in the discharge of their duties ; this makes reformation morally impossible.
If profaneness were once found the general odium of the people, and a bar to all preferments, it might be hoped, things would quickly alter for the better. It was an ancient custom among the Heathens, (as learned and excellent Mr. Hale of Ea. 'ton, out of Chryfoftom obferves), That if a man offered himself to contead in the Olympic games, he was not permitted so to do, till proclamation had been first made, whether any man knew him to be either a fervant, or a man of infamous life?
* Sexeca, epist. 97. VOL. VIII. . X X
And if any such imputation were proved against him, it was sufficient to keep him back, let his skill be what it would.
What care was here taken, that their vanities Mould not be discredited ? And will ncither reason nor religion convince us, that not only equal, but far greater care ought to be taken, to discourage profancoess among Christians, than the blind Heathens ever took, to preserve the reputation of their vain exercises ? Let all subordinate ministers of state, and officers in the church, Consider how great a part of this blessed refor; mation is demanded at their hands.
§ 12. Were kingdoms and commonwealths once purged from that spirit of profanepels and debauchery, which thus defiles and overflows them, and the people generally reduced but to civility, sobriety, and temperance; experieoce would quickly Thew them the comfortable effects, and happy fruits thereof. :
For though this be much more of what Christianity exacts from all its professors, and insufficient to obtain the happiness of the world to come ; yet it is greatly conducent to the civil happiness and fourishing of the kingdoms of this world ; and, therefore richly worthy the studies and endeavours of all mea, 10 promote and obtain it.
There is no kingdom or commonwealth in the Christian world, which would not by this means breed and send forth multitudes more than they do, with excellent abiliries and qualificatioas, fitting them to fit at the helm of goveroment, and seer a more prosperous course than they do at prelent. A wise and steady direction of the arduous and importaot affairs of kingdoms, can only be expected from those that are able to govern themselves, and their own affairs, with fobriety and discretion. .
If the laws of nations take care for the preservation and growth of timber, fit for the building of houses and ships, aod every one sees the usefulness and necessity of such acts; much more ought they to take care for such an education of men, as may render them serviceable members to the state, both in camp and council.
Magißrates are (in a sense) the foundation of kiogdoms; the strong shoulders, iliat bear the burden of government: And reason will tell, that so great a weight and stress, as the affairs and concerns of kingdoms, ought not to be laid on their shoulders, whose legs, through debauchery, are too weak to bear their own recling and staggering bodies. • Scamen and foldiers are the walls of kingdoms, and (under God) iheir prudence and courage are the peoples defence and fafeguard. Plutarch tells us, there were two virtues in Hanni,
bal, which made him prosperous and successful : There was in him, Plurimum audacia ad capienda pericula, et plurimum confilii inter ipfa pericula : He was bold in attempting, and pru. deot in managing the moft difficult services. The former had figoified little without the latter. Courage may throw men into the inidit of difficulties ; but counsel and wisdom helps them to emerge those difficulties; and I am sure, that cannot be rationally expected from men, that daily dethrone their own reafon by debauchery. ;
But when men, not only fober, just, aod temperate, but religiously good, are employed in public trusts and fervices; we cannot but think, the security and prosperity of such a stare, are abundantly provided for. And our confidence hereof is not only founded upon the maxims of human reason, but of scripture, wisdom, and authority also.
What a recowned, prosperous, and successful captain of the armies of Israel, was good Joshua! No man was able to ftand before him all the days of his life, Josh. i. 5. But what bred those brave, gallant, and undaunted fpirits in the breast of this hero, and crowded his noble designs with such admirable fuccels? If we look into ver. 8. we shall find it was religion, that gave both the edge and point to his patural courage ; " This “ book of the law shall pot depart out of thy mouth, but thou .“ halt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest ob“ serve to do all that is written therein : for the thou Malt make
66. thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”, .. Hezekiah, this way, became a dopsuch among the kings of
Judah ; for “ he clave to the Lord, and the Lord was with him; " and he profpered whitherfoever he went forth,” 2 Kings xviii. 5, 6, 7. And dying David, from a whole life of experience, recommended this as the only inethod of prosperity, unto So
lomon his fon; “ Keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to gie. " walk in his ways; that thou mayest prosper is all that thou
" dost, and whitherfoever thou turvelt thyself," i Kings ii. 3, 4.
How great a lustre therefore doth this truth cast about it : that the restraint and reformation of vice, and the due encou. ragement of virtue and piety, becomes the very civil interest of kingdoms and natioos, by the joint votes and suffrages both of human and divine wisdom? Let any kingdom or state make trial of this method, and from that very time they fall date their prosperity. This will make them become the terrors of their enemies round about them : Peace and prosperity shall Sourish in the midst of them; which is the true level and de fuga of this most necessary and seasonable attempt. .