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SERM. I. from Perfons of a flower Apprehenfion? So that our fuperior Sagacity resembles the pretended Second-Sightedness of fome- People, by which they are faid to fee feveral uncomfortable and difmal Objects, which escape the rest of the World. This Man ranges the Circuit of the Heavens, knows the Laws by which the Planets revolve fees every Thing regular; then defcends into himself, and finds, by furveying the World within, that Man alone is irregular and eccentric. He can account for the Uses of Tempefts, Earthquakes and Thunder; and perceives, that all Storms and Tempefts, except thofe in a Man's Breast, fulfil the Word of God and obey his Will.


Some may perhaps value themselves upon the Strength of their Genius, the Largeness of their Heart, even as the Sand upon the Sea Shore, and the Brightness of their Parts. Alas! the Strength of the Paffions, and the Quickness of the Appetites, generally keep Pace with the Brightness of the Imagination. And hence it comes to pass, that those who have, with an uncommon Compass of Thought, inculcated excellent Rules of Morality in their Writings, have sometimes broke through them all in their Practice : The

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The Brightness of their Parts enabling them SERM. I. to lay down fine Precepts, and the Strength of their Paffions tempting them to tranfgrefs them. A Man may difcourfe admirably well upon Oeconomy, who never was Master of it in the Conduct of Life: Because he may take a Pleasure in difcourfing upon Oeconomy, or any other Subject, upon which he can display a beautiful Fancy; but to look carefully into his Affairs, to balance his Accounts, and to proportion his Expences to his Income, is a Drudgery, to which he cares not to ftoop. There is not a greater Inlet to Vice and Mifery, than to have (which is generally the Cafe of Men of Wit, and the Cause of the Irregularity of their Conduct) too much Spirit to confine one's Self to the common Bufiness of Life ; and too much Fire and Paffion to relish the calm Satisfactions of it. For this Temper puts a Man always in Quest of something transporting, and every Way fitted to an high Taste. To a Man of ftrong Senfations every Delight, that is gentle, feems dull; and every Thing, but what is high seasoned, flat and tasteless. The Confequence of which is, that difdaining common Bleffings, and not able to enjoy himself without fome

SERM. I. thing out of the ufual Road, he overleaps thofe Bounds, which confine meaner Mortals, and precipitates himself into an endlefs Train of Inconveniencies.

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But let us fuppofe, what is not a very common Cafe, that a Brightness of Imagination, and a well-poised Judgment, are happily united in the fame Perfon; yet the ablest Writer, the brightest Genius, the greatest Man that ever lived; nay, an Archangel of the highest Class may fay, "O my God! "that I live and that I pleafe, if ever I please, is owing to thee. May it be then my uppermoft View to do thy Pleasure, "From whom I have the Ability to please!"

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How vain and uncertain all Things are
here below, appears from this, that we
hold even Reason itself, that ennobling
Quality, that boafted Prerogative, and di-
ftinguishing Perfection of human Nature,
upon a very precarious Tenure; and some-
thing, as one expreffeth it, with a human
Shape and Voice, has often furvived every
thing human befides. The Brain, by too

great Quickness and Stretch of Thought,
like a Chariot Wheel, by the Rapidity of
it's Motion, takes Fire; the thin Partiti-
ons, which divided Wit from Madness,

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are broken down. The most penetrating SERM. L and fparkling Geniuses border upon, and fometimes more than border upon, downright Frenzy. They fhew us even then, in their lucid Intervals, the Monuments. and Traces of what they have been, like the Monuments of old Rome, majeftick even in it's Ruins. Their fudden Starts of Sense, though foon broken off, give us more Pleafure, than the fober uniform Thoughts of Men of flower Apprehenfion: Juft as the maimed Statues, the broken Pillars, and imperfect triumphal Arches of old Rome, delight us more, than the entire Performances of lefs able and lefs mafterly Hands.

If then Reafon itself, which distinguisheth us from Brutes, be fo very precarious, and depends upon fuch a fine and subtle Contexture of the Brain, as is liable to be disordered by feveral Accidents; the Observation I would draw from hence is very material, and worth our Confideration: If Mankind were to be vain of nothing, but what is their lafting Property, of which they cannot be ftripped; they would be vain of nothing at all; there would be no fuch thing as Vanity.

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Art thou then proud of Knowledge? Alas! the dim Light of human Reason looks feeble and languid at the first Thought and Contemplation of that Father of Lights, in whom there is no Darkness at all. Doft thou pride thyself upon thy Power? All the little Grandeur we can boast, is loft in the Confideration of that only Potentate, who dwelleth in Light which no one can approach to. Art thou elate upon the Account of an ample Fortune? Confider him to whom the whole World belongs, and all that is therein; who wanting nothing himfelf, fupplies the Wants of every other Being. All human Pride fhrinks into nothing, when we contemplate that great Being, who is All in All. And the Man, who is poffeft with juft Notions of an all-perfect God, will never make a God of any thing else, much lefs of himself.

Doft thou value thyself upon popular Applaufe, and a great Name? Think how many that have made a distinguished Figure in the World, are dead and unregarded, as if they never had been their Deaths unlamented, their Vacancy filled up, and their Perfons miffed no more, than a Drop of Water, when taken from the



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