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OOD and Evil make up the whole Life
of Man : which, in Truth, are but other Names for Virtue and Vice. The wise Academicks were pleas'd to place the sovereign Good of humane Life in a profound Tranquillity of the Soul. Riches, as Pythagoras said, are no sure Pillars of Felicity; Beauty is no true Supporter of it; and Glory is but a weak, sandy or uncertain Foundation for lo fair a Structure, so folid a Fabrick, so noble a Building. But we must search the Holy Scriptures to give us a clearer Light into that Distinction, and grant us a more perfect Knowledge of Good and Evil in our true Idea's of Things. Since our first Parents did unadvisedly eat of the forbidden Fruit of that Tree in the Garden, their Children's Teeth were set on-edge; and we all became original Sinners by their Fall, standing in need still of a future Redemption, or a farther Regeneration. God himself is the supreme Good of the World ; the most sovereign, permanent and eternal Felicity : which neither the Eye hath yet feen, nor the Ear heard, nor the Heart of Man ever rightly conceiv’d. The only Way to attain to this Happiness, is by accomplish'd Virtue and Holiness of this Life, in Hopes of a better or a more blessed State of Immortality. Religion is the Life and Soul of all moral Virtues, and raises them to a bigher Pitch of Glory, far above Humanity. Democritus calls Virtue, the Joy of a Man's Heart. Thales says, it is the most profitable Thing in the World. Cicero proves it to be a self-sufficient Happiness, both as to the Art of Living and Dying well. In a Word, it ought to be reckond the Summum bonum of this Life among Christians, as well as Heathen Philosophers. Common Reason tells us, we ought to follow after Good, and fly from Evil. It is the very Voice of Nature, to embrace the one, and avoid the other. It is a Light in our own Breasts, that discovers all the surprizing Snares and Ambuscades of the Latter, as well as it displays all the glorious Retreats, Safeties and Securities of the Former. But as he that is ignorant of Goodness, cannot love what he does not know; so he that does not know Evil in all its artful, Habits, ugly Shapes, and odious Colours, can never heartily hate it sufficiently. Evil always wears a Mask, and seldom or never appears Baretac'd. Pull off the Vizard, and you'll find underneath the deformed Hag. Not but that Evil, in its own Nature, is Male too as well remale; and involves all Mankind. It does not distinguish between Sexes. For as Virtue is the only true Good of the Soul in all Perfons ; fo Vice is the greatest Evil by the Truth of Contrarieties, to sew its Falihood. The Deformity of the one is as loathsom, as the other is lovely and charming. Set the Black and the White together, they shew themselves a great deal better in a true Light; and see which is handsomer. This is an Angel; That, a Fiend and a Fury.
As the one is the Health and Vigour of the Soul, according to divine Plato; fo the other is the Sickness and Imbecillity of the Mind. The Former is freeborn and' ingenuous, at Liberty as much as the Air: the Latter is a Slave by Inheri
tance and led Captive by Sensuality, as it were in Triumph, under the Yoke of Sin and Satan. This is the Fountain of all Miseries; and That, the Source of all Blessings. Evil is a pernicious Hydra with many Heads; and requires a valiant Hercules, a Christian Champion, to destroy the Monster. It produces the fante Effe& in the Soul, aš the Dropsy does in the Body: swells it into nothing, or Perdition, which is worse than nothing. I Habits plant in Man a continual Thirst, or Dea fire of that which breeds his greatest Bane, and soonest dispatches his Destruction. Vice raises a Kind of a civil War of ill Manners in the Mind; which proceeds from a Man's natural Inclination, to private Passions and fecret Desires of Luft : and it breaks out at last into open Rebellion against Reason. lifts all Vagrants or Volunteers into its Sera vice against Virtue: And the Conspiracy stops at nothing of Ambition or Covetoufnefs ; of Pleasure, Lechery or Voluptuousness; of Hatred, Rancour, Enmity, Revenge, Ruin, Murder, or Maliciousness. Insomuch that Chrysippas, the Stoick, calls this Evil the proper Efence of Unhappiness: and Plato makes it (as it were) the grand Parent, either Father or Mother, of an infinite and endless Race of Revolutioners in Sin, or Multipliers of Mischiefs, Miseries and Misfortunes in the World. It begets a Generation of Vipers and Villains. It often destroys Monarchies, subverts Aristocracies, and overthrows Common-Wealths. Indeed Vice goes a great way fometimes, to the Chopping and Changing of the whole Universe, How many great Princes have frequently loft their Kingdoms by it; and have for feired
their Honour and Estates both at once : Re: hoboam, through Want of Prudence, Conduct and good Counsel; Sardanapalus, through Luxuriousness or Effeminacy ; Perses of Macedonia, through Rashness or Temerity; to reckon-up no more Examples, of the many of this Kind : All undone by their own Viciousness. 'Tis, in short, the greatest King's Evil in the World. For Vice in Authority is the worst of all Evils. It uncrowns the Head of a King, and -unmans his Ministry. It is most pernicious, and of dangerous Consequence, either on the Throne or in the Chair. It often turns Love into Adultery, Affe&tion into Execution, Equity into · Oppression, Justice into Massacre of Persons, and Covetousness into Confiscation of Estates. The mightier Sort of these State-Sin. ners may escape Anacharsis’s Reproach of great Flies breaking through the Spider's Web; but not avoid God's Punishment and Vengeance. It is true, they may think themselves fecure by their secular Mightiness and supreme Power. But the deferring of Punishment may prove only an Aggravation of the Weight on't. A Reprieve is no Pardon; and the longest Delay does not always save Life. They can plead neither Law nor Custom ; Precedent nor Fashion, at a higher Tribunal. Conscience has a Thousand Gibbets as well as Witnesses. They cannot but remember Esai's Worm, Belshazzar's Hand-Writing, Ptolemy's Torments, Caligula's Terrors, and Nero's Furies with their flaming Torches. But the little Sinners and petit Criminals also, will fare no better neither ; as the Scripture assures us in Levit. Chap. xxvi. to the Eod, that the Wicked shall faint and treinble at the Fall of a Leaf of a Tree; the
Sound of a fbaken Leaf shall chase them away; and they shall flee from the Sword, as if their Life was at Stake, or hung by a Thread, without any Pursuit of their Enemies. However, such harden'd Wretches and habitual Evil-Doers, will always be labouring to make others as bad as themselves, or worse, if poffible. It is the very Nature and Property of Wickedness to spread the Plague. They diffúse their Infe&ion to catch the Country: ; They scatter Mischief, delight in War, and study Blood-shed. Lord! Lead not' the Good into their Temptation ; but deliver them from that Evil !
BUT to return to our Text: A virtuous King and Queen are the happiest Couple in the World. Nothing can part such a loving Husband and so indearing a Wife, but Death ; and then the dearest Friends must separate. They know nothing of any Temporal or Spiritual Divorcement, but only by Mortality, the common Law of Nature. There is a Debt due, and they are always contending who shall pay it first; though to the others great Grief and Dissatisfaction for the Loss of the Deceas'd. But what must bey must beg by inevitable Necessity; with an absolute Refignation, and without repining at divine Providence for over-ruling our imprudent Wills, or indiscreet Wishes. However, their happy Strife is not so much to outlive one another, or to die before each other, as to do one another all the mutual good Offices of Kindness they can, during their natural Lives. Arria, the chart Arria, was a famous Example of the Force of conjugal Affection in the Roo man History, excellently express'd and epigramN 2