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a Building to give us a Cine a more .perfect

OOD and Evil make up the whole Life U of Man : which, in Truth, are but o-' ther Names for Virtue and Vice. The wise Academicks were pleas’d to place the sovereign Good of humane Life in a profound Tragquillity of the Soul. Riches, as Pythagoras faid, are no sure Pillars of Felicity; Beauty is no true Supporter of it; and Glory is but a weak, sandy or uncertain Foundation for so fair a Strušure, so folid a Fabrick, so noble a Building. Byt 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 origi. nal 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 seen, 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 higher 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 felf-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 Breafts, 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 Barefac’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 Female; 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 Thew its Fallhood. 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 che Air: the Latter is a Slave by Inheri


Defcontrarieties, the greater Eviloul in all per

tance; and led Captive by Sensuality, as it were in Triumph, under the Yoke of Sin and Satan. This is the Fouritain 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 fame Effe&t in the Soul, as the Dropsy does in the Body: swells it into nothing, or Perdition, which is worse than nothing. Il Habits plant in Man a continual Thirft, or Dea fire of that which breeds his greatest Bane, and soonert dispatches his Deftruction. Vice raises a Kind of a civil War of ili 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 laft into open Rebellion against Reason. It lists all Vagrants or Volunteers into its Ser: 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 Chrysippets, 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 oftere 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 : Rehoboam, 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, Affection into Execution, Equity into Oppresion, Justice into Massacre of Persons, and Covetousness into Confiscation of Estates. The mightier Sort of these State. Sino ners may escape Anacharsiss 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 secure by their secular Mightiness and fupreme Power. But the deferring of Punishment may provek only an Aggravation of the Weight on't. A TO 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 Efai's Worm, Belshazzar's Hand-Writing, Ptolemy's Torments, Calie All gula's Terrors, and Nero's Furies with their Haming Torches. But the little Sinners and with petit Criminals also, will fare no better neither; as the Scripture assures us in Levit. Chap. xxvi. Ihre to the Eod, that the Wicked shall faint and I tremble at the Fall of a Leaf of a Tree ; the there


Sound of a thaken Leaf mall 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 Infeaion to catch the Country: They scatter Mischief, delight in War, and ftudy 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 feparate. They know nothing of any Temporal or Spiritual Divorcement, but only by Mortality, the common Law of Nature. There is a Debt dve, 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 biez 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 Kind. ness they can, during their natural Lives. Arria, the chast Arria, was a famous Example of the Force of conjugal Affection in the Roi man History, excellently express'd and epigram. N2


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