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ral excess, and a mere exciting others to continue in their abuse, because they find persons reputed sober to imitate them, or otherwise give them an example® : precepts are not balf so forcible as examples.
§. III. Every one that pretends to seriousness ought to inspect himself, as having been too forward to help on the excess, and can never make too much haste out of those inconveniencies, that by his former example he encouraged any to; that by a new one he may put a seasonable check npon the intemperance of othersb. A wise parent ever withdraws those objects, however innocent in themselves, which are too prevalent upon the weak senges of his children, on purpose that they might be weaned. And it is as frequent with men to bend a crooked stick as much the contrary way, that they might make it strait at last. Those that bave more sobriety than others should not forget their stewardships, but exercise that gift of God to the security of their neighbours. It was murdering Cain that rudely asked the Lord.“ Was he his brother's keeper?" for every man is necessarily obliged thereto: and therefore should be so wise, as to deny himself the use of such indifferent enjoyments, as cannot be used by him without too manifest an encouragement to his neighbour's folly.
§. IV. God hath sulliciently excited men to what is said; for in the case of the brazen serpent, which was an heavenly institution and type of Christ, he with great displeasure enjoined it should be broke to pieces, because they were too fond and doating upon itd. . Yes, the very groves thenselves, however pleasant for situation, beautiful for their walks and trees, must be cut down ; and why ? only because they had been abused to idolatrous uses. And what is an idol, but that which the mind puts an over-estimate or value upon ? None can benefit themselves so much by an indifferent thing, as others by not using that abused liberty.
§, V. If those things were convenient in themselves, which is a step nearer necessity than mere indifferency, yet when by circumstances they become prejudicial, such conveniency itself ought to be given up; much more what is but indifferent should be denied. People ought not to weigh their private satisfactions more than a public good; nor please themselves in too free an use of indifferent things, at the cost of being so really prejudicial to the public, as they certainly are, whose use of them (if no worse) becomes exemplary to others, and begets an impatiency in their minds to have the like. Wherefore it is both reasonable and incumbent on all, to make only such things necessaay, as tend to • Phil. üü. 17. Rom. xiv, to the end. "Gen. iv. 9. d 2 Kings xviï, . Psal. x. 3, 4. life and godliness, and to employ their freedom with most advantage to their neighbours'. So that here is a two-fold obligation; the one, not to be exemplary in the use of such things; which, though they may use them, yet not without giving too much countenance to the abuse and excessive vanity of their neighbours. The other obligation is, that they ought so far to condescend to such religious people who are offended at these fashions, and that kind of conversation, as to reject them
§. VI. Now those, who notwithstanding what I have urged will yet proceed; what is it, but that they have so involved themselves and their affections in them, that it is hardly possible to reform them; and that, for all their many protestations against their fondness to such fopperies, they really love them more than Christ and his cross? Such cannot seek the good of others, who do so little respect their own. For, after a serious consideration, what vanity, pride, idleness, expense of time and estates, have been, and yet are? how many persons debauched from their first sobriety, and women from their natural sweetness and innocency, to loose, airy, wanton, and many times more enormous practices ? how many plentiful estates have been overrun by numerous debts, chastity ensnared by accursed lustful intrigues ? youthful health overtaken by the hasty seizure of unnatural distempers, and the remaining days of such spent upon a rack of their vices' procuring, and so made slaves to the unmerciful but necessary effects of their own inordinate pleasures? in which agony they vow the greatest temperance: but are no sooner out of it, than in their vice again".
$. VII. That these things are the case, and almost innumerable more, I am persuaded no ingenuous person of any experience will deny: how then, upon a serious reflection, any that pretend conscience, or the fear of God Almighty, can longer continue in the garb, livery, and conversation of those whose whole life tends to little else than what I have repeated, much less join with them in their abominable excess', I leave to the just principle in themselves to judge. No surely! this is not to obey the voice of God, who in all ages did loudly cry to all, Come out (of what?) of the ways, fashions, converse and spirit of Babylon?" What is that? the great city of all these vain, foolish, wanton, superfluous, and wicked practices, against which the scriptures denounce most dreadful judgments; ascribing all . ?2 Pet. i. 3. Eph. v. 7. Rom. xiv. 1. to the end. Lam. iv.5. Prov. xxi. 17° Job xxi. 13, 14. Psal. lv. 23. Psal. xxxvii. 10. Eccl. viii. 12. Psal. xxxvü. 1, 2. Prov. ü. 22. 'Jer. xvi. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
the intemperance of men and women to the cup of wickedness she hath given them to drink ; whose are the things indifferent, if they must be sok. And for witness, hear what the Revelations say in her description : "How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. And the kings of the earth, who have lived deliciously with her, shall bewail and lament her; and the merchants of the earth shall weep over her; for no man buyeth their merchandize any more: the merchandize of gold and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood; and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and beasts, and slaves, and souls of men'.”. Behold the character and judgment of luxury; and though I know it hath a farther signification than what is literal, yet there is enough to shew the pomp, plenty, fulness, idleness, ease, wantonness, vanity, lust, and excess of luxury that reign in her. But at the terrible day who will go to her exchange any more? who to her plays ? who will follow her fasbions then ? and who shall traffick in her delicate inventions ? Not one; for she shall be judged. No plea shall excuse, or rescue her from the wrath of the Judge; for strong is the Lord who will perform it. If yet these reasonable pleas will not prevail, however I shall caution such, in the repetition of part of Babylon's miserable doom : Mind, my friends, more heavenly things ; hasten to obey that Righteous Principle, which would exercise and delight you in that which is eternal; or else with Babylon, the mother of lust and vanity, the fruits which your souls lust after shall depart from you, and all things which are dainty and goodly shall depart from you, and you shall find them no more! O Dives! no more! Lay your treasures therefore up in heaven, Oye inhabitants of the earth, where nothing can break through to harm them ; but where time shall shortly be swallowed up of eternityo !
§. VIII. But my arguments against these things end not here ; for the contrary most of all conduces to good, namely, temperance in food, plainness in apparel ; with a meek, shame-faced, and quiet spirit, and that conversation which doth only express the same in all godly honesty :" as the apostle saith, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may administer grace to the hearers; neither filthi
Isa. iii. 13 to 16. Jer, 1.8, ch. xv.6,7• Amos vi. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 'Rev. Ivüz. 7, 8, 12, 13.* m*Rev. Iviii. 8. * Ver. 14. Luke xii. 39, 94.
ness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, but rather giving of tharks: for let no man deceive you with vain words, because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobediencep.” And if men and women were but thus adorned, after this truly Christian manner, impudence would soon receive a check, and lust, pride, vanity, and wantonness, find a rebuke. They would not be able to attempt such universal chastity, or encounter such godly austerity: virtue would be in crcdit, and vice afraid and ashamed, and excess dare not shew its face. There would be an end of gluttony, and gaudiness of apparel, flattering titles, and a luxurious life, and then primitive innocency and plainness would come back again, and that plain-hearted downright harmless life would be restored, of not much caring what we should eat, drink, or put on, as Christ tells us the Gentiles did, and as we know this age daily does, under all its talk of religion :, but as the ancients, who with moderate care for necessaries and conveniences of life, devoted them, selves to the concernments of a celestial kingdom, more minded their improvement in righteousness, than their increase in riches : for they laid their treasure up in heaven, and endured tribulation for an inheritance that cannot be taken away!
§. IX. But the temperance I plead for, is not only religi. ously, but politically good : it is the interest of good government to curb and rebuke excesses : it prevents many mischiefs ; luxury brings effeminacy, laziness, poverty, and misery; but temperance preserves the land. It keeps out foreign vanities, and improves our own commodities.: now we are their debtors, then they would be debtors to us for our native manufactures. By this means, such persons, who by their excess, not charity, have deeply engaged their estates, may in a short space be enabled to clear them from those incumbrances, which otherwise (like moths) soon eat out plentiful revenues®. It helps persons of mean substance to improve their small stocks, that they may not expend their dear earnings and hard-got wages upon superfluous apparel, foolish may-games, plays, dancing, shews, taverns, ale-houses, and the like folly and intemperance; with which this land is more infested, and by which it is rendered more ridiculous, than any kingdom in the world: for none I; . know of is 30 infested with cheating mountebanks, savage morrice-dancers, pick-pockets, and profane players, and stagers; to the slight of religion, the shame of government, . Col. iv. 5, 6. ! Thess. iv. 11, 12, 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2, 3, 4; Eph. iv. 29, & v. 3, 4, 5, 6. 1 Tím. iv. 12. Phil. iii. 16 to 20. i Pet, ii. 12. Prov. xxxi. 23 to 31. 2 Chr. xiii. 7 Prov. xxiv. 23.“ James ii. 2 to 9:“ Luke'xi. 22, 30. 1 Tim. iv. 2 Pet, üii. ll. Psal. xxvi. 6. * Matt. xxv, 21. *Prov. x. 4. · Eccl. x. 16, 17, 18.
and the great idleness, expense, and debauchery of the people : for which the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and the judgments of the Almighty are at the door, and the sentence ready to be pronounced, “ Let him that is unjust, be unjust stillt."
Wherefore it is, that we cannot but loudly call upon the generality of the times, and testify, both by our life and doctrine, against the like vanities and abuses, that if possible any may be weaned from their folly, and chuse the good old patli of tenperance, wisdom, gravity, and boliness, the only way to inherit the blessings of peace and plenty here, and eternal happiness hereafter.
§. X. Lastly, supposing we had none of these foregoing reasons justly to reprove the practice of the land in these particulars ; however, let it be suficient for us to say, that when the people have first learned to fear, worship, and obey their Creator, to pay their numerous vicious debts, to alleviate and abate their oppressed tenants : but above all outward regards, when the pale faces are more commiserated, the pinched bellies relieved, and naked backs cloatlied; when the famished poor, the distressed widow, and helpless orphan (God's works, and your fellow-creatures) are provided for! then I say, (if then, it will be tine enough for you to plead the indifferency of your pleasures. But that the sweat and tedious labour of the husbandmen, early and late, cold aud lot, wet and dry, should be converted into the pleasure, ense, and pastime of a small number of men; that the cart, the plough, the thresh, slould be in that continual severity laid upon nineteen parts of the land, to feed the inordinate lusts and delicious appetites of the twentieth, is so far from the appointment of the great Governor of the world, and God of the spirits of all flesh, that to imagine such liorrible injustice as the effects of his determinations, and not the intemperance of men, were wretched and blasphemous. As on the other side, it would be to deserve no pity, no help, no relief from God Almighty, for people to continue that expence in vanity and pleasure, whilst the great necessities of such objects go unanswered: especially, since God hath ipade the sons of men but stew. ards to each other's exigencies and relief. Yea, so strict is it enjoined, that on the omission of these things, we find this dreadful sentence partly to be grounded, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,” &c. As on the contrary, to visit the sick, see the imprisoned, relieve the needy, &c. are such excellent properties in Christ's account, that thereupon he will pronounce such blessed, say
Rev. xxii, 11. u Prov. xxi. 4, 29