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If gentlemen, therefore, by this means be generally cori tupted and infected by debauchery, their influence and exam, ple is likely to infect the greatest part of the body politic; and either make the people easily pliable to the charms and courtships of Popery, for the reafori before mentioned ; fo befot their excellent parts, and enervate their masculine courage, that they shall fall an easy prey to their (otherwise) weak and despicable enemies.
And certainly, gentlemen, we have all cause to reckon this plot very far advanced, when we thall see debauchery every where made the badge of gentility; and chastity, temperance, and fobriety, become the marks and notes of infamy. When civility itself shall be hiffed with derision out of some gentle. mens company; and the more temperate and faber any man is, by so much the less fit to be a gentleman's companion.
this time I hope you are convinced, that true gentility is no enemy to fobriety, nor debauchery the character of gentility; ayd will at last pardon, if not thank me, for endea, vouring this way to secure the true honour of fome, whilft I rationally argue down the vices and follies of others. This plea for debauchery; you see, hath the fame fate the former had, and deserves never to be mentioned more.
$ 9. There is but one plea more ; and that as filly and irra, tional as any of the former : and that is,
The cuftm and habit of swearing, which you say is hard to be broken. This sin is become to customary to you, that now you Icarce note or observe it in yourselves:
That there may be truth in the matter of this plea, I nei; ther deny nor doubt; but that it is a rational and allowable plea, will never be granted by your own reason. The thing you say may be true; for we fometimes find, that when you are taxed for swearing, you will presently swear that you did not swear; and curse him to bis face, that accuses you for cur. fing.
But pray, gentlemen, make your own reason judge, whether custom be a valid and allowed plea for profane [wearing and curfing. Say, reason, wilt thou allow that one of the highest aggravations of Gin, is pleadable in thy court for the excuse and extenuation of it? Wilt thou give it under thy hand, that the man, is the less gilty, because the more wicked ? Darest thou to warrant it that God will take the lefs notice of the wrongs men do him, because they are used and accustomed so to wrong and abuse him every hour in the day? If your reason can allows
and warrant this, I must fay it is different, yea, and opposite to the common reason of mankind.
Say not, I make my own reason the rule and standard of yours, or other mens. For I argue here (as I have done all along before) upon the common topics and máxims of realon, generally allowed all the world over by mankind. If a practice be evil, the oftener it is repeated, the more still it is aggravatéd.
To be plain and faithful with you, gentlemen, if it be your custom to blafpheme, it is God's custom to damn blasphemers. If you use to be drunk and unclean, God uses to punish drünkards and adulterers (if impenitent and unreformed) with his everlasting wrath.
And when you are cired (as shortly you must be) before the awful tribunal of the great, the just, and the terrible God, ask but yourselves, whether such a plea as this, be like to excuse, you in whole, or in part, and take off the heinousness of thefe horrid impieties? Will your profane oaths, and direful execrations and imprecations, be excused in the least degree, by tel. ling him, Lord, I was so accustomed to blafpheme thy name; curling, fovearing, and damning, were fo familiar language in my lips from day to day, that I had quite loft the fenfe of the action, as well as of the evil thereof; and therefore, Lord, pity, spare and have mercy on ine: 0) damn not my foul to thine everlasting wrath. For though I have imprecated it upon myself, yet frequent custom at length extinguished all my sense and conscience of the evil thereof, till at length I could play with a direful imprecation as an harmless thing; nay, thought it an ornament and grace to my speech, à gallant expression, alamode the times and places I lived in.
Is not this as good a plea, and not a jot better than that of a malefactor upon his trial for life and death, when theft or robbery have been evidently and substantially proved upon him, and the judgé demandeth, What he hath to faý for himself, why fentence of death should not pass upon him? Mercy, my Lord, merey cries hè ! for I have been so used and accustomed to filching and thieving from my youth up, that for some years before I was apprehended, every one's goods and cattle feemcd to me to look like my own ; so that I scarce knew when I stole, and when I did not.
And thus, gentlemen, you have heard a fair trial of the fin of profane swearing, and imprecations of damnation ; and you have heard the verdia of your own reason and conscience
upon the case. The Lord help you to break off and reform that fin, for which there is not one word of apology or excuse now left in your mouths.
Let me close all I have to say upon this head, with one plain question : Do you think you must die, or live here for ever, as you now do? If you are convinced (as all the living are supposed to be) that you must die, do you desire an easy and comfortable, or a painful and terrible death ? I presume there is no man living, that is convinced he muft die, but desires naturally and rationally an 'EoJavdolay, as easy and comfortable a diffolution as may be. If so, I appeal to your reason, whether profane swearing and blaspheming the name of God, be a proper rational way to obtain peace and comfort ar death? With what hope or encouragement can those tongues of yours cry at death, Lord, have mercy upon me, which have profaned that name, and imprecated damnation from him, till you came into your last extremities, which convinced you, you could live no longer.
It is a serious question, and well worth a cool and folemn debate in your own reasons and consciences. Some of you are more immediately expofed to the dangers of death than others, readily to be disbanded by a bullet. If you fall, you muft either fall considerately, or inconsiderately. If inconfiderately, and without any sense or conscience of this horrid guilt, you die impenitently, and consequently desperately and miserably. If confiderately, and with awakened consciences, I demand, whether such guilt as this will not roar louder than the peals and vollies of those great and small guns do which breathe destruction upon you, and round about you ? I have done my message plainly and faithfully to the very face at your reason and conscience; and if for' my faithfulness and zeal, both for God's honour and yours, I am rewarded with your curses; yet, if you would forbear to blaspheme and rend in pieces the name of God, I shall not much regard the obloquy and reproach my name shall undergo and suffer upon that account: But I expect from you better fruit than this.
Wherein reason and confcience are again consulted about the
practice of drunkenness'; and their righteous and impartial censure given upon that cafe.
natures and originals, yet they do clasp and embrace each other with most dear and tender affection. It is marvellous to behold fuch a fpiritual and heavenly creature as the soul in all men, fervently loving, and in most men fondly doting upon a lump of clay, a clod of earth : it fympathizeth tenderly with it. If the meanest member of the body be in pain, the soul is presently concerned for it, and evidences itself to be fo, by commanding the eyes both to watch and weep, the tongue to complain and moan, the hands to bind upits wounds with all imaginable tenderness, and carefully defend it from the least injurious touch. But if the whole be in danger, how do its nobler faculties of understanding, memory, and invention, awaken and beftir themselves to the uttermoft for its deliverance and safety.
Whilst the soul lives in union with the body, it is filled with assiduous (and too often with exorbitant and distracting) cares, for its neceffary support and comfort. And when it must be separated from it by death, what strong aversations to death doth it ordinarily discover ? The strong ties and bonds betwixt it and the body, cannot be loosed without much conflict and struggling, evidenced by these emphatical groans it sends forth : groans which other men understand not, nor can be supposed to understand, till they themselves come to feel the partingpull.
The reason of all which lies in the intimate relation which is betwixt these different natures, which God hath married together in the womb, from which time they have been companions and partners in all the comforts and troubles of life. The body is the foul's house in which it dwells, and still shall dwell, till death dissolve it. It is the soul's garment, that clothes and covers it. It hath worn this garment of flesh from the beginning, and is to wear it still, till sickness hath brought it to sags, and death stript it from the soul. It is the tool and inftrument by which it doth all its works,
whilst it is in this state of composition ; and therefore the soul cannot but love it fervently. No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.
s 2. The case fo standing betwixt the soul and body, the wisdom or folly of the foul is plainly discovered in its way and manner of governing the body, as the love and prudence of an husband is in the government of his wife, or the master in ordering the affairs of his house; or the neat breeding of a man, in the comely wearing of his garments; or the fill and care of an artificer, in the brightness, keeness, and sharpness of his tools.
Some husbands give evidence to the world of their governing prudence and ability, in such an allowance of liberty to their wives, as the laws of conjugal love require, and their eftates and incomes will conveniently bear, and no more ; and in restraining their extravagancies, as well as by encouraging their virtuous courses, in keeping back no due encouragement to virtue, nor giving the least encouragement unto vice.
A well-bred man, that carries with him a becoming sense of his quality, and the decorum he ought accordingly to observe, will wear his garments decently, and becoming his rank; they shall be sure to be, neat and clean, and fit fit and comely upon his body. He abhors to wear a garment tumbled in the mire, and go like a beast, without regard to his reputation.
No prudent owner and governor of an house, will let the rain drop through the roof, nor choak up the passage to his door with a nafty dunghill. His house within shall be neat, and not nafty : the rooms clean and comely : and yet abhors to Suffer superfluous ornaments, and costly vanities, to swallow up his estate that should maintain it, and bring bailiffs (morç odious than a dunghill) to his very doors.
The curious artificer, neither grinds away the substance of his instruments to make them bright and glittering, and set an hedge too fine to hold one minute's use ; nor yet suffers them to be thrown afide in some neglected corner, where ruft and flaws shall render them utterly useless, or make him blush at the botches such inftruments will cause in his work.
The prudent husbandman will neither break the heart of his ground for want of rest and compost, nor yet overload it with dressings which brings forth nothing but rank and use. less weeds, he will in a fit feafon turn in a stream of water to his meadows, like a cordial-draught to fainting spirits ; but will not drown it, and rot the very roots of his grass, by letting ju too much, or by suffering it to lie under water too long