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PART This will more distinctly appear to any one,

1. who thinks it worth while, more distinctly, my to consider, what it is which constitutes our

Trial in both Capacities, and to observe, how
Mankind behave under it.

And that which constitutes this our Trial, in both these Capacities, must be somewhat either in our external Circumstances, or in our Nature. For, on the one hand, Perfons may be betrayed into wrong

Behaviour

upon

Surprize, or overcome upon any,

other

very singular and extraordinary external Occasions; who would, otherwise, have preserved their Character of Prudence and of Virtue : in which Cases, every one, in speaking of the wrong Behaviour of these Persons, would impute it to such particular external Circumstances

. And on the other hand, Men who have contracted Habits of Vice and Folly of any kind, or have some particular Paffions in Excess, will seek Opportunities, and, as it were, go out of their way, to gratify themselves in these Respects, at the Expence of their Wifdom and their Virtue; led to it, as every one would say, not by external Temptations, but by such Habits and Passions. And the Account of this last Cafe is, that particular Pasfions are no more coincident with Prudence, or That reasonable Self-love, the End of which is our worldly Interest, than they are CHAP. with the Principle of Virtue and Religion ; IV. but often draw contrary ways to one, as well as to the other : and so such particular Passions are as much Temptations, to act imprudently with regard to our worldly Interest, as to act vitiously b. However, as when we say, Men are misled by external Circumstances of Temptation; it cannot but be understood, that there is somewhat within themselves, to render those Circumstances Temptations, or to render them susceptible of Impressions from them: So when we say, they are misled by Passions; it is always supposed, that there are Occasions, Circumstances, and Objects, exciting these Passions, and affording Means for gratifying them. And therefore, Temptations from within, and from without, coincide, and mutually imply each other. Now the several external Objects of the Appetites, Passions, and Affections, being present to the Senses, or offering themselves to the Mind, and so exciting Emotions suitable to their Nature ; not only in Cases where they can be gratified consistently with Innocence and Prudence, but also in Cases where they cannot, and yet can be gratified imprudently and vitiously: this as really puts them in Danger of voluntarily foregoing their present

See Sermons preached at the Rolls, 1726. 2d. Ed. p. 205, &c. Pref. p. 25, &c. Serm. p. 21,&c.

Interest

PART Interest or Good, as their future; and as real1. ly renders Self-denial necessary to secure one,

as the other : i. e. We are in a like State of Trial with Respect to Both, by the very

same Passions, excited by the very fame Means. Thus Mankind having a temporal Interest depending upon themselves, and a prudent Course of Behaviour being necessary to secure it; Passions inordinately excited, whether by Means of Example, or by any other external Circumstance, towards such Objects, at such Times, or in such Degrees, as that they cannot be gratified consistently with worldly Prudence; are Temptations, dangerous, and too often successful Temptations, to forego a greater temporal Good for a less ; i.e. to forego what is, upon the whole, our temporal Interest, for the sake of a present Gratification. This is a Description of our State of Trial in our temporal Capacity. Substitute now the Word future for temporal, and Virtue for Prudence; and it will be just as proper a Description of our State of Trial in our religious Capacity : so analogous are they to each other,

If, from Consideration of this our like State of Trial in both Capacities, we go on to observe farther, how Mankind behave under it ; we shall find there are some, who have so little Sense of it, that they scarce look beyond

the with CHAP

the passing Day: They are so taken up present Gratifications, as to have, in a man- IV. ner, no Feeling of Consequences, no Regard m to their future Ease or Fortune in this Life ; any more than to their Happiness in another. Some appear to be blinded and deceived by inordinate Passion, in their worldly Concerns, as much as in Religion. Others are, not deceived, but, as it were, forcibly carried away by the like Passions, against their better Judgment, and feeble Resolutions too of acting better. And there are Men, and truly they are not a few, who shamelessly avow, not their Interest, but their mere Will and Pleasure, to be their Law of Life: and who, in open Defiance of every thing that is reasonable, will go on in a Course of vitious Extravagance, foreseeing, with no Remorse and little Fear, that it will be their temporal Ruin; and some of them, under the Apprehension of the Consequences of Wickedness in another State. And to speak in the most moderate Way, human Creatures are not only continually liable to go wrong voluntarily, but we see likewise that they often actually do so, with respect to their temporal Interests, as well as with respect to Religion.

Thus our Difficulties and Dangers, or our Trials, in our temporal and our religious Capacity, as they proceed from the same Causes,

and

PAR Tand have the fame Effect

upon

Men's Beha. I. viour, are evidently analogous, and of the

fame Kind.

It may be added, that as the Difficulties and Dangers of Miscarrying in our religious State of Trial, are greatly increased, and one is ready to think, in a manner wholly made, by the ill Behaviour of Others; by a Wrong Education, wrong in a moral Sense, fometimes positively vitious ; by general bad Example; by the dishonest Artifices, which are got into Business of all kinds; and, in

very many Parts of the World, by Religion's being corrupted into Superstitions, which indulge Men in their Vices: So in like manner, the Difficulties of conducting ourselves prudently in respect to our present Interest, and our Danger of being led aside from pursuing it, are greatly increased, by a foolish Education ; and, after we come to mature Age, by the Extravagance and Carelessness of Others, whom we have Intercourse with; and by mistaken Notions, very generally prevalent, and taken up for common Opinion, concerning temporal Happiness, and wherein it consists. And Persons, by their own Negligence and Folly in their temporal Affairs, no less than by a Course of Vice, bring themselves into new Difficulties; and, by Habits of Indulgence, become less qualified to go through

them:

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