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These are misfortunes to which we are subject in this state of darkness ;—but when men without skill,—without education,—without knowledge either of the distemper, or even of what they sell, -make merchandise of the miserable, and, from a dishonest principle,-trifle with the pains of the unfortunate, too often with their lives,—and from the mere motive of a dishonest gain,-every such instance of a person bereft of life by the hand of ignorance, can be considered in no other light than a branch of the same root. It is murder in the true sense ;- which, though not cognizable by our laws,-by the laws of right, every man's own mind and conscience must appear equally black and detestable.
In doing what is wrong, -we stand chargeable with all the bad consequences which arise from the action, whether foreseen or not. And as the principal view of the empiric in those cases is not, what he always pretends,—the good of the public --but the good of himself,—it makes the action what it is.
Under this head, it may not be improper to comprehend all adulterations of medicines, wilfully made worse through avarice.--If a life is lost by such wilful adulterations,—and it may be affirm. ed, that, in many critical turns of an acute distemper, there is but a single cast left for the patient,—the trial and chance of a single drug in his behalf;—and if that has wilfully been adulterated, and wilfully despoiled of its best virtues, --what will the vender answer?
The judgments of the more disinterested and impartial of us, receive no small tincture from our affections : we generally consult them in all the doubtful points ; and it happens well if the matter in question is not almost settled before the arbitrator is called into the debate ;- but in the more flagrant instances, where the passions govern the whole man, 'tis melancholy to see the office to which reason, the great prerogative of his nature, is reduced: serving the lower appetites in the dishonest drudgery of finding out arguments to justify the present pursuit.
To judge rightly of our own worth, we should retire a little from the world, to see its pleasures --and pains too, in their proper size and dimensions : this, no doubt, was the reason St. Paul, when he intended to convert Felix, began his discourse upon the dayof judgment, on purpose to take the heart from off this world and its pleasures, which dishonour the understanding, so as to turn the wisest of men into fools and children.
THERE are no principles but those of religion to be depended on in cases of real distress ; and these are able to encounter the worst emergencies, and to bear us up, under all the changes and chances to which our life is subject.
REGULATION OF SPIRIT.
The great business of man is the regulation of his spirit; the possession of such a frame and temper of mind, as will lead us peaceably through this world, and in the many weary stages of it, afford us, what we shall be sure to stand in need, Rest unto our souls.
Rest unto our souls !-'tis all we want—the end of all our wishes and pursuits : give us a prospect of this, we take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth to have it in possession : we seek for it in titles, in riches, and pleasures-climb up after by ambition,-come down again, and stoop for it by avarice,-try all extremes ; still we are gone out of the way ; nor is it, till after many miserable experiments, that we are convinced at last, we have been seeking every where for it, but where there is a prospect of finding it; and that is, within ourselves, in a meek and lowly disposition of heart. This, and this only, will give us rest unto our souls :-rest from those turbulent and haughty passions which disturb our quiet :-rest from the provocations and disappointments of the world, and a train of untold evils too long to be recounted, against all which this frame and preparation of mind is the best protection.
When the edge of appetite is worn down, and the spirits of youthful days are cooled, which hurried us on in a circle of pleasure and impertinence,
- then reason and reflection will have the weight which they deserve ;-afflictions, or the bed of sickness, will supply the place of conscience : and if they should fail,-old age will overtake us at last,—and show us the past pursuits of life,— and force us to look upon them in their true point of view. If there be any thing more to cast a cloud upon so melancholy a prospect as this shows us,-it is surely the difficulty and hazard of having all the work of the day to perform in the last hour : of making an atonement to God when we have no sacrifice to offer him, but the dregs and infirmities of those days, when we could have no pleasure in them. Whatever stress some may lay upon it-a death-bed repentance is but a weak and slender plank to trust our all upon.
SELFISHNESS AND MEANNESS.
That there is selfishness and meanness enough in the souls of one part of the world, to hurt the credit of the other part of it, is what I shall not dispute against; but to judge of the whole from this bad sample, and because one man is plotting and artful in his nature ;, or, a second openly makes his pleasure or his profit the whole centre of all
his designs;or, because a third strait-hearted wretch sits confined within himself,-feels no misfortunes, but those which touch himself: to involve the whole race without mercy under such detested characters, is a conclusion as false as it is pernicious ; and were it in general to gain credit, could serve no end, but the rooting out of our nature all that is generous, and planting in the stead of it such an aversion to each other, as must untie the bands of society, and rob us of one of the greatest pleasures of it, the mutual communications of kind offices; and by poisoning the fountain, rendering every thing suspected that flows through it.
SHAME AND DISGRACE.
THEY who have considered our nature, affirm, that shame and disgrace are two of the most insupportable evils of human life : the courage and spirits of many have mastered other misfortunes, and borne themselves up against them; but the wisest and best of souls have not been a match for these ; and we have many a tragical instance on record, what greater evils have been run into, merely to avoid this one.
Without this tax of infamy, poverty, with all the burdens it lays upon our flesh-so long as it is, virtuous, could never break the spirits of a man; all its hunger, and pain, and nakedness, are nothing to it, they have some counterpoise of good; and besides, they are directed by Providence, and