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how oft it happens in attempts of this kind where worldly men, in haste to be rich, have over-run the only means to it,mand for want of laying their contrivances with proper cunning, or managing them with proper secrecy and advantage, have lost for ever, what they might have certainly secured by honesty and plain-dealing.--The general causes of the difappointments in their business, or of unhappiness in their lives, lying but too manifestly in their own disorderly passions, which by attempting to carry them a shorter way to riches and honour, disappoint them of both for ever, and make plain their ruin is from themselves, and that they eat the fruits, which their own hands have watered and ripened.
Confider, in the third place, that as the religious and moral man (one of which he cannot be without the other) not only takes the sureft course for success in his affairs, but is difposed to procure a help, which never enters into the thoughts of a wicked one: for being conscious of upright intentions, he can look towards heaven, and with some assurance recommend his affairs to God's blessing and direction :-whereas the fraudulent and dishonest Man, dares not call for God's blessing upon his designs-or if he does, he knows it is in vain to expect it.-Now a man who believes that he has God on his side, acts with another sort of life and courage, than he who knows he stands alone ;-like Efau, with his hand against every man,
man's hand against his.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
Consider, in the fourth place, that in all good governments who understand their own interest, the upright and honest man stands much fairer for preferment, and much more likely to be employed in all things when fidelity is wanted:for all men, however the case stands with themselves, they love at least to find ho-. nesty in those they trust; nor is there any usage we more hardly digest, than that of being outwitted and deceived. This is so true an obfervation, that the greatest knaves have no other way to get into business, but by counterfeiting honesty, and pretending to be what they are
not; and when the imposture is discovered, as it is a thousand to one but it will, I have just faid, what must be the certain consequence: for when such a one falls,-he has none to help him,--so he feldom rises again.
This brings us to a fifth particular in vindication of the text, ---that a virtuous man has this strong advantage on his fide (the reverse of the last) that the more and the longer he is known, so much the better is he loved, -fo much the more trusted ;—so that his reputatition and his fortune have a gradual increase: and if calamities or cross accidents should bear him down,-(as no one stands out of their reach in this world)—if he should fall, who would not pity his distress,—would not stretch forth his hand to raise him from the ground! -wherever there was virtue, he might expect to meet a friend and brother.-And this is not merely speculative, but fact, confirmed by numberless examples in life, of men falling in. to misfortunes, whose character and tried probity have raised them helps, and bore them up,
other help has forsook them. Lastly, to sum up the account of the tem.
poral advantages which probity has on its fide, -let us not forget that greatest of all happiness, which the text refers to,-in the expresfion of all its paths being peace,--peace and content of mind, arising from the conscioufness of virtue, which is the true and only foundation of all earthly foundation; and where that is wanting, whatever other enjoyments you bestow upon a wicked man, they will as soon add a cubit to his stature as to his happiness.
In the midst of the highest enter. tainments,--this, like the hand-writing upon the wall, will be enough to spoil and dis-relish the feast ;-but much more fo, when the tu. mult and hurry of delight is over,--when all is still and silent when the finner has nothing to do but attend its lashes and remorses ;-and this, in spite of all the common arts of diverfion, will be often the case of
wicked man ;--for we cannot live always upon the Itretch ;-our faculties will not bear constant pleasure any more than constant pain ;--there will be fome vacancies; and when there are, they will be sure to be filled with uncomfortable thought and black reflections. So that,
setting aside the great after-reckoning, the pleasures of the wicked are over-bought, even in this world.
I conclude with one observation upon the whole of this argument, which is this
Notwithstanding the great force with which it has been often urged by good writers,—there are many cases which it may not reach, wherein vicious men may feem to enjoy their portion of this life, and live as happy, and fall into as few troubles as other men :-and, therefore, it is prudent not to lay more stress upon this argument than it will bear:- but always remember to call into our aid, that great and more unanswerable argument, which will answer the most doubtful cases which can be stated,--and that is, certainty of a future life, which christianity has brought to light.
-However men may differ in their opinions of the usefulness of virtue for our present purposes,-no one was ever so absurd, as to deny it served our best and last interest,—when the little interests of this life were at an end :upon which consideration we should always lay the great weight which it is fittest to bear,