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There are manifestly in my Text three Propofitions:
I. That even in the Committing of Sin, there is not that Satisfaction, which Men expect from it; What Fruit had you Then in those Things?
II. That however Satisfactory or Pleasant it is, yet Sin is really Shameful and Base; Whereof Ye are now assam’d.
III. That tho it yielded never so much Fruit and Satisfaction, tho it were never so Creditable and in Repute, yet the End of those Things is Death. . . Ì. I shall Firft shew that even the Enjoyment of Sin is far from giving that Satisfaction, which, by the so eager pursuit of it, Men seem to expect from it. So perverse a Mind as to love Sin only for Sinning fake, and the mere Malice of Disobedience; as it is proper to the damn'd Spirits, so it is most commonly rather the Effect and Punishment of Sin than the Motive to it, and is seldom found but in those, who, having long refifted God's good Grace that should lead them to Repentance, are given over to a Reprobate hardness of Heart to Work all Uncleanness with Greediness. There muft therefore of necessity be some more bewitching Enticement, some more tempt
ing Bait laid, some more colourable Pretence to draw Men in; and Sin, as it is of its Father the Devil, so His Works it will doe ; His, who was a Lyar from the beginning ; it will Fawn and Flatter, make great. Professions and large Promises, it will use us, as Satan did our Saviour, raise us in our Imaginations above the Pinnacles of the Temple, shew us the Riches, and Honour, and Pleasure of the World, and say all This will I give you, if You will fall down and worfoip Me. But as it generally happens, that the greatest Promisers are the leaft Performers; fo in this particular Case, those credulous Wretches will certainly find themselyes moft miserably deluded, who liften to the Voice of the Tempter, or hope to reap any real Enjoyment from that fair imaginary Shew, that the Deceitfulness of Sin represents to 'em. If we should reckon up the large Catalogue of all the different Vices of Mankind; how empty and vain, nay how troublesome and uneasy the Pursuit, even of those that seem the most delightful and charming, would appear? Those I say, that seem the most Delightful and Charming. For with what Pain and Anxiety do we see fome Men labour after sinful Pleasure ? Pleasure, and the unconfin'd Delights of a loose, dissolute, and roving Life, is all they pretend to, and value themselves
upon: and the wretched Miftake is, that they often think themselves Masters of it, when in earnest they are running a more laborious Course, and undergo often more Hardships in this wild Chase of Folly and Sin, than ever the strictest Rules of Morality or Religion would have requir'd at their hands. To live in a perpetual Hurry and Distraction, to be laying in continual Supplys for fresh Diseases, to pride themselves in fome wild Huinour, or invent fome unaccountable Frolick, regarding neither the Sacredness of Persons, Places or Things, to be in at every Fray and midnight Scuffle, and to be often deservedly as ill us d as they insolently intended to have used Others; these are accounted some of their Pieces of Gallantry; and the more extravagant the Vice, the more accomplish'd the Gentleman. It were vain to go to prove how little Satisfaction these unhappy Creatures reap from their lewd Folly, when for half the Misery and Pain some of them endure in the road to Destruction, had they suffer'd it in the cause of Virtue or Religion, they might have been more than Canonizd, they might have Been Saints. What loud Accusations should we hear from these very Men against the Jaftice of the Divine Providence, did Men suffer half so much by Piety and Virtue, as they do in the Service of their
Lufts? But these are but one Sect of the Men of Pleasure, that have found out an odd Way of enjoying it peculiar to themselves.
Others there are, that pretend to be more reasonable in their Vices, that have fome care to escape downright Infamy, and have some regard to their Fortunes, their Bodys, and their Health, that are cautious enough in the Enjoyment of their Sevfual Delights, to Sin fo to Day, as they may Sin to Morrow; and so carefully manage their Vices, that the excess of One, may not make 'em unfit for Another. Mirth, and gay Company, and Wit, and Wine, and all the fresh Varietys of Luxury and Luft, make their Days fly delightfully away, and teach 'em to laugh at and despise those Phlegmatick and heavy Slaves, as they are pleas'd to term them, that live by any Rule but pleasure. These sure, if any, have some Fruit in Sin; These sure are the Men, who, whatever the End of their Journey be, yet travel it on very joyfully, and are in a most pleasant Road. But how wretchedly may we be deceiv'd in the outward Shew of things? If the Guilt that inseparably sticks to these sensual Ryotings could possibly be abftracted from them; yet how little of true Satisfaction there is to be found in all this Noise and Appearance of Delight and Happiness, let the Wise Man
convince us, who had made Triall of all the different Ways of Pleasure to see what was Good for the Sons of Men, who, as he himself tells us, had given himself to Wine, and Mirth, and Laughter, and whatsoever bis Eyes defir'd, kept it not from them, nor witheld his Heart from any foy, who wanted neither Riches to buy, nor Power to command, nor Wit to invent, nor Vigour to pursue, nor Appetite to relish new Enjoyments, nor Wisdom at last to give a true Judgment of the Real Value of them all. And he has given in One Word his final Determination that they are all Vanity. And, as he himself asks the question, what can the Man do that comes after the King After This King, certainly not so much as immediately follows in the answer , Even that which was done before. But alass! all the Pleasures of Sin are not only Vanity , but Vexation of Spirit too; and this those very gay Humour'd Men, even in the height of all their Jollity, if they durft confess it, must needs often feel and experience. In the very Heat and Extravagance of Mirth, as Lucretius observes, Jurgit amari aliquid, some bitter intruding Thought of Death or Eternity will be presling for admittance ; and it is very difficult fo quite to have stiffled and overcome Conscience, as not to be forc'd to hear of her importunities, even at times when Men may think her a little un