« PreviousContinue »
finking Expences of Lewdness and Uncleanness are. În a word, it is Vice only that is the chargeable thing; it is only Shame and Repentance that Men buy at such costly Rates. Godliness is faving, and full of good Husbandry; nor has it any known or unknown Ways of spending, except it be those of Charity; which, indeed, in proper speaking, are not so much Expence, as Usary; for Money so laid out, doth always, even in this Life, return to us with Advantage.
The Fourth and last Means I mentioned of Thriving in the World, was, The keeping 4 good Correspondence with all those, in whose Power it is to hinder or promote our Affairs. This every Body knows to be a prime Point in Polity; and indeed it is of a large extent, and of continual use. No Man can.be supposed to independent on others, but that as he is fome way beholden to them for all that he has, so he stands in need of their Help and Concurrence for all that he hopes for. Men do not make their Fortunes of themselves, nor grow rich by having Treasures dropped in their Laps; but they do it by the Benefit of Human Society, by the mutual Assistances and good Offices that one Man performs for another. So that whoever intends to thrive in the World, it, above all Things, imports him so to carry himself towards all that he hath any Commerce with, so far to secure their Favour and Good-will, that they may be obliged not to deny him any of those Aslistances, which the Exigency of his Affairs calls
for at their Hands. But now, how this should be done any otherwise, than by being truly Just and Honest, by abstaining from Violence and Injury, by being True to our Trust, and Faithful in performing our Contracts; and, in a Word, by doing all those good Offices to others, which we expect they should do unto us; which, as our Saviour tells us, is the Sum of Religion; is a very hard thing to conceive.
The Usefulness, or rather the Necessity of such a Behaviour as this, in order to the gaining the good Opinion of others, and fo ferving our own Ends by them, is so universally acknowledged, that even those that make no real Conscience of these Things, are yet nevertheless, in all their Dealings, forced to pretend to them. : Open and Barefaced Knavery, rarely serves a Man's turn in this world; but it is under the Mask of Vertue and Honesty, that it usually performs those Feats ir doth; which is no less than a Demonftration of the Conduciveness of those Things to promote our Temporal Interests : For if the mere Pretence to them, be a great Advantage to us for this purpose, it cannot be imagined, but that the Reality of them will be a greater. Certainly the Power of Godliness will be able to do more than the Form alone; and that if it were upon no other account than this, that no Man that is but a mere Pretender to Honesty, can long hope to keep his Credit among Men. Je is impossible to act a Part for any long Time; let him carry it never fo cunning, his Vizor
will some time or other be thrown off, and he will appear in his true Colours; and to
what a World of Mischiefs and Inconveniencies Ť he will then be exposed, every one that
knows how hated, how detested, how abandon'd by every one a Knave and a Villain is, may easily determine. I hope I need say no more to convince you, that Religion is the best Policy; and that the more hearty and conscientious any Man is in the Practice of it, the more likely he is to Thrive and improve in the World.
So that I may now proceed to the Second General Point to be spoken to, which is, The Profit ableness of Religion for the attaining a good Name and Reputation.
How very much it conduceth to this purpose, will appear from these Two Considerations :
First, It lays the sureft Grounds and Foundations for a Good Name and Reputation.
Secondly, Men are generally, so just to it, that it rarely misses of a good Name and Reputation: The First is an Argument from Reason; the Second, from Experience.
First of all, Godliness layeth the truest Foundation for a fair Reputation in the World. There are but Two Things that can give a Man a Title to the good Opinion and Respects of Men; the inward Worth and Dignity of his Person, and his Usefulness and Serviceable. ness to others. The First of these challengeth Mens. Esteem, the other their Love, Now both these Qualities Religion and Vertue do eminently polless us of.
For, First, The Religious Man is certainly the most Worthy and Excellent Person; for he, of all others, lives moft up to the great End for which he was designed, which is the natural Measure of the Goodness and Worth of Things.
Whatever External Advantages à Man may have, yet if he be not endow'd with Vertuous Qualities, he is far from having any true Worth or Excellence, and confequently cannot be a fit Object of our Praise and Efteem because he wants that which should make him Perfect and Good in his Kind. For it is not a comely Personage, or a long Race of Famous Ancestors, or a large Revenue, or a multitude of Servants, or many swelling Titles, or any other Thing without a Man, that speaks him à Compleat Man, or makes him to be what he should be: But the right use of his Reafon, the employing his Liberty and Choice to the best Purposes, the exercising his Powers and Faculties about the fittest Objects, and in the most dae Measures; these are the Things that make him Excellent. Now none can be said to do this, but only he that is Vertuous.
Secondly, Religion also is that which makes a Man most Useful and Profitable to others' ; før it effectually secures his Performance of all those Duties whereby both the Security and Welfare of the Publick, and also the Good and Advantage of particular Persons, is most at: tained.
It makes Men Lovers of their Country, Loyal to their Prince, Obedicnt to Laws: It
is the sureft Bond and Preservative of Society in the World : It obliges us to live peaceably, and to submit ourselves to our Rulers, not only for Wrath, but also for Conscience fake: It renders us modeft and governable in Prosperity, and resolute and courageous to suffer bravely in a good Cause, in the worst of Times: It teacheth 'us to endeavour, as much as in ús lies, to promote the Good of every particular Member of the Community, to be inflexibly upright, to do hurt, to none, but good Offices to all; to be charitable to the Bodies and Souls of Men, to do all manner of Kindnesses that lie within our Power: It takes off the Sowrness and Morose, ness of our Spirits, and makes us Affable and Courteous, Gentle and Obliging, and willing to embrace, with open Arms, and an hearty Love, all Sorts and Conditions of Men.
In every Relation wherein we can stand to one another, it influenceth upon us, in order to the making us more useful : It makes Parents kind and indulgent, and careful of the Education of their Children ; and Children loving and obedient to their Parents: It makes Servants diligent to please their Masters, and to do their Work in Singleness of Heart, not with Eye-service, as Men-pleasers, but as unto God; and it makes Masters gentle and forbearing, and careful to make Provision for their Family; as those that know they have a Master in Heaven, that is no Respecter of Persons. In a word, there is no Condition or Capacity, in which Religion will not be