Imatges de pÓgina
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Madness of a wicked Lifc, since that besides the Hopes and Fears of another World, which are indeed infinitely the greater Motives to our Duty, the Practice of Virtue, and that Dutý which God requires,is the best for our Good in this présent Life, for a peaceable Enjoyinent of purselves here in a Security from being harm’d by others. Righteousness will be our Breast-Plate, being next to the Divine Providence, our best Armour of Defence and Protection. Not, that what has been discours'a is to be understood otherwise than General Rules ordinarilý are, which have somne Particular Exceptions, that are not so many as to destroy the Authority of the Rules : Not that a good Man cán fo certainly govern the Passions of others, as he can his own : Their Prejudices still may be so obstinate, their Ignorance so grofs, and their Interests so cross to his, that "his Innocence and Virtue inay, instead of protecting hiin, but expose him to Danger.

And there is a Time when Things will not keep their ordinary Course, but as the Wife Man says, It happeneth to the Just aco cording to the Work of the Wicked, Eccles. 8. 14. and when good Men are perfecuted for Righteousness-lake ; and yet, even in this case, something may be reasonably offer'd to make it more consistent with the G g 2

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Observation of the Apostle, than one would readily believe.

I say, after all, it is not to be fupposed, That no good Man ever incurr’d the Difpleasure of others, cr was hurt or troubled by them ; for the contrary is so plain from the Experience of the World, that it is not to be said of any one Man following that which is good, that he shall certainly escape all the Malice, and Ill-Will of bad Men; but that they are only a few, who fuffer under the Paflions of others, tho' thenselves have given none Occasion, in comparison to those who incur Ill-Will by their own Sin and Folly; and that the best and most effe&ual Way to be secure, is to follow that which is Good, which is enough to oblige a wise Man to use it, though it doth not absolutely and infallibly secure him. I am verily persuaded, that a good Christian, that is, such a One, who measures Good and Evil by the Hopes of a future Reward, and the Rule of God's Word written upon his. Conscience, and in the Bible, I inake' no doubt, I fay, that such a One leads a safer Life in an ill-natur'd World, than the inost discreet Worldling of 'em all. But still there are some Cases, which yet will not often happen in the Course of a Man's Life, and which happen indeed but to a few in comparison, that are

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to be excepted out of ordinary Rules. A Man may have to do with one of so bad a Temper, whom no Benefits can oblige, upon whom no Impressions of Gratitude can be made by any Kindness that can be shown him. Some there may be in the World that delight in Treachery and Cruelty, and hare a good Man because of his Righteousness, as Cain did his Brother Abel. Now in all this Discourse the Case of a good Man, that is injur'd by such Persons, is to be set aside ; for such as these are Monsters in Nature, and Rules are not, and cannot be made for Monsters, but only for the Natural and Ordinary Course of Things : Şuch Exceptions as these do not destroy those Motives to Well-doing, which are founded

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the Supposition of what is Regular and Natural. A faithful Man may chance to be suspected, and a charitable Man to be hated, yet no Man will say, that the Way to be Trusted is to be a Knave ; or that for the procuring of GoodWill, 'tis all one whether we do Benefits or Injuries. So, Diligence, Preparation, and Wisdom will always be allowed the Means to thrive and succeed well

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there is a Time, when the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong ; neither , yet Bread to the Wife, nor yet Riches to Men of Understanding, nor yet Favour to

Men

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Men of Skill, but Time and Chance happeneth them all. And as this is to be fupposed after all that' hath been said to Mew that Innocence and Virtue are the most ef. fectual Means to gain upon the good Affections of Mankind; so it is to be premis'd' to all that can be said under the

3d Head, That where they do not hinder the Will ta hurt, yet they take away the Power to hurt, viz. That there do happen singular and extraordinary Cases fometimes, when this Rule will not hold, but that, notwithstanding such Accidents, to follow that which is Good, is the best and most effactual Means to difárm those of Power to Harm, who have a mind to do it ; And this will be made to appear by these 'Three Consideration's.

1. Of that Security which #good Men have against those that are maliciously difposed against them, by the Civil Govern

2. Of that Security, which they have by the especial Providence of God that takes Care of thein.

3. Of that Security, which they have by the Incapacity of their Enemies to touch them in their greatest Concernment's.

1. Let Us consider their Security under Civil Governinent, which consists in this, That 'tis the Interest of all Governments to Pro.

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tect righteous Men, and to punish evil
Doers. For so long it will remain true,
That the more inoffensively a Man be-
haves himself, the more exemplary he is
in Virtue, especially in Beneficence and
Charity, the more effe&ually he puts him.
felf under the Protection of the Govern-
ment. Indeed, setting aside the Influence
which, by the Providence of God, an efta-
blish'd Government hath upon the Securi-
ty of good Men, it would very feldon
happen but when they fell into the Dif-
pleasure of such wicked Persons as have loft
all Sense of Duty to God and Man, they
would also be exposed to the worst Effects
of their Rage and Malice. But as long as
Publick Order is maintain’d, and Authority
is reverenc'd, and Laws are executed, lo
long bad Men are under a Bridle of Re-
straint from pursuing their own Inclinati-
ons, because it happens but very feldom
in comparison that their Malice grows to
that height, as to exceed the Care of their
own Prelervations, and to make thein con-
tented to undo theinselves for the Deftruc-
tion of their Fellow-Subjects : And as it
is the Business of Law and Justice, and
the great End of Government to secure Men
from the Passions of one another, so it is
a particular Concern of Government to Pro-
tech
good Men from the Injustice of evil
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Doers.

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