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Members of the Kingdom wherein we live, and are to regard the common good of our Country more than our own private Interest. But where are they that do fo ? 'Tis well that we have a common Intereft in the whole Body, so that we can have little assurance, that we can quietly en. joy our own Estates, if the Nation wherein we live continue not in Peace. It is for our own fakes that the Kingdom, and sometimes the Church and Religion fare the better, and are taken care of, so far at least, as our own Estates arc concern'd in their safety. But in other Cases, where we can enjoy our wealth to our felves, without taking care of the Publick; we shew it plainly, that we little regard the latter in comparison of the former. When we pay Tribute and Custom, to whom we know that by the special Command of our great Mafter they are due, do we it freely and cheerfully, or any farther than we are constrain'd to it? Contribute we according to our Abilities, towards the upholding of the Government, and securing of the Peace and Tranquility of our Country ? Or shuffle we not all we can, and use all Arts to lay the Load on orher Men's Shoulders? How forward are we in Acts of Justice, in punctually paying all our Debrs, and making Satisfaction for Injuries? The Estates of Lawyers are a good witness against us, who by being a Law to our selves, as reason commands us in these things, might bring them to a competence both of Estate and Honesty. How we dispose of our Master's Goods in Ads of Charity, the abundance of poor and needy People unprovided for, witnefseth ro our shame. And whilst chiese, and many more necessary Duties of the Stewards of God are neglected by us,
How many sothful Servants, or busy only in their own Business, and not their Master's, are burying all in the Earth, or in the Chest, ic matfers not which, no Body knows for whom, or for what? How many, lastly, who have but a small Portion, yer enough with good Husbandry, or in an industrious Hand, make no improvement of it as they might and ought to do; but through Idleness and Sloth, Negligence and Improvidence; Profuseness and expenlive ways above their Ability, reduce themselves and Families to Beggery? Thus waste we ( as is too appa rent to all the World, this sort of Goods whereof we are Stewards.
In the next place, let us see if we be more faithful to God, or wise for our selves, in the well management of the Goods which we have within our felves. What good use do we generally make of our bodily health, and strength? Do we indeed bestow them on God, our Neigh- 1 bours, and our felves, as we ought to do? The more healthful, and able we are, do we take so much more pains in the worshipping of God, and labouring co gain him Servants; in going about, as our blessed Saviour did, doing good; in the Service of our King, and our Country, in preserving the Life and Goods of our Neighbours when there is need of our help; in labouring for our selves and ourFamilics, and all to have that we may give to him that needeth ? Or are we not the prouder for them, and glory over others in them, and encourage our felves by them to do more wickedly? Do not we trust so much to our health and Arength, that we forget our preparations for Sickness and Death, and venture more boldly on such Sins as naturally tend to the im
thout as our bien gain him Worlipping cake fo
pairing of them, encouraging ourselves in all Excess and Debauchery by the strength of our Constirution, till weakness become insensibly upon us, and we drop down suddenly through Death into Hell? Is our bodily beauty and comliness a remembrancer to us of God's Wisdom and Goodness, and take we Occasion thereby of praising God, and to have a pure and beautiful Soul in thai handsome Cafe? Or do we not make
our Beauty a Motive to Pride and Wantonness Bait
in our selves, and a Spare and Bate for Luft in Others ? Are we nor tempted by it to despise and scorn others, and to grow immodest and impudent in our Behaviour? Have we not Eyes and Ears for Vanity and Filthiness, and none for the contemplation of God's wonderful Works, nor for the reading and hearing of his VVord? Have we nor Tongues for idle and vain Talk, foolish Jefting and Scurrility, Obscenity and Profaneness, Slandering, Lying, Reviling, Jearing, Swearing and Cursing, Telling Tales, and Sowing Dif
fention, and the like Services of the devilis, in humouring, and corrupring more the wicked
and profane; and no Words wherein to sing forth the Praises of God, to instruct our Conipany in Piety and Vertue, to encourage Goodness, and plead for God and Religion : Have we not Understanding fufficient to be listed in the number of those who are wise to do evil, buc co do good have no Understanding, Have'we nor contrivance enough for the World, and to bring about our own carnal Ends, to project for our Lusts, to plot Mischief, and carry on our Treacherous De-: ligns of entrapping and over-reaching our honest Neighbours, and manage our Trades cunningly for our Interest; yệa, to invent Subtle Arguments:
against Religion and Vertue, and to bring Vice and Profaneness into Repute and Credit? Can we not store our selves with a thousand Excusus for any Wickedness, and Shifts to suffle off Duty? Cannor we remember Trifles and ridiculous Toys, Lies, and ill Reports made of others, yea, and every petty Injury that is done us, so as to study Revenge, and never to forgive? Have we not a great deal of Wir to spend upon any good Person, or thing that we have a mind to abuse and expose to the laughter, and contempt of Men? And yet how little of any of these have we to serve God, and our Neighbours with ? We have neither Understanding, nor Memory, nor Wit, nor Learning, nor any thing else to vindicate the glory of God, nor the honour of Religion, nor the good of Mankind. Nay, how many of us lose the use of all those noble Faculties of Soul by not using nor improving of them, through Sloch and Negligence, for want of Learning when we may, and studying, medica. ting and exercising thein, Yea, how many by intemperance of all kinds quite befor themselves, - and by degrees become very Children and · Fools? What unhappy Pains and Troubles do many of us undergo, to weaken and destroy all the good Parts which God hath given us, even to the deforming first, and then killing our Bodies; and co the beforting, and then damning of our Souls? And is it nor too ealy a thing to observe allıhis waste of our inward Goods amongst us at this day?..
In the third place, when we coosider how most of us use our time, and opportunities, and our many helps and advantages which at any time we have io do good in our Generations, we can
not but wonder and stand amaz'd at our felves, feeing what a prodigious folly and negligence we are guilty of. We all know that we have but a time in this world, and that eternal concerns depend upon the use and improvement of this time, and we know nor how quickly it will be at an end. And yet, how ftrangely prodigal are we of it, even as if we had no bugnels of moment to do in it. How little do we bestow of it on that for which it is principally given us, that is, to fit our felves for a blessed Eternity ? How much more of it than is needful do we bestow on things which necessarily call for a very great share of it, that is, about the Provision for Back and Belly, in Sleep and Reit, and in Recreation? These will have, and are allow'd a very considerable part of our cimes and che Affairs of the World, wherein we must be employ'd for the Publick good, take up almost all the rest. But how much of it do we usually ftcal from such useful business, to waste in idleness and vanity? Our Lusts have got the greatest share of all;immoderate Sleep, and lazy loiterings, our Curiosity, Pride and Wantonness; our gaming, playing, impertinent Vilirs, and vain Gossipings, our Riorings, Revellings and Debaucheries, have almost ingrossed the whole of it to chemselves : Laudable and necessary Bulnesses have as little of it as we can, and God, and our Souls, have even none at all. By this means all our Opportunities and Advantages are lost, and the happy hour is let slip, which had it been laid · hold on, might have been worth an Age to us. Having thus briefly mention'd our waste of time, we will now add but one thing more among ihe Goods we are now speaking of, and that is, the