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vail on us to guard them with a watch- SERM.
The Tempter, no doubt, will make us large Offers,' and, where nothing less will allure us, all the Glories of the World shall be at our Service, if we will fall down and worship him.-But, it is obvious what wretched Gainers we shall be by taking such a rash Step : And besides, what is all, that the Devil has to give (were every earthly Good really in his Possession, as he falsely pretends) when compared with those heavenly Blessings, which God has promised, and will infallibly bestow on such, as commit their Souls to him in well-doing? .
What therefore shall it profit a Man to gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul ? Shall the Benefit received bear any Proportion to the Damage sustained ? That all sublunary Treasures are a poor Price for our Souls, will easily appear from weighing the Profit against the Loss.
for the other, what mighty Advantage can
GRANTING however, that the World could satisfy the most greedy, yet what Comparison is there between the Indulgence of our Fancies and the Forfeiture of our Souls? If we ruin them for ever to obtain the sinful Pleasures of a Moment,---if for the Sake of Things, we want not, and shall not enjoy, we plunge ourselves into infinite Mifery, can such a Conduct be justified to common Prudence ?
Nor would our Folly be at all the more excusable, were we to purchase by the Sale of our Souls the most rapturous Delights
during our present Being. But this is widely Serm. differing from our Case: For when any of VII. us have gotten the largest Share of external Goods, it is very doubtful whether they will prove good, or we shall be a Jot the happier for them. Though they will most certainly make us much more unhappy than we should have been without them, if either by raising Envy in others, they expose us to those Storms, which would have blown over us in a lower State, or by promoting Luxury in ourselves, they bring on us and our Posterity such racking Diseases, as leave us far more wretched, than Poverty would have done.
Can the Gain then tempt Men to run themselves into everlasting Perdition, for the Sake of uncertain Goods, and those too of a very uncertain Continuance, since they are not secure of poffefling them for an Hour, nor can have any Assurance of their Stay with them? But if they do not leave their Owners, and fee away like an Eagle towards Heaven, still is it not possible that the Owners may be taken from them, that as soon as we have made ample Provision for many Years Indulgence, we may be snatched away like the rich Man in the
Serm. Gospel, upon the very brink of Enjoyment, VIII. and hurried into a wretched Eternity, there
to languish away those Years in Anguish, which we thought to have spent in Sensuality ? Or, though we should be permitted to continue here and enjoy ourselves to the utmost Stretch of our loose Desires, though we be suffered to grow as old in Vice as the antediluvian Sinners, does not this after all pass away like a Tale that is told ? And what succeeds, but infinite Detriment and eternity of Shame, Regret and Misery? So that the longest Life of sinful Gratification is a very poor exchange for a State of endless and inconceivable Wretchedness, and to part with our Souls for the Enjoyment of the World and all its Glories, were our Time here to be lengthened out to a thousand Ages, would still be an Act of the most blind and defperate Sottishness: Because, to lose our Souls, is to be eternally miserable without Relief, eternally tortured without any Intervals of Ease or Rest.
To what an inconceivable Degree then muft our Imprudence be aggravated, if we part with our Souls for such uncertain, interrupted, and precarious Blessings ? TO
throw ourselves into never ceasing Torments Serm. for the Fruition of an unsatisfactory and a VMI. transitory World, argues us in short to be entire Strangers to Reason, and utter Enemies to our own Interest.
To draw at length to a Conclusion. If the whole World will not countervail the loss of our Souls, let us not idly dispose of them for a much less valuable Consideration, let us not wantonly and in Sport throw them away, without any Prospect of the least advantagious Return, and yet this is the daily Trade of Thousands ; witness only the great Crimes of common Swearing and intemperate Drinking, which notoriously reign among all Ranks and Degrees, and as they are the Shame, so, it is to be feared, they will become the Ruin of a most abandoned People. The Unprofitableness of the former of these evil Practices a Word or two will make sufficiently apparent. It is absolutely void of all Temptation, it indulges neither the Appetites of the Sensual, nor gratifies the Inclinations of the Covetous, it is the mere overflowing of an unsanctified Spirit, which dares to vi. lify and provoke its Maker, in down-right Gaiety and Insolence. The Offender can get nothing by all his vain and profane Oaths