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Serm. II. at first View strongly abhorrent. He never
therefore deviated from the plain HighRoad of Honesty into those crooked and intricate By-Paths, in which, where one has shortened his Way to Riches, hundreds have lost and bewildered themselves.
That he was an affectionate Husband to one of the best and tenderest of Wives, and a kind indulgent Master to his Servants, are confessed Parts of his Character ; and yet these are the surest Tests of an habitual Good-Nature, and a prevailing Sweetness of Disposition.
Being bred a Scholar, he had a Capacity and Knowledge, but not a Mind and Spirit, above his Profession: For he as diligently applied himself to it, as if he had been by Nature and Education only fitted for that Sphere. Before his Retirement from Business and the World, he had an enlarged Conversation in it: But though he often kept Company with Men of loose Principles, he never departed from his own, which he had early imbibed, and thoroughly digested. For Men of this Stamp seldom make any lasting Impressions upon Persons of strong Sense, and a thoroughlygood Disposition: The utmost they can do is to stagger weak Men, and to make those Serm. II. that are already in some Degree bad, much worse. He was a constant Frequenter of the Church, during his Health ; and, when his Illness confined him to his House, a constant Communicant at the three great Seasons, and received the Sacrament with that awful Composure of Behaviour, which bespoke a Mind recollected and attentive, and affected all about him with a correspondent Seriousness.
His Faults and Frailties were such as all Men are liable to: But his Perfections were the Attainments of few in Comparison ; particularly the great Patience with which he bore the severe Trials which God laid upon him. He seemed to enjoy himself and his Friends under such afflictive Circumstances, as would have made most others a Burthen to themselves, and uneasy to every one that came near them; and was a signal Example that the greatest Advantage one Man can have above another in this Life, arises from the Temper and Disposition of the Mind; that Temper, which softens every Care, and improves every Blessing. For he seemed to have had more true Peace of Mind under a lasting
Serm. II. Complication of Distempers, than others
are pofseft of in the Fulness of Health and Vigour: who want they know not what, and are uneasy they know not why: And if at any Time his Spirits were deprest by long-continued Pain, Conversation with an intimate Friend would break the Gloom that hung upon him, and brighten up his Soul. Indeed his Malady grew upon him to that Degree, that it was almost cruel to wish him a longer Continuance among us : All that his Friends could desire, was an easy Passage out of this World into a better, where there is no Pain or Sorrow. His Soul is now enlarged from that corruptible Body to which it was united ; and released from those Miseries, which, by Virtue of that Union, it underwent. How foon we, who in the Midst of Life are in Death, may follow him, God only knows : Each Day brings us nearer to Eternity; and it Thould be our main Endeavour, that each may bring us nearer to a blessed Eternity.
But, while we are in the Body, we must more or less struggle with Difficulties, and combat with Temptations. While we live, we must persevere, without flackening our Industry, to fight this good Fight : When
we die, we have gained the decisive Victo_ Serm. II. ry: and when we come before the Throne of Grace, we shall receive a glorious Tri. umph; a Triumph-indeed, where instead of the senseless Noise of an undistinguished and undistinguishing Populace : a numerous Choir of ennobled Spirits shall hail with joyful Acclamations their happy FellowServant : While, to crown all, the great Judge pronounces the blessed Sentence: Well done, thou good and faithful Servant ! Enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord.