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to ir ake our calling and election sure: so that they are highly culpable, who spend whole days and nights at cards and dice, or other idle pastimes; or through any avaricious temper make a trade of gaming, and fo cheat; and, when provoked, stain their fouls with fury, rage, swearing, and curfing, as woeful experience too often shews. Such a gamester stakes his soul, which is of too great a value to be ventured at such a rate; and, instead of recreation, loads hiinself with the greatest vexations ; for the fears and desires of the covetous, and the impatience and rage of the angry man, are more real pains than the most laborious work in the world. Yet
We should endeavour also to keep up a constant chearCheerful fulness of spirit. They disgrace religion, who preness recom- tend that it is an enemy to mirth and chearfulness, mended. or imagine it to be a severe exacter of thoughtful locks and solemn faces; or that men are never serious enough till they are sullen, or shut up from all company and recreations. Let men say what they will, those hours, which are wasted away in indulging an idle sullenness or a moaping melancholy, are no less placed to our account, than those which fly away unperceived in unthinking mirth and gaiety. It is the same thing, as to all religious intents and purposes, whether our time is mispent in vanity, or in anguish and vexation of spirit. It has been a great artifice of the devil to possess the minds of unthinking men with an opinion, that religion is a four, morose, ill-natured thing; an enemy to whatever is pleafint and chearful; and that whoever engages in the practice of it must from that instant renounce all the pleasures and enjoyments of this life. But as the devil is the father of lyes, it is no wonder that he sets every thing before us in a falfeand deceitful light; he knows that there is such a beauty and comeliness in religion, as no one can beholdbut with love and admiration ; and therefore he endeavours to draw a veil over its lustre, and to raise in our minds frightful ideas concerning it: and too many, alas ! are milled by such false and unjust representations. Our Saviour was so far from giving religiona gloomy appearance, that the first miracle which he wrought Was at a scene of festivity, where he turned the water into wine. And he who gave and exemplified the strictest rules of life, gave a fanction to the innocent comforts and refreshments of it. Again, a chearful and contented mind is a great blessing of life; for without it nothing in this world can make us happy: and where shall a man obtain this, butin the practice of religion? that will teach him to resign his will to God, to submit to all the dispensations of his providence, and to be patient and easy, chearful and satisfied, under every disappointment and trouble he meets with; as knowing that God is the sovereign disposer of all things: and so long as we keep within the bounds of sobriety, and do not fally out into malicious, scurrilous, or profane jesting, our religion does not only wink at our mirth, but approves thereof. Chearfulness is nature's best friend, removes its oppressions, inlivens its faculties, and keeps the spirits in a brisk and regular motion, and renders it easy to itself, and useful and serviceable to God and our neighbour; dispels clouds from the mind, and fears froin the heart; kindles and cherishes in us generous affections, and composes our nature into such a temper, as is of all others the most fit to receive religious impressions and the breathings of the holy Spirit. Whereas melancholy Melanch ly naturally represses the Spirit of God, and disturbis prevents ilie his working within us; overwhelms the fancy means
y ences of the with black vapours; and clouds and darkens the Spirit. understanding; distracts the thoughts, and renders them wild, roving, and incoherent; makes them unfit for prayer and consideration, and renders them deaf and inattentive to all the good motions and inspirations of the Holy Ghost.
IV. Lastly, We must also be temperate in APPAREL. This is a duty that becomes us as we are rational or creatures, but more especially as we are members rance in apof the christian church; forafımuch as we are parel. strictly obliged to avoid all kinds of excess, and in particular to put on modest apparel. If men are guilty of excess, the dignity of their sex increases the fault, and makes it unpardonable: nature having designed them for the nobleit employments, they undervalue themselves in studying dress and ornament; and betray such a degeneracy of fpirit, as exposes them to scorn. Besides, this extravagancy in either
And the sex is destructive of the public welfare. The law, lawful vse ful use of apparel appears, by considering the ends of it. for which cloathing is appointed; which is a covering from shame, to defend us from the injuries of the weather, and to distinguish the orders and degrees of men : which ends, if they were attended to, many would reduce themselves into a homelier dress, who make so gay an appearance in the vanity of rich habits, and strain both their purses and consciences to purchase them.
The first design of apparel having been, as we read in Genesis, to cover the nakedness of our first parents, whose shame was the effect of the sin by which they brought death
into the world; we should be so far from delightApparel defigned for ing in apparel unbecoming us, that it should be a covering constant check against all other offences, and from hairl. teach us never to covet better apparel than will serve to cover us decently. Yet many christians will comply The talle, with every fashion, and suit their dress to all the and danger changes, insomuch that by dress and habit there of fashions. is no distinguishing an honest woman from a common prostitute : but with discreet christians it ought to be otherwise ; they are bound to abstain from all appearance of evil, to avoid all approaches towards it, and deny themselves the use of such ornaments, and forbear such gestures, which give ground of suspicion to the censurer, or whereby themselves may be tempted to pride, or their admirers to the lufts of the flesh. But they are always guilty of excess in their apparel, who have neither quality nor any good design to justify the wearing thereof; who propose no other ends þuț to set off their beauty, or to make such a figure as may deceive the world into a false opinion of their greatness and honour, to which they have no title: and they are as much exalted with it, in their own vain conceit, as if they had gained some real worth or power; as their haughty looks, their insolent and scornful behaviour plainly shew: which verifies the wise man's observation, A man's attire, excessive laughter, and gait, Mew what he is. Gay apparel has ever been observed to corrupt men, putting those upon extravagancủes, who are otherwise sober and industrious; and though
some some are so much masters of themselves as to retain their innocence with it, yet frequently it tempts to fin, kindles lustful desires, and is too often worn for that very design. The over-curious in adorning the body commonly neglect their better parts ; though they shine in the eyes of men, their soul remains in darkness, in gross ignorance of their duty or defiled with pride, and all manner of uncleanness. They not only employ their thoughts, but their time also, in this vanity; they spend so much at their glass, or in the dressing-room, or in making a shew of themselves to company, that there is none to spare for performing the offices of religion and virtue.
Loose dress is destructive to many christian virtues; such as charity, which suffers much thereby. Those
Excess in who are so much taken up with love and admira
mir- apparel tion of themselves, have little disposition to con- dangerous uder the straits and hardships of other men ; ***
. and sinful. they can easily overlook their neighbour's poverty, and despise him for it: the most distresied object moves no compassion in them: but under this sense they can hide themselves from their own flesh: nay, it is well if they do no more than fo; for such as will pinch their bellies, and starve their families, to feed this vanity, are too often known to lie in wait, and catch the poor, when they can draw them into their net by any indirect means. They who think rich apparel becomes them well, and that much happiness consists in it, having no estates to support it, will stick at no villainy whatsoever to gratify their pride. What shall we say of those who run deep into the tradesmen's books, without any possibility of paying them; to which is owing the ruin of many families? Is not their dress a load of fin? What can be faid' by way of excuse for those, who are fine at their neighbour's cost, by means that are not very easily discovered; where bribery, extortion, breach of trust, and deceit in dealings, must bring in the supplies for their maintenance in apparel ? This must of neceffity bring many into straits and difficulties, who are immediately taught by the devil to lay the blame of their credit's being funk and lessened by this kind of profuseness, upon the times, the decay of trade,
and scarcity of money; as the times of the greatest plenty can witness : since it is impoffible for art and industry, or the most gainful returns of trade, to answer all the unreasonable demands of luxury and pride.
The second end of apparel being to defend us from the inFreing juries of t?es ather, we ought only to wear such from c.!d. cloathirg as ihall be necetary to keep us from cold and preserve the health of our bodies. They therefore are guilty of intemperance in apparel, who take such pride in their cloaths, as, by regarding the fashions, to neglect, and even prejudice their health in which cafes cloathing is so far from being a benefit, that it hurts the body. But left it fhould be understood that I would countenance those, who, out of a covetous temper of hoarding up riches, deny themselves the conveniencies of life, and contend it is utterly unlawful to comply with the innocent and becoming fashions of their country, or to lay out any thing more upon cloathing, than just what is necessary or sufficient to clothe them; who arraign those of pride and wastefulness, who put on ornaments suitable to their rank and quality, and such as their circumstances in the world will easily and honestly afford them: I say, these pretended scrupulous notions are not the fruits of christian instruction, but the signs of a narrow spirit; so that, when they are taught for religious doctrines, they are no better than superstitious impofitions, like those of the judailing christians, who faid, Touch not, taste not, handle not; putting a restraint upon men in those things which God and the laws of their country give them liberty to enjoy. Yet we must take care, lest, under the pretence of liberiy, we go beyond our rank and degree, and despise those, who either through chcice refuse to come up to the same excess, or whose circumstances will not allow them to do it: we must also shun all those kind of dresles, as have a natural tendency to raise lascivious and wanton thoughts.
Thirdly, We have said that driss was intended to distinguish D fiin&iion the orders and degrees of men ; and this both in of persons. respect of sex and quality : for all nations have aligned a distinction of cloathing between man and woman;