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evil but suspected none. He exercised his profession with a skill and integrity, which nothing could equal but the disinterested motive that animated his labours, or the amiablé modesty which accompanied all his virtues. He employed his industry, 'not to gratify his own desires; no man indulged himself less: not to accumulate useless wealth; no man more disdained so unworthy a pursuit : it was for the decent advancement of his family, for the generous assistance of his friends, for the ready relief of the indigent. How often did he exert his distinguished abilities, yet refuse the reward of them, in defence of the widow, the fatherless, and of him that had none to help him ! In a word, few have ever passed a more useful, not one a more blameless life ; and his whole time was employed either in doing good, or in meditating it. He died on the 6th day of April, 1743, in the 76th year of his age, and lies buried under the Cloister of Lincoln's Inn Chapel. MEM. PAT. OPT. MER.
The Design of the
following Treatise is, to awaken in the minds of unthinking men, a serious sense of Religion and a true concern for the interest of their immortal souls : a design, at all times seasonable and necessary, but more especially at this time, when we see such numbers of persons carried uway with the immoderate love of pleasure, and such arts invented to gratify their corrupt and vicious inclinations.
Whoever reflects with a due concern, upon the excesses and debaucheries which have overspread this nation, and has any regard for the honour of God, and the interest of that holy Religion
which Christ Jesus came down from Heaven to establish upon the earth; will easily he convinced, that all endeavours possible ought to be used, to stem the torrent of wickedness which is broken in upon us, and to prevent the mischievous effects of those public diversions, which the generality of people are grown so fond of ; I mean the Masquerades and Plays. In those ses minaries of vice and irreligion, every thing is contrived to inflane the pas. sions and corrupt the tender minds of young persons: and I am persuaded, they have greatly contributed to that general neglect of God and Religion which is so visible among us.
Whether any thing that is here offered, will be effectual to draw men off from the pursuit of those' deceitful vanities, I cannot say; but sure I am (if the Scripture is to be the rule of
our practice, as most undoubtedly it is,) it must be the duty of every one, not only to take care that he gives no encouragement by his example, to these licentious and ensnaring entertainments, but also to do what in him lies, to dissuade others, especially those funder his care, from resorting to places of so much danger and infection.
It must be confessed, that it is no easy matter to prevail on those who are carried away by the false maxims and practice of a corrupt and deluded world, to renounce their sensual gratifications, for the more refined pleasures of Virtue and Religion ;- but the difficulty of the work should not discourage the attempt.
I have therefore, endeavoured, according to my ability, to lay before the reader the advantages attending a good life; in hope, that whoever seriously considers what is
urged in the following pages, will be convinced there is no pleasure to be compared with that of a good conscience ; and that Religion really is, what it was designed by the great Author of it to be, the only solid foundation of our prés sent, as well as future happiness.
I am sensible that what I shall offer hath been incalcated with much greater advantage in many of those excellent discourses which are already ertaiit ; yet, when I consider how much good hath been done by those small tracts which have been printed and dispersed of late years, I am encouraged to hope that this little Treatise may prove of some service; as d check at least, to that insatiable thirst of sensual pleasures, which seems to be the disease of the present age, and which must wa doubtedly destroy the love of God wherever it prevails.