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SERM. And no wonder we are deceived, fince

we suffer ourselves to be governed more
by our Sentes than our Reason, and make
Happiness, which is founded only in
Virtue, subsist entirely in Opinion. Hence
it is, that every thing in its Turn, how
vain and trifling foever, puts in its Claim
to be the chief Good of Man, tho it
continues only for the present Moment,
and leaves us to feek it somewhere else.
Thus do we make Happinefs

. ptecarious and uncertain, by placing it in Things, which in their Natures are so. And if we are mistaken in the End, no wonder we are mistaken in the Means of obtaining it. While we place Happiness in the Gratification of our Passions, we shall certainly look out for such Means, as we imagine most proper for our Designs.

In the first fix Chapters of this Book we find the Wise Man had been seeking after Happiness, and made an Experiment of every worldly Enjoyment, in order to find it, but all in vain, for he was

far from it then as he was before. But in the following Chapters he rectifies the



Mistake. Thews what the Nature of true SERM.

X. Happiness is, that it has no Foundation búto in Virtue and Religion*; and lays down many good Instructions in order to obviate some false Opinions which hina derd People from finding it out.

, One of which he endeavours to obviate in the Words of the Text, by shewing the Folly of those, who are of a murmuring complaining Temper, and are always uneasy at the present Times, as if the former were better; which he shews is occasioned by a Want of a wise Confideration and Enquiry into this Matter : Say not thou, What is the Cause that the former Days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

In discoursing upon the Words of the
Text I shall,
First, Enquire into the Ground of this

Complaint, and Thew, that to say the
former Days were better than these,

which is implied in the asking the Cols Cáu'fe of it, is generally false, and pro

ceeds from a want of confidering wisely concerning this Matter,

Dd Secondly,

Serm. Secondly, I shall shew the Sin and Folly X.

of murmuring against the present Difpensations of God's Providence, even

upon Supposition that it was true. Thirdly, I shall lay down some Rules in

order to acquire a happier Frame and Temper of Mind,

First then I am to enquire into the Ground of this Complaint, and shew, that to say the former Days were better than these, which is implied in the asking the Cause of it, is generally false ; and proceeds from a want of considering wifely concerning this Matter.

However wise and bountiful the Dilpensations of Providence are, there will never be wanting some to murmur and complain, as they have hitherto done in all the Ages of the World. As they say of Alphonsus, that he found fault with the Creation, and arraigned the Wisdom of God in the Natural World, so there:

are too many others, who take the fame · Freedom, and accuse the Divine Provi. dence in the Moral World, and both for


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the same Reason, viz. for want of en- Serm.

X. quiring wisely concerning this.

Complaints upon the Times are not
more unjust than they are common ;
but to build them upon a Supposition
that the former Times were all good,
and the present nothing but Evil, is to
suppose what is not true; 'tis to take that
for granted, which is the Matter in dif-
pute, and to argue from a Supposition,
which is false in Fact, and wants to be '.
proved. If the former Days were so very
good in Comparison of these, it must ap-
pear by some Account of Perfons, who
lived in those Days. But how does that
appear ?. Where have we any such Ac-
count? On the contrary, there were the
fame Complaints in former Times as
there are now; and tho' this may not be
allow'd by a wise Man, as an Argument
of the Badness of those Times, yet it is at
least an Argument, that the Complainers
in those Days thought them fo; and
therefore must be allow'd to hold good
against the Murmurers of these Days,
even upon their own Principles. For if



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SERM. they are willing to hear their own ComX.

plaints pass for certain Tokens of the Bad ness of the Times, they must by the same Rule, and upon the fame Principles, think the fame of former Ages, and allow the Complaints of the People in those Times to have the same Weight.

Now it is well known, that the Poets many hundred Years ago feigned the World to be divided into three different Ages, the Golden, the Silver, and the Iron Age; the two former of these they imagined to be in a different Degree, very happy and prosperous, but the last they looked upon as very unhappy and miserable; yet they always took Care to place their own Times under the last, as if all before were Golden Days, and their's were the only unhappy and troublesome Ones ; and the same Humour has

prevailed ever since, and will continue to do to as long as we neglect to consider wisely concerning this. We find likewise from the Text, that there were the fame Complaints as far back as Solomon's Days, and no doubt of it in all Ages of the World,


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