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times we must bear with passion and peevishness, or live, like salamanders, in the fire of wrangling and contention : sometimes we must ruffle with insolence, or content ourselves to be always abused and borne down by it: sometimes we must guard ourselves against treachery and falsehood, and converse with caution and reserve, or be perpetually exposed to a thousand snares and mischiefs : sometimes we must endure the nauseous steam of fulsome ribaldry, or, which is worse, the horrid sound of profaneness and blasphemy; or else be hissed out of company, as pragmatic usurpers upon the freedom of human conversation : sometimes we must be plagued with the serpentine hissing and poisonous breath of detraction and calumny; and sometimes be cruciated with the malice and impertinence of backbiting and gossiping, of base and false inuendos, sly and injurious insinuations. We must sometimes see malice and treachery conducted under the banners of civility and friendship; pious ends pretended, to promote ambitious designs; charity and union extolled, to advance revenge and division; zeal for public good counterfeited only to serve private passions and interest: all which are high grievances to men of integrity and good nature: yet some or all these things we are fain to endure in most of our conversations with men.

Here is society indeed! it would even provoke a wise and good man to cry out of it with the prophet, Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. They bend their tongues like their bow for lies : but they are not valiant for the truth upon the

earth.-Take

ye
heed

every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother :

brother : for every

brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth : they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Blessed company this for a wise man to be fond of, or for the dear sake of it to be unwilling to die! especially considering to how much better company death introduces us, viz. into the company of blessed angels and of the spirits of just men made perfect; that is, into the company of the most refined spirits, the most wise and knowing, the most kind and benign, the most courteous and communicative, the most faithful and just, the most humble and meek; in short, the most every thing that can' render company delightful and endearing: so that with them our conversation will be a perpetual intercourse of wisdom and love, fidelity and truth, without jealousy or design, caution or reserve; but all frank and open, heart with heart, and soul with soul. O blessed society ! where every one is a friend to every one, and every friend hath in him all the accomplishments that can render a friend an inestimable jewel; where all are happy to their utmost wishes, and every one rejoices and shares in every one's happiness. Here is society indeed to our own heart's desire! society worth dying for, and, which is more, worth living for for ever. And if such be the society that death lets us into, I leave any man to judge, whether it be not much better for us to go away from hence, to leave this faithless, peevish, and ill-natured world, than to stay any longer, or converse any longer, like briers with thorns, where

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there is nothing but rending and tearing on both sides.

4. And lastly, Because death fixes us in a far more certain and permanent possession of all. While we live here, how uneasily soever, we are still fond of living; but still we know that ere long we must die, and leave all that is dear to us upon earth; and the prospect of that, many times, gives us more trouble and disturbance than death itself. So that all the

. time we live, we are like those that live under the pain and torment of the stone; they know very well that they have but one remedy for their misery, and that is cutting; but this, alas! is hazardous and painful; and therefore, though they must come to it at last, yet they are extremely unwilling; they would fain have a little longer respite from their remedy; and so they still groan on, and still endure not only the pain of their disease, but also the painful expectation of the future incision; whereas, had they been cut at first, perhaps they had been long since cured of both. Thus we, while we are lingering out this wretched life, know very well that we have but one remedy, and that is death. But oh! cry we, it is a grievous one! And what then? We certainly know we must endure it at last ; but yet we would fain live a little longer; that is, we would fain endure the pain of living, and the painful expectation of dying, a little longer. Whereas had we now but the patience and courage to undergo the dreadful operation, we should be released from both as soon as ever it is over, and in a few moments restored to eternal health and ease. And whereas while we live here, we are in a continual flow and reflow of things; at ease this moment, in pain the next; rich to-day, poor to-morrow;

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now advanced to the top of the wheel, anon crushed underneath it; and so insecure of every good, that our prospect of being deprived of it still embitters our enjoyments; death translates us into an eternal possession of all desirable good, and sets us beyond the reach of both time and chance, in a state of being and happiness that admits no change or interruption; that is not to be measured by hours or moments, by years or centuries, or myriads of indictions, but runs on in an everlasting flux of duration; every part whereof is equally, because infinitely distant from a period. For that happiness in which death instates us being infinite, we shall always need as well as have, and always have as well as need an eternity of fruition fully to enjoy it. So that during every present moment of our happiness we shall feel ourselves possessed with eternal ages of happiness to come; and, together with every pleasure that we taste this moment, enjoy the foretaste of an eternity of pleasure, which will superadd an inconceivable sweetness and relish to it, and render it grateful and delicious beyond all imagination. Seeing therefore that death only prefers us from an uncertain and slippery possession of goods to a fixed and eternal one; if a continued happiness be better than an interrupted one, and everlasting joy than a moment's enjoyment; then certainly it must be better for us, incomparably better, to die than to live.

Having thus proved at large the truth of the proposition, I shall close up all with two or three infe

rences.

Inference I. 1. From hence I infer, how unreasonable it is for men to value themselves upon any of the present cir

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cumstances of this life : for if death in all these respects is preferable to life, then, to be sure, the best circumstances of this life are very mean and inconsiderable; much too mean for a man to value himself upon that is born to live for ever; seeing this mortal life is so very light and inconsiderable, as that even death itself (in the balance of reasonable estimation) outweighs it. He therefore that values himself by any thing but his immortal soul, by which he is for ever to outlive this poor inconsiderable life, and by those things which are its proper graces and ornaments, begins at the wrong end of himself, forgets his jewels, and estimates his estate by his lumber. And yet, good God! what foolish measures do the generality of men take of themselves! Were we not forced to it by too many woful experiments, it would be a hard thing for us to imagine that any reasonable creature, who believes himself compounded of a mortal body and an immortal soul, should be so ridiculous as to value himself by the little trifling advantages of a well-coloured skin, a suit of fine clothes, a puff of popular applause, or a large heap of white and red earth: and yet, God help us! these are the only things almost by which we value and difference ourselves from one another. You, forsooth, are a much better man than your neighbour, who is a poor contemptible wretch, a little creeping despicable animal, not worthy of the notice or cognizance of such a man as you. Why, in the name of God, sir, .

, what is the matter? where is this mighty difference between you and him ? Hath he not a soul as well as

a you, a soul that is capable to live as long, and to be as happy as yours? Yes, this you cannot deny: but, you thank God for it, you are, notwithstanding this,

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