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objects of their friendship and regard, therefore, are seldom chosen, according to the disinterested rule of the Gospel, from those humble and unfortunate men, who have not the power of returning favors; but are selected with most avidity from their superiors; or from their equals, who feel no wants, and who expect no sacrifices. By such exclusive intercourses, men are too apt to become, not only high-minded, "but to be careless and even ignorant of their social and religious duties; or, as St. Paul observes, to "trust in uncertain riches, rather than in the living God."

The sight of poverty and distress, instead of exciting charity, sometimes serves only to foster pride. Feeling their own greatness, and glorying in their prosperity, the mind is intoxicated with vain and selfish passions; and hence it is often the characteristic of men that are "rich in this world," and invested with power, to oppress more than to relieve, to increase misery, or to spread corruption, rather than to promote happiness, and encourage virtue.

Against such perversion, and abuse of the divine Bounty, we ought constantly "to watch and pray," convinced that while enjoying prosperity, temptations to sin are always before us,

and that nothing but vigilance, and the deepest sense of Christian duty, can prevent us from falling.

Other evils to which prosperity will often expose us, and against which we must strictly guard, are luxury, intemperance, and the excessive love of pleasure. It is a lamentable truth, founded on the experience of human frailty, that, in proportion to men's temptations, will be their transgressions. Now, riches, it should be remembered, lay the heart open to every vicious indulgence that can enslave, or corrupt it; and hence it is among the higher ranks of life, among the sons of worldly prosperity, (the influence of whose example spreads far and wide,) that we find the most flagrant instances of profligacy and licentiousness.

Exempt from the duties of any profession, and at liberty to spend time as they please, they lapse into a kind of active idleness; or rather, they are bred up to it. The mind however cannot remain long in absolute indolence; and therefore it pursues, with restless importunity, such frivolous objects, as afford immediate gratification. The more exalted satisfactions that arise from industry, and perseverance, -from active benevolence, fortitude, and self

denial, they neither merit nor enjoy. Pleasure, in all its gay varieties, is the business of life, and fashion the sovereign umpire that regulates it. Virtue, with her efforts and trials, Duty with its principles and restraints, enter not into their voluptuous system; but are cherished, if cherished at all, by fits and starts, as the impulse of some sudden passion may suggest.

Thus, it is easy to perceive how the natural appetites of hunger, thirst, and sleep are perverted, anticipated, or cloyed;-how luxury is so studiously varied and extended, as to be in a great measure the science of fancy and invention; how the body is debilitated, and the mind enfeebled, or corrupted, by that which should invigorate the one and recreate the other.

From the same causes proceeds a degree of thoughtlessness, and indifference, which would alone preclude the exercise of almost every Christian virtue; and a hardness of heart for the common concerns of humanity, which arises, in a great degree, however problematical it may seem, from a spurious kind of sensibility. Yes, there are persons continually immersed in pleasure, or always in pursuit of some trifling gratification, from the wearisomeness of time

not usefully employed, who shrink, with fastidious delicacy, from the real calamities of life; or view them from a summit so remote, that they contemplate misery and want, hunger, nakedness, and pain, as sufferings peculiar to beings of another species. The objects that excite their interest and pity are not to be found where their blessed Saviour sought them, in the House of mourning, or in the wretched abodes of poverty and disease. If they deign to shed a tear, it must be from the contagion of sympathy;-for beings that are the creatures of fancy;-not for misery as she presents herself in the simple garb of nature, but as exhibited in the pages of Romance, or decked out with all the pomp and decorations of a tragic queen.

These are too often the subjects of fashionable sorrow; and these are the sorrows in which the sons of prosperity may cheaply indulge. Sorrows that may be dismissed for the next farce that follows;-that require no assiduities to prevent, no fortitude to bear, and no sacrifice of time to solace or relieve.

It must inevitably follow, when a man indulges himself in all the pride and vanity, all the pleasure and luxury, the idleness and ostentation, which a state of prosperity might

6000g riod) be perverted to maintain, that he will be selfish, thoughtless, or foolish, and, as far as relates to the distresses of his fellow-creatures, he will be for the most part, careless and unfeeling of

These then are among the temptations and the sins, which spring from prosperity; against which we cannot watch with too much vigilance, nor pray to be delivered, with too much earnestness of supplication.


But the chief sin to which the rich and prosperous, in this world, are exposed, is neglect of religion, and forgetfulness of that God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. This, indeed, is a dreadful abuse of the divine love. Instead of considering themselves as his "stewards and ministers for good," many seem to think, that they were sent into the world to minister only to their own appetites and pleasures. Instead of reflecting that their responsibility to the Giver of all good will be in proportion to the talent bestowed, they "trust in uncertain riches," as the chief means of gratification; and, in the fulness of pride, deny their Maker; or, to use the striking language of Scripture, ask who is the Lord ?"-But were they duly impressed with a sense of their duty, and did they "know the things that chiefly belong unto


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