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to atchievements of this kind-but that a seafon of affliction is in some fort a season of piety
- not only because our sufferings are apt to put us in mind of our fins, but that by the check and interruption which they give to our pursuits, they allow us what the hurry and bustle of the world too often deny us, and that is, a little time for reflection, which is all that most of us want to make us wiser and better men ;-that at certain times it is fo neceffary a man's mind should be turned towards itself, that rather than want occafions, he had better purchase them at the expence of his present happiness. He had better, as the text expreffes it, go to the house of mourning, where he will meet with something to subdue his paffions, than to the house of feasting, where the joy and gaiety of the place is likely to excite them :- That whereas the entertainments and caresses of the one place, expose his heart, and lay it open to temptations--the forrows of the orher defend it, and as naturally shut them from it. So strange and unaccountable a creature is man! he is so framed, that he cannot but pursue happiness and yet, unless he is made fometimes miserable, how apt is he to mistake the way which can
only lead him to the accomplishment of his own wishes!
- This is the full force of the wise man's declaration. But to do farther justice to his words, I will endeavour to bring the subject still nearer.--For which purpose, it will be neceffary to stop here, and take a tranfient view of the two places here referred to the house of Mourning, and the house of Feasting. Give me leave therefore, I beseech you, to recall both of them for a moment to your imaginations, that from thence I may appeal to your hearts, how faithfully, and upon what grounds, the effects and natural operations of each upon our minds are intimated in the text.
· And first, let us look into the house of Feast
And here, to be as fair and candid as pofsible in the description of this, we will not take it from the worst originals, such as are opened merely for the sale of virtue, and so calculated for the end, that the disguise each is under not only gives power fafely to drive
on the bargain, but safely to carry it into execution too.
This we will not suppose to be the casenor let us even imagine, the house of feasting, to be such a scene of intemperance and excess, as the house of feasting does often exhibit;but let us take it from one, as little exceptionable as we can--where there is, or at least appears nothing really criminal but where every thing seems to be kept within the visible bounds of moderation and sobriety. .
Imagine then such a house of feasting, where, either by consent or invitation, a number of each sex is drawn together, for no other purpose but the enjoyment and mutual entertainment of each other, which we will suppose Thall arise from no other pleasures but what custom authorises, and religion does not absolutely forbid.
Before we enter let us examine, what must be the sentiments of each individual previous to his arrival, and we shall find, that however they may differ from one another in tempers and opinions, that every one seems to
agree in this that as he is going to a house dedicated to joy and mirth, it was fit he should diveft himself of whatever was likely to contradict that intention, or be inconsistent with it- That, for this purpose, he had left his cares- his serious thoughts and his moral reflections behind him, and was come forth from home with only such dispositions and gaiety of heart as suited the occasion, and promoted the intended mirth and jollity of the place. With this preparation of mind, which is as little as can be supposed, since it will amount to no more than a desire in each to render himself an acceptable guest, let us conceive them entering into the house of Feafting, with hearts set loose from grave restraints, and open to the expectations of receiving pleasure. It is not necessary, as I premised, to bring intemperance into this scene or to fuppofe such an excess in the gratification of the appetites as shall ferment the blood and set the defires in a flame:-Let us admit no more of it, therefore, than will gently ftir them, and fit them for the impressions which so benevolent a commerce will naturally excite. In this disposition, thus wrought upon beforehand and already improved to this purpose, — take notice,
how mechanically the thoughts and fpirits rise -how soon, and insensibly, they are got above the pitch and firft bounds which cooler hours would have marked.
When the gay and smiling aspect of things has begun to leave the paffages to a man's heart thus thoughtlessly unguarded when kind and caressing looks of every object without, that can flatter his fenfes, have confpired with the enemy within, to betray him, and put himoff his defence-when mufic, likewise, has lent her aid, and tried her power upon his paffions, when the voice of singing men, and the voice of finging women, with the found of the vial and the lute. have broke in upon his soul, and in fome tender notes have touched the fecret fprings of rapture--that moment let us dissect and look into his heart--fee how vain! how weak! how empty a thing it is! Look through its several recesses,--thofe pure manfions formed for the reception of innocence and virtue-fad fpectacle! Behold those fair inhabitants now dispoffeffed-turned out of their sacred dwellings, to make room for what?-at the best for levity and indiscretion-perhaps for folly-it may be for more