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impure guests, which possibly, in fo general a riot of the mind and senses, may take occasion to enter unsuspected at the same time,
In a scene and disposition thus described can the most cautious say-Thus far shall my defires gommand no farther? or will the coolest and most circumspect say, when pleafure has taken full possession of his heart, that no thought nor purpofe shall arise there, which he would have concealed ? - In those loose and unguarded moments the imagination is not always at commandmin spite of reason and reflection, it will forceably carry him fometimes whither he would not like the unclean fpirit, in the parent's sad description of his child's cafe, which took him, and oft-times cast him into the fire to destroy him ; and wherefoever it taketh him, it teareth him, and hardly departeth from him.
But this, you'll fay, is the worst account of what the mind may suffer here.
Why may we not make more favourable suppositions ?--that numbers, by exercise and custom to such encounters, learn gradually to
despise and triumph over them ;-that the minds of many are not so susceptible of warm impressions, or so badly fortified against them, that pleasure should easily corrupt or soften them ;-that it would be hard to suppose, of the great multitudes which daily throng and press into this house of Feasting, but that numbers come out of it again, with all the innocence with which they entered ;-and that if both sexes are included in the computation, what fair examples shall we see of many of so pure and chaste a turn of mind that the house of feasting, with all its charms and temptations, was never able to excite a thought, or awaken an inclination, which virtue need to blush at-or which the most scrupulous conscience might not support. God forbid we should say otherwise: -no doubt, numbers of all ages escape unhurt, and get off this dangerous sea without shipwreck. Yet, are they not to be reckoned amongst the more fortunate adventurers? -and though one would not absolutely prohibit the attempt, or be so cynical as to condemn every one who tries it, since there are so many, I suppose, who cannot well do otherwise, and whose condition and situation in life unavoidably force them upon it
yet yet we may be allowed to describe this fair and flattering coaft-we may point out the unsuspected dangers of it, and warn the unwary passenger, where they lye. We may shew him what hazards his youth and inexperience will run, how little he can gain by the venture, and how much wiser and better it would be [as is implied in the text] to seek occasions rather to improve his little stock of virtue than incautiously expose it to so unequal a chance, where the best he can hope is to return safe with what treasure he carried out—but where, probably, he may be so unfortunate as to lose it all be lost himself, and undone for ever.
· Thus much for the house of Feasting; which, by the way, though generally open at other times of the year throughout the world, is supposed, in Christian countries, now every where to be universally shut up. And, in truth, I have been more full in my cautions against it, not only as reason requires, but in reverence to this season *, wherein our church exacts a more particular forbearance and self-denial in this point, and thereby adds to the restraints
upon * Preached in Lent.
upon pleasure and entertainments which this representation of things has suggested against them already.
Here then, let us turn aside from this gay scene; and suffer me to take you with me for a moment to one much fitter for your meditation. Let us go into the house of Mourning, made so by such afflictions as have been brought in, merely by the common cross accidents and difafters to which our condition is exposed, where, perhaps, the aged parents sit brokenhearted, pierced to their souls with the folly and indiscretion of a thankless child--the child of their prayers, in whom all their hopes and expectations centered:--- perhaps a more affecting scene-a virtuous family lying pinched with want, where the unfortunate support of it, having long struggled with a train of misfortunes, and bravely fought up against them is now piteously borne down at the lait- overwhelmed with a cruel blow which po forecast or frugality could have prevented.-O GOD! look upon his afflictions-Behold him distracted with many forrows, surrounded with the tender pledges of his love, and the partner of his cares--without bread to give them,-un
able, from the remembrance of better days, to dig ;-to beg, ashamed.
When we enter into the house of Mourning such as this it is impossible to insult the unfortunate even with an improper look.--Under whatever levity and dissipation of heart such objects catch our eyes, they catch likewise our attentions, collect and call homeour scattered thoughts, and exercise them with wisdom. A transient scene of distress, such as is here sketched, how soon does it furnish materials to fet the mind at work? how necessarily does it engage it to the consideration of the miseries and misfortunes, the dangers and calamities to which the life of man is subject. By holding up such a glass before it, it forces the mind to see and reflect upon the vanity, the perishing condition and uncertain tenure of every thing in this world. From reflections of this serious caft, how insensibly do the thoughts carry us farther? -and from considering, what we are what kind of world we live in, and what evils befall us in it, how naturally do they set us to look forwards at what poflibly we shall be for what kind of world we are intended-what