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felf. The wealthy man would believe, that the poor man had more leisure for prayer, and fewer temptations to earthlymindedness, than he has.. God would lose the thanks of every man, that could fancy another more happy than himself; and would lose the duty and service of every man, that could fancy his own temptations to be stronger than all other men's. And becaufe we feel our own good and evil, and do but guess at other men's by their outward appearance, we should run into all manner of false judgement in comparing them with one another..
But that there might be no pretence for this wretched way of arguing, God hath not only tied us up all strictly to the same piety and duty, but is pleased to let us know, as the truth is, that upon the whole matter, there is nothing new under the fun; that upon the whole matter, he hath made no difference between the present and former ages, between ourselves and other persons.
Our neighbour, perhaps, hath not all those very temptations that we have ; but then he hath his own : he hath perhaps fome advantages in one kind, which we have not; but we may have the advantage of him in another.
Every condition of life hath not only its proper inconveniences, but its proper advantages; and what is lost in the difference of our state from others, or in the change which we may suffer ourselves, is made up another way. ;
Prosperity and success should make us love God better; but disappointments, on the other side, and adversities, -do very often make it more easy for us to love the world less.
In short, let us seek no excuses for neglecting piety and virtue, from the difference of times, fortunes, temptations, and the like, between ourselves and those that live in this, or that lived in former ages ; for we are likely to make but a foolish judgement, and shall unavoidably run into great mistakes, in making the comparison: and the reason of our sin will not bear the judgement of the all-seeing God, nor the examination of the last great day. P3
But let us believe God to be impartial; and to have tempered the seasons, and ages of the world, and the different conditions of persons, with a wise equality, and with an unerring judgement. And let us give up ourselves to follow, and to comply with his wise proyidence. And although his judgements, in respect of others, be unsearchable, and his ways past finding out; yet we shall find, that all his ways, to, wards our own selves in particular, are so wise and good, that at last we shall not wish there had been the least alteration of
BUT suppose, that in some notable respects, our case may differ from another inan's; yet this difference is not so great, as to make any material difference, be, tween our obligation and his, to do that which God requires. Nor can we be less obliged so to do, than those that have been before us. For in every age it may be said, That which hath been, is now; and in every age God requireth that which is paft;
and' that, under the fame motives and obligations, without any difference fo confidérable, as to turn the balance one way or other. For let the world go which way it will, a wicked man is a fool and a wretch; and the righteous man is happy and wise for himself. And therefore certainly, that is a very good condition, and a good world for us, in which we may be as good as we please to be.
But, finally; Suppose things should not always happen according to common rules, but sometimes leave their usual course; as suppose a righteous man suffers even for his righteousness: Then, we must leave the confideration of this world, and go to that of a better. And why should we not suppose, that so incomparable a state of blessings, reserved for a good man in the world to come, and justly esteemed, and earnestly desired by him,--should not only make all present inconveniences very light, but in comparison none at all. When the glories of the future world are taken into the account, it is all one within a trifle,