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carries a burden upon his brawny shoulders, but this wretch has conveyed one into his sick stomach. He will not work; let him alone, and cre long acute pains will bathe him in as profuse a sweat as that of the furnace-man ; and strong medicines will exercise him to such a degree, that he will envy even the collier's lot. • It is evident therefore, that mankind are under a curse of * toil and sweat, according to the divine sentence recorded by Moses; and that they are frequently condemned by providence to as hard labour for life, as wretched felans rowing in the galleys, or digging in the mines.t But, as it is absolutely incredible, that a good god, who by a word can supply the wants of all his creatures, should have sentenced innocent mankind to these inconceivable hardships, to procure or enjoy the necessaries of life; it is evident they are guilty, miserable offenders
Hard labour and sweat, make up but one of the innumerable calamities, incident to the wretched inhabitants of this world. Turn your eyes which way you please, and you will see some flying from, others
* It has been asserted that the short pleasure of eating and drinking makes amends for the severest' toil. The best way to bring such idle, sensual objectors to reason would be to make them earn every meal by 2 or 3 hours threshing. Besides what great plcasure can those have in eating who actually starve, or just stay gnawing hunger by food coarser than that which their tich neighbours give to their dogs ?
4 God's image disinherited of day,
groaning under the rod of God; and the greatest number busily making a scourge for the backs of their fellow creatures, or their own.
To pass over the misery of the brute creation : To say nothing of the subtility and rapaciousness, with which (after the example of men*) they lay wait for, and prey upon one another: To cast a veil over the agonies of millions, that are daily stabbed, strangled, shot, and even flead, boiled, or swallowed up alive, for the support of man's life, or the indulgence of his luxury : And not to mention again the almost uninterrupted cries of feeble infancy : Only take notice of the tedious confinement of childhood, the blasted schemes of youth, the anxious cares of riper years, and the deep groans of wrinkled, decrepid, tottering old age....Fix your attention upon family trials : Here a prodigal father ruins his children, or undutiful children break the hearts of their fond parents : There, an unkind husband embitters the life of his wife, or an imprudent wife stains the honour of her husband : A servant disobeys, a relation misbehaves, a son lies ill, a tenant breaks, a neighbour provokes, a rival supplants, a friend betrays, or an enemy 'triumphs : Peace seldoin continues one day.
Listen to the sighs of the afflicted, the moans of the disconsolate, the complaints of the oppressed, and shrieks of the tortured : Consider the deformity of the faces of some, and distortion or mutilation of the limbs of others : To awaken your compassion, +
* Eager ambition's fiery chase I see ;
+ Some for hard masters broken under arms,
here a beggar holds out the stump of a thigh or an arm : There, a ragged wretch hops after you, upon one leg and two crutches ; and a little farther you meet with a poor creature, using his hands instead of feet, and dragging through the mire the cumbrous weight of a body without lower parts. · Imagine, if possible, the hardships of those who are destitute of one of their senses: Here, the blind is guided by a dog, or gropes for his way in the blaze of noon : There, the deaf lies on the brink of danger, inattentive to the loudest calls : Here, sits the dumb sentenced to eternal silence : There, dribbles the idiot doomed to perpetual childhood; and yonder the paralytic shakes without intermission, or lies senseless, the frightful image of a lifeless corpse.
Leaving these wretched creatures, consider the tears of the disappointed, the sorrows of the captive, the anxieties of the accused, the fears of the guilty, and terrors of the condemned. Take a turn through jails, inquisitions, houses of correction, and places of execution. Proceed to the mournful rooms of the languishing, and wearisome beds of the sick ; and let not the fear of seeing human woe, in some of its most deplorable appearances, prevent you from visiting hospitals, infirmaries, and bedlams :
................A place Before your eyes appears, sad, noisom, dark, A lazar-house it seems, wherein are laid Numbers of all diseas'd : all maladies Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms Of heart-sick agony, all fev'rous kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone, and ulcer, cholic-pang's, Dæmoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy, And moon-sti'uck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies, and asthma's, and joint-racking rheums. Dire is the tossing! Deep the groans ! Despair
Attends the sick, busiest from couch to couch: "
To close the horrible prospect, view the ruins of cities and kingdoms, the calamities of wrecks and sieges, the horrors of sea-fights and fields of battle ; with all the crimes, devastations, and cruelties, that accompany revenge, contention, and war; and you will be obliged to conclude with Job, that corrupt man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards; with David, that the earth is full of darkness and cruel habitations ; and with every impartial enquirer, that our depravity, and God's justice, concur to make this world a vale of tears as well as a field of toil and sweat ; a vast prison for rebels already“ tied with the chains of their sins," a boundless scaffold for their execution,a golgotha, an aceldama, an immense field of torture and blood.
Some will probably say ; “ This picture of the world is drawn with black lines, but kinder providence blends light and shade together, and tempers our calamities with numberless blessings.” I answer: It cannot be too thankfully acknowledged, that while patience suspends the stroke of justice, God,' forChrist's sake, restores us a thousand forfeited blessings, that his goodness many lead us to repentance. But alas! What is the consequence, where divine grace does not prove victorious over corrupt nature? To all our sins, do we not add the crime of either enjoying the favours of providence with the greatest ingratitude, or of abusing them with the most proroking insolence.
Our actions are far more expressive of our real sentiments, than our words. Why this variety of exquisite food, says the voluptuary, whose life loudly speaks what his lips dare not utter? Why this abundance of delicious wines, but to tempt my unbridled appetite, and please my luxurious palate ?.... Would Göd have given softness to silks, brightness to colours, and lustre to diamonds, says the self-applauding smile of a foolish virgin, who worships herself in a glass? Would he have commanded the white of the lilly thus to meet the blush of the rose, and heighten so elegant a pro portion of features, if he had not designed that the united powers of art, dress, and beauty, should make me share his divine honours ?.... Why are we blessed with dear children and amiable friends, says the ridiculous behaviour of fond parents and raptured lovers, but that we should suspend our happiness on their ravishing smiles, and place them as favourite idols in the shrine of our hearts ?....And why has heaven favoured me both with a strong constitution, and an affluent fortune, says the rich slave of brutish lusts, but that I may drink deeper of earthly joys and sensual delights?
Thus blessings abused or unimproved, become curses in our hands : God's indulgence encourages us to offend him: We have the fatal skill of extracting poison from the sweetest flowers; and madly turn the gifts of providence into weapons, to attack our Benefactor and destroy ourselves. That there are then such perverted gifts, does not prove that mankind are innocent, but that God's patience endureth yet daily, and that a Saviour ever liveth to make intercession for us.
Should it be farther objected, that “our pleasures counter-balance our calamities :" I answer: The greatest part of mankind are so oppressed with want and cares, toil and sickness, that their intervals of ease may rather be terined“ an alleviation of misery," than an enjoyment of happiness." Our pains are real and lasting, our joys imaginary and momentary, Could we exercise all our senses upon the most pleasing objects, the tooth-ach would render all insipid and burdensome : a fit of the gout alone dainps every worldly joy, while all earthly delights together cannot give us ease under it : So vastly superior is the bitterness of