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Mistake, Thews what the Nature of true SERM:

X. Happiness is, that it has no Foundation but in Virtue and Religion; and lays down many good Instructions in order to obviate some false Opinions which hina der'd People from finding it out. 'One of which he endeavours to obviate in the Words of the Text, by shewing the Folly of those, who are of a murmuring complaining Teinper, and are always uneasy at the present Times, as if the former were better; which he shews is occasioned by a Want of a wise Consideration and Enquiry into this Matter Say not thou, What is the Cause that the former Days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

In discoursing upon the Words of the
Text I shalt,
First, Enquire into the Ground of this

Complaint, and shew, that to say the
former Days were better than these,

which is implied in the asking the 6. Cáu'fe of it, is generally false, and pro

ceeds from a want of confidering wisely
concerning this Matter,

· Dd Secondly,

Serm. Secondly, I shall Thew the Sin and Folly X. of murmuring against the present Dif

pensations of God's Providence, even

upon Supposition that it was true. Thirdly, I shall lay down fome Rules in

order to acquire a happier Frame and Temper of Mind.

First then I am to enquire into the Ground of this Complaint, and Thew, that to say the former Days were better than these, which is implied in the asking the Cause of it, is generally false ; and proceeds from a want of considering wifely concerning this Matter.

However wise and bountiful the Dilpensations of Providence are, there will never be wanting some to murmur and complain, as they have hitherto done in all the Ages of the World. As they say of Alphonsus, that he found fault with the Creation, and arraigned the Wisdom of God in the Natural World, so there are too many others, who take the fame · Fréedom, and accuse the Divine Providence in the Moral World, and both for


the same Reason, viz. for want of en- Serm.

X. quiring wisely concerning this.

Complaints upon the Times are not
more unjust than they are common ;
but to build them upon a Supposition
that the former Times were all good,
and the present nothing but Evil, is to
suppose what is not true; 'tis to take that
for granted, which is the Matter in dif-
pute, and to argue from a Suppofition,
which is false in Fact, and wants to be '.
proved. If the former Days were so very
good in Comparison of these, it must ap-
pear by some Account of Perfons, who
lived in those Days. But how does that
appear? Where have we any such Ac-
count? On the contrary, there were the
same Complaints in former Times as
there are now; and tho' this may not be
allow'd by a wise Man, as an Argument
of the Badness of those Times, yet it is at
leaft an Argument, that the Complainers
in thofe Days thought them fo; and
therefore must be allow'd to hold good
against the Murmurers of these Days,
even upon their own Principles. For if


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SERM. they are willing to hear their own Com

plaints pass for certain Tókens of the Badness of the Times, they must by the same Rule, and upon the fame Principles, think the fame of former Ages, and allow the Complaints of the People in those Times to have the same Weight.

Now it is well known, that the Poets many hundred Years ago feigned the World to be divided into three different Ages, the Golden, the Silver, and the Iron Age; the two former of these they imagined to be in a different Degree, very happy and prosperous, but the last they looked

upon as very unhappy and miserable; yet they always took Care to place their own Times. under the last, as if all before were Golden Days, and their’s were the only unhappy and troublesome Ones ; and the same Humour has

prevailed ever since, and will continue to do to as long as we neglect to consider wisely concerning this. We find likewise from the Text, that there were the same Complaints as far back as Solomon's Days, and no doubt of it in all Ages of the World,


Now either these Complaints were true Serm. or they were false. 'Tis all one, as to

X. the Matter in Hand, which of these it be; for if they were true, the Point is gained; and if they were never fo false and groundless, yet still they will serve the Purpose they are brought for ; they are sufficient to shew, that whatever good Opinion the Complainers of latter Ages may have of the former Times, they that lived in those Times thought otherwise, and made that the Subject of Complaint which others have since made the Subject of their Approbation.

But the Truth of the Matter is this: The Times are generally the same, and I believe it will readily enough be granted, that they are always worse than a good Man could wish them to be; but then to ask why the former were better, generally proceeds upon a Supposition, that former Times were better purely because they are past, and therefore will serve no Manner of Purpose, but to prove the Folly of the Enquirer. It has been the Complaint of our Forefathers, says Seneca,


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