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SERMON he may shine; by some of his fellows he
be admired; but in the world he is of no significance or consequence, arıy more than the little animals that sport around him. Health, the most valuable of all temporal blessings, is known to be preserved by temperance and a regular life. But, by the men of dissipation, it is readily sacrificed at the shrine of pleasure. To years
of health and soundness, they are often so foolish as to prefer a few hours of sensual gratification. Supposing that no extravagant excesses, or vicious pleasures, cut short their health and life, yet what constitution can stand the irregular hours, the disorderly living, the careless indulgence, into which the love of pleasure draws those who devote themselves to it? Hence the shattered and debilitated body, and the premature old age.
The native vigour and sprightliness of youth, is melted down by effeminacy and sensuality. The spirits are weakened and enervated, if not sunk and lost for ever. The state of their fortune may, for a while, enable them to indulge their pleasures, and to maintain the figure they wish to keep up
in the world; but let fortune be ever so SERMON affluent, in the possession of such persons, it is in the high road to decay. For to them, attention to business, or to the management of their affairs, becomes a burden, which they studiously shun. Prudent conomy is disdained, as a mean attention, belonging only to vulgar and minds. Their habits of licentiousness require unlimited indulgence. The demands of passion nzust be immediately supplied, whatever the consequences be. Hence, delivering themselves up to those who can furnish supply for their expence,
or who pretend to take charge of their affairs, they become the prey of the crafty, who fatten on their spoils; till at last, in the midst of thoughtless extravagance, and of general waste and profusion, they see nothing remaining to them, but the ruins of a broken fortune,
Such are some of the miseries attending habits of dissipation, and the intemperate love of pleasure. We see them daily exemplified in the world, throughout all the stages of this character, from the frivolous and the giddy, up to the rake and the profligate; in some stages, only impairing health and
SERMON fortune; in others, entirely overthrowing
them ; in their beginnings, casting a shade on the characters of men; in their completion, exposing them to disgrace and misery.Even abstracting from those ultirnate consequences in which irregular pleasures terminate, the gratification which, in the mean time, they bestow, is dearly paid for. А temporary satisfaction, it is admitted, they afford. They raise the spirits to a degree of elevation above their usual tone, but in that forced elevation they can never long remain ; and in proportion to the elevation to which they were raised, is the degree of depression to which they subside. Experience has shown, that no sensual pleasure, except what is regulated by temperance, can be lasting. Every pleasure that is carried beyond it, is no more than a momentary explosion ; a transient gush ; a torrent that comes down impetuously, sparkling and foaming in its course, but that soon runs out, and leaves a muddy and polluted channel. Who knows not the languor and dejection that follow every excessive indulgence of pleasure, or a long continuation of amusement of any kind ? From whom
do we hear such frequent complaints of SERMON low spirits, as from those who spend most of their time in the circles of dissipation and gaiety, or in the revelry of the world ? To what wretched and pernicious resources are they obliged to fly, in order to recruit their spirits, and restore some life to their deadened sensations? What melancholy spectacles do they at length exhibit of a wornout frame, and an exhausted mind? So wellfounded is the assertion in the Text, that there is a mirth, the end of which is heaviness.
Let us consider, in the second place, the ruin which a life of pleasure and dissipation brings upon the moral state and character of men, as well as
on their external condition. This deserves the more attention, as the pursuit of pleasure sometimes sets out at the beginning with a fair and innocent appearance. mises to bestow satisfactions unknown to a duller race of mortals; and, at the same time, to allow virtue and honour to remain. With a great part of mankind, especially with those who are most likely to run the face of pleasure, such as are well-born, and
SERMON have been regularly educated, some attach
ment to good principles at first is found. They cannot as yet bear the reproach of any thing that is dishonourable or base. Regard to their word, generosity of sentiment, attachment to their friends, and compassion for the unhappy, prevail for a while in thcir hearts. But, alas! as the love of pleasure gains ground, with what insidious steps does it'advance towards the abolition of all virtuous principles ? It has been ever found, that without the assistance of reflection, and of serious thought, virtue cannot long subsist in the Iruman mind. But to reflection and serious thoughts; the men of dissipation are strangers. Absorbed, as they are, in the whirlpool of fashionable life, and hurried along by a rapid succession of amusements, reflection is lost, and good impressions gradually decay." Nothing is regarded but present enjoyment, and plans of improving on that enjoyment in future. As their taste, and their acquired habits, carry them into the society of licentious company, they must follow the more trained votaries of pleasure who naturally take the lead. They become as