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and jest, and music; and if Prudence takes it by the hand and leads it on to duty, it is a state of grace, and a universal instrument to infant-religion, and the only security of the less perfect persons ; and in all senses is that homage we owe to God, who sends often to demand it, even then when he speaks in thunder, or smites by a plague, or awakens us by threatenings, or discomposes our easiness by sad thoughts, and tender eyes and fearful hearts, and trembling considerations.
Let the grounds of our actions be noble, beginning upon reason, proceeding with prudence, mea
actual intention scattered upon several clashing objects at
Secrecy, which is the chastity of friendship ;-
Protection of children after his death. “ As to patience :" L" Do not think thou didst contract al. liance with an angel, when thou didst take thy friend into thy bosom ; he may be weak as well as thou art, and thou mayst need pardon as well as he.”
Supension of judgment: see South's sermon, where he says : • It is an imitation of the charities of heaven, which when the creature lies prostrate in the weakness of sleep, and wea
sured by the common lines of men, and confident upon the expectation of a usual Providence. Let us proceed from causes to effects, from natural means to ordinary events, and believe felicity not to be a chance but a choice ; and evil to be the daughter of sin and the divine anger, not of fortune and fancy. Let us fear God when we have made him angry: and not be afraid of him when we heartily and laboriously do our duty; and then fear shall be a duty, and a rare instrument of many : in all other cases, it is superstition or folly, it is sin or punishment, the ivy of religion, and
riness, spreads the covering night, and darkness over it, to conceal it in that condition ; but as soon as our spirits are refreshed, and nature returns to its morning vigour, God then bids the sun rise, and the day shine upon us, both to advance and to shew that activity. It is the ennobling office of the understanding, to correct the fallacious and mistaking reports of sense, and to assure us that the staff in the water is straight, though our eye would tell us it is crooked. So it is the excel. lency of friendship to rectify, or at least to qualify the malignity of those surmises, that would misrepresent a friend, and traduce him in our thoughts. Am I told that my friend has done me an injury, or that he has committed any undecent action ? why the first debt that I both owe to his friendship, and that he may challenge from mine, is rather to question the truth of the report, than presently to believe my friend unworthy. A friend will be sure to act the part of an advocate, before he will assume that of a judge."
* The last and most sacred duty of friendslıip is after we have stood upon the planks round his grave. When my
friend is dead, I will not turn into his grave and be stified with his earth : but I will mourn for him, and perform his will, and take care of his relatives, and do for him as if he were alive ; and thus it is that friendships never die.”
the misery of an honest and a weak heart; and it is to be cured only by reason and good company, a wise guide and a plain rule, a cheerful spirit and a contented mind, by joy in God according to the commandments, that is, a rejoicing evermore.
The illusions of a weak piety or an unskilful confident soul, fancy to see mountains of difficulty, but touch them and they seem like clouds riding upon the wings of the wind, and put on shapes as we please to dream. He that denies to give alms for the fear of being poor, or to entertain a disciple for fear of being suspected of the party : he that takes part of the intemperance because he dares not displease the company, or in any sense fears the fears of the world and not the fear of God; this man enters into his portion of fears betimes, but it will not be finished to eternal ages. To fear the censures of men when God is your judge; to fear their evil when God is your defence; to fear death when he is the entrance to life and felicity, is unreasonable and pernicious. But if you will turn your passion into duty, and joy and security, fear to offend God, to enter voluntarily into temptation : fear the alluring face of lust, and the smooth entertainments of intemperance : fear the anger of God when you have deserved it; and when you have recovered from the snare, then infinitely fear to return into that condition, in which whosoever dwells is the heir of fear and eternal sorrow.*
Sermon on Godly Fear; Serm. ix. part 3.
I have seen the rays of the sun or moon dash upon a brazen vessel, whose lips kissed the face of those waters that lodged within its bosom; but being turned back and sent off, with its smooth pretences or rougher waftings, it wandered about the room and beat
upon the roof, and still doubled its heat and motion. So is sickness and a sorrow entertained by an unquiet and discontented man.
Nothing is more unreasonable than to entangle our spirits in wildness and amazement, like a partridge fluttering in a net, which she breaks not, though she breaks her wings.t
Since all the evil in the world consists in the disagreeing between the object and the appetite, as when a man hath what he desires not, or desires what he hath not, or desires amiss, he that composes his spirit to the present accident hath variety of instances for his virtue, but none to trouble him, because his desires enlarge not beyond his present fortune : and a wise man is placed in the variety of chances, like the nave or centre of a wheel in the midst of all the circumvolutions and changes of posture, without violence or change, save that it turns gently in compliance with its
+ Holy Dying, chap. 3.
changed parts, and is indifferent which part is up, and which is down; for there is some virtue or other to be exercised whatever happens—either patience or thanksgiving, love or fear, moderation or humility, charity or contentedness.
It conduces much to our content, if we pass by those things which happen to our trouble, and consider that which is pleasing and prosperous; that by the representation of the better, the worse may be blotted out. It may
be thou art entered into the cloud which will bring a gentle shower to refresh thy sorrows.
I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me: what now ? let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me, and I can still discourse ; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance, and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they still have left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of heaven, and my charity to them too: and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate, I can walk in my neighbour's pleasant fields, and see the varieties of natural beauties, and delight in all that in which God delights, that is, in virtue and wisdom, in the whole creation, and in God himself.*
* Holy Living, ch. ii. $ 6.