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gave it to him.
deal, because it was enough, And so Phocion among the Greeks, when Alexander fent him an hundred Talents, returned them back again, Έπιδείξας πλεσιώτερον τ8 διδόν1G. τοσαύτα, τον μη dibusvov; showing thereby that he was the richer Man who did not need so much, than he that it to him. There was no greater
Truth he thought than this, Tó Tisleiv BST TÒ Mii decis olay Tegitāv, that to be Rich, is not to need unnecessary Things. And thus Xenocrates in like manner, after he had taught himself, endeavoured to teach others this Art of Contentment, For when the same Prince sent him fifty Talents, he entertained the Messenger with a frugal Supper, which had sufficient, but nothing fuperfluous : And when he was askt the next Morning to whom he should pay the Money, answered, I thought you would have understood by last Night's Supper, that I do not need any more Money, They were much instructed by this Lesson; and it was the more effectual, because he did not speak it out of a dogged and melancholy Humour, For seeing the Messenger something dejected at his Words, he took Part of the Money, least he should seem to contemn the King's Liberality, The like I înight relate to you of Socrates, who seeing in a Fair, or a great Solemnity and pubļick Show Abundance of Gallantry and Brayery, cried out in a much greater, nown for resiąv šx ¢70, How many Things are there, that I have no need of! But I will not burthen you with such Stories, nor deny that in much of this, there feems to
be a greater Affectation of a mean Estate, than needs. There was no Cause that they should refuse those Riches which were fairly put into their Hands, (unless they thought tliere was an Intent to bribe them to consent to some unhandsome Action:) But their Meaning was good and generous. They would teach themselves not to be greedy of too much, nor too forward to catch at great Things : But inure their Minds tó Moderation in Desires. And shall we think Scorn to learn of them? We may rather be ashamed if we do not that which they did ; seeing we have a better way of learning their Leffon. Our Lord hath been pleased to teach us this by a greater Example: And therefore let us contract and lessen our Desires ; let us bring then into a finall Compass, and confine them to necessary Things. And when they stretch their Wings further, (as who can hinder fome Motions, after Things that appear desirable ?) clip them presently, or let then not fly too fast, nor carry us with too much Violence in the pursuit of them: But with equal and gentle Motions; least they transport us quite from the Satisfaction we may find in our present Enjoyments; and let us fall at last
, when we cannot catch our prey, into a Pensiveness and Dejection of Spirit, as great as our Hope and Expectation of it. For the Prévention of which follow this third Advice,
Make nothing necessary to your Contentment, but that which you can never want. Which is as much as to say, Desire nothing principally and as your Happiness, but that which you can certainly coinpass. To have always that which we desire, is accounted Happiness. Now the Way to it is, to set our Hearts on that only or chiefly, which we may always have, And let me tell you, those Things which we may always have are not small Things and such as will not fill us; no, they are the most excellent as well as the most necessary; and such as arę instead of all Things else beside. What are they will you say? I answer as briefly, Ist, Such as are naturally in our own Power. And 2dly. Such as by the divine Grace are in God's Promises,
The Heathens anciently distinguished between the ta não, those Things that were in us to accomplish, and the ta šx éqmuir, thofe that are not in us to order as we will. The former say they, we should concern our felves about; the other we are to let alone, and not give our selyes any trouble for them, because they are not Things that will submit to our Will and Pleasure. It is in our Power, for Instance, to bear an Injury, to forgive it, to pray for those that do it, to requite it some time or other with a good Turn, to speak, at least, all the Good of them that they may ctherways
deserve, and to govern the rest of the Motions of our own Breasts : but to suffer no Injury, and to hinder all Manner of Affronts is not in our Power, as I have else where discoursed. To rejoyce in all Conditions, to praise God, to be thankful for what we enjoy, that is in our Power: but 'not to be in such a Condition, that is wholly out of it. The Way to our Contentment then is mainly to desire fuch Things, and to apply our best Indeavours to attain them, as we may certainly make our felves Masters of; and to pass by the rest, or not concern our selves too passionately in them, as being Matters not fit for our Management, but in the Disposal of other persons,
But we Christians have something to add to this Truth, which is, That there are certain Things which God hath told us he will not deny us, and others which he hath not obliged himself to bestow upon us. All Things are in the Power of God, though they be not in our Power : but all Things are not in the Will of God to grant unto us.
His Power we know is infinite and extends to every Thing ; but his Will we know only by his Promises, which are nothing else but a Declaration of his Will to us,
Now he hath no where promised us continual Health, Abundance of Riches, Honour and Preferment, the constant Enjoyment of our Friends, and such like Things; and therefore we ought not, if we study our own Repose, to set our Hearts very much on these Things, þut still with thiş Remembrance (which may
difpofe us to be without them or to part with them) that there is no Assurance of them. Bút he hath promised us hiinfelf, and Forgiveness of Sins, and his holy Spirit, and his Gracë tò fan&tify every Condition to us, and his Power to help and support us, and his good Angels to be ministring Spirits to us, and eternal Life to be the Reward of contented Patience, and the greatest Reward to those who not only do, but quietly suffer his Will. And therefore these we should earnestly desire and most heartily seek; because we may certainly have them, and the having them will certainly give us Contentment and Satisfaction. For, First
, by havéing them, we shall have so much of the other, whichi are not absolutely in our Power, nor in his Promifes, as he Sees on all Occasions to be fit and needful for us. ' And, Secondly, By having them, we shall also be able to be without the other, when he doth not see them need ful.
But some will say, perhaps, How shall we bring our Desires to this Moderátion? Here wè must have Recourse back again to to our Mind, And,
Study the Use of all those Things which we defire, before we engage our selves too much in the Pursuit of them. This will, in great Part; answer that Question. We must ask our felves, on all Occasions, What are these Things good