Abbildungen der Seite

7 This very consideration, doubtless, produced those two passions in the two greatest Gentiles of their time, Democritus and Heraclitus, the one laughing, the other weeping, for the madness of the world, to see so excellent, reasonable a creature as man, so meanly, trifling, and slavishly employed."

8 He lives happily, that lives privately, for he lives quietly. It is a treasure to them that have it: study it, get it, keep it: too many miss it that might have it: the world knows not the value of it. It doubles a man's life, by giving him twice the time to himself, that a large acquaintance or much business will allow him.

9 Be entreatable. Never aggravate. Never revile, or give ill names. It is unmannerly, as well as unchristian. Be not morose nor conceited; one is rude, the other troublesome and nauseous.

10 Be humble: it becomes a creature, a depending and borrowed being, that lives not of itself, but breathes in another's air, with another's breath, and is accountable for every moment of time, and can call nothing its own, but is absolately a tenant at will of the great Lord of heaven and earth.

11 Humility seeketh not the last word, nor first place ; she offends none, but prefers others, and thinks lowly of herself; is not rough or self-conceited, high, loud, or domineering ; blessed are they that enjoy her.

12 A meek man is one that is not easily provoked, yet easily grieved; not peevish or testy, but soft, gentle, and inoffensive. O blessed will you be, my dear children, if this grace adorn you. Patience is an effect of a meek spirit, and Hows from it: it is a bearing and suffering disposition; not choleric or soon moved to wrath, or vindictive; but ready to hear and endure too, rather than be swift and hasty in judgment or action.

13 Show mercy whenever it is in your power; that is, forgive, pity, and help, for so it signifies. But the merciful man's mercy reaches farther, even to his beast; then surely to man, his fellow creature, he shall not want it. Wherefore I charge you, oppress nobody, man nor beast.

14 Take no advantage upon the unhappy, pity the afflicted, make the case your own, and that of their wives and poor innocent children the condition of yours, and you cannot want sympathy, forgiveness, nor a disposition to help and succour them to your ability.

15 Charity is a near neighbor to mercy; it is generally

taken to consist in this, not to be censorious, and to relieve the poor. Be clear yourselves before you fling the stone. Get the beam out of your own eye; it is humbling doctrine but safe.

16 This part of charity also excludes whispering, back biting, tale bearing, evil surmising; most pernicious follies and evils, of which beware. For the other part of charity, relieving the poor, it is a debt you owe to God: you have all you have or may enjoy, with the rent charge upon it.

17 I recommend little children, widows, infirm and aged persons, chiefly to you. Avoid that great sin of needless expense on your persons and on your houses, while the poor are hungry and naked : my bowels have often been moved, to see very aged and infirm people, but especially poor helpless children, lie all night, in bitter weather, at the thresholds of doors in the open streets, for want of better lodging.

18 I have made this reflection, if you were so exposed, how hard would it be to endure? The difference between our condition and theirs has drawn from me humble thanks to God, and great compassion and some supply to those poor creatures. Once more, be good to the poor: what do I say? Be just to them, and you will be good to yourselves: think it your duty, and do it religiously.

19 Liberality or bounty is a noble quality in man, entertained of few, yet praised of all, but the covetous dislike it, because it reproaches their sordidness. In this she differs from charity, that she has sometimes other objects, and exceeds in proportion. For she will cast her cye on those that do not absolutely want, as well as those that do; and always outdoes necessities and services.

20 She finds out virtue in a low degree, and exalts it. She eases their burden that labor hard to live. The decayed are sure to hear of her. She takes one child, puts out another, to lighten the loads of overcharged parents; more to the fatherless.

21 Wheresoever, therefore, my dear children, liberality is required of you, God enabling of you, sow not sparingly nor grudgingly, but with a cheerful mind, and you shall not go without your reward; though that ought not to be your motive. But avoid ostentation, for that is using virtue to vanity, which will run you to profuseness, and that to want; which begets greediness, and that avarice, the contrary extreme.

22 Integrity is a great and commer. lable virtue A man of integrity, is a true man, a bold man and a steady man;

he is to be trusted and relied upon. No bribes can corrupt him, no fear daunt him: his word is slow in coming, but sure. He runs with truth, and not with the times.

23 There is no living upon the principal, you must be diligent to preserve what you have, whether it be acquisition or inheritance; else it will consume.

As I would have you liberal, but not prodigal; and diligent, but not drudging, so I would have you frugal, but not sordid.

24 You cannot be too plain in your diet, so you are clean; nor too sparing, so you have enough for nature. Much less feast any, except the poor; as Christ taught. Luke xyi. 12, 13. For entertainments are rarely without sin; but receive strangers readily.

25 As in diet, so in apparel, observe, I charge you, an exemplary plainness. Choose your clothes for their usefulness, not the fashion, and for covering, not finery, or to please a vain mind in yourselves or others : they are fallen souls, that think clothes can give beauty to man.

26 - The life is more than the raiment.” Mat. vi. 25. Man cannot mend God's work, who can give neither life nor parts. They show little esteem for the wisdom and


of their Creator, that underrate his workmanship, (I was going to say, his image) to a tailor's invention : gross folly and profanity!

27 In short, these intemperances are great enemies to health, and to posterity ; for they disease the body, rob children, and disappoint charity, and are of evil example ; very catching, as well as pernicious evils. Nor do they end there: they are succeeded by other vices, which made the apostle put them together in his epistle to the Galatians, chap. v. 20, 21.

28 The evil fruits of this part of intemperance, are so many and great, that, upon a serious reflection, I believe there is not a country, town, or family, almost, that does not labor under the mischief of it.

29 But the virtue of temperance does not only regard eating, drinking, and apparel, but furniture, attendance, expense, gain, parsimony, business, diversion,

company, speech, sleeping, watchings, and every passion of the mind, love, anger, pleasure, joy, sorrow, resentment, are all concerned in it: therefore, bound your desires, teach your wills subjection, take Christ for your example, as well as guide.





SECTION I. Definition and use of the science. 1 Moral philosophy, morality, ethics, casuistry, natural law, mean all the same thing ; namely, That science which teaches men their duty, and the reasons of it. The of such a study depends upon this, that, without it, the rules of life by which men are ordinarily governed, oftentimes mislead them, through a defect either in the rule, or in the application. These rules are, the law of honor, the law of the land, and the scriptures.

2 The law of honor.-The law of honor is a system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another; and for no other purpose. Consequently, nothing is adverted to by the law of honor, but what tends to incommode this intercourse. Hence, this law only prescribes and regulates the duties betwixt equals ; omitting such as relate to the Supreme Being, as well as those which we owe to our inferiors.

3 The law of the land.That part of mankind who are beneath the law of honor, often make the law of the land their rule of life; that is, they are satisfied with themselves, so long as they do or omit nothing, for the doing or omitting of which the law can punish them.

4 Whereas, every system of human laws, considered as a rule of life, labors under the two following defects: 1. Human laws omit many duties, as not objects of compulsion ; such as piety to God, bounty to the poor, forgiveness of injuries, education of children, gratitude to benefactors. 2. Human laws permit, or what is the same, suffer to go unpunished, many crimes, because they are incapable of being defined by any previous description: of which nature, are luxury, prodigality, disrespect to parents, &c.

5 The Scriptures.--Whoever expects to find in the scriptures a specific direction for every moral doubt that arises, looks for more than he will meet with. And to what a magnitude such a detail of particular precepts would have enlarged the sacred volume, may be partly understood from the following consideration :

6 The laws of this country, (England,) including the acts

of the legislature, and the decisions of our supreme courts of justice, are not contained in fewer than fifty folio volumes; and yet it is not once in ten attempts that you can find the case you look for, in any law book whatever; to say nothing of those numerous points of conduct, concerning which the law professes not to prescribe or determine any thing.

7 Had then the same particularity, which obtains in human law so far as they go, been attempted in the scriptures, throughout the whole extent of morality, it is manifest they would have been by much too bulky to be either read or circulated ; or rather, as St. John says, “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."


Human Happiness.
1 It will be our business to show, if we can :
I. What human happiness does not consist in;
II. What it does consist in.

2 First then, happiness does not consist in the pleasures of sense, in whatever profusion or variety they may be enjoyed. By the pleasures of sense I mean, as well the animal gratifi cations of eating, drinking, &c. as the more refined pleasures of music, painting, architecture, gardening, splendid shows, theatric exhibitions, and the pleasures, lastly, of active sports, as of hunting, shooting, fishing, &c. For,

3 1st. These pleasures continue but a little while at a time. This is true of them all, especially of the grosser sort of them. Laying aside the preparation and the expectation, and computing strictly the actual sensation, we shall be surprised to find how inconsiderable a portion of our time they Occupy, how few hours, in the four and twenty, they are able to fill up.

4 2dly. These pleasures, by repetition, lose their relish. It is a property of the machine, for which we know no remedy, that the organs, by which we perceive pleasure, are blunted and benumbed by being frequently exercised in the same way. There is hardly any one who has not found the difference between a gratification when new, and when familiar; or any pleasure which does not become indifferent as it grows habitual.

5 3dly. The eagerness for high and intense delights takes away the relish from all others; and as such delights fall rarely in our way, the greater part of our time becomes, from this cause, empty and uneasy.

« ZurückWeiter »