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pers, can go the greatest Lengths in this Way: and employing their Reflection to excite the Displeasure, which it ought to restrain, the longer they ruminate, the more untractable they grow. Now Passion

Now Passion may be trusted very safely to suggest all the aggravating Circumstances. Reason therefore should be called in, only to represent the alleviating Considerations : of which we perpetually overlook fo many and so important ones, that we should give those about us all possible Encouragement to remind us of them. And if the Person, by whom we think ourselves aggrieved, be one, with whom we have any close Connection, or of whom we have Ground to think advantageously ; laying our Complaint mildly before him, and hearkening impartially to his Answer, may very possibly set all right, and place us on a better Footing, than ever we were before. Admonish a Friend: it may be be bath not done it; and if he have done it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy Friend: it may be he hath not said it; and if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish a Friend: for many Times it is a Slander ; and believe not every Tale. There is one, that Nippeth in his Speech; but not from bis Heart : and who is be, that bath not offended

with his Tongue ? Admonish thy Neighbour, before thou threaten bim : and, not being angry, give Place to the Law of the most Highs. Only this Caution ought to be observed in the Case, that such, as are naturally warm and impatient, should but seldom risk a personal Explanation at first: but rather employ some common Well-wisher ; on whose Probity and Prudence they can safely depend, that he will moderate, not inflame, Matters by interposing. And when thus, or any Way, the Subject of Difference is rightly stated : if the other Party be innocent, let us admit it with Pleasure ; if he own his Fault, though not so fully as he should, let us receive his Acknowledgement with Generosity. And if, in Return, he brings a Charge against us : let us say with Calmness what we have to say justly in our own Favour confess frankly, with due Concern, whatever hath been amiss; and where there is no Room for a Defence, attempt no Palliation ; but follow the Injunction of Scripture : If thou haft done foolishly, or if thou hast thought Evil, lay thine Hand upon thy Mouth'. It will be very dishonourable, and very strange in him, to treat us unkindly upon this. But if he doth, we • Ecclus. xix. 13-17.

Prov. XXX. 32.




must submit patiently to what we have brought upon ourselves ; and not be guilty of a second Misdemeanour, because our first is not handsomely forgiven us.

These Rules we shall, every one of us, more or less, violate. But then, through God's Grace, we may turn even our Transgressions of them to our Benefit, by gaining such experimental Knowledge of ourselves, as will supply us with specific Directions fitted to our own Case; and on that Account far furer to be successful at last, than any more general ones, that can be prescribed to us by others.

And now, after thus delivering Rules for the Prevention or Cure of unwarrantable Refentment, both which are Works of no small Difficulty, let me add in Conclusion, that all around us ought to affist us in them : and particularly, by conscientiously abstaining from throwing in our Way any Temptations to that Sin. The intemperate Heat of the passionate is very

blameable : but the deliberate Wickedness of the cool and artful, who rouse them into Passion, is abominable: and even the sportful Teazings of malicious Mirth, when employed against such, deserve no slight Censure. St, Paul twice admonishes Parents, not


to provoke their Children to Wrath : probably because it might be likely to give an early wrong

Turn to their tender Minds. Now, if it be unlawful to excite a short-lived Anger in these, who are many of them incapable of doing Hurt, be they ever so angry ;


great a Crime is it to stir up Rage, where the Consequence may be unknown Mischief of various Sorts: and how excellent a Duty, to take every Opportunity, (and we have all of us frequently such) for disposing the Hearts of those about us to that Spirit of Meekness and universal Goodwill, which is the Qualification for Happiness here and hereafter ! The Fruit of Righteousness is fown in Peace of them that make Peace". Sow to yourselves in Righteousness, and reap in Mercy *.

Eph. vi. 4. Col. iii. 21.

* James iii. 18.

* Hof. X. 126

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