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are to lose Part. For then we shall be able afterwards to afford ourselves, perhaps nearly, if not quite, as much as we did before : the Poor and the Public will be the Sufferers : and our Concern for them will, instead of a selfish, be a virtuous one, and probably seldom excessive. : Disappointments in other worldly Matters, Failure of obtaining Rank, Power, Favour, or Loss of them after they are obtained, require fcarce any other considerations to alleviate them, than Disappointments about Wealth do. Only as it is yet more uncertain, whether they, who seek them, shall be able to acquire them ; or they, who acquire them, to retain them; and indeed, whether they, who do both, shall be the better or the worse for them; there is less Reason to set our Hearts upon them, and afflict ourselves at Crosses in Relation to them.

But perhaps our Grief is, that our Character in the World is impaired : and this we cannot tell how to bear. Yet the Case may be, that it had been raised too high ; and now is reduced only to what it should be. Surely we may bear this: it will teach us to know ourselves, keep us from aiming in any Respect at Things above ús, and do us Good many ways. Or if others think too lowly of us, yet provided they impute

Nothing

ours.

Nothing bad to us, we may still be very easy. We ourselves are ignorant of the Worth of many: no Wonder, if

many

be ignorant of But supposing, that even downright Ill is spoken of us ; possibly it is because we have deserved just the contrary, because we have done our Duty; and then what faith the Scripture? That we have Cause to be sorry and dejected? No. Suffering for Conscience Sake is the very Case, of which our Saviour faith in the Text, In your Patience posess ye your Souls. Elsewhere he faith more. Blessed are ye, when Men shall revile youand say all Manner of Evil falsely against you, for my Name's Sake : rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your Reward in Heavena. Nay, he goes further still: Woe unto you, when all Men shall speak well of you b. Not that a good Reputation is in itself a blameable Thing: but that when all Men, particularly bad Men, applaud any one highly, it is a Ground for him to suspect himself of being too much conformed to this World. Or, if we are not defamed for having acted wisely and well, yet perhaps it is for something indifferent, that we are misrepresented ; and we cannot be fairly accused of acting foolishly or wickedly. In . Matth. v, !!, 12.

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b Luke vi. 26.

c Rom. xii. 2.

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this case, if we have not Merit, we have Innocence, to support us. And a great Support it is, had we none else. But there will always be some in the World to do us Justice. And, by the Assistance of their Friendship, indeed sooner or later without it, Time will bring Truth to Light.

But possibly we think our Behaviour hath been imprudent; and we have brought our Sufferings on qurselves ; and this causes our Sor

Yet possibly also we may charge ourselves, as Persons under Affiction often do, either unjustly, or however much too heavily, We did as well perhaps, as the Abilities, which God hath given us, permitted : and if fo, we are not to blame, But if we were imprudent, let us grow prudent now : not tormenț ourselves fruitlessly, which would be fresh Folly, but labour composedly to retrieve our false Steps, as far as we can.

But it may be we grieve, not for Indiscretions merely, but for Sins. And this Grief should certainly be the heaviest, which is usually the lightest. Yet, though in most Persons it very much wants to be increased ; in fome it needs to be restrained and regulated. SelfReflection was given us, not barely to make us

uneasy,

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uneasy, but, by so doing, to amend us. If it rises to a higher Degree, than contributes to our Amendment, it is undergoing so much Misery to no Use. And if we carry it so far as to obstruct our Amendment, it is adding greatly to our former Guilt. Excess of Concern either for the weak or the wicked Things that we have done, may sink us into Despondency, may drive us to Intemperance, may incite us to yet more desperate Courses. Therefore we should by no Means be impatient with ourselves : (for it is commonly a Mark of Pride: we cannot bear the Imagination of having acted wrong :) but should humbly acknowledge our Faults and Infirmities, beg Wisdom and Strength from God's Holy Spirit for the Sake of his blessed Son; and in the Faith of that Assistance, without which we can do Nothing, meekly and perseveringly labour to do better. By this Method we shall learn Self-Knowledge and Watchfulness; inprove by our very Falls in Skill to stand, recover our Character amongst Men, acquire a lively Hope of Acceptance with God, and be at Peace within.

3. The next Cause of Impatience, mentioned before, was Fear. Now Fear supposes the Evil apprehended to be at some Distance : per

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haps the Distance is fo great, that we need not yet provide against it : and why should we difquiet ourselves before the Time? But admitting the Danger to be nearer: though doubtless this Passion was wisely and kindly implanted in us by our Maker for Precaution, yet we must keep it within Bounds; else we shall be incapable of using effectual Precaution indeed shall contribute to bring on the very Thing we dread. If we preserve our Minds in a Condition to take proper Measures, it may never come near us ; or though it do, may never fall upon us.

Future bad Events, as well as good, are extremely uncertain. Our Pleasure is often dininished by the latter Uncertainty. Why thould not our Uneasiness be calmed by the former ? Have not we often seen others, have not we often been ourselves, grievously frightened with the Prospect of what after all did not happen? Let us oppose Terror with Hope. Or, if the Agitation, produced by the Conflict between the two, makes our Cafe worse, as in some Minds it seems to do let us lay aside Hope, and take it for granted that the Misfortune we expect will befall us : yet it may continue a much less Time, than we expect. Or if not, it may however be much

more

;

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