« PreviousContinue »
If we profess to believe the Christian Religion, we expose our felves to the Scorn and Contempt of every discerning Man, if we do not live up to it.
Grace, as well as Nature, is liable to be starved, as well as poisoned.
The End of all God's Mercies and Benefits, is, to take us off our Sins, and to oblige and win us to our Duty. What corrupt Humours are to the Body, that Sin is to the Souls of Men, their Difease and their Death. All temporal Evils, which are short of Death, are properly Medicinals.
How different is the View of past Life in the Man who is grown old in Knowledge and Wisdom, from that of him who is grown Old in Ignorance and Folly.
The latter is like the Owner of a bar. ren Country, that fills his Eye with the Prospect of naked Hills and Plains, which produces nothing either profitable or ornamental: The other beholds a beautiful and spacious Landscape, divided into delightful Gardens, Green Meadows, fruitful Fields ; and can scarce cast his Eye on a single Spot of his Poffefsions, that is not covered with some beautiful Plant or Flower.
What is this Life, but a Circulation of little mean Actions ? We lie down and rise again, dress and undress, feed and wax hungry, work or playa and are weary, and then we lie down again, and the Circle returns ; we spend the Day in Trifles, and when the Night comes, we throw ourselves into the Bed of Folly, amongst Dreams, and broken Thoughts, and wild Imaginations; our Reason lies asleep by us, and we are, for the Time, as arrant Brutes as those that sleep in the Stalls; or in the Field. Are not the Capacities of Maa higher than these ? and ought not his Ambition and Expectations to be greater! Let us be Adventurers for another World : 'Tis, at least, a fair and noble Chance, and there is nothing in this, . worth our Thoughts, or our Passions ; if we should
be disappointed, we are till no worfe than the rest of our fellow-Mortals, and if we succeed in our Expectations, we are eternally happy.
We ought at all Times to poffess our Souls with a juft Reverence, and right Apprehensions of the Effence and Attributes of God, and not form our Belief of him by our own Fancies or Wishes; but by thofe Revelations he has given of himself in his Word.
: We should from every Event that happens, whether natural or personal, always infer the Obligation and Necessity of tarning from our Sins, that Gratitude for paft Mercies may allure us to Good, and Fear of impending Judgments may drive us from Evil.
We generally make ourfelves miserable, for want of those Things, whose Poffeffion would make us miserable.
Oar Days are Evil upon four Accounts, viz. they are very short, very uncertain, very full of Trouble, and
full of Sin. Theft never enriches ; Alms never impoverish; Prayers never binder Work.
The Happiness of Mankind is not to be found in this World; but it is a Flower that grows in the Garden of Eternity, and to be expected only in its full Compliment and Fruition in that Life, which is to succeed after our bodily Diffolation. Coant that Day !oft whose low descending Sun, Views from thy Hand no virtuous Action done..
The Fear of God, Contempt of the World, and fted faft Hope of Eternal Life, make Quietness of Mind, which is the great Happiness of Man. My only Ambition shall be, to reit in God's. Favour on Earth, and to be a Saint in Heaven. He never was a good Man that amends not; for if he were Good, he muft needs desire to be betser : Grace is so sweet, that whoever castes of it,
must needs long after more ; and if he desire ity he will endeavous it, and if he does but endea. vour, God will crown it with Success.
Where can the Soul be better than with God? What sweeter Company, than that which Angels keep; or pleasanter Employment, than converfing in Heaven? Be sure to spend the Lord's Day in holy Preparation for Eternity.
I see there is no Man so happy, as to have all things ; and no Man fo miserable, as not to have fome. Why should I look for a better Condition than all others? If I have the Possession of some good things, I will in Thankfulness enjoy them, and want the rest with Contentment.
There are three things, which, of all others, I will never strive for ; the Wall, the Way, and the belt Seat. If I deserve well, a low Place cannot disparage me fo much as I shall
grace it ; if not, the Height of my Place Thall add to my Shame, whilft every Man fhall condemn me of Pride, match'd with Unworthiness.
He hath the most, that desireth leaft ; a poor Man that hath little, and defires no more, is, in in Truih, richer than the greatest Monarch that thinks he has not what he should, or what he might ; or that grieves there is no more for him to have. It is not Necessity, but Ambition, that sets Men's Hearts on the Rack: If I have Meat, Drink and Apparel, I will learn therewith .to be content: If I had the World full of Wealth be. ldes, I could enjoy no more than I could use.
He is rich enough, that wanteth not; he is great enough, that is his own Master ; he is happy enough, that lives to die well : Other things I will not care for, nor too much for these ; but only for the lat which can admit of no Immode. ration.
There is little else here below but toyling, grieving, wishing, hoping, fearing, and Weari
ness in all these : What Fools are we to be besotted with the Love of our own Trouble, and to hate our Liberty and Rest?
There is no Want for which a Man may not find a Remedy. Do I want Riches ? he that desires but little, cannot want much. Do I want Friends if I love God and my self but enough, it matters not. Do I want Health} if I want it but a little, and recover, 'I shall eiteem it the more, because I wanted. Do I want Maintenance ? a small thing contents Nature. Let my Mind be no more ambitious than my Back and Belly. The glutting of of the Body pines the Soul, and the Soul thrives belt when the Body is pinched.
It is reported of an aged Father, who, when his Friends comforied him on his fick Bed, and told him they hop'd he should recover, answered, If I Thall not die at all, well; but if ever, why not now? surely it is Folly, what we must do, to do unwillingly. I will never think my Soul in a good Case, so long as I am loath to think of dy. ing, and I will make this my Comfort, not that I thall live yet longer ; but, that I shall yet endea : vour to do more good.
To be carried away with an Afectation of Fame, is so vain and absurd, that I wonder it can be incident to any wise Man; but those Names and A&tions that are once on the File of Heaven, are past the Danger of defacing. I will not care whether I be known, or remembered, or forgotten amongst Men, if my Name and Actions may live with God in the Records of Eternity.
These things are comely and pleasant to fee, and worthy of Honour from the Beholders: A young Saint ; an old Martyr; a religious Soldier ; a conscionable State man ; a great Man courteous; a learned Man hunible ; a filent Wo. man ; a Son dutiful to his Parents ; a nierry Companion without Vanity i a Friend not chang!d
with Honoor; a fick Man chearful ; a Soul departing with Comfort and Assurance.
He that lives virtuously needs not doubt of finding a happy Fate. The securest way is to live well, then we may be sure of a comfortable End. Let
my Life please God, and I am sure the Success fall please me.. Virtue and Vice are both Prophets, the one of certain Good, the other of certain Evil.
In Prosperity, be moderate and humble ; in Ad. verfity, patient and contented; for as our Lord hath purchased for us Grace to use all things aright, so he hath obtain'd for us an Inheritance, that renders the best the World can give us, unworthy to be valued, and the worst it can give us unworthy to be feared, in respect of the Blessedness which he hath settled upon us.
Shamefacedness, tho many times a Weakness, and Betrayer of the Mind, is yet generally an Argument of a Soul, ingenuously and virtuously dir
We are at this Day call'd reform'd Christians, God grant that we may not cheat our selves with an empty and insignificant Name ; but let us fill up that glorious Title, and be reform'd in our Lives, as well as in our Religion ; beautifying our boly l'rofeflion by an holy and becoming Conversation.
An Invocation to the Heavenly Power.
ESCEND, celestial Spirit, from above,
The uncreated Spring of Light and Love; Perpetual Calms and sweet Security, Concard and graceful Order wait on thee ; Decay and Death thy quick’ning Rays exclude, And Springing Nature (miles, by thee renew'd ;