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that one man can do to another, better to inform
But lastly, Passion is fo exorbitant a thing, that it
goes on, the more harm it doth. So it is with passion, if not presently allayed : it will break forth, as wild-fire. Reason and virtue are things that have bounds and limits ; but vice and pasion are boundless. The work of order and government in every degree, is, the maintaining of peace, preserving every body in his right, and the continuing friendship, general. love, and good-will among/t men. He who hath the advantage in any association or convention of men, is chiefly bound to maintain general good-will, friendship, love. 'Tis the life of society. Conversation of men each with other, supposes it, and depends upon it. In converse the rule is, give and receive, wherefore this is called intercourse, as implying a communication by way of exchange; notion for notion, apprehenfion for apprehension ; one expreffion of affection for another. Wherefore, better never meet (as much as it is desirable in itself, or recommended in fcripture, Mal. iii. 16. Heb. x. 25.) than to come together to provoke, inflame, exasperate one another.
It is a charge
charge on every one who comes into company, not to misbehave himself: that neither he himself, nor others, part the worfe for having met. Whatever converse is not peaceable, tending to love and good will, and governed thereby ; is to loss, is no good expence of time, is not accountable. If we will be acquainted, let friendship be between us : else we should remain strangers. One would wonder, when one thinks on it, that persons who meet to converse together, should fall out, and quarrel ; and that, all should end (as it does sometimes) in a duel, and thirst after one another's blood : that instead of pleasure and satisfaction of conversation ; there should be provocation, exasperation : that where acquaintance began, for a foundation of love and goodwill, mutual kindness and beneficence for the future; there should be seeds sown of ill-will, and lasting displeasure, fometimes entail'd on posterity. But on the other fide : how well pleased persons are severally, when they part in love? How uneasy, if in displeasure ? What different after-thoughts in these two cafes ? other apprehenfions, purposes, intentions, resolutions : and this, according as carriage has been in company.
I conclude ; one would not live out of good-will, for one's own ease and safety. Whosoever bears not good-will, hath that within himself which tempts him to ill offices. His thoughts run out, on defence of himself, and disabling the other ; as if he were his enemy. Sense of his own ill will in himself, makes him jealous and suspicious of the like from the other. For, who suspects, thinks himself suspected. We do not think them our friends, to whom we are not
friends. We think not better of others, than ourselves : nor impute to others, the good disposition we have not.
Now after all this faid, and shewni, for general love, and mutual good-will; how griey. 'ous would it be, to come into any of your company, where
matter of offence were either given, or taken ; any unkind word spoken; any cause of provocation, or ground of displeasure ; or any thing contrary to peace, hearty affection, mutual love, and good will ? Things, the foundation whereof, are laid in the nature of man (who was made sociable) and which the gospel acknowledges and doth reinforce.
-From all that hath been said, I shall make some inferences, and so conclude.
In the first place ; acknowledge we the excellency of the christian religion, whose doctrine and practice are such as you have heard. Religion was given us by God, for the good of men, both severally, and jointly. 'Tis for a man's security, før his benefit, and advantage. It gives a man heart's-ease, and compofüre of mind : sets him right, in the government of himself; and also engageth him to good behaviour to all other men. Therefore, I may fay; whosoever he be, that hath heard, read, or considered the doctrine and principles of the christian religion; if he wish well to mankind, he will stand up, and bless that doctrine ; and say as Salomon doth of his excellent woman : many daughters have done virtuously ; but thou hast excelled them all, Prov. xxxi,
29. The very principles of ordinary philosophy, if put in practice, do abate the fierceness of mens minds, and will not suffer them to be exorbitant, furious, wild VOL. IV, 0
and extravagant. But, christianity roots out the very foundation of all ill-will; and doth bind a man absolutely to good behaviour, and engage him to all the effects of love, good-will, and charity. So that, did any man rise up amongst us, and act christianity to the life, according to the notions, rules and principles of it ; it might be said of him, as of Noah, that he was a preacher of righteoufness, 2 Pet. ii. 5. Tho' he held his tongue, tho' filent; he should yet fpeak, and appear most admirable to all the world, and be the most effectual preacher. But, here is the unhappiness : we do not live up to our christian profesion, nor do that good which we might : and, tho' we are orthodox in our judgment, and speak well, yet we speak and profess more than we practise ; and
account, it comes to be prejudiced ; because we are not in temper and disposition, nor in life and practice, what we profess.
Secondly, From hence we learn how unnatural to the temper and spirit of christianity are our brave warriors, and mighty conquerors, that over-run nations, and put all into hurry and confusion to enlarge their bounds and territories. How unnatural are these things to christianity ! Never any thing in the world fo contrary to christianity, as wars, commotions, exafperations and confusions.
Thirdly, If we profess ourfelves to be christians ; then let us take care to govern our fpirits, and rule our tongues, and to direct our actions according to our profesion. For, we have no religion, if we do not these things. At least, let us take care to be innocent, and harmless : and especially, how we use
our tongues. For, St. James hath told us what a world of mischief comes by the tongue; that it is a little member ; but full of deadly poison ; and doth set on fire, and is set on fire of hell, Jam. iii. 8. But, this is the mischief too ; that the tongue doth express the sense of the mind : for, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh, Mat. xii. 34. And men thew their spirits by their words and actions. If the heart were free from rancour, malice, and ill-will ; the miscarriage of the tongue would be very rare, and would be much less : for, then, there would be no ill intended.
But, men do greatly disparage themselves by sudden, rafh, and inconfiderate speech
By nothing can a man sooner discover an unchristian frame of spirit, than by an ungoverned and unbridled tongue.
Fourthly, Let us still remember, when there is aa ny occasion of dispute, or debate, that we are under the obligation of christians : and let any man •rather choose to abate of his right, than to lose his charity.
Fifthly, From hence we see that peace-makers and reconcilers are the men that do truly christian offices; and that the contrary sort are the devil's instruments in the world.
Sixthly, Government, we fee, hath a good foundation : for, it keeps all in peace, and binds men to fair carriage, and good behaviour. : upon which account it is of mighty use in the world.
Lastly, Whosoever hath not a penny to bestow, whereby he may express his charity ; yet he may be more charitable, than if he gave pounds. For, it is the choicest piece of charity, to make fair interpre