« PreviousContinue »
but still in its nature and tendency, this circumspection in things, which concern a Christian's Soul, is able to shed wisdom and discretion into his carriage and behaviour, in things which appertain to this present life ; hence, from a Man who seriously considers he hath a Soul to be saved, you may expect great order in his Family, a prudent foresight of dangers, and a moderate care to fhun them, great temper in discourse, and exact Justice in his dealings, and ren. dring to all their dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due; Custom to whon Custom, Fear to whom Fear, Honour to whom Honour ; As the Apostles phrase is, Rom. 13. 7:
In all probability it was the attentive consideration of his Spiritual concerns, that made David both valiant and prudent in matters ; as he is called, 1 Sam. 16. 18. and, to what can we ascribe Joseph's and Daniel's discreet Government of themselves, and their secular affairs, but to that Piety and Goodness, which, by long and serious Consideration, they had settled in their Breasts : When a Man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his very Enemies to be at peace with him, i. e. He doth not only, by an extraordinary providence, turn their hearts towards him, but infuses wisdom and discretion into his Soul, fo to behave himself towards his Enemies, that they cannot but bury their hatred, and return to their former friendship, and civility, Prov. 16. 7. He that considers his ways, with reverence to his Eternal state and condition, his ways cannot být please the Lord, and such Wisdom, if he
B b 2
stand not in his own light, will surely fall to his share, and hereof we need no other proof, but common experience.
The Man, who truly minds his everlasting interest, and so considers the account he must give 10 God, when this life is ended, as to provide for that great and dreadful Audit, thinks himself obliged to use what cautioufness he can, that he may not wrong his God, his Soul,and his Neighbour ; and this cautiousness cannot but make him prudent in his Secular Vocation ; hence such a Man hath commonly his Wife, Children, and Servants, in better order than other Men, and mingles that sweetness and kindness with his gravity or severity, that they may have encouragement to love him,and dread offending a far greater Master in Heaven; there is not that discontent, that emulation, that ill language, that backbiting, that luxury, that extravagance, that tumult in such a Man's Family, as is to be observed in. Houses, where little of God and Eternity is re. garded. Such a person spends in his house no more but what is decent and convenient, and so provides for those of his own Houshold, as not to forget doing good to the Levite, and to the Widow, and to the Fatherless, Deut. 14. 28, 29, His Speech is commonly with grace,
seasoned with Salt, full of meekness and gravity, and therefore less offensive, and he takes heed that it may not be laid to his charge, that he hath bestowed more to feed his pride and luxury, than Christ's distressed Members ; and, in publick affairs, or places of great Trust, such a Man
as minds, first Heaven, and then Earth, usually discovers far greater wisdom in management of State affairs, than those who first mind Earth, and Heaven, when they have nothing else to do ; for his Principles lead him fo to carry himself to Man, as not to affront his God, and to advise his Ring to nothing but what is truly great and glorious, and beneficial for the Realm he governs: And, as a Prince may confide in such a Person, more than in a sensual Man, so he hath reason to believe, that all things will prosper better in his hand, than in the others, because he first seeks the Honour of God, and then the happiness of his Ring, and the Honour of that Nation he is a Member of; which is a thing so pleasing to God, that there is nothing more frequent with him, than to bless such honest endeavours, and to crown them with success and prosperity.
And certainly, he that can consider, how to keep himself from the everlasting evil, may, with greater ease, prevent temporal mischief and danger, which depend upon the imprudence of his actions; he that can row against the Stream, may with great facility, row with it ; he that can chearfully go up the Hill, will find no great difficulty in going down; he that can do that which his Nature hath more than ordinary aversion from, may more easily do that which hs nature hath a strong byass and inclination to: And he, whose Mind will serve him to turn away the ever burning Wrath of Almighty God, cannot want judgment and prudence to prevent the Wrath and Anger of those Men he converses
withal: And he that can, by serious Consideration, make sure of a seat in Heaven, cannot want power to consider, how to manage the Estate God hath given him in this world, to God's Glory and his Neighbours good: And though Men, that are very considerate in their Soul-concerns, do not always use that prudence we have mentioned in the concerns of this present World; yet it is sufficient, that if they will make use of that light, and those arguments, which their Reafun; thus improved by Consideration, doth furnish them withal, they may most certainly arrive to this Wisdom and discretion, in fecular concerns and businesses, which we have been speaking of. Indeed, it's very rational, that he that exercises his reason much, and examines the nature, ends, causes, circumstances and consequences of things, as he must do, that serioufly considers the things that belong unto his everlasting peace, would arrive to more than ordinary wisdom in other things; and that he that's prudent in the greater, should be able to proceed prudently in lesser matters; that he who is faithful in much, should be faithful in a little also ; and that he who is just in the true Riches, should be very just in the Mammon of unrighteousness too, as we read,Luke 16.10.
to a serious, religious life, to consider their ways ;
ND now, Reader, whoever thou art, that
doest yet wallow, or allow thy self in any known fin, and art not sincerely resolved to cloie with the terms of Christ's Eternal Gospel, let me adjure thee, by the mercies of God, not to reject, or superciliously to despise, what here we have proposed. As thou art a Man, and owe!i civi. lity to all Creatures, that have the signature of Man upon them, be but so kind and civil to this Discourse,as to allow it some serious thoughts. Either thou hast a rational Soul, or thou hast not; if thou hast, let me entreat thee, by the Bowels of Jesus, to consider, whether this pre. sent World be all the Sphere that God intended it should move in ; if it be not, and if how to secure the happiness of the World to come, be the chief thing this thy Soul is designed for: Why wilt thou frustrate God in his expectation? Why wilt thou go contrary to all Creatures and wilt not prosecute the end for which thy Soul was made, and shed into thy Body? Bb4