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!! Boaft nọt of Riches, because they are in your pre

sent poffeffion; nor of Friends, because they have

Power and Interest ; but if you will glory, glory in to God, who is able to give all Things, and willing to La give that which is better than all, even Himself. And twhy should the Strength and Beauty of your Person n puff you up with Pride, when it is in the Power of s a very little Sickness, to bring upon you extream et Weakness, and Odious Deformity? If you be inclin'd m to value your Wit and Address above due measure, i remember from what Hand these come, and do not i provoke the Giver by abusing the Gift. il - Fancy not your self better than your Neighbours,

for fear God, who knows what is in every Man, think
the worse of you upon that account. Nay, value not
your self even for what you have done well, for God
judgeth not as Man judgeth; and what we nften are !
highly satisfied with, he sometimes thinks not fit so
much as to approve. If you be conscious of any
any thing good in your self, think that the same or
better Qualities may likewise be found in others :
For while you allow their Excellencies, it will be no
difficult matter to preserve a modeft Opinion of your
own. There can come no harm of supposing every
other Man better than your self; but the supposing
any one Man worse than your self, may be actended
with very ill Consequences. The meek, 'ml
lays the Scripture, is refreshed in the mul- Psalm xxxvii.
titude of Peace; but the Proud in Spirit Ifa. lvii.
is like a troubled Sea, perpetually toft and
driven by the fierce Commotions of Anger and Emu-
lation, and Envy, and Disdain, which never suffer
him to be easie and composed. nl

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::. . CH A P. *VIII. Against too general an Acquaintance, and inconveni

ent Freedoms in Conversation. Pen not thine Heart to every Man, but make choice J of prudent and religious Persons to difclose chy Ecclus.viii. 19.

Affairs to, Frequent not the Company

19. of young Men and Strangers; Flatcer not the Rich, neither affect to be seen in the prefence of great Men: but associate thy self with the Devout, the Virtuous, the Humble; and contrive that thy Discourse be profitable. Defire not the intimate Ac quaintance of Women; but, instead of thy Converfation, let them have thy Prayers : and recommend the Preservation and the Reward of their Virtue to God. Converse as much as may be with God, with his holy Angels, with thy own Conscience; and complain not for want of Company, nor think it art Unhappiness to have but few Acquaintance, when thou hast so good Company as this always at hanit.

Our Charity indeed should be universal, and extend to all Mankind: but it is by no means convenient, our Friendships and Familiarities should do fos too. We often find, that a Perfon altogether unknown to us, comes recommended by a good Character, which makes us passionately fond of his Acquaintance; and yet this very Man, when better kņown, loses the great Opinion we conceived of him before, and grows palled and flat upon our Hands. And this we may be sure is no less likely to prove our own Cafe: For the Persons with whom we hope to ingratikte our selves by a freer Acquaintance, frequently discover some ill quality in us, which makes us less acceptable. And therefore, in Prudence and Tencerness to our selves and others both, we should be fuparing in our Intima

cies; because it so very often happens, that the more perfectly Men are understood, the less they are esteemed. . .

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C. H A P. IX
Obedience and a State of Subječtion.

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Duty or Cht Neceffity, than to Obey. ne difficultand

YT is a very valuable Advantage to live under the
l Direction of a Superiour, and, whatever the Ge-
nerality of Men think of the matter, more difficultand
hazardous to Command, thàn to Obey. Many submit,
more out of Necefsity, than out of any Principle of
Duty or Choice; And, to such as these, this is a State
of continual Torment. All they do is against the
Grain, attended with constant Murmurings and Com-
plaints; The Life of Slaves and Brutes, and not of
Men, who should act with a Spirit of Freedoni. And
this Native Liberty no Inferior attains to, till he have
learnt to obey heartily, for God's, and Confiience®
sake. Whatever Post you form an Idea of, none will
give you Quiet and Inward Content, equal witli that
of a State of Subjection : Many have fed themselves
with fond Imaginations, how happy they should be,
if they could change their Condition for a higher; but
few, if any, who have actually made the Experim ent,
have found themselves at all the happier or edifier
for it,

'Tis true indeed, every Man's own Judgment is the
proper Rule and Measure of his Actions; and hence
it comes to pass, that we are all belt affected to them,
who are of the same Opinions with our selves. But
'tis as true, that if God rule in our Hearts, we falli

not think much to recede from our own Sense in some . Cases, when Peace and the Publick Good may be pro-i

inoted

moted by such Concessions. For who is so absolutely and conipleatly Wise, that nothing escapes his Knowledge? If then our Knowledge be but partial and imperfect, 'tis but reasonable, we should not abound too much in our own Sense, but allow a fair Hearing at least to those who differ from us. And in such Cases a Man gains a great Point, when he knows himself in / the right, and yet in Tenderness and Charity can comply with the Infirmities or Mistakes of others, rather than offend God, by being too tenacious of his own better Judgment. ·

I have frequently been told, That it is much safer to take Advice, than to give it. For a Man may have considered and determined well ; and yet there may be some Cases, which may make it reasonable to depart from that Determination, and give our selves up to be determined by other Persons. And when these Cases happen, To refuse such Compliances, manifestly betrays our own Self-conceit; and is not Constan: cy, but Obstinacy of Spirit.

Cafes determined termination, be it reato

C H A P. X. .
Few Words are best.

Ecline Crowds and Company as much as convé.

niently you may. For frequent Discourse,even of News or indifferent Things, which happens upon such Occasions, is sometimes an Obstruction to Virtue when least intended or suspected so to be. The World and its Vanities easily take hold of us, and our Minds are ensnared and captivated, before we are aware. How often have I found reason to wish that I had not been in Company, or that I had said nothing, when : I was there ? If we examine, how it comes to pals;

that

that Mutual Conversation gives so great Delight,notim withstanding we so feldom enjoy that Pleasure with di perfect Innocence ; the true Account, I think is this, we That we find our felves diverted by Discourse, and in unbend our Thoughts from severer Studies : That

what we desire and are most fond of, or what we have in the greatest Aversion to, lies uppermost in our Minds; " and therefore we propose some Ease in discharging our selves upon these Subjects.

:, But how very seldom do we find that Ease we pro. "pofe by doing so ? For this outward Consolation mighir tily takes off from that inward and Spiritual Satisfacti

on, in which true Happiness consists. Therefore it is our Duty to Watch and Pray, and to fill up the emp

y Spaces of Life, with these holy and retired Exercises. And, if at any time the refreshments of Company be chosen, and convenient, a strict Guard should be set upon our Tongues, that they utter nothing amiss; but improve these very Diversions to the Edification of our felves, and them that hear us. Impertinent and lavish Talking is in it self a very vicious Habit, and a wretched Hindrance to our Spiritual Proficiency. And these two Considerations ought to make us extreamly cautious in our Conversation. But it is the Privilege of Virtuous and Religious Dif course, that Piety and Goodness are wonderfully promoted by such Conferences. And then especially, when Persons of the like heavenly Spirit and Temper frequent one anothers Company with a Design of im. proving by it.

Elabit, and avith Talkind them thiverfion

CH A P.

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