« הקודםהמשך »
and enterprising ? ambition appears to be the secret spring. Is he fly and designing, given to intrigue and artifice? you may conclude, there is a natural subtilty of temper that prompts him to this. And this secret disposition is criminal, in proportion to the degree in which these outward actions, which spring from it, transgress the bounds of reason and virtue.
Every man hath something peculiar in the turn or cast of his mind, which distinguishes him as much as the particular constitution of his body. And both these, viz. his particular turn of mind, and particular constitution of body, incline and dispose him to some kind of fins, much more than to others. And the same it is that renders the practice of certain virtues so much more easy to some than it is to others *.
* Men, with regard to their bodies and bodily appetites, are pretty much alike; but, with regard to their fouls, and their mental tastes and dispositions, they are often as different as if they were quite of another species; governed by different views, enter. tained with different pleafures, animated with different hopes, and affected by different motives, and diftinguished by as different tempers and inclinations, as if they were not of the same kind. So that I am very ready to believe, that there is not a greater difference between an angel and some of the best and
Now these fins wlich men generally are most strongly inclined to, and the temptations to which they find they have leaft power to resist, are usually and properly called their conftitutional Gins; their peculiar frailties; and, in scripture, their own iniquities, Pfal. xviii. 23. and the fins which “ do moft easily befet them,” Heb. xii. 1 *.
66 As in the humours of the body, so " in the vices of the mind, there is one “ predominant, which has an ascendant over us, and leads and governs us.
It « is in the body of fin what the heart is
wiseft of men, or between a devil and some of the worst and wickedest of men, with regard to their tempers and difpofitions, than there is between some fort of men and some others. And what inclines me to this sentiment is, considering the easy transition which nature always observes in palling from one order or kind of beings to another (which I have before taken notice of), together with thc prodigious difference there appears to be between some and others of the human species, almost in every thing belonging to their fouls: For some there are, « in “ whom (as one expresses it) one would think na“ ture had placed every thing the wrong way;" depraved in their opinions, unintelligible in their reaa Toning, irregular in their actions, and vicious in every disposition: Whilft in some others we see almost every thing amiable and excellent that can adorn and exalt the human mind under the disadvantages of mortality.
* napagtin sutepicatos, Tbe well-circumftanced figa
« in the body of our nature ; it begins “ to live first, and dies laft; and whilft it “ lives, it communicates life and spirit to " the whole body of sin; and when it “ dies, the body of sin expires with it. “ It is the fin to which our constitution “ leads, our circumstances betray, and ( custom enslaves us ; the fin to which
not our virtues only, but vices too, low“ er their topfail, and submit; the fin, o which when we would impose upon “ God and our consciences, we excufe “ and disguise with all imaginable arti« fice and sophistry; but when we are “ fincere with both, we oppose firit, and
conquer last. It is, in a word, the fin “ which reigns and rules in the unrege
nerate, and too often alarms and die " sturbs (ah! that I could say no more) “the regenerate *
Some are more inclined to the sins of the flesh; sensuality, intemperance, uncleanness, foth, self-indulgence, and excess in animal gratifications. Others more inclined to the fins of the spirit; pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, wrath, revenge, envy, &c. And I am perfuaded there are few, but, upon a thorough search
into * See Dr. Lucas's Sermons, Vol. i. pag. 151.
into themselves, may find that some one of these fins hath ordinarily a greater power over them than the rest. Others often observe it in them, if they themfelves do not. And for a man not to know his predominant iniquity, is great felf-ignorance indeed, and a sign that he has all his life lived far from home; because he is not acquainted with that in himself, which every one, who is but half an hour in his company, perhaps, may be able to inform him of. Hence proceeds that extreme weakness which some discos ver in censuring others for the very fame faults they are guilty of themselves, and perhaps in a much higher degree; on which the apostle Paul animadverts, Rom. ii. 1 *.
It must be owned, it is an irksome and disagreeable business for a man to turn his own accuser; to search after his own faults, and keep his eye upon that which it gives him shame and pain to see. It is like tearing open an old wound. But it is better to do this, than to let it mortify. The wounds of the conscience, like those
Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes? Clodius accusat Mæchos? Catalina Cethegum?
Juv. Sat. 12.
of the body, cannot be well cured till they are searched to the bottom; and they cannot be searched without pain. A man that is engaged in the study of himself, must be content to know the worst of himself *.
Do not therefore fut your eyes against your darling fin, or be averse to find it out. Why should you study to conceal or excuse it, and fondly cherish that viper in your
bosom?_"Some men deal by “ their fins, as some ladies do by their « persons. When their beauty is decay“ed, they seek to hide it from themselves
by: false glasses, and from others by “ paint. So many seek to hide their fins « from themfelves by false glosses, and 66 from others by excuses or false com “ lours t." But the greatest cheat they
put * nimis gravis angustia! Si me inspicio, non tolero meipfum : fi non infpicio, nescio meipfum. Si me considero, terret ne facies mea : fi me non consi, dero, fallit me damnatio mea. Si me video, horror eft intolerabilis: fi non video, mors eft inevitabilis.“ O grievous ftrait! If I look into myself, I can“ not endure myself: if I look not into myself, I can6 not know myself. If I consider myself, niy own “ face affrights me: if I consider not myself, my “ damnation deceives me. If I see myself, my hora 66 for is intolerable : if I see not myself, death is un, « avoidable.” Anfelme.