« הקודםהמשך »
ailions, as well as certain sentiments and persons.
If, therefore, you find in yourself a secret disinclination to any particular action or duty, and the mind begins to cast about for excuses and reasons to justify the neglect of it, consider the natter well ;go to the bottom of that reluctance, and scarch out what it is that gives the mind this aversion to it; whether it be the thing or action itself, or some discouraging circumstances that may attend it, or fome disagreeable consequences that may
one must be thoroughly informed of a great ma. ny things, before le can rightly judge. Id. B. II. $ 18.
Consider how much more you often futter from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved. Id. B. 1. § 18.
When you fancy any one hath tranfgreffed, say thus to yourself: "How do I know this is a fault? « But admit it is, it may be his conscience hath cors rected him; and then he hath received his punish« ment from himself.” Id. B. 12. $ 16.
"To there I shall add two more quotations out of the sacred writings, of incomparable greater weight and dignity than any of the fore-mentioned, Prov. xix. 11. “The discretion of a man deferreth his an“ ger: and it is his glory to pass over a tranfgref« fion.” Rom. xii. 20, 21. “ If thine enemy hun" ger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in « so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. « Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with Bood."
· possibly flow from it, or your supposed
unfitness for it at present. Why, all these things may be only imaginary. And to neglect a plain and positive duty upon such considerations, shows that you are governed by appearances more than realities, by fancy more than reason, and by inclination more than conscience.
But let fancy muster up all the discouraging circumstances, and set them in the most formidable light, to bar your way to a supposed duty; for instance, “ It is very “ difficult, I want capacity, at least am so « indisposed to it at present, that I shall « make nothing of it; and then it will « be attended with danger to my person, « reputation, or peace; and the oppofi6 tion I am like to meet with is great, “ &C." But after all, is the call of Providence clear? is the thing a plain duty ? such as reason, confçience, and scripture, your office, character, or personal engagements, call upon you to discharge ? if so, all the aforesaid objections are vain and delusive ; and you have nothing to do, but to fummon your courage, and, in dependence on divine help, to set about the business immediately and in good earnest, and in the best and wiselt manner you can; and you may depend upon it you
will find the greatest difficulty to lie only in the first attempt; these frightful appearances to be all visionary, the mere figments of fancy, turning lambs into lions, and mole-hills into mountains; and that nothing but floth, folly, and self-indulgence, thus set your imagination on work, to deter you from a plain duty. Your heart would deceive you ; but you have found out the cheat, and do not be imposed upon *.
Again, fuppose the thing done ; confi. der how it will look then. Take a view of it as paft; and whateyer pains it may cost you, think whether it will not be abundantly recompensed by the inward peace and pleasure, which arises from a consciousness of having acted right. It certainly will. And the difficulties you now dread will enhance your future satisfaction t. But think again how you will bear the reflections of your own mind, if you wilfully neglect a plain and necessary duty; whether this will not occasion you
* « The wife and prudent conquer difficulties,
“ By daring to attempt them. Sloth and folly “ Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and danger, “ And make th' impoflibility they fear.”. Rowe. t- forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit.
Virg: much more trouble than all the pains you might be at in performing it.' And a wife man will always determine himielf by the end, or by such a retrospective view of things, considered as past.
Again, on the other hand, if you find a strong propension to any particular action, examine that with the like impartiality. Perhaps it is what neither your reason nor conscience can fully approve ; and yet every motive to it is strongly urged, and every objection against it slighted. Sense and appetite grow importunate and clamorous, and want to lead, while reason remonftrates in vain. But turn not afide from that faithful and friendly monitor, whilst with a low still voice the addreffes you in this foft, but earnest language: “ Hear me, I beseech you, but this one " word more. The action is indeed out “ of character; what I shall never apo “ prove. The pleasure of it is a great “ deal over-rated; you will certainly be “ disappointed. It is a false appearance " that now deceives you. And what will s you think of yourself when it is past, “ and you come to reflect seriously on " the matter ?• Believe it, you will then « wish you had takén me for your coun“ Lellor, instead of :hose enemies of mine,
“ your lusts and passions, which have fo “ often misled you, though you know I “ never did.”
Such short recollections as these, and a little leisure to take a view of the nature and consequences of things or actions before we reject or approve them, will prevent much false judgment and bad conduct, and by degrees wear off the prejudices which fancy has fixed in the mind, either for or against any particular action; teach us to distinguish between things and their appearances; strip them of those false : colours that so often deceive us; correct the fallies of the imagination, and leave the reins in the hand of reason.
Before I dismiss this head, I must observe that some of our strongest prejudices arise from an excessive self-esteem, or a too great value of our own good sense and understanding. Philautus in every thing shows himself very well satisfied with his own wisdom, which makes him very impatient of contradi&tion, and gives him a distafte to all who shall presume to oppose their judgment to his in any thing. He had rather persevere in a mistake than retract it, left his judgment fhould suffer, pot considering that his ingenuity and good senfe fuffer much more by such ob