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Heb. XIII. 5.
ye have : ----
three Things, which I propounded I to be treated of, in the Beginning
of these Discourses, which is,
The Means whereby we may obtain fo great a Blessing as this of Contentment and Satisfaction of Spirit. The very Truth is; all those Reasons that I liave given why we ought to rest contented in our prefent State, are as so many Helps to this Happiness, if they be considered. And if they be not confidered, then nothing that can be said will prove helpful to us, because our Consideration will still be needed.
But yet, because the often repeating of a Thing doth much impress it upon our Spirits ; and that which doth not move us at one time, strikes us vehemently at another; and that which being delivered in one Form of Speech, is not inucli understood or regardedo becomes very plain and perfpicuous when it is delivered in another; I shall therefore give you some Rules to observe, which, though they may border upon what hath been said already, will much conduce to set you forward in the Way to Contentment.
And it is very easy to see from the fore-going Discourses, that we ought in the first place, to inform our Minds very well about the Nature of those Things which are apt to give us Discon
Contentinent is the Good of the Mind, and therefore, as Seneca hath well expreifed it, we inust go into our selves for it, because the Good of the Mind
is to be found no where but in the Mind. And if we liften to the Instructions of our own Minds, they will direct us presently to a Remedy for our vexatious Thoughts, by bidding us consider, what it is that we are vexed about. Let it be any worldly Good which we want, or any such Evil which we endure, I have plainly shown you that the former are not of such Moment, but we inay be happy without them; nor the other so afflictive, but we inay be happy under them. Let us not
magnify either of tliem, in our Fancy, above their just Proportion, and we shall foon fatisfy our felves in Things that are truly great beyond all Eftimation ; either with or without these tliat give us so much Disquiet. I lift not to spend the time in repeating all that hath been said to this Effect : But shall only recommend to you this Meditation of the royal Philosopher Antoninus. If thou canst find, faith he, any Thing in humane Life that is more worth than Justice, Truth, Sobriety, Fortitude, and, in a Word, the Satisfaction of doing that which right Reason prompts thce unto ; turn thy whole Soul towards that Good, and enjoy that most excellent Thing, when thou hast found it. But if nothing appear better in this World, than that divine Being which is in thee, following its own best Inclinations, and having the Government of its own Motions, and subjecting it felf to Almighty God; if all Things else confess themselves mean, and poor, and vile, in coinparison of this į give not place to them, nor quit thy Self to pursue any of them, otherways than as thy own Reafon directs thee, viz. as smaller Goods that ought not to be purchased with our own Disquiet, nor enjoyed without the Enjoyment of our better Selves. To this purpose that great. Man speaks; and if I have helpt out his Sense a little, I have done it no wrong.
And that now leads me to the second Thing. After we have rectified Things in our Minds,
we must next proceed to regulate our Desires
Let us make as few Things as we can possibly, to be necesary to our Contentment.
Which is as much as to say, Let every man Moderate bis Desires. This is grounded upon as great, Reafon, as the Soul of Man affords. For it is manifest unto all, that they are our own Defires that trouble us, and not the Things themfelves which are without us. And it is as manifest, that if we enlarge our Hearts to desire too many Things, then we shall be obnoxious to a great many Troubles, because we may not have all those Desires satisfied. The more we would have, the more we shall be liable now and then to want; and fo be the more difpleafed: unless our Desires be very indifferent, or very cool and temperate. For there are two Parts of this Advice; as there is a double Moderation, one respecting the Measure of Things which we desire, the other respecting the Meafure of the Desire it felf. Then we are happy when we do not defire much; or not with much defire. If we cannot observe both Parts of the Rule, let us observe one; and we shall be less troubled, than otherwise we are like to be. If foine Thing, for Instance, prove fo
agreea: ble to our Inclinations, that we are strongly drawn with most passionate Desires after it; yet let us provide that there be not many such
Things. Let us content and satisfy our selves there. And seek a Remedy for the Disappointment we may meet withall in the Enjoyment of that passionate Desire, by Submission to the Will of God, and the Expectation of better Things, and such like Means, as I shall mention. For it is most certain that there is not a nearer way to Contentment than this, if we can hitt it, to make our Desires as few as we can; or not too eager and violent, but easily satisfied with Disappointments, Which is no such difficult Advice neither, because really there are but a few Things that we want, as I have formerly demonstrated.
This was the Wisdom of the ancient Pagans, who by bringing themselves to need but a few Things, Effecerunt ( as Tully faith of Diogenes) ne quid fibi eripi poffit ; ordered the Matter so, that nothing could be taken away from them. When any Thing was gone that before was with them, they could say with Chearfulness; we have not lost it, for it was fuperfluous, and there was no Need of it. It was'a'great Gallantry of Spirit that was in Marcus Curius among the Romans; who when he was found fault withal for
Apoth. giving the greatest Part of the Lands he conquered to the publique Use, and but little to particular Men, replied, I pray God there may never be any Ruman, "Os órézw rzutelah glio Tled reépsody, who shall think that Land to be but little, which gives him Food and RaiHe thought that so much was' a great