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rous Pleasure I find an Ease of Mind, a Complacency of Spirit, and a fecret irresistible Joy fpringing up in my Breaft. All the Good, which I defigned to fhed abroad, and part with to my poor Brother, recoils back upon myself, and the Comfort I feel within, confirms me in the Truth of this Pofition of our Bleffed Saviour, that it is more bleffed to give, than to receive.

Men may pretend a Danger of exhaufting their Substance by too liberal Contributions, but let us a little confult Experience. Who ever knew an Estate impaired by Charity? By Love of our Brethren? But by Love of ourselves, how many? By Luxury, by Prodigality, by the Love of the World, by the very Defire of increafing and multiplying, how many? These are the Wings, that Riches moft ufually take to themselves, when they fly away; and then, as the wife Man fpeaks, what Profit bath be, that laboureth for the Wind? The best and secureft Way then, to fix these uncertain and fleeting Things, is to lay them up where it is impoffible they fhould be loft.

What we give to the Poor is laid up in Heaven, where no Thief can enter, and where no Moth or Ruft doth abide; and, therefore, in Defpite of all the Fortune, all the Might, all the Malice of the World, the liberal Man will ever be rich, who has God's Providence for his Eftate, God's Power for his Defence, God's Favour for his Reward, and God's Promife for his Affurance, that he who giveth to the Poor, fhall not lack; that the liberal Soul Shall be made fat; and that he who deviseth liberal Things, by liberal Things fhall be ftand. Lay up thy Treasure therefore, fays the wife Son of Syrach, ac cording to the Commandments of the Moft High, and it fhall bring thee more Profit than Gold. Riches, that are kept, profit not in the Day of Wrath; but shut up ·Alms in thy Store-Houses, and they fhall deliver thee


from all Affliction: Efpecially in the great and momentous Times of Death and Judgment, when, as the Royal Pfalmift fays, Blessed is he that confidereth the Poor, the Lord fhall deliver him in Time of Trouble; the Lord fhall preferve him, and keep him alive, and be fhall be blefed upon Earth; the Lord fball ftrengthen him upon the Bed of Languishing, and make all his Bed in his Sickness: And when, as our gracious Saviour fays, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Beginning of the World; for I was an hungry, and ye gave me Meat; thirsty, and ye gave me Drink; naked, and ye ye cloathed me; fick, and ye vifited me; in Prifon, and ye came unto me: Or, at least, in as much as ye did it unto one of the least of thefe my Brethren, ye did it unto me; and therefore come unto me, ye bleffed of my Father.


Our Duty towards Ourselves; and,

1. Of the Government of our Thoughts.


HE Duty, which we owe to ourselves, feems chiefly to confift in the right Ordering and Management of the two conftituent Parts of our Nature, Soul and Body, i. e. in the Direction of our Thoughts, in the Submiffion of our Wills, in the Regulation of our Paffions, in the Government of our Tongues, in the Subjection of our Bodies, and in the Renewal and Sanctification of our whole Nature.

I. Keep thy Heart with all Diligence, is the Advice of the wife Man, who, according to the current Opinion of the ancient Philofophy, taking the Heart for the chief Seat of the Soul, and the Inftrument



of its most noble Operations, fets it to fignify our inward Thoughts and Affections, which we are to keep, or attend to with all Diligence, because out of them are the Ifjues, i. e. the Fruits and Effects, which appear in our Lives and Converfations. Since the Goodnefs or Badnefs of our Lives then does altogether depend upon the good or bad Go vernment of our Thoughts and Inclinations, it may not be improper, 1. To confider what Power God has given us over these inward Motions of our Minds; and, 2. Wherein the Art of governing them does confist.

That God has given us fome Power over the Thoughts and Affections of our Minds, cannot be difputed: But then, because fome People, by the very Principles of their Make and Conftitution, as others, by long Ufage and frequent Trials, are better qualified for this Government than others, and, according to feveral Contingencies of outward Things, have, at fome Times, a greater Command over their Paffions, than at others; it cannot be expected, that any particular Refolution fhould be answerable to all thefe Cafes: And therefore all that we can do, must be to lay down fome fuch general Propofition, as may comprehend most of them And, to this Purpose, it feems very manifeft,

1. That the first Motions of our Minds are very little, if at all, under our Power and Dominion. By the first Motions of our Mind, we mean thofe fudden Thoughts or Apprehenfions, those involuntary Paffions and Defires, which are excited in our Minds by any Object, that is, at that Time, prefented to our Imaginations: And these we are not fo much Masters of ourselves, as to be able to ftop, even though they should chance to be irregular, because they are produced fo very quick; they take Poffeffion of the Mind, before the Mind is apprehenfive


henfive of them, before the Judgment is awakened, and Reason alarmed to make a timely Interpofure. Thus, upon a great Provocation, a Man of a paffionate Temper cannot avoid feeling a fudden Refentment of Anger; upon hearing himself commended, a Man, that defires to be well thought of, cannot but entertain fome Vanity of Imagination; and, when all the Temptations are fet before him, a Man, addicted to his Pleasures, can hardly prevent fome fecret irregular Inclinations towards them. He may indeed (as he ought to do) fupprefs these Irregularities, when he perceives them rifing in his Breaft; and, by long Confideration, and a ferious Exercife of himself in the Ways of Godliness, make thofe, that were formerly Temptations to him, in Time become none at all: But, as for the first Motions and Workings of his Mind, these he can no more prevent, than he can alter his Temper, or evade the Circumftances that do furround him; and therefore the Art of ruling his Thoughts does not lie here.

2. And as the firft Motions of our Minds are excepted from our Power and Jurifdiction, fo, from the Prefence of fome outward Object, the Violence of fome inward Paffion, or the Temper and Indifpofition of a Man's Body, it very frequently happens, that he lofes the free Command of his Thoughts, and Fancies and Imaginations are forced upon him, whether he will or no. When a Man, for Inftance, is under a fharp tormenting Pain, as he cannot avoid feeling, fo neither can he forbear thinking of it: When he is full of Grief for the Lofs of fome dear Relation, or tranfported with Paffion for fome unworthy Treatment; until his Paffions cool, and the Impreffions, that caused them, are abated, it is in vain to bid him forget these Grievances; for the Nature of Man is fuch, that, when it is once engaged in warm Thoughts about


about any Matter, it is very hard, if not impoffible for it, to difengage itself on a fudden. The like is to be faid, not only in all Sorts of Diftempers, where the Brain is vifibly difturbed, but even in the Cafe of fome deeply hypochondriac Perfons, who are often known to be haunted with a Set of Imaginations and Fancies, that destroy their inward Peace and Tranquillity of Mind, and yet fuch as they can, by no Means, get quit of, tho' they defire it never fo impatiently; and therefore the Art of governing their Thoughts does not lie here neither.

Well: But if a Man be fuch a Slave to his Thoughts; if, from the Complexion of his Body, outward Objects, and inward Paffions, Fancies and Imaginations are fo obtruded upon him, that he cannot controul them, would he never fo fain, the great Question is, wherein does this boafted Liberty of Thinking confift? And to this we anfwer,

3. That, excepting the Cafes already mentioned, we have a Liberty of Thinking; which Liberty confifts in bending our Thoughts, and applying our Minds more vigorously to one Kind of Object, than another. Thus, of the Multitude of Objects that occur to our Minds, it is in our Power to determine which of them we will dwell upon; and, when we have pitched upon any one, it is farther in our Power to determine how long, and in what Degree we will attend to it; whether we will purfue it with the utmost Vigour of our Minds, or with fome Indifference and Remiffness. In this, as we conceive it, confifts the very Nature of our Freedom of Thinking; but then,

4. There is a farther Power we have over our Minds, more especially to be confidered, because, in the good or ill Ufe of it, the very Foundation of all our Virtue or Vice is laid. We cannot, indeed,

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