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Good abominate their Sin, and the Ill triumph over their Folly; and yet, after all, that it is fo far from gaining Credit to their present Affirmations, that it deftroys it for the future: For he that fees a Man make no Difference in the Confidence of his afferting Realities and Fictions can never take his Measures by any Thing he avers, but, according to the common Proverb, will be in Danger of difbelieving him, even when he speaks Truth.
In the mean Time, what is there, that he proposes to himself by his Pofitiveness, that may not be obtained more effectually by a modeft and unconcerned Relation? He that barely relates what he has heard, or proposes modeftly what his Opinion is, leaving the Hearer to judge of its Probability, does, doubtlefs, as civilly entertain the Company, as he that throws down his Gauntlet in Atteftation of what he affirms. He as much, nay, much more, perfuades his Hearers, becaufe violent Affeverations ferve only to give Men an untoward Umbrage, that the Speaker is conscious of his own Falfenefs; and all the While he has his Retreat fecure, and stands not refponsible for the Truth and Certainty of what he affirms or relates. So that, upon the whole, though the Things which Men advance be never fo certain and infallible, yet it feems much more decent and advifeable not to prefs them with too much Importunity; because Boldness, as we hinted before, is fo known a Pander to Lying, that Truth cannot but come in Danger of being defamed by its Attendance and Proximity.
To conclude, Modefty is fo amiable, so infinuating, that all the Rules of Oratory cannot help Men to a more agreeable Ornament in Difcourfe: And, if they would but try it in the two foregoing Inftances, they will undoubtedly find it to be Fact
-that a modeft Propofal will fooner captivate -Mens Reason, and a modeft Relation their Belief. These are some of the Duties and Enormities of Speech, in the Pursuit or Avoidance of which the good or ill Government of our Tongue will confift: And therefore, to heighten our Care in this Refpect, let it be remembered, that the Ufe of Speech is a peculiar Prerogative of Man above other Creatures, and bestowed upon us for most excellent Purposes; which we fadly pervert when we make it an Inftrument, either of reviling God, or injuring our Brother, or expofing ourfelves: That our Breath, as well as other Faculties, is the pure Gift of God, which he may withdraw when he pleases; and, in fo doing, furprise us, perhaps, with an Oath, a Blafphemy, or a Detraction in our Mouths: That, if this he fhould not do, our Tranfgreffions, however, of this Kind, do not fly off into empty Air, but are recorded in the Volume of his all-containing Mind, to be produced against us at the great Day of Judgment: And that, in the great and terrible Day of the Lord, every idle Word (as we are told) and much more then every wicked and prophane, every hurtful and abufive Word, that Men fhall speak, they shall give an Account thereof. Since Death and Life, then, are in the Tongue; fince by our Words we shall be juftified, and by our Words we shall be condemned; fince fo great a Stress is laid upon this, that, if any Man feemeth to be religious and bridleth not his Tongue, that Man's Religion is vain; how earnest should the Confideration of thefe Things make us in our daily Supplications to God, that, in Conjunction with our own Endeavours, he would be pleafed to fet a Watch before our Mouths, and keep the Door of our Lips, that no corrupt Communication, of any Kind, may proceed from thence, but that which is good to the Ufe of edifying, that it may minifter Glory
to God, Grace to the Hearers, and Salvation to our own Souls.
Of the Government of the whole Man.
HE two great Virtues relating to the Government of the rest of the Body, are Chaftity and Temperance: But of these we fhall have lefs Reason to treat with any great Prolixity, because they are Things obvious to every one's Conception.
I. Now Chafiity, as it relates to a single State, confifts in a total Abftinence from all Manner of Uncleanness, not only that of Adultery and Fornication, but from all other more unnatural Sorts, whether committed upon ourselves, or in Commerce with any other: And, even in a conjugal Eftate, it requires fuch Temper and Moderation, as may preferve the Ends of Matrimony, and continue it (what it was intended to be) a Remedy, and not an Incentive to Lafcivioufnefs. Nor does this Virtue reftrain us from the groffer Acts only, but fets a Guard likewife upon our Eyes, upon our Hands, upon our Tongues, and upon our very Thoughts and Imaginations; for it accounts all Jafcivious Looks, obfcene Language, impure Thoughts, and immodeft Behaviour; all pampering and luxurious Diet to inflame ourselves; all induftrious Endeavours to kindle thofe Flames, and attract, first the Eyes, and then the Defires of others. But of thefe Things we have to fay, that as of all Vices, to which Mankind are fubject, there is none of greater Danger and worse Confequence to us, than thofe, which the Lufts of our Flesh tempt us to; none, to which Nature is more
prone; none, by which it is more vilely debased, more fhamefully expofed, and more mortally wounded; that Perfon we cannot but pronounce very happy, who, in Strength of this Virtue, keeps under his Body, and brings it into Subjections fince by it he is Conqueror of the strongest and subtleft Enemy, and has learnt to be deaf to the busieft and most importunate Sollicitations of a Syren, that labours perpetually to ruin him by her treacherous Incantations; fince by it he fecures his native Freedom and Greatnefs of Spirit, preferves his Faculties from those thick Mifts, by which Senfe and Appetites ungoverned darken their Sight; fecures Order and Peace within, by subduing all rebellious Paffions, and keeping Reafon and Religion conftantly fupreme; fixing the Affections upon fuch Objects, as deserve their Care and Affiduity, and exercifing the Mind in the fweet Raptures of Meditations and Prayers, the Thirst of spiritual Comforts, and the unspeakable Delights, which refult from an holy Converfation, and fervent Love of God. And fo we proceed to
II. The other Virtue, which concerns our Bodies, and that is Temperance, which feems to be of different Sorts, according to the Objects about which it is exercised. For there is, 1. Temperance in Eating and Drinking, which is not only a neceffary Duty in Christianity, but a very ornamental Virtue likewife. It renders lovely and beautiful the Person that is endued with it: It makes him respected and reverenced by all, that know him. For a Man, that eats and drinks only for Neceffity, to repair the daily Decays of his Body, and not to please his Palate, or fatisfy the Cravings of a luxurious and extravagant Appetite, lives as becomes a Man; upholds the Dignity of his Nature, and maintains that Dominion, which the rational Part of him, his Soul, ought to have over the brutish
brutish Part of him, his Body: Whereas he, who is a Slave to his Palate, or drinks away his Reafon, turns a wife Man into a Fool, and a Man into a Beaft; and is therefore more vile and defpicable than other Fools, or other Beasts; because his Folly, or his Want of Reafon, is the Effect of his own vicious Choice, whereas theirs was the Lot of their Creation: Take heed therefore to yourselves, fays our Saviour, left, at any Time, your Hearts be overcharged with Surfeiting and Drunkenness; for Wine is a Mocker; ftrong Drink is raging, and whofoever is deceived thereby is not wife.
2. There is Temperance in Apparel, which confifts in our using fuch Habits and Dreffes, as fuit with the Custom of the Country, where we live, and that Station and Quality of Life, whereunto we are appointed. Gorgeous Apparel, as our Saviour obferves, is fit for the Courts of Kings: Nor is it any Oftentation of Pride, but rather a Matter of good Order and Decency, that Perfons, invefted with high Power and Authority, fhould, in their very Garb and Appearance, diftinguish themselves from others: But then there are thefeReftrictions, which this Virtue of Temperance lays upon Men of all Conditions. 1. That the Coftlinefs of Apparel exceed not the Quality and Ability of the Wearer. For befides the Debts, and other confequential Mifchiefs, unavoidably incurred by fuch Extravagance; this certainly is an Offence against the Decency we just now mentioned, against that natural and becoming Order, which the Wisdom of all Ages has agreed upon, as most convenient to difcriminate People one from another, and, in the Matter of Quality, to prevent Difrefpect and Confufion. 2. That the Coftliness of our Apparel obftruct not our doing the Good, we might otherwise do, in feveral Acts of Charity For, fince Charity and doing Good