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ON THE FOLLY OF SLIGHTING ADVICE.
GALATIANS iv. 16.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because
IT is acknowledged, that there is nothing SERM. more difficult than to procure a good reception for wholesome advice. It generally fares with it as with a nauseous medicine for the diseases of the body; those who need it most, set themselves most against it; nor are they in general content only to reject the proffered remedy, but frequently those who would administer it get mocked and insulted, their right to prescribe is questioned, their knowledge of the case disputed, and all their good endeavours misconstrued into an officiousness about other people's concerns, and a propensity to find fault. True it is, that advice
SERM. advice cannot be offered but at the risk of alarming some of the fondest prejudices to which the human nature is liable. Men are so sensible of their own free will, that they can never help looking upon the generality of their actions, whether bad or good, as eminently their own ways; and yet those who would try to change their manners, must do it in the shape of an objection; nor can they any how manage so, if they are at all honest and sincere, as to conceal their disapprobation of those ways they wish to have amended or changed. Our pride, therefore, and selflove, are very soon alarmed; perhaps, instead of listening to or adopting the advice, to the amendment of our lives, as it was intended, the first measure we take (as if we were sore affronted) is to find some occasion of retorting the accusation we narrowly inspect the conduct of the adviser, and as all men are human, and weak, and infirm by nature, it would be strange if something or other objectionable was not to be discovered; in consequence of which, the adviser is eagerly
pronounced to be peccable also, and his sERM. precepts are all set at naught, with that common proverbial taunt of " Physician "heal thyself*." It is not It is not upon all occasions that men are so proud and self-sufficient. If they would become instructed in some of the common arts and sciences, in the rules of trade and traffic, they are content to acknowledge others to be wiser than themselves, and they submit themselves to the directions of their instructors freely and willingly. But surely there is an art of life to be learnt, which the wise and experienced are likely to know more of than the young or thoughtless. It is a proof, how much men must be aware of their freedom of will, how sensible they are that a choice is left to them in regard to their actions, that they are so very jealous of having their moral course of life meddled with. The ignorance of common arts is no disgrace to them, so long as they have been unable to be instructed in them; but no man likes to be told, he