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mind of man is greater and larger than to be satisfied with any thing in this world. So that when application is made to him by riches, honour, pleasure, and the like ; it is but all in vain : for, they will all say, content is not in me : and, that they are not able to do what men expect. And from hence will arise great dissatisfaction and discontent, because of frustration and disapprovement : for, here, a man must call himself a fool, to doat upon any thing, without grounds; and for making an ill choice, and conceiting as a fool. This will make him uneasy, and ashamed of himself.
Lastly, Every state and temper, according to its quality, whether good or evil, is to have a suitable portion of happiness or misery. Now, the state of fin, is the worst state in the world ; and therefore it is meet that it should fare the worst : and the state of goodness, is the best state ; and it is meet that it should fare accordingly.
-As I said before : if God should let a finner alone, his misery and unhappiness would arise from himself. And should a good man fall into never so many troubles and afflictions : yet he would have satisfaction in himself, and peace in his own soul ; because he was not conscious to himself of any evil, nor had contracted guilt in bis mind.
The obligations and advantages of good
EPH E S. iv. 31, 32. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another ; even as God, for. Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.
Have shewn you formerly that the design of these words, is to discharge our minds of all ill-will
and displeasure, one against another. And I am now to give you reasons and arguments, in pursuit of this exhortation. I began as high as heaven; and told you, that it was in conformity with God him. self; and in compliance with his loving-kindness to men, and his usage towards us. And, certainly, religion in us, is our imitation of God, and resemblance of him. For, in respect of God's communicable perfections; as goodness, kindness, beneficence, clemency, mercy, and compassion, we ought to imitate and resemble him ; and I am sure that God is not known by any thing more to us, than by these.
And what is more reasonable, than that we should be that towards one another, that God is towards us all ?
That which the text pleads for, and presseth upon us, is the tenor of the christian doctrine : whether you take it as laid down in prophecy; or as it expresseth itself in precept and command ; or as it is made out in the temper of those that entertain it. In the old testament, nothing is more decried than unrighteousness, cruelty, oppression : and in the new tejtament, nothing more called for, than mercy, kindness, compaflion. 'Tis that which was required in all times, in all cases, of all men : Never any dispenJation in this matter any
allowance to the contrary. 'Tis a matter of full resolution ; and required with a general non-obftante. And, this cannot be faid of very many points in divinity.
Now, this disposition is requisite for our own ease and safety. A man would live in love, if it were but for his own peace and quiet. For, that man is at heart's ease that neither is nor hath an enemy : whereas, he that is an enemy, is never quiet, if he carry displeasure in his breast : so, if he have justly made an enemy, he loseth the liberty of his own thoughts, the freedom of his own mind; he feareth, and is feared. So that the peace, quiet, and security of ourselves, depend upon the composure of our own minds. If a man live in love, he is devoid of fear : for, there is no fear in love : whereas fear hath torment. But perfect love casteth out fear, 1 John iv. 18. If a man hath an enemy, he is either mee ditating revenge, or defence : and a man had better be asleep in his bed, than thus employed.
In a due consideration of one another, we should live in hearty love and good-will. For, such is the con
dition of man in this world, that we stand in need of one another's help. For, we are all of us very weak and exposed to many evils, from within, and from without ; and every man finds that he hath enough to do, to govern his own spirit, and to bear his own burden. Let us not add to it, by offence, and mutual provocation of one another. It may be, did we but know, and were acquainted with the condition of others; we ourselves would think it very hard measare, to add to their sorrow; and we would rather help to bear their burdens.
'Tis but a just allowance for the frailty of the prefent state. For, no man's bodily constitution is the matter of his own choice, or within his own power. If it be choler; that exposeth a man to rashness and fury : if melancholy, to fowrness and severity : if Aegmatick, that exposeth a man to dullness, heavi. ness, and sleep : if blood, to frowardness, petulancy, and wantonness. And our minds are tempted to comply with bodily-temper. 'Tis only by virtua that a man doth bear up against bodily temper and constitution. It is very apparent, that the material part of virtue and vice have a foundation in bodilytemper : tho' it be neither virtue nor vice as it is the effect thereof : but virtue and vice are constituted by the consent of the mind. Yet this I say, that our souls pay the dearest rent in the world, for their habitation in these bodies. Therefore, to pass this he is little sensible of the frailty of human nature, who doth not make fair allowance, and candid cons fruction ; who doth not easily incline to the better part; who cannot overlook mistakes, and have pa.
tience with men a while, till they recover themselves out of paffion. And much more unmindful are they, and forgetful of the incidencies belonging to this state, who set themselves to exasperate, inflame, and further to provoke, by unkind returns and misconstructie ons beyond and against a man's meaning and intention.
But, I see there is one thing that will rise up, with a colourable pretence against all that I have said, if it be not removed : and that is, in case of different apprehenfion in some things about religion, in which cafe men say, it is zeal of God, for truth; and that they ought to be zealous for the truth; and think they may prosecute their brother upon that account, because he is not of their judgment : he is in an error, they say, and therefore they think they ought to bear him down, upon this account. There. fore, this pretence must be examin’d, To which end I shall suggest these several considerations.
First, It cannot be avoided, but that men must think, as they find cause. For, this is most certain, that no man is master of his own apprehensions ; but he must think (and cannot avoid it) according as be finds cause.
Secondly, It is no offence to another, that any man hath the freedom of his own thoughts. By this, he doth his neighbour no wrong. For, thoughts make no alteration abroad, nor make any disturbance ; and a wise man will enjoy these, and not expose them in a disorderly manner. For, a generous notion is not to be prostituted. Truth is too noble a thing to be exposed in case of mens dullness and incapacity ;