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getting something by it. If they join in bad company, 'tis perhaps to make good for trade. If they break the sabbath, they think to please a customer, or get the more money but how foolish, for the sake of a little gain, to lose a good name, which is better than great riches. Will any body give a guinea for a six-pence; or exchange the bread that keeps them alive, for a worthless stone?
5. Remember, a good name will often procure riches. Solomon chose wisdom, when God asked him what he would have; and God was so pleased with him for it, that he gave him riches into the bargain. Daniel was in favor with many kings, because an excellent spirit was found in him. If a person has money to give away, is it to the idle, the swearer, the pilferer, that he will give it, do you think; or the industrious, and the honest? If we want a servant, should we choose a man that is drunken, and reprobate; or a woman that is sluttish, quarrelsome, or unchaste? or should we not rather look for those who had a good name, to whom it would give us pleasure to do service?
6. Do not think it enough to have a good opinion of yourselves, strive that
others may think well of you also. When persons have a bad name, and do not care about it, it is pretty certain they deserve it. A person who would not do unworthy things, will be unwilling to have it thought they did. Do not despise the opinion of any, the meanest, the most distant; time may come, it may be in their power to do you service, if they know you to deserve it; or greatly to injure you, if they suppose you to be wicked and vile,
7. Above all things, strive that God may think well of you; this is of the utmost importance, both for time, and for eternity. Now, as God searches the heart, it is not an outside show that can deceive him, as it may your neighbours. Your soul must be clean, your thoughts pure, your words chaste, and your actions holy. This is a great deal indeed: more than any mere man ever entirely attained to than any man ever attained at all, by his own endeavours. It is God only that can cleanse the heart, so as himself shall be pleased with it. But then this he has promised to do. Ask it of him; beg him to make you holy, to keep you holy; to pardon all the sins you have committed, and to prevent you from sinning any more.
So shall you be children of God; a good name this, not only better than riches, but better than health, pleasure, honor, or life A good name, both in this world, and in that which is to come.
LET others toil who please for wealth,
I know a surer, purer way,
My heart with joy and peace to fill,
Let them scheme deep, with mighty pains,
How oft we see they miss success,
And he can their best projects spoil: Then, when before his face they stand, To answer all they've done so ill; Were crowns and sceptres in their hands, A good name would be better still.
SCRIPTURE CHARACTER OF
Prov. iii. 15.
Shame shall be the promotion of fools.
To call a man a fool, is grievously to affront him. Every one ought to be wise; and none will like to be thought deficient, either in knowledge, wit, or wisdom. But if to neglect the salvation of the soul, as the wicked do, is folly, many are fools. "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; but broad is the way which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat."
As this folly 'may be cured, is it not better to hear of it at once, and be shewn