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fible but that your Admiration will silence your Impatiences, and shame you for ever out of your Repinings.
. For why should I repine, or be discontented “ with my Condition, may every considerate Chrif" tian say, when I am under the Providence and “ Protection of a gracious God? He hath placed “ me, indeed, in a low Station of Life ; but then " he hath secured me from the Danger of falling, « and blessed me with Repose and Tranquillity of “ Mind, which Persons of an high Degree and « Eminence are not acquainted with. He hath “ given me the Possession of no Estate, transmit“ ted from my Ancestors; but then he hath given
me Strength of Body, that inables me to main" tain myself and Family by my daily Labour, or “ such Endowments of Mind as qualify me to do " it in a more liberal Way. At present, indeed, " I labour under a distressed Fortune ; but then “ I have good Reason to hope that some lucky “ Turn will happen to my Affairs, that, by the “ Intervention of good Friends, or the Success of
my honest Endeavours, God, who liftetb the
Simple out of the Dust, and the Poor out of the 66 Mire, will extricate me from these Difficulties. " But, if this should not be, in all Probability “ these Difficulties cannot last long, because Life " itself is not long; and, together with Life, all & the Miseries and Calamities of it are at an End, $ and then I lhall be as though I had never suf« fered any Thing, only that I shall reap the Be« nefit of my Sufferings when Time shall be no
In the mean Season, I have many inef“ timable Benefits which the Great and Opulent
want; a sound Constitution, found Sleep, and “ no Want of Appetite to relish my homely Mor« sel : 'For, though my Allowance be both mean qs and small, yet Nature, I find, is fatisfied with a
the little, and that little (when I look upon myself s as a Creature that hath a Title to nothing, and
as a Sinner, that hath a Title to Destruction Fauce only) is certainly much more than I can any “ Way pretend to deserve. Nay, if I look upon “c others, how tolerable is my Condition, in Com" parison of many of my Contemporaries, who are “ below me considerably in Fortune, in Parts, in “ Health, in Happiness of moft Kinds, and yet may
have better Pretensions to the Divine Fa“ vour than I ; in Comparison of many faithful “ Servants of God, who have been as remarkable ļ for their Sufferings as they have been for their $Piety; the Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles « and first Christians, especially the Son of God
himself, when he came into the World to re“ deem me: And shall I repine at any Thing, Es when my gracious Saviour underwent worse? " Or murmur against Providence, for placing
me in the Condition which he, by his volun“ tary Affumption and patient Continuance in, şi has both recommended and sanctified ? It will “ be the Height of Folly, as well as Confidence, " to expect to fare better, in this Valley of Tears, ç than did the Son of God, when he was pleased 66 to sojourn in it; especially considering, that my ço Discontentedness will avail me nothing, my “ loudest Complaints will never prevail with Hea$c ven to alter one Decree ; whereas my bearing my
Calamities willingly and well will be a Specço tacle grateful to God, and, besides rebating the ç Sting of what I suffer, will probably prevail $ with him to release me from it : And, there
fore, being sensible in whom I have put my to Confidence, even in him who is able to do abun“ dantly above all that I can ask or think, I will to be careful for nothing, but in every Thing, by
“ Prayer and Supplication, with Thanksgiving, let
my Requests be made, known unto God.
T James, treating on this very Subject, with
great Variety of Arguments endeavours to shew how difficult a Province it is for any Man to govern his Tongue. Every Kind of Beasts, says he, and of Birds, and of Serpents, and Things in the Sea, is tamed, and bath been tamed of Mankind; but the Tongue can no Man tame : It is an unruly Evil, full of deadly Poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we Men, which are made after the Similitude of God; out of the same Mouth proceedeth Blefing and Cursing : My Brethren, these Things ought not to be so : For doth a Fountain send forth, at the same Place, sweet Water and bitter? The Untameableness of the Tongue must be understood in a limited Sense, to denote the great Difficulty of it; that the Thing is possible the same Apostle seems to intimate, when, in the Beginning of his Discourse, he tells us, that, if any Man offend not in Word, the same is a perfet Man, i. e. one of a singular Worth and Integrity; and such an one, he presumes, has as much Command over his Tongue as he that manages the Bit has over the Horse he rides; or he that holds the Helm has over the Ship he steers : And, how far an hearty Purpofe and Resolution may carry us in the Execution of this great Talk, the Example of the Royal Psalmist seems to instruct us : I said I will take Heed to my Ways, that I offend not with my Tongue ; I will keep my Moutb. as it were with a
Bridle, while the Ungodly is in my Sight : For I am utterly purposed that my Mouth shall not offend.
What makes the Difficulty of this Regimen then is, in some Part, imputable to the Member itself. The Tongue is so slippery that it easily deceives an heedless Guard; for Nature seems to have given it some unhappy Advantages that Way. It is in its Make the most ready for Motion of any Member; it needs not so much as the Flexure of a Joint to make it go ; and, by Access of Humours, acquires a certain Glibness, the more to facilitate its moving, by which Means it comes to pass that it often goes without giving us Warning. And as Children, when they happen upon a rolling Engine, can set it in such a Career as wiser People cannot on a sudden stop ; so the childish Parts of us, our Passions, our Fancies, and other our animal Faculties, can put our Tongues into such Disorders as the Aids of our Reason cannot easily rectify: Since the Tongue then is so very loose and versatile a Member that the least Breath of Thought can stir it, and set it on going any Way, it cannot but need much Attention of Mind, either to keep it in a steady Reft or in a right Motion; and, since numberless Swarms of Things are continually roving in the Fancy, and thence incessantly obtruding themselves upon the Tongue, great Judgment and Circumspection is certainly requisite to remark their Quality, as they call upon us to utter them, and, out of the promiscuous Crowd that come, to select the few only that our Reason and Religion pronounce to be good, and proper to be spoken ; which may be reduced to these three Heads : 1. Such as are holy and religious, with relation to God. 2. Sincere and inoffensive, with regard to our Neighbour. And, 3. Modest and decent, with respect to ourselves,
I. The Duty, the Reasonableness, and Excel lency of religious Discourse in common Converfation, is what we took Occasion to consider elfewhere ; and therefore on this Head shall need only to enquire a little into the Folly and Wickedness of that Blasphemy and Profaneness, so popular in this Age, which sets its Mouth against the Heavens, and manifestly opposes the Caution and strict Holiness, which the Apostle prescribes us in all Manner of Conversation.
How transient soever we may suppose our Words to be, yet, if there be a Supreme Being, which we call God, there is sufficient Reason to believe, that he, as well as Man, is provoked as much, nay, more, by our Words, than by our Deeds. Our ill Deeds may be done upon the vehement Impulse of some Temptations : Some Profit or Pleasure may transport and hurry us on to the Commission; at least, they may have this Alleviation, that we did them to please, or advantage ourselves, and not to displease God : But profane and atheistical Discourse cannot be fo palliated. It is an Arrow shot directly against Heaven, and out of no other Quiver, but that of Malice : And, if Malice among Men be an Aggravation of Injuries, how much more so must it be, in the Efteem of God, whose principal Demand is, that we should give him our Heart.. 'Till therefore we can prove (against the Voice of Nature, and Faith of History; against the settled Judgment of wise and sober Persons, who have studied and considered the Point; and against the current Tradition of all Ages, and general Consent of Mankind, which is a difficult Task to do) that there is no God; 'twill be too bold an Advance for us, in this Manner, to dare and defy him, left we find him, at last, afferting his Being in our utter Destruction and Confusion,