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ing part of this discourse shall be employed in suggesting, with great plainness of speech, such directions as appear to me most material on this important subject.
THE first direction which I have to suggest is, that we imitate the character of the man who is described in this Psalm, as walking uprightly, working righteousness, and speaking the truth, as he thinketh in his heart; that we study to preserve a clear conscience, and to lead a virtuous and honourable, at least an inoffensive and innocent life. Of such a man only it can be said, that doing these things, he shall never be moved. So great is the power of conscience over every human being, that the remembrance of crimes never fails to overthrow tranquillity of mind. Be assured, that he who defrauds his neighbour, who has ensnared the innocent, has violated his trust, or betrayed his friend, shall never enjoy within himself undisturbed quiet. His evil deeds will at times recur to his thoughts, like ghosts rising up in black array before him to haunt his couch. Even the sense of a foolish and trifling conduct; of a life passed in idleness and dissipation; by which, though a man has not been guilty of great crimes, he has, however, wasted his substance, mispent his time, and brought upon himself just reproach; even this, I say, is sufficient to create much uneasiness and disquiet to the heart. Let him, therefore, who wishes to enjoy tranquillity, study, above all things, to act an irreproachable part. With comfort he will rest his head on his pillow at night, when he is conscious that throughout the day he has been doing his duty towards God and
man; when none of the transactions of that day come back, in painful remembrance, to upbraid him. To this testimony of a good conscience, let him be able,
In the second place, to join humble trust in the favour of God. As, after the best endeavours we can use, no man's behaviour will be entirely faultless, it is essential to peace of mind, that we have some ground for hope in the Divine mercy, that, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our defects shall be forgiven, and grace be shown us by Heaven. This includes all the duties of faith and repentance that are required by the gospel; the faithful discharge of which duties is absolutely necessary for delivering us from those fears of another world, which, if not allayed, are sufficient to banish all tranquillity from the heart. Our religious principles must at the same time be sound and pure; and carefully preserved from the taint of superstition, whose gloomy horrors, taking possession of weak and ill-informed minds, convert what they mistake for religion, into a source of misery. Moreover, it is necessary, that we be able to place trust in God, not only as our future judge, but as the present Governor of human affairs. So uncertain is the continuance of every earthly comfort, that he who reposes no confidence in the Supreme Disposer of events, must be often disquieted and dejected. He alone possesses firm tranquillity, who, amidst all human vicissitudes, looks up, with settled trust, to an Almighty Ruler, as to one under whose conduct he is safe. To him alone belongs that happy privilege, described by the
Psalmist He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.*
I have pointed out the primary and essential foundations of tranquillity; virtuous conduct, good principles, and pious dispositions. At the same time, a man may be both pious and virtuous, and yet through some defects in the management of his mind and temper, may not possess that happy serenity and self-enjoyment, which ought to be the portion of virtue and piety. Instances of this will occur to every one who is acquainted with the world. We too often behold persons, whose principles, and whose moral conduct, are in the main unexceptionable, leading an uncomfortable life; through fretfulness of temper, peevishness of manners, or sullenness of disposition. There is, therefore, some discipline to be studied; there are some subsidiary parts of character to be attended to, in order to give piety and virtue their full effect for conferring tranquillity. To the consideration of these secondary means I now proceed. Let me then advise you,
IN the third place, to attend to the culture and improvement of your minds. A fund of useful knowledge, and a stock of ideas, afford much advantage for the enjoyment of tranquillity. I do not mean that every man must study to become deeply learned. The situation of many would not allow it. The taste, and the habits of others, prevent it. But what I mean is, that every man who wishes to lead a comfortable life should provide for himself, as much as he can, by means of observation, reading, * Psalm cxii. 7.
and reflecting, a large field of useful thoughts. In a mind absolutely vacant, tranquillity is seldom found. The vacancy too often will be filled up by bad desires and passions. Whereas the mind of a wise man is a kingdom to itself. In his lonely or melancholy hours, he finds always resources within himself, to which he can turn for relief. As there are many occasions when external objects afford no pleasure, it is only by being able to rest on the entertainments afforded to himself by his mind, that any one can pass his days with self-enjoyment. Let me recommend for the same purpose,
IN the fourth place, that we be always careful to provide proper employment for our time. Regular industry and labour, with intervals of ease, is perhaps the state most conducive of any to tranquillity. If our station give no call to industry, it will be profitable that we study to have some end or object in view, to which our attention shall be directed. Re laxation from intense or incessant pursuit, is requi site for comfort. But if relaxation degenerate into total idleness, it becomes in a high degree adverse to tranquillity. Every man by his nature is formed, more or less, for action. In a mind that is entirely quiescent, and that has no object to put it into motion, instead of self-enjoyment, there will be constant languor, tediousness, and misery. Life stagnates in such a situation, like a pool of dead waters; and the man becomes a burden to himself. Violent and dangerous pursuits, which distract and embroil those who are engaged in them, I cannot be understood to recommend. Every one sees how foreign these are to a state of tranquillity. But, in the ordi
nary tenor of calm and easy life, I would advise. every one to have some end before him; some object, which shall bring the mind into action, and fill up the vacuities of time. Provided the object be innocent and of no unsuitable or degrading nature, it may answer this purpose, though it should not be in itself of high importance. It is better for the mind to have some determinate direction given it, than to be always left floating, as it were, in empty space. -But about whatever objects we are employed, it is still more material to tranquillity, that, in the
FIFTH place, we learn to govern our passions. These are the most frequent disturbers of our peace. Necessary as their impulse is to give activity to the mind, yet if they are not kept in subordination to reason, they speedily throw all things into confusion. Such of them as belong to the malignant and unsocial class evidently tend to produce vexation and disquiet. Against suffering these to gain possession of the heart, admonition is scarcely necessary. But I must admonish you, that even those which are accounted of an innocent nature, and which therefore may lay hold of virtuous minds, if they obtain the entire mastery, are sufficient to overthrow the tranquillity of life. Let every one, therefore, who values that tranquillity, study to retain moderation and self-command, even in the midst of passions which have a fair and bland appearance. He will' find that the gratification of any one of them, compensates not that perpetual slavery to which it will reduce him, when it becomes inordinate.
I have farther to admonish you, that this self-command is particularly necessary in all that relates to