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be, if you sincerely intended, and carefully laboured, to advance yourself in all Christian virtues.'

Let us hold fast by this great truth, and by it govern our lives, that every man's real happiness or misery is made, by the appointment of the Creator, to depend more on himself, and on the proper government of his mind and heart, than upon any external thing; that for those who serve God, and study to keep their conscience free from guilt, God hath provided peace and comfort on earth, as well as rewards hereafter; but "there is no peace for the wicked," saith my God.2

Still raise for good the supplicating voice,

But leave to Heaven the measure and the choice,
Safe in His mind, whose eye discerns afar
The secret ambush of a specious prayer;
Implore His aid, in His decisions rest,
Secure whate'er He gives, He gives the best."

The man who enjoys the world under a sense of religion, and of the power and goodness of God, will so use the world as not to abuse it; will look upon the uncertainty of life with the unconcernedness of a man who knows he has a much nobler possession, of which no one can rob him; he will part with his riches without torment, he will keep them without anxiety, and use them so as to make them a blessing to himself and all around him.^ Remember that death will not be long in coming,

2 Blair (Sermons).

Law's Serious Call, 21. 3 Johnson (Vanity of Human Wishes).

4 Sherlock, ii. 12.

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and that the covenant of the grave is not showed unto thee. Do good unto thy friend before thou die, and, according to thy ability, stretch forth thy hand and give to him.'

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave.

In religious matters we are commanded to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and to give diligence in making our calling and election sure, by virtuous practice, and God, saith St. Paul, will render to every man according to his works.2

We are commanded to be not slothful in business; let each of us in God's name, therefore, carefully mind HIS BUSINESS; and may the grace and blessing of God prosper us therein.3

1 Ecclesiasticus, xiv.

2 See Barrow (Works, iii. 163. Oxford edit. ).
3 Ibid. 248.

CHAP. XI.

PASSIVE DUTIES.

WE should have a thorough persuasion that nothing befalleth us by chance, or by the mere agency of inferior causes, but that all proceedeth from the dispensation, or with the allowance of God: that all occurrences (however adverse and cross to our desires) are well consistent with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God: that all, even the most bitter and sad accidents, do (according to God's purpose) conduce to our good: an entire resignation of our wills to the will of God, and a hopeful confidence in Him for the removal and easement of our afflictions, and for His grace to support them calmly, cheerfully, and courageously.'

We should always judge every thing which happeneth to be thoroughly good and fit, not entertaining any harsh thoughts of God, as if He were not enough wise, just, or benign, in ordering us to be afflicted or crossed.

We are to believe that our present condition is, in right judgment, all things considered, the best, most proper, most desirable for us, better than we, if it were at our discretion and choice, should

1 See Barrow (Serm. x. vol. iii. fol.).

put ourselves into, for that God doth ever design our best good.

We should entertain all occurrences, how grievous soever to us, with entire submission and resignation of our will to the will of God; we should, with faith and hope, rely and wait on God for the removal or easement of our afflictions, or, however, we should confide in Him for grace and strength to support them well.

We are, indeed, to forbear the least complaint or murmuring in regard to the dispensations of Providence, or dissatisfaction in the state allotted to us. We should abstain from all irregular, unlawful, and unworthy courses towards the removal or remedy of our needs or crosses.

We should, notwithstanding any adversity, proceed in our affairs with alacrity, courage, and industry: no disappointment or cross should render us listless or lazy, but rather it should quicken our activity; this being a good way to divert us from the sense of our misfortune, and to comfort us under this pressure. If a bad game be dealt us, we should not presently throw up, but play it out as well as we can. "Put thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good," is the Psalmist's advice. If we be not otherwise well employed, we shall be apt to melancholise and dote upon our mischances; the sense of them will fasten upon our spirits, and gnaw our hearts.'

1 Abridged from Barrow, Serm. v. vol. iii. fol. or Serm. xxxvii. Oxford edit.

Be not so proudly conceited and in love with thyself as to believe nothing is good or bad, just or unjust, necessary or needless, but only those things that are for or against thy particular opinion, interest, or pleasure.1

It is somewhat consolatory to consider, that, the worse our condition is here, the better we may hope our future state will be; the more trouble and sorrow we endure, the less of worldly satisfaction we enjoy here, the less punishment we have to fear, the more comfort we may hope to find, hereafter; for as it is a woful thing to have received our portion, to have enjoyed our consolation in this life, so it is a happy thing to have undergone our pain here. A purgatory under ground is probably a fable; but a purgatory upon earth hath good foundations.2

If there be any one who knows not, or believes not, that all things in the universe are done for the best, and ever will go on so, because conducted by the same good Cause; if there be any one who knows nothing like this of God, or can think of him constantly in this manner, and who cannot see that he himself is a rational and a sociable creature by his nature, and has an end to which he should refer his slightest actions, such a one is indeed wanting in knowledge.3

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1 Fuller's Maxims.

2 Barrow.

3 Letter from Lord Shaftesbury.—(See Life of Locke, by Lord King, 187.)

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