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WISDOM is exceedingly pleasant and peaceable; in general, by disposing us to acquire and to enjoy all the good delight and happiness we are capable of; and by freeing us from all the inconveniences, mischiefs, and infelicities our condition is subject to. For whatever good from clear understanding, deliberate advice, sagacious foresight, stable resolution, dextrous address, right intention, and orderly proceeding doth naturally result, wisdom confers: whatever evil blind ignorance, false presumption, unwary credulity, precipitate rashness, unsteady purpose, ill contrivance, backwardness, inability, unwieldiness and confusion of thought beget, wisdom prevents. From a thousand snares and treacherous allurements, from innumerable rocks and dangerous surprises, from

and contentment to the mind of man, which the poet Lucretius describeth elegantly,

"Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis," &c.

"It is a view of delight," saith he, "to stand or walk upon the shore side, and to see a ship tossed with tempest upon the sea; or to be in a fortified tower, and to see two battles join upon a plain; but it is a pleasure incomparable, for the mind of man to be settled, landed, and fortified in the certainty of truth, and from thence to descry and behold the errors, perturbations, labours, and wanderings up and down of other men." "So always, that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth."

exceedingly many needless incumbrances and vexatious toils of fruitless endeavours she redeems and secures us.

Wisdom instructs us to examine, compare, and rightly to value the objects that court our affections and challenge our care; and thereby regulates our passions and moderates our endeavours, which begets a pleasant serenity and peaceable tranquillity of mind. For when being deluded with false shows, and relying upon ill-grounded presumptions, we highly esteem, passionately affect, and eagerly pursue things of little worth in themselves or concernment to us; as we unhandsomely prostitute our affections, and prodigally mispend our time, and vainly lose our labour, so the event not answering our expectation, our minds thereby are confounded, disturbed, and distempered. But, when guided by right reason, we conceive great esteem of, and zealously are enamoured with, and vigorously strive to attain things of excellent worth and weighty consequence, the conscience of having well placed our affections and well employed our pains, and the experience of fruits corresponding to our hopes, ravishes our minds with unexpressible content. And so it is: present appearance and vulgar conceit ordinarily impose upon our fancies, disguising things with a deceitful varnish, and representing those that are vainest with the greatest advantage; whilst the noblest objects, being of a more subtle and spiritual nature, like fairest jewels enclosed in a homely box, avoid the notice of gross sense, and

pass undiscerned by us. But the light of wisdom, as it unmasks specious imposture and bereaves it of its false colours, so it penetrates into the retirements of true excellency and reveals its genuine lustre.*


WISDOM makes all the troubles, griefs, and pains incident to life, whether casual adversities, or natural afflictions, easy and supportable, by rightly valuing the importance and moderating the influence of them. It suffers not busy fancy to alter the nature, amplify the degree, or extend the duration of them, by representing them more sad, heavy and remediless than they truly are. It allows them no force beyond what naturally and necessarily they have, nor contributes nourishment to their increase. It keeps them at a due distance, not permitting them to encroach upon the soul, or to propagate their influence beyond their proper sphere.[

Wisdom doth balance in her scales those true and false pleasures which do equally invite the senses: and rejecting all such as have no solid value or lasting refreshment, doth select and take to her bosom those delights that, proving immortal, do seem to smell and taste of that paradise from which they sprung. Like the wise husbandman who, taking the rough grain which carries in its heart the bread to sustain life, doth trample under foot the gay and idle flowers which many times destroy it.-A. M.

+ Serm. i. p. 2.

Ignorance can shake strong sinews with idle thoughts,


GOD is honoured by a willing and careful practice of all piety and virtue for conscience sake, or an avowed obedience to his holy will. This is the most natural expression of our reverence towards him, and the most effectual way of pro

and sink brave hearts with light sorrows, and doth lead innocent feet to impure dens, and haunts the simple rustic with credulous fears, and the swart Indian with that more potent magic, under which spell he pines and dies. And by ignorance is a man fast bound from childhood to the grave, till knowledge, which is the revelation of good and evil, doth set him free.-A. M.

Knowledge mitigates the fear of death and adverse fortune; for, if a man be deeply imbued with the contemplation of mortality and the corruptible nature of all things, he will easily concur with Epictetus, who went forth one day and saw a woman weeping for her pitcher of earth that was broken; and went forth the next day and saw a woman weeping for her son that was dead and thereupon said, “Heri vidi fragilem frangi; hodie vidi mortalem mori." And therefore Virgil did excellently and profoundly couple the knowledge of causes and the conquest of all fears as concomitant:


Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Quique metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.


Near to the Hartz Mountains in Germany, a gigantic figure has from time immemorial occasionally appeared in the heavens. It is indistinct, but always resembles the form of a human being. Its appearance has ever been a certain indication of approaching misfortune. I is called

*Sermon iv. p. 34.

moting the same in others. A subject cannot better demonstrate the reverence he bears towards his prince, than by (with a cheerful diligence) observing his laws; for by so doing he declares that he acknowledgeth the authority, and revereth the majesty which enacted them; that he approves the wisdom which devised them, and the goodness which designed them for public

the Spectre of the Broken. It has been seen by many travellers. In speaking of it, Monsieur Jordan says, "In the course of my repeated tours through the Hartz Mountains, I often, but in vain, ascended the Broken, that I might see the spectre. At length, on a serene morning, as the sun was just appearing above the horizon, it stood before me, at a great distance, towards the opposite mountain. It seemed to be the gigantic figure of a man. It vanished in a moment." In September, 1796, the celebrated Abbé Haüy visited this country. He says: "After having ascended the mountain for thirty times, I at last saw the spectre. It was just at sun-rise, in the middle of the month of May, about four o'clock in the morning. I saw distinctly a human figure of a monstrous size. The atmosphere was quite serene towards the east. In the south-west a high wind carried before it some light vapours, which were scarcely condensed into clouds and hung round the mountains upon which the figure stood. I bowed. The colossal figure repeated it. I paid my respects a second time, which was returned with the same civility. I then called the landlord of the inn; and having taken the same position which I had before occupied, we looked towards the mountain, when we clearly saw two such colossal figures, which, after having repeated our compliment by bending their bodies, vanished. When the rising sun throws his rays over the Broken upon the body of a man standing opposite to fleecy clouds, let him fix his eye steadfastly upon them, and in all probability he will see his own shadow extending the length of five or six hundred feet, at the distance of about two miles from him."


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