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sires what he hath not, or desires amiss, he that composes his spirit to the present accident hath variety of instances for his virtue, but none to trouble him, because his desires enlarge not beyond his present fortune: and a wise man is placed in the variety of chances, like the nave or centre of a wheel in the midst of all the circumvolutions and changes of posture, without violence or change, save that it turns gently in compliance with its changed parts, and is indifferent which part is up, and which is down; for there is some virtue or other to be exercised whatever happens― either patience or thanksgiving, love or fear, moderation or humility, charity or contentedness.

It conduces much to our content, if we pass by those things which happen to our trouble, and consider that which is pleasing and prosperous; that by the representation of the better, the worse may be blotted out.

It may be thou art entered into the cloud which will bring a gentle shower to refresh thy sorrows.

I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me: what now? let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me, and I can still discourse; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance, and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they still have left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of heaven,

and my charity to them too : and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate, I can walk in my neighbour's pleasant fields, and see the varieties of natural beauties, and delight in all that in which God delights, that is, in virtue and wisdom, in the whole creation, and in God himself.*

If thy coarse robe trouble thee, remember the swaddling-clothes of Jesus: if thy bed be uneasy, yet it is not worse than his manger; and it is no sadness to have a thin table, if thou callest to mind that the king of heaven and earth was fed with a little breast-milk: and yet besides this he suffered all the sorrows which we deserved.

If God should send a cancer upon thy face, or a wolf into thy side-if he should spread a crust of leprosy upon thy skin, what wouldst thou give to be but as now thou art?

* Holy Living, ch. ii. § 6.

Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The sweeping vales and foaming floods,

Are free alike to all.


I care not, Fortune, what you me deny,
You cannot rob me of free nature's grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky,

Through which Aurora shews her bright'ning face.
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace

The woods and lawns by living stream at eve;
Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,
And I their toys to the great children leave,
Of fancy, reason, virtue, nought can me bereave.



LUST is a captivity of the reason, and an enraging of the passions: it wakens every night and rages every day; it desires passionately, and prosecutes violently; it hinders business, and distracts counsel; it brings jealousies, and enkindles wars; it sins against the body, and weakens the soul;* it defiles the temple, and drives the Holy Spirit forth.+


Look upon pleasures not upon that side that is next the sun, or where they look beauteously, that is, as they come towards you to be enjoyed, for then they paint and smile, and dress themselves up. in tinsel and glass gems and counterfeit imagery; but when thou hast rifled and discomposed them with enjoying their false beauties, and that they begin to go off, then behold them in their nakedness and weariness. See what a sigh and sorrow, what naked unhandsome proportions and a filthy carcass they discover; and the next time they counterfeit, remember what you have already discovered, and be no more abused.‡

* I waive the quantum of the sin,

The hazard of concealing:

But, och! it hardens all within,

And petrifies the feeling.


+ Sermon on the Flesh and the Spirit, Serm. xi. part 2.

Holy Living, ch. ii. § 1.


COVETOUSNESS swells the principal to no purpose, and lessens the use to all purposes; disturbing the order of nature, and the designs of God; making money not to be the instrument of exchange or charity, nor corn to feed himself or the poor, nor wool to clothe himself or his brother, nor wine to refresh the sadness of the afflicted, nor oil to make his own countenance cheerful ; but all these to look upon, and to tell over, and to take accounts by, and make himself considerable, and wondered at by fools, that while he lives he may be called rich, and when he dies may be accounted miserable. It teaches men to be cruel and crafty, industrious and evil, full of care and malice; and, after all this, it is for no good to itself, for it dares not spend those heaps of treasure which it snatched.*


Ir was an exemplar of charity, and reads to us a rule for our deportment towards erring and lapsed persons, that we entreat them with meekness and pity and fear; not hastening their shame, nor provoking their spirit, nor making their remedy desperate by using of them rudely, till there be no

* Holy Living, ch. iv. § 8. See South's sermon on covetousness, on Luke, chap. xii. verse 15.

worse thing for them to fear if they should be dissolved into all licentiousness. For an open shame is commonly protested unto when it is remediless, and the person either despairs and sinks under the burthen, or else grows impudent and tramples upon it. But the gentleness of a modest and charitable remedy preserves that which is virtue's girdle-fear and blushing; and the beginning of a punishment chides them into the horror of remembrance and guilt, but preserves their meekness and modesty, because they, not feeling the worst of evils, dare not venture upon the worst of sins.*+

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Gal. chap. vi.

Then gently scan your brother man,

Still gentler sister woman;

Tho' they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human :

One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving why they do it:
And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it.
Who made the heart, 'tis he alone
Decidedly can try us,

He knows each chord-its various tone,

Each spring-its various bias:
Then at the balance let's be mute,

We never can adjust it;

What's done we partly may compute,

But know not what's resisted.


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