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cales at too dear a price. Inure yourselves by the stream, till the bank is at last totally to frequent confideration of the emptiness thrown down, and the flood is at liberty to of those pleasures which exeite fo much delage the whole plain.
Ibid. Arife and commotion among mankind. Think how much more of true enjoyment
The Government of Temper, as inis loft by the violence of paflion, than by
cluled in the Keeping of the Heart. the want of those things which give oc Pallions are quick and strong emotions, cafion to that passion. Persuade your- which by degrees subside. Temper is the felves, that the favour of God, and the disposition which remains after these emopotletion of virtue, form the chief happi tions are past, and which forms the habibels of the rational nature. Let a con- tual propensity of the soul. The one are tented mind, and a peaceful life, hold the like the stream when it is swoln by the next place in your ettimation. These are torrent, and ruffied by the winds; the the conclusions which the wise and think other resembles it when running within its ing part of mankind have always formed. bed, with its natural force and velocity. To these conclufions, after having run the The influence of temper is more filent and race of paflion, you will probably come at the imperceptible than that of passion; it hit. By forming them betimes, you would operates with less violence; but as its take a reasonable escape from that tem- operation is constant, it produces effects no peituous region, through which none can less considerable. It is evident, therefore, pass without fuffering misery, contracting that it highly deserves to be considered in guilt, and undergoing severe remorse, a religious view.
Blair. Many, indeed, are averse to behold it
in this light. They place a good temper 6o. Tbe Beginnings of Pafion to be upon the fame footing with a healthy conopposed.
ftitution of body. They consider it as a Oppose early the beginnings of passion. natural felicity which fome enjoy; but for Afori particularly all fuch objects as are the want of which, others are not morally apt to excite patsions which you know to culpable, nor accountable to God: and predominate within you. As soon as you hence the opinion has sometimes prevailed, kad the tempeit rifing, have recourse to that a bad temper might be confiitent with every proper method, either of allaying a state of grace. If this were true, it would its violeace, or of escaping to a calmer overturn that whole doctrine, of which the fore. Haiten to call up emotions of an gospel is so full, that regeneration, or oppclite nature. Study to conquer one change of nature, is the effential characpation by means of some other which is teristic of a Christian.' It would suppose, of less dangerous tendency: Never ac- that grace might dwell amidst malevolence count any thing small or trivial, which is in and rancour, and that heaven might be hazard of introducing dilorder into your enjoyed by such as are ftrangers to charity heart. Never make light of any desire and love. It will readily be admitted that which you feel gaining such progress as to some, by the original frame of their mind, threaten entire dominion. Blandishing it are more favourably inclined than others, will appear at the first. As a gentle and towards certain good dispositions and iazocent emotion, it may steal into the habits. But this affords no justification to Leart; but as it advances, is likely to those who neglect to oppose the corruppierce you through with many sorrows. tions to which they are prone. Let no What yeu indulged as a favourite amuse- man imagine, that the human heart is a meni, will shortly become a serious business, foil altogether unsusceptible of culture! or and in the end may prove the burden of that the worst temper may not, through your life. Moit of our paflions flatter us the assistance of grace, be reformed by atin their rise: but their beginnings are tention and discipline. Settled depravity treacherous; their growth is impercep- of temper, is always owing to our own intible; and the evils which they carry in dulgence, If, in place of checking, we their train, lie concealed, until their domi- nourish that malignity of difpofition to alon is eltablithed. What Solomon says which we are inclined, all the consequences of one of them, holds true of them all, will be placed to our account, and every that their beginning is as when one letteth excuse, from natural constitution, be re.
cat water.' It issues from a small chink, jected at the tribunal of Heaven. which once might have been easily stop
Ibid ped; but being neglected, it is foon widened
$ 62. A peaceable Temper and condescend- does he know of the true happiness of life,
appointments or miseries! How little ing Manners recommended.
who is a stranger to that intercourse of What first presents itself to be recom- good offices and kind affections, which, by mended, is a peaceable temper; a dis a pleasing charm, attach men to one anoposition averse to give offence, and de. ther, and circulate joy from heart to firous of cultivating harmony, and amicable heart !
Blair. intercourse in society. This supposes yielding and condescending manners, un- $ 63. Numerous Occasions offer for the Exwillingness to contend with others about
ertion of a bene-volent Temper. triles, and, in contests that are unavoid You are not to imagine that a benevoable, proper moderation of spirit. Such a lent temper finds no exercise, unless, when temper is the firit principle of self-enjoy- opportunities offer of performing actions ment: it is the basis of all order and hap: of high generosity, or of extensive utility : piness among mankind. The positive and these may seldom occur: the condition of contentious, the rude and quarrelsome, are the greater part of mankind in a good the bane of society; they seem destined to measure precludes them. But in the ordi. blast the small share of comfort which na nary round of human affairs, a thousand ture has here allotted to man. But they occasions daily present themselves of miticannot disturb the peace of others, more gating the vexations which others suffer, than they break their own. The hurri- of foothing their minds, of aiding their cane rages first in their own bosom, before interest, of promoting their chearfulness, it is let forth upon the world. In the or ease. Such occasions may relate to the tempest which they raise, they are always smaller incidents of life: But let us reloft; and frequently it is their lot to member, that of small incidents, the system perih.
of human life is chiefly composed. The A peaceable temper must be supported attentions which respect these, when fugby a candid one, or a disposition to view gested by real benignity of temper, are the conduct of others with fairness and often more material to the happiness of impartiality. This stands opposed to a
those around us, than actions which carry jealous and suspicious temper, which ar- the appearance of greater dignity and cribes every action to the worst motive, splendour. No wife or good man ought to and throws a black shade over every cha. account any rules of behaviour as below racter. As you would be happy in your, his regard, which tend to cement the selves, or in your connections with others, great brotherhood of mankind in comforta guard againīt this malignant spirit. Study able union. that charity which thinketh no evil; that Particularly in the course of that famitemper which, without degenerating into liar intercourse which belongs to domestic credulity, will dispose you to be just; and life, all the virtues of temper find an amwhich can allow you to observe an error, ple range. It is very unfortunate, that without impuring it as a crime. Thus you within that circle, men too often think will be kept free from that continual irri- themselves at liberty to give unrestrained tation which imaginary injuries raise in a vent to the caprice of pastion and humour. suspicious breast; and will walk among Whereas there, on the contrary, more men as your brethren, not your enemies. than any where, it concerns them to attend
But to be peaceable, and to be candid, to the government of their heart; to check is not all that is required of a good man. what is violent in their tempers, and to He must cultivate a kind, generous, and soften what is harsh in their manners. For sympathizing temper, which feels for dif- there the temper is formed. There the tress wherever it is beheld; which enters real character displays itself. The forms into the concerns of his friends with ar of the world disguise men when abroad; dour; and to all with whom he has inter- but within his own family, every man is course, is gentle, obliging, and humane. known to be what he truly is.—in all our How amiable appears such a disposition, intercourse, then, with others, particularly when contrasted with a malicious or en- in that which is closest and moit intimate, vious temper,
which wraps itself up in its let us cultivate a peaceable, a candid, a own narrow interests, looks with an evil gentle and friendly temper. This is the eye on the success of others, and with an temper to which, by repeated injunctions, unatural fatisfaction feeds on their dif- our holy religion seeks to form us. This
was the temper of Christ. This is the tem-
many valuable Purposes. $ 64. A contented Temper the greatest Blef
To a variety of good purposes it is fub. faxg, and most material Requifites to the proe servient, and on many occasions co-opeper Discharge of our Duties.
rates with the principle of virtue. It a. A contented temper is one of the great- wakens us from floth, invigorates activity, ed blessings that can be enjoyed by man, and timulates our efforts to excel. It has and one of the most material requisites to given rise to most of the splendid, and to the proper discharge of the duties of every many of the useful enterprizes of men. It fation. For a fretful and discontented has animated the patriot, and fired the temper renders one incapable of perform. hero. Magnanimity, generosity, and for, ing aright any part in life. It is unthank. titude, are what all mankind admire. ful and impious towards God; and to. Hence, such as were actuated by the de. wards men provoking and unjust. It is a fire of extensive fame, have been prompted gangrene which preys on the vitals, and to deeds which either participated of the infects the whole constitution with disease spirit, or at least carried the appearance, and patrefaction. Subdue pride and va- of distinguished virtue. The desire of nity, and you will take the most effecual praise is generally connected with all the method of eradicating this distemper. You finer sensibilities of human nature. It af. will no longer behold the objects around fords a ground on which exhortation, you with jaundiced eyes. You will take counsel, and reproof, can work a proper in good part the blessings which Provi. effect. Whereas, to be entirely destitute dence is pleased to beltow, and the de- of this passion betokens an ignoble mind, gree of favour which your fellow-creatures on which no moral impresion is easily are disposed to grant you. Viewing your- made. Where there is no desire of praise, felves, with all your imperfections and there will be also no sense of reproach; and failings, in a juft light, you will rather be if that be extinguished, one of the princifarprited at your enjoying so many good pal guards of virtue is removed, and the things, than discontented because there are mind thrown open to many opprobrious any which you want. From an humble pursuits. He whole countenance never and contented temper, will spring a chear- glowed with shame, and whose heart never ful one. This, if not in itself a virtue, beat at the sound of praise, is not destined is at least the garb in which virtue should for any honourable distinction ; is likely to be always arrayed. Piety and goodness grovel in the sordid quest of gain; or to ought never to be marked with that de- Number life away in the indolence of self. jection which sometimes takes rise from ith pleasures. fuperftition, but which is the proper por Abstracted from the sentiments which tion only of guilt. At the same time, the are connected with it as a principle of acchearfulness belonging to virtue, is to be tion, the esteem of our fellow-creatures is carefully diftinguished from that light and an object which, on account of the advangiddy temper which characterises folly, tages it brings, may be lawfully pursued, and is so often found among the disipated It is necessary to our success, in every fair and vicious part of mankind. Their gaiety and honest undertaking. Not only our is owing to a total want of reflection; and private intereft, but our public usefulness, brings with it the usual consequences of an depends, in a great measure, upon it. The unthinking habit, shame, remorse, and hea- sphere of our influence is contracted or Finess of heart, in the end. The chear- enlarged, in proportion to the degree in fulness of a well-regulated mind, springs which we enjoy the good opinion of the from a good conscience and the favour of public. Men listen with an unwilling ear Heaven, and is bounded by temperance to one whom they do not honour; while and reason. It makes a man happy in a respected character adds weight to exhimself, and promotes the happiness of all ample, and authority to counsel. To dearound him. It is the clear and calm sun- fire the elteem of others for the sake of shine of a mind illuminated by piety and its effects, is not only allowable, but in virtue. It crowns all other good dispofi- many cases is our duty: and to be totally tions, and comprehends the general effect indifferent to praise or censure, is so far which they ought to produce on the heart. from being a virtue, that it is a real delid. feet in character.
$66. Excessive Desire of Praise tends to
ing out of it are the issues of life. Let
us account our mind the most important corrupt the Heart, and to disregard the Admonitions of Conscience.
province which is committed to our care ;
and if we cannot rule fortune, ftudy at An excesive love of praise never fails least to rule ourselves. Let us propose for to undermine the regard due to consci. our object, not worldly success, which it ence, and to corrupt the heart. It turns depends not on us to obtain, but that upoff the eye of the mind from the ends right and honourable discharge of our duty which it ought chiefly to keep in view; in every conjuncture, which, through the and sets up a false light for its guide. Its divine aslistance, is always within our powinfluence is the more dangerous, as the er. Let our happiness be fought where colour which it assumes is often fair; and our proper praise is found; and that be its garb and appearance are nearly allied accounted our only real evil, which is the to that of virtue. The love of glory, I evil of our nature; not that, which is eibefore admitted, may give birth to actions ther the appointment of Providence, or which are both splendid and useful. At a which arises from the evil of others. distance they strike the eye with uncom
Ibid. mon brightness; but on a nearer and ftricter survey, their luftre is often tar- $68. Religious Knowledge of great Con . nilhed. They are found to want that fa Jolation and Relief amidst the Difreljes ered and venerable dignity which charac - of Life. terises true virtue. Little passions and Consider it in the light of consolation ; felfith interests entered into the motives of as bringing aid and relief to us, amidst those who performed them. They were the diftrefles of life. Here religion injealous of a competitor. They fought to conteitably triumphs; and its happy efhumble a rival. "They looked round for fects in this respect furnith a strong arguSpectators to admire them. All is mag- ment to every benevolent mind, for withnanimity, generosity, and courage, to pub. ing them to be farther diffused throughout lic view. But the ignoble source whence the world. For, without the belief and there seeming virtues take their rise, is hope afforded by divine revelation, the hidden. Without, appears the hero; with circumítances of man are extremely forin, is found the man of dust and clay. lorn. He finds himself placed here as a Consult such as have been intimately con- ftranger in a vast universe, where the pownected with the followers of renown; and ers and operations of nature are very imfeldom or never will you find, that they perfectly known; where both the beginheld them in the fame esteem with those nings and the issues of things are involved who viewed them from afar. There is in mysterious darkness ; where he is unable nothing except fimplicity of intention, and to discover with any certainty, whence he purity of principle, that can stand the test sprung, or for what purpose he was brought of near approach and strict examina. into tñis state of exiftence; whether he be tion.
Plair. subjected to the government of a mild, or
of a wrathful ruler; what construction hè § 67. That Discipline which teaches to mo is to put on many of the dispensations of
derate the Eagerness of worldly Paffions, his providence; and what his fate is to be and to fortify the Mind with the Princi- when he departs hence. What a disconples of Virtue, is more conducive to true solate fituation to a ferious, enquiring Happiness that the Pelcision of all the mind! The greater degree of virtue it Goods of Fortune.
poffefies, its fenfibility is likely to be the
more oppressed by this burden of labour. That discipline which corrects the ea- ing thought. Even though it were in one's gerness of worldly pasions, which fortifies power to banish all unealy thought, and to the heart with virtuous principles, which fill up the hoars of life with perpetual enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, amusement; life so filled up would, upon and furnithes to it matter of enjoyment reflection, appear poor and trivial. But from within itself, is of more consequence these are far from being the terms upon to real felicity, than all the provision which which man is brought into this world. He we can make of the goods of fortune. To is conscious that his being is frail and feemuis let us bend our chief attention. Let ble; he sees himself beset with various Wo keep the heart with all diligence fee- dangers and is exposed to many a me
57 lancholy apprehension, from the evils which of nature, how shall the unhappy man supke may have to encounter, before he ar- port himself, who knows not, or believes rives at the close of life. In this distressed not, the hope of religion? Secretly concor.dicion, to reveal to him such disco. scious to himself, that he has not acted his veries of the Supreme Being as the Chrif- part as he ought to have done, the sins of iian religion affords, is to reveal to him a his past life arise before him in fad reFather and a friend; is to let in a ray of membrance. He wishes to exist after the most cheering light upon the darkness death, and yet dreads that existence. The of the human estate. He who was before Governor of the world is unknown. He a destitute orphan, wandering in the in- cannot tell whether every endeavour to obkoipitable defert, has now gained a hel- tain his mercy may not be in vain. All is ter from the bitter and inclement blast. awful obscurity around him; and in the He now knows to whom to pray, and in midst of endless doubts and perplexities, s bom to trust; where to unbosom his the trembling reluctant soul, is forced forrows; and from what hand to look for away from the body. As the misfortunes relief.
of life must, to such a man, have been it is certain, that when the heart bleeds moft oppressive; so its end is bitter : his from some wound of recent misfortune, sun sets in a dark cloud; and the night of pothing is of equal efficacy with religious death closes over his head, full of misery. confort. It is of power to enlighten the
Blair. darkest hour, and iq aliuage the severeft wce, by the belief of divine favqus, and § 69. Sense of Right and Wrong, indepen. the prospect of a bleffed immortality. In
dent of Religion. loca hopes, the mind expatiates with joy; Mankind certainly have a sense of right and when bereaved of its earthly friends, and wrong, independent of religious befolaces in elf with the thoughts of one friend lief; but experience thews, that the al. who il cever forsake it. Refined rea- lurements of present pleasure, and the im. forings, concerning the nature of the hu- petuosity of passion, are fufficient to premes curdition, and the improvement which vent men from acting agreeable to this piicophy teaches us to make of every moral sense, unless it be supported by reeTeat, may entertain the mind when it is ligion, the influence of which, upon the at eate; may, perhaps, contribute to footh imagination and paflions, if properly diI, when slightly touched with sorrow; but rected, is extremely powerful. We shall when it is torn with any fore distress, they readily acknowledge that many of the are cold and feeble, compared with a di- greateit enemies of religion have been Teli promise from the word of God. This distinguished for their honour, probity, and is an anchor to the soul, both sure and good-nature. But it is to be considered, kedfal. This has given consolation and that many virtues, as well as vices, are Iefuge to many a virtuous heart, at a time constitutional. A cool and equal temper, when the mor cogent reasonings would have a dull imagination, and unfeeling heart, poved etterly unavailing.
ensure the possession of many virtues, or Upon the approach of death especially, rather, are a fecurity against many vices. whee, if a man thinks at all, his anxiety They may produce temperance, chastity, about his future intereits must naturally honesty, prudence, and a harmless, inofDcrease, the power of religious confola- fenfive behaviour. Whereas keen passions, din is fenfibly felt. Then appears, in the a warm imagination, and great sensibility pof friking light, the high value of the of heart, lay a natural foundation for proclcoveries made by the Gospel; not only digality, debauchery, and ambition: atb'e and immortality revealed, but a Me- tended, however, with the seeds of all the Cator with God discovered ; mercy pro- social and most heroic virtues. Such a temclaimed, through him, to the frailties of perature of mind carries along with it a tie penitent and the humble; and his pre- check to its constitutional vices, by renderkace promised to be with them when they ing those poffeffed of it peculiarly suscepare falling through the valley of the fha- tible of religious impressions. They often dow of death, in order to bring them fafe appear indeed to be the greatest enemies io unieen habitations of reit and joy. to religion, but that is entirely owing to Here is ground for their leaving the world their impatience of its restraints. Its most with comfort and peace. But in this se. dangerous enemies have ever been among iere and trying period, this labouring hour the temperate and chaste philosophers,