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self. • There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,' Eccles. vii. 20; therefore look well to yourself, with a holy jealousy, and look candidly towards others.
• Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,' Gal. vi. 2. If reproved or admonished, be more concerned to detect and correct evil in yourself than to retort upon the reprover. Honour goodness, wherever you see it, but do not expect too much from men ; you are nowhere told to make them either your standard or your trust. Cultivate, too, a spirit of humility; do not expect much notice to be taken of you, and then you will not be disappointed if you receive but little ; and let it be your great concern to live and walk, ‘not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts,' 1 Thess. ii. 4. Be more solicitous about duty than comfort, and then you will find that comfort comes in the way of duty; for in keeping his commandments there is great reward,' Psa. xix. 11.
“ You have no warrant, from first to last, to leave off watching and striving against sin ; for, until you reach heaven, you will not only be exposed to a wicked world and a tempting devil, but you will carry
within you a wicked heart. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,' Matt. xxvi. 41; and wait continually on the Lord, for 'they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall run, and not be weary ; and they shall walk, and not faint,' Isa. xl. 31. If you steadily persevere in such a course, notwithstanding all the troubles and discouragements of the way, you will find that it is a way of pleasantness and a path of peace ; and, moreover, that the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day,'” Prov. iii. 17; iv. 18.
I will sum up, by a few remarks made by my uncle, on different occasions. To those who complained of present duties and circumstances, as as what they had not been used to,” he would reply, “What we have been used to is by no means necessary to our well-being : some indulgences and habits are better broken off than retained ; and new duties should never be reckoned a hardship, for they serve to expand our powers of enjoyment, and to open to us new scenes of gratification.
Disappointment from creatures is the result both of their insufficiency, and our inordinate expectations. They must be disappointed who forsake the fountain of living waters, and seek their supplies from 'broken cisterns, that can hold no water,' Jer. ii. 13.
Change of situation is but a change of disadvantages. He who thinks to get rid of all his troubles
and vexations by changing his condition, will always be both disappointed and discontented. In most situations, though things may not be so good as our groundless fancies had expected, they are not so bad as our discontented murmurs would represent them. He was a sensible man, who, when asked at night whether the day should be distinguished by a red mark of joy, or a black mark of sorrow, replied, “Truth, master, I think neither ; but a good brown ochre.'
“Every situation in life has its advantages and disadvantages. We ought not to expect to retain all the advantages of a former situation, and lay claim to all the advantages of a new one, or to get rid of the evils of both. The present is a
state of mixture and imperfection. Nothing fulfils our expectations. Every thing discloses evils that we did not anticipate. This should tend, not to make us weary and dissatisfied of life, but to wean us from the world, and make us willing to leave it; and stimulate us to set our affections on things above, where all is solid, lasting reality, without disappointment, and without imperfection."
“I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT.”
So said one of my uncle's under gardeners, whom old Anthony was endeavouring to convince, that his daily potations of strong ale, and especially the occasional accompaniment of a glass of spirits, were not only unnecessary, but injurious ; not only superfluous, for the matter of strengthening him for labour, on which he laid great stress, and protecting him against injury from the changes of weather, to which his calling exposed him, but were actually chargeable with producing that languor and depression of which he often complained, and for which he deemed them a sovereign remedy: moreover, as having much to do with a scanty wardrobe, an empty purse, and certain domestic disquietudes, all of which, and sundry other evils, he ascribed to the badness of the times, the heavy pressure of taxes, and the mismanagement or bad temper of his wife.
"To be sure,” said Anthony, "we do live in fearful times ; things are strangely altered, even since I was a boy ; and yet I do not know that we have any right to complain. The wise man tells us that we should not say that the former times were better than the present.
Those who are steady and industrious, and put their trust in God, are somehow or other helped to get along now;
and they did no more formerly. But, however the times may be, people in general are much more heavily taxed by their folly, and vanity, and vice, than the amount of king's taxes and parish taxes put together. You think it hard that a working man like you should give sixpence in the pound of all his earnings towards poor's rates, and perhaps sixpence or a shilling more for duty upon leather, and glass, and many other useful articles, used in every family, which you really cannot well do without; but did it ever strike you, John Wilkins, that you spend more than a shilling or eighteenpence in the pound, on what you are not at all obliged to purchase, and what is not at all useful, or in any way conducive to the welfare of yourself or your family?
Why, true, sir," replied John, with some hesitation, “ I know people say it does no good. The doctor has told me so again and again, and I do not myself know that there is much good in it; but I have been used to it so long, that I could not live without it.” Well, I dare
feel so, John; thinking, it is a great pity to let anything, that is not in itself necessary, so get ahead of us as to make us fancy that we cannot do without it. But, at all events, I would try whether or not that was a mere fancy. You most likely passed the first years
your life without such things; and, if you would but try, it is likely you might find your latter years greatly improved by going back to the good old fashion. At any rate, try it for a week : I will answer for it, it will not kill you
in that time.”
Some time afterwards, when I was again visiting
but, to my