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immediate ends of both, I do not exclude any other which maybe involved in these, or result from them. Nor, of what importance these two things are, I need not shew. For since all sin is distinguished in scripture into the filthiness of the jpirit and the flesh, it is plain, that the pride of the heart, and the lust of the body, are the two great causes of all immorality and uncleanness. And therefore these are the two great ends which the wise and good have ever had in their eye in all their acts of self-denial and mortification. This is sufficiently attested by the example of David, Psal. cxxxi. Lord, lam not high-minded, I have no proud looks. I do not exercise myself in great matters, which are too high for me: But I refrain my foul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother; yea, my soul is even as a weaned child. And from that other of St. Paul, i Cor. ix. 25. 26, 27. And every one that strivethfor the mastery, is temperate in all things: Now, they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one that beatetb the air: but I keep under my body, and bring , it into subjection; lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away. Whoever thus mortifies the pride of the heart, whoever thus brings under the body, will soon find himself self truly set/ra-, and master of himself and fortune: he will be able to run the •way of God7s commandments, and to advance on swiftly towards Perfection, and the pleasure and happiness that attends it;
And to attain these blessed ends, I dd not think that we need ensnare our souls in the perpetual bonds of monastick vows; I do not think that we are to expose our selves by any ridiculous or fantaflick observances: there is, I say, no need of this; for we may, as oft as we shall see fit, retrench our pleasures, abate of the shew and figure of life; we may renounce our own wills to comply with theirs who cannot so well pretend either to authority or discretion: and if these things cannot be done in some cirumstances, without becoming fools for Christ; that is, without that tameness, that condescension, that diminution of our selves which will never comport with the humours and the fashions of the world; here is still the more room for mortification, and for a nearer and more eminent imitation of the blessed Jesus i provided still we decline all affectation of singularity; and when we practise any extraordinary instance of self-denial, we be ever able to justify it to religious and judicious persons, by she proposal of some excellent end. Fasting indeed is plainly described in scripture; and tho' the obligation
K to to it, with respect to its frequency and measure, be not the same on all, yet all should some time or other practise it, as far as the rules of Christian prudence will permit. And I have often thought, that feM?1S should generally consist, ratlier. in abstinence from phafing meats, than from all; not the food which nourishes, our strength, hut that which gratifies, the palate, ministring most directly to wantonness and luxury.
Kor the better regulating of voluntary discipline, I propose, by way of advice, three things. 1. I do not think it best to bring our (elves undei; any perpetual and unalterable ties in any instance of self-denial: there is a virtue in enjoying the worlds as well as in renouncing- it; and *tis as' great an excellence of "religion to know how to abounds as how to suffer want. Nay, wljiat is more, all voluntary austerities are in order to give us a power and dominion over our selves in the general course of a prosperous life. And, lastly, I \ery much dcubt, when once a man has long and constantly accustomed himself to any rigour, whether it continue to have much of mortification in it, or whether it so effectually tend to promote our spiritual liberty, as it would if we did return to it but now and then, as we saw occasion. 2. We roust not mulrip'y unnecesjary severities;
and tad that no man may think more needful than really are, 1 observe here, that as there are very few who have not in their nature very considerable infirmities, so are there as few who have not in their fortune Very Considerable inconveniences: and if they would apply themselves to the master* ing of both these as they ought, they would stand irl less need of the discipline of arbitrary ausWities There are many things too trifling to he taken notice of, which yet do prove sufficient to disturb the qufet of most,, and betray them to' many passions and indecencies: nay, the weaknesses of good men are sometimes fed by temptations of very little moment. Now, to surmount these temptations, and to frame and accommodate the m»nd to Dear the little fhotks and1 justles which we daily meet with, without any discomposure- or dispseashre, is-a matter of great use to thetranquillity of Use, and the maturity of vfrtufe. To be able to bear the pride ol one, and1 the- stupidity of another; one while to encounter rudeness, another' while neglect, without being moved by either; to submit to noise,, disorder, and the distraction of many little afisairs, when one is naturally a lover of quietness and' orders or when die mind is intent upon things of importance; in a wordi to digest tlie perpetual disappointments which
we meet with, both in business and pleasure, and in all the little projects, which not the elegant and ingenious only, but people of all stations and all capacities puriiie ; to suffer all the humours and follies, the errors, artifices, indecencies, and faults of those we have to do with, with that temper we ought, that is, with a calmness which proceeds, not from an unconcernment for the good of others, but a just dominion over our own spirits: this is a great height; and to train our selves up to it daily with much patience, vigilance, and application of mind, is the best discipline: tho' I do not mean hereby to exclude all voluntary impofitions; for, in order to master the evils which we cannot avoid, it may be of good use now and then to form the mind by voluntary try ah and difficulties of our own chusing. 3. Lastly, We must ever have a care not to lose the Jubstance for the shadow; not to rest in the means, and neglect the end; being much taken up in discipline, without !producing any fruit of it. For this is taring much pains to little purpose; travelling much without making any progress. But much more must we take care in the next place, that the discipline we put our selves upon, do not produce any ill fruit. To which end, we must carefully observe three things. 1. That we keep to that moderation