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A Discourse of the Honour due to
Good Men and of the great Crime
of treating them with Scorn and
Contempt. :

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2 TIM. iij. 3. Despisers of ihose that are good. Ever does an ill Man appear so truly ConI temptible, as when he despises him that is Good and Virtuous; and never does the Good Man appear more truly Honourable, than when he can patiently and meekly indure, despise, and forgive that Contempt, which however difficult upon a Surprize, he will find both more reasonable and more casie to do, when he shall silently recollect with himself; and consider, First, What an inward sufficiency and self-Contentedness there is in true Goodness, how little it needs that Honour and Respect which it deserves. Secondly, In what Credit and Estimation he is with God, and with the Saints and Angels of Light, and Wise and Good Men upon Earth, the best Judges both of Persons and Things. When he shall consider, Thirdly, the great and Honourable Cha

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racters and Representations which are given of him in Holy Scripture, where he is always set forth as the only Wise, Rich, Great, Powerful and Happy Man,as the only person of truc Worth and Honour. And Fourthly, The Figure that Virtue and Goodness makes in Human Writings the best and greatest part of which are imployed in drawing fair and beautiful Ideas of it, and in recommending its Practice upon the Itrongest Ar'guments of Reason and Interest. And withal Fifthly ; That these are the Result of Mens Cool, Sober and Best Thoughts, composed in Solitude and Retirement, upon the deepest Consideration and Recolle&ion, when they are best able to think, and most sincere in the delivery of their Sentiments. And that Sixthly, Though a great many have the Impudence to make Goodness the Object of their Sport and Raillery in Common Talk, yet very few have ventured to give this their Folly under their Hands, and to let it stand upon publick Record; so that there are it may be above a Thousand Volumes soberly and judiciously written in the Honour and Vindication of Virtue, to one Libel that dares appear against it. When he shall moreover consider Seventhly, the Secret Approbations and Applauses of his own Conscience continually clearing him of the Contempt that is cast upon him, and commending him for his Patience under it. Eighthly, The inward Veneration that Goodness often extorts from many of those who are the greatest Strangers to it, and seem at the greatest defiance with it.Ninthly,

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The Confessions of the most Extravagant that occasionally drop from them in their more sober intervals, when kept from Wine and Company they have been suffered to come a little to themfelves, and have had a little leisure to Reflect. And Tenthly, The more permanent and standing Declarations of Returning Sinners, the folemn Retractations of Repentance, which upon the Review and with the advantage of Second Thought, determines on the side of Goodness and Virtue. When he shall consider Eleventhly, That the brightest Examples of Virtue have ever been most undervalued, and met with the greatest Despite. That Twelfthly, This is one of those Persecutions which thofe that will live Godly in Christ Jesus must suffer. That Thirteenthly, The Best of Men have suffered it : And Fourteenthly, That even our Blessed Lord himself was thus treated, among whofe Prophetick Characters this is one of the Chief,He is despised and rejected of Men, Ifa. 53. 3. When he shall yet further consider, Fifteenthly, That the Judgments and Opinions of Men make no real alteration either in the value of things, or in the condition of Persons ; and consequently the little or no hurt that Contempt does' to any Body, besides him that Entertains it. And Sixteenthly, The Glory that Virtue casts about the Head of those who suffer this little Martyrdom for her fake here'; and Seventeenthly, The Crown that she is preparing and refining for them hereafter. Upon these considerations,a Good Man may

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easily raise himself fo far above all that contempt which his Goodness exposes him to, as not only to bear and forgive, but even despise it. But if these are too many to be presently recollected, or attended to at once; and if he would be more compendiously afsifted, let him but consider from what Quiver chis Arrow comes, who it is that treats him with Contempt : That 'tis a Fools Bolt, which indeed is quickly foot, but blindfold and at random, without much aim or force, with a dark Eye, and with an unsteddy Hand, and accordingly with little Execution. That 'tis in short an Ill Man that defpises him, (for with the Good he is in better Repute,) one whole Judgment is of no Authority, whofe Representations of things are always otherwife than their

Natures, and whose Good Word is the truest De• famation. One that is utterly Blind and Ignorant,

as not being illuminated by the true Light, that lives and walks in Darkness, that understands neither God nor himself, nor his Fellow-Creatures, that has all over false Ideas of Greatness and Goodness, of Honour and Dishonour, of Shame and Glory; whose Notions and Characters of things are cross and transposed, that calls Evil Good, and Good Evil, that puts Darkness for Light, and Light for Darkness, Bitter for Sweet, and Sweet for Bitter, that confounds every thing, and understands nothing as he ought, the most Mistaken Creature in the World. This is the true Character of Wicked Men, that which the Scripture gives of them, that which their whole Con

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duct Justifies and Confirms, and that which they themselves own and take upon them, some of them in this world, as often as they are so happy ag to Repent; and all of them in the other World where they shall recant and transpose their for: mer Sentences, and with regret say, We Fools thought his Life Madness. Error is the true Original Cause of all the Sin and Misery that is in the World, and 'tis nothing but Ignorance and Mistake that makes Wicked Men Will and A& amiss. They are in the dark, and have not a clear view either of their End or of their VVay; and 'tis that which makes them so often stumble and wander. They chuse and Practice ill, because at that instant it seems good to them, (for Evil as such is not Eligible) and therefore it seems good to them, because they are Deceived. They do not sufficiently attend to the Nature, Moment, Relations and Consequences of things; they do not view them in a good Light, nor it may be with good Eyes, which being imbued with the Colours of Lust and Prejudice, derive the like Tincture upon the Object ; they have not their Thoughts and Considerations about them, nor do they fee to the end of their Actions : And hence 'tis that they pass false Judgments, and take ill Measures ; that their whole Life (like an ill composed Discourse,) runs all along upon wrong Principles and mistaken Reasonings, and is all over Fallacy and Paralogism; that they are nothing but Error, Darkness and Confusion ; whereof they give sufficient Demonstration in all their

Discourses

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with view them Consequen to the Natieived.

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