Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

uncomposed, turbulent spirit, that is put out of frame with every trifle, and inventive of false causes of disquietness and fretting to itself: and so in a husband, and in all: an unquiet passionate mind lays itself naked, and discovers its own deformity to all. The greatest part of things that vex us, do so, not from their own nature or weight, but from the unsettledness of our minds. How comely is it to see a composed firm mind and carriage, that is not lightly moved !

I urge not a stoïcal stupidity; but that, in things that deserve sharp reproof, the mind keep, in its own station and seat, still, not shaken out of itself, as the most are; that the tongue utter not unseemely rash words ; nor the hand act any thing that discovers the mind hath lost its command for the time. But, truly, the most know so ill how to use just anger, upon just cause, that it is easier, and the safer extreme, not to be angry, but still calm and serene, as the upper region; not the place of continual tempest and storms, as the most are. Let it pass for a kind of sheepishness, to be meek; it is a likeness to Him that was as a sheep before his shearers, not opening his mouth (Isaiah liii. 7); it is a portion of His Spirit.

The Apostle commends his exchange of ornaments from two things: 1. This is incorruptible, and therefore fits an incorruptible soul. Your varieties of jewels and rich apparel are perishing things; you shall one day see an heap made of all, and that all on a flame: and, in reference to you, they perish

sooner: when death strips you of your nearest gar-, ment, your flesh, all the other, which were but loose upper garments above it, must off too. It gets, indeed, a covering for the grave; but the soul is left stark naked, if no other clothing be provided for it; for the body was but borrowed: then it is made bare of all. But spiritual ornaments, and this of humility and meekness, here, among the rest, remain, and are incorruptible; they neither wear out, nor out of fashion, but are still the better for the wearing; and shall last eternity, and shine there in full lustre.

And, 2. Because the opinion of others is much regarded in matters of apparel; and it is mostly in respect to this, that we use ornament in it; he tells us of the account of this. Men think it poor and mean; nothing more exposed to contempt than the spirit of meekness; it is mere folly with men: but that is no matter. This overweighs all their disesteem: it is, with God, of great price, and things are, indeed, as he values them, and no otherwise. Though it be not the country fashion, yet it is the fashion at court, yea, it is the King's own fashion : (Matt. xi. 29.) Learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart. Some, that are court-bred, will send for the masters of fashions, though they live not in the court: and though the peasants think them strange dresses, yet they regard not that, but use them as finest and best. Care not what the world say: you are not to stay long with them. Desire to have both fashions and stuff from court, from Heaven, this spirit

of meekness, and it shall be sent you. It is never right in any thing with us, till we attain to this—to tread on the opinion of men *, and eye nothing but God's approbation.

* “ To tread on the opinion of men”—that is, not to overvalue human estimation; not to make it the standard of our principles, or the motive of our conduct. (John v. 44. xii. 43.) There is, however, a lawful desire, possession, and use of “the opinion of men.” Scripture gives us a view of this, in Proverbs xxii. 1; Ecclesiastes vii. 1; Phi. lippians iv. 8. Let the following passages, from “ The Account of the Good Steward,” by Sir Matthew Hale, illustrate the subject :

“ I never affected the reputation of being rich, great, crafty, politic; but I esteemed much a deserved reputation of justice, honesty, integrity, virtue, and piety.

“I never thought that reputation was the thing primarily to be looked after, in the exercise of virtue; for that were to affect the substance for the sake of the shadow, which had been a kind of levity and impotence of mind; but I looked at virtue, and the worth of it, as that which was the first desirable; and reputation, as a handsome and useful accession to it.

" Though I have loved my reputation, and have been vigilant, not to lose or impair it by my default or neglect; yet I have looked upon it as a brittle thing; a thing, that the devil aims to hit in a special manner; a thing that is much in the power of a false report, a mistake, a misapprehension, to wound and hurt. Notwithstanding all my care, I am at the mercy of others, without God's wonderful overruling Providence. And as my reputation is, the esteem that others have of me, so that esteem may be blemished without any default (of mine). I have, therefore, always taken this care, not to set my heart upon my reputation.”— EDITOR.

CHARACTER OF ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON.

FROM BURNET'S HISTORY OF HIS OWN TIMES.

He had so great a quickness of parts, and vivacity of apprehension, that he made very great progress in þis philosophical and theological works. But that which excelled all the rest, was, he was possessed with the highest and noblest sense of divine things that could be seen in any man. He had a contempt both of wealth and reputation; and seemed to have the lowest thoughts of himself possible, wishing that all others should think as meanly of him as he did himself. He bore all sorts of ill-usage and reproach, like a man that took pleasure in it. He had so subdued the natural heat of his temper, that there was seldom seen in him any sign of passion; and he kept himself in such a constant recollection, that he was never, or seldom, guilty of speaking an idle word. There was a visible tendency, in all he said, to raise his own mind, and all he conversed with, to serious reflections. He seemed to be in a perpetual meditation; and, though the whole course of his life was strict and ascetical, yet he had nothing of the sourness of temper that generally possesses men of that sort.

He was the freest from superstition, from censuring others, or of imposing his own methods on them, possible; so that he did not so much as recommend them to others. He said, there was a diversity of tempers; and every man was to watch over his own, and to turn it in the best manner he could. His thoughts were lively, oft out of the way and surprising, yet just and genuine. And, he had laid together in his memory the greatest treasure of the. best and wisest of all the ancient sayings of the Hea-, thens, as well as Christians, that I have ever known any man master of; and he used them in the aptest manner possible.

His preaching had a sublimity of thought and expression. The grace and gravity of his pronunciation was such, that few heard him without a sensible emotion: I am sure I never did. His style was rather too fine; but there was a majesty and beauty in it, that left so deep an impression, that I cannot yet forget the sermons I heard him preach thirty years ago : and yet, with this, he seemed to look on himself as so ordinary a preacher, that, while he had a cure, he was ready to employ all others. He did not punctually attend the Presbytery, but choosed rather to live in great retirement, minding only the care of his own parish. He preached up a more exact rule of life than seemed, to many, consistent with human nature. But his own practice did even outshine his doctrine.

There were two remarkable circumstances in his death. — He used often to say, that if he were to choose a place to die in, it should be an inn; it looking like a pilgrim's going home, to whom this world was all as an inn, and who was weary of the noise and confusion of it. He added, that the officious

« AnteriorContinuar »