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their Lips ; Such are they who Invent, or Carry about uncharitable Stories, who out of Malice rather than Vanity, by unnecessarily interesting themselves in Affairs, that in no wise belong to them, blow up the Coals of Strife and Contention between Friends and Neighbours; who by false Suggestions, disguis'd like Truth, set the Father against the Son, and the Son against the Father ; and propagate sometimes hereditary Quar. rels between whole families. And the worst of it is, these Men have the greater Opportunity of Doing Mischief, they gain the easier access and the readier belief upon this account, because they are Busy-bodies : for the good-natur’d, easy, credulous Man,when he meets with such a One, argues Thus to delude himself; Surely this Man docs what he does, and says what he says, out of pure Honesty, or a particular Love to Me ; Why else should He concern himself ? it is none of his Business; and thus, for the very Rea. son why he should suspect, and shun, and abhor him, gives himself up to be betray'd by him. Others there are, whose whole Dis. course and Time, is chiefly taken up in Censuring their Brethren, and pasting still the most uncharitable Judgment upon all their A&tions. And what Innocence, what Care, whạt Circumfpe&tion is able to escape these Men? Is a Man of a free and Sprightly

Temper?

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Temper? he shall be call'd loose and debauch'd : is he of a stricter Conversation, or a more folemn Observer of Religious Duties? he shall be a Counterfeit,and an Hypocrite; if John comes neither Eating nor Drinking, they say, he has a Devil; if Christ comes Eating and Drinking, Then the Cry is, Lo a Glutton, aWine-bibber, and a Companion of Sin. wers. So difficult, so impossible it is for any, the most Holy, or lonocent, the most wary and regular, to be wholly exempt from falling under their Censures, whole Malice is ever awake, and on the watch, for real or appearing Occasions, to exercise itself upon. These are they, who will never suffer any Man's Commendation, (if they are forc'd against their Wills to hear and allow it,) to pass by them, without ripping up some Story or other as much to his disadvantage, or at least misinterpreting the motives, or design of those his good A&tions, the Truth of which they cannot deny. But if ever They begin to Praise any themselves, then expect certainly in the close some ill-natur'd Exception, that overthrows all the Good that went before; whenever they speak well of any one, 'cis but to prepare their Hearers to swallow the easier the fly Insinuacions, and molt malicious Suggestions that follow: So justly are their Tongues compar'd, by the Psalmilt, to a Sharp Rafor, which, when

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most Smooth and Oily, cuts the keener, and gives the deeper Wound. Now, fince of all the different kinds of these Meddlers, in other Men's matters, there are none, no not the most Innocent, but are highly of. fensive, tho'nor in equal Measure, both to God and Man; I shall propound some few Confiderations, which, if well apply'd to each of these several Sorts, may serve for fome Remedy against this Pragmatical hu. mour, when we apprehend any danger of its growing up in us.

First then, let the first Sort of these Bu. fybodies, those I mean of us, who are so free of our Counsel and Advice : whenever we feel this natural Itch of Meddling begin to infect us, consider what an insupport able Pride and Arrogance it is, to reckon Ourselves Wifer than every Body else, and to think no Man fit to manage his own Af. fairs, without our Advice and Direction. For, however we may cheatOurselves, when we are so very forward to be doing every Man's Business with the Pretensions of Kind. ness and Good-Nature; if we examine the Reason of this our being so over Officious, impartially, we shall generally find it at the bortom to be nothing else but Vanity and Self-Conceit. It would be very seasonable also, to put the same Question to ourselves, which the good Old Man in the Poet does

to

to his overkind Neighbour, that would needs force his Advice and Counsel upon him ;

Tantumne abs re Tuâ Otii eft Tibi aliena ut ·cures, eaque quæ nihil attinent ? Have you

so much leisure from your own Affairs, that you must be quite Idle, uoless you take care of other Men's? and things that don't at all belong to You? Let us therefore consider, before we engage in other Men's Matters, how much Buliness we have of our own to do; whether of Spiritual Concern, as the working out of our own Salvation; how many Sins to repent of, how many Lufts to mortify, how many evil Habits to correct, how many good Ones to acquire, or to improve ; or of Temporal Concern, as the doing our Duty in that · Eftate of Life, to which it has pleas'd God to call us ; how many necessary domestick Cares attend us, how many indispensable Duties we lye under to those, that are so nearly Related to us, that we can scarcely live without them? If we would thus tura

our Eyes back upon Ourselves, we should s. find, that we had enough at Home to take

up all our Time, nay more than all, and chat we had very little need to look abroad for such Employment. But what should further prevail, with Men of Reason or Understanding, is the Danger of this Practice. It is imposible that he, that is always busy

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and

and projecting, should always succeed. But if it is his own Business only, that by his. means miscarries, he who is the only sufferer can forgive himself ; but if, without Occasion or Asking, he has been obtruding his Advice on Others, and thereby brought them into any ill Circumstances, is it not highly reasonable, that he should bear, not only all the Blame, but all the Damage too? And how many Instances are there of those, who, out of this meddling Hu. mour, and a vain Affectation of bearing the Name of Men of Business, have thrust them. selves into Mischiefs, which, without great Management, and Art, and Diligence, they could never have brought about ? And how litile Pity does the world generally afford these Men? Does it not rather en. cline to say, What Pity it had been, if all their Endeavours had not had this Success ? that they should not be ruin'd, who had so industriously contriv'd it? What also is the Credit and Reputation, which to their Wit and Abilities, they hence acquire ? for’ris plain, that this they aim at, and would . be thought notable, shrewd, understanding Men, and of more than ordinary Parts: herein, too, they find themselves miserably mistaken, if Solomon's Judgment may be regarded, as surely it ought, It is an Ho. nour for a Man to cease from Strife, but every

Fool

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