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fit tibi etiam tui

ŠERÁ, cially venerable for his worth, or for his relation to us,

XLV. whom we thould be afraid or ashamed to displease : and Sen. Ep. xi. Turely were the faith concerning God's presence, or the

fancy concerning the presence of a Cato, or a Lælius, strong enough, they could not but have great effect: however, did we but live, even in our own presence, under the eye of our own judgment and conscience; regarding not only the inatter and body, but the reason and ground, that is the soul, of our actings; even that would do much; the love and reverence of ourselves would fomewhat check and control us; we should fear to offend,

we should be ashamed to vilify even 'ourselves by fond or en. Ep. 25. foul proceedings; it would, in the philosopher's esteem,

supply the room of any other keeper or monitor, if we Cum jam could thus keep ourselves; If, saith he, we have so far prófantum, ut fited, as to have got a reverence of ourselves, we 'may thien

well let go a tutor, or pedagogue. reverentia, 12. This practice doth much conduce to the knowledge

of human nature, and the general difpofitions of mankind, pæda.

which is an excellent and most ufeful part of wisdom : 'for the principal inclinations and first motions of the foul are like in all men; whence he that by diligent study of himfelf hath observed them in his own soul, may' thence collect them to be in others; he hath at least a great advantäge of easily tracing them, of soon descrying of clearly perceiving them in those 'he converseth with; the which knowledge is of great use, as directing us how to accommodate ourselves in our behaviour and dealing with others.

No man indeed can be a good instructor or adviser in moral affairs, who hath not attained this skill, and doth not well understand the nature of man: his precepts and rules will certainly be fallacious, or misapplied without it: this is that, which rendered the dictates of the Stoics and other such philosophers fo'extravagant and unpracticable, because they framed them not according to the real nature of man, such as is existent in the world, but according to an idea formed in their own imaginations,

Some caution indeed is in this matter to be fed, that

licebit dimittas

gogum. Ibid.


thosę, motions of soul, which proceed from particular ŞERM. temper and complexion, from supervenient principles or XLV. habits, may be distinguished from those which are natural and common unto all: which distinction to make is of great use and benefit, in order to the governing, restraining, or correcting them.

If there be any in us, which are not observable in any other men; or in other men, which are not in us, those do not arise from common nature, but from the particular disposition of one or other respectively. 6. 13. I add lastly, that universally this practice is requisite and necessary for the well governing of our heart.

Politicians inculcate much, that to the well governing of a people, squaring fit laws for it, and keeping it in good order, the nature and humour of that people should be chiefly heeded and well understood; for that the grave Romans, and light Greeks; the soft Persians, and stout Germans; the subtle Africans, and gross Scythians, would not be well managed in the same manner. So to govern any man's heart, (since the hearts of men, as their faces, Vid. Naz. and as their voices, differ according to diversities of complexion, of age, of education, of custom and manner of living,) it conduceth to know how it is disposed from any

those, or the like causes. But how we are to guide

govern our hearts, and what particular influence this practice hath thereupon, I reserve for other meditations ; when we shall endeavour more distinctly to thew how we may apply our thoughts to due objects; how curb and correct our inclinations; how order our paflions; how rectify our opinions ; how purify our intentions: now I conclude with the good Pfalmist's requests to God Als mighty: Teach us thy way, O Lord; unite our hearts to pl.lxxxvi.

fear thy, name. Give us understanding, and we shall keep Pfal. cxix. bithy law, yea, we fall observe it with our whole heart. 54.

God, and know
God, and know Pf

wicked way in us,

in us, and
lead us in the way everlasting. Amen.

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d PSALM XC. 12.

1 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

IT SERM. THis Pfalm is upon several peculiar accounts very ret XLVI. markable; for its antiquity, in which it perhaps doth not

yield to any parcel of Scripture; for the eminency of its author, Moses, the man of God, the greatest of the an: cient Prophets, (most in favour, and, as it were, most inti mate with God :) it is also remarkable for the forin and matter thereof, both affording much ufeful inftruction In it we have a great prince, the governor of a numerous people, sequestering his mind from the management of public affairs to private meditations; from beholding the present outward appearances, to considering the real da ture and secret causes of things; in the midst of all the splendor and pomp, of all the ftir and tumult about him, he observes the frailty of human condition, he difcerns the providence of God juftly ordering all; this he does not only in way of wise consideration, bụt of serious devotion, moulding his observations into pious acknowledgments and earnest prayers to God: thus while he casts one eye' upon earth viewing the occurrences there, lifting up the other to heaven, there seeing God's all-governing hand, thence seeking his gracious favour and mercy. Thus doth here that great and good man teach us all (more particularly men of high estate and much business) to find opportuni- SERM ties of withdrawing their thoughts from those things,

XLVI. which commonly amuse them, (the cares, the glories, the pleasures of this world,) and fixing them upon matters more improveable to devotion; the transitoriness of their condition, and their subjection to God's just providence ; joining also to these meditations suitable acts of religion, due acknowledgments to God, and humble prayers. This was his practice among the greatest incumbrances that any man could have; and it should also be ours. Of those his devotions, addressed to God, the words are part, which I have chosen for the subject of iny meditation and present discourse; concerning the meaning of which I thall first touch somewhat; then propound that observable in them, which I defign to infist upon.

The Prophet David hath in the 39th Psalm a prayer very near in words, and of kin, it seems, in sense to this here ; Lord, prays he, make me to know my end, and the pr. xxxix. meafure of my days, what it is, that I may know how frail *. Iam:'concerning the drift of which place, as well as of this here, it were obvious to conceive that both these Prophets do request of God, that he would discover to thern the definite term of their life, (which by his decree he had fixed, or however by his universal prescience he did disčern; concerning which we have these words in Job, See- Job xiv. 5e ing man's days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pafs ;) we might, I say, at first hearing, be apt to imagine, that their prayer unto God is, (for the comfort of their mind burdened with ami&tions, or for their better direction in the management of their remaining time of life,) that God would reveal unto them the determinate length of their life. But this fenfe, which the words seem so naturally to hold forth, is by many of the Fathers rejected, for that the knowledge of our lives' determinato measure is not a fit matter of prayer to God; that being a fecret reserved by God to himfelf, which to inquire into lavours of presumptuous curiosity: the universal validity of which reason I will not debate; but fhall defer so much

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SERM. to their judgment, as to suppose that the numbering of XLVI.

our days (according to their sense) doth here only imply a confused indefinite computation of our days' number, or the length of our life ; fạch as, upon which it may appear, that necessarily our life cannot be long, (not, according to the account mentioned in this Psalm, the same with that of Solon in Herodotus, above 70 or 80 years, especially as to purposes of health, strength, content;) will probably, by reason of various accidents, to which it is exposed, be much shorter, (7 or 10 years, according to a moderate esteem ;) may pollibly, from surprises undiscoverable, be very near to its period; by few instants removed from death, (a year, a month, a day, it may be somewhat less.) This I shall allow to be the arithmetic that Moses here desires to learn; whence it will follow, that teaching (or here (as it doth otherwhere frequently in Scripture)

oth import God's affording the grace to know practically, or with serious regard to consider this state and measure of our life, (for in fpeculation no man can be ignorant of human life's brevity and uncertainty; but most men are fo negligent and ftupid, as not to regard it sufficiently, not to employ this knowledge to any good purposea.) This interpreta. tion :I choose, being in itself plausible enough, and countenanced by so good authority; yet the former might well enough (by good consequence, if not fo immediately) serve my design; or be a ground able to support the discourse I intend to build upon the words ; tbe subject whereof briefly will be this, that the confideration of lives", certain and necessary brevity and frailty, is a

sa mean proper and apt to dispose us toward the wise conduct of our remaining life; to which purpose such a consideration seems alike available, as the knowledge of its punctual or definite measure; or more than it, upon the same, or greater reasons.

fail. I acid • Ου γάρ έσι φρένας έχοντας ανθρώπε αγνοείν ότι άνθρωπος ζώον έσι θνητόν, και Libri gézovsv sis cò i modevī. Plut. ad Apoll. p. 202.

Quis eft tam ftultus, quanivis fit adolefcens, cui fit exploranam fel felad vesperum cffe vi&urum? Cic, de San.



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