Page images
PDF
EPUB

are of Busineffes in the World: Some indeed are more Innocent than Others, as they

who out of Levity or Officiousness are still · forward and pressing to give Advice and Direction to all they meet, and will needs understand more of each Mans Affairs than he himself, (and so far indeed they are not without Reason, if they judge of Others by themselves who are for the moft part the greatest strangers at home.) Or They who will not suffer you to be Quiet for their little Tales of all the Intrigues and Adventures of the place wherein they live, that know exactly what paft laft between This and the Other, and how far the Bufiness in hand between the Partys is advanc'd; what was, or what should have been done at such a Meeting, and who was the entertainer, and who the jest of the Company; and overflowing with this precious Knowledg are very communicative and would fain have every Body as Wife (indeed a great favour!) as themselves. Such and a multitude of the like Nature are indeed, as I said, of the more lnnocent kind, but even Gnats and Flys and the smalleft Infects are as Troublefome, thọ' not fo Venemous as Toads and Adders: These moleft all Conversation for the time they are buzzing in it as much, nay more than those more dangerous Meddlers who have the poy son of Afps under their · Lips, Such are they who Invent or Carry about uncharitable Storys, 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 quarrels 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 readyer belief upon this account, because they are Bufybodies : for the good natur'd, easy, credulous Man when he meets with such a One, argues Thus to

delude himself; Surely this Man do's what '' he do's, 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 Reason why he should suspect, and shun, and abhor him, gives himself up to be betray'd by him. Others there are whose whole Difcourse and Time is chiefly taken up in Censuring their Brethren, and palling still the most uncharitable Judgment upon all their Actions. And what Innocence, what care, what circumspection is able to escape these Men? Is a Man of a Free and Sprightly

Temper?

Temper? he shall be call'd loose and debauch d: is he of a stricter Conversation or a more solemn Observer of Religious Dutys? he shall be a Counterfeit and an Hy. pocrite; if John comes neither Eating nor Drinking they say he bas a Devil; if Christ comes Eating and Drinking, Then the Cry is, Loa Glutton, a Wine-bibber and a Companion of Sinners. So difficult, fo impossible it is for any, the most Holy or Innocent, the most wary and regular , to be wholly exempt

from falling under their Censures whose 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 Mans Commendation, if they are forc'd against their wills to hear and to allow it, 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 Actions, 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 ʼtis but to prepare their Hearers to swallow the easier the fly infinuations and most malicious suggestions that follow : So juftly are their Tongues compar’d by the Pfalmift to a Sharp Rafor, which when

E

most

most Smooth and Oily cuts the keener and gives the deeper wound. Now since of all the different kinds of these meddlers in other Mens matters, there are none, no not the moft Innocent, but are highly offensive, tho' not 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 some Remedy against this Pragmatical humour, when we apprehend any danger of its growing up in us.

First 'then, let the first Sort of these Busybodies, 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 insupportable Pride and Arrogance it is to reckon Ourselves Wiser 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 cheat Ourselves, when we are so very forward to be doing every Man's Business with the pretensions of Kindness and good Nature, if we examin the Reason of this our being so over Officious impartially, we shall generally find it at the bottom 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 do's

to

[ocr errors]

to his overkind Neighbour that would needs force, his Advice and Counsel upon him; Tantumne abs re Tuê Otii est Tibi aliena ut cures, eaque quæ nihil attinent ? Have you so much leisure from your own Affaires, that

you must be quite idle unless you také care of other Men's? and things that don't at all belong to You? I.et us therefore consider before we engage in other Men's Matters, how much Business we have of our own to do; whether of Spiritual Concern, as the working out our own Salvation, how many Sins to repent of, how many Lusts 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 Estate of Life to which it has pleas'd God to call us, how many necessary domestick Cares attend us, how many indispensable Dutýs we lye under to those that are so nearly Related to us, that we can scarcely live without them? If we would thus turn our Eyes back upon Ourselves, we should find that we had enough at Home to take up all our Time, 'nay more than all, and that 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 impossible that he, that is always busy

E 2

and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »