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SERM. St. James's two-souled man, he is unsteady in all
XLV. his ways. The hard student of himself is like a Jam. i. 8. man that hath his estate in numerato, in ready
cash, all in his hand, or at his command; he can presently tell what he can do, and satisfy those he hath to do with. Go to him, you may know where to have him, even just where you left him, or where he uses to be; you may expect a sudden despatch, and you may rely upon his word; for he knows beforehand what he doeth, and shall continue to like; why he determines so or so; and cannot be
removed from his well-grounded purpose, (that Sen. de Vit. which is by the philosopher termed ratio nec dis
sidens, nec hæsitans, a reason that doth not strive, nor stick, he is master of.) But he that neglects this practice, what he hath any title to, lieth dispersed, and laid up in corners unknown to himself, so that himself cannot come readily by it; you can hardly tell where to find him; you must wait his resolution; and when it is told you, you cannot be assured thereof, nor anywise satisfied that he will stick to his word, or his mind: he knows not thoroughly what he would have himself; can you then hope for a certain answer from him ? He cannot well trust himself; can you then rely upon him ?
He will find himself mistaken and crossed in his Sen. Ep.
own choice; can you expect less ? Quid est sapientia ? semper idem velle, atque idem nolle: Constancy to a man's self is, saith he, the very being of wisdom : however, nothing more beseems a man, more commends him to society, and suits him to business, is more pleasant and grateful to those who have to do with him, than such a clear, uniform, steady disposition of mind; such a smooth and even
tenor of action; nothing renders conversation and SERM.
XLV. commerce more unpleasant, than a fickle lubricity of humour, and unaccountable deformity of behaviour: that study therefore is very useful, which conduceth to breed and maintain the one, and which removeth the other.
8. Again, another valuable convenience of this practice is, that it disposeth unto and preserveth a man's mind in a sober temper, agreeable to his state, and to the circumstances into which he is cast; such a temper I mean as that which the Wise Man prescribes, where he saith, In the day of prosperity 14. be joyful; but in the day of adversity consider. It is apt to beget either a comfortable joy, or a wholesome regret, according as the interior condition of his soul (that wherein the chief cause of the one or of the other affection is grounded) doth seasonably and justly require. To be transported with mirth and jollity in a state of grievous misery, when reason itself demands sorrow and pity; to be sad and dumpish when all things flow prosperously; either of those will seem marvellously incongruous, and argue a kind of stupidity in him that so behaves himself. Now there is not in truth any calamity so disastrous as that which befalls us within ourselves, no prosperity so worthily delightful as the good proceeding of affairs in our souls: it is the most excellent pleasure a man is capable of, that which doth spring from the being conscious, that his mind doth vodovobal, as St. John speaks, that 3 John i. 2. is, go well forward in a happy course, that good thoughts freely do spring up, that good inclinations are strong and prevalent, that good habits of mind wax vigorous, that the love of goodness is improved,
SERM. that he generally doth thrive in health and strength XLV.
spiritual. No increase of treasure can affect the covetous, no rising in power and dignity can satisfy the ambitious, no enjoyment of sensual entertainments can ravish the voluptuous man with so true or great content, as the sensible proficiency in virtuous and pious dispositions of soul, growing richer unto God, and stronger in the hopes of his favour, do produce in him that doth affect it, and can perceive it: it is a joy in all respects incomparable ; only wise and reasonable, pure and innocent, firm and durable. As on the other hand if it be so that we discern, that within our hearts bad thoughts do swarm and multiply, bad appetites do sway, bad customs do encroach upon us; that desire of and delight in good things decay; that we become more dark, dull, unsettled in our spiritual apprehensions, more feeble and languid in our prosecutions of virtue, it is a great benefit to have a timely remorse prompting and urging us to endeavour a deliverance from so unhappy a condition : but no man can well either enjoy that comfortable delight, or be affected with this profitable sorrow, who doth not with a careful attention view his heart, and descry how things go there. This consideration mindeth of a further and more general advantage accruing from this practice; which is this, that,
9. A serious inspection into our hearts doth much avail toward the reformation of our hearts and lives; curing the distempers and correcting the vices of them. For to the curing any disease it is requisite to know the complexion and temper of the patient, and the part affected, and the next causes thereof. As the most grievous of bodily diseases are seated in, or do proceed from, the entrails; but not all of SERM.
XLV. them from the same one of them; and the same disease depends upon the distemper sometimes of one, sometimes of another among them: so do all vices (as our Saviour expressly teacheth) issue from Matt. xv. the heart, or interior man; some from one, some from another part or region thereof; and the same from different parts : sometimes natural temper, sometimes false opinion, sometimes evil custom is the root of the same kind of disease; and it is expedient we should know distinctly which of them in particular cases is the root, that accordingly we may understand what method of cure to use, whence to fetch the remedy, where to apply it; for unskilfulness in these points may frustrate our endeavours of amendment. If the mischief proceed from natural inclination, we must not hope ever utterly to subdue it, nor to free ourselves suddenly from the incursions thereof; nor is bare reasoning a proper weapon against it, it being grounded in the original constitution of the soul, either immediately, or as linked to the body; which by no operation of our mind can be soon altered; for, No wisdom, as Seneca speaketh well, can remove the natural vices of body or mind; what is infixed and inbred may be allayed by art, not subdued b. Reason alone and directly is not able to grapple therewith; she will break her teeth upon so tough and knotty matter: it will weary her arms in vain to swim against the rapid current of natural propension; the violent eruptions thereof may indeed somewhat be restrain
+ Nulla sapientia naturalia corporis aut animi vitia ponuntur : quicquid infixum et ingenitum est lenitur arte, non vincitur. Sen. Ep. II.
SERM. ed; occasions of complying therewith may often be XLV. declined; it may in time, and by degrees, be weak
ened by subtracting the food and incentives thereof: but especially devils of this kind must, as our Saviour instructeth us, be ejected by humble, earnest, and frequent invocation of divine assistance; without which other means commonly will prove ineffectual. But if the vice proceed only from ill habit,
or the prevalence of bad custom, we are to oppose Ti Qiriges sò a contrary custom thereto, presently disusing that 3905; ivar
practice, and acting otherwise, so shall we easily Epict.
remove and extirpate it: if neither of these causes are discernible, we may presume our indisposition is derived from ill opinion; and that consequently our best course of redressing it, is to examine the reason of the thing; to get clear and right apprehensions concerning it. For example, if we observe ourselves apt to be frequently transported with anger, let us look into our hearts, and take notice whether the root of that distemper be a choleric complexion, or whether it arise from an habitual indulgence to ourselves of being moved upon slight causes, whereby a peevish humour is grown upon us; or whether it cometh from vain conceits of ourselves, as of persons unto whom extraordinary deference and observance is due, so that no man should presume to dissent from our opinion, or contravene our desire; and as we find, so we must respectively proceed in repressing the causes of this disease; praying, if it arise from nature, to the Omnipotent, (the only Lord and Commander of nature,) that he would by his grace free us from that inflammable temper, and enable us to govern our passion; withal shunning occasions of being provoked; abstaining from such