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Think that your Governors and Teachers may be wifer, and know better what is for the publick Good, and what is fit and decent, than you can poffibly do. Give other Men leave to understand as well as you; and make not your felves the Standard of Wisdom, nor take upon you to bear down all Mankind, or to command in all Companies; nor expect that every one fhould yield to your Humours, and deny their own Inclinations, that they may gratify yours.
Do not pertinaciously purfue any thing wherein you are fingular; examine all things, even those you may have long believed to be true, with diffidence of your felves, and fufpicion of your own Judgments: hear calmly, debate foberly and rationally, and allow other Men their turn to speak, and attend to what is faid against you with as eager a defire of learning, as you do what is difcourfed on your own behalf.
Think how often formerly you have been deceived, and forced to retract your Error; and that when you grow older, and get greater Experience, you may chance alfo in many things to change your Mind. Be not apt to think meanly of, or feverely cenfure, or fu perciliously disdain those that differ from you. Wo unto them, faith the Prophet, that are wife in their own Eyes, and prudent in their own Sight. There is nothing more odious and diftafteful to God or Men, than the imperious do mineering and infulting Spirit and Temper of
the Self-conceited; not yet any greater Sport and Diversion to his Company than his grave Looks, his formal stiff Carriage, his starch'd fet Difcourfe, his lofty Pretences, his cunning Conjectures his Utopian Projects, his fly and crafty Commendations of himfelf, his wife Remarks upon all Things and Perfons and thus the Fool, empty of all true Worth and full of himself, ftruts and fwells and admires himfelf, but is laugh'd at by every body else.
What, on the other fide, is more graceful and amiable, more lovely and charming, than Humility and Modefty, a mean Eftimation of our felves, and a Willingness to yield and condefcend to others? It renders us no lefs acceptable to Men than to God; it hath a fingular Obligingness and Agreeablenefs in it felf, tho we have nothing else to give us advantage.
To conclude all: When we had rather obey than rule, follow than lead; when we disdain not to learn of the meaneft, defpife no body befides our felves, do not think it reasonable to magnify our felves above other Men, but fet a juft value upon those Abilities they are endued with, in Honour preferring others before our felves: When every one thus minds and contents himself with his own Business, and the Offices of his particular Calling, contains himfelf in that Rank God Almighty hath placed him in, ftudies to act his own Part well and to the Life, and is most busy in mending himself; then, and not till then, will the Times mend, and we may expect God's Bleffing upon us, But
But when every common Soldier thinks he can order things better than his Captain, and leaves his own Station to direct his Officer; and every Captain neglects his own Company to teach and inftruct the Commander: what can follow but Mutiny and Disorder, if not utter Confufion? Be not wife in your own Conceit.
The FIFTH SERMON.
St. MATTHEW XV. 19. For out of the Heart proceed evil Thoughts
S it is God alone that knows the Thoughts of Man, fo his Commands alone directly reach to them, and no little Part of Religion confifts in the due Government of them whence it is commonly laid down as a Rule of interpreting any of God's Laws, that tho only the outward Action be exprefly commanded or forbidden, yet it must be extended to the inward Thoughts, Affections and Difpofitions of our Minds; and he that appears very innocent and unblamable as to his Words and Actions, may yet really in the fight of God, and a true account
of Things, ftand guilty of the greatest Wickedness by reafon only of his impure, malicious, or otherwife evil Thoughts.
Thoughts indeed are free from the Dominion or Power of Men; we may conceal or disguise them from all the World, we may deceive the most cunning and fubtil, by fpeaking and acting contrary to our Minds, by pretending what we never mean, by promifing what we never intend; and if we betray not our felves, no Man can find us out, and we ought to judg one of another only by what is vifible and notorious: but yet our Thoughts are abfolutely fubject to God's Authority, are under his Jurifdiction who is omnifcient, who knoweth them afar off; who seeth not as Man feeth, nor judgeth as Man judgeth for the righteous God trieth the Hearts and Reins, difcerning the most hidden Workings and inward Motions of our Souls, is confcious to all the Wandrings of our Fancies and Imaginations, is acquainted with all our private Defigns and Contrivances, and knoweth our fecret Ends and Intentions: fo that in respect of the divine Laws and Judg ment, our very Thoughts are as capable of being really good or really evil as our Actions.
Now Thoughts here I understand in the largeft Senfe, as comprehending all the internal Acts of the Mind of Man, viz. not only fimple Conceits, Apprehenfions, Fancies, bare pondering or mufing of any thing in our Minds, but alfo all the Reafonings, Confulta
tions, Purposes, Refolutions, Defigns, ContriDefires and Cares of our Minds, as oppofed to our external Words and Actions. Whatever is tranfacted wholly within our felves, of which none are confcious but God and our own Souls, I understand here by Thoughts.
But then by evil Thoughts I do not mean the bare thinking of any thing that is evil, or the apprehending or confidering what is finful; for this of it felf doth no more pollute or de file our Souls, than feeing a loathsom ugly Sight doth hurt the Eye.
The Prophet indeed tells us, that God is of purer Eyes than to behold Evil, and that he cannot look on Iniquity, that is, not with the leaft degree of Complacence or Approbation; he cannot endure it, nor will he always bear it: but yet for all this, God feeth all the Sins that are committed in the World; for he beholdeth Mifchief and Spite,to requite it with hisHand, as David tells us, Pfal. 10. 14. and it is neceffary,when he forbids it,punishes it,or pardons it, that Sin must then be the Object of the Divine Understanding in all thofe Acts that are converfant about it. The Eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the Evil and the Good.
Thus our bleffed Saviour, tho he was free from all Sin, yet when he was tempted by the Devil, no doubt had in his Mind the Apprehenfion of that Evil he was inftigated to by that wicked Spirit; it was all at that inftant reprefented to his Thoughts: but fince his Will did not in the least comply with or incline to wards