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woman that is dressed with anger and impatience, wears pride under their robes, and immodesty above.
8. Hither also is to be reduced singular and affected walking, proud, nice, and ridiculous gestures of body, painting and lascivious dressings; all which together God reproves by the prophet, “ The Lord saith, because the daughters of Sion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and make a tinkling with their feet; therefore the Lord will smite her with a scab of the crown of the head, and will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments e.” And this duty of modesty, in this instance, is expressly enjoined to all Christian women by St. Paul, “ That women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearl, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works f.”
9. As those meats are to be avoided, which tempt our stomachs beyond our hunger; so also should prudent persons decline all such spectacles, relations, theatres, loud noises and outcries, which concern us not, and are besides our natural or moral interest. Our senses should not, like petulant and wanton girls, wander into markets and theatres without just employment; but when they are sent abroad by reason, return quickly with their errand, and remain modestly at home under their guide, till they be sent again %.
10. Let all persons be curious in observing modesty towards themselves, in the handsome treating their own body, and such as are in their power, whether living or dead. Against this rule they offend who expose to others their own, or pry into others' nakedness beyond the limits of necessity, or where a leave is not made holy by a permission from God. It is also said, that God was pleased to work a miracle about the body of Epiphanius, to reprove the immodest curiosity of an unconcerned person, who pried too near, when charitable people were composing it to the grave. In all these cases and particulars, although they seem little, yet our duty and concernment is not little. Concerning which I use the words of
e Isa. iii. 16–18. ' 1 Tim. ii. 9. & Edipum curiositas in extremas conjecit calamitates.-Plut.
the son of Sirach, “ He that despiseth little things, shall perish by little and little.”
since Gose the publico complaious can
SECT. VI. Of Contentedness in all Estates and Accidents. Virtues and discourses are, like friends, necessary in all fortunes; but those are the best, which are friends in our sadnesses, and support us in our sorrows and sad accidents ; and in this sense, no man that is virtuous can be friendless ; nor hath any man reason to complain of the Divine Providence, or accuse the public disorder of things, or his own felicity, since God hath appointed one remedy for all the evils in the world, and that is a contented spirit: for this alone makes a man pass through fire, and not be scorched; through seas, and not be drowned ; through hunger and nakedness, and want nothing. For since all the evil in the world consists in the disagreeing between the object and the appetite, as when a man hath what he desires not, or desires what he hath not, or desires amiss; he that composes his spirit to the present accident, hath variety of instances for his virtue, but none to trouble him; because his desires enlarge not beyond his present fortune; and a wise man is placed in the variety of chances, like the nave or centre of a wheel, in the midst of all the circumvolutions and changes of posture, without violence or change, save that it turns gently in compliance with its changed parts, and is indifferent which part is up, and which is down; for there is some virtue or other to be exercised, whatever happens, either patience or thanksgiving, love or fear, moderation or humility, charity or contentedness, and they are every one of them equally in order to his great end and immortal felicity: and beauty is not made by white or red, by black eyes and a round face, by a straight body and a smooth skin, but by a proportion to the fancy. No rules can make amiability; our minds and apprehensions make that; and so is our felicity: and we may be reconciled to poverty and a low fortune, if we suffer contentedness and the grace of God to make the proportions. For no man is poor that does not think himself so : but if, in a full fortune, with impatience he desires more, he proclaims his wants and his beggarly condition".
because this grace of contentedness was the sum of all.
a moral philosophy, and a great duty in Christianity, aną of most universal use in the whole course of our lives, and the only instrument to ease the burdens of the world and the enmities of sad chances, it will not be amiss to press
by the proper arguments, by which God hath bound it upon our spirits, it being fastened by reason and religion, by duty and interest, by necessity and conveniency, by example, and by the proposition of excellent rewards, no less than peace and felicity.
1. Contentedness in all estates is a duty of religion ; it 18 the great reasonableness of complying with the Divine Providence, which governs all the world, and hath so ordered us in the administration of his great family. He were a strange fool, that should be angry, because dogs and sheep need no shoes, and yet himself is full of care to get some. God hath supplied those needs to them by natural provisions, and to thee by an artificial: for he hath given thee reason to learn a trade, or some means to make or buy them, so that it only differs in the manner of our provision; and which had you rather want, shoes or reason ? And my patron, that hath given me a farm, is freer to me, than if he gives a loaf ready baked. But, however, all these gifts come from him, and therefore it is fit he should dispense them as he pleases; and if we murmur here, we may, at the next melancholy, be troubled, that God did not make us to be angels or stars. For if that which we are or have do not content us, we may be troubled for every thing in the world, which is besides our being or our possessions.
God is the master of the scenes; we must not choose which part we shall act; it concerns us only to be careful that we do it well, always saying, “ If this please God, let it be as it is i :” and we who pray, that God's will may be done in earth as it is in heaven, must remember, that the angels do whatsoever is commanded them, and go wherever they are sent, and refuse no circumstances : and if their emplov ment be crossed by a higher degree, they sit down in de and rejoice in the event; and when the angel of Judea conta
not prevail in behalf of the people committed to his charge", because the angel of Persia opposed it, he only told the story at the command of God, and was as content, and worshipped with as great an ecstasy in his proportion, as the prevailing spirit. Do thou so likewise: keep the station, where God hath placed you, and you shall never long for things without, but sit at home, feasting upon the Divine Providence and thy own reason, by which we are taught, that it is necessary and reasonable to submit to God.
For is not all the world God's family? Are not we his creatures? Are we not as clay in the hand of the potter? Do we not live upon his meat, and move by his strength, and do our work by his light? Are we any thing, but what we are from him ? And shall there be a mutiny among the flocks and herds, because their lord or their shepherd chooses their pastures, and suffers them not to wander into deserts and unknown ways? If we choose, we do it so foolishly, that we cannot like it long, and most commonly not at all: but God, who can do what he pleases, is wise to choose safely for us, affectionate to comply with our needs, and powerful to execute all his wise decrees. Here therefore is the wisdom of the contented man, to let God choose for him : for when we have given up our wills to him, and stand in that station of the battle, where our great general hath placed us, our spirits must needs rest, while our conditions have, for their security, the power, the wisdom, and the charity of God. . 2. Contentedness, in all accidents, brings great peace of spirit, and is the great and only instrument of temporal felicity. It remores the sting from the accident, and makes a man not to depend upon chance, and the uncertain dispositions of men for his well-being, but only on God and his own spirit. We ourselves make our fortunes good or bad !, and when God lets loose a tyrant upon us, or a sickness, or scorn, or a lessened fortune, if we fear to die, or know not to be patient, or are proud, or coretous, then the calamity sits heavy on us. But if we know how to manage a noble principle, and fear not death so much as a dishenest action, and think impatienee a worse evil than a fever, and pride to be the biggest disgrace, and porerty to be infinitely desirable
Dan. 13. I'O Ses risus, azi dire, s'azzada Shias res ruese -ATÜR. ER
before the torments of covetousness; then we whó now think vice to be so easy, and make it so familiar, and think the cure so impossible, shall quickly be of another mind, and reckon these accidents amongst things eligible.
But no man can be happy, that hath great hopes and great fears of things without, and events depending upon other men, or upon the chances of fortune. The rewards of virtue are certain, and our provisions for our natural support are certain ; or if we want meat till we die, then we die of that disease, and there are many worse than to die with an atrophy or consumption, or unapt and coarser nourishinent. But he that suffers a transporting passion concerning things within the power of others, is free from sorrow and amazement no longer than his enemy shall give him leave; and it is ten to one but he shall be smitten then and there, where it shall most trouble him : for so the adder teaches us, where to strike, by her curious and fearful detending of her head. The old Stoics, when you told them of a sad story, would still answer ad agos mé; “ What is that to me? — Yes, for the tyrant hath sentenced you also to prison.- Well, what is that? He will put a chain upon my leg; but he cannot bind my soul.- No: but he will kill you. Then I will die. If presently let me go, that I may presently be freer than himself : but if not till anon or to-morrow, I will dine first, or sleep, or do what reason or nature calls for, as at other times.” This, in Gentile philosophy, is the same with the discourse of St. Paul “, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound : every where and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry; both to abound ard suffer need."
We are in the world, like men playing at tables; the chance is not in our power, but to play it is; and when it is fallen we must manage it as we can; and let nothing trouble us, but when we do a base action, or speak like a fool, or think wickedly: these things God hath put into our powers; but concerning those things which are wholly in the choice of another, they cannot fall under our deliberation, and therefore neither are they fit for our passions. My fear may
m Phil. iv. 11, 12. 1 Tim. vi. 6. Hebr. xiii. 5. * Chi bene mal non può soffrir, à grand honor non può venir.