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while he keeps his Affections and Appetites in fubjection to his Will, and his Will to his Reason, he is calm and quiet, and enjoys within himself perpetual Eafe and Tranquillity; But when once he breaks this order, and fuffers his Paffions or his Appetites to ufurp the Place of his Reason; to impofe contrary Ends to it, or prescribe contrary Means; his Faculties, like disjoynted Members, are in perpetual Anguish and Anxiety. And hence it is that in the Courfe of a wicked Life, we feel fuch restlefs Contentions between our Spirit and Flesh, between the Law in our Minds, and the Law in our Members; because our Nature is out of Tune, and its Faculties are displaced and difordered, and that fovereign Principle of Reafon which should fway and govern us, is depofed, and made a affal to our Appetites and Paffions. For in all our evil Courfes we chufe and refufe, refolve and act, not as Reafon directs us, but as Senfe and Paffian biaftes us; and our Reafon having nothing to do in all this Brutish Scene of Action, either fleeps it out, without minding or regarding, or elfe fits by as an idle Spectator of it, and only cenfures and condemns it. And it is this that caufes all that Tumult and Contest that is in our Natures; and till, by the Exercife of Prudence, our Facul ties are reduced, and fet in order again, our Mind will be like our Body, while its Bones are out of Joint, continually refleß and unquiet. And therefore to remove this great Indifpofition of our Na-' ture to Happiness,Prudence is required of us,as one of the principal Virtues of the Heavenly Part of the Chriftian Life:
For thus our Saviour injoyns that we fhould be wife as Serpents as well as harmleß as Doves, Mat. x. 16. which though it be here prescribed in a particular Cafe only, viz. that of Perfecution; yet fince the Reafon of it extends to all other Cafes, and it is fit we fhould be Prudent in all our Undertakings as well as in fuffering Perfecution, it is upon that account equivalent to an univerfal Command. So alfo Eph. v. 15. See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wife, i.e. In the whole Courfe of your Actions take heed that ye follow the Guidance of your Reason, and do not fuffer your felves to be feduced by your blind Paffions and Appetites, which are meer Ignes Fatui, or the Guides of Fools. And accordingly the Apoftle prays for his Chriftian Coloffians, That they might be filled with the Knowledge of God in all Wif dom and spiritual Understanding, Col.i.g. i.e. That they might have fuch a knowledge of Gods will as might render them truly prudent, and caufe them to pursue the beft Ends by the best Means. And though this Virtue feldom occurs in the new Teftament under its own Name, yet, as in the above named places it is expreffed by Wisdom, fo it is elsewhere by Knowledge, as particularly, 2 Cor. vi. 6. where he commands the Ministers of the Church to approve themselves fuch by feveral Virtues, and particularly by Pureneß, i. e. Continence, and by Knowledge, i.e. by Prudence. For, befides that Knowledge as it fignifies an UnderStanding of Divine Things, was not a Virtue in the Apostles, but a Gift of God, and fo not proper to be enumerated amongst these Virtues; there is hardly any Account to be given why the Apoftle fhould
fhould place Knowledge in the midst of so many Moral Virtues, if he did not thereby mean the Virtue of Prudence, which is, as it were, the Eye and Guide of all the other Virtues. So again, 2 Pet. i, 6. where he bids us add to Faith, Virtue, i. e. Fortitude, or Conftancy of Mind; and to Virtue Knowledge, and to Knowledge Temperance; By Knowledge it is highly probable he means Prudence, because he places it in the midst of those two Virtues which border nearest upon Prudence.
Now that the Practice of this Virtue is a moft proper and effectual Means of our Everlasting Happineß, is evident from hence; Because the Practice of it is a conftant Exercife of Reafon. For to act prudently in Religion is to follow the best Reafon; to aim at Heaven, which is the beft end, and direct our Actions thither by the best Rules; 'Tis to confult what is best for our felves, and how it may be most effectually obtained. In a word, it is to intend the chiefeft Good above All, and to level our Lives and Actions most directly towards it. This is Religious Prudence in the General; and as for thofe Particulars of it, which we are obliged to exercife in the feveral States, Relations, and Circumftances wherein we are placed, they all confift in doing what is moft fit and reasonable with refpect to that Great and Blessed End.
For by living in the continual Practice of Religious Prudence, we fhall by degrees habituate our felves to a Life of Reafon, and fhake off that drowfie Charm of Senfe and Paffion which hangs upon our Minds, and renders our Faculties fo, dull and unactive, And having difufed our felves a while to obey their blind and imperious Dictates, our Reafon
fon will re-affume its Throne in us, and direct all our Aims and Endeavours to what is Fitteft and most Reasonable. For we being finite and limited Beings, cannot operate diver's ways with equal 'vigour at once; and our rational and fenfitive propenfions are made in fuch a regular and aquilibrious order,that proportionably as the one does increase in activity, the others always decay; and fo ac cordingly as we abate in the ftrength of our Brutish, we fhall improve in the vigour of our Rational Faculties. But to act futably to their Natures being the End of all our Faculties and Powers of Action, the God of Nature to excite then thereto, has founded all their Pleasure in the vigorous Exercife of them upon fuitable Objects. Since therefore our Reafon is the best and noblest of all Powers of Altion, to be fure the greatest Pleasure we are capable of, muft fpring out of the Exercife of our Reafon. Wherefore fince Prudence confifts in the Ufe of our Reason, the Practice thereof must needs effectually contribute to our Pleafure and Happineß. For Use and Exercife will mightily ftrengthen amd improve our Reason, and render it not only more apprebenfive of what is fit and reasonable; but also more perfwafive and prevalent; and when once It is improved into a prevailing Principle of Action, and hath acquired not only Skill enough to prefcribe what is right to us, but alfo Power enough to perfmade us to comply with its prefcriptions; to chufe and refufe, to love and hate, to hope and fear, defire and delight, and regulate all our Actions by its Laws and Dictates, then are we entring upon our Heaven and Happineß,
For that which makes us unhappy is, that our finful and unreafonable Affections do fo hamper and intangle us, that we cannot freely exercife our Faculties upon fuch Objects as are most fuitable to them; that our Minds and Wills are fo fettered by our vicious Inclinations, that we cannot exert them upon that which is most worthy to be Known and Chofen, without a great deal of Difficulty and Distraction. But now under the Conduct of our Reafon our Faculties will by Degrees recover their Freedom, and difengage themselves from thofe vicious Encumbrances which do foclog and interrupt them in their Rational Motions. And when this is throughly effected, we are in full Poffeflion of the Heavenly State, which, as I have fhewed, confists in the free and vigorous Exercife of our Rational Faculties upon the best and worthieft Objects. For when once our Paffions and Appetites are perfectly fubdued to our Reason, all our Rational Faculties will be free, and every one will move towards its proper Object without any Lett or Hindrance; our Understanding will be fwallowed up in a fixt Contemplation of the fublimeft Truth; our Wills, entirely refigned to the Choice and Embraces of the truest Good; our Affections, unalterably devoted to the Love and Fruition of the most excellent Beauty and Perfection; and in this confifts the Happy State of Heaven; So that to live prudently, or, which is the fame, to govern our felves by our Beft Reason, is both a neceffary and effectual means of attaining to the Heavenly State:
II. Another Virtue which appertains to a Man, confidered meerly as a Rational Animal, is Mode