« VorigeDoorgaan »
So that as every Man in this Case is taught of God, so he is taught of his own Mind and Confcience. Nay, shall I say more? he is taught of his own Partiality and Self-Love, (which the wickedest Man alive has good Store of,) how he ought to behave himself to his Neighbour upon all Occasions; nor is he only taught these Dictates of Self-love in a dry, speculative Way, as, alas, we learn a great many other Things ; but in a lively fenfible Way, Self-love being very ready and prefsing with it's Dictates. Thus now I have explained to you
this noble Rule, the Measure of all Justice and Charity among Men. I thould, by Way of Application, both shew you how widely Men deviate from this Rule; and affist you with some few Advices to facilitate the Practice of it. But there will make a good Subject of another Discourse.
Now God of his infinite Mercy grant that, laying aside the wicked Principles of Self-love, we may treat our Neighbour as lovingly and kindly, as justly and mercifully, as we think it reasonable that he should treat us. Now to this great God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, &c.
S E R M O N XIII.
MAT. VII. 1 2.
Therefore all Things whatsoever ye would that Men
should do to you, do ye even so to them : for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
AVING explained these Words at the
last Occasion, I might content myself, as I often do in other Cases; to leave the Application to every one's Care, according to the several Occasions and Circumstances of Life. But because I have some Reason to apprehend that the greatest Difficulty, as to this Subject, lies in the right Application of this noble, Rule, and that we want some good Directions for that Purpose, I thought it might well answer the Labour, if I endeavoured to enquire into the Causes why fo excellent a Rule (which seems to be an easy Expedient to fuggest and to facilitate all Duty) is so far from answering the End, that the far greatest Part of Men are governed still by the Principles of Self-love, and have little Confideration of other Men in their Dealings and Transactions with them, and so by some proper Ad
vices to attempt the Redress of this so universal
In some, this proceeds from Ignorance and Want of Skill how to apply the Rule; in others, from Negligence and Inconfideration ; and in a third Sort, from a wilful Blindness, Partiality, and Biass of their own Side, which occasions their using one Measure for their own Actions, and another for other Mens. I shall consider them all three, and offer some Advice for the Cure of them.
1. First, There are some, who really know not how to apply this Rule. For the Rule is, that they are to suppose themselves in their Neighbour's Circumstances, and whatever they think would be due to them in those Circumstances, that they should do the same to their Neighbour. But now there are a great many, who cannot justly tell what Opinion or what Mind they should be of, or what they would think due to them, if they were in their Neighbour's Circumstances. And indeed it must be confessed in general, that it is no easy Matter for a Man, who is now fixed in any certain Sort of Circumstances, to be able to tell truly what Mind he should be of, if his Circumstances were altered. For there is nothing more common than for an Alteration of Estate and Circumstances, to beget likewise an Alteration of Mind and Manners. Is not this a Thing we see confirmed by every Day's Experience ? The same Person, e.g. who, while 'a Servant, thinks his Master and Mistress can never use him kindly enough, and who is continually exclaiming against them for their
Stinginess and Penuriousness, and for their exacting so much Work and Labour; no sooner comes to be Master of Servants himself, but he takes to the very fame Ways of exacting as much Work, and saving as much Victuals and Cloaths from his Servants as he can. The same Man, who, while a private Soldier by Sea or Land, was apt to complain of any usual Gains his Of ficer makes by their Cloaths or Provisions, and thinks it a very unjust Thing, no sooner comes to be an Officer himself, but, as if he had some new Light infused into his Mind, he thinks all these Things just Perquisites. And so it is almost in all Ranks and Relations of Men; Self-love and Self-interest do so blind us, that we are very unequal Judges of every Thing wherein we our selves are to partake of any Benefit, or by which we are to receive any Disadvantage. It was a true saying of the Comedian, Tu fo hic fis, aliter sentias. If you were in my Place, you would be of another Mind. And this is one Reafon, amongst a great many other, that we are all so rash and uncharitable in our Judgments and Censures of one another, because we see not with the same Eyes, but judge of all Persons and Things with those partial Sentiments, as they make for or against our own Inclinations or Interests. Young Men think their old Fathers too severe and too stingy; and old Men think their Sons too careless and too prodigal. Subjects think their Rulers too encroaching and arbitrary; and Rulers think their Subjects too fawcy and stubborn. Buyers think the Sellers too dear and exacting; and the Sellers think the Buyers very unreasonable Judges of their skill, and Hazards, Vol. IV.
and Time, and Stocks. So that the great Difficulty is, how to direct Men to a right Way of applying this noble Rule of my Text, to the several Cases and Circumstances of Life. In order to this, I shall endeavour to offer some good Advice, which, if duly observed, will much facilitate the Practice of this Rule of dealing by others, as we would think it just they should deal by us in the like Circumstances.
1. First then, let us consider, though now we are in other Circumstances, whether in some Time of our Life we have not been either in the very fame Circumstances our Neighbour is now in, or else in Circumstances so very like them, that from the Remembrance thereof, we may be able to answer the Question to ourselves, what we then thought just and reasonable to be done to one in that Condition, e. g. Would a Master know what is the most fitting Behaviour for him to use to his Servants? If he can remember the Time when he himself was a Servant, or an Apprentice, or an Orphan, but used as a Servant, the Sense and Remembrance of the Sentiments he had at that Time, together with the Application of this Rule, will afford him the best Resolution of his Question ; namely, now that he is a Master, that he ought carefully to forbear all such Usage, as his own Judgment, and Reason, and Experience, then told him was harsh and oppressive; and, on the other Hand, that he ought to do those Things to his Servant, which he was then sensible were fair and just towards him. For no abstracted Confiderations of those Things, will furnish us with so just and true a Sense of them, as the real Feeling and Experience