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2. To renew my covenant with God in Christ. (1.) By renewed acts of faith receiving Christ,
and rejoicing in the height of that relation. (2). Resolution of being one of his people, doing
him allegiance. 3. Adoption and prayer.
4. Setting a watch over my own infirmities and passions; over the snares laid in our way. Perimus licitis.
There must be an employment;—two kinds.
1. Our ordinary calling, to serve God in it. It is a service to Christ, though never so mean. Colossians ïïi. Here, faithfulness, diligence, cheerfulness. Not to overlay myself with more business than I can bear.
2. Our spiritual employments: mingle somewhat of God's immediate service in this day.
1. Meat and drink; moderation, seasoned with somewhat of God.
2. Recreations. (1.) Not our business. (2.) Suitable. No games, if given to covetousness or passion.
1. Beware of wandering, vain, lustful thoughts : fly from thyself, rather than entertain these.
2. Let thy solitary thoughts be profitable. View the evidences of thy salvation ; the state of thy soul;
the coming of Christ; thy own mortality: it will make thee humble and watchful.
Do good to them. Use God's name reverently. Beware of leaving an ill impression of ill example. Receive good from them, if more knowing.
Cast up the accounts of the day. If ought be amiss, beg pardon. Gather resolution of more vigilance. If well, bless the mercy and grace of God, that hath supported thee.
Bishop Burnet adds—“ These notes have an imperfection in the wording of them, which shows they were only intended for his privacies. No wonder a man, who set such rules to himself, became quickly very eminent and remarkable.”
The strict, uniform, and self-controlling spirit of Sir Matthew Hale is illustrated by his biographer in several other circumstances of his life, during both his younger and his more-advanced years. The following are selected, as peculiarly descriptive of this eminent character:
From the first time that the impressions of religion settled deeply in his mind, he used great caution to conceal it; not only in obedience to the rules given by Our Saviour, of fasting, praying, and giving alms in secret, but from a particular distrust he had of himself: for he said, he was afraid he should, at some time or other, do some enormous thing, which, if he were looked on as a very religious man, might cast a reproach on the profession of it, and give great advantages to impious men to blaspheme the name of God. “ But a tree is known by its fruits;" and he lived not only free of blemishes or scandal, but shined in all the parts of his conversation: and perhaps the distrust he was in of himself contributed not a little to the purity of his life; for he, being thereby obliged to be more watchful over himself, and to depend more on the aids of the Spirit of God, no wonder if that humble temper produced those excellent effects on him.
He was naturally a quick man; yet, by much practice on himself, he subdued that to such a degree, that he would never run suddenly into
conclusion concerning any matter of importance. “ Festina lente" was his beloved motto; which he ordered to be engraven on the head of his staff: and was often heard to say, That he had observed many' witty men run into great errors, because they did not give themselves time to think; but, the heat of imagination making some notions appear in good colours to them, they, without staying till that cooled, were violently led by the impulses it made on them: whereas calm and slow men, who pass for dull in the common estimation,
could search after truth, and find it out, as with more deliberation, so with greater certainty. .,
He usually invited his poor neighbours to dine with him, and made them sit at table with himself; and if any of them were sick, so that they could not come, he would send meat, warm, to them from his table : and he did not only relieve the poor in his own parish, but sent supplies to the neighbouring parishes, as there was occasion for it; and he treated them all with the tenderness and familiarity, that became one who considered they were of the same nature with himself, and were reduced to no other necessities but such as he himself might be brought to. But for common beggars, if any of these came to him, as he was on his walks, when he lived in the country, he would ask such as were capable of working, “Why they went about so idly?” If they answered, “It was because they could find no work,” he often sent them to some field, to gather all the stones in it, and lay them on a heap, and then would pay them liberally for their pains. This being done, he used to send his carts, and caused them to be carried to such places of the highway as needed mending.
Having lost one of his sons, the manner of whose death had some grievous circumstances in it, one coming to see him, and condole, he said to him, “Those were the effects of living long : such must look to see many sad and unacceptable things:" and having said that, he went to other discourses, with his ordinary freedom of mind: for though he had a temper
so tender, that sad things were apt enough to make deep impressions upon him, yet the regard he had to the wisdom and providence of God, and the just estimate he made of all external things, did, to admiration, maintain the tranquillity of his mind; and he gave no occasion, by idleness, to melancholy to corrupt his spirit; but, by the perpetual bent of his thoughts, he knew well how to divert them from being oppressed with the excesses of sorrow.
He had a generous and noble idea of God in his mind; and this he found, above all other considerations, preserve his quiet. And, indeed, that was so well established in him, that no accidents, how sudden soever, were observed to discompose him: of which an eminent man, of that profession, gave me this instance:
In the year 1666, an opinion did run through the nation, that the end of the world would come that year. This, whether set on by astrologers, or advanced by those who thought it might have some relation to the number of the beast in the Revelation, or promoted, by men of ill designs, to disturb the public peace, had spread mightily among the people; and Judge Hale, going that year the western circuit, it happened that, as he was on the bench at the assizes, a most terrible storm fell out very unexpectedly, accompanied with flashes of lightning and claps of thunder, that the like will hardly fall out in an age: upon which a whisper or a rumour ran through the crowd—“That now was the world to end, and the Day of Judgment to