Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

him a little more particularly under those se-
veral Respects and Capacities, in which his Up a fer
rightness is principally seen and expreft. :
*, And here we must consider him with re- care
spect to God, and with respect to Men. Un- Bu
der the former Consideration we are to view the
his Religion, under the latter his Civil Con-
versation,;,. ;

And none ought to be surpriz'd, that in the fu Character of an Upright Man, we take notice in of his Religious Carriage towards God. For de in truth, that is a Point which is Essentially i

necessary to Uprightness. He (faith Solomon) wala Prov.14.2..that walketh in Uprightness feareth the Lord for

Indeed, take away Religion and the Fear of
God, and the Foundation of Uprightness is de main
stroy'd. For all the Principles of Conscience, he
and all the. Obligation to live up to those a
Principles, is thereby taken away. He that he
hath no Sense of God and Religion, can never en
think himself bound to observe any Rules in
his Actions and Behaviour, but what are sub-
servient to the carrying on his private sensual
worldly Interest: And consequently, whatever
is inconsistent with that, be it never so base,
and vile, and injurious, he cannot take himself
in point of Duty oblig'd to stick at it, when
he hath the least Temptation to it. The
result of which is, That he may commit all the
Villainies in the World, and yet think him-
self as Innocent, and his Actions as Com-
mendable, as if he had been never fo Honeft
and Virtuous.


· He therefore that is an Upright Man, hath a serious and hearty Sense of God and Rea ligion upon his Spirit, and is above all Things careful to preserve and increase that Sense. But then his Conduct in this Affair is much different from that of ordinary Pretenders to

Religion. .

For he is a Man that doth not content him. self with a mere speculative Belief, or an out. ward Profession of the Truths of Religion; but doth fo far impress them on his Heart, that they influence his whole Life and Converfation. He doth not think it fufficient to be orthodox in his Opinions; or to be a Meme ber of a true Church ; or to be zealous in maintaining and promoting the right Way : But he takes Care to live as he believes' ; to practise suitably to the Profession he makes. As he holds fait the Form of Godliness ; fo he never fails to express the Power of it, in an innocent and a virtuous Life.'

He is a Man, that in the whole Conduct of his Religious Affairs, minds Conscience more than any selfish Consideration. He takes not up his Principles, either out of Humour, or Paffion; to advance his Interest, or to please a Party : But he believes à Thing, because it is true, and profeffeth it, because it is his Duty. In Matters of Religion, he hath the Indifference of a Traveller, whose great con

cernment is to arrive at his journey's End; # but for the Way that leads thither, be it high

or low, all is one to him, so long as he is but. certain that it is the right Way.


· And as he doth not chuse his Religion out of worldly Considerations ; fo neither doth he quit it upon such. ; But is : resolute and constant in bearing Witness to the Truth, against all Opposition whatsoever. As he doth not make Shew of his Religion the more when it is in Fashion, and when it may prove, Advantageous to him ; So, neither doth he practise it the less, when it may prove Ignominious or Dangerous. He is obstinately tenacious of his Principles, when he knows them to be good; and prepared to endure the utmost Extremi, ties, rather than violate the Laws and Didates of his Conscience.

He is a Man that thinks Religion too-Sacred a Thing to be prostituted to mean Purposes; and therefore he never useth it as an Instrur ment for the serving a Turn; never makes it a : Cloak for the covering a private End, though he were sure he could compass his De signs by it. He knows that the greatest Impostures have laid hid under this Mask, and by such Artifices God hath been often made à Patron of the most horrid Villanies. Here

He is a Man that doth not place his Religion in outward Forms and Services ; - on in little cheap Duties that cost him nothing. He hath a nobler Sense of God, than to think that such Things can alone recommend us to him: And therefore his principal Concernment is

about the great indispensable Duties of ChriMat. 23. ftianity; The weightier Matters of the Law

Fristice, and Mercy and Faith. He hath the
Everlasting Notions and Differences of Good


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


andEyil deeply engraven in his Heart; and in the practising or the avoiding them, he chiefly, lays out himself. . ier i

He is a Man,, that doth not pick and chuse out of God's Commandments which to obferve[to thé Neglect of the rest : But endeayours uprightly and sincerely to observe them all. He calls no Sin little, because his Temper inclines him to it, or the Course of his Life leads him more frequently into the Temptations of it; but he hath an hearty uniform Averfion to every, iThing that is Evil. He holds no secret Friendship, or Correspondence with any Enemy of God; but fights as refolufely against his most agreeable and most gainful Sins, as those that he hath less Temps tations to upon those Accounts. :) - He is a hearty Enemy to all Factions in Rei ligion, as knowing the Life and Soul of Chridianity is often eaten out by them. - All dividing Principles he abhors; and as much as

he loves Truth, he is not less concerned for · Peace. And he is better pleased with one In

Atance of his Charity in Composing, or his Zeal in Suppressing Religious Differences, than with Twenty of his Skill and Abilities in difputing them. For he knows that LOVE is more acceptable to God than a right Opinions and to be a Martyr, rather than divide Dionys: and rend' the Church, is not less glorious than Eufeb. - to be a Martyr for refusing to offer Sacrifice to


s i ; 6 - bastly, Heriis à Man Religious without i Noife, and uses no little Arts to make his

L 2


Piety taken Notice of in the World. For he seeks not the Praise of Men in any Thing he doth, but studies to approve himself to God only. And therefore he is ' as careful of his Thoughts, as of his Actions; and hath the fame Fear of God, and Regard of his Duty, when no Man sees him; as when he is in the most publick Places. : .,^!, :;:.:

These are the great Strokes of Uprightness, as to Religion. And whoever makes good these Characters, may unquestionably conclude of himself, that he is an honest Man to God-ward, a truie Israelite indeed, in whom there is no Guile.

i : Come we now, in the Second Place, To take a View of the Upright Man in his civil Conversation : To give some Account of hím, with Reference to his Carriage and Demeanour amongst Men. And here again we must consider him under two Capacities ; as a private Perlon, and as a Magistrate.

And First, as a private Person, The General Rule by which he frames and models his whole Conversation, is such a prudent and diligent Care of himself, and his own Good, as is not only consiftent with, but doth effectually tend to promote the Good and Happiness of all others that he deals with. This is the Fundamental Principle which he lays down to observe in all his Commerce with Mankind. For he considers that every Man in the World hath a Right to be happy as well as himself: And he considers, that, as Things are so contriy'd, that he cannot be happy without the


« AnteriorContinuar »