« 이전계속 »
to have embraced a better religion. I will certainly be one of the last to believe any thing of your lordship that is not good; but I always feared I should be one of the first that should hear it. The time I last waited upon your lordship, I had heard something that afflicted me very sensibly; but I hoped it was not true, and was therefore loath to trouble your lordship about it. But having heard the same from those who, I believe, bear no ill will to your lordship, I now think it my duty to acquaint you with it. To speak plainly, I have been told, that your lordship is of late fallen into a conversation dangerous both to your reputation and virtue, two of the tenderest and dearest things in the world. I believe your lordship to have a great command and conduct of yourself; but I am very sensible of human frailty, and of the dangerous temptations to which youth is exposed in this dissolute age. Therefore I earnestly beseech your lordship to consider, besides the bigh provocation of Almighty God, and the hazard of your soul, whenever you engage in a bad course, what a blemish you will bring upon a fair and unspotted reputation, what uneasiness and trouble you will create to yourself from the severe reflections of a guilty conscience; and how great a violence you will offer to your good principles, your nature, and your education, and to a mind the best made for virtuous and worthy things. And do not imagine you can stop when you please. Experience shows us the contrary, and that nothing is more vain than for men to think they can set bounds to themselves in any thing that is bad. I
kope in God, no temptation has yet prevailed on your lordship so far as to be guilty of any loose act. If it has, as you love your soul, let it not proceed to a babit. The retreat is yet easy and open, but will every day become more difficult and obstructed, God is so merciful, that upon your repentance and resolution of amendment, he is not only ready to forgive what is past, but to assist us by his grace to do better for the future. But I need not enforce these considerations upon a mind so capable of, and easy to receive good counsel. I shall only desire your lordship to think, again and again, how great a point of wisdom it is, in all our actions, to consult the peace of our minds, and to have no quarrel with the constant and inseparable companion of our lives. If others displease us, we may quit their company; but he that is displeased with himself is unavoidably unhappy because he has no way to get rid of himself.
My lord, for God's sake, and your own, think of being happy, and resolve by all means to save yourself from this untoward generation. Determjne rather upon a speedy change of your condition than to gratify the inclinations of your youth in any thing but what is lawful and honourable ; and let me have the satisfaction to be assured from your lordship, either that there has been no ground for this report; or that there shall be none for the future ; which will be the welcomest news to me in the world. I have only to beg of your lordship to believe, that I have not done this to satisfy the formality of my profession ; but tha it proceeds from the truest affection and go
will, that one man can possibly bear to another. I pray God every day for your lordship, with the same constancy and fervour as for myself, and do most earnestly beg that this counsel may be acceptable and effectual. I am, &c.
DR. TILLOTSON TO MR. NICHOLAS HUNT.
Edmonton, Jan. 16, 1688. I AM sorry to understand by Mr. Janeway's letter to my son, that your distemper grows upon you, and that you seem to decline so fast. I am very sensible how much easier it is to give advice against trouble, in the case of another, than to take it in our own.
It hath pleased God to exercise me of late with a very sore trial in the loss of my dear and only child, in which I do perfectly submit to his good pleasure, firmly believing that he always does that which is best. And yet, though reason be satisfied, our passion is not so soon appeased ; and, when nature has received a wound, time must be allowed for the bealing of it. Since that God hath thought fit to give me a nearer summons, and a closer warning of my own mortality, in the danger of an apoplexy; which yet, I thank God for it, hath occasioned no very melancholy · reflexions. But this, perhaps, is more owing to natural temper than philosophy and wise consideration.
Your case I know is very different, who are of a temper naturally melancholy, and under a dis
temper apt to increase it; for both which, great allowances ought to be made. And yet, me. thinks, both reason and religion do offer us considerations of that solidity and strength, as may very well support our spirits under all frailties and infirmities of the flesh; such as these :
That God is perfect love and goodness; that we are not only his creatures, but his children, and as dear to him as to ourselves; that he does not afflict willingly, or grieve the children of men; and that all evils and afflictions, which befal us, are intended for the cure and prevention of greater evils of sin and punishment; and therefore we ought not only to submit to them with patience, as being deserved by us, but to receive them with thankfulness, as being designed by him to do us that good, and to bring us to that sense of him and ourselves, which nothing else would perhaps have done: that the sufferings of this present time are but short and light, compared with that extreme and endless misery, which we have deserved, and with that “ exceeding and eternal weight of glory” which we hope for in the other world : that, if we be careful to make the best preparations for death and eternity, whatever brings us nearer to our end brings us nearer to our happiness; and how. rugged soever the way be, the comfort is that it leads us to our Father's house, where we shall want nothing that we can wish. When we labour under a dangerous distemper which threatens our life, what would we not be content to bear, in order to a perfect recovery, could we but be assured of it? And should we not be willing to endure much more, in order to