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All men have a right in justice to reqiure one of another the following, which, to give it the greater force, I put it into the form of
An humble Petition of cach Man to bis Neighbor.
OG DEAR NEIGHBOR,
“ IF you can do me no good, pray do me no harm. If you can give me no employ yourself, pray do nothing that shall deprive one of what I have, or hinder me from obtaining an honest livelihood in the world : If you cannot forward me, do not hinder me. Do not interfere with my business, nor meddle with my do. niestic concerns. Do not blast my reputation with false reports, nor wound my peace by seeking occasions against me. If you can say nothing to my advantage, say nothing at all about me ; and if you cannot afford to help me forward, it will cost you nothing to let me alone.” Reasonable as this petition my seem, it is not attended to as it ought to be, or we should not have such need to shew kindness and relieve the distressed.
But we ought not to content ourselves with not doing any harm ; we should seek to do good! to all men as we have opportunity, and according to our ability. We should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, visie the poor, sick, strangers, prisoners, fatherless, widows, and mourners in their affliction : and in general should do to all men as we would they should do to us.
Let me exhort you to shew the same respect to religious societies that think differently from you, as you would wish them to shew to your. selves. Do not rail against them, nor depreciate their ministers, nor judge, nor condemn them, lest ye yourselves be judged and condemned. Consider that all must give an account to God, and that the judge standeth before the door ; & therefore never take upon yourselves to be judges for others, but endeavor to be rea. dy to give up your accounts to God, when he shall call you. Never speak evil of those who are in authority ; not stir up broils, debates and quarrels, in the families, neighborhoods, towns, cities, kingdoms and countries where you dwell.
Never render railing for railing, but, contrariwise, blessing; and how many evil things so. ever are said of you, be sure you never return any harsh or provoking words.
Never let envy, that basest and meanest of vices, dwell in your breasts, nor be harbored in your minds ; but be always filled with meekness and entire resignation to the will of God.
But were I to give you the most advice in the fewest words, it should be in these, Die to your own wills.
This lesson may be hard to learn, but when once it is gained, it is a source of endless happiness : for when once your own will ceases to rule you, a new and delightful dawn of heavenly sensibilities will arise in your souls, and pride and rage will prevail no more. O be hunble! “ Pride was not made for man," says the son of Sirach; and an excellent sentence it is. The
highest angel in heaven is the humblest of all created beings, and the devil is the proudlest. O then beware of pride, which make us devils incarnate ; and learn humility of Jesus, who is meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.
If once we learn to be humble as we ought, nothing can fill us with wrath, for its fuel will then be gone : for when pride ceas. es, wrath must expire. I will therefore lay down this as an infallible rule, by which we may know how far pride has the dominion over us :
Just as much as the words of others make impression upon us, either to puff us up and please us, or to depress us and make us angry, just so far pride is alive in us."
We should therefore embrace amictions, pains, wrongs, reproaches, malice, and all the evils that come upon us, as the means of curing us of pride, and filling us with the deepest hư. mility and self-abasement. Yea, we should turn all our miscarriages and failings into fuel to burn up and destroy our pride.
Thus we should beat Satan with his own weapons, and inake those things designed by him for our des struction, the very means of our salvation.
Give me leave to recommend earnest and fervent prayer as your daily employ. Pray for yourselves, for all saints, for all men; and if you get any good by reading this letter, do not fail to pray for the unworthy writer, who sincerely wishes to serve you all in the bonds of the gospel.
“ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship
of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies ; fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind. Let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
* Finally, brethrei, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, aid if there be any praise, think of these things and practise them. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared : teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ : who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
THE SPIRITUAL STAFF. A Letter wrote by Mr. W. H. to a young man,
who had lately presented him with a walkingstick.
MY DEAR FRIEND JOB,
You were pleased, not long since, to present me with a staff
, of your own making ; with which I am pleased and delighted, and take it with me wherever I go. Now, by way of gratitude and acknowledgment, I send you, in return, a few meditations on a staff, which I call, A staff spiritualized; hoping that mine will he as acceptable to you as your's is to me ; that you may take as much delight and pleasure in mine, as I do in your's, or more ; and that you may be more benefited by it than I possibly can by that which you sent me.
Under the similitude of a walking-stick, I would recommend religion to you in these particulars.
I observe, concerning a staff, that it is an implement for the hand, which is an active memher. The Israelites were commanded to eat the passover, with their staff in their hand. *
is not a thing merely to be looked at, but
* Exod. xii. 11.