Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

yourselves and those that hear it, and bring difrepu tation to thofe that use it.

15. Never ufe any prophane fpeeches, nor make jefts of Scripture expreffions; when you use the names of God or of Chrift, or any paffages or words of the Holy Scripture, ufe them with reverence and ferioufnefs, and not lightly, vainly, or fcurriloufly, for it is taking of the Name of God in vain.

16. If you hear of any unfeemly expreffions used in religious exercifes, you must be careful to forget, and not to publifh them; or, if you at all mention them, let it be with pity and forrow, not with derifion or reproach.

17. Do not upbraid any, or deride any man for a pious, ftrict, or religious converfation; for, if he be fincere, you difhonour God and injure him; if he be an hypocrite, yet it is more than you know; or, if you know him to be fuch, yet his external piety and ftrictnefs is not his fault, but his diffimulation and hypocrify; and though his hypocrify be to be detefted, his external piety and religion is to be commended, not derided.

18. Have as little converfation as is poffible with obftinate heretics, or perfons obftinately perverted in matters of religion; as Papists, Quakers, Anabaptifts, Antinomians, Enthufiafts, and the like; but efpecially converse not with them in matters of religion, for, inftead of converting them by your perfuafions to the truth, you shall but harden them the more, and endanger yourself. They are to be dealt withal in these matters, only by perfons of great abilities; for a perverted, corrupted mind, and obftinate fpirit, carries in it a contagion, as infectious and much more dangerous than the plague in the body, where their opinions meet with a young and weak opponent.

And thus, Children, as the time and my remembrance would give me leave, I have fet down fome obfervations concerning this fubject, for

your direction

and

and practice; what is wanting you may abundantly fupply by reading the wife counfels of Solomon, in his book of Proverbs. Read thefe my directions often, think of them ferioufly, and practife them diligently; though they seem but dry and ordinary things, yet you will find them useful in your converfation, which will be every day more evident unto you, as your judgment, understanding, and experience increase.

I have but little more to write at this time, but to wish and command you to remember my former counfels that I have often given you; begin and end the day with private prayers to God upon your knees; read the Scriptures often and seriously; be attentive to the public worship of God in the church; keep yourselves still in fome good employment, for idleness is the devil's opportunity, and the nursery of vain and finful thoughts, which corrupt the mind, and disorder the life. Let the Girls take care of fuch business of my family as is proper for them, and their recreations may be walking abroad in the fields in fair or frofty mornings; fome work with their needle, reading of hiftory or herbals, setting of flowers or herbs, practising their mufic, and fuch innocent and harmless exercises. Let the Boys be diligent at their books; and when they have performed their tasks, I do not deny them fuch recreations as may be healthy, safe, and harmless. Be you all kind and loving one to another, honouring your minister, not bitter or harfh to my fervants; be refpectful to all, bear my abfence patiently, cheerfully, and faithfully; do all things as if I were prefent among you, and beheld you, for you have a greater Father than I am, that always, and in all places, beholds you, and knows your hearts and thoughts. Study to requite the love, and care, and expence of your father for you, with dutifulness, obfervance, and obedience to him; and account it an honour that God hath given you an opportunity, in my abfence, by your care, faithfulness, and induftry, to pay fome part that debt, that by the laws of nature and gratitude

of

you

you owe unto me. Be frugal in my family, but let there be no want; provide conveniently for the poor that come to my door. And I pray God to fill all your hearts with his grace, fear, and love, and to let you fee the advantage and comfort of ferving him; and that his bleffing, and prefence, and comfort, and direction, and providence, be with you, and over you

all.

I am your ever loving father,

MATTHEW HALE.

LETTER IV.

ΤΟ

ONE OF HIS GRANDSONS,

AFTER HIS RECOVERY FROM THE SMALL-POX.

SON

ALTHOUGH, by reafon of the contagioufnefs of your disease, and the many dependents. I have upon me, I thought it not convenient to come unto you during your fickness, yet I have not been wanting in my carneft prayers to Almighty God for you, nor in ufing the best means I could for your recovery.

It hath pleafed God to hear my prayers for you, and above means and hopes now to reftore you to a competent degree of health, for which I return unto him my humble and hearty thanks; and now you are almost ready to come abroad again, therefore I have thought fit to write this little book to you for these reafons:

1. Because it is not yet feafonable for you to come to me, in refpect of these fame reafons above-mentioned, which hitherto have reftrained my coming to

you.

2. Because, at your coming abroad, you will be fubject to temptations, by young and inconfiderate company, which, inftead of ferious thankfulness to God for his mercy to you, might perchance perfuade you to a vain and light jollity. And I thought fit to fend you thefe lines to prevent fuch inconfiderate im

preffions,

preffions, and to meet you just at your coming abroad, to season you with more wife and ferious principles.

3. Because you are even now come out of a great and fore vifitation, and therefore, in all probability, in the fittest temper to receive the impreffions of a ferious epifle from your father.

And I have chofen to put it into this little volume, because it is fomewhat too long for a letter, and may be better preferved for your future use and memory.

God Amighty hath brought you to the very gates of death, and fhewed you the terror and danger of it; and, after that he had fhewn you this fpectacle of your own mortality, he hath marvellously refcued and delivered you from that danger, and given you life, even from the dead, fo that you are as a man new born into the world, or returned to life again, which now you feem, as it were, to begin. You have paffed through those two great difpenfations of the Divine Providence, thofe two great experiments, that God is pleased sometimes to use towards the children of men; namely, correction and deliverance, his rod and staff. And therefore, in all reasonable conjecture, this is the moft seasonable time to give you a lecture upon both; and those admonitions which may be, render the one and the other profitable unto you. And this I fhall endeavour to do in thefe following lines:

Firft. You fhall not need to fear that I intend to upbraid you with the errors of your youth, or to expoftulate with you touching them; for I do affure you I do from my heart forgive you all your follies and mifcarriages. And I do affure myself that you have repented of them, and refolved against them for the time to come; and that thereupon God Almighty hath alfo fully forgiven what is paft: and this is a great affurance thereof to me, in that he hath fo wonderfully restored you, and given you, as it were, a new life, wherein you may obey and ferve him better than ever you yet did. And therefore if in this letter there be any touches concerning former vanities, affure yourself

they

« AnteriorContinuar »