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positions of the mind be a good deal governed by the motions of the animal spirit ; our souls will be serene or cloudy, our tempers volatile or phlegmatick, and our inclinations sóber of irregular, according to the briskness or slug! gishness of the circulation of the animal fluids, whatever may be the natural and immediate cause of that, and therefore we must resolve to avoid all occasions that may raise any dangerous ferments there ; which, when once rais. ed, will excite in us very different thoughts and dispositions from those we now have ; which, together with the force of a fair opportunity and urgent temptation, may overset our reason and resolution, and betray us into those sinful indulgences which will wound the conscience, stain the soul, and create bitter remorse in our cooler reflections. Pious thoughts and purposes in the morning will set a guard upon the soul, and fortify it under all the temptations of the day.
But such self inspection, however, should not fail to make part of our evening devotions. When we should review and examine the sey. eral actions of the day, the various tempers and dispositions we have been in, and the occasions that excited them. It is an advice worthy of a christiani, though it first dropped from a heathen pen, that before we betake ourselves to rest, we review and examine all the passages of the day, that we may have the comfort of what we have done'aright, and may redress what we find to
have been ámiss; and make the shipwreeks of one day be as marks to
as marks to direct our course on another. A practice that hath been recommended by many of the heathen moralists of the greatest name, as Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Antoninus, and particularly Pythagoras, in the verses that go under his name, and are called his golden verses; wherein he advises his scholars every night to recollect the passages of the day, and ask themselves these questions :
Wherein have I transgressed this day? What have I done? What duty have I omitted, &c.? Şeneca recommends the same practice. Sectius (saith he) did this; at the close of the day, before he betook himself to rest, he addressed his soul in the following manner : What evil of thine hast thou cured this day ? What vice withstood ? In what respect art thou better? Passion will cease or become more cool, when it knows every day it is to be thus called to account. What can be more advantageous than this constant custom of searching, through the day ?--And the same course (saith Seneca) I take myself ; and every day sit in jadgment on myself; and at even, when all is hush and
I make a scrutiny into the day ; Jook over my words and actions, and hide nothing from myself; conceal none of my mistakes through fear ; for why should I, when I have it in my power to say thus :: This once I forgive thee; but see thou do so no more. In such a dispute I was too keen; do not for the future contend
solved against this eighbour.
with ignorant men;
men; they will not be convinced, because they are unwilling to show their ignorance. Such a one I reproved with too much freedom al whereby I have not reformed, but exasperated him
remember hereafter to be more mild in your censures ; and consider not only whether what you say be true, but whether the person you say it to, can bear to hear the truth.' Thus far that excellent moralist.og an
Let us take a few other specimens of a more pious and christian turn, from a judicious and devout writer.
at writer.I. av. mohad
This morning when I arose, instead of ap-
I indulged to very foolish,
Nu vol torr on
I have lost several hours this day in mere sauntering and idleness.--This day I had an instance of mine own infirmity, that I was a little sur: prised at, and I am sure I ought to be humbled for.1. The behaviour of , from whom I can expect nothing but humour, indiscretion, and folly, strangely ruffled me; and that after Í have had warning over and over again. What à poor, impotent, contemptible creature am I! This day I have been kept in a great measure from my too frequent failings. I had this day very comfortable assistance from God, upon an occasion not a little trying --what shall I render??
3. See that the mind be in the most composed and disengaged frame it can, when we enter upon this business of self judgmenti. Choose a time when it is most free from passion, and most at leisure from the cares and affairs of life. A judge is not like to bring a cause to a good issue, that is either intoxicated with liquor on the bench, or has his mind distracted with other cares, when he should be intent on the trial. Remember you sit in judgment upon yourself
, and have nothing to do at present but to sift the evidence which conscience may bring in, either for or against you, in order to pronounce a just sentence, which is of much greater concernment to you at present than any thing else can be ; and therefore it should be transacted with the utmost care, composure, and attention. ism.
4. Beware of partiality; and the influence of self love, in this weighty business ; which if