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feel and know, is nothing to us except others -be acquainted with it also.
3147 Good Nature is the very Air of a good Mind, the Sign of a large and a generous Soul, and the peculiar Soil on which Virtue prospers. But the World having a Notion of it that is very Wrong, and of mischievous Consequences, I desire to set them right, and let them know, that that is not to be called good Nature by which Men become impotent and uncapable of withstanding any Importunities, be they never so unreasonable, be they never so dangerous, er refufing any Temptations; but as if they were crippled in their Powers, or crazed in their Minds, are wholly governed by Example, and sneakingly conform themselves to other Mens Humours and Vices; and in a Word, become every Man's Fool that hath the Confidence to impose upon them. Now this is so far from that lovely masculine Temper of true Complaisance, that it is indeed no better than a childish Bashfulness, a feeble Pufilanimity, a silly Softnefs of Mind, which makes a Man first the Slave and Property, and then at Last the Scorn of his Company.
3148 Thou haft.no Reason to cease thy Study and Enquiry into the Word and Will of God, as if thou knowest already what is necesfary to be known. I have heard some excuse themselves from such Studies by a Wish, that they could practise what they already know, and then they should not doubt but to do well enough. Such Backwardness and Excuses argue only that their Conscience is already troublesome to them for their Breach and Neglect of Duty; and they are afraid if it should be further
informed, it would give them greater Disquiety or they should be constrained to that Strictness of Life, that would be very.uneasy to them, fo that tho' they wish they could practise what they know ; yet indeed, the Reason why they de kre not to increase in Knowledge is, because they have no real Mind to mend their Practice nor be bound up to that Exactness of holy walking, that the Word requires.
3149 Thou may'st poffibly meet sometime or other with a certain grave supercilious $oit of a Gentleman, who pretending great Goodness to thee, but really intending great Glory to himself, will be continually haunting and persecuting thee with his Wisdom, and Advice. I suppose I need not forewarn thee to keep out of his Walk, for thy own Uneasiness will do it enough; he is a dreadful Friend; he'll take the Advantage of his own Experience ; he'll propose all his Counsels as Laws, and with the Air of a Master, that takes away the Privilege of examining what he says, will endeavour to force thy Mind by Authority, rather than win it by Reason; he'll never fail to give himself for an Example, and apply to all his Purposes his Observations of former Times, when he was a flourishing young Man ; he'll bring his own Adventures for Proofs. He has feen all that he advances; every Thing that he fays is extraordinary, and worthy to be laid up. And the feat of not saying enough to persuade, makes him always say too much to be believed or regarded.
3150 Lay aside Constraint (in Company) and Subtilty, it's enough in common Conversation,
1 [ 218 ] to preferve Decency and Order; as to the reft, "thou may'ft flag as low as the Earth, if they seem to defire it, or do so themselves. The Learned often stumble at this Stone, they will be always shewing their utmost Skill, and how much they excel the rest; and so they strew their Discourses all over with Flowers of their Eloquence, and quote Plato and Aquinas in Things, that the first Man they meet could determine as well; the Learning that cannot penetrate their Sculls, hangs still upon their Tongues.
3151. When thou wouldest make a Jest to excite Laughter, 'twill be best to speak in a cold and serious Manner, that the Company may be pleasingly surprized in seeing thee Serious in the Midst of Persons who rend the Air with Laughter. Yet I have observ'd some who laugh’d so heartily all the way they were uttering of witty Things, that they made the Company the best Divertisement in the World ; but then their way and Manner became only themselves, and was not to be imitated by others. As I conceived the Thing which took so much, was, that they shewed nothing of Pride and Conceitedness, or any Thing of hidden Preference of themselves before the rest (which would have given Disgust) but shewed all along a wonderful Sweetness of Nature, and Gaiety of Temper; which joining with the Sentiments of the Company, and causing them to laugh together with them, rendered all of a Piece, and prov'd exceedingly endearing, obliging, pleasant, and merry.
3152 Upon a Journey Men ufe to put on all the Pleasantness they can, and to make Sport of
all the Inconveniencies of the Ways and: Weather, and little crois Accidents that befall them. And thus, if thou halt but the Art and Wisdom to do it, many of the lefler Inconveniencies of Life might' well enough be played off, and made Matters rather of Mirth and Diversion, than of Melancholy, and serious Trouble. But there are some Evils and Calamities of humane Life that are too heavy and serious to be jested withal, and require the greatest Confideration, and a very great Degree of Patience to support us under them, and enable us to bear them decently; as the Loss of Friends and dearest Relations'; as the Loss of an only Son growii up to be well fix'd and settled in a virtuous Course, and promising all the Comfort to his Parents that they themselves could wish; there certainly are some of the greatest Evils of this World, and hardest to be born. For Men may pretend to what they will, to Philosophy and Contempt of the World, and of the perihing Comforts and Enjoyments of it, to the great Extirpation of their Passions, and an Insenfibility of these Things, which the weaker and undisciplin'd of Mankind keep fuch a Wailing and Lamentation about. But when all is done, Nature hath-framed us as we are, and hath planted in our Constitution strong Inclinations and Affections to our Friends and Relations; and those Affections are as naturally moved, upon such Occasions, and pluck every String of our Hearts as violently, as extreme Hunger and Thirst do gnaw upon pur Stomacks. Whatever we mightily love, doth in some Sort become a part of