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mands of men : as if they were doctrines of God; nor contemptuously reject proper helps for obeying the laws of God, as worthless inventions of men : neither exalt the means into the same rank with the end, nor hope to arrive at the end without the means. Let us, after the example of the holy Apostle, so run as not uncertainly; so fight, as not beating the air: but with strict and yet prudent discipline, keep under the body and bring it into subjection *. For every man that striveth

for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible t. Which that we may all obtain, &c. 1 Cor. ix. 26, 27.

f 1 Cor. ix. 25.

SERMON XV.

PROV. XXII. 1.

A good name is rather to be chosen, than great riches.

It seems very natural to wish, that amidst the great variety of things, which on various accounts appear desirable in this world, we could pass a right judgment concerning the proportionable value of each: that so we might determine, what share of our attention they severally merit; and, when they interfere, which ought to have the preference. Yet this we find to be in most cases, far beyond our skill. Whether power, or wealth, or ease, an active or a contemplative life, a private station or a public, this profession and employment or that, be more eligible; always hath been disputed, and always will. For the decision will depend on circumstances too numerous and too uncertain to be considered with exactness. And indeed it is for the interest of mankind, that the answers to questions of this sort should be involved in obscurity. For, suppose we all knew how to chuse, yet we could not all have our choice. And, as the whole must consist of very different parts; it is well that our not knowing which condition would be the best for us, contributes to our receiving, as we are bound, whatever falls to our lot, with a cheerful acquiescence in the appointment of Providence.

But though our Maker's wisdom hath left us greatly in the dark about such matters, in which taking one course or another is but seldom of considerable, if any, importance to the most important of all things, the performance of our duty: yet, in whatever hath a stated connection with that, he hath given us plain directions, both by reason and Scripture, how we are to judge and behave. Now there is nothing more closely connected with virtue, than reputation : and therefore he hath connected it as closely with our happiness : not only teaching us, by nature, to esteem it as the chief of outward blessings; but by revelation, to preserve and cherish it with assiduous care The text, which I have read to you, prefers a good name to great riches. Another saith, it is better than precious ointment *: that is, than the costliest perfumes that were anciently used, in the gayest entertainments of the voluptuous, or the funeral honours of the great. And throughout the word of God, we are excited by examples, as well as precepts, to aim diligently at obtaining a good report t. Accordingly, mankind in all ages have been strongly influenced by this principle; and, in a great measure, to what they ought. 1

But still as the most powerful motives are apt to be slighted by some, and the rightest perverted by others: there are numbers, who profess to have scarce any regard to reputation; and still greater, who

pay it a very undue regard. Therefore, it may be useful to shew you the wrongness and the danger,

I. Of having too little concern about it.
II. Of having too much.

I. Of having too little. One meets, not very uncommonly, with those who affect a perfect indifference to what a silly or malicious world, that hath

• Eccl. vii. I.

+ 1 Sam. ij. 24. Prov. xv. 30. Acts vi. 3. X. 22. xxii. 12. Phil. iv. 8. 1 Tim. iij. 7. .Heb. xi. 2. 3 John 12.

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any, importance to the most important of all things, the performance of our duty: yet, in whatever hath a stated connection with that, he hath given us plain directions, both by reason and Scripture, how we are to judge and behave. Now there is nothing more closely connected with virtue, than reputation : and therefore he hath connected it as closely with our happiness : not only teaching us, by nature, to esteem it as the chief of outward blessings; but by revelation, to preserve and cherish it with assiduous care The text, which I have read to you, prefers a good name to great riches. Another saith, it is better than precious ointment * : that is, than the costliest perfumes that were anciently used, in the gayest entertainments of the voluptuous, or the funeral honours of the great. And throughout the word of God, we are excited by examples, as well as precepts, to aim diligently at obtaining a good report

t. Accordingly, mankind in all ages have been strongly influenced by this principle; and, in a great measure, to what they ought.

But still as the most powerful motives are apt to be slighted by some, and the rightest perverted by others: there are numbers, who profess to have scarce any regard to reputation ; and still greater, who pay it a very undue regard. Therefore, it may be useful to shew you the wrongness and the danger,

I. Of having too little concern about it.
II. Of having too much.

I. Of having too little. One meets, not very uncommonly, with those who affect a perfect indifference to what a silly or malicious world, that hath

• Eccl. vii. 1.

+ i Sam, ij. 24. Prov. xv. 30. Acts vi. 3. x. 22. xxii. 12. Phil. iv. 8. 1 Tim, üïi. 7. .Heb. xi. 2. 3 John 12.

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