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minations in doubtful, controverted points, take heed of a hasty receiving his judgment, let his reasons seem never so plausible or probable; but put down all such opinions as doubts, and move them to your teachers, or some other impartial, able men, before you entertain them.' Otherwise, he that hath most wit and tongue in the company, might carry away all the rest into what error or heresy he please, and subvert their faith when he stops their mouths.
Direct. IX. 'Let the matter of your speech be suitable to your end, even to the good of yourselves or others, which seek.' The same subject that is fit for one company you very unfit for others. Learned men and ignorant men, pious men and profane men, are not fit for the same kind of discourse. The medicine must be carefully fitted to the dis
Direct. x. Let your speech be seasonable, when prudence telleth you it is not like to do more harm than good.' There is a season for the prudent to be silent, and refrain even from good talk". "Cast not pearls before swine, and give not holy things to dogs, that you know will turn again and rend youd." Yea, and among good people themselves, there is a time to speak, and a time to be silent. There may possibly be such excess as tendeth to the tiring of the hearers; and more may be crammed in than they can digest; and surfeiting may make them loathe it afterwards. You must give none more than they can bear; and also the matters of your business and callings, must be talked of in their time and place.
Direct. XI. Let all your speech of holy things be with the greatest seriousness and reverence that you are able.' Let the words be never so good, yet levity and rudeness may make them to be profane. God and holy things should not be talked of in a common manner; but the gravity of your speech should tell the hearers, that you take them not for small or common matters. If servants and others that live near together would converse, and speak as the oracles of God, how holy, and heavenly, and happy would such families or societies be?
d Amos v. 17. Psal. xxxix. 1, 2.
• Matt, vii. 6.
1 Eccles. iii. 7.
Directions for each particular Member of the Family how to spend every ordinary day of the Week.
IT somewhat tendeth to make a holy life more easy to us, when we know the ordinary course and method of our duties, and every thing falleth into its proper place. As it helpeth the husbandman or tradesman to know the ordinary course of his work, that he need not go out of it, unless in extraordinary cases. Therefore I shall here give you some brief Directions for the holy spending of every day.
Direct. 1. Proportion the time of your sleep aright (if it be in your power) that you waste not your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed.' Let the time of your sleep be rationally fitted to your health and labour, and not sensually to your slothful pleasure. About six hours is meet for healthful people, and seven hours for the less healthful, and eight for the more weak and aged, ordinarily. The morning hours are to most, the most precious of all the day, for all our duties; especially servants that are scanted of time, must take it then for prayer, if possible, lest they have none at all.
Direct. 11. Let God have your first awaking thoughts: lift up your hearts to him reverently and thankfully for the rest of the night past, and briefly cast yourselves upon him for the following day; and use yourselves so constantly to this, that your consciences may check you, when common thoughts shall first intrude." And if you have a bed-fellow to speak to, let your first speech be agreeable to your thoughts. It will be a great help against the temptations that may else surprise you, and a holy engagement of your hearts to God, for all the day.
Direct. 111. Resolve, that pride and the fashions of the times shall never tempt you into such a garb of attire, as will make you long in dressing you in the morning; but wear such clothing as is soon put on.' It is dear-bought bravery (or decency as they will needs call it) which must cost every day an hour's or a quarter of an hour's time extraordinary : I had rather go as the wild Indians, than have those morn
ing hours to answer for, as too many ladies and other gallants have.
Direct. IV. If you are persons of quality you may employ a child or servant to read a chapter in the Bible, while you are dressing you, and eating your breakfast (if you eat any). Else you may employ that time in some fruitful meditation, or conference with those about you, as far as your necessary occasions do give leave.' As to think or speak of the mercy of a night's rest, and of your renewed time, and how many spent that night in hell, and how many in prison, and how many in a colder, harder lodging, and how many in grievous pain and sickness, weary of their beds and of their lives, and how many in distracting terrors of their minds; and how many souls that night were called from their bodies, to appear before the dreadful God: and think how fast days and nights roll on! and how speedily your last night and day will come! And observe what is wanting in the readiness of your soul, for such a time, and seek it presently without delay.
Direct. v. 'If more necessary duties call you not away, let secret prayer by yourself alone, or with your chamberfellow, or both, go before the common prayers of the family; and delay it not causelessly, but if it may be, let it be first, before any other work of the day.' Yet be not formal and superstitious to your hours, as if God had absolutely tied you to such a time: nor think it not your duty to pray once in secret, and once with your chamber-fellow, and once with the family every morning, when more necessary duties call you off. That hour is best for one, which is worst for another to most, private prayer is most seasonable as soon as they are up and clothed; to others some other hour may be more free and fit. And those persons that have not more necessary duties, may do well to pray at all the opportunities before-mentioned; but reading and meditation must be allowed their time also; and the labours of your callings must be painfully followed; and servants and poor people that are not at liberty, or that have a necessity of providing for their families, may not lawfully take so much time for prayer, as some others may; especially the aged and weak that cannot follow a calling, may take longer time. And ministers, that have many souls to look after, and public
work to do, must take heed of neglecting any of this, that they may be longer and oftener in private prayer. Always remember that when two duties are at once before you, and one must be omitted, that you prefer that which, all things considered, is the greatest; and understand what maketh a duty greatest. Usually that is greatest which tendeth to the greatest good; yet sometimes that is greatest at that time, which cannot be done at another time, when others may. Praying, in itself considered, is better than ploughing, or marketting, or conference; and yet these may be greater than it in their proper seasons; because prayer may be done at another time, when these cannot.
Direct. vi. Let family worship be performed constantly and seasonably, twice a day, at that hour which is freest in regard of interruptions; not delaying it without just cause. But whenever it is performed, be sure it be reverently, seriously, and spiritually done.' If greater duty hinder not, begin with a brief invocation of God's name, and craving of his help and blessing through Christ; and then read some part of the holy Scripture in order; and either help the hearers to understand it and apply it, or if you are unable for that, then read some profitable book to them for such ends; and sing a psalm (if there be enough to do it fitly,) and earnestly pour out your souls in prayer. But if unavoidable occasions will not give way to all this, do what you can, especially in prayer, and do the rest another time; but pretend not necessity against any duty, when it is but unwillingness or negligence. The lively performance of family-duties, is a principal means to keep up the power and interest of godliness in the world; which all decays when these grow dead, and slight, and formal.
Direct. VII. Renew the actual intention and remembrance of your ultimate end, when you set yourselves to your day's work, or set upon any notable business in the world. Let HOLINESS TO THE LORD be written upon your hearts in all that you do.' Do no work which you cannot entitle God to, and truly say he set you about; and do nothing in the world for any other ultimate end, than to please, and glorify, and enjoy him. And remember that whatever you do, must be done as a means to these, and as by one that is that way going on to heaven. All your la
bour must be as the labour of a traveller, which is all for his journey's end; and all your respect or affection to any place or thing in your way, must be in respect to your attainment of the end; as a traveller loveth a good way, a good horse, a good inn, a dry cloak, or good company; but nothing must be loved here as your end or home. Lift up your hearts to heaven and say, 'If this work and way did not tend thither directly or indirectly, it were no work or way for me.' Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Direct. VIII. Follow the labours of your calling painfully and diligently.' From hence will follow many commodities. 1. You will shew that you are not sluggish, and servants to your flesh, as those that cannot deny its ease; and you will further the mortification of all fleshly lusts and desires, which are fed by ease and idleness. 2. You will keep out idle thoughts from your mind, which swarm in the minds of idle persons. 3. You will escape the loss of precious time, which idle persons are daily guilty of. 4. You will be in a course of obedience to God, when the slothful are in a constant sin of omission. 5. You may have the more time to spare for holy exercises, if you follow your labour close when you are at it; when idle persons can have no time for prayer or reading, because they lose it by loitering at their work, and leave their business still behind-hand. 6. You may expect God's blessing for the comfortable provision for yourselves and families, and to have to give to them that need, when the slothful are in want themselves, and cast by their want into abundance of temptations, and have nothing to do good with. 7. And it will also tend to the health of your bodies, which will make them the fitter for the service of your souls. When slothfulness wasteth time, and health, and estate, and wit, and grace, and alla.
Direct. Ix. Be throughly acquainted with your corruptions and temptations, and watch against them all the day; especially the most dangerous sort of your corruptions, and those temptations which your company or business will unavoidably lay before you. Be still watching and working
a Ephes. iv. 28. Prov. x. 4. xii. 24. 27. xiii. 4. xxi. 5. xxii. 29. xviii. 9. xxi. 25. xxiv. 30.
b Antequam domo quis exeat, quid acturus sit, apud se pertractat. Rursus cum redierit, quid egerit, recogitet. Cleobulus in Diog. Laert. lib. i. sect. 92. p. 57.