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there would be no variety of taftes to folicit his palate, and occafion excefs; nor in the fecond any artificial provocatives to relieve fatiety, and create a falfe appetite. Were I to prefcribe a rule for drinking, it should be formed upon a faying quoted by Sir William Temple; The first glass for myself, the second for my friends, the third for good humour, and the fourth for mine enemies. But because it is impoffible for one who lives in the world to diet himself always in fo philofophical a manner, I think every man should have his days of abstinence, according as his conftitution will permit. These are great reliefs to nature, as they qualify her for struggling with hunger and thirft, whenever any diftem peror duty of life may put her upon fuch difficulties; and: at the fame time give her an opportunity of extricating herfelf from her oppreffions, and recovering the feveral tones and fprings of her diftended veffels. Befides that, abftinence well timed often kills a fickness in embryo,and destroys the firft feeds of an indifpofition. It is obferved by two or three antient authors, that Socrates, notwithstanding he lived in Athens during that great plague, which has made fo much noife through all ages, and has been celebrated at different times by fuch eminent hands; I fay, notwithstanding that he lived in the time of this devouring peftilence, he never caughtthe leaft infection, which thofe writers unanimously afcribe to that uninterrupted temperance which he always observed.
And here I cannot but mention an observation which I have often made, upon reading the lives of the philofophers, and comparing them with any feries of kings or great men of the fame number. If we confider thefe antient fages, a great part of whofe philofophy confifted in a temperate and abftemious courfe of life, one would think the life of a philofopher and the life of a man were of two different dates. For we find that the generality of these wife men were nearer a hundred than fixty years of age at the time of their respective deaths. But the most remarkable inftance of the efficacy of temperance towards the procuring of long life, is what we meet with in a little book published by Lewis Cornaro
the Venetian; which I the rather mention, because it is of undoubted credit, as the late Venetian ambassador, who was of the fame family, attefted more than once in converfation, when he refided in England. Cornaro, who was the author of the little treatife I am mentioning, was of an infirm conftitution, till about forty, when by obftinately perfifting in an exact courfe of temperance, he recovered a perfect ftate of health; infomuch that at fourfcore he published his book, which has been tranflated into English under the title of Sure and certain methods of attaining a long and healthy life. He lived to give a third or fourth edition of it, and after having paffed his hundredth year, died without pain or agony, and like one who falls afleep. The treatise I mention has been taken notice of by feveral eminent authors, and is written with fuch a spirit of chearfulness, religion and good fenfe, as are the natu ral concomitants of temperance and fobriety. The mixture of the old man in it is rather a recommenda tion than a difcredit to it.
Repentance ftated and explained.
HAT to pleafe the Lord and Father of the univerfe, is the fupreme intereft of created and dependent beings, as it is eafily proved, has been uni, verfally confeffed; and fince all rational agents are confcious of having neglected or violated thofe duties which are prefcribed to them, the fear of being deferted, rejected, or punished by God, has always burdened and oppreffed the human mind. The expiation of crimes and renovation of the forfeited hopes of divine favour, has therefore conftituted a large part of every religion.
The various methods of propitiation and atonement which fear and folly have dictated, or artifice and intere tolerated in the different parts of the world, how, ever they may fometimes reproach or degrade humanity at least fhew the general confent of all ages and nation
in their opinion of the mercy and placability of the di-
Where there is no hope, there can be no endeavour.
In ages and regions fo disjoined from each other, that there can scarcely be imagined any communication of fentiments either by commerce or tradition, has prevailed a general and uniform expectation of propitiating God by corporal aufterities, of anticipating his vengeance by voluntary inflictions, and appeafing his juf tice by a speedy and chearful fubmiffion to a lefs penalty when a greater is incurred.
Incorporated minds will always feel fome inclination towards exterior acts, and ritual obfervances. Ideas not reprefented by fenfible objects are fleeting, variable and evanefcent. We are not able to judge of the degree of conviction which operated at any particular time upon our own thoughts, but as it is recorded by fome certain and definite effect. He that reviews his life in order to determine the probability of his acceptance with God, if he could once establish the neceflary propor
tion between crimes and fufferings, might fecurely rest upon his performance of the expiation; but while Tafety remains the reward only of mental purity, he is always afraid left he fhould decide too foon in his own favour; left he should not have felt the pangs of true contrition; left he should mistake fatiety for abhorrence, or imagine that his paffions are fubdued when they are only fleeping.
From this natural and reasonable diffidence arofe, in humble and timorous piety, a difpofition to confound penance with repentance, to repofe on human determinations, and to receive from fome judicial fentence the ftated and regular affignment of reconciliatory pain. We are never willing to be without refource; we feek in the knowledge of others a fuccour for our own ignorance, and are ready to truft any that will undertake to direct us when we have no confidence in ourselves.
This defire to afcertain by fome outward marks the ftate of the foul, and this willingness to calm the confcience by fome fettled method, have produced, as they are diverfified in their effects by various tempers and principles, moft of the difquifitions and rules, the doubts and folutions, that have embarraffed the doctrine of repentance, and perplexed tender and flexible minds with innumerable fcruples concerning the neceffary meafures of forrow, and adequate degrees of felf-abhorrence'; and thefe rules corrupted by fraud, or debafed by credulity, have, by the common refiliency of the mind from one extreme to another, incited others to an open contempt of all fubfidiary ordinances, all prudential caution, and the whole difcipline of regulated piety.
Repentance, however difficult to be practifed, is, if it be explained without fuperftition, eafily understood. Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice from the conviction that it has offended God. Sorrow, and fear,, and anxiety, are properly not parts, but adjuncts of repentance; yet they are fo clofely connected with it, that they cannot easily be feparated; for they not only mark its fincerity, but promote its efficacy.
No man commits any act of negligence or obftinacy, by which his prefent fafety or happiness is endangered,
without feeling the pungency of remorfe. He who is fully convinced, that he fuffers by his own failure, can never forbear to trace back his mifcarriage to its first caufe, to imagine to himself a contrary behaviour, and to form involuntary refolutions against the like fault, even when he knows that he fhall never have the power of committing it. No man finds himself in danger without fuch trepidations of impatience as leave all human means of fafety behind them: he that has once caught an alarm of terror, is every moment feised with ufeless anxieties, always adding one fecurity to another, trembling with fudden doubts, and diftracted by the perpetual occurrence of new expedients. If, therefore, he whofe crimes have deprived him of the favour of God, can reflect upon his conduct without disturbance, or can at will banish the reflection; if he who confiders himself as fufpended over the abyfs of eternal perdition only by the thread of life, which muft foon part by its own weakness, and which the wing of every minute may divide, can caft his eyes round him without fhuddering with horror, or panting for fecurity; what can he judge of himself but that he is not yet awaked to fufficient conviction, fince every lofs is more lamented than the lofs of the divine favour, and every danger more dreaded than the danger of final condemnation ?
Retirement from the cares and pleasures of the world has been often recommended as ufeful to repentance. This at leaft is evident, that every one retires, whenever ratiocination and recollection are required on other occafions: and furely the retrofpect of life, the difentanglement of actions complicated with innumerable circumstances, and diffused in various relations, the difcovery of the primary movements of the heart, and the extirpation of lufts and appetites deeply rooted, and widely fpread, may be allowed to demand fome feceffion from fport and noife, and bufinefs and folly. Some fufpenfion of common affairs, fome paufe of temporal pain and pleasure, is doubtlefs neceffary to him that deliberates for eternity, who is forming the only plan in which mifcarriage cannot be repaired, and examining the only question in which mistake cannot be rectified.