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taken to consist in this, not to be censorious, and to relieve
Be clear yourselves before you fling the stone. Get the beam out of your own eye; it is humbling doctrine but safe.
16 This part of charity also excludes whispering, back biting, tale bearing, evil surmising; most pernicious follies and evils, of which beware. For the other part of charity, relieving the poor, it is a debt you owe to God: you have all you have or may enjoy, with the rent charge upon it.
17 I recommend little children, widows, infirm and aged persons, chiefly to you. Avoid that great sin of needless expense on your persons and on your houses, while the poor are hungry and naked : my bowels have often been moved, to see very aged and infirm people, but especially poor helpless children, lie all night, in bitter weather, at the thresholds of doors in the open streets, for want of better lodging.
18 I have made this reflection, if you were so exposed, how hard would it be to endure? The difference between our condition and theirs has drawn from me humble thanks to God, and great compassion and some supply to those poor creatures. Once more, be good to the poor: what do I say? Be just to them, and you will be good to yourselves: think it your duty, and do it religiously.
19 Liberality or bounty is a noble quality in man, entertained of few, yet praised of all, but the covetous dislike it, because it reproaches their sordidness. In this she differs from charity, that she has sometimes other objects, and exceeds in proportion. For she will cast her eye on those that do not absolutely want, as well as those that do; and always outdoes necessities and services.
20 She finds out virtue in a low degree, and exalts it. She eases their burden that labor hard to live. The decayed are sure to hear of her. She takes one child, puts out another, to lighten the loads of overcharged parents; more to the fatherless.
21 Wheresoever, therefore, my dear children, liberality is required of you, God enabling of you, sow not sparingly nor grudgingly, but with a cheerful mind, and you shall not go without your reward; though that ought not to be your motive. But avoid ostentation, for that is using virtue to vanity, which will run you to profuseness, and that to want; which begets greediness, and that avarice, the contrary extreme
22 Integrity is a great and commendable virtue A man of integrity, is a true man, a bold man, and a steady man;
he is to be trusted and relied upon. No bribes can corrupt him, no fear daunt him: his word is slow in coming, but sure. He runs with truth, and not with the times.
23 There is no living upon the principal, you must be diligent to preserve what you have, whether it be acquisition or inheritance; else it will consume. As I would have you liberal, but not prodigal; and diligent, but not drudging; so I would have you frugal, but not sordid.
24 You cannot be too plain in your diet, so you are clean; nor too sparing, so you have enough for nature. Much less feast any, except the poor; as Christ taught. Luke xvi. 12, 13. For entertainments are rarely without sin; but receive strangers readily.
25 As in diet, so in apparel, observe, I charge you, an exemplary plainness. Choose your clothes for their usefulness, not the fashion, and for covering, not finery, or to please a vain mind in yourselves or others : they are fallen souls, that think clothes can give beauty to man.
26 - The life is more than the raiment.” Mat. vi. 25. Man cannot mend God's work, who can give neither life nor parts. They show little esteem for the wisdom and power of their Creator, that underrate his workmanship, (I was going to say, his image) to a tailor's invention : gross folly and profanity!
27 In short, these intemperances are great enemies to health, and to posterity ; for they disease the body, rob children, and disappoint charity, and are of evil example ; very catching, as well as pernicious evils. Nor do they end there: they are succeeded by other vices, which made the apostle put them together in his epistle to the Galatians, chap. v. 20, 21.
28 The evil fruits of this part of intemperance, are so many and great, that, upon a serious reflection, I believe there is not a country, town, or family, almost, that does not labor under the mischief of it.
29 But the virtue of temperance does not only regard eating, drinking, and apparel, but furniture, attendance, expense, gain, parsimony, business, diversion, company, speech, sleeping, watchings, and every passion of the mind, love, anger, pleasure, joy, sorrow, resentment, are all concerned in it: therefore, bound your desires, teach your wills subjection, take Christ for your example, as well as guide.
ABRIDGMENT OF THE PRINCIPLES OF MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. BY WM. PALEY, D. D.
SECTION 1. Definition and use of the science. 1 Moral philosophy, morality, ethics, casuistry, natural law, mean all the same thing; namely, That science which teaches men their duty, and the reasons of it. The use of such a study depends upon this, that, without it, the rules of life by which men are ordinarily governed, oftentimes mislead them, through a defect either in the rule, or in the application. These rules are, the law of honor, the law of the land, and the scriptures.
2 The law of honor,--The law of honor is a system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another; and for no other purpose. Consequently, nothing is adverted to by the law of honor, but what tends to incommode this intercourse. Hence, this law only prescribes and regulates the duties betwixt equals ; omitting such as relate to the Supreme Being, as well as those which we owe to our inferiors.
3 The law of the land.—That part of mankind who are beneath the law of honor, often make the law of the land their rule of life; that is, they are satisfied with themselves, so long as they do or omit nothing, for the doing or omitting of which the law can punish them.
4 Whereas, every system of human laws, considered as a rule of life, labors under the two following defects : 1. Human laws omit many duties, as not objects of compulsion ; such as piety to God, bounty to the poor, forgiveness of injuries, education of children, gratitude to benefactors. 2. Human laws permit, or what is the same, suffer to go unpunished, many crimes, because they are incapable of being defined by any previous description : of which nature, are luxury, prodigality, disrespect to parents, &c.
5 The Scriptures.-Whoever expects to find in the scriptures a specific direction for every moral doubt that arises, looks for more than he will meet with.
And to what a magnitude such a detail of particular precepts would have enlarged the sacred volume, may be partly understood from the following consideration :
6 The laws of this country, (England,) including the acts
of the legislature, and the decisions of our supreme courts of justice, are not contained in fewer than fifty folio volumes; and yet it is not once in ten attempts that you can find the case you look for, in any law book whatever; to say nothing of those numerous points of conduct, concerning which the law professes not to prescribe or determine any thing.
7 Had then the same particularity, which obtains in human law so far as they go, been attempted in the scriptures, throughout the whole extent of morality, it is manifest they would have been by much too bulky to be either read or circulated ; or rather, as St. John says, “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
2 First then, happiness does not consist in the pleasures of sense, in whatever profusion or variety they may be enjoyed. By the pleasures of sense I mean, as well the animal gratifications of eating, drinking, &c. as the more refined pleasures of music, painting, architecture, gardening, splendid shows, theatric exhibitions, and the pleasures, lastly, of active sports, as of hunting, shooting, fishing, &c. For,
3 1st. These pleasures continue but a little while at a time. This is true of them all, especially of the grosser sort of them. Laying aside the preparation and the expectation, and computing strictly the actual sensation, we shall be surprised to find how inconsiderable a portion of our time they occupy, how few hours, in the four and twenty, they are able to fill
up. 4 2dly. These pleasures, by repetition, lose their relish. It is a property of the machine, for which we know no remedy, that the organs, by which we perceive pleasure, are blunted and benumbed by being frequently exercised in the same way. There is hardly any one who has not found the difference between a gratification when new, and when familiar; or any pleasure which does not become indifferent as it grows habitual.
5 3dly. The eagerness for high and intense delights takes away the relish from all others; and as such delights fall rarely in our way, the greater part of our time becomes, from this cause, empty and uneasy.
6 There is hardly any delusion by which men are greater sufferers in their happiness, than by their expecting too much from what is called pleasure; that is, from those intense delights which vulgarly engross the name of pleasure. The very expectation spoils them. When they do come, we are often engaged in taking pains to persuade ourselves how much we are pleased, rather than enjoying any pleasure that springs naturally out of the object.
7 And whenever we depend upon being vastly delighted, we always go home secretly grieved at missing our aim. Likewise, as hath been observed just now, when this humor of being prodigiously delighted has once taken hold of the imagination, it hinders us from providing for, or acquiescing in, those gently soothing engagements, the due variety and succession of which are the only things that supply a continued stream of happiness.
8 What I have been able to observe of that part of mankind whose professed pursuit is pleasure, and who are withheld in the pursuit by no restraints of fortune, or scruples of conscience, corresponds sufficiently with this account. I have commonly remarked, in such men, a restless and inextinguishable passion for variety; a great part of their time to be vacant, and so much of it irksome; and that, with whatever eagerness and expectation they set out, they become, by degrees, fastidious in their choice of pleasure, languid in the enjoyment, yet miserable under the want of it.
9 The truth seems to be that there is a limit at which the pleasures soon arrive, and from which they ever afterwards decline. They are of necessity of short duration, as the organs cannot hold on their emotions beyond a certain length of time; and if you endeavor to compensate for the imperfection in their nature, by the frequency with which you repeat them, you lose more than you gain, by the fatigue of the faculties and the diminution of sensibility.
10 We have said nothing in this account of the loss of opportunities, or the decay of faculties, which, whenever they happen, leave the voluptuary destitute and desperate, teased by desires which can never be gratified, and the memory of pleasures which must return no more.
11 It will also be allowed by those who have experienced it, and perhaps by those alone, that pleasure which is purchased by the incumbrance of our fortune is purchased too dear; the pleasure never compensating for the perpetual irritation of embarrassed circumstances.