The Instructor/Reflections and Maxims

Reflections and Maxims.

WE should fix in our minds such a grateful remembrance of the blessings we have received from heaven, that we may ever love to practise piety aud virtue. We should not so much regard what good a friend has done us, as how much he desired or endeavoured to do.

There is no living comfortably in the world without an exchange of civility. Without good-nature and gratitude, man had as good live in a wilderness as in civil society.

A mind well instructed bears patiently all kinds of adversity and misfortunes.

O man! live well, for all thy deeds will be known; God beholdeth thee with a just eye.

We must take our leave of our dearest friends, and bid a long farewell to all the world; only our good works will follow us.

We should desire very few things passionately, if we did but perfectly know the nature of the thing we desire.

Life may be compared to a book, our days to the leaves of it.

We should be careful to write nothing in any page which we should be ashamed to have seen by all the world.

Happy will it be for us when we come to give up our account, (and no man knows how soon he may be called upon) if we can produce records of virtuous actions; but it will fill us with confusion to find many pages entirely blank, and others disfigured with foul blots.

A prudent friend eases many troubles; one who is not so multiplies them.

Pleasures, unless they be wholly innocent, are never of so long continuance as the sting they leave behind them.

Much of the misery of mankind is owing to that unhappy proneness which is in them, to think too badly of their real condition, and fancy evils which do not belong to it.

Fear God; this fear is the most valuable treasure of the heart of man; you will find it accompanied with wisdom, peace, joy, high pleasure, true liberty, and unblemished glory.

Grief is a passion commendable but for a time; a poison which works strongly if not looked to: it depends on ourselves to reap advantage from misfortunes.

To be a knave is to rebel against God.

Men are born to be serviceable to one another.

Adversity is the best school; we may be spoiled by prosperity, or confirmed in virtue by misfortune.

They hurt themselves that wrong others.

Christianity is a straight path, which will always conduct us right.

God will have all his creatures love him before they are admitted to behold his Glory.

It is not our business to be thinking what the state of other people's souls will be, but to be doing what will make our own state happy; we cannot all be wise, but we may all be virtuous.

The world is constant to no man; apply thyself and thy heart to the great Creator of the world, and he will not disappoint thee in thy reasonable expectations.

A long life is of little worth, and of small advantage, if it be spent in the service of the world, not of God.

Passions are the gales of life, and it is our part to see that they do not rise into a tempest.

The foundation of a happy old age must be laid in youth.

Grieve not for the dead; if they led good lives they are past all dangerous storms, rather emulate their rest, having finished their course. We too shall land at the same noble port, and partake of their endless joys, if we are so wise as to chuse them.

Eternally to be free from whatever can afflict; eternally to enjoy whatever can delight, O sweet expectation of a pious life! O happy consequence of a holy death! As thou O Lord, hast prepared such felicities for us, O may thy grace prepare us for them; still let us labour, still let us suffer; our troubles are short, our joys eternal!

Meekness may qualify our miseries here, and make our time pass easier away. Lord! without thee, what is all the world to us, but a flying dream of busy vanities? Lord! while we breathe, make us live to thee, and when we expire depart in thy peace.

To know thee, O Lord! is to be truly wise; and to contemplate thee, the highest learning!

Lord! how secure and quiet they live, whom thy grace preserves in innocence! the day goes smoothly over their heads, and silent as the shadow of a dial; the spirits of their fancy run calm and obedient to reason till some unruly passion presses to come in; and by its fawning outside gains admittance.—O the destruction of a life led by humour, and the thraldom of being subject to our passions, how often do they engage us to contend with others, and embitter all our days with strife and envy.