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neatness, if since its disgrace it suggests à covering for the person, and is not deficient either in a sense of modesty applied to other articles beside that of dress. In respect of this, neatness and modesty may be considered almost as parts of frugality and economy by precluding extravagance on account of this necessary incidental, and preventing waste. Neatness in dress is as distinct from extravagance, as frugality is from avarice; and modesty in the same respect as distinct from mummery, as chastity is from prudery: and it happens not unfrequently that one is a true indication of the other; v.g. neatness with its companion, of industry, temperance, chastity and other characteristics like these higher than itself, because more essential ; while opposite characters in dress indicate others that are worse than themselves, and for the same reason.
§ 6. But even in relation to incidentals there still ap. pears one good objective characteristic to be mentioned, and the last that will require it, of such transcendant worth, that it would seem almost like one of another class; and must be owned, a very proper stepping stone, or passing note, as it were, between the present and that which follows. This last characteristic on incidentals, is Prudence or Discretion, which excels not only on account of its superior comprehension in respect of the forementioned, but also on account of its nearer relation to intellect.
1. For if, in the first place, prudence and discretion seem to relate chiefly to the management of incidentals, there are some of that ambiguous nature, 'as to make it doubtful almost, which element they should be referred to, the incidental or the constituent; and this doubt respect. ing them will attach of course to the characteristics also by which they are distinguished. - The Psalmist has furnished us with the example of such an incidental, in his beautiful similitude of a good man. "A good man is merciful and lendeth: and will guide his words with discretion” (Ps. cxii. 5). Words in conception, words uns uttered, or, as it may be said, originally, are decided con
stituents : and happy would it be for the subject sometimes, if they could so remain,--locked up, as it were in the asylum of the imagination! Happy were it for the parties concerned, if these volatile constituents were never suffered to go abroad without such a guide as discretion! For immediately on their release from confinement words will change species; being then any body's property who can snatch them, however undeserving, and no longer constituents, or a part of the subject from which they issued, but incidental every where; and, it may be, to the subject himself, being retained among his greatest plagues, if he should deserve them, as it is written, “Great plagues remain for the ungodly: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord, mercy embraceth him on every side” (Ps. xxxii. 11).
2. With respect to the superiority of prudence and discretion, on account of their relation to intellect beyond most, if not all, of the fore-mentioned good objectives, so much might be observed, as would make the understanding appear almost to be its object, when the same could no longer be the good objective characteristics which they are on incidentals, but of the highest constituent. Indeed the high quality of these characteristics is such as to occasion a doubt, whether they should not be referred to the intellectual class, as improvements on judgment; or at least be enumerated in the spiritual objective class next ensuing. But such doubts are not of much consequence, as they indicate that the situation assigned them must be very near, if not precisely, where it ought to be in the heavenly kingdom.
There are besides discretion several minor characteristics allied to prudence, which it may suffice barely to enumerate; as e. g. in the lowest degree of thinking and doing, where the object is only graces and accomplishments, or personal treasure, as it may be called-skill and address; also propriety, which is like the first mentioned prudence, in a slight degree; and precision, which is a little further off, but still of kind to truth.
* Truth indeed is a general feature in characteristics of every degree, among all their shades of difference and resemblance in respect of each other, only varying after the department in which it is exhibited. Thus prudence iş truth in relation to incidentals generally, whether they be liberty, wealth, honour, reputation, or others; discretion the same thing in relation to the same sort of objects, but of a somewhat more passive and retired complexion. Skill is truth in operation ; address, more in manner; propriety, truth in small matters, but not a small matter itself; no more is precision. Consequently the attainment of any of these important characteristics, let us call them Graces, Accomplishments, or what we will, must not be expected a very easy matter, but one of considerable difficulty, and singularly good fortune. There is neither of these good characteristics, that can be deemed common; neither of them, but is a nice point to ensure, and easier to be overdone or let alone. Truth is a very fine point in the heavenly kingdom, and cannot easily be hit or apprehended.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN CHRIST.
GOOD OBJECTIVE CHARACTERISTICS.
1, Material.-2, Spiritual.--3, Intellectual.
“ Lord; who shall dwell in thy tabernacle ; or who shall rest upon thy holy hill ? "-- Ps. xv. 1.
The righteousness of incidentals, or righteousness founded thereon, respecting them as its object or basis, is highly to be prized, as all must own who know its worth by experience; but a higher species, as resting on a higher foundation, and consequently an harder to be attained, is the righteousness of constituents, or moral characteristics in relation to them, righteousness in relation to the properties of which its subjects are composed, and not merely in relation to those of which their owners have only the enjoyment, care and direction, like incidentals, just considered. And even among these highest characteristics, there will also be found a gradation ascending in the same order as before intimated, with regard to essentials, v. g. according to the proximity or admixture of intellect.
§ 1. But if a man cannot, by taking thought, add so
much as one cubit to his stature (Mat. vi. 27), he will not find in his lowest order of constituents, the material, by which it is included, many practical objects for the foundation of moral characteristics. Some such characteristics it however has, of which may here be mentioned one or two proceeding, not from stature indeed, but from the equally low essential of aspect or countenance; as placidity, gravity, manliness, dignity, plainness and sincerity, meaning only in expression. But generally the expression or character of the countenance, which is called Physiognomy, by a metonymy for the notion or doctrine, appears to consist in other men's fancies, more than in any real property of the person to whom it is applied: it is chiefly their production, and therefore, what they will have to account for. So that frequently, when a man is said to have an hanging look, the more hanging cause, if any, shall be in those who look so unfavourably upon him. But when a look is either concealed, or put on intentionally, the effect will properly belong to the one who is both subject or maker, and exhibitor, the inner and the outer man.
1. There are two degrees of this property, called Simulation and Dissimulation, respecting which, as there is hardly any part more practised and studied in society, a hint by the way may not be amiss. We see almost every one moulding his countenance out of doors after some cast or other; and it should be our endeavour always to preserve such a countenancé as may become the body of Christ. Considering his original instructions to the ministry; “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves," &c. (Mat. X. 16), a great Placidity, Erenness or Equability of expression would become them in particular; or however, that the expression of our countenance should be always under good controul. If, having so lively an heart as our duty requires, we suffer every emotion to betray itself in our manner or countenance, we shall give encouragement to the more brutish part of the species, and opportunity to the more politic, to cheat, over