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A GOOD SHEPHERD.
useless notions, but such plain truths as were necessary to be known, believed, and practised, in order to their salvation. And their assent to what he taught was testified by such a conformity to his doctrine, as declared they believed and loved him. For he would often say, that, without the last, the most evident truths—heard as from an enemy, or an evil liver— either are not, or are at least the less effectual, and do usually rather harden than convince the hearer.
And this excellent man did not think his duty discharged by only reading the Church prayers, catechising, preaching, and administering the sacraments seasonably; but thought-if the law or the canons may seem to enjoin no more—yet that God would require more than the defective laws of man's making can or do enjoin; the performance of that inward law, which Almighty God hath imprinted in the conscience of all good Christians, and inclines those whom He loves to perform. He, considering this, did therefore become a law to himself, practising what his conscience told him was his duty, in reconciling differences, and preventing lawsuits, both in his parish and in the neighbourhood. To which may be added, his often visiting sick and disconsolate families, persuading them to patience, and raising them from dejection by his advice and cheerful discourse, and by adding his own alms, if there were any so poor as to need it; considering how acceptable it is to Almighty God, when we do as we are advised by St Paul (Gal. vi. 2), 66 Help to bear one another's burden," either of sorrow or want; and what a comfort it will be, when the Searcher of all hearts shall call us to a strict account for that evil we have done, and the good we have omitted, to remember we have comforted and been helpful to a dejected or distressed family.
And that his practice was to do good, one example may be, that he met with a poor dejected neighbour, that complained he had taken a meadow, the rent of which was £9 a-year; and when the hay was made ready to be carried into his barn, seve
ral days' constant rain had so raised the water, that a sudden flood carried all away, and his rich landlord would bate him no rent; and that unless he had half abated, he and seven children were utterly undone. It may be noted, that in this age there are a sort of people so unlike the God of Mercy, so void of the bowels of pity, that they love only themselves and children: love them so, as not to be concerned whether the rest of mankind waste their days in sorrow or shame; people that are cursed with riches, and a mistake that nothing but riches can make them and their's happy. But it was not so with Dr Sanderson; for he was concerned, and spoke comfortably to the poor dejected man; bade him go home and pray, and not load himself with sorrow, for he would go to his landlord next morning; and if his landlord would not abate what he desired, he and a friend would pay it for him.
To the landlord he went the next day; and, in a conference, the Doctor presented to him the sad condition of his poor dejected tenant; telling him how much God is pleased when men compassionate the poor, and told him, that though God loves sacrifice, yet He loves mercy so much better, that He is pleased when called the God of Mercy. And told him, the riches he was possessed of were given him by that God of Mercy, who would not be pleased if he, that had so much given, yea, and forgiven him too, should prove like the rich steward in the gospel, that took his fellow-servant by the throat to make him pay the utmost farthing. This he told him: and told him, that the law of this nation-by which law he claims his rent -does not undertake to make men honest or merciful; but does what it can to restrain men from being dishonest or unmerciful, and yet was defective in both; and that taking any rent from his poor tenant, for what God suffered him not to enjoy, though the law allowed him to do so, yet if he did so, he was too like that rich steward which he had mentioned to him; and told him that riches so gotten, and added to his
THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND.
great estate, would, as Job says, prove like gravel in his teeth: would in time so corrode his conscience, or become so nauseous when he lay upon his death-bed, that he would then labour to vomit it up, and not be able; and therefore advised him, being very rich, to make friends of his unrighteous mammon, before that evil day come upon him; but, however, neither for his own sake, nor for God's sake, to take any rent of his poor, dejected, sad tenant; for that were to gain a temporal, and lose his eternal happiness. These, and other such reasons were urged with so grave and compassionate an earnestness, that the landlord forgave his tenant the whole rent.
The reader will easily believe that Dr Sanderson, who was so meek and merciful, did suddenly and gladly carry this comfortable news to the dejected tenant; and we believe, that at the telling of it there was a mutual rejoicing. It was one of Job's boasts, "that he had seen none perish for want of clothing; and that he had often made the heart of the widow to rejoice" (Job xxxi. 19). And doubtless Dr Sanderson might have made the same religious boast of this, and very many like occasions. But, since he did not, I rejoice that I have this just occasion to do it for him; and that I can tell the reader, I might tire myself and him, in telling how like the whole course of Dr Sanderson's life was to this which I have now related.
A Thankful Spirit.
Well, scholar, having now taught you to paint your rod, and we having still a mile to Tottenham High Cross, I will, as we walk towards it in the cool shade of this sweet honeysuckle hedge, mention to you some of the thoughts and joys that have possessed my soul since we met together. And these thoughts shall be told you, that you also may join with me in thankfulness to the Giver of every good and perfect gift for our happiness. And that our present happiness may ap
pear to be the greater, and we the more thankful for it, I will beg you to consider with me how many do, even at this very time, lie under the torment of the stone, the gout, and toothache; and this we are free from. And every misery that I miss is a new mercy; and therefore let us be thankful. There have been, since we met, others that have met disasters of broken limbs; some have been blasted, others thunderstrucken; and we have been freed from these and all those many other miseries that threaten human nature: let us therefore rejoice and be thankful. Nay, which is a far greater mercy, we are free from the insupportable burden of an accusing, tormenting conscience-a misery that none can bear; and therefore let us praise Him for His preventing grace, and say, Every misery that I miss is a new mercy. Nay, let me tell you, there be many that have forty times our estates, that would give the greatest part of it to be healthful and cheerful like us, who, with the expense of a little money, have eat, and drank, and laughed, and angled, and sung, and slept securely; and rose next day, and cast away care, and sung, and laughed, and angled again, which are blessings rich men cannot purchase with all their money. Let me tell you, scholar, I have a rich neighbour that is always so busy that he has no leisure to laugh; the whole business of his life is to get money, and more money, that he may still get more and more money; he is still drudging on, and says that Solomon says, “The hand of the diligent maketh rich;” and it is true indeed; but he considers not that it is not in the power of riches to make a man happy for it was wisely said by a man of great observation, "That there be as many miseries beyond riches as on this side them." And yet God deliver us from pinching poverty, and grant that, having a competency, we may be content and thankful! Let us not repine, or so much as think the gifts of God unequally dealt, if we see another abound with riches, when, as God knows, the cares that are the keys
that keep those riches hang often so heavily at the rich man's girdle, that they clog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly. We see but the outside of the rich man's happiness; few consider him to be like the silkworm, that, when she seems to play, is at the very same time spinning her own bowels, and consuming herself; and this many rich men do, loading themselves with corroding cares, to keep what they have probably unconscionably got. Let us therefore be thankful for health and competence, and, above all, for a quiet conscience.
Let me tell you, scholar, that Diogenes walked on a day, with his friend, to see a country fair, where he saw ribbons, and looking-glasses, and nut-crackers, and fiddles, and hobbyhorses, and many other gim-cracks; and having observed them, and all the other finnimbruns that make a complete country fair, he said to his friend, "Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no need!" And truly it is so, or might be so, with very many who vex and toil themselves to get what they have no need of. Can any man charge God that He hath not given him enough to make his life happy? No, doubtless; for nature is content with a little. And yet you shall hardly meet with a man that complains not of some want, though he, indeed, wants nothing but his will; it may be, nothing but his will of his poor neighbour, for not worshipping or not flattering him: and thus, when we might be happy and quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. I have heard of a man that was angry with himself because he was no taller; and of a woman that broke her looking-glass because it would not shew her face to be as young and handsome as her next neighbour's was. And I knew another to whom God had given health and plenty, but a wife that nature had made peevish, and her husband's riches had made purse-proud; and must, because she was rich, and for no other virtue, sit in the highest pew in the church; which being denied her, she en