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‘survey.of all your abilities and weaknesses, and
spare not to expose them to your eye by writing, which I conceive is the best done by framing your own character, and so to draw the picture of your mind, which I recommend to your yearly practice during your ‘life. This, Frank, if you flatter not yourself, will be your best looking-glass, and must needs have a singular influ: ence upon your religion, and serve your soul extremely well to very high purposes; for, by this means, your growth or decay in virtue will be discovered, and, consequently, ways for the increase of that growth, or for repairing those decays and breaches in the soul, will more readily be found out, and more easily cured. When you have found both your forces and infirmities, then look with one eye upon them, and with the other on the realms you live in, whereby, comparing yourself with the general state of affairs, you shall soon discern whether there may be a correspondency and compliance between you
and them, that you may thereupon either draw .
yourself within your private walls, to enjoy the happiness of an holy, quiet, and innocent repose, in case the times are rough and dangerous to sail in; or else, if calm and suitable, to engage yourself in ‘some public employment,for the service of .your country and advancement of your family ; though, if I may guess at the future eon
stitution of your mind by what I observe at present, were the times never so calm and inviting, you should not be easily enticed to embark yourself into the world, or engage in busy and great employments. Your best course, in my judgment, Frank, were to say your prayers at home, manage your little affairs innocently and ‘discreetly, and enjoy, with thankfulness, what God has bestowed upon me. But it may so happen that your inclinations may be active, and’ your parts correspondent, and that good fortune may find you out in your privacy, and court you to employment, —- if she does, refuse her'not, but embrace her with these cautions: First, be sure to ballast yourself well, by calling in to your aid all the advantages of learning, art, and experience : then consider to fit your sails to the bulk of your vessel, lest you prove a slug, or overset. And because commonwealths have their shelves and rocks, therefore get the skill of coasting and shifting your sails ; I mean, to arrive at your journey’s end by compassing and an honest compliance. Yet, if honesty be the star you sail by, doubt not of a good voyage, at least be sure of a good harbour.
Tun following defence of Lord Shaftesbury, from the, imputation of having advised the shutting up of the Exchequer, is taken from Belsham’s character of Lord Shaftesbury, page 98, of his History of Great Britain : —
“ Mr. Hume asserts, after Burnet, that Lord Shaftesbury suggested to Clifford the infamous advice of shutting up the Exchequer; although these statesmen were at this very time inveterate political adversaries. And there is extant a paper of objections, admirably penned, left by Lord Shaftesbury with the King, against that violent and iniquitous measure; and also a letter of the same nobleman, in which, adverting to this report, he styles it ‘ foolish as well as false. If any man consider,’ says he, ‘ the circumstance of the time when it was done, and that it was the prologue of making Lord Clifford Lord High Treasurer, he cannot very justly suspect me of the counsel for that business, unless he thinks me at the same time out of my wits.’ And the