Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
I. THE NATURE OF PRUDENCE. In general, it is a discerning and employing the most proper means of obtaining those ends, which we propose to ourselves. It is an important branch of prudence to avoid faults. One false step sometimes ruins, or, however, greatly embarrasses and retards a good design. Prudence likewise supposeth the main-raining of innocence and integrity. We may not neglect our duty to avoid danger.
II. THE NECESSITY, GROUNDS, AND REASONS OF PRUDENCE. These are chiefly the wickedness and the weakness of men. Good men, therefore, are obliged to be upon their guard, and make use of some methods of defence and security. Nay, if there were no bad men, yet there would be need of prudent behaviour, because some who have not much reflection or experience are apt to put wrong constructions upon harmless actions. A great part of prudence lies in denying ourselves, so as to keep some way within the limits of virtue.
III. SOME RULES AND DIRECTIONS concerning a prudent conduct, with regard to our words and actions.
1. The first rule of prudence I lay down is this, that we should endeavour to know ourselves. He that knows not himself may undertake designs he is not fit for, and can never accomplish, in which he must, therefore, necessarily meet with disappointment.
2. Endeavour to know other men. It is a point of charity to hope the best of every man, and of prudence to fear the worst.
3. Watch, and embrace opportunities.
4. Advise with those who are able to give you good counsel.
5. Restrain and govern your affections.
Parallel VersesKJV: Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.