Page images

a part, much less of the whole. For, if the pain but of a tooth be so intolerable, what shall the racking of the whole body be? And, if of the body, what shall that be, which is primarily of the soul? If there be pleasures that I hear not of, I will be wary of buying them so over-dear.

LXXXII. As hypocrisy is a common counterfeit of all virtues; so there is no special virtue, which is not, to the very life of it, seemingly resembled, by some special vice. So, devotion is counterfeited by superstition; good thrift, by niggardliness; charity, with vain-glo rious pride. For, as charity is bounteous to the poor; so is vainglory to the wealthy: as charity sustains all, for truth; so pride, for a vain praise: both of them make a man courteous and affable. So the substance of every virtue is in the heart: which, since it hath not a window made into it, by the Creator of it, but is reserva ed under lock and key for his own view; I will judge only by appearance. I would rather wrong myself, by credulity; than others, by unjust censures and suspicions,

LXXXIII. Every man hath a kingdom within himself. Reason, as the Princess, dwells in the highest and inwardest room. The Senses are the Guard and Attendants on the Court; without whose aid, nothing is admitted into the Presence. The supreme faculties, as Will, Memory &c. are the Peers. The Outward Parts and Inward Affections, are the Commons. Violent Passions are as Rebels, to disturb the common peace. I would not be a Stoic, to have no passions; for that were to overthrow this inward government God hath erected in me: but a Christian, to order those I have. And, for that I see, that as, in commotions, one mutinous person draws on more; so, in passions, that one makes way for the extremity of another (as, excess of love causeth excess of grief, upon the loss of what we loved:) I will do as wise Princes use, to those they misdoubt for faction; so hold them down and keep them bare, that their very impotency and remissness shall afford me security.

LXXXIV, I look upon the things of this life, as an owner, as a stranger: as an owner, in their right; as a stranger, in their use. I see that owning is but a conceit, besides using : I can use, as I lawfully may, other men's commodities as my own; walk in their woods, look on their fair houses, with as much pleasure as my own: yet, again, I will use my own, as if it were another's; knowing, that though I hold them by right, yet it is only by tenure at will,

LXXXV. There is none like to Luther's three masters ; Prayer, Temptation, Meditation. Temptation stirs up holy meditation: meditation prepares to prayer: and prayer makes profit of temptation; and fetcheth all divine knowledge from heaven. Of others, I may learn the theory of Divinity; of these only, the practice. Other masters teach me, by rote, to speak, parrot-like, of heavenly things; these alone, with feeling and understanding.

LXXXVI. Affectation is the greatest enemy, both of doing well, and good acceptance of what is done. I hold it the part of a wise man, to endeavour rather that fame may follow him, than go before him.

LXXXVII. I see a number, which, with Shimei, while they seek their servant, which is riches, lose their souls. No worldly thing shall draw me without the gates, within which God hath confined me.

LXXXVIII. It is a hard thing, for a man to find weariness in pleasure, while it lasteth; or contentment in pain, while he is under it: after both, indeed, it is easy. Yet both of these must be found in both; or else we shall be drunken with pleasures, and overwhelmed with sorrow. As those, therefore, which should eat some dish, over-deliciously sweet, do allay it with tart sauce, that they may not be cloyed; and those, that are to receive bitter pills, that they may not be annoyed with their unpleasing taste roll them in sugar: so, in all pleasures, it is best to labour, not how to make them most delightful, but how to moderate them from excess; and, in all sorrows, so to settle our hearts in true grounds of comfort, that we may not care so much for being bemoaned of others, as how to be most contented in ourselves.

LXXXIX. In ways, we see travellers choose not the fairest and greenest, if it be either cross or contrary; but the nearest, though miry and uneven: so, in opinions, let me follow not the plausiblest, but the truest, though more perplexed.

XC. Christian society is like a bundle of sticks laid together, whereof one kindles another. Solitary men have fewest provocations to evil; but, again, fewest incitations to good. So much, as doing good is better than not doing evil, will I account Christian goodfellowship better than an eremitish and melancholy solitariness.

XCI. I would rather confess my ignorance, than falsely profess knowledge. It is no shame, not to know all things: but it is a just shame, to over-reach in any thing.

XCII. Sudden extremity is a notable trial of faith, or any other disposition of the soul. For, as, in a sudden fear, the blood gathers to the heart, for guarding of that part which is principal: so the powers of the soul combine themselves in a hard exigent, that they may

[ocr errors]

be easily judged of. The faithful, more suddenly than any casualty, can lift up his heart to his stay in heaven: whereas the worldling stands amazed, and distraught with the evil, because he hath no refuge to fly unto; for, not being acquainted with God in his peace, how should he but have him to seek in his extremity? When therefore some sudden stitch girds me in the side, like to be the messenger of death; or, when the sword of my enemy, in an unexpected assault, threatens my body; I will seriously note how I am affected: so the suddenest evil, as it shall not come unlooked for, shall not go away unthought of. If I find myself courageous and heavenly-minded, I will rejoice in the truth of God's grace in me; knowing, that one dram of tried faith, is worth a whole pound of speculative; and that, which once stood by me, will never fail me: if dejected and heartless, herein I will acknowledge cause of humiliation; and, with all care and earnestness, seek to store my. self against the dangers following:

XCIII. The rules of civil policy may well be applied to the mind. As therefore for a Prince, that he may have good success against either rebels or foreign enemies, it is a sure axiom,“ divide and rule;" but when he is once seated in the throne over loyal subjects, “unite and rule:” So, in the regiment of the soul, there must be variance set in the judgment, and the conscience and affections; that that, which is amiss, may be subdued: but, when all parts are brought to order, it is the only course to maintain their peace; that, all seeking to establish and help each other, the whole may prosper. Always to be at war, is desperate; always at peace, secure and overepicure-like. I do account a secure peace, a just occasion of this civil dissension, in myself; and a true Christian peace, the end of all my secret wars: which when I have atchieved, I shall reign with comfort; and never will be quiet, till I have atchieved it.

XCIV. I brought sin enough with me into the world to repent of, all my life; though I should never actually sin: and sin enough actually, every day, to sorrow for; though I had brought none with me into the world: but, laying both together, my time is rather too short for my repentance. It were madness in me, to spend my short life in jollity and pleasure, whereof I have so small occasion; and neglect the opportunity of my so just sorrow: especially since before I came into the world, I sinned; after I am gone out of the world, the contagion of my sin past shall auld to the guilt of it: yet, in both these states, I am uncapable of repentance. I will do that while I may, which, when I have neglected, is unrecoverable.

хсу. . Ambition is torment enough, for an enemy: for it affords as much discontentment in enjoying, as in want; making men like poisoned rats: which, when they have tasted of their bane, cannot rest till they

drink; and then can much less rest, till their death. It is better for me to live in the wise men's stocks, in a contented want; than in a fool's paradise, to vex myself with wilful unquietness.

XCVI. It is not possible, but a conceited man must be a fool: for, that overweening opinion, he hath of himself, excludes all opportunity of purchasing knowledge. Let a vessel be once full of never so base liquor, it will not give room to the costliest; but spills beside whats soever is infused. The proud man, though he be empty of good substance, yet is full of conceit. Many men had proved wise, if they had not so thought themselves. I am empty enough, to receive knowledge enough. Let me think myself but so bare as I am; and more I need not. O Lord, do thou teach me how little, how nothing I have; and give me no more, than I know I want.

XCVII. Every man hath his turn of sorrow; whereby, some more, some less, all men are in their times miserable. I never yet could meet with the man, that complained not of somewhat. Before sorrow come, I will prepare for it: when it is come, I will welcome it: when it goes, I will take but half a farewell of it; as still expecting his returi.

XCVIII. There be three things that follow an injury, so far as it concerneth ourselves; (for, as the offence toucheth God, it is above our reach;) revenge, censure, satisfaction: which must be remitted of the mer. ciful man. Yet not all at all times: but revenge always, leaving it to him that can and will do it; censure, ofttimes; satisfaction, sometimes. He, that deceives me oft, though I must forgive him; yet charity binds me not, not to censure him for untrusty : and he, that hath endamaged me much, cannot plead breach of charity, in my seeking his restitution. I will so remit wrongs, as I may not encourage others to offer them; and so retain them, as I may not induce God to retain mine to him.

XCIX. . Garments, that have once one rent in them, are subject to be torn on every nail and every brier; and glasses, that are once cracked, are soon broken: such is a man's good name, once tainted with just reproach. Next to the approbation of God and the testimony of mine own conscience, I will seek for a good reputation with men: not, by close carriage, concealing faults, that they may not be known, to my shame; but avoiding all vices, that I may not deserve it. The efficacy of the agent, is in the patient well disposed. It is hard for me ever to do good, unless I be reputed good.

C. Many vegetable and many brute creatures exceed man in length of age: which hath opened the mouths of heathen philosophers, to accuse nature, as a step-mother to man; who hath given him the

least time to live, that only could make use of his time in getting knowledge. But herein religion doth most magnify God, in his wisdom and justice; teaching us, that other creatures live long, and perish to nothing: only man recompenses the shortness of his life, with eternity after it ; that the sooner he dies well, the sooner he comes to perfection of knowledge, which he might in vain seek below; the sooner he dies ill, the less burt he doth with his knowledge. There is great reason then, why man should live long; greater, why he should die early. I will never blame God, for making me too soon happy; for changing my ignorance, for knowledge; my corruption, for immortality ; my infirmities, for perfection: Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »