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LV. He is a very humble man, that thinks not himself better than some others; and he is very mean, whom some others do not account better than themselves: so, that vessel, that seemed very small upon the Main, seenis a tall ship upon the Thames.
As there are many better for estate than myself, so there are some worse; and, if I were yet worse, yet would there be some lower; and, if I were so low that I accounted myself the worst of all, yet some would account themselves in worse case. A man's opinion is in others: bis being is in himself. Let me know myself: let others guess at me.
Let others either envy or pity me; I care not, so long as I enjoy myself.
LVI. He can never wonder enough at God's workmanship, that knows not the frame of the world: for he can never else conceive of the hugeness, and strange proportion of the creature. And he, that knows this, can never wonder more at any thing else. I will learn to know, that I may admire; and, by that little I know, I will more wonder at that I know not.
LVII. There is nothing below, but toiling, grieving, wishing, hoping, fearing; and weariness in all these. What fools are we, to be besotted with the love of our own trouble, and to hate our liberty and rest! The love of misery is much worse, than misery itself. We must first pray, that God would make us wise; before we can wish, he would make us happy.
LVIII. If a man refer all things to himself, nothing seems enough: if all things to God, any measure will content him of earthly things ; but in grace he is insatiable Worldlings serve themselves altogether in God; making religion but to serve their turns, as a colour of their ambition and covetousness. The Christian seeks God only in seeking himself; using all other things but as subordinately to him: not caring whether himself win or lose, so that God may win glory in both. I will not suffer mine eyes and mind to be bounded with these visible things; but still look through these matters at God, which is the utmost scope of them: accounting them only as a thoroughfare, to pass by; not as a habitation, to rest in.
LIX. He is wealthy enough, that wanteth not: he is great enough, that is his own master: he is happy enough, that lives to die well. Other things I will not care for; nor too much for these: save only for the last, which alone can admit of no immoderation.
LX. A man of extraordinary parts makes himself, by strange and singular behaviour, more admired; which if a man of but common faculty do imitate, he makes himself ridiculous : for that, which is construed as natural to the one, is descried to be affected in the other; and there is nothing forced by affectation can be comely. I will ever strive to go in the common road: so, while I am not notable, I shall not be notorious.
LXI. Gold is the best metal; and, for the purity, not subject to rust, as all others: and yet the best gold hath some dross. I esteem not that man, that hath no faults: I like him well, that hath but a few; and those, not great.
LXII. Many a man mars a good estate, for want of skill to proportion his carriage answerably to his ability. A little sail to a large vessel rids no way, though the wind be fair: a large sail to a little bark drowns it: a top-sail to a ship of mean burthen, in a rough weather, is dangerous: a low sail, in an easy gale, yields little advantage. This disproportion causeth some to live miserably, in a good estate; and some to make a good estate miserable. I will first know, what I may do for safety; and then I will try, what I can do for speed.
LXIII. The rich man hath many friends ; although, in truth, riches have them, and not the man: as the ass, that carried the Egyptian Goddess, had many bowed knees; yet not to the beast, but to the burthen. For, separate the riches from the person, and thou shalt see friendship leave the man; and follow that, which was ever her object: while he may command, and can either give or control, he hath attendance and proffer of love at all hands; but which of these dares acknowledge him, when he is going to prison for debt ? Then these wasps, that made such music about this gallipot, shew plainly, that they came only for the honey that was in it. This is the misery of the wealthy, that they cannot know their friends: whereas those, that love the poor man, love him for himself. He, that would chuse a true friend, must search out one, that is neither covetous nor ambitious; for such a one loves but himself in thee. And if it be rare to find any not infected with these qualities, the best is to entertain all, and trust few.
LXIV. That, which the French Proverb hath of sicknesses, is true of all evils: That they come on horseback, and go away on foot. We have oft seen a sudden fall; or one meal's surfeit hath stuck by many to their graves: whereas pleasures come like oxen, slow and heavily; and go away like post-horses, upon the spur. Sorrows, because they are lingering guests, I will entertain but moderately; knowing, that the more they are made of, the longer they will continue: and, for pleasures, because they stay not, and do but call to drink at my door; I will use them as passengers, with slight respect. He is his own best friend, that makes least of both of them.
LXV. It is indeed more commendable, to give good example, than to take it; yet imitation, however in civil matters it be condemned of servility, in Christian practice hath his due praise : and, though it be more natural for beginners at their first initiation, that cannot swim without bladders; yet the best proficient shall see ever some higher steps of those, that have gone to heaven before him, worthy of his tracing. Wherein much caution must be had; that we foilow good men, and in good: good men; for, if we propound imperfect patterns to ourselves, we shall be constrained first to unlearn those ill habits we have got by their imitation, before we can be capable of good; so, besides the loss of labour, we are further off from our end: in good; for, that a man should be so wedded to any man's person, that he can make no separation from his infirmities, is both absurdly servile and unchristian. He, therefore, that would follow well, must know to distinguish well, betwixt good men and evil; betwixt good men and better; betwixt good qualities and infirmities. Why hath God given me education, not in a desert alone, but in the company of good and virtuous men, but that, by the sight of their good carriage, I should better mine own? Why should we have interest in the vices of men, and not in their virtues? And, although precepts be surer, yet a good man's action is according to precept; yea, is a precept itself
. The Psalmist compares the Law of God to a Lanthorn: good example bears it. It is safe following him, that carries the light : if he walk without the light, he shall walk without me.
LXVI. As there is one common end to all good men, Salvation; and one Author of it, Christ: so, there is but one way to it, doing well and suffering evil. Doing well, methinks, is like the Zodiac in the heaven, the high-way of the sun, through which it daily passeth: suffering evil, is like the Ecliptic-line, that goes through the midst of it. The rule of doing well, the Law of God, is uniform and eternal; and the copies of suffering evil in all times agree with the original. No man can either do well or suffer ill, without an example. Are we sawn in pieces ? so was Isaiah. Are we beheaded? so John Baptist. Crucified? so Peter. Thrown to wild beasts? so Daniel.. Into the furnace ? so the three children. Stoned? so Stephen. Banished? so the Beloved Disciple. Burnt? so millions of Martyrs. Defamed and slandered? what good man erer was not? It were easy to be endless both in torments and sufferers: whereof each hath begun to other, all to us. I may not hope to speed better than the best Christians: I cannot fear to fare worse. It is no matter, which way I go, so I come to heaven.
LXVII. There is nothing, beside life, of this nature, that it is diminished by addition. Every moment we live longer than other; and cach moment, that we live longer, is so much taken out of our life. It
increaseth and diminisheth only by minutes; and, therefore, is not perceived: the shorter steps it taketh, the more slily it passeth. Time shall not so steal upon me, that I shall not discern it, and catch it by the fore-locks; nor so steal from me, that it shall carry with it no witness of his passage in my proficiency.
LXVIII. The prodigal man, while he spendeth, is magnified; when he is spent, is pitied: and that is all his recompence for his lavished patrimony. The covetous man is grudged while he lives, and his death is rejoiced at; for, when he ends, his riches begin to be goods. He, that wisely keeps the mean between both, liveth well, and hears well; neither repined at by the needy, nor pitied by greater men. I would so manage these worldly commodities, as accounting them mine, to dispose; others', to partake of.
LXIX. A good name (if any earthly thing) is worth seeking, worth striv. ing for: yet, to affect a bare name, when we deserve either ill or nothing, is but a proud hypocrisy; and, to be puffed up with the wrongful estimation of others' mistaking our worth, is an idle and ridiculous pride. Thou art well spoken of upon no desert: what then? thou hast deceived thy neighbours; they, one another; and all of them have deceived thee: for thou madest them think of thee otherwise than thou art; and they have made thee think of thyself as thou art accounted: the deceit came from thee; the shame will end in thee. I will account no wrong greater, than for a man to esteem and report me above that I am: not rejoicing, in that I am well thought of, but in that I am such as I am esteemed.
LXX. It was a speech worthy the commendation and frequent remembrance, of so divine a Bishop as Augustin, which is reported of an aged Father in his time; who, when his friends comforted him on his sick-bed, and told him, they hoped he should recover, answered, “If I shall not die at all, well; but it ever, why not now?” Sure. ly, it is folly, what we must do, to do unwillingly. I will never think my soul in a good case, so long as I am loth to think of dying: and will make this my comfort; not, I shall yet live longer, but, I shall yet do more good.
LXXI. Excesses are never alone. Commonly, those, that have excel. lent parts, have some extremely vicious qualities. Great wits have great errors, and great estates have great cares; whereas mediocrity of gifts or of estate hath usually but easy inconveniences: else the excellent would not know themselves, and the mean would be too much dejected: now, those, whom we admire for their faculties, we pity for their infirmities; and those, which find themselves but of the ordinary pitch, joy, that, as their virtues, so their vices pre not eminent: so, the highest have a blemished glory, and the
mean are contentedly secure. I will magnify the highest; but affect the mean.
LXXII. The body is the case or sheath of the mind: yet, as naturally it hideth it; so it doth also, many times, discover it: for, although the forehead, eyes, and frame of the countenance do sometime beJie the disposition of the heart; yet, most commonly, they give true general verdicts. An angry man's brows are bent together, and his eyes sparkle with rage; which, when he is well pleased, look smooth and cheerfully. Envy hath one look; desire, another; sorrow, yet another; contentment, a fourth, different from all the rest. To shew no passion, is too stoical; to shew all, is impotent; to shew other than we feel, hypocritical. The face and gesture do but write and make commentaries upon the heart. I will first endeavour so to frame and order that, as not to entertain any passion, but what I need not care to have laid open to the world: and, therefore, will first see that the text he good; then, that the gloss be true; and, lastly, that it be sparing. To what end hath God so walled in the heart, if I should let every man's eyes into it by my countenance?
LXXIII. There is no public action, which the world is not ready to scan: there is no action so private, which the evil spirits are not witnesses of: I will endeavour so to live, as knowing that I am ever in the eyes of mine enemies.
LXXIV. When we ourselves and all other vices are old, then covetousness alone is young, and at his best age. This vice loves to dwell in an old, ruinous cottage: yet that age can have no such honest colour for niggardliness and insatiable desire. A young man might plead the uncertainty of his estate, and doubt of his future need; but an old man sees his set period before him. Since this humour is so necessarily annexed to this age, I will turn it the right way; and nourish it in self: the older I grow, the more covetous I will be; but of the riches, not of the world I am leaving, but of the world I am entering into. It is good coveting, what I may have, and cannot leave behind me.
LXXV. There is a mutual hatred, betwixt a Christian and the world: for, on the one side, the love of the world is enmity with God, and God's children cannot but take their Father's part: on the other, The world hates you, because it hated me first. But the hatred of the good man to the wicked is not so extreme, as that wherewith he is hated: for the Christian hates ever with commiseration and love of that good he sees in the worst; knowing, that the essence of the very devils is good; and that the lewdest man hath some excellent parts of nature, or common graces of the Spirit of God, which he warily singleth out in his affection : but the wicked man hates him for goodness; and, therefore, finds nothing in himself to