« ПредишнаНапред »
in quaintness-it proceeds on an almost uniform balance of antithesis—but his observations are, at once, acute, deep, and practical. We have thrown the following short meditations together.
“ It is some hope of goodness not to grow worse: it is a part of badness not to grow better. I will take heed of quenching the sparke, and strive to kindle a fire. If I have the goodness I should, it is not too much, why should I make it less? If I keepe the goodness I have, 'tis not enough: why do I not make it more? He ne're was so good as he should be, that doth not strive to be better than he is: He never will be better than he is, that doth not feare to be worse than he was. 1st part, p. 11.
“ It is the usuall plea of poverty to blame misfortune, when the ill-finished cause of complaint is a worke of their owne forging. I will either make my fortunes good, or be content they are no worse. If they are not so good as I would they should have beene, they are not so bad as I know they might have beene. What though I am not so happy as I desire, 'tis well I am not so wretched as I deserve. p. 14.
“ There is nothing to be gotten by the world's love, nothing to be lost (but its love) by its hate. Why then should I seeke that love that cannot profit mee, or feare that malice that cannot hurt mee? If I should love it for loving mee, God would hate mee for loving it—if I loath it for hating mee, it cannot hurt mee for loathing it. Let it then hate mee and I will forgive it, but if it love mee I will never requite it. For since its love is hurtfull, and its hate harmelesse, I will contemne its hate, and hate its love. p. 16.
“There is nothing more certaine than death, nothing more uncertaine than the time of dying. I will therefore be prepared for that at all times, which may come at any time, must come at one time or another. I shall not hasten my death by being still ready, but sweeten it. It makes me not die the sooner, but the better. p. 19.
“ The commendation of a bad thing is its shortnesse, of a good thing its continuance: it were happy for the damned if their torments knew end, 'tis happier for the saints that their joys are eternall. If man, that is borne of a woman, be full of misery, 'tis well that he hath but a short time to live: if his life be a walke of paine, its a blessing, that his dayes are but a spanne long. Happy miseries that end in joy: happy joyes that know no end : happy end that dissolves to eternily. p. 21.
“ There is no estate of life so happy in this world as to yeeld a Christian the perfection of content: and yet there is no state of life so wretched in this world, but a Christian must be content with it. Though I have nothing here that may give me true content, yet I will learne to bee truely contented here with what I have. What care I though I have not much, I have as much as I desire, if I have as much ás I want; I have as much as the most, if I have as much as I desire. p. 24.
“ Nature bids mee love myself, and hate all that hurt mee; reason bids mee love my friends, and hate those that envy mee; religion bids mee. love all, and hate none. Nature sheweth care, reason wit, religion love. Nature may induce mee, reason persuade mee, but religion shall rule mee. I will hearken to nature in much, to reason in more, to religion in all. Nature shall make mee careful of myself, but hateful to none; reason shall make mee wise for myselfe, but harmlesse to all; religion shall make mee loving to all, but not carelesse of myselfe. I may heare the former, I will hearken onely to the latter. I subscribe to some things in all, to all things in religion. p. 27.
“The good meaner hath two tongues, the hypocrite a double tongue. The good man's heart speakes without his tongue, the hypocrite's tongue without his heart. The good man hath oftentimes God in heart, when, in his mouth, there is no God mentioned; the hypocrite hath God often in his mouth, when the foole hath said, in his heart, there is no God. I may soonest heare the tongue, but safest the heart—the tongue speaketh loudest, but the heart truest. The speech of the tongue is best known to men: God best understands the language of the heart: the heart, without the tongue, may pierce the eares of heaven; the tongue, without the heart, speakes an unknowne language. No marvell then if the desires of the poore are heard, when the prayers of the wicked are unregarded. I had rather speake three words in a speech that God knowes, than pray three houres in a language he understands not. p. 31,
" It is the folly of affection, not to reprehend my erring friend for feare of his anger: it is the abstract of folly, to be angry with my friend for my error's reprehension. I were not a friend, if I should see my friend out of the way and not advise him: I were unworthy to have a friend, if hee should advise mee (being out of the way) and I bee angry with him. Rather let me have my friend's anger than deserve it; rather let the righteous smite mee friendly by reproofe, than the pernicious oyle of flattery or connivence breake my head. It is a folly to frie ill-will by giving a just cause of hatred. I thinke him a truer friend that deserves my love, than he that desires it,” p. 36.
In the second part, the author is somewhat more diffuse, and does not confine himself so much to abstract thoughts, but generally illustrates them with imagery, which possesses, however, the same terseness, and closeness of application as his unadorned meditations. His similies are, indeed, mathematically accurate --they run in parallel lines—they never interfere with the subject in hand, nor approach it nearer at one point than another. Our readers cannot fail to be pleased with the few specimens which succeed. • “ When I see leaves drop from their trees, in the beginning of autumne, just such, thinke I, is the friendship of the world. Whiles the sap of maintenance lasts, my friends swarme in abundance, but, in the winter of my need, they leave me naked. He is a happy man,
that hath a true friend at his need; but he is more truly happy that hath no need of his friend. p. 44.
“ When I see the heavenly sunne buried under earth in the evening of the day, and, in the morning, to find a resurrection of his glory, why (thinke I) may not the sonnes of heaven, buried in the earth in the evening of their dayes, expect the morning of their glorious resurrection? Each night is but the past daye's funerall, and the morning his resurrection: why then should our funerall sleepe be otherwise than our sleepe at night? why should not we as well awake to our resurrection as in the morning? I see night is rather an intermission of day, than a deprivation, and death rather borrowes our life of us, than robbs us of it. Since then the glory of the sunne findes a resurrection, why should not the sonnes of glory? p. 49.
“ The gentle and harmlesse sheep being conscious of their owne innocency, how patiently, how quietly, doe they receive the knife, either on the altar, or in the shambles? How silently and undaunted doe they meet death, and give it entrance with small resistance? When the filthie, loathsome, and harmefull swine roare horribly at the first handling, and, with an hideous crying reluctancy, are haled and held to the slaughter. This seemes some cause to me, why wicked men (conscious of their filthy lives and nature) so tremble at the remembrances, startle at the name, and, with horrour, roare at the approach of death : when the godly quietly uncloathe themselves of their lives, and make small difference 'twixt a naturall night's short sleepe, and the long sleepe of nature. 2nd part, p. 7.
“ When I see a gallant ship well rigged, trimmed, tackled, man'd and munitioned, with her top and top-gallant, and her spread sayles proudly swelling with a full gale in faire weather, putting out of the haven into the smooth maine, and drawing the spectators' eyes, with a well-wishing admiration, and shortly heare of the same ship splitted against some dangerous rock, or wracked by some disastrous tempest, or sunk by some leake sprung in her by some accident, me seemeth I see the case of some court-favorite, who to-day, like Sejanus, dazzleth all men's eyes with the splendour of his glory, and with the proud and potent beake of his powerful prosperity cutteth the waves and ploweth through the prease of the vulgar, and scorneth to feare some remora at his keele below, or any crosse winds from above, and yet to-morrow, on some stormes of unexpected disfavour, springs a leake in his honour, and sinkes on the Syrtes of disgrace, or dashed against the rocks of displeasure is splitted and wrack'd in the Caribdis of infamy, and 80 concludes his voyage in misery and misfortune. p. 50.
“When I plant a choyse flower in a fertile soyle, I see nature presently to thrust up with it the stinging nettle, the stinking hemlocke, the drowzie poppie, and many such noysome weedes, which will either choake my plant with excluding the sunne, or divert its nourishment to themselves. But if I weed but these at first, my flower thrives to its goodnesse and glory. This is also the case when I endeavour to plant grace in the fertill soyle of a good wit. For luxurious nature thrusts up with it, either stinging wrath, or stinking wantonnesse, or drowzie
sloath, or some other vices, which robb my plant of its desired flourishing. But these being first pluckt up, the good wit produceth in its time the faire flower of virtue. p. 64.
" As oft as I heare the Robin-red-brest chaunt it as cheerfully in September, the beginning of winter, as in March, the approach of the summer, why should not wee (thinke 1) give as cheereful entertainement to the hoary-frosty hayres of our age's winter, as to the primroses of our youth's spring? Why not to the declining sunne in adversity as (like Persians) to the rising sunne of prosperity? I am sent to the ant, to learne industry; to the dove, to learne innocency; to the serpent, to learne wisedome; and why not to this bird, to learne equanimity and patience, and to keepe the same tenour of my minde's quietnesse, as well at the approach of the calamities of winter as of the spring of happinesse? And since the Roman's constancy is so commended, who changed not his countenance with his changed fortunes, why should not I, with a Christian resolution, hold a steddy course in all weathers, and though I bee forced with crosse-windes to shift my sailes and catch at side-windes, yet skilfully to steere and keep on my course, by the Cape of Good Hope, till I arrive at the haven of eternall happinesse?" p. 71.
Our author, notwithstanding his gravity, is very sportive in bis diction, and does not scorn a pun, as our readers may have seen, and will see more particularly in the following meditations.
“ There is a sort of men which are kind men to me, when they expect some kindnesse from me—who have their hands downe to the ground in their salutations, when the ground of their salutations is to have a hand at mee in some commodity. But their own ends once served, their kindnesse hath its end at once: and then it seemes strange to mee, how strange they will seeme to grow to mee; as if the cause (their desire) being removed, the effect (their courtesie) must straight cease. p. 33.
" I see a number of gallants every where, whose incomes come in yearly by set numbers, but runne out daily sans number. I could pitty the cases of such brave men, but that I see them still in brave cases; and when I see them often foxed, me thinke the proverbe sutes those sutes, What is the fox but his case? I should thinke them to be Eutrapelus his enemies, whom he cloathed richly to make them spend freely and grow deboshed. I will doe those men right, and wonder at them, because they desire it. I will not wrong myself to envie them, because they scorne it. I know that gorgeous apparell is an ornament to grace the court, for the glory of the kingdome, but it is no ornament useful in the kingdome of grace, nor needful in the kingdome of glory. A rich coate may bee commendable in the accidents of armory onely, but it is not the onely substance of a commendable gentleman. I will value the apparell by the worthinesse of the wearer; I will not value the worthinesse of the wearer by the worth of his apparell. Adam was most gallantly apparelled when he was innocently naked. p. 37.
VOL. II. PART I.
“ The men of most credit in our time are the usurers. For they credit most men: and though their greatest study be security, yet it is usually their fortune to be fullest of care. Time is pretious to them, for they thinke a day broke to them, is worth a broke-age from their creditor. Yet thus they finde by use, that as they have much profit by putting out, so must they have much care to get it in. For debtors are of Themistocles his minde, and take not so much care how to repay all, as how they may not pay at all their creditors, and make this their first resolution, how they may make no resolution at all. I envy not, therefore, the usurer's gaines, but considering they (as merchantadventurers) send abroad their estates in uncertaine vessels, sometimes into the bankrupt rivers of prodigality and unthriftinesse, sometimes into the seas of casualties and misfortunes, that many times their principal comes short home, I thinke with myselfe, let them gaine much by the adventure, that adventure so much to gaine. I will make this use of those uses, as to claime no interest in their gaines, nor to owe any thing to any man but love. If I lend where need is, and receive my principall againe, I will accompt that my principall gaine, and thinkę my courtesie but a commendable charity. p. 40."
We cannot resist the temptation of making a few more short extracts from this interesting and striking collection of thoughts.
“ I should wonder that the unsatiable desires of ambition can finde no degree of content, but that I see they seeke a perfection of honour on earth, when the fullnesse of glory is only in heaven. The honour on earth is full of degrees, but no degree admits a perfection: whereas the glory of heaven admits of degrees, but each degree affoords a fullnesse. Heere one may be lower than another in honour, and yet the highest want a glory: there, though one starre differs from another in glory, they all shine as starres. Heere the greatest must want there the least hath enough. Heere all the earth may not be enough for one-there one heaven is enough for all..
“I see, when I follow my shadow, it flies me when I flie my shadow, it followes me: I know pleasures are but shadowes, which hold no longer than the sun-shine of my fortunes. Least then my pleasures should forsake me, I will forsake them. Pleasure most flies me when I follow it.
“ It is not good to speake evill of all whom wee know bad : it is worse to judge evill of any, who may prove good. To speake ill upon knowledge shewes a want of charity-to speake ill upon suspition shewes a want of honesty. I will not speake so bad as I know of many: I will not speake worse than I know of any. To know evill by others, and not speake it, is sometimes discretion: to speake evill by others, and not know it, is always dishonesty. Hee may be evill himselfe who speakes good of others upon knowledge, but hee can never be good himselfe who speakes evill of others upon suspition. . “It is the folly of wit in some to take paines to trimme their la