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thenceforth we shall never be relieved; but you must use them with all courtesy. And for trading or exchanging with them, it must be done by one or two of every ship for all the rest, and the price to be directed by the Cape merchant, for otherwise all our commodities will be of small price, and greatly to our hinderance.
For other orders on the land we will establish them (when God shall send us thither) by general consent: in the mean time I will value every man's honour according to their degree and valour, and taking care for the service of God and prosperity of our enterprise.
When the admiral shall hang out a flag or ensign on the mizen shrouds, you shall know it to be a flag of counsel to come aboard.
A LOVING SON
HIS AGED FATHER".
I HUMBLY beseech you, both in respect of the honour of God, your duty to his church, and the comfort of your own soul, that you seriously consider in what terms you stand, and weigh yourself in a Christian balance; taking for your counterpoise the judgments of God. Take heed in time, that the word Tekel, written of old against Belshazzar, and interpreted by Daniel, be not verified in you, whose exposition was, You have been poised in the scale, and found of too light weight.
Remember that you are now in the waning, and the date of your pilgrimage well nigh expired, and now that it behoveth you to look towards your country, your force languisheth, your senses impair, your body droops, and on every side the ruinous cottage of your faint and feeble flesh threateneth the fall: and having so many harbingers of death to premonish you of your end, how can you but prepare for so dreadful a stranger? The young man may die quickly, but the old man cannot live long: the young man's life by casualty may be abridged, but the old man's by no physic can be long adjourned ; and therefore, if green years
* This piece has always passed this reason it is taken from his works, among sir Walter Ralegh's remains, and added here, for the satisfaction as written by himself; but it appears of those who may be of another rather to be a libel against him, opinion. BIRCH. written by some of his enemies. For RALEGH, MISC. WORKS.
should sometimes think of the grave, the thoughts of old age should continually dwell in the same.
The prerogative of infancy is innocency; of childhood, reverence; of manhood, maturity; and of old age, wisdom.
And seeing then that the chiefest properties of wisdom are to be mindful of things past, careful for things present, and provident for things to come; use now the privilege of nature's talent, to the benefit of your own soul, and procure hereafter to be wise in welldoing, and watchful in the foresight of future harms. To serve the world you are now unable; and though you were able, yet you have little cause to be willing, seeing that it never gave you but an unhappy welcome, a hurtful entertainment, and now doth abandon you with an unfortunate farewell.
You have long sowed in a field of flint, which could bring nothing forth but a crop of cares, and afflictions of spirit; rewarding your labours with remorse, and affording, for your gain, eternal danger.
It is now more than a seasonable time to alter the course of so unthriving a husbandry, and to enter into the field of God's church, in which, sowing the seed of repentant sorrow, and watering them with the tears of humble contrition, you may hereafter reap a more beneficial harvest, and gather the fruits of everlasting comfort.
Remember, I pray you, that your spring is spent, your summer overpast, you are now arrived at the fall of the leaf; yea, and winter colours have long since stained your hoary head.
“ Be not careless," saith St. Augustine, “though our
loving Lord bear long with offenders; for the longer he “ stays, not finding amendment, the sorer he will scourge 6 when he comes to judgment; and his patience in so strong
forbearing, is only to lend us respite to repent, and not in “ any wise to enlarge us leisure to sin."
He that is tossed with variety of storms, and cannot come to his desired port, maketh not much way, but is much turmoiled. So he, that hath passed many years, and purchased little profit, hath a long being, but a short life: for
life is more to be measured by welldoing than by number of years ; seeing that most men by many days do but procure many deaths, and others in short space attain to the life of infinite ages. What is the body without the soul but a corrupt carcass ? and what is the soul without God but a sepulchre of sin ?
If God be the way, the life, and the truth, he that goeth without him strayeth; and he that liveth without him dieth; and he that is not taught by him erreth.
Well saith St. Augustine, “ God is our true and chiefest “ life, from whom to revolt is to fall; to whom to return “ is to rise; and in whom to stay is to stand sure."
God is he, from whom to depart is to die; to whom to repair is to revive; and in whom to dwell is life for ever. Be not then of the number of those that begin not to live till they be ready to die: and then, after a foe's desert, come to crave of God a friend's entertainment.
Some there be that think to snatch heaven in a moment, which the best can scarce attain unto in the maintenance of many years; and when they have glutted themselves with worldly delights, would jump from Dives's diet to Lazarus's crown, from the service of Satan to the solace of a saint.
But be you well assured, that God is not so penurious of friends, as to hold himself and his kingdom saleable for the refuse and reversions of their lives, who have sacrificed the principal thereof to his enemies, and their own brutish lust; then only ceasing to offend, when the ability of offending is taken from them.
True it is that a thief may be saved upon the cross, and mercy found at the last gasp: but well saith St. Augustine, “ Though it be possible, yet it is scarce credible, that he in “ death should find favour whose whole life deserved death; “ and that the repentance should be more accepted, that “ more for fear of hell and love of himself, than for the “ love of God and loathsomeness of sin, crieth for mercy."
Wherefore, good sir, make no longer delays; but, being so near the breaking up of your mortal house, take time before extremity to pacify God's anger.
Though you suffered the bud to be blasted, though you permitted the fruits to be perished, and the leaves to dry up; yea, though you let the boughs to wither, and the body of your tree to grow to decay; yet (alas !) keep life in the root, for fear lest the whole tree become fuel for hellfire. For surely, where the tree falleth there it shall lie, whether towards the south or to the north, to heaven or to hell; and such sap as it bringeth forth, such fruit shall it ever bear.
Death hath already filed from you the better part of your natural forces, and left you now to the lees and remissals of your wearyish and dying days.
The remainder whereof, as it cannot be long, so doth it warn you speedily to ransom your former losses; for what is age but the calends of death ? and what importeth your present weakness but an earnest of your approaching dissolution ? You are now embarked in your final voyage, and not far from the stint and period of your course.
Be not therefore unprovided of such appurtenances as are behoveful in so perplexed and perilous a journey; death itself is very fearful, but much more terrible in respect of the judgment it summoneth us unto.
If you were now laid upon your departing bed, burdened with the heavy load of your former trespasses, and gored with the sting and prick of a festered conscience; if you felt the cramp of death wresting your heartstrings, and ready to make the rueful divorce between body and soul; if you lay panting for breath, and swimming in a cold and pale sweat, wearied with struggling against your deadly pangs, O what would you give for an hour's repentance; at what a rate would you value a day's contrition! then worlds would be worthless in respect of a little respite; a short truce would seem more precious than the treasures of an empire; nothing would be so much esteemed as a short time of truce, which now by days, and months, and years, is most lavishly mispent.
O how deeply would it wound your woful heart, when, looking back into your former life, you considered many