Page images
PDF
EPUB

very imagery and colours are fantastical.' The ful-eth the raging of the sea, and the noise of his waves, filment of our duties he calls presenting a rosary and the madness of his people, had provided a plank or chaplet of good works to our Maker;' and he for me, I had been lost to all the opportunities of dresses even the grave with the flowers of fancy. content or study; but I know not whether I have This freshness of feeling and imagination remained been more preserved by the courtesies of my friends, with him to the last, amidst all the strise and vio- or the gentleness and mercies of a noble enemy.' lence of the civil war (in which he was an anxious This fine passage is in the dedication to Taylor's participater and sufferer), and the still more deaden- Liberty of Prophesying, a discourse published in ing effects of polemical controversy and systems of 1647, showing the Unreasonableness of Prescribing casuistry and metaphysics. The stormy vicissitudes to other Men's Faith, and the Iniquity of Persecuting of his life seem only to have taught him greater Differing Opinions. By 'prophesying he means gentleness, resignation, toleration for human failings, preaching or expounding. The work has been and a more ardent love of humankind.

justly described as perhaps, of all Taylor's writJeremy Taylor was a native of Cambridge (bap- ings, that which shows him farthest in advance of tised on the 15th of August, 1613), and descended the age in which he lived, and of the ecclesiastical of gentle, and even heroic blood. He was the system in which he had been reared-as the first lineal representative of Dr Rowland Taylor, who distinct and avowed defence of toleration which had suffered martyrdom in the reign of Queen Mary; been ventured on in England, perhaps in Christenand his family had been one of some distinction in dom.' He builds the right of private judgment upon the county of Gloucester. The Taylors, however, the difficulty of expounding Scripture--the insuffihad fallen into the portion of weeds and outworn ciency and uncertainty of tradition-the fallibility faces,' to use an expression of their most illustrious of councils, the pope, ecclesiastical writers, and the member, and Jeremy's father followed the humble church as a body, as arbiters of controverted points occupation of a barber in Cambridge. He put his -and the consequent necessity of letting every man son to college, as a sizar, in his thirteenth year, choose his own guide or judge of the meaning of Scriphaving himself previously taught him the rudiments ture for himself; since, says he, “any man may be of grammar and mathematics, and given him the better trusted for himself, than any man can be for advantages of the Free Grammar school. In 1631, another-for in this case his own interest is most conJeremy Taylor took his degree of bachelor of arts cerned, and ability is not so necessary as honesty, in Caius college, and entering into sacred orders, which certainly every man will best preserve in his removed to London, to deliver some lectures for a own case, and to himself (and if he does not, it's he college friend in St Paul's cathedral. His eloquent that must smart for it); and it is not required of us discourses, aided by what a contemporary calls his not to be in error, but that we endeavour to avoid it.' florid and youthful beauty, and pleasant air,' en- Milton, in his scheme of toleration, excludes all tranced all hearers, and procured him the patronage Roman Catholics-a trait of the persecuting chaof Archbishop Laud, the friend of learning, if not of racter of his times; and Jeremy Taylor, to establish liberty. By Land's assistance, Taylor obtained a some standard of truth, and prevent anarchy, as he fellowship in All Souls college, Oxford; became alleges, proposes the confession of the apostles' creed chaplain to the archbishop, and rector of Upping- as the test of orthodoxy and the condition of union ham, in Rutlandshire. In 1639 he married Phæbe among Christians. The principles he advocates go Langdale, a female of whom we know nothing but to destroy this limitation, and are applicable to uniher musical name, and that she bore three sons to versal toleration, which he dared hardly then avow, her accomplished husband, and died three years even if he had entertained such a desire or convicafter her marriage. The sons of Taylor also died tion. The style of his masterly 'Discourse is more before their father, clouding with melancholy and argumentative and less ornate than that of his serregret his late and troubled years. The turmoil of mons and devotional treatises; but his enlightened the civil war now agitated the country, and Jeremy zeal often breaks forth in striking condemnation of Taylor embarked his fortunes in the fate of the those who are curiously busy about trifles and royalists. By virtue of the king's mandate, he was impertinences, while they reject those glorious premade a Doctor of Divinity; and at the command of cepts of Christianity and holy life which are the Charles, he wrote a defence of Episcopacy, to which glories of our religion, and would enable us to gain he was by principle and profession strongly attached. a happy eternity. He closes the work with the In 1644, while accompanying the royal army as following interesting and instructive apologue, which chaplain, Jeremy Taylor was taken prisoner by the he had found, he says, in the Jews' books parliamentary forces, in the battle fought before

“When Abraham sat at his tent door, according to the castle of Cardigan, in Wales. He was soon re- his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied leased, but the tide of war had turned against the

an old man stopping and leaning on his staff, weary royalists, and in the wreck of the church, Taylor with age and travel, coming towards him, who was a resolved to continue in Wales, and, in conjunction hundred years of age. He received him kindly, with two learned and ecclesiastical friends, to esta- washed his feet, provided supper, and caused him to blish a school at Newton-hall, county of Caermar, sit down ; but observing that the old man ate and then. He appears to have been twice imprisoned prayed not, nor begged for a blessing on his meat, by the dominant party, but treated with no marked asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven! severity.

The old man told him that he worshipped the fire • In the great storm,' he says, 'which dashed the only, and acknowledged no other God; at which anvessel of the church all in pieces, I had been cast on swer Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the coast of Wales, and, in a little boat, thought to the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all have enjoyed that rest and quietness which in Eng, the evils of the night and an unguarded condition. land, in a far greater, I could not hope for. Here I When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, cast anchor, and thinking to ride safely, the storm and asked him where the stranger was? He replied, followed me with so impetuous violence, that it I thrust him away because he did not worship thee: broke a cable, and I lost my anchor. And here God answered him, I have suffered him these hundred again I was exposed to the mercy of the sea, and the years, although he dishonoured me, and couldst thou gentleness of an element that could neither distin- not endure him one night, when he gave thee no guish things nor persons: and, but that He that still. I trouble? Upon this, saith the story, Abraham fetched

him back again, and gave him hospitable entertain- or fervent piety. Any remains of a controversial ment and wise instruction. Go thou and do likewise, spirit which might have survived the period of his and thy charity will be rewarded by the God of busy manhood, were now entirely repressed by the Abraham.'

calm dictates of a wise experience, sanctified by afIn Wales, Jeremy Taylor was married to Mrs fliction, and by his onerous and important duties as Joanna Bridges, a natural daughter of Charles I., a guide and director of the Protestant church. He and mistress of an estate in the county of Caer died at Lisburn of a fever on the 13th of August, marthen. He was thus relieved from the irksome 1667, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. A finer duties of a schoolmaster ; but the fines and seques pattern of a Christian divine never perhaps existed. trations imposed by the parliamentary party on His learning dignified the high station he at last atthe property of the royalists, are supposed to have tained ; his gentleness and courtesy shed a grace dilapidated his wife's fortune. It is known that he over his whole conduct and demeanour; while his received a pension from the patriotic and excellent commanding genius and energy in the cause of truth John Evelyn, and the literary labours of Taylor and virtue, render him worthy of everlasting affec. were never relaxed. Soon after the publication of tion and veneration. We have alluded to the ge. the Liberty of Prophesying,' he wrote an Apology neral character and style of Jeremy Taylor's works. for Authorised and Set Forms of Liturgy, and in 1648 A late eminent scholar, Dr Parr, has eulogised his The Life of Christ, or the Great Exemplar, a valuable controversial writings: ‘fraught as they are,' he and highly popular work. These were followed by says, ' with guileless ardour, with peerless eloquence, nis treatises of Holy Living and Holy Dying, Twenty- and with the richest stores of knowledge-historical, seven Sermons for the Summer Half-Year, and other classical, scholastic, and theological—they may be minor productions. He wrote also an excellent little considered as irrefragable proofs of his púre, affecmanual of devotion, entitled the Golden Grove, so tionate, and dutiful attachment to the reformed called after the mansion of his neighbour and patron church of England.' His uncontroversial writings, the Earl of Carberry, in whose family he had spent however, form the noblest monument to his memory. many of his happiest leisure hours. In the preface His peculiar tenets may be differently judged of by to this work, Taylor had reflected on the ruling different sects. He was perhaps too prone to specupowers in church and state, for which he was, for å lation in matters of doctrine, and he was certainly no short time, committed to prison in Chepstow Castle. blindly-devoted adherent of the church. His mind He next completed his Course of Sermons for the loved to expatiate on the higher things of time, Year, and published some controversial tracts on death, and eternity, which concern men of all parthe doctrine of Original Sin, respecting which his ties, and to draw from the divine revelation its opinions were rather latitudinarian, inclining to the hopes, terrors, and injunctions (in his hands irrePelagian heresy. He was attacked both by High sistible as the flaming sword), as a means of purifyChurchmen and Calvinists, but defended himself ing the human mind, and fitting it for a more exalted with warmth and spirit—the only instance in which destiny. Theology is rather a divine life than a his bland and benevolent disposition was betrayed divine knowledge. In heaven, indeed, we shall first into anything approaching to personal asperity. see, and then love; but here on earth, we must first He went to London in 1657, and officiated in a pri- love, and love will open our eyes as well as our vate congregation of Episcopalians, till an offer was hearts; and we shall then see, and perceive, and unmade him by the Earl of Conway to accompany him derstand.'* to Ireland, and act as lecturer in a church at Lis The following passages are selected as being among burn. Thither he accordingly repaired, fixing his the most characteristic or beautiful in Bishop Tayresidence at Portmore, on the banks of Lough lor's works :Neagh, about eight miles from Lisburn. Two years appear to have been spent in this happy retirement,

[The Age of Reason and Discretion.] when, in 1660, Taylor made a visit to London, to pub We must not think that the life of a man begins lish his Ductor Dubitantium, or Cases of Conscience, when he can feed himself or walk alone, when he can the most elaborate, but the least successful, of all his fight or beget his like, for so he is contemporary with works. His journey, however, was made at an aus a camel or a cow; but he is first a man when he picious period. The Commonwealth was on the eve comes to a certain steady use of reason, according to of dissolution in the weak hands of Richard Crom- his proportion; and when that is, all the world of well, and the hopes of the cavaliers were fanned men cannot tell precisely. Some are called at age at by the artifice and ingenuity of Monk. Jeremy fourteen, some at one-and-twenty, some never; but Taylor signed the declaration of the loyalists of all men late enough; for the life of a man comes upon London on the 24th of April ; on the 29th of him slowly and insensibly. But, as when the sun apMay Charles II. entered London in triumphal pro- proaching towards the gates of the morning, he first cession, to ascend the throne; and in August follow- opens a little eye of heaven, and sends away the spirits ing, our author was appointed bishop of Down and of darkness, and gives light to a cock, and calls up the Connor. The Restoration exalted many a worthless lark to matins, and by and by gilds the fringes of a parasite, and disappointed many a deserving loyalist; cloud, and peeps over the eastern hills, thrusting out let us be thankful that it was the cause of the mitre his golden horns like those which decked the brows of descending on the head of at least one pure and pious Moses, when he was forced to wear a veil, because churchman! Taylor was afterwards made chancellor himself had seen the face of God; and still, while a of the university of Dublin, and a member of the man tells the story, the sun gets up higher, till he Irish privy council. The see of Dromore was also shows a fair face and a full light, and then he shines annexed to his other bishopric, on account of his one whole day, under a cloud often, and sometimes virtue, wisdom, and industry. These well-bestowed weeping great and little showers, and sets quickly : honours he enjoyed only about six years. The so is a man's reason and his life. He first begins to duties of his episcopal function were discharged with perceive himself, to see or taste, making little refleczeal, mingled with charity; and the few sermons tions upon his actions of sense, and can discourse of which we possess delivered by him in Ireland are

fies and dogs, shells and play, horses and liberty: but truly apostolic, both in spirit and language. The when he is strong enough to enter into arts and little evil days and evil tongues on which he had fallen never ** Via Intelligentiæ,' a sermon preached by Jeremy Taylor to caused him to swerve from his enlightened toleration the university of Dublin.

institutions, he is at first entertained with trifles and till the young herdsmen took them in their stranger impertinent things, not because he needs them, but snare. It is the unhappy chance of many men, findbecause his understanding is no bigger, and little ing many inconveniences upon the mountains of single images of things are laid before him, like a cock-boat life, they descend into the valleys of marriage to reto a whale, only to play withal: but, before a man fresh their troubles; and there they enter into fetters, comes to be wise, he is half dead with gouts and con- and are bound to sorrow by the cords of a man's or sumption, with catarrhs and aches, with sore eyes and woman's peevishness. worn-out body. So that, if we must not reckon the Man and wife are equally concerned to avoid all life of a man but by the accounts of his reason, he is offences of each other in the beginning of their conlong before his soul be dressed ; and he is not to be versation ; every little thing can blast an infant bloscalled a man without a wise and an adorned soul, a som; and the breath of the south can shake the little soul at least furnished with what is necessary towards rings of the vine, when first they begin to curl like his well-being.

the locks of a new-weaned boy : but when by age and And now let us consider what that thing is which consolidation they stiffen into the hardness of a stem, we call years of discretion. The young man is passed and have, by the warm embraces of the sun and the his tutors, and arrived at the bondage of a caitiff kisses of heaven, brought forth their clusters, they can spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to endure the storms of the north, and the loud noises of passion. The man by this time hath wit enough to a tempest, and yet never be broken : so are the early choose his vice, to act his lust, to court his mistress, unions of an unfixed marriage; watchful and obserto talk confidently, and ignorantly, and perpetually; vant, jealous and busy, inquisitive and careful, and to despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, apt to take alarm at every unkind word. After the to do things that, when he is indeed a man, he must hearts of the man and the wife are endeared and for ever be ashamed of; for this is all the discretion hardened by a mutual confidence and experience, that most men show in the first stage of their man- longer than artifice and pretence can last, there are a hood. They can discern good from evil; and they great many remembrances, and some things present, prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wal- that dash all little unkindnesses in pieces. lowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite. There is nothing can please a man without love; And by this time the young man bath contracted and if a man be weary of the wise discourses of the vicious habits, and is a beast in manners, and there apostles, and of the innocency of an even and a prifore it will not be fitting to reckon the beginning of vate fortune, or hates peace, or a fruitful year, he his life; he is a fool in his understanding, and that hath reaped thorns and thistles from the choicest is a sad death.

flowers of Paradise ; for nothing can sweeten felicity

itself but love; but when a man dwells in love, then [The Pomp of Death.)

the breasts of his wife are pleasant as the droppings Take away but the pomps of death, the disguises, upon the hill of Hermon ; her eyes are fair as the light and solemn bugbears, and the actings by candlelight, of heaven ; she is a fountain sealed, and he can quench and proper and fantastic ceremonies, the minstrels his thirst, and ease his cares, and lay his sorrows and the noise-makers, the women and the weepers, down upon her lap, and can retire home to his sancthe swoonings and the shriekings, the nurses and the tuary and refectory, and his gardens of sweetness and physicians, the dark room and the ministers, the kin- chaste refreshments. No man can tell but he that dred and the watches, and then to die is easy, ready, loves his children, how many delicious accents make and quitted from its troublesome circumstances. It a man's heart dance in the pretty conversation of is the same harmless thing that a poor shepherd suf-those dear pledges; their childishness, their stammerfered yesterday, or a maid-servant to-day; and at ing, their little angers, their innocence, their imperthe same time in which you die, in that very night a fections, their necessities, are so many little emanathousand creatures die with you, some wise men and tions of joy and comfort to him that delights in their many fools; and the wisdom of the first will not quit persons and society. It is fit that I should him, and the folly of the latter does not make him infuse a bunch of myrrh into the festival goblet, and, unable to die.

after the Egyptian manner, serve up a dead man's

bones at a feast: I will only show it, and take it [Marriage.]

away again; it will make the wine bitter, but wholeThey that enter into the state of marriage cast a But those married pairs that live as rememdie of the greatest contingency, and yet of the greatest bering that they must part again, and give an account interest in the world, next to the last throw for eter- how they treat themselves and each other, shall, at nity. Life or death, felicity or a lasting sorrow, are that day of their death, be admitted to glorious

marriage. A woman, indeed, ven- espousals; and when they shall live again, be married tures most, for she hath no sanctuary to retire to from to their Lord, and partake of his glories, with Abraan evil husband; she must dwell upon her sorrow, ham and Joseph, St Peter and St Paul, and all the and hatch the eggs which her own folly or infelicity married saints. All those things that now please us hath produced ; and she is more under it, because her shall pass from us, or we from them; but those things tormentor hath a warrant of prerogative, and the that concern the other life are permanent as the woman may complain to God, as subjects do of tyrant numbers of eternity. And although at the resurrecprinces; but otherwise she hath no appeal in the tion there shall be no relation of husband and wife, causes of unkindness. And though the man can run and no marriage shall be celebrated but the marriage from many hours of his sadness, yet he must return of the Lamb, yet then shall be remembered how men to it again; and when he sits among his neighbours, and women passed through this state, which is a type he remembers the objection that is in his bosom, of that; and from this sacramental union all holy and he sighs deeply. The boys, and the pedlars, and pairs shall pass to the spiritual and eternal, where the fruiterers, shall tell of this man when he is carried love shall be their portion, and joys shall crown their to his grave, that he lived and died a poor wretched heads, and they shall lie in the bosom of Jesus, and person.

in the heart of God, to eternal ages. The stags in the Greek epigram, whose knees were clogged with frozen snow upon the mountains, came

[The Progress of Sin.] down to the brooks of the valleys, hoping to thaw their joints with the waters of the stream; but there I have seen the little purls of a spring sweat through the frost overtook them, and bound them fast in ice, I the bottom of a bank, and intenerate the stubborn

*

some.

in the power

pavement, till it hath made it fit for the impression death, and be no more. So is every sinner that lies of a child's foot; and it was despised, like the de- down in shame, and makes his grave with the wicked; scending pearls of a misty morning, till it had opened he shall, indeed, rise again, and be called upon by the its way and made a stream large enough to carry away voice of the archangel; but then he shall descend into the ruins of the undermined strand, and to invade the sorrows greater than the reason and the patience of a neighbouring gardens : but then the despised drops man, weeping and shrieking louder than the groans of were grown into an artificial river, and an intolerable the miserable children in the valley of Hinnom. mischief. So are the first entrances of sin, stopped with the antidotes of a hearty prayer, and checked into

[Sinful Pleasure.] sobriety by the eye of a reverend man, or the counsels of a single sermon: but when such beginnings are

Look upon pleasures not upon that side which is neglected, and our religion hath not in it so much phi- next the sun, or where they look beauteously, that is,

as they come towards you to be enjoyed : for then they losophy as to think anything evil as long as we can erils; they destroy the soul by their abode, who at hast rifled and discomposed them with enjoying their endure it, they grow up to ulcers and pestilential paint and smile, and dress themselves up in tinsel and

glass gems and counterfeit imagery ; but when thou their first entry might have been killed with the pres-false beauties, and that they begin to go off, then besure of a little finger.

hold them in their nakedness and weariness. See He that hath passed many stages of a good life, to what a sigh and sorrow, what naked unhandsome proprevent his being tempted to a single sin, must be very careful that he never entertain his spirit with the portions and a filthy carcass they discover; and the remembrances of his past sin, nor amuse it with the next time they counterfeit, remember what you have fantastic apprehensions of the present. When the

already discovered, and be no more abused. Israelites fancied the sapidness and relish of the flesh

[Useful Studies.) pots, they longed to taste and to return.

So when a Libyan tiger, drawn from his wilder for Spend not your time in that which profits not; for ryings, is shut up and taught to eat civil meat, and your labour and your health, your time and your suffer the authority of a man, he sits down tamely studies, are very valuable ; and it is a thousand pities in his prison, and pays to his keeper fear and reverence to see a diligent and hopeful person spend himself in for his meat; but if he chance to come again, and gathering cockle-shells and little pebbles, in telling taste a draught of warm blood, he presently leaps into sands upon the shores, and making garlands of usehis natural cruelty. He scarce abstains from eating less daisies.* Study that which is profitable, that those hands that brought him discipline and food.* which will make you useful to churches and comSo is the nature of a man made tame and gentl the monwealths, that which will make you desirable and grace of God, and reduced to reason, and kept in awe wise. Only I shall add this to you, that in learning by religion and laws, and by an awful virtue is taught there are variety of things as well as in religion: there to forget those alluring and sottish relishes of sin ; but is mint and cummin, and there are the weighty if he diverts from his path, and snatches handfuls things of the law; so there are studies more and less from the wanton vineyards, and remembers the lasci- useful, and everything that is useful will be required viousness of his unwholesome food that pleased his in its time: and I may in this also use the words of childish palate, then he grows sick again, and hungry our blessed Saviour, ‘These things ought you to look after unwholesome diet, and longs for the apples of after, and not to leave the other unregarded.' But Sodom.

your great care is to be in the things of God and of The Pannonian bears, when they have clasped a dart religion, in holiness and true wisdom, remembering in the region of their liver, wheel themselves upon the the saying of Origen, " That the knowledge that arises wound, and with anger and malicious revenge strike from goodness is something that is more certain and the deadly barb deeper, and cannot be quit from that more divine than all demonstration,' than all other fatal steel, but in flying bear along that which them-learnings of the world. selves make the instrument of a more hasty death : so is every vicious person struck with a deadly wound,

[Comforting the Afflicted.] and his own hands force it into the entertainments of

Certain it is, that as nothing can better do it, so the heart ; and because it is painful to draw it forth there is nothing greater, for which God made our by a sharp and salutary repentance, he still rolls and tongues, next to reciting his praises, than to minister turns upon his wound, and carries his death in his comfort to a weary soul. And what greater measure bowels, where it first entered by choice, and then

can we have, than that we should bring joy to our dwelt by love, and at last shall finish the tragedy by brother, who with his dreary eyes looks to heaven and divine judgments and an unalterable decree.

round about, and cannot find so much rest as to lay

his eyelids close together -- than that thy tongue [The Resurrection of Sinners.]

should be tuned with heavenly accents, and make the So have we seen a poor condemned criminal, the weary soul to listen for light and ease ; and when he weight of whose sorrows sitting heavily upon his soul, perceives that there is such a thing in the world, and hath benumbed him into a deep sleep, till he hath for

* Sir Isaac Newton, a little before he died, said, 'I don't gotten his groans, and laid aside his deep sighings: know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem but on a sudden comes the messenger of death, and to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and unbinds the poppy garland, scatters the heavy cloud diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or that encircled his miserable head, and makes him re a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth turn to acts of life, that he may quickly descend into lay all undiscovered before me.'—Spence's Anecdotes, p. 54. * Admonitæque tument gustato sanguine fauces :

Who reads

Incessantly, and to his reading brings not Fervet, et a trepido vix abstinet ira magistro.

A spirit and judgment equal or superior, • But let the taste of slaughter be renewed,

(And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek ?) And their fell jaws again with gore imbrued ;

Uncertain and unsettled still remains; Then dreadfully their wakening furies rise,

Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself, And glaring fires rekindle in their eyes ;

Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys With wrathful roar their echoing dens they tear,

And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge, And hardly ev'n the well-known keeper spare ;

As children gathering pebbles on the shore. The shuddering keeper shakes, and stands aloof for fear.'

Paradise Regained, book Iv.

in the order of things, as comfort and joy, to begin to breath of heaven gently wafts us to our own purposes. break out from the prison of his sorrows at the door But if you will try the excellency and feel the work of sighs and tears, and by little and little melt into of faith, place the man in a persecution ; let him ride showers and refreshment? This is glory to thy voice, in a storm ; let his bones be broken with sorrow, and and employment fit for the brightest angel. But so his eyelids loosed with sickness; let his bread be diphave I seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was ped with tears, and all the daughters of music be bound up with the images of death, and the colder brought low ; let us come to sit upon the margin breath of the north ; and then the waters break from our grave, and let a tyrant lean hard upon our fortheir enclosures, and melt with joy, and run in useful tunes, and dwell upon our wrong ; let the storm arise, channels ; and the flies do rise again from their little and the keels toss till the cordage crack, or that all graves in walls, and dance a while in the air, to our hopes bulge under us, and descend into the holtell that there is joy within, and that the great mo- lowness of sad misfortunes. ther of creatures will open the stock of her new refreshment, become useful to mankind, and sing praises

[Miseries of Man's Life.] to her Redeemer. So is the heart of a sorrowful man How few men in the world are prosperous ! What under the discourses of a wise comforter ; he breaks an infinite number of slaves and beggars, of persecuted from the despairs of the grave, and the fetters and and oppressed people, fill all corners of the earth with chains of sorrow ; he blesses God, and he blesses thee, groans, and heaven itself with weeping, prayers, and and he feels his life returning ; for to be miserable is sad remembrances! How many provinces and kingdeath, but nothing is life but to be comforted; and doms are afflicted by a violent war, or made desolate God is pleased with no music from below so much by popular diseases! Some whole countries are reas in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of marked with fatal evils, or periodical sicknesses. supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and Grand Cairo, in Egypt, feels the plague every three thankful persons.

years returning like a quartan ague, and destroying

many thousands of persons. All the inhabitants of [Real and Apparent Happiness.]

Arabia the desert are in continual fear of being buried

in huge heaps of sand, and therefore dwell in tents If we should look under the skirt of the prosperous and ambulatory houses, or retire to unfruitful moun; and prevailing tyrant, we should find, even in the days tains, to prolong an uneasy and wilder life. And all of his joys, such allays and abatements of his plea- the countries round about the Adriatic sea feel such sure, as may serve to represent him presently miser- violent convulsions, by tempests and intolerable earthable, besides his final infelicities. For I have seen a

quakes, that sometimes whole cities find a tomb, and young and healthful person warm and ruddy under a

every man sinks with his own house, made ready to poor and a thin garment, when at the same time an

become his monument, and his bed is crushed into old rich person hath been cold and paralytic under a

the disorders of a grave. load of sables, and the skins of foxes. It is the body

It were too sad if I should tell how many persons that makes the clothes warın, not the clothes the body; are afflicted with evil spirits, with spectres and illuand the spirit of a man makes felicity and content, sions of the night. not any spoils of a rich fortune wrapt about a sickly and ai uneasy soul. Apollodorus was a traitor and in love with this world, we need not despair but that

He that is no fool, but can consider wisely, if he be a tyrant, and the world wondered to see a bad man

a witty man might reconcile him with tortures, and have so good a fortune, but knew not that he nourished scorpions in his breast, and that his liver and make him think charitably of the rack, and be brought his heart were eaten up with spectres and images of to dwell with ripers and dragons, and entertain his

guests with the shrieks of mandrakes, cats, and screechdeath; his thoughts were full of interruptions, his owls, with the filing of iron and the harshness of renddreains of illusions: his fancy was abused with real ing of silk, or to admire the harmony that is made by troubles and fantastic images, imagining that he saw

a herd of evening wolves, when they miss their draught the Scythians flaying him alive, his daughters like of blood in their midnight revels. The groans of a pillars of fire, dancing round about a cauldron in

man in a fit of the stone are worse than all these ; which himself was boiling, and that his heart ac- and the distractions of a troubled conscience are cused itself to be the cause of all these evils. Does he not drink more sweetly that takes his bever: sinner is worse than all that. But if we could, from

worse than those groans; and yet a merry careless age in an earthen vessel, than he that looks and searches into his golden chalices, for fear of poison, and women at this time lie fainting and dying for

one of the battlements of heaven, espy how many men and looks pale at every sudden noise, and sleeps in armour, and trusts nobody, and does not trust God by the sword of war ; how many poor orphans are now

want of bread ; how many young men are hewn down for his safety ?

weeping over the graves of their father, by whose lite Can a man bind a thought with chains, or carry they were enabled to eat; if we could but hear how imaginations in the palm of his hand ! can the beauty mariners and passengers are at this present in a of the peacock's train, or the ostrich plume, be deli- storm, and shriek out because their keel dashes cious to the palate and the throat ? does the hand in- against a rock, or bulges under them; how many termeddle with the joys of the heart? or darkness, people there are that weep with want, and are mad that hides the naked, make him warm! does the body with oppression, or are desperate by too quick a sense live, as does the spirit? or can the body of Christ be of a constant infelicity; in all reason we should be like to common food ? Indeed, the sun shines upon glad to be out of the noise and participation of so the good and bad; and the vines give wine to the drunkard, as well as to the sober man ; pirates have many evils. This is a place of sorrows and tears, of

so great evils and a constant calamity; let us remove fair winds and a calm sea, at the same time when the from hence, at least in affections and preparation of just and peaceful merchantman hath them. although the things of this world are common to good and bad, yet sacraments and spiritual joys, the food

[On Prayer.] of the soul, and the blessing of Christ, are the peculiar

Prayer is an action of likeness to the Holy Ghost, right of saints.

the spirit of gentleness and dove-like simplicity; an [Adversity.)

imitation of the Holy Jesus, whose spirit is meek, up

to the greatness of the biggest example, and a conAll is well as long as the sun shines, and the fair formity to God; whose anger is always just, and

But, mind.

« PreviousContinue »