« PoprzedniaDalej »
diftance from splendid, though worthless gallants, mean while trampling upon, and crushing under foot the obscure, but most precious servants of God in the world. As little do they heed these moft excellent perfons, as I did this precious herb.
Summa ingenia in occulto sape latent, faith Plautus.
For my own part, I desire to tread upon no man with the foot of contempt and pride, much less upon any good man ; and that I may not, it concerns me to look before I step; I mean, to consider before I çensure: had I done so by this rare herb, I had never hurt it.
M E DI T. IV.
Upon a withered poly taken up in the way. 'Inding in my, walk, a posy of once sweet and fragrant,
but now dry and withered flowers, which I suppose to be thrown away by one that had formerly worn it: thus, said I, doth the unfaithful world use its friends, when providence hath blasted and witbered them ; whilst they are rich and honourable, they will put them into their bofoms, 'as the owner of this pofy did, whilst it was fresh and fragrant, and as easily throw them away as useless and worthless things, when thus they come to be withered. Such usage as this * Petronius long fince complained of.
Are they in honour? Then we smile like friends; « And with their fortunes all our friendship ends."
But this loose and deceitful friend stinks so odiously in the very noftrils of nature, that at heathen poet severely taxes and condemns it as most unworthy of a man.
“ 'Tis bafe to change with fortune, and deny
And is this indeed the friendship of the world ? Doth it thus use them whom once it honoured ? Then, Lord ! let me never feek its friendship. O let me esteem the smiles and honours of men less, and thy love and favour more ! thy love is indeed unchangeable, being pure, free, and built upon nothing that is * Gum fortuna manet vultum fervatis amici, Cum cecidit turpi vertitis ora fuga.
Petronius. + Turpe fequi cafum, et fortune codero, amicum
Et nifi fit foelix et elnegare saum,
mutable ; thou never servest thy friends as the world dath its darlings.
Upon the sudden withering of a rose.
a rose; he handled his tenderly, smelled to it but seldom, and sparingly; I always kept it to my nose, or squeezed it in my hand, whereby in a very short time it loft both colour and fwectness, but his still remained as sweet and fragrant as if it had been growing upon its own root. These roses, said I, are the true emblems of the best and sweetest creature-enjoyments in the world, which being moderately and cautiously used and enjoyed, may for a long time yield sweetness to the poffeffor of them; but if once the affection seize too greedily upon them, and squeeze them too hard, they quickly wither in our hands, and we lose the comfort of them, and that either thro' the soul's surfeiting upon them, or the Lord's righteous and just removal of them, because of the excess of our affections to thém ; earthly comforts, like pictures, fhew best at a due diftance. It was therefore a good saying of * Homer, 'Avège
“ I like him not, who at the rate
“ Of all his might doth love or hate.". It is a point of excellent wisdom to keep the golden bridle of moderation upon all the affections we exercise upon earthly things, and never to flip those reins, unless when they move towards God, in whose love there is no danger of excess.
ME DI T. VI.
, stood in all their pride and glory, breathing out their delicious odours, which perfumed the air round about them, but now are withered and shrivelled up, and have neither any desireable beauty or savour in them.
So vain a thing is the admired beauty of creatures, which so captivates the hearts, and exercises a pleasing tyranný over
* Mihi nunquam is placet hofpes
Qui valde preterque modum edit vel amat,
the affections of vain man, yet it is as fuddenly blafled as the beauty of a flower .
« How frail is beauty! In how short a time
If then thou delightest in beauty, O my soul! chuse that which is lasting. There is a beauty which never fades, even the beauty of holiness upon the inner man ; this abides fresh and orient for ever, and sparkles gloriously, when thy face (the feat of natural beauty) is become an abhorrent and loathsome spectacle. Holiness enamels and sprinkles over the face of the foul with a beauty, upon which Christ himself is enamoured ; even imperfect holiness on earth is a rose that breathes sweetly in the bud; in heaven it will be full-blown, and abide in its prime to all eternity.
MED I Ť. VII.
flowers ! they must be boxed up in the winter, others must be covered with glasses in their springing up, the finest and richest mould must be fifted about the foots, and affiduously watered, and all this little enough, and sometimes too litde to preferve them; whilst other common, and worthless flowers, grow
without any help of ours : Yea, we have no lefs to do to rid our gardens of them, than we have to make the former grow there.
Thus stands the case with our hearts, in reference to the mo. tions of grace and fin. Holy thoughts of God muft be assiduoufly watered by prayer, earthed up by meditation, and defenda ed by watehfulness; and yet all this is sometimes too little to preserve them alive in our fouls. Alas! the heart is a foil that
+ Forma bonum fragile eft, quantumque accedit ad annos, Fit minor, et patio carpitur ipfa fuo. Nec semper violae, nec femper lilia florent, Et riget amis 1 Spina relicta rosa Tempus erit quo vos Speculum vidise pigebit, Jam veniunt ruga quæ tibi corpus arent, &c. Ovid, de Art,
agrees not with them, they are tender things, and a smalt matter will nip and kill them. To this purpose is the complaint of the divine Poet.
Who would have thought a joy
To be offended fo,
So suddenly away?
HERBERT. But vain thoughts, and unholy suggestions, these spread themselves, and root deep in the heart ; they naturally agree with the soil : So that it is almost impossible, at any time, to be rid of them. It is hard to forget, what is our fin to remember.
ME DI T. VIII. Upon the strange means of preserving the life of vegetables.
Observe that plants and herbs are sometimes killed by
thrive : They are sometimes drowned with water, and yet without water they cannot subsist: They are refreshed and cheared by the heat of the sun, and yet that fun fometimes kills and scorches them up. Thus lives my soul: Troubles and afflictions seem to kill all its comforts; and yet without these, its comforts could not live. The sun-blasts of prosperity fometimes refresh
way to wither me : By what seeming contradictions is the life of my spirit preserved ! what a mystery, what a paradox is the life of a Christian? Welcome, my health, this sickness makes me well.
I'll wish for you.
I'll wish for you.
When I am weary grown of standing stable;
I'll wish for you.
I'll wish for you.
Lend most sometimes, when most they seem to borrow. And if by these contrary and improbable ways the Lord preserves our souls in life, no marvel then we find such strange and seemingly contradictory motions of our hearts, under the various dealings of God with us, and are still restless, in what condition soever he puts us ; which restless frame was excel lently expressed in that pious epigram of the reverend Gataker, made a little before his death.
I thirst for thirstiness, I weep for tears,
Well pleas'd I am to be displeased thus :
Suspecting I am not suspicious.
And when I am not dead, how glad am I?
And careful am, left I should careless be;
And fear, lest carefulness take care for me.
Jam tetigi portum, valete.