Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

PROFANE WIT.

anything else that is singular; and finding in their stres

strong desires of conspicuousness, with small abiaties to Here I thought to pass on to another argument, but (to attain it, they are resolved with Erostratus, that fire express myself in David's words) while I was musing, the Diana's temple, to be talked of for having done so, to aoju fire burned, and my zeal for the Scripture, together with the that considerableness by their sacrilege, which they but charity it has taught me to exercise even towards its opposers, despair of from their parts. And indeed there want us suffers me not, with either silent or languid resentments, to

many who have so little wit as to cry up all this sort of see how much that incomparable book loses of the opinion of

people for great wits. And as withes, whilst they are al less discerning men, upon the account of their disrespects

grow unregarded trees; but when they once are rotten, shite who are (whether deservedly or not) looked upon as wits. in the night: so many of these pretenders, whilst they up And therefore, to what I have represented to invalidate the not very profane, were (and that justly) esteemed very del authority of those few persons, otherwise truly witty, that

but now that their parts are absolutely polluted and per undervalue the Scripture, I am obliged to add, that besides verted, they grow conspicuous, only because they are gre them, there is a number of those that slight the Scripture, depraved: and I shall make bold to continue the comparsa who are but looked upon as wits, without being such indeed : a little further, and observe, that as this rotten wood slike nay, who many of them would not be so much as mistaken but in the night, so many of these pretenders pass ich for such, but for the boldness they take to own slighting of but amongst them that are not truly so. For persons any the Scripture, and to abuse the words of it to irreligious

knowing can easily distinguish betwixt that which was senses, and perhaps, passing to the impudence of perverting the title of wit from our judgments, and that wbich inspired expressions, to deliver obscene thought. But to

appears such to our corruptions. And how often tb knowing and serious men, this prevaricating with the Scrip

course we censure is of the latter sort, they need ture will neither discredit it, nor much recommend the profane informed that have observed, how many will talk rer prevaricator; for a book being capable of being so misused, acceptably in derogation of religion, whom upon the is too unavoidable to be a disparagement to it. Nor will subjects their partiallest friends acknowledge very da7; as any intelligent reader undervalue the charming poems of

who are taken notice of for persons that seldom say anytko: Virgil or of Ovid, because by shuffling and disguising the well, but what 'tis ill to say. expressions some French writers have of late been pleased out of rare pieces to compose whole books of what they call, Vers Burlesques, designed by their ridiculousness to make Gilbert Sheldon, who became Archbishop of their readers sport. And on the other side, to abuse dis Canterbury in 1663, and died, nearly eighty seus membered words and passages of any author to meanings he | old, in 1677, published nothing but one sempre never dreamed of, is a thing so easy, that almost any man may He spent sixty-six thousand pounds in beneto have the wit to talk at that profane rate, that will but allow

and charity. One monument of his liberality himself the sauciness to do so. And indeed experience shows,

perience shows, the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, in which the that if this vice itself do not make its practisers suspected of

University now holds annual commemoration d s the being necessitous of the quality they put it on to be

benefactors. Archbishop Sheldon was of the near thought masters of, yet at least persons intelligent and pious

of those who believed that Church unity shouku be will not be apt to value any discourse as truly witty that

enforced, and he had two successive chaplains, 5 cannot please the fancy without offending the conscience, and

published extreme opinions in that direction. will never admire his plenty that cannot make an entertainment, without furnishing out the table with unclean meats :

was Thomas Tomkyns, who hesitated over the and considering persons will scarce think it a demonstration

licensing of Milton's “ Paradise Lost" when he ci of a man's being a wit, that he will venture to be damned to

to these lines in the first book, describing Satan:be thought one. And that which aggravates these men's

“ His form hath not yet lost profaneness, and leaves them excuseless in it, is, that there are few of these fools (for so the wise man calls them that

All her original brightness, nor appear'd “ make a mock of sin ") that “have said in their hearts that

Less than Archangel ruined, and the excess

Of glory obscured : as when the sun, new risca, there is no God," or that the Scripture is not His word ;

Looks through the horizontal misty air, their disrespect to the Scripture springing from their vanity,

Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon not their incredulity. They affect singularity, for want of

In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change

Perplexes monarchs.”
i Virgil was travestied by Panl Scarron, who died in 1660. Scarron
was imitated in England by Charles Cotton, who published in 1664

Mr. Tomkyns, as Archbishop's chaplain and Lex. the first book, and in 1672 the first and fourth books of “Virgile Travestie." There is not much to be said for its wit. Thus Charles was in some loyal perplexity about these lines Cotton travestied, in the fourth book, Dido's pledge to Æneas his contribution to the Church controversy, The “ Dixit, et in mensam laticum libavit honorem," &c.

Tomkyns wrote a tract entitled “ The Inconvena?" “ With that she set it to her nose,

of Toleration," and was succeeded in his cit. And off at once the rumkin goes ;

chaplain to Archbishop Sheldon by Samuel l'sa No drops beside her muzzle failing, Until that she had supped it all in :

who published in 1670 a “Discourse of Earth Then turning 't topsey on her thumb,

tical Polity," designed, as he said, to defend me Says, Look, here's supernaculum.

authority of the Civil Magistrate over the Æneas, as the story tells, And all the rest did bless themselves

sciences of his subjects in matters of ris To see her troll off such a pitcher,

and to show “the mischief and inconvenir
And yet to have her face no richer.
By Jove, quoth he, knocking his knuckles,
I'd not drink with her for shoe buckles,"

· Withe (First-English witkie"), willow, twisted und

toleration.” This and a preface by Parker to against the Roman Catholics. In spite of the efforts Archbishop Bramhall's “Vindication of the Bishops made for his exclusion, the king's brother, the Duke from the Presbyterian Charge of Popery,” were of York, succeeded him in February, 1685, as the writings answered on behalf of liberty of con James II. ; and by his endeavours to override the science by Andrew Marvell? in a prose satire, with law, brought on, in about three years, the final expuia title taken from the popular new play of its time, sion of the Stuarts, and settlement of the limitation the Duke of Buckingham's “ Rehearsal.” When of the English crown. threatened for this—it was called “The Rehearsal Richard Baxter, who, in 1672, was free for a time Transprosed”—Marvell published a second part, with to preach, settled in London, and built a meetingthe threat printed on his title-page. The courtiers house in Oxendon Street, but after the Indulgence whom Marvell wished to influence were only to be was withdrawn, the preaching was forbidden. In reached by satire, and were more likely to read a book 1682, he says, newly risen from extremity of pain, if it were named after a play than if it had a more he was suddenly seized in his house by a poor violent serious title. On the other hand, when advocates of informer and many constables and officers, who supreme authority desired to get a hearing from the rushed in and apprehended him, and served on him other side, they found use in a title derived from the one warrant to seize on his person for coming within Bible. In 1675 Dr. Turner, Master of St. John's five miles of a corporation, and five more warrants to College, Cambridge, attacked Dr. Herbert Croft, distrain for a hundred and ninety pounds, for five Bishop of Hereford, for having written a tract called sermons. His physician, Dr. Cox, then saved him “The Naked Truth, or the True State of the Primi from imprisonment by representing the infirmity of tive Church,” in which he urged that the attempts to his health. In 1685, after a trial before Judge compel uniformity in details had failed, that as a Jeffreys, who addressed him brutally from the bench, confession of faith the Apostles' Creed had sufficed Baxter was condemned to two years' imprisonment for the Primitive Church, and that we ought to ask for sedition, but, by the interference of Lord Powis, no more. Dr. Fell, also, Bishop of Oxford, wrote was discharged after six months' confinement. He against Bishop Croft, comparing him to Judas. died in 1691, aged seventy-six. Marvell satirised Dr. Turner's attack upon “The In 1676 Robert Barclay, then twenty-eight years Naked Truth” in a piece named after a character in old, was confined as a Quaker in a prison so dark what then was the new play,* “Mr. Smirke, or the that he and his fellow-prisoners could not see the Divine in Mode," and it is noticeable that although food given to them, unless a door were set open or master of satire, and using it as the weapon for truth a candle brought. In the same year appeared in most effective against his antagonists in a frivolous Latin at Amsterdam, and afterwards in English,

time, Marvell ended each of his two satires with Robert Barclay's “Apology for the True Christian I earnest expression of his sense of its unworthiness. Divinity, as the same is held forth and preached by

- At the close of the second part of “The Rehearsal the People called in scorn Quakers, being a full The Transprosed,” he quoted, with warm approbation, Explanation and Vindication of their Principles and TE Bacon's protest against the intermixture of Scripture Doctrines," en del and scurrility in the Marprelate controversies; and Do at the close of “Mr. Smirke," he quoted from the

Preface to the “Ecclesiastical Polity," Hooker's the saying that “the time will come when three words Din uttered with charity and meekness shall receive a far

more blessed reward than three thousand volumes But written with disdainful sharpness of wit.”

[graphic]

Thus men were debating while the House of Com2 mons, not wholly on patriotic grounds, forced the king

to withdraw his Declaration of Indulgence. The té House also passed, in March, 1673, a Test Act, w requiring all persons who bore any office, civil or

military, to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and to receive the Sacrament according to the usages of the Church of England, within three months after their admittance, in some public church,

upon Sunday, immediately after divine service and na sermon. This act deprived the king's brother, the

Duke of York, of his office of Lord High Admiral. In 1677 the pretended discovery of a Popish Plot by the infamous Titus Oates led to increased severity

ISAAC BARROW. From the Portrait prefixed to his "Sermons against Evil-Speaking" (1678).

[ocr errors]

i Andrew Marvell. See Shorter English Poems, pages 319, 320.

Isaac Barrow died in 1677 at the age of forty-nine. 2 Sir George Etherege's “ Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter," | He had been not only Professor of Greek at Camin which there is a very small part for Mr. Smirk, & subservient shaplain.

bridge, but also Lucasian Mathematical Lecturer, in

[ocr errors]

which office he was succeeded by Isaac Newton. In of deciding controversies, of begetting peace, to ves and 1672 Barrow was made Master of his College,

anger those concerned by ill language. Nothing surely dot. Trinity, and he was Vice-Chancellor of the Univer

more hinder the efficacy of discourse, and prevent conviction, sity at the time of his death. He was mathematician

than doth this course, upon many obvious accounts. It doth as well as divine. “Several Sermons against Evil

first put in a strong bar to attention: for no man willingly Speaking,” by Isaac Barrow, D.D., were published in

doth afford an ear to him whom he conceiveth disaffected 1678, the year after his death. The sermons are ten

toward him; which opinion harsh words infallibly will proin number, and full of true wisdom. Their texts

duce. No man can expect to hear truth from him whom he

apprehendeth disordered in his own mind, whom he seeth tell their subjects. (1) “If any man offend not in

rude in his proceedings, whom he taketh to be unjust in his word, he is a perfect man," James iii. 2. (2) “Nor

dealing; as men certainly will take those to be who presumt foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient,"

to revile others for using their own judgment freely and Ephes. v. 4. This is a discrimination of the fit and

dissenting from them in opinion. Again, this course doth unfit forms of the "facetiousness” much aimed at

blind the hearer's mind, so that he cannot discern what be in Charles II.'s time. (3) “But above all things,

that pretends to instruct him doth mean, or how he doth my brethren, swear not," James v. 12. (4) “ To

assert his doctrine. Truth will not be discerned through the speak evil of no man,” Titus üi. 2. (5 and 6)

smoke of wrathful expressions; right being defaced by fod “He that uttereth slander is a fool,” Prov. x. 18. language will not appear; passion being excited will not (7) “Speak not evil of one another, brethren,” suffer a man to perceive the sense, or the force of an argu. James iv. 11. (8) “Judge not,” Matthew vii. 1. ment. The will also thereby is hardened, and hindered from (9 and 10) “And that ye study to be quiet, and to submitting to truth. In such a case, non persuadebis, eticesi do your own business," 1 Thess. iv. 11. The fol persuaseris ; ' although you stop his mouth, you cannot suldos lowing passage is from the fourth sermon :

his heart; although he can no longer fight, yet he never vi

yield : animosity raised by such usage rendereth him invinTHE STYLE OF CONTROVERSY.

cibly obstinate in his conceits and courses. Briefly, fria

this proceeding men become unwilling to mark, unfit to In defence of truth, and maintenance of a good cause, we apprehend, indisposed to embrace any good instruction of may observe, that commonly the fairest language is most advice: it maketh them indocile and intractable, averse frco proper and advantageous, and that reproachful or foul terms better instruction, pertinacious in their opinions, and refrac are most improper and prejudicial. A calm and meek way of tory in their ways. discoursing doth much advantage a good cause, as arguing Every man (saith the wise man) shall kiss his line tia the patron thereof to have confidence in the cause itself, and giveth a right answer : but no man surely will be reads to to rely upon its strength; that he is in a temper fit to ap kiss those lips which are embittered with reproach, or detid prehend it himself, and to maintain it; that he propoundeth with dirty language. it as a friend, wishing the hearer for his own gond to follow It is said of Pericles, that with thundering and lightning bad it, leaving him the liberty to judge, and choose for himself. put Greece into confusion : such discourse may serve to reBut rude speech, and contemptuous reflections on persons, as found things, it seldom tendeth to compose them. If Rize they do signify nothing to the question, so they commonly will not pierce, Rage will scarce avail to drive it in. Satribring much disadvantage and damage to the cause, creating cal virulency may vex men sorely, but it hardly ever soudy mighty prejudices against it. They argue much impotency in converts them. Few become wiser or better by ill work the advocate, and consequently little strength in what he Children may be frighted into compliance by loud and sert maintains; that he is little able to judge well, and altogether increpations; but men are to be allured by rational per unapt to teach others. They intimate a diffidence in himself backed with courteous usage: they may be sweetly done concerning his cause, and that, despairing to maintain it by they cannot be violently driven to change their judgment is reason, he seeks to uphold it by passion; that, not being able practice. Whence that advice of the Apostle, Will Ferre to convince by fair means, he would bear down by noise and instruct those that oppose themselves, doth no less savour clamour; that, not skilling to get his suit quietly, he would wisdom than of goodness. extort it by force, obtruding his conceits violently as an enemy, or imposing them arbitrarily as a tyrant. Thus doth he really disparage and slur his cause, however good and Ralph Cudworth, who was two years younger than defensible in itself.

Baxter, was in 1644 Master of Clare Hall, and : A modest and friendly style doth suit truth; it, like its 1654 Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. H. author, doth usually reside (not in the rumbling wind, nor published in 1678 a folio of more than 900 pes in the shaking earthquake, nor in the raging fire, but) in

containing the first part—there were to have me the small still voice : sounding in this, it is most audible,

three parts of “ The Intellectual System of t. most penetrant, and most effectual : thus propounded, it is

Universe.” In this first part the title-page set for willingly hearkened to; for men have no aversation from

that “ All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheist' = hearing those who seem to love them, and wish them well.

confuted, and its Impossibility demonstrated" TIt is easily conceived; no prejudice or passion clouding the

root of the whole book was a desire to reason 1 apprehensive faculties: it is readily embraced ; no animosity

“the Fatal Necessity of all actions and events, - Le withstanding or obstructing it. It is the sweetness of the lips, which (as the wise man telleth us) increaseth learning ; dis

upon whatever grounds or principles maintain

will serve the design of Atheism, and und 12 posing a man to hear lessons of good doctrine, rendering him capable to understand them, insinuating and impressing them

Christianity and all religion; as taking aw upon the mind. The affections being thereby unlocked, the passage becomes open to the Reason.

1 “You will not persuade, even though you may have But it is plainly a very preposterous method of instructing, | --will not persuade to a duty of which you may have pers

guilt and blame, punishments and rewards, and Sussex, where he died in 1684. Robert Leighton plainly rendering a Day of Judgment ridiculous ; was one of the best preachers of his time, if not the and it is evident," says Cudworth, “ that some have i best after Jeremy Taylor died, in the year of the pursued it of late in order to that end." The volume publishing of “ Paradise Lost," 1667. This passage published is a very learned one, in which Cudworth is from a sermon of Leighton's, upon traces the reasonings for and against the existence of God through all ancient philosophies. I quote a

HOPE AMIDST BILLOWs. passage, in which, after proposing the three principal

“I will not be afraid, though ten thousands of the people Attributes of the Deity, which are, Infinite Goodness, with Fecundity; Infinite Knowledge and Wis

set themselves against me round about,” says David; and

lest you think him singular, in the 46th Psalm it is the joint dom; Infinite Active and Perceptive Power, Cud

voice of the whole Church of God: “We will not fear, worth thus expands

though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be

carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof THE IDEA OF GOD.

roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the Nevertheless, if we would not only attend to what is barely

swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall necessary for a dispute with Atheists, but also consider the

make glad the city of God; the holy place of the tabernacles satisfaction of other free and devout minds, that are hearty

of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not and sincere lovers of this most admirable and most glorious

be moved.” This is the way to be immovable in the midst of Being, we might venture, for their gratification, to propose a

troubles, as a rock amidst the waves. When God is in the vet more full, free, and copious description of the Deity, after

midst of a kingdom or city, He makes it firm as Mount Sion, this manner. God is a being absolutely perfect, unmade,

that cannot be removed. When He is in the midst of the or self-originated, and necessarily existing, that hath an in

soul, though calamities throng about it on all hands and roar finite fecundity in Him, and virtually contains all things; as

like the billows of the sea, yet there is a constant calm also an infinite benignity or overflowing love, uninvidiously

within, such a peace as the world can neither give nor take

away. On the other side, what is it but want of lodging displaying and communicating itself, together with an impartial rectitude or nature of justice: who fully comprehends

God in the soul, and that in His stead the World is in the Himself and the extent of His own fecundity; and therefore

midst of men's hearts, that makes them shake like the leaves all the possibilities of things, their several natures and re

of trees at every blast of danger? What a shame is it, spects, and the best frame or system of the whole: who hath

seeing natural men, by the strength of nature and by help of also infinite active and perceptive power: the fountain of

moral precepts, have attained such undaunted resolution and all things, who made all that could be made, and was fit to

courage against outward changes, that yet they who would be made, producing them according to His own nature (His

pass for Christians, are so soft and fainting, and so sensible essential goodness and wisdom), and therefore according to

of the smallest alterations! The advantage that we have in the best pattern, and in the best manner possible, for the

this regard is infinite. What is the best ground-work of a good of the whole; and in reconciling all the variety and

philosopher's constancy, but as moving sands in comparison contrariety of things in the universe, into one most admirable

of the rock that we may build upon ? But the truth is, that and lovely harmony.

either we make no provision of faith for times of trial, or, if Lastly, who contains and upholds all things, and governs

we have any, we neither know the worth nor the use of it, them after the best manner also, and that without any force

but lay it by as a dead unprofitable thing, when we should or violence they be all naturally subject to His authority,

most use and exercise it. Notwithstanding all our frequent. and readily obeying His laws. And now we see that God is

ing of God's House and our plausible profession, is it not too such a being, as that if He could be supposed not to be, there

true, that the most of us either do not at all furnish our. is nothing whose existence a good man could possibly more

selves with those spiritual arms that are so needful in the wish or desire.

militant life of a Christian, or we learn not how to handle

them, and are not in readiness for service ?-as was the case of Dr. Cudworth died in 1688, leaving one daughter,

that improvident soldier, whom his commander found mend

ing some piece of his armour when they were to give battle. who inherited her father's papers, married Sir Francis

It were not amiss, before afflictions overtake us, to try and Masham, and was one of the most cordial friends of

train the mind somewhat by supposing the very worst and John Locke in his latter years.

hardest of them; to say, What if the waves and billows of adversity were swelled and flowing in upon me? could I then believe? God hath said, “I will not fail thee, nor for

sake thee," with a heap of negations; “ In no wise, I will Robert Leighton, son of the Alexander Leighton who

not.” He hath said, “ When thou passest through the fire suffered cruelly for writing “ Zion's Plea” and “The

and through the water, I will be with thee." These I know, Looking Glass of the Holy War," was born in 1613,

and can discourse of them; but could I repose and rest upon and educated in Edinburgh. In 1643 he became

them in the day of trial? Put your souls to it. Is there minister of Newpottle, near Edinburgh, then left

any thing or person that you esteem and love exceedingly? the Presbyterian for the Episcopal Church, became

- say, What if I should lose this? Is there some evil that Principal of the University of Edinburgh, and then

is naturally more contrary and terrible to you than many Bishop of Dumblane. The heat of dissension between others ? Spare not to present that to the imagination too, Episcopal and Presbyterian Christians drove Leighton i and labour to make Faith master of it beforehand, in case it to London, but he was persuaded to go back as Archbishop of Glasgow. A year's experience of the feuds associated with that office caused him to with

1 Its text is, “Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in

the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my draw finally, and he spent his last years quietly in

prayer into the God of my life." (Ps. xlii. 8.)

should befall you; and if the first thought of it scare you, David looks higher than the very kingdom which God look upon it the oftener, till the visage of it become familiar promised him and gave him, when he speaks of “His loving to you, that you start and scare no more at it. Nor is there kindness." In a word, he resolves to solace himself with the any danger in these thoughts. Troubles cannot be brought assurance of this, though he was stripped of all other comthe nearer by our thus thinking on them, but you may be forts, and to quiet his soul herein, till deliverance should both safer and stronger by breathing and exercising of your come; and when it should come, and whatsoever mercies faith in supposed cases. But if you be so tender-spirited with it, to receive them as fruits and effects of this loving that you cannot look upon calamities so much as in thought kindness; not prizing them so much for themselves, as for or fancy, how would you be able for a real encounter? No, the impressions of that love which is upon them. And it is surely. But the soul that hath made God his stay can do that image and superscription that both engages and moves both. See it in that notable resolution of the prophet, Hab. him most to pay his tribute of praise. And truly this is everyiii. 17: “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither where David's temper. His frequent distresses and wants shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, never excite him so much to desire any particular comfort in and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off the creature, as to entreat the presence and favour of God from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I Himself. His saddest times are when, to his sense, this favour will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salva is eclipsed. “In my prosperity I said, I shall not be moved." tion. The Lord is my strength"-and in that saying of And what was his adversity that made him of another mind? David, Ps. xxiii. 4: “ Yea, though I walk through the “ Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled." This valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou verifies his position in that same psalm, “ In thy favour is art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." You life.” Thus, in the 63rd Psalm, at the beginning, “My soul see how faith is as cork to his soul, keeping it from sinking | thirsteth for Thee, in a dry land where no water is ;' not for in the deeps of affictions. Yea, that big word which one! water where there is none, but, “ for Thee, where no water says of his morally just man, is true of the believer : “Though is.” Therefore he adds in verse 3, “ Thy loving kindness is the very fabric of the world were falling about him, yet better than life." And all that be truly wise are of this would he stand upright and undaunted in the midst of its mind, and will subscribe to his choice. Let them enjoy this ruins,"

loving kindness and prize it, because, whatever befalls them, In this confidence, considered in itself, we may observe (1) their happiness and joy is above the reach of all calamities. the object of it, “ The loving kindness of the Lord ;” (2) the Let them be derided and reproached abroad, yet still this manner or way by which he expects to enjoy it, “ The Lord inward persuasion makes them glad and contented; as a rich will command it;” (3) the time, “ In the day.” The object; man said, though the people hated and taunted him, yet when “ His loving kindness." He says not, “ The Lord will com he came home and looked upon his chests, “Egomet mihi mand my return to the House of Gud," or, “will accomplish plaudo domi.”? With how much better reason do believers my deliverance from the heavy oppression and sharp re bear our external injuries! What inward contentment is proaches of the enemy," which would have answered more theirs, when they consider themselves as truly enriched with particularly and expressly to his present griefs, but, “will the favour of God! And as this makes them contemn the command His loving kindness.” And the reason of his thus contempts that the world puts upon them, so likewise it expressing himself, I conceive to be two-fold. First, in the breeds in them a neglect and disdain of those poor trifles assurance of this, is necessarily comprised the certainty of all that the world admires. The sum of their desires is, as the other good things. This special favour and benignity of the cynic's was of the sunshine, that the rays of the love of God Lord, doth engage His power and wisdom, both which you may shine constantly upon them. The favourable aspect and know are infinite, to the procurement of every thing truly large proffers of kings and princes would be unwelcome to good for those whom He so favours. Therefore it is, that them, if they should stand betwixt them and the sight of David chooses rather to name the streams of particular that sun. And truly they have reason. What are the mercies in this their living source and fountain, than to highest things the world affords? What are great honours specify them severally. Nor is it only thus more compendious, and great estates, but great cares and griefs well dressed and but the expression is fuller too, which are the two great ad coloured over with a show of pleasure, that promise contentvantages of speech. And this I take to be the other reason ment and perform nothing but vexation? That they are not -a man may enjoy great deliverances and many positive satisfying is evident; for the obtaining of much of them doth benefits from the hand of God, and yet have no share in “ His but stretch the appetite, and teach men to desire more. They loving kindness.” How frequently doth God heap riches, are not solid neither. Will not the pains of a gout, of a and honour, and health on those He hates; and the common strangury, or some such malady, to say nothing of the gifts of the mind too, wisdom and learning; yea, the common worst, the pains of a guilty conscience, blast all these delights? gifts of His own Spirit; and give a fair and long day of What relish finds a man in large revenues and stately buildexternal prosperity to those on whom He never vouchsafed the ings, in high preferments and honourable titles, when either least glance of His favourable countenance! Yea, on the his body or his mind is in anguish? And besides the empticontrary, He gives all those specious gifts to them with a ness of all these things, you know they want one main point, secret curse. As He gave a king in wrath to His people, so continuance. But the loving kindness of God hath all He often gives kingdoms in His wrath to kings. Therefore requisites to make the soul happy. “O satisfy us early with

i Horace, Odes, iii. 3.

“ Justum et tenacem propositi virum
Non civium ardor prava jubentium
Non vultus instantis tyranni

Mente quatit solida ....

- ut quidam memoratur Athenis,
Sordidus ac dives, populi contemnere voces
Sic solitus: Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi, simul ac nummos contemplor in arca."

(Horace, Sat. I., i. 6167)
(As it is recorded that one among the Athenians, sordid and rich,
was thus used to contemn the voices of the people : The people
hissey me, but at home I applaud myself, and contemplate the
inoneys in my chest).

Si fractus illabitur orbis,

Iinpavidum ferient ruinæ."

« AnteriorContinuar »