Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and now his offences are become exemplar. There is no virtue, that he holds unfit for ornament, for use; nor any vice, which he condemns not as sordid, and a fit companion of baseness; and whereof he doth not more hate the blemish, than affect the pleasure. He so studies, as one, that knows ignorance can neither purchase honour, nor wield it; and that knowledge must both guide and grace him. His exercises are, from his childhood, ingenuous, manly, decent; and such as tend still to wit, valour, activity: and if, as seldom, he descend to disports of chance, his games shall never make him either pale with fear, or hot with desire of gain. He doth not so use his followers, as if he thought they were made for nothing but his servitude; whose felicity were only to be commanded and please; wearing them to the back, and then either finding or framing excuses to discard them empty: but, upon all opportunities, lets them feel the sweetness of their own serviceableness and his bounty. Silence, in officious service, is the best oratory, to plead for his respect : all diligence is but lent to him ; none, lost. His wealth stands in receiving; his honour, in giving : he cares not either how many hold of his goodness, or to how few he is beholden; and, if he have cast away favours, he hates either to upbraid them to his enemy, or to challenge restitution. None can be more pitiful to the distressed, or more prone to succour; and then most, where is least means to solicit, least possibility of requital. He is equally addressed to war and peace; and knows not more how to command others, than how to be his country's servant in both. He is more careful to give true honour to his Maker, than to receive civil honour from men.

He knows that this service is free and noble, and ever loaded with sincere glory; and how vain it is to hunt after applause from the world, till he be sure of him that mouldeth all hearts, and poureth contempt on princes; and, shortly, so demeans himself

, as one that accounts the body of nobility to consist in blood, the soul in the eminence of virtue.

THE GOOD MAGISTRATE.

He is the faithful Deputy of his Maker; whose obedience is the rule, whereby he ruleth. His breast is the ocean, whereinto all the cares of private men empty themselves : which as he receives, without complaint and overflowing; so he sends them forth again, by a wise conveyance, in the streams of justice. His doors, his ears are ever open to suitors; and not who comes first speeds well, but whose cause is best. His nights, his meals are short and interrupted: all which he bears well, because he knows himself made for a public servant of peace and justice. He sits quietly at the stern, and commands one to the top-sail, another to the main, a third to the plummet, a fourth to the anchor, as he sees the need of their course and weather requires; and doth no less by his tongue, than all the mariners with their hands. On the bench, he is another from himself at home: now all private respects of blood, alliance, amity are forgotten; and, if his own son come under trial, he knows him not. Pity, which in all others is wont to be the best praise of humanity and the fruit of Christian love, is by him thrown over the bar for corruption. As for Favour, the false advocate of the gracious, he allows him not to appear in the court: there, only causes are heard speak, not persons. Eloquence is then only not discouraged, when she serves for a client of truth : mere narrations are allowed in this oratory; not proems; not excursions; not glosses: truth must strip herself, and come in naked to his bar; without false bodies, or colours; without disguises. A bribe in his closet, or a letter on the bench, or the whispering and winks of a great neighbour, are answered with an angry and courageous repulse. Displeasure, revenge, recompence stand on both sides the bench; but he scorns to turn his eye towards them; looking only right forward at equity, which stands full before him. His sentence is ever deliberate, and guided with ripe wisdom; yet his hand is slower than his tongue: but when he is urged by occasion either to doom or execution, he shews how much he hateth merciful injustice; neither can his resolution or act be reversed, with partial importunity. His forehead is rugged and severe; able to discountenance villainy: yet his words are more awful, than his brow; and his hand, than his words. I know not whether he be more feared or loved; both affections are so sweetly contempered in all hearts: the good, fear him lovingly; the middle sort, love him fearfully; and only the wicked man, fears him slavishly without love. He hates to pay private wrongs with the advantage of his office; and, if ever he be partial, it is to his enemy. He is not more sage in his gown, than valorous in arms; and increaseth in the rigour of his discipline, as the times in danger. His sword hath neither rusted for want of use, nor surfeiteth of blood; but, after many threats, is unsheathed, as the dreadful instrument of divine revenge. He is the guard of good laws; the refuge of innocency; the comet of the guilty ; the pay-master of good deserts; the champion of justice; the patron of peace; the tutor of the Church; the father of his Country; and, as it were, another God upon earth.

THE PENITENT. He hath a wounded heart, and a sad face ; yet not so much for fear, as for unkindness. The wrong of his sin troubles him more than the danger. None but he is the better for his sorrow; neither is any passion more hurtful to others, than this is gainful to him. The more he seeks to hide his grief, the less it will be hid: every man may read it, not only in his eyes, but in his bones. While he is in charity with all others, he is so fallen out with himself, that none but God can reconcile him : he hath sued himself in all courts; accuseth, arraigneth, sentenceth, punisheth himself unpartially; and sooner may find mercy at any hand, than at his own. He only hath pulled off the fair visor of sin: so as that which appears not but masked unto others, is seen of him barefaced; and bewrays that fearful ugliness, which none can conceive but he that hath viewed it. He hath looked into the depth of the bottomless pit ; and hath seen his own offence tormented in others, and the same brands shaken at him. He hath seen the change of faces in that Evil One; as a tempter, as a tormenter; and hath heard the noise of a conscience : and is so frighted with all these, that he can never have rest, till he have run out of himself, to God; in whose face, at first, he finds rigour; but, afterwards, sweetness in his bosom: he bleeds first, from the hand that heals him. The Law of God hath made work for mercy; which he hath no sooner apprehended, than he forgets his wounds, and looks carelessly upon all these terrors of guiltiness. When he casts his eye back upon himself, he wonders where he was, and how he came there; and grants, that if there were not some witchcraft in sin, he could not have been so sottishly graceless. And now, in the issue, Satan finds, not without indignation and repentance, that he hath done him a good turn, in tempting him; for he had never been so good, if he had not sinned; he had never fought with such courage, if he had not seen his blood, and been ashamed of his foil. Now, he is seen and felt, in the front of the spiritual battle ; and can teach others how to fight, and encourage them in fighting. His heart was never more taken up with the pleasure of sin, than now with care of avoiding it: the very sight of that cup, wherein such a fulsome potion was brought him, turns his stomach: the first offers of sin make him tremble more now, than he did before at the judgments of his sin ; neither dares he so much as look towards Sodom. All the powers and craft of hell cannot fetch him in for a customer to evil: his infirmity may yield once; his resolution, never. There is none of his senses or parts, which he hath not within covenants, for their good behaviour; which they cannot ever break, with impunity. The wrongs of his sin he repays, to men, with recompence; as hating it should be said, he owes any thing to his offence: to God, what in him lies, with sighs, tears, vows, and endeavours of amendment. No heart is more waxen to the impressions of forgiveness; neither are his hands more open to receive, than to give pardon. All the injuries, which are offered to him, are swallowed up in his wrongs to his Maker and Redeemer: neither can he call for the arrerages of his farthings, when he looks upon the millions forgiven him : he feels not what he suffers from men, when he thinks of what he hath done, and should have suffered. He is a thankful herald of the mercies of his God; which if all the world hear not from his mouth, it is no fault of his. Neither did he so burn with the evil fires of concupiscence, as now with the holy Aames of zeal to that glory, which he hath blemished : and his eyes are full of moisture,

as his heart of heat. The gates of heaven are not so knocked at by any suitor ; whether for frequence, or importunity. You shall find his cheeks furrowed; his knees hard; his lips sealed up, save when he must accuse himself, or glorify God; his eyes humbly dejected: and, sometimes, you shall take him breaking off a sigh in the midst; as one, that would steal an humiliation unknown, and would be offended with any part that should not keep his counsel. When he finds his soul oppressed with the heavy guilt of a sin, he gives it vent through his mouth, into the ear of his Spiritual Physician, from whom he receives cordiais answerable to his complaint. He is a severe exactor of discipline: first, upon himself, on whom he imposes more than one Lent; then, upon others, as

one that vowed to be revenged on sin wheresoever he finds it; and, though but one hath offended him, yet his detestation is universal. He is his own task-master for devotion: and, if Christianity have

any work more difficult or perilous than other, that he enjonis himself; and resolves contentment, even in miscarriage. It is no marvel, if the acquaintance of his wilder times know him not; for he is quite another from himself: and, if his niind could have had any intermission of dwelling within his breast, it could not have known this was the lodging: nothing, but an outside, is the same it was; and that, altered more with regeneration, than with age. None, but he, can relish the promises of the Gospel; which he finds so sweet, that he complains not his thirst after them is unsatiable. And, now that he bath found his Saviour, he bugs him so fast, and holds him so dear, that he feels not when his life is fetched away from him, for his martyrdom. The latter part of his life is so led, as if he desired to unlive his youth: and his last testament is full of restitutions, and legacies of piety. In sum, he hath so lived and died, as that Satan hath no such match; sin hath no such enemy;

God hath no such servant, as he.

HE IS A HAPPY MAN, That hath learned to read himself, more than all books; and hath so taken out this lesson, that he can never forget it: that knows the world, and cares not for it: that, after many traverses of thoughts, is grown to know what he may trust to; and stands now equally armed for all events: that hath got the mastery at home; so as he can cross his will without a mutiny, and so please it that he makes it not a wanton: that, in earthly things, wishes no more than nature; in spiritual, is ever graciously ambitious: that, for his condition, stands on his own feet, not needing to lean upon the great; and can so frame his thoughts to bis estate, that when he hath least, he cannot want, because he is as free from desire, as superfuity : that hath seasonably broken the headstrong restiness of prosperity; and can now manage it, at pleasure: upon whom, all smaller crosses light as hailstones upon a roof; and, for the greater calamities, he can take them as tributes of life and tokens of love; and, if his ship be tossed, yet he is sure his anchor is fast. If all the world were his, he could be no other than he is ; no whit gladder of himself, no whit higher in his carriage; be.

cause he knows, contentment lies not in the things he hath, bat in the mind that values them. The powers of his resolution can either multiply or subtract, at pleasure. He can make his cottage a manor or a palace, when be lists; and his home-close, a large dominion; his stained-cloth, arras; his earth, plate; and can see state in the attendance of one servant: as one, that hath learned a man's greatness or baseness is in himself; and in this he may even contest with the proud, that he thinks his own the best. Or, if he must be outwardly great, he can but turn the other end of the glass, and make his stately manor a low and strait cottage; and, in all his costly furniture, he can see, not richness, but use: he can see dross, in the best metal; and earth, through the best clothes: and, in all bis troop, he can see himself his own servant. He lives quietly at home, out of the noise of the world: and loves to enjoy himself, always; and, sometimes, his friend: and hath as full scope to his thoughts, as to his eyes. He walks ever even, in the midway betwixt hopes and fears : resolved, to fear nothing, but God; to hope for nothing, but that which he must have. He hath a wise and virtuous mind, in a serviceable body; which that better part affects, as a present servant and a future companion: so cherishing his flesh, as one that would scorn to be all Hesh. Ke hath no enemies: not, for that all love him; but, because he knows to make a gain of malice. He is not so engaged to any earthly thing, that they two cannot part on even terms: there is neither laughter, in their meeting; nor, in their shaking of hands, tears. He keeps ever the best company; the God of Spirits, and the spirits of that God: whom he entertains continually, in an awful familiarity ; not being hindered, either with too much light, or with none at all. His conscience and his hand are friends; and, what devil soever tempt him, will not fall out: that divine part goes ever uprightly and freely; not stooping under the burden of a willing sin, not fettered with the gieves of unjust scruples. He would not, if he could, run away from himself, or from God; not caring from whom he lies hid, so he may look these two in the face. Censures and applauses are passengers to him; not guests : his ear is their thoroughfare; not their harbour: he hath learned to fetch both his counsel and his sentence, from his own breast. He doth not lay weight upon his own shoulders ; as one, that loves to torment himself, with the honour of much employment : but, as he makes work his game, so doth he not list to make himself work. His strife is ever to redeem, and not to spend time. It is his trade, to do good; and, to think of it, his recreation. He hath hands enow for himself and others : which are ever stretched forth, for beneficence; not for need. He walks cheerfully in the way that God hath chalked; and never wishes it more wide, or more smooth. Those very temptations, whereby he is foiled, strengthen him : he comes forth, crowned and triumphing, out of the spiritual battles ; and those scars, that he hath, make him beautiful. His soul is every day dilated to receive that God

« FöregåendeFortsätt »