Sidor som bilder

fruits, is there; what beast, what worm, | names from man. How should we be con wherein we may not see the footsteps of secrated to thee above all others, since thou a Deity, wherein we may not read infinite-hast bestowed more cost on us than others! ness of power, of skill, and must be forced What shall I admire first ? thy providence to confess, that he which made the angels in the time of our creation; or thy power and stars of heaven, made also the vermin and wisdom in the act ? First, thou madest on the earth? O God, the heart of man the great house of the world, and furnishis too strait to admire enough even that | edst it; then thou broughtest in thy tenant which he treads upon! What shall we say to possess it. The bare walls had been to thee, the Maker of all these? O Lord, too good for us, but thy love was above how wonderful are thy works in all the our desert: thou, that madest ready the world! in wisdom hast thou made them earth for us before we were, hast, by the all: and in all these thou spakest, and they same mercy, prepared a place in heaven were done. Thy will is thy word, and thy for us, while we are on earth. The stage word is thy deed. Our tongue, and hand, was first fully prepared, then was man and heart are different: all are one in thee, brought forth thither, as an actor, or spec. which art simply one, and infinite. Here tator, that he might neither be idle nor needed no helps, no instruments: what discontent. Behold, thou hadst addressed could be present with the Eternal? What an earth for use, an heaven for contemplaneeded, or what could be added to the In tion. After thou hadst drawn that large finite? Thine hand is not shortened, thy and real map of the world, thou didst thus word is still equally effectual: say thou the abridge it into this little table of man: he word, and my soul shall be made new again ; alone consists of heaven and earth, soul say thou the word, and my body shall be and body. Even this earthly part, which repaired from his dust: for all things obey is vile in comparison of the other, as it thee. O Lord, why do I not yield to the is thine, O God, I dare admire it, though word of thy counsel; since I must yield, I can neglect it as mine own; for, lo! this as all thy creatures, to the word of thy heap of earth hath an outward reference command:

to heaven. Other creatures grovel down to their earth, and have all their senses

intent upon it; this is reared up towards CONTEMPLATION 11.- OF MAN. heaven, and hath no more power to look

beside heaven than to tread beside the But, O God! what a little lord hast earth. Unto this, every part hath his thou made over this great world? The wonder. The head is nearest to heaven, least corn of sand is not so small to the as in place, so in resemblance, both for whole earth, as man is to the heaven. roundness of figure, and for those divine When I see the heavens, the sun, moon, I guests which have their seat in it: There and stars, O God, what is man? Who dwell those majestical powers of reason, would think thou shouldst make all these which make a man; all the senses, as they creatures for one, and that one well-near have their original from thence, so they do the least of all ? Yet none but he can see all agree there to manifest their virtue. How what thou hast done ; none but he can goodly proportions hast thou set in the admire and adore thee in what he seeth: face! such as, though ofttimes we can give How had he need to do nothing but this, no reason when they please, yet transport since he alone must do it! Certainly the us to admiration. What living glasses are price and virtue of things consist not in the those which thou hast placed in the midst quantity: one diamond is worth more than of this visage, whereby all objects from many quarries of stone; one loadstone far are clearly represented to the mind! and hath more virtue than mountains of earth. | because their tenderness lies open to dan. It is lawful for us to praise thee in our gers, how hast thou defenced them with selves. All thy creation hath not more hollow bones, and with prominent brows, wonder in it, than one of us : other crea- and lids! and lest they should be too much tures thou madest by a simple command ; bent on what they ought not, thou hast Man, not without a divine consultation ;-| given them peculiar nerves to pull them others at once ; man thou didst first form, up towards the seat of their rest. What then inspire :- others in several shapes, i a tongue hast thou given him ; the instrulike to none but themselves; man, after ment not of taste only, but of speech! how thine own image :- others with qualities sweet and excellent voices are formed by fit for service ; man, for dominion. Man that little loose film of flesh! what an inhad his name from thee; they had their credible strength hast thou given to tha weak bones of the jaws! what a comely | rise up to thee, and fix themselves in their and tower-like neck, therefore most sinewy | thoughts upon thee, who alone created them because smallest! and lest I be infinite, in their infusion, and infused them in their what able arms and active hands hast thou creation? How should they long to return framed him, whereby he can frame all back to the fountain of their being, and things to his own conceit! In every part, author of being glorious ? Why may we beauty, strength, convenience meet toge not say, that this soul, as it came from thee, ther. Neither is there any whereof our weak- so it is like thee ? As thou, so it is one, ness cannot give reason why it should be immaterial, immortal, understanding spirit, no otherwise. How hast thou disposed of distinguished into three powers, which all all the inward vessels, for all offices of life, make up one spirit. So thou, the wise nourishment, digestion, generation! No Creator of all things, wouldst have some vein, sinew, artery, is idle. There is no things to resemble their Creator. These piece in this exquisite frame, whereof the other creatures are all body; man is body place, use, form, doth not admit wonder, and spirit. The angels are all spirit, not and exceed it. Yet this body, if it be com without a kind of spiritual composition : pared to the soul, what is it, but as a clay | thou art alone after thine own manner, wall that encompasses a treasure; as a simple, glorious, infinite: no creature can wooden box of a jeweller; as a coarse case be like thee in thy proper being, because to a rich instrument; or as a mask to a it is a creature. How should our finite, beautiful face ? Man was made last, be- weak, compounded nature, give any perfect cause he was worthiest. The soul was resemblance of thine? Yet of all visible inspired last, because yet more noble. If creatures, thou vouchsafest man the nearest the body have this honour to be the com- | correspondence to thee: not so much in panion of the soul, yet withal it is the the natural faculties, as in those divine drudge. If it be the instrument, yet also graces, wherewith thou beautifiest his soul. the clog of that divine part, the companion Our knowledge, holiness, righteousness, for life, the drudge for service, the instru was like the first copy from which they ment for action, the clog in respect of con- were drawn. Behold, we were not more templation. These external works are ef. like thee in these, than now we arv unlike fected by it; the internal, which are more ourselves in their loss. O God, we now noble, hindered; contrary to the bird, which praise ourselves to our shame, for the better sings most in her cage, but flies most and we were, we are the worse ; as the sons highest at liberty. This my soul teaches of some prodigal, or tainted ancestors, tell me of itself, that itself cannot conceive, of the lands and lordships which were once how capable, how active it is. It can pass theirs. Only do thou whet our desires, by her nimble thoughts from heaven to answerably to the readiness of thy mercies, earth in a moment: it can be all things, that we may redeem what we have lost; can comprehend all things; know that that we may recover in thee, what we have which is, and conceive that which never lost in ourselves. The fault shall be ours, was, never shall be. Nothing can fill it, if our damage prove not beneficial. but thou which art infinite ; nothing can I do not find that man, thus framed, limit it, but thou which art everywhere. | found the want of an helper. His fruition O God, which madest it, replenish it, pos of God gave him fulness of contentment: sess it, dwell thou in it, which hast ap the sweetness which he found in the conpointed it to dwell in clay. The body was templation of this new workmanship, and made of earth common to his fellows; the the glory of the Author, did so take him soul inspired immediately from God. The up, that he had neither leisure nor cause of body lay senseless upon the earth like it complaint. If man had craved an helper, self: the breath of life gave it what it is, he had grudged at the condition of his creaand that breath was from thee. Sense, tion, and had questioned that which he had, motion, reason, are infused into it at once. perfection of being. But he that gave him From whence then was this quickening his being, and knew him better than himbreath? No air, no earth, no water, was self, thinks of giving him comfort in the here used to give help to this work. Thou creature, while he sought none but in his that breathedst upon man, and gavest him Maker. He sees our wants, and forecasts the Holy Spirit, didst also breathe upon the our relief, when we think ourselves too body, and gavest it a living spirit. We are happy to complain. How ready will he be beholden to nothing but thee for our soul. to help our necessities, that thus provides Our flesh is from fesh; our spirit is from for our perfection! the God of spirits How should our souls ! God gives the nature to his creatures: man must give the name; that he might see they were made for him, they shall be CONTEMPLATION III.- OF PARADISE. to him what he will. Instead of their first homage, they are presented to their new Man could no sooner see, than he saw lord, and must see of whom they hold. He himself happy : his eye-sight and reason that was so careful of man's sovereignty were both perfect at once, and the objects in his innocence, how can he be careless of both were able to make him as happy as of his safety in his renovation ?

he would. When he first opened his eyes, If God had given them their names, it he saw heaven above him, earth under him, had not been so great a praise of Adam's the creatures around him, God before him ; memory to recall them, as it was now of his he knew what all these things meant, as if judgment (at first sight) to impose them: he had been long acquainted with them all. he saw the inside of all the creatures at He saw the heavens glorious, but afar off: first, (his posterity sees but their skins ever his Maker thought it requisite to fit him since ;) and by this knowledge he fitted with a paradise nearer home. If God had their names to their dispositions. All that appointed him immediately to heaven, his lie saw were fit to be his servants, none to body had been superfluous; it was fit his be his companions. The same God that body should be answered with an earthen finds the want, supplies it. Rather than image of that heaven, which was for his Jan's innocency shall want an outward soul. Had man been made only for concomfort, God will begin a new creation : templation, it would have served as well not out of the earth, which was the matter to have been placed in some vast desert, of man; not out of the inferior creatures, on the top of some barren mountain ; but which were the servants of man; but out of the same power which gave him a heart himself, for dearness, for equality. Doubt-to meditate, gave him hands to work, and less, such was man's power of obedience, work fit for his hands. Neither was it the that if God had bidden him yield up his | purpose of the Creator, that man should rib, waking, for his use, he had done it but live. Pleasure may stand with innocheerfully; but the bounty of God was so cence. He that rejoiced to see all he had absolute, that he would not so much as made to be good, rejoiceth to see all that consult with man's will, to make him happy. he hath made to be well. God loves to As man knew not while he was made, so see his creatures happy ; cur lawful delight shall he not know while his other self is is his : they know not God, that think to made out of him: that the comfort might please him with making themselves miserbe greater, which was seen before it was able. expected.

The idolaters thought it a fit service for If the woman should have been made, Baal, to cut and lance themselves: never not without the pain or will of the man, any holy man looked for thanks from the she might have been upbraided with her true God by wronging himself. Every earth dependence and obligation. Now she owes was not fit for Adam, but a garden, a paranothing but to her Creator ; the rib of Adam dise. What excellent pleasures, and rare sleeping can challenge no more of her than varieties, have men found in gardens, planthe earth can of him. It was an happy ted by the hands of men ! and yet all the change to Adam of a rib for an helper ; | world of men cannot make one twig, or what help did that bone give to his side | leaf, or spire of grass. When he that made God had not made it, if it had been super the matter undertakes the fashion, how must fluous : and yet if man could not have been it needs be, beyond our capacity, excellent! perfect without it, it had not been taken | No herb, no flower, no tree, was wanting out.

there, that might be for ornament or use : Many things are useful and convenient, whether for sight, or for scent, or for taste. which are not necessary; and if God had The bounty of God wrought further than to seen man might not want it, how easy had | necessity, even to comfort and recreation: it been for him, which made the woman of Why are we niggardly to ourselves, when that bone, to turn the flesh into another God is liberal ? But for all this, if God had bone! but he saw man could not complain not there conversed with man, no abunof the want of that bone, which he had so dance could have made him blessed. multiplied, so animated.

Yet, behold! that which was man's store. O God, we can never be losers by thy house, was also his work-house; his pleachanges; we have nothing but what is thine. sure was his task: paradise served not only Take from us thine own, when thou wilt: to feed his senses, but to exercise his hands. we are sure thou canst not but give us better. If happiness had consisted in doing nothing,

man had not been employed; all his delights to know evil; good was large enough 10
could not have made him happy in an idle have perfected his knowledge, and therein
life. Man therefore is no sooner made, his blessedness.
than he is set to work: neither greatness All that God made was good, and the
nor perfection can privilege a folded hand; | Maker of them much more good; they
ne must labour because he was happy; how good in their kinds, he good in himself. It
much more we, that we may be! This first would not content him to know God and
labour of his was, as without necessity, so his creatures; his curiosity affected to know
without pains, without weariness: How that which God never made, evil of sin,
much more cheerfully we go about our and the evil of death, which indeed himself
businesses, so much nearer we come to our made by desiring to know them: now we

know evil well enough, and smart with
Neither did these trees afford him only knowing it. How dear hath this lesson
action for his hands, but instruction to his cost us, that in some cases it is better to
heart; for here he saw God's sacraments be ignorant! and yet do the sons of Eve
grow before him: all other trees had a na- inherit this saucy appetite of their grand-
tural use; these two in the midst of the gar- mother: how many thousand souls mis-
den a spiritual. Life is the act of the soul, carry with the presumptuous affectation of
knowledge the life of the soul; the tree of forbidden knowledge!
knowledge, and the tree of life, then, were O God, thou hast revealed more than
ordained as earthly helps of the spiritual we can know, enough to make us happy;
part. Perhaps he which ordained the end, teach me a sober knowledge and a contented
immortality of life, did appoint this fruit as | ignorance.
the means of that life. It is not for us to | Paradise was made for man, yet there I
inquire after the life we had, and the means see the serpent: what marvel is it, if my
we should have had. I am sure it served corruption find the serpent in my closet, in
to nourish the soul by a lively representation my table, in my bed, when our holy parents
of that living tree, whose fruit is eternal found him in the midst of paradise? No
life, and whose leaves serve to heal the sooner he is entered but he tempteth; he

can no more be idle than harmless. I do O infinite mercy! man saw his Saviour not see him at any other tree; he knew before him, ere he had need of a Saviour: there was no danger in the rest: I see him he saw in whom he should recover an hea at the tree forbidden. How true a serpent renly life, ere he lost the earthly. But he is in every point! in his insinuation after he had tasted of the tree of knowledge, to the place, in his choice of the tree, in he might not taste of the tree of life; that his assault of the woman, in his plausible. immortal food was not for a mortal sto- | ness of speech to avoid terror, in his quesmach: yet then did he most savour that tion to move doubt, in his reply to work invisible tree of life, when he was most distrust, in his protestation of safety, in his restrained from the other.

suggestion to envy and discontent, in his O Saviour! none but a sinner can relish promise of gain! thee; my taste hath been enough seasoned And if he was so cunning at the first, with the forbidden fruit, to make it capable | what shall we think of him now, after so of thy sweetness; sharpen thou as well the many thousand years' experience? Only stomach of my soul by repenting; by be- thou, O God! and these angels that see lieving, so shall I eat, and, in despite of thy face, are wiser than he. I do not ask Adam, live for ever. The one tree was why, when he left his goodness, thou didst for confirtation, the other for trial; one not bereave him of his skill: still thou showed him what life he should have, the wouldst have him an angel, though an evil other what knowledge he should not desire one; and thou knowest how to ordain his to have. Alas! he that knew all other craft to thine own glory. I do not desire things, knew not this one thing, that he thee to abate of his subtilty, but to make knew enough: how divine a thing is know me wise: let me beg it, without presumpledge, whereof even innocency itself is am- tion, make me wiser than Adam. Even bitious! Satan knew what he did: if this thine image which he bore, made him not bait had been gold, or honour, or pleasure, (through his own weaknesss) wise enough man had contemned it: who can hope to to obey thee: thou offeredst him all fruits, aroid error, when even man's perfection and restrainedst but one; Satan ofered is mistaken? He looked for speculative | him but one, and restrained not the rest. knowledge; he should have looked for ex. When he chose rather to be at Satan's perimental : he thought it had been good feeding than thine, it was just with thee tu

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

turn him out of thy gates with a curse: , our comfortable expectations in earthly why shouldst thou feed a rebel at thine things do not seldom disappoint us. own board?

Doubtless their education was holy; for And yet we transgress daily, and thou Adam, though in paradise he could not be shuttest not heaven against us : how is it innocent, yet was a good man out of parathat we find more mercy than our fore- dise: his sin and fall now made him cirfather? His strength is worthy of severity, cumspect; and since he saw that his act our weakness finds pity. That God, from had bereaved them of that image of God, whose face he fled in the garden, now makes which he once had for them, he could not him with shame to flee out of the garden : but labour, by all holy endeavours, to repair those angels that should have kept him, it in them, that so his care might make now keep the gates of paradise against him. amends for his trespass. How plain is it It is not so easy to recover happiness, as that even good breeding cannot alter des. to keep it or lose it; yea, the same cause tiny! That which is crooked, can none that drave man from paradise hath also make straight : who would think that brewithdrawn paradise from the world. thren, and but two brethren, should not

That fiery sword did not defend it against love each other? Dispersed love grows those waters wherewith the sins of men weak, and fewness of objects useth to unite drowned the glory of that place: neither affections: if but two brothers be left alive now do I cart to seek where that paradise of many, they think that the love of all the was which we lost: I know where that rest should survive in them; and now the paradise is, which we must care to seek, beams of their affection are so much the and hope to find. As fan was the image hotter, because they reflect mutually in a of God, so was that earthly paradise an right line upon each other: yet behold, here image of heaven; both the images are de-are but two brothers in a world, and one is faced, both the first patterns are eternal : the butcher of the other. Who can wonder Adam was in the first, and stayed not: in at dissensions among thousands of brethren, the second, is the second Adam, which when he sees so deadly opposition betwixt said, “ This day shalt thou be with me in two, the first roots of brotherhood? Who paradise.” There was that chosen vessel, can hope to live plausibly and securely and heard and saw what could not be ex- amongst so many Cains, when he sees one pressed: by how much the third heaven Cain the death of one Abel ? The same exceeds the richest earth, so much doth devil that set enmity betwixt man and God, that paradise, whereto we aspire, exceed sets enmity betwixt man and man; and yet that which we have lost.

God said, “ I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed." Our hatred of the

serpent and his seed is from God; their CONTEMPLATION iv.- OF CAIN AND ABEL. hatred of the holy seed is from the serpent:

behold here at once, in one person, the Look now, O my soul! upon the two seed of the woman and of the serpent; first brethren, perhaps twins, and wonder | Cain's natural parts are of the woman, his at their contrary dispositions and estates. | vicious qualities of the serpent: the woman If the privileges of nature had been worth gave him to be a brother, the serpent to any thing, the first-born child should not be a manslayer ; all uncharitableness, all have been a reprobate.

quarrels are of one author: we cannot enNow, that we may ascribe all to free tertain wrath, and not give place to the grace, the elder is a murderer, the younger devil. Certainly, so deadly an act must a saint: though goodness may be repaired needs be deeply grounded. in ourselves, yet it cannot be propagated What, then, was the occasion of this cato ours: now might Adam see the image pital malice? Abel's sacrifice is accepted : of himself in Cain, for after his own image what was this to Cain? Cain's is rejected: begot he him; Adam slew his posterity, what could Abel remedy this? O envy! the Cain his brother. We are too like one corrosive of all ill minds, and the root of another, in that wherein we are unlike to all desperate actions. The same cause that God: even the clearest grain sends forth moved Satan to tempt the first man to dethat chaff from which it was fanned ere stroy himself and his posterity, the same the sowing: yet is this Cain a possession. moves the second man to destroy the third.

The same Eve that mistook the fruit of It should have been Cain's joy to see the garden, mistook also the fruit of her his brother accepted: it should have been own body; her hope deceived her in both : his sorrow to see that himself had deserved so, many good names are ill bestowed; and a rejection; his brother's example should

« FöregåendeFortsätt »