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shouldest take happy notice of thine own. Oh the best of earth, now vile and contemptible! Confe down no more, O my soul, after thou hast once pitched upon this heavenly glory; or, if this flesh force thy descent, be unquiet, till thou art let loose to immortality.
VI. On the frame of a globe casually broken.
Ir is hard to say, whether is the greater, man's art or impotence. He, that cannot make one spire of grass, or corn of sand, will yet be framing of worlds: he can imitate all things, who can make nothing. Here is a great world in a little room, by the skill of the workman; but in less room by mis-accident. Had he seen this, who, upon the view of Plato's Book of Commonwealth eaten with mice, presaged the fatal miscarriage of the public state, he would sure have construed this casualty as
Whatever become of the material world, whose decay might seem no less to stand with Divine Providence than this microcosm of individual man, sure I am, the frame of the moral world is and must be disjointed in the last times. Men do and will fall from evil to worse. He, that hath made all times, hath told us, that the last shall be perilous. Happy is he, that can stand upright when the world declines; and can endeavour to repair the common ruin, with a constancy in goodness.
VII. On a cloud.
WHETHER it were a natural cloud, wherewith our ascending Saviour was intercepted from the eyes of his disciples, upon Mount Olivet, I enquire not: this I am sure of, that the time now was when a cloud surpassed the sun in glory. How did the intentive eyes of those ravished beholders envy that happy meteor; and, since they could no more see that glorious body, fixed themselves upon that celestial chariot, wherewith it was carried up! The angels could tell the gazing disciples, to fetch them off from that astonishing prospect, that this Jesus should so come again as they had seen him depart. He went up in a cloud; and he shall come again, in the clouds of heaven, to his Last Judgment.
O Saviour, I cannot look upward, but I must see the sensible monuments, both of thine ascension and return. Let no cloud of worldliness or infidelity hinder me from following thee in thine ascension, or from expecting thee in thy return.
designatam cerneres. O vel optimam terræ partem, vilem modò et despicabilem! Noli! ô, noli descendere deinceps, animula mea, ubi semel cœlestem hanc gloriam perlustraveris; aut, si caro ista descendere te vel invitam coegerit, inquieta esto, dum soluta fueris ut liberè fruaris immortalitate.
VI. De globi fabricâ casu confracta.
DICI Certè vix potest, major ne sit hominis ars an impotentia. Qui ne minimum quidem graminis foliculum, aut arenæ granulum facere potest, mundos tamen integros audacter fabricare aggreditur: qui nihil quicquam facit, omnia interim imitatur. Ecce mundi hujus magni machinam, artificio opificis, in parvum volumen contractam ; casu verò, multò contractiorem. Vidisset hoc modò, qui, Platonis Rempublicam muribus corrosam cernens, fatalem illius politiæ cladem exinde hariolatus est, casum hunc proculdubio velut pessimi ominis plenum interpretatus fuisset.
Quicquid demùm de materiali hoc mundo fiat, cujus ad interitum declinatio non minùs videtur posse cum Divinâ Providentiâ consistere quam microcosmi istius humani, nimis certè constat mundi hujus moralis fabricam ultimis temporibus miserè luxatum iri. A malo ad pejus declinat passim genus humanum. Qui solus temporum omnium faber est, clarè prædixit pessimos fore periculosissimosque novissimos mundi dies. O illum verè foelicem, qui, declinante quàmlibet mundo, stare rectus potest; communemque universi ruinam, constanti quâdam virtute ac bonitate, reparare contendit.
VII. Ad conspectum nubis.
FUERITNE nubes merè naturalis, quâ Servator noster in cœlum ascendens à discipulorum suorum oculis, in Monte Oliveti interceptus fuit, non anxiè disquiro: hoc certò scio, modò fuisse tempus in quo nubes solem ipsum gloriâ exuperarit. O quàm invidebant fœlici illi meteoro intentissimi intuentium oculi; et, quandoquidem gloriosum illud corpus cernere ultrà non licuerit, figebant se firmissimis radiis in curru illo cœlesti, quo subvectum fuerat, ægrè divellendi! Angeli, quo tam avidos prospicientium oculos ab hoc tam stupendo simul ac grato spectaculo amoverent, discipulos graviter monuerunt, ita planè reversurum Jesum hunc ac illi discedentem conspicati fuissent. In nube ascendit; in nubibus cœli, mundum judicaturus, demùm revertetur.
Non possum, ô benignissime Servator, oculos sursum tollere, quin necesse mihi fuerit clarissima tui monumenta et ascendentis et redeuntis intueri. Faxis, oro, ne qua nubes sive sæcularium cogitationum sive infidelitatis animum mihi intercipiat, quò minùs vel sequi te ascendentem, vel reducem expectare possim.
VIII. On the sight of a grave digged up.
THE earth, as it is a great devourer, so also it is a great preserver too liquors and fleshes are therein long kept from putrifying; and are rather heightened in their spirits, by being buried in it: but, above all, how safely doth it keep our bodies for the Resurrection! We are here but laid up for custody. Balms, and sere-cloths, and leads cannot do so much, as this lap of our common Mother: when all these are dissolved into her dust, as being unable to keep themselves from corruption, she receives and restores her charge. I can no more withhold my body from the earth, than the earth can withhold it from my Maker.
O God, this is thy cabinet or shrine, wherein thou pleasest to lay up the precious relics of thy dear Saints, until the Jubilee of Glory with what confidence should I commit myself to this sure reposition, while I know thy word just, thy power infinite!
IX. On the sight of gold melted.
THIS gold is both the fairest and most solid of all metals; yet is the soonest melted with the fire: others, as they are coarser, so more churlish, and hard to be wrought upon by a dissolution.
Thus, a sound and good heart is most easily melted into sorrow and fear, by the sense of God's judgments; whereas, the carnal mind is stubborn and remorseless. All metals are but earth; yet some are of finer temper than others: all hearts are of flesh; yet some are, through the power of grace, more capable of spiritual apprehensions.
O God, we are such, as thou wilt be pleased to make us. Give me a heart, that may be sound for the truth of grace, and melting at the terrors of thy Law; I can be for no other than thy sanctuary on earth, or thy treasury of heaven.
X. On the sight of a pitcher carried.
THUS, those, that are great and weak, are carried by the ears, up and down, of flatterers and parasites: thus, ignorant and simple hearers are carried, by false and miszealous teachers. Yet, to be carried by both ears is more safe, than to be carried by one. It argues an empty pitcher, to be carried by one alone. Such are they, that, upon the hearing of one part, rashly pass their sentence, whether of acquittal or censure. In all disquisitions of hidden truths, a wise man will be led by the ears,
VIII. Ad conspectum sepulchri effossi.
TERRA, uti magnus rerum heluo, ita et fidissimus earundem custos et conservator meritò audit: in cujus visceribus liquores, sed et carnes quædam, diu à putredine vindicantur; inibique reconditorum spiritus magis exaltari solent et educi fortiores: præcipuè verò, quàm tutò servat corpora hæc nostra in illum Resurrectionis diem! Custodiendi, nempe, nos istic reponimur. Balsami, cerata lintea, capsulæ plumbeæ non ita fideliter hoc præstant, ac communis iste Matris sinus: ubi omnia hæc in suum pulverem reciderint, quippe quæ non possunt semet à sui dissolutione liberare, illa recipit restituitque chara hæc pignora. Neque magis potero ipse corpusculum hoc meum à terrâ detinere, quàm terra illud detinere potest à manu Creatoris.
O Deus, hæc arcula tua est scriniumve sacrum, in quo preciosas Sanctorum tuorum reliquias, usque ad ultimum Gloriæ Jubilæum, servari voluisti: quàm me fidenter commendare ausim tutissimæ huic repositioni, qui certò norim, et verbum tuum esse justum, et potentiam infinitam!
IX. Ad conspectum auri liquati.
AURUM hoc uti pulcherrimum est metallorum omnium ita et solidissimum; quod tamen facillimè omnium igne liquefieri solet: alia, ut viliora, sic tenaciora, quasique morosiora sunt, et quæ dissolutioni cedant ægriùs.
Ita, purum probèque dispositum pectus, sensu judiciorum Divinorum, tantò citiùs in pium dolorem timoremque resolvitur; ubi, carnalis animus obstinatè firmus est, salutarisque pœnitentiæ haud parùm incapax. Quid nisi terra est quodcunque demum metallum; est tamen aliud alio nobilius: cor omne caro est; hoc tamen illo, virtute inoperantis gratiæ, impressionis spiritualis capacius.
O Deus, tales nos sumus, quales tu facere voluisti. Da mihi cor, obsecro, quoad veritatem gratiæ syncerum solidumque, terroribus verò Legis tuæ haud difficulter fusile; ita, obrysi metalli instar aptus ero, et sanctuario tuo in terris, et gazophylacio in cœlis.
X. Ad conspectum amphora circumgestatæ.
Qui loco potentes sunt, parùm valentes judicio, facilè hàc illàc, ab adulatoribus et parasitis, hoc planè modo, auribus gestari solent: ita, ignari simplicesque auditores, à falsis et malè-zelosis doctoribus miserè circumvehuntur. At sanè, utrâque aure, quàm unâ portari tutius est. Vacuam planè ollam arguit, unâ ferri aure. Ejusmodi sunt præproperi illi judices, qui, parte unâ auditâ, sententiam, sive absolutionis sive damnationis, temerè ferre non dubitant. In omni veritatis abstrusæ disquisitione, vir sapiens duci auribus, non gestari sustinet;
not carried; that implies a violence of passion, over-swaying judgment: but, in matter of civil occurrence and unconcerning rumour, it is good to use the ear, not to trust to it.
XI. On the sight of a tree full blossomed.
HERE is a tree overlaid with blossoms. It is not possible, that all these should prosper: one of them must needs rob the other of moisture and growth.
I do not love to see an infancy overhopeful: in these pregnant beginnings, one faculty starves another; and, at last, leaves the mind sapless and barren. As, therefore, we are wont to pull off some of the too-frequent blossoms, that the rest may thrive; so, it is good wisdom, to moderate the early excess of the parts or progress of over-forward childhood.
Neither is it otherwise in our Christian profession. A sudden and lavish ostentation of grace may fill the eye with wonder, and the mouth with talk; but will not, at the last, fill the lap with fruit. Let me not promise too much, nor raise too high expectations of my undertakings. I would rather men should complain of my small hopes, than of my short performances.
XII. On the report of a man suddenly struck dead, in his sin.
I CANNOT but magnify the justice of God; but, withal, I must praise his mercy. It were woe with any of us all, if God should take us at advantages. Alas! which of us hath not committed sins, worthy of a present revenge? Had we been also surprised in those acts, where had we been?
O God, it is more than thou owest us, that thou hast waited for our repentance: it is no more than thou owest us, that thou plaguest our offences. The wages of sin is death; and it is but justice, to pay due wages. Blessed be thy justice, that hast made others examples to me: blessed be thy mercy, that hast not made me an example unto others.
XIII. On the view of the heaven and the earth.
WHAT a strange contrariety is here! The heaven is in continual motion; and yet, there is the only place of rest: the earth ever stands still; and yet, here is nothing but unrest and unquietness. Surely, the end of that heavenly motion is for the benefit of the earth; and the end of all these earthly turmoils is our reposal in heaven. Those, that have imagined the earth to turn about and the heavens to stand still, have