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LXII. On bees fighting.
WHAT a pity it is, to see these profitable, industrious creatures fall so furiously upon each other; and thus sting and kill each other, in the very mouth of the hive! I could like well, to see the bees do this execution upon wasps and drones, enemies to their common stock: this savours but of justice: but to see them fall foul upon those of their own wing, it cannot but trouble their owner; who must needs be an equal loser, by the victory of either.
There is no more perfect resemblance of a Commonwealth, whether civil or sacred, than in a hive. The bees are painful and honest compatriots; labouring to bring wax and honey to the maintenance of the public state: the wasps and drones are unprofitable and harmful hang-byes, which live upon the spoil of others' labours; whether as common barretors, or strong thieves, or bold parasites, they do nothing but rob their neighbours. It is a happy sight, when these feel the dint of justice, and are cut off from doing further mischief: but to see wellaffected and beneficial subjects undo themselves with duels, whether of law or sword; to see good Christians, of the same profession, shedding each others' blood upon quarrels of religion, is no other than a sad and hateful spectacle; and so much the more, by how much we have more means of reason and grace, to compose our differences, and correct our offensive contentiousness.
O God, who art at once the Lord of Hosts and Prince of Peace, give us war with spiritual wickedness, and peace with our brethren.
LXIII. On wasps falling into a glass.
SEE you that narrow-mouthed glass, which is set near to the hive? mark how busily the wasps resort to it; being drawn thither by the smell of that sweet liquor, wherewith it is baited: see how eagerly they creep into the mouth of it ; and fall down suddenly from that slippery steepness, into that watery trap, from which they can never rise: there, after some vain labour and weariness, they drown and die. You do not see any of the bees look that way: they pass directly to their hive, without any notice taken of such a pleasing bait.
Idle and ill-disposed persons are drawn away with every temptation: they have both leisure and will, to entertain every sweet allurement to sin; and wantonly prosecute their own wicked lusts, till they fall into irrecoverable damnation. Whereas the diligent and laborious Christian, that follows hard and
"See how eagerly they creep into the mouth of it," omitted in the Latin.
LXII. Visis apibus secum pugnantibus.
QUAM mihi dolet, videre utiles hasce et industrias creaturas in se mutuò tam furiosè involantes; seque, vel in ipso præsepiorum ingressu, stimulantes invicem interficientesque! Id mihi cordi foret, aspicere apes hasce idem fucis facere ac vespis, communis utilitatis hostibus notissimis: justitiam hoc sapit ilicet videre verò apes has secummet ipsis dimicantes, non potest non esse molestum domino suo; qui, quæcunque demum vicerint, cives perdat necesse est.
Perfectior nulla potest esse Reipublicæ, sive civilis sive sacræ, imago, quàm in istis apum præsepibus. Apes operosi sunt honestique concives; sedulò collaborantes ceræ ac melli ad communis rei sustentationem importandis: vespæ ac fuci inutiles sunt et improbuli scurræ, qui alienorum laborum spoliis victitare solent; sive ut vitilitigatores, sive fures, sive edaces parasiti, proximos quosque despoliantur. Ubi justitiæ aciem sentiunt isti, tempestivasque poenas sic luunt ut nihil deinceps mali perpetrent, fœlix profectò spectaculum est: videre autem benè-affectos fidosque subditos duellis, sive forensibus sive mavortiis, decertantes; videre Christianos, fidei ejusdem professores, mutuum sibi sanguinem religionis causâ crudeliter profundentes, triste et horrendum quiddam est et prodigii plenissimum; eoque magis, quo plura ac commodiora et rationis et gratiæ media nobis, cùm componendis litibus, tum corrigendis vitiosis contentionum studiis, suppetunt.
O Deus, qui unà et Dominus Exercituum et Princeps Pacis audis, bellum cum vitiis, cum fratribus pacem, indulge.
LXIII. Conspectis vespis in vitrum melle illitum
VIDE modò vitream illam ore angusto phialam, quàm proximè præsepio illi collocatam: quàm studiosè convolant illò vespæ; dulcis illius, quo inescatur, liquoris odore attractæ ; deciduntque illico à lubrico hoc præcipitio, in decipulam illam aqueam, nunquam deinceps evasuræ: ibique, post paulum vani laboris ac lassitudinis, suffocantur statim et intereunt. Nullam vides apicularum illò respectantem: illæ rectà ad suum præsepe volant, suavem illam escam ne notantes quidem.
Otiosæ malèque feriatæ animæ omnibus tentationibus facilè distrahuntur: et otii illis sat est et arbitrii, omnes peccatorum illecebras lubenter excipere; suasque vitiosas libidines prosequi petulantiùs, donec in perniciem omnino irrecuperabilem inciderint. Ubi diligens laboriosusque Christianus, qui honestæ vo
conscionably the works of an honest calling, is free from the danger of these deadly enticements; and lays up honey of comfort, against the winter of evil. Happy is that man, who can see and enjoy the success of his labour: but however, this we are sure of; if our labour cannot purchase the good we would have, it shall prevent the evil we would avoid.
LXIV. On a spring in the wild forest.
Lo here the true pattern of bounty. What clear crystal streams are here; and how liberally do they gush forth, and hasten down with a pleasing murmur into the valley! Yet you see neither man, nor beast, that takes part of that wholesome and pure water. It is enough, that those may dip, who will: the refusal of others doth no whit abate of this proffered plenty.
Thus bountiful house-keepers hold on their set ordinary provision, whether they have guests or no. Thus conscionable preachers pour out the living waters of wholesome doctrine, whether their hearers partake of those blessed means of salvation, or neglect their holy endeavours. Let it be our comfort, that we have been no niggards of these celestial streams: let the world give an account of the improvement.
LXV. On the sight of an owl in the twilight.
WHAT a strange melancholic life doth this creature lead! to hide her head, all the day long, in an ivy-bush; and at night, when all other birds are at rest, to fly abroad and vent her harsh notes!
I know not why the ancients have sacred this bird to wisdom, except it be for her safe closeness and singular perspicacity; that, when other domestical and airy creatures are blind, she only hath inward light, to discern the least objects for her own advantage. Surely, thus much wit they have taught us in her: That he is the wisest man, that would have the least to do with the multitude: That no life is so safe, as the obscure: That retiredness, if it have less comfort, yet less danger and vexation lastly, That he is truly wise, who sees by a light of his own; when the rest of the world sit in an ignorant and confused darkness; unable to apprehend any truth, save by the helps of an outward illumination.
Had this fowl come forth in the day-time, how had all the little birds flocked wondering about her; to see her uncouth visage, to hear her untuned notes! She likes her estate never the worse; but pleaseth herself in her own quiet reservedness.
d This sentence is omitted in the Latin.-PRATT.
cationis operibus jugiter sanctèque incumbit, ab omni lethalium illiciorum periculo immunis est; ac mel veri solaminis, in duram mali hyemem prudens reponit. Felix is est, cui non videre modò liceat laboris sui successum sed et illo frui: quicquid tamen contigerit, hoc certò sanè constat; si labor noster non possit bonum quod volumus adipisci, malum certè quod vitare cupimus prævortet.
LXIV. Viso fonticulo è loco quodam deserto ebulliente.
ECCE veram imaginem beneficentiæ. Quàm claræ purèque chrystallinæ sunt hæ undæ; quàmque largiter effluunt, et suavi quodam murmure in vallem festinant! Hominem tamen nullum interea vides, imò ne brutum quidem, quod puræ illius saluberrimæque lymphæ particeps esse possit. Satis est, obvio cuique patere laticem hunc, ita ut haurire possit, qui volet, liberè.
Sic munifici patres-familias quotidianum semper dimensum apparant, adsint absintve hospites. Sic concionatores pii vivas salutaris doctrinæ aquas ubertim profundunt, sive auditores sacrosancta salutis media participare malint, sive tantos conatus, negligant. Ilicet hoc nobis solatio sit, non fuisse harum cœlestium aquarum deparcos: harum verò beneficii ac usûs rationem reddat mundus.
LXV. Conspecto bubone.
QUAM miserè tristem ac melancholicam vitam agit iste ales! qui, totâ die, hederæ densioris tegmine caput suum occulit; de nocte verò, cùm quiescunt volucres reliquæ, evolat stridulasque et ingratas voces edit.
Nescio equidem quorsum prudentiæ hunc alitem olim sacrârint veteres, nisi ob tutam forsan obscuritatem perspicacitatemque singularem; quòd, cùm animalium reliqua, domestica et aërea, prorsùs cæcutiant, bubo solus, interno quodam fretus lumine, vel minima quæque in rem suam objecta conspicetur. Istoc, nempe, sapientiæ illi nos hujus exemplo docuerunt: Prudentissimum esse eum, cui minimum est cum vulgo negotii: Nullam adeo tutam esse vitam, ac quæ obscurè traducitur: Secessionem, etsi minus fortè solatii, minus tamen periculi vexationisque nobis præstare: denique, Illum verè sapere, qui suo cernit lumine; cùm mundus reliquus in confusis quibusdam inscitiæ tenebris usque resideat ; nec, nisi externæ illuminationis adminiculo, veritatis quicquam discernere unquam possit.
Si de die prodiisset hic ales, quàm istuc illico collectæ aviculæ omnes admirabundæ illum cinxissent; quasi vultus deformitatem, vocisque asperitatem unanimes haud parùm stuperent! Nihilo sibi tamen minùs perplacet illi sua conditio; neque minùs is sibi quietam delitescentiam gratulatur.
It is not for a wise man, to be much affected with the censures of the rude and unskilful vulgar; but to hold fast unto his own well-chosen and well-fixed resolutions. Every fool knows, what is wont to be done; but what is best to be done, is known only to the wise.
On an arm benumbed.
How benumbed, and, for the time, senseless, is this arm of mine become, only with too long leaning upon it! While I used it to other services, it failed me not: now that I have rested upon it, I find cause to complain.
It is no trusting to an arm of flesh on whatsoever occasion we put our confidence therein, this reliance will be sure to end in pain and disappointment.
O God, thine arm is strong and mighty: all thy creatures rest themselves upon that, and are comfortably sustained. Oh, that we were not more capable of distrust, than thine omnipotent hand is of weariness and subduction.
LXVII. On the sparks flying upward.
It is a feeling comparison, that of Job, of man born to labour, as the sparks do fly upward. That motion of theirs is no other than natural. Neither is it otherwise for man to labour: his mind is created active, and apt to some or other ratiocination; his joints all stirring; his nerves made for helps of moving; and his occasions of living call him forth to action. So as an idle man doth not more want grace, than degenerate from nature. Indeed, at the first kindling of the fire, some sparks are wont, by the impulsion of the bellows, to fly forward or sideward: and even so in our first age, youthly vanity may move us to irregular courses; but, when those first violences are overcome, and we have attained to a settledness of disposition, our sparks fly up, our life is labour. And why should we not do that, which we are made for? Why should not God rather grudge us our being, than we grudge him our work? It is no thank to us, that we labour out of necessity.
Out of my obedience to thee, O God, I desire ever to be employed. I shall never have comfort in my toil, if it be rather a purveyance for myself, than a sacrifice to thee.
LXVIII. On the sight of a raven.
I CANNOT see that bird, but I must needs think of Elijah; and wonder no less, at the miracle of his faith, than of his provision. It was a strong belief, that carried him into a desolate