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Consideration of the Vanity and Shortness of Mans Life.

     A man is a bubble, (said the Greek proverb,)[1] which Lucian represents with advantages and its proper circumstances, to this purpose; saying, that all the world is a storm, and men rise up in their several generations, like bubbles descending a Jove pluvio, from God and the dew of heaven, from a tear and drop of rain, from nature and Providence; and some of these instantly sink into the deluge of their first parent, and are hidden in a sheet of water, having had no other business in the world, but to be born, that they might be able to die: others float up and down two or three turns, and suddenly disappear, and give their place to others: and they that live longest upon the face of the waters are in perpetual motion, restless and uneasy; and, being crushed with a great drop of a cloud, sink into flatness and a froth; the change not being great, it being hardly possible it should be more a nothing that it was before. So is every man: he is born in vanity and sin; he comes into the world like morning mushrooms, soon thrusting up their heads into the air, and conversing with their kindred of the same production, and as soon they turn into dust and forgetfulness - some of them without any other interest in the affairs of the world, but that they made their parents a little glad and very sorrowful: others ride longer in the storm; it may be until seven years of vanity be expired, and then peradventure the sun shines hot upon their heads, and they fall into the shades below, into the cover of death and darkness of the grave to hide them. But if the bubble stands the shock of a bigger drop, and outlives the chances of a child, of a careless nurse, of drowning in a pail of water, of being overlaid by a sleepy servant, or such little accidents, then the young man dances like a bubble, empty and gay, and shines like a dove's neck, or the image of a rainbow, which hath no substance, and whose very imagery and colours are fantastical; and so he dances out the gaiety of his youth, and is all the while in a storm, and endures only because he is not knocked on the head by a drop of bigger rain, or crushed by the pressure of a load of indigested meat, or quenched by the disorder of an ill-placed humour: and to preserve a man alive in the midst of so many chances and hostilities is as great a miracle as to create him; to preserve him from rushing into nothing, and at first to draw him up from nothing were equally the issues of an almighty power. And therefore the wise men of the world have contended who shall best fit man's condition with words signifying his vanity and short abode. Honour calls a man "a leaf," the smallest, the weakest piece of a short-lived, unsteady plant. Pindar calls him "the dream of a shadow:" another "the dream of the shadow of smoke." But St. James spake by a more excellent spirit, saying, `Our life is but a vapour,'[2] viz, drawn from the earth by a celestial influence; made of smoke, or the lighter parts of water tossed with every wind, moved by the motion of a superior body, without virtue in itself, lifted up on high, or left below, according as it pleased the sun, its foster-father. But it is lighter yet. It is but appearing;[3] a fantastic vapour, an apparition, nothing real; it is not so much as a mist, not the matter of a shower, nor substantial enough to make a cloud; but it is like Cassiopeia's chair, or Pelop's shoulder, or the circles of heaven, fainorena, for which you cannot have a word that can signify a vernier nothing. And yet the expression is one degree more made diminutive; a vapour, and fantastical, or a mere appearance, and this but for a little while neither,[4] the very dream, the phantasm, disappears in a small time, "like the shadow that departed; or like a tale that is told, or as a dream when one waketh." A man is so vain, so unfixed, so perishing a creature, that he cannot long last in the scene of fancy: a man goes off, and is forgotten, like the dream of a distracted person. The sum of all is this: that thou art a man, than whom there is not in the world any greater instance of heights and declinations, of lights and shadows, of misery and folly, of laughter and tears, of groans and death.
     And because this consideration is of great usefulness and great necessity to many purposes of wisdom and the spirit, all the succession of time, all the changes in nature, all the varieties of light and darkness, the thousand thousands of accidents in the world, and every contingency to every man and to every creature, doth preach our funeral sermon, and calls us to look and see how the old sexton, Time, throws up the earth, and digs a grave, where we must lay our sins or our sorrows, and sow our bodies, till they rise again in a fair or an intolerable eternity. Every revolution which the sun makes about the world divides between life and death; and death possesses both those portions by the next morrow; and we are dead to all those months of which we have already lived, and we shall never live them over again: and still God makes little periods of our age.[5] First we change our world, when we come from the womb to feel the warmth of the sun. Then we sleep and enter into the image of death, in which state we are unconcerned in all the changes of the world: and if our mothers or our nurses die, or a wild boar destroy our vine-yards, or our king be sick, we regard it not, but, during that state, are as disinterested as if our eyes were closed with the clay that weeps in the bowels of the earth. At the end of seven years our teeth fall and die before us, representing a formal prologue to the tragedy; and still, every seven years it is odds but we shall finish the last scene: and when nature, or chance, or vice, takes our body in pieces, weakening some parts and loosing others, we taste the grave and the solemnities of our own funerals, first, in those parts that ministered to vice; and next, in them that served for ornament; and, in a short time, even they that served for necessity become useless and entangled like the wheels of a broken clock. Baldness is but a dressing to our funerals,[6] the proper ornament of mourning, and of a person entered very far into the regions and possession of death; and we have many more of the same signification - gray hairs, rotten teeth, dim eyes, trembling joints, short breath, stiff limbs, wrinkled skin, short memory, decayed appetite. Every day's necessity calls for a reparation of that portion which death fed on all night, when we lay in his lap, and slept in his outer chambers. The very spirits of a man prey upon the daily portion portion of bread and flesh, and every meal is a rescue from one death, and lays up for another; and while we think a thought, we die; and the clock strikes, and reckons on our portion of eternity: we form our words with the breath of our nostrils - we have the less to live upon for every word we speak.
     Thus nature calls us to meditate of death by those things which are the instruments of acting it; and God, by all the variety of his providence, makes us see death everywhere, in all variety of circumstances, and dressed up for all the fancies, and the expectation of every single person. Nature hath given us one harvest every year, but death hath two; and the spring and the autumn send throngs of men and women to charnel-houses; and the summer long men are recovering from their evils of the spring, till the dog-days come, and the Sirian star makes the summer deadly; and the fruits of autumn are laid up for all the year's provision, and the man that gathers them eats and surfeits, and dies and needs them not, and himself is laid up for eternity; and he that escapes till winter only stays for another opportunity, which the distempers of that quarter minister to him with great variety. Thus death reigns in all the portions of our time. The autumn with its fruit provides disorders for us, and the winter's cold turns them into sharp diseases, and the spring brings flowers to strew our hearse, and the summer gives green turf and brambles to bind upon our graves. Calentures and surfeit, cold and agues, are the four quarters of the year, and all minister to death; and you can no whither, but you tread upon a dead man's bones.
     The wild fellow, in Petronius, that escaped upon a broken table from the furies of a shipwreck, as he was sunning himself upon the rocky shore, espied a man, rolled upon his floating bed of waves, ballasted with sand in the folds of his garment, and carried by his civil enemy, the sea, towards the shore to find a grave: and it cast him into some sad thoughts;[7] that peradventure this man's wife, in some part of the continent, safe and warm, looks next month for the good man's return; or it many be, his son knows nothing of the tempest; or his father things of that affectionate kiss, which still is warm upon the good man's cheek, ever since he took a kind of farewell; and he weeps with joy to think how blessed he shall be when his beloved boy returns into the circle of his father's arms. These are the thoughts of mortals, this is the end and sum of all their designs: a dark night and an ill guide, a boisterous sea and a broken cable, a hard rock and a rough wind, dashed in pieces the fortune of a whole family; and they that shall weep loudest for the accident are not yet entered into the storm, and yet have suffered shipwreck. Then looking upon the carcass, he knew it, and found it to be the master of the ship, who, the day before, cast up the accounts of his patrimony and his trade, and named the day when he thought to be at home: see how the man swims who was so angry two days since; his passions are becalmed with the storm, his accounts cast up, his cares at an end, his voyage done, and his gains are the strange events of death, which, whether they be good or evil, the men that are alive seldom trouble themselves concerning the interest of the dead.
     But seas alone do not break our vessel in pieces: everywhere we may be shipwrecked. A valiant general, when he is to reap the harvest of his crowns and triumphs, fights unprosperously, or falls into a fever with joy and wine, and changes his laurel into cypress, his triumphal chariot to a hearse; dying the night before he was appointed to perish in the drunkenness of his festival joys. It was a sad arrest of the loosenesses and wilder feasts of the French court, when their king (Henry II.) was killed really by the sportive image of a fight. And many brides have died under the hands of paranymphs and maidens, dressing them for uneasy joy, the new and undiscerned chains of marriage, according to the saying of Bensirah, the wise Jew, "The bride went into her chamber, and knew not what should befall her there." Some have been paying their vows, and giving thanks for a prosperous return to their own house, and the roof hath descended upon their heads, and turned their loud religion into the deeper silence of a grave. And how many teeming mothers have rejoiced over their swelling wombs, and pleased themselves in becoming the channels of blessing to a family; and the midwife hath quickly bound their heads and feet, and carried them forth to burial! Or else the birth-day of an heir hath seen the coffin of the father brought into the house, and the divided mother hath been forced to travail twice, with a painful birth and a sudden death.[8]
     There is no state, no accident, no circumstance of our life, but it hath soured by some sad instance of a dying friend; a friendly meeting often ends in some mischance, and makes an eternal parting; and when the poet Eschylus was sitting under the walls of his house, an eagle hovering over his bald head mistook it for a stone, and let fall his oyster, hoping there to break the shell, but pierced the poor man's skull.
     Death meets us everywhere, and is procured by every instrument, and in all chances and enters in at many doors; by violence and secret influence; by the aspect of a star and the stink of a mist; by the emissions of a cloud and the meeting of a vapour; by the fall of a chariot and the stumbling at a stone; by a full meal or an empty stomach; by watching at the wine or by watching at prayers; by the sun or the moon; by a heat or a cold; by sleepless nights or sleeping days; by water frozen into the hardness and sharpness of a dagger,[9] or water thawed into the floods of a river; by a hair or a raisin; by violent motion or sitting still; by severity or dissolution; by God's mercy or God's anger; by everything in providence and everything in manners; by everything in nature and everything in chance.[10] Eripitur persona, manetres; we take pains to heap up things useful to our life, and get our death in the purchase; and the person is snatched away, and the goods remain. And all this is the law and constitution of nature; it is a punishment to our sins, the unalterable event of Providence, and the decree of Heaven. The chains that confine us to this condition are strong as destiny, and immutable as the eternal laws of God.
     I have conversed with some men who rejoiced in the death or calamity of others, and accounted it as a judgment upon them for being on the other side, and against them in the contention; but within the revolution of a few months the same man met with a more uneasy and unhandsome death; which when I saw, I wept, and was afraid; for I knew that it must be so with all men; for we also shall die,[11] and end our quarrels and contentions by passing to a final sentence.



The Consideration reduced to Practice.

     It will be very material to our best and noblest purposes, if we represent this scene of change and sorrow a little more dressed up in circumstances; for so we shall be more apt to practice those rules, the doctrine of which is consequent to this consideration. It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood, from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and dead paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror, of a three days' burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and, at first, it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as a lamb's fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk; and at night, having lost some of its leaves and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and every woman; the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonour, and our beauty so changed that our acquaintance quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror, or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursings, that they who, six hours ago, tended upon us, either with charitable or ambitious services, cannot, without some regret, stay in the room alone where the body lies stripped of its life and honour. I have read of a fair young German gentleman, who, living, often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friends' desire by giving way, that, after a few days' burial, they might send a painter to his vault, and, if they saw cause for it, draw the image of his death unto the life. They did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and backbone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change,[12] and it will be as bad with you and me; and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? what friends to visit us? what officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funeral?
     This discourse will be useful, if we consider and practise the following rules and considerations respectively:
     1. All the rich and all the covetous men in the world will perceive, and all the world will perceive for them, that it is but an ill recompense for all their cares, that, by this time all that shall be left will be this,[13] that the neighbours shall say, "He died a rich man;" and yet his wealth will not profit him in the grave, but hugely swell the sad accounts of doomsday. And he that kills the Lord's people with unjust or ambitious wars, for an unrewarding interest, shall have this character;[14] that he threw away all the days of his life, that one year might be reckoned with his name, and computed by his reign or consulship: and many men, by great labours and affronts, many indignities and crimes, labour only for a pompous epitaph, and a loud title upon their marble; whilst those into whose possessions their heirs or kindred are entered are forgotten, and lie unregarded as their ashes, and without concernment or relation, as the turf upon the face of their grave.[15] A man may read a sermon, the best and most passionate that ever man preached, if he shall but enter into the sepulchres of kings. In the same Escurial where the Spanish princes live in greatness and power, and decree war or peace, they have wisely placed a cemetery, where their ashes and their glory shall sleep till time shall be no more; and where our kings have been crowned their ancestors lie interred, and they must walk over their grandsire's head to take his crown. There is an acre sown with royal seed, the copy of the greatest change, from rich to naked, from ceiled roofs to arched coffins, from living like gods to die like men. There is enough to cool the flames of lust, to abate the heights of pride, to appease the itch of covetous desires, to sully and dash out the dissembling colours of a lustful, artificial, and imaginary beauty. There the warlike and the peaceful, the fortunate and the miserable, the beloved and the despised princes mingle their dust, and pay down their symbol of mortality, and tell all the world that when we die our ashes shall be equal to kings', and our accounts easier, and our pains for our crowns shall be less. To my apprehension, it is a sad record which is left by Atheneus concerning Ninus, the great Assyrian monarch, whose life and death are summed up in these words: "Ninus, the Assyrian, had an ocean of gold, and other riches, more than the sand in the Caspian Sea; he never say the stars, and perhaps he never desired it; he never stirred up the holy fire among the Magi, nor touched his god with the sacred rod according to the laws; he never offered sacrifice, nor worshipped the deity, nor administered justice, nor spake to his people, nor numbered them; but he was most valiant to eat and drink, and having mingled his wines, he threw the rest upon the stores. This man is dead; behold his sepulchre; and now hear where Ninus is. Some time I was Ninus, and drew the breath of a living man; but now am nothing but clay. I have nothing but what I did eat, and what I served to myself in lust; that was and is all my portion. The wealth with which I was esteemed blessed, my enemies meeting together shall bear away, as the mad Thyades carry a new goat. I am gone to hell; and when I went thither I neither carried gold, nor horse, nor silver chariot. I that wore a mitre am now a little heap of dust." I know not anything that can better represent the evil condition of a wicked man, or a changing greatness.[16] From the greatest secular dignity to dust and ashes his nature bears him; and from thence to hell his sins carry him, and there he shall be for ever under the dominion of chains and devils, wrath and an intolerable calamity. This is the reward of an unsanctified condition, and a greatness ill-gotten or ill-administered.
     2. Let no man extend his thoughts, or let his hopes wander towards future and far-distant events and accidental contingencies. This day is mine and yours, but ye know not what shall be on the morrow and every morning creeps out of a dark cloud, leaving behind it an ignorance and silence deep as midnight, and undiscerned as are the phantasms that make a chrisom-child to smile; so that we cannot discern what comes hereafter,[17] unless we had a light from heaven brighter than the vision of an angel, even the spirit of prophecy. Without revelation we cannot tell whether we shall eat to-morrow, or whether a squinancy shall choke us: and it is written in the unrevealed folds of Divine predestination, that many who are this day alive shall to-morrow be laid upon the cold earth, and the women shall weep over their shroud, and dress them for their funeral. St. James, in his Epistle, notes the folly of some men, his contemporaries, who were so impatient of the event of to-morrow, or the accidents of next year, or the good or evils of old age, that they would consult astrologers and witches, oracles and devils, what should befall them the next calends-what should be the event of such a voyage-what God had written in his book concerning the success of battles, the election of emperors, the heirs of families, the price of merchandise, the return of the Tyrian fleet, the rate of Sidonian carpets: and as they were taught by the crafty and lying demons, so they would expect the issue; and oftentimes, by disposing their affairs in order towards such events, really did produce some little accidents according to their expectation; and that made them trust the oracles in greater things, and in all. Against this he opposes his counsel, that we should not search after forbidden records,[18] much less by uncertain significations: for whatsoever is disposed to happen by the order of natural causes or civil counsels, may be rescinded by a perculiar decree of Providence, or be prevented by the death of the interested persons; who, while their hopes are full, and their causes conjoined, and the work brought forward, and the sickle put into the harvest, and the first-fruits offered and ready to be eaten, even then, if they put forth their hand to an event that stands but at the door, at that door their body may be carried forth to burial before the expectation shall enter into fruition. When Richilda, the widow of Albert earl of Ebersberg, had feasted the emperor Henry III. and petitioned, in behalf of her nephew Welpho, for some lands formerly possessed by the earl her husband, just as the emperor held out his hand to signify his consent, the chamber-floor suddenly fell under them, and Richilda, falling upon the edge of a bathing-vessel, was bruised to death, and staid not to see her nephew sleep in those lands which the emperor was reaching forth to her, and placed at the door of restitution.
     3. As our hopes must be confined, so must our designs;[19] let us not project long designs, crafty plots, and diggings so deep that the intrigues of a design shall never be unfolded till our grandchildren have forgotten our virtues or our vices. The work of our soul is cut short, facile, sweet, and plain, and fitted to the small portions of our shorter life; and as we must not trouble our iniquity, so neither must we intricate our labour and purposes with what we shall never enjoy. This rule does not forbid us to plant orchards, which shall feed our nephews with their fruit; for by such provisions they do something towards an imaginary immortality, and do charity to their relatives: but such projects are reproved which discompose our present duty by long and future designs;[20] such which, by casting our labours to events at distance, make us less to remember our death standing at the door. It is fit for a man to work for his day's wages, or to contrive for the hire of a week, or to lay a train to make provisions for such a time as it is within our eye, and in our duty, and within the usual periods of man's life; for whatsoever is made necessary is also made prudent; but while we plot and busy ourselves in the toils of an ambitious war, or the levies of a great estate, night enters in upon us, and tells all the world how like fools we lived, and how deceived and miserably we died. Seneca tells of Senecio Cornelius, a man crafty in getting, and tenacious in holding, a great estate, and one who was as diligent in the care of his body as of his money, curious of his health as of his possessions, that he all day long attended upon his sick and dying friend; but when he went away, was quickly comforted, supped merrily, went to bed cheerfully, and on a sudden being surprised by a squinancy, scarce drew his breath until the morning, but by that time died, being snatched from the torrent of his fortune, and the swelling tide of wealth, and a likely hope bigger than the necessities of ten men. This accident was much noted then in Rome, because it happened in so great a fortune, and in the midst of wealthy designs; and presently it made wise men to consider how imprudent a person he is who disposes of ten years to come, when he is not lord of tomorrow.
     4. Though we must not look so far off, and pry abroad, yet we must be busy near at hand; we must, with all arts of the spirit, seize upon the present,[21] because it passes from us while we speak, and because in it all our certainty does consist. We must take our waters as out of a torrent and sudden shower, which will quickly cease dropping from above, and quickly cease running in our channels here below: this instant will never return again, and yet it may be, this instant will declare or secure the fortune of a whole eternity. The old Greeks and Romans taught us the prudence of this rule; but Christianity teaches us the religion of it. They so seized upon the present, that they would lose nothing of the day's pleasure.[22] "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die;" that was their philosophy; and at their solemn feasts they would talk of death to heighten the present drinking, and that they might warm their veins with a fuller chalice, as knowing the drink that was poured upon their graves would be cold and without relish. "Break the beds, drink your wine, crown your heads with roses, and besmear your curled locks with nard; for God bids you to remember death:" so the epigrammatist speaks the sense of their drunken principles.[23] Something towards this signification is that of Solomon, "There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour; for that is his portion; for who shall bring him to see that which shall be after him?[24] But although he concludes all this to be vanity, yet because it was the best thing that was then commonly known, that they should seize upon the present with a temperate use of permitted pleasures, I had reason to say[25] that Christianity taught us to turn this into religion. For he that by a present and constant holiness secures the present, and makes it useful to his noblest purposes, he turns his condition into his best advantage, by making his unavoidable fate become his necessary religion.
     To the purpose of this rule is that collect of Tuscan hieroglyphies which we have from Gabriel Simeon: "Our life is very short; beauty is a cozenage; money is false and fugitive; empire is adious, and hated by them that have it not, and uneasy to them that have; victory is always uncertain, and peace, most commonly, is but a fraudulent bargain; old age is miserable, death is the period, and is a happy one, if it be not sorrowed by the sins of our life: but nothing continues but the effects of that wisdom which employs the present time in the acts of a holy religion and a peaceable conscience." For they make us to live even beyond our funerals, embalmed in the spices and odours of a good name, and entombed in the grave of the holy Jesus, where we shall be dressed for a blessed resurrection to the state of angels and beatified spirits.
     5. Since we stay not here, being people but of a day's abode, and our age is like that of a fly and contemporary with a gourd, we must look somewhere else for an abiding city, a place in another country to fix our house in, whose walls and foundation is God, where we must find rest, or else be restless for ever. For whatsoever ease we can have or fancy here, is shortly to be changed into sadness or tediousness;[26] it goes away too soon, like the periods of our life, or stays too long, like the sorrows of a sinner; its own weariness, or a contrary disturbance, is its load; or it is eased by its revolution into vanity and forgetfulness; and where either there is sorrow, or an end of joy, there can be no true felicity; which, because it must be had by some instrument, and in some period of our duration, we must carry up our affections to the mansions prepared for us above, where eternity is the measure, felicity is the state, angels are the company, the Lamb is the light, and God is the portion and inheritance.



Rules and Spiritual Arts of lengthening our Days, and to take off the objection of a Short Life.

     In the accounts of a man's life, we do not reckon that portion of days in which we are shut up in the prison of the womb; we tell our years from the day of our birth; and the same reason that makes our reckoning to stay so long, says also, that then it begins too soon. For then we are beholden to others to make the account for us; for we know not of a long time whether we be alive or no, having but some little approaches and symptoms of a life. To feed, and sleep, and move a little, and imperfectly, is the state of an unborn child: and when he is born he does no more for a good while; and what is it that shall make him to be esteemed to live the life of a man? and when shall that account begin? For we should be loath to have the accounts of our age taken by the measures of a beast; and fools and distracted persons are reckoned as civilly dead; they are no parts of the commonwealth, not subject to laws, but secured by them in charity, and kept from violence as a man keeps his ox; and a third part of our life is spent before we enter into a higher order, into the state of man.
     2. Neither must we thing that the life of a man begins when he can feed himself, or walk alone, when he can fight, or beget his like; for so he is contemporary with a camel or a cow; but he is first a man when he comes to a certain, steady use of reason, according to his proportion; and when that is, all the world of men cannot tell precisely. Some men are called at age at fourteen; some at one-and-twenty; some never; but all men late enough; for the life of a man comes upon him slowly and insensibly. But as, when the sun approaches towards the gates of the morning, he first opens a little eye of heaven, and sends away the spirits of darkness, and gives light to a cock, and calls up the lark to matins, and by and by gilds the fringes of a cloud, and peeps over the eastern hills, thrusting out his golden horns, like those which decked the brows of Moses when he was forced to wear a veil because himself had seen the face of God; and still, while a man tells the story, the sun gets up higher, till he shows a fair face and a full light, and then he shines one whole day, under a cloud often, and sometimes weeping great and little showers, and sets quickly; so is a man's reason and his life. He first begins to perceive himself to see or taste, making little reflections upon his actions of sense, and can discourse of hies and dogs, shells and play, horses and liberty; but when he is strong enough to enter into arts and little institutions, he is at first entertained with trifles and impertinent things, not because he needs them, but because his understanding is no bigger, and little images of things are laid before him, like a cock-boat to a whale, only to play withal; but before a man comes to be wise, he is half dead with gouts and consumptions, with catarrhs and aches, with sore eyes and a wornout body. So that if we must not reckon the life of a man but by the accounts of his reason, he is long before his soul be dressed; and he is not to be called a man without a wise and an adorned soul, a soul at least furnished with what is necessary toward his well-being; but by that time his soul is thus furnished his body is decayed; and then you can hardly reckon him to be alive, when his body is possessed by so many degrees of death.
     3. But there is yet another arrest. At first he wants strength of body, and then he wants the use of reason; and when that is come, it is ten to one but he stops by the impediments of vice, and wants the strength of the spirit; and we know that body and soul and spirit are the constituent parts of every Christian man. And now let us consider what that thing is which we call years of discretion. The young man is past his tutors, and arrived at the bondage of a caitiff spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to passion; the man by this time hath wit enough to choose his vice, to act his lust, to court his mistress, to talk confidently and ignorantly and perpetually, to despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, to do things that, when he is indeed a man, he must for ever be ashamed of; for this is all the discretion that most men show in the first stage of their manhood; they can discern good from evil; and they prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wallowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite. And, by this time, the young man hath contracted vicious habits, and is a beast in manners, and therefore it will not be fitting to reckon the beginning of his life; he is a fool in his understanding, and that is a sad death; and he is dead in trespasses and sins, and that is a sadder; so that he hath no life but a natural, the life of a beast or a tree; in all other capacities he is dead; he neither hath the intellectual nor the spiritual life, neither the life of a man nor of a Christian; and this sad truth lasts too long. For old age seizes upon most men while they still retain the minds of boys and vicious youth, doing actions from principles of great folly, and a mighty ignorance, admiring things useless and hurtful, and filling up all the dimensions of their abode with businesses of empty affairs, being at leisure to attend no virtue; they cannot pray because they are busy, and because they are passionate; they cannot communicate because they have quarrels and intrigues of perplexed causes, complicated hostilities, and things of the world, and therefore they cannot attend to the things of God; little considering that they must find a time to die in; when death comes they must be at leisure for that. Such men are like sailors loosing from a port, and tossed immediately with a perpetual tempest, lasting till their cordage crack, and either they sink or return back again to the same place; they did not make a voyage, though they were long at sea. The business and impertinent affairs of most men steal all their time, and they are restless in a foolish motion: but this is not the progress of a man; he is no further advanced in the course of a life, though he reckon many years;[27] for still his soul is childish and trifling like an untaught boy.
     If the parts of this sad complaint find their remedy, we have by the same instruments also cured the evils and the vanity of a short life. Therefore,
     1. Be infinitely curious you do not set back your life in the accounts of God by the intermingling of criminal actions, or the contracting of vicious habits. There are some vices which carry a sword in their hand, and cut a man off before his time. There is a sword of the Lord, and there is a sword of a man, and there is a sword of the devil. Every vice of our own managing in the matter of carnality, of lust or rage, ambition or revenge, is a sword of Satan put into the hands of a man: these are the destroying angels; sin is the Apollyon, the destroyer that is gone out, not from the Lord, but from the tempter; and we hug the poison, and twist willingly with the vipers, till they bring us into the regions of an irrecoverable sorrow. We use to reckon persons as good as dead if they have lost their limbs and their teeth, and are confined to a hospital, and converse with none but surgeons and physicians, mourners and divines, those paltinctores, the dressers of bodies and souls to funeral; but it is worse when the soul, the principle of life, is employed wholly in the offices of death, and that man was worse than dead of whom Seneca tells, that being a rich fool, when he was lifted up from the baths and set into a soft couch, asked his slaves, As ego jam sedeo? Do I now sit? The beast was so drowned in sensuality and the death of his soul, that, whether he did sit or no, he was to believe another. Idleness and every vice are as much of death as a long disease is, or the expense of ten years; and `she that lives in pleasures if dead while she liveth' (saith the apostle;) and it is the style of the Spirit concerning wicked persons, `they are dead in trespasses and sins.' For as every sensual pleasure and every day of idleness and useless living lops off a little branch from our short life, so every deadly sin, and every habitual vice does quite destroy us; but innocence leaves us in our natural portions and perfect period; we lose nothing of our life if we lose nothing of our soul's health; and therefore, he that would live a full age must avoid a sin as he would decline the regions of death and the dishonours of the grave.
     2. If we would have our life lengthened,[28] let us begin betimes to live in the accounts of reason and sober counsels, of religion and the spirit, and then we shall have no reason to complain that our abode on earth is so short; many men find it long enough, and indeed it is so to all senses. But when we spend in waste what God hath given us in plenty, when we sacrifice our youth to folly, our manhood to lust and rage, our old age to covetousness and irreligion, not beginning to live till we are to die, designing that time to virtue which indeed is infirm to everything and profitable to nothing; then we make our lives short, and lust runs away with all the vigorous and healthful part of it, and pride and animosity steal the manly portion, and craftiness and interest possess old age; velut ex pleno et abundanti perdimus, we spend as if we had too much time, and knew not what to do with it: we fear everything, like weak and silly mortals, and desire strangely and greedily, as if we were immortal; we complain our life is short, and yet we throw away much of it, and are weary of many of its parts: we complain that day is long, and the night is long, and we want company, and seek out arts to drive the time away, and then weep because it is gone too soon. But so the treasure of the capitol is but a small estate when Caesar comes to finger it, and to pay with it all his legions; and the revenue of all Egypt and the eastern provinces was but a little sum when they were to support the luxury of Mark Antony, and feed the riot of Cleopatra; but a thousand crowns is a vast proportion to be spent in the cottage of a frugal person, or to feed a hermit. Just so is our life: it is too short to serve the ambition of a haughty prince, or an usurping rebel; too little time to purchase great wealth, to satisfy the pride of a vain-glorious fool, to trample upon all the enemies of our just or unjust interest; but for the obtaining virtue, for the purchase of sobriety and modesty, for the actions of religion, God gave us time sufficient, if we make the `outgoings of the morning and evening,' that is, our infancy and old age, to be taken into the computations of a man. Which we may see in the following particulars:
     1. If our childhood, being first consecrated, by a forward baptism, be seconded by a holy education and a complying obedience; if our youth be chaste and temperate, modest and industrious, proceeding through a prudent and sober manhood to a religious old age, then we have lived our whole duration,[29] and shall never die, but be changed, in a just time, to the preparations of a better and an immortal life.
     2. If, besides the ordinary returns of our prayer and periodical and festival solemnities, and on seldom communions, we would allow to religion and the studies of wisdom those great shares that are trifled away upon vain sorrow, foolish mirth, lust, and impertinent amours, and balls and reveling and banquets, all that which was spent viciously, and all that time that lay fallow and without employment, our life would quickly amount to a great sum. Tostatus Abulensis was a very painful person, and a great clerk, and in the days of his manhood he wrote so many books, and they not ill ones, that the world computed a sheet for every day of his life; I suppose they meant after he came to the use of reason and the state of a man: and John Scotus died about the two-and-thirtieth year of his age; and yet, besides his public disputations, his daily lectures of divinity in public and private, the books that he wrote, being lately collected and printed at Lyons, do equal the number of volumes of any two the most voluminous fathers of the Latin church. Every man is not enabled to such employments, but every man is called and enabled to the works of a sober and a religious life; and there are many saints of God that can reckon as many volumes of religion and mountains of piety as those others did of good books. St. Ambrose (and I think, from his example, St. Augustine) divided every day into three tertias of employment: eight hours he spent in charity and doing assistance to others, dispatching their business, reconciling their enmities, reproving their vices, correcting their errors, instructing their ignorances, transacting the affairs of his diocese; and the other eight hours he spent in study and prayer. If we were thus minute and curious in the spending of our time, it is impossible but our life would seem very long. For so have I seen an amorous person tell the minutes of his absence from his fancied joy, and while he told the sands of his hour-glass, or the throbs and little beatings of his watch, by dividing an hour into so many members, he spun out its length by number, and so translated a day into the tediousness of a month. And if we tell our days by canonical hours of prayer, our weeks by a constant revolution of fasting-days or days of special devotion, and over all these draw a black cypress, a veil of penitential sorrow and severe mortification, we shall soon answer the calumny and objection of a short life. He that governs the day and divides the hours hastens from the eyes and observation of a merry sinner; but loves to stand still, and behold, and tell the sighs, and number the groans and sadly-delicious accents of a grieved penitent. It is a vast work that any man may do if he never be idle: and it is a huge way that a man may go in virtue if he never goes out of his way by a vicious habit or a great crime: and he that perpetually reads good books, if his parts be answerable, will have a huge stock of knowledge. It is so in all things else. Strive not to forget your time, and suffer none of it to pass undiscerned; and then measure your life, and tell me how you find the measure of its abode. However, the time we live is worth the money we pay for it; and therefore it is not to be thrown away.
     3. When vicious men are dying, and scared with the affrighting truths of an evil conscience, they would give all the world for a year, for a month: nay, we read of some that called out with amazement, inducias usque ad mane - truce but till the morning: and if that year or some few months were given, those men think they could do miracles in it. And let us awhile suppose what Dives would have done if he had been loosed from the pains of hell, and permitted to live on earth one year. Would all the pleasures of the world have kept him one hour from the temple? would he not perpetually have been under the hands of priests, or at the feet of the doctors, or by Moses' chair, or attending as near the altar as he could get, or reviving poor Lazarus, or praying to God, and crucifying all sin? I have read of a melancholy person, who saw hell but in a dream or a vision, and the amazement was such, that he would have chosen ten times to die rather than feel again so much of that horror: and such a person cannot be fancied but that he would spend a year in such holiness that the religion of a few months would equal the devotion of many years, even of a good man. Let us but compute the proportions. If we should spend all our years of reason so as such a person would spend that one, can it be thought that life would be short and trifling in which he had performed such a religion, served God with so much holiness, mortified sin with so great a labour, purchased virtue at such a rate and so rare an industry? It must needs be that such a man must die when he ought to die, and be like ripe and pleasant fruit falling from a fair tree, and gathered into baskets for the planter's use. He that hath done all his business, and is begotten to a glorious hope by the seed of an immortal spirit, can never die too soon, nor live too long!
     Xerxes wept sadly when he say his army of 1,300,000 men, because he considered that within a hundred years all the youth of that army should be dust and ashes; and yet, as Seneca well observes of him, he was the man that should bring them to their graves; and he consumed all that army in two years for whom he feared and wept the death after a hundred. Just so we do all. We complain that within thirty or forty years, a little more, or a great deal less, we shall descend again into the bowels of our mother, and that our life is too short for any great employment; and yet we throw away five-and thirty years of our forty, and the remaining five we divide between art and nature, civility and customs, necessity and convenience, prudent counsels and religion; but the portion of the last is little and contemptible, and yet that little is all that we can prudently account of our lives. We bring that fate and that death near us of whose approach we are so sadly apprehensive.
     4. In taking the accounts of your life, do not reckon by great distances, and by the periods of pleasure, or the satisfaction of your hopes, or the sating your desires; but let every intermedial day and hour pass with observation. He that reckons he hath lived but so many harvests, thinks they come not often enough, and that they go away too soon;[30] some lose the day with longing for the night, and the night in waiting for the day. Hope and fantastic expectations spend much of our lives; and while with passion we look for a coronation, or the death of an enemy, or a day of joy, passing from fancy to possession without any intermedial notices, we throw away a precious year, and use it but as the burden of our time, fit to be pared off and thrown away, that we may come at those little pleasures which first steal our hearts, and then steal our life.
     5. A strict course of piety is the way to prolong our lives in the natural sense, and to add good portions to the number of our years; and sin is sometimes by natural casualty, very often by the anger of God and the Divine judgment, a cause of sudden and untimely death. Concerning which I shall add nothing (to what I have somewhere else said of this article,[31] ) but only the observation of Epiphanius; that for three thousand three hundred and thirty-two years, even to the twentieth age, there was not one example of a son that died before his father; but the course of nature was kept, that he who was first born in the descending line did first die, (I speak of natural death, and therefore Abel cannot be opposed to this observation,) till that Terah, the father of Abraham, taught the people a new religion, to make images of clay and worship them; and concerning him it was first remarked, that `Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity:' God, by an unheard of judgment and a rare accident punishing his newly-invented crime by the untimely death of his son.
     6. But if I shall describe a living man, a man that hath that life that distinguishes him from a fool or a bird, that which gives him a capacity next to angels, we shall find that even a good man lives not long, because it is long before he is born to this life, and longer yet before he hath a man's growth. "He that can look upon death, and see its face with the same countenance with which he hears its story;[32] that can endure all the labours of his life with his soul supporting his body; that can equally despise riches when he hath them and when he hath them not; that is not sadder if they lie in his neighbour's trunks, nor more brag if they shine round about his own walls: he that is neither moved with good fortune coming to him nor going from him; that can look upon another man's lands evenly and pleasedly, as if they were his own, and yet look upon his own, and use them too, just as if they were another man's; that neither spends his goods prodigally and life a fool, nor yet keeps them avariciously and like a wretch; that weighs not benefits by weight and number, but by the mind and circumstances of him that gives them; that never thinks his charity expensive if a worthy person be the receiver; he that does nothing for opinion sake, but everything for conscience, being as curious of his thoughts as of his actings in markets and theatres, and is as much in awe of himself as a whole assembly: he that knows God looks on, and contrives his secret affairs as in the presence of God and his holy angels; that eats and drinks because he needs it, not that he may serve a lust or load his belly; he that is bountiful and cheerful to his friends, and charitable and apt to forgive his enemies; that loves his country, and obeys his prince, and desires and endeavours nothing more than that he may do honour to God:" this person may reckon his life to be the life of a man, and compute his months, not by the course of the sun, but the zodiac and circle of his virtues; because these are such things which fools and children, and birds and beasts, cannot have; these are therefore the actions of life, because they are the seeds of immortality. That day in which we have done some excellent thing we may as truly reckon to be added to our life as were the fifteen years to the days of Hezekiah.



Considerations of the miseries of Mans Life.

     As our life is very short, so it is very miserable; and therefore it is well it is short. God, in pity to mankind, lest his burden should be insupportable, and his nature an intolerable load, hath reduced our state of misery to an abbreviator; and the greater our misery is, the less while it is like to last: the sorrows of a man's spirit being like ponderous weights, which by the greatness of their burden make a swifter motion, and descend into the grave to rest and ease our wearied limbs; for then only we shall sleep quietly, when those fetters are knocked off, which not only bound our souls in prison, but also ate the flesh, till the very bones opened the secret garments of their cartilages, discovering their nakedness and sorrow.
     1. Here is no place to sit down in, but you must rise as soon as you are set, for we have gnats in our chambers, and worms in our gardens,[33] and spiders and flies in the palaces of the greatest kings. How few men in the world are prosperous! What an infinite number of slaves and beggars, of persecuted and oppressed people, fill all corners of the earth and groans, and heaven itself with weeping, prayers, and sad remembrances! How many provinces and kingdoms are afflicted by a violent war, or made desolate by popular diseases! Some whole countries are remarked with fatal evils or periodical sicknesses. Grand Cairo, in Egypt, feels the plague every three years returning like a quartan ague, and destroying many thousands of persons. All the inhabitants of Arabia, the desert, are in a continual fear of being buried in huge heaps of sand, and therefore dwell in tents and ambulatory houses, or retire to unfruitful mountains, to prolong an uneasy and wilder life. And all the countries round about the Adriatic Sea feel such violent convulsions by tempests and intolerable earthquakes, that sometimes whole cities find a tomb, and every man sinks with his own house made ready to become his monument, and his bed is crushed into the disorders of a grave. Was not all the world drowned at one deluge and breach of the divine agner? And shall not all the world again be destroyed by fire? Are there not many thousands that die every night, and that groan and weep sadly every day? But what shall we think of the great evil which for the sins of men God hath suffered to posses the greatest part of mankind? Most of the men that are now alive, or that have been living for many ages, are Jews, heathens, or Turks; and God was pleased to suffer a base epileptic person, a villain and a vicious, to set up a religion which hath filled all the nearer parts of Asia, and much of Africa, and some part of Europe; so that the greatest number of men and women born in so many kingdoms and provinces are infallibly made Mahometan, strangers and enemies to Christ, by whom alone we can be saved. This consideration is extremely sad, when we remember how universal and how great an evil it is, that so many millions of sons and daughters are born to enter into the possession of devils to eternal ages. These evils are the miseries of great parts of mankind, and we cannot easilyconsider more particularly the evils which happen to us, being the inseparable affections or incidents to the whole nature of man.
     2. We find that all the women in the world are either born for barrenness or the pains of childbirth, and yet this is one of our greatest blessings; but such indeed are the blessings of this world, we cannot be well with nor without many things. Perfumes make our heads ache, roses prick our fingers, and in our very blood, where our life dwells, is the scene under which nature acts many sharp fevers and heavy sicknesses. It were too sad if I should tell how many persons are afflicted with evil spirits, with spectres and illusions of the night; and that huge multitudes of men and women live upon man's flesh, nay, worse yet, upon the sins of men, upon the sins of their sons and of their daughters, and they pay their souls down for the bread they eat, buying this day's meal with the price of the last night's sin.
     3. Or if you please in charity to visit a hospital, which is indeed a map of the whole world, there you shall see the effects of Adam's sin, and the ruins of human nature; bodies laid up in heaps, like the bones of a destroyed town, homines precartt spiritus et male haerentis - men whose souls seem to be borrowed, and are kept there by art and the force of medicine - whose miseries are so great, that few people have charity or humanity enough to visit them, fewer have the heart to dress them, and we pity them in civility or with a transient prayer, but we do not feel their sorrows by the mercies of a religious pity; and, therefore, as we leave their sorrows in many degrees unrelieved and uneased, so we contract by our unmercifulness a guilt by which ourselves become liable to the same calamities. Those many that need pity, and those infinities of people that refuse to pity, are miserable upon a several charge, but yet they almost make up all mankind.
     4. All wicked men are in love with that which entangles them in huge varieties of troubles; they are slaves to the worst of masters, to sin and to the devil, to a passion and to an imperious woman. Good men are for ever persecuted, and God chastises every son whom he receives; and whatsoever is easy is trifling and worth nothing; and whatsoever is excellent is not to be obtained without labour and sorrow; and the conditions and states of men that are free from great cares are such as have in them nothing rich and orderly, and those that have are stuck full of thorns and trouble. Kings are full of care, and learned men in all ages have been observed to be very poor,[34] honestas miserias accusant - they complain of their honest miseries.
     5. But these evils are notorious and confessed; even they also whose felicity men stare at and admire, besides their splendour and the sharpness of their light, will, with their appendant sorrows, wring a tear from the most resolved eye; for not only the winter is full of storms and cold and darkness, but the beauteous spring hath blasts and sharp frosts; the fruitful teeming summer is melted with heat, and burnt with the kisses of the sun, her friend, and choked with dust; and the rich autumn is full of sickness; and we are weary of that which we enjoy, because sorrow is its biggest portion; and when we remember, that upon the fairest face is placed one of the worst sinks of the body, the nose, we may use it not only as a mortification to the pride of beauty, but as an allay to the fairest outside of condition which any of the sons and daughters of Adam do posses. For look upon kings and conquerors: I will not tell that many of them fall into the condition of servants,[35] and their subjects rule over them, and stand upon the ruins of their families, and that to such persons the sorrow is bigger than usually happens in smaller fortunes; but let us suppose them still conquerors, and see what a goodly purchase they get by all their bounds of the river Rhine: I speak in the style of the Roman greatness; for now-adays the biggest fortune swells not beyond the limits of a petty province or two, and a hill confines the progress of their prosperity, or a river checks it: but whatsoever tempts the pride and vanity of ambitious persons is not so big as the smallest star which we see scattered in disorder and unregarded upon the pavement and floor of heaven. And if we would suppose the pismires had but our understandings, they also would have the method of a man's greatness, and divide their little mole-hills into provinces and exharchates; and if they also grew as vicious and as miserable, one of their princes would lead an army out, and kill his neighbour ants, that he might reign over the next handful of a turf. But then, if we consider at what price and with what felicity all this is purchased, the sting of the painted snake will quickly appear, and the fairest of their fortunes will properly enter into this account of human infelicities.
     We may guess at it by the constitution of Augustus's fortune, who struggled for his power, first, with the Roman citizens, then with Brutus and Cassius, and all the fortune of the republic; then with his colleague, Mary Antony; then with his kindred and nearest relatives; and, after he was wearied with slaughter of the Romans, before he could sit down and rest in his imperial chair, he was forced to carry armies into Macedonia, Galatia, beyond Euphrates, Rhine, and Danubius; and when he dwelt at home in greatness, and within the circles of a mighty power, he hardly escaped the sword of the Egnatii, of Lepidus, Caepio, and Muraena: and after he had entirely reduced the felicity and grandeur into his own family, his daughter, his only child, conspired with many of the young nobility, and, being joined with adulterous complications, as with an impious sacrament,[36] they affrighted and destroyed the fortune of the old man, and wrought him more sorrow than all the troubles that were hatched in the baths and beds of Egypt between Antony and Cleopatra.[37] This was the greatest fortune that the world had then or ever since, and therefore we cannot expect it to be better in a less prosperity.
     6. The prosperity of this world is so infinitely soured with the overflowing of evils, that he is counted the most happy that hath the fewest; all conditions being evil and miserable, they are only distinguished by the number of calamities. The collector of the Roman and foreign examples, when he had reckoned two-and-twenty instances of great fortunes, every one of which had been allayed with great variety of evils; in all his reading or experience, he could tell but of two who had been famed for an entire prosperity. Quintus Metellus, and Gyges the king Lydia: and yet concerning the one of them he tells, that his felicity was so considerable (and yet it was the bigger of the two) that the oracle said that Aglaus the Sophidius, the poor Arcadian shepherd, was more happy than he-that is, he had fewer troubles; for so indeed we are to reckon the pleasures of this life; the limit of our joy is the absence of some degree of sorrow, and he that hath the least of this is the most prosperous person. But then we must look for prosperity, not in palaces or courts of princes, not in the tents of conquerors, or in the gaieties of fortunate and prevailing sinners; but rather in the cottages of honest, innocent, and contented persons, whose mind is no bigger than their fortune, nor their virtue less than their security. As for others, whose fortune looks bigger, and allures fools to follow it, like the wandering fires of the night, till they run into rivers, or are broken upon rocks with staring and running after them, they are all in the condition of Marius, than whose condition nothing was more constant, and nothing more mutable: if we reckon them amongst the miserable, they are the most miserable.[38] For just as is a man's condition, great or little, so is the state of his misery: all have their share; but kings and princes, great generals and consuls, rich men and mighty, as they have the biggest business and the biggest charge, and are answerable to God for the greatest accounts, so they have the biggest trouble, that the uneasiness of their appendage may divide the good and evil of the world, making the poor man's fortune as eligible as the greatest; and also restraining the vanity of man's spirit, which a great fortune is apt to swell from a vapour to a bubble; but God in mercy hath mingles wormwood with their wine, and so restrained the drunkenness and follies of prosperity.
     7. Man never hath one day to himself of entire peace from the things of the world, but either something troubles him, or nothing satisfies him, or his very fulness swells him and makes him breathe short upon his bed. Men's joys are troublesome; and besides that the fear of losing them takes away the present pleasure, (and a man hath need of another felicity to preserve this,) they are also wavering and full of trepidation, not only from their inconstant nature, but from their weak foundation: they arise from vanity, and they dwell upon ice, and they converse with the wind, and they have the wings of a bird, and are serious but as the resolutions of a child, commenced by chance, and managed by folly, and proceeded by inadvertency, and end in vanity and forgetfulness. So that, as Livius Drusus said of himself, he never had any play-days or days of quiet when he was a boy;[39] for he was troublesome and busy, a restless and unquiet man - the same may every man observe to be true of himself; he is always restless and uneasy, he dwells upon the waters, and leans upon thorns, and lays his head upon a sharp stone.



The Consideration reduced to Practice.

     1. The effect of this consideration is this, that the sadnesses of this life help to sweeten the bitter cup of death. For let our life be never so long, if our strength were great as that of oxen and camels, if our sinews were strong as the cordage at the foot of an oak, if we were as fighting and prosperous people as Siccius Dentatus, who was on the prevailing side in a hundred and twenty battles, who had three hundred and twelve public rewards assigned him by his generals and princes for his valour and conduct in sieges and sharp in nine triumphs; yet still the period shall be that all this shall end in death, and the people shall talk of us awhile, good or bad, according as we deserve, or as they please; and once it shall come to pass that concerning every one of us it shall be told in the neighbourhood that we are dead. This we are apt to think a sad story, but therefore let us help it with a sadder; for we therefore need not be much troubled that we shall die, because we are not here in ease, nor do we dwell in a fair condition; but our days are full of sorrow and anguish, dishonoured and made unhappy with many sins, with a frail and a foolish spirit, entangled with difficult cases of conscience, ensnared with passions, amazed with fears, full of cares, divided with curiosities and contradictory interests, made airy and impertinent with vanities, abused with ignorance and prodigious errors, made ridiculour with a thousand weaknesses, worn away with labours, loaden with diseases, daily vexed with dangers and temptations, and in love with misery: we are weakened with delights, afflicted with want, with the evils of myself and of all my family, and with the sadnesses of all my friends, and of all good men, even of the whole church; and therefore methinks we need not be troubled that God is pleased to put an end to all these troubles, and to let them sit down in a natural period, which, if we please, may be to us the beginning of a better life. When the Prince of Persia wept because his army should all die in the revolution of an age, Artabanus told him that they should all meet with evils so many and so great that every man of them should wish himself dead long before that. Indeed it were a sad thing to be cut of the stone, and we that are in health tremble to think of it; but the man that is wearied with the disease looks upon that sharpness as upon his cure and remedy; and as none need to have a tooth drawn, so none could well endure it but he that felt the pain of it in his head: so is our life so full of evils, that therefore death is no evil to them that have felt the smart of this, or hope for the joys of a better.
     2. But as it helps to ease a certain sorrow, as a fire draws out fire, and a nail drives forth a nail, so it instructs us in a present duty, that is, that we should not be so fond of a perpetual storm, nor dote upon the transient guads and gilded thorns of this world. They are not worth a passion, nor worth a sigh or a groan, not of the price of one night's watching; and therefore they are mistaken and miserable persons who, since Adam planted thorns round about paradise, are more in love with the hedge than with the fruits of the garden, sottish admirers of things that hurt them, of sweet poisons, gilded daggers, and silken halters. Tell them they have lost a bounteous friend, a rich purchase, a fair farm, a wealthy donative, and you dissolve their patience; it is an evil bigger than their spirit can bear; it brings sickness and death; they can neither eat nor sleep with such a sorrow. But if you represent to them the evils of a vicious habit, and the dangers of a state of sin, if you tell them they have displeased God, and interrupted their hopes of heaven, it may be they will be so civil as to hear it patiently, and to treat you kindly, and first to commend, and then forget your story, because they prefer this world with all its sorrows before the pure unmingled felicities of heaven. But it is strange that any man should be so passionately in love with the thorns which grow on his own ground that he should wear them for armlets, and knit them in his shirt, and prefer them before a kingdom and immortality. No man loves this world the better for his being poor; but men that love it because they have great possessions, love it because it is troublesome and chargeable, full of noise and temptation, because it is unsafe and ungoverned, flattered and abused; and he that considers the troubles of an over-long garment and of a crammed stomach, a trailing gown and a loaden table, may justly understand that all that for which men are so passionate is their hurt and their objection - that which a temperate man would avoid and a wise man cannot love.
     He that is no fool, but can consider wisely, if he be in love with this world, we need not despair but that a witty man might reconcile him with tortures, and make him think charitably of the rack, and be brought to dwell with vipers and dragons, and entertain his guests with the shrieks of mandrakes, cats, and screech-owls, with the fling of iron, and the harshness of rending of silk, or to admire the harmony that is made by a herd of evening wolves, when they miss their draught of blood in their midnight revels. The groans of a man in a fit of the stone are worse than these, and the distractions of a troubled conscience are worse than those groans; and yet a careless merry sinner is worse than all that. But if we could from one of the battlements of heaven espy how many men and women at this time lie fainting and dying for want of bread, how many young men are hewn down by the sword of war, how many poor orphans are now weeping over the graves of their father, by whose life they were enabled to eat; if we could but hear how many mariners and passengers are at this present in a storm, and shriek out because their keel dashes against a rock, or bulges under them; how many people there are that weep with want, and are mad with oppression, or are desperate by too quick a sense of a constant infelicity; in all reason we should be glad to be out of the noise and participation of so many evils. This is a place of sorrows and tears, of great evils and a constant calamity; let us remove from hence, at least in affections and preparation of mind.

[1] Pomfolne o anzrwpos.

[2] James, iv. 14,

[3] fainminm.

[4] Hroz oigon.

[5] Nihil sibi quisquame de futuro debet promittere. Id quo-que, quod tenetur, per manus exit, et ipsam quam premimus, horam casus incidit. Volvitur tempus rata quidem lege, sed per obscurum.-Seneca.

[6] Ut mortem eitius venire credas, Scito jam capitis perisae partem.

[7] Navigationes longas, et, pererratis litoribus alienis, seros in partriam reditus proponimus, militiam, et castrensium laborum tarda manu pretia, procurationes, officiorumque per officia processus, cum interim ad latus mors est; quae quoniam nunquam cogitatur nisi aliena, subinde nobis ingerantur morialitatis exempla, non diutius quam miramur hasura.-Senec.

[8] Quia lex cadem manet omnes, Gemitum dare sorte sub una, Cognataque funera nobis Aliena in morte dolere. Prud. Hymn. Exequiis Defunctor.

[9] Aut ubi mors non est, si jugulatis, aque?-Martial.

[10] Currit mortalibus evum, Nec nasci bis posse datur; fugit hera, rapitque Tartareus torrens, as sacum ferre sub umbras. Si qua animo placuere, negat.-Sil Ital 1.xv.

[11] Tefnafi khoa o eyw tote oexomai ottote ken oh Zeus efzg telesa.-It x.365.

[12] Anceps forma bonum mortalibus, Exigui donum breve temproris; Ut fulgor, teneris qui radiat genis, Momento rapitur, nullaque non dies Formosi spolium corporis abstulit.-Sence. Hipp. 770.

[13] Rape, congere, aufer, posside; relinquendum est. Martial

[14] Annos omnes prodegit, ut ex eo annus unus numeretur, et per mille indignitates laboravit in titulum sepulchri.--Sen.

[15] Jam eorum prabendas alii possident, et nescio utrum de its cogitant.-Gerson.

Me veterum frequens - Memphis Pyramidum docet, Me pressae tumulo lacryma glorie, Me projecta jacentium Passim per polulos busta Quiritium, Et vilis Zephyro jocus Jactati cineres et procerum rogi, Fumantumque cadvarea Regnorum tacito, Fufe silentio Mestum multa monent.-Cas.1.ii.Od. 27.

[16] Afanasias o ouk estin, ouo an sunayayxs Ta Tantalou talant ekeina leyohena. All an apofanxs, tauta kataleiyees tisin. Menand. Clcrc.p.214.

[17] Quid sit futurum cras, fuge querere, et Quem fors dierum cunque debit, lucro Appone.-Horat. 1.ix.15.

[18] Tentaris numeros, ut melius, quicquid erit, pati, Seu plures hyemes, seu tribuit Jupiter ultimam. Horat.1.ii.2.

[19] Certa amittimus, dum incerta petimus; atque hoe evenit in labore atque in dolore, ut mors obrepat interim-Plaut. Pseud. Act ii. Seen.3.

[20] Quid brevi fortes jaculamur evo Multa? 2. 16. Jam te premet nox, fabuleque Manes, Et domus exillis Plutonia. I.4.-Horat.

[21] Ille enim ex futuro suspenditur, cui irritum est praens. Seneca.

[22] Etate fruere; mobili cursu fugit.-Seneca.

[23] Martial. 1.ii.Epig.59.

[24] Eccles. iii. 22; ii. 24.

[25] Amici, dum vivimus, vivamus. pine, legei to glumrra, kai esfie, kai perikeiso Anfea totontot gignomef ezapinms. Hoc etiam faciunt, ubi discubuere, tenentque Pocula sape homines, et inumbrant ora coronis, Ex animo ut dicant, brevis est hic fructus homullis; Jam fuerit, neque post unquam revocare licebit. Lucret. lib. iii. 925.

[26] Quis sapiens bono Confidat fragili? dum licet, utere:

[27] Bis jam consul trigesimus instat, Et numerat paucos vix tua vita dies.-Mart. i. 16.

[28] Edepol, proinde ut bene vivitur, diu vivitur.-Plaut. Trinum. Non acccpimus brevem vitam, sed fecimus; nec inopes ejus sed prodigi sumus.-Seneca.

[29] Sed potes, Publi, geminare magna Sccula fama. Quem sui raptum gemuere cives, Hie diu vixit. Sibi quisque famam Scribat haeredem: rapiunt avarae aetera Lunae.-Casim. ii.2.

[30] In spe viventibus proximum quodque tempus clabitur, subitque aviditas temporis, et miserrimus, atque miserrima omnia efficiens, metus mortis - Ex hac autem indigentia timor nascitur, et cupiditas fururi exedens animum.-Seneca.

[31] Life of Christ, part iii. Disc.14.

[32] Seneca e Vita beata cap. 20.

[33] Nula requies in terris; surgite, postquam sederitis; hie est locus pulicum et culicum.

[34] Villis adulator pieto jacet ebrius ostro, Et qui solicitat numtas, ad praemia peccat. Sola pruinoisis horret facundia pannis, Atque inopi lingua desertas invocat artes. Petron. c. 83. p. 249.ed. Ant. Hine et jocus apud Aristophaneon in Avibus-934.

[35] Vilis servus habet regni bona, cellaque capti Derides festam Romulcamque casam.-Petron. Frag. 21. Omnia, crede mihi, etiam felicibus dubia sunt.-Seneca.

[36] Et adulterio velut sacramento adacti.-Tacit.

[37] Plusque et iterum timenda cum Antonio mulier.

[38] Quem si inter miseros posueris, miserrimus; inter felices, felicissimus reperiebatur.

[39] Uni sibi nec puero unquam ferias contigisse. Seditious et foro gravis.

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