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Of the State of Sickness.

     Adam's sin brought death into the world, and man did die the same day in which he sinned, according as God had threatened. He did not die as death is taken for a separation of soul and body; that is not death properly, but the ending of the last act of death; just as a man is said to be borne in his mother's womb; but whereas to man was intended a life long and happy, without sickness, sorrow, or infelicity, and this life should be lived here or in a better place, and the passage from one to the other should have been easy, safe, and pleasant, now that man sinned he fell from that state to a contrary.
     If Adam had stood, he should not always have lived in this world; for this world was not a place capable of giving a dwelling to all those myriads of men and women which should have been born in all the generations of infinite and eternal ages; for so it must have been if man had not died at all, nor yet have removed hence at all. Neither is it likely that man's innocence should have lost to him all possibility of going thither, where the duration is better, measured by a better time, subject to fewer changes, and which is now the reward of a returning virtue which in all natural senses is less than innocence, save that it is heightened by Christ to an equality of acceptation with the state of innocence; but so it must have been that his innocence should have been punished with an eternal confinement to this state, which in all reason is the less perfect, the state of a traveler, not of one possessed of his inheritance. It is therefore certain man should have changed his abode; for so did Enoch, and so did Elias, and so shall all the world that shall be alive at the day of judgment; they shall not die, but they shall change their place and their abode, their duration and their state, and all this without death.
     That death, therefore, which God threatened to Adam, and which passed upon his posterity, is not the going out of this world, but the manner of going. If he had stayed in innocence, he should not have died by sickness, misfortune, defect, or unwillingness; but when he fell, then he began to die - the same day; (so said God;) and that must needs be true: and therefore it must mean that upon that very day he fell into an evil and dangerous condition, a state of change and affliction; then death began, that is, the man began to die by a natural diminution and aptness to disease and misery. His first state was and should have been (so long as it lasted) a happy duration; his second was a daily and miserable change; and this was the dying properly.
     This appears in the great instance of damnation, which, in the style of Scripture, is called eternal death; not because it kills or ends duration - it hath not so much good in it - but because it is a perpetual infelicity. Change or separation of soul and body is but accidental to death; death may be with or without either; but the formality, the curse, and the sting of death, that is, misery, sorrow, fear, diminution, defect, anguish, dishonour, and whatsoever is miserable and afflictive in nature, that is death. Death is not an action, but a whole state and condition; and this was first brought in upon us by the offence of one man.
     But this went no further than thus to subject us to temporal infelicity. If it had proceeded so far as was supposed, man had been much more miserable, for man had more than one original sin in this sense; and though this death entered first upon us by Adam's fault, yet it came nearer unto us, and increased upon us by the sins of more of our forefathers; for Adam's sin left us in strength enough to contend with human calamities for almost a thousand years together. But the sins of his children, our forefathers, took off from us half the strength about the time of the flood; and then from five hundred to two hundred and fifty, and from thence to one hundred and twenty, and from thence to threescore and ten; so often halving it till it is almost come to nothing. But by the sins of men in the several generations of the world, death, that is, misery and disease, is hastened so upon us that we are of a contemptible age; and because we are to die by suffering evils, and by the daily lessening of our strength and health, this death is so long a doing, that it makes so great a part of our short life useless and unserviceable, that we have not time enough to get the perfection of a single manufacture; but ten or twelve generations of the world must go to the making up of one wise man, or one excellent art; and in the succession of those ages there happen so many changes and interruptions, so many wars and violences, that seven years' fighting sets a whole kingdom back in learning and virtue to which they were creeping, it may be a whole age.
     And thus also we do evil to our posterity as Adam did to his, and Cham did to his, and Eli to his, and all they to theirs who by sins caused God to shorten the life and multiply the evils of mankind; and for this reason it is the world grows worse and worse, because so many original sins are multiplied, and so many evils from parents descend upon the succeeding generations of men, that they derive nothing from us but original misery.
     But he who restored the law of nature did also restore us to the condition of nature, which, being violated by the introduction of death, Christ then repaired when he suffered and overcame death for us; that is, he hath taken away the unhappiness of sickness and the sting of death, and the dishonurs of the grave, of dissolution and weakness, of decay and change, and hath turned them into acts of favour, into instances of comfort, into opportunities of virtue; Christ hath now knit them into rosaries and coronets; he hath put them into promises and rewards; he hath made them part of the portion of his elect: they are instruments and earnests, and securities and passage to the greatest perfection of human nature and the divine promises. So that it is possible for us now to be reconciled to sickness; it came in by sin, and therefore is cured when it is turned into virtue; and although it may have in it the uneasiness of labour, yet it will not be uneasy as sin, or the restlessness of a discomposed conscience. If therefore, we can well manage our state of sickness, that we may not fall by pain, as we usually do by pleasure, we need not fear; for no evil shall happen to us.



Of the First Temptation proper to the State of Sickness - Impatience.

     Men that are in health are severe exactors of patience at the hands of them that are sick; and they usually judge it not by terms of relation between God and the suffering man, but between him and the friends that stand by the bed-side. It will be, therefore, necessary that we truly understand to what duties and actions the patience of a sick man ought to extend.
     1. Sighs and groans, sorrow and prayers, humble complaints and dolorous[64] expressions, are the sad accents of a sick man's language; for it is not to be expected that a sick man should act a part of patience with a countenance like an orator, or grave like a dramatic person; it were well if all men could bear an exterior decency in their sickness, and regulate their voice, their face, their discourse, and all their circumstances, by the measures and proportions of comeliness and satisfaction to all the standers by. But this would better please them than assist him; the sick man would do more good to others than he would receive to himself.
     2.Therefore silence and still composures, and not complaining, are no parts of a sick man's duty; they are not necessary parts of patience.[65] We find that David roared the the very disquietness of his sickness; and he lay chattering like a swallow, and his throat was dry with calling for help upon his God. That is the proper voice of sickness; and certain it is that the proper voices of sickness are expressly vocal and petitory in the ears of God, and call for pity in the same accent as the cries and oppressions of widows and orphans do for vengeance upon their persecutors, though they say no collect against them. For there is the voice of man, and there is the voice of the disease, and God hears both; and the louder the disease speaks, there is the greater need of mercy and pity, and therefore God will the sooner hear it. Abel's blood had a voice, and cried to God; and humility hath a voice, and cries so loud to God that it pierces the clouds; and so hath every sorrow and every sickness; and when a man cries out and complains but according to the sorrows of his pain, it cannot be any part of a culpable impatience, but an argument for pity.
     3. Some men's senses are so subtile, and their perceptions so quick and full of relish, and their spirits so active, that the same load is double upon them to what it is to another person; and therefore comparing the expressions of the one to the silence of the other, a different judgment cannot be made concerning their patience. Some natures are querulous and melancholy and soft and nice and tender and weeping and expressive; others are sullen, dull, without apprehension, apt to tolerate and carry burdens; and the crucifixion of our blessed Saviour falling upon a delicate and virgin body, of curious temper, and strict, equal composition, was naturally more full of torment than that of the ruder thieves, whose proportions were courser and uneven.
     4. In this case it was no imprudent advice which Cicero gave;[66] nothing in the world is more amiable than an even temper in our whole life, and in every action; but this evenness cannot be kept unless every man follows his own nature, without striving to imitate the circumstances of another. And what is so in the thing itself ought to be so in our judgments concerning the things. We must not call any one impatient if he be not silent in a fever, as if he were asleep, or as if he were dull as Herod's son of Athens.
     5. Nature in some cases hath made cryings out and exclamations to be an entertainment of the spirit, and an abatement or diversion of the pain. For so did the old champions when they threw their fatal nets that they might load their enemy with the snares and weights of death; they groaned aloud, and sent forth the anguish of their spirit into the eyes and heart of the man that stood against them; so it is in the endurance of some sharp pains, the complaints and shriekings, the sharp groans and the tender accents, send forth the afflicted spirits, and force a way that may ease their oppression and their load; that, when they have spent some of their sorrows by a sally forth, they may return better able to fortify the heart. Nothing of this is a certain sign, much less an action or part of impatience; and when our blessed Saviour suffered his last and sharpest pang of sorrow, he cried out with a loud voice, and resolved to die, and did so.



Constituent or Integral Parts of Patience.

     1. That we may secure our patience we must take care that our complaints be without despair. Despair sins against the reputation of God's goodness, and the efficacy of all our old experience. By despair we destroy the greatest comfort of our sorrow's, and turn our sickness into the state of devils and perishing souls. No affliction is greater than despair; for that is it which makes hell-fire, and turn's a natural evil into an intolerable; it hinders prayers, and fills up the intervals of sickness with a worse torture; it makes all spiritual arts useless, and the office of spiritual comforters and guides to be impertinent.
     Against this; hope is to be opposed; and its proper acts, as it relates to the virtue and exercises of patient are, 1. Praying to God for help and remedy; 2. Sending for the guides of souls; 3. Using all holy exercises and acts of grace proper to that state, which whoso does hath not the impatience of despair; every man that is patient hath hope in God in the day of his sorrows.
     2. Our complaints in sickness must be without murmur. Murmur sins against God's providence and government; by it we grow rude, and, like the falling angels, displeased at God's supremacy; and nothing is more unreasonable - to talks against God, for whose glory all speech was made; it is proud and fantastic, hath better opinions of a sinner than of the Divine justice, and would rather accuse God than himself.
     Against this is opposed that part of patience which resigns the man into the hands of God, saying with old Eli, `It is the Lord, let him do what he will;' and, `Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven;' and so by admiring God's justice and wisdom does also dispose the sick person for receiving God's mercy, and secures him the rather in the grace of God. The proper acts of this part of patience are, 1. To confess our sins and our own demerits; 2. It increases and exercises humility; 3. It loves to sing praises to God, even from the lowest abyss of human misery.
     3. Our complaints in sickness must be without peevishness. This sins against civility and that necessary decency which must be used towards the ministers and assistants. By peevishness we increase our own sorrows, and are troublesome to them that stand there to ease ours. It hath in it harshness of nature and ungentleness, wilfulness and fantastic opinions, morosity and incivility.
     Against it are opposed obedience, tractability, easiness of persuasion, aptness to take counsel. The acts of this part of patience are, 1. To obey our physicians; 2. To treat our persons with respect to our present necessities; 3. Not to be ungentle and uneasy to the ministers and nurses that attend us, but to take their diligent and kind offices as sweetly as we can, and to bear their indiscretions or unhandsome accidents contentedly and without disquietness within, or evil language or angry words without; 4. Not to use unlawful means for our recovery.
     If we secure these particulars, we are not lightly to be judged of by noises and postures, by colours and images of things, by paleness, or tossing from side to side. For it were a hard thing that those persons who are loaden with the greatest of human calamities should be strictly tied to ceremonies and forms of things. He is patient that calls upon God; that hopes for health or heaven; that believes God is wise and just in sending him afflictions; that confesses his sins, and accuses himself and justifies God; that expects God will turn this into good; that is civil to his physicians and his servants; that converses with the guides of souls, the ministers of religion; and in all things submits to God's will, and would use no indirect means for his recovery; but had rather be sick and die than enter at all into God's displeasure.



Remedies against Impatience, by way of Consideration.

     As it happens concerning death, so it is in sickness, which is death's handmaid. It hath the fate to suffer calumny and reproach, and hath a name worse than its nature.
     1. For there is no sickness so great but children endure it, and have natural strengths to bear them out quite through the calamity, what period soever nature hath allotted it. Indeed they make no reflections upon their sufferings, and complain of sickness with an uneasy sigh or a natural groan, but consider not what the sorrows of sickness mean; and so bear it by a direct sufferance, and as a piller bears the weight of a roof. But, then, why cannot we bear it so too? For this which we all a reflection upon, or a considering of our sickness, is nothing but a perfect instrument of trouble, and consequently a temptation to impatience. It serves no end of nature; it may be avoided, and we may consider it only as an expression of God's anger, and an emissary or procurator of repentance. But all other considering it,[67] except where it serves the purposes of medicine and art, is nothing but, under the colour of reason, and unreasonable device to heighten the sickness and increase the torment. But, then, as children want this act of reflex perception or reasonable sense whereby they should be able to support it. For certain it is, reason was as well given us to harden our spirits, and stiffen them in passions and sad accidents, as to make us bending and apt for action; and if in men God hath heightened the faculties of apprehension, he hath increased the auxiliaries of reasonable strengths; that God's rod and God's staff might go together, and the beam of God's countenance may as well refresh us with its light as scorch us with its heat. For poor children that endure so much have not inward supports and refreshments to bear them through it; they never heard the sayings of old men, nor have been taught the principles of severe philosophy, nor are assisted with the results of a long experience, nor know they how to turn a sickness into virtue, and a fever into a reward; nor have they any sense of favours, the remembrance of which may alleviate their burden; and yet nature hath in them teeth and nails enough to scratch and fight against the sickness, and by such aids as God is pleased to give them they wade through the storm and murmur not. And besides this, yet, although infants have not such brisk perceptions upon the stock of reason, they have a more tender feelings upon the accounts of sense, and their flesh is as uneasy by their natural softness and weak shoulders as ours by too forward apprehensions. Therefore bear up; either you, or I, or some man wiser, and many a woman weaker than us both, or the very children, have endured worse evil than this that is upon thee now.
     That sorrow is hugely tolerable which gives its smart but by instants and smallest proportions of time. No man at once feels the sickness of a week or of a whole day, but the smart of an instant; and still every portion of a minute feels but its proper share; and the last groan ended all the sorrow of its peculiar burden. And what minute can that be which can pretend to be intolerable? and the next minute is but the same as the last, and the pain flows like the drops of a river, or the little shreds of time; and if we do but take care of the present minute, it cannot seem a great charge or a great burden; but that care will secure our duty, if we still but secure the present minute.
     3. If we consider how much men can suffer if they list, and how much they do suffer for greater and little causes, and that no causes are greater than the proper causes of patience in sickness, (that is necessity and religion,) we cannot, without huge shame to our nature, to our persons, and to our manners, complain of this tax and impost of nature. This experience added something to the old philosophy. When the gladiators were exposed naked to each other's short swords, and were to cut each other's souls away in portions of flesh, as it their forms had been as divisible as the life of worms, they did not sigh or groan - it was a shame to decline the blow but according to the just measures of art. The women that saw the wound shriek out; and he that receives it holds his peace. he did not only stand bravely, but would also fall so; and, when he was down, scorned to shirk his head when the insolent conqueror came to lift it from his shoulders; and yet this man, in his first design, only aimed at liberty, and the reputation of a good fencer; and when he sunk down he saw he could only receive the honour of a bold man, the noise of which he shall never hear when his ashes are crammed in his narrow urn. And what can we complain of the weakness of our strengths or the pressures of diseases, when we see a poor soldier stand in a breach almost starved with cold and hunger, and his cold apt to be relieved only by the heats of anger, a fever, or a fired musket, and his hunger slackened by a greater pain and a huge fear? This man shall stand in his arms and wounds, patiens luminis alque solis, pale and faint, weary and watchful; and at night shall have a bullet pulled out of his flesh, and shivers from his bones, and endure his mouth to be sewed up from a violent rent to its own demension; and all this for a man whom he never saw, or, if he did, was not noted by him; but one that shall condemn him to the gallows if he runs from all this misery. It is seldom that God sends such calamities upon men as men bring upon themselves and suffer willingly. But that which is most considerable is, that any passion and violence upon the spirit of man makes him able to suffer huge calamities with a certain constancy and an unwearied patience. Scipio Africanus was wont to commend that saying in Xenophon, That the same labours of warfare were easier far to a general than to a common soldier; because he was supported by the huge appetites of honour, which made his hard marches nothing but stepping forward and reaching at a triumph. Did not the lady of Sabinus, for others' interest, bear twins privately and without groaning? Are not the labours and cares, the spare diet and the waking nights, of covetous and adulterous, of ambitious and revengeful persons, greater sorrows and of more smart than a fever, or the short pains of child-birth? What will not tender women suffer to hide their shame? And if vice and passion, lust and inferior appetites, can supply to the tenderest persons strengths more than enough for the sufferance of the greatest natural violences, can we suppose that honesty and religion and the grace of God are more nice, tender, and effeminate?
     4. Sickness is the more tolerable, because it cures very many evils, and takes away the sense of all the cross fortunes which amaze the spirits of some men, and transports them certainly beyond all the limits of patience. Here all losses and disgraces, domestic cares and public evils, the apprehensions of pity and a sociable calamity, the fears of want and the troubles of ambition, lie down and rest upon the sick man's pillow. One fit of the stone takes away from the fancies of men all relations to the world and secular interests: at least they are made dull and flat, without sharpness and edge.
     And he that shall observe the infinite variety of troubles which afflict some busy persons and almost all men in very busy times, will think it not much amiss, that those huge numbers were reduced to certainty, to method and an order; and there is no better compendium for this than that they be reduced to one. And a sick man seem so unconcerned in the things of the world, that although this separation be done with violence, yet it is no otherwise than all noble contentions are, and all honours are purchased, and all virtues are acquired, and all vices mortified, and all appetites chastised, and all rewards obtained; there is infallibly to all these a difficulty and a sharpness annexed, without which there could be no proportion between a work and a reward. To this add that sickness does not take off the sense of secular troubles and worldly cares from us, by employing all the perceptions and apprehensions of men; by filling all faculties with sorrow, and leaving no room for the lesser instances of troubles, as little rivers are swallowed up in the sea; but sickness is a messenger of God, sent with purposes of abstraction and separation, with a secret power and a proper efficacy to draw us off from unprofitable and useless sorrows: and this is effected partly by reason that it represents the uselessness of the things of this world, and that there is a portion of this life in which honours and things of the world cannot serve us to many purposes; partly by preparing us to death, and telling us that a man shall descend thither, whence this world cannot redeem us, and where the goods of this world cannot serve us.
     5. And yet, after all this, sickness leaves in us appetites so strong, and apprehensions so sensible, and delights so many, and good things in so great a degree that a healthless body and a sad disease do seldom make men weary of this world, but still they would fain find an excuse to live.[68] The gout, the stone, and the tooth-ache, the sciatica, sore eyes, and an aching head, are evils indeed; but such which, rather than die, most men are willing to suffer; and Mecaenas added also a wish rather to be crucified than to die, and though his wish was low, timorous, and base, yet we find the same desires in most men, dressed up with better circumstances. It was a cruel mercy in Tamerland, who commanded all the leprous persons to be put to death, as we knock some beasts quickly on their head to put them out of pain, and lest they should live miserably; the poor men would rather have endured another leprosy, and have more willingly taken two diseases than one death. Therefore Caesar wondered that the old crazed soldier begged leave he might kill himself, and asked him, "Dost thou thing then to be more alive than now thou art?" We do not die suddenly, but we descend to death by steps and slow passages; and therefore men (so long as they are sick) are unwilling to proceed and go forward in the finishing of that sad employment. Between a disease and death there are many degrees, and all those are like the reserves of evil things, the declining of every one of which is justly reckoned amongst those good things which alleviate the sickness and make it tolerable. Never account that sickness intolerable in which thou hadst rather remain than die: and yet if thou hadst rather die than suffer it, the worst of it that can be said is this, that this sickness is worse than death; that is, it is worse than that which is the best of all evils, and the end of all troubles; and then you have said no great harm against it.
     6. Remember that thou art under a supervening necessity. Nothing is intolerable that is necessary; and therefore when men are to suffer a sharp incission, or what they are pleased to call intolerable, tie the man down to it, and he endures it.[69] Now God hath bound this sickness upon thee by the condition of nature; for every flower must wither and droop; it is also bound upon thee by special providence, and with a design to try thee, and with purposes to reward and to crown thee. These cords thou canst not break; and therefore lie thou down gently, and suffer the hand of God to do what he please, that at least thou mayst swallow an advantage which the care and severe mercies of God force down thy throat.
     7. Remember that all men have passed this way; the bravest, the wisest, and the best men have been subject to sickness and sad diseases; and it is esteemed a prodigy that a man should live to a long age and not be sick; and it is recorded for a wonder concerning Xenophilus the musician, that he lived to one hundred and six years of age in a perfect and continual health. No story tells the like of a prince, or a great or a wise person;[70] unless we have a mind to believe the tales concerning Nestor and the Euhoean Sybil, or reckon Cyrus of Persia, or Masinissa the Mauritanian, to be rivals of old age, or that Argantonius the Tartesian king did really outstrip that age, according as his story tells, reporting him to have reigned eighty years,[71] and to have lived one hundred and twenty. Old age and healthful bodies are seldom made the appendages to great fortunes; and under so great and so universal precedents,[72] so common fate of men, he that will not suffer his portion deserves to be something else than a man, but nothing that is better.
     8. We find in story that many Gentiles, who walked by no light but that of reason, opinion, and human examples, did bear their sickness nobly, and with great contempt of pain, and with huge interests of virtue. When Pompey came from Syria, and called at Rhodes, to see Posidonins the philosopher, he found him hugely afflicted with the gout, and expressed his sorrow that he could not hear his lectures, from which by this pain he must needs be hindered. Posidonius told him, "But you may hear me for all this;" and he discoursed excellently in the midst of his tortures, even then when the torches were put to his feet,[73] "That nothing was good but what was honest," and therefore "nothing could be an evil if it were not criminal;" and summed up his lectures with this saying, "O pain, in vain dost thou attempt me,for I will never confess thee to be an evil, as long as I can honestly bear thee." And when Pompey himself was desperately sick at Naples, the Neapolitans wore crowns and triumphed, and the men of Puteoli came to congratulate his sickness, not because they loved him not, but because it was the custom of their country to have better opinions of sickness than we have. The boys of Sparta would, at their alters, endure whipping till their very entrails saw the light through their torn flesh; and some of them to death, without crying or complaint. Caesar would drink his portions of rhubarb rudely mixed, and unfitly allayed, with little sippings, and taking the horrow of the medicine, spreading the loathsomeness of his physic so, that all the parts of his tongue and palate might have an entire share; and when C. Marius suffered the veins of his leg to be cut out for the curing his gout, and yet shrunk not, he declared not only the rudeness of their physic, but the strength of a man's spirit, if it be contracted and united by the aids of reason or religion, by resolution or any accidental harshness, against a violent disease.
     9. All impatience, howsoever expressed, is perfectly useless to all purposes of ease, but hugely effective to the multiplying the trouble; and the impatience and vexation is another, but the sharper disease of the two: it does mischief by itself, and mischief by the disease. For men grieve themselves as much as they please;[74] and when, by impatience, they put themselves into the retune of sorrows, they become solemn mourners. For so I have seen the rays of the sun or moon dash upon a brazen vessel, whose lips kissed the face of those waters that lodged within its bosom; but being turned back, and sent off with its smooth pretences or rougher waftings, it wandered about the room, and beat upon the roof, and still doubled its heat and motion. So is a sickness and a sorrow, entertained by an unquiet and a discontented man, turned back either with anger or with excuses; but then the pain passes from the stomach to the liver, and from the liver to the heart, and from the heart to the head, and from feeling to consideration, from thence to sorrow, and at last ends in impatience and useless murmur; and all the way the man was impotent and weak, but the sickness was doubled, and grew imperious and tyrannical over the soul and body. Masuriun Sabinus tells that the image of the goddess Angerona was, with a muffler upon her mouth, placed upon the altar of Volupia, to represent that those persons who bear their sicknesses and sorrows without murmurs shall certainly pass from sorrow to pleasure, and the ease and honours of felicity; but they that with spite and indignation bite the burning coal, or shake the yoke upon their necks, gall their spirits, and fret the skin, and hurt nothing but themselves.
     10. Remember that this sickness is but for a short time: if it be sharp, it will not last long; if it be long, it will be easy and very tolerable. And although St. Eadsine, archbishop of Canterbury, had twelve years of sickness, yet all that while he ruled his church prudently, gave example of many virtues, and, after his death, was enrolled in the calendar of saints who had finished their course prosperously. Nothing is more unreasonable than to entangle our spirits in wildness and amazement, like a partridge fluttering in a net which she breaks not, though she breaks her wings.



Remedies against Impatience, by way of Exercise.

     1. The fittest instrument of esteeming sickness easily tolerable is, to remember that which indeed makes it so; and that is, that God doth minister proper aids and supports to every of his servants whom he visits with his rod. He knows our needs, he pities our sorrows, he relieves our miseries, he supports our weakness, he bids us ask for help, and he promises to give us all that, and he usually give us more; and indeed it is observable, that no story tells of any godly man who, living in the fear of God fell into a violent and unpardoned impatience in his natural sickness, if he used those means which God and his holy church have appointed. We see almost all men bear their last sickness with sorrows indeed, but without violent passions; and unless they fear death violently, they suffer the sickness with some indifferency: and it is a rare thing to see a man who enjoys his reason in his sickness to express the proper signs of a direct and solemn impatience. For when God lays a sickness upon us, he seizes commonly on a man's spirits, which are the instruments of action and business; and when they are secured from being tumultuous, the sufferance is much the easier: and therefore sickness secures all that which can do the man mischief; it makes him tame and passive, apt for suffering, and confines him to an inactive condition. To which, if we add, that God then commonly produces fear, and all those passions which naturally tend to humility and poverty of spirit, we shall soon perceive by what instruments God verifies his promise to us, (which is the great security for our patience, and the easiness of our condition,) that God will lay no more upon us than he will make us able to bear it, but together with the affliction, he will find a way to escape.[75] Nay, if anything can be more than this, we have two or three promises in which we may safely lodge ourselves, and roll from off our thorns, and find ease and rest; God hath promised to be with us in our trouble, and to be with us in our prayers, and to be with us in our hope and confidence.[76]
     2. Prevent the violence and trouble of thy spirit by an act of thanksgiving; for which in the worst of sickness thou canst not want cause, especially if thou rememberest that this pain is not an eternal pain. Bless God for that: but take heed, also, lest you so order your affairs that you pass from hence to an eternal sorrow. If that be hard, this will be intolerable: but as for the present evil, a few day will end it.
     3. Remember that thou art a man and a Christian: as the covenant of nature hath made it necessary, so the covenant of grace hath made it to be chosen by thee, to be a suffering person: either you must renounce your religion or submit to the impositions of God and thy portion of sufferings. So there here we see our advantages, and let us use them accordingly. The barbarous and warlike nations of old could fight well and willingly, but could not bear sickness manfully. The Greeks were cowardly in their fights, as most wise men are; but because they were learned and well taught, they bore their sickness with patience and severity. The Cim rians and Celtiberians rejoice in battle, like giants; but in their diseases they weep like women. These according to their institution and designs had unequal courages and accidental fortitude. But since our religion hath made a covenant of sufferings, and the great business of our lives is sufferings, and most of the virtues of a Christian are passive graces, and all the promises of the gospel are passed upon us through Christ's cross, we have a necessity upon us to have an equal courage in all the variety of our sufferings; for without an universal fortitude we can do nothing of our duty.
     4. Resolve to do as much as you can; for certain it is, we can suffer much if we list; and many men have afflicted themselves unreasonably by not being skilful to consider how much their strength and state could permit; and our flesh is nice and imperious, crafty to persuade reason that she hath more necessities than indeed belong to her, and that she demands nothing superfluous. Suffer as much in obedience to God as you can suffer for necessity or passion, fear or desire. And if you can for one thing, you can for another; and there is nothing wanting but the mind. Never say, I can do no more; I cannot endure this; for God would not have sent it if he had not known thee strong enough to abide it; only he that knows thee well already would also take this occasion to make thee know thyself; but it will be fit that you pray to God to give you a discerning spirit, that you may rightly distinguish just necessity from the flattery and fondness of flesh and blood.
     5. Propound to your eyes and heart the example of the holy Jesus upon the cross; he endured more for thee than thou canst either for thyself or him: and remember, that if we be put to suffer, and do suffer in a good cause, or in a good manner, so that in any sense your sufferings be conformable to his sufferings, or can be capable of being united to his, we shall reign together with him. The highway of the cross, which the King of sufferings hath trodden before us, is the way to ease, to a kingdom, and to felicity.
     6. The very suffering is a title to an excellent inheritance; for God chastens every son whom he receives; and if we be not chastised, we are bastards, and not sons. And be confident, that although God often sends pardon without correction, yet he never sends correction without pardon, unless it be thy fault: and therefore take every or any affliction as an earnest-penny of thy pardon; and upon condition there may be peace with God, let anything be welcome that he can send as its instrument or condition. Suffer, therefore, God to choose his own circumstances of adopting thee, and be content to be under discipline, when the reward of that is to become the son of God: and by such inflictions he hews and breaks thy body, first dressing it to funeral, and then preparing it for immortality. And if this be effect of the design of God's love to thee, let it be occasion of thy love to him; and remember, that the truth of love is hardly known but by somewhat that puts us to pain.
     7. Use this as a punishment for thy sins; and so God intends it most commonly; that is certain: if therefore thou submittest to it, thou approvest of the Divine judgment; and no man can have cause to complain of anything but himself, if either he believes God to be just or himself to be a sinner. If he either thinks he hath deserved hell, or that this little may be a means to prevent the greater and bring him to heaven.
     8. It may be, that this may be the last instance and the last opportunity that ever God will give thee to exercise any virtue, to do him any service, or thyself any advantage: be careful that thou losest not this; for to eternal ages this never shall return again.
     9. Or if thou, peradventure, shalt be restored to health, be careful that in the day of thy thanksgiving thou mayst not be ashamed of thyself for having behaved thyself poorly and weakly upon thy bed. It will be a sensible and excellent comfort to thee, and double upon thy spirit, if, when thou shalt worship God for restoring thee, thou shalt also remember that thou didst do him service in thy suffering, and tell that God was hugely gracious to thee in giving thee the opportunity of a virtue at so easy a rate as a sickness from which thou didst recover.
     10. Few men are so sick but they believe that they may recover; and we shall seldom see a man lie down with a perfect persuasion that it is his last hour; for many men have been sicker, and yet have recovered; but whether thou dost or no, thou hast a virtue to exercise which may be a handmaid to thy patience. Epaphroditus was sick, sick, unto death; and yet God had mercy upon him: and he hath done so to thousands to whom he found it useful in the great order of things and the events of universal providence. If, therefore, thou desirest to recover, here is cause enough of hope; and hope is designed in the arts of God and of the Spirit to support patience. But if thou recoverest not, yet there is something that is matter of joy naturally, and very much spiritually, of thou belongest to God; and joy is as certain a support to patience as hope: and it is no small cause of being pleased, when we remember that, if we recover not, our sickness shall the sooner sit down in rest and joy. For recovery by death, as it is easier and better than the recovery by a sickly health, so it is not so long in doing: it suffers not the tediousness of a creeping restitution, nor the inconvenience of surgeons and physicians, watchfulness and care, keepings in and suffering trouble, fears of relapse, and the little relics of a storm.
     11. While we hear, or use, or think of these remedies, part of the sickness is gone away, and all of it is passing. And if by such instruments we stand armed and ready dressed beforehand, we shall avoid the mischiefs of amazements and surprise;[77] while the accidents of sickness are such as were expected, and against which, we stood in readiness, with our spirits contracted, instructed, and put upon the defensive.
     12. But our patience will be the better secured if we consider that it is not violently tempted by the usual arrests of sickness; for patience is with reason demanded while the sickness is tolerable, that is, so long as the evil is not too great; but if it be also eligible, and have in it some degrees of good, our patience will have in it the less difficulty and the greater necessity. This therefore will be a new stock of consideration: sickness is in many degrees eligible to many men and to many purposes.



Advantages of Sickness.

     1. I consider one of the greatest felicities of heaven consists in an immunity from sin: then we shall love God without mixtures of malice; then we shall enjoy without envy; then we shall see fuller vessels running over with glory, and crowned with bigger circles; and this we shall behold without spilling from our eyes (those vessels of joy and grief) any sign of anger, trouble, or a repining spirit: our passions shall be pure, our charity without fear, our desire without lust, our possessions all our own; and all in the inheritance of Jesus, in the richest soil of God's eternal kingdom. Now half of this reason, which makes heaven so happy by being innocent, is also in the state of sickness, making the sorrows of old age smooth, and the groans of a sick heart apt to be joined to the music of angels: and, though they sound harsh to our untuned ears and discomposed organs, yet those accents must needs be in themselves excellent which God loves to hear, and esteems them as prayers, and arguments of pity, instruments of mercy and grace, and preparatives to glory.
     In sickness the soul begins to dress herself for immortality. And, first, she unties the strings of vanity that made her upper garment cleave to the world and sit uneasy; first, she puts off the light and fantastic summer robe of lust and wanton appetite; and as soon as that cestus, that lascivious girdle is thrown away, then the reins chasten us, and give us warning in the night; then that which called us formerly to serve the manliness of the body, and the childishness of the soul, keeps us waking, to divide the hours with the intervals of prayer, and to number the minutes with our penitential groans; then the flesh sets uneasily and dwells in sorrow; and then the spirit feels itself at ease, freed from the petulant solicitations of those passions which in health were as busy and restless as atoms in the sun, always dancing, and always busy, and never sitting down, till a sad night of grief and uneasiness draws the veil, and lets them die alone in secret dishonour.
     2. Next to this, the soul, by the help of sickness, knocks off the fetters of pride and vainer complacencies. Then she draws the curtains, and stops the light from coming in, and takes the pictures down, those fantastic images of self-love[78] and gay remembrances of vain opinion and popular noises. Then the spirit stoops into the sobrieties of humble thoughts, and feels corruption chiding the forwardness of fancy, and allaying the vapours of conceit and factious opinions. For humility is the soul's grave, into which she enters, not to die, but to meditate and inter some of its troublesome appendages. There she sees the dust, and feels the dishonours of the body, and reads the register of all its sad adherences; and then she lays by all her vain reflections, beating upon her crystal and pure mirror from the fancies of strength and beauty, and little decayed prettinesses of the body. And when, in sickness, we forget all our knotty discourses of philosophy, and a syllogism makes our head ache, and we feel our many and loud talkings served no lasting end of the soul, no purpose that now we must abide by, and that the body is like to descend to the land where all things are forgotten; then she lays aside all her remembrances of applauses, all her ignorant confidences, and ares only to know "Christ Jesus and him crucified," to know him plainly, and with much heartiness and simplicity. And I cannot think this to be a contemptible advantage. For ever since man tempted himself by his impatient desires of knowing and being as God, man thinks it the finest thing in the world to know much, and therefore is hugely apt to esteem himself better than his brethren if he knows some little impertinences, and them imperfectly, and that with infinite uncertainty; but God hath been pleased, with a rare art, to prevent the inconveniences apt to arise by this passionate longing after knowledge, even by giving to every man a sufficient opinion of his own understanding: and who is there in the world that thinks himself to be a fool, or indeed not fit to govern his brother? There are but few men but they think they are wise enough, and every man believes his own opinion the soundest; and, if it were otherwise, men would burst themselves with envy, or else become irrecoverable slaves to the talking and disputing man. But when God intended this permission to be an antidote of envy, and a satisfaction and allay to the troublesome appetites of knowing, and made that this universal opinion, by making men in some proportions equal, should be a keeper-out or a great restraint to slavery and tyranny respectively; man (for so he uses to do) hath turned this into bitterness; for when nature had made so just a distribution of understanding that every man might think he had enough, he is not content with that, but will think he hath more than his brother; and whereas it might well be employed in restraining slavery, he hath used it to break off the bands of all obedience, and it ends in pride and schisms, in heresies and tyrannies; and it being a spiritual evil, it grows upon the soul with old age and flattery, with health and the supports of a prosperous fortune. Now, besides the direct operations of the Spirit, and a powerful grace, there is in nature left to us no remedy for this evil but a sharp sickness, or an equal sorrow, and allay of fortune; and then we are humble enough to ask counsel of a despised priest, and to think that even a common sentence, from the mouth of an appointed comforter streams forth more refreshment than all our own wiser and more reputed discourses; then our understandings and our bodies, peeping through their own breaches, see their shame and their dishonour, their dangerous follies and their huge deceptions; and they go into the clefts of the rock, and every little hand may cover them.
     3. Next to these, as the soul is still undressing, she takes off the roughness of her great and little angers and animosities, and receives the oil of mercies and smooth forgiveness, fair interpretations and gentle answers, designs of reconcilement and Christian atonement in their places. For so did the wrestlers in Olympus; they stripped themselves of all their garments, and then anointed their naked bodies with oil, smooth and vigorous; with contracted nerves and enlarged voice they contended vehemently, till they obtained their victory or their ease; and a crown of olive, or a huge pity, was the reward of their fierce contentions. Some wise men have said, than anger sticks to a man's nature as inseparable as other vices do to the manner of fools, and that anger is never quite cured: but God, that hath found out remedies for all diseases, hath so ordered the circumstances of man, that in the worser sort of men anger and great indignation consume and shrivel into little peevishnesses and uneasy accents of sickness, and spend themselves in trifling instances; and in the better and more sanctified it goes off in prayers and alms and solemn reconcilement. And, however the temptations of this state, such, I mean, which are proper to it, are little and considerable, the man is apt to chide a servant too bitterly, and to be discontented with his nurse, or not satisfied with his physician, and he rests uneasily, and (poor man!) nothing can please him: and indeed these little indecencies must be cured and stopped, lest they run into an inconvenience. But sickness is, in this particular, a little image of the state of blessed souls, or of Adam's early morning in paradise, free from the troubles of lust, and violences of anger, and the intricacies of ambition, or the restlessness of covetousness. For though a man may carry all these along with him into his sickness, yet there he will not find them; and in despite of all his own malice, his soul shall find some rest from labouring in the galleys and baser captivity of sin: and if e value those moments of being in the love of God and in the kingdom of grace, which certainly are the beginnings of felicity, we may also remember that the not sinning actually is one step of innocence; and therefore that state is not intolerable which, by a sensible trouble, makes it in most instances impossible to commit those great sins which make death, hell, and horrid damnations. And then let us but add this to it, that God sends sicknesses, but he never causes sin; that God is angry with a sinning person, but never with a man for being sick; that sin causes God to hate us, and sickness causes him to pity us; that all wise men in the world choose trouble rather than dishonour, affliction rather than baseness; and that sickness stops the torrent of sin, and interrupts its violence, and even to the worst men makes it to retreat many degrees. We may reckon sickness amongst good things, as we reckon rhubarb and aloes and childbirth and labour and obedience and discipline; these are unpleasant, and yet safe; they are troubles in order to blessings, or they are securities from danger, or the hard choices of a less and a more tolerable evil.
     4. Sickness, is in some sense elegible, because it is the opportunity and the proper scene of exercising some virtues.[79] It is that agony in which men are tried for a crown. And if we remember what glorious things are spoken of the grace of faith, that it is the life of just men, the restitution of the dead in trespasses and sins, the justification of a sinner, the support of the weak, the confidence of the strong, the magazine of promises, and the title to very glorious rewards: we may easily imagine that it must have in it a work and a difficulty in some proportion answerable to so great effects. But when we are bidden to believe strange propositions, we are put upon it when we cannot judge, and those propositions have possessed our discerning faculties, and have made a party there, and are become domestic before they come to be disputed; and then the articles of faith are so few, and are made so credible, and in their event and in their object are so useful and gaining upon the affections, that he were a prodigy of man, and would be so esteemed, that should, in all our present circumstances, disbelieve any point of faith: and all is well as long as the sun shines, and the fair breath of heaven gently wafts us to our own purposes. But if you will try the excellency, and feel the work of faith, place the man in a persecution, let him ride in a storm, let his bones be broken with sorrow,and his eyelids loosened with sickness, let his bread be dipped in tears, and all the daughters of music be brought low; let God commence a quarrel against him, and be bitter in the accents of his anger or his discipline; then God tries your faith. Can you, then, trust his goodness, and believe him to be a father, when you groan under his rod? Can you rely upon all the strange propositions of Scripture, and be content to perish if they be not true? Can you receive comfort in the discourses of death and heaven, of immortality and the resurrection, of the death of Christ and conforming to his sufferings? Truth is, there are but two great periods in which faith demonstrates itself to be a powerful and mighty grace; and they are persecution and the approaches of death, for the passive part, and a temptation for the active. In the days of pleasure and the night of pain faith is to fight her agonistiun, to contend for mastery: and faith overcomes all alluring and fond temptations to sin, and faith overcomes all our weaknesses and faintings in our troubles. By the faith of the promises we learn to despise the world, choosing those objects which faith discovers; and by expectation of the same promises, we are comforted in all our sorrows, and enabled to look through and see beyond the cloud: but the vigour of it is pressed and called forth when all our fine discourses come to be reduced to practice. For in our health and clearer days it is easy to talk of putting trust in God;[80] we readily trust him for life when we are in health; for provisions when we have fair revenues; and for deliverance when we are newly escaped: but let us come to sit upon the margent of our grave, and let a tyrant lean hard upon our fortunes and dwell upon our wrong, let the strom arise, and the keels toss till the cordage crack, or that all our hopes bulge under us and descend into the hollowness of sad misfortunes; then can you believe, when you neither hear, nor see, nor feel anything but objections? This is the proper work of sickness: faith is then brought into the theatre, and so exercised, that if it abides but to the end of the contention we may see the work of faith which God will hugely crown. The same I say of hope and of charity, of the love of God and of patience, which is a grace produced from the mixtures of all these: they are virtues which are greedy of danger; and no man was ever honoured by any wise or discerning person for dining upon Persian carpets, nor rewarded with a crown for being at ease.[81] It was the fire that did honour to Mutius Scaevola; poverty made Fabricius famous; Rutilius was made excellent by banishment; Regulus by torments; Socrates by prison; Cato by his death; and God hath crowned the memory of Job with a wreath of glory because he sat upon his dunghill wisely and temperately; and his potsherd and his groans, mingled with praises and justifications of God, pleased him like an anthem sung by angels in the morning of the resurrection. God could not choose but be pleased with the delicious accents of martyrs, when in their tortures they cried out nothing but `Holy Jesus' and `Blessed be God;' and they also themselves who, with a hearty designation to the divine pleasure, can delight in God's severe dispensation, will have the transportations of cherubim when they enter into the joys of God. If God be delicious to his servants when he smites them, he will be nothing but ravishments and ecstasies to their spirits when he refreshes them with the overflowings of joy in the day of recompenses. No man is more miserable than he that hath no adversity; that man is not tried,[82] whether he be good or bad: and God never crowns those virtues which are only faculties and dispositions; but every act of virtue is an ingredient into reward. And we see many children fairly planted, whose parts of nature were never dressed by art, nor called from the furrows of their first possibilities by discipline and institution; and they dwell for ever in ignorance, and converse with beasts; and yet, if they had been dressed and exercised, might have stood at the chairs of princes, or spoken parables amongst the rulers of cities. Our virtues are but in the seed when the grace of God comes upon us first; but this grace must be thrown into broken furrows, and must twice feel the cold, and twice feel the heat, and be softened with storms and showers; and then it will arise into fruitfulness and harvests. And what is there in the world to distinguish virtues from dishonours, or the valour of Caesar from the softness of the Egyptian eunuchs, or that can make anything rewardable, but the labour and the danger, the pain and the difficulty? Virtue could not be anything but sensuality if it were the entertainment of our senses and fond desires; and Apicius had been the noblest of all the Romans if feeding a great appetite and despising the severities of temperance had been the work and proper employment of a wise man. But otherwise do fathers and otherwise do mothers handle their children. These soften them with kisses and imperfect noises, with the pap and breast-milk of soft endearments; they rescue them from tutors and snatch them from discipline; they desire to keep them fat and warm, and their feet dry, and their bellies full; and then the children govern and cry and prove fools and troublesome, so long as the feminine republic does endure. But fathers, because they design to have their children wise and valiant, apt for counsel or tie them to study, to hard labour, and affective contingencies. They rejoice when the bold boy strikes a lion with his hunting spear, and shrinks not when the beast comes to affright his early courage. Softness is for slaves and beasts,[83] for minstrels and useless persons, for such who cannot ascend higher that the state of a fair ox, or a servant entertained for vainer offices: but the man that designs his son for noble employments, to honours and to triumphs, to consular dignities and presidencies of councils, loves to see him pale with study, or panting with labour, burdened with sufferance, or eminent by dangers. And so God dresses us for heaven. He loves us struggling with a disease, and resisting the devil, and contesting against the weaknesses of nature, and against hope to believe in hope, resigning ourselves to God's will, praying him to choose for us, and dying in all things but faith and its blessed consequences; ut ad officium cum pericule simus prompti: and the danger and the resistance shall endear the office. For so have I known the boisterous north wind pass through the yielding air,[84] which opened its bosom and appeased its violence by entertaining it with easy compliance in all the regions of its reception: but when the same breath of heaven hath been checked with the stiffness of a tower, or the united strength of wood, it grew mighty, and dwelt there, and made the highest branches stoop and make a smooth path for it on the top of all its glories. So is sickness, and so is the grace of God: when sickness hath made the difficulty, then God's grace hath made a triumph, and by doubling its power hath created new proportions of a reward; and then shows its biggest glory,[85] when it hath the greatest difficulty to master, the greatest weaknesses to support, the most busy temptations to contest with; for so God loves that his strength should be seen in our weakness and our danger. Happy is that state of life in which our services to God are the dearest and the most expensive.[86]
     5. Sickness hath some degrees of eligibility, at least by an after-choice; because to all persons which are within the possibilities and state of pardon it becomes a great instrument of pardon of sins. For as God seldom rewards here and hereafter too, so it is not very often that he punishes in both states. In great and final sins he doth so; but we find it expressed only in the case of the sin against the Holy Ghost. `which shall never be forgiven in this world, nor in the world to come,' that is, it shall be punished in both worlds, and the infelicities of this world shall but usher in the intolerable calamities of the next. But this is in a case of extremity, and in sins of an unpardonable malice: in those lesser stages of death, which are deviations from the rule, and not a destruction and perfect antinomy to the whole institution, God very often smites with his rod of sickness that he may not for ever be slaying the soul with eternal death. `I will visit their offences with the rod, and their sin with scourges; nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my truth to fail.' And there is in the New Testament a delivering over to Satan,[87] and a consequent buffetting, for the mortification of the flesh indeed, but that the soul may be saved in the day of the Lord. And to some persons the utmost process of God's anger reaches but to a sharp sickness, or at most but to a temporal death; and then the little momentary anger is spent, and expires in rest and a quiet grave. Origen, St. Augustine, and Cassian say, concerning Ananias and Sapphira that they were slain with a sudden death, that by such a judgment their sin might be punished, and their guilt expiated, and their persons reserved for mercy in the day of judgment. And God cuts off many of his children from the land of the living; and yet, when they are numbered amongst the dead, he finds them in the book of life, written amongst those that shall live to him for ever. And thus it happened to many new Christians, in the church of Corinth, for their little indecencies and disorders in the circumstances of receiving the holy sacrament. St. Paul says, that `many amongst them were sick, many were weak, and some were fallen asleep.' He expresses the divine anger against those persons in no louder accents; which is according to the style of the New Testament, where all the great transactions of duty and reproof are generally made upon the stock of heaven, and hell is plainly a reserve, and a period set to the declaration of God's wrath. For God knows that the torments of hell are so horrid, so insupportable a calamity, that he is not easy and apt to cast those souls which he hath taken so much care, and hath been at so much expense to save, into the eternal never-dying flames of hell lightly, for smaller sins, or after a fairly-begun repentance, and in the midst of holy desires to finish it; but God takes such penalties and exacts such fines of us which we may pay salvo contenemento, saving the main stake of all, even our precious souls. And therefore St. Augustine prayed to God in his penitential sorrows, "Here, O Lord, burn and cut my flesh, that thou mayest spare me for ever." For so said our blessed Saviour, `every sacrifice must be burnt with fire;' that is, we must abide in the state of grace; and if we have committed sins we must expect to be put into the state of affliction; and yet the sacrifice will send up a right and untroubled cloud, and a sweet smell to join with the incense of the altar, where the eternal Priest offers a never-ceasing sacrifice. And now I have said a thing against which there can be no exceptions, and of which no just reason can make abatement. For when sickness, which is the condition of our nature, is called for with purposes of redemption; when we are sent to death to secure eternal life; when God strikes us that he may spare us - it shows that we have done things which he essentially hates; and therefore we must be smitten with the rod of God: but in the midst of judgment God remembers mercy, and makes the rod to be medicinal, and, like the rod of God in the hand of Aaron, to shoot forth buds and leaves and almonds, hopes and mercies and eternal recompenses, in the day of restitution. This is so great a good to us, if it be well conducted in all the channels of its intention and design, that if we had put off the objections of the flesh with abstractions, contempts,and separations, so as we ought to do, it were as earnestly to be prayed for as any gay blessing that crowns our cups with joy and our heads with garlands and forgetfulness. But this was it which I said, that this may, nay, that it ought to be chosen, at least by an after-election; for so said St. Paul, `If we judge ourselves, we shall not be condemned of the Lord;' that is, if we judge ourselves worthy of the sickness, if we acknowledge and confess God's justice in smiting us, if we take the rod of God in the infliction; and then the sickness, beginning and being managed in the virtue of repentance and patience and resignation and charity, will end in peace and pardon and justification and consignation to glory. That I have spoken truth, I have brought God's Spirit speaking in Scripture for a witness. But, if this be true, there are not many states of life that have advantages which can outweigh this great instrument of security to our final condition. Moses died at the mouth of the Lord, said the story; he died with the kisses of the Lord's mouth:[88] (so the Chaldee paraphrase:) it was the greatest he kissed him and he died. But I have some things to observe for the better finishing this consideration.
     1. All these advantages and lessenings of evils in the state of sickness are only upon the stock of virtue and religion. There is nothing can make sickness in any sense eligible, or in many senses tolerable, but only the grace of God;[89] that only turns sickness into easiness and felicity which also turns it into virtue. For whosoever goes about to comfort a vicious person, when he lies sick upon his bed, can only discourse of the necessities of nature, of the unavoidableness of the suffering, of the accidental vexations and increase of torments by impatience, of the fellowship of all the sons of Adam, and such other little considerations; which indeed, if sadly reflected upon, and found to stand alone, teach him nothing but the degree of his calamity, and the evil of his condition, and teach him such a patience, and minister to him such a comfort, which an only make him to observe decent gestures in his sickness, and to converse with his friends and standers-by so as may do them comfort, and ease their funeral and civil complaints, but do him no true advantage; for all that may be spoken to a beast when he is crowned with hair-laces, and bound with fillets to the altar, to bleed to death to appease the anger of the Deity, and to ease the burden of his relatives. And indeed what comfort can he receive whose sickness as it looks back, is an effect of God's indignation and fierce vengeance, and if it goes forward and enters into the gates of the grave is the beginning of a sorrow that shall never have an ending? But when the sickness is a messenger sent from a chastising father; when it first turns into degrees of innocence, and then into virtues, and thence into pardon, this is no misery, but such a method of the divine economy and dispensation as resolves to bring us to heaven without any new impositions, but merely upon the stock and charges of nature.
     2. Let it be observed, that these advantages which spring from sickness are not in all instances of virtue, nor to all persons. Sickness is the proper scene for patience and resignation, for all the passive graces of a Christian, for faith and hope, and for some single acts of the love of God. But sickness is not a fit station for a penitent; and it can serve the ends of the grace of repentance but accidentally. Sickness may begin a repentance,[90] if God continues life, and if we co-operate with the divine grace; or sickness may help to alleviate the wrath of God, and to facilitate the pardon, if all the other parts of this duty be performed in our healthful state, so that it may serve at the entrance in or at the going out. But sickness, at no hand, is a good stage to represent all the substantial parts of this duty; 1. it invites to it; 2. it makes it appear necessary; 3. it takes off the fancies of vanity; 4. it attempters the spirit; 5. it cures hypocrisy; 6. it tames the fumes of pride; 7. it is the school of patience; 8. and by taking us from off the brisker relishes of the world, it makes us with more gust to taste the things of the Spirit: and all this only when God fits the circumstances of the sickness so as to consist with acts of reason, consideration, choice, and a present and reflecting mind which then God sends, when he means that the sickness of the body should be the cure of the soul. But let no man so rely upon it as, by design to trust the beginning, the progress, and the consummation of our piety to such an estate, which for ever leaves it imperfect; and though to some persons it adds degrees, and ministers opportunities, and exercises single acts with great advantage, in passive graces; yet it is never an entire or sufficient instrument for the change of our condition from the state of death to the liberty and life of the sons of God.
     3. It were good, if we would transact the affairs of our souls with nobleness and ingenuity, and that we would, by an early and forward religion, prevent the necessary arts of the divine providence. It is true that God cures some by incision, by fire, and torments; but these are ever the more obstinate and more unrelentint natures. God's providence is not so afflictive and full of trouble,[91] as that it hath placed sickness and infirmity amongst things simply necessary; and, in most persons, it is but a sickly and an effeminate virtue, which is imprinted upon our spirits with fears, and the sorrows of a fever, or a peevish consumption. It is but a miserable remedy to be beholden to a sickness for our health; and though it be better to suffer the loss of a finger than that the arm and the whole body should putrefy, yet even then also it is a trouble and an evil to lose a finger. He that mends with sickness pares the nails of the beast when they have already torn off part of the flesh: but he that would have a sickness become a clear and an entire blessing, a thing indeed to be reckoned among the good things of God and the evil things of the world, must lead a holy life, and judge himself with an early sentence; and so order the affairs of his soul, that, in the usual method of God's saving us, there may be nothing left to be done, but that such virtues should be exercised which God intends to crown; and then, as when the Athenians upon a day of battle, with longing and uncertain souls sitting in their common-hall, expecting what would be the sentence of the day, at last received a messenger who only had breath enough left him to say, "We are conquerors," and so died, - so shall the sick person, who hath `fought a good fight and kept the faith,' and only waits for his dissolution and his sentence, breathe forth his spirit with the accents of a conquer, and his sickness and his death shall only make the mercy and the virtue more illustrious.
     But for the sickness itself: if all the calumnies were true concerning it with which it is aspersed, yet it is far to be preferred before the most pleasant sin, and before a great secular business and a temporal care; and some men wake as much in the foldings of the softest beds, as others on the cross; and sometimes the very weight of sorrow and the weariness of a sickness press the spirit into slumbers and the images of rest, when the intemperate or the lustful person rolls upon his uneasy thorns, and sleep is departed from his eyes. Certain it is some sickness is a blessing. Indeed blindness were a most accursed thing,[92] if no man were ever blind but he whose eyes were pulled out with tortures or burning basins: and if sickness were always a testimony of God's anger, and a violence to a man's whose condition, then it were a huge calamity; but because God sends it to his servants, to his children, to little infants, to apostles and saints, with designs of mercy to preserve their innocence, to overcome temptation, to try their virtue, to fit them for rewards: it is certain that sickness never is an evil but by our own faults, and if we will do our duty, we shall be sure to turn it into a blessing. If the sickness be great, it may end in death, and the greater it is[93] the sooner; and if it be very little, it hath great intervals of rest; if it be between both, we may be masters of it, and by serving the ends of Providence serve also the perfective end of human nature, and enter into the possession of everlasting mercies.
     The sum is this: He that is afraid of pain is afraid of his own nature; and if his fear be violent it is a sign his patience is none at all, and an impatient person is not ready-dressed for heaven. None but suffering, humble, and patient persons can go to heaven; and when God hath given us the whole stage of our life to exercise all the active virtues of religion, it is necessary in the state of virtues, that some portion and period of our lives be assigned to passive graces; for patience, for Christian fortitude, for resignation or conformity to the Divine will. But as the violent fear of sickness makes us impatient, so it will make our death without comfort and without religion; and we shall go off from our stage of actions and sufferings with an unhandsome exit, because we were willing to receive the kindness of God, when he expressed it as we listed; but we would not suffer him to be king and gracious to us in his own method, nor were willing to exercise and improve our virtues at the charge of a sharp fever, or a lingering consumption. `Woe be to the man that hath lost patience; for what will he do when the Lord shall visit him?'[94]



The second Temptation proper to the state of Sickness, Fear of Death, with its Remedies.

     There is nothing which can make sickness unsanctified, but the same also will give us cause to fear death. if, therefore, we so order our affairs and spirits that we do not fear death, our sickness may easily become our advantage; and we can then receive counsel, and consider, and do those acts of virtue, which are, in that state, the proper services of God, and such which men in bondage and fear are not capable of doing, or of advices how they should, when they come to the appointed days of mourning. And, indeed, if men would but place their design of being happy in the nobleness, courage, and perfect resolutions of doing handsome things, and passing through our unavoidable necessities, in the contempt and despite of the things of this world, and in holy living and the perfective desires of our natures, the longings and pursuances after heaven; it is certain they could not be made miserable by chance and change, by sickness and death. But we are so softened and made effeminate with delicate thoughts, and meditations of ease, and brutish satisfactions that if our death come before we have seized upon a great fortune, or enjoy the promises of the fortune-tellers, we esteem ourselves to be robbed of our goods, to be mocked, and miserable. Hence it comes that men are impatient of the thoughts of death; hence come those arts of protraction and delaying the significations of old age: thinking to deceive the world, men cozen themselves,[95] and by representing themselves youthful, they certainly continue their vanity, till Proserpina pull the peruke from their heads. We cannot deceive God and nature; for a coffin is a coffin, though it be covered with a pompous veil; and the minutes of our time strike on, and are counted by angels, till the period comes which must cause the passing-bell to give warning to all the neighbours that thou art dead, and they must be so; and nothing can excuse or retard this. And if our death could be put off a little longer, what advantage can it be, in thy accounts of nature or felicity? They that three hundred years agone died unwillingly, and stopped death two days, or stayed it a week, what is their gain? Where is that week? And poor-spirited men use arts of protraction, and make their persons pitiable, but their condition contemptible, being like the poor sinners at Noah's flood; the waters drove them out of their lower rooms; then they crept up to the roof, having lasted half a day longer, and then they knew not how to get down; some crept upon the top-branch of a tree, and some climbed up to a mountain, and stayed, it may be, three days longer; but all that while they entered a worse torment than death: they lived with amazement, and were distracted with the ruins of mankind, and the horror of a universal deluge.
Remedies against the Fear of Death, by way of Consideration.
     1. God having in this world placed us in a sea, and troubled the sea with a continual storm, hath appointed the church for a ship, and religion to be the stern; but there is no haven or port but death. Death is that harbour, whither God hath designed every one, that there he may find rest from the troubles of the world. How many of the noblest Romans have taken death for sanctuary, and have esteemed it less than shame or a mean dishonour? and Caesar was cruel to Domitius, captain of Corfinium, when he had taken the town from him, that he refused to sign his petition of death. Death would have hid his head with honour, but that cruel mercy reserved him to the shame of surviving his disgrace.[96] The holy Scripture, giving an account of the reason of the Divine providence taking godly men from this world, and shutting them up in a hasty grave, says, `that they are taken away from the evils to come:' and concerning ourselves it is certain, if we had ten years agone taken seizure of our portion of dust, death had not taken us from good things, but from infinite evils, such which the sun hath seldom seen. Did not Priamus weep oftener that Troilus?[97] and happy had he been, if he had died when his sons were living, and his kingdom safe, and houses full, and his city unburnt. It was a long life that made him miserable, and an early death only could have secured his fortune. And it hath happened many times, that persons of a fair life and a clear reputation, of a good fortune, and an honourable name, have been tempted in their age to folly and vanity,[98] have fallen under the disgrace of dotage, or into an unfortunate marriage, or have besotted themselves with drinking, or outlived their fortunes, or become tedious to their friends, or are afflicted with lingering and vexatious diseases, or lived to see their excellent parts buried, and cannot understand the wise discourses and productions of their younger years. In all these cases, and infinite more, do not all the world say, that it had been better this man had died sooner?[99] But so have I known passionate women to shriek aloud when their nearest relatives were dying, and that horrid shriek hath stayed the spirit of the man awhile to wonder at the folly, and represent the inconvenience; and the dying person hath lived one day longer full of pain, amazed with an indeterminate spirit, distorted with convulsions, and only come again to act one scene more of a new calamity, and to die with less decency. So also do very many men; with passion and a troubled interest they strive to continue their life longer; and it may be, they escape this sickness, and live to fall into a disgrace; they escape the storm, and fall into the hands of pirates; and instead of dying with liberty, they live like slaves, miserable and despised servants to a little time, and sottish admirers of the breath of their own lungs. Paulus Emilius did handsomely reprove the cowardice of the king of humanity, that having conquered him and taken his kingdom from him, he would be content with that, and not lead him in triumph a prisoner to Rome. Emilius told him he need not be beholden to him for that; himself might prevent that in despite of him. But the timorous king durst not die. But certainly every wise man will easily believe, that it had been better the Macedonian kings should have died in battle than protract their life so long, till some of them came to be scriveners and joiners at Rome: or that the tyrant of Sicily better had perished in the Adriatic than to be wafted to Corinth safely, and there turn schoolmaster. It is a sad calamity, that the fear of death shall so imbecile man's courage and understanding, that he dares not suffer the remedy of all his calamities; but that he lives to say as Laberius did, "I have lived this one day longer than I should." Either, therefore, let us be willing to die, when God calls, or let us never more complain of the calamities of our life, which we feel so sharp and numerous. And when God sends his angel to us with the scroll of death, let us look on it as an act of mercy, to prevent many sins and many calamities of a longer life, and lay our heads down softly, and go to sleep without wrangling like babies and forward children. For a man (at least) get this by death, that his calamities are not immortal.[100]
     But I do not only consider death by the advantages of comparison; but if we look on it in itself, it is no such formidable thing, if we view it on both sides and handle it, and consider all its appendages.
     2. It is necessary, and therefore not intolerable: and nothing is to be esteemed evil which God and nature have fixed with eternal sanctions.[101] It is a law of God, it is a punishment of our sins, and it is the constitution of our nature. Two differing substances were joined together with the breath of God, and when that breath is taken away, they part asunder, and return to their several principles; the soul to God our Father, the body to the earth our mother: and what in all this is evil? Surely nothing, but that we are men; nothing, but that we are not born immortal: but by declining this change with great passion, or receiving it with a huge natural fear, we accuse the Divine Providence of tyranny, and exclaim against our natural constitution, and are discontent that we are men.
     3. It is a thing that is no great matter in itself; if we consider, that we die daily, that it meets us in every accident, that every creature carries a dart along with it and can kill us. And therefore when Lysimachus threatened Theodorus to kill him, he told him, that was so great matter to do, and he could do no more than the cantharides could: a little fly could do as much.
     4. It is a thing that every one suffers, even persons of the lowest resolution, of the meanest virtue, of no breeding, of no discourse. Take away but the pomps of death, the disguises and solemn bugbears, the tinsel, and the actings by candlelight, and proper and fantastic ceremonies, the minstrels and the noise makers, the women and the weepers, the swoonings and the shriekings, the nurses and the physicians, the dark room and the ministers, the kindred and the watchers; and then to die is easy, ready, and quitted from its troublesome circumstances. It is the same harmless thing that a poor shepherd suffered yesterday, or a maid-servant to-day; and at the same time in which you die, in that very night a thousand creatures die with you, some wise men, and many fools; and the wisdom of the first will not quit him, and the folly of the latter does not make him unable to die.
     5. Of all the evils of the world which are reproached with an evil character, death is the most innocent of its accusation. For when it is present, it hurts nobody, and when it is absent, it is indeed troublesome, but the trouble is owning to our fears, not to the affrighting and mistaken object: and besides this, if it were an evil, it is so transient that it passes like the instant or undiscerned portion of the present time; and either it is past, or it is not yet; for just when it is, no man hath reason to complain of so insensible, so sudden, so undiscerned a change.
     6. It is so harmless a thing that no good man was ever thought the more miserable for dying but much the happier. When men saw the graves of Calatinus, of the Servilii, the Scipios, the Metlli, did ever any man among the wisest Romans think them unhappy? And when St. Paul fell under the sword of Nero, and St. Peter died upon the cross, and St. Stephen from a heap of stones was carried into an easier grave, they that made great lamentation over them, wept for their own interest, and after the manner of men; but the martyrs were accounted happy, and their days kept solemnly, and their memories preserved in never-dying honours. When St. Hilary, bishop of Poictiers, in France, went into the East to reprove the Arian heresy, he heard that a young noble gentleman treated with his daughter Abra for marriage. The bishop wrote to his daughter, that she should not engage her promise, nor do countenance to that request, because he had provided for her a husband fair, rich, wise, and noble, far beyond her present offer. The event of which was this: she obeyed; and when her father returned from his eastern triumph to his western charge, he prayed to God that his daughter might die quickly: and God heard his prayers, and Christ took her into his bosom, entertaining with antepasts and caresses of holy love, till the day of the marriage-supper of the Lamb shall come. But when the bishop's wife observed this event, and understood of the good man her husband what was done, and why, she never let him alone, till he obtained the same favour for her; and she also, at the prayers of St. Hilary, went into a more early grave and a bed of joys.
     7. I is a sottish and an unlearned thing to reckon the time of our life, as it is short or long, to be good or evil fortune; life in itself being neither good nor bad, but just as we make it; and therefore so is death.
     8. But when we consider death is not only better than a miserable life, not only an easy and innocent thing in itself, but also that it is a state of advantage, we shall have reason not to double the sharpnesses of our sickness by our fear of death. Certain it is, death hath some good upon its proper stock; praise, and a fair memory, a reverence and religion towards them so great, that it is counted dishonest to speak evil of the dead; then they rest in peace and are quiet from their labours, and are designed to immortality. Cleobis and Biton, Trophonius and Agamedes, had an early death sent them as a reward; to the former, for their piety to their mother; to the latter, for building of a temple. To this all those arguments will minister, which relate the advantages of the state of separation and resurrection.


Remedies against fear of Death, by way of Exercise.

     1. He that would willingly be fearless of death, must learn to despise the world: he must neither love any thing passionately, nor be proud of any circumstance of his life. `O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, to a man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things; yea, unto him that is yet able to receive meat,' said the son of Sirach. But the parts of this exercise help each other. If a man be not incorporated in all his passions to the things of this world he will less fear to be divorced from them by a supervening death; and yet because he must part with them all in death; it is but reasonable he should not be passionate for so fugitive and transient interest. But if any man things well of himself for being a handsome person, or if he be stronger and wiser than his neighbours, he must remember that what he boasts of will decline into weakness and dishonour; but that very boasting and complacency will make death keener and more unwelcome, because it comes to take him from his confidence and pleasures, making his beauty equal to those ladies that have slept some years in charnel-houses, and their strength not so stubborn as the breath of an infant, and their wisdom such which can be looked for in the land where all things are forgotten.
     2. He that would not fear death must strengthen his spirits with the proper instruments of Christian fortitude. All men are resolved upon this, that to bear grief honestly and temperately, and to die willingly and nobly, is the duty of a good and valiant man; and they that are not so are vicious and fools and cowards. All men praise the valiant and honest; and that which the very heathen admired in their noblest examples is especially patience and contempt of death. Zeno Eleates endured torments rather than discover his friends, or betray them to the danger of the tyrant; and Calanus, the barbarous and unlearned Indian, willingly suffered himself to be burnt alive; and all the women did so, to do honour to their husbands funeral, and to represent and prove their affections great to their lords. The religion of a Christian does more command fortitude than ever did any institution; for we are commanded to be willing to die for Christ, to die for the brethren, to die rather than to give offence or scandal: the effect of which is this, that he that is instructed to do the necessary parts of his duty, is, by the same instrument, fortified against death; as he that does his duty need not fear death, so neither shall he; the parts of his duty are parts of his security. It is certainly a great baseness and pusillanimity of spirit that makes death terrible, and extremely to be avoided.
     3. Christian prudence is a great security against the fear of death. For if we be afraid of death, it is but reasonable to use all spiritual arts to take off the apprehension of the evil; but therefore we ought to remove our fear, because fear gives to death wings and spurs and darts. Death hastens to a fearful man; if therefore you would make death harmless and slow, to throw off fear is the way to do it; and prayer is the way to do that. If therefore you be afraid of death, consider you will have less need to fear it by how much the less you do fear it: and so cure your direct fear by a reflex act of prudence and consideration. Fannius had not died so soon[102] if he had not feared death; and when Cneius Carbo begged the respite of a little time, for a base employment, of the soldiers of Pompey, he got nothing, but that the baseness of his fear dishonoured the dignity of his third consulship; and he chose to die in a place where none but his meanest servants should have seen him. I remember a story of the wrestler Polydamus, that, running into a cave to avoid the storm, the water at last swelled so high that it began to press that hollowness to a ruin; which when his fellows espied, they chose to enter into the common fate of all men, and went abroad; but Polydamus thought by his strength to support the earth, till its intolerable weight crushed him into flatness and a grave. Many men run for shelter to a place, and they only find a remedy for their fears by feeling the worst of evils; fear itself finds no sanctuary but the worst of sufferance; and they that fly from a battle are exposed to the mercy and fury of the pursuers, who, if they faced about, were as well disposed to give laws of life and death as to take them, and at worst can but die nobly; but now, even at the very best, they live shamefully, or die timorously. Courage is the greatest security; for it does most commonly safeguard the man, but always rescues the condition from an intolerable evil.
     4. If thou wilt be fearless of death endeavour to be in love with the felicities of saints and angels, and be once persuaded to believe that there is a condition of living better than this; that there are creatures more noble than we; that above there is a country better than ours; that the inhabitants know more and know better, and are in places of rest and desire; and first learn to value it, and then learn to purchase it, and death cannot be a formidable thing, which lets us into so much joy and so much felicity. And, indeed, who would not thing his condition mended if he passed from conversing with dull tyrants and enemies of learning, to converse with Homer and Plato, with Socrates and Cicero, with Plutarch and Fabricius? So the heathens speculated, but we consider higher. `The dead that die in the Lord' shall converse with St. Paul, and all the college of the apostles, and all the saints and martyrs, with all the good men whose memory we preserve in honour, with excellent kings and holy bishops, and with the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ, and with God himself. For Christ died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we might live together with him. Then we shall be free from lust and envy,[103] from fear and rage, from covetousness and sorrow, from tears and cowardice; and these, indeed, properly, are the only evils that are contrary to felicity and wisdom. Then we shall see strange things, and know new propositions, and all things in another manner and to higher purposes. Cleombrotus was so taken with this speculation, that, having learned from Plato's Phaedon the soul's abode, he had not patience to stay nature's dull leisure, but leaped from a wall to his portion of immortality. And when Pomponius Atticus resolved to die by famine, to ease the great pains of his gout, in the alistnence of two days be found his foot at ease; but when he began to feel the pleasures of an approaching death, and the delicacies of that ease he was to inherit below, he would not withdraw his foot, but went on and finished his death; and so did Cleapthes. And every wise man will despise the little evils of that state, which indeed is the daughter of fear, but the mother of rest and peace and felicity.
     5. If God should say to us, Cast thyself into the sea, (as Christ did to St. Peter, or as God concerning Jonas,) I have provided for thee a dolphin or a whale, or a port, a safety or a deliverance, security or a reward, were we not incredulour and pusillanimous persons if we should tremble to put such a felicity into act, and ourselves into possession? The very duty of resignation and the love of our own interest are good antidotes against fear. In forty or fifty years we find evils enough, and arguments enough, to make us weary of this life; and to a good man there are very many more reasons to be afraid of life than death, this having in it less of evil and more of advantage. And it was a rare wish of that Roman,[104] that death might come only to wise and excellent persons, and not to fools and cowards; that it might not be a sanctuary for the timorous, but the reward of the virtuous: and indeed they only can make advantage of it.
     6. Make no excuses to make thy desires of life seem reasonable; neither cover thy fear with pretences, but suppose it rather with arts of severity and ingenuity. Some are not willing to submit to God's sentence and arrest of death till they have finished such a design,[105] or made an end of the last paragraph of their book, or raised such portions for their children, or preached so many sermons, or built their house, or planted their orchard, or ordered their estate with such advantages. It is well for the modesty of these men that the excuse is ready; but if it were not, it is certain they would search one out: for an idle man is never ready to die, and is glad of any excuse; and a busied man hath always something unfinished, and he is ready for every thing but death. And I remember that Petronius brings in Eumolpus composing verses in a desperate storm, and being called upon to shift for himself when the ship dashed upon the rock, cried out to let him alone till he had trimmed and finished his verse, which was lame in the hinder led: the man either had too strong a desire to end his verse, or too great a desire not to end his life. But we must know, God's times are not to be measured by our circumstances; and what I value, God regards not; or if it be valuable in the accounts of men, yet God will supply it with other contingencies of his providence; and if Epaphroditus had died when he had his great sickness St. Paul speaks of, God would have secured the work of the gospel without him: and he could have spared Epaphroditus as well as St. Stephen, and St. Peter as well as St. James. Say no more; but when God calls, lay aside thy papers; and first dress thy soul, and then dress thy hearse.
     Blindness is odious, and widowhood is sad, and destitution is without comfort, and persecution is full of trouble, and famine is intolerable, and tears are the sad ease of a sadder heart; but these are evils of our life, not of our death. For the dead that die in the Lord are so far from wanting the commodities of this life, that they do not want life itself.
     After all this, I do not say it is a sin to be afraid of death: we find the boldest spirit that discourses of it with confidence, and dares undertake a danger as big as death, yet doth shrink at the horror of it when it comes dressed in its proper circumstances. And Brutus, who was as bold a Roman to undertake a noble action as any was since they first reckoned by consuls, yet when Furius came to cut his throat, after his defeat by Anthony, he ran from it like a girl, and being admonished to die constantly, he swore by his life that he would shortly endure death. But what do I speak of such imperfect persons? Our blessed Lord was pleased to legitimate fear to us by his agony and prayers in the garden. It is not a sin to be afraid, but it is a great felicity to be with fear; which felicity our dearest Saviour refused to have, because it was agreeable to his purposes to suffer anything that was contrary to felicity, every thing but sin. But when men will by all means avoid death, they are like those who at any hand resolve to be rich. The case may happen in which they will blaspheme and dishonour Providence, or do a base action, or curse God and die; but, in all cases, they die miserable and ensnared, and in no case do they die the less for it. Nature hath left us the key of the churchyard, and custom hath brought cemeteries and charnel-houses into cities and churches, places most frequented, that we might not carry ourselves strangely in so certain, so expected, so ordinary, so unavoidable an accident. All reluctancy or unwillingness to obey the divine decree is but a snare to ourselves, and a load to our spirits, and is either an entire cause or a great aggravation of the calamity. Who did not scorn to look upon Xerxes when he caused three hundred stripes to be given to the sea, and sent a chartel of defiance against the mountain of Athos? We did not scorn the proud vanity of Cyrus, when he took so goodly a revenge upon the river Cyndus for his hard passage over it? or did not deride or pity the Thracians for shooting arrows against heaven when it thunders? To be angry with God, to quarrel with the divine providence, by repining against an unalterable, a natural, an easy sentence, is an argument of a huge folly, and the parent of a great trouble; a man is base and foolish to no purpose; he throws away a vice to his own misery, and to no advantages of ease and pleasure. Fear keeps men in bondage all their life, saith St. Paul; and patience makes him his own man, and lord of his own interest and person. Therefore posses yourselves in patience with reason and religion, and you shall die with ease. [106]
     If all the parts of this discourse be true, if they be better than dreams, and unless virtue be nothing but words, as a grove is a heap of trees; if they be not the phantasms of hypochondriacal persons, and designs upon the interest of men, and their persuasions to evil purposes; then there is no reason but that we should really desire death, and account it among the good things of God, and the sour and laborious felicities of man. St. Paul understood it well when he desired to be dissolved: he well enough knew his own advantages and pursued them accordingly. But it is certain that he that is afraid of death, I mean with a violent and transporting fear, with a fear apt to discompose his duty or his patience, that man either loves this world too much or dares not trust God for the next.



General Rules and Exercises whereby our Sickness may become safe and sanctified.

     1. Take care that the cause of thy sickness be such as may not sour it in the principal causes of it. It is a sad calamity to pass into the house of mourning through the gates of intemperance, by a drunken meeting, or the surfeits of a loathed and luxurious table; for then a man suffers the pain of his own folly, and he is like a fool smarting under the whip which his own viciousness twisted for his back: then a man pays the price of his sin, and hath a pure and an unmingled sorrow in his suffering; and it cannot be alleviated by any circumstances, for the whole affair is mere process of death and sorrow. Sin is in the head, sickness is in the body, and death and eternity of pains in the tail; and nothing can make this condition tolerable unless the miracles of the divine mercy will be pleased to exchange the eternal anger for the temporal. True it is, that in all sufferings the cause of it makes it noble or ignoble, honour or shame, tolerable or intolerable. For when patience is assaulted by a ruder violence, by a blow from heaven or earth, from a gracious God or an unjust man, patience looks forth to the doors, which way she may escape. And if innocence or a cause of religion keep the first entrance, then, whether she escapes at the gates of life or death, there is a good to be received greater than the evils of a sickness; but if sin thrust in that sickness, and that hell stands at the door, then patience turns into fury, and, seeing it impossible to go forth with safety, rolls up and down with a circular and infinite revolution, makes its motion not from but upon its own centre; it doubles the pain, and increases the sorrow, till by its weight it breaks the spirit and bursts into the agonies of infinite and eternal ages. If we had seen St. Polycarp burning to death, or St. Laurence roasted upon his gridiron, or St. Ignatius exposed to lions, or St. Sebastian pierced with arrows, or St. Attalus carried about the theatre with scorn unto his death, for the cause of Jesus, for religion, for God, and a holy conscience - we should have been in love with flames, and have thought the gridiron fairer than the spondae, the ribs of a martial bed; and we should have chosen to converse with those beasts, rather than those men that brought those beasts forth; and estimated the arrows to be rays of light brighter than the moon; and that disgrace and mistaken pageantry were a solemnity richer and more magnificent than Mordecia's procession upon the king's horse, and in the robes of majesty: for so did these holy men account them; they kissed their stakes, and hugged their deaths, and ran violently to torments, and counted whippings and secular disgraces to be the enamel of their persons, and the ointment of their heads, and the embalming their names, and securing them for immortality. But to see Sejanus torn in pieces by the people, or Nero crying or creeping timorously to his death, when he was condemned to die more majorum; to see Judas pale and trembling, full of anguish, sorrow, and despair; to observe the groanings and intolerable agonies of Herod and Antiochus - will tell and demonstrate the causes of patience and impatience to proceed from the causes of the suffering; and it is sin only that makes the cup bitter and deadly. When men, by vomiting, measure up the drink they took in, and sick and sad do again taste their meat turned into choler by intemperance, the sin and its punishment are mingled so that shame covers the face and sorrow puts a veil of darkness upon the heart; and we scarce pity a vile person that is haled to execution for murder or for treason, but we say he deserves it, and that every man is concerned in it that he should die. If lust brought the sickness or the shame, if we truly suffer the rewards of our evil deeds, we must thank ourselves; that is, we are fallen into an evil condition, and are the sacrifice of the divine justice. But if we live holy lives, and if we enter well in, we are sure to pass on safe, and to go forth with advantage if we list ourselves.
     2. To this relates that we should not counterfeit sickness; for he that is to be careful of his passage into a sickness will think himself concerned that he fall not into it through a trap-door: for so it hath sometimes happened that such counterfeiting to light and evil purposes hath ended in a real sufferance. Appian tells of a Roman gentleman who, to escape the proscription of the trinmvirate, fled, and to secure his privacy, counterfeited himself blind on one eye, and wore a plaister upon it; till, beginning to be free from the malice of the three prevailing princes, he opened his hood, but could not open his eye, but for ever lost the use of it, and with his eye paid for his liberty and hypocrisy. And Caelius counterfeited the gout, and all its circumstances and pains, its dressings and arts of remedy and complaint, till at last the gout really entered and spoiled the pageantry. His arts of dissimulation were so witty, that they put life and motion into the very image of the disease: he made the very picture to sigh and groan.
     It is easy to tell upon the interest of what virtue such counterfeiting is to be reproved. But it will be harder to snatch the politics of the world from following that which they call a canonised and authentic precedent; and David's counterfeiting himself mad before the king of Gath, to save his life and liberty, will be sufficient to entice men to serve an end upon the stock and charges of so small an irregularity, not in the matter of manners, but in the rules and decencies of natural or civil deportment: I cannot certainly tell what degrees of excuse David's action might put on. This only; besides his present necessity, the laws whose coercive and directive power David lived under had less of severity, and more of liberty, and towards enemies had so little of restraint and so great a power, that what amongst them was a direct sin, if used to their brethren the sons of Jacob, was lawful and permitted to be acted against enemies. To which also I add this general caution, that the actions of holy persons in Scripture are not always good precedents to us Christians, who are to walk by a rule and a greater strictness, with more simplicity and heartiness of pursuit. And amongst them sanctity and holy living did, in very many of its instances, increase in new particulars of duty; and the prophets reproved many things which the law forbad not, and taught many duties which Moses prescribed not; and as the time of Christ's approach came, so the sermons and revelations too were more evangelical and like the patterns which were fully to be exhibited by the Son of God. Amongst which it is certain that Christian simplicity and godly sincerity are to be accounted; and counterfeiting of sickness is a huge enemy to this: it is an upbraiding the Divine Providence, a jesting with fire, a playing with a thunderbolt, a making the decrees of God to serve the vicious or secular ends of men; it is a tempting of a judgment, a false accusation of God, a forestalling and antedating his anger; it is a cozening of men by making God a party in the fraud; and, therefore, if the cozenage returns upon the man's own head, he enters like a fox into his sickness, and perceives himself catched in a trap, or earthed in the intolerable dangers of the grave.
     3. Although we must be infinitely careful to prevent it, that sin does not thrust us into a sickness; yet, when we are in the house of sorrow, we should do well to take physic against sin, and suppose that it is the cause of the evil; if not by way of natural causality and proper effect, yet by amoral influence, and by a just demerit. We can easily see when a man hath got a surfeit; intemperance is as plain as the handwriting upon the wall, and easier to be read; but covetousness may cause a fever as well as drunkenness, and pride can produce a falling-sickness as well as long washings and dilutions of the brain, and intemperate lust; and we find it recorded in Scripture that the contemptuous and unprepared manner of receiving the holy sacraments caused sickness and death; and sacrilege and vow-breach in Ananias and Sapphira made them to descend quick into their graves. Therefore, when sickness is upon us, let us cast about; and, if we can, let us find out the cause of God's displeasure; that, it being removed, we may return into the health and securities of God's loving-kindness. Thus, in the three years' famine, David inquired of the Lord what was the matter: and God answered, `It is for Saul and his bloody house;' and then David expiated the guilt, and the people were full again of food and blessing. And when Israel was smitten by the Amorites, Joshua cast about, and found out the accursed thing, and cast it out; and the people after that fought prosperously. And what God in that case said to Joshua he will also verify to us: `I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the accursed thing from among you.'[107] But in pursuant of this we are to observe, that although in case of loud and clamorous sins the discovery is easy, and the remedy not difficult; yet, because Christianity is a nice thing, and religion is as pure as the sun, and the soul of man is apt to be troubled from more principles than the intricate and curiously-composed body in its innumerable parts, it will often happen that iffy go to inquire into the particular we shall never find it out; and we may suspect drunkenness when it may be also a morose delectation in unclean thoughts, or covetousness, or oppression, or a crafty invasion of my neighbour's rights, or my want of charity, or my judging unjustly in my own cause, or my censuring my neighbours, or a secret pride, or a base hypocrisy, or the pursuance of little ends with violence and passion, that may have procured the present messenger of death. Therefore, ask no more after any one, but heartily endeavour to reform all: `Sin no more, lest a worst thing happen;' for a single search or accusation may be the design of an imperfect repentance; but no man does heartily return to God but he that decrees against every irregularity; and then only we can be restored to health or life, when we have taken away the causes of sickness and a cursed death.
     4. He that means to have his sickness turn into safety and life, into health and virtue, must make religion the employment of his sickness, and prayer the employment of his religion. For there are certain compendiums or abbreviatures and shortenings of religion fitted to several states. They that first gave up their names to Christ, and that turned from Paganism to Christianity, had an abbreviature fitted for them; they were to renounce their false worshippings, and give up their belief, and vow their obedience unto Christ; and in the very profession of this they were forgiven in baptism. For God hastens to snatch them from the power of the devil, and therefore shortens the passage and secures the estate. In the case of poverty, God hath reduced this duty of man to an abbreviature of those few graces which they can exercise; such as are patience, contentedness, truth, and diligence; and the rest he accepts in good will, and the charities of the soul, in prayers, and the actions of a cheap religion. And to most men charity is also an abbreviature. And as the love of God shortens the way to the purchase of all virtues; so the expression of this to the poor goes a huge way in the requisites and towards the consummation of an excellent religion. And martyrdom is another abbreviature; and so is every act of an excellent and heroical virtue. But when we are fallen into the state of sickness, and that our understanding is weak and troubled, our bodies sick and useless, our passions turned into fear, and the whole state into suffering, God, in compliance with man's infirmity, hath also turned our religion into such a duty which a sick man can do most passionately, and a sad man and a timorous can perform effectually, and a dying man can do to many purposes of pardon and mercy; and that is prayer. For although a sick man is bound to do many acts of virtue of several kinds, yet the most of them are to be done in the way of prayer. Prayer is not only the religion that is proper to a sick man's condition, but it is the manner of doing other graces, which is then left and in his power. For thus the sick man is to do his repentance and his mortifications, his temperance and his chastity, by a fiction of imagination, bringing the offers of the virtue to the spirit, and making an action of election: and so our prayers are a direct act of chastity, when they are made in the matter of that grace; just as repentance for our cruelty is an act of the grace of mercy; and repentance for uncleanness is an act of chastity, is a means of its purchase, an act in order to the habit. And though such acts of virtue, which are only in the way of prayer, are ineffective to the entire purchase, and of themselves cannot change the vice into virtue, yet they are good renewings of the grace, and proper exercise of a habit already gotten.
     The purpose of this discourse is, to represent the excellency of prayer, and its proper advantages which it hath in the time of sickness. For besides that it moves God to pity, piercing the clouds, and making the heavens, like a pricked eye, to weep over us and refresh us with showers of pity; it also doth the work of the soul, and expresses the virtue of his whole life in effigy, in pictures and lively representments, so preparing it for a never-ceasing crown, by renewing the actions in the continuation of a never-ceasing, a never-hindered affection. Prayer speaks to God when the tongue is stiffened with the approachings of death: prayer can dwell in the heart, and be signified by the hand or eye, by a thought or a groan; prayer of all the actions of religion is the last alive, and it serves God without circumstances, and exercises material graces by abstraction from matter, and separation, and makes them to be spiritual; and therefore best dresses our bodies for funeral or recovery, for the mercies of restitution or the mercies of the grave.
     5. In every sickness, whether it will or will not be so in nature and in the event, yet in thy spirit and preparations resolve upon it, and treat thyself accordingly, as if it were a sickness unto death. For many men support their unequal courages by flattery and false hopes; and because sicker men have recovered, believe that they shall do so; but therefore they neglect to adorn their souls, or set their house in order: besides the temporal inconveniences that often happen by such persuasions and putting off the evil day, such as are dying intestate, leaving estates entangled and some relatives unprovided for, they suffer infinitely in the interest and affairs of their soul, they die carelessly and surprised, their burdens on and their scruples unremoved, and their cases of conscience not determined, and, like a sheep without any care taken concerning their precious souls. Some men will never believe that a villain will betray them, though they receive often advices from suspicious persons and likely accidents, till they are entered into the snare; and then they cannot return; but so the treason entered, and the man was betrayed by his own folly, placing the snare in the regions and advantages of opportunity. This evil looks like boldness and a confident spirit, but it is the greatest timorousness and cowardice in the world. They are so fearful to die, that they dare not look upon it as possible; and think that the making of a will is a mortal sign, and sending for a spiritual man an irrecoverable disease: and they are so afraid lest they should think and believe now they must die, that they will not take care that it may not be evil in case they should. So did the eastern slaves drink wine, and wrapped their heads in a veil, that they might die without sense or sorrow, and wink hard that they might sleep the easier. In pursuance of this rune, let a man consider that whatsoever must be done in sickness ought to be done in health; only let him observe, that his sickness, as a good monitor, chastises his neglect of duty, and forces him to live as he always should; and then all these solemnities and dressings for death are nothing else but the part of a religious life, which he ought to have exercised all his days; and if those circumstances can affright him, let him please his fancy by this truth, that then he does but begin to live. But it will be a huge folly if he shall think that confession of his sins will kill him; or receiving the holy sacrament will hasten his agony, or the priest shall undo all the hopeful language and promises of his physician. Assure thyself thou canst not die the sooner; but by such addresses thou mayest die much the better.
     6. Let the sick person be infinitely careful that he do not fall into a state of death upon a new account: that is, at no hand commit a deliberate sin, or retain any affection to the old; for in both cases he falls into the evils of a surprise, and the horrors of a sudden death; for a sudden death is but a sudden joy, if it takes a man in the state and exercises of virtue; and it is only then an evil when it finds a man unready. They were sad departures when Tigillinus, Cornellius Gallus the pretor, Lewis the son of Gonzaga duke of Mantua, Ladislaus king of Naples, Speusippus, Giachetius of Geneva, and one of the popes, died in the forbidden embraces of abused women; or if Job had cursed God, and so died; or when a man sits down in despair, and in the accusation and calumny of the Divine mercy: they make their night sad, and stormy, and eternal. When Herod began to sink with the shameful torment of his bowels, and felt the grave open under him, he imprisoned the nobles of his kingdom, and commanded his sister that they should be a sacrifice to his departing ghost. This was an egress fit only for such persons who meant to dwell with devils to eternal ages; and that man is hugely in love with sin who cannot forbear in the week of the assizes, and when himself stood at the bar of scrutiny, and prepared for his final, never-to-be-reversed sentence. He dies suddenly to the worse sense and event of sudden death who so manages his sickness that even that state shall not be innocent, but that he is surprised in the guilt of a new account. It is a sign of a reprobate spirit, and an habitual prevailing ruling sin, which exacts obedience when the judgment looks him in the face. At least go to God with the innocence and fair deportment of thy person in the last scene of thy life, that when thy soul breaks into the state of separation, it may carry the relishes of religion and sobriety to the places of its abode and sentence.[108]
     7. When these things are taken care for, let the sick man so order his affairs that he have but very little conversation with the world, but wholly (as he can) attend to religion, and antedate his conversation, in heaven, always having intercourse with God, and still conversing with the holy Jesus, kissing his wounds, admiring his goodness, begging his mercy, feeding on him with faith, and drinking his blood: to which purpose it were very fit (if all circumstances be answerable) that the narrative of the passion of Christ be read or discoursed to him at length, or in brief, according to the style of the four gospels. But in all things let his care and society be as little secular as is possible.

[64] Ejulatu, questu, gemitu, fremitibus, Resonando multum febiles voces refert.-Cic. Tues. ii. 13.

[65] concedendum est gementi.

[66] Omnino si quicquan est decorum, mibil est profecto magis quam acquabilitas univerae vitae, turn singularum actionem; quam autem conservare non possis, si aliorum naturam imitans omittas tuam.-1 Offic. 88.

[67] Praetulerim - delirus inersque videri, Dum mea delectent mala me, vel denique fallant, Quani sapere et ringi.-Horat. lib. ii. ep. 2.

[68] Debilem facito manu, debilem pede, coxa, lubricos quate dentes; vita dum superest, bene est. Hanc milhi, vel acutam, si das, sustineo crueem.-Sen. Ep. x.1.

[69] cerno equidem gemina constratos morte Phillippos, Thessaliaeque rogos, et fun eta gentis Iberae.

[70] Rara est in nobilitate senectus.

[71] Cicero de Senect.

[72] Ferre quam sortem patiuntur omnes, nemo recusat.

[73] Tusc. 1l ii. Cum faces doloris admoverentur.

[74] Tantum doluerunt, quantum doloribus se inserueruent.-St. August. Virg. 1. viii. v. 4. Ceu rore seges viret, Sic crescunt riguis tristia fletibus; Urget lacryma lacrymam, Faecundusque sui se numerat dolor

[75] 1 Cor. x. 13.

[76] Psalm ix.9; Matt. vii.7; James, v. 13; Psalm xxxi. 19,24; xxxiv. 22.

[77] Nulla mihi nova nune facies inopinave surgit: Omnia praecepi atque animo mecum ante peregi. Virgil. lib. vi.

[78] Nunc festinatos nimium sibi sentit honores, Actaque lauriferae damnat Syllana juventae.-Lucan. lib. viii.

[79] Nola quad cupio statim senere, Nec victoria mi placet parata.-Petrom.

[80] Mors ipsa beatior inde est, Quod per cruciamina lethi Via panditur ardua justis, Es ad astreadoloribus itur. Prud. Hymn. in Exeq. Defunct.

[81] Virtutes avidae periculi monstrant, quam non paeniteat tanto pretio aestimasse virtutem.-Senec. Non enim hilaritate, nec lascivia, nec risu, aut joco comite levitatis, sed saepe etiam tristes firmitate et constantia sunt beati.-Cic. de Fin. 1. xxii.

[82] Nihil infelicius eo eui nihil unquam contigit adversi. Non licuit illi se experii.-Seneca.

[83] Modestia filiorum delectantur; vernularum licentia et ca num, non puerorum.

[84] Ventus ut amittit vires nisi robore densae Occurrunt sylvae, spatio diffusus inani.-Lucan.

[85] Marcet sine adversario virtus.

[86] Psalm lxxxix. 32,33.

[87] 1 Cor. v.5; 1 Tim. i.20.

[88] Deut. xxxiv.5.

[89] Haec clementia non paratur arte: sed norunt cui serviunt ieones. Si iatus aut renes morbo tententur acuto, Quaere fugaim morbi. Vis recite vivere? quis non? Si virtus hoc una potest dare, fortis omissis Hoc age delicis - Horat. 1.i.ep.6.

[90] Nec tamen putaverant ad rem pertinere, ubi inciperent, quod placuerat ut fieret

[91] Neque tam aversa unquam videbitur ab opere suo providentia, ut debilitas inter optima inventa sit.

[92] Detestabilis erit caecitae, si nemo oculos perdiderit nisi cui eruendi sunt.

[93] Memineris ergo maximos dolores morte finiri, parvos habere multa intervalla requietis, mediocrium nos esse dominos. Cicero.

[94] Ecclus ii.15.

[95] mentiris juvenem tinietis Lentine, capillis, Tam subito corvus, qui modo cygnus eras. Non omnes fallis, scit te Proserpina canum; Personam capiti detrahet illa tuo.-Mart. 1.iii ep. 42.

[96] Heu, quanto melius vel caede peracta Parccre Romano potuit fortina pudori!-Lucanus.

[97] Haec omnia vidit inflammari, Jovis aram sanguine turpari

[98] Sic longius aevum Destruit ingentes animos, et vita superstes Imperio; nisi summa dies cum fine bonorum Adfuit, et celeri praevertit trista leto, Dedecori est fortuna prior.-Lucan. lib. viii

[99] Mors illi medius quam tu consuluit quidem.-Quisquam ne secundis tradere se fatis audet nisi morte parata?-Luc. lib. viii

[100] Hoc homo morte lucratur, ne malum esset immortale.-Naz.

[101] Nihil in malis ducamus, quod si a Diis immortalibus vel a Natura parente omnium, constitutum.

[102] Hostem cum fugeret, se Fannius ipse peremit.-Mart.

[103] Beati erimus, cum, corporibus relictis, et cupiditatum et amulationum erimus expertes, quodque nunc facimus, cum laxati curis sumus, ut speciare aliquid velimus et visere.-Tuscal. Q.

[104] Mors utinam pavidos wita subducere nolles, Sed virtus te sola daret.-Lucan.

[105] Pendent spera interrupta, minaeque murorum ingentes.

[106] Non levat miseros dolor.

[107] Josh. vii. 12.

[108] Whoso him bethoft Inwardly oft how hard it were to flit From heaven to pit, From pit unto pain That nere shall cease again, It would not be one sin All the world to win. Inscript. marmori in eccles. paroch. de Feversham in agro Cantiano.

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