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He that will do no more than needs must, will soon be brought to omit something of his duty, and will be apt to believe less to be necesary than is.—240.
Let a man, frequently and seriously, by imagination, place himself upon his death-bed, and consider what great joys he shall have for the remembrance of every day well spent, and what tben he would give that he had so spent all his days. He may guess at it by proportions : for it is certain he shall have a joyful and prosperous night who hath spent his day holily; and he resigns his soul with peace into the hands of God who hath lived in the peace of God and the works of religion in his lifetime.--242.
AGAINST envy I shall use the same arguments I would use to persuade a man from the fever or the dropsie. Because it is a disease, it is so far from having pleasure in it, or a temptation to it, that it is full of pain, a great instrument of vexation; it eats the flesh, and dries up the marrow, and makes hollow eyes, and lean cheeks, and a pale face.—255.
Envious men are the Cantharides and Caterpillars that delight most to devour ripe and most excellent fruits. It is of all crimes the basest.-256.
No man must dare approach to the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper if he be in a state of any one sin, that is, unless he have entered into the state of repentance, that is, of sorrow and amendment; lest it be said concerning him, as it was concerning Judas, “ The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table ;” and he that receiveth Christ into an impure soul or body, first turns his most excellent nourishment into poison, and then feeds
HOLY DYING. (1700.) EVERY morning creeps out of a dark cloud, leaving behind it an ignorance and silence deep as midnight, and undiscerned as are the phantasms that make a chrisome child to smile. -11.
We must carry up our affections to the mansions prepared for us above, where eternity is the measure, felicity is the state, angels are the company, the Lamb is the light, and God is the portion and inheritance.-16.
NEITHER must we think that the life of a man begins when he can feed himself, or walk alone, when he can fight or beget his like; for so he is contemporary with a camel or a cow: but he is first a man, when he comes to a certain steady use of reason, according to his proportion; and when that is, all the world of men cannot tell precisely.
Some are called at age at fourteen, some at twenty-one, some never; but all men late enough, for the life of a man comes upon him slowly and insensibly.--17.
Now let us consider what that thing is which we call years of discretion. The young man is past his tutors, and arrived at the bondage of a caitive spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to passion; the man by this time hath wit enough to choose his vice, to talk confidently, and ignorantly, and perpetually. To despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, to do things that when he is indeed a man he must for ever be ashamed of: for this is all the discretion that most men show in the first stage of their manhood; they can discern good from evil; and they prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wallowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite.-18.
We should sum up our accounts at the foot of every page ; I mean that we call ourselves to scrutiny every night when we compose ourselves to the little images of death.–43.
DESPAIR sins against the reputation of God's goodness, and the efficacy of all our old experience.-65.
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 bimself better than his brethren, if he knows some little impertinencies, 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.-82.
If we cannot labour, yet let us love. Nothing can hinder us from that but our own uncharitableness.—125.
Be not too confident of the physician, or drain our hopes of re. covery from the fountain through so imperfect channels, laying the wells of God dry, and digging to ourselves broken cisternis. 126.
Some over-forward zeals are so earnest to profess their little and uncertain articles, and glory so to die in a particular and divided communion, that in the profession of their faith, they
lose and discompose their charity. Let it be enough that we secure our interest of heaven, though we do not go about to appropriate the mansions to our sect: for every good man hopes to be saved as he is a Christian, and not as he is a Lutheran, or of another division.—138.
LORD, I renounce whatsoever is against thy truth ; and if secretly I have or do believe any false proposition, I do it in the simplicity of my heart and great weakness; and if I could discover it, would dash it in pieces by a solemn disclaiming it : For thou art the way, the truth, and the life.—143.
DIFFICULTY is essential to virtue, and without choice there can be no reward. It is in piety as in fame and reputation ; he secures a good name but loosely, that trusts his fame and celebrity only to his ashes ; and it is more a civility than the base of a firm reputation, that men speak honour of their de. parted relatives; but if their life be virtuous, it forces honour from contempt, and snatches it from the hand of envy, and it shines through the crevices of detraction, and as it anointed the head of the living, so it embalms the body of the dead.—148.
All our oblations have their value, not by the price, but by the affection ; let our alms be offered humbly as a creditor pays his debts, not magnifically as a prince gives a donative : -Salvian.-179.
God, who hath made no new covenant with dying persons distinct from the covenant of the living, hath also appointed no distinct sacraments for them, no other manner of usages but such as are common to all the spiritual necessities of living and healthful persons.--185.
The confidence of children and young fellows hath no other reason but that they understand not their danger and their follies.-231.
It may be we call every little sigh or the keeping a fish-day the duty of repentance, or have entertained false principles in the estimate and measures of virtues ; and, contrary to that steward in the gospel, we write down fourscore when we should set down but fifty. It is better to trust the goodness and justice of God with our accounts, than to offer him large bills.-232.
Now the main points of the ecclesiastical ministry are done, and that which remains is, that the minister pray over him, and remind him to do good actions as he is capable; to call upon God for pardon, to put his whole trust in him, to resign himself to God's disposing, to be patient and even, to renounce every ill word, or thought, or undecent action, which the violence of his sickness may cause in him, to beg of God to give him his Holy Spirit to guide him in his agony, and his holy angels to guard him in his passage. Whatsoever is besides this concerns the standers-by: that they do all in their ministries diligently and temperately; that they joyn with much charity and devotion in the prayer of the minister ; that they make no out-cries or exclamations in the departure of the soul; and that they make no judgment concerning the dying person, by his dying quietly or violently, with comfort or without, with great fears or a cheerful conscience, with sense or without, like a lamb or like a lion, with convulsions or semblances of great pain, or like an expiring and a spent candle: for these happen to all men without rule, without any known reason, but according as God pleases to dispence the grace or the punishment, for reasons only known to himself. Let us lay our hands upon our mouth, and adore the mysteries of the divine wisdom and providence, and pray to God to give the dying man rest and pardon, and to ourselves grace to live well, and the blessing of a holy and a happy death.--233.
Persons of an ordinary life should neither be praised publickly, nor reproached in private: for it is an office and charge of humanity to speak no evil of the dead; but then neither should our charity to them teach us to tell a lye, or make a great flame from a heap of rushes and mushrooms, and make orations crammed with the narrative of little observances, and acts of civil, and necessary and eternal religion.
However it be it is certain they are not dead ; and though we no more see the souls of our dead friends than we did when they were alive, yet we have reason to believe them to know more things and better.—255.
MILTON. He had not learned the superficial doctrine of a later day,that poetry flourishes most in an uncultivated soil, and that imagination shapes its brightest visions from the mists of a superstitious age ; and he had no dread of accumulating knowledge, lest it should oppress and smother his genius.
Milton had that universality which marks the highest order of intellect. Though accustomed almost from infancy to drink at the fountains of classical literature, he had nothing of the pedantry and fastidiousness which disdain all other draughts. His healthy mind delighted in genius, on whatever soil or in whatever age it burst forth and poured out its ful.
ness . . . . He felt that poetry was as a universal presence. Great minds were everywhere his kindred . . . . Poetry, far from injuring society, is one of the great instruments of its refinement and exaltation. It lifts the mind above ordinary life, gives it a respite from depressing cares, and awakens the consciousness of its affinity with what is pure and noble . . . . He took no pleasure in drawing dark pictures of life; for he knew by experience that there is a power in the soul to transmute calamity into an occasion and nutriment of moral
and triumphant virtue. We find nowhere in his writings that whining sensibility and exaggeration of morbid feeling which makes so much of modern poetry effeminating.-CHANNING Essay on the Poetical Genius of Milton.