Page images

have a suitable opportunity. Never speak Keep yourselves in some useful employill of them, or of anybody, unless you are ment; for idleness is the nursery of vain sure they deserve it, and unless it is neces- and sinful thoughts, which corrupt the sary for their amendment, or for the safety mind, and disorder the life. Be kind and benefit of others.

and loving to one another. Honour your Avoid, in your ordinary communica- minister. Be not bitter nor harsh to my tions, not only oaths, but all imprecations servants. Be respectful to all. Bear my and earnest protestations.

absence patiently and cheerfully. Behave Forbear scoffing and jesting at the con- as if I were present among you, and saw dition or natural defects of any person. you,

Remember, you have a greater Such offences leave a deep impression; Father than I am, who always, and in all and they often cost a man dear.

places, beholds you, and knows your Be very careful that you give no re- hearts and thoughts. Study to requite proachful, menacing, or spiteful words to my love and care for you with dutifulness, any person. Good words make friends; observance, and obedience; and account bad words make enemies. It is great it an honour that you have an opportuprudence to gain as many friends as we nity, by your attention, faithfulness, and honestly can, especially when it may be industry, to pay some part of that debt done at so easy a rate as a good word; which, by the laws of nature and of graand it is great folly to make an enemy by titude, you owe to me. Be frugal in my ill words, which are of no advantage to family, but let there be no want; and the party who uses them. When faults provide conveniently for the poor. are committed, they may, and by a supe- I

pray God to fill your hearts with his rior they must, be reproved: but let it be grace, fear, and love, and to let you see done without reproach or bitterness; the comfort and advantage of serving him; otherwise it will lose its due end and use, and that his blessing, and presence, and and, instead of reforming the offence, it direction, may be with you, and over you will exasperate the offender, and lay the all. I am your ever loving father. -Sir reprover justly open to reproof.

Matthew Hale. If a person be passionate, and give you ill language, rather pity him than be moved to anger.

You will find that [ABRAHAM COWLEY. 1618-1667.] silence, or very gentle words, are the most

A LOWLY LIFE. exquisite revenge for reproaches; they will either cure the distemper in the angry What a brave privilege is it to be free man, and make him sorry for his passion, from all contentions, from all envying or or they will be a severe reproof and being envied, from receiving and from punishment to him.

paying all kinds of ceremonies! It is, in Never utter any profane speeches, nor my mind, a very delightful pastime for make a jest of any Scripture expressions. two good and agreeable friends to travel When you pronounce the name of God up and down together, in places where or of Christ, or repeat any passages or they are by nobody known, nor know words of Holy Scripture, do it with re- anybody. It was the case of Æneas and verence and seriousness, and not lightly, his Achates, when they walked invisibly for that is " taking the name of God in about the fields and streets of Carthage.

Venus herself I have little further to add at this time, “A veil of thicken'd air around them cast, but my wish and command that you will That none might know, or see them, as they remember the former counsels that I have frequently given you. Begin and The common story of Demosthenes conend the day with private prayer; read fession, that he had taken great pleasure the Scriptures often and seriously; be in hearing of a tinker-woman say, as he attentive to the public worship of God. I passed, " This is that Demosthenes," is wonderfully ridiculous from so solid an it accompanies, but it is an efficacious orator. I myself have often met with shadow, and like that of St. Petre, cures that temptation to vanity (if it were any); the diseases of others. The best kind of but am so far from finding it any pleasure, glory, no doubt, is that which is reflected that it only makes me run faster from the from honesty, such as was the glory of place, till I get, as it were, out of sight. Cato and Aristides; but it was harmful shot. Democritus relates, and in such a to them both, and is seldom beneficial to manner as if he gloried in the good for- | any man whilst he lives ; what is it to tune and commodity of it, that, when he him after his death I cannot say, because came to Athens, nobody there did so I love not philosophy merely notional and much as take notice of him; and Epi- conjectural, and no man who has made curus lived there very well, that is, lay the experiment has been so kind as to hid many years in his gardens, so famous come back to inform us.



Upon the since that time, with his friend Metro- whole matter, I account a person who has dorus : after whose death, making, in one a moderate mind and fortune, and lives of his letters, a kind commemoration of in the conversation of two or three agreethe happiness which they two had enjoyed able friends, with little commerce in the together, he adds at last, that he thought world besides, whois esteemed well enough it no disparagement to those great felici- by his few neighbours that know him, ties of their life, that, in the midst of the and is truly irreproachable by anybody; most talked-of and talking country in the and so, after a healthful, quiet life, before world, they had lived so long, not only the great inconveniences of old age, goes without fame, but almost without being more silently out of it than he came in heard of; and yet, within a very few (for I would not have him so much as years afterwards, there were no two names cry in the exit): this innocent deceiver of men more known or more generally of the world, as Horace calls him, this celebrated. If we engage into a large muta persona, I take to have been more acquaintance and various familiarities, we happy in his part, than the greatest actors set open our gates to the invaders of most that fill the stage with show and noise; of our time; we expose our life to a quo- nay, even than Augustus himself, who tidian ague of frigid impertinences, which asked with his last breath, whether he had would make a wise man tremble to think not played his farce very well. of. Now, as for being known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot comprehend the honour that lies in that; what

OF PROCRASTINATION. soever it be, every mountebank has it more than the best doctor, and the hang- I am glad that you approve and applaud man more than the lord-chief-justice of a my design of withdrawing myself from all city. Every creature has it, both of tumult and business of the world, and nature and art, if it be any ways extra- consecrating the little rest of my time to ordinary. It was as often said, “This is those studies to which nature had so that Bucephalus,” or “ This is that Inci- motherly inclined me, and from which tatus," when they were led prancing fortune, like a stepmother, has so long through the street, as, “This is that detained me. But, nevertheless (you say, Alexander," or, “ This is that Domi- which but is ærugo mera, a rust which tian ;” and truly, for the latter, I take spoils the good metal it grows upon. But Incitatus to have been a much more you say) you would advise me not to prehonourable beast than his master, and cipitate that resolution, but to stay a while more deserving the consulship than he the longer with patience and complaisance, empire.

till I had gotten such an estate as might I love and commend a true good fame, afford me (according to the saying of that because it is the shadow of virtue: not person, whom you and I love very much, that it doeth any good to the body which and would believe as soon as another man) cum dignitate otium. This was ex- died the noble martyr of ceremony and cellent advice to Joshua, who could bid gentility.- Essays. the sun stay too. But there is no fooling with life, when it is once turned beyond forty: the seeking for a fortune then is [WILLIAM PENN. 1644–1718.] but a desperate after-game; it is a hun.

PRIDE OF BIRTH. dred to one if a man fing two sixes, and recover all; especially if his hand be no WHAT matter is it of whom any one luckier than mine.

is descended, that is not of ill fame; There is some help for all the defects since 'tis his own virtue that must raise, of fortune; for if a man cannot attain to or vice depress him ? An ancestor's chathe length of his wishes, he may have his racter is no excuse to a man's ill actions, remedy by cutting of them shorter. Epi- but an aggravation of his degeneracy ; curus writes a letter to Idomeneus (who and, since virtue comes not by generation, was then a very powerful, wealthy, and, I neither am the better nor the worse it seems, bountiful person), to recommend for my forefather : to be sure, not in to him, who had made so many men rich, God's account; nor should it be in man's. one Pythocles, a friend his, whom he Nobody would endure injuries the easier, desired might be made a rich man too, or reject favours the more, for coming by “ but I entreat you that you would not the hand of a man well or ill descended. do it just the same way as you have done I confess it were greater honour to have to many less deserving persons; but in the had no blots, and with an hereditary most gentlemanly manner of obliging estate to have had a lineal descent of worth: him, which is, not to add anything to but that was never found; no, not in the his estate, but to take something from his most blessed of families upon earth; I desires.”

mean Abraham's. To be descended of The sum of this is, that for the uncer- wealth and titles, fills no man's head with tain hopes of some conveniences, we brains, or heart with truth; those qualities ought not to defer the execution of a work come from a higher cause. 'Tis vanity, that is necessary; especially when the use then, and most condemnable pride, for a of those things which we would stay for man of bulk and character to despise may otherwise be supplied, but the loss of another of less size in the world, and of time never recovered; nay, farther yet, meaner alliance, for want of them; because though we were sure to obtain all that we the latter may have the merit, where the had a mind to, though we were sure of former has only the effects of it in an angetting never so much by continuing the cestor: and though the one be great by game, yet, when the light of life is so near means of a forefather, the other is so too, going out, and ought to be so precious, but 'tis by his own; then, pray, which is “ le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle”—[the the bravest man of the two? play is not worth the expense of the


person proud of blood, candle); after having been long tossed in “it was never a good world since we have a tempest, if our masts be standing, and had so many upstart gentlemen!” But we have still sail and tackling enough to what should others have said of that man's carry us to our port, it is no matter for ancestor, when he started first up into the the want of streamers and top-gallants : knowledge of the world ? For he, and .. utere velis,

all men and families, ay, and all states Totos pande sinus."

and kingdoms too, have had their upA gentleman, in our late civil wars, when starts, that is, their beginnings. This is his quarters were beaten up by the enemy, like being the True Church, because old, was taken prisoner, and lost his life after- not because good; for families to be noble wards, only by staying to put on a band by being old, and not by being virtuous. and adjust his periwig: he would escape No such matter: it must be age in virtue, like a person of quality, or not at all, and / or else virtue before age; for otherwise a



man should be noble by means of his consider with me how many do, even at predecessor, and yet the predecessor less this very time, lie under the torment of noble than he, because he was the ac- the stone, the gout, and toothache ; and quirer; which is a paradox that will puzzle this we are free from. And every misery all their heraldry to explain. Strange! that I miss is a new mercy; and therethat they should be more noble than their fore let us be thankful. There have ancestor, that got their nobility for them! been, since we met, others that have met But if this be absurd, as it is, then the disasters of broken limbs; some have upstart is the noble man; the man that been blasted, others thunder-strucken ; got it by his virtue: and those only are and we have been freed from these and entitled to his honour that are imitators all those many other miseries that of his virtue; the rest may bear his name threaten human nature : let us therefore from his blood, but that is all. If virtue, rejoice and be thankful. Nay, which is then, give nobility, which heathens a far greater mercy, we are free from the themselves agree, then families are no insupportable burden of an accusing, torlonger truly noble than they are vir- menting conscience—a misery that none

And if virtue go not by blood, can bear; and therefore let us praise but by the qualifications of the descen- Him for His preventing grace, and say, dants, it follows, blood is then of more Every misery that I miss is a new mercy. than ordinary virtue, whose examples Nay, let me tell you, there be many that have given light to their families. And have forty times our estates, that would it has been something natural for some give the greatest part of it to be healthful of their descendants to endeavour to and cheerful like us, who, with the exkeep up the credit of their houses in pro- pense of a little money, have ate and portion to the merit of their founder. drank, and laughed, and angled, and sung, And, to say true, if there be any advan- and slept securely; and rose next day, and tage in such descent, 'tis not from blood, cast away care, and sung, and laughed, but education ; for blood has no intelli- and angled again, which are blessings gence in it, and is often spurious and un-rich men cannot purchase with all their certain ; but education has a mighty in- money. Let me tell you, scholar, I have fluence and strong bias upon the affections a rich neighbour that is always so busy and actions of men.- No Cross, no Crown. that he has no leisure to laugh ; the whole

business of his life is to get money, and

more money, that he may still get more [ISAAK WALTON. 1593–1683.]

and more money; he is still drudging on,

and says that Solomon says, “ The hand PISCATOR'S THANKFULNESS of the diligent maketh rich ;” and it is FOR WORLDLY BLESSINGS.

true indeed : but he considers not that it

is not in the power of riches to make a “WELL, scholar, having now taught man happy : for it was wisely said by a you to paint your rod, and we having man of great observation, "That there still a mile to Tottenham High Cross, I be as many miseries beyond riches as on will, as we walk towards it in the cool this side them.” And yet God deliver shade of this sweet honeysuckle hedge, us from pinching poverty, and grant that, mention to you some of the thoughts and having a competency, we may be content joys that have possessed my soul since we and thankful ! Let us not repine, or so met together. And these thoughts shall much as think the gifts of God unequally be told you, that you also may join with dealt, if we see another abound with me in thankfulness to the Giver of every riches, when as God knows the cares that good and perfect gift for our happiness. are the keys that keep those riches hang And that our present happiness may often so heavily at the rich man's girdle, appear to be the greater, and we the that they clog him with weary days and more thankful for it, I will beg you to restless nights, even when others sleep

quietly. We see but the outside of the make men counterfeit, but cannot make rich man's happiness ; few consider him them believe, and is therefore fit for to be like the silkworm, that, when she nothing but to breed form without and seems to play, is at the very same time atheism within. Besides, if this means of spinning her own bowels, and consuming bringing men to embrace any religion herself; and this many rich men do, were generally used (as, if it may be justly loading themselves with corroding cares, used in any place by those that have to keep what they have probably uncon- power, and think they have truth, cerscionably got.

Let us

therefore be tainly they cannot with reason deny, but thankful for health and competence, and, that it may be used in every place by those above all, for a quiet conscience. that have power as well as they, and Let not the blessings we receive daily think they have truth as well as they), from God make us not to value, or not what could follow but the maintenance, praise Him, because they be common ; let perhaps, of truth, but perhaps only the us not forget to praise Him for the inno- profession of it, in one place, and the cent mirth and pleasure we have met with oppression of it in a hundred? What since we met together. What would a will follow from it but the preservation, blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, peradventure of unity, but, peradventure, and meadows, and flowers, and fountains only of uniformity, in particular states that we have met with since we met to- and churches; but the immortalising the gether? I have been told, that if a man greater and more lamentable divisions of that was born blind could obtain to have Christendom and the world ? And, there. his sight for but only one hour during his fore, what can follow from it but, perhaps, whole life, and should, at the first opening in the judgment of carnal policy, the temof his eyes, fix his sight upon the sun when poral benefit and tranquillity of temporal it was in his full glory, either at the rising states and kingdoms, but the infinite preor setting of it, he would be so trans- judice, if not the desolation, of the kingported and amazed, and so admire the dom of Christ?

But they that glory of it, that he would not willingly know there is a King of kings, and Lord turn his eyes from that first ravishing of lords, by whose wili and pleasure object to behold all the other various kings and kingdoms stand and fall, they beauties this world could present to him. know that to no king or state anything And this, and many other like blessings, can be profitable which is unjust; and we enjoy daily. And for most of them that nothing

more evidently because they be so common, most men unjust than to force weak men, by the forget to pay their praises ; but let not profession of a religion which they believe us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to not, to lose their own eternal happiness, Him that made that sun and us, and still out of a vain and needless fear lest they protects us, and gives us flowers and

may possibly disturb their temporal showers, and stomachs, and meat, and quietness. There is no danger to any content, and leisure to go a-fishing.– state from any man's opinion, unless it be The Complete Angler.

such an opinion, by which disobedience to authority, or impiety, is taught or

licensed (which sort, I confess, may justly [William CHILLINGWORTH. 1602--1644.] be punished as well as other faults), or THE WISDOM OF TOLERATION. unless this sanguinary doctrine be joined

with it, that it is lawful for him by I HAVE learned from the ancient human violence to enforce others to it. fathers of the church, that nothing is Therefore, if Protestants did offer violence more against religion than to force reli- to other men's consciences, and compel gion ; and of St. Paul, the weapons of them to embrace their reformation, I the Christian warfare are not carnal. And excuse them not. — The Religion of the great reason ; for human violence may | Protestants a safe Way to Salvation.

can be

« EelmineJätka »