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THE DAY OF PENTECOST.
With a mighty rushing wind,
A living fire
And give men warning to defend
And all her gifts and graces slide
Into our hearts, and there abide ;
Even unto Thee, dear Spirit;
A PRAYER FOR CHARITY.
SIMILES AND MEMORABLE SENTENCES.
The Atheist.-—Who in the world is a verier fool, a more ignorant, wretched person, than he that is an atheist ? A man may better believe there is no such man as himself, and that he is not in being, than that there is no God : for himself can cease to be, and once was not, and shall be changed from what he is, and in very many periods of his life knows not that he is; and so it is every night with him when he sleeps : but none of these can happen to God; and if he knows it not, he is a fool. Can anything in this world be more foolish, than to think that all this rare fabric of heaven and earth can come by chance, when all the skill of art is not able to make an oyster ? To see rare effects and no cause; an excellent government and no prince; a motion without an immoveable; a circle without a centre; a time without eternity; a second without a first; a thing that begins not from itself, and therefore not to perceive there is something from whence it does begin, which must be without beginning : these things are so against philosophy and natural reason, that he must needs be a beast in his understanding that does not assent to them. This is the atheist : “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God :" that is his character. The thing framed says that nothing framed it; the tongue never made itself to speak, and yet talks against Him that did; saying, That which is made, is; and that which made it, is not. But this folly is as infinite as hell, as much without light or bound as the chaos or the primitive nothing.
The Progress of Christianity.--So have I seen the sun with a little ray of distant light challenge all the power of darkness, and without violence and noise climbing up the hill, hath made night so to retire, that its memory was lost in the joys and sprightfulness of the morning. And Christianity without violence or armies, without resistance and self-preservation,
without strength or human eloquence, without challenging of privileges or fighting against tyranny, without alteration of government and scandal of princes, with its humility and meekness, with tolerations and patience, with obedience and charity, with praying and dying, did insensibly turn the world into Christian and persecution into victory.
True Religion Truthful.-He that tells a lie for his religion, or goes about by fraud and imposture to gain proselytes, either dares not trust his cause, or dares not trust God. True religion is open in its articles, honest in its prosecutions, just in its conduct, innocent when it is accused, ignorant of falsehood, sure in its truth, simple in its sayings; and (as Julius Capitolinus said of the Emperor Verus) it is "morum simplicium, et quæ adumbrare nihil possit :" it “covers,” indeed, “a multitude of sins," by curing them, and obtaining pardon for them ; but it can dissemble nothing of itself; it cannot tell or do a lie : but it can become a sacrifice : a good man can quit his life, but never his integrity.
The Instinct of a Holy Mind.—When Nathanael was come to Jesus, Christ saw his heart, and gave him a testimony to be truly honest, and full of holy simplicity, "a true Israelite, without guile." And Nathanael, being overjoyed that he had found the Messias,-believing out of love, and loving by reason of his joy, and no suspicion,—took that for a proof of verification of his person, which was very insufficient to confirm a doubt, or ratify a probability. But so we believe a story which we love, taking probabilities for demonstrations, and casual accidents for probabilities, and anything creates vehement presumptions : in which cases our guides are not our knowing faculties, but our affections; and, if they be holy, God guides them into the right persuasions, as He does little birds to make rare nests, though they understand not the mystery of operation, nor the design and purpose of the action,
The Wolf at School.—Every man understands by his affec-1 tions more than by his reason : and when the wolf in the fable went to school to learn to spell, whatever letters were told him he could never make anything of them but agnus; he thought of nothing but his belly: and if a man be very hungry, you
must give him meat before you give him counsel. A man's | mind must be like your proposition before it can be entertained:
for whatever you put into a man it will smell of the vessel : it is a man's mind that gives the emphasis, and makes your argument to prevail.
Ambition.—No man buys death and damnation at so dear a rate as he that fights for it, and endures cold and hunger, the dangers of war and the snares of a crafty enemy.
Pleasures of Sin.—Pleasure is but like centerings* or wooden frames set under arches, till they be strong by their own weight and consolidation to stand alone ; and when, by any means, the devil hath a man sure, he takes no longer care to cozen him with pleasures, but is pleased that men should begin an early hell, and be tormented before the time.
Progress of Sin.--I have seen the little purls of a spring sweat through the bottom of a bank and intenerate the stubborn pavement, till it hath made it fit for the impression of a child's foot; and it was despised, like the descending pearls of a misty morning, till it had opened its way, and made a stream large enough to carry away the ruins of the undermined strand, and to invade the neighbouring gardens : but then the despised drops were grown into an artificial river, and an intolerable mischief. So are the first entrances of sin, stopped with the antidotes of a hearty prayer, and checked into sobriety by the eye of a reverend man, or the counsels of a single sermon : but when such beginnings are neglected, and our religion hath not in it so much philosophy as to think anything evil as long as
By a curious error in Heber's (or rather Pitman's) text, misprinted Sentries.” See vol. v. p. 291.
we can endure it, they grow up to ulcers and pestilential evils : they destroy the soul by their abode, who at their first entry might have been killed with the pressure of a little finger.
He that hath passed many stages of a good lifey to prevent his being tempted to a single sin, must be very careful that he never entertain his spirit with the remembrances of his past sin, nor amuse it with the fantastic apprehensions of the present. When the Israelites fancied the sapidness and relish of the flesh-pots, they longed to taste and to return.
Short-lived Frenzy.—So have I known a bold trooper fight in the confusion of a battle, and being warm with heat and rage, received from the swords of his enemy wounds open like a grave; but he felt them not, and when, by the streams of blood he found himself marked for pain, he refused to consider then what he was to feel to-morrow : but when his rage had cooled into the temper of a man, and clammy moisture had checked the emission of spirits, he wonders at his own boldness, and blames his fate, and needs a mighty patience to bear his great calamity. So is the bold and merry sinner : when he is warm with wine and lust, wounded and bleeding with the strokes of hell, and twists * with the fatal arm that strikes him, and cares not; but yet it must abate his gaiety, because he remembers that when his wounds are cold and considered, he must roar or perish, repent or do worse,—that is, be miserable or undone.
Self-deception. We care not to be safe, but to be secure, not to escape hell, but to live pleasantly ; we are not solicitous of the event, but of the way thither; and it is sufficient, if we be persuaded all is well ; in the meantime we are careless whether indeed it be so or no, and therefore we give pensions to fools and vile persons to abuse us, and cozen us of felicity.
* Twists, i. e. fights. We have still the equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon, "getvistan,” in the Dutch, "twisten,” to quarrel or dispute.