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to be despised myself : and if I be, teach me to bear it with meekness and charity.
Friendship.--I said, “Friendship is the greatest bond in the world ;” and I had reason for it, for it is all the bond that this world hath.
Judge by Actions.- I remember a pretty apologue that Bromiard tells : A fowler, in a sharp frosty morning, having taken many little birds for which he had long watched, began to take up his nets, and nipping the birds on the head, laid them down. A young thrush, espying the tears trickling down his cheeks by reason of the extreme cold, said to her mother, that certainly the man was very merciful and compassionate, who wept so bitterly over the calamity of the poor birds. But her mother told her more wisely, that she might better judge of the man's disposition by his hand than by his eye ; and if the hands do strike treacherously, he can never be admitted to friendship, who speaks fairly and weeps pitifully.
The Umpire.—Never be a judge between thy friends in any | matter where both set their hearts upon the victory. If strangers or enemies be litigants, whatever side thou favourest, thou gettest a friend ; but when friends are the parties, thou losest one.
A Son of Consolation.—But so have I seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was bound up with the images of death, and the colder breath of the north ; and then the waters break from their enclosures, and melt with joy, and run in useful channels; and the flies do rise again from their little graves in walls, and dance a while in the air, to tell that there is joy within, and that the great mother of creatures will open the stock of her new refreshment, become useful to mankind, and sing praises to her Redeemer. So is the heart of a sorrowful man under the discourses of a wise comforter ; he breaks from the despairs of the grave, and the fetters and chains of sorrow";
he blesses God, and he blesses thee, and he feels his life returning ; for to be miserable is death, but nothing is life but to be comforted ; and God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful persons.
Matrimony versus Celibacy.--Here is the proper scene of piety and patience, of the duty of parents and the charity of relatives ; here kindness is spread abroad, and love is united and made firm as a centre : marriage is the nursery of heaven ; the virgin sends prayers to God, but she carries but one soul to him : but the state of marriage fills up the numbers of the elect, and hath in it the labour of love, and the delicacies of friendship, the blessing of society, and the union of hands and hearts ; it hath in it less of beauty, but more of safety, than the single life; it hath more care, but less danger; it is more merry, and more sad ; is fuller of sorrows and fuller of joys ; it lies under more burdens, but is supported by all the strengths of love and charity, and those burdens are delightful. Marriage is the mother of the world, and preserves kingdoms, and fills cities, and churches, and heaven itself. “An unmarried man, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in singularity; but marriage, like the useful bee, builds a house and gathers sweetness from every flower, and labours and unites into societies and republics, and sends out colonies and feeds the world with delicacies; and obeys their king, and keeps order, and exercises many virtues, and promotes the interest of mankind, and is that state of good things to which God hath designed the present constitution of the world.
Conjugal Love is a thing pure as light, sacred as a temple, lasting as the world, for, as some one said, that love that can cease was never true; it contains in it all sweetness, and all society, and felicity, and all prudence, and all wisdom. For there is
nothing can please a man without love; and if a man be weary of the wise discourses of the apostles, and of the innocency of an even and a private fortune, or hates peace or a fruitful year, he hath reaped thorns and thistles from the choicest flowers of paradise; for nothing can sweeten felicity itself, but love; but when a man dwells in love, then the breasts of his wife are pleasant as the droppings upon the hill of Hermon, her eyes are fair as the light of heaven, she is a fountain sealed, and he can quench his thirst, and ease his cares, and lay his sorrow down upon her lap, and can retire home as to his sanctuary and refectory, and his gardens of sweetness and chaste refreshments. No man can tell but he that loves his children, how many delicious accents make a man's heart dance in the pretty conversation of those dear pledges; their childishness, their stammering, their little angers, their innocence, their imperfections, their necessities, are so many little emanations of joy and comfort to him that delights in their persons and society; but he that loves not his wife and children, feeds a lioness at home, and broods a nest of sorrows; and blessing itself cannot make him happy; so that all the commandments of God enjoining a man to love his wife, are nothing but so many necessities and capacities of joy. She that is loved is safe, and he that loves is joyful.
The Present Day.—Enjoy the blessings of this day if God sends them, and the evils of it bear patiently and sweetly; for this day is only ours, we are dead to yesterday, and we are not born to the morrow. He, therefore, that enjoys the present, if it be good, enjoys as much as is possible; and if only that day's trouble leans upon him, it is singular and finite. “Sufficient to the day,” said Christ, “is the evil thereof." Sufficient, but not intolerable. But if we look abroad, and bring into one day's thoughts the evil of many, certain and uncertain, what will be and what will never be, our load will be as intolerable as it is unreasonable. To reprove this instrument of discontent, the ancients feigned, that in hell stood a man twisting a rope of hay, and still he twisted on, suffering an ass to eat up all that was finished: so miserable is he who thrusts his passions forwards towards future events, and suffers all that he may enjoy to be lost and devoured by folly and inconsideration, thinking nothing fit to be enjoyed but that which is not, or cannot be had.
Superstition.—Almost all ages of the world have observed many instances of fond persuasions and foolish practices proceeding from violent fears and scruples in matters of religion. Diomedon and many other captains were condemned to die, because after a great naval victory they pursued the flying enemies, and did not first bury their dead. But Chabrias, in the same case, first buried the dead, and by that time the enemy rallied and returned, and his navy, and made his masters pay the price of their importune superstition : they feared where they should not, and where they did not, they should. From hence proceeds observation of signs and unlucky days; and the people did so, when the Gregorian account began, continuing to call those unlucky days which were so signified in their tradition, or erra pater, although the day upon this account fell ten days sooner; and men were transported with many other trifling contingencies and little accidents; which, when they are once entertained by weakness, prevail upon their own strength, and in sad natures and weak spirits have produced effects of great danger and sorrow. Aristodemus, king of the Messenians, in his war against the Spartans, prevented the sword of the enemy by a violence done upon himself, only because his dogs howled like wolves; and the soothsayers were afraid, because the briony grew up by the walls of his father's house ; and Nicias, general of the Athenian forces, sat with his arms in his bosom, and suffered himself and forty thousand men
MONOPOLISING GOD'S MERCIES.
tamely to fall by the insolent enemy, only because he was afraid of the labouring and eclipsed moon. When the marble statues in Rome did sweat (as naturally they did against all rainy weather), the augurs gave an alarm to the city; but if lightning struck the spire of the Capitol, they thought the sum of Surna affairs, and the commonwealth itself, was endangered. And lerum this heathen folly hath stuck so close to the Christians, that all the sermons of the Church for sixteen hundred years have not cured them all : but the practices of weaker people, and the artifice of ruling priests, have superinduced many new
When Pope Eugenius sang mass at Rheims, and some few drops from the chalice were spilt upon the pavement, it was thought to foretell mischief, wars, and bloodshed to all Christendom, though it was nothing but carelessness and mischance of the priest, and because Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, sang mass of requiem upon the day he was reconciled to his prince, it was thought to foretell his own death by that religious office : and, if men can listen to such whispers, and have not reason and observation enough to confute such trifles, they shall still be affrighted with the noise of birds, and every night-raven shall foretell evil, as Micaiah to the king of Israel, and every old woman shall be a prophetess, and the events of human affairs, which should be managed by the conduct of counsel, of reason, and religion, shall succeed by chance, by the flight of birds, and the meeting with an evil eye, by the falling of the salt, or the decay of reason, of wisdom, and the just religion of a man.
Monopolising God's Mercies.--Let no man appropriate to his own use what God, by a special mercy, or the republic, hath made common : for that is both against justice and charity too; and by miraculous accidents God hath declared his displeasures against such inclosure. When the kings of Naples enclosed the gardens of Enotria, where the best manna of