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PSALTER OF DAVID:
TITLES AND COLLECTS,
ACCORDING TO THE MATTER OF EACH PSALM :
WHEREUNTO ARE ADDED
HELP AND ASSISTANCE OF ALL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE, IN ALL
OCCASIONS AND NECESSITIES.
It is natural for all men, when they are straitened with fears or actual infelicities, to run for succour to what their fancy, or the next opportunity, presents, as an instrument of their ease and remedy. But that which distinguishes men in these cases, is the choice of their sanctuary; for to rely upon the reeds of Egypt, or to snatch at the bulrushes of Nilus, may well become a drowning man, whose reason is so wholly invaded and surprised by fear, as to be useless to him in that confusion: but he whose condition (although it be sad) is still under the mastery of reason, and hath time to deliberate, unless he places his hopes upon something that is likely to cure his misery, or at least to ease it, by making his affliction less, or his patience more, does deserve that misery he groans under. Stripes and remediless miseries are the lot of fools; but afflictions, that happen to wise men or good men, represent indeed the sadnesses of mortality; but they become monuments and advantages of their piety and wisdom.
In this most unnatural war, commenced against the greatest solemnities of Christianity, and all that is called God, I have been put to it to run somewhither to sanctuary; but whither, was so great a question, that had not religion been my guide, I had not known where to have found rest or safety: when the king and the laws, who, by God and man respectively, are appointed the protectors of innocence and truth, had themselves the greatest need of a protector. And when, in the beginning of these troubles, I hastened to his Majesty, the case of the king and his good subjects, was something like that of Isaac, ready to be sacrificed; the wood was prepared, the fire kindled, the knife was lift up, and the hand was striking; that, if we had not been something like Abraham too, and “ against hope had believed in hope,” we had been as much without comfort, as we were, in outward appearance, without remedy.
It was my custom long since to secure myself against the violences of discontents abroad, -as Gerson did against temptations,— in “angulis et libellis,” “ in my books and my retirements;" but now I was deprived of both them, and driven to a public view and participation of those dangers and miseries, which threatened the kingdom, and disturbed the evenness of my former life. I was, therefore, constrained to amass together all those arguments of hope and comfort, by which men in the like condition were supported; and amongst all the great examples of trouble and confidence, I reckoned king David one of the biggest, and of greatest consideration. For, considering that he was a king vexed with a civil war, his case had somuch of our's in it, that it was likely the devotions he used, might fit our turn, and his comforts sustain us.