Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

the worst; and all. View it now on the better side : lo there, quiet security, sound sleeps, sharp appetite, free merriment; no fears, no cares, no suspicion, no distemper of excess, no discontentment. If I were judge, my tongue should be unjust, if poverty went away weeping. I cannot see, how the evils it brings, can compare with those, which it removes ; how the discommodities should match the blessings of a mean estate.

What are those you have lost, but false friends, miserable comforters ? else, they had not left you. Oh slight and fickle stay, that winds could bereave you of! If your care could go with them, here were no damage; and, if it go not with them, it is your fault. Grieve more for your fault, than for your loss.

If your negligence, your riotous mis-spence, had impaired your estate, then Satan had impoverished you; now would I have added, to your grief, for your sin, not for your affliction: but now, since winds and waters have done it, as the officers of their Maker; why should not you say, with me, as I with Job, The Lord hath taken?

Use your loss well; and you shall find, that God hath crossed you with a blessing. And, if it were worse than the world esteems it, yet think not, what you feel, but what you deserve: you are a stranger to yourself, if you confess not, that God favours you in this whip. If he had stripped you of better things, and scourged you with worse; you should still have acknowledged a merciful justice: if you now repine at an easy correction, you are worthy of severity. Beware the next, if you grudge, and swell at this.

It is next to nothing, which you suffer: what can be further from us, than these goods of outward estate? You need not abate either health or mirth, for their sakes. If you do now draw the afiction nearer than he which sent it, and make a foreign evil domestical; if, while God visits your estate, you fetch it home to your body, to your mind ; thank yourself, that you will needs be miserable: but, if you love not to fare ill; take crosses as they are sent, and go lightly away with an easy burden.

EPISTLES :

THE SECOND VOLUME; CONTAINING TWO DECADES.

BY JOSEPH HALL.

TO THE SAME MOST GRACIOUS PATRONAGE OF THE HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE, HENRY,

PRINCE OF GREAT BRITAIN,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

“Go out of Babylon," you say : “ the voice, not of schism, but of holiness." Know you where you are? Look about you, I beseech you: look behind you; and see if we have not left it upon our backs. She herself feels, and sees, that she is abandoned: and complains to all the world, that we have not only forsaken, but spoiled her; and yet you say, “Come out of Babylon." And, except you will be willingly blind; you may see the heaps of her altars, the ashes of her idols, the ruins of her monuments, the condemnation of her errors, the revenge of her abominations.

And are we yet in Babylon ? Is Babylon yet amongst us? Where are the main buildings of that accursed city: those high and proud towers, of their universal hierarchy; infallible judgment; dispensation with laws of God, and sins of men; disposition of kingdoms; deposition of princes; parting stakes with God in our conversion, through freedom of will; in our salvation, through the merit of our works? Where are those rotten heaps (rotten, not through age, but corruption) of transubstantiating of bread, adoring of images, multitude of sacraments, power of indulgences, necessity of confessions, profit of pilgrimages, constrained and approved ignorance, unknown devotions? Where are those deep vaults, if not mines, of penances and purgatories, and whatsoever hath been devised by those popelings, whether profitable or glorious, against the Lord and his Christ? Are they not all razed, and buried in the dust? Hath not the majesty of her gods, like as was done to Mythra and Serapis, been long ago offered to the public: laughter of the vulgar? What is this, but to go, yea to run, if not to Ay, out of Babylon ?

But, as every man is a hearty patron of his own actions, and it is a desperate cause that hath no plea, you allege our consorting in Ceremonies; and say, still we tarry in the suburbs. Grant that these were as ill, as an enemy can make them, or can pretend them: you are deceived, if you think the walls of Babylon stand upon Ceremonies. Substantial errors are both her foundation and frame. These ritual observations are not so much as tile and reed: rather like to some fane upon the roof; for ornament, more than use : not parts of the building ; but not-necessary appendances. If you take them otherwise, you wrong the Church : if thus, and yet depart, you wrong it and yourself: as if you would have persuaded righteous Lot, not to stay in Zoar, because it was so near Sodom, I fear, if you had seen the money-changers in the Temple, bow ever you would bave prayed, or taught there : Christ did it; not forsaking the place, but scourging the offenders. And this is the valour of Christian Teachers, to oppose abuses, not to run away from them. Where shall you not thus find Babylon ? Would you have run from Geneva, because of her wafers? or, from Corinth, for her disordered love-feasts?

Either run out of the world, or your flight is in vain. If experience of change teach you not, that you shall find your Babylon every where, return not. Compare the place you have left, with that you have chosen : let not fear of seeming to repent over-soon, make you partial. Lo there a common harbour of all opinions, of

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »