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be content to be called unto the cup. Now is your trial. Let your Saviour see, how much of his bitter potion you can pledge: then shall you see, how much of his glory he can afford you, Be content to drink of his vinegar and gall"; and you shall drink new wine with him in his kingdom.
TO M. PETER MOULIN,
PREACHER OF THE CHURCH AT PARIS.
Discoursing of the late French Occurrencies; and what Use, God er
pects to be made of them. Since your travels here with us, we have not forgotten you : but since that, your witty and learned travels in the common affairs of religion, have made your memory both fresh and blessed.
Behold, while your hand was happily busy in the defence of our King, the heads and hands of traitors were busy in the massacring of
God doth no memorable and public act, which he would not have talked of, read, construed of all the world : how much more of neighbours, whom scarce a sea severeth from each other! how much yet more of brethren, whom neither land nor sea can sever! Your dangers, and fears, and griefs have been ours : all the salt water, that runs betwixt us, cannot wash off our interest in all your common causes. The deadly blow of that miscreant, whose name is justly sentenced to forgetfulness, pierced even our sides. Who hath not bled within himself, to think that he, which had so victoriously out-lived the swords of enemies, should fall by the knife of a villain ? and that he should die in the peaceable streets, whom no fields could kiil ? that all those honourable and happy triumphs should end in so base a violence ?
But, oh, our idleness and impiety, if we see not a divine hand from above, striking with this hand of disloyalty ! Sparrows fall not to the ground without him; much less, Kings. One dies by a tile-sherd; another, by the splinters of a lance: one, by lice; another, by a fly: one, by poison; another, by a knife. What are all these, but the executioners of that great God, which hath said, Ye are gods, but ye shall die like men?
Perhaps, God saw (that we may guess modestly at the reasons of his acts) you reposed too much in this arm of flesh: or, perhaps, he saw this scourge would have been too early, to those enemies, whose sin, though great, yet was not full: or, perhaps, he saw, that if that great spirit had been deliberately yielded in his bed, you should not have slept in yours: or, perhaps, the ancient con
nivance at those streams of blood, from your too common duels, was now called to reckoning; or, it may be, that weak revolt from the truth.
He, whose the rod was, knows why he struck : yet may it not pass without a note, that he fell by that religion, to which he fel How many ages might that great Monarch have lived, whatsoever the ripe head of your more than mellow Cotton could imagine, ere his least finger should have bled, by the hand of a Huguenot ! All religions may have some monsters: but, blessed be the God of Heaven, our's shall never yield that good Jesuit, either a Mariana to teach treason, or a Ravillac to act it.
But what is that we hear? It is no marvel : that holy society is a fit guardian for the hearts of kings: I dare say, none more loves to see them : none takes more care to purchase them. How happy were that chapel, think they, if it were full of such shrines ! I hope all Christian Princes have long and well learned, so great is the courtesy of these good Fathers, that they shall never, by their wills, need be troubled with the charge of their own hearts. A heart of a King in a Jesuit's hand, is as proper, as a wafer in a Priest's. Justly was it written of old, under the picture of Ignatius Loyola, Caveto vobis, Principes ; “ Be wise, O ye Princes, and learn to be the keepers of your own hearts. Yea rather, O thou Keeper of Israel, that neither slumberest nor sleepest, keep thou the hearts of all Christian Kings, whether alive or dead, from the keeping of this traitorous generation; whose very religion is holy rebellion, and whose merits bloody.
Doubtless, that murderer hoped to have stabbed thousands with that blow; and to have let out the life of religion, at the side of her collapsed patron. God did, at once, laugh and frown at his project; and suffered him to live, to see himself no less a fool than a villain. Oh, the infinite goodness of the wise and holy Governor of the World! Who could have looked for such a calm, in the midst of a tempest? Who would have thought that violence could beget peace? Who durst have conceived that King Henry should die alone ? and that religion should lose nothing but his person? This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
You have now parallelled us. Out of both our fears God hath fetched security. Oh, that out of our security we could as easily fetch fear : not so much of evil, as of the Author of Good; and yet trust him in our fear; and in both magnify him! Yea, you have by this act gained some converts, against the hope of the agents : neither can I, without many joyful congratulations, think of the estate of your Church; which every day honours with the access of new clients; whose tears and sad confessions make the Angels to rejoice in heaven, and the Saints on earth. We should give you example, if our peace were as plentiful of goodness as of pleasure. But how seldom hath the Church gained by ease, or lost by restraint ! Bless you God for our prosperity; and we shall praise him for your progress.
TO MR. THOMAS SUTTON.
Exciting him, and, in him, all others, to early and cheerful Bene
ficence : shewing the Necessity and Benefit of Good Works.
I TROUBLE you not with reasons of my writing, or with excuses. If I do ill, no plea can warrant me: if well, I cannot be discouraged with any censures. I crave not your pardon ; but your acceptation. It is no presumption, to give good counsel; and presents of love fear not to be ill taken of strangers. My pen and your substance are both given us for one end, to do good: these are our talents : how happy are we, if we can improve them well! suffer me to do you good with the one, that with the other you may do good to many, and most to yourself.
You cannot but know, that your full hand and worthy purposes, have possessed the world with much expectation. What speak I of the world? whose honest and reasonable claims yet, cannot be contemned with honour, nor disappointed without dishonour. The God of Heaven, which hath lent you this abundance, and given you these gracious thoughts of charity, of piety, looks long for the issue of both ; and will easily complain, either of too little, or too late.
Your wealth and your will are both good; but the first is only made good by the second : for, if your hand were full and your heart empty, we, who now applaud you, should justly pity you. You might have riches; not goods; not blessings. Your burthen should be greater than your estate ; and you should be richer in sorrows, than in metals.
For, if we look to no other world, what gain is it, to be the keeper of the best earth? That, which is the common coffer of all the rich mines, we do but tread upon; and account it vile, because it doth but hold and hide those treasures : whereas the skilful metallist, that findeth and refineth those precious veins for public use, is rewarded, is honoured. The very basest element yields gold: the savage Indian gets it: the servile prentice works it: the very Midianitish camel may wear it: the miserable worldling admires it: the covetous Jew swallows it: the unthrifty ruffian spends it : what are all these the better for it? Only good use gives praise to earthly possessions.
Herein, therefore, you owe more to God, that he hath given you a heart to do good; a will to be as rich in good works, as great in riches. To be a friend to this mammon, is to be an enemy to
God: but, to make friends with it, is royal and Christian. His enemies may be wealthy: none, but his friends, can either be good, or do good. Da et accipe, saith the Wise Man. The Christian, which must imitate the high pattern of his Creator, knows his best riches to be bounty : God, that hath all, gives all; reserves nothing: and, for himself, he well considers, that God hath not made him an owner, but a servant; and, of servants, a servant, not of his goods, but of the Giver; not a treasurer, but a steward : whose praise is more to lay out well, than to have received much. The greatest gain, therefore, that he affects, is an even reckoning, a clear discharge: which since it is obtained by disposing, not by keeping, he counts reservation loss, and just expence his
trade and joy. He knows, that Well done, faithful servant, is a thousand times more sweet a note, than Soul, take thine ease : for that is the voice of the Master recompensing; this, of the carnal heart presuming : and what follows to the one, but his Master's joy? what to the other, but the loss of his soul? Blessed be that God, which hath given you a heart to fore-think this; and, in this dry and dead age, a will to honour bim with his own; and to credit his Gospel, with your beneficence. Lo, we are upbraided with barrenness : your name hath been publicly opposed to these challenges; as in whom it shall be seen, that the truth hath friends that can give.
I neither distrust nor persuade you; whose resolutions are happily fixed on purposes of good: only give me leave to hasten your pace a little ; and to excite your Christian forwardness, to begin speedily, what you have long and constantly vowed. You would not but do good: why not now? I speak boldly: The more speed, the more comfort. Neither the times are in our disposing, nor ourselves: if God had set us a day, and made our wealth inseparable, there were no danger in delaying : now, our uncertainty either must quicken us, or may deceive us. How
have meant well, and done nothing; and lost their crown, with lingering ! whose destinies have prevented their desires, and have made their good motions the wards of their executors, not without miserable success : to whom, that they would have done good, is not so great a praise, as it is dishonour that they might have done it. Their wrecks are our warnings: we are equally mortal, equally fickle. Why have you this respite of living, but to prevent the imperious necessity of death? It is a woeful and remediless complaint, that the end of our days hath over-run the beginning of our good works. Early beneficence hath no danger, many joys: for, the conscience of good done, the prayers and blessings of the relieved, the gratulation of the Saints, are as so many perpetual comforters, which can make our life pleasant, and our death happy; our evil days good, and our good better. All these are lost with delay: few and cold are the prayers for him, that may give : and, in lieu, our good purposes fore-slowed are become our tormentors upon our death-bed.
Little difference is betwixt good deferred, and evil done. Good was meant: who hindered it will our conscience say: there was time enough, means enough, need enough, what hindered ? Did
fear of envy, distrust of want? Alas, what bugs are these to fright men from heaven! As if the envy of keeping, were less than of bestowing. As if God were not as good a debtor, as a giver: He, that gives to the poor, lends to God; saith wise Solomon. If he freely give us what we may lend, and grace to give; will he not much more pay us what we have lent; and give us, because we have given ? That is his bounty ; this, his justice.
Oh, happy is that man, that may be a creditor to his Maker! Heaven and earth shall be empty, before he shall want a royal payment. If we dare not trust God while we live, how dare we trust men when we are dead? men, that are still deceitful, and light upon the balance; light of truth, heavy ot' self-love. How many executors have proved the executioners of honest Wills! how many have our eyes seen, that, after most careful choice of trusty guardians, have had their children and goods so disposed, as, if the parent's soul could return to see it, I doubt whether it could be happy! How rare is that man, that prefers not himself to his dear friend! profit; to truth! that will take no vantage of the impossibility of account ! Whatever, therefore, men either shew or promise, happy is that man, that may be his own auditor, supervisor, executor.
As you love God and yourself, be not afraid of being happy too soon. I am not worthy to give so bold advice : let the wise man of Sirach speak for me: “Do good before thou die; and, according to thine ability, stretch out thy hands, and give: Defraud not thyself of thy good day; and let not the portion of thy good desires overpass thee: shalt thou not leave thy travails to another, and thy labours to them that will divide thine heritage?” Or, let a wiser than he, Solomon: Say not, Tomorrow, I will give, if now thou have it: for thou knowest not what a day will bring forth.
It hath been an old rule of liberality, He gives twice, that gives quickly; whereas slow benefits argue uncheerfulness, and lose their worth. Who lingers his receipts, is condemned as unthrifty. He, that knoweth both, saith, It is better to give, than to receive. If we be of the same spirit, why are we hasty in the worse, and slack in the better?
Suffer you yourself, therefore, good Sir, for God's sake, for the Gospel's sake, for the Church's sake, for your soul's sake, to be stirred up by these poor lines, to a resolute and speedy performing of your worthy intentions: and take this as a loving invitation sent from heaven, by an unworthy messenger. You cannot deliberate ong of fit objects for your beneficence; except it be more for multitude, than want: the streets, yea the world is full. How doth Lazarus lie at every door! How many sons of the Prophets, in their meanly-provided Colleges, may say, not, Nors in olla, but fames! How many Churches may justly plead that, which our Saviour bade his disciples, The Lord hath need! And, if this infinite store hatha made your choice doubtful, how easy were it to shew you, wherein you might oblige the whole Church of God to you, and make your memorial both eternal and blessed; or, if you would rather, the whole Commonwealth ?