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tion so ever assault you, is directly, not beyond, but against Paul's divinity, no less than my assertion is against yours.
The ground of all these errors, in this head of matrimony, is an unworthy conceit of some unchristian filthiness in the marriage-bed. Every man will not utter, but too many hold that conclusion of Jerome: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman ; therefore, to touch her, is evil :" whom, I doubt not, but St. Austin meant to oppose, while he writes *, Bonum, inquam, sunt nuptiæ ; et contra omnes calumnias possunt, sand ratione, defendi : “Marriage, I good thing; and may, by sound proof, be defended against all slanders." Well may man say, that it is good, which God saith is honourable; and both good and honourable must that needs be, which was instituted by the honourable Author of Goodness, in the state of man's perfect goodness. Let us take heed of casting shame upon the ordinance of our Maker. “ But there was no carnal knowledge in Paradise :” but, again, in paradise God said, Increase and multiply: there should have been, if there were not. Those, that were naked without shame, should have been conjoined without shame; because, without sin. “ Meats and drinks, and acts of marriage,” saith Austin t, for these he compares both in lawfulness and necessity, “are, as they are used ; either lawful, venial, or damnable.” Meats are for the preservation of man; marriage acts, for the preservation of mankind : neither of them, without some carnal delight; which yet, if by the bridle of temperance it be held to the proper
and natural use, cannot be termed Just. There is no ordinance of God, which either is of more excellent use, or hath suffered more abuse in all times: the fault is in men, not in marriage: let them rectify themselves, their bed shall be blessed. Here needs no separation from each other, but rather a separation of brutishness and close corruption from the soul; which whosoever hath learned to remove, shall find the crown of matrimonial chas, tity, no less glorious thạn that of single continence.
TO MR. WILLIAM KNIGHT.
Encouraging him to persist in the Holy Calling of the Ministry;
which, upon conceit of his Insufficiency, and want of diffection, he
seemed inclining to forsake and change. I am not more glad to hear from you, than sorry to hear of your discontentment: whereof, as the cause is from yourself, so must the remedy. We scholars are the aptest of all others to make our
+ De bono Conjug. cap. xvi.
+ De bono Conjug. cap, is. &c. xvi.
selves miserable: you might be your own best counsellor, were you but indifferent to yourself. If I could but cure your prejudice, your thoughts would heal you: and, indeed, the same hand, that wounded you, were fittest for this service.
I need not tell you, that your calling is honourable: if you did not think so, you had not complained. It is your unworthiness that troubles
Let me boldly tell you, I know you, in this case, better than yourself: you are never the more unsufficient, because you think so.
If we will be rigorous, Paul's question, tís inavós, will appose us all: but, according to the gracious indulgence of him that calls things which are not as if they were, we are that we are; yea, that we ought; and must be thankful for our any thing. There are none more fearful, than the able; none more bold, than the unworthy. How many have you seen and heard, of weaker graces, (your own heart shall be the judge) which have sat, without paleness or trembling, in that holy chair; and spoken, as if the words had been their own; satisfying themselves, if not the hearers ! And do you, whose gifts many have envied, stand quaking upon the lowest stair? Hath God given you that unusual variety of tongues ; style of arts, a style worth emulation; and, which is worth all, a faithful and honest heart; and do you now shrink back, and say, Send him, by whom thou shouldest send? Give God but what you have: he expects no more: this is enough, to honour bim, and crown you. Take heed, while you complain of want, lest pride shroud itself under the skirts of modesty. "How many are thankful for less ! You have more than the most; yet this contents you not: it is nothing, unless you may equal the best, if not exceed: yea, I fear how this may satisfy you, unless you may think yourself such as you would be. What is this, but to grudge at the Bestower of Graces? I tell you, without fattery, God hath great gains by fewer talents : set your heart to employ these, and your advantage shall be more than your masters.' Neither do now repent you of the unadvisedness of your entrance : God called you to it, upon an eternal deliberation; and meant to make use of your
suddenness, as a means to fetch you into this work, whom more leisure would have found refractory. Full little, did the one Saul think of a kingdom, when he went to seek his father's strays, in the land of Shalishah; or the other Saul of an apostleship, when he went with his commission to Damascus : God thought of both; and effected what they meant not. Thus hath he done to you: acknowledge his hand, and follow it. He found and gave both faculty and opportunity to enter : find you but a will to proceed; I dare promise you abundance of comfort. How many of the Ancients, after a forcible ordination, became not profitable only, but famous in the Church!
But, as if you sought shifts to discourage yourself, when you see you cannot maintain this hold of insufficiency, you fly to Alienation of Affection: in the truth whereof, none can control you, but your own heart; in the justice of it, we both may and must. This plea is not for Christians: we must affect what we ought, in spite of ourselves: wherefore serves religion, if not to make us lords of our own affections? If we must be ruled by our slaves, what good should we do? Can you more dislike your station, than we all naturally distaste goodness ? Shall we neglect the pursuit of virtue, because it pleases not; or rather displease and neglect ourselves, till it may please us ? Let me not ask, whether your affections be estranged, but wherefore? Divinity is a mistress wor. thy your service : all other arts are but drudges to her alone: fools may contemn her, who cannot judge of true intellectual beauty ; but, if they had our eyes, they could not but be ravished with admiration : you have learned, I hope, to contemn their contempt, and to pity injurious ignorance : she hath chosen you as a worthy client, yea, a favourite; and hath honoured you with her commands, and her acceptations : who, but you, would plead strangeness of affection? How many thousands sue to her; and cannot be looked upon! You are happy in her favours, and yet complain; yea so far, as that you have not stuck to think of a change.
No word could have fallen from you more unwelcome. This is Satan's policy, to make us out of love with our callings, that our labours may be unprofitable, and our standing tedious. He knows, that all changes are fruitless; and that while we affect to be other, we must needs be weary of what we are: that there is no success in any endeavour, without pleasure: that there can be no pleasure, where the mind longs after alterations. If you espy not this craft of the common enemy, you are not acquainted with yourself. Under what forın soever it come, repel it; and abhor the first motion of it, as you love your peace, as you hope for your reward. It is the misery of most men, that they cannot see when they are happy; and, while they see but the outside of others' conditions, prefer that, which their experience teaches them afterwards to condemn, not without loss and tears: far be this unstableness from you, which have been so long taught of God. All vocations have their inconveniences; which, if they cannot be avoided, must be digested. The more difficulties, the greater glory. Stand fast therefore; and resolve, that this calling is the best, both in itself and for you: and know, that it cannot stand with your Christian courage, to run away from these incident evils, but to encounter them. Your hand is at the plough: if you meet with some tough clods, that will not easily yield to the share, lay on more strength rather : seek not remedy in your feet, by flight; but, in your hands, by a constant endeavour. Away with this weak timorous. ness, and wrongful humility: Be cheerful and courageous, in this great work of God: the end shall be glorious, yourself happy, and many in you.
THE SIXTH DECADE.
TO MY LORD DENNY.
A particular Account how our Days are, or should be spent, both
coinmon and holy. Every day is a little life; and our whole life is but a day repeated: whence it is, that old Jacob numbers his life by days; and Moses desires to be taught this point of holy arithmetic, To number, not his years, but his days. Those, therefore, that dare lose a day, are dangerously prodigal; those, that dare mis-spend it, desperate. We can best teach others by ourselves : let me tell your
Lord. ship, how I would pass my days, whether common or sacred; that you, or whosoever others over-hearing me, may either approve my thriftiness, or correct my errors. To whom is the account of my hours, either more due, or more known?
All days are his, who gave time a beginning and continuance : yet some he hath made ours; not to command, but to use. In none may we forget him: in some we must forget all, besides him.
First, therefore, I desire to awake at those hours ; not when I will, but when I must : pleasure is not a fit rule for rest, but health: neither do I consult so much with the sun, as mine own necessity; whether of body, or, in that, of the mind. If this vassal could well serve me waking, it should never sleep: but now, it must be pleased, that it may be serviceable.
Now, when sleep is rather driven away than leaves me, I would ever awake with God. My first thoughts are for him, who hath made the night for rest, and the day for travel; and, as he gives, so blesses both. If my heart be early seasoned with his presence, it will savour of him all day after.
While my body is dressing, not with an effeminate curiosity, nor yet with rude neglect; my mind addresses itself to her ensuing task; bethinking what is to be done, and in what order; and marshalling, as it may, my hours with my work.
That done, after some while meditation, I walk up to my masters and companions, my books; and, sitting down amongst them, with the best contentment, I dare not reach forth my hand to salute any of them, till I have first looked up to heaven; and craved favour of him, to whom all my studies are duly referred: without whom, I can neither profit, nor labour. After this, out of no over-great variety, I call forth those, which may best fit my occasions; wherein, I am not too scrupulous of age : sometimes, I put myself to school, to one of those ancients, whom the Church hath honoured with the name of Fathers; whose volumes, I confess not to open, without a secret reverence of their holiness and gravity: sometimes, to those latter Doctors, which want nothing but age to make them classical : always, to God's Book. That day is lost, whereof some hours are not improved in those Divine Monuments : others, I turn over, out of choice; these, out of duty.
Ére I can have sat unto weariness, my family, having now overcome all household distractions, invites me to our common devotions: not without some short preparation.
These heartily performed, send me up, with a more strong and cheerful appetite to my former work, which I find made easy to me, by intermission and variety.
Now therefore can I deceive the hours with change of pleasures, that is, of labours. One while, mine eyes are busied; another while, my hand; and, sometimes, my mind takes the burden from them both : wherein, I would imitate the skilfullest cooks, which make the best dishes with manifold mixtures. One hour is spent in textual divinity; another, in controversy: histories relieve them both. Now, when the mind is weary of other lahours, it begins to undertake her own: sometimes, it meditates and winds up for future use; sometimes, it lays forth her conceits into present discourse; sometimes for itself, ofter for others. Neither know I, whether it works or plays, in these thoughts: I am sure no sport hath more pleasure; no work more use: only the decay of a weak body, makes me think these delights insensibly laborious.
Thus could I, all day, as ringers use, make myself music, with changes; and complain sooner of the day for shortness, than of the business for toil; were it not that this faint monitor interrupts me still in the midst of my busy pleasures, and enforces me both to respite and repast. I must yield to both : while my body and mind are joined together in these unequal couples, the better must follow the weaker.
Before my meals therefore, and after, I let myself loose from all thoughts; and now, would forget that I ever studied. A full mind takes away the body's appetite, no less than a full body makes a dull and unwieldly mind. Company, discourse, recreations, are now seasonable and welcome.
These prepare me for a diet; not gluttonous, but medicinal: the palate may not be pleased, but the stomach ; nor that, for its own sake. Neither would I think any of these comforts worth respect, in themselves; but in their use, in their end: so far, as they may enable me to better things. If I see any dish