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away19; and therefore am I cast down, that I might not be cast away. Thou couldst take me by the head, as thou didst Abacuc, and carry me so; by a chariot, as thou didst Elijah20, and carry me so; but thou earnest me thine own private way, the way by which thou carriedst thy Son, who first lay upon the earth, and prayed, and then had his exaltation, as himself calls his crucifying, and first descended into hell, and then had his ascension. There is another station (indeed neither are stations, but prostrations) lower than this bed; to-morrow I may be laid one story lower, upon the floor, the face of the earth; and next day another story, in the grave, the womb of the earth. As yet God suspends me between heaven and earth, as a meteor; and I am not in heaven because an earthly body clogs me, and I am not in the earth because a heavenly soul sustains me. And it is thine own law, O God, that if a man be smitten so by another, as that he keep his bed, though he die not, he that hurt him must take care of his healing, and recompense him'1. Thy hand strikes me into this bed; and therefore, if I rise again, thou wilt be my recompense all the days of my life, in making the memory of this sickness beneficial to me; and if my body fall yet lower, thou wilt take my soul out of this bath, and present it to thy Father, washed again, and again, and again, in thine own tears, in thine own sweat, in thine own blood.
OMOST mighty and most merciful God, who, though thou have taken me off of my feet, hast not taken me off of my foundation, which is thyself; who, though thou have removed me from that upright
19 1 Cor. ix. 27. M 2 Kings, ii. 11.
21 Exodus, xxi. 18.
form in which I could stand and see thy throne, the heavens, yet hast not removed from me that light by which I can lie and see thyself; who, though thou have weakened my bodily knees, that they cannot bow to thee, hast yet left me the knees of my heart, which are bowed unto thee evermore. As thou hast made this bed thine altar, make me thy sacrifice; and as thou makest thy Son Christ Jesus the priest, so make me his deacon, to minister to him in a cheerful surrender of my body and soul to thy pleasure, by his hands. I come unto thee, O God, my God, I come unto thee, so as I can come, I come to thee, by embracing thy coming to me, I come in the confidence, and in the application of thy servant David's promise, that thou wilt make all my bed in my sickness22; all my bed; that, which way soever I turn, I may turn to thee; and as I feel thy hand upon all my body, so I may find it upon all my bed, and see all my corrections, and all my refreshings to flow from one, and the same, and all, from thy hand. As thou hast made these feathers thorns, in the sharpness of this sickness, so, Lord, make these thorns feathers again, feathers of thy dove, in the peace of conscience, and in a holy recourse to thine ark, to the instruments of true comfort, in thy institutions and in the ordinances of thy church. Forget my bed, O Lord, as it hath been a bed of sloth, and worse than sloth; take me not, O Lord, at this advantage, to terrify my soul, with saying, Now I have met thee there, where thou hast so often departed from me; but having burnt up that bed, by these vehement heats, and washed that bed in these abundant sweats, make my bed again, O Lord, and enable me, according to thy command, to commune with mine own heart upon my bed, and be still23. To provide a bed for all my former sins 22 Psalm xli. 3. 23 Psalm iv. 4.
whilst I lie upon this bed, and a grave for my sins before I come to my grave; and when I have deposited them in the wounds of thy Son, to rest in that assurance, that my conscience is discharged from further anxiety, and my soul from further danger, and my memory from further calumny. Do this, O Lord, for his sake, who did- and suffered so much, that thou mightest, as well in thy justice as in thy mercy, do it for me, thy Son, our Saviour, Christ Jesus.
IV. Medicusq; Vocatur.
T is too little to call man a little world: except God, man is a diminutive to nothing. Man consists of more pieces, more parts, than the world; than the world doth, nay, than the world is. And if those pieces were extended, and stretched out in man, as they are in the world, man would be the giant, and the world the dwarf; the world but the map, and the man the world. If all the veins in our bodies were extended to rivers, and all the sinews to veins of mines, and all the muscles that lie upon one another, to hills, and all the bones to quarries of stones, and all the other pieces to the proportion of those which correspond to them in the world, the air would be too little for this orb of man to move in, the firmament would be but enough for this star; for, as the whole world hath nothing, to which something in man doth not answer, so hath man many pieces, of which the whole world hath no representation. Enlarge this meditation upon this great world, man, so far as to consider the immensity of the creatures this world produces; our creatures are our thoughts, creatures that are born giants; that reach from east to west, from earth to heaven; that do not only bestride all the sea and land, but span the sun and firmament at once: my thoughts reach all, comprehend all. Inexplicable mystery! I their creator am in a close prison, in a sick bed, any where; and any one of my creatures, my thoughts, is with the sun, and beyond the sun, overtakes the sun, and overgoes the sun in one pace, one step, every where. And then, as the other world produces serpents, and vipers, malignant and venomous creatures, and worms, and caterpillars, that endeavour to devour that world which produces them, and monsters compiled and complicated of divers parents and kinds; so this world, ourselves, produces all these in us, in producing diseases, and sicknesses of all those sorts; venomous and infectious diseases, feeding and consuming diseases, and manifold and entangled diseases, made up of many several ones. And can the other world name so many venomous, so many consuming, so many monstrous creatures, as we can diseases of all these kinds? O miserable abundance, 0 beggarly riches! How much do we lack of having remedies for every disease, when as yet we have not names for them? But we have a Hercules against these giants, these monsters; that is, the physician: he musters up all the forces of the other world to succour this; all nature to relieve man. We have the physician, but we are not the physician. Here we shrink in our proportion, sink in our dignity, in respect of very mean creatures, who are physicians to themselves. The hart that is pursued and wounded, they say, knows an herb, which being eaten, throws off the arrow: a strange kind of vomit. The dog that pursues it, though he be subject to sickness, even proverbially, knows his grass that recovers him. And it may be true, that the drugger is as near to man as to other creatures; it may be that obvious and present c
simples, easy to be had, would cure him; but the apothecary is not so near him, nor the physician so near him, as they two are to other creatures; man hath not that innate instinct, to apply those natural medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have; he is not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back therefore thy meditations again, and bring it down: what is become of man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself, and consumes himself to a handful of dust; what is become of his soaring thoughts, his compassing thoughts, when himself brings himself to the ignorance, to the thoughtlessness, of the grave? His diseases are his own, but the physician is not; he hath them at home, but he must send for the physician.
I HAVE not the righteousness of Job, but I have the desire of Job; I would speak to the Almighty, and I would reason with God1. My God, my God, how soon wouldst thou have me go to the physician, and how far wouldst thou have me go with the physician? I know thou hast made the matter, and the man, and the art; and I go not from thee when I go to the physician. Thou didst not make clothes before there was a shame of the nakedness of the body, but thou didst make physic before there was any grudging of any sickness; for thou didst imprint a medicinal virtue in many simples, even from the beginning; didst thou mean that we should be sick when thou didst so? when thou madest them? No more than thou didst mean, that we should sin, when thou madest us: thou foresawest both, but causedst neither. Thou, Lord, promisest here trees, whose fruit
1 Job, xiii. 3.