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selves, with their tongues they faintly deny it and with their faces strongly affirm it.
Self-praising comes most naturally from a man when it comes most violently from him in his own defense. For though mod. esty bind a man's tongue to the peace in this point, yet, being assaulted in his credit, he may stand upon his guard, and then he doth not so much praise as purge himself. One braved a gentleman to his face that in skill and valor he came far behind him. «'Tis true," said the other, «for when I fought with you, you ran away before me.” In such a case it was well returned, and without any just aspersion of pride.
He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, a saint; that boasteth of it, a devil. Yet some glory in their shame, counting the stains of sin the best complexion for their souls. These men make me believe it may be true what Mandeville writes of the Isle of Somabarre, in the East Indies, that all the nobility thereof brand their faces with a hot iron in token of honor.
He that boasts of sins never committed is a double devil. Some, who would sooner creep into a scabbard than draw a sword, boast of their robberies, to usurp the esteem of valor; whereas, first let them be well whipped for their lying, and as they like that, let them come afterward and entitle themselves to the gallows.
Complete. From the “Holy State.»
LOTHES are for necessity; warm clothes for health; cleanly for
decency; lasting for thrift; and rich for magnificence. Now
there may be a fault in their number, if too various; making, if too vain; matter, if too costly; and mind of the wearer, if he take pride therein. We come, therefore, to some general directions.
It is chargeable vanity to be constantly clothed above one's purse or place. I say constantly, for perchance sometimes it may be dispensed with. A great man, who himself was very plain in apparel, checked a gentleman for being overfine; who modestly answered, “Your lordship hath better clothes at home, and I have worse.” But, sure, no plea can be made when this luxury is grown to be ordinary. It was an arrogant act of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, when King John had given his courtiers rich liveries, to ape the lion, gave his servants the like, wherewith the king was not a little offended But what shall we say to the riot of our age, wherein (as peacocks are more gay than the eagle himself) subjects are grown braver than their sovereign ?
'Tis beneath a wise man always to wear clothes beneath men of his rank. True, there is a state sometimes in decent plainness. When a wealthy lord at a great solemnity had the plainest apparel, «Oh!” said one, “if you had marked it well, his suit had the richest pockets." Yet it argues no wisdom in clothes, always to stoop beneath his condition. When Antisthenes saw Socrates in a torn coat, he showed a hole thereof to the people, « And 10! » quoth he, « through this I see his pride.”
He shows a light gravity who loves to be an exception from a general fashion. For the received custom in the place where we live is the most competent judge of decency; from which we must not appeal to our own opinion. When the French courtiers, mourning for their king, Henry II., had worn cloth a whole year, all silks became so vile in every man's eyes, that, if any were seen to wear them, he was presently accounted a mechanic or country fellow.
It is folly for one, Proteus-like, never to appear twice in one shape. Had some of our gallants been with the Israelites in the wilderness, when for forty years their clothes waxed not old, they would have been vexed, though their clothes were whole, to have been so long in one fashion. Yet here I must confess I understand not what is reported of Fulgentius, that he used the same garment winter and summer, and never altered his clothes, etiam in sacris peragendis.
He that is proud of the rustlings of his silks, like a madman, laughs at the rattling of his fetters. For, indeed, clothes ought to be our remembrancers of our lost innocency. Besides, why should any brag of what's but borrowed ? Should the ostrich snatch off the gallant's feather, the beaver his hat, the goat his gloves, the sheep his suit, the silkworm his stockings, and neat his shoes (to strip him no further than modesty will give leave), he would be left in a cold condition. And yet it is more pardonable to be proud, even of cleanly rags, than (as many are) of affected slovenness. The one is proud of a molehill, the other of a dunghill.
To conclude, sumptuary laws in this land to reduce apparel to a set standard of price and fashion, according to the several states of men, have long been wished, but are little to be hoped for. Some think private men's superfluity is a necessary evil in a state; the floating of fashions affording a standing maintenance to many thousands which otherwise would be at a loss for a livelihood, - men maintaining more by their pride than by their charity.
Complete. From the Holy State.”
THERE goes a tradition of Ovid, that famous poet (receiving
some countenance from his own confession), that when his
father was about to beat him for following the pleasant but profitless study of poetry, he, under correction, promised his father never to make a verse, and made a verse in his very promise. Probably the same in sense, but certainly more elegant for composure, than this verse which common credulity hath taken up:—
"Parce precor, genitor, posthac non versificabo."
“Father, on me pity take,
Verses I no more will make.” When I so solemnly promise my Heavenly Father to sin no more, I sin in my very promise; my weak prayers made to procure my pardon increase my guiltiness. Oh, the dullness and deadness of my heart therein! I say my prayers as the Jews eat the Passover,-in haste. And whereas in bodily actions motion is the cause of heat; clean contrary, the more speed I make in my prayers the colder I am in my devotion.
Number XI. complete. First Series of
« Personal Meditations.”
ALL FOR THE PRESENT
THERE is a pernicious humor, of a catching nature, wherewith
the mouths of many, and hearts of more, are infected.
Some there are that are so covetous to see the settlement of Church and State according to their own desires, that if it be not done in our days, say they, we care not whether it be done at all or no.
Such men's souls live in a lane, having weak heads and narrow hearts, their faith being little, and charity less, being all for themselves and nothing for posterity. These men, living in India, would prove ill commonwealth's-men, and would lay no foundation for porcelain or china dishes, because despairing to reap benefit thereby, as not ripened to perfection in a hundred years.
Oh! give me that good man's gracious temper, who earnestly desired the prosperity of the Church, whatsoever became of himself, whose verses I will offer to translate:
« Seu me terra tegit, seu vastum contegit æquor;
Exoptata piis sæcula fausta precor.”
« Buried in earth, or drowned in the main,
Eat up by worms or fishes;
For happy times their wishes.” And if we ourselves, with aged Barzillai, be superannuated to behold the happy establishment of Church and State, may we, dying in faith, though not having received the promises, bequeath the certain reversions of our Chimhams,- I mean the next generation which shall rise up after us. Number XXII. complete. Second Series of «Mixed Contemplations on These
I HAVE heard the Royal party (would I could say without any I cause) complained of, that they have not charity enough for
converts, who came off unto them from the opposite side; who, though they express a sense of and sorrow for their mistakes, and have given testimony, though perchance not so plain and public as others expected, of their sincerity, yet still they are suspected as unsound; and such as frown not on, look but asquint at them.
This hath done much mischief, and retarded the return of many to their side; for had these their van couriers been but kindly entertained, possibly ere now their whole army had come over unto us, which now are disheartened by the cold welcome of these converts.
Let this fault be mended for the future, that such proselytes may meet with nothing to discourage, all things to comfort and content them.
Let us give them not only the right hand of fellowship, but even the upper hand of superiority. One asked a mother who had brought up many children to a marriageable age, what art she used to breed up so numerous an issue; “None other,” said she, «save only, I always made the most of the youngest.” Let the Benjamins ever be darlings, and the last born, whose eyes were newest opened with the sight of their errors, be treated with the greatest affection. Number XXIII. complete. Second Series of «Mixed Contemplations on These
Twilight is a great blessing of God to mankind; for, should
midnight into morning, so sudden a surprisal would blind us. God, therefore, of his goodness, hath made the intermediate twilight to prepare our eyes for the reception of the light.
Such is his dealing with our English nation. We were lately in the midnight of misery. It was questionable whether the law should first draw up the will and testament of dying divinity, or divinity first make a funeral sermon for expiring law. Violence stood ready to invade our property, heresies and schisms to oppress religion.
Blessed be God, we are now brought into a better condition, yea, we are past the equilibrium; the beam beginning to break on the better side, and our hopes to have the mastery of our despairs. God grant this twilight may prove crepusculum matutinum, forerunning the rising of the sun, and increase of our happiness. Number XXV. complete. Second Series of «Mixed Contemplations on These