« AnteriorContinuar »
Humble thyself, and God will lift thee up :
Those that exalt themselves he casteth down :
The hungry he invites with him to sup;
And clothes the naked with his robe and crown.
Think not thou hast, what thou from him wouldst have :
His labour's lost, if thou thyself canst save.
Pride is the prodigality of grace,
Which casteth all away by griping all :
Humility is thrift, both keeps its place,
And gains by giving, riseth by its fall.
To get by giving, and to lose by keeping,
Is to be sad in mirth, and glad in weeping.
Next to the stile, see where the gate doth stand,
Which, turning upon hooks and hinges may
Easily be shut, or open'd with a hand :
Yet constant to its centre still doth stay;
And fetching a wide compass round about,
Keeps the same course, and distance, never out.
Such must the course be that to heaven tends;
He that the gates of righteousness would enter,
Must still continue constant to his ends,
And fix himself in God, as in his centre.
Cleave close to him by faith, then move which way
Discretion leads thee, and thou shalt not stray.
We never wander, till we loose our hold
Of him that is our way, our light, our guide :
But, when we grow of our own strength too bold,
Unhook'd from him, we quickly turn aside.
He holds us up, whilst in him we are found :
If once we fall from him, we go to ground.
Now view the walls : the Church is compass'd round,
As much for safety, as for ornament:
'Tis an inclosure, and no common ground;
'Tis God's freehold, and but our tenement.
Tenants at will, and yet in tail, we be:
Our children have the same right to't as we.
Remember there must be no gaps left
Where God hath fenced, for fear of false illusions.
God will have all, or none : allows no scope
For sin’s encroachments, or men's own intrusions.
Close binding locks his Laws together fast :
He that plucks out the first, pulls down the last.
Either resolve for all, or else for none;
Obedience universal he doth claim.
Either be wholly his, or all thine own:
At what thou canst not reach, at least take aim :
He that of purpose looks beside the mark,
Might as well hood-wink'd shoot, or in the dark.
LASTLY, consider where the Church doth stand,
As near unto the middle as may be ;
God in his service chiefly doth command
Above all other things sincerity.
Lines drawn from side to side within a round,
Not meeting in the centre, short are found.
Religion must not side with any thing
That swerves from God, or else withdraws from him ;
He that a welcome sacrifice would bring,
Must fetch it from the bottom, not the brim.
A sacred Temple of the Holy Ghost
Each part of man must be, but his heart most.
Hypocrisy in Church is Alchemy,
That casts a golden tincture upon brass :
There is no essence in it: 'tis a lie,
Though, fairly stamp'd, for truth it often pass :
Only the Spirit's aqua regia doth
Discover it to be but painted froth.
Now, ere thou passest further, sit thee down
In the Church-porch, and think what thou hast seen ;
Let due consideration either crown,
Or crush, thy former purposes.
Rash undertakings, and firm resolutions,
Depends the strength, or weakness, of conclusions.
Trace thy steps backward in thy memory :
And first resolve of, what thou heardest last,
Sincerity ; It blots the history
Of all religious actions, and doth blast
The comfort of them, when in them God sees
Nothing but outsides of formalities.
In earnest be religious, trifle not ;
And rather for God's sake, than for thine own :
Thou hast robb’d him, unless that he have got
By giving, if his glory be not grown
Together with thy good : who seeketh more
Himself than God, would make his roof his floor.
Next to sincerity, remember still,
Thou must resolve upon integrity.
God will have all thou hast, thy mind, thy will,
Thy thoughts, thy words, thy works. A nullity
proves, when God, that should have all, doth find That there is any one thing left behind.
And having given him all, thou must receive
All that he gives. Meet his Commandment :
Resolve that thine obedience must not leave,
Until it reach unto the same extent.
For all his Precepts are of equal strength,
And measure thy performance to the length :
Then call to mind that constancy must knit
Thine undertakings and thine actions fast :
He that sets forth towards heaven, and doth sit
Down by the way, will be found short at last.
Be constant to the end, and thou shalt have
A heavenly garland, though an earthly grave.
But he that would be constant, must not take
Religion up by fits and starts alone ;
But his continual practice must it make :
His course must be from end to end but one.
Bones often broken, and knit up again,
Lose of their length, though in their strength they gain.
Lastly, remember that Humility
Must solidate, and keep all close together.
What Pride puffs up with vain futility,
Lies open and exposed to all ill weather.
An empty bubble may
fair colours carry ; But blow upon it, and it will not tarry.
Prize not thine own too high, nor under-rate
Another's worth ; but deal indifferently :
View the defects of thy spiritual state,
And others' graces, with impartial eye.
The more thou deemest of thyself, the less
Esteem of thee will all men else express.
Contract thy lesson now, and this is just
The sum of all. He that desires to see
The face of God, in his Religion must
Sincere, entire, constant, and humble be.
If thus resolved, fear not to proceed :
Else the more haste thou makest, the worse thou'lt speed.
BETWIXT two dangerous rocks, Profaneness on
The one side, on the other Superstition,
How shall I sail secure ?
Lord, be my steersman, hold my helm,
And then though winds with waves o’erwhelm
My sails, I will endure
The bottom of the sea Is safe enough, if thou direct the way.