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all desire, as Balaam did, to die the death of the righteous. But what shall we call a disesteeming, an opposing, or, indeed, a mocking of GOD, if these men do not oppose him, disesteem him, and mock him, that think it enough for God, to ask him forgiveness at leisure, with the remainder and last drawing of a malicious breath? For what do they otherwise, that die this kind of welldying, but say unto God as followeth? We beseech thee, O God, that all the falsehoods, forswearings, and treacheries of our lives past, may be pleasing unto thee; that thou wilt, for our sakes, that have had no leisure to do any thing for thine, change thy nature (though impossible) and forget to be a just GOD, that thou wilt love injuries and oppressions, call ambition, wisdom, and charity, foolishness. For I shall prejudice my son (which I am resolved not to do) if I make restitution, and confess myself to have been unjust (which I am too proud to do) if I deliver the oppressed. Certainly these wise worldlings have either found out a new God, or have made one.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
LET every man value his own wisdom as he pleaseth; let the rich man think all fools that cannot equal his abundance, the revenger esteem all negligent that have not trodden down their opposites, the politician all gross that cannot merchandize their faith; yet, when we once come in sight of the port of death, to which all winds.
drive us, and when, by letting fall that fatal anchor, which can never be weighed again, the navigation of this life takes end: then it is, I say, that our own cogitations (those sad and severe cogitations, formerly beaten from us by our health and felicity) return again, and pay us to the uttermost for all the pleasing passages of our lives past. It is then that we cry out to God for mercy, then, when ourselves can no longer exercise cruelty towards others, and it is only then that we are struck through the soul with this terrible sentence, That God will not be mocked. For if, according to St. Peter, the righteous scarcely be saved, and that God spared not his angels, where shall those appear, who, having served their appetites all their lives, presume to think that the severe commandments of the all-powerful God, were given but in sport, and that the short breath which we draw when death presseth us, if we can but fashion it to the sound of mercy, without any kind of satisfaction or amends, is sufficient.
SIR WALTER RALEGE.
THOUGH our own eyes do every where behold the sudden and resistless assaults of death, and nature assureth us by never failing experience, and reason by infallible demonstration, that our times upon earth have neither certainty nor durability, that our bodies are but the anvils of pain and diseases, and our minds the hives of unnumbered cares, sorrows, and passions, and that
when we are most glorified, we are but those painted posts, against which, Envy and Fortune direct their darts. Yet, such is the true unhappiness of our condition, and the dark ignorance which covereth the eyes of our understanding, that we only prize, pamper, and exalt this vassal and slave of death, and forget altogether, or only remember at our cast-away leisure, the imprisoned immortal soul, which can neither die with the reprobate, nor perish with the mortal parts of virtuous men; seeing God's justice in the one, and his goodness in the other, is exercised for evermore, as the ever living subjects of his reward and punishment.
But when is it that we examine this great account? Never, while we have one vanity left us to spend; we plead for titles till our breath fail us, dig for riches while our strength enableth us, exercise malice while we can revenge, and then, when time hath beaten from us, both youth, pleasure, and health, and that nature itself hateth the house of old age, we remember with Job, that we must go the way from whence we shall not return, and that our bed is made ready for us in the dark. And then, I say, looking over late into the bottom of our conscience, which pleasure and ambition hath lock'd up from us all our lives, we behold therein, the fearful images of our actions past, and withal, this terrible inscription, That God will bring every work into judgment that man hath done under the sun, Eccles. xii. 14.
But what examples have ever moved us? What persuasions reformed us? or, What threatenings made us afraid? We behold other men's tragedies played before us; we hear what is promised and threatened, but the world's bright glory hath put out the eyes of our minds; and these betraying lights with which we only see, do neither look up towards termless joys, nor down towards endless sorrows, till we neither know nor can look for any thing else at the world's hands. But let us not flatter our immortal souls herein, for to neglect God all our lives, and know that we neglect him, to offend God voluntarily, and know that we offend him, casting our hopes on the peace which we trust to make at parting, is no other than a rebellious presumption, and that which is the worst of all, even a contemptuous laughing to scorn and deriding of God, his laws, and precepts. Frustia sperant qui sic misericordia Dei sibi blandiuntur. "They hope in vain (saith Bernard) “ which in this sort flatter themselves with God's "mercy."
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
GOD is he, from whom to depart is to die; to whom to repair is to revive, and in whom to dwell is life for ever. Be not then of the number of those that begin not to live till they be ready to die, and then, after a foe's desert, come to crave of God a friend's entertainment.
Some there be, that think to snatch heaven in
a moment, which the best can scarce attain unto, in the maintenance of many years; and when they have glutted themselves with worldly delights, would jump, from Dive's diet, to Lazarus' crown, from the service of Satan, to the solace of a saint.
But be you well assured that God is not so penurious of friends, as to hold himself and his kingdom saleable for the refuse and reversions of their lives, who have sacrificed the principal thereof to his enemies, and their own brutish lust; then only ceasing to offend when the ability of offending is taken from them.
The young man may die quickly, but the old man cannot live long; the young man's life by casualty may be abridged, but the old man's, by no physic can be long adjourned; and therefore, if green years should sometimes think of the grave, the thoughts of old age should continually dwell in the same.
It is a preposterous kind of policy in any wise conceit, to fight against God till our weapons be blunted, our forces consumed, our limbs impotent, and our best time spent, and then, when we fall for faintness, and have fought ourselves almost dead, to presume on his merey.
It is a strange piece of art, and a very exorbitant course, when the ship is sound, the pilot well, the mariners strong, the gale favourable, and the sea calm, to lie idly at the road, burning so seasonable weather; and when the ship leaketh, the pilot sick, the mariners faint, the storms boisterous, and