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OFT have I wish'd a traveller to be:
Mine eyes did even itch the sights to see,
That I had heard and read of. Oft I have
Been greedy of occasion, as the grave,
That never says, enough ; yet still was crost,
When opportunities had promised most.
At last I said, What mean'st thou, wandering elf,
To straggle thus? Go travel first thyself.
Thy little world can show thee wonders great :
The greater may have more, but not more neat
And curious pieces. Search, and thou shalt find
Enough to talk of. If thou wilt, thy mind
Europe supplies, and Asia thy will,
And Afric thine affections. And if still
Thou list to travel further, put thy senses
For both the Indies. Make no more pretences
Of new discoveries, whilst yet thine own,
And nearest, little world is still unknown.
Away then with thy quadrants, compasses,
Globes, tables, cards, and maps, and minute glasses :
Lay by thy journals, and thy diaries,
Close up thine annals, and thine histories.
Study thyself, and read what thou hast writ
In thine own book, thy conscience. Is it fit
To labour after other knowledge so,
And thine own nearest, dearest, self not know?
Travels abroad both dear and dangerous are,
Whilst oft the soul pays for the body's fare:
Travels at home are cheap, and safe. Salvation
Comes mounted on the wings of meditation.
He that doth live at home, and learns to know
God and himself
, needeth no further go.
LIFE is a journey. From our mothers' wombs,
As houses, we set out : and in our tombs,
As inns, we rest, till it be time to rise.
'Twixt rocks and gulfs our narrow foot-path lies :
Haughty presumption and hell-deep despair
Make our way dangerous, though seeming fair.
The world, with its enticements sleek and sly,
Slabbers our steps, and makes them slippery.
The flesh, with its corruptions, clogs our feet,
And burdens us with loads of lusts unmeet.
The devil, where we tread, doth spread his snares,
And with temptations takes us unawares.
Our footsteps are our thoughts, our words, our works :
These carry us along; in these there lurks
Envy, lust, avarice, ambition,
The crooked turnings to perdition.
One while we creep amongst the thorny brakes
Of worldly profits; and the devil takes
Delight to see us pierce ourselves with sorrow
To-day, by thinking what may be to-morrow.
Another while we wade, and wallow in
Puddles of pleasure : and we never lin1
Daubing ourselves, with dirty damn'd delights,
Till self-begotten pain our pleasure frights.
Sometimes we scramble to get up the banks
Of icy honour; and we break our ranks
To step before our fellows; though, they say,
He soonest tireth, that still leads the way.
Sometimes, when others justle and provoke us,
We stir that dust ourselves, that serves to choke us ;
And raise those tempests of contention, which
Blow us beside the way into the ditch.
Our minds should be our guides; but they are blind :
Our wills outrun our wits, or lag behind.
Our furious passions, like unbridled jades,
Hurry us headlong to the infernal shades.
If God be not our guide, our guard, our friend,
Eternal death will be our journey's end.
Men often find, when Nature's at a stand,
And hath in vain tried all her utmost strength,
That Art, her Ape, can reach her out a hand,
To piece her powers with to a full length.
And may not Grace have means enough in store
Wherewith to do as much as that, and more?
She may: she hath engines of every kind,
To work, what Art and Nature, when they view,
Stupendous miracles of wonder find,
And yet must needs acknowledge to be true ;
So far transcending all their power and might,
That they amazed stand even at the sight.
Take but three instances; Faith, Hope, and Love.
Souls help'd by the perspective glass of Faith
Are able to perceive what is above
The reach of Reason : yea, the Scripture saith,
Even him that is invisible behold,
And future things, as if they'd been of old.
Faith looks into the secret Cabinet
Of God's eternal Counsels, and doth see
Such mysteries of glory there, as set
Believing hearts on longing, till they be
Transform’d to the same image, and appear
So altered, as if themselves were there.
Faith can raise earth to heaven, or draw down
Heaven to earth, make both extremes to meet.
Felicity and misery, can crown
Reproach with honour, season sour with sweet.
Nothing's impossible to Faith : a man
May do all things that he believes he can.
Hope founded upon Faith can raise the heart
Above itself in expectation
Of what the soul desireth for its part:
Then, when its time of transmigration
Is delay'd longest, yet as patiently
To wait, as if 'twere answer'd by and by.
When grief unwieldy grows, Hope can abate
The bulk to what proportion it will :
So that a large circumference of late
A little centre shall not reach to fill.
Nor that, which giant-like before did strout, 1
Be able with a pigmy's pace to hold out.
Hope can disperse the thickest clouds of night,
That fear hath overspread the soul withal ;
And make the darkest shadows shine as bright
As the Sunbeams spread on a silver wall.
Sin-shaken souls Hope anchor-like holds steady,
When storm and tempests make them more than giddy.
Love led by Faith, and fed with Hope, is able
To travel through the world's wide wilderness ;
And burdens seeming most intolerable
Both to take up, and bear with cheerfulness.
To do, or suffer, what appears in sight
Extremely heavy, Love will make most light.
Yea, what by men is done, or suffered,
Either for God, or else for one another,
Though in itself it be much blemished
With many imperfections, which smother,
And drown, the worth, and weight of it; yet, fall
What will, or can, Love makes amends for all.
Love doth unite, and knit, both make, and keep
Things one together, which were otherwise,
Or would be both diverse, and distant. Deep,
High, long, and broad, or whatsoever size
Eternity is of, or happiness,
Love comprehends it all, be’t more or less.
Give me this threefold cord of graces then,
Faith, Hope, and Love, let them possess mine heart,
And gladly I'll resign to other men
All I can claim by Nature or by Art.
To mount a soul, and make it still stand stable,
These are alone Engines incomparable.