תמונות בעמוד

darkness and light are both troublesome; and those things which are pleasant, are often unwholesome. Sweet smells make the head ache, and those smells which are medicinal in some diseases, are intolerable to the sense. The pleasures of our body are bigger in expectation, than in the possession; and yet, while they are expected, they torment us with the delay, and when they are enjoyed, they are as if they were not; they abuse us with their vanity, and vex us with their volatile and fugitive nature. Our pains are very frequent alone, and very often mingled with pleasures to spoil them; and he that feels one sharp pain, feels not all the pleasures of the world, if they were in his power to have them. We live a precarious life, begging help of every thing, and, needing the repairs of every day, and being beholden to beasts and birds, to plants and trees, to dirt and stones, to the very excrements of beasts, and that which dogs and horses throw forth. Our motion is slow and dull, heavy and uneasy; we cannot move but we are quickly tired, and for every day's labour, we need a whole night to recruit our lost strengths; we live like a lamp,-unless new materials be perpetually poured in, we live no longer than a fly; and our motion is not otherwise than a clock; we must be pulled up once or twice in twenty-four hours; and unless we be in the shadow of death for six or eight hours every night, we shall be scarce in the shadows of life the other sixteen. Heat and cold are both our enemies; and yet the one always dwells within, and the other dwells round about us. The chances and contingences that trouble us, are no more to be numbered than the minutes of eternity. The devil often hurts us, and men hurt each other oftener, and we are perpetually doing mischief to ourselves. The stars do in their courses fight against some nien, and all the elements against every man; the heavens send evil influences, the very beasts are dangerous, and the air wę suck in, does corrupt our lungs: many are deformed, and blind, and ill coloured; and yet upon the most beauteous face is placed one of the worst sinks of the body; and we are forced to pass that through our mouths oftentimes, which our eye and our stomach hate. Pliny did wittily and elegantly represent this state of evil things : “ Itaque feliciter homo natus jacet inanibus pedibusque devinçtis, flens, ani

s Lib. 6. Proæm.

'mal cæteris imperaturum, et à suppliciis vitam auspicatur, unam tantum ob culpam, quia natum est:” “A man is born happily, but at first he lies bound hand and foot by impotency, and cannot stir; the creature weeps

that born to rule over all other creatures, and begins his life with punishments, for no fault, but that he was born."-In short; the body is a region of diseases, of sorrow, and nastiness, and weakness, and temptation. Here is cause enough of being humbled.

Neither is it better in the soul of man, where ignorance dwells and passion rules. Μετα γαρ τον θάνατον και πολύς παSwv clona.sev ļouós: “After death came in, there entered also a swarm of passions.”-And the will obeys every thing but God'. Our judgment is often abused in matters of sense, and one faculty guesses at truth by confuting another; and the error of the eye is corrected by something of reason or a former experience. Our fancy is often abused, and yet creates things of itself, by tying desperate things together, that can cohere no more than music and a cable, than meat and syllogisms: and yet this alone does many times make credibilities in the understandings. Our memories are so frail, that they need instruments of recollection, and laborious artifices to help them; and in the use of these artifices sometimes we forget the meaning of those instruments : ,and of those millions of sins which we have committed, we scarce remember so many as to make us sorrowful, or ashamed. Our judgments are baffled with every sophism, and we change our opinion with a wind, and are confident against truth, but in love with error. We use to reprove one error by another, and lose truth while we contend too earnestly for it. Infinite opinions there are in matters of religion, and most men are confident, and most are deceived in many things, and all in some; and those few that are not confident, have only reason enough to suspect their own reason. We do not know our own bodies, not what is within us, nor what ails us when we are sick, nor whereof we are made; nay, we oftentimes can: not tell what we think, or believe, or love. We desire and hate the sanie thing, speak against and run after it. We resolve, and then consider; we bind ourselves, and then find causes why we ought not to be bound, and want not some pretences to make ourselves believe we are not bound. Pre

· Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habepas. Georg. 1, 514,

judice and interest are our two great motives of believing; we weigh deeper what is extrinsical to a question, than what is in its nature; and oftener regard who speaks, than what is said. The diseases of our soul are infinite; Trv ảvopuntiav φύσιν, αρχήθεν από των θείων αγαθών ανοήτως εξολισθήσασαν, ή πολυπαθεστάτη ζωή διαδέχεται, και του φθοροποιού θανάτου πέpac, said Dionysius" of Athens : "Mankind of old fell from those good things which God gave him, and now is fallen into a life of passion, and a state of death."-In sum; it follows the temper or distemper of the body, and sailing by such a compass, and being carried in so rotten a vessel, especially being empty, or filled with lightness, and ignorance, and mistakes, it must needs be exposed to the dangers and miseries of every storm; which I choose to represent in the words of Cicero: “Ex humanæ vitæ erroribus et ærumnis fit, ut verum sit illud quod est apud Aristotelem,--sic noștros animos cum corporibus copulatos, ut vivos cum mortuis esse conjunctos:” “The soul joined with the body, is like the conjunction of the living and the dead; the dead are not quickened by it, but the living are afflicted and die *.”

But then if we consider what our spirit is, we have l'eason to lie down flat upon our faces, and confess God's glory and our own shame. When it is at the best, it is but willing, but can do nothing without the miracle of grace. Our spirit is hindered by the body, and cannot rise up whither it properly tends, with those great weights upon it. It is foolish and improvident ; large in desires, and narrow. in abilities; naturally curious in trifles, and inquisitive after vanities; but neither understands deeply, nor affectionately relishes the things of God; pleased with forms, cozened with pretences, satisfied with shadows, incurious of substances and realities. It is quick enough to find doubts, and when the doubts are satisfied, it raises scruples, that is, it is restless after it is put to sleep, and will be troubled in despite of all arguments of peace. It is incredibly negligent of matters of religion, and most solicitous and troubled in the things of the world. We love ourselves, and despise others; judging most unjust sentences, and by peevish and cross measures; covetousness and ambition, gain and empire, are the proportions by which we take account of things. We hate to be governed by others,

u Eccles. Hier. c. 3. part 3

* In Hortens.

even when we cannot dress ourselyes; and to be forbidden to do or have a thing, is the best art in the world to make us greedy of it. The flesh and the spirit perpetually are at strife'; the spirit pretending that his ought to be the dominion, and the flesh alleging that this is her state, and her day. We hate our present condition, and know not how to better ourselves, our changes being but like the tumblings and tossings in a fever, from trouble to trouble, that is all the variety. We are extremely inconstant, and always hate our own choice: we despair sometimes of God's mercies, and are confident in our own follies ; as we order things, we cannot avoid little sins, and do not avoid great ones.

We love the present world, though it be good for nothing, and undervalue infinite treasures, if they be not to be had till the day of recompenses. We are peevish, if a servant does but break a glass, and patient when we have thrown an ill cast for eternity; throwing away the hopes of a glorious crown, for wine, and dirty silver. We know that our prayers, if well done, are great advantages to our state, and yet we are hardly brought to them, and love not to stay at then, and wander while we are saying them, and say them without minding, and are glad when they are done, or when we have a reasonable excuse to omit them. A passion does quite overturn all our purposes, and all our principles, and there are certain times of weakness in which any temptation may prevail, if it comes in that unlucky minute.

84. This is a little representment of the state of man; whereof a great part is a natural impotency, and the other is brought in by our own folly. Concerning the first when we discourse, it is as if one describes the condition of a mole, or a bat, an oyster, or a mushroom, concerning whose imperfections, no other cause cause is to be inquired of, but the will of God, who gives his gifts as he please, and is unjust to no man, by giving or not giving any certain proportion of good things : and supposing this loss was brought first upon Adam, and so descended upon us, yet we have no cause to complain, for we lost nothing that was ours. “Præposterum est,” said Paulus the lawyer, “ antè nos locupletes dici quàm acquisiverimus." We cannot be said to lose what we never

Ο Πάντη και έναντιότης εν τοις φανερούς και εν τοίς κρυπτούς, από της παραβάσεως του πρώτου ανθρώπου, εις ημάς κατήντησεν. Macar. nom. 21.

had; and our fathers' goods were not to descend upon us, unless they were his at his death. If therefore they be confiscated before his death, ours indeed is the inconvenience too, but his alone is the punishment, and to neither of us is

the wrong

But concerning the second, I mean that which is superinduced, it is not his fault alone, nor ours alone, and neither of us is innocent; we all put in our accursed symbol for the debauching of our spirits, for the besotting our souls, for the spoiling our bodies. “Ille initium induxit debiti, nos fænus auximus posterioribus peccatis,” &c. “He began the principal, and we have increased the interest ?."— This we also find well expressed by Justin Martyr; for the fathers of the first ages spake prudently and temperately in this article, as in other things. “Christ was not born or crucified because himself had need of these things, but for the sake of mankind;" “Ο από του 'Αδάμ υπό θάνατον και πλάνην την τού όφεως επεπσώκει, παρά την ιδίαν αιτίαν εκάστου αυτών πονηρευσαμένου ; * which from Adam fell into death and the deception of the serpent, besides the evil which every one adds upon his own account '.”-And it appears in the greatest instance of all, even in that of natural death; which though it was natural, yet from Adam it began to be a curse, just as the motion of a serpent upon his belly, which was concreated with him, yet upon this story was changed into a malediction and an evil adjunct. But though Adam was the gate, and brought in the head of death, yet our sins brought him in further, we brought in ‘the body of death. Our life was left by Adam a thousand years long almost; but the iniquity of man brought it quickly to five hundred years, from thence to two hundred and fifty, from thence to one hundred and twenty, and at last to seventy, and then God would no more strike all mankind in the same manner, but individuals and single sinners smart for it, and are cut off in their youth, and do not live out half their days. And so it is in the malters of the soul and the spirit. Every sin leaves an evil upon the soul; and every age grows worse, and adds some iniquity of its own to the former examples. And therefore Tertullian calls Adam mali traducem ;' he transmitted the original and exemplar,' and we write after his copy.-- Infir? St. Chrys. in cap. 6. Ephes.

a Dial. cum Trypli.

« הקודםהמשך »