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which are prosecuted with violence of endeavour or desire, either succeed not, or continue not.
After my later meal, my thoughts are slight; only my memory may be charged with her task, of recalling what was committed to her custody in the day; and my heart is busy in examining my hands and mouth, and all other senses, of that day's behaviour. And now the evening is come, no tradesman doth more carefully take in his wares, clear his shopboard, and shut his windows, than I would shut up my thoughts, and clear my mind. That student shall live miserably, which like a camel lies down under his burden. All this done, calling together my family, we end the day with God.* Thus do we rather drive away the time before us, than follow it. I grant neither is my practice worthy to be exemplary, neither are our callings proportionable. The lives of a nobleman, of a courtier, of a scholar, of a citizen, of a countryman, differ no less than their dispositions; yet must all conspire in honest labour,
Fuller, in his Life of Lord Burleigh, says,—“No man was more pleasant and merry at meals; and he had a pretty wit-rack in himself to make the dumb to speak, to draw speech out of the most sullen and silent guest at his table, to show his disposition in any point he should propound. For foreign intelligence, though he traded sometimes on the stock of Secretary Walsingham, yet wanted he not a plentiful bank of his own. At night when he put off his gown he used to say * Lie there, Lord Treasurer,' and bidding adieu to all state affairs, disposed himself to his quiet rest.” Bacon, in his Essay on Health, says,
- To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat, and sleep, and of exe is one of the best precepts of long lasting.”
Sweet is the destiny of all trades, whether of the brows, or of the mind. God never allowed any man to do nothing. How miserable is the condition of those men, which spend the time as if it were given them, and not lent; as if hours were waste creatures, and such as never should be accounted for; as if God would take this for a good bill of reckoning: Item, spent upon my pleasures forty years!
These men shall once find, that no blood can privilege idleness ; and that nothing is more precious to God, than that which they desire to cast away, time. Such are my common days ; but God's day calls for another respect. The same sun arises on this day, and enlightens it; yet because that Sun of Righteousness arose upon it, and gave a new life unto the world in it, and drew the strength of God's moral precept unto it, therefore justly do we sing with the psalmist; This is the day which the Lord hath made. Now I forget the world, and in a sort myself; and deal with my wonted thoughts, as great men use, who, at some
See, in the Sentimental Journey, the anecdote of Grace,” which concludes thus :-“I thought I beheld Religion mixing in the dance, but as I had never seen her so engaged, I should have looked upon it now, as one of the illusions of an imagination which is eternally misleading me, had not the old man, as soon as the dance was ended, said, that this was their constant way, and that all his life long he had made it a rule, after supper was over, to call out his family to dance and rejoice, believing, he said, that a cheerful and contented mind was the best sort of thanks to heaven that an illiterate peasant could pay. Or a learned prelate either, said I.”
times of their privacy, forbid the access of all suitors. Prayer, meditation, reading, hearing, preaching, singing, good conference, are the businesses of this day, which I dare not bestow on any work, or pleasure, but heavenly.
I hate superstition on the one side, and looseness on the other; but I find it hard to offend in too much devotion, easy in profaneness. The whole week is sanctified by this day;* and according to
* See Burnet's Life of Sir M. Hale, where he says, divided himself between the duties of religion, and the studies of his profession ; in the former he was so regular, that for six and thirty years time, he never once failed going to church on the Lord's day; he took a strict account of his time, of which the reader will best judge, by the scheme he drew for a diary. It is set down in the same simplicity in which he writ it for his own private use. MORNING.–To lift up my heart to God in thankfulness for
renewing my life. EVENING.—Cast up the accounts of the day. If aught amiss,
beg pardon. Gather resolution of more vigilance. If well, bless the mercy and grace of God that hath supported thee.
Locke, in his Conduct of the Understanding, says, “ Besides bis particular calling for the support of his life, every one has a concern in a future life, which he is bound to look after. This engages his thoughts in religion; and here it mightily lies upon him to understand and reason right. Men therefore cannot be excused from understanding the words, and framing the general notions relating to religion right. The one day of seven, besides other days of rest, allows in the christian world time enough for this (had they no other idle hours) if they would but make use of these vacancies from their daily labour, and apply themselves to an improvement of knowledge, with as much diligence as they often do to a great many other things that are useless.
my care of this, is my blessing on the rest. I show your lordship what I would do, and what I ought; I commit my desires to the imitation of the weak; my actions to the censures of the wise and holy; my weaknesses to the pardon and redress of my merciful God.
Our infancy is full of folly : youth, of disorder and toil; age, of infirmity. Each time hath his burden; and that which may justly work our weariness: yet infancy longeth after youth; and youth after more age; and he, that is very old, as he is a child for simplicity, so he would be for
I account old age the best of the three ; partly, for that it hath passed through the folly and disorder of the others ; partly, for that the inconveniences of this are but bodily, with a bettered estate of the mind; and partly, for that it is nearest to dissolution. There is nothing more miserable, than an old man that would be young again. It was an answer worthy the commendations of Petrarch : and that, which argued a mind truly philosophical of him, who, when his friend bemoaned his age appearing in his white temples, telling him he was sorry to see him look so old, replied, “ Nay, be sorry rather, that ever I was young, to be a fool."
If a man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth freely. Therefore, O everlasting wisdom, the maker, redeemer, and governor of all things, let some comfortable beams froin thy great body of heavenly light descend upon us, to illuminate our dark minds and quicken our dead hearts ; to inflame us with ardent love unto thee, and to direct our steps in obedience to thy laws through the gloomy shades of this world into that region of eternal light and bliss where thou reignest in perfect glory and majesty, one God everblessed, world without end. Amen.
KNOWLEDGE IS A SOURCE OF DELIGHT.*
Wisdom of itself is delectable and satisfactory, as it implies a revelation of truth and a detection of error to us. 'Tis like light, pleasant to behold, casting a sprightly lustre, and diffusing a benign influence all about ; presenting a goodly prospect of things to the eyes of our mind; displaying objects in their due shapes, postures, magnitudes, and colours ; quickening our spirits with a comfortable warmth, and disposing our minds to a cheerful activity; dispelling the darkness of ignorance, scattering the mists of doubt, driving away the spectres of delusive fancy; mitigating the cold of sullen
Sermon i. p. 1.