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A64744 Flores solitudinis certaine rare and elegant pieces, viz. ... / collected in his sicknesse and retirement by Henry Vaughan. Nieremberg, Juan Eusebio, 1595-1658. Two excellent discourses.; Eucherius, Saint, fl. 410-449. De contemptu mundi. English.; Vaughan, Henry, 1622-1695. 1654 (1654) Wing V121; ESTC R35226 150,915 376

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still and the incertainty as well as the certainty of it This divine devise of death so pleased God and was so necessary for the good of man that though by the merits of his dying Son he changed all the former things blotting out ordinances abolishing Ceremonies opening the gates of Heaven to all believers yet would not he Exterminate death It was out of his mercy that he refused to abrogate it that while corruption reigned death also might reign over it lest this poyson should want its Antidote We have therefore no just cause to complain of death which is an Invention conducing to our great good and the incertainty of the time though it most vexeth us is notwithstanding the most beneficial Circumstance that attends it The time of life is certainly known there is but one entrance to the light of this World The Ceremony of dying is not formal It keeps not to one time nor one manner but admits of all times and many manners Life comes into the World but one way but hath many waies to go out It was the benevolence of God to open so many doors to those that flye for refuge One way is more then enough to find out dangers but to escape them many are but necessary Death is not a burthen of seaven or nine monthes but life must have time before it sets forth And what are the first encounters of it Tears ●nd Bonds It cannot avoyd Evills and it is afeared to bear them therefore it delaies time and when it cannot lurk any longer it comes forth Crying Death leads us forth to joy and liberty Therefore it stayes not it seeks no corners nor protractions Nor doth death free us onely from suffering Evills but keeps us also from doing any To be good every day thou m●st dye dayly The incertainty also of the time of death and the manner of it like a busie Monitour warnes thee to do good and to be good at all times and in every place private or publick And the inevitablen●sse of it takes away all Excuse or pretensions for thy impreparation The Glory of death is also much augmented by its facility in redressing the difficulties of life It is not without the Divine counsel and a speciall priviledge that the Soule of man is so easily parted from the body the life of beasts is more tenacious and will suffer much indignitie and fury before it leaves them There is n● living creature more fraile none more weak then man the lightest str●ake fells him the Soul is very nice and will quickly cast off the body if it persists but in the least Indisposition A single hair killed Fabius and a Grape Anacreon these contemptible instruments destroy'd them as effectually as the thunderbolt did Esculapius Coma dyed as easily as he could wish and Baptist a Mirandulus as he could think His Soule quitted his body without any grudging without a disease without poyson without violence or any fatall mischance No door can keep death out it defeats life with its own weapons and kills us with the very Cordials and comforts of it Perhap● no kind of death is more violent then th●● which sets upon us with the forces o● l●●e because it kills when life is most vigorous and pleasant Their owne wishes have destroyed many And life hath oftentimes perished by her own contrivements Clidemus was killed with honour Diagoras with joy Plato with rest and Philemon with laughter This last is both a merry and a frequent destroyer and freed Sicily from one Tyrant Death also makes use sometimes of our very virtues to exanimate us Shame killed Diodorus and the Mother of Secundus the Philosopher dyed with blushing and an excessive modestie Life is a fraile possession it is a flower that requires not rude and high winds but will fall in the very whispers and blandishments of fair weather It is folly to labour to retain that which wil away to fly from that which will meet us every where yea in the way we fly is a vain and foolish industry Whither we seek death or avoyd it it will find us out Our way to fly and our very flight end both in death by hasting from it we make hast to it Life is a journey whose end cannot be mist it is a steady ayming at dissolution Though we fetch wide Compasses and traverse our way never so often we can neither lengthen it nor be out of it What path soever we take it is the Port-roade to death Though youth and age are two distant Tropicks of life yet death is as near to the one as to the other And though some live more and some lesse yet death is their equal neighbour and will visit the young as soon as the old Death is a Crosse to which many waies leade some direct and others winding but all meet in one Center It matters not which thou takest nor whither thou art young or aged But if thou beest young thou maist come sooner thither then the old who is both doting and weary It was necessary that a Sanctuary being provided for the distressed the way to it should be easie pervious and at an indifferent distance from all parts Good should be diffusive and the gate that leads to it must be without doors and bolts The entrance into this life is narrow and difficult it is difficultly attained difficultly retained and lyes alwaies in the power of another Every man may take life from us none can take death Life is subject to the Tyranny of men but death is not life makes Tyrants and death unmakes them Death is the slaves prerogative ●oyall and the Sabbath of the afflicted Leo Iconomachus the Emperor made the birth of both sexes tributary but death never paid taxation It was not lawfull in his reigne to get Children without paying for them every Infant so soon as borne was to give him contribution they paid then the Excise of life Death onely frees us from these Impositions of Tyrants And wilt thou then condemn liberty and that maturity of death by which it ripens every age wilt thou the divine liberality blame because thy life is short or may be so thou hast no reason to find fault with the years already given thee because thou shalt not have more thou mayst as well quarrel with Nature because she made not thy dimensions larger and thy body heavier by eighty or a hundred pounds he that measured thy proportion measured thy time too and too much of this last would have been as troublesome and unweildy as too much of the first for Long life opprest with many woes Meets more the further still it goes Death in every age is seasonable beneficial and desirable It frees the old man from misery the youthfull from sin and the infant from both It takes the aged in the fullnesse of their time It turnes the flowers of youth into fruit and by a compendious secret improvement matures infancy leading it into the Gate of Heaven
when it cannot go one step upon Earth and giving it the wings of a Dove to flye and be at rest before it can use its feet To these past arguments of the goodnesse of death I shall adde another Death in the old world before the manifestation of God in the flesh was the publick index or open signe of hidden divinity It is the gift of God who gives nothing but what is good The Divell playing the Ape and labouring to imitate the Inimitable Jehovah did by asserting death to be the greatest good mainly fortifie those abominable rites and honours conferred upon him by his blind worshipers When they petitioned him for the greatest blessing that the Gods could give to man he by the permission of the true God whom they had deserted would within three daies strangle them in their beds or use some other invisible meanes to set an end to their daies Thus he served Triphonius Agamedes and Argia for her three Sons This miserable mother requested of him that hee would give the best thing to her children that could be given to men her petition was granted and within a very short time they received that which she thought to be the worst namely death So great is the ods betwixt seeming to be and being really betwixt opinion and truth yea that death which we judge to be the worst I meane the immature is oftentimes the best What greater good had deckt great Pompey's Crown Then death if in his honours fully blown And mature glories he had dyed those piles Of huge successe lowd fame lofty stiles Built in his active youth long lazie life Saw quite demolished by ambitious strife He lived to weare the weake and melting snow Of lucklesse Age where garlands seldom grow But by repining fate torne from the head Which were them once are on another shed Neither could I ever grant that the death of Infants and Children though commonly bewail'd as unseasonable were the parents misfortunes but the courtesies rather and mercies of the almighty To omit Amphiaraus and other Ethnick instances I shall make use of a true and Christian History which in these later years was the great admiration of King Philips Court. Didacus Vergara a most noble hopefull ●outh adorned with all those vertues which ●eautifie a blooming life was famous in the mouths of all good men and as deare in their hearts But what was the reward thinkest thou of his virtuous life An immature and almost a sudden death So that it is not to be doubted but it was a divine favour Being to go into bed he spoke to his sister O what manner of night will this be unto me I beseech you deare sister furnish me with some candles and leave one to burn by me Abought midnight he suddenly called so that all the familie was awaked and got up to whom he told that he should dye that night and desired them to send presently for his Confessour They all imagined that he had been troubled with some dream especially his Father a most renowned Physitian when he felt his pulse to beate well and orderly But notwithstanding all this they omitted not to send for his Confessour who was Gasper Pedroza He as if touched with some Divine presension was at that dead time of the night awake and being come to the sorrowfull Father he told him that Didacus was expected in another World before day that the Virgin-Q●eene of Heaven had revealed so much to him and that hee would be gone as soon as the Sacraments could be administred unto him It fell out just so For those sacred sol●mnities were no sooner ended but he was dissolved as if he had stayed onely for that spirituall refection to strengthen him in his Journey He left this dark and low World towards the first breakin gs of the day and ascending to eternity upon the wings of the morning He might have past from thence with lesser noise and in a shorter time but he expired more solemnly then so and yet without weary accessions and the Tyranny of sicknesse He stayed for the saving institutions of his redeemer the businesse that detain'd him so long was Heaven and not the tumults of a tyring and obstinate dissolution all this proves it to have been the hand of God and not an unfortunate sudden death the precise Actions of the deity must be attended with unusuall circumstances Whome God doth take care for and love He dies young here to live above There is room enough for life within the compasse of few years if they be not cast away Think not that to last long and to live long is the same thing every one that hath stayd long upon earth hath not lived long Some men find fault with death because no experiment can be made of it without an absolute dissolution they would dye twice to trye what kind of state it is that they may be fitly furnished against the second time when they must dye in earnest But this is madness and were it granted them the good they pretend would not be performed For he that will cast away one life without preparing for death wil not fear to hazard another desperate malefactors will take no warning by r●prieves Besides what benefit would there be by dying twice seeing that of necessity they must live twice too and so be twice miserable if not twice impious It is strange that these men who fear death and adjudge it to be evill should desire to have it doubled and that which by their good will they would not tast once they will beg to chew and swallow downe twice whereas if death were an Evill it would be so much the lesser by comming but once The miseries of life are nothing so civill they are instant importunate and outragious they will reinforce themselves and set upon us twice or thrice yea a thousand times Death is more modest she wearies us not as long as wee are well When our disorders have turned the harmony of life into discord and noise then shee comes to cast those murmurers asleep and to give the Soul peace He is no troublesome guest that comes but once But it were a great happinesse thou wilt say if men did experimentally know what it is to dye Truely this Felicity is not wanting Death is a most admirable ingenious Excogitation Though we dye but once yet do not we dye at once We may make yea we do make many assaies or tryals of dying Death insinuates it selfe and seizeth upon us by peecemeals it gives us a tast of it self It is the Cronie or Consort of life So soon as we begin to be w●e begin to wast and vanish we cannot ascend to life without descending towards death Nay we begin to dye before we appeare to live the perfect shape of the Infant is the death of the Embryo childhood is the death of Infancie youth of Childhood Manhood of youth and old age of Manhood When we are arrived at this last
overwhelme thee Of such an Immoderate use is Temperance and I Judge Patience to be of no lesser Happily it may be easier for having learnt to abstain we may the better sustain Impatience ariseth naturally out of Cupidity and feare is the Daughter of hope Cast these away and you will find that an adverse Fortune may be entertained not onely with Patience but with much wellcome Crates or Zeno a gallant man if either of the two being at Sea in a great storm caus'd all his goods wherewith the Ship was Loaden to be thrown over board and thanked Fortune for the kindnesse doe thou the like and approving of thy misfortunes say It is well done Fortune thou hast read me a good lesson thou hast had care of my Soul I thank thee that thou art Come thy selfe to fetch these burthens which I should have brought thee home Thou hast dealt courteously to lend me their use and to prevent their Abuse I like thy Method and prefer thy advise to thy favours I know thy meaning I must make a wise use of these crosses I must have recourse to virtue to my self and to my God Thou dost not onely Incite but compell me to goodnesse I am brought safe to shore by the splitting of the Ship hereafter I will be better provided Behold thou hast left yet behind thee some moveables which thou shouldst have taken with thee they are thine by right Thou gavest me so many things that thou canst not well remember them I desire not to conceale them take all thy Reliques and appendencies with thee all that is here besides my selfe I hold thy leavings not worthy of acceptance from the mind of man I wish that we would so deal with Fortune as a certain old man did with theeves that came to rob his house Take with you said he all that you see here They did so leaving nothing behind them but an empty purse which the old man tooke up and following after called to them Take this also with you which you forgot to put up Fortune perhaps amazed at such a Noble Serene disposition would restore all It is most certaine the Theeves did But let a Christian reject this figment of Fortune and in all worldly mutations acknowledge and kisse the divine hand But if after all this thou wilt not excuse the outward and ravenous manners of Fortune there will be no Just cause for thee to accuse them having received no damage by her If thou wilt purge thy mind from wishes and hopes thou mayst safely place thy selfe before her very Arrowes and defie them And truly I believe it will be thy most secure station When Stratonicus saw an unskilfull fellow shooting at Buts he got presently close to the VVhite as the onely place free from danger and being asked his reason for that unusual Refuge he answered Least that fellow should hit me Fortune we say is blind stand then in her way She hits that the least which she most aimes at but if all her shafts should fall upon thee they can draw no blood from thee as long as thou art not drawn by covetousnesse If you break off the point of the Weapon it cannot hurt you Our own Covetousnesse is Fortunes edged toole take that away and you disarme her and secure your selfe blunt weapons wound not to blood I suppose now that Epictetus his abridgement or reduction of Philosophy into two words Abstain and Sustain will seeme prolix enough to you The first we have past through the second and last I meane Sustain or the Art of bearing well wee shall find tedious enough Hee cannot be said to wish for nothing that finds fault with that which he hath This bearing well is to desire nothing but what wee have A Serene bright Will then not clouded with thick and muddy desires will find the burdens of Fortune to be very light For Fortune of her selfe is very light and easie but she hath for pannels our own Lusts which are heavier than her packs and without these shee puts not one loade upon us Nothing tires and weighs us down but our own wishes which evills being ignorant that our burthen proceedes from them we multiply with an Intent to ease our selves but in the meane time the weight increaseth A certain plain Countryman wearied with ploughing and returning home from the field after his daies task tyed the Plough to his Asse and afterwards mounted himself upon his back but the tyred Asse and overloaden could not stirre from the place whereupon the Country-man lights and with the Plough upon his backe remounting the Asse tells him Now I hope thou canst goe well for it is not thou but I that carry the Plough Wee are every day as ridiculous though not so harmlesse as this Country-man Wee study with new cares and new desires to ease and diminish our old lusts which not onely keepes under but choaks and presseth to death all the seeds of Joy and Content This is nothing else but to retain the former load undiminish'd and to put another on the top of it As long as we tolerate these burthens we become intollerable to our selves without any exaggeration of Fortune Let us shake them off let us cast off hope that troublesome Tympany so shall we find Fotune light and be able to bear both her and our selves All things may be born of him that bears not future Evills Those are grievous burthens which miraculously oppresse us and so strangly accommodate themselves to our hurt that they exist in the heart and vexe it before they can exist in time Not onely Evil but Good when it is hovering and uncertain doth afflict us Of Evills themselves there cannot come so many together upon us as we can feare fortune can throw at us but few darts at one time and were she not still furnished by our lusts we should quickly see her quiver empty Abstinence then or the restraining of our desires is the Nurserie of patience by a like title as the toleration of evill and good But when I name Patience I speake not of a Simple thing for there is not onely patience in Evill but in Good also and this later is sometimes the most difficult There is one when we suffer and another when we act There be also other divisions of Patience Holy Ephrem makes it threefold the first towards god the second towards the tempter or wicked Angel and the third towards man I shall add a fourth and the most difficult of all towards our selves or I will make it onely twofold first towards those that are without us the second and last towards our selves or those commotions which fight against us from within This last is the greatest because it teacheth us to beare those pressures which lean upon us and bow us down It is harder to resist those weights which come forcibly upon us from above then those which come oppositly or over against us The beasts can draw more after them then they
turning life out of doors before her lease was out and had not Ptolomie by a special Edict silenced his Doctrine he had robbed him of more subjects then ever War or the Plague could have taken from him Before the blessed Jesus had made his entrance through the veile and opened the way to heaven the reward of righteousnesse and sanctity was long life the peculiar blessing of the Pa●riarchs It was a favour then not to appear before perfect purity a Judge of infinite and all-seeing brightnesse without an Advocate or friend to speak for us in the strength and heat of irregular youthfulnesse when not so much as time had subdued or reformed the affections but now b●cause Christ is gone thither before and hath provided a place for us the greatest blessing and highest reward of holynesse is short life and an unseasonable or a violent death For those harsh Epithets which are but the inventions of fearfull and sinful livers are swallowed up of immort●lity an unspeakable heavenly happinesse which crowns and overflowes all those that dye in Christ Wee consider not those blessings which death leads us to and therefore it is that we so frequently approve of our most frivolous wordly wishes and sit weeping under the burthens of life because we have not more laid upon us A certain groundlesse suspition that death is evill will not suffer us to believe it to be good though the troubles of life make us complement and wish for it every day This foolish fear and inconstancy of man Locmannus one of the most antient Sages of Persia and admitted also into the Society of the Arabian Magi hath pleasantly demonstrated in the person of an Old man loaded ●ith a gr●at burthen of Wood which having quite tyred him he threw down and called for death to come and ease him Hee had no sooner called but death which seldome comes so quickly to those that call for it in earnest presently appeared and demands the reason why he called I did call thee said he to help me to lift this burthen oft wood upon my back which just now fell off So much are we in love with miseries that we fear to exchange them with true happiness we do so doate upon them that we long to resume them again after wee have once shaked them off being either faithlesse and wavering or else forgetfull of those future joyes which cannot be had without the funerall and the death of our present sorrowes What man distrest with hunger if hee sate upon some Barren and Rockie bank bounded with a deep River where nothing could be expected but Famine or the Fury of wild beasts and saw beyond that stream a most secure and pleasant Paradise stored with all kinds of bearing Trees whose yielding boughes were adorned and plenteously furnished with most fair and delicate fruites If it were told him that a little below there was a boate or a bridge to passe over would refuse that secure conveyance or be affeard to commit himself to the calm and perspicuous streames choosing rather to starve upon the brink then to passe over and be relieved O foolish men For Gold which is digged out of the Suburbs of Hell we trust our selves to the raging and unstable Seas guarded with a few planks and a little pitch where onely a Tree as Aratus faith is the partition betwixt death and us And after many rough disputes with violent perills and the fight ●f so many more wee perish in the unhappy acquisition of false happinesse the Sea either resisting or else punishing our covetousnesse But to passe into our Heavenly Country into the bosome and embraces of Divinity into a Realm where Fortune reigns not wee dare not so much as think of it Who after long banishment and a tedious pilgrimage being now come near to his native Country and the house of his Father where his Parents his brethren and friends expect him with longing would then turn back and choose to wander again when he might have joy when he might have rest God the Father expects us the blessed Jesus expects us the mild and mourning Dove doth long and grone for us The holy Virgin-mother the Angells our friends and the Saints our kindred are all ready to receive us It is through death that wee must passe unto them Why grieve we then yea why rejoyce wee not to have this passage opened But let us grant that death were not inevitable yea that it were in the power of man and that every one had a particular prerogative given him over destinie So that this greatest Necessity were the greatest freedome yea that man could not dye though he desired death Yet in this very state would hee be troubled with Fortune and Hope He would be a fool that would not venture to dye to enjoy true felicity That would choose rather to live alwaies in the changeable state of most unchangeable and lasting miseries then to put an end to them all by dying once It is madnesse to feare death which if it reigned not upon the Earth wee would both desire and pray for It was wisely adjudged by Zaleucus that death ought to be publickly proclaimed though men had been immortall Had death been arbitrary and at every mans pleasure I believe we had esteemed it as desireable as any other joy now because it is Imperial and above us let it not seem too much if wee grant it to be tollerable It was absurdly said by on● that death was a necessary Evill and ought therefore to be patiently born His Inference was good though from a bad Principle Death is rather a necessary good And if necessity makes Evils to be tolerable there is more reason it should make good so Death because it is good should be made much of and wee should rejoyce that it is necessary because that makes it certain How great a good is that by which it is necessary that we be not miserable Which frees the captive without ransome dismisseth the oppressed without the consent of the oppressour brings home the banished in spite of the banisher and heal●s the sicke without the pain of Physick Which mends all that Fortune marred which is most just which repaires and makes even all the disorders and inequalities made by time and chance which is the blessed necessity that takes away necessary Evills He had erred less● if he had mentioned a necessity of bearing life patiently whose more proper definition that sorry proverbe is for it casts us into necessary Evills against our will and is the cause that wee willfully meddle with Evills that are unnecessary It is a discreet method of nature that infuseth the Soules into the body in such a state that is not sensible of their captivity lest they should murmur at the decrees of the great Archiplast What wise man that were neare the terme of his appointed time if he were offered to have life renew'd would consent to be born again to be shut up in flesh
body Wee should therefore as often as wee breath remember death when we shall breath our last when the Spirit shall returne unto him that gave it Our whole life is nothing else but a repeated resemblance of our last expiration by the emission of our breath we doe retaine it and as I may say spin it out God gave it not continual and even like fluent streames or the calme and unwearied Emanations of light but refracted and shifting to shew us that we are not permanent but transitory and that the Spirit of life is but a Celestial Gale lent us for a time that by using it well we may secure it Eternally Another Hermetist adviseth us Adorare relliquias ventorum to make much of and to honour our Soules which are the breathings and last dispensations of the still fruitful and liberal creator This we can never do but by a frequent study of our dissolution and the frailty of the body Of such an effectuall goodness is death that it makes men good before it comes and makes sure of Eternity by a virtuous disposing of time Thinke not that evill which sends from so far the beams of its goodnesse There is no good liver but is a debtor to death by whose lendings and premunitions we are furnished and fitted for another world The certainty of it and the incertainty of the time and manner which is the onely circumstance that seemes to offend us if it were seriously considered deserves to be the most pleasing acceptable for amongst all the wondrous Ordinances of Divine providence there is none more Excellent for the Government of man then death being so wisely disposed of that in the height of incertainty it comprehends and manifests an infallible certainty God would have us to be alwaies good to keepe in his likenesse and Image Therfore it is his will that we should be alwaies uncertaine of our most certain death Such is his care of us lest the knowledge of a long life and a late death should encourage us to multiply our transgressions as the notice of a swift dissolution might dishearten and astonish us But being left now in a possibility of either we are taught to live soberly and to expect the time of our change in all holynesse and watchfullnesse The possibility of dying shortly doth lessen the cares of life and makes the difficulties of Virtue easie Bondage and Slavery if it be but short is to those that suffer it the lighter by so much And a large allowance of time makes us slow to Virtue but a short portion quickens us and the incertainty of that very shortnesse makes us certaine to be good For who would weep and vexe himself for worldly provisions if he certainly knew that he should live but one month and how dares he laugh or be negligent of his Salvation that knowes not whither hee shall live to see one day more yea one hour The incertainty of death makes us suspect life and that suspition keepes us from sinning The world was never fouler nor more filled with abominations then when life was longest when abused Nature required an Expiation by waters and the generall submersion of her detestable defilers Theophrastus did unjustly to raile at Nature and condemne her of partiality when he envyed the long life of some plants and inferiour creatures as the Oake the Hart the Ravens some of which live to feed and flye up and down in the World above five hundred years He quarrelled with the wise dispensations of Divinity because a slight suite of feathers and a renew'd dresse of greene leaves could weare out a building that lodged a rationall Soul and the breath of the Almighty Both his wish and his reason were erroneous He erred in desiring long life and in judging happinesse to consist in the multitude of yeares and not the number of good workes The shortnesse of life is lengthned by living well When life was reckond by centuries the innumerable sins of the living so offended God that it repented him to have made impenitent man Those that sinned out of confidence of life he punished with sudden destruction That long liv'd generation had made the world unclean and being polluted by their lives it was purged by their deaths He shorten'd afterwards the lease of life reducing it to an hundred and twenty years that by the diligence of frequent death he might reform the past disorders of long life and prevent them for the future teaching both sexes to amend their lives by giving them death for their next neighbours So beneficiall is death so much profits the certainty of it and as much the incertainty The ignorance of the day of death is in effect the same with the knowledge of it the first makes us watch lest it come upon us unawares and the last though it might name the day to us yet could it not arme us better against it perhaps not so well This incertainty of dying certainly secures us from many errors it makes us prudent provident and not evill Death therefore is a device of the Almighty and a wise instrument of divine policy Zaleucus so highly approved of it that he was about to enact and proclaime a Law for dying had he not found it already published by the edict of Nature And in his Preface to those Laws made for the Locrenses he warns them 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 c. To have alwayes before their eyes that time which is to every one the end of life because a hearty repentance for all former injuries seiseth upon all men that thinke of death and an earnest desire or wishing that all their actions in life had been just Wherefore it is expedient that in all our dealings and thoughts death should act a part and be our familiar counsellor ever present with us so shall we be carefull to doe all things virtuously and justly Death then is most necessary to govern mankinde because the memory of it keeps us in awe and conformable to virtue All Commonwealths that follow the method of Nature must approve of this Law of Zaleucus and death in all their consultations should guide their lives Certainly in the Government of the rebellious Generation of Man Death hath been the most awfull Engine of the Deity without this stern he guided them not When man was immortall God saw it necessary to preserve his immortality by death he injoyned the Law of Abstinence to Adam under the penalty of dying which is continued still by the same artifice of death lest iniquities should be immortall wickedness should escape punishment by the patience and submission of his only Son to death he restored dead men to life he conferred upon him all his lost honours renewd and confirmed his old prerogative and together with the salvation of his Soule gave him a sure promise that his body allso should be made Immortal but in all these favours and after full reconciliation he would not remove death but continued it
stage if we stay any long time in it and pay not the debt we owe death requires interest she takes his hearing from one his sight from another and from some she takes both The extent and end of all things touch their beginning neither doth the last minute of life do any thing else but finish what the first began We may know also what death is by the apparition or Image of it We see it and make tryal of it assiduously we cannot act life one day but wee must act death at night Life is a Terrace-walke with an Arbour at one end where we repose and dream over our past perambulations This lesser rest shewes us the greater the Soule watcheth when wee sleepe and Conscience in the Just as well as the unjust will be ruminating on the works of life when the body is turned into dust Sleepe is nothing else but death painted in a night-peece it is a prelibation of that deepe slumber out of which we shall not be awaked untill the Heavens be no more We go to bed under a Scene of Stars and darknesse but when we awake we find Heaven changed and one great luminary giving light to all We dye in the state of corruption errours and mistinesse But wee shall be raised in glory and perfection when these clouds of blacknesse that are carried about with diverse winds and every Enemy of truth shall vanish for ever and God alone shall be all in all We affect sleepe naturally it is the reparation of man a laying by of cares The Coppy cannot match the pattern if we love sleep then why should wee hate the Idaea of it why should we feare death whose shadow refresheth us which nature never made nor meant to fright us with It was her intention to strengthen our hope of dying by giving us the fruition of this resemblance of death lest we should grow impatient with delay she favour'd us with this shadow and Image of it as Ladies comfort themselves with the pictures of their absent lovers There is no part of life without some portion of death as dreames cannot happen without sleepe so life cannot be without death As sleepe is said to be the shadow of death So I think dreams to be the shadowes of life for nothing deceives us more frequent then it When we shal be raised from death we shal not grieve so much because the joys of life were not real as because there were none at all It was said by one that he had rather dream of being tormented in Hell then glorified in Paradise for being awaked he should rejoyce to find himselfe in a soft featherbed and not in a lake of unquenchable fire But having dreamt of Heaven it would grieve him that it was not reall Paracelsus writes that the watching of the body is the sleep of the Soul and that the day was made for Corporeall Actions but the night is the working-time of Spirits Contrary natures run contrary courses Bodies having no inherent light of their own make use of this outward light but Spirits need it not Sun-beams cannot stumble nor go out of their way Death frees them from this dark Lantern of flesh Heraclitus used to say that men were both dead and alive both when they dyed and when they lived when they lived their Soules were dead and when they dyed their Soules revived Life then is the death of the Soule and the life of the body But death is the life of the Soule and the death of the body I shall return now to prosecute the Commendations of death because it comes but once Death like the Phoenix is onely one lest any should be ill That which comes but once is with most longing looked for and with most welcome entertained That poor man the owner of one Ewe nourished her in his bosome she did eate of his meat and drank out of his Cup as Nathan exemplified The Father that hath but one Son hath more cares then he that hath many so should we be more carefull to provide for death which comes but once then for the numerous and daily calamities of life By providing for that one wee turne the rest all into so many joyes Whatsoever is rare whatsoever is pretious it is single and but one There is nothing so rare nothing that is comparable to a good death But it is not the universality or diffusivenesse of it that makes it so but the contempt and the subduing of it h●s death is most pretious by whom death is contemned Dissolution is not a meere merit but a debt we owe to nature which the most unwilling must pay That wisedome which can make destiny to be her servant which can turne necessity into virtue Mortality into Immortality and the debt we owe to nature into a just right and Title to eternall glory is very great What greater advantage can there be then to make Heaven due to us by being indebted to nature and to oblige Divinity by paying a temporal debt Clemens called them Golden men who dyed thus that is to say when it was necessary to dye They made necessity their free will when either the publick liberty the prerogative of reason or the word of God called for their sufferings For though death be a debt due to Nature yet in these causes Nature doth willingly resigne her right and God becomes the Creditor If we pay it unto him before the time of pure resolution Nature is better pleased with that anticipation then if we kept our set day He is the best debtour that paies before the time of payment The day of payment by the Covenant of Nature is old age but the good man paies before the day If the noblenesse of thy mind will not incite thee to such a forward satisfaction let the desire of gaine move thee for the sooner thou payest the more thou dost oblige Hee that suffers an immature death for the good of his Country for the sacred lawes or the vindication of the truth of God and not for his owne vain glory doth free himselfe from the Natural debt and doth at the same time make God his debtour and all mankind To a man that dyes thus all men are indebted God owes him for the Cause and men for the effect The last doth at least set us an example and the first improves the faith and gives life to Charity Adde to this that this great good of a passive death is a voluntary imitation of the Son of God who laid down his life for the life of the World And it is also done without our industry this great virtue this glorious perfection requires not our care and activity to bring it about This death is most pretious and the best because it is executed by others and not by ourselves To suffer death not to dye is glorious If prisoners break their chaines it is neither their glory nor their security but augments their Guilt and hastens their condemnation So