THE Soules Harmony.

Written by Nicholas Breton.

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Imprinted at London by S. Stafford, for Randoll Bearkes: And are to be sold at the signe of the white Vnicorne in Popes-head Alley. 1602.

To the right Honourable and vertuous Lady, the Lady Sara Ha­stings, Nicholas Breton wisheth all happinesse in this world, and eternall ioyes hereafter.

RIght Honourable, your zealous loue to diuine studies, hath made the Muses of that Nature, to present your fauour, with the best fruites of their delights, which in the exer­cise of their spirituall Contemplations, haue brought sorth these comfortable Meditations: which bound vp in this little volume, they haue presumed with my seruice, to present to your good Ladyship, be­seeching the same, with that good fauour to accept them, that may vnder heauen be the greatest grace, that they desire vnto them. It is intituled, The [Page] Harmony of the Soule, who in the gracious thoughts of Gods blessing, and humble talke with his mercy, thinkes her selfe halfe in heauen ere shee come there: where, after that you haue passed a happy pilgrimage on this earth, God send you the eternall felicitie of the faithfull.

Your Ladyships in all humblenesse, Nicholas Breton.

The Soules Harmony.

GOD.
GRace in all Glories height,
On whom all Glories waite,
Describes my ioyes conceite.
IESVS.
IOy in the highest of the height of ioy,
Holding the state of the Celestiall story
Eternall life, that doth all deaths destroy,
Sonne to that grace, that makes the Fathers Glory,
Vnmatched Power, in Mercies Princely might:
Such is the substance of my Soules delight.
CHRIST.
CLeere is the Sunne, that doth for euer shine,
Heauenly that light, that giues al eyes their see­ing,
Royal that Crown, which neuer can decline,
Imperious Power, that giues all powers their being.
Such is the Power, the Crown, the Light, the Sun,
That neuer ends where Glory first begun.
MY soules loues life, & lifes loues soules delight,
How highly are thy holy Angels blest,
That in thy grace enioy the glorious sight,
Wherein the summe of all their ioy doeth rest!
What heauenly musike may those Muses sing,
Who set their consorts by thy sacred skill,
And Angels quauers make the Quiere to ring,
While vertues Ayre doe all the voyces fill?
How may those Spirits be with ioyes possest,
That may be rauisht with this Royall sight,
Where Peter sawe, and in his seeing blest
My soules lifes loue, and loues lifes soules delight!
Oh blessed Peter, blest in such a seeing:
Well might he sing, Sweet Lord, here is good being.
O Gracious God, and Lord of mercies might,
VVhy do I liue amid this world of woes?
VVhen euery day doth seeme to me as night,
VVhile sorrowes seeke my Spirites ouerthrowes.
I heare thy word, and would obey thy will,
But want the power, that might performe my due:
I know the good, and fayne would leaue the ill,
And feare the sorrow, that doth sinne ensue:
And yet I fall into that depth of sinne,
That makes me feare the iudgement of thy wrath,
Vntill thy grace doth all my helpe beginne,
To know what comfort, Faith in Mercy hath.
Oh blessed light, that shewes in Mercies eye,
While faith doth liue, that loue can neuer die.
LOrd, when I thinke how I offend thy will,
And know what good is in obedience to it,
And see my hurt, and yet continue still
In doing ill, and cannot leaue to doe it;
And then againe, doe feele that bitter smart,
That inward breeds, of pleasures after payne,
When scarce the thought is entred in my heart,
But it is gone, and sinne gets in againe:
And when, againe, the act of sinne is past,
And that thy grace doth call me backe againe:
Then in my teares I runne to thee as fast,
And of my sinnes, and of my selfe complayne.
What can I doe, but cry, Sweet Iesus, saue me▪
For I am nothing, but what thou wilt haue me.
O Lord that liuest in that life of life,
Which all thou art, and of thy selfe alone:
Whose sacred word is that soules cutting knife,
That doth deuide the marrow from the bone.
O glorious God, of grace and mercy more,
Then heart and soule are able to conceaue,
And seest the teares that mercy doth implore,
And wilt not Faith in feares discomfort leaue.
My God, my Lord, my soules lifes dearest loue,
How so my sinnes haue thy displeasure moued,
Let my soulesteares thy glorious mercy moue,
To make me feele, how faith may be beloued,
That being set from sinne and sorrow free,
I may not cease to sing in praise of thee.
MY heauenly Loue, frō that high throne of thine
Where gracious mercy sits in Glories seat,
In that true pity of thy Power diuine,
That dries the teares, that mercy doe entreat,
Behold, sweet Lord, these bleeding drops of loue,
That melt my soule in sorrow of my sinne,
And let these showres some drops of mercy moue,
That in my griefe my comfort may beginne.
Let not despaire confound my praying hope,
That begs an almes at thy mercies gate:
But let thy grace thy hand of bountie ope,
That comfort yeelds, which neuer comes too late,
That in the cure of my consuming griefe,
My ioyfull soule may sing of thy reliefe.
OH, that my soule were purified so,
It might no more be subiect vnto sin,
And that my care might onely seeke to know,
How humble grace doth mercies loue begin.
Oh, that my thoughts, my words & deeds were such,
As might not swarue from my deare Sauiours will,
And that my truth might neuer haue a tutch
Of false conceit, for to excuse mine ill,
And that this world were vnto me a hell,
But where I see his Saints in their loues seruice,
And I might die, till I might liue to dwell
In some such place, to do some pleasing office,
That he might be, who doth my death destroy ▪
All aboue all, and all in all, my Ioy.
THe worldly prince doeth in his Septer hold
A kind of heauen in his authorities:
The wealthy miser, in his masse of gold,
Makes to his soule a kind of Paradice:
The Epicure, that eates and drinkes all day,
Accounts no Heauen, but in his hellish rowtes:
And she, whose beauty seemes a sunny day,
Makes vp her heauen, but in her babies clowtes.
But, my sweete God, I seeke no Princes power,
No misers wealth, nor beauties fading glosse,
VVhich pāper sin, whose sweetes are inward sowre,
And sorry gaynes, that breed the Spirits losse.
No, my deare Lord, let my Heauen onely bee
In my Louesseruice, but to liue to thee.
O God, forgiue the greatnesse of my finne:
I am not worthy to implore thy Grace,
The loathsome stinke, that I lie tumbling in,
With filthy shame hath couered all my face.
I haue deseru'd the depth of all thine ire,
To know thy will, yet wilfully offend,
My soule deserues, in the infernall fire,
To feele the torments that shall neuer end.
But Lord, thy mercy is aboue thy wrath,
Thou doest not ioy, to see a sinners death,
And true repentance in thy mercie hath
The blessed food, that giues the spirit breath,
Where praying hope, in heart can perish neuer.
While humble faith doth liue in ioy for euer.
WHat is the gold of all this world? but drosse;
The ioy, but sorrow, and the pleasure, payne,
The wealth, but beggery, & the gayne but losse,
The wit, but folly, and the vertue vayne;
The power, but weakenesse, and but death the life,
The hope, but feare, and the assurance dout,
The trust, deceit, the concord but a strife,
VVhere one conceit doth put another out;
Time but an instant, and the vse a toyle,
The knowledge, blindnesse, & the care a madnesse,
The siluer, lead, the diamond, but a foyle,
The rest, but trouble, and the mirth but sadnesse.
Thus since to heauen compar'd, the earth is such,
What thing is man, to loue the world so much?
OH, would man thinke but on that world of ioy,
Which in the heauens the chosen shall receiue,
And then againe, vpon this worlds annoy,
VVhere hellish baytes the wicked do deceiue!
Would he but looke vpon the Angels graces,
The Paradises of their heauenly pleasures,
And then, vpon the deuils ougly faces,
VVith all their torments endles without measures!
VVould men thus make a differēce in their minds,
Twixt light and darkenesse, and the day, and night,
Then would sinne die, that with illusion blinds
The eye of nature from her blessed sight,
And man would loue the good, & hate the euill
And honour God, and tread vpon the deuill.
SOme heauenly Muse come helpe me sing,
In Glorie of my heauenly King:
And from some holy Angels wing,
Where Graces doe for feathers spring,
Oh bring my hand one blessed Pen,
To write beyond the reach of men:
Let all the subiect be of Grace,
Where Mercy set in Glories place,
Doth stand before that shining face,
That makes all other beauty base:
That Heauen and earth may see the wonder,
That puts all worths and wonders vnder:
Let Vertues onely set the grounds,
VVhere Grace but all of Glory sounds,
VVhile Mercie heales the spirits wounds:
VVhere faith the feare of death confounds:
That heauen and earth may ioy to heare,
The Musike of the Angels queere.
Oh tell the world, no world can tell,
How that Ioy doth all ioyes excell,
VVhere blessed soules set free from hell,
In Mercy do with Glory dwell,
And with the Saint, and Angels sing,
In glory of their heauenly King:
Sinke not a note beneath the sence,
Of Glories highest excellence,
And keepe vnto that onely Tence,
VVhere heauens haue all their honour thence:
That Seraphins may clap their wings,
To heare how Grace, of Glory sings.
Oh, let the Sunne in brightnes shine,
And neuer let the Moone decline,
And euery starre his light refine,
Before that blessed light diuine:
Of whome, in whom, from whom alone,
They haue their shining euery one.
Let all the Azure skie be cleare,
And not a mistie cloud come neere,
But all that brightest light appeare,
Where Angels make their merrie cheere,
And all the troope of heauens may see,
Where all the ioyes of heauen may be.
Let Phoebus in his brightnes stay:
And driue the darkesome nights away,
And Virgins, Saints, and Angels play,
While Martyres keepe high holy-day:
And all the hoast of heauen accord,
To sing in glory of the Lord.
Let all the yeere be Summers spring,
And Nightingales all Birds that sing,
And all the fruites that grow or spring,
Be brought vnto this glorious King,
VVith all their colours and their sweetes,
Before his feete to strow the streetes:
Let hony-dewes perfume the ayre,
That all may be both sweet and fayre,
That may with Mercies leaue repayre,
Vnto the seate of Glories Chayre:
That euery thing may fitting fall,
Vnto the Glory of them all.
Let all the hearts, the soules, the mindes,
That wisdome vnto vertue bindes,
And breedes but of those blessed kindes,
That gracious loue in glory findes,
Agree together all in one,
To glorifie our God alone.
And when they all in turne are set,
And in their swettest musike met,
And highest skill the note hath fet,
Where grace may highest glory get;
My rauisht soule in mercy then,
May haue but leaue to sing, Amen.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

PRayse, in the highest of the height of prayse,
Strayne vp thy heart vnto thy spirits note,
There, [...] the worth, where all thy wonder stayes,
Write to the wits of all the world to quote:
Tell them, oh tell them, that thou canst not tell,
What grace and glory thy deare God deserueth,
Whose Excellence all excellence doth excell,
While him alone, all excellency serueth.
Life, loue, trueth, power, grace, pity, bounty, glory,
Health, comfort, wisdome, vertue, mercy, peace;
These in the state of the celestiall story,
Doe sound the glory that shall neuer cease,
Whose holy prayses to more height arise,
Then earth or heauen, or Angels can deuise:

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

O That my heart could hit vpon a strayne,
Would strike the musike of my soules desire:
Or that my soule could find that sacred vayne,
That sets the consort of the Angels Quiere:
Or that that Spirit of especiall grace,
That cannot stowpe beneath the state of heauen,
Within my soule would take his setled place,
With Angels Ens, to make his glory euen.
Then should the name of my most gracious King,
And glorious God, in higher tunes bee sounded,
Of heauenly prayse, then earth hath power to sing,
Where heauen & earth, & Angels are confounded.
And soules may sing while all heart-strings are broken,
His praise is more, then can in praise be spoken.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

WHen Iob had lost his children, lands & goods,
Patience did kill the poyson of his payne:
And when his sorrowes came as fast as floods,
Hope kept his heart, till comfortes came agayne.
When Dauids life by Saul was often sought,
And worlds of crosses compast him about,
Yet was his spirit neuer ouer-wrought,
But in his woes, hope still did helpe him out.
When the sore Cripple by the poole did lye,
Full many a yeere in misery and payne,
His heart on Christ no sooner set his eye,
But teares mou'd grace, and he was well agayne.
No Iob, nor Dauid, Cripple more in griefe:
Christ giue me patience, and my hope reliefe.
FINIS.

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