THE SCHOOL of PATIENCE.

Written in Latin By H. DREXELIUS And Faithfully translated into English by R. S. Gent.

London. By Thomas Harper 1640.

Viro sorti Prov: [...] 25.V.32

‘Melior est Patiens’

PATIENTIA JOB

FORTITUDO SAMSON

THE SCHOOL OF PATIENCE.

Written in Latin by H. DREXELIUS.

And faithfully translated into English, by R. S. Gent.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Harper, M. DC. XL.

TO THE RIGHT Honourable Lady, G. O. C. K.

MADAM,

I Never had the happinesse per­sonally to see, or present my service to your Honour, yet so much have I heard of your vertue, specially this of Patience, that I pre­sume, amongst all the Ladies of this Kingdome to choose you sole Patronesse of this School of Patience; of which booke [Page] the famous Drexelius may well chalenge himself Authour, I nought else but the errours. In this Scool, Madam, all we mor­tals, from the highest to the lowest, must of necessity be Scholars; not to suffer, were not to live. Then, as the kid in the fable breaking from the al­tar, when its fellows were sa­crificed, and falling afterward amongst a heard of wolves cri­ed out; why not rather to the Gods? So we Christians, sith suffer needs we must, why not rather for God, for him who suffered first for us, then for him who goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour? If patiently and willingly we suffer, the labour's [Page] lesse, the reward greater; if un­patiently and unwillingly, the labour more, the reward none at all, but contrariwise eternall punishment. All the art then and mastery is, not to be too dissolute in prosperity, nor dif­fident, or impatient in adversi­ty; this skill is learnd by Pati­ence, the precepts and rules whereof this booke declares; which would not presume to shew it self in publike, without the honour of your Ladiships protection; To whom I likewise recommend the most dutifull respects of

Your Honours most humble servant R. S.

THE AVTHOVRS EPISTLE TO THE well-wishing Reader.

MY desire (gen­tle Reader) is, to teach thee Patience, but compendious­ly. I must confesse I was unwilling to undertake this Subject, which perhaps may seeme strange, and move thee to aske this question: [Page] Is it not copious enough? Yes indeed is it; and this very reason had almost per­swaded me not to meddle with it. It is too copious, too abundant, insomuch that I knew not what first, what last to treat of: and, beleeve me, there is no Subject, whereupon I could more enlarge my selfe. I have had long since a world of mat­ter for it, so that I could with as much facility, al­most, have written great vo­lumes, as small and lesser bookes. But I more regard the benefit and utility of my Reader, then the bulke and ostentation of the work. Shouldest thou read much [Page] and consider little, forget the beginning before thou commest to the end, what would all this availe thee? In very truth, a copious and fl [...]unting discourse, will helpe but little to the com­mendation of Patience. For this respect I have contai­ned my booke within this compasse and strict limits, written but little, but me­thodically & succinctly, the better to helpe my Readers memory, illustrate his un­derstanding, and incite his will. I may well say I have rather selected, then colle­cted the contents of this booke. And perhaps, if God spare me life and health, I [Page] may publish more hereaf­ter: meane while accept these for a taste. Farewell my good Reader, and com­pose thy selfe to Patience, a thing of all others the most necessary.

IN some few Copies this fault hath escaped, viz. Saint Thomas More, for Sir Thomas More, pag. 520. lin. 24. Other escapes are not many; all which (courteous Reader) you may please to pardon and correct.

A small Table upon the School of Patience.

The first part.

  • VVHat kindes of punish­ments, or what crosses are to be suffered in the School of Patience. Chap. 1.
  • Why scholars in the schoole of Christ are so hardly and sharpely handled. Chap. 2.
  • Why some scholars are so sharply and hardly entreated in this schoole. Chap. 3.
  • Five kindes of punishments and afflictions are severally expressed. Chap. 4.
  • Other five kindes of afflicti­ons [Page] are particularly explica­ted. Chap. 5.
  • What faults are chiefly to be avoided in the Schoole of Pa­tience. Chap. 6.

The second part.

  • Affliction teacheth men to be couragious and faithfull. Chap. 1.
  • Affliction teacheth commise­ration and abstinence. Chap. 2.
  • Affliction teacheth prayer and mortification. Chap. 3.
  • Affliction teacheth prudence and modesty. Chap. 4.
  • Affliction for divers respects is very profitable, and for the most part that which harmeth, warneth. Chap. 5
  • [Page]All afflictions are from God whosoever he be that impo­seth them. Chap. 6.

The third part.

  • That afflictions are to be indu­red patiently. Chap. 1.
  • That afflictions are to be un­dergone cheerfully. Chap. 2.
  • That afflictions are to be borne constantly. Chap. 3.
  • That afflictions are to be en­dured with thankes giving. Chap. 4.
  • That afflictions are to be en­tred into with premeditati­on. Chap. 5.
  • That afflictions are to be suf­fered with conformity of mans will to Gods. Chap. 6.

The School of PATIENCE.

The First Part.

CHAPTER I. What punishment, or what crosses are to be endured, in the Schoole of patience.

VPon a time, the oak (being shattered and weather-bea­ten) began in a familiar maner to discourse with the reed. The subject [Page 2] of his speech was his own calamity: for the malignity of fortune together with his disasters had made him clo­quent. Look on me neighbour (said the oak) and thou shalt behold the mirror of misfortune. I hardly retain the moiety of my self, I am so shaken and miserably torn in pieces: thus have the boistrous winds handled me. But what (I pray thee) shall I more admire? thy safety, or mine own ru­in? there is no comparison between thy strength and mine. The eie of a­ny man may witnesse, that I am a thousand times stronger then a hun­dred, yea then a thousand reeds; not­withstanding being assaulted by vio­lent and stormy winds, I seem to have no strength at all; but am shaken, torn, broken, and puld up by the roots. In the mean time thou findest occasi­ons to delude these impetuous winds, fightst with a hollow & empty trunck, ever victorious, still triumphant; whilest we (vast giants) are soon van­quished. How comes this to passe? The reed that had learned to be silent and reserved, forbearing a long while to interrupt the oake, at last replied in this manner: There is no reason [Page 3] (good neighbour said she) why you should wonder at this: your strength is the sole cause of your destruction; if that were lesse, you (safe and sound) would flourish. You are (by your fa­vour) too confident in your forces: you contest and strive with the winds, and thereby are utterly ruinated; you have a potent enemy that will give way to none, such an one as is anima­ted with his adversaries forces, and be­comes more powerfull when he en­counters with the strongest: the grea­ter difficulty he finds in the assault, the more certain he is of victory. Hence commeth it to passe that the highest and thickest oaks are soonest over­thrown by the winds, that deride and laugh at the folly of weak resistance. I, not being ignorant of my own frail­ty, an hundred times a day humbly a­dore and bow down even to the earth. Nay I stick not, that I may preserve my life, to worship so powerfull an enemy a thousand times together: for in such a case, not power, but prudent subtil [...]y prevails.

Tis even so with man; strength is not secure, where counsell and dexte­rity are wanting. The wind of adver­sity [Page] spares no man, assault [...] all, good and bad, none are exempted from dis­asters: there is only this difference, that many by affl [...]ction are instructed, and advanced to heaven, others deje­cted and cast headlong to hell: wher­fore not how much we suffer, but in what maner we bear it, is to be con­sidered.

In one School, sometimes two hun­dred scholers are throug [...] up together, but, all proove not masters: many wear, bares, but few become Apollo's. Some leave the School to be soldiers, others inkeepers, or merchants. From the study of literature, some go to be Clerks, Sextons, yea and Carriers; o­thers to be maltsters, surveiors of land, or husbandmen: it matters not what thou learnest, but what benefit thou makest by learning: as the condition of scholers is different, so is their pro­fit; some want wit, others money, some industry: and so neither they, nor these, nor the other attain to lear­ning.

The like happens in the School of Patience, or School of Christ, where the profit that students reap, is corre­spondent to their ardent desire, or ne­glect [Page 5] of learning: but above all, it is most remarkable and proper to this School, that all in it (except those that will n [...]t) may be proficients: nor wit, nor money shall be wanting, so they bring a prompt and ready will to em­brace learning: heer industry alone can accomplish all; heer the sole and worst of all mischiefs is, to have no will to learn.

But what book need we in this School, what volumes must we re­volve? It was a laudable custome in ancient times to present a schedule to their guests, or send it home to their houses, where all the dishes to be ser­ved in at the feast were specified. By this means every man was advertised before hand, so many courses you shall have, these and these dishes, so many in number, and in such and such or­der. Wherefore if none of the first course be pleasing to your palate, for­bear, and keep your stomack for the second, or the third. So fitting was it thought that the guests should know before hand what the house keeper intended to set before them.

It will be no lesse expedient in the Schol of Patience, to know with what [Page 6] calamities Almighty God is wont to visit and afflict mortals. The first du­ty of a Scholer, is, to inform himself of the books wherein he must study. Job solicitous in this point, said; Let himself who judgeth, write a book, that I may bear it on my shoulders. Wherby (you see) he desired all what­soever he was to suffer, might be redu­ced to one volume, which he was rea­dy and willing to undergo, and bear as a burden on his back.

Let us therfore (before we proceed) do the l [...]ke, and divide afflictions (commonly called crosses) into seve­rall heads.

Sect. I.

What pains soever are in this world, all afflictions, exercises and trials, whatsoever they be, are comprehen­ded in this decad of severall chastise­ments. For God hath in his School of Patience,

  • 1. Rods.
  • 2. Arrows.
  • 3. Torches.
  • 4. A garland of straw.
  • 5. Wands.
  • [Page 7] 6. Cords and chains.
  • 7. Knotty clubs.
  • 8. A Cloak.
  • 9. Scourges.
  • 10. A Sack.

Let us briefly explane these punish­ments, and heerafter in their due pla­ces particularize them more at large.

Rods, signifie dolours and diseases, which are almost innumerable, and every one more or lesse, participates of the bitternes of death. These rods are preparatives, to dispose us for death: the high way to death, is by diseases. A disease often times hath prolonged life, and the readiest way to recover men, was to beleeve they could not live. Vertue finds a place even in the bed of the sick man.

Arrows, symbolize griefs, solici­tudes, cares, discontents, sadnes, fears. suspicions, and anguishes, anxious scruples, allurements, and vehement temptations, secret remorse of consci­ence, terrors, violent motions and per­turbations of mind. The arrows of our Lord are sharp, and all his bows bent.

Torches, are types of poverry: we [Page 8] see div [...]rs familiar waies of scorching men in jest: poverty hath as many to burn them in earnest. Sometimes a man sleeping, hath in sport, a paper smeared with [...]allow, put upon his shoe, and set on fire. Sometimes the end of a sm [...]ll wax candle is stuck burning on his finger: sometimes they heat a stove so that he seems smo­king in a hot bath; and now and then that which is most dear unto us, is snatcht up and cast into the fire: he is burnt enough who beholds in the flames what he best loves. After this maner men are commonly exercised by poverty.

A garland of straw, is the symbole of derision, contempt, and contumely; scarcely shall you see the scholers of this school so sensible of any disgrace, as of this garland, which notwithstan­ding amongst them is ordinary. Al­most every where the simplicity of the just man is scorned. He that walketh the right way, and feareth God, is de­spised of him that goeth an infamous way.

Under these sowr kinds of punish­ment is contained for the most part, whatsoever we suffer. For it is either [Page 9] the body, or mind, or the endowments of both, that are subject to calamity. Therefore we assign Rods, Arrows, Tapers, and Garlands of straw. But of these miseries we will speak more at large heeraf [...]er.

By Little Wands, are deciphered daily miseries, hunger, thirst, cold, in­ [...]ommodious habitation, uneasie appa­rell, journeis spent in vain, hope fru­strated, & the like. For as the school­master seldome laieth by the wand without striking, sometimes one scho­ler, sometimes another; one while their hand, another while their head; So man seldome is at truce with these daily miseries, never wanteth what he would most willingly avoid.

Chains and cords, are peculiar mi­series, and proper to each mans estate, every man is obliged, some more, some lesse, according to his condition of life. Wedlock is a strong tie in­deed, a chain of iron, or rather of a­damant, which none but death can break. Often times married couples find neither hunger, nor thirst, nor want of health, but only want of peace and unity: the one objecting to the other; I can neither live with thee, [Page 10] ner without thee. For he was tied who said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Knotty Clubs, or Scorpions are ca­l [...]mities common to many, as plagues, heresie, tyrany, war, fire, famine, inun­dations, and oppression of the poor. Ecclesiastes complained; I turned my self (said he) to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done un­der the sun, and the tears of the inno­cents, and no comforter: and that they cannot resist their violence, being destitute of all humane help. And I praised rather the dead then the li­ving, and happier then both have I judged him that is not yet born, nor hath seen the evils that are done un­der the sun.

A Cloak, I call those miseries which we bring upon our selves, cruci­fying as it were, and miserably woun­ding our own minds, with our own conceits and suspitions. It is ordina­ry for a man to betray his own cause, and to load himself with true or fei­ned afflictions. Job complaineth of himself; I am (saith he) become bur­densome to my self. Every one is as miserable as he makes himself.

[Page 11] Scourges, are the afflictions which are laid upon us by others, especially those that proceed from the tongue; as ca­lumnies, disgraces, detractions, slan­ders, and all other injurious words. To these I ad denials of things most earnestly sought, or compalsions to that which men most carefully would avoid. These are the stripes which leave a mark behind them, and fetch bloud at every blow. But S. Gregory comforts us: We are now (saith he) G [...]eg. part. 3. past. admon. 13. outwardly scourged, that we may heer after inwardly without stroak of disci­pline be sitted to the temple of God.

Finally, a Sack, is a heap of many mischiefs packed up together. If you ask a sick man in what part of his bo­dy he feels most pain, he will answer you, all over, in all parts alike. So often times afflictions oppresse a man by heaps, the divel insulteth, men op­pose against him, God withdraws his comfort, sicknes and poverty torment him, all is out of frame, both in body and mind, and whatsoever presents it self unto him, seems fearfull and ter­rible. Of such a man we may wel say, he is in a sack up to the chin, & wants only death to tie the knot over his [Page 12] head, and hurry him to his grave. Of each of these afflictions we will speak heerafter more at large.

Now if almighty God should give a man his choyce; saying, choose what afflict [...]on thou thinkest most whole­some for thy self: to be lasht with tongues, burnt with poverty, scourged with sicknes, transfixed with griefs, or crowned w [...]th a contemptible garland of straw: Who is it that would not answer with David and Susanna: I am p [...]rplexed on every side; I am ve­ry much straightned. It would be a thing never resolved upon. This only I imagine he would answer: O Lord, if thou wilt vouchsafe me a royall gift indeed, set me free from all miseries and troubles whatsoever.

Ah! what a gross [...] errour is this, we would, if we mi [...]ht, have the whole world put out of fr [...]me for our sake, we have en [...]red into th [...] world under these conditions, to suffer all things patiently that may happen We are un­equall in our birth, but not in our death. All the middle space between the cradle and the grave, must of ne­cessity be filled with many griefs and afflictions. Thou must grieve, hun­ger [Page 13] and thirst, thou must wax old, and if the daies of thy life be prolonged amongst men, fall sick, lose some thing most dear to thee and die. This is the condition of this mortall life.

Sect. II.

SOme men secretly, but fondly per­swade themselves, that this life may be pass [...]d smoot [...]ly without troubles or oppositions. You are deceived, ô you morta's, you are deceived excee­dingly: for through many tribulati­ons we must enter into the kingdome of God. And, Ought not Christ to have suffered, and so to enter into his gl [...]ry? And shall we, vile members, under so glorious a head, promise our selves any better [...]ondition? We must [...]est assured o [...] this, that the way to heaven is no soft delicious way, bor­dered with roses, or beset with syco­mores; but rough, craggy and in ac­cessible to those that would passe thi­ther through pleasure and delicacies. God is not wont to cocker his servants or treat them like wantons. But S. Au­gustine Bishop of Hippo, the very flo­wer of Bishops, gives us some comfort [Page 14] heerin. God, saith he, scourgeth us Aug. com 8. in ps. 13 5. circa med mi­hi, pag. 654. with these labours to instruct us; know ye, my brethren, that all hu­mane misery, under the burden wher­of the world groaneth, is not a penall sentence, but a medicinall affliction. See how we are beset on every side with grief, with fear, with labour and necessity. The testimony of Ecclesia­stes may be sufficient heerin. All his daies, saith he, are full of sorrows and miseries. A wise disciple of S. Augu­stine Th Kemp. l. 3 c. 12. legete­ [...]um caput. said; Howsoever I shall dispose my self to peace, this life is not to be passed over without warfare and grief? And what closet, I pray you, is so secret, into which calamity enters not? What quiet repose of life so rai­sed or strongly fortified, that is not shaken with sorrows and cares? Wher­soever thou shalt hide thy self, saith Seneca, humane miseries with trou­blesome Sen. [...] 82. initio & con­sol ad Polyb. c. 33. & con­sol. ad Marc. [...]. 12. noise will compasse thee a­bout; many things outwardly envi­ron either to deceive or vex us, and many things we carry in our selves, which even in the deepest solitude tosse and turmoil us. There is not, nor ever hath been in the world any house without complaints more or lesse, and [Page 15] yet you can name none so miserable, that may not take comfort in seeing some more miserable then them­selves. This life is diversly afflicted with misfortunes, and we are so far from having peace in it, that we can hardly make a truce. It is not so de­licate a thing to live as we imagine: we have undertaken [...] long journey, wherein we must of necessity often slip, be tired and fall; through these stumbling-blocks we are to make this our rugged journey, we never rest in safety, every where we meet with troubles and disquiet: whatsoever we do, which way soever we turn our selves, we have no means to lead our lives otherwise.

Behold, I beseech you, the course of all things throughout the whole world: there is nothing therein so ex­cellent, but hath its adversary close annexed unto it. What gain is there more fruitfull, or honest, then tillage and husbandry? yet one furious storm oftentimes destroyes the whole crop. It is most truly said: He that observes the winde shall never sow, and he that considers the clouds, shall never mow. What have we more fair then the Sun [...] [Page 16] yet is he not without his blemishes, he is covered with clouds, daily buried under the earth, and sometimes ecly­psed. What is more necessary then the aire, which is in a manner our food? yet in one yeare, yea in one moneth, it is a thousand and a thousand times changed; sometimes moist, at other times dry; sometimes clear, sometimes cloudy and turbulent; one while wholsome, another while noysome; now subtile and piercing, soon af­ter as grosse and foggy as in Boeo­tia. There is no liquor more estee­med then wine, yet none hath more dregs in the bottome: Who would drink it, if he did but consider how loathsome it [...]s in the Presse, or hurt­full in the daily abuse? Ale or Beer, which many men extoll as they were Nectar, are brewed for the most part, with foule and unsavoury water. The Shambles expose flesh to be sold, but not without bones. Fair trees many times, bear small, sowre, worm-eaten, hard, and soon rotten Apples. The stateliest C [...]ties are not without some poore and homely cottages: The beautifullest houses must have their vaules, sinkes, and sewers for their [Page 17] filth and excrements; and let buil­d [...]g be never so curious and artifi­c [...]all, they are not exemp [...]ed from all discommodities. Look up to the sky, and you shall fearcely s [...]e it one whole day without a cloud; the clearer the sky, the sooner for the most part, come the cruell [...]st tempests: the windes are never constant; the milde Westerne gales oftentimes give place to the dull South, or stormy North. Oyle is not without a foamy mother, nor Wheat without darnell. How much filth li [...]s hid in the fairest and comeliest men and women? and how many changes are they subject to in one day? Man, doubtlesse, never con­tinueth stable in one state: and what wonder? fith God found wickednesse even in his Angels. In all places we finde adversaries, every where ene­mies; there is no absolute happinesse to be looked for. Would we have the Sun shine upon us every day? all things passe with a gentle current at our beck and command? this we may madly dream of, but never waking enjoy: all the workes of nature contradict it, and point us out an enemy in every corner. The same [Page 18] likewise may be observed in morall things.

Sect. III.

THere is scarce any book free from errors and faults, escaped either by the Authour or Printer: Where shall you finde honour without burden? or if no burden, no true honour. Where can you shew me a company of men exempted from all misfor­tunes? or any man so upright and ho­ly, that hath not in him some thing to be reprehended? Who is he that dines or sups without some vinegar? Let me eate a full meale, and satiate my selfe, straight after my stomack up­braids me, and makes me wish I had eaten lesse Let me check my appetite and forbear, then hunger affl [...]cts me. Thus Ash-wednesday succeds shrove­tide, and feasting fasting. Next to the Temple of Honour is that of La­bour; the way lies from the one to the other: hony is mixed with gall, and every commodity with discom­modity.

I have heard that Pleasure and Pain once fell at ods, and chose Jupiter for [Page 19] their Judge, the one would not yeeld in any respect to the other; but Jupi­ter, declaring his sentence, so compo­sed the matter between them, that from thenceforth they should never be at difference, but live together lin­ked with indissoluble bands, and what marvell?

Semper odoriferis proxima spina rosis,

The sharpest thorn grows next the sweetest rose.

Which way soever thou turnest thy eyes, thou shalt see hony mixed with g [...]ll: there is nothing in this world pure and sincere without dregs: this is incident to all earthly creatures, by a certain naturall propension, to weare away and consume. The Iron hath an in-bred cankering and rust; wood, rottennesse and little gnawing worms. Thus all creatures, townes and king­domes have within them their causes of destruction. Look upon all things high and low, great and small, made by the hand, or invented by the wit of man, in all ages past or to come, they fall to ruine and decay. And as ri­vers run headlong and with an unces­sant course into the sea: so man and all things created for man, passe by [Page 20] this channell, as it were, of death and slaughter, to their d [...]terminate end, which is death; for which, pestilence, war, and slaugh [...]er, serve as instru­ments Lips l. 1. de const. c. 15. and means. Why then are we so impatient? would we trumph before the victory? be choic [...]ly [...]ed at our masters [...] before we h [...]v [...] la­bou [...]ed for [...]? were not the [...]nso­lencie of that servant intoll [...]rable, who at his return from labour should finde fault that the table were not yet cove­red, no [...] the meat served up? Why, lay the cloath, my friend, & bring up meat, such is thy masters pleasure: prepare thy selfe first to serve him, after this, thou maist both eate and drink. There is a time to sow, there will also come a time to reap; the one must necessa­ [...]ily precede the other. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds; b [...]t comming they shall come with exultation, carrying their sheaves. Saint Chrysostome speaketh to the purpose: As all manner of grain, saith he, stands in need of showres to make it grow; so we of tears: And as it is requisite that the earth should be ploughed and cut; so the [Page 21] faithfull so [...]l, lest it bring forth Chrysost. tom. 1 in Ps. 125. mihi. pag. 981. ill [...]oin, had need, in stead of the plow to have temptations and affli­ctions, to mollifie her hardn [...]sse, and bring under her pride We ought first to labour, [...]nd then se [...]k quietnesse and repos [...] of mi [...]d. Doest thou aspire to heaven, and yet entertain thy body with quiet and ease? G [...]ve eare to the same Saint Chrysostome, who not without good cause reprehendeth our s [...]th in this manner: What doest thou, O man? what say [...]st thou? thin­kest thou to scale the skies, and attain unto the kingdome of heaven, and yet askest (without blushing or hiding thy selfe for very shame even in the bo­wel [...] of the earth) whether any diffi­culty will occurre in the way, or any tough or disastron [...] accident befall thee?

Do what thou wilt, thou shalt never come to heaven bef [...]re thou art sound­ly hew'd and polish'd. Very truly said that most religions man: The king­dome of heaven is the kingdome of those that are tempted, afflicted, con­temned, and by sundry means polish'd and hew'd. How darest thou (poore cowardly wretch) appear amongst so [Page 22] many stout and renowmed Comman­ders? God would have thee know how pretious the good is we seeke af­ter, Vita Alva­ressi, cap. 40. S. 1. for attaining whereof we undergo so many labours and pains.

The Hebrews being to passe into the land of promise, presented Sehon King of H [...]shbon with these requests; That they might passe through his countrey, along the beaten high way, neither de­clining to the right nor left hand: That he should sell them meat for money, that they might eate: That he should give them water for money, that so they might drink. The King condescended not: so that they were to open a way by force. We desire likewise to go to heaven without trou­ble or warfare; many mens resolution is, not to hurt any one, so they may not be wronged themselves; but all in vain: heaven admits no such effemi­nate cowards, who endevour nothing more then To suffer nothing.

Therefore let us imitate that lauda­ble saying of the Ancients, Nul [...]a dies sine linea, No day without a line, and say: Nulla dies sine nubecula, No day without some cloudy accident. Let no day passe over our heads, without [Page 23] doing or suffering somewhat stoutly and couragiously for Christs sake: for through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdome of heaven. Through many, yea through very ma­ny; there is no object in the world more remarkable, or worthier of ad­miration, then a man couragious in misery, and firmly resolved to sustain all adversity. And behold, this is an acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. The first lesson in the School of Patience is to know, that without much suffering no man profiteth.

CHAP. II. The reason why the Schollers in this School are so sharply and roughly intreated.

MANY things are preserved by moti­on, which other­wise would perish. Corn corrupts un­lesse it be stir'd, and often turned: Many times by ly­ing [Page 24] still, it sprowts, or becomes mu­sty. A garment lying long, as a close prisoner, in a chest, becomes a banquet for mo [...]thes. Ir [...]n if it be never used, is eaten and consumed with rust. Vines without p [...]u [...]ing and cu [...]i [...]g, degenerate and grow wilde. Grapes are soon rotten, unlesse they be pressed. A hundred su [...]h things may be observed; and that which daily ex­periments confirme, cannot be de­nied. Neverthelesse, we r [...]p [...]ne and wonder why God should exercise men with so many severall calamities: we have shewed in the precedent Chap­ter, that it is fitting and necessary this should be so. Now we will make it apparent, that nothing can be more for the behoofe and benefit of man.

Sect. I.

A Thousand reasons may be alled­ged, why God doth not vouchsafe to give his servants a Paradise on earth; but rather sends them thither from the crosse. Heer I appeal to the ordinary custome of men: If a man conceives no hatred against a lewd house for being beaten there, or tum­bled [Page 25] down a pair of stairs, much lesse will he detest that house, if he be kindly entertained: So if we should be well intreated in this world, scarce­ly any would seek after the joyes of heaven. Not one man amongst a thousand, but would say, I am well contented with those which I already have, why should I seek after uncer­tainties? Many men besotted with their pleasures and riches, would ne­glect heaven, and, like brutish Oxen, lye down in the pasture they go in. Therefore it was requisite, that all things heer should be mingled with gall, lest the hony of this world should be preferred before the sweetnesse of heaven. Why, I pray you, was Ae­gypt so cruell and malicious towards the Hebrews? for their governours (as we read) were most tyrannicall, their taskes doubled, their scourges and af­flictions insufferable; and besides, all their male children were threatned to be killed: what was Gods designe herein? Nothing else but to beget in his people an extream hatred and loa­thing of Aegypt; and consequently, of Idolatry in generall. To this end were the exhortations of Moses mo­ving [Page 26] them to desire the land of Pro­mise. To this end was Pharaoh suffe­red to tyrannize, that the Hebrewes conceiving hatred against so cruell a Lord, might seek another more peace­able countrey.

Excellently well saith Saint Grego­ry, By Gods mercifull will it comes Greg l. 23. c. 13. post. med. to passe, that his elect lead a trouble­some life in this their pilgrimage. This life is the way by which we tra­vell towards our countrey; and there­fore by his secret judgement we are often afflicted heer, lest we should fall in love with the way in stead of the countrey. A traveller (especially such an one as is easily disposed to loyter) is soon perswaded to stay and solace himself under shady trees, and in plea­sant medows; seeks new and new de­layes, one while sitting down in this place, and another while in that, till he hath trifled, and idly spent the whole day. Therefore Saint Grego­ry saith, that our Lord maketh in this world the way which leads to heaven rough and sharp to his elect, lest any of them, entertained with ease and delights of this life, as with a plea­sant way, should rather desire to hold [Page 72] on still his journey, then speedily to finish it: and lest, too much delighted with the way, he should forget what is to be desired in his countrey.

And as it doth much inkindle the love of God to have but once tasted how sweet our Lord is: even so, to have somewhat felt the bitternesse of transitory things, doth not a little thrust us forward to the hatred of them. Behold the power of adversity and affliction, it presents us the wormwood of this world to taste, it strewes the earth with thorns, to force our feet to mend their pace. Elegant­ly saith Saint Augustine: O the infe­licity of humane creatures! the world Aug. to. 10. Serm 3 de Temp. circa med. is bitter, and yet beloved: think what it would be if it were sweet and sa­voury: it is turbulent, and yet most earnestly desired; what would it be if it were calm and quiet? How ea­gerly wouldst thou pluck the flowers, since thou canst not hold thy hands from the thorns? Saint Chrysostome was of the same minde: If we invi­roned on all sides with so many mise­ries, desire to prolong this present life, what would we do without them? when would we desire or seek after fu­ture [Page 28] felicity? We are so madly blin­ded with selfe-love, that in stead of health, we dote on Physicke; in stead of the journies end, fall in love with the journey; and the cratures in stead of the Creator. Hence comes it, that God is in a manner forced to give us bitter potions, lest we rather covet to drink vinegar and wormwood, then celestiall nectar, and prefer earth be­fore heaven.

Sect. II.

That golden Orator Saint Chry­sostome, of whom I spake, proveth ex­cellently well, that it is a thing very profitable to be afflicted. Touching which point, this is seriously to be con­sidered, that humane understanding conceiveth not so much as the least shadow of divine Majesty: our imagi­nation, when we think of God, rea­ches no further then to Kings and Em­perours. Alas! how base, how chil­dish, are even our sublimest cogitati­ons? Hence it proceedeth, that we f [...]ll into so many errours. It is the say­ing of the wise man, God hath tryed them, and hath found them worthy [Page 29] of himselfe, So immense is the Maje­sty of God, that no man may be estee­med worthy thereof, before he be throughly exercised with sundry cala­mities, like a stout and couragious Champion, who cannot challenge the prize before he hath sought the combat. To good purpose was that which Nicetas Choniates said; He is onely miserable, who in affliction is too much contristated; and thereby rendreth himselfe unworthy of God.

Isaac being now almost blinde with age, sought by touching to finde out his son: Come hither (said he) my son, that I may feel thee, and may prove whether thou beest my son Esau or no. In like manner God dealeth with us: I must touch thee, my childe, (saith he) my hands are hot indeed, they burn, but if thou be my childe, thou wilt suffer me to touch thee: he that refuseth to be touched by me, is none of mine, and is unworthy of me. I suffered my only Son to be crucified, and I found him worthy of me: Even in the same sort I dealt with his Vir­gin-mother, transfixed her heart with a sword of griefe, which for many years together I pulled not out, and [Page 30] found her worthy of me: nor have I otherwise treated my dearest friends, and I found them worthy of me. And wouldst thou be singular, and exem­pted from the number of the afflicted? If thou escape without chastisement, thou art likely to have no share a­mongst my children. After this man­ner do I exercise and try my children, and by chastising honour them. More enriched and honoured was Joseph in exile, then in his fathers house. Eze­chiel amongst captives was comforted with heavenly miracles. The three Hebrew children were never more re­freshed then in the burning furnace: nothing could have h [...]ppened to them more honourable, then to enjoy in the midst of the flames, the amiable socie­tie of an Angell. Whosoever there­fore desires to be numbred amongst the children of God, let him declare himselfe so, and with a generous spirit and undaunted courage, say: I am af­fl [...]cted, but endure it patiently: I am tortured and tormented for Christs sake, but bear it willingly: I am o­verwhelmed with calumnies and false accusations, but beare them for the love of God cheerfully, God be prai­sed: [Page 31] I am bound and burned, but for the hope of heavenly joyes endure it couragiously: It is that I desire, I would rather have fire burn, then o­vercome me: I had rather my God should call me in this world to wage war, then to live in delights. I know well, the Oxe designed to the slaugh­ter, is left at his own liberty in the pleasant pastures, while another pres­sed with the heavie yoke, is suffered to live. Chastising, my Lord will punish me, and not deliver me to death. Thus it becomes a Christian Champion to think and speak.

Sect. III.

ANd that we may the better appre­hend what hath been said, let us discourse in this manner: The su­pream element of fire is so noble and strong by nature, that whatsoever vi­ler substance it layeth hold of, be it cloath, lether, wood, yea even flints themselves, it burns and consumes them into ashes, as if it should say: Such is my innate generosity, that I will not admit into my bosome these base materials, that are not worthy of me; [Page 32] but give me the noblest metals, Gold or Silver, and I hurt them not, they are welcome to my bosome, them I purifie and refine: for they are worthy of me. And hath the fire such a pre­eminence amongst other things crea­ted, that it imbraceth nothing but that which is most worthy of it? what shall we then think of God? Malachias struck with admiration, saith: Who shall be able to think of the day of his advent? and who shall stand to se [...] him? For he is, as it were, a purging fire, and as the herb of Fullers, and he shall sit purifying. Neither will he re­fine gold and silver, and bring it to the former luster, slightly and superfi [...]ial­ly, but accurately: for he will try them till he find them worthy of him­selfe.

God proceeds after this manner for three ends: for whom he affl [...]cteth, he either chastiseth and punisheth, corre­cteth and amendeth, or finally rewar­deth and crowneth. First, what mar­vell is it, if God daily punish and cor­rect us? we daily offend him: for the just man falls seven times a day, God dealeth herein, as doth a carefull and industrious man; who, that he may [Page 33] not come in debt, payes all with ready money: so God mercifully expiateth daily our offences with daily miseries. And this is a great favour: for whilst we are judged, we are corrected by our Lord, that we may not be con­demned with this world. King David said well: Before I was humbled, I sinned. Sin and punishment are never f [...]r asunder.

The other end for which God af­flicts us, is to teach and correct us. It [...]s a great happinesse for a man to know himself & his own imperfections. We commodiously attain to this know­ledge by adversity; which S. Gregory manifestly declareth: By being (saith he) outwardly stricken, we are in­wardly, by sorrow and affliction, put in minde of our sins; and by th [...]s which outwardly we suffer, we be­come inwardly more penitent for that we have committed. A little stone flew Golias, a vast Giant, in a single combat, because he thought himselfe invincible. Peter very stout and reso­lute in promises, said, he was ready to go to prison, and to death it selfe for his Lord. Come on then Peter, and watch but for one short hour and a [Page 34] halfe. Ah! what a watchman? his Captain had no sooner turned his back, but the Souldier fell asleep: a vigilant chiefe Sentinell. In stead of watching, he falls a sleep; then forsakes his standing and flies, hurls away his weapons and denies his Captain at the voyce of a silly maid. But by this means S. Peter learned to know him­selfe. Saint Augustine affirmeth, that Aug. in psa. 60. all our profit growes from tempta­tion, without which no man truly knows himselfe. Who would ever have thought that fire had been in the flint, had it not been discovered by the dash of the steel. God even by af­flicting, crownes at last. Saint Gre­gory Greg p [...]sat. in Iob. c. 5. med. & l. 20. moral. c. 20. post. med. observing this, saith: When the innocent person is securged, his pati­ence mereaseth his merit. The soule of the elect now seemeth to wither, that heerafter it may grow green, and flourish with everlasting joy. Now is the day of their affliction, because heerafter the dayes of their rejoycing shall follow. This also doth God pronounce by the mouth of S. James. Blessed is that man who suffers tem­ptation, because after he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life. Nei­ther [Page 35] is our affliction a preparative onely for future rewards, but even the affliction it selfe is sometimes a re­ward.

Justus Lipsius, the lustre of this our age, and (as it was said of Pliny) the matchlesse Prince of learning, though he were most addicted to the Muses, yet he far preferred piety be­fore them: many years together he weekly made his confession. He had a very neat Library, furnished with choyce bookes for all whatsoever that served for rare and polite literature, which he could procure for love or money, out of all parts of the world, he had stored up there. In a word, it was a treasure beyond all Maggazines of gold, gathered together in one house. There was nothing upon earth that Lipsius loved more ardently then this learned delight: a man would have said his heart had been wholly enshrined in this Library. But (O my God) O most disasterous mis­chance! that which with so great care and diligence he had gathered toge­ther in so many years, all that with a sudden fire, was in one moment bur­ned [Page 36] to ashes. Out alas! I verily think Lipsius had rather have lost himselfe, then this which came so neer him. But this is Gods usuall custome, these are the rewards wherewith he recompen­ceth vertue in this world, and should be taken for great favours. Thus God dealeth with his best friends, either depriving them of that which they most dearly affect, or not granting what they most earnestly request. Sometimes you shall have a man, who as if he would perswade God, not to take away his delights, will petition him in this manner: O my Lord, af­flict me at thy pleasure, so thou grant me this, or take not away that which I so infinitely love. God hears not these prayers; he takes away that which is most dear, and gives not that which is most desired, and so even transfixeth the heart of man: yet this is a favour, and one of Gods rewards. After this sort did the Angell comfort Tobias, saying: Because thou wert acceptable to God, it was needfull that temp­tation should prove thee. As if he had said, Wheresoever yertue is, there must be affliction (the reward of ver­tue.) Every one that is most dear to God is chastised.

Sect. IV.

But now and then God chastiseth where he neither intendeth to cor­rect sin, reform errours, nor exercise vertue, but onely to manifest his po­wer, which our Saviour plainly decla­red in that blind man in the Gospell: This man (saith he) hath not sinned, nor his parents, but onely that the workes of God may be manifested in him. Some will say, with what equi­ty can this be done? may I lawfully strip another to cloath my selfe? I an­swer, that there are two kinds of law or justice; the one strict, severe, and extream, and as Divines call it, Con­dignum: the other mitigated or quali­fied, as when any thing is decreed with lenity and mercie. Wherefore admit all men were innocent Hie­remies, Daniels, Baptists, yet might God, out of the rigour of his justice, punish them, in regard of the innate originall sin, which (being the [...]rime source of all misery) had for­merly defiled them. By one man sin entred this world, and by sin death: and not that alone, but accompanied with many calamities. Wherefore [Page 38] presupposing originall sin, God may justly, and yet punctually observing the Law, punish (de condigno) even the most innocent, with what afflictions soever, so they be not eternall. Hence it is, that many infants are punished by death and diseases. How much more justly may we then be punished, who to originall adde many actuall sins? Moreover, if any one complaine, that God takes from him that which ordi­narily he useth to bestow on others, as food, health, riches, and the like, God may justly answer, I ow thee nothing, what I have hitherto given, take, as from the hand of my free bounty and goodnes, all my gifts are gratis. Now I withdraw them, that thou maist know they came from me, and that freely without any obligation of my part. Hitherto I have dealt liberally with thee, if it be my pleasure not to conti­nue it, what law hast thou against me? may not I do what pleases me? Friend, I do thee no injury: take that which is thine, and get thee gone. Saint Augu­stine expressing this equity of God, saith: He afflicts us sometimes, and Aug. to. 8. in Psa. 62. mihi pag. 260. withdrawes from us that which is ne­cessary, that we may know our Father [Page 39] is a Lord that can as well correct us as cherish us. Who is he therfore that can thinke he hath the least wrong offered him? It is the Princes pleasure to give this man a horse, to that a chain of gold, to one a Captains place, to ano­ther nothing. But suppose (notwith­standing all this) that things necessa­ry to sustain life be due unto us, were it an injury for God, by vertue onely of supreme honour and title of maje­sty, to abridge us of them? what cause have we to complain? we are subjects, and consequently bound to obser­vance. These onely you may call free and exempt, who are not in the la­bours of men, nor with men shall be scourged.

We well know that life is dearer then either health, riches or honour: All which a man hath he will give for his life. Yet did the Martyrs in testi­fying their love to Christ, cheerfully yield up their lives: and shall we for no lesse cause refuse to undergo things of lesse difficulty? Moreouer, what wrong were it to any, to have his old and thred-bare cloak taken away, and a newer and better bestowed upon him? none at all. Who, unlesse hee [Page 40] were mad, would withstand it? No lesse foolish would he be reputed, who should so highly esteem his old ha [...], worth about three-half-pence, as to refuse fifty crownes for it. God taketh from us health, riches, honour, to be­stow upon us so much the more grace and glory: what injury call you this? For this cause S. James exhorts us: E­steem it (my brethren) all the joy) that may be, to fall into sundry temptati­ons. To change transitory things for eternall, is not th [...]s the best mart that may be? Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, was so ardently in love with suffering, that he couragio [...]sly said: Let there come upon me fire, hanging, quartering, beasts, breaking my bones, & whatso­ever else may be inflicted upon my bo­dy, yea the very torments of hell, only that I may enjoy Christ. No greater gain can there be, then to lose after this manner.

Sect. V.

St. John Climacus relates a strange Climacus grad. 4. ante med. mihi pag. 57. thing, which with his own eyes and eares he had observed in his Monaste­ry, where the Steward was of a very modest and milde disposition. This man, the superiour of the Mona­stery, [Page 41] after some invective speeches (as if he had been unworthy to consort with the rest) commanded to be ex­pelled the Church: but Clima­cus finding some means of private speech with the Abbot, greatly com­mended his innocencie who had been so much reprehended; to whom the Abbot wisely replied: I know it very well, Father, that our Steward is an up­right and religious man, and that he hath hitherto committed no fault which ought so sharply to be reproved; but as you know it were a cruell and barbarous part, to snatch bread out of the hand or mouth of an infant: so you may think a governour of a reli­gious house doth not well discharge his duty to himselfe or others, if he seek no [...] carefully to advance those un­der his charge to as high a reward in heaven as is possible; whether it be by reproofes or contumelies, by scoffes, affronts, accusations, or any other means whatsoever. Vertue by adversi­ty increaseth, by being wounded flou­risheth, by injuries is erected, by suffe­ring refined, and without an adversary fades and withereth away. The supe­riour therefore in religion that negle­cteth [Page 42] to exercise his subjects in this sort, depriveth some of the reward of suffering, others of the example of patience; and, to conclude, putteth the innocent in danger of pride, by not exercising their patience and mode­sty: for the fertilest grounds breed weeds and darnell, if they be not cul­tivated and moistned with seasonable dewes of rain. If then the governour of a Monastery doth well & orderly in exercising even his innocent subjects with contumelies, what wrong doth God, the governor of the worlds most ample monastery, bounded, as it were, with the walls of the heavens, and vast Ocean? what wrong, I say, doth this omnipotent Father in exercising his children with hunger, diseases, poverty, and other injuries? An excellent dis­course. And surely vertue without an adversary withereth away. Even the grave and wise opinion of Quintus Metellus delivered in the Senate, she­weth this. Metellus, after the taking of Carthage, said in open Senate, that he knew not whether the victory had broght more good or evil to the people of Rome: for as it had profited by re­storing peace, so it would be no small [Page 43] prejudice by removing Hanniball. For by his passage into Italy, the vertue Valer. li. 1. c. 2. post ini­tium. and valour of the people of Rome was awakened; and being freed of so sharp an adversary, it was to be feared they would fall asleep again: he thought it therefore as great a mischief to have the edge of their ancient valour reba­ted, as if their houses were burnt, their fields wasted, and treasure exhausted.

This then may be the Oracle of O­racles; That Vertue without an adver­sary decayes and pines away: without a crosse Patience falls asleep. All hail therefore thou most pretious crosse, that rub'st off the rust of vices, that set­test before us the mirrour wherein we may learn to know our selves, that bringest us upon the stage to act the part of patience; thou that crownest us, not with navall, obsidionall, civicke, murall or castrensall, but with hea­venly crownes, thou that dost furnish us with all manner of vertue, and ne­ver leavest us till thou bringest us unto God. Transfix me therefore (O my deare Lord) burn me, cut me, pull me in pieces in this world, so thou spare me for all eternity. And when heer­after we shall be presented with this [Page 44] bitter cup, and asked, whether we be a­ble to drink it, grant we may couragi­ously answer, we can, through thy di­vine help and assistance, not our own: for the servant is not greater then his Lord and Master. While Joab, that warlike Captain, takes up his lodging under a tent covered with skins, Urias is ashamed to lye at his own house in a bed of Down. It would be a thing infinitely odious to see delicate mem­bers decked with roses and bracelets, perfumed with civet & balsamum, un­der a head imbrewed with bloud, and pierced with thornes.

We ought therefore to be most as­sured, that Almighty God for a thou­sand reasons, may exercise, and even hardly handle his scholars in this schoole, with all manner of cares, griefes and afflictions. These are like the strokes which instruct, fashion, sh [...]pe and square us for immortall bea­titude. This is our way to life ever­lasting. Wherefore (as saith S. Au­gustine) Aug. to. 10. de verb. Dom. Ser. 23. c. 3. let not stripes dismay us, that the joy of resurrection may comfort us.

CHAP. III. Why some Scholars are more afflicted in this School then others.

IT is an old com­plaint of Scholars in Schools, and of inhabitants in Ci­ties▪ that some are ch [...]stised and pres­e [...] more then o­thers; some fa­vourably, others, rough [...]y used: the Crowes pardoned, and Doves puni­shed. This seemeth not to go well, since Citizens should live indifferent­ly after one sort; yet for the most part, the contumacious, disobedient, and rebellious, are more friendly in­treated, and bounteously rewarded, then good and vertuous persons. Ma­ny, and those very holy men, have com­plained heerof. Why (saith Jeremy the Prophet) doth the way of the im­pious prosper? Why is it well with all that transgresse and do wickedly? Job [Page 46] making the like complaint, saith: Why then do the impious live? Why are they advanced and strengthened with riches? And the Prophet Haba­cuc much after the same manner. Why (saith he) lookest not thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the impious devoureth him that is more just then himselfe? Into the same complaints likewise fell the most holy King David, saying: My feet were almost moved, my steps al­most slipped; because I have had zeal upon the wicked, seeing the peace of sinners. And I said, Then have I justified my heart without cause. In vain do we esteem of vertue, if wic­kednesse be more powerfull, and vice honoured with ampler rewards then vertue.

Whosoever thou art, look round a­bout the world, and thou shalt see them dye here and there, upon whose life and health the safety of very ma­ny depended; and those suffered to live and prosper, for whom it had been better they had never been born: thou shalt see strong and healthfull men [...]ob and spoil; and harmlesse creatures mi­serably afflicted with diseases: Many [Page 47] wicked men advanced to prime digni­ties, and the honester sort grievously oppressed with poverty; who can ever sufficiently wonder at this? Nay, who is there that would not be moved with with indignation, to see vice flourish every where, and vertue commended, but not advanced? Even Saint Augu­stine Aug. lib. 10. de Civ. cap. 2. himselfe saith: We know not by what judgement of God this good man is poore, or that evill man rich.

Sect. I.

IT seemeth very difficult for humane reason to apprehend, why wicked men prosper so much in their way: and why, on the other side, innocent Abel is slain before others in the fa­mily of Adam: obedient Joseph in the house of Jacob, thrown into a pit, sold to strangers, and cast in pri­son: Zealous Elias oppressed with hunger, and driven into banishment: devout Daniel condemned to the Li­ons: patient Job scourged by the Di­vel: righteous S. John Baptist at He­rods command dragged to prison: S. Peter, so servent in the love of his ma­ster, hurried to execution, and crucified [Page 48] under Nero. Peruse holy Scriptures from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, and thou shalt scarce­ly finde any thing more frequent then the calamities of just men. Look back (O you mortals!) upon all prece­dent ages, read sacred and prophane histories, and you shall finde all filled with good mens tears. At Athens, So­crates the wise, Phocion the good, A­ristides the just, Mithridrates the vi­ctorious, suffer undeservedly; Aristi­des banishment, the other death. At Rome Marcus Cato, that exempla­ry wise man, t [...]at lively mirrour of vertue, is pulled, haled, thrust, spit up­on, turned out of his Pretorship, car­ried to prison, and there, like Socrates put to death. Rutilius and Camillus are compelled to live in banishment; Pompey and Cicero put to death by their own servants. The ends of good Se [...] l. de tranquil. c. [...]5. p [...]st. [...]nit. men are oftentimes very miserable. Will any man then be vertuous, since vertue is so ill rewarded? Saint John Baptist groans in chains, whilst He­rod licentiously revells and dances. Poore Lazarus dies for hunger, whilst his executioner the rich glut­ton, cloathed in purple for many dayes [Page 49] together sumptuously feasteth. Many are the troubles of just men. What doth God all this while? Is he, or doth he seeme to be asleep? He that numbreth all the hairs of our head, takes account even of the Sparrows, and least birds of the aire, keeps a rec­koning of every lease upon the trees, without whose consent not so much as one of them falls to the ground: can he, I say, behold so many injuries, and toler [...]te them with patience? How doth God know, and if there be know­ledge in the h [...]ghest? This is that in­famous rock whereat so many have suffered shipwrack by despaire.

O you mortals! God is neither igno­rant nor unjust. Most wisely and most justly are these revolutions in the world, the first be made the last, and the last first, the innocent punished, and the guilty pardoned. We live heer as if we kept perpetually the Saturna­lia; the wicked dominier and flou­rish, good men are made subject, groan and lament; masters serve, and servants play the m [...]sters. But how little a while will this continue? F [...]r otherwise will it be in the eternall world. This is but a prelud [...]um to [Page 50] that better life; let us not wonder to see all things turned upside down in this game, vertue oppressed with con­tinuall labours, and vice enjoying all ease and delicacies. There is nothing upon earth done without cause. Some I will here set downe.

Sect. II.

THe first reason is, that we may be conformable with Christ. For whom he hath foreknowne and pre­destinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son. God hath sent his Son unto us: but what image, I pray you, hath he given us of him­selfe? No other then that which re­presented him a man contemptible, miserable, and nailed to the Crosse. Behold, (O man!) what image thou must imitate, to whom thou must conform thy selfe. The whole life of Christ was nothing but a meer crosse: and wouldest thou frame a quiet life to thy selfe, flowing with delights, and replenished with pleasures? Christ before he was born had a stable poin­ted out for his nativity: scarcely was he born, but his death was sought [Page 51] after; being born, he was laid, not in a cradle of Ivory or Silver, but upon straw in a homely manger. His infan­cie and youth he passed in labour and want, witnesse himselfe; I am poore (saith he) and brought up in labours from my youth. When he began to preach, he had many contumclies, af­fronts and injuries offered him; some took up stones to throw at him, others led him to the top of a hill to cast him downe headlong. Finally, to con­clude and crown, as it were, all his in­juries, at last he died on a Crosse, and was buried in another mans tomb. And as Christ began to suffer before he was born, so ceased he not to suffer when he was dead: for after his death and buriall, he was called, Seductor ille, that seducer. Very truly said Christ of himself: Against me all thy wrath hath passed, and over me thou hast brought all thy waves. This is the I­mage of his Son, which God proposeth to be imitated. This is the court-colour, and to be diversly afflicted, is to wear our Princes livery. It is a most true saying, That all the life of Christ Tho. de Kem­pis, l. 2. c. 12. n 7. was a continuall crucifying and mar­tyrdome, and lookest thou for joy and [Page 52] tranquillity? It is the custome of some Academies, to cloath those that live a [...]d study together, in garments all a­like so is it the pleasure of God, that all his scholars in the school of Pa­tience, be clad in the same colour, all sutable to his Son, with contempt, ir­ [...]isions, calumnies, calamities and af­f [...]onts: he hath predestinated them to be conformable to the Image of his Son.

The second cause is, calamity and affliction awake men out of sloath. We are most of us unwilling to take pains, and very prone to sloath and idlenesse. Hence comes it, that unlesse we be rowsed, we wax sluggish and sl [...]epy, not without danger of our sal­vation. Garments lying still unworn, are eaten with moaths; a field for want of tilling, is overgrown with thorns; a standing water is filled with Toads and Frogs: and a man never exercised with calamities, becomes ef­femina [...]e by pleasure, and corrupted with vice. For whilst men sleep, the enemy comes and sowes darnell. Wh [...]lst S [...]son s [...]pt in the bosome of D [...]ila, he l [...]st both his haire and strength: the Philistines waked him [Page 53] indeed, but to his cost, being deprived of his haire and strength to defend h [...]m. Scipio Nas [...]a, (that soul of va­lour and wisedome) would have Car­thage spared for no other reason, then to keep the Romans awake. God him­selfe placed in the middest of Israel, the Hetheans, Gergezeans, Amorrhe­ans, Ch [...]naneans, P [...]erezeans, He­veans, J [...]zeans, most pot [...]st ene­m [...]es, lest Israel shoul [...] sleep in vice and iniqu [...]ty, and to m [...]ster them occasion of perpetuall warre an [...] vi­ctory.

David, before he was proclaimed King, shrowded himself in the dens of wild beasts, hardly secured from the secret practises of his enemies, he made a scruple even to touch Saul his mor­tall enemy: but when he had purcha­sed his peace, and flowed in pleasures and idlenesse, he feared not, by letters, to pro [...]ure the death of his most faith­full servant Urias.

The Church of God never more flourished, then when she was most afflicted, amidst swords and crosses, she beheld the combats and victories of her Martyrs. After the same man­ner goes it with every particular man; [Page 54] no sooner is he at truce with adversity, but he becomes sluggish and vicious: assuredly, unlesse we be often stirred up, and visited, and even galled with adversi [...]y, wee languish and lose our selves with idlenesse. We are perpetu­ally inebriated and sluggish, unlesse something happen to put us in minde of humane misery. But observe heer what the master doth sometimes in the School: He sees two of his scho­lars sleeping in their severall places, and forthwith calls alowd to one of their fellows, saying, Pinch that Boy, and awake him; mean while lets the o­ther sleep, as if he saw him not. And why commands he not both to be wa­kened? The reason is, because the one is docible & capable of learning, and shortly after shal be commanded to re­peat his lesson, being of a sharp wit, & ready tongue, and therfore wel belo­ved of his master. The other Endymi­on, is the dunce & drone of the school, never better, or more at quiet then when hee sleeps. Such an one as this the master passeth over with neglect, and had rather have him sleep, then pr [...]e and disturb the rest. So Almighty God provokes, incites, and exercises [Page 55] his most forward and aptest scholars, scourgeth every child whom he re­ceives into his favour.

Sect. III.

THE third reason is to increase their faith. He that learns, ought to believe. We beleeve there is a hea­ven prepared for the blessed, and a hell for the damned; but, I beseech you, what lively faith or assurance have we of either? No eye could e­ver penetrate to hell, nor do any re­turn from heaven to declare how mat­ters go there. This cogitation affli­cteth many: for some thinking not rightly with themselves, have said: There was never any known to re­turn from hell. Neverthelesse, we must beleeve that there are both these places, except we conclude that God is unjust: for if he who hath cove­nanted to punish the wicked, and re­ward the good, payes neither in this world, certainly in the world to come he will not fail, both to punish the one, and liberally to reward the other. But most evident it is, that many heer want the reward of their vertue, and [Page 56] in stead thereof are oppressed with pe­nury, afflicted with diseases, and invi­roned with whole troops of miseries. Neither have the wicked their pai­ment in this life; for they saile with a prosperous and favourable gale of wind: whereas they deserve to be tos­sed with the most tempestuous waves that may be. Well then, may the hope of the vertuous daily increase, and the bad have most just cause to fear, that he whom they so much hate, shall be their judge at last. Certainly there are none, how good or bad soe­ver, but shall have their hire. Seeing therefore none are so w [...]cked, but that sometimes (even forgetting their wic­kednesse) they do or say well: for which, how little soever it be, they shall receive a temporall reward; notwith­standing they shall have their eternall punishment at length, though deferred for a time. The highest is a patient debtor. Wherefore by this means our faith may be strengthened, and by these temporall punishments and re­wards, gather an assured beliefe of e­ternall.

The third reason is to illuminate the understanding. The master in the [Page 57] School ought principally to labour, that children by little and little may learn to grow wise, cast off their chil­dishnesse, and come to know their own ignorance. This is that which God himselfe endeavoureth in the School of Patience: That vexation may give understanding.

In very deed we never sufficiently apprehend how miserable and fr [...]il we are, till our own miseries teach us. Moreover, we are too much besotted with selfe-love, and easily thereby perswaded, that we are unable to en­dure many things: And yet the testi­mony of experience it selfe setteth be­fore our eyes, and teacheth us, whether we will or no, how much we can (if our will be not wanting) endure for Christs sake. Many sick persons suffer that, which when they were well, they thought they could never have endu­red: yea, and by suffering this, learn how poor & slender our patience is in time of health. It is an easie matter to be patient when we have nothing to trouble us. King David blaming him­selfe, said: In my prosperity I said, I will not be moved for ever. Thou hast turned away thy face from me, [Page 58] and I was troubled. Peter (if he had not fallen so miserably) would never have beleeved himselfe to be so weak and pufillanimous. In the place of the last Supper he boasting said: Al­though I were to dye with thee, yet would I not deny thee, though all should be scandalized, yet would not I. But shortly after he saw his own weaknesse. For this cause the wise man adviseth: My son, in thy life time try thy soule, and if it be wicked, give it no power. What knowledge hath he of himselfe, that is not temp­ted? To know himselfe, he must try himselfe. No man knowes what thou art able to do, no not thy selfe, unlesse some difficulty give thee oceasion thereof. How far the alarm will a­wake a mans courage, is then known, when the alarm is given. The sent of pepper is not smelt till it bee pounded. It is never known how well the Lute or Harp are tuned, till they be touched. How patient the blessed mother of our Lord was, appeared in the stable at Bethlehem, by her fligh [...] into Egypt, and under the crosse at Je­rusalem. These most holy anchorites Stephen and Benjamin, shewed their [Page 59] patience by suffering most grievous diseases: Stephen by stretching forth his putrified limbs to the Chyrurgian to be cut off, while he, the patient, not to lose time, wove palm branches with his hands; and with so undaun­ted a courage and countenance, suffe­red himselfe to be cut, as if it had not been his arm, but anothers body. And when others, even with looking on, were sensible of his pain, he said unto them: O my children! what soever God doth, is to a good end: Let us combat, let us suffer, whilst we are as Champi­ons within the lists. It is better to suffer a short pain, then to be involved in e­verlasting torments. Benjamin, who Pallad. cap. 30 de Steph. for the space of fourscore years, lived a most perfect life, and was reported to heale diseases, was, notwithstan­ding, himselfe miserably afflicted with the dropsie. Of this man Dioscorus the Bishop spake, when visiting him, with Evagrius and Palladius in his Idem Pallad. c 18. & He­raclid. in s [...]o paradiso, c 2. in fin [...]. company, he said: Come, I beseech you, let us behold another Job, who not onely conceals his pains and griefes with patience; but also rende­reth thanks for that he is visited with sicknesse. To whom Benjamin him­selfe [Page 60] replied: Pray, O my brethren! that my inward man may not be sicke of a dropsie. My body benefited me little when it was in health, nor hurts me now it is sick.

Sect. IV.

THe fifth cause is, for that affliction is the greatest signe of profit, and a speciall incitement thereunto. School­masters require most pains and indu­stry at their hands who are most hope­full. The wise Roman excellently dis­coursed Sen de Provid c. 4. of this. Those therfore (saith he) whom God liketh and loveth, he animate [...]h, correcteth, exerciseth; but those whom he seemeth to cherish and spare, he reserveth untou [...]hed for fu­ture miseries. You are deceived if you thinke any m [...]n exempted: there are none so happy but shall have their share in afflictions, whosoever he be that seems dismissed, is but defer­red. Why doth God afflict the best men with corporall infirmities, and o­ther adversities? Why are the hardiest men in the camp put upon the greatest danger? The Captain sends his most selected men to lye by night in ambush [Page 61] for the enemy, to discover the passage, or make way through the watch. Not one of them sent forth, saith, the Cap­tain hath dealt ill with me, but rather he hath disposed well: The same let every one say, who is commanded to suffer that which abject spirits would faint and shrink at. It hath pleased God to do us this favour to manifest what man is able to suffer. God ther­fore taketh the same course with good men, which masters do with scholars: they expect that those who are most hopefull should labour most. Did the Lacedemonians, think you, hate their children, whose abilities they made by stripes a publick triall of? their pa­rents themselves animated them to en­dure the blowes couragiously; and e­ven when they were mangled and half dead, multiplied wounds upon wounds. What wonder is it that God handles generous spir [...]ts so roughly? Vertue is never taught by soft and gentle means. Are we scourged and tormented by ca­lamities? we must not think it cruel­ty, but a combat, which the oftner we undergo, the sooner we shall become valiant. Whom our Lord loveth, he chastiseth. To this purpose Saint Au­gustine [Page 62] saith excellently well: Good Aug. in Psa. 93. men live in labour and travell, because they are scourged as children: Evill men rejoyce and exult, because they are condemned as strangers. Fear not therefore to be scourged, but rather fear to be disinherited.

Pharaoh King of Egypt, made a ve­ry unjust law against the infants of the Hebrews, commanding all their male children to be slain. Origen explai­neth this Manlian law in this manner: If, saith he, you chance to see one man amongst a thousand converted to our Lord, and seeking after eternity, ha­ting unlawfull pleasures, and loving continencie, &c. this man Pharao (the Prince of darknesse) seekes to kill, and with a thousand engines and strata­gems fights against him. Let it not therefore seem strange to any, that Crowes are pardoned, and Doves grie­vously punished, that the wicked are happy, and the lovers of vertue misera­ble. It was anciently the saying of De­metrius, No man seems to me more Senec l. de Provid. c. 3. unhappy, then he that hath never been unhappy. In like sence Bias called him unhappy who could bear no unhappi­nesse. These speeches of wise men Se­neca [Page 63] confirming with his most illustri­ous testimony, saith: I will give thee Son. Epist. 124. & hee omnium E­pist [...]larum clausu [...]a est. a briefe rule or scantling, whereby thou shalt measure thy selfe, and know whether thou beest perfect or no: Thou shalt then be good thy selfe, when thou once understandest those to be happy who are most unhappy. What Christian then is there that will not thinke himselfe miserable, even for this cause alone, for that he seldome it miserable? A thousand reasons may be produced to this purpose.

Sect. V.

BUt suppose wee could finde no rea­son why we should be justly mise­rable; yet wee must not so utter the least word against our masters com­mand. Know wee not how Scholars are treated? If the master out of his chair pronounce this sentence: be gone sirra and prepare for a whipping, I wil come instantly: the scholar notwith­standing presumeth to mutter, saying, why fir? why master? what have I done? the master presently replies, what varlet? stand'st thou asking why thou art to be whip'd? get thee gone [Page 64] quickly, thou shalt have twice as much for that fault which thou hast doubled by asking me why? Very wel saith Sal­vianus, as it were in the person of a Salv. l. 3. de Prov. Schoole-master. Why askest thou me, why one is greater, another lesse, one miserable, another fortunate? I know De quo part. 2. cap. 6. not what reason God h [...]th for it, it is a sufficient reason that I shew it is God that doth it. Let this reason suffice that God is the author of all punish­ments and calamities. Such is the plea­sure of that most provident governou [...] of this schoole, why do we (miserable wormes) mutter against it.

King David curiously searching in­to this point, was of opinion he could finde out the reason of this so hidden a secret: I thought said he, that I might know this, but it was labour unto me. Therefore get thee gone curious cogi­tation: If I said I will expound after this manner, behold I have reproba­ted the nation of thy ch [...]ldren, to wit, Abel, Noah, Abraham. Isaacke, and the dearest friends of God, whom I should grievously accuse, should I a­vouch they were forsaken of God, or that they had in vaine lived vertuously, because (as is most apparant) they chasti­sed. [Page 65] It is a labour to me untill I enter into the Sanctuary of God, and under­stand in the last of them: We shall ne­ver sufficiently penetrate into the rea­sons why God spareth this man or af­flicteth that, till we may in a better world, behold the booke of Gods ac­comptes. Whosoever therefore conside­reth these unequall punishments of mortall men, let him pronounce that saying of the Kingly Prophet. Thou art just, O Lord! and thy judgement right. I am severly punished, but con­f [...]sse I have a thousands times deserved it. It is not f [...]r me to take account of God why others are punish [...]d. Thus much only I know that the judgements of God are an infini [...]e abysse. The eye of God alwaies waketh, and only con­nives at the sinnes of men, when you thinke it sleepes.

Saint Augustine inciting us to atten­tion that wee may the better under­stand this secret, saith; see my brethren, and advisedly observe: God is grie­vously displeased with him whom hee suffereth to sinne and scourgeth not. For whom hee truely and mercifully loves, he doth not only forgive him his sinnes that they may not hurt him in [Page 66] the world to come, but likewise cha­stizeth Aug. in Psal. 98. post med. mihi pag. 453 him, least he should alwaies take delight in sinne, wherein God is like an expert Physitian who knoweth exactly what is most proper for every patient. Tel me why a Physitian mini­streth more Wormewood or Ellebot to one patient then another? Because his disease or complexion requires it. Thinke the same of God, who by the month of Saint Augustine speaketh in this sort to the sicke person: I Aug. ib. pag. 454. know whom I cure, let not the sicke man advise me. What I apply eates in like a corrasive, but withall heales thee. The Chyrurgian, though thou intreat'st him, takes not off his plaister till thy sore be cured; vertue is per­fected in infirmity, and therefore it is a Lip. l. 2. de Const. c. 8. most true saying. The only and surest triall and refining of vertue, is affli­ction.

CHAP. IV. Five kindes of punishments and afflictions are particu­larly explained.

A Great Prince com­manded his device to be expres'd in this manner. A gourd floating on the top of the wa­ter, and as if it un­derstood it's owne state and condition, speaking these words: [...]ctor non mergor, I am tossed, but sinke not: for gourds swimme aloft by reason of their light and spungy substance. Not much un­like this was that device which Clau­dius Paradinus speakes of, borne by Admirallus Chabotius, a man of great renowne, to wit, a windball or ba­ [...]oone, with this Motto, Concussus, sur­ [...]o: Strucken, I bound aloft, for these balls by blowes are forced to mount and flye upward. Many men never carne to be wise till they be beaten [Page 68] with their owne rodde; th [...]y aspire not to heaven, but when they beginne to loath the earth; they elevate their mindes to eternall, when they have ill successe in fraile and transitory things. Concussisurgunt, being strucken, they rise and bound upward, like bladders blowne with winde; the h [...]rder they are strucken, the higher they mount. This wee have sufficiently shewed in the three former Chapters. Now wee proceed to the tenne severall kindes of afflictions and calamities which wee intimated before.

Sect. I. Roddes.

THe first instrument wherwith scho­lars in the schoole of Patience are corrected, [...]s Roddes; diseases and in­firmities are afflictions knowne to all men. Is there any so healthfull that he feeles not now and then the smart of these Rods? There is scarcely any that is not hereby put in minde that hee is mortall being subject, as he is, to so many diseases. The strongest com­plexion in the world is not exempt, [Page 69] but feeles sometimes gnawing, aking, or griping paines. Eyther their head, eyes, teeth, armes, legges, or stomacke akes. And what wonder? We are even a seminary of diseases, & do we thinke it strange to bee sick? Diseases creepe into every age and state of life. Wee are no sooner borne but we beginne to be sicke: and therefore may believe Saint Augustine, for who is there, Aug. in Psa. 102. ante med mihi pag. 473. saith he, that is not sicke in this life? who is there that lingreth not in one languour or other? our birth in this mortall body is no other then a prelu­dium or entrance to infirmities. Why then are wee affraid at the approach of diseases?

This life is a perpetuall disease. But Idem Serm. 74. yet beleeve me, there is a place for vertue in sicknesse: which by the say­ing Senec. Epist. 76. of Saint Ambrose is verified: the infirmity of the body is the sobriety of the minde. Infirmity is the forge of vertue; and, as Hierom saith, it is bet­ter to have the stomack sick then the minde. There have been some, but very few, who have lived to fourscore years of age in perfect health: yet this old house began to decay, and at last was dissolved, and utterly ruinated.

[Page 70] Thus much let us be assured of, that for the most part, none behave themselves better in sicknesse, then they who in time of health have often learned the Art of suffering amongst sick persons. Here let every man question himselfe in this sort: If thou wert in this state, how wouldst thou demean thy selfe? how mildly and pleasingly wouldst thou speake? how patiently wouldst thou suffer thy pains?

To seek for health from witches, or sorcerers, is the property of a man des­perate, and wretchedly in love with his life. Is there not a God in Israel, that you go to seek counsell of Beelzebub the God of Accaron? Let our sick­nesse draw us to God, not to the Di­vell the enemy of God.

The Hebrews when they were freed from diseases and slaughters, forgat their God: but no sooner were their infirmities multiplied, but they made haste to return unto him. Sometimes the neck, foot, or arme is cauterized to cure the head: So God burns and cauterizes the body with diseases, to heal the soul. A painfull disease makes a sober soul, saith the wise man. And [Page 71] to say truth, it is better to be scorched with a burning feaver, then with the flames of sin.

Many then detest at last, and loath their unlawfull pleasure when they are visited with sicknesse. Rightly said S. Greg. hom. 1 [...]. in Evang. propius finem. Gregory, By the divine goodnesse it comes to passe, that an inveterate ha­bit of vice is purged with a long ma­ [...]ady. Our evill customes which have continued long without any amend­ment, deserve oftentimes a long pu­nishment; and if God chastise so se­verely when he pardoneth, how sharply will he strike when he is incensed? How rigorously will he punish the re­probate, seeing he beares so heavie a hand over his beloved children?

There was a certain religious man, (as testifieth Ruffinus Aquileiensis) who earnestly requested an holy An­choret named John, to cure him of a tertian. No, said he, for hereby you seeke to be deprived of a good thing, and for you most necessary: For as cloathes are washt with sope, so is the soule purified by sicknesse. The dis­ease of the body is the health of the soule. Vertue in infirmity is perfe­cted.

[Page 72] This (on a time) moved a certaine religious old man (as I finde written by many) to say to his sicke Scholar [...] Courage (my child) let not this dis­ease of thy body trouble thee. If tho [...] beest iron, this fire will burne off thy rust, if gold, it will refine thee: be not the fore discontented: if it be Gods will to afflict thee with sickenesse, who art thou that darest resist or repine a­gainst his blesled will? beare it then couragiously, and beseech God to con­forme thy will to his in all things.

Sure if wee would consider of this matter as we ought, should finde sick­nesse to be so great a benefit, sent from God, that a hundred yeares service were too little to deserve it. In sick­nesse we are invited to make our peace with God, whom perhaps before we opposed and grievously exasperated. Blessed Saint Gregory saith that sicke persons are to be admonished to con­sider how much good they may reape by corporall afflictions, which both expiate the sinnes formerly commit­ted, and restraine them from commit­ting the like afterwards. Most wisely said Salomon. The blewnesse of the wound will wipe all evill, for accor­ding [Page 73] to the interpretation of S. Grego­ry, and smart of Gods chastisements, purgeth all sinnes either of thought or deed.

Wherfore sicke persons are to be advertised, that in this respect they Greg. part. 3. pastor admo. 3 med. may think themselves the children of God, for that they are chastized with the scourge of his discipline, for were it not that he intended to bestow on them an inheritance after their, corre­ction, he would never so carefully, and to their trouble, instruct them. Where­fore he that is afflicted with bodily sickenesse may comfort himselfe and say, let my body perish, which of ne­cessity must perish, so my soule be sa­ved. Can any man be grieved to see his old rotten cottage pull'd downe, and in stead thereof a faire new fa­bricke erected? Let not then the sicke man (though he have one foote in the grave) be discomforted: we know if our earthly house be dissolved, we have another provided by God, not a perishing manufacture, but an eternall house in heaven.

But you will say it is an easie mat­ter for him that is sound and in good health to comfort the sicke, we would [Page 74] perhaps change our note, were our health exchang'd for their sicknesse. What sicke man will ever be perswa­ded that corporall infirmities are to be preferred before intire health? By your good leave (sir) you expresse your selfe herein to be too much a man, and altogether ignorant of Christian dis­cipline. Know you not that of Saint Paul? When I am infirme then I am strong. In this sence Saint Gregory said: while rough adversity weakneth Oreg. l. 29. Moral. c. 15. propius fi­nem. holy men, it maketh them stronger. The flesh pampereth and cherisheth it selfe with delicious viands; but the spirit is supported by sharp and rough entreaties: the one is fed with de­lights, the other nourished with bit­ternesse; and so the flesh for a time, lives sweetly, that the spirit may dye e­ternally.

But give me leave, I pray you, to an­swer here your objections.

Pain, say you, is hard and unsufferable. To which I may reply; But you are a weakling and effeminate.

There have been but very f [...]w that cou [...]d endure pains and dolours.

Answ. Let us be of those few.

But we are weak and frail by nature.

[Page 75] Answ. Cast no imputation on Na­ture, she hath brought us forth strong and vigorous.

Is there any man that seeks not to a­void pain?

Answ. It pursues them that flye from it: if the dolour or griefe be small, let us bear it; a little patience will suf­fice: if the pain be great, let us endure it, the glory will be the greater.

But a man in perfect health might spend his time more vertucusly.

Answ. Nay, farre lesse. Think that saying of Saint Augustine verified in Aug. Tract. 7. [...]n Ioan. thee. How many are there wicked in health, who sick would be innocent? Sin is pruned and cut off by sicknesse.

But O how rich is he that hath his health!

Answ. No, in sicknesse thou begin­nest to be acceptable to God. Reckon this amongst other benefits of thy dis­ease: we never set a right value on health till it be taken from us.

O how weak and how feeble am I now!

Heer let Saint Bernard answer thee: Better it is to be broken with labours and dolours, and be saved, then to re­main Bern de in­ter d [...]mo [...]. 46. in health and be damned.

O what a slave am I to pains and griefe!

[Page 76] Answ. Reflect thine eye from thy selfe upon Christ crucified: there view a man of dolours indeed, and knowing infirmities: for he truly bare our lan­guors, and sustained our dolours. Ah! when will this obstinate and cruell disease have an end?

Answ. It is a signe of cold love to desire presently an end of suffering for Christ, before we have well begun.

But if I were now in health, I would go to Church and purifie my soul with hea­venly Sacraments.

Ans. Beleeve me, the least degree of patience in sicknesse is the best means to expiate thy sins.

Therefore as blessed Saint Gregory adviseth, we must say to the sick, that if they beleeve they have any right to their countrey in heaven, they must of necessity suffer labour and pain heer, as in a forrain land: Let him that is sick commend himselfe to the divine goodnesse, and say: Even thy rod and thy staffe have comforted me. Heer let me be pricked, heer tormented, heer burned, so I burne not everlastingly.

Think not much, I beseech thee, gentle Reader, to peruse what the har­binger of eternity brings, to compose [Page 77] and rectifie the thoughts of sick per­sons. Heer we surcease, to avoid pro­lixity.

Sect. II. ARROWES.

PAins and griefes are arrowes pier­cing deeper then any two-edged sword. King David being very sensi­ble of these arrowes, saith: Thy ar­rowes are sharp; cares, irksomnesse, griefe, feare, sicknesse, wound the soule like arrowes. It is in a manner the greatest griefe of all to have a woun­ded mind. For as mentall delights far exceed all corporall; so the griefe and anguish of the mind far surpasses all other dolours.

Christ the Redeemer of the world, on mount Olivet and mount Calvary, complained not of stripes and scour­ges, nor of the sharp pricking thornes and nails, but upon the crosse cried out of his grieved mind, that he was forsa­ken of his father.

The sorrow and heavinesse of Christ was inexplicable, which caused those lamentable voices: My soule is [Page 78] heavie even to death. And, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? The wounds of the mind exced all pe­nall acerbities: And therefore the wise man said, Griefe of heart is an u­niversall wound.

Sometimes Almighty God brings his servants into such straits, that all things seem to oppose them; and, which is the greatest misery, they think that God himselfe is highly of­fended with them. Neverthelesse, they are not destitute of hope, but again and again cry, O my Lord God! in the day I have cried, and in the night before thee: because my soul is filled with evill things, and my life hath drawn near to hell. I am poore, and in labours from my youth: Or (accor­ding to others) I am afflicted, and like to one giving up the ghost: from my youth I have born thy terrours, and have trembled.

The Scripture tells us, that the He­brewes passing out of Egypt, came into Mara, and could not drink the waters of Mara, because they were bitter, &c. There he gave them precepts and judgements, and there he tried them. Here one will say, I beseech thee, [Page 79] Lord, was there not a more commodi­ous place for the enacting of thy Lawes? Did the worst seem unto thee the fittest? heer the very water it selfe increased their thirst.

But (Reason) what meanest thou here to expostulate? There God esta­blished Lawes and Precepts, and there he tempted and tried them. For this affaire the most incommodious place was most fitting for them. In the rich­est and most fertill countries, amidst delicacies, the Law of God, for the most part, is contemned. Felicity is but stepmother to all vertues. They who are oppressed with adversities, and fearfull of losing their estates, learn sooner to fear God, then they who by felicity are invited to lasciviousnesse. For the most part God is neerest unto us in adversity. Therefore Nahum the Prophet said: Our Lord was in the tempest, in the whirlwind of his way. God comes to us in the midst of light­ning and thunder, and then common­ly he is neerest when the tempest of affl [...]ction is greatest. Witnesse Saint Gregory: The evills which heer op­presse us, compell us to have recourse unto God.

[Page 80] Jonathan and David (that noble paire of friends) thus agreed betweene themselves. I (said Jonathan) will shoote three arrowes, and will shoote as it were practising at a marke. I will likewise send a boy saying unto him, goe bring me my arrowes, if I say to the boy looke, the arrowes are on this side thee, take them up, come to me, for then all is in peace, and nothing amisse. God every day and moment shootes and sends forth his arrowes out of his bow, and powreth forth on men all kinds of maladies. Whosoever is strucken with one of these arrowes, let him not be appal'd or dismayd at the wound, behold the arrows of God have transfixed thee; peace i [...] with thee, and there is no hurt done. These woundes are signes of health. But these shaftes (thou sayest) miserably tor­ment thy minde, and often times af­fl [...]ct thee with extreame anguishes. To be vexed in minde, to repent, to be contristated, to grieve and feare, are horrible torment [...] to the m [...]nde. Admit all this, yet if thou patiently re­ceive all these arrowes shot against thee, feare not, peace is with thee, and there is no harme done, thy God li­veth.

[Page 81] Behold King David who perceiving himselfe more then once wounded, saith; thine arrows are fixed in me, and thou hast confirmed thy hand up­on me. He did not only lament and groane at the arrowes shot against him, but also at those that were fixed and sticking in him. There were ma­ny things that grieved and troubled this good king. Be [...]sabe was no soo­ner delivered of a sonne but it [...]yed. His sonne Ammon committed incest wi [...]h his daughter Thamar then rea­dy for marriage. Ammon himselfe being dru [...]ke at a feast, is slaine by his brother Absolon. From this degene­rating sonne Absalon, that good fa­ther deposed from his royall throne, and deprived of his crowne, is forced to flye as from the face of an enemy. Behold what deepe wounds these ar­rowes made in King David I not one or two, but very many they were that showred downe one his head.

And how sharpe and penetrating was Nathans speech pronouncing in publike, Tu es ille-vir, Thou art that very man; why hast thou contemned the word of thy Lord (say [...]h God) that thou mightest do evill in my sight? [Page 82] wherefore the sword shall not depart from thy house for ever, because thou hast despised me. Behold, I will raise up mischiefe upon thee from thine owne house, for thou hast done thine actions in secret: but I will performe that word in the sight of all Israel, and in the sight of the Sunne. Be­hold almost as many arrowes as words. O what deepe wounds made these penetrating Darts in the kings heart? arrowes (and those innume­rable) they were wherewith he was transfixt on all sides, yet comfort was not wanting: King David lost no cou­rage, for though the shafts of God pierce, sticke fast, torment and rend; yet soone after they f [...]ll away. Death like a Chyrurgion pulls them out. For thine arrowes passe quickly away, and the voyce of thy Thunder in a wheele.

How many soever the arrowes be which God shooteth against us, they are soone drawne out by his all curing hand. The moment seemes somewhat long wherein we are afflicted But that indeed is a voyce of Thunder; depart, be gone, you accursed, goe into ever­lasting fire; away, get you gone, weep for ever, burne for ever. O dreadfull! [Page 83] this voice shall be for ever circumvol­ved on the wheele of eternity. This Thunder shall be perpetually in the eares of the damned, and shall never cease to transfix as it were with woun­ding Darts, those guilty soules. But now the arrowes of our Lord are tran­sitory, and therefore may well be cal­led silver and golden shaftes, for that they come from the hand of God, passe away speedily, and give for a little pa­tience an immortall reward.

Dictamnum is an Herbe well knowne to Harts, and Goates, which having tasted, the arrowes fall from their wounded sides, as Virgil sings,

Virg. l 12 Aen [...]id.
Non illa feris inc [...]gnita capris Gramina,
Cum tergo volucre [...] hasere sagit [...]ae.
An herbe which savage Goates know where by kinde,
(While shafts are in their bodies fixt) to finde.

If wilde beastes wounded with ar­rowes have naturall remedies so neare at hand, shall our sore want a salve? Even this thought alone (that the shaftes of our Lord will soone passe [Page 84] away) if it be seriously waigh'd and applyed, is an excellent receipt; for what doth sooner mitigate sorrow, then to consider with confidence that God will end the griefe, and bring consolation, and with it eternity which shall never have end.

Dabit D [...]us his quoque finem.

Annaeus the Philosopher comparing Mecaenas while he lay in his downe­bed, to a miserable man hanging up­on a crosse, saith Mecaenas endeavou­reth to procure sleepe by soft musicall st [...]a [...]nes gently res [...]u [...]ding a farre off, but though he make himselfe drowsie with wine, and seeke to q [...]iet his per­plexed thoughts with a thousand de­lights yet shall he lye as broad awake upon his downy bed as the other on the crosse But its a comfort to the one that he suffers for a good cause (and as we may say for Chr [...]st) considering with patience for what he suffers. The other consumed with pleasure, and in­toxicated with too much felicity, is more tormented with the guilt of his crimes for which he suffers, then with the suff [...]ring it selfe.

A sicke and discontented minde shall never be perfectly cured with [Page 85] delights. The greatest comfort of a troubled minde is to suffer adversity for Christs sake; and after the speedy end of his misery, expect eternall so­lace.

Let us therefore endure and perse­vere; blessed eternity is neer at hand, all adversity and trouble whatsoever a man suffereth in this life, all cross [...]s, be they never so grievous and horrible, are (as Saint Augustine saith) in com­parison of eternall fire, not onely light Aug. [...]o 10. Serm 19 [...]. de tempore ante med. mihi. pag. 298. and triviall, but even none at all. The end of all these is already in sight: Eternity shall never have end.

Sect. III. Tapers.

BUrning Tapers are the emblemes of poverty. Poverty (if it lighteth upon a man that knows how to make good use of it) is a most efficacious meanes to attain to vertue. God in the School of Patience, divers wayes makes use of this instrument. There are some brought to such extream po­verty, that they have not so much as bread to satisfie their hunger, nor are [Page 86] they able with their hand-labour to get their livings: these are worthy of compassion. Of such may be under­stood that saying of Diogenes: Po­verty is no ordinary sicknesse. There are others who suffer in private a world of misery (shame-fac'd beggers I mean) who rather chuse to starve then beg: certainly these deserve no lesse commiseration then the former. There are others poore and needy, but withall idle and lazie, such as might easily free themselves from poverty, if they would first shake off sloath: they will take no pains, and so fall into the snare of beggery. They had rather starve then not be idle. There are o­thers very laborious, but crost by do­mesticall casualties, are notwithstan­ding subject to poverty. Some there are who seem to be very rich, and yet so far in debt, that they have almost p [...]wn'd their so [...]ls. To these we may well say He is rich that is not in debt. And finally, some there are who seem poore onely to themselves whereas in­deed their disease proceeds not so much from poverty as covetousnesse: they want not victuals, but they desire to have them in a more pompous and [Page 87] magnificent manner. They are not content to be clothed and fed, but they will have dainty and costly vi­ands: these kinde of people you shall heare often complaining, how many things do I stand in need of? And surely these ungratefull wretches, who are not content with their estates, are not onely very poore, but even in some sort most miserable. Next to these are they of whom Saint Chrysostome speakes: Even Kings themselves have Chrys. Hom▪ 12. in Ep. ad Tim. not been exempted from poverty. In a word, Poverty by what means soever it happens (if we know how to make right use of it) will be a powerfull motive to embrace vertue.

Poverty, said Seneca, is no evill but Sen. ep. 123. fin [...]. to him that repugnes it. Saint Chry­sostom calleth it the mother of health. Saint Augustine, the mistresse of all Aug. in Psa. 76. Wisedome and true Philosophy. It is most certain, for howsoever the ene­mies of poverty oppose it, she, the in­venter Basil in He­xam. of Arts, derogates from no man, unlesse he disparage himselfe; as excellently Saint Basil said: To be called a poore man is no disgrace

God burneth us with these tapers, and the fire of poverty, either to waken [Page 88] us when we sleep, or to chastise us when we sin; or finally, to reward us for our constancie. Wherefore he long since forewarning us, saith; And I will turn my hand, I will refine and purifie thee from thy drosse, and take from thee all thy T [...]n.

Absolon having once or twice Tent his servants to invite Joab, that war­like Captain, to come unto him, when he saw he came not, what, think you, did this royall young man? The books of Kings record? And when he had sent the second time, and he would not come unto him, he said to his ser­vants: Know yee Joabs field that lies neer to mine, containing his bar­ley harvest? go therefore and burn it with fire. After this manner God humbleth many men, and with flames of poverty even forceth them to better courses. Whom he knoweth to be proud, or else foreseeth (except he pre­vent them) they will become contu­macious and insolent.

Let this therefore be the Lesson which we ought to learn in the School of Patience, lest poverty (a thing in it selfe not evill) by the abuse become an evill unsupportable. The wise man [Page 89] to make us cautious herein, saith: Through poverty many have offended and gone astray: for some to have wherewith to fill their bellies, cheat and steal: others prostitute themselves, and set their souls to sale. These make ill use of poverty, a thing very good of it selfe.

The Scholars in the School of Pa­tience must otherwise behave them­selves when they are burned with the fire of poverty. Each of them may say, thou hast examined me with fire, & there is no iniquity found in me. All extremities are rather to be endured, Chrys Hom. 71. in Mat. then to offend God. Better it is to begge then steal.

Saint Bernard through ardent affe­ction Ber. Ser. 16. in Psa. Qui habitat. ante finem mihi. pag. 559. to povertie, said, It is better for me, my Lord, to be in tribulation, so thou be with me, then to reigne, feast, or glory without thee: It is much better to embrace thee in tribu­lation, to have thee with me in the furnace of povertie, then to be even in heaven without thee. What are we afraid of? Why delay we? Why seek we to avoid this furnace of poverty? The fire is terrible, but our Lord is with us in tribulation: If God be with [Page 90] us, who can stand against us? Let us therefore, that we may take no harm by poverty, seriously revolve this in our minde, that all poverty, whatsoever it be, is laid upon us by God for our greater good, that we may be through­ly refined from our drosse.

Even as a tender and loving mother when she beholds her childe playing abroad in the yard, fiercely assaulted by Turkey-cockes and hens (because he is in a red coate) with wings rais'd, traine displayed, and bristling crestes; presently steps to him and takes him from those furious fowles, and (though the childe cry and mourne to see him­selfe disrob'd) she pulls off his scarlet wherewith Turkies naturally become so fierce, and all this she doth for the good of her little one, not moved at all with his fond and childish teares: let him weepe and spare not, so he may escape this imminent danger. So God oftentimes uncloathes us, takes away our goodes, oppresseth us with poverty, but all for our good, for by this means we are delivered from many dangers, from the assaults of the Divell, and snares of manifold sinnes: but we like children cry and lament, wrangle and [Page 91] complaine that we are deprived of ne­cessaries, and brought to utter begge­ry. Oh you foolish babes! why weepe you, why complaine you? all this is done for your good. God would not have bereaved you of temporall sub­stance, but that he foresaw they would become very prejudiciall to you; he would not have reduced you to this poore estate, but that he perceiv'd from all eternity you should not o­therwise attaine to the kingdome of heaven.

Wherefore, commit these anxious cares to this most loving father, who infinitely exceeds in providence and compassion, the most tender mother. But thou art poore, yea, poore against thy will; give me leave then once more I pray thee, to answer thy obje­ctions.

Poverty, thou sayest to me seemes intolerable. Answ. Certainely thou art more to it, then it to thee.

I am forsaken and contemned of all. Answ. Save only God; his eyes looke upon thee poore man.

O! how happy are the rich and wealthy? Answ. Oh miserable hap­pinesse! for the hoording up of riches [Page 92] is full of labour; the possession full of fear; and the losse with grief, the love Bern de con­vers. ad Cle­ricos c. 13. & de 5. nego­tiat. mihi. pag. 1748. of riches corrupteth, the use is burden­some, and their decrease full of vexati­on and trouble.

What is more miserable then beg­gery? Answ. Perhaps thou art igno­rant of that which all men know. La­zarus the needy beggar was after his death placed in Abrahams bosome, and the rich glutton in the midest of hell: the one by Angels was in the place of rest; the other by divels buri­ed in hell.

He that hath money, hath all at his command.

Answ. Nay rather he hath nothing if he be destitute of vertue: thou hast all things with thee that may make thee good. When the rich man shall sleepe, he shall take nothing with him, he shall open his eyes and finde no­thing.

We may be poore though we a­bound in riches.

Answ Certainely great is that man who is poore in the middest of riches, but far more secure is he that wanteth them.

[Page 93] Alasse how void and empty are my coffers?

What matter is it how empty thy chest be? looke to thy conscience: he is rich enough who hath a quiet con­science.

But I want necessaries. Answ. Per­haps thou rather wantest industry to provide necessaries. It is not much that nature requireth, but the minde and the eyes are insatiable: desire is never satisfied. Nature contents her selfe with little.

The poor man lies every where de­jected.

Answ. Cheerfull poverty is most honourable: whosoever agrees well with poverty, is rich; he is not poore that hath little, but he that covets much.

Poverty is extreamely prejudiciall both to me and others.

Ans. It would damnifie neither you nor others, but that your poverty pro­ceeds more from vitiousnes then want.

Poverty is an obstacle to me in all things.

Answ. Rather say; it furthers you, if thou wilt be at rest and finde re­pose of minde, either thou must be [Page 94] poore, or seeme so without care of frugality, thy indeavours can never a­vail thee: for frugality is voluntary po­verty.

Say what you will, poverty is an in­sufferable misery.

Answ. Give me leave I pray to tell you, Seneca convinces you of untruth, who directly saith that there is no evil in poverty, so a man keepe himselfe Sen. consol. ad Hel c. 9. post medium. free from the phrensie of avarice, which subverteth all.

Oh you that are poore! whosoever you be, what thinke you of such a fa­ther who sees his little sonne with bread in his hand, and a mastiffe lying in waite, and ready to bit him by the fingers? were it not a point of wisdom in him, and a wary foresight of future mischiefe, rather then a depriving the childe of victualls, to snateh the bread out of his hand? So God some­times deprives us of food and tempo­rall felicities, not to impoverish or fa­mish, but to reclaime us from sinne. Is not vertue for the most part banished, & all kinde of vices imbrac'd in their kingdome, where men fare daintily, sleepe largely, and spend the day idly.

Happy therefore are the poore, who [Page 95] willingly embracing poverty, enter­taine it as a speciall friend to vertue. To this end was that generous speech of Saint Paul uttered: The things which were to me a gaine, the same I deem'd for Christ a detriment.

No man is worthy of God, but he that knowes how to contemne riches, and he is truely rich who agreeth well with poverty. To this purpose Dioge­nes said: Poverty is a vertue which is learn'd of it selfe. The matter is plaine: should not riches be taken from us we should be undone and de­stroyed by them. And who is he that can so warily touch these thornes, and not wound his owne conscience? po­verty alone is not wounded by this thorny brake. He abhorres not pover­ty who aspires to blessed immortality. For as truely saith Saint Gregory: Whosoever he be that fixeth his de­sire upon eternity, can neither be de­terred with poverty, nor shaken with adversity.

Sect. IV. A Garland of Straw.

THE Garland of Straw signifies all kindes of scoffes, derisions and con­tempts. This is a terrible and grievous punishment to scholars at school, how light soever it seemes to others. Some time it happens in schools that the ma­ster commands a boy to stand in a place by himselfe with roddes in his hand. This is a more grievous punish­ment to that boy, then to be ten times beaten with roddes. In Spaine they put in mockery a paper hat upon those whom they lead to execution. After this manner Andronicus an Emperour Vid conside­rationes g [...]er­nita [...]is consid. 5. 53. of the East was crown'd with a wreath of Garlicke, set upon the back of a scabbed Camel, and led thorow the city in a miserable triumph.

To be contemned, derided and scof­fed at, a proud man deemeth one of the greatest punishments that may be inflicted.

This crowne of Straw seemes to some all lead, beset with prickes like a bristled Hedge-hogge. For we abhorre [Page 97] nothing more then to be disgraced, branded with ignominy, or forc'd to the blush in presence of others. This often times seemes more grievous then death it selfe. Hence it is that many guilty persons kill themselves in prison rather then they will be made an ob­ject of scorne and contempt to the world.

At the latter day when every one shal return from death to life, that terrible arraignement in the sight and presence of all mankinde, that calling to ac­compt and pointing out by the voice and finger of the judge, that sterne eye fixed on the whole world shall more torment the damned then the very flames of hel. For this cause shall men say in most desperate manner to the sleepy rockes and mountaines, fall you upon us, and to the hils cover us. Then shall it seem to them a gentler punish­ment to be buried al [...]ve under the hea­vy weight of these mountaines, then to be arraigned at the tribunall seat of Christ, to receive that heavy sentence, and be proclaimed by the elect, the utter enemies of God

Saul King of the Hebrewes, a no­torious example of a man infinitely [Page 98] wicked, when he heard Samuel foretell the dissolution and final catastrophe of his kingdom & fortunes, the deprivati­on of Gods grace, his owne reprobati­on, and utter ruine of all; desired only to preserve his honour: But now ho­nour me, said he, before the elders of my people, and before Israel. So much he fear'd this losse (when all things else were in a desperate case) that his people should cease to honour him.

Behold how Saul was able like the Ostrich to disgest the greatest calami­ties, as hard iron, and yet is dejected with a thing which might seeme to be of least account: to weare this wreath of straw he esteemes more grievous then death it selfe. What was the cause? He was proud. There is no­thing in the School of Patience more fit to suppresse pride, then this Garland of Straw. This is the most efficacious meanes to pull downe arrogancy; he that is crowned with this Garland is forced (though much against his will) to qualifie his lofty spirit.

But above all things this is most to be admired: we desire to be reputed submissive & humble, and yet hate no­thing more then humility & contempt [Page 99] of our selves: free us from ignominy. and in a manner, all things else seeme tolerable: with this, men are wont to be most dejected, they especially that are proud and not fully subjected. We vainely perswade and flatter our selves that all things (besides this garland of straw) are tolerable. A very fond per­swasion: which Cassianus refu [...]eth thus: We would, saith he, have chastity Cass. collat 4. c. 1 [...]. [...]. of body, without chastizing our flesh: acquire purity of heart, without la­bour and watching: enjoy carnall case & quietnes, and yet abound in spiritu­all vertues: possesse the gift of patience, yet never would beprovoked by scorns & reproches; practise the humility of Christ without the losse of worldly honour, and serve him with humane praise and estimation. In a word, we desire to keep our head from the straw garland, and to be humble without humility.

In this case we must not flatter our pride; this garland of straw is fittest for that head which most abhorres it, to that alone this diadem is most suit­able. Elegantly & learnedly saith Sene­ca: Sen. do Pro­vid. c. 4. post initium. How can I be assured of thy cōstan­cie against ignominy, infamy, and po­pular [Page 100] hatred, if I see thee all thy life soothed and applauded, and followed with acertain inexpugnable and head­long troop of flatterers.

This one word Repete, rehearse the same again, vexeth more the Reader, then any other correction how rigo­rous soever.

But this is an apparant signe of se­cret pride, which liketh nothing worse then to be blamed or shamed by blush­ing: whereupon some men, singular as well for learning as contempt of themselves, (when their ruin was to read at dinner or supper) purposely pronounced some words amisse, that they might be forced to blush at their owne dissembled ignorance.

When Martin Delrio (a man of an an­cient house; and, by the many notable books he wrote famous for his learn­ing) had divers years professed divinity at Liege, he was by command sent to Tornay, where according to the rules of his Order, he might retire himself from publick reading and noise of the world, and quietly spend some time in holy meditations. Heer he laying a­side both Philosophy and Divinity, underwent, yea even ambitiously [Page 101] sought after all the most abject offi­ces amongst religious novices. Some­times with a poore thred bare cloake he attended the Cater to the market, and carried to the Colledge the provi­sion he bought, thorow the streets in view of all the people, taking upon him the office of a poore Porter. This man neither feared, nor refused the garland of straw; nay he thought him­selfe honoured by wearing it. This above all the rest much astonished the religious of his order, to see a man so grave and learned, after he had spent so many years in the socity of Jesus, been reader a long time in Phi­losophy and Divinity, and a preacher highly esteemed; after all this, I say, his sight failing him, and almost blind with age, so diligently and willingly (whilst others sate at table) to stand or incommodiously sit at the usuall deske, reading, according to the cu­stome, some pious book, and pronoun­cing the tones and accents according to the direction of others. Behold how Delrio with a prompt and ready will embraced a garland of straw. Nothing seemed to him so ignominious and shamefull in his latter yeares, as the [Page 102] feare of shame and ignominy.

The like did Lanfranke, a man sin­gularly endued with all manner of li­terature: He on a time was appointed reader, and being by his unlearned Su­periour commanded to repeat what he had read, and to pronounce it con­trary to the rules of Grammar, readily obeyed. Questionlesse he reputed this straw garland a speciall ornament: This good man was not ashamed, for Christs sake, to be put to shame. A­loysius Gonzaga did the like, as is re­counted in his life.

When the minde is once throughly steel'd with vertue, it becomes impas­sible, no derisions nor contempts can ever wound it. Can a man, think you, truly resign'd to the will of God, be at any time moved with ignominy, who hath once fully rejected the opinion of the world, and placed all his ho­nor in Christ his Saviour? An ignomi­nious death is beyond all ignominy: yet this so many thousand holy Martyrs have embraced with as cheerfull a countenance as other when they are adorned with purple and diadems. Christ himselfe, King of Martyrs, to this end, suffered a most ignominious [Page 103] death, to teach his servants to suffer, and not to put affronts and disgraces upon others. No man is more pleased with contempt, then he who hath first learned to contemne himselfe.

A true despiser of himselfe is as content with contumelies, as if they were miters, and then most of all re­joyceth and applauds his happinesse, when he is most derided. For true glory indeed is to suffer with indiffe­rencie for Christs sake, as well the greatest as the least reproach and con­tumely. The true disciples of Christ are crowned first with thornes, and af­terwards with gold and pretious gems.

King David pursuing the Amale­kites, found in the field an Egyptian even sick to death, and strictly exami­ned him about his countrey, house and kindred; who returned this answer: I am an Egyptian young man, servant to one that is an Amalekite, and my master hath left me behinde, because I fell sicke three dayes since. David commanded this man to accompany him after he had sworn him. S. Gre­gory having considered these passages, Greg. in E­vang. said, God chuseth those whom the [Page 104] world despiseth; because for the most, part, by being despised, a man comes to know himself. The garland of straw is an ignominy prejudiciall to none but such as are impatient.

Let us go therefore (as Saint Paul encourageth us) let us go out of the Camp to meet Christ Jesus, carrying upon us his disgrace. Saint Paul is our leader to that bloudy pavilion of Christ crucified; he exhorts us to follow him through glory and dis­grace, through infamy and good fame, as seducers, yet speakers of the truth. We have innumerable valiant Cham­pions to accompany us in this way, who have been well acquainted with crosses, d [...]sgraces and whips, yea with prisous, chains and fetters. To gain a crown of gold, they have patiently worn a wreath of straw. He is not yet arrived to happinesse, who knowes not how to endure contempts and dis­graces.

Sect. V. Wands.

THe miseries of man which daily molest him, are represented by [Page 105] Wands. Occasions of suffering are ne­ver wanting; let us stand or sit, walk or eate, drink or sleep, the troubles and grievances are innumerable which intrude upon us; we are daily contesting and wrangling with our own inconveniences. It may well be said, that the master in this School ne­ver layes afide his wands. You shall scarcely see a man that hath not daily some mischance or other hap­pening unto him: But most of those whereat we repine, are more of­fensive then prejudiciall.

The words of that most religious Thomas a Kempis, concern all men: Thou art wretched wheresoever thou Imi [...]. Christ. l 1. cap. 22. initio, & l. 2. c. 12 n. 3. 4. art, and whithersoever thou turnest thy selfe, except thou turn to God. Dispose and order all things according to thy own will and liking; yet shalt thou neuer want something to suffer, either willingly or unwillingly. Turn to all above thee, below thee, within or without thee, and in all these thou shalt finde a crosse: every where thou must of necessity suffer with patience, if thou wilt enioy inward peace, and deserve an everlasting crown.

These miseries of ours, though they [Page 106] may be endured and overcome with facility, yet considering they occurre daily, our merit thereby is wonder­fully increased, if we suffer them for Gods sake, as Ludovicus Blosius tea­cheth Blos. insiit. spirit c. 2. propius finem very well, that it is a matter of no small moment to suffer even the least trouble for the love of God.

All that can be said of these kindes of miseries and molestations, is, that they are burdensome, but wholsome, if they be willingly embraced. For as Saint Augustine saith, God regards Aug in Psa. 61. prope fi­nem. what a man is willing, rather then what he is able to do.

Abigail the wisest amongst the wo­men of her time, besides the present of all kindes of viands, to appease King Davids wrath, made likewise her addiesse by a notable oration, saying, The soul of my Lord shall be kept as safe as if it were in the posie of the li­ving, with thy Lord God: but the soule of thy enemies shall be wheeled about, as it were in the force and circle of a sling. Heer this wise Lady, by an excellent comparison, shewed the dif­ference between the lives of the wic­ked and just, especially in suffering ad­versities. Good and vertuous men are [Page 107] like fresh flowers, which the Gardiner having newly gathered, lest they should be scattered and wither, ties them together in a nosegay, with so strait and hard a bond, that (if it were possible) they would cry out and com­plain of the injury. But flowers thus compacted and set in water, live long and flourish.

By this posie I understand daily mi­series which teach us, at least, to live with more purity, though perchance with lesse content. As for example: I am very hungry; to relieve my hun­ger I insinuate with the Cooke: I am thirsty, but love not to draw mine own drink, and therefore make use of the Butler: I want apparrell, but know not how to make it, and therefore I employ the Taylor. To want these things is indeed a misery, but hereby I become more courceous, and am obli­ged to love and respect oth [...]rs. If there were some that wanted no mans help, they would affoord none so much as a good word. After this manner the soules of good men are preserved as it were in the bundle of the living.

It is farre otherwise with the impi­ous, they indeed daily suffer miseries, [Page 108] but may be well likened to the stones which the sting circles and wheeles a­bout to throw them further off. The wicked will live in the compasse of no lawes, they seeke as much liberty as th [...]y can, they greedily hunt after their own pleasures, and will not be debar­red their delights: they lye therefore loose in the sting, tossed to and fro, and flye about to all manner of impieties, till at length after so many wanton friskes and gambols, they are cast out. They are thrown out from the hand of God.

And therefore, as an old expositer Glossa ordi­ [...]ia. sayes, a posie is bound that it may bee preserved, a stone is put into the sling that it may be cast away. Let men consider with themselves, how they brook daily miseries, whether they bee bound together like flowers, or whirld about like stones.

Christ our crucified King, inviting us to carry our crosse, offered it not for a yeare, moneth or week, but a daily crosse: and, as Saint Luke testifieth, said to all: If any man will come after me▪ let him deny himselfe, and take up his crosse daily, and follow me.

I am of Saint Chrysostoms minde, [Page 109] that our life much resembleth a ship of burden, which is haled against the streame. Consider the daily trou­bles, tumults & miseries in such a ship, wherein thou art enforced day and night to heare perpetuall clamours: there thy sleepe is short and unquiet, there thou art forc'd to accept Mari­ners fare, ill drest and sodden in the ship: there the vessell is sometimes be­calmed, and creepeth forward like a Snayle: their perpetuall turmoiles rise one after another. Now the cable is broken; by and by the ship str [...]kes a­gainst a Rocke: one while the Mari­ner a farre off discovers dangers, some­times the ship lights upon a shallow, grates on the ground, and there lyes gravell'd. And for that in Merchants ships for the most part much wine is transported, the Cooper is still knock­ing and deafening thy eares with hooping his barrells least they should leake, burst in sunder with the new Wine; when the ship is at some little rest, then stormes arise in the ayre; darke night approaches, and a violent winde forceth you to stay: one while tempestuous showers, after that, vio­lent stormes either hinder, or force [Page 110] you to saile with lesse speede, here is alwa [...]es something to molest and trou­ble you. Such for all the world is our life, full of daily miseries, and alwaies brings with it something for [...]s to suffer. Our navigation towards hea­ven saith Saint Chrysostome, is against the streame, and doest thou thinke to s [...]le without any difficulty? Wherefore continuall patience is requisite to over­come perpetuall troubles and mole­stations. Let every man take up his crosse daily.

Here we may merit much as well by the assid [...]ity, as by the difficulty in suffering. In a true and pious sense M [...] ­ [...]hois the Abbot was wont to say: I had rather be doing some small worke, Pelag. l. 7. n. 11. so it be continuall, then one great work: quickely ended. He is not to be thought lesse patient, who daily exer­ciseth his patience as it were at the stake, then another that beareth great burdens, but seldome; yea, somtimes it hapens that we overcome great dif­ficulties, and yield in small ones: we put up with patience a great injury, & yet impatiently quarrell with a Gnat or a Fly. O p [...]ssi graviora! O you who [...]st Vir l. 1. Ae [...]. have suffered more!

[Page 111] Dionysius the Carthusian writes that a certaine novice of his order, who at first going on cheerefully, and ready to do any thing, began by little & little to saint, and deeme that burdensome, which in the beginning seemed very easie: but that which vexed most this religious man was, his blacke hood, which bring a novice he was bound to weare. He much repined at this, and thought it a heavy crosse, though others found therein no difficulty. It happe­ned on a time as he fell asleepe about noone, he dreamt that Christ with a very great crosse pa [...]ed through the Clo [...]ster of the monastery, and endea­voured to ascend up the staires, but could not, by reason of the heavy waight of his crosse: the novice there­fore in his dreame resolv'd with him­selfe to goe and helpe him to beare his burden. But Christ looking on him with a sterne countenance, said, what dost thou (most impatient creature) help me to carry my crosse? thou that art not able to beare thine owne, co­mest thou to helpe others? At these words the novice awaked, and made a firme purpose to become exemplar and constant in bearing all things pati­ently.

[Page 112] The same often happens to us: we undergoe things that are indeed diffi­cult, and yet are overcome in sl [...]ght and triviall matters; we would be ready to say to this novice, why doth this kinde of habite so much molest thee? the hood, which thou so much abhorrest, is blacke indeed, but it is but light, and such as the rules of thy order accustomably appoint all novices to weare. Let us, I beseech you, speake in this manner to our selves; what is hunger, thirst, cold, heat, unseasona­ble weather, incommodious habitati­on, unpleasant walk [...]s, tedious and irkesome importunities of friends, di­sturbance of children, sloathfulnesse of servants, a shrewd wife? are they miseries? tis true, and in colour sad and nothing delightfull, yet without difficulty to be supported, if we would not undergoe them with repugnance and impatience. Our habit acquired in bearing them, would molifie and in fine overcome them; they are but little wands, and no huge beames, and the oftner they strike us, the lesse they hurt us. Tertullian wisely admonishing us Tertul. l. de Pa [...]i [...]n. c 8. in this case, saith, let not the servants of Christ admit such an aspersion, af­ter [Page 113] he hath with patience encountred with great temptations, to yield in those that are slight and frivolous.

God out of his mercy towards Da­vid saith, I will be his father, and if he doe any thing amisse, I will rebuke him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sonnes of men; that is, I will strike as a father or master doth with a rod or ferula the hand of his Scholar, where the blow is not great, and it smarts but for a little while.

Behold how God with the rod and scourge of men (that is with miseries well knowne to men) corrects us, lest he withdrawing his fatherly chastize­ment, we should runne headlong into all manner of vice. Therefore King David said, thy rod and thy staffe, they both together, have comforted me. whereby confessing himselfe a disobe­dient childe, he acknowledged God to be a milde and not a rigorous fa­ther.

It was learnedly spoken by Seneca, Sen. de con. ad Po [...]b. c. 36. to have no feeling of misery, is not the part of a man: and to be impatient in adversity is not the property of a ge­nerous spirit. To indure hunger, cold, [Page 114] thirst, and other discommodities of this life, is indeed a heavy burden, but withall healthfull. Let us persever in suffering, sith a short encounter here, expects an immortall reward.

CHAP. V. The other five kindes of pu­nishment are likewise seve­rally declared.

SUIDAS tells us a pleasant fable. Upon a time, saith he, the Fir-tree, & Bramble were at variance; the one greatly reproached the other, in so much that they came to sharpe and bit­ter speeches. In fine said the Fir-tree, what need many words? thy greatest preferment is no higher then to the Oven, or Fornace, thou art good for nothing but for fuell, this is thy fa­tall end to which thou wert ordained: heere must thou be lodg'd where thou [Page 115] shalt be devoured by fire: As for me (though I cannot deny but I am somewhat hardly dealt withall) seeing I am first cut downe, and after carried to the saw pit, there sawed in pieces, then delivered up into the hands of Cirpenters and Joyners, to be plain'd and polish'd; yea, and stript out of my skinne: yet all this redoundes to my honour, because of me they make Benches, Houses, Ships, and Churches. In a word, I am usefull for all things, and in all places.

The Morall of this Fable, I may truely say, presents us that which pas­ses in the world. The difference be­tweene a good and bad man is, that the one like the Bramble shall burne in fire, and the other like the Fir-tree, grow upright to be transplanted into heaven. Tis true, the servant of God is many times wounded by the sword of affliction, he is cut and cast downe, hewed and stript of his fortunes. But all this doth him no harme; thus is he squared and made fit for the heavenly building, whilst the Bramble is de­sign'd for the fire: the Fir-tree as we said before, by the axe is cut and squa­red: so is man by these five instru­ments, [Page 116] Rods, Arrowes, Tapers, a Garland of Straw, and Wands, as you have heard. We will adde now five more, to wit: Fetters, or Chaines, Knotty Clubs, a Cloake, Scourges, a Sacke: Ordinary and usuall furniture for the School of Patience, the severall particulars we will briefly set downe.

Sect. I. Cordes and Chaines.

BY these are deciphered afflictions coincident to each mans condition and course of life; for every estate and degree hath its fetters and chaines, such you shall finde every where, but with this difference, that some are chaind and loaden with straite and heavy gyves: others with slacke and gentle bands: some with chaines of gold, others of adamant. The single state of life wants not its crosses, but wedlock hath many more.

Heer by the way I must needs en­counter a grosse errour, whereby men are miserably deluded. As no man wants his crosse, so every one will have his to be the greatest, and most [Page 117] unsupportable. He that hath sore eyes, thinkes none hath the like paine: he that hath the stone, sayes, no man li­ving is more tormented then himselfe. Another troubled with the tooth­ach, deems no pain so great as that he suffers. They that are troubled with gnawing of the stomach, with ulcers, or the cholick, imagine other mens torments but flea-bitings to theirs. In like manner, he that is afflicted in minde, had rather suffer any torment whatsoever, so his thoughts might find repose. A man wounded with horror & remorse of conscience, seems to be al­ready plunged in hell: he that unfortu­nately hath married a curst shrew, is of opinion that his affliction & misery is the greatest in the world, and that they in Bride-well, or the house of Corre­ction are not so unhappy: the souldier diseased and oppressed with want, condemnes his condition as the most disastrous: the trades man that is sorc'd to stay at home and labour all day, sitting on a bench like a water­man at his oare, groanes under that burden as the greatest and heaviest in the world: servants and slaves com­plaine and thinke none so unhappy as [Page 118] themselves, Magistrates, Governo [...]s; and such as sit and guide the sterne of the Common wealth, thinke no la­bour can be compar'd with thei [...]s: the Merchant tired out with sea voyages, commends the Citizens easie life, and condemnes trading in merchandize for the most troublesome.

Saint Chrysostome in the publicke exercise of his eloquence, expressed the like complaints: Whosoever hath a sore eye, quoth he, thinkes no infir­mity comparable to his. They that are troubled with a pain in their sto­mackes, say, this is the sharpest of all other. In like manner, the griefe and affliction which every man feeleth, seems to him the most difficult, spea­king according to his own experience. He that hath no children, thinkes no­thing more grievous then to want issue: He that hath many, and is poor withall, complaines of nothing more then of the charge of many children. The private man perswades himselfe that his course of life is most abject and unprofitable. The Souldiers tell us, there is nothing more laborious and dangerous then warfare; and that it were better to live with bread and [Page 119] water, then undertake such troubles, &c. How many admire old age? how many on the other side, will have youth too happy? what a comely thing were it, say we, to be old? but when our head growes gray, we change our note, and say; Youth, where art thou? Thus have we many causes of grief: one only way there is, by follo­wing vertue, to rest free from this ine­quality. Seeing then we feel our own miseries more then other mens, we beleeve ours to be more heavie and insupportable then theirs. Heer I may aske with Horace:

Qui fit, Mecanas, ut nemo quam s [...]bi
Hor. l. 1. Sa [...]. 1. initio.
s [...]r [...]em
Seu ratio dederit, seu sors objecerit illâ. Contentus vivat?
Tell me, Mecaenas, why none lives content
With that which reason or his lot hath sent?

Every man thinkes his own fortune miserable: his own crosse is alwayes heaviest: wherfore this absurd, though usuall errour in the School of Pati­ence, [Page 120] is to be corrected. And let eve­ry man be assured, that all kindes of life have their difficulties, all estates their peculiar crosses. Hast thou cho­sen a course of life? Doubt not, the chaines and cords thereof will follow thee: he that receives rents, must look to be charged with expences: hee that enters upon his inheritance, un­dertakes likewise the paiment of debts. Hast thou retired thy selfe to a holy life? Think of nothing else but crosses that will be perpetuall: Who­soever lives in this state of life, must be crucified. Art thou a Souldier? Be sure thou shalt finde extream poverty, wounds and death. Art thou a Mer­chant? Look before hand, not onely to be weather-beaten, and tost with tempests, but also for ship wrackes and losse of goods. Art thou a Scholar? Pre­pare thy selfe to undergo all labour [...] and difficulties that may occurre, or else forsake the Muses. Hast submit­ted thy selfe to the service of a master? Resolve thy selfe that seruants must sustaine the worst that may be. Hath Fortune, or Nature made thee a Ma­ster? Provide before hand, for thou must endure a world of cares and soli­citudes. [Page 121] Hast thou married a wife? Make full account, as if thou hadst them already, that many miseries are kept in store for thee; no man purcha­seth this estate at lower rates. Thou hast voluntarily put on such gyves and fetters, as death onely must shake off. Imagine thou hast undertaken a chargeable warfare, the stormes of a family, a daily punishment, and all the afflictions this world may afford. For these kinde of people shall have the tri­bulation of the flesh. And why strive we in vaine? Every course of life, all states are full of bitternesse, every where some thing occurres that is sharpe and irkesome.

By the law of God it was decreed: let every oblation which is offered to our Lord, be done without leaven; not a­ny leaven or hony shall be [...]ff [...]red in the sacrifice of our Lord; whatsoever sacrifice thou shalt offer, thou shalt season with salt. Honey and leaven are utterly excluded from divine Sacrifi­ces. For we must not onely abstaine from sinne, but likewise from those pleasures which lead thereunto. Both are rejected, as well the hory of plea­sure, as the leaven of impiety: what­soever [Page 122] we consecrate to God must be seasoned with salt. Nothing is accep­table to him, as saith Saint Hierome, if it have not in it some bitternesse: God himselfe for the most part sea­sons all things with much salt, and steepes all in bitternesse.

King David perceiving this, said, Thou h [...]st laid tribulation upon my backe, who is there that feeles not this sharpenesse? And added further, thou hast brought us into the snare. It is God that bindes and t [...]es us to a certaine course of life; some with fetters, others with bracelets: this man with collars, that with chaines; some with cords, and others with iron; some with thonges of leather, and others with gold; but no lesse is he bound with gold, then others with iron: we are bound and fetter'd in what course of life soever we live. He of all others in the School of Patience is deemed the skilfullest, who can with most fa­cility carry his fetters, and with Chri­stian patience ease himselfe, and ligh­ten his burden. These are gyves which we must beare as we may, since we can not breake them. It is a benefit to many to be bound thus, otherwise [Page 123] having their hands and heeles at li­berty, they would become exorbitant and dissolute.

Let us therefore utterly condemne that errour whereby every one is per­swaded his crosse is heaviest. Rather let him certainely perswade himselfe, that he never hath nor shall suffer so much, but there may be found others who have suffered much more.

But out of that former errour of­ten springs another; For we do not onely thinke our afflictions the greatest, but lik [...]wise seck (though all in vaine) to abandon them. From hence it comes, that the Husband­man hates the plough and spade, the Mason his trowell, the Smith his file, the Scrivene [...] his pen, the Schoo­lar his booke: the husband brookes not his wife, the servant his master, nor the scholar his tutor; every one scornes his owne occupation, and falls out with the course of life he should live by. The slouthfull man for feare of cold will not hold the plough.

Here Saint Paul cryes alowd to all men: Let every man remaine in that vocation to which he is called How I pray you? By labouring and suffering [Page 124] couragiously. For which cause also S. Paul earnestly entreating, said; I there­fore bound in our Lord beseech you, to walke worthy the calling to which you are called with all humility and mildnesse, with patience. Miserable wretches! why strive we, why at­tempt we in vaine to breake these fet­ters? all we can do, will but make them faster.

Let our feet therefore weare these fetters, till our heads be crowned; per­haps that day is now neare at hand, in which we shall sing to our deliverer. Thou hast broken in pieces my bonds, to thee will I sacrifice the sacrifice of praise.

Sect. II. Knotty Clubs.

BY Knotty Clubs are expres'd such calamities as are cōmon to many; to wit, Tyranny, Heresie, War, Pestilence, Barrennesse, Famine, Oppressions, Slaughters, Inundations, Diseases, ship­wrackes, Ruines, losse by Fire, Earth­quakes, Gapings of the Earth, and o­ther publicke calamities. Those ordi­nary disasters which we suffer are ve­ry profitable. They all come from the [Page 125] hand of God, the author of all good things, the head and fountaine, who ministreth these as bitter potions; bit­ter indeed to the taste but wholsome in operation.

Three principal reasons may be given, why these calamities are sent unto us; for either God exerciseth the good; chastiseth sinners, or punisheth the wicked, and all this for our good. We see daily good men have their severall afflictions, or else are involved in the same together with wicked men. This we often see and admire, because we fully comprehend not the cause therof, nor observe the end. The cause and motive is the love of God towards us: the end not prejudiciall but benefici­all unto us, for this exercise is many waies profitable. If thou desirest to be­come a skillfull Mariner, thou must be taught by tempests: if an expert souldier, by dangers, if a stout man in­deed, afflictions must harden thee: For the learning and experience of a man is known by patience. And to this end are men exercised. Another end there is in these calamities and afflictions, which are sent us either to chastize us after we have sinned, or to curbe and [Page 126] withhold us from sinning. This hand is like that of a mercifull father, which often scourgeth those that offend; but the hand of a rigorous executioner pu­nisheth slowly and but once; Gods pu­nishments specially belong to those that are evill, but they are not evill, as they curbe and restraine us from wicked­nesse. Thus all punishment is good in respect of justice, and impunity evill, which causeth the impious to persever in their wickednesse.

Moreover publike slaughters and ruines by warres, famine, plague, and other calamities are justly sent by Al­mighty God; nor have we any cause to thinke them new or strange, or more grievous then in former ages. In times past there have beene as great, yea, and more deplorable Even in this of ours, since the yeare of our Lord, 1618. for these twelve last past, warre hath like a depopulating fire, cruelly wasted all Europe, without doubt some hundred thousands have perished in this time, by plague, famine, and slaughter. Yet this is not so much to be admir'd; in the only City of Jerusalem in times past, the number of those which dyed, or were slaine, during the siege, were [Page 127] ten hundred thousand, & ninety seven thousand taken. And in all that time throughout the severall places of Ju­dea, there were of Jewes slaine twelve hundred and forty thousand; besides many that perished by famine, banish­ment and other miseries. B [...]hold the catastrophe of one only nation! y [...]t what a small portion of the world, and handfull of men was that compared with all Europe?

What shall we say now of other places? That second Punicke warre alone consumed in lesse then seven­teene yeares, in Italy, Spaine, and Sicily, fifteen hundred thousand men. The civill warres of Cesar and Pom­pey devoured about three hundred thousand. That of Brutus, Cassi [...]s, Sextus Pompe [...]us caused a greater ef­fusion of Roman blood. One only man C. Cesar (the very pest and plague of humane kinde) confesseth and boasteth that he had slaine eleven hundred and ninety two thousand men in battle. Pompey the great testified by an in­scription in the Temple of Minerva, that he had discomfited, put to flight, slaine and taken by surrender, one and twenty hundred and eighty three [Page 128] thousand men. To these we may adde Q. Fabius, who slew an hundred and ten thousand French. C. Martius 200000. Cimbrians. And in this lat­ter age, Aëtius, who in the memora­ble Catalonian battell, slew an hun­dred sixty two thousand men. With these I joyne M [...]hridates, who with one letter mandatory, slew eighty thousand Roman Citizens, dispersed in Asia about their severall affaires.

And not men only, but townes and cities also were destroyed by warre. Cato the Censor vaunteth, that he had taken more townes in Spain, then he had lived dayes there. The number (if we credit Plutarch) was four hun­dred. And Sempronius G [...]cchus in the same countrey, as Polybius wri­teth, razed and demolished three hun­dred.

What shall I say now of severall plagues and diseases? In Judea, one plague under King David, in lesse then one day, swallowed up seventie thousand men. Under the Emperours Galbus and Volusianus, a plague, ri­sing from Aethiopia, past through all the Roman provinces, and for fifteen yeares together, incredibly wasted [Page 129] them, and sent innumerable more to those that were gone before them. Scarocly was there ever any plague greater, farther dispersed, or of longer continuance. But that was more no­torious which raged at Bizantium, and Procopius l. 22 de bello Persico Aga­thas l. 5. h [...]st. the places neer adjoyning, in the time of Justinianus the Emperour; the vio­lence was so great, that every day there were five thousand, and sometimes ten thousand burials. The plague that was in Africke is no lesse to be admired, which beginning after the destruction of Carthage, consumed in Numidia alone, eight hundred thousand per­sons, in the Sea-coasts of Africk two hundred thousand, and in Utica thirty thousand Souldiers. In Greece under the government of Michael Duca, the plague was so outragious, that the Sub a [...]num Christianum. 1359. quick were not able to bury the dead. Finally, in the time of Petrarch there reigned so great a plague in Italy, that of every thousand there scarce remai­ned ten men alive.

Now concerning Famine, neither we, nor any in this age of ours, be­hold any thing comparable to that of former times. Under Honorius the Emperour, there was so great a dear [...] [Page 130] at Rome of all manner of corne, that one man lay in wait for anothers life, & this voice was openly heard in the publicke Theater: Set a price upon mans flesh. Againe, under Justinian the Emperour, there was so great a fa­mine throughout all Italy, wasted at that time by the Gothes, that onely in Picenum there died fifty thousand men by famine; and every where not onely the flesh of men, but even their excrements were eaten for want of o­ther food.

In the time of Habides King of Spain, the drouth was so extream, that for the space of six and twenty years, all fountaines and rivers, save onely Iberius and Boetis, were dried up, and the ground in sundry places had such wide gaping rists, that many for want of sustenance seeking to flye to other places, could finde no passage; so that Spain, especially in the mid-land coun­try, being despoiled of grasse, hearbs & trees (excepting only some few preser­ved on the bankes of the river Boetis) bereft of men and beasts, lay misera­bly w [...]ste and desolate. The kinsfolk both of Kings and Noble-men, for­sook their ancient seats, and seeing [Page 131] their houshold provision begin to faile them, and not likely to last many daies, the unablest of them, with all conve­nient speed, be took them to the neigh­bour provinces and places on the sea coast. In fine, after six and twenty years, came most tempestuous winds, that rent up all the trees by the roots, and withall great showres of raine, whereby the countrey was refreshed, and many of the inhabitants, though mingled with other nations, returned to their ancient habitations, and re­stored the name and nation of the Spa­niard, which was almost abolished. All this is set down in the Chronicles of Ioan Mar [...] ­na, l. 1 Re­ [...]um H [...]s [...]an. c. 13. fins. Spaine, and therfore I forbear to write more of these things so well known.

To what end should I now rehearse the examples of ancient tributes and Ager art [...]. qui [...] so­le [...] & ser [...]. Pasc [...]s qu [...]. pascendo pe­ [...] ap [...]a. exactions? Most of all those provin­c [...]s which were under the Roman Em­pire, p [...]id he fift part of all their fruits of their pasture ground, and the tenth of arable. Antony and Cesar spared not to exact for one yeare, the tributes that were due for nine or ten.

After the death of Julius Cesar, when they took up Arms to recover their liberty, every Citizen was con­strained [Page 132] to pay the five and twentieth part of all his goods. And more then this, all that were of the Order of the Senatours, for every tile of their house Three asses are 2 d. ⅔. were commanded to pay six asses. An infinite tribute, which to us may seem incredible. Octavius Cesar, exacted of every free man the eighth part of his goods. If I s [...]y nothing heer of the extortions of the Triumviti, and o­ther tyrants.

But farre above all these exactions and rapines, were those of the Ro­mane Colonies, whose taxes imposed upon their subjects, were beyond all imagination insusterable. Every where you might have seen the Roman Le­gions, and whole Cohorts led to their fields and townes: and the miserable inhabitants in a moment dispoiled of all their goods and fortunes, without any f [...]ult of theirs: their riches and well growne fields were their greatest offence. It is a miserable thing for men to be rob'd of their money, and lose also their lands and houses. All this, I say, is grievous; but most of all, to be wholly expelled their coun­trey. Behold many thousands scatte­red abroad and dispersed, children [Page 133] from their parents, masters from their servants, husband from their wives, into severall countreys; some into A­fricke, others into Scythia or Britanny, as it happened One Cesar Octavia­nus, even in Italy it selfe, placed eight and twentie Colonies: and in the Provinces as many as pleased him. Doubtlesse this was an inundation of all calamities together.

What should I now say of delages, Tranquil. d [...] Caesar. Tacitus in Annall. Alil. earth quakes, fires, and other ruines, which have often devoured whole Ci­ties at a time. At Fidenis, when Ti­berius was Emperour, above twentie thousand men perished by the fall of the Amphitheater.

In all age, there have and will be calamities through the whole world. It should rather be admired to see any one exempted from this generall af­fliction, without bearing a part of the burden which all others sustain. So­lon brought to the top of a high tower in Athens, a deare friend of his grie­vously lamenting for some disaster, where shewing him all the houses un­der him in that great Citie, he spake in Lipsius l. [...]. Const. c. 20. &c. this manner: Do but consider how great mourning and lamentation [Page 134] there is, hath been, and hereafter will be in th [...]se houses, and thereby com­fort your selfe, and lay aside all frivo­lous complaints. The same must we doe, and present these infinite miseries to the eyes of all those who bewaile our age, as the most deplorable. Be of good comfort; that which we repute a losse, is a preservation. With these milde affl [...]ctions our good God pur­geth, as it were, and expiates our offen­ces. After we have past through fire and water, he will bring us to a place of rest and happinesse: you are sure of the one, and may expect another.

Sect. III. A Cloake.

I Call that affliction a cloake which is shaped by [...] himselfe, or else (comming from some other cause) is augmented by his own vain perswafi­ons. Certainly every thing appeares ac­cording to the shape and forme which a man gives it. It is incredible how powerfull the imagination or conceipt is in this kinde: sometimes through conceipt we fall sicke; yea, are kil'd [Page 135] outright. Now and then it happens that two men are loaden euen with the very same crosse; yet the one, having a more generous spirit, thinkes his as light as a feather: the other surcharg'd with abject and melancholy thoughts, calls his a crosse of lead. Here the same thing by severall conceipts is di­versified.

Oftentimes the heavinesse and waight of the crosse corresponds to the opinion of him that carries it: our e­vils increase or decrease according to our severall humours. It is burden e­nough for a man, to perswade himselfe he beares a burden. The imagination swaies as much in diseases, as in other evills which we suffer. There are some that liken the imagination to raine, whereby thousands of little Frogs are produced; others comp [...]re it to thun­der, which makes Ewes cast their Lambes, and hony become sower.

The imagination is like to multi­plying glasses, which make a company of twenty souldiers, seeme a little ar­my. There is nothing in the world so great but may seeme lesse if the preg­nant imagination be qualified. Feare­full cogitations, suspicions, envies, and [Page 136] a thousand such conceits which mise­rably perplex our mindes, are nothing else but fond toyes produc'd by our i­magination. It is like a dream of one halfe awake, which presents some­times a thousand ridiculous fantasies, and at other times as many hidious Bug-beares and Hobgoblins. It is a common saying that imagination makes the case. The like may I say: Imagination either makes or aggra­vates a crosse. Even as he that passeth over a narrow bridge, or climbs up to a high place, beginnes not to fall till he imagines he is falling: so certaine­ly he often becomes miserable in­deed, who imagineth himself to be mi­serable.

Looke what shape we give, or what cloake we cast over things; the same they appear, which J. Climacus confir­meth by this ensuing story: Upō a time saith he, as we were sitting at table in our Colledge, the Superior rounded me in the eare, saying, Father, wil you have me shew you a man very old, and yet most prudent and religious? I answe­red, there was nothing I more desired to see, and therefore earnestly besought [Page 137] him to doe me that favour; whereup­on the Superiour called unto him from the next table a Priest of foure­score years of age, who had care of the Wardrobe, and spent eight and forty yeares in the Colledge, commended by all for his vertue. This old man came readily, and stood expecting at the ta­ble (for dinner was but newly begun) what his Superior would be pleased to command him. But he making as if he had not seene him, neither willed this old man to depart, nor appointed him what he should doe, but did purposely prolong dinner more then ordinary. This most patiēt old man stood with­out his dinner there almost 2 hours, not moving a foote. All which, Cli­macus admired with silence, but was ashamed so much as once to cast an eye upon that venerable g [...]y head. After this manner stood this old man (a spe­ctacle worthy of heaven) till dinner was ended. And when all arose from table, he was commanded to depart, Exp [...]cta [...] exp [...]ctavi Domi [...]num & intendio mihi, Psa. 30. 1. and recite the beginning of the three and thirtieth Psalme. Climacus asto­nished at this spectacle, and moved with a religious curiosity, calling aside this old man who had stood there so [Page 138] long. Father, said he, what I beseech you, did you thinke when you stood at the table so long a time without your dinner? the old man mildely replyed, I imagined this to be rather the com­mand of God then of man; wherefore Climac grad. 4. p. 7 ab v [...] [...] quarti grad. perswading my selfe that I stood not at the table, but before God; I pre­sented my prayers to him, and by this meanes admitted not so much as the least evill conceit against my Supe­riour.

Behold an excellent point of art to be practis'd in the School of Patience. Certainely every thing appeares unto us according to the figure or cloak we cast upon it, such I meane as we frame in our imagination. If we invest it with a blacke mourning robe, the aspects therof will be dolefull unto us: If it be glos'd over with a light and pleasant colour, it will encourage us to imbrace it with an undaunted resolution.

But sometimes let him, who would not grieve too much, behold the thing it selfe naked and undisguis'd, and that which before threatned death and horrour, will now invite him to laugh­ter: the like happens to us which to little children, for if they see one dis­guised, [Page 139] though they know him very well, and daily use to play with him, yet they are affrighted at the sight. We must not onely take from men, but even from things themselves their disguise, and shew them truly as they are. Look, I beseech you, somewhat more narrowly into the matter, what it is for a man to be sicke, or poore, when it is not through his owne fault: what to have lost the favour of men. Consider advisedly what it is to have injuries offered unjustly: think what it is for a vertuous man to be contem­ned and vilified, and you will say, that all these are but terrible vizards onely to affright babes.

Most men figure sicknesse in their imagination, as the greatest evill, and poverty as the extreamest dishonour in this life; and conceive injuries, con­tempt, disgraces, losse of favour, vexa­tion of envious persons, so grievous, that by all means possible they are to be avoided. Thus of Ants, we make huge Elephants; of Dogges, Tigers and Panthers; of Hares, formidable troops and squadrons of hideous mon­sters. By this means we dye an hun­dred deaths before we are so much as [Page 140] in danger of sicknesse. And we ima­gine our selves poorer then Irus or Codrus, before poverty hath set so much as one foot within our doores. By this meanes we often cry out, we have lost the field, and that all things are in desperate case, before we con­front the enemy; we have no sooner tasted a little wormewood wine, but we fear we shall be overwhelmed and drowned with wormwood: we scarce­ly tread on a thorne, and yet dream of wounds and massacres. Thus we be­lye our miseries, by making them far greater then they are; and consequent­ly, through apprehension, make our selves more miserable. Who can rec­kon up the follies and fopperies of this mortall life? The things that terrifie us are moe in number then those that hurt us: and many times we are not so sick as conceit hath made us. Some things vex us more then they should, some before they should, and some Livius l 27. Fama bellum conficit, & pa [...]va mo­menta in sp [...] mecu [...] ve impellunt a [...]mos. when it is contrary to all reason they should molest us: for either we augment our griefe by feigning it to be more then it is, or else seem crusht before it fall upon us. We are for the most part, full of suspitions, and [Page 141] Fame (that is wont to end the warre) deludes us. Thus we give way to o­pinion, and never suppresse that which terrifies, nor reject it; but we tremble and turn our backes like those that are put to flight by a little dust raised by a flocke of sheep, or a fabulous rumour dispersed without any certain authour. I know not how it comes to passe, but we are most terrified with vain fears, Truth hath its certain limits; but that which is divulg'd without any ground, is subject to meer conjectures & surmi­ses of a timerous minde. Let us there­fore look diligently into the matter.

How many things unexpected have come to passe, and many things never faln out which we look' [...] for? Say what thou fearest should happen, will it availe thee to grieve before it come? There will be time enough to doe it when it is present: mean time hope for better, and be not solicitous about that which comes to morrow; for the next day will bring care enough of it selfe. Every day comes furnished with its own mischiefe. That which we feare, perhaps will happen, perhaps not; in the mean season, while it is absent, let us lay aside vain feares.

[Page 142] Sometimes before any signes ap­peare that presage evill, the minde shapes to it selfe vain shadowes, or wrests some word of a doubtfull signi­fication to a worse sense, or imagi­neth some man more offended then he is, not considering how angry he is, but how farre a man may be transported with passion. By this meanes we feare things doubtfull as if they were certaine, and indeavour not to moderate our feares which soone give way to scruples. Examine therfore as well thy hope, as thy feare, and trou­ble thy selfe no more then thou must needs.

Most excellently saith Epictetus: Men Epictet. En­chir. cap. 10. are not troubled with reall matters, but with the imagination they have of them. For example: Death is not evill in it selfe, otherwise it would likewise have seemed so to Socrates: but it is the apprehension we have of death which makes it evill. Wherefore, when we are disturbed or distracted, let us not blame others but our selves, to wit, ou [...] owne imaginary opinions.

This by Seneca is expressely confir­med. Sen. consol. ad Marciam, cap. 19. It is therefore opinion, saith he, that torments us, and every evill hath [Page 143] the rate we value it at; we have the remedy in our own hands. And conse­quently crosses in the Schoole of Pati­ence, are either precious, or of no e­steeme, heavy or light according to the price which the Scholars set upon them, or the weight they affoord them. Euery man is as miserable as he thinks himselfe to be.

Sect. IV. Scourges.

WIth good reason are those afflicti­ons thought greatest which pro­ceed from the tongue, as chiding, rai­line, detraction, contumelies, calum­nies, unjust reproches, false accusati­ons, and whatsoever comes from an evill mans tongue, the source and sinke of all mischiefes. To these may be ad­ded the deniall of reasonable suits, the requesting of those that are harsh and unreasonable, and the commanding of things difficult and hardly feasible. All these afflictions are represented unto us by scourges. These are grievous stripes indeed, and inflict most cruell wounds, they cut even the very bones, [Page 144] especially when a man is whipt by those from whom he least expected such intreaties.

The K [...]ng of Jerusalem long ago [...] complaining, said; if mine enemy ha [...] reviled me, I would surely have bornt it, and if he that hated me, had spo­ken great things against mee, I would perhaps have hidden my selfe from him: but thou a man of the same profession, my guide and my familiar, who together with me tookest sweet repasts, dost thou also new turne thy heele upon me? Or as Cesar said to Brutus; and thou also my son? when he was stab'd in the Senate house. But let us here infuse some comfort like Balsamum into the wound.

First, tis most certain that all men are subject to this evill, how wary or holy soever they be, they must suffer & have their part in being lash't with mens tongues. The scourge of the tongue, saith the wise man, communicating to all. The Prophet Jeremy, a man san­ctified before his birth, complaines notwithstanding, and sayes, Woe be to me, my mother, why hast thou brought me forth, a man expos'd to discord through the whole world? all [Page 148] men were apt to picke quarrells with him, and lay imprecations and curses upon him.

Iobs suffering had not seemed so great, while he was only tormented by Satan, had not his owne wife and kindred likewise cruelly scourged him. As spices pounded disperse their sweet odours: so doth vertue oppress'd and persecuted farre extend her renowne. Yea there are some living creatures which, while they are beaten, breathe forth a most pleasing sent: Such for all the world was Iob, the more stripes he received, the sweeter was the odour of patience which breathed from him. Blessed is the man whom God correct­eth: refuse not therefore the chastise­ment of God.

Another comfort is: The protect [...]on of God, through which though we be still sensible of these stripes, yet we re­ceive no damage thereby. Thou shalt bee hidden from the scourge of the tongue (saith Iob) and thou shalt not feare the calamity when it comes. The name agreeth well with the thing it selfe: for the scourge of the tongue doth not onely smart, but likewise leaves a marke behind it, that is, a [Page 146] fowle blot that staines their fame and reputation. Moreover as stripes for the most part are laid on the backe, so de­tractions wound most behind our backes. But whosoever then art that suffer'st this, take courage, thou shalt be hidden from this scourge: God him­selfe will defend the, so that no lies nor calumnies shall hurt the, or if they doe, it shall be recompenced with grea­ter good.

A third comfort is: that by these stripes our sinnes are expiated, if they beare these scourges with patience and modesty. In times past the yong men of Rome in their games of Lupercalia [...]anne about with goat skins on their backes, and leather thonges in their hands scourging whensoever they mene: the women of their owne ac­cord were wont to meete them and offer the palmes of their hands to be strucken, supposing thereby they should Alex: ab Alex: l. 4. [...]ier: g [...]al. [...]tio. have facility in child birth. This the Romans used to doe in the moneth of February: But we are daily afflicted, sometimes one, sometimes another, yea even the most innocent and just are not exempted. In this case it be­hooves us to endure all with patience, [Page 147] sith somtimes we cannot withstand them, though wee would. But these scourges, taken patiently, dispose us to a happy death.

It is a matter of great consequence, when a man knowes he hath been ill spoken of, to beare it with equanimity. And therefore Saint Bernard, who was most ready to endure like scourges, said: Bern: in epist. In my judgement there is no fitter me­dicine for the woundes of my soule then reproches and contumelies. There is no reason then why I should be dis­pleased thereat, who am a wretched man worthy of all despite and re­proach. Senc de b [...]a [...]. vite. cap. 55. What Seneca said to the Ro­mans let every man say to his detrac­tours: Rage and [...]oare as much as you will, exercise your mischievous tongues by calumniating good men: you shall sooner breake your teeth, then bite them.

The fourth comfort is: that the detractions and calumnies of wicked persons, nothing hinder the examina­tion of any mans cause at the tribunal of God, but rather further it. That was a worthy speech of St. Hierome: Amongst Christians (saith hee) that man is miserable who effereth [Page 148] injury, not he who suffereth it. As Christ our Saviour declareth: Blessed are you when men speake evill of you, and persecute you, and speake all the worst they can against you, bely­ing you for my sake; rejoyce and ex­ult, for your reward is very great in heaven.

Saint Peter following this word of our Lord: If you be reproched saith he, for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed. This is that whereby you are made like to Christ, and become An­gels. That wise woman of Thecua, indevouring to extoll and magnifie with the greatest praise the King of Hebrews, said: My Lord the King is like the Angell of God, neither be­nediction nor malediction can move him.

Saint Gregory doth very well in­struct and arme every one against these tongue-scourges. When we are praysed (saith he) or dispraised, we should al­waies have recourse to our owne con­science, and if we find not therein the good that is spoken of us, with great sorrow and solicitude let us procure to have it: on the other side if we find not therein the evill which men object, we [Page 149] ought very much to rejoyce. For what is it for men to commend us, if our owne conscience accuse us? or how little should our griefe be, though all men accuse us, while our owne consci­ence tells us we are innocent?

But some will say, it grieves me more then may be imagined, to be so rashly slandered and belied unjustly. Let it grieve thee a Gods name, But what then? to grieve for Christ & the king­dome of Heaven should be a Christians chiefest comfort. Art thou greeved to heare these things spoken of thee? let it rather trouble thee if they be true, if thy owne conscience accuse thee; for then thy conversation makes thee an obloquy to the world. But let him whom his own conscience defends and assures him, that whatsoever aspersions malevolent people cast upon him are vaine and false, let him (I say) not bee contristated, whatsoever it be which others sp [...]ake against him. For why should they grieve him, when they hurt him not? But s [...]y they should hurt him; God, without doubt, will recom­pence ten fold this damage, how great so ever it be He that hath offen­ded indeed, and given just occasion of [Page] speech, let him accuse himselfe, if he be ill reported of, but the just man shall be with [...]ut fear, as couragious as a Lyon.

Baltas [...]r King of Babylon sitting amongst thousands of his noble men at a royall banquet, saw a hand writing upon the wall over against him, where­with he was so terrified, that he waxed pale, and beganne to tremble in every joynt of him. What cause, I beseech you, was there of so great feare? He saw a hand. What hand? A mans. Did the King so much feare a mans hand; if he had seene the threatning pawes of a Lyon, Beare, or Dragon, there had been just cause of feare. But why should the right hand of one poore man terrifie so migh y [...]a Monarch, at whose only be [...]ke an hundred wings of horsemen would have flowne to have succour'd him? was there any sword or weapon brandisht by this terrible hand; none but only a writing pen: should a stout man (I will not say a King) be appaled at the wagging of a pen? If Joabs triple Lance, or the fiery two-edg'd sword of a Cherubim had menaced him, there had beene some cause of feare. But perhaps it was [Page 151] the writing that terrified him; this he understood not, and therfore called o­thers to expound it. Why then feared he one single hand, one pen, one wri­ting, which he understood not?

Behold how often the like happens among us. There comes a mischievous detractour, and with his tongue writes as it were upon the wall these or the like words: Let none give credit to this man, he is not the man he seemes to be, and these vices are usuall with him; he hath a faire outside, but in­wardly he is not the man you take him for. This kinde of writing some­times so terrifies us, that we take it for one of the greatest punishments that may be: and to desire, and yet not to be able to revenge, this wrong seemes more grievous then death it selfe.

But why, O Christians! doe these detracting words so much trouble you? upon so light a wrong, turne you all your patience into fury. This is the pro­perty of the Scorpion, provoke him not by touching, & he never darts forth his poysnous sting; but if you once touch him, instantly he stings you with his taile: Thus, many are silent, if you doe not vex them, but touch them once, and [Page 152] they spit fire that blastes and consumes all it lights upon.

In this case the wisest course is to turne a deafe eare to all detractions: you may take example from the holi­est men. David the best of Kings, was wickedly standered by many; but I, said he, as if I had beene deafe, gave no eare to them. And albeit secret tale-carriers sometimes creepe to you and say, this he talkes of you in pub­like; as if you were deafe, give no eare to it. To goe about to confute all these injurious speech [...]s, were to take paines, to disturbe your selfe. For commonly the more a man strives to supresse these reports, the more they are divulged. Epictetus very wisely admonishing us, Epict. Ench. cap 48. saith, if any one shall tell thee that a certaine man speaketh ill of thee, re­fute not what is said, but only answer that he was ignorant of your other faults, or else he would never have published those alone. These are the speeches of a wise man, but an undis­creete no sooner heares himselfe de­famed, but he presently cries out, I will use these lying knaves in their kinde; doe they presume to divulge this of me? I will make every veine [Page 153] of their heart repent those villanous words, Ile brand them with that mark of infamy which they deserve. Ah deare Christian! Certainely thou ne­ver learnedst this in the School of Pa­tience.

It is reported that Aldegund a Virgin descended from royall parents, and from her tender yeares, addicted to all manner of vertues, hearing that she was (much to the offence of some of her friends) slandered by certaine idle prating companions, beganne somewhat to be perplexed in minde. But straightwares an Angel was sent to comfort her, whospake thus unto her: Art thou troubled at the envious pratling of those that beare thee ill will? why regardest thou the vaine and foolish speeches of men? why reflectest thou upon earth or earthly things, thy spouse and judge is in heaven? art thou ready to shed thy blood for Christ? learne first to disgest slande­rous and contumelious words; pati­ence overcomes all. Ever after Saint Aldegund armed her selfe with so much patience, that of her owne ac­cord, she begged of her spouse she might be roughly intreated. My good [Page] Jesus, said she, I am now well ac­quainted with thy manner of procee­ding, I know thou writ chastise every childe thou receivest; scourge then se­verely thy unworthy handmaid, purge and chastise me with injuries, griefes and diseases: it will be most pleasing to me to suffer, that thereby I may a­void everlasting punishment: her spouse condescended unto her prayers. For shortly after a gangrene seazed up­on her brest, which after wards spread it selfe all over her body. And this was sufficient matter to exercise her pati­ence all the dares of her life after.

Let us therefore learne to beare these scourges of the tongue with Spartan, yea with Christian courage. Scarcely will he beare blowes for Christs sake, who hath not as yet lear­ned to disgest so much as words. Let every one say to himselfe: Our Lord is my helper, I will not feare what Aug loco [...], vide q [...]aeso que dicturi [...] in sine pa [...]t 2. de [...] [...]l [...]gell [...]. man can doe unto me. Saint Augustine confirming this Doctrine, saith If thou beest exempted from suffering stripes, thou art not admitted into the num­ber of children.

Sect. V. A Sacke.

BY a Sacke is deciphered a heape of mischieves out of which neverthe­lesse either time or death delivers the prisoner. The Sacke amongst the Ja­ponians Vide Nicolai Ti [...]gau [...]ii triumphus apud Iaponas mihi p. 138. 199. is a horrible torment not un­knowne to Christians: they that are condemned to this, are tyed in a sacke up to the necke, where they stand day and night without any food, expos'd to the stormes and tempests of the raine and windes. Thus being oppres'd with hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and want of sleepe, this miserable wretch findes in one torment, as many vexations as an helpelesse state can inflict.

The sacke is a frequent punishment in the Shoole of Patience, for some­times the calamities are so many which oppresse a man, and lye so heavy upon him, that he seemes bound hand and foot in a sacke, or set in a barrell like Regulus.

M. Attilius Regulus, that most rare example of patience and fidelity, that glory of the first Punicke Warre, ac­cording [Page 156] to his pledged faith presented himselfe to his enemies, who cutting off his eye lids, put him into a wodden chest strucke through on all sides with very sharpe nailes, which transfixed his wearied body, so that on what side soever he sought to rest, he leaned on a wound; his eyes deprived of their lids were condemned to perpetuall watching, and his whole body to sharpe and lingring torments, till by these meanes they cruelly murdered this most valiant man. A horrible k [...]nde of torture, and which indeed may be called an epitome of hell.

And each of us now and then seems to himselfe a Regulus, for we are son etimes in such d [...]stresse and misery, that we conceive our selves inclosed in his restlesse [...]ub, goa [...]ed on all sides with sharpe nailes: and which is worse, seeme to be destitute of all comfort, round about environ'd with a sea of calamities, griefes and sor­rowes.

They write of Zoerardus an ancho­ret, that he combated against sleepe in this manner: He fixed many nailes within a hollow tree, especially where he was wont to leane his backe or [Page 157] sides. Moreover he fastned over his head a large iron ring, and great stones round about it, so that which way so­ever he nodded his weary head, he found a sharpe remembrance to awa­ken him, a straite and narrow house, I confesse: but an excellent symbole of manifold misery. Thus are we sometimes environed with miseries, that which way soever we bend our eyes, or minde, nothing occurres but that which torments us.

When Micheas had prophesied contrary to the humour of king A­chab, he thus wickedly commanded: Cast that man in prison, and feede him with the bread of tribulati­on, and the water of distresse. Micheas was well acquainted, with the sacke, for hee was not onely condemned of falshood, but haled to prison, derided and afflicted with hunger. This is to bee shut up in a sacke.

That most holy king David wea­ring this sacke, as it had been his daily garment: I have said, quoth he, to my selfe, my soule is troubled, and albe­it I endevour with cheerefull thoughts to reduce her to her wonted alacrity, [Page 158] yet she returnes againe to her selfe, and falleth into her formerg iefes: depth calleth on depth: showers rush upon me out of all quarters: one overtakes another, and all light on me, ca­lamity drawes on calamity. All thy high things, and thy waves have pas­sed over me; All the world bands a­gainst me; I am never at rest: warre begets warre, every where danger and enemies; vexations, losses and ru­ines, every where great occasion of misery. Behold this kingly Prophet e­ven shut up in a sacke!

The holiest men of all are some­times put into this sacke, for they are not onely sensible of the evils them­selves, but they observe the dangers, they consider the damages of the soule, they are not ignorant of the deceipts of the gostly enemy, what a matter it is to fill from Gods grace, and to have him their enemy; when therefore they are destitute of divine comforts they feare least peradventure they are excluded also from his fa­vours. By this meanes they are in a sacke, and perplexed with manifold griefes. For that cause likewise king D [...]vid confesseth thus with teares: O [Page 159] God thou hast repelled us, and de­stroyed us! Thou hast shewed hard matters to thy people; thou hast gi­ven us the wine of compunction to drinke O my Lord! thou givest us to drinke out of thy cellar, bitter worme­wood wine, an exceeding bitter po­tion.

Much like these are the words of Ezechiel. When distresses comes upon them they shall require peace, and it shall not bee granted. Trouble shall come upon trouble, and report upon report. Calamities shall beget cala­mities, we shall never be quiet. We shall be in a sacke. Iob (if ever any knew this sacke or heape of miseries) was well acquainted with it. I, quoth he, sometimes that rich man, was sud­dainly brought to nothing: he restrai­ned my necke, he broke me, and set me before him as a signe. He hath en­vironed me with his launces, he hath wounded my loines; he hath not spa­red me, and hath powred out my bowels upon the earth. He hath cut me with wound upon wound. Assu­redly that most patient man was in a sacke, but he manifestly shewed how great a proficient hee was in the [Page 160] Schoole of Patience: certainly he was now to bee counted rather a master then a scholar.

Whosoever he be that is oppressed with this heape of calamities, and groanes to see himselfe shut up in this sacke, let him deeply consider in his minde these two things.

First that there is a place in the Schoole of Patience a kind of hell, and that thither God sendeth his servants to be inclosed in a sacke. This is no new thing, but a signe of Gods fa­vour, and a cause of more ample re­ward. But this hell is not eternall, nor this sacke to bee worre at all houres, or in all ages. It is God who bringeth to hell and bringeth backe a­gaine.

The other is: That the absolute will of God is, we should repose our greatest hope and confidence in him, especially when our state is most des­perate. The inscription of the one and fortie Psal. is. Intellectus filiis Co­re, or Canticum erudie [...]s: understan­ding for the children of Core, or, a canticle instructing, for it teach­eth us most couragiously to trust in God when the least hope appeareth. [Page 161] And therefore David heere many times inculcateth this: Spera in Deo, Hope in God. Why pinest thou away with vaine griefe? Why art thou vex­ed with feare of events? Why fearest thou every passe of contrary winde? Hope in God thou man of slender faith, hope in God. This is a hope that can never deceive, nor be de­ceived.

Philo the Hebrew with others of his nation was accused by Appion to Caius Caligula the Emperour, that he had not exhibited divine honour to Cesar. And after when he was banished from the cou [...]t, he said to his fallowes: now we may be of a good courage, though Caius frowneth up­on us: for divine helpe must needs be present, where humane is wanting.

But if divine helpe seem also to be long a coming, we must opportunely with king Iosaphat pray in this man­ner: when we know not what else to doe, this is our onely refuge, to lift up our eies to thee, O God. So that we should never turne the eies of our minde from God. But herein imitate a watchfull spaniell that waiteth upon his master, sometimes scrapeth, or [Page 162] fawneth, or with open mouth beg­geth till meate be given him: so when we are shut up in this sacke and op­pressed with sundry miseries, let us implore his aid and helpe, till hee grant our suite. Are all humane helps wanting? Divine assistance, as Philo saith, must of necessity be present.

The time will come when we shall at once behold all the former passages of our life. We shall then confesse as heretofore Themistocles did: that we had perished if wee had not perished: doubtlesse many by suffering a slight temporall shipwracke, are preserved from that which is everlasting. Where­fore let us be of good courage, and thinke it even sweet to be in this sacke for Christs sake. Before it be long e­very one will happily sing; Thou hast converted my mourning into joy, thou hast rent in sunder my sacke, and en­viron'd me with comfort.

CHAP. VI. What faults are most to be es­chewed in the Schoole of Patience.

A Certaine man ob­jected to Bion the Philosopher, that he could not re­claime that youth which he most de­sired to reforme. Bi­ons answer was: My good friend let not this seeme strange; that youth is like a soft greene Cheese, a man can not draw him with a hooke, By which saying he wisely gave him to under­stand, that those youthes which are de­licate and given to their pleasure, are least fit for their bookes. Old cheese indeed hath many faults, but that which is new and tender, many more; whereunto you may very well compare some Scholars, which like a soft greene Cheese, are stored with ill pro­perties, made of nothing else but jugling [Page 164] and trickes, as if they had no other art but cousening and deceipt. Though Argus were their master, he would ne­ver finde out their slights and devices. It were infinit to reckon up all the ill conditions of Scholars, but I will give you an abstract of them as neare as I can. There are eight faults espe­cially which Scholars in schooles are subject to. And in a manner as many doe the disobedient scholars ordinari­ly commit in the Schoole of Patience. They are these:

  • 1. Not to get their lessons without booke.
  • 2. To prattle and chat.
  • 3. To have no regard to their wri­ting.
  • 4. To play the trewants.
  • 5. To brawle or strike their fel­lowes.
  • 6. To be drawing pictures with their pens, sleeping or loytering, whilst their lecture is read to them.
  • 7. To counterfet themselves sicke.
  • 8. To lye or murmur when they are corrected.

These are eight capitall faults never borne with, nor ever to be [Page 165] tolerated in the Schoole of Pati­ence.

We will now briefely explicate these eight notorious faults, that we may better beware of them.

Sect. I.

THE first fault in schooles is to forget their lesson, or only make a shew of knowing it. The usuall words of the master are: Repeat boy, recite your lesson. But the sloathfull scholar mutters softly to himselfe; I know it not, or beginnes stammeringly, and stickes at every third word, lookes by stealth into his book, pronounces most of the words false, and omits some. And in truth all this is nothing else but grosse ignorance.

Thomas a Kempis, that most religi­ous writer, bringeth Christ speaking in this manner. I am accustomed by two wayes to visit my elect, by tempta­tion and consolation. I read unto them every day two lectures, by the one re­buking their vices, by the other ex­horting them to the increase of vertue. Thus Christ is wont to read to his scholars: but when are these lessons to [Page 166] be repeated? In the evening especial­ly, when they are to examine their consciences. Here the master comman­deth, Repeate, Repeate, how hast thou bettered or improved thy selfe? What vertue hast thou learned this day? What imperfection hast thou re­form'd, what vice hast thou endeavou­red to roote out? Repeat, review and call to minde

It belongs not only to religious persons, but to all whatsoever, to call diligently to minde what every day they have done or said, or thought of. This likewise did Anneus, Seneca, Publius Sexius and others out of the light and dictamen of reason. This ho­ly Vide tris [...]e­gisium m [...]m [...]. 3. de exam. conscien. per plura capita. men of former ages have taught by their example, and at this day it is the custome of holy [...]en diligently to looke into themselves, and search all the corners of their consc [...]ence.

And certainly it stands with reason, that, before we goe to s [...]e [...]p, we make our peace with God, whom we have that day estended, that if death sur­prize us sleeping (which whether it will or no is most uncertaine) wee may not be cast headlong to hell and everlasting death. And how conform­able [Page 167] is it to reason, that a man should, at least once a day, tender thanks to his creatour for all his benefits, aske for­givenesse for his sinnes, and firmly purpose from thence forward to think, speake, and proceede in all his acti­ons more warily, modestly and chast­ly. He is rather a beast then a man, who (not diverted by urgent occasi­ons) neglects this businesse, and bu­ [...]ies himselfe in a feather bed, before he hath so much as with one poore word reconciled himselfe to God.

Repeate therefore (O my deare Christian!) rehearse, I say, and examin thy conscience how thou hast spent that day. He is carelesse and neglects his lesson, who layes him downe to sleepe, before he hath cast up his ac­compts betweene God and his owne conscience.

But sometimes the scholar doth ill pronounce the words of his lesson, and recites it unperfectly. The like do they who omit not to examine their consci­ence, and say their prayers, but are so distracted with diverse other cogi­tations, that they stammer out false and unperfect words. For example: Some men say our Lords prayer after [Page 165] this manner. Our Father which art is heaven, while he transported in mind askes; what is done at home, in the kitching, but tery or barne? Hallow­ed be thy name. His thoughts reply: I had this week a wonderfull affront put upon me. Thy kingdome come. A strange thing, that there should as yet in likelyhood be no end of this war! Thy will bee done in earth, as it is in heaven. I am shrewdly pinched with poverty; if I were richer I might per­haps breake through these difficul­ties; But thus as I am, poore wretch, I lie in misery and contemned.

O Christians! what a prayer i [...] this? This is no other then to huddle up words unperfectly, to be mind­lesse of your lesson, and to recite it in the worst manner that may be. But he that prayes [...]ll, shall never carry his crosse well. Behold Manasses, a king in the whole course of his life most w [...]cked, but in the end repen­tant, who after he was distressed, prayed to his Lord God, and did great pennance, and prayed for par­don at Gods hands, and be sought him earnestly. This indeed is that which God desireth; hee would be [Page 169] sought unto and earnestly intreated.

Sect. II.

THe other fault in schooles is to prat­tle and chat. What other is this, then to goe a begging to creatures for petty solaces and comforts, and to deafen those mens eares with vaine com­plaints, at whose hands you can neither hope for helpe, nor counsell. He is a foolish beggar and not his crafts ma­ster, who wandreth about begging at poore mens houses: what great almes can he hope for of them? Dame po­verty dwelleth there, and hath none but beggars for her tennants: And to begge of beggars is absurd and ridi­culous. Get thee gon to rich mens houses, there knocke, there cry out: the bounty of one rich house may af­ford thee a larger almes, then an hun­dred poore cottages.

So they very much deceive themselves, who think with vaine contentments to overcome calamities and afflictions. When matters goe ill with them they put themselves into company, appoint drinking matches, fall to banquetting, revelling and dauncing, spend their time in wandring up and downe and [Page 170] gaming, wast their best howers in bar­ren discourses, and take upon them [...]ole and impertinent journeys.

O miserable men! what bed soever we lay a sick man in, be it of wood or gold, he carries his disease about him. The true foundation of a peaceable mind, is not to delight in vanities. They are light supersiciall pleasures to tickle sense, not to fill the heart with­all, they can give no solid cure to afflic­tions▪ they are confused and troubled delightes, so farre from curing, that the disease thereby becomes more vio­lent.

Non enim gazae, neque consularis
Summovet Lictor miserestumultus
Mentis, et curas l [...]que [...]ta circ [...]m
Hor. [...]1. car. [...]e 16.
Tecta volantes.
No wealth, nor Consuls Lictors, who make way,
Can from the heart disturbed tumults fray;
Or cares which fly about gilt roofes, dispell.

True and solid joy is from a good conscience. It is neither travell nor change of place, that can cleere up a [Page 171] sad and cloudy minde. The mind not the climate must be changed. Goe whither th [...] wilt, thy sinnes pursue thee. This was the very answer of So­crates to one that made the like com­plaint: what marvell (said he) if thy travells availe thee not, seeing thou carriest thy selfe about with thee? The cause it selfe that drives thee abroad lies heavie upon thee. What helpe canst thou have from strange countries? can the knowledg of Cities or places rulie­lieve thee, which is but a vaine & fruit­lesse ostentation? dost aske why this flight doth not help thee? Thou takest thy selfe along with thee. Thou must lay aside the burden of thy mind. Till Sen. apist. 21. then no place will ever give thee con­tent. It is in a mans power to live hap­pily wheresoever he will.

By these poore pleasures therefore griefe for a little while is allayed and silenced, but ere long returneth a­gaine with more force; and, after that short time of ease, vexeth more sharply. Iob utterly detested such vaine conso­lations. I have oftentimes given eare unto you (saith he) but all you com­forters are burdensome. The same you may say of all things created: they are [Page 172] burdensom cōforters. To what end then do we feede our selve with frivolous discorses, why beg we helpe of crea­tures? be hold the Creatour offers h [...]m­selfe for a comforter. I, I my selfe (quoth he) will comfort you. Come unto me all you who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Let us therefore, if we be wise (or rather that we may be wise, and bend all our endeavours to the obtaining of perfect patience) lay aside all vaine conso­lations.

Sect. III.

THe third fault in this schoole is, to be carelesse of their writnig; which made the carefull father exhort his sonne in this manner:

Scribe pu [...]r, vigila, causa [...] age, perlege [...]ub [...]as
Majorum leges, aut vitem pos [...]e libello.
Write boy and watch, reade antient rubricke lawes,
Or get a Captaines place, or plead some cause:

[Page 173] And what other thing is meant heere by writing, but a due and seasonable premeditation? the mind is to be in­structed and prepared for future events; lest calamity with an unexpected shocke oppresse us unawares. Seneca wisely admonisheth us: Let the mind in time of security prepare it selfe for adversitie. The Souldier, before hee sees the face of the enemy, exerciseth himselfe, raiseth bulwarkes, casteth up trenches, and wearieth himselfe with excessive paines, that he may endure necessary labours. That which in the encounter it selfe thou wouldest not be afraid of, make it familiar before the assault. Let calamity never take us unprovided.

More then once were the three Apostles admonished and reprehended by their master in mount Olivet. Why so? Because they thought the matter was to be debated with their swords, when they should have beene peaceable; that they were to fly, when they were to stand to it; to sleep when they should have watched and prayed. They prepared not themselves for that which was to come, albeit Christ care­fully exhorted them, saying▪ watch [Page 174] and pray least you enter into temptati­on: the spirit indeed is prompt, but the flesh infirme. But they neither watched nor prayed and so a sud­daine whirle winde tooke them una­wares.

The wise man much commending this premeditation saith: Sonne when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy mind against temptations. For un­expected disasters fall most heavilie, and even the newnesse it selfe addes a great waight to calamity. But that which is daily look'd for, is more suf­ferable when it comes. No accident should befall us unprovided: our mind should preoccupate them, and thinke rather what may, then what is wont to fall out.

Let our mind clearly understand, and patiently suffer its peculiar state and condition, knowing whatsoever happe­neth to one, may also happen to ano­ther. Make account then with thy selfe, if thou art a scholar in this schoole, to suffer much: seemes it strange to any one to be cold in winter? sick at sea? yogged to and fro in a coach? spotted and bemired in a durty way? That [Page 175] mind is most couragious that goes pre­par'd for all.

But there are a sort of scholars, who deliver up a theame written, which is none of their owne: they copie it out of others. And this among Christians is done after this manner. There are some so resolute in upholding their owne slouth, that you can no sooner admonish or correct them, but they presently reply: am I onely reprehensi­ble? neither this man, nor that, nor the other take these things otherwise: you shall never see such a man beare these kind of words patiently; another you know that will endure no jest, & a third is sensible of the least disgrace; these men dare oppose themselves up­on like occasions; these (and they have good reason for it) are not ready to fall at every mans foote. Why is not this as lawfull for me, as for this man, or that? shall I alone be tyed to har­der conditions then other men?

An ill argument, and as ill trans­crib'd. Thus we, as it were, copy out other mens conditions, and imitate them in ours; thus we fashion our selves by bad paternes, and are conten­ted to perish with the multitude. O [Page 176] ridiculous people! what defence i [...] anothers impatience for ours? we have the most remarkeable examples of ancient sanctity to imitate.

Saint Paul invites us: be followers of me brethren: and observe them that walke so, as you have our forme; for many walk [...] whom often I told you of (and now weeping also I tell you) the enemies of the Crosse of Christ; whose end is destruction. Calamities therefore are to be preme­dit [...]ted, and the noblest presidents of vertue imitated.

Sect. IV.

THE fourth fault is: to keepe from schoole, and play the trewant [...] what else is this, but by unlawfull means to avoid [...]ffl [...]ctions? D [...]seases may be cu­red, but by lawfull remedies; a man may se [...]ke to eschew poverty, but with­out coz [...]ning sh [...]f [...]s, or damage to his neighbour [...] he may defend his honour, but not by pr [...]de or impatence. Youths now and then for feare of the rod slip from their master, and leave their gow [...] [...]n his hands: so these men de­fend their honour and dignity, but [Page 177] lose their garment of modesty and humility. O pride not beseeming a Christian! how much better were it to retaine modesty, and part w [...]th some of thy credit?

Saint Peter exhorteth in this man­ner: My dearest, thinke it not strange in the fervour which is to you for a tentation, as though some new thing happened unto you; but communica­ting with the passion of Christ, be glad, that in the revelation also of his glory you may be glad rejoycing. This he admonisheth, when affliction ra­geth most, thinke it not strange, wan­der not to seeke any other hold, then the Schoole of Patience, there is no way to avoid afflictions by flying. This that holy writer most religio [...]sly ad­monisheth. Many, saith he, seeke to Tho de Kent. l. 1. de Imit. Christi. c 13. num [...]. 3. flye temptations, and fall more deepe­ly into them. By flight alone we can never overcome, but by patience and true humility we may get the upper hand of all our enemies.

He therefore, saith Saint Augu­stine, Aug. in Psa. post med mi­hi pag 532. who in this world seeketh not himselfe, but Jesus Christ, patiently endures labours, and confidently ex­pects promised rewards. His heart is [Page 178] readily prepared to hope in our Lord and is never broken with tempta­tions.

But the worst course in all these matters, is to consult with wit [...]hes for the cure of diseases, to u [...]e charmes, spells, and magicke superstitions. For this is no other then under a fa [...]re pretext to make the D [...]vell our physi­tian.

Elias the Prophet told the wic­ked King Ochozias to his face: These are the words of our Lord: Because thou hast sent messengers to consult with Beelzebub the god of Accaron, as though there were not a God in Is­rael, of whom thou mightest aske the word, therefore from the bed to which thou hast ascended, thou shalt not de­scend, but dying thou shalt dye. Most justly, and assuredly he dyed indeed, and deservedly was death inflicted up­on him, who sought to recover health, and preserve his life by sorcery and witchcraft. Singularly well saith Saint Aug. in Psal. 147. post in [...]t [...] p. 699. Augustine. It is a great signe as well of piety as health, where man is sicke, and God cureth his disease.

Sect. V.

THE fift fault; to wrangle or strike his f [...]llowes. This is an usual fault in schooles, to salute one another with buffets, for this is the ordinary end of chiding to make good words with bl [...]wes. Many times shall you heare these words; trecherous villaine thou wert the cause of my whipping, I will be meere with thee, thou shalt carry it neither to heaven nor to hell: like Adams children, they are ready to ex­cuse the fault by accusing others, to purge themselves, and with most cun­ning evasions transferre all the blame upon their fellowes

An impatient man is alwaies war­ring, he never wants matter of wrang­ling and debate. Oftentimes for small triflles (even like those for which chil­dren fall out) we swell up with wrath; poore and abject things incense us; the slackenesse of our servant, the table not well covered, a wrinckle left in our garment; yea, for a cough, [...]e­sing, fall of a key, boystrous shutting of a doore, or the like, we become furious. And how shall we be able [...]o [Page 180] endure taunts and reproaches, whose eares are oftended with the drawing of a stoole or a forme; how shall we en­dure hunger, or thirst, whose stomack turnes with a little milke when it is burnt? A small thing displeaseth a minde ill affected, insomuch that some are apt to take exception against oth [...]r [...] salutations, countenance, si­len [...]e, laughter, questions and the like. The si [...]ke or sore are never touch'd but they complaine.

Our impatience stayes not here, it complaines of weather and tempests, yea of God himselfe. One while we qua [...]rell with immoderate raine, at a­nother time are vext with extremity of cold, with too much heat in summer, or sharpnesse of wi [...]ter. We consider not that all [...]his is done by the ordinance of God. Certainly we too much prize our poore deserts, as though the hea­vens should change their course, for us. These things are not thus disposed for o [...]r prejudice; n [...]y contrarywise, they are done for our greater benefit. In vaine therefore doe we expostulate with weather, if it be not d [...]y, in vaine we [...] [...]me the earth, if our corne prosper not; in vaine wee storme a­gainst [Page 181] brute beasts, if they refus [...] to [...]e subject unto us; and as vainely, and no lesse foolishly do we charge o­thers when we ourselves are faulty. H [...]w often doe men bro [...]ke forth into these furious speeches: That knave, that arrand theefe, that man, the ve [...]est villaine that lives, hath com­bined and wrought this mischiefe a­gainst me; it is that varlot that hath brought me to destruction.

O ignorant and senselesse men! The truth is, every one is author of his own calami [...]y, every man fashions his own fortune: let every one therefore impute his fault to himselfe and not to others. Epictetus answereth such men Epictet: En­chir. cap. 10. after this sort: Ignorant men are wont to accuse others as cause of their ca­lamity: those that beginne to know themselves, accuse themselves: and finally those that are prudent, accuse neither themselves nor others.

Sect. VI.

THe sixt fault, to draw pictures, to sleepe, trifle and gaze out of the windowes. It is usuall with boyes to love beyond measure, dice, cobnuts, pictures and such kinde of light [Page 182] trifles and even with teares to defend them. It is a great inconvenience in the Schoole of Patience, to be so excee­dingly besotted wi [...]h fraile and tran­sitory things. Hence comes all their griefe and mourning. Most truly said Saint Gregory: a thing can never bee Greg. l 1. moral. cap. 3. med. lost without griefe, unlesse it be pos­sessed without love. Iob had lost all his wealth, his tenne children also, yea it might even be said he had lost himselfe, he was so full of pain [...]s, and overrunne wi [...]h ulcers; neverthe­lesse out living as it were his owne fu­neralls, he cheerfully sung: As it hath pleased our Lord, so [...]s it done: the name of our Lord be blessed. He willingly, saith Saint Gregory, aban­doned Greg. l. 1 mo­ral. cap. 3. med. his wealth which he possessed without taking contentment therein.

Excellently well of Iob also said St. Augustine. A just man in being stript Aug. hom. 10 s [...]rm. 105. de temp. mihi pag. 294. of all his earthly goods, escapeth rich, in patience: with these riches holy Iob was stored. His house was dispoiled of all, all that made him seeme so rich a little before, was gone at a blow on a suddain he sate as a poor begger on the dunghill; what may be imagined more miser­able then his calamity? What more [Page 183] happy then his inward happinesse? He had lost all the riches which God had given him, but God himself who gave him all he possessed. O man corrupt and sound! foul & fair, wounded and whole, sitting upon the dunghill, and raigning in heaven! If we love let us imitate: and that we may imitate let us labour. He helpeth our endeavours, who hath commanded us to endeavour.

But h [...]w came it to passe that this man had his heart so strongly guarded, whence proceeded this so great pat [...]ence? He lest without griefe, that which he possessed, without loue. He was sensi­ble of some griefe, but that he easily endured: he was inclined to love his own, but with moderation, he posses­sed his wife, children and riches, as if he should not alwaies enjoy them: or as if he should not become more miser­able by being deprived of them.

To possesse the creatures of this world, and not through too much love to be possessed by them, is a worke and labour indeed. Therefore the royall psalmist denounceth: set not your heart upon them. All the goods that mortall men possesse are mortall. Whatsoever thou art intituled to as [Page 184] Lord, remaines with thee, but it is not thine: he that is unstable and fraile of himselfe can have nothing firme and permanent. We must of necessity both die our selves and lose them: and this (if we rightly consider) may be our comfort; to lose that with patience, which must be lost perfor [...]e.

What is the best remedy then for these kind of losses? not to love too much the things which we must lose: set not thy hart upon them. Let the soule that seeketh after God, advance it selfe above all humane thinges, let it not lose it selfe in any thing without it selfe: let her know her selfe to bee too noble by creation, to cast her love away upon perishing delights. Ah! we are vaine, and runne after that which is faire and pleasing to the eye; we are in love with gawdes and puppets, and when wee are deprived of these trifles we wrangle, and with flouds of teares bewaile our losse: we lose with ex­cessive griefe, what with so great love we possest▪ Let us therfore lesse regard these transitory thinges, and our griefe will be lesse in losing them. We must daily curbe and restraine our affection, and as king Tarquinius walking in his [Page 185] garden strooke off the tops of poppies with his staffe, daily resist and suppresse (as soone as they put up their heads) these strong and violent affections. The way to moderate thy griefes, is to qualifie thine exorbitant desires.

Sect. VII.

THe seaventh fault, to counterfet sick­nesse. It is an usuall tricke amongst scholars to faine themselves sick, that they may not be enforc'd to studie. St. Augustine was much displeased with his ch [...]l [...]hood, and deplored it in this manner: so little a boy, and so great a sinner! I play'd at ball in my child­hood, and thereby hindred my progres in learning, I sinned by neglecting the precepts of my parents and masters. Aulus Persius when he was a boy, if at any time he could not say his lesson which his master set him, he annointed his eyes and pretended they were sore, which he thus confesseth:

Saepe oculos, memini, tāgebam p [...]rvu [...] olivo:
Pers. Sat. 3. v. 42▪
Grandia si nollem mor [...]turi verba Catonis.
Discere—
When dying Catoes mighty words I would not get by heart,
I often fain'd (mine eyes besmear'd) With oile did pricke and smart.

Boyes finde many excuses to absent themselves from schoole, which in­deed proceeds out of their owne negli­gence. Upon a time a certaine master asked his scholar, why he came so late to heare Prayers: because, Sir (said the boy) I stay'd for my breakefast. The master presently replied: got now, and stay for a rodde. There is no­thing more ready with boyes then to excuse their faultes: I was sicke, such an one would not suffer me, I could not, and a thousand such devices.

Jonas the Prophet was commanded by his preachin [...], to perswade the citie of Ninive to r [...]pentance; but he coun­terfetting himselfe sick, made as if he had not been commanded, turned his journey another way, and by sea fledde from Ninive. In a word was willing to doe all th [...]ngs, so he might be excused from pre [...]ching. A disobe­dient scholar, and too apt to believe hee wanted no will but ability. But the the seas beganne to [...]ore, the windes to [Page 187] rage, and a great whale was sent from out the depthes, which taught Ionas what he was able to doe, and what through distrust of his owne ability he had refus'd to doe. Not to be wil­ling (my Jonas) and not to be able are farre different. Assuredly our want of confidence in doing many things makes us unable; we love and defend our owne imperfections, which we ra­ther study to excuse then forsake.

How often shall you heare this idle excuse: I cannot, why presse you me, I cannot; the state of my body is not strong enough to fast, my stomacke cannot away with emptinesse, I am not able to endure these labours, I cannot abstaine from things to which I have beene accustomed, what I have hitherto used, I cannot leave, why are are you so earnest with me? it is to no end, I say I cannot.

These words were long since bani­shed from the Schoole of Patience: give care to a Scholar who cryeth out couragiously: I am able to doe all things. How I pray you? In him that strengtheneth me. The two brothers sonnes to Zebedeus, questioned by our Lord whether they could drinke [Page 188] his bitter Cup; boldly answered, we can: we contrariwise when we are put to the triall of our patience, utter these poore and pusillanimous words, we cannot, we cannot.

And this is the reason why we sel­dome lay a sure foundation for pati­ence. For we being partiall, credit out selves in matters belonging to our owne case: when any thing seemes difficult, without any shame we impu­dently cry out, we cannot. F [...]e for shame! try thy selfe, recollect thy for­ces, beginne, endeavour, doe what thou canst. There is nothing more dis­gracefull in the Schoole of Patience, what d [...]ffi [...]ulties soever occurre, then to br [...]ng this excuse, I cannot. Saint Paul answ [...]r [...]h resolutely, I can do [...] all. The Apostles, we can. One that truely love [...]h Go [...] never uttereth such words as these, I will not, I can­not. L [...]ve if it be true, is able to doe all things, otherwise it is not true as it pretendeth.

Sect. VIII.

THE eight fault in Schooles is, to lye or murmur when they are re­buked. [Page 189] These are capitall faults in schools, & deserve no lesse punishment then the rod. Impatience is as great a fault in the School of Patience, as a lye in the School of Grammar or Syntax. For as a lye denies what should be af­firmed, and affirmes what should be denyed, making blacke white, so im­patience makes a small trouble great, and a great one insupportable. And this is the original cause of impatience; namely, when a man thinkes himselfe overcharged with burdens insupporta­ble, and vexed (being innocent) un­deservedly. So iniquity belyeth it selfe.

How much better were it for every one that is afflicted to reason thus with himselfe: What sayst thou, im­patient man, is it for this that thou hast entred thy name in the Schoole of Pa­tience, to proclaime thy selfe innocent when thou sufferest any thing? Away with these complaints; there is nothing thou sufferest, but what thou hast de­served an hundred, a thousand, yea, ten thousand times. How wilt thou be a­ble to endure the fire it selfe when thou canst not abide a few poore sparkles or embers? Friend God does [Page 190] thee no injury, take that which falls to thy lot; suffer what God injoynes thee to suffer. A [...] thou that guiltlesse, that innocent childe, whom the good father chastizeth without desert? Alas good soule! thou smoothly, but sim­ply flatterest thy selfe: foolish credulity perswades thee thou art a sheep, where­as indeede thou art a wolfe. Hence proceed these pittifull complaints: why falls every storme upon my head? what sinnes have I committed? what have I done? I will tell thee; if thou wilt but heare me with patience. It is reported by one Anthony, that Peter a holy man, afterward martyred, was accused before his Superiour for that certaine profane people were seene and heard to prattle in his cham­ber. For which cause Peter was com­manded to accuse himselfe publikely in the presence of all the monastery, and exactly to performe the penance which others should enjoyne him. This he did; but to say the truth, much against his will, for he knew he had not here­in offended, and that upon false suspi­cions this was forged against him. Wherefore after he had retired him­selfe into his chamber, with teares in [Page 191] his eyes, he presented himselfe before a Crucifix, and to ease his minde with complaints, said; Lord, what have I done, that being innocent I should so severely be punished? Christ gracious­ly pittying his innocence forth-with replyed: And I also Peter, what have I done, that being innocent I should s [...]ffer so cruell a death? Peter present­ly was ashamed, and confessed him­selfe guilty, in comparison of such an innocent.

Sect. IX.

WHAT say'st thou then? (who art so ready to complaine) why dost so often inculcate: what have I done? Tell me I pray thee, what had Christ done? what had Peter & Paul the Apo­stles done? what so many hundred thou­sand Martyrs? what the holiest men of all ages (burdened with so many impi­ous slanders) wilt thou not yet give over these complaints? what have I done? How much rather maist thou say with that penitent thiefe crucified with out Lord? and we indeed justly, for we receive worthy of our doings.

Let us be of the same minde. Are [Page 192] we punished? let us not so much call to minde what we suffer, as what we have done. If we will rightly judge of all things, let us principally perswade our selves that there are none of us without faults. For want of which con­sideration we fall into these extremi­ties: I have not sinned, I have done no­thing against a good conscience. Nay, we will not acknowledge our selves sinners; we thinke mu [...]h to be admo­nished, corrected, or chastized, though in that very instant we sinne, adding arrogancy, excuse and contumacy to our former misdeeds. For very well saith Fabius; to excuse a fault commit­ted, is to com [...]it another Every good man is glad to be admonished, wic­ked men are impatient of rebukes. And who is there that can professe himselfe in all respects innocent? of­tentimes we are punished for a matter wherein we are innocent, to make satisfaction for some thing else wherein we were guilty.

The brothers of Ioseph vice-roy of Egypt, were innocent, when they were recalled from their journey to be cast in prison for stealing a silver cup. What shall we say in this case? Con­cerning [Page 193] the cup they were altogether innocent, but all is not gold that gli­sters. They had committed a farre greater theft. It was not a silver cup, but their owne brother Ioseph, whom they had stolne from his father. And this was the theft committed above twenty yeares before, which was now at last to be punished. The like often­times happens unto others.

Let us therefore love the truth, and whatsoever we suffer, say with the bro­thers of Ioseph: worthily doe we suf­fer these things, because we have sin­ned. He loved vertue who said: I will beare the wrath of our Lord, because I have sinned against him.

But they that thinke themselves in­nocent, and undeservedly punished with so great afflictions, gaine nought else by this their murmuring, but a greater and sometimes double punish­ment: like the scholar who by mur­muring after he is whipp'd, deserveth a new correction. Wherefore what in­juries or calamities wee now, or hereafter are to suffer, let us confesse our selves guilty: let us beare the wrath of our Lord, because we have sinned against him. Let him then, [Page 194] whosoever he be, who is a scholar, in the Schole of Patience, in all affl [...]cti­ons which he is compelled to suffer, speake in this manner: I doubtlesse suffer justly, I am rewarded according to my deserts. This is the way to pro­fit, alwayes to acknowledge himselfe worthy of the greatest punishment that may befall him.

THE SECOND PART.

CHAP. I. Affliction teacheth us Fortitude and Fidelity.

I Have delared what kindes of punish­ment are used in the Schoole of Pa­tience. That is to say, what sorts of affliction Al­mighty God is wont to punish men withall, whilst they live in this world.

Now I purpose to set downe what [Page 196] kinde of learning we ought to gather out of these punishments which are as bookes, what profit we should reape by afflictions, and what vertues wee may chiefely learne in adversity. For to say the truth, men are made wiser by adversity, and infatuated by prospe­rity.

The principall vertues which offer themselves to be exercised in adversity, are Fortitude and Fidelity; how these two vertues are sooner attain'd a­mongst stormes and difficulties, then pleasures and delights, we will begin to declare.

Sect. I.

THE education of children, under a discreete father, is wont to be farre different from that of an indul­gent mother. The fathers words are daily these: to schoole boy, to schoole. And when he returnes from thence, urgeth him againe, saying, call to mind what hath beene read to thee; exer­cise thy memory, practise thy stile; anon I will take accompt what thou hast learn'd. But when the boy, called and examined by his father, stamme­reth, [Page 197] answereth not directly, shewes himselfe unperfect in his grammar rules, or by holding his peace convin­ceth himselfe of ignorance: presently the father corrects him with blowes, scourgeth him with roddes, sharply re­buketh him with words, or at such time as he should play, commits him close prisoner to h [...]s study, bitterly rating him with these kind of words: study, slothfull boy, study leave off trifling & bend thy wits to that which is appoin­ted thee. And so soone as this boy hath proceeded somewhat further in yeares and learning, his father takes him from his mother, and sends him into forraine countries. And all this he doth for the good and benefit of his child.

But the mother alwaies tender and indulgent, when shee sees her child with teares in his eies, reasons thus with her husband: de are heart, why should we thus contristate our children? Were it not better to have them cheerefull and merry? they are young and tender, why doe we tiranize over them w [...]th stripes? many times you shall see them made worse with beating. These are the mothers words and with these blandishments shee [Page 198] doth not only weaken their masculine vigour, but with sweete meats and li­courish morsells, provokes them to gluttony, and corrupts their wits and dispositions; for one while she secret­ly conveyes into their pockets Sugar­cakes and Simnells, another while Comfits and Marchpanes: Thus by cherishing and cockering she utterly overthrowes them. What wise man therefore is there, that had not rather be brought up austerely by his father, for his greater good, then indulgently by his mother, for his future destructi­on? just in the same manner God (our father in heaven) who excee­dingly desires to have his children ver­tuous, like the severe fathers, handleth his children roughly.

The Roman wise man discoursing very elegantly upon this point, saith: Dost thou not see that the fathers and mothers carry a far different hand over their children? the fathers call them up betimes in the morning to follow their study; not so much as upon play-daies will they suffer them to be idle, but ply them till they draw even sweat, and sometimes teares from their eyes: but the mothers desire alwaies to keepe [Page 199] them in their bosomes, not permitting so much as the sunne to shine upon them; never would they have them labour, never shed teares, or be con­tristrated. God beareth a favourable minde towards good men, he loves them intirely: let them, saith he, that they may gather true and firme strength, be throughly exercis'd with labours, griefes and adversities, con­tinuall prosperity shrinkes at every storme; wondrest thou that God (that entire lover of all good men, who de­sires to have them exceeding good and excellent) should visit them with sini­ster fortunes to exercise their patience? he had rather harden them with stripes, then with stroaking effeminate them. We also are sometimes much de­lighted to see a resolute young man encounter with a Stagge at bay, or cou­ragiously grapple with a Lyon, and the stoutlier he performes it, the more gratefull is the spectacle. See a sight worthy of God, wherein he may con­template how man (the workemanship of his owne hands) behaves himselfe: behold a spectacle no lesse worthy of God; a couragious man stoutly grap­pling with adversity.

[Page 200] Neither doe I (Seneca) see any ob­ject God hath in this world more a­miable then to b [...]hold some Tobias or Job, stand firme and unmoveable a­midst so many funeralls of their chil­dren, amidst so great havocke and de­struction of all their goods and sub­stance.

Christ speaking out of the clowd to Saul, said: Arise and stand upon thy fee [...]e. As if he had said: I cast thee down, that thou maiest rise and stand more strongly.

Sect. II.

WHEN therefore thou seest a man just and acceptable to God, labou­ring, swearing, overcomming difficul­ties; and evill men wallowing in pleasures and playing the wantons: th [...]nke that these are brought up mo­d [...]stly, as children under severe disci­pline, and the other licentiously em­boldned like abject sl [...]ves and hire­lings. Th [...]s custome God observeth; he never cho [...]sly co [...]k [...]reth holy men, he tries them, he hardens them and prepares them for himselfe. How many Fountaines, Springs, Floods, Showers, [Page 201] Snowes, Rivers, and Brookes, doe you see, discharge themselves into the sea which nevertheles continues brackish? so no stormes or tempests of adversity whatsoever, can alter or change a cou­ragious mans heart. He abideth still in one state, and whatsoever falleth out, makes it sutable to his owne colour. He being good, by patiently bearing and interpreting all in the best sense, turnes it into good. As red Wine mingled with a f [...]w d [...]opes of white, dyeth all with its owne colour: so a good man takes all that happens in good part, turnes all into good, and by suffering makes all affliction profi­table to himselfe. For his power tran­scendes all exteriour things, not for that he is insensible, but because he overcomes them; and albeit at other times quiet and peaceable, raiseth him­selfe against incursions of insuing dif­ficulties. All adverse chances to him are either as e [...]ercises, or medicines: the one (if his minde be sound) serves to maintaine and increase h [...]s strength: the other to recover him if he be sicke, or drowned in delights and pleasures. Just as it is in the cure of our bodies, when we are lanced or cauterized to [Page 202] recover health or strength.

There is a kinde of tree called La­rix that growes very high, the leaves whereof never fall; by nature it is as it were immortall, for it never cor­rupts nor perishes; it can never be burnt nor altered into coales, the fire hath no more power to consume it then stones: painted tables made thereof are perpetuall; it admits no chinkes nor rifts; it rots nor, nor ever yields unto age.

Celius Rhodiginus recounteth that he saw a Tower built of Larix, which Julius Cesar (albeit he caused fire to be put to it) could never burne nor de­stroy. A man remarkeable for patience is fitly compared to this tree: he burns sometimes amidst the flames of cala­mity, but looseth not so much as a leafe, you shall not heare the least impatient word fall from his lips. Such for all the world was Job, a man like this wood, patient even in the middest of flames; In all these things Job sin­ned not with his lips.

Behold a bush environed on all sides with fire, and yet not burned: a Tower of Larix which all the power of hell could not set on fire nor demolish. [Page 203] This certainely we are taught in the Schoole of Patience, to beare with in­differency those things which are not evils, unlesse we our selves be evill and repute them such.

When Rebecca the wife of Isaac felt two infants strugling in her womb, she went to consult with our Lord. This answer was returned. Two nations are in thy wombe, &c. and the elder shall serve the younger. From hence Saint Augustine raising a great question, asketh how this came to passe, for it evidently appeared that the elder never served the younger, but contrariwise went about to kill him. For Esau had determined thus in his mind; The daies will come of the mourning of my father, and I will kill Iacob my brother. How then did he serve him, when hee went about to kill him? whereunto Saint Augustine answereth very well: He will serve him (saith he) not by obeying but by persecuting him, after the same manner as evill men serve good men. As the file serves the iron, the hammer the gold, the mill the wheat, and the oven the bread in baking it.

Jacob the sonne of Isaac had never [Page 204] proved such a man, had he not beene so p [...]rsecuted by his brother. He was tenderly brought up in his fathers house, was most deare to his mother, and swayed all as he listed. But when his brother threatned his death, he fled into M [...]sopotamia to his uncle Laban, and there liv'd a shepeard above twenty yeares together. Heere J [...]cob found the want of his fathers house, for be­ing most hardly intreated, he learn'd to endure hunger and thirst, heate and cold, and to watch all night in the o­pen ayre: heere he hardned his body and mind almost like non: heer he was enabled to undergoe any labour and want whatsoever. The cause of all this was the envie and lewd disposition of his brother. And what benefite was this to J [...]cob? Exceeding much, beyond all me [...]sure. For by this meanes hee saved his owne life, shak'd of [...]dlenes in which his indulgent mother had bred him, was inured to labours and incommodities, heap'd upriches, and had Rachel and Lia for his wives, from whom af [...]erw [...]rdes sprunge the twelue patriarches and Christ h [...]m­selfe. See how the elder brother served the yonger, not by obeying, but by [Page 205] persecuting him. This is the only way to attaine to fortitude, by this meanes men become valiant. It is a notable speech of a most couragious man: when I am weake, then am I strong.

Sect. III.

VErtue hath alwayes an eye upon the end whereunto she bends her course, not what she [...]s to suffer. God provi­deth for his servants, whom he would have then to be most modest and hum­ble, when occasion is given them to do any thing stoutly and couragiously, for wh [...]ch respect they must of necessity undergoe some difficulty. How can I (if thou abound in riches) know what patience thou hast to beare poverty? How may I (if thou be still applauded and flattered in all thy actions) bee assured of what proofe thy constancy is against infamy and ignomi [...]y? What testimony have I of thy obedience, if thou beest onely commanded to doe what is easie to be performed? How can I conclude thou art submisse and humble, if thou be never assaulted with calumnies and affronts? How can I commend thy patience, when I never [Page 206] see the oppressed with calamities, which are the trialls and touch stones of vertue?

With good reason may they be said to be miserable, who waxe dull and senslesse with too much felicity, who through a sluggish drousinesse are laid to sleepe as it were in a calme and peaceable sea. Whatsoever happens to them, is unexpected and troublesome. Cruelties afflict them most who have not experienced them: upon a yong and tender necke the yoake presseth hea­vily. A fresh water souldier is appa­led even with the conceit of a wound: but he that is hardned in warre, hold­ly beholdeth his owne bloud, knowing he hath often surviv'd the like adven­tures.

Consider the Germans, saith Seneca, Sen. l. de pro­vid. cap. 4. ubi de pris [...]is Germanis loquitur. and the vagrant people that live about the river Ister. They are perpetually infested with winter and foule wea­ther, their barren soile hardly main­taines them, they are no otherwise fenced from raine but by the trees themselves and poore thatch'd houses: finally they feed on such wild beasts as they kill or take with their own hands. Dost thinke these men are miserable? [Page 207] No course of life can be reputed so, which by continuall custome is be­come naturall; why do you marvell? good men are strucken that they may be the more corroborated. There is no well rooted tree, but that which the winde often shaketh, that it may take deeper roote and be consolidated by tempests. Those which grow in warme vallies are tender and shallow rooted. So the corne which in seed time is co­vered with frost and snow prospers best, and fire by often blowing is sooner kindled: what, I pray, is gold and silver the worse for hammering? Certainly you cannot otherwise have money coined, nor cups or goblets fashion'd, but by often knocking and beating. Away with that gold and sil­ver that will not abide the stroake of the hammer: and with that man who like metall will not be wrought on.

Sometimes we seeme vertuous in our own eies, and would be called patient; but very▪ fitly may that be applied to us, which Pyth [...]goras said to a certain man: albeit thou art silver, yet, see­ing thou [...]rt impatient, there cannot so much as one half-penny of currant money be made out of thee. The same [Page 208] with good reason may we say unto ma­ [...]y: Although (brother) you are gold and silver, spend the whole day in pray­er on your knees, with your hands up to heaven; yet (excuse me) you are of no value. And why so? because you are not tried and fashioned by the hammer; and therefore like a price­lesse piece of drosse, you shall be cast into some forlorne corner. For let the hammer but once touch you, let but one sharp word be cast out against you, it forceth you to fury and impatience. O gold! O silver! but base, but drossie, but counterfet, because it will not brook the hammer; ordained for no other use, save only some abject imployment.

William Perald, Bishop of Lyons, maketh a pretty discourse, how a man may knock out the Divels teeth, which are deciphered by slanderers, back­biters, and detracters, to whom Isaias the Hebrew speaketh: Why do you waste my people, saith he, and gri [...]de the face of the poore? saith the Lord God of Hoasts. With these teeth doth the Divell bite just men. But by what means are these teeth to be broken? By patience. Oftentimes the singular [Page 209] patience even of one Christian, hath converted thousands of Idolaters to Christianity.

Pontius Pilate, that Roman Presi­dent, wondring at Christs admirable patience, with good reason thought he exceeded all other men in wisedome, and that he was descended from high and noble parentage. This may daily be noted amongst impudent pratlers, who onely imploy their time in taxing and censuring others. When they ob­serve a man to be patiently silent, they begin likewise to compose themselves, and assume a modest look, which no sharp speeches could otherwise have do [...]e. But th [...]s is the strength of a Christian, whi [...]h is not learn'd by hap­hazard, but onely in the Schoole of Patience. Affliction is the Mistris of Fortitude.

Sect. IV.

THE School of Patience teacheth not onely Fortitude but Fidelity al­so, a vertue so much commended in ho­ly Scriptures. Well known are these words of our Lord: Oh! thou good and faithfull servant. The Disciples [Page 210] of Christ committed many errours, and many times were they reprehen­ded. Neverthelesse, when Christ took his sorrowfull farewell of them all at his last Supper, he largely commended them, saying: You are they who have held out with me in my temptations: and I dispose unto you, as my Father hath disposed unto me, a kingdome. As if he should have said: O my deare Apostles! I forgive you all your er­rours, let all that is past be forgotten. This I rather endevour, to make you an ample requitall for your fidelity to­wards me. You onely in a manner a­lone tooke in good worth my humili­ty and poverty. I acknowledge you not onely faithfull servants, but also firme and assured friends. Therefore I dispose to you a kingdome, that you may eate and drinke upon my table in my kingdome. At this word, doubt­lesse, the Apostles hearts leapt for joy: and what other thought possest them all but this; Pray God we may reigne in this kingdome. God grant we may all eate and drink together upon this table. But Christ lovingly instructing and warning them, not to anticipate these joyes so unseasonably, said: Be­hold, [Page 211] Satan hath required to have you, to fift you as wheat. You must (O my dearest!) undergo hard trialls; you are as bells, which must yeeld a sound to the whole world: but first these bels m [...]st be tolled, and this very night w [...]ll begin with them. For as the Bell-Founder, when be hath fin [...]shed his work, hangs it not up presently in the steeple; but tries it first what sound it gives, and how it answers the stroke of his hammer, and whether it be riven or cracked: So, many trialls must be made of those who will be entertained for my servants; to wit, whether their patience be solid, and of proof; whe­ther they be hardy and stout in adver­si [...]y, and faithfull in difficulties. For this is the true touch stone to try the gold of fidelity.

Very well said Seneca: No man Sen. l. de Pro. cap. 4. knows (otherwise then by trying) what he is able to do. None will ever know how patient you are, not your self, but by incountering many adver­saries. Vertue languisheth if she have no adversary. What thy courage is, what power and ability thou hast, will then appear, when thy patience shews what she is able to do or suffer. There­fore [Page 212] most truly saith St. Gregory▪ E­very man learns by adversity, how much he hath profited. Frank [...]n [...]ense shews its vertue upon coals; spices smell the sweetest when they are pounded; unguents vent their odours most when they are stirred. St. Mary Magdalens balsamum, when it was powred upon Christs head, perfumed the whole house; the Sea-man is tried in a tempest; a Souldier in battell; and a Champion in the lists. St. Hie­rom, Hier. tom 9. ep 6. ad [...]. alluding to this, saith: That the happinesse of a Christian souldier is to be fortunately improved by misfor­tunes; to grow under oppressions, and in growing, to get the upper hand of them, and tread them under foot. A Christians life is [...]ss [...]ulted and sh [...]ken with many storms, and amongst innu­merable pressures becomes joy [...]ull and vigorous. Thus, you see, true fidelity indeed is not in the mouth of idle boasters, but in the hands of noble Ch [...]mpions; for it is one thing to promise, and a [...]other faithfully to perform, and give testimony of fide­litie.

Christ our Saviour, that he might invite his D [...]sciples to pray for increase [Page 213] of faith, said unto them: If you have faith as a mustard seed. What faith, I beseech you is this, so large, and yet so little, that it is compared to a grain of mustard seed? Certainly, this is the least and cheapest grain that is; but bruise it in a morter, or chew it with your teeth, and you shall finde how sharp it is, and biting to the taste: Who would imagine so much fire could be hidden in so little a seed? Such a faith like this, Christ re­quires of us; that is, to shew the fire of our loue, and to breathe forth the quickest odours of patience, when we are beaten with the pestell of calami­ty. The good, saith S. Gregory, which Greg. l. 1. mor. cap. 4. we reap in peace, becomes apparant in the time of tribulation.

Sect. V.

Holy Scripture commendeth Josue, that warlike Captain of the Hebrews, after this manner: All the Kings were gathered together to fight against Jo­sue. Here th [...]s most renowned Champi­on beg [...]n to declare, by evident exam­ples, the fidelity he had sworn to God; here he began to provoke his enemies: [Page 214] Come forth you enemies of God, nei­ther I, nor any of mine wil ever shrink, or refuse to fight with you: and albeit, your side so far exceeds us in number, yet we fear you not: Draw forth your strongest armies, we are confident, God fights on our side. Just after the same manner doth the couragious Christian provoke his enemies: Come hither, you afflictions, you innumera­ble troops of calamities; hunger, thirst, poverty, diseases, griefs, injuries, ca­lumnies, and all kinde of miseries: I fear neither your number, nor your strength: If whole camps stand a­gainst us our heart shall not be afraid; the faith we have pledged to God, we will never break; we are ready rather to suffer all that may be inflicted upon us, yea, death it self; and if we had an hundered lives, rather would lose them all, then violate our oath where­by we have bound our selves to God.

Every man that is pious and faith­fully devoted to God, is of this minde: Although the whole power of hell should stand against me, the heavens fall upon me; yea, though all the cala­mities of the world should shew the utmost of their rage and malice a­gainst [Page 215] me, yet would I, by Gods assi­stance, stand constant and unmovea­ble in my faith. I am ready for Gods cause to be cast in prison, burned, slain, or slaughtered. For if we be dead with him, we shall live also together; if we sustain, we shall also reigne to­gether; if we deny, he also will deny us.

And let us assure our selves (O Christians!) that it is not sufficient for us to be members of Christs-Church, to hear Divine Service, to fast, or pray, or give alms; but of necessity, God should finde us faithfull and worthy, as he found Abraham, Joseph, and Job, truly faithfull and worthy of him in the midst of whatsoever adversity. For as the history of the Machabees testifieth; Joseph in all the time of his adversitie kept the Commande­ments.

Albeit we be of silver or gold, if we be impatient, and brook not the hammer, we are but little worth. And euen as in a mans body, when he is suddenly frighted, or his heart fails him, all his bloud runs to comfort and succour that distressed part: So in all anguishes and afflictions whatsoever, [Page 216] all the vertue of a just man recollects it self, and animates him after this manner: If thou fail now, when God goes about to make a triall of thee, where is thy faith, where thy love? Where is thine obedience, thy hope, thy patience? Where thy fortitude, thy fidelity? Is this the desire thou pre­tendest of suffering? Is thy pur­pose and resolution of persevering come to this? Remember the oath, which as a Souldier, thou hast sworn; remember the faith thou hast pledged to God, and shew thy self faithfull to the end. He that hath promised, without all do [...]bt will per­form with thee; he will neither deny thy reward, nor detain thy crown; be thou onely forward to sight, and con­fident of victory.

CHAP. II. Affliction teacheth Commi­seration and Abstinence.

KING Artaxerxes (one of his most intimate friends being dead) sent to Democritus at Io­nia, requesting him (if by any Art hee could) to restore his friend to life againe; or at least wise, if by any medicinall means he saw any hope of recovery, that he should put it in practice. Democritus answered, that the Kings demand was important and difficult; neverthelesse, he would effect it, if his Majesty first would and could fulfill a request of his, which was, to engrave upon his dead friends tomb, the names of thirty young men, who had lived to the age of twenty yeares, without any crosse or calamity. Diligent search was made after these names; but as yet they can­not (and as we have just cause to be­leeve) [Page 218] never in any age hereafter are likely to be found.

Is there, I beseech you, any mortall man, who hath lived (I will not say) twenty yeares, but twenty dayes, with­out some adversitie or other? All our life is replenished with griefes and ca­lamities. God him self, out of his in­finite providence, hath by most equall weight proportioned it out to every one from all eternity. There is none that hath not his measure of worme­wood, some a cup full, some a whole gallon, others but a pint, as it pleaseth God to dispose; and to this end or­dained it, that every one might be sen­sible of his neighbours afflictions, and withall learn moderation and tempe­rance.

Now by what means affliction tea­cheth Commiseration and Tempe­rance, we declare as followeth.

Sect. I.

IT is a wonderfull comfort to those that are in misery, to have compani­ons in their punishments, to know that others suffer the like, or greater; that none escape, or are exempted from af­flictions. [Page 219] Christ instructing his Disci­ples, gave them this note: Blessed are ye (saith he) when they shall revile you, and persecute you, &c. For so they persecuted the Prophets that were be­fore you. And that he might give them a clearer testimony: If they have, saith he, persecuted me, you also will they persecute. By the same meanes, Saint Paul comforting the Macedonians, saith: For you, brethren, are become followers of the Churches of God that be in Jewry, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things of your owne linage. So he pointet [...] out, as it were, with his finger to the Hebrews, that all good men had their trials by mockeries and stripes, fetter [...] and prisons; going about in sheep-skins, in goat-skins, needy, in distresse, afflicted, wandering in deserts, in mountains and dens, and in caves of the earth; others he saith, were temp­ted, stoned, cut in pieces and behea­ded.

And that we may the better be con­firmed by the exemplar and generous patience of others, Saint James wil­leth us to think, that they who suffe­red so great torments and miseries, [Page 220] were not men either of Iron or Ada­mant. Elias was a man like unto us, passible: Neither this man, nor that, nor any one of the rest, but were as sensible of pain as we; but for that they had profited better in the School of Patience, they were more patient then we. Nor do the examples only of the afflicted, but their words also cōfort us in affliction. For in adversitie, we learne to commiserate others in the like; to comfort them, and easily to credit those who are subject to the like adversities. And this is one of the principall causes why we are shut up in the School of Patience, and lye ex­posed to so many afflictions, that we may learne one to condole with ano­ther. Assuredly he that hath lived in poore estate, findeth no difficulty to compassionate anothers hunger and want; he that hath been sick, and ill disposed in his health, easily pittieth a­nothers infirmity; He that hath found by experience, what it is to be con­temned, oppressed and disgraced, com­miserates those who suffer like af­fronts; he that is stripped out of all his lands and possessions, quickly takes compassion of them that have suffered [Page 221] the like. After we have been vexed with many miseries, we gain this knowledge with the Tyrian Queen, who said:

Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco,
I learn by harms to succour miseries.

Aeschilus the Poet saith wisely, that every one is ready to condole and sigh for company, with those that are in misery; but this griefe never toucheth them to the quick. To this we may an­nex that saying of Sophocles: They only grieve at others afflictions, who have felt the like themselves.

Sect. II.

FRom hence we may well conclude, that whomsoever we see severe, sharp, unmercifull or cruell, hath doubtlesse never been put to extremi­ties himselfe; he knowes neither hu­manity nor civill demeanour, and is so farre from combating, that he hath never so much as seen the lists, but hath spent his time in case and delicacies, and by this means is become so inhu­mane and mercilesse. For this cause God admonisheth his people, that they should not wrong aliens nor strangers, because they themselves had been of [Page 222] the like condition: Thou shalt not molest a stranger, nor afflict him: for you your selves were likewise stran­gers in the land of Egypt. Let your owne experience tell you, how mise­rable a state it is, to be a stranger, a captive, surcharged with labour, and loaded with stripes.

Saint Leo is of opinion, that Saint Peter a chiefe Apostle was suffered to fall so grievously, that he might so much the more tenderly commiserate sinners, and that a remedy by repen­tance might be followed in him. Here­upon the master of the family was much offended with his servant, for that being himselfe greatly indebted but a little before, and owing more then he was worth, nevertheles, would not have the least commiseration of his fellow servant, that was indebted to him: Oughtest not thou also to have mercy upon thy fellow servant?

Hence came it, that Saint Paul also greatly comforting us, said: For we have not a high Priest that cannot take compassion on our infirmities, but tempted in all things. Let us go there­fore with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may [...]obtain mercy. [Page 223] Whereupon he ought in all things to be like unto us his brethren, that he might become a mercifull and faith­full high Priest before God.

For this cause God sends afflicti­ons to many, that they may learn to commiserate and relieve others more readily. You shall hear many blame themselves in this respect: I thought that sick person counterfetted; I ne­ver took compassion of that poor mans estate; I never pittied such an one that was in sorrow and affliction; I laughed at another who wept and be­wailed the death of his friends: Just­ly therefore am I now visited with sicknesse, surcharged with poverty, tears and sorrows; by this means I shall learn hereafter to take compas­sion of others.

The Prophet Hieremy taxeth the Moabites for their lewd conditions, after this sort: Moab was fertile in her youth, and rested in her dregs, she was not powred out of one vessell in­to another. He compareth the Moa­bites to wine, which, being long mixed with dregs, becomes musty & unsavo­ry. It is a saying amongst the Spani­ards: This wine as yet is but new [Page 224] come from the mother; it hath not ta­ken the pains to passe from one hogs-head to another: So the Moabites, living rich and wealthy in a fertile countrey, were unacq [...]ainted with that which hunger and penury would have taught them; Moab was fertile in her youth, and rested in her dregs: For the Moabites, being neer neigh­bours to the Sodomites, became lu­xurious with plenty, bred up with wealth and vices, despised all the wholsome lessons they might have learned in chaste poverty: Moab was tunned out of the vessell of justice, in­to that of temperance, chastity and mercy. In a word, they had never been Scholers in the School of Patience; onely trained up in eating, drinking, [...]earing, sporting, and intoxicated with all maner of delights; that drink wine in bowls, and are anointed with the best ointment▪ and they suffered no­thing upon the contrition of Joseph. They are hard-hearted, mercilesse, and ready, upon every occasion, to be fired with impatience. See how much it availeth to learn manners, and to be instructed in the School of Patience: &, that which much profiteth the scho­ler himself & many others, they learn [Page 225] here to resent and compassionate their neighbours miseries.

Sect. III.

Abstinence likewise and tempe­rance are taught in the School of Pa­tience. We perswade our selves, whilst we possesse many things, that we can­not be without them; but being de­prived of them, we our selves marvell with how little difficulty we spare them. Take for example, a merchant, who, whiles he is rich, goes like him­self, magnificently attended; but be­ing grown poor and needy, begins to finde how easie it is to go without a train. A traveller being benighted, and forced, for want of an inne, to take up his lodging under some tree in the field; and for supper, to con­tent himself with one poor farthings worth of bread, is compelled at last, to confesse, that he knew not til this time how to sup for lesse then two pence. A tradesman who formerly was weal­thy, and fared daintily, sometimes, through negligence in his trade, breaks, and becomes a banquerupt, and is content at last to sit down to a dinner of cabbidge or carrets; and for want of supper, either fasts, or [Page 226] contents himself with a messe of homely water gruell: By this means, he (poor man) wondering at him­self, sayes: I never thought I could have lived so frugally. A Carrier, in like manner, who was wont to ride in time of his prosperity, is, by his un­thriftinesse and drinking, forced to go on foot, and sayes: God be thanked, who hath once more brought me to my feet; I knew not before what foot­manship I had.

Thus God dealeth with many, by wholesome want reducing them to the golden mean of temperance. Ne­verthelesse, you shall finde some so ob­stinate and blinded in their opinion, that one will not stick to say: My sto­mack will by no means indure fast­ing: Another, that his weak body re­quires more sleep then ordinary: This man that he cannot possibly lead his life without company: And another, without wine and strong bear, thinks he is like a fish without water. But when poverty, or some other calami­ty, bereaves them of their companions or sleep, and turns their wine into wa­er, then experience teacheth, how ea­sie a thing it is to watch, to give the [Page 227] belly no more then his due, to observe fasting dayes, and take their leave both of wine and companie.

Calamity is the Mistris of tempe­rance. By poverty, we learn sobriety, and frugality, which often comes too late, when all is wasted and consu­med. I my self have known many persons of quality, whom the prison hath taught to dine for six pence, and sometimes for lesse, whose tables here­tofore have been loaden with dain­ties.

Give ear to a strange, yea wonder­full strange story, which makes very sit for this purpose. Pecchius an inhabi­tant on this side the Alps, a man of great courage and industry, incurred the displeasure of a certain Noble man of great power and wealth. And being one day riding upon the way, was by a train taken; and, like a cat, shut up in a sack, and so carried to his enemies castle.

Here Pecchius was thrown into a deep and loathsome dungeon. And, without acquainting any other, charge was given to a servant of some trust, to feed him every day with no more then a small crust of bread, and a lit­tle [Page 228] cup of water, wherby this wretched man might sensibly suffer a lingering death, rather then preserve a long life. In the mean season, Pecchius was sought for all about, in towns and ci­ties, and no where found, save onely his horse he rode on, somewhat be­sprinkled with bloud, which caused strong suspition of murder, and the murderer thereupon was diligently sought after. Two men, with whom it was known he had former quarrels, were laid hold on, and compelled by most cruell torments to confesse them­selves guilty of his death▪ judgement past upon the innocent persons, the one to be hanged, the other to lose his head. Thy judgements (O my God!) are a bottomlesse abysse.

Mean while, Pecchius prolonged his miserable dayes in this loathsome prison; and in this course of life, or rather death, spent nineteen yeers; without ever changing or putting off his apparell; and having nothing to su­stain life, but a poor pittance of bread and water every day. Neverthelesse, he himself, with grateful acknowledge ment of Gods speciall favour, after­wards confessed, that he was al­wayes [Page 229] very confident hee should at last be delivered from this den of death. But his children, during his imprisonment, as if he had been dead, performed all rites and obsequies, and parted the inheritance among them. So when he had accomplished nine­teen yeers in this cruell imprisonment, the Lord of the Castle, his capitall e­nemy, died▪ and his heir, that succee­ded him, going about to enlarge and beautifie the Castle, commanded walls to be beaten down here and there, till they came at length to this cave un­der the ground, which had no door, but onely a very narrow hole to passe into it; here they found this misera­ble man like a Stygian ghost, with garments torn, his beard grown to his k [...]ees, & his hair of his head hanging all about his shoulders. At this specta­cle, so unexpected, the workmen stood amazed; the rumour thereof was straight divulged abroad; thither a multitude of people ran, as to see a Faune or Satyre, or some such savage monster. Some of the discreeter sort, advised not to bring this man too sud­denly to the air, lest by that change he should lose his eye-sight or his life, So [Page 230] for certain dayes he was detained in that h [...]s former darknesse, and by little and little brought forth to day-light: here they propounded sundry questions to him, as if he had been re­vived from death to life: Asked who he was, of what family, what countrey man, how he came thither, and how long he had layen there? Whereunto he made answer in order, as all things had passed, which he audience quickly beleeved according to his relation. Hereupon, he was not onely restored to his liberty, but his estate also, which his children had divided amongst them, was by the Princes command surrendered unto him. One thing here is of great consequence, and much to bee noted, Pecchius, when he was cast into the prison, was troubled with the gout; but this exceeding spare diet, wrought a cure of him; so that not onely in the prison, but all the dayes of his life af­ter Simon Mai [...] ­lus Episc. vultur. In diebu [...] Canic. c [...]lloq. 4. mi­hi pag. 159. he was free from that disease.

He that writes this History, affirms, that he spake with this very man him­self at Millain, and had all this rela­tion from his own mouth, Ann. Dom. 1566. in the moneth of November.

[Page 231] See how God brings men into the depths, and brings them backe a­gaine. See how want and misery tea­che [...]h men not only abstinence and frugality, but bestowes upon them al­so their health which by no other re­medies could be obtained.

But we, for the most part, are dull of capacity, and learne but by con­straint, those things which we should be ready to acquire of our owne ac­cords. And thereupon with good rea­son our master in the School of Pati­ence, urgeth us at length with these words: Learne therefore, even against thy will, what thou wouldest not willingly. Galen is of opinion that Galen. l. 6. de medic. sacili­bus. some little sickenesse and distempers are availeable to some. I easily be­leeve it, and that for the scholars of Patience it is not amisse sometimes to feele the like.

Sect. IV.

Horace makes a pleasant discourse Hor. l. 2. [...] ­sat. 1. med. after this manner. Opimius, a citizen no lesse wealthy then covetous, was oppressed with a greevous lethargy in somuch that his heire in great jollity beganne to lay hold on his bagges [Page 232] and keies. Meane while Opimius, though he were pinch'd and pulled, stirred not. But the physition being his faithfull friend, and tendering his good, wakened him by this meanes: he caused a table to be set, and store of money to be powred downe upon it, and many to come and tell it; then he beganne to awaken him after th [...]s manner: Opimius, quoth he, Opi­mius, aw [...]ke, a [...]d looke to thine owne, or else thy greedy heires will presently wast and imb [...]zle it. At these words Opimius, lifting up his dro [...]zie eies and perfectly waking, said: what is the matter, are these doings before I am dead? Avaunt mischeivous vul­tures: are you already got together to teare and devoure me alive? Will you bury me before I am dead, to make your selves heires of my goods? Sir, said the Phisition, to shew that you are alive, I pray awake, and looke to the maine chance. Thus the sicke man was cured of his lethargy.

My deare Christians, you know right well there are innumerable a­mongst us whom our Heavenly Phisi­tion beholds in Opimius case, lying buried in a deepe lethargy, are lesse of [Page 233] their salvation, and fouly corrupted with intemperance. What should this expert and faithfull Physition do heer­in? He affaies sundry meanes to re­store us to our health, but all in vain. Wherefore at length he either takes, or seemes to take whatsoever we esteeme most deare; but to no other end, doubtlesse, then to awake us, that we may looke to our owne good, mend our lives, and recover our health. At last the sickeman is forc'd to confesse: I thought indeed I could never have wanted this, abstained from that, or contented my selfe when I was de­bard of another thing which I desi­red; but now I see (either because I will, or because I must) all is in my power: this I want, that I abstaine from, the other thing I cannot ob­taine, and yet I live. M [...]sery is the mistr [...]sse of temperance.

That prodigall young man who wasted all h [...]s patrimony, what a sea­sonable oportunity had he afterward to suffer hanger, how fit a time to di­gest all his surfets? So much was hee distressed with hunger, that whereas before he disdained the purest man­chet, now he deem'd oaten bread, yea [Page 234] bran and husks cast out to the hoggs, as one of his greatest dainties. For he desired to fill his belly with the hu [...]ks wherewith hoggs were fedde, which none would bestow upon him. And though he call'd to mind, how farre hunger was exiled from his fathers house, and what plenty there was of bread: yet he never exclamed: who will helpe me to a cramm'd pullet, fat capon, or fine manchet? But who will give me a mouldy crust of the coursest bread? Where I beseech you, and of whom did he learne so great temperance? certainly of hunger, and that in the Schoole of Patience. Very well said Eusebius: Hunger brings him backe againe, whom saturity had ex­pell'd. And no marvell, for hunger brings the hauke to her masters fist. We thinke hunger a great evill, but much greater is intemperance. To a­ [...]id therefore the one, God oftentimes sends us the other: he chastiseth us with hunger to restraine us from in­temperance. Thus calamities serve us for remedies.

Sect. V.

A most elegant saying it was of Se­neca, Senec. l. de Tranquil. c. 9. that with light inconveniences, grievous mischiefes are cured, when the minde giving small care to whole­some precepts, cannot by an easier meanes be healed. Who is he that will not look about him when he is awake­ned by poverty, ignominy, and havock made of all he hath? One evill drives out another. If thou wouldest not have a sicke man meddle with un­wholesome meat, the best way is, ei­ther not to set it before him, or else so to pepper and salt it, that he shall have no pleasure to taste it. God carefully goes about to cure us, and by peppering and salting our affaires with miseries, makes those things unsavoury which he knowes are ready to bring us to destruction. Saint Augustine reputing this a singular benefit, saith: He that is restrained from iniquity, is overcome most to his owne advantage. And this he had experienced in himselfe. I have not escaped (said he) thy scour­ges, for what mortall man hath ever been free from them? Thou wert al­wayes [Page 236] present, mercifully correcting, and sprinkling with most bitter di­stastes, all my unlawfull delights, that I might seek those pleasures which are void of all distaste.

This God doth, that we may not re­lish our miseries to our owne destru­ction. This causeth me (O you wan­ton worldlings!) to see and not to envie your delights: for without all question they are inwardly soundly salted and peppered. Let him taste, that hath a minde to be burned. God, like an expert Cooke, seasoneth with such unsavoury sawce, those meats that are unwholsome, or too cold, as Cu­cumbers, Mushromes, Melons and red Beets, that we may be well contented to forbeare them. And in stead of this dangerous & wanton fare, sends us of­tentimes royall dishes from his owne table.

It might have seemed a great favour when David King of Jerusalem (as the second book of Kings recounteth) sent dishes from his owne table to his ser­vant Urias; The Kings meate follo­wed him. Nebuchodonosor in like sort, appointed the foure Hebrew chil­dren, a certain provision for every day, [Page 237] of his meats, and of the wine whereof [...]e dranke himself. And what is Christs royall fare? what his principall wine? Mary, poverty and want of all things. To be born, to live, to die in extream necessity: My meat, saith our Saviour, is to do the will of him that sent me, to performe his businesse. What busi­nesse is this? to be daily crucified. For Christ our Lord, the very first moment that he tooke up his habitation in the wombe of the blessed virgin, knew he was to be crucified; so that all the time of his life he was crucified through the daily memory of his death. And hence came it, that going about to make triall, as it were, of his two bro­thers, sonnes to Zebedeus, he said unto them: Can you drinke the chalice whereof I am to drinke? that cha­lice I mean which my Father hath given unto me, that chalice which of all other is most bitter. Hee that saith hee cannot, let him learn to drinke it in the Schoole of Pati­ence.

Let us accustome our selves there­fore to lay aside superfluities, let or­dinary meat satisfie our hunger, and drinke, our thirst. Let us learne to be [Page 238] masters of our selves, and not to imi­tate new fangled cookery in our diet, or fashion in our apparrell: Let us use our selves to sup without choyce companions, or dainty dishes; to weare apparrell rather warm and fit, then fine and costly, and to content our selves with mean habitations. Let us learne every day to be more continent then other, to restraine sensuality, to moderate our appetites, pacifie our an­ger, with patience to embrace poverty, live frugally, and foresee our neer approching eternity. All this is to be learned in the Schoole of Patience; but by them onely that are willing and industrious. In the mean time let us make good use of this maxime; Not to be dejected with adversitie, nor too confident in prosperity. It is the part of a wise man to beware of doing e­vill, and of a valiant to beare with mo­deration what is past recalling, though not amending.

CHAP. III. Affliction teacheth Prayer and Mortification.

HIeronymus Carda­nus, Cardan. l. 13. de Subtil. pag. 284. a learned man, asketh this questi­on, Why Roses are armed and beset with thornes. And after a large Philo­sophical discourse, at last concludes, that the Rose would not be so sweet, were it not so thorny. For proofe hereof he brings the wilde Rose, which for the most part hath but five leaves, and nothing neare so many thornes as those in gar­dens; and therefore though it be somewhat sweet, yet it is far inferiour to the other. Prayer is a faire▪ and most selected Rose; but yet, if it be not accompanied with thorns of mor­tification, the sent it breathes will be nothing so odoriferous. All wise men in the Schoole of Christ, with one [Page 240] voyce, agree, that prayer without mor­tification, is of little or no worth; that the one cannot stand without the o­ther, nor that these two can by any means be separated. Hereupon, when a certain religious person was com­mended, [...]ibald. in vi­ [...]a S. Ignatii, l. 5. c. [...]1. ante finem. in the presence of Saint Igna­tius, to be a man of much prayer, he changing the word, answered: He is a man of much mortification. He meant (according to the opinion of many o­thers) that kinde of mortification which consists more in the subduing of the will and judgement, then in ma­cerating and afflicting the body. And this will I declare in the chapter ensu­ing; to wit, that prayer and mortifica­tion are excellently well taught in the Schoole of Patience.

Sect. I.

KIng David exhorting us to divine praises, saith: Sing to our Lord on the Harp, on the Harp and voyce of Psalme: on Sackbuts and voyce of Cornet. An excellent exhortation to prayer, containing foure principall points: A Harp, which hath many strings, must of necessity have them all [Page 241] carefully tuned, and if there be but one out of tune, the whole musick is spoiled. Just so it is with us, Who­soever keeps the whole Law, and of­fends but in one, is made guilty of all. Admit thou be chaste, and charitable to the poor; yet if thou be given to wrath and envy, thou puttest all out of tune, and becomest guilty of all. Con­trariwise, if thou art milde, and en­viest no man; yet if unchaste, thou marrest the musick, and art guilty of all. Wherefore sing unto our Lord up­on the Harp, upon the Harp well tu­ned on all the strings. Such as thy life is, such shall be thy prayer.

The other Point is: In voice of Psalme. He would have the naturall vo [...]ce joyned with musicall instru­ments; but if there be but one note sung out of tune, the whole song runs on discords. He that sets himself to prayer, let him understand what he sayes: True prayer ought to be at­tentive and serious.

The third: On Sackbuts. This in­strument is not made nor fashioned without many blows, and much ham­mering, which signifies mortification. It is more difficult for a man to over­come [Page 242] himself, then the most power­full enemy in the world. The victory can never be glorious, where the com­bat is not laborious. He that severely subdueth himself, both makes and playes upon the Sackbut.

The fourth point: And voice of Cornet. A small and narrow instru­ment, but sweet and artificiall, if it be winded by a skilfull Corneteer. Here we are admonished to fast and give a [...]ms. Therefore prayer is good, to­gether with fasting and alms. That prayer is good which is accompanied with mortification. Often times we praise God with musicall harmony, but all in vain, and without either in­struments or organs: we pray, but chastise not our carnall concupiseen­ces. Many cozen themselves with this deceit, who, because they pray much and often, deem themselves men of much prayer. Is it so indeed, my friends, are you such excellent fingers? I grant, a voice alone is delightfull: but where are your Sackbuts, where your instruments, where your Cor­nets? Prayer doth well, but where is your mortification? These must be joyned, otherwise your harmony is all [Page 243] in vain. Sing unto our Lord, but upon the Harp; Christ taught us not onely to offer up our prayers, but to hate our lives also; at mount Olivet he com­manded his Disciples not onely to pray, but likewise to watch, and not without some conflict to counter­mand their sleep. Prayer and mor­tification are taught in the School of Patience.

Tell me (I beseech you) how ma­ny Sea-men have you seen pray after the tempest ceased, the skie clear, and danger of shipwrack past? How ma­ny Souldiers have you seen heavily knock their brests, while the ene [...]y was far from them, and they sat jest­ing and sporting by the fire side? Most men, in prosperity esteem of God, as we care for the heat of a stove at mid­summer, for a candle at mid-day, for a Souldier in time of peace, for a Musici­an when we have no mind to dance, for an Architect when we are not at leisure to build; or as we care for a well furnished table when our belly is full, for a Lawyer when we have no suits, or a Physition when we are in good health. Very truly said the Ita­lian Poet:

[Page 244] Rarae fumant foelicibus ar [...]e.
Seldom smoak the rich mens altars.

Whilst we flourish, and are fortu­nate [...], the altars are left desolate; we are remisse in prayer, and slack in sa­crifices; but when we are once frost, bitten with Winter, a fire is very ac­ceptable; when we are benighted, a candle is most welcome; when war threateneth, presently we presse soul­diers; when we fall sick, we send for the Physition; when a tempest begins to rage, we hold up our hands to hea­ven, and fall to our prayers. Thus by punishments we must be driven to do our duties.

Sect. II.

THis caused the royall Prophet to say: Fill their faces, O Lord! with ignominy, and they will seek after thy Name. Doubtlesse they will never seek thee, before thou fill them with igno­miny. Confirming this, he said: Their infirmities were multiplied, and after that they made haste. When they were in [Page 245] tribulation, they cryed to our Lord. Why cryed you not before? We were not pinched with any calamity: mise­ries therefore are the best means to make you cry out, like organ pipes, which are mute and speak not, till the bellows be blown. So the Israelites would never seck him, till he slew so many of them, then they returned, and came unto him early in the morning.

Wicked Manasses would never have learned to pray, had he not been cast into prison: What shall I say of most holy men? Moses pressed with many injuries; Jacob indangered through the secret spite of his bro­ther; Sampson deluded by the Phili­stines; To by having lost both wealth and eyes; Sara after she had been grievously slandered; The three He­brew children amidst the flames; Da­niel in the Lions den; Peter upon the sea; Paul and Silas in the dungeon; and a thousand others were induced and taught to pray by adversity. So did Jonas in the Whales belly learn the force of obedience.

The Apostles seeing themselves in a ship ready to be sunk, implored Di­vine aid. The Deer, when the hounds [Page 246] are at his heels, runs speedily to the covert. A large shadie tree stands the traveller most in stead, when either the Sun scorcheth, or a sudden shower overtaketh him. So it is with us, as long as our affairs succeed according to our hearts desire, we use not to im­portune God with any importunate clamours; either we pray not at all, or at most, after a cold maner; but when the whole cry of hounds is at our heels, then we mend our pace, then we run to see what Sanctuary we can recover; when we are heated and overcharged with miseries, or washed with showers of tears, then we cry out, and invocate the Almighty God; To this man God may well say; Thou wouldst never have had recourse to me, had I not as a father called thee to an account under the rod. So plain & sin­cere was King David, that he confes­sed as much, saying: When I was in tribulation, I cryed out unto our Lord.

King Pharaoh, a man wickedly ob­stinate, was not ashamed to say: I know not the Lord, neither will I dis­misse Israel. Without all question, he had not as then felt the stripes of [Page 247] our Lord, seeing he confessed himselfe ignorant of him: but when he had ta­sted the sharpnesse of his scourges, he was taught to speake otherwise, and now more then once hee willed his people to pray unto our Lord that the haile and thunder might cease. Oh Pharaoh! knowest thou our Lord now? Doubtlesse thou wert taught this lan­guage, whether thou wouldest or no, in the Schoole of Patience.

And albeit Pharaoh was a scholar neither docible nor hopefull, yet some thing he profited under the rodde. He beganne to be of another minde; his words savored more of reason, when he had tasted of the whip. But why admire we Pharaoh? The divell him himselfe speaking to Christ as un­knowne, said: If thou beest the Sonne of God command these stones to bee made bread. But heare how he chan­ged his note after he had been scour­ged. For the divels went out of many, crying out, Thou art the Sonne of God.

He who saies he knowes not God, after he hath beene scourged, is more obdurate then hard hearted Pharaoh; more stony then very stones, yea and [Page 248] more wicked then the divell himselfe: whosoever he be that behaves himselfe but like a man shall learne (howbeit he knew it not before) to pray in af­fliction. She is the mistresse of prayer.

Sect. III.

IN the Schoole of Patience, we learne not only how to make our prayer to God, but the art also how to mortifie our selves. To which purpose Cle­men [...] Alexandrinus said: the vine un­lesse it be cut and pruned, waxeth wild and degenerates: So doth a man grow extravagant unlesse he be scourged. For as the sap in the branches, if it be not kept under, spendeth it selfe in leaves, and bringeth but few and those sowre grapes, till it be pruned and cut with labours, griefes and afflictions; as the [...] the hooke, he waxeth wild, [...] bursteth forth unmeasu­rably [...], like leaves; but when he is [...] with the iron hooke of adversi [...]y, hee bringeth forth the plentifull fruites of prayer, repentance, patience and mortification. Our appe­tite sometimes rusheth headlong upon that which is forbidden, and with an [Page 249] unbridled longing posteth unto sinne. Sometimes it is so outraging mad, that you shall heare many say: I scorne the bridle, I will be lawlesse and deafe to advice and counsell; I will follow mine owne lust and humour; I will have my will whatsoever it cost me. But doubtlesse such a man as this breakes his owne necke, if hee have not some one or other to restraine these mad frenzies.

God therefore oftentimes most be­nignly staies this fierce flinging jade, in the midst of his course, laying in his way calamities, losse of goods, and all the miseries which are most to be feared, to stop and reclaime this headstrong and untamed colt. And as men cast a cloake over a horses head that will not stand quietly to receave his rider; So Almighty God useth to hood-winke with the cloake of sor­row and mourning, such outrageous men, till they submit themselves to that discipline which they despised be­fore.

It is a notable saying of Saint Au­gustine. Aug tom 10 de verbis Domini S [...]rm. 4 cap. 2. Principio. The horse, the elephant, the lyon, the aspe, are not tame of them­selves; no more is man, except he bee [Page 250] even forced to subjection. To tame a horse, or oxe, a camel, elephant, lion, or aspe, mans indeavour is necessary: let man therefore have recourse to God for the taming of himself. For our Lord, to bring us to subjection, hath his scourges, and most common­ly deals with us, as we do with beasts, which we tame and bring under with bridles, whips and spurs; yea, somtimes we set upon them with long poles and dung forks: and if God deal thus with us, what cause have we to com­plain? We are no other then Gods Beasts. This David plainly pronoun­ceth: Man when he was in honour, understood it not; he was compared to foolish beasts, and became like unto them. And shall not God use his right and jurisdiction over these his beasts? Shall he not exercise and afflict them with stripes; to wit, poverty, contume­lies, sorrow, griefs, &c.

It is not one Nabuchodonosor, one Achab, one Manasses, one Antiochus, but many such, like fierce and cruell lions have been tamed with stripes: they ceased their raging, laid aside their mad and brutish affections, and returning to themselves, resumed hu­mane [Page 251] shape in their manners, who be­fore you would have said, were even bruit beasts. If thy beast (saith Saint Augustine) suffer himself to be broken or tamed by thee, what reward may he expect? Thou wilt not so much as bury him when he is dead. But God will reward thy patience, even with heaven it self, and after thy death re­call thee to life; there shall not any part of thee perish. This is the hope for which man is reclaimed, and shall we think the reclaimer unsufferable? For this hope alone man is chastised, and shall we murmur against so profitable a chastiser, if perchance he performe it with scourges? At least, let us be as wise as horses and oxen, which when they be put into the cart, wain, coach, chariot or plough, and lashed with the whip, or pricked with the goad, they know it is done either because they are out of the way, or go on slackly: and therefore either th [...]y instantly return into the road, or mend their pace.

Let us at least have so much wit and understanding, when we are corre­cted by our Lord, as to ponder seri­ously in our minde, and say: Assured­ly [Page 252] I have erred, and gone out of the way. See how I am recalled and bea­ten with mine own rod: Alas! whi­ther should I have gone if I had been suffered to hold on my course? But admit I strayed not out of the way, at least I was too slack, and crept on like a snail. Then welcome stripes, that have so happily put me in minde of my duty; I purpose henceforth to go on faster. A man might hitherto have thought I had been asleep. It is high time to awake and fall to my busi­nesse. If we discourse not after this manner, we are not so wise as bruit beasts, which are at least brought back into the way by stripes.

Sect. IV.

IT was excellently well said of Saint Chrysostome; (that golden mouth of his makes the thing it self most e­vident to our eyes) If you please (saith he) let us describe two houses; in the one a marriage celebrated, the other replenished with mourners▪ let us en­ter in, view them both, and judge which is the better. You shall finde the house of mourners full of wisdom, [Page 253] but that of marriage full of confusion. For there, as I have heard and obser­ved, are loose and disordered speeches, dissolute laughter, lascivious talk, proud and disdainfull behaviour, su­perfluous fare, pompous apparell, riot and excesse in all things. Here glutto­ny, pride and drunkennesse, domineer as goddesses; here Bacchus and Venus have their habitation; here with one voyce they cry; This day we may be even mad-merry.

Thus men degenerate into bruit beasts; they drink and devour like swine, kick and wince like asses, and neigh like horses. You would say they were in the School of Intemperance, the Academy of all lasciviousnesse, tur­pitude and wickednesse. I condemne not marriages (saith St. Chrysostome) but the abuses usuall at marriages: the devills pomp, cymballs, pipes, songs full of fornication, adultery and such like songs full of ribauldry. But you shall have none of this in the house of mourning; there all things are order­ly and well composed, much rest, deep silence, the memory of death, medita­tion of future things, true wisdom, no­thing inordinate, nothing dissolute. [Page 254] No man speaketh here, but softly, briefly and modestly. Such is the na­ture of grief and mourning; they teach us to be wise, and to apply our selves to modesty and a profitable course of life.

It is therefore much better to go to the house of mourning, then to the house of feasting. From the one we return more modest and holy; from the other more wanton, foolish and wicked. And even as a body full of hu­mours and bloud, surcharged with grosnesse, is but an hospitall full of diseases, unlesse it be accustomed to labour and spare diet, which preserves it long from sicknesse: so a mans minde becomes effeminate and prone to vices, amidst dances and delicacies, except it be brought under by cares and griefs, which commonly free us from vices, and make us stronger and more lively to encounter adversity.

Behold how mourning and afflicti­on suppresse all immodesty and light­nesse of behaviour; and for this cause God sends us sorrows and affli­ctions, to clip our wings, lest we should, like untamed birds, flie from his protection.

[Page 255] And to what end should we deny this, seeing our own conscience bears witnesse against us? For the most part we are too free & frolick, there burn in us untamed desires and affections: and because we taste as sparingly of mortification, as the dog doth of Ni­l [...]s, God of his infinite goodnesse helps us, and makes us take these wholsome potions, whether we will or no; exercising us in such sort with troubles and miseries, that we may be­come daily more reclaimed and or­derly, and with more facility put on a good and vertuous disposition of minde. O that thou wouldest but once understand! how profitable a thing it is for thee thus by little and little to die, that thereby thy vices may not be suffered to live. Assured­ly, the evills which surcharge us in this world, are for no other end then to force us to return to God. Prayer is good, but together with mortification. Both of them are sweetly and metho­dically taught in the School of Pati­ence. And this verily hath been the fervent and daily endeavour of all Saints, partly to mitigate and appease Gods wrath by prayers, and partly by [Page 256] this dayly mortification to breake and subdue themselves; let us but learne this, and we have profited much in the Schoole of Patience. I ad, for con­firmation of what hath been said, that which ensueth.

Sect. V.

THE Emperour Constantine wor­thily called the Great, having unfor­tunately with losse of many men as­saulted the Bizantines, returned from the battell sore wearied, and lamen­ting; night was drawing on, and the Emperour knowing not what to doe nor whither to turne him, fixed a stedfast eie upon Heaven, with deep sights, begging assistance from thence. And see how miraculously he was aided.

For whilst with a pious and solici­tous eie he beheld the heavens, he ob­served a writing composed of starres, which expressed these words: Invoca me in die tribulationis, & e [...]uam te, & glorifi [...]abis me. Call upon me in the day of tribulation, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me.

At this so sublime a sentence, the [Page 257] Emperour was at first some what appa­led: but changing his feare forth with Niceph. l 7. cap. 19. post med. Bere­nius ex e [...], tom 3. An. 318. into comfort, he fixt his eies eagerly againe upon that part of the heavens, where he saw another wonderfull visi­on, the perfect forme of a crosse fashi­oned with stars, & about it these very words: In hoc fig [...] vinces: In this thou shalt overcome. The Emperour anima­ted with these silent speeches from hea­ven, within a few daies after went forth again in battell against the Bizantines, and obtained a famous victory, together with the sacke and spoil of Bizantium.

O man! whosoever thou art, trou­bled and discontented with miseries and misfortunes, lift up thine eies, be­hold heaven, and those most expresse words, a direct edict from God him­selfe; Call upon me in the day of tri­bulation, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me.

Overcome thy selfe, render God by prayers propitious unto thee, & whatso­ever enemies shall encounter thee, thou shalt easily overcome them. Heer Saint Augustine carefully admonisheth us, that we never be so bold as to expostu­late with God, and say others have ho­ped Aug tom 8. in ps. 43. post initium, mihi pag. 158. in thee, and thou hast delivered [Page 258] them; I have hoped in thee, and thou hast forsaken me: and I have without cause beleeved in thee, and without cause hath my name been written with thee, and thy name written in me. This savoureth neither of prayer not mortification, but of wicked exprobra­tion against God. Thou rather, if thou beest wise, say as the same Saint Au­gustine adviseth: Thou art my King and August tom. 10 Serm. 4. doverbis Domini fine. my God, thou art the very same, thou art immutable. I see the times changed but the creatour of times is not chan­ged, Thou wast wont to lead and con­duct me, thou wast wont to governe me, thou wast wont to helpe and suc­cour me. Thou art our helpe and re­foge, O Lord! by thy meanes we are borne, who before were without be­ing: thou art our refuge, by thee wee are borne again, who were wicked, and had an evill being before: thou art our refuge, thou hast fed and relieved us, who had abandoned and forsaken thee: thou art our refuge, by thy means we thy children are erected and directed: thou art our refuge, we must not part from thee: since thou hast delivered us from all the evills that we are subject to, and replenished us with all the [Page 259] good that was proper to thee. By be­stowing good things upon us, thou cherishest us, least we should faint, and faulter in our way. By correcting, beating and chastising, thou direct­est us, least we should wander and straggle out of the way. Whether there­fore thou cherishest us, lest we should faint in the way, or chastizest us lest we should goe astray; thou, O Lord, art become our refuge.

Thus Patience teacheth us to pray. Very well, saith, Saint Chrysostome. Prayer is the rent and revenew that springs from calamities, and fasting is the helper of prayer.

CHAP. IV. Affliction teacheth Prudence and Modesty.

THere was a Citizen of Phil. Bosq. de carc [...]r [...] Baptist [...] conc. 2 mihi pag. 60. Beauvaies in Picardy, a man much to be com­mended; who serious­ly to shew himselfe a carefull father, at his first carry­ing his sonne to schoole behaved [Page 260] himselfe thus: He took with him, un­der his cloak, a great bundell of rods, as a present for the master; and to his son he said: Come hither my childe, thou must go along with me to the Schoole. The School-master at that time, was one Nicolas Sleeger, a fa­mous man, unto whom this Citizen presented his childe, saying: To you, sir, I deliver this son of mine, to be in­structed in good literature; I beseech you to accept him, as specially recom­mended to your care and charge. Thus much onely I intreat you, that if he shew himselfe disobedient, you would make no spare of the rod; and with that, opening his cloak, offered unto him a good bundell of rods, promising freely, that when he had spent those, he would furnish him with more. This is to bring up children carefully, and as they should be, for their greater good. This was recounted by Philip­pus Bosquier, that famous Preacher, of the order of Saint Francis, who was then a boy taught at the same Schoole in Houdan.

Salomon discoursing of the disposi­tion of children, saith: Foolishnesse is gathered together in the heart of chil­dren, [Page 261] and the rod of discipline will drive it away. Christ, the wisest Schoolmaster of all, who perfectly understands our dispositions, to re­claim us from all childish wanton­nesse, spares not the rod: for he scour­geth every childe that he receiveth; yea, as the wise man saith, he maketh scourges daily and familiar unto him: But this is the benefit which children have by being scourged: for foolish­nesse gathered together in their heart, is driven away by the rod of discipline. And so they learn Prudence and Mo­desty, or Humility, as we shall now declare.

Sect. I.

AND first adversitie and chastise­ment teacheth us Prudence. The Prophet Ezechiel saw a wonderfull beast, which had foure severall faces, a Mans, an Oxes, a Lyons, and an Eagles. And when this appeared to him the second time, he saw in stead of the Oxe, the Angelicall face of a Che­rubim What was the meaning of this? What relation hath an Oxe to an An­gel, or Cherubim? Thou will say, [Page 262] perhaps, it was not the same creature that appeared, but some other. Not so, but the very same; witnesse Ezechiel himselfe: It was, saith he, the very same beast which I had seen neer to the river Chobar. By what meanes therefore was the face of an Oxe tur­ned into the face of an Angel?

In the Hebrew tongue, Cherubim is as much to say, as Master, or a mul­titude of knowledge and science. Be­hold the very meaning; We have now laid open the whole mystery: An Oxe, with the Ancients, was the symbole of labour, which this creature, of his own nature, is most apt to endure: for he is put to Waines, Ploughes and Carts, he is fit to till the ground, to draw, yea even to thresh and tread out the corn; insomuch that he is the expresse em­bleme of a laborious man. And to such an Oxe as this the Spirit of God assigneth the face of a Cherubim, whereby he decipheteth a master, and a man of long experience. The reason is given by the wise man: The man that is expert in many things, will have his thought upon many matters, and he that hath learned many things, will manifestly discover understanding. [Page 263] Here, doubtlesse, the wise man com­mendeth experience, which is gotten by many afflictions: he of himselfe is the best interpreter: He who is not tempted, saith he, what knowes he?

By this it manifestly appeares, that affliction is the mother not onely of e­ternall joy, but likewise of Christian Prudence. Affliction putteth a taper into the hands of Wisedome: The wise man confirming this by his owne example, saith: I have seen many things by erring, &c. Sometimes I have hazarded even to death for the cause of these; to wit, in seeking after wisedome. Behold how the Cheru­bins face abolisheth the Oxes, how ex­perience drawn from miseries, is atten­ded by Prudence! By that which a man suffereth, he begins to know both himselfe and others, yea and God him­selfe; whilest he considereth the vani­ty of transitory things, the variety of humane dispositions, the inconstancie and mutability of fortune, the innu­merable frauds and deceits, and the infinite miseries and calamities of this life. And by this meanes he learns by little and little to eschew evill, and make choyce of good. Whosoever he [Page 264] be that is not like wooll combed with an iron combe, what knowes he else, but to spend his time idly, and follow delights? Even at this day that saying of Seneca is most true: we are best of S [...] epist 95. all instructed by miseries. Felicity cor­rupts us.

Iob propounding a most serious question, asketh, where is wisdome found, and where is the place of intel­ligence? And he maketh this answer to himselfe. Man knoweth not the price thereof, neither is it found in the land of those that lead their lives sweetly. Assuredly that active wis­dome, which pointeth out directly, how much transitory, how much e­ternall things are to be esteemed, is not to bee found in houses which are blessed with wealth and abundance, where the custome is to live in daily feasting and banqueting: heere riches and abundance, carelesnesse, folly, and madnesse, goddesses nearely allyed, are alwaies familiar and near at hand. For what, I beseech you, may be ima­gined more foolish, then to rejoyce at the gaine of vile and transitory things, and to lose eternall? S. Gregory affir­ming the same, saith: they are to be ac­counted [Page 265] so much the more stupid and foolish, as things are of greater value which they lose, & of lesse which they enjoy.

That which the Roman wise man said of vertue, the same also may be af­firmed of this prudence, or wisdome whereof we speake. It is a certaine thing, high, royall, invincible, infati­gable; it is without saciety, without repentance, immortall. You shall find her in the Church, at the tribunall, in the court, and sometimes standing be­fore the wals of the city, all besmea­red with dust, and died in her owne bloud, with her hands all blistred, hard and brawny, with labour. The Hebrew wise man warmed with a bet­ter spirit saith, the rod and correction giveth wisdome.

Sect. II.

TOBY with the gall of a fish was recovered of his blindnesse. The gally bitternesse of calamity is the no­blest and surest medicine, to recover that dimme and decayed sight, which sees not how miserable all this our life is, how short and full of errours, how replenished with griefes, alwaies the next door to death, and ready to fall [Page 266] in a moment which sees not with what labour and sollicitude an eternall and better life must bee sought after: to heale, I say, and take away this dimnesse of the eies, there is no medicine of more force, none more wholesome, then affliction. For a man that is sick, or in misery descendeth at last into himselfe, and makes these objections: Behold the deceits of the world! this is all the reward it gives thee; this is all the see thou must look for: this is that thou so earnestly soughtest after; content thy selfe now with what thou hast gotten; it was a potion of thine owne making; drinke as thou hast brewed. And seest thou not, percei­vest thou not at length, what a stench, what a bitternesse, this foule pleasure leaves behinde it? Seest thou not how soon it had cloyed & wearied thee ou [...], how after the first flash it decaied and died, and how often times, when plea­sure is at the highest, it is suddainly extinguished? wilt thou even now at last be warned by experience? Thou h [...]st hitherto thought thy selfe an A­chilles, or some invincible champion, such an one as might bid defiance e­ven to the face of adversity: thou pro­vest [Page 267] thy selfe so indeed; thou fallest, before thou art scarcely touched. Art thou that magnanimous, that patient, that stout and constant undertaker, who with Peter sworest to goe to pri­son and to death, and art thou thus with a poore puffe of winde over­throwne? Hath the enemy even bla­sted thee with a looke? Thus a man adviseth and exhorteth himselfe in time of affliction.

See, I beseech you, how the gall of af­fliction cleareth the eies that are dim, how it openeth those that are shut. Hieremie the Prophet plainly con­firmes this in these expresse words: He hath sent fire from above into my bones, and hath instructed me. Here­upon it was a most true saying of Saint Gregory: that punishment opens those eies which sinne had closed.

I am a man seeing mine owne po­verty, in the rod of thy indignation. Thou hast chastized me, and I am in­structed like an untamed young man, because thou art my Lord God.

Many times we are wretched and miserable, and which goeth beyond all misery, are ignorant of our owne mi­sery, and deem those our enemies who [Page 268] esteeme us such. In this respect we do like unto them, who will never ac­knowledge their house to be on fire, as long as they can keepe it close, and smoother it within the wals: but so soone as it flames out at the windows, and makes havocke of the house, then they call for helpe of their neigh­bours; when the matter may no lon­ger be concealed, and the fire it selfe begins to speake. So we never wax wise by adversity, till we seriously re­sent it. It is only vexation that gives understanding. For, as the wise man saith, he that vexeth the eie fetcheth teares, and he that vexeth and pric­keth the heart, makes it sensible. Let a man be disparaged with some sud­daine contumely, affronted with some unexpected injury, transfixed with some unlooked for calamity; then the time is come to make triall of him. Then will it appeare, how mild this man is being str [...]ken with suddain ca­lamity, how pat [...]ent, how modest, and how mindfull of true humility. And albeit he trip and stumble a little, yet will he, if he be wise, forthwith recollect himselfe, gather sence and understanding out of that vexation, [Page 269] discover patience, exercise mildnesse, and make shew of modesty For the scourge and doctrine, saith the wise man, are at all times wisdome.

All the writings, in a manner, of Anneus Seneca, breath a kind of divi­nity, worthy to be written in gold and cedar: notwithstanding the principall a­mongst them, & which seemeth to cha­lenge unto it selfe a preeminence above the rest, is that which is he wrot to his mother Helv [...]a, he being then in banish­ment. So we may see this Roman wise man was indued with more wisdome, when hee had lesse fruition of those things which should solace and com­fort him. So the scholars daily profit in the Schoole of Patience, become more prudent, and are instructed by the stripes of adversity. So the fi­sher after the sting of the scorpion, learnes wisdome by his own harmes.

Some relate, that a certaine Fisher­man, too greedy of his prey, laid hands with more haste then good speed, up­on his net, whence being stung by a lurking Scorpion, he said: From this time forward I will never run so head-long on my net; this sting shall teach me wisedome hereafter.

[Page 270] Thus must we reason with our selves. And, when the wound of our calamity being healed, we finde we have offended by impatience, let us turn straight to our selves, and say: See, thou mad outragious Bull, how thou hast behaved thy selfe in this afflicti­on, how disdainfully and impatiently, with such fury as if thou wouldst have torn the Moon from her spheare. Is this thy Christian patience? Aspirest thou to heaven by this means? Fea­rest thou every little prick of a needle? every flea-biting? See thou shew thy selfe another manner of man hereaf­ter, be mindfull of patience.

Sect. III.

GOd gave the Law to Moses amidst thunder and lightning, the heavens bellowed and spit fire: What was the meaning of this? Mary, to signifie that we are never more attentive to the lawes of God, then when the thun­derbolts of calamity fly about our eares, when the hail-stormes of many slaughters affright us, then we stand attentive and vigilant, then we promise largely, that we will do and performe [Page 271] all we can possible. Do therefore, now thou art well, what thou promisedst in time of sicknesse. For if God be so terrible in giving the law to be obser­ved, how much more rigorous will he be in taking account of those that have not kept it?

Here thou maist question with thy selfe after this manner: How often, I pray you, do we meditate on the ete [...] ­nall joyes and delights of heaven, how often do we attentively consider the torments of hell? Alas! but seldome, and for fashion sake onely. Seeing therefore we scarcely at any time bend our cogitation upon these serious and wholsome subjects, Almighty God commiserating our negligence, and propounding these things to be medi­tated by us in the School of Patience, saith: Fix thy minde, O man! and thinke advisedly, that if so small a dis­ease put thee to such pain, what will the torments of the damned do for all eternity? if one poore worm-eaten tooth afflict thee day and night even to madnesse, how will the worm of conscience tyrannize over those despe­rate bond-slaves? If the stone, the chollick, or gout, torture a man so grie­vously [Page 272] upon a soft bed, how will eter­nall fire torment him with the flame which shall never be extinguished? Consider, ah! consider, whatsoever thou sufferest now, is but the flight pricking of a pin: whatsoever torments thee now, is but a trifle. But who of us is able to inhabite with devouring fire, with ardours everlasting?

Sometimes we are of this opinion, and stick not to say: I can no longer endure this fellow, I have endured him as long as possibly I can; what man can brook him any longer? And how (O man!) wilt thou brooke the com­pany of Divels and damned ghosts, with all the torments they endure, which are farre greater then can be imagined? If God punish so severly in a place of pardon and mercy, how will he chastise where there is no hope of mercy? Whensoever therefore thou burnest, or art sick, think & say to thy selfe: Behold a paterne of hell, but a painted one! See a little taste of hell, but the mildest that may be! It is a­nother manner of fire which buries and burnes the wicked there, then that thou sufferest; this is sweet and plea­sant in comparison of that eternall. [Page 273] Learn therefore wisedome and know­ledge whilst thou mayest.

The wise man wishing this, saith: Who will set up stripes in my cogita­tion? To feele these onely, avails but little (for who is he there that doth not?) unlesse we also bend our cogi­tations seriously upon it, and with in­differencie compare our shorter tor­ments with those that are perpetuall; and so at last we shall be driven to confesse that our paines, in respect of those, are but dreames and shadows.

But as God, in the Schoole of Pati­ence, offers us a taste of hellish teares, so gives he us some rellish here, before hand, of eternall joyes in heaven. For a well minded man, when he sees him­selfe embroiled amidst so many trou­bles and miseries, so many griefes and dolours, will say with Saint Paul, fet­ching a deep sigh: We are oppressed above measure, above all humane po­wer, so that it is even irksome unto us to live. What then is our next refuge? To thee, O my God! to thee from the very bottome of my heart do I sigh: thy house is wide, spacious, and infi­nite secure. No irksomnesse, miseries, griefes or afflictions, may approach thy [Page 274] tabernacles there is no place for death nor diseases, but pure, syncere, and e­ternall delights.

Contrariwise in this vale of teares, there is nothing but tediousnes, griefs upon griefes without intermission, all the world replenished with sorrow and mourning. Dissolve then, O Lord! (if this my request may be lawfull) and ruinate this cottage of my body: I reckon not what becomes of it, so I may take my flight to thee. I have lamented my fill upon the bankes of Babylon; my harp long since is hung upon the willow boughes, and silen­ced; onely the celestiall Sion is my hearts delight: To thee alone, my God, to thee my restlesse thoughts a­spire. And this is wisedome: this is understanding: thus the Schoole of Patience teacheth wisedome.

Sect. IV.

AS Prudence, so Modesty, or Humi­lity are taught in the Schoole of Patience. He that learnes not in this School [...] to despise himselfe, will learn it no where. In times past God com­manded Moses to put his hand into his bosome; which accordingly he [Page 275] performed, but drew it out infected with the leprosie. What strange prodigie is this? And why rather was not some more notable miracle wrought, that at least might not have caused so much horrour and affright­ment? Theodoret answers this que­stion. Almighty God, saith he, admo­nished Moses, that being to be chosen Generall over so glorious a nation, he should not behave himselfe inso­lently, but with humility and submissi­on: for with that hand he was to work strange miracles: lest therefore he should adore and kisse it, as an in­strument of wonders, God represen­ted it unto him defiled with the lepro­prosie, that Moses (notwithstanding so many marvellous things done by him) might say: Our hand is not to be exalted, but our Lord hath done all these things.

Alexander King of Macedon, when he harried all India, and wasted with mercilesse warre the nations scarcely knowne to their neighbouring coun­tries, in the siege of a certaine city, riding round about to discover the weakest part of the walls, was woun­ded with an arrow, who notwith­standing [Page 276] sate still on horse backe, and pursued his enterprise. But afterward when the paine of his wound increa­sed, by reason of the dried and con­gealed bloud, his thigh hanging down from the horse, by little and little be­came stiffe, so that he was constrained to desist, saying: All men sweare, I am the sonne of Jupiter, but n [...]y wound proclaimes me a man. Without all question, Alexander, thou art now a man, who before deemedst thy selfe a God.

See with what facility we learne in the Schoole of Patience to humble our selves, and let fall our traine. Who­soever is a scholar heere, if he be not altogether stupid and indocible, pro­nounceth like sentence of all he en­joyeth, saying: I am wealthy indeed, and favored by many, I want neither credit nor honourable imployment, I am of great authority, extolled, ho­noured and magnified: But alasse! how oft do I creepe and crawle upon the bare earth? Many things pro­claime me a poore wretched man: here cares, there diseases and infinite mi­series vex and turmoile me, and what is the generall outcrie out of all these, [Page 277] but that I am a man, fraile, mortall, subject to a world of miseries?

It was an elegant saying of Saint Chrys tom. 5. hom. 10. ad pop. Ant. med. Chrysostome, discoursing of this infe­riour world. God, said he, made the world, not only great and admirable, but likewise fraile and corruptible. What he wrought by the Apostles, the same he did in the whole world. And what effected he by them? Mary, shewed many signes, wrought great and wonderfull miracles, yet permit­ted them to be continually scourged, driven from place to place, cast into prison, afflicted with corporall dis­eases, stoned, crucified, and perpetu­ally vexed with tribulations: Least perhaps they should be taken rather for Gods then men, doing so many miracles and wonders above the power of man. The Apostles there­fore were sicke themselves, yet cured the sicke, raised the dead to life, and died themselves. What wonder? we have our treasure in earthen vessels which are broken with every little knock. So some of the Apostles lan­guished for the most part in continuall diseases. For Timothy was allowed to drink a little wine by reason of his [Page 278] weak stomack, and frequent infirmi­ties. Trophimus is left sick at Mile­tus. Epaphroditus is sick even to death, But some will say, What Apostles are these, who are not in the pulpit, but diseased and sick in their beds?

Let such know, that in the School of Patience, humility, before all other vertues, is to be learned by the holiest men; yea, even by the Apostles them­selves. So Saint Paul, saith Saint Ber­nard, by the motions and incitements of the flesh, was restrained from inso­lency. So Zacharies tongue was tied, to punish his infidelity. The Saints of God between honour and dishonour become proficients, finding themselves amidst the extraordinary gifts they re­ceived, subject to the ordinary imper­fections of men, lest seeing themselves, by the benefit of grace, somewhat a­bove themselves, they should forget what they are originally of themselves. For as a Chyrurgion useth not onely ointments and fomentations, but hot irons also, and cauterizing, to burn and take away all superfluous and dead flesh, which oth [...]rwise would hinder the cure of the salves: So God, the Physition of soules, suffers them to [Page 279] have temptations, sends them tribula­tions, whereby afflicting and hum­bling them, he may turn their joy in­to mourning.

Sect. V.

WHatsoever therefore is sent us to endure, let us submit our selves in all things to the hands of God. Let no man say; I have not deserved so grie­vous punishment; I am without fault; I suffer unjustly. Wicked, damnable, speeches. These are much better: Doubtlesse, I am justly punished, I re­ceive according to my deserts; and al­though it seemeth to me, that at this time, or for this fault, I should not be thus punished, neverthelesse, to say the truth, I have a thousand times de­served this, and more. I can never therefore be unjustly punished, how much soever is inflicted, is for my greater good; for by this means I make a triall of what I am, and learn to know my self. It is the saying of the wise man: A man of much expe­rience will have many things in his co­gitation.

Hannibal, the terrour of the Ro­mans, [Page 280] lived abroad (as Suidas report­eth) seventeen yeers, a most expert captain in warlike affairs; and who might well utter these glorious words of himself: I am now old, and by reason of my yeers, so well instructed between prosperity and adversity, that I had rather follow reason, then for­tune. With good advisement doth that man consider the uncertainty of chances, whom fortune never decei­veth. I being mindfull of humane in­firmity, weigh the force and power of fortune, and know that whatsoever we take in hand, is subject to a thou­sand casualties. And if it would please God, in prosperity to vouchsafe us a prudent and well disposed minde, we should duly consider, not onely those things which happened, but those also which might have fallen out: by adversity we learn to bear all fortunes. Give us leave therefore, with Secundus, openly to exclaim: O how commodious a thing it is to passe thorow adversity, to the benefit of prosperity! But, O how Christian­like is it, and conformable to mode­sty, to acknowledge a mans selfe not unjustly punished in adversity!

[Page 281] The brothers of the Aegyptian Vice-Roy (as before I have shewed) were accused of theft: for it was thus openly laid to their charge; The cup which you have stollen, is the very same that my master drinks in. They might have answered for themselves: We are no theeves, neither will we en­dare that slander, we are guiltlesse, and accused wrongfully. But (O my Ma­sters!) call to remembrance; you have stollen much more then a thou­sand cups. You stole your brother Jo­seph himself, three and twenty yeers ago, Do you not remember it? This is a foul and grievous theft, worthy to be revenged with all the punishments that may be. Here the brothers of Jo­seph, albeit otherwise rude and un­skilfull persons, yet are to be com­mended, in that they confessed them­selves guilty: God (said they) hath found the iniquity of thy servants: Behold, we are all the servants of my Lord. This l [...]kewise was a notable good saying of theirs: We are well worthy to suffer these things, because we have sinned against our brother.

Thus let every one of us think, and say in adversity: Justly do I suffer [Page 282] these afflictions, deservedly, most deservedly.

In the Shool of Patience, humility is the beginning, middle, and conclu­sion of all; without humility there is nothing to be learned, nothing to be retained, nor any profit to be made. For the learning of this, the principall thing of all others, daily to be thought of, is that blessed eternity in which we shall sing amidst triumphs: we rejoyce for the dayes wherein thou hast hum­bled us, for the yeers in which we have seen evill things. Those whom God afflicteth not, he either hateth, or neglecteth them, as sluggish and slothfull persons, uncapable of disci­pline.

CHAP. V. Affliction is most profitable for divers respects; and for the most part we are best taught by our own harms.

DAvid King of He­bron (having re­ceived thousands of benefits at Gods hands) lest he should die un­gratefull, cryed out: It is well with me, my Lord, that thou hast humbled me. But why rather did he not remember far greater benefits? Where are his thanks to God for ha­ving changed his sheep-hook into a scepter, his straw-hat into a royall dia­deme; for having advanced him from a sheep-coat to a throne, from keep­ing of cattell, to the government of men, and a purple robe. These I say, had been far more worthy of most [Page 284] ample thanks. Doubtlesse King Divid was not forgetfull of those; he dee­med it a singular great and unspeak­able favour to bee made a King of a shepheard: but he tooke it for a farre greater, when it pleased God of a king to make him a begger, as indeed he was when he fled from Absolon his son.

This he thought a benefit exceeding all the rest: for this, rendering most ample thanks, he sa [...]d; it is well with me that thou hast humbled me. Let Joseph say to Pharaoh: It is well with me that thou hast exalted me: Ruth to her Booz: It is well with me that thou hast enriched me: let Ester say to the King: It is well with me that thou hast crowned me: let Mardocheus say to Assuerus; it is well with me that thou hast honoured me: let Tobias say to the Angell: it is well with mee that thou hast restored my sight: let Naaman say to Eliseus: it is well with me that thou hast cleansed me of my leprosy▪ let the lame man say to Saint Peter: it is well with me that thou hast cured me: let Lazarus say to Christ: it is well with me that thou hast restored me to life: but King Da­vid (as for one of his chiefest favours) saith: it is well with me that thou hast [Page 285] humbled me: it is well with me: it is well indeed. For this is far more avai­lable to me, and therefore far dearer, then if thou hadest bestowed moun­taines of gold upon me. Why, I be­seech you, was this so great a good unto this King? That I may learn thy statutes. Till now, said he, I under­stood not sufficiently the stile of the celestiall court: I was ignorant what belonged to the law of God; now at last by this meanes I come to know it, but in the Schoole of Patience; heere no man becomes learned, but he that is humbled. It is well therefore with me, O Lord! that thou hast humbled me. With good reason David ren­dreth great thanks, not for that hee was enriched and exalted, but because he was humbled. We may well say that humiliation and affliction are the profitablest things to a man that may be. Affliction exactly teacheth him fortitude and fidelity, commise­ration & abstinence, prayer and morti­fication, prudence & modesty, as alrea­dy we have shew'd. I ad moreover: that affliction in generall, to a man that is not over much subject to impatience, is exceeding profitable; so that it is a [Page 286] true saying. Quae nocent docent. This Cresus witnessed of himselfe in He­rodotus. My mishaps, saith he, al­beit they have been ungratefull unto me, yet they have served me for instru­ctions. Quae nocent docent, which the Grecians expresse as briefly as elegantly, [...]. We grow wise by being beaten with our own rod. And of this we shall now speak more at large.

Sect. 1.

IOb commendeth the admirable pro­vidence of God: who bindeth the waters in their clouds, that they may not all breake down at once. It is the providence of God to shut up wa­ters in the aire, and binde them, as it were, in a cloath and garment, that they may not issue out. The clouds are in stead of a chariot to these waters, and the windes the horses which draw these vessels throughout all the quar­ters of the world. Now if Almighty God should suffer these waters at one dash to fal headlong upon the ground, without all question they would do more harme then good; but falling by [Page 287] little and little, and drop after drop, they fatten and fertill the earth. If he altogether with-hold the waters, saith Job, all things will be dried up, and if he let them absolutely at large, they will overwhelme the earth, as they did in the generall deluge; when being set at liberty, they gathered together, and powred downe amaine. God therfore out of his infinite providence, so tem­pereth the vaste Chaos of the waters, that he deprives not the fields of them, by continuall restraint, nor drowns the earth by too sudden enlargement. He observes a mean.

Waters in the holy Scriptures are a symbol of afflictions: and therefore the royall Psalmist said: The waters have entred even to my soule. As Al­mighty God qualifies and proportions the raine for the benefit of the world, that neither the want nor abundance thereof should be hurtfull: (but in such cases when he sends them as a punish­ment for mens offences) so he mode­rates and mitigates all our labours and griefes, in that for want of exer­cise we may not wax sloathful of slug­gish, nor yet be so utterly destitute of consolation therein, that we faint or [Page 288] fall in the combat. And this was the request of the Kingly Prophet: Leave me not destitute on every side. He desi­reth not to be exempted from all man­ner of desolation, vexation or afflicti­on [...] this his onely suit is, he may not be utterly forsaken & abandoned on eve­ry side, although his sinnes had deser­ved it. But if God powre down a vio­lent and sudden showre, which seemeth to wash away and destroy the fatnesse of the earth; it must be taken as a pu­nishment. Notwithstanding this may be no way prejudiciall, but redound to our good; seeing it pleaseth God by this meanes to humble us. Quae nocent docent.

There are certaine trees that have their fruits growing so fast and close unto them, that they will not easily let them go, unlesse you pull them off with a violent and strong hand. Of this sort are Nuts, Almonds and A­corns. If you shake these trees gently, as you do Pears or Plumbs, they will part with nothing, not so much as a lease; you must fall upon them there­fore with staves, cudgels and stones, that they may afforod you by blowes, what they refused to give by intreaties.

[Page 289] We are like these trees; our fruits are the pious actions which we under­take. God seekes, God requires these fruits, not sharply or by violence, but sweetly and lovingly: for these fruits he askes a thousand times: My sonne, quoth he, honour thy Lord, and thou shalt be of great power and might: feare no other strange Lord beside him. My son, forget not my Law. Give eare, my son, and receive my words, that the yeares of thy life may be multiplied. Keep my command­ments, and thou shalt live. Give, my son, thy heart to me, and let thine eyes keep my wayes. But for so much as this good God by these prayers, for the most part, prevails but little, and that there scarcely falls any fruit from this tree, he is even forced with stones and clubs to strike and fling at it, that so, at least, it may render him the fruits he expected. A [...]a [...]s consci­ence, without all question, often admo­nisheth, the preachers put him in mind, and others do their parts to advise him, yet such is the contumacie of this tree, that all these means will not suf­fice to make him yeeld his wished fru [...]t. Take it not ill therefore, O tree! [Page 290] if thou beest more hardly handled. Thus God dealt with the Hebrewes; he delivered them into the hands of the Gentiles, and they who hated them, had dominion over them. And their enemies oppressed them with tri­bulation, and they were humbled un­der their hands, that they might be taught by their own harms. What rea­son then hath this tree to thinke much if it be pelted with cudgels and stones? It might have gone free from blowes, if it had freely given what was most justly demanded.

Naaman the Leper was highly of­fended, because Elizeus the Prophet gave him so slender an answer. In so much that slighting and contemning the river Jordan, he resolved to return again into Syria. But his servants appeased their master in this manner: Father, said they, had the Prophet imposed upon you some difficult mat­ter, surely you ought willingly to have done it; how much more see­ing he hath now onely said unto you; wash and you shall be cleansed? Induced by these reasons, he washed in Jordan, as he was willed, and so was cured of his leprosie.

[Page 291] O that we would thus be perswa­ded! the same is said to us that we may obtain, not corporall but spirituall health and salvation of our soules. And albeit God had commanded you some thing of more difficulty, you ought cer­tainly to have done it. For of so great importance is eternall beatitude, that were we commanded to endure even the very torments of hell for a time, we should not demurre long upon the matter, but without delay readily en­dure even those paines, that our soule might be happy for all eternity. Nay, admit the blisse and beatitude of hea­ven might not exceed an hundred yeares, we should rather endure any thing for many yeares in this world, then neglect the enjoying of that. On the other side, say hell fire after an hundred yeares, were ut­terly to be extinguished, neverthelesse it behoved us rather to suffer all pu­nishments here that can be imagined, then to expect those future torments. How much more ought all afflictions whatsoever, to be now cheerfully suf­fered, seeing they passe away in a short time, in a moment, whereas the reward or punishment continues to eternity?

[Page 292] Here Saint Chrysostome opportune­ly a wakeing us out of our slouth, ur­geth in this manner: What saiest thou. O man? Thou art called to a king­dome, a kingdome of the Sonne of God: and like a sluggard doest thou yawne, shrugge, and scratch thy head? What if thou were every day to suffer a thousand deaths, were not all these willingly to be endured? There is no­thing thou wouldest not undergoe to be made a Prince: and wilt thou not do the like to be consorted in a king­dome, with the only Sonne of God; e­ven leape into the fire, or run upon a thousand swords? And yet all this were no great matter to be suffered.

Sect. II.

IN former times God commanded an edict to be published to this ef­fect. Let a man that is cleane gather the ashes of a calfe, and powre them out before the tents in the purest place, that they may serve for the custody of the multitude of the children of Isra­ell, and for water of aspersion because the calfe is burnt for sinne. It was the pleasure of God that ashes to make lie [Page 293] off, should not bee gathered, indif­ferently by any man, but by him only who was clean; and that they should not be negligently cast into a by cor­ner, but into some pure and cleane place; why was so much honour done to these ashes? Mary, that they might serve to bee sprinkled with water on them that were unclean.

Heare, O Christians! and carefully attend, and see in what estimation this lie of affliction was: sharpe in­deed: but most fit to purge and clense away the filth of sinne. None amongst mortall men are free from sinne and corruption. That most holy Job said; If I shall be washed as it were with the water of snow, and my hands shall shine, as being most pure and cleane, notwithstanding thou wilt dip me in filthes, and my steps will make me a­bominable. If Job were likewise to be washed, what shall we say of o­thers? But as fire is to metalls, the file to iron, sope to a cloth, so is affliction to sinners, that purgeth and washeth away all filth.

The Prophet Daniel foretelling great calamities to the Jewes, said: They shall fall by the sword, by fire [Page 294] and by captivity, and by the rapine of the times. What, I beseech you, was the cause of so great mischiefe? That they might be forged, and chosen, and whitened against the time prefixed; because as yet there will bee another time. This lie therefore of calamity refines and makes us most pure from all filth and uncleannesse, and thereby we are chosen and whitened; And so indeed taught by our owne harme. It is well that God humbles us.

That most blessed King David saith: I am environed round about with griefe, whilest the thorne is fa­stened. The briars and thornes of sin had so wounded his soule, that hee thought himselfe even like an hedge­hogge, bristled with pricks and thorns on every side. Insomuch that his mind was so afflicted with griefe, that nei­ther his royall dignity, abundance of riches, nor all the comfort or pleasure these could afford him, was able to asswage it. So grievously David tooke it to the heart; That he had offended God; so much h [...]r [...] he conceived out of the foulnesse and deformity of sin, that he rather chose to weare the sharpest sackcloth, then the sofrest er­mines, [Page 595] punished himselfe with sasting, mingled his wine, and washed his bed with teares, and interrupted his prayers with frequent sighes and groanes.

O that we could behold the foule contagion of sinne with such eies as David did! God of his infinite mercy vouchsafe us an exact ballance, by which we may waigh and examine the waight of sinne. Doubtlesse all tem­porall miseries and afflictions which are transitory, would appeare very light, yea and of no waight at all. We would deeme all the adversities that happen in this life, as light as a fea­ther, compared with this huge moun­tain; the sharpest lye this world could afford would be welcome, to cure the festered sores and leprosies of our soules. It will go well with us, if God vouchsafe to humble us.

Sect. III.

AT Hierusalem there was the proba­tick pool, where beasts to be sactifi­ced were washed. This pool had five portalls, where lay alwayes an infinite number of men full of ulcers and in­curable diseases, who expected that [Page 296] charitable relief from heaven, which at certain times an Angel brought, by moving the water, whereby he that first descended into the same was hea­led.

Behold a goodly type & lively figure of this world. For what is it else, but an hospitall full of innumerable dis­eased persons, for whose cure there ca [...]e the Angel of great Covenant and stirred the waters? Certainly it is much to be wondered at, there being in Hierusalem so many clear, chrystal­line, and sweet flowing waters, why Almighty God, in this muddy, foul and troubled pond, polluted with the butchery of so many beasts, hair and bloud of so many slaughters, would place the benefit of health. Had it not been a more illustrious miracle to have cured in the river of Jordan, or in sweet rose water, then in this foul and noisome pond? Ah! Christians, how far different are the judgements of God, from those of men? God was pleased to wash the soul, not in the waters of Jericho, or Damascus, not in water sweetned with nard or roses, but in the waters which he himself hath moved and stirred with his blou­dy [Page 297] Crosse, in the salt sea of miseries, the vast ocean of calamities. This is our washing place, these our bathes, thus we are cleansed. God in times past, to expiate those that were un­clean, prescribed to the Jews, waters mingled either with ashes, or bloud: no river is so soveraigne for the wash­ing and purifying of the soul of man: fountains of bloud spring unto us out of the wounds of Christ crucified; our daily sins minister to us a sharp lie: to these fountains therefore we have our recourse, here we expiate and wash away our filth and corruption, here we rise again and recover strength. But as yet I will not depart from this proba­tick pool of Hierusalem.

When therefore our Saviour ente­red into one of the portalls, whereof we have spoken, he found a great num­ber of sick persons, but of all these cu­red but onely one. Some will say, How sparing was our Lord of his benefits? Seeing he might have healed them all with the least word of his mouth: Why then, I beseech you, did he re­store but one of them to his health? Perhaps he would do according to the use of the pool, which never healed but [Page 298] one at a time. But we ask this que­stion, Why God being infinitely mer­cifull and potent, who pleased to be­stow this vertue of healing upon that pond, would not cure all those sick and sore persons? For as the Sun eve­ry day with his cheerfull rayes, is be­neficiall to innumerable creatures, without any hurt or dammage to him­self; so the Creatour of the Sun should suffer no losse, by bestowing health and happinesse upon many sick and miserable men at once. My answer is, that the Sun with his pleasant beams fails not to illuminate and sweetly comfort all creatures, but when the clouds interpose themselves. No cloud so thick and gloomy, as that of sin, by which the Sun of mercy is sha­dowed over and excluded. Hieremie, bewailing this evill, said: Thou hast opposed a cloud against thy self, so that thy prayer can have no passage. The multitude of our sins often times is the cause that we cannot altogether acquit our selves of all our miseries and afflictions. The reason why Christ cured but one at this water in Hierusalem, was, perhaps, because he saw none of the rest worthy of that [Page 299] benefit. But admit they were all free from sin, and of upright course of life, why should then but one be restored to his health? We answer again▪ That so it was expedient for them; it was good for them thus to be hum­bled. All things are not convenient for all persons. Many thousands of men are sick, and by that means make towards heaven, who if they were in health, and lived commodiously, would take the ready way to hell.

A most true saying it is, Quae no­cent, docent. It is good for me and thee, O Christian! yea and for innume­rable more that God doth humble us. It is well knowne to the schoolema­ster himselfe, what is most expedient for each of his scholars. How oft hath extream calamity been the beginning of salvation? how oft hath losse been the occasion of greatest gaine? And therefore oftentimes we may say with Themistocles: we had perished, if we had not been undone.

We account the silk worms happy, for that they have a silken house, and a labour so neer to rest. But if we bet­ter consider the matter, we shall finde their house, as we call it, to be their [Page 300] sepulchre, where those miserable worms, amidst their own work, die and bury themselves: so often times our disordinate appetite findes that di­stastfull and prejudiciall, which it sup­posed to be pleasant and profitable. Nay more, take this for a certain rule, that when the appetite so hotly pursu­eth any thing (which tendeth not di­rectly towards God) it is no other then a foul sin covered under a fair pretext. And therefore Christ for the most part gives us with a bountifull hand, those things which are most profitable for us; inviting all freely to the School of Patience, but not so to the glory of this world: If any one (saith he) will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his crosse and follow me; not to a plea­sant garden, but to the horrid and noisome mount Calvary.

Sect. IV.

WHen the Saviour of the world would manifest a little glimpse of his glory upon mount Thabor, he ad­mi [...]ted onely three of his Apostles to be spectatours. And why did he not invite many hundreds that were inha­bitants [Page 301] of Hierusalem? Or, at least, why did he not take with him all his Apostles? The counsells of God are far different from those of men. To behold Christ crucified, hanging all bloudy on the Crosse, came an infi­nite multitude of people; but to see him glorified on mount Thabor, three of his dearest Disciples were on­ly admitted. Doubtlesse this was to teach us, that they are innumerable, who profit themselves by crosses and afflictions, but few or none by earthly glory and prosperity. And therefore St. Bonaventure said, he had rather ascend with Christ to the mount Gol­gotha, then to mount Thabor. Thus assuredly, Quae nocent, docent.

In times past, at Rome, the yeer of our Lord, 167. Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus, commanded all the souldiers in publike triumph to be crowned with laurell; which all o­beyed, except one Christian, who would not wear his wreath on his head, but on his arm: and being asked why he alone differed from the [...] ­shion of the rest, answered: It was not fit that a Christian should be crowned in this life. Tertullian, in defence of [Page 302] this so generous an answer, wrote a book, intituled, The Souldiers Crown; whereby he declares, with great elo­quence, how prudent an act this was of that souldier. The truth is, a Chri­stian should not be crowned, but with thorns; for so was our head Christ Je­sus. Alas! How unsutable [...]re tender and delicate members with a thornie wounded and bloudy head.

Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo, considering advisedly these words of Saint James the Apostle: Behold, we beatifie them that have suffered. You have heard the sufferance of Job, and seen the end of our Lord. Lest men (saith he) should patiently suffer tem­porall afflictions, to the end they may receive that which we read was resto­red to Job: Who, besides his sores, and ulcers cured, had doubly restored him what he had lost. To shew there­fore, that after the suffering of tempo­rall afflictions, we should not hope for like reward; he doth not say, You have heard the sufferance and end of Job; but, You have heard the suffe­rance of Job, and seen the end of our Lord. As if he had said, Sustain tem­porall afflictions, as Job did, but for [Page 303] this, expect not temporall benefits which were given him with increase, but rather hope for eternall, such as our Lord received. We therefore for our sufferings, must aime at a reward to be given us, where there is no more to be suffered. Many are exalted, to be cast downe by a greater falls Contra­riwise, God suffers divers persons to fall the lower, that he may thereby ad­vance them higher. The more tor­ment here, the more reward there.

Oftentimes in holy Scripture a wel­minded man is compared to a Palm-tree. Heare the speech of the heaven­ly Gardiner himselfe, who saith; I will ascend up to the top of the Palm-tree, and gather the fruit thereof. What need is there (my God) to ascend? are not thy armes otherwise long enough to gather the fruit? It is as easie for thee to gather fruit on the top of the tree, as upon the lower boughes. But observe (I beseech you) the wisedome of the divine counsell. A Gardiner standing upon his feet, gathers the lower fruit, by pulling the boughes gently unto him: but when he meanes to pull the higher fruit, he climbs up, and treads upon the tree, [...]nd so some­times [Page 304] breakes a bough before he ga­ther the fruit.

A man, as we said before, is com­pared to a tree; his fruits are holy and pious actions, high, ripe, and perfect workes of vertue; as singular humility, remarkable patience, transcendent charity: the heavenly Gardiner, to get these fruits, ascends up into the tree, treads upon it, and breaks the boughs; hence it commeth to passe, that one man is deprived of part of his wealth, another of his honour, a third of his friend, another of his pleasure. Be­hold how the Gardiner, by treading upon us, gathers riper fruits, whereby invited and stirred up to worke with more fervour, we dispatch sooner, and every day become more solicitous in divine affaires. Thus oftentimes, Qua nocent docent.

Sect. V.

SOmetimes God is pleased to blesse us abundantly with store of all things, but to no other end, then that as they encrease, and become more deare unto us, we may be more sensibly grieved for the losse thereof. S. Bo­naventure [Page 305] saith, that Paradise even for this cause was planted by God, that our first parents being excluded from thence, might suffer the more griefe, and by that meanes the more bitterly bewaile and detest their sinne, which was cause of their banishment. It was therefore his pleasure, that Adam should sensibly perceive what happi­nesse he had lost by his sin; and con­sequently seeke to recover the like or greater blisse by repentance, that ha­ving lost Paradise, he might more ear­nestly aspire to heaven.

Thus a thousand severall times even at this day, God deals with us. For example: he gives to some parents a son of an excellent disposition, come­ly, docible and ingenious, who with those of his age ascends by learning to the second or third Fourme: On the sudden, death crops this rose; this youth of so great hopes, dies in the very flower of his age. Alas! what a grief is this to the parents? They are asha­med openly to utter what they con­ceive secretly in their hearts. Why did God give us such a son, when he meant presently to take him from us againe? Had we not affliction enough [Page 306] before? was it requisite to adde this sorrow to our former griefes? Yes in­deed was it so (parents) and for that cause was your son borne, that his un­timely death might increase your griefe, and consequently the reward of your patience. Did not God, at the in­tercession of Elizeus grant a son to his Hostesse, and shortly after take him from her again by death? Cauteri­zing seems to make a new wound, whereas indeed it cure [...] the old: Af­fliction seems to be a malady, when oftentimes it is a cure for the malady. And are you yet ignorant that, Qua no­cent docent.

But I am a man (say you) my heart is not made of iron, brasse, or steele: I am not able to endure such griefes. Say not so, I beseech you: the School-master best knowes what every Scholar is able to undergo: he commands one to learne but five verses, another ten, some twenty: others he will have get by heart a whole side of a leafe: and some he appoints to learne without book a long oration. To him every ones ability of wit and memory is knowne. God is faithfull and trusty, who will not suffer you to be tempted [Page 307] above your power; but together with temptation gives you profit. Often­times you shall heare men say: How can this man possibly endure such grievous paines? Verily I could not. It is the grace of God that enables him, which if thou hadst, thou woul­dest endure as much as he whom thou admirest.

Saint Chrysostome saith excellently Chrys. tom. [...]. hom. 6. 7. ini­tio mihi pag. 362. well: There is no crowne to be loo­ked for without afflictions. For where tribulation is, likewise is consolation, and where consolation, grace. And contrarywise whom God afflicts not, he seldome or never visits with com­forts. For the soule, saith Saint Chry­sostome, Et hom. 67. pag. 358. is purged, when for Gods sake it suffers tribulation, which suppresseth all pride, banisheth flouth, disposes a man to patience, discovers the base­nesse of earthly things, and instructeth him in wisdome. And therefore it is most true, Quae nocent docent. Consider Salomon, who as long as he was well imployed about serious affaires, was accounted worthy of that vision: but comming acquainted with delights, he was plung'd even into the abyss of im­piety. What shall we say of his father, [Page 308] when was he so admirable and glori­ous? Was it not in the time of his temptations? Finally that golden O­ratour, speaking of himselfe and his friends, saies; what need we recount ancient examples? For if any man do but consider the state of our af­faires at this day, hee shall easily per­ceive what is gained by tribulation: for now through too much peace and ease, we are growne slicke and care­lesse, neglecting our charge, and there­by have filled the Church with innu­merable mischiefes: but when we were driven into banishment, we were more modest, civill, studious, and more ready and fervent both in ma­king and hearing sermons. For tribu­lation is to the soule, as fire to gold, which purgeth it from al drosse, refines and purifies it. This is that which con­ducts to a kingdome, the other to hell and everlasting damnation; The way hither is large and spatious, the other narrow and strait. Therfore Christ himselfe said (as if he had conferred on us a singular benefit) In the world you shall have pressures and greevan­ces. If then thou beest his true disciple, walke in the rough and narrow way [Page 309] without repining, since there is no li­ving here without paines, tribulations and miseries; Thou art not better then Saint Peter and S. Paul, who ne­ver found ease, but lived in continuall hunger, thirst, and nakednesse. If thou wouldest with them attaine to the same happinesse, why walkest thou a contrary way? If that citty, whereof they were thought worthy, be the place thou desirest to arrive at, forsake not the way that leads thither. It is not ease, but tribulation, that must bring thee to everlasting rest and happinesse. The Isralites were no longer humb­ly modest, then while they were affli­cted; their insolency and prosperity Crysost. hom. 64. mihi pag. 351. sprung up together. The Jewes, saith Saint Chrysostome, whilest they had their hands in bricke and morter, were humble, and daily called upon their God: they had no sooner possest them­selves of liberty, but they fell to murmuring, provoked the wrath of God, and involved themselves in infinite ca­lamities. Let not therefore adversity dismay us, which is no other then a wholesome correction. Let this then bee inculcated a hundred times o­ver: Sustaine, my Christian brother, [Page 310] whatsoever falls to thee in particular, be it never so long and tedious, be it never so greevous and miserable, how prejudiciall so ever it be, sustaine it: Quae nocent, docent.

Sect. VI.

ALmighty God abundantly decla­red, how he would have his ser­vants treated in this world. For if he suffered his only begotten sonne to be scourged, he will much lesse spare his servants, who are but his adoptive children; Alasse! how can we excuse our selves? We are dissolute and dis­obedient children, prone to filching and stealing, rude and exorbitant in the Schoole of Patience; and there­fore must take in good part these our fathers strips, least we smart for it eter­nally; let every one of us now say: I am prepared for stripes, & my grief is al­waies in my sight. I, for the name of my Lord Jesu, am ready not only to be bound, but even to suffer death in Jerusalem. If therefore the blowes which fall upon the lion himselfe, strike a terrour into the whelps, how shall we (seeing this generous lion of [Page 311] the tribe of Juda scourged) be exem­ [...]ed from stripes? Assuredly they are most profitable unto us. For after the Father hath corrected his child, he str [...]kes up the rod in the window, that the very sight thereof may terrifie him; and from that time make him feare­full of committing the like fault. But I am innocent, faist thou, and am scourged without cause. Turne, I be­seech thee, thine eies from thy selfe, and behold our most innocent Jesus? For if thou wouldest with thy Lord bee crowned, thou must with him be scour­ged, though thou beest innocent. Aug tom. [...]. ps. 37. mihi pag. 13 [...]. All this is for our greater good. Thou must of necessity, saith S. Augustine, be chastized here; refusests thou the scourge? Looke for no inheritance; Every child must needs be scourged; yea so impartiall is God in this be­halfe to all, that he spared not even him who was blamelesse and without all sinne or blemish. If children then be whipped, what lesse can wicked slaves and servants expect?

We see the resty or dull horse is quickned with a spurre; the dust with a wand beaten our of garments, and the wall-nut tree after many cudgells [Page 312] better stored with nuts: so we with blows of tribulation become wiser, and fructifie with more increase Q [...]a nocent docent. Let a Christian then rejoyce in adversity, which serves for probation, if he be just, or reformati­on, if a sinner: let him feare whom God vouchsafes not to correct in this world, for doubtlesse in the next hee purposeth to punish him.

It concernes us therefore to give eare to a good master, though the things he teacheth be difficult. It be­hooyes us to be thankfull to so loving a Physition, be his receits and poti­ons never so bitter. The midlest re­medies are not alwaies the best; some by falling into a river in the depth of winter, have recovered their health; o­thers by stripes have been cured of a quartan, and a suddaine feare, diver­ting the patients mind, (as if he were not at leasure to waite for his ague) hath prevented his fit. And how ma­ry should have been prest for souldien had not sicknesse excused them. Some have been detained at sea by a cruell tempest, who at home had taken their death by the fall of their owne house, and some by suffering shipwracke have [Page 313] escaped the hands of pirats. So they are innumerable who from under oppres­sion & calamity have mounted to hea­ven. Of this the ancient fathers have discoursed excellently & with great prudence, but above all Saint Augu­stine, who inculcating this often into the eares of his auditours, treateth most divinely thereof in many places.

Sect. VII.

AND lest any man should repine against this chastizing hand of God, Saint Augustine saith: That which thou sufferest, for which thou lamentest, is no punishment but a medicine, not for thy condemnation, but reformation. Refuse not stripes, unlesse thou settest light by thine in­heritance; thinke rather what place thou hast in thy fathers testament, then how much his scourges paine thee; whom God loveth he chastizeth; and e­very child he receiveth, he scourgeth. He receives them after chastizement, yet thou sayest he repells and rejects them; we may see like practise of parents, who now and then leave their grace­lesse children to take their owne cour­ses, [Page 314] those of whom they have some hope, they scourge and correct; but whom they see altogether past hope and correction, they cast off to live at their owne liberty. Now what sonne soever the father permits to take his pleasure, he purposeth to disinherit, but the heire and hope of his house he chastizeth and punisheth. Let not therefore such a sonne shew himselfe so vaine and childish, as to say: my father loves my brother better, whom he hath left at his owne liberty: I can no sooner trangresse his command­ments, but I am punished. Rather re­joyce in afflictions, because for thee he reserves the inheritance; our Lord will never reject them whom he hath chosen for himselfe: well may he for a time chastise them, but he will never damne them eternally. Choose which thou wilt: a temporall chastise­ment or everlasting torment: tempo­rall felicity, or to live and raigne eter­nally; what is that which God threa­tens? Everlasting punishment: what doth hee promise? Everlasting rest and happinesse. The punishment which God inflicts on good men is temporall: the scope and liberty hee [Page 315] gives to evill men is temporall: if God therefore scourge evevery child he re­ceiveth, without doubt, he never re­ceiveth him whom hee scourgeth not. If thou refuse to be scourged, why de­sirest thou to be received? He scour­geth every sonne, who spared not so much as his only begotten sonne. Be contented therefore to bee under the hand of thy Father, and if thou beest a good sonne, refuse not a fathers disci­pline: for whom canst thou properly call a son, to whom the father gives not discipline? Let him not spare to punish thee, so hee take not from thee his mercy, let him chastise thy way ward­nesse, so he deprive thee not of thine inheritance. If thou well remember thy fathers promises, feare rather to be dis­inherited then punished; shall a sin­full sonne scorne the whip, seeing Gods only sonne scourged, who never did, nor could commit a sinne? Every one therefore must of necessity bee scourged for his sinnes, from whom notwithstanding, if he be a Christi­an [...], the mercy of God is not estran­ged. Assuredly if thou once become so hardned in iniquity, that thou shun­nest the rod and hand of him who [Page 316] should correct thee, if thou scorn the discipline of God, and withdraw thy self from his fatherly chastisement, if thou wilt not endure his stripes, be­cause he punisheth thy sins, it is not he that rejecteth thee, but thou thy self abandonest thine inheritance: for hadst thou willingly suffered thy self to be scourged, thou hadst not been disinherited. My mercy (saith he) I will not take from him, neither hurt him in my truth. For from him the mercy of the deliverer shall not be ta­ken away, that the truth of the punisher may not hurt him.

Therefore, my Christian brother, both opportunely and importune­ly it ought to be often inculcated: Trouble not thy self for whatsoever miseries or perplexities thou fallest in­to, be not dejected in minde, nor dis­contented or apt to murmure; let St. Augustine admonish thee: that the scourge is a soveraigne receit and me­dicine against sin; the scourge of God teacheth good men patience Gods pu­nishment is but for a time; he con­demns not for ever. No reason can be given more probable (saith St. Augu­stine) why good men for the most part [Page 317] suffer in this world, then that it is expedient and commodious for them. Wherefore absolutely I conclude; Quae nocent, docent.

CHAP. VI. Every crosse and affliction, by whomsoever it be imposed, comes from God.

THe blessed Apostle St. Andrew was an extraordinary docible Scholar in the School of Patience. Never scholar went to school with so excessive desire of learning, as he when he hastened to the crosse to suf­fer: O good crosse! (said he) long de­sired, dearly beloved, incessantly sought after, and now at last, accord­ing to my hearts desire, happily pre­pared; with joy and contentment I come to thee; take me from amongst men, and render me to my master, [Page 318] that by thee he may receive me, who dying upon thee redeemed me.

Saint Gregory marvels to see Saint Peter and Saint Andrew so prompt and ready to follow Christ, so zealous and servent to suffer death for Christ: How many afflictions (saith he) do we suffer? With how many threats are we terrified? And yet we scorn, and neglect, to follow him; when he cals us from the love of this world, we are neither by precepts diverted, nor stripes reclaimed. O most stupid and indocible scholars! Ignorant, and un­perfect, even in the A. B. C. of our School. It is an [...]xi [...]me of Aristotle: He that will learn, must of necessity beleeve. In the School of Patience, this Lesson is in a manner the first: A scholar ought to beleeve. None learn with delight, readily, or profita­bly, unlesse they beleeve promptly. What must we then beleeve? Mary, that all afflictions, all miseries, all whatsoever crosses and persecutions (inflicted by this, or that man up­on you, or any one) come from God. This is that we now purpose to de­clare; to wit, that God is the Author of all punishment, of all affliction and [Page 319] evill. Let no man (by the way) be scandalized at this speech: I affirm God to be the Authour of all evill, but of no sin: and this we will now more largely treat of, because upon this foundation the whole discipline of patience is grounded.

Sect. I.

PEter like a stout Champion of his Lord, to defend him at mount Oli­vet, drew his sword, and cut off the ear of the high Priests servant: But our Lord presently said to him; Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The Cup which my Father hath given me, wilt thou not suffer me to drink it? What sayest thou here, my Lord! Why l [...]yest thou the fault upon thy Father? This thy Cup (the bitterest by far that ever was drunk) did not thy Di­sciple Judas, did not Annas and Cai­phas, did not Herod and Pilate min­gle it? These five Apothecaries made a decotion of wormwood, aloes and gall, the bitterest that ever was tasted, this Cup was of their tempering; What then, (might Peter say) what is this, my Lord, that I hear from thine [Page 320] own mouth? The Cup which my Father hath given me. Mark (my dear Peter) this Cup is sent me from the hand of a speciall friend; it was my Father gave it me; I cannot but accept it; many things make this Cup acceptable: as the redemption of man­kinde, the vanquishing of hell, and augmentation of heaven; but above all, the blessed hand of my Father makes this Cup most gratefull: it is a bitter potion indeed, but the profit is infinite. Assuredly, all the power of this world could not have diminished the least hair of Christs head, had not the eternall providence and wisdom of his Father voluntarily decreed, he should suffer so cruell torments. Our Saviour himself, saith: As my Father hath commanded me, so do I. And, Was it not expedient that Christ should suffer thus?

Whosoever apprehends the efficacie of this Argument, whosoever acknow­ledgeth, and absolutely beleeveth, that God is the Authour of all mens affli­ctions; that it was the will of God from all eternity, and even now is, that he should suffer whatsoever he now suffereth; this man doubtlesse, [Page 321] even amidst the greatest miseries, will imbrace the blessed will of God, kisse his Divine hand, and say: All this which I suffer is from the hand of God, he it is that causeth it, therefore it must be endured readily and cheer­fully. This man thus fully possessed of this undoubted verity, will never (I speak by good experience) yeeld to any miseries or calamities: for no­thing seasoned with so sweet a hand can prove unsavoury.

Saint John speaking of Christ in the midst of his passion, saith: And carrying his Crosse, he went out into the place called Calvarie. Carying his Crosse, and in carrying it, be im­braced it; which Saint Andrew the Disciple learnt from this his Master.

When we receive letters, or any thing else from a Prince, we kisse them, although perchance they bite us to the quick; so Christ imbraced the Crosse his Father gave him; so Job said: The Lord hath given. But (O thou mirrour of men!) thou seemest herein to have erred; for this ample patrimony, which thou hast lost, was left thee by thy ancestours; these ri­ches thou hast acquired by thine own [Page 322] industry, these herds, and flocks of cattell, have been bred and brought up by thy providence. I erre not (answe­reth Job) it was not my industry, it was neither mine, nor my providence, but the bountiful hand of God which gave me this great wealth; with good reason therefore hath he which gave them, ta­ken them from me. Is it so indeed, Was it the Lord that deprived thee of them? This seems injuriously spoken against God: for all your cattell were driven away by the Caldeans and Sabeans; or, if you would know the chief au­thour of these mischiefs, it was Satan that made havock of all; he brought fire, raised w [...]nds and tempests, he incited the enemies to rob and spoil, and raze your house to the ground; it was without question Satan that did all this; ascribe then all your losses to Satan. But Job persists still in the same minde, a thousand times he re­iterateth these speeches: The Lord hath taken away: The Lord hath ta­ken away: The self same Lord that gave it, hath taken it away. For had not the Lord, knowingly and willing­ly, given Satan this power, no man could have taken from my sheep so much [Page 223] as the least lock of wooll. Our Lord therefore took it away; for what a man with one onely beck might, yet wittingly and willingly he forbears to hinder, to that (doubtlesse) he wil­lingly giveth way. Thus absolutely, no affliction, no temptation, no evill nor calamity comes otherwise then from the hand of God, and by his spe­ciall will and providence.

Sect. II.

WHen Christ was to enter into his fast of forty dayes, he was led by his Spirit, that he might be tempted: So saith Saint Matthew; Then Jesus was led into the desert by his Spirit, that he might be tempted by the De­vill. It was the Spirit of God that led Christ to all things; to prayer, to pious discourses, to Sermons, to work miracles; but here it is particularly said: He was led by the same Spirit to be tempted. What else do the holy Scriptures affirm in this place; but that even the dearest friends of God, are led with a vail as it were before their eyes to the Crosse. We are led, I say, for the most part blindfold, other­wise, [Page 324] like mad furious bulls, we would hardly be drawn to the slaugh­ter. Behold therefore the Son of God led into the lists, there to be assaulted. Why then do we so frequently and profanely use these speeches? This man came of the Devills errand: The Devill hath done me this displeasure: This thunderbolt comes from Satan. Fools that we are, we deceive our selves; these are fond and impious speeches; better it were to say thus; This came from our Lord: It was our Lords pleasure: It lighted upon us from his hand; for it is our Lord that doth all this.

And when Gedeon threshed his corn, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said: The Lord be with thee, O most valiant of men! And Gedeon said to him: I beseech thee, my Lord, if the Lord be with us, Why have these evills fallen upon us? Where are his marvellous works, which our fathers have told us? But now our Lord hath forsaken us. For at the self same time the Israelites were afflicted by the Madianites. Be­hold how absurdly and ridiculously humane ignorance discourseth: If the [Page 325] Lord be with us, how comes it to passe that matters go so ill with us? As if, forsooth, these calamities were not from the hand of God, as the best and happiest successe. Therefore the Angel said; Go armed with that va­lour thou hast, and thou shalt deli­ver Israel out of the hands of the Madianites. As if he should have said: Know that God (albeit he hath sent enemies to invade his people) hath not utterly abandoned them. It is on­ly the pleasure of God to make proof and triall of your love towards him.

So God visits us with diseases, and a thousand incommodities, to stir up and establish our confidence in him, and the better to make us know our selves. Yet as we may resist an ene­my, so may we by lawfull remedies seek to cure our diseases, seeing we know not the determinate will of God, how long we must continue in them. What should hinder a prisoner from going out when he sees the pri­son door open? This is not to break prison, but to make his benefit of an occasion offered.

And as one jalour easily keeps un­der a hundred or two hundred priso­ners, [Page 326] so they be in chaines and fetters; none of them (albeit they have wings of Dedalus) are able to escape; but if any of them file asunder his fetters, open the prison door and break away, then not one man alone, but a whole band of officers must pursue him, to see if happily they may apprehend him againe. The like altogether is to be observed in this affaire: they question­lesse whom the divell persecutes, tempts, vexes and afflicts, are none of his prisoners: he is bound and lies captive who is fettered with the gives of luxury, pride, envy and avarice. Those the divell needs never to hunt after, they are his owne in sure custo­dy. But so soone as any of them en­deavour to break prison and get away, they shall finde satan, and all the force of hell oppose them, many wicked and malitious men will pursue and persecute them; who therefore can as­cribe this to their ill fortune, that they have many persecutours▪ and enemies, seeing it is most certaine that all that desire to live piously in Jesus Christ, must of necessity suffer persecution.

Pharoa [...] the king of Egypt with an oath threatned the Jewes: I will per­secute, [Page 327] quoth he, and apprehend you. This certainly he would never have said at such time as they were bemi­red, durtied, and wearied, but when he saw them ready to flie and scape a­way. In like manner doe our ene­mies deale with us: whilest we ly wallowing in the mud of sinne, they seldome or never make warre against us: but when we seek to save our selves by slight, then they either actually invade us, or at least seek to terrifie us by hostile incursions. For which cause the wise man forewarning us, saith: sonne when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and fear, and prepare thy soule against temptation.

Sect. III.

WOuldest thou go to the Schoole of Patience? Provide and make ready thy selfe not for repose and ease, not to sit downe and take thy pleasure, but for a great conflict & much temp­tation. Art thou ignorant that who­soever goes to the fencing, riding, or wrastling schoole, or to learne the art military, must not look to sit still upon a soft cushion▪ with a booke before [Page 328] him; but you shall have the fencer give this man a blue eie, the horse throw the other, the riding master, or he that tilts against him, set him beside the sadle: one unfortunately breakes his thigh with leaping, ano­ther with wrastling puts his arme out of joint, this man hath his head rude­ly broken, another a tooth strucken out with the pummell of a sword, ano­ther an eie put out with the point of a speare: a man must here endure all kinds of wounds and incommodities.

Let us, I pray you, looke for no o­ther or better intreatie in the Schoole of Patience: we must not thinke here to sit still and take our ease: and as in those Schooles I spoke of before, of ri­ding, fencing, and art military, the masters themselves entertaine their scholars with blows and wounds: so in the Schoole of Patience, all paine and anguish, all evill and punishment, is from God himselfe the rectour thereof; Prepare therefore thy soule for temptation. From God proceede not only mild, cheerfull, faire and fortunate, but likewise the unlucky, darke, duskish and dismall dayes; which Ecclesiastes plainly affirming, [Page 329] saith: for as God hath made the one so also he hath the other, that a man may find no just cause of complaints against him. It was purposely the will of God to set a foule day against a faire, adversity against prosperity, and to temper and qualifie the force and acri­mony of the one with the mixture of the other, that it might be more whol­some and medicinable to mens hu­mours and diseases; wherefore be mindfull of adversity in prosperity, and of prosperity in adversity; Thinke of poverty in time of plenty, and in the middest of thy riches, of the poore mans necessity: from morning unto evening, time shall be changed, and all these are sowne in the eies of God.

Let us therefore most attentively consider, that all adversity is sent us from God, that most just and supreme Judge. Let us not impute the cause of our miseries to that which is not, for they neither come from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert mountaines; because God is judge. He humbleth this man, and that he ex­alteth, because there is a cup in the hand of the Lord of meer wine full of mixture. And he hath powred it out [Page 330] of this into that, but yet the dregges thereof are not emptied: all the sin­ners of the earth shall drinke.

Behold, O you Christians! and en­grave deeply in your hearts these docu­ments. This man God comforts, that he afflicts; The cup of all miseries and afflictions is in his hand; this cup of the Lord is full of pure wine as it comes from the grape, but withall it hath its mixture; for not one sort but divers kinds of wine are powred into this cup. Excellent wine when it is mingled, not with water, but with wine more excellent then it selfe, be­comes infinitly strong. So the revenge­full justice of God aboundeth with multiplicity and variety of punish­ments, as with severall kinds of wines. Many men have suffered both great and manifold miseries: to these doubt­lesse pure wine is given, but mingled, as I said before. Let them be of good courage; all this notwithstanding is gentle and tollerable. For by this meanes God inclines, sometimes to this man, sometimes to that, one while he offers his cup to John, another while to Peter, and sometimes to James: this honourable Cup passeth to all: e­very [Page 331] one must taste thereof more or lesse, as it hath seemed good to our Lord from all eternity; this speech is used to every one: either drinke or get thee gone.

But this may be a great comfort, that no man (especially in this world) is compelled to drink up the dregs: The dregs thereof are not emptied. The greatest punishments and revenges of justice, are reserved till the last day of judgement: Then all the sinners of the earth shall drink. Whatsoever tri­bulation we suffer now, is but momen­tary and light; it may seem but a sport and jest in comparison of the bitter dregs which the fury and indignation of God shall give eternally to the wic­ked to drink and never drink up. Let us now, O Christians! joyfully drink up these cups, though somewhat bitter; seeing we are excused from drinking up the dregs. The cup which most of us so much feare, is filled with our Lords wine, he it is that offers it; the cup we refuse is in the hand of our Lord; God is the authour of all pu­nishment and calamity.

Sect. IV.

ANd to go to the foundation of this verity, let us heare what may be ob­jected against it; some there are that aske this question: If God be the au­thour of all evill and punishment, he is so likewise of sin. My enemy by ly­ing and flandering, hath extreamly in­jured and damnified me; he hath, con­trary to all law and justice, entred in, and made havock of my estate; he hath most wickedly slandered and defamed me; he would, if it were possible, swal­low me at one bit. And, I pray you, i [...] God the author of all this? He is, good sir, the author of all this: not that God commanded him to lye or calumniate: God (saith Ecclesiasti­cus) hath commanded no man to do impiously, and he hath given no man time to sin. But I urge further: What if I should say, that God commanded him to do these injuries, should I say amisse? That most holy King David sayes even as much: for when the wic­ked Shimier reproached him with words, nay, even cast stones at him, and some of the Kings train were of [Page 333] mind to have cut off his head: the King gave expresse charge to all his followers in [...]his manner: Let him a­lone that he may curse: for our Lord hath commanded him to curse David: and who is he that dare say, Why hath he so done? Did therfore Shimei commit no sin in doing this? yea doubtlesse a most heynous one: ob­serve a while, and the truth will easi­ly appeare.

When David, the wisest of Kings, saw this wretch Shimei all alone, and unarmed, and yet heard him calumni­ate him resolutely, and without feare, he presently was of opinion, that the first beginning or fundamentall cause of that injury, proceeded, not from Shemei, but from God, who had ordai­ned the slanderous and malicious speech of so wicked a man, to chastise and punish him. By what means there­fore did God command him this?

Be advised and understand the mat­ter as it is. There are two things to be considered in sin: The first is the na­turall motion of the body, or will, or of them both jointly together: the other is the transgression it selfe of the law. For example: One brother slanders [Page 334] another, a citizen kills a citizen, a souldier sets an house of fire, a thiefe steals a thousand crownes. In these acts the motion of the tongue, the deadly stroke, the setting fire to the house, the taking away of the mo­ney, are done by Gods help and as­sistance: for they are all naturall acti­ons, which cannot be done without Gods help. And this is the first thing which ought to be considered in every sin, which without doubt is by this meanes furthered by God himselfe. But the other is the very nature it selfe of sin, as when this naturall action is imployed contrary to reason, against conscience and the law of God; this God neither willeth nor commandeth: neverthelesse, he directeth the perverse will of this man, or that sin and trans­gression of his lawes, to the punish­ment, admonition, correction, or in­creasing the patience of another man. Therefore of doing the thing God is the authour; and when it is ill done, he is a provident director.

So God assisted Shimei to utter his words, to cast durt and stones (for these were no other then naturall mo­tions) but for so much as Shimei [Page 335] shewed a malicious will against his Prince, thereunto God concurred not: but neverthelesse, directed it to a very good end, that by these calumnies the sins of David might be punished, his patience and humility exercised.

And this may be seen and obserued in all sins, and in all injuries whatso­ever: The evill of sin God tolerates, and the evill of punishment he orders and directs to a good end; to increase patience, and to punish sin. Thus he permits famine, war, plagues, deluges, burning, thefts, injuries, injustices and enormous crimes; and withall, so disposeth them, that even by these e­vills he manifesteth to the world more and more his goodnesse, his justice, his power, and his glory. After this manner God is the Authour of all e­vils, as they are punishments: of which Doctrine we produce truth it self for a witnesse.

God being highly offended with the Jews, said: I will gather evills up­on them, and glut my arrows with them. Lo, I will bring upon them evills, out of which they shall not be able to escape. Behold, God even loads with evills, God wounds us [Page 336] with his arrows. And we childishly are angry with his arrows and darts; we never mark what arm it is that shoots and darts them: So the Pain­ter, when his picture is not to his minde, quarrels with his pencill; the Serivener with his pen; the Carpen­ter with his ax; the Potter with his clay; so we accuse those that malice and slander us as authours of our e­vills: but we are infinitely deceived, it is not the pencill, but the Painter; the pen, but the Scrivener, who are the authours of the writing or picture. Job was, in this respect, of a better opinion, when he said; The hand of our Lord had touched him: It was neither the Caldeans, nor the Sabeans, nor any other enemy whatsoever, but the hand of God that hath overthrown me.

Sect. V.

HAve we any doubt of this? It is the testimony of the wise man: Good things and evill, life and death, pover­ty and honesty come from God. This the Prophet Micheas clearly confirms, where he saith: That evill is descended from the Lord into the gate of Hieru­salem. [Page 337] And that he might make them more cautelous whom he admonished: Behold (quoth he) I purpose evill up­on this family. The like affirmeth the Prophet Amos: And where finally shall there be evill which our Lord hath not done? And that we may ex­actly acknowledge all these evills of punishment, and innumerable kindes of affliction, to come from the Divine will of God; let us call to remem­brance, he woften he hath by little con­temptible creatures, discomfited his e­nemies, in far more glorious manner, then he could with great & puissant ar­mies. Thus Almighty God is wont to suppresse humane pride, thus he sends poor abject worms, mice, bats, flies, lice, and such like sordid creatures, to vanquish, not the scum, or dregs of the people, but to triumph over Kings, Princes, Emperours. Thus he draws forth, as it were, whole armies of gnats, flies, frogs, wasps and locusts; and with these troops overthrows whole nations and countreys.

The Book of Wisdom declareth: Thou hast sent wasps, fore-runners of thine hoste, that by little and little they might destroy them. The Book [Page 338] of Kings witnesseth [...] [...]uch: And the towns and fields [...] forth in the midst of that count [...] ▪ and there came forth mice, and there was confusion of great death in the city.

Genebrard relateth of a King, who for poisoning of his nephews commit­ted to his charge, was, together with his wife, devoured by mice. Conies undermined a city in Spain, and moles a city in Macedonia, as Plinie wit­nesseth. When Sapor, King of the Per­sians, a man greedily thirsting after the bloud of Christians, belieged the city of Nisibis, James Nisibita, their Bishop, brought down upon them by his prayers, not an army of souldiers, but of flies and gnats from heaven. These little creatures, more powerful­ly then the vast army of Xer [...]es, im­pugned the enemy; for when the horses and elephants felt themselves continu­ally stung and vexed by those little vermins, in their ears, snow [...] and no­strils, they became mad a [...]d furious; brake their bridles, and ran headlong away: insomuch, that the King know­ing not what to do, nor [...]ither to turn him; left all, and withdraw him­self from the enterprise.

[Page 339] The l [...]ke successe had Charles king of Sicilie, and Puilip king of France, when they tooke Gerunda a City in Spain, where the outrage & impiety of the souldiers spared neither Churches nor Sepulchres, &c. But when they broke up the tombe of St. Narcissus, a huge swarm of flies issued out of it, and made such a slaughter amongst the army, that the residue were all pel mel forced to take their flight. And at this day it is a proverb among the Spani­ards: provoke not Narcissus flies; who gave such forces to these poore little creatures? God is the authour of all calamities and slaughters; all this evill came from God.

But you may object: what if I be infested with a disease, which I am sure proceeds from mine owne intem­perance, from a surfet of meate, or drinke, how may I attribute this to God, when I know my selfe the au­thour thereof? This disense is indeed a great affliction, but is it from God? It is most manifestly from God. For God from all eternity hath determi­ned to scourge thee, and for this end makes use of this intemperance▪ of thine, which in [...] manner [...] [...]th [Page 338] [...] [Page 339] [...] [Page 340] foreseene from all eternity. So God scourgeth thee, but thou thy selfe put­test a lash to the scourge: It is Gods will thou shouldest bee diseased, but he makes thine own intemperance the instrumentall cause: in like manner it is the pleasure of God that one should suffer injuries; and he maketh use of his enemy for an instrument thereof. And the same reason may be given of the rest.

What cause then hast thou or any man else to repine at this? What mat­ters it whether thou be taught to boile in an other mans kitching or thine owne, so thou learne the skill of it? And if thou learnest not to be wise by an other mans harmes, why shouldest thou thinke much to be advised by thine owne? Compose therefore thy mind by patience: God is the authour both of thine and all other afflictions in the world: as it pleaseth our Lord, so hath it been done, so it is, so it shall be done, & so it will best be done. Fear not, the least haire of thy head shall not perish without the providence and will of God; shalt thou sustaine any prejudice by having thy limbs torne in [...] by thine enemies, when God [Page 341] himselfe hath numbred all the haires of thy head? drinke the potion thy father gives thee: what Apothecary soever it be that prepares it: drinke of that cup which God begins to thee, whatsoever the servant be that fils it. All must be born with patience as long as God will have thee beare it. This is truely to profit in the Schoole of Pati­ence, this is the way to life everlasting.

Sect. VI.

BUt yet thou wilt object, and crie out: shall then mine own kinsfolks vex me? shall they on whom I have conferred many benefits, loade me with injuries? Shall mine owne ma­ster deale so with me, whom I have so many yeares faithfully served? Shall drudges, slaves and the basest rascals in the world despise and tram­ple upon me? O poor dejected man! beyond measure raw and unskillfull; art thou so grossely ignorant of the first principles of this sacred schoole? Knowest thou not that he cannot be [...] said to be truly patient, who is willing to beare no more then pleases him, and by whom he lifteth? There is no [Page 342] such language may not be admitted there, with so many restrictions: I will suffer this or that, but not at the hands of such or such a schoole fellow. Thou must endure it at his hands of whom thy master will have thee.

It is the order in schooles to give to some prime scholars of the forms, juris­diction over the rest of his fellows; and if some of the boyes prove so stubborn as not to recite their lesson to him, or not to give him their exercise, the ma­ster by and by with a sterne counte­nance saith: how now proud boy, do you begin to bristle and set up your crest? Ile make you stoop if I take you in hand; repeat your lesson to this fellow of yours, give your theme, else Ile make you finde you have a master.

The same cou [...]se doth Christ ob­serve in the School of Patience; he will have one subordinate to another, yea one even chastise another, but all ac­cording to his appointment. We, proud wretches, are wont to capitulate and article with him thus: We would, forsooth, repeat our lesson, but not to this man; give our theme, but not to that: we are contented to be corre­cted but not by him: we refuse not to [Page 343] carry our crosse, so this knave, or that base fellow may not make it, not lay it upon us. Is it so indeed? what an in­solencie is this, that one should take so much upon him, and not willingly submit himselfe to his School fellows? This the Master will never tolerate. A man must beare his crosse patiently, whosoever frames it, or layes it upon his shoulders. The worst man may make the best and most p [...]ofitable crosse in the world. What is this to thee? Follow thou me, saith Christ.

Simon Cyrenensis constantly bare the crosse of Christ, even to the top of mount Golgotha, he repined not, but willingly offered his shoulders, and submitted himselfe to their command who had no jurisdiction over him. And what, I pray you, was Shimei? a sedi­tious villain, the wickedst man in the world, yet was it the will of God, that this very man should lay a huge massie crosse upon the most potent, the most holy King that was living at that day. Yet see how King David acknow­ledgeth this most infamous man, not onely his School fellow, but e­ven his Supervisour, set over him by his master: He repeats his lesson [...] [Page 344] and submits himselfe unto him.

And what overseers (I beseech you) in this School were Attila, Tamerlen, Totila? yet it was one master that put them in power, to them we were to recite our lessons. Fly, then, Attila, from the utmost limits of the world, greedy of spoile, and thirsting after bloud; rob, kill, burne, waste and con­sume. By this thy cruelty thou shalt do good service to God our master, it will be an exercise to Christians, who be­fore were drowned in delicacies and buried in vices.

And you two Vespatians, take, waste and spoile the Jewes and Judea. To what end? You doubtless: wage wa [...] to win glory and enlarge your Empire: but you are deceived, you are the mini­sters and executioners of Gods just revenge upon this wicked nation, who could never have digested their pro­sperity, had not these warme bathes of Nero holpen their stomackes. Go then you Roman Emperours, and whilst you slaughter the Christians at Rome, you, unawares, revenge Christs death in Judea.

The same absolutely may be said of all enemies, who envie or injury this [Page 345] or that man, me or thee, my Christian brother. We repine and complain of God for admitting such School-fel­lowes, such substitutes, who lye in wait to defame us, spoyle us of our goods and life, and seek our destruction.

But, O blinde men! our conceits and judgements are much deceived. For what matter is it, though they wish our ruine. Gods intention is much o­therwise. Joseph the vice-roy of Ae­gypt, clearly pronounced to his bro­thers faces, who were much amazed with feare: You, said he, thought evill of me, but God hath turned it into good. Can we stand against the will of God?

Sect. VII.

BVt why (say you) doth God make use of evill men for this purpose? why doth he not rather send upon them warres and flaughters, or at least do this by good instruments? Why ar [...] thou so curious to aske this question? It is doubtlesse well known to God why he makes use of such, though we be ignorant thereof. The master of a great family sometimes corrects his [Page 346] son himselfe, sometimes commits it to a Tutour or School-master. The like doth the master in a School, who ei­ther whips a shrewd boy himselfe, or delivers him over to another to be cor­rected. Why may not God do the same? Why may not he at his plea­sure either scourge us with his owne hand, or by anothers? There is no in­jury done in th [...]s. But peradventure, the servant is incensed against thee, and hath a minde to hurt and displeasure thee. What matter is it? Minde not that, but the intention of him that commands it. Thy father himselfe is present, who appoints it, and will not suffer thee to receive so much as one stripe more then he hath ordained.

After this manner a Magistrate com­mands a guilty person to be put to death: the executioner perhaps hates this man beyond measure, and had ra­ther pull him in pieces with burning pincers, then take his life at one blow. But seeing Magistrates commands must be executed, he takes no lesse pleasure in cutting off his head. What hurt (I pray) had this man by the exe­cutioners hatred? No more then if he had entirely loved him. He took [Page 247] his head off as the Magistrate com­manded, and further it was not in his power to touch him. Even thus our e­nemies, how extreamly soever they hate us, can no further annoy us, then God freely permits them. Most excel­lently in this point Saint Augustine encourageth us. Feare not, quoth he, thine enemy, his act goes no further then he is permitted by the power he hath received. Feare him who doth all as he will himself, and yet doth no­thing unjustly: for every act of his is just and reasonable.

Let sinners rage all that they will, and as much as is permitted them: our Lord confirmes and strengthens the just. Whatsoever befalls a just man, (note this, I beseech you, note it most [...]ttent [...]vely) whatsoever happens to a just man, let him ascribe it to the will of God, not to the power of his ene­my. What then hath the wicked man to boast of, but that our Father hath made him my scourge? he entertaines him indeed, as his slave and hireling, but me he breeds up to inherit his pa­trimony. Neither ought we so much to observe what liberty he gives to the unjust, as what rewards he reserves for [Page 348] the just. God deales with us in this, as men do: They sometimes in their anger catch up whatsoever switch or rod comes first to their hands, and ther­with bear their childe; but this rod af­terward they throw into the fire, and reserve their childe for the inheritance.

So God exerciseth us by evill men, and instructs us by their persecution. By the malice of the evill man the good man is scourged; & by the servant the sonne is reformed. For the good­nesse of just men is prejudiciall to the evil, and contrariwise the iniquity of e­v [...]ll men is profitable to the good. But if thine owne frail and perverse will begin to encroch upon thee, saying: O that God would k [...]ll and confound that enemy of mine, that he might not per­s [...]cute me! O that there were some possible meanes for me not to suffer so much under him! Now if thou persist and please thy selfe in this will, not­withstanding thou seest it manifestly ag [...]i [...]st the will of God, thy heart is not upright as it should be. And who are they that are just and upright of heart? Surely such as are found in that state and temper wherein Jo [...] was, who said: The Lord hath given, [Page 349] and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done; the name of our Lord be blessed. Be­hold an upright heart!

These sayings of Saint Augustine Aug to. 8. in Psa. 61 pro­pius sinem: & in Psa 36. Psalmi se­cund [...] parte conc. 1. mihi, pag. 116. Ps. 73. pag. 329. Ps 95. p. 433. & p. 430. are a hundred, a thousand, three thou­sand times to be inculcated, yet hardly will men be induced sufficiently to i­mitate or make use of them. So God by this man beats and chastiseth that man, and afterwards throwes the rods into the fire. So when he determined by the King of Babylon to chastise the Jewes: All those nations (quoth he) for the space of seventy yeares, shall serve the King of Babylon; and when those seventy yeares shall be expired, I will visit the King of Babylon him­selfe, whom like a twig I will throw into the fire.

Therefore all that eate thee (O my Christian!) shall be devoured, and all thine enemies shall be led into capti­vity, and they that waste thee, shall bee wasted, and all they that rob and de­spoil thee, God wil waste and consume. But he will have care of thy wounds, and heale thee, as he did Job, who by his enemies, and extream poverty, was the more enriched. Be thou onely con­fident, [Page 350] and with longanimity expect, for thou shalt as assuredly be holpen and relieved, as thine enemies (unlesse they repent) shall be punished and tormented.

Sect. VIII.

BUt I produce now one infinitely more holy then Job, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world; who suffered idolaters to lay his Crosse up­on him, and to cruc [...]fie him. The peo­ple of the Jews, the most selected of all nations, upon whom he had hea­ped so many benefits, whom he had loved as his onely begotten sons, with this infamous burden requited their benefactour; neither did he refuse it. The Romans crucified the Creatour of the world upon that bloudy tree; nor did he ever resist them. When he was nailed upon the Crosse, all men that were present, yea even the theef him­self that was crucified with him, railed against him; yet he did never reply, or answer them. What said I? Nay, he never replied, or returned so much as one sp [...]tefull word. Yea, so far was he from this; that he earnestly prayed [Page 351] and besought pardon for them. This, with good reason, is so much esteemed by the Chur [...]h, that she celebrateth the yeerly memory of Christs Passion with these words especially: Look, I beseech thee, (O Lord!) upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafed to be delivered in­to the hands of guilty persons, &c. Let no man call himself a member of this head, unlesse he indeavour to imitate him. Saint Gregory speaketh Greg. part. 3. pastoral. 13. admonit. si [...]. to the purpose: Why (saith he) should it be thought so hard a matter for man to suffer stripes at Gods hands for evill deeds, sith God suffers so many evills for his good deeds.

In the mean time we persist in our absurd errour, casting out these or the like fond speeches: This man is an eye sore to me, so odious to my sto­mack, that I shall never digest him: O that I were but rid of this fellow! O that I might once liquour my shoes with th [...]s knaves bloud, whatsoever it cost me! I can never be at quiet as long as this villain is in my sight. O most impious speeches, fetcht from hell, and thither to be sent again! Thus foolishly we abscribe to our ad­versaries [Page 352] the disquiet of our minds. A soul errour, against which that gol­den Oratour discourseth: Suppose (saith he) we had a body of Adamant, albeit we were shot at on all sides with innumerable shafts, we should never be wounded, seeing wounds proceed not from the hand that shooteth, but from the passibility of the body upon which they are inflicted. So in like case injuries and contumelies take their being, not from the insolency of those lewd fellows that offer them, but from the weaknesse and imbecillity of those that suffer them. If we had the true Art of Philosophy, we should ne­ver be sensible of any injury, or take it in ill part. For example, Doth a man offer thee an injury? If thou resent it not, it never grieves thee, neither hast thou sustained any injury, but rather strucken him, then received a stroke. Why therefore do we accuse our ene­mies, and those that maligne us, as if they were the cause of all our mise­ries? The fault is of our side; when­soever we are hurt, we hurt ourselves. Most true is that saying of the Church: No adversity shall ever hurt us, if no iniquity have dominion over us.

[Page 353] But what marvell if there be in our minde so little quietnesse, seeing there is in it so little temper of our tongue, or patience? In suffering we are in eve­ry respect untractable, we can neither digest that with silence which is dis­pleasing, nor with patience, what is contrary to our disposition; and yet we lay all the fault upon our adversary: we should be more holy (say we) were it not for him O ridiculous men! Were it not our own fault, the wicked­nesse of our adversaries would be so far from making us worse, that it would render us much better, and ho­nester men. Thy perdition, O Israel! is from thy self, not from thine ene­mies, impute thine impatience to thy self, and no [...] to them.

And who is there that can molest or hurt us, if we be followers of good. This is a remarkable speech of Saint Chrysostome; No man is hurt but by himself. It was in the power of De­cius, Aurelianus, Nero, Domician, Dio­clesi [...]n to kill and slaughter those cou­ragious Champions, St. Vincent, Seba­stian, George, Mauritius, Tibu [...]ius, but not to hurt them: which surely they had done, could they have taken from [Page 354] them their celestiall crowns. Well might Valerianus torture St. Laurence upon a gridiron, but not bereave him of Christ or the kingdom of heaven: Well might the Arian fury persecute Athanasius both by sea and land, but not hurt or endammage him, whose vertue i [...] amplified and illustrated.

It was a learned saying of Origen: Orig hom. 25 in lib. Num. All things are so ordained, that no­thing in the fight of God (although it be evill) is idle or in vain. There is no evill wrought by God, but when it is contrived by others; albeit, he might hinder it, he doth not, but con­curs with those that invented it, to make some necessary use thereof. Thus God is no Authour of sin, but of all punishment whatsoever: neither is it his will to harm or prejudice, but, for our greater good, to correct and re­form us.

Sect. IX.

COnsider here (I beseech you) what Aman did to Mardocheus: Aman insolent through the favour of his Prince, stately and magnificent, touch­ing, in his own conceit, the very stars [Page 355] with his head; All the servants of the King bended their knees, and adored Aman: for so the Emperour had gi­ven them in charge. He like a cock upon his own dunghill, swayed all, and would be adored of Mardocheus as he was by others. Vail bonnet Jew, (quoth he) bend thy knees, kisse thy hand, adore Aman. It went hard with Mardocheus to have this exacted of him, which according to the Religion he professed, he could not with a good conscience perform: Whether it were that Aman had the pictures and fi­gures of the gods upon his garments, (as some men think) or that this ado­ration were to be exhibited to him as to a god, it is not certainly known; sure it is, this adoration seemed not due to a man: Mardocheus therefore sincere­ly appealing to God, said: Lord, Lord, King omnipotent, for in thy domini­on are all things, and there is none that can resist thy will, if thou deter­mine to save Israel. Thou madest hea­ven and earth, and whatsoever is con­tained within the compasse of hea­ven. Thou art Lord of all, nor is there any that can resist thy Majestie. Thou understandest all things, and [Page 356] knowest I have not out of pride, or contumely, o [...] any desire of glory, re­fused to adore proud Aman (for glad­ly would I be ready for the salvation of Israel to kisse even the steps of his feet) but I feared lest I should trans­ferre the honour of my God to a man.

By this example we are instructed to comply, even with the most wicked, in all manner of courtesy, benevolence and observance, to exhibit unto them unfainedly all obedience and reve­rence, and by this meanes not only to honour them all that we may, but likewise to be ready to fall down be­fore them and kisse their feet; we must reforme such like odious speeches and cogitations: this is my enemy, a man full of spleen and rancour, a detractour, an envious person, I cannot choose but hate him, he is not worthy to be seene, or somuch as thought off, have­ing nothing in him but wickednesse, and mischiefe; I will have nothing to do with h [...]m: I know him well e­nough, and he me: loft and faire whosoever thou art, be not so passio­nate, the master in the Schoole of Pa­tience hath subjected thee to this man, and committed thee to his charge; [Page 357] what just cause, I pray, have you heere to complaine? If you be wise you will rather say: I am ready with all my heart to kisse the very ground where he treads. And this the more readily, for that God can with much facility cause an alteration, and appoint Mar­docheus usher over Aman, so that he may say with good authority: recite A­man, recite.

Consider these wondrous changes. Aman a neere favorite of the kings, a­bounding in wealth, boasting his po­pulous family, his multitude of chil­dren, the prosperity of fortune, the kings especiall favours, and the esteem even of a God upon earth. This A­man, I say, is by the king suddenly ad­judged to be hanged on a gibbet, while Mardocheus, a little before condem­ned to the same death, was in all haste cloathed in princely garments, set up­on a horse sutable to that state, crow­ned and led through the principall street, Aman going before him in the condition of a servant, and procla­ming: this is the honour given to e­very man whom the king is pleased to dignifie. O my God! what a suddaine and prodigious change is this? this is [Page 358] the usuall manner of God: for it is ea­sie in the eies of God suddainly to en­rich the poore man. Mardocheus now ready to put his necke into the halter, is exalted to a throne: and A­man, who was so neare a throne, is advanced to a gibbet. Wretched A­man take possession of that structure which thou framest for thy adversary, climbe up and adorne that gallowes which thou didest efect for thine ene­my. Behold how severely God is wont to punish those who are not content to carry a crosse themselves, but would crucifie their enemies. So suddain an alteration there is of fortune; the sword and halter is drawne from the necke of Mardocheus, and he allotted to our live Aman his persecutour.

Let us therefore love our crosse, and not refuse to beare it, whosoever he be that laies it upon us. Let us be of good courage; it is no matter whether the master or the servant afflict us; but we must chiefly consider who com­mands or permits it. It is hard indeed to be mortified by them from whom thou dost least expect it. But even the holiest men have often endured this kind of miserie.

[Page 359] Job and Tobias were laughed to scorne by their owne wives and kins­folks; they returned not scoffe for scoffe, nor taunt for taunt. The glo­rious martyr Ignatius submitted him­selfe to ten leopards; For being led from Antioch to Rome by ten souldi­ers (whom I may rather call leopards then men) for these, his keepers, were even by benefits exasperated: yet was not Ignatius dismayed with this: for their iniquity, said this good martyr, is my instruction. So without question our adversaries are our instructours: they instill much wisdome into us e­ven whether we will or no. I may well cal our enemies gold-smiths, who make us crownes, not of gold or pretious stones, but celestial & composed of stars.

It is therefore a true saying: wee must beare our crosse, by whomsoe­ver it be imposed. All which I con­clude with these divine words or ra­ther oracles of Saint Augustine: E­steem not, quoth he, those happy who Aug. to. 8. ps 70 mihi pag. 309. flourish only for a time. They are spa­red, thou chastised, for thee, happily, as the childe of God, is reserved an inheritance after thou art chastised and refined; watch therefore, and be [Page 360] mindful what Job said: The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, as it hath pleased our Lord, so it is done: blessed be the Name of our Lord. They were unjust men who sat about Job, lying all putrified with scres and ulcers: and he (who after­wards was to be received) was scour­ged, while they were spared for future punishment. God reserveth all till the time of his punishment. The good men live in labour and travell, because they are scourged as children: the evill exult and are suffered to live at their own pleasure, because they are con­demned as strangers. The enemy is outragious indeed, but it nothing a­vails him. What is it then afflicts thee? Well may he exercise thee, but he can­not hurt thee. Nay, his cutrage will ra­ther profit thee, and his cruelty crown thee with victory; which surely should be none at all, hadst thou no adversary. And what need should we have of Gods help, had we no combat? Let then our adversary do his worst, but the enemy shall not profit therein. Let us therefore persevere patiently: the more pain and punishment now; the more reward and glory shall we have in time to come.

THE THIRD PART.

CHAP. I. That afflictions are to be en­dured patiently.

GEnerous and well bred horses learn somtimes of their riders many qua­lities; as namely, to suffer with pa­tience, not onely their Master to back them, but also to kneel down to him when he is to mount them; which [Page 362] quality we must not look for of the cart, mill or plough horse. King Alex­ander of Macedon had a horse called Bucephalus, bought for 7080. crowns. This horse after he had once been a­dorned with the Kings furniture and trappings, and with a foaming mouth champed his bit, would admit no other rider, but the King himself.

Whosoever hath learned milde and gentle conditions in the School of Pa­tience, is the man who acknowledgeth Christ his Soveraigne Lord, bends his knees to him, and is most ready to do & suffer all things that shall seem good to this his Lord and Master. But these so commendable and pleasing conditi­ons, are learned only in the School of Patience, whereof we have treated in two severall parts. First, what crosses, or what kinde of afflictions are wont to exercise mankinde: The other, what use we should make of these af­flictions. That which follows is the third, and indeed the principall in this matter: to wit, by what means we may endure afflictions. This is not on­ly profitable, but even necessary to be known. For what doth it avail thee to know what thou sufferest, if thou [Page 363] know not how to suffer it? This we will set down in order, but as succinct­ly as may be. The first document is: That affliction is to be endured pati­ently: We are not worth speaking of in the School of Patience, if we be impatient. What therefore it is to be patient, in the midst of misery, we will now declare.

Sect. I.

IT is an excellent saying of the An­cients: A good man never careth what, but how well he suffers: many trophees have been erected by force, but more by patience. Christ, dis­coursing of the most happy liberty that may be, saith: In your patience you shall possesse your souls. So far is an impatient man from possessing himself, and that which is his, that he even overthrows himself, and whatso­ever is in his charge: he is not the master of himself, but a slave to vices. Hereupon Bildad asketh Job: Why destroyest thou thy soul in thy fury? The impatient man gives way & free rains to his own passions, and thereby thrusts, as it were, out of the windows, [Page 364] the freedome of reason, and sustaines losse in many things. But the patient man preserves both himselfe and all he hath, and is more valiant then the valiantest; which Salomon confir­ming, saith: B [...]tter is the patient then a strong man: and he that ruleth his minde, then the overthrower of cities. For a patient man setteth a sure guard, not only over his mouth & hand, but even over his cogitations. By patience anger is suppressed, the will curbd, the suddaine rashnesse of the hands re­strained, and the poyson of the tongue abolished.

If it be said of a pratler, This man cannot rule his tongue, the same may be verified of an impatient man; He hath no government in his anger. Re­venge and wrath transport and drive him headlong whither they list; he hath whole hoasts of rancorous thoughts, all led by impatience. No man shall ever have perfect dominion over his passions, but by patience. In your patience you shall possesse your souls: not in your policie or prudence; not in your fortune, wealth, or riches, but in your patience you shall possesse your soules.

[Page 365] But know you not the definition of patience? this it is: Patience is a vo­luntary suffering without any com­plaint for what things soever happen or b [...]fall a man otherwise then he ex­pected. But we (forsooth) being men singular in our own conceits, want not a cloake and faire pretext for our im­patience and complaints; these are the words of such delicate persons: A­las! those things which oppresse us, are too troublesome, too difficult, and too hard to be indured.

O you Christians! it is not the huge weight of your crosse, but the weak­nesse of you that beare it, which cau­seth impatience. He that builds a house, when he covers it, doth it not with intent to keep the roofe-free from rain, haile, or snow, but that it may without damage endure, and beare out haile, snow, and rain. He that builds a ship, seeks not to secure it from waves and stormes, but to prevent all chinkes, and make it tite against lea­king. He that fears the sharpnesse of the weather in respect of his health, goes not about to hinder or withstand the nipping northern winds, or hinder them from blowing upon him, but keeps [Page 366] his head as warme as he can, and his feet free from cold and moisture. The same should be observed in our man­ners and course of life, but we practise the quite contrary. For our greatest care is to keep our selves from sick­nesse, poverty, and contempt, whereas we should be most carefull to be pati­ent in sicknesse, poverty and contempt. Assuredly it is a signe of no great per­f [...]ction in Christian pietie, for a man onely to desire health, riches, and ho­nours: what great matter, I pray you, is there in these things? But to be a­ble prudently to beare sicknesse, want, and contempt, is vertue indeed, and true magnanimity and greatnesse. We need use no Art to avoid miseries, but the best use of Art is in suffering them patiently. Wherein I am of Bi­ons opinion.

This Philosopher, as Laertius re­ports, was wont to say: That it was a great, yea even the greatest misery of all, not to be able to endure misery. To whi [...]h purpose the ancient Poet spea­keth in this manner: It is no misery to suffer misery; but to be ignorant how to suffer it, is a misery. And surely he that knowes not how to doe this, [Page 367] knowes not how to live. No man takes contentment in this life, but he that hath learned to beare the miseries therof. For example: The stone and gout are said to be the greatest and the most intollerable torments in the world, paines which even make men mad: yet there have been eminent per­sons who have patiently borne these paines how great soever.

Carneades came to visit Agesilaus when he lay grievously sicke of the gout; and fearing lest he might by discoursing exasperate him, spake as compendiously as he could, and took his leave. But Agesilaus said unto him: Stay, I pray you Carneades, and withall pointed with his finger first to his feet, and then to his breast: No­thing (quoth he) from these parts comes hither. By which speech he made known that his heart was sound, merry, and able to endure paine, though his feet were, as he saw, mi­serably swolne, and afflicted with the gout.

A Prince of the Empire visited Charles the fifth, Emperour of famous memory, and finding him much tor­mented with the gout, used such words [Page 368] as he thought might most mitigate his pains; and above other questions, was most importunate in asking, Why his Majesty applied no remedies, ha­ving so many excellent Physitions a­bout him: To whom the Emperour an­swered: In a disease of this nature, Pa­tience is the best remedy. It is this that keepes the tongue, hands, and thoughts, yea and the minde it selfe in their duties.

Sect. II.

THere are many speeches and docu­ments of Patience, whereof some few we will set downe in this place, out of Tertullian, a writer (albeit he were of Africk) very learned.

1. Patience in bearing injuries.

IT is the admonition of our Lord: If a man strike thee on one check, turne also the other; thy patience will as­swage the wickednesse of thy adversa­ry. Thou givest him a greater blow by bearing it patiently, then by reven­ging [Page 369] it; for he shall receive sufficient pun [...]shment from him, for whose sake thou endurest it. When bitternesse shall break forth by way of railing, or detraction, observe what is said, and if it be against thee, be glad of it.

2. Patience in forbearing to revenge.

THE chiefest provocation to impa­tience is the desire of revenge, which is set a worke either to preserve a mans reputation, or to satisfie his malice. But glory and reputation, is no other then a vaine opinion, and malice alwaies hatefull in the sight of our Lord; especially in this case, when being provoked by the malice of another, he assumes superiority to him­sel [...]e in taking revenge. For what dif­ference is there between him that of­fereth, and him that revengeth an in­jury, but only this, that the one is an offender in the first place, and the o­ther after? Both of them are guilty of sinne before our Lord, who for­bids us all wickednesse and condemns it: for absolutely we are commanded not to render ev [...]ll for evill.

[Page 370] What honour shall we offer up to our Lord, if we arrogate to our selves our owne revenge? How can we be­lieve him to be a judge if not a reven­ger? He that acteth his owne revenge, taketh aw [...]y Gods honour, who ought to be the only judge. What have I to do, then, with revenging mine owne injury, seeing I can use no moderation therein, through impatience of mygrief? And if I have patience, I shall find my self not grieved, & if not greived, I shall never desire to be revenged; nothing undertaken with impatience, can bee performed without violence; whatso­ever is performed with violence, proo­veth either sinfull, ruinous or head­long; And to conclude briefly, all sin whatsoever it be, is to be ascribed to impatience.

3. Patience in the losse of goods.

PAtience in losses, is an exercise in giving. He will never sticke to give, who feares not to lose: otherwise how should a man who hath two coats bee content to give one of them to [Page 371] cloath the naked, unlesse he be such an one as can find in his heart to offer his cloak to one that hath before taken his coate? How shall we be able to pro­cure our selves friends from our wicked M [...]m [...]mon, if we be so far in love with it, that we cannot endure to lose it? we shall even lose our selves in the losse thereof.

It is the property of Gentiles to be impatient in all their losses, and to prefer their money before their soules; but we to shew how different we are from them, ought not to lay down our soule for our money, but our money for our soul, either by giving it willing­ly, or losing it patiently. Let me lose the whole world, so I may gaine Patience. For whom but the patient alone did our Lord call happy?

4. Patience in enduring other afflictions.

IT becomes us to rejoyce and give thanks to Almighty God, when he vouchsafeth to chastise us. I, saith he, chastise those who I love. O most happy is that servant whom our Lord [Page 372] goeth about serviously to correct, and with whom he vouchsafeth to be an­gry: happy whom he deceives not with faire entreaties, and too gentle admo­nitions; patience is beautifull and comely in all sexes and ages. The pa­tient man fulfilles the law of Christ. We ought not therefore to continue so much as one day without Patience: Patience never commits evill. Love sustaines, endures all things, for this cause alone, for that it is patient; Up­on all occasions therefore we are bound to inure our selves to Pati­ence.

5. The habit and garment of Patience.

Patience hath a mild and serene coun­tenance, a smooth brow, not con­tracted with frownes, or knit with wrinkles of anger or griefe: she hath cheerefull and large eie-browes, and eies submissive looking downeward, not basely dejected with discontent o [...] misfortune: a mouth in comely man­ner sealed up with silence: a cou [...]oue in her cheekes such as may testifie secu­rity [Page 373] and innocence: a frequent bending of her head towards her adversary, and a threatning kind of smile; as for her apparell, that which is about her breast is white and close to her body, as one not puft up with pride, perturbation, or discontent. For upon her throne sits a mild and genl [...] spirit, not encompas­sed with stormes, clouds, or whirle­winds, but cleare and neate, simple, o­pen and without guile; which spirit, appeared thrice to Elias. For where God is, there likewise is Patience his dearly beloved daughter.

6. The praises or attributes of Patience.

GOD Is a sufficient umpire for Pa­tience. If thou lay open an injury before h [...]m, he is a revenger: If thou acquaint him with thy losse and dam­age, he will restore it: If thou mani­fest thy griefe and sicknesse, he will be thy Physition: nay, if thou beest e­ven dead, he will revive thee. How great are the priviledges of Patience, to which God himself becomes a deb­tour? And with good reason: For she [Page 374] upholds and maintaines all his de­crees, and concurres with his com­mandments. She strengthneth faith, establisheth peace, assisteth charity, instructeth humility, expecteth repen­tance, assigneth time for confession, governeth the flesh, preserveth the spi­rit, restraineth the tongue, withhol­deth the hand, repells temptati­ons, drives away scandalls, accom­plisheth martyrdomes, comforts the po [...]re, qualifies the rich, wracks not the infirme, consumes not the strong, delights the faithfull, invites the meeke, commends the servant to the master, and the master to God, adorneth the wife, and approveth the husband: is beloved of children, praised of yong men, and honoured of old.

Let us therefore love the patience of God, the patience of Christ; let us repay that which he hath laid out for us; let us offer the patience of our spirit, the patience of our flesh, wee who beleeve in the resurection of the flesh and the spirit. Thus Tertullian of Patience.

Sect. III.

THeodoretus recounts that the di­vell threatned most cruelly to beat James the anchorite, who, being whol­ly armed with Patience, answered with a cheerefull looke and mild coun­tenance, such as Patience is wont to put on: beate me, and spare me not, if God permit thee; most willingly will I receive blows, knowing they come from our Lord, not from thee: & if thou beest not permitted, thou shalt have no power to str [...]ke me, nor so much as to touch me, though thou fret and chafe never so much, how mad so ever thou beest. Let every one of us freely say the like to all those whom he takes for his enemies. If God hath given you power, go on, beat me, teare me with your teeth, heape all the injuries you can upon me, in vaine were it for me to resist you: but if you have no po­wer, gape you never so much, whet your teeth never so much, you shall not bite, nor so much as touch me.

That most blessed Bishop, Gregory the great, did not only write singular documents of Patience, but also by ex­ample [Page 376] confirmed his doctrine: both taught and practised it. For to Mauri­tius the Emperour, by whom he was diversly injured, he returned this ans­wer in writing: for so much as daily I offend my God, I verily hope that these incessant afflictions which I continu­ally suffer, will stand another day be­tweene me and his terrible judge­ment; and I beleeve, most excellent Prince, you goe as fat beyond me in pleasing that great Lord, as you are ri­gorous in correcting me, who am so ill a servant of his

O my God! What patience, what a submission was this? He said most truly indeed: Patience is a remedy for all griefs. What Saint was ever crowned without Patience?

It is a saying amongst Grammarians, There is no generall rule without some exception; yet this rule of Pa­tience is without exception. Therefore St. Paul prescribed it so strictly: Be pa­tient, quoth he, to all, with all humility & patience. Patience is to be exercised without exception, in all things, in all places, at all times, and to all kinde of persons: for without patience there can be no perfect vertue. Contrari­wise [Page 377] impatience is the mother of all vice; from whence, as it were from a fountain, are derived many streams of hainous sins and offences. The impa­tient man never condescendeth unto any, the patient never resisteth or im­pugneth. The naturall properties of impatience may be found in the De­vill himself. Impatience is the parent of absurd and sottish madnesse. For what can be more foolish, what a grea­ter signe of madnesse, then for a man willingly to double his owne evill, and reject the reward promised to him that is Patient?

An impatient man, for the losse of a farthing, throwes a whole purse of money away: take but one care of corne from him and he will fire the whole sheafe. Such a one lived in the court of the Emperour Rodolphus the second: a noble man of his privy chamber, who bringing a chrystall glasse full of water, in the morning, to wash the Emperours face, by chance let fall the cover unawares, and with it dashed the whole glasse it selfe against the ground, saying: let the divell take the horse too, since he hath the saddle; thus hee cast away fowre hundred [Page 378] crownes at one blow, for at so much the chrystall glasse was valued. Thus a light losse is many times doubled with a far greater: thus small incon­veniences are through impatience aug­mented with great [...]amages.

It is the saying of Salomon. He that is impatient shall sustain damage. The more repugnance a man hath in suffe­ring, the more grievously he feeles that which he suffers; like wild beasts, which, whilest they strive and struggle, pull the snare the closer; like poore birds, more entangled with lime-twiggs, whilest for feare they flutter and seeke to get out. There is no yoke so strait, but hurts him lesse that is willingly led, then it doth another who strives a­gainst it. Therefore a wise man endea­vours to be patient in all things; a foole knowes neither how to doe, nor suffer; very well saith Salomon: he that is patient is governed with much w [...]sdome: the impatient man shall worke folly.

Therefore Saint Gregory said: eve­ry Greg▪ hom. 35. in Eva [...]. one seemeth to be so much the lesse learned, as he is discovered to have lesse patience; so it is directly, for e­very one the more foolish and simple [Page 379] he is, the more he exceeds in impati­ence; which Salomon likewise expres­ly affirmes: that the learning of a man is knowne by his patience; but fooles and impatient men are mad and rage against themselves, overthrow the table, clatter the pots, teare their haire, strike their breasts and thighes, and sometimes knocke their heads against a post; as Augustus Ce­sar knocking his head against a wall, exclaimed: Restore my legions again, Var [...]s, restore them: Thus every mans indignation lights heaviest on him­selfe.

Sect. IV.

HEnce comes it, that we are exaspe­rated many times for triviall and base things: the negligence or slacknes of a boy; or a fire not kindled in due season, sets us quite off the hookes; a table negligently covered, moves us forthwith to choler, and pro­vokes us to impatience: we quar­rell with the pen we write with, the horse we ride on, and the cloathes we weare. From whence (think you) arise these and such like speeches▪ [Page 380] What divell brought this man hither? What unluckie hell hound hath laid upon us this heavy burthen? Whence comes this troublesome and into­lerable villaine? O how I am wea­ried with this labour, which is to such small purpose! O how these wicked men trample upon me! and why do I not abandon them, and flye as farre as I can from this troublesome worke? Thus we miserably wrastle and wrangle with our labours and crosses.

Very fitly here, as Balaams Asse said to him, may our labours that vexe us, our crosses whereon we are cruci­fied, speak to us, as Moses and Aaron did to the people: What, I pray you, are we? neither is your murmuring a­gainst us, but against our Lord. E­very crosse may truly say; What have I done to you, that you should so sto­macke the matter? have patience to­wards me, and I will render all: give way a little (I beseech you) to pa­tience, s [...]ffer your selfe for a while to be in misery, and another day you shall be rewarded with an hundred fold.

But too many, sayest thou, and too grievous calamities infest us at one time. Is it so indeed (my masters?) [Page 381] can we expect commendations for our patience, by suffering so little, or no­thing at all? It is learnedly said of S. Gregory, and to the purpose: Thinke, I beseech you, what shall become of Greg to. 4. l. 9. Epist. 39. post initium. mihi p 344. patience, if you have nothing to suffer? I shall never repute any one an Abel, that hath not a Cain. For good men, if they be exempted from evill, can not be perfectly good, because they are not purified and refined. The very compa­ny and conversation of evill men pur­geth the good.

Wherefore this daily must be incul­cated: Have patience, I beseech you, have patience, I pray, even for Christs sake, be patient. Patience is a salve for every sore. And as we must alwayes call upon sluggish and slothfull per­sons: Go to, make haste, away, dis­patch, be quicke: So we, impatient creatures, must still be put in minde: Go to, patiently, Christian brother, patiently: beare this, or that, or the o­ther thing, and all things patiently.

Here we had need to have the young man at our elbow, to admonish us, who every day saluted Philip King of Ma­cedon, with these words, Thou art a man. Let the same youth, every houre, [Page 382] or even every minute, call upon us: Gently and patiently I beseech you. Whatsoever vexeth or oppresseth us, is to be endured patiently.

Sect. V.

WE many times forget our selves, we remember not that we are in ba­nishment, where all miseries whatso­ever should be born with patience.

Ah! (Christians) why are we in such eager quest after delights? we have lost paradise, from thence we have been long since exiled. It is true, we take our journey that way againe, towards Paradise we bend our course, but we are not yet arrived. He that thinkes this journey passable without patience, is like him who goes in the raine without cloak or hat, or without a sword and target amongst his ene­mies.

The patient man is armed on all sides, cap a p [...]; and, which is the most glorious kinde of victory, overcomes all his enemies, not by striking, but by suffering. The patient man walkes through coales, as through roses.

Isaias fortified with this strength of [Page 383] patience, calls upon our Lord whilst he is cut in peeces: Stephen begged par­don for his enemies that stoned him: the Apostles are scourged, beheaded, crucified, and yet triumph with Christ on the crosse. Patience hath a perfect worke.

Patience, as Saint Cyprian saith, o­vercomes Cyprian. tract de Pa­tient. serm. 1. initio. temptations, beares persecu­tions, and accomplisheth martyrdomes. It is she alone which firmly strengthe­neth the foundations of our faith. Pa­tience, by the testimony of Tertulli­an, is beautifull in all sexes, in all ages. Patience is the guardian of all vertues. Patience is an impenetrable brest­plate. Saint Augustine gives her this Aug. in ps. 42. circa med. Plin. l. 21. nat. hist. cap. 11. initio. ubi haec Herba et [...]am Nict [...] ­gretum. &, Echonomy­chon app [...]lla­tur. commendation: that all patience is sweet and acceptable unto God. Pliny saith there is a certaine hearbe called Nyctilopa because it shines a far off in the night, being of a fiery colour, and having thornes instead of leaves: The Parthian kings make use thereof, when they take their vowes. Behold an excellent symbol of patience. Pati­ence is on all sides rather guarded with thornes, then beset with leaves: she is of the colour of fire, and in time of affliction sends forth her native splen­dor, [Page 384] never more illustrious then when she is for Christs sake most disaste­rous.

The only remedy for all evills in the Schoole of Patience, is to suffer Seneca lib. 3. del [...]a cap. 16 Tho. de Kemp. J [...]it. Christi l. 2. ca. 3. sine. and give way to necessities. It is the saying of an excellent writer: he that knoweth best how to suffer, shall hare most peace. This is the man that ma­sters himselfe, becomes Lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and heire to the kingdome of Heaven. If thou E [...] lib. 3. cap. 35. initio. guard not every side with the shield of Patience, thou shalt not be long unwounded.

CHAP. II. That afflictions are to be born cheerefully.

PHARAOH King of Egypt was affli­cted with di [...]e [...]s calamities, because he contumaciously withstood the will of God, and would not dismisse the people of Israell. But [Page 385] after the losse and slaughter of so many men and beasts, he, of his owne ac­cord, forced the Jewes to depart: arise, quoth he, and goe forth from my peo­ple, you and the children of Israel: goe sacrifice to the Lord as you say. And the Egyptians urged the people to go forth out of the land quickly; the Israelites were as glad and willing to goe, as they to urge them, and with a cheerefull countenance tooke their leave, for indeed they brought with them away the best commodities of all Egypt.

Whosoever have profited in the Schoole of Patience, most willingly and cheerefully take their leave of E­gypt, bid the world adieu, and all the delights thereof, and are contented to suffer adversity. And this is a further and higher degree of suffering calami­ty, to wit cheerefully. Wherefore in this chapter we will declare, that all adversity is to be borne not only Pati­ently, but even cheerefully.

Sect. I.

IT is an old saying among the Ger­mans: he that stoutly drawes his [Page 386] sword, hath gotten halfe the victory. And doubtlesse a good heart in a dif­ficult businesse helpeth much, there­fore the greater a mans miseries are, with so much the more courage let him say: shrink not at storms, but rather with more courage, venture on: Fie; teares are vaine, it is not they can wash away these harmes; but a cheer­full minde, erected and confident is God, triumphes over all miseries; What will it availe thee to punish thy selfe with griefe? To be out of heart, is willingly to yield the victory; none but cowards mourne and pine away to death; he seldome overcomes, who des­paires of victory before the battell.

Be assured, no man will ever stile thee Doctor in the Schoole of Pati­ence, if thou want a merry and cheer­full heart. Here doubtlesse if any where, it is expected a man should boldly enterprise, and bravely charge his enemy. Go to therefore, and beare that cheerfully which m [...]st be borne. Sing with the kingly Psalmist; I will receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. A sad & dejected mind is a bar & hindrance to all joy and triumphes. Very well [Page 387] said Nicetas Chroniates: what may not alacrity do, and a good heart in a crosse and disastrous businesse?

Behold Christ our Lord! who when joy was proposed, sustained the crosse, contemning confusion. Our Saviour obtained a double reward both for himselfe and us: for himselfe, the glo­ry of his humane body, and dominion over the world: for us, grace and sal­vation both of soul and body; with this reward, as a joy proposed, he so qualified and tempered all his tor­ments, that being to undergoe a most bitter and ignominious death, he made shew of admirable joy and exultation. Therefore contemning all confusion, he said, with a desire have I desired to eate this pasche with you before I suf­fer. Alas a bloudy paschel yet he desi­red it: and, as if he had gone to a most delicious banquet, hastned joyfully & cheerfully to Jerusalem; like a giant he exulted to run his race; What race I beseech you? surely, from Pilates house to Golgotha; and therefore being on his way forbad all weeping.

For being in very deed to suffer a most cruell death, he offered himselfe, not only as a sacrifice, with a free and [Page 388] liberall heart, with a cheerfull and se­rene countenance; but even from the first moment that he took flesh in the womb of his mother, he had most clearly present before his eyes, the crosse, and all the passages of his passi­on. Note this well. Thus Christ, during the whole time he continued in humane flesh, be­held still, as it were with his eyes, his stripes at the pillar, and his nailing on the crosse. So that I may well say, Christ was tormented upon the Crosse not onely three houres, but even three and thirty yeares and more; and yet, having joy proposed, he endured all this pat [...]ently.

Sect. II.

AND so did the Disciples of our Lord: for though they had their fill of stripes and ignominies, yet they thir­sted after stripes and ignominies for their Lords sake. For they went re­joycing, for that they were accounted worthy to suffer contumely for the name of Jesus. The Bishops and high Priests of the Jewes seriously consult amongst themselves: What shall we do with these men? The more cruelly [Page 389] they are afflicted with whips and im­prisonment, the more ardently they preach this crucified man: they con­temne our threats: they go to our pri­sons with alacri [...]y, and take stripes with infinite contentment: what shall▪ we do with them? Saint Chrysostome Chrystom. 5. hom 54. ad Antio pop. mihi p. 367. saith. The Apostles were scourged, & rejoyced; were cast in prison, and ren­dred thankes; were stoned, and prea­ched. This is the joy that I likewise would have.

And this is to suffer cheerfully for our Lord, to repute ignominy an ho­nor; miseries, the truest pleasures and contentments. And if you suffer any thing (saith Saint Peter) for justice, you are blessed. Esteem it all joy, saith Saint James, when you fall into divers temptations. Blessed is the man who suffers temptation. Was it onely S. Peter and S. James that said this? Christ himselfe saith: Blessed are you when men shall speak evill of you, and persecute you, accusing you falsly for my sake: rejoyce and exult, because your reward is great in heaven. But some are so effeminate, that they will not hearken to this Philosophy.

Henry Suso, a holy religious man, [Page 390] spake with great confidence to God in this manner: This (quoth he) O Lord! is that which troubles some so much, and therefore they say thou hast so few friends in the world, because thou handlest them so roughly, and hence it comes that so many fall from thee. What answer makest thou to this, my Lord? But in very deed, that man well experienced in divine mat­ters, knew calamities to be benefites of so high a price, and worthy of so cheerfull an acceptance, that he doub­ted not to say: That one hundred yeares of prayer to God daily upon our knees, would not be sufficient worthily to beg so much as one onely crosse. Why then should we not rejoyce, when God vonchsafes this favour by father­ly chastisement? How joyfull was S. Paul when he uttered these words? I am replenished with consolation, I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation. And if I be immola­ted upon the sacrifice of your faith, I rejoyce and congratulate you all, and do you rejoyce for the same, and con­gratulate me. Heaps of snow (saith Saint Chrysostome.) daily fell upon him, and he is as it were in paradise. [Page 391] Saint Stephens face shone like an An­gels; the cause whereof Milarius Are­latensis assigning, saith: This procee­ded from the abundant joy and com­fort, and from a certaine glory he had shining in his heart: For Saint Ste­phen doubtlesse felt that which Saint James spake of: Esteem it (my bro­thers) all joy that may be, when you fall into sundry temptations.

Sect. III.

ZAchary prophesying of these men, said, They shall be as the valiant Champions of Ephtaim, and their heart shall be made cheerfull with wine. So Josue, of the tribe of E­phraim, out of hope of gaining the land of Promise, a most pleasant and fruitfull countrey, boldly exposed him­selfe to all perils and dangers. Whence (I pray you) proceeds this strength, this courage of minde? Their heart shall be cheered up, as it were, with wine. Wine, the symbole of eter­nall felicity, makes them so couragi­ous against all adversity. For they shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house. Now we rejoyce, but as it [Page 392] were with wine: for we have not as yet possession of beatitude. Comfor­ting our selves onely with hope, thi­ther with all our forces we hasten. This caused the Christian Martyrs to be so resolute and fearlesse, insomuch as e­ven laughing for joy, they advanced to crosses, wheels, fires and gibbets; their hearts were cheered with this wine, Saint Augustine saith of them: Doing and suffering such things, they were most infinitely glad and joyfull. It was a pleasure to them to give themselves and their lives for him who had suffe­red much more for them: and the in­explicable reward they expected, d [...]d wonderfully inflame them.

Let us therefore cheerfully, I be­seech you, O Christians! let us cheer­fully run to this goal of suffering pa­tiently. The crosse is not extraordi­nary high whereon we are to be exten­ded, no rack to rend or wound our bo­dies, no red hot gridiron to lye upon, no huge massie stones to crush us, or to be embrewed with our bloud, no frying pans to scort [...]h us alive. We have no other crosses but daily mi­series, and those exceeding gentle and tolerable: why shrink we at them? [Page 393] The more labour, the greater shall be our reward; the more painfull the combat, the nobler the victory. There­fore on cheerfully.

The Germans in times past were wont to encourage their Minstrils at weddings after this manner: Come on Piper, blow up lustily The greater our miseries are, the more let us en­courage our selves; Come on Stephen, John; Come on Paul, cheer up: praise God even for this, that it is his plea­sure to send us misery. Take heed no bitternesse possesse thy tongue or minde. A merry heart makes a flou­rishing old age; a sad and lumpish spirit dries the very marrow of the bones. He that bears miseries with grief and dolour, doth as if he dashed against the walls a fair lute or harp, which he should rather sing to, or play upon; which Saint Augustine most truly confirmed, saying, If thou beest dejected in tribulations, thou hast broken thy harp. For doubtlesse through grief of minde the spirit is de­jected, saith the Hebrew Wiseman; If thou shak despair, being tired out in the day of distresse, thy strength shall be weakened. Then the lute [Page 394] and harp are broken, and the musick marred.

Behold Paul of Tarsus, How far was he from breaking his harp? Nay, hear how skilfully he played upon it. I rejoyce (quoth he) in my sufferings. The same example Saint Peter invites us to imitate. Rejoyce (saith he) when you communicate with Christ in his sufferings.

That Angelicall Messenger from heaven, entering Tobies house, said: Joy be alwayes unto thee Tobie: Where is thy harp? Why singest thou not to God? Why drivest thou not thy grief away with gladnesse? Tobie an­swers, What joy can I have, sith I am despoiled of my goods, deprived of my sight, and destitute of my friends? But the heavenly young man replyed; Be notwithstanding alwayes joyfull. Then Tobie answers: All joy is ba­nished from so sorrowfull a house. The Angel assures no grief can be where Gods favour (the fountain of all joy) resides. Tobie replies, that they who are miserable indeed can hardly sup­presse their grief. But the Angel said again: Thou shalt shortly be cured by the hand of God, be of good courage.

[Page 395] Wherefore, (O my Toby! and thou my Christian brother) be joyfull alwayes, even amongst tears. St. Chry­sostome testifieth that no armour is stronger, or more of proof, then to re­joyce in God. Let us rejoyce, saith he, when we are afflicted with adversity; for this is the way to expiate our sins.

Sect. IV.

YEt we condemn not all sadnesse, nor blame that which worketh re­pentance, and thereby sure salvation. Christ at the same time when he had said; My soul is sorrowfull even to death; uttered likewise: Arise, let us go. And thereupon, stoutly advancing himself forward, encountered his ene­mies. Joy and tears are no ill conjun­ctions, both are compatible in one place. Let thy mouth (whilst the tears trickle down thy cheeks) sing and rejoyce; let thy minde be reso­lute and joyfull, whilst thy face looks pale and wan. Let us be, as Saint Paul saith, sorrowfull, as it were, and yet alwayes rejoycing in all things; let us shew our selves, as the Ministers of God, in much patience. Sorrowfull, [Page 396] as it were: for all good mens sorrow, as Saint Anselme observeth, is quick­ly at an end, it is but as a dreame or shadow. Let us then persevere con­stantly, for dreames passe away, and shadowes vanish.

Wild bullaces and green grapes may perhaps set our teeth on edge, but offend not our stomackes: such are our miseries: they p [...]nch and trouble us, but, unlesse thou wilt thy selfe, they deprive thee not of true comfort Mark the fencers, you shall seldome see them come into the lists without some losse of bloud; Yet will they leape and ca­per amidst their wounds, and often­times the more bloud is shed upon the stage, the more laughter is caused.

We are also upon the stage, there cannot be a greater shame then to fall a blubbering there. Let us then learne to behold manfully our own wounds bleed, without weeping. He that who­ly resignes himself to the will and pro­vidence of God, reaps thereby perpe­tuall contentment, even amongst the conflicts of most grievous misfortunes. This man like an old souldier beholds boldly his owne bloud with an un­daunted spirit; what matter is it to re­joyce [Page 397] when thou hast all the world at will? Every impatient man is able to do this; he will confesse unto thee, O Lord, so long as thou dealest well with him; but if he be not satisfied he will murmur.

It is the advise of Saint James the great; Is any of you contristated? Let him pray: Is he wellcontent in mind? Let him sing Psalms let him fly aloft, sing cheerfully praise unto God, as those three Hebrew children did, to whom the flames were no other then dewy roses.

Sect. V.

LEwis of Granada reporteth certaine things of a religious man well wor­thy our imitation; this holy man see­ing himselfe on all sides environed with tribulations, said: The happi­nesse I expect is so infinite, that in comparison of that, all torments, all affliction, seeme a sport and pleasure to me. The true and solid joy of a Christian, is to have it in his power to want all joy.

Stephen Bishop of Autun explica­teth that place of Deuteronomy (they [Page 398] shall sucke, as it were milke, the Vixit hic au­thor anno 950. scripta [...]jus extant tom. 6. biblio­theca S. S. P. P. editions secunda. inundation of the sea) after this manner: The inundation of the sea is the abundance of tribulation, which may be said to be sucked when it is re­puted sweet by just men. Milke is the nourishment of little children, and tri­bulation the food of the Elect. He certainly sucked this inundation of the sea, who said: But we likewise rejoyce in tribulations.

This is the property of holy men, the more dejected they lie beaten down here on earth, the higher they are rai­sed in mind, and fly towards heaven. Scarcely shall you find any of the kings better then Ezechias, and yet hardly any of them more afflicted; notwith­standing he got the upper hand of all his calamities, still making way to­wards God with an erected and mag­nanimous spirit.

It is reported that Wenceslaus king of Bohemia (when his army was put to flight, and he himselfe taken priso­ner) being asked, what he thought of his owne estate, answered: Never bet­ter: whilest I relied upon humane for­ces, my cogitations were more seldome upon God; but now that I am depri­ved [Page 399] of all these, I place my hope only in God, and admit almost no other thought but only of his divine assi­stance, who never forsakes those that trust in him. Behold, as I said before, how good men the more calamity they sustaine, the more they are advan­ced in divine affaires.

The Romane wise man often in­culcates this question: What is the principall thing to be required in hu­mane casualities? And maketh this answer: to be able cheerefully to bear adversity: To suffer whatsoever shall happen, with such magnanimity as if it had happened according to thine own liking; For surely (presupposing that all comes from the decree of God) it is no lesse then thou oughtest to beare: To weep, grone, and com­plaine, is to revolt and rebell against the divine ordinance: What is the foundation of all? A minde stout and resolute against all calamity; a­gainst all excesse and superfluity, not only an opposition, but even a hatred: What is the chiefest vertue? To ele­vate thy thoughts above all casuall things, to be mindfull of humane con­dition, to consider if thou beest fortu­nate [Page 400] that state will not long continue: if otherwise, that thou are not indeed unfortunate, unlesse thou repute thy selfe to be such.

Therefore, O you Christians! we must beare joyfully, and cheerefully what adversity so [...]v [...]r comes from that supreme hand; not any way repining, or as if we did it by compulsion, for God loveth a cheerefull giver. We must make our selves proficients, and not dwell alwaies in the lowest forme: we should never thinke our selves to have profited so much, but that we may sing somewhat a higher note. He is not to be accounted the prime scholar in the S [...]hoole of Patience, who only beares that patiently which is to bee borne, but he likewise that beares it cheerfully and willingly, this scho­lar deserves the best, [...]or at least none of the worst rewards: God loves a cheerefull giver.

CHAP. III. That afflictions are to be borne constantly.

THere is a sport a­mongst children to lash a top with a scourge. The manner of it is thus; when the top tired as it were, with long standing begins to stagger and reele, as if it would instantly fall, the boy fetcheth it up againe with his scourge, and sets it a going, and when it begins afterward to falter, he fetcheth it a­bout againe and againe with his scourge, making it sleepe, and not suf­fering it to dy under his hands. This sport God playes with the world: God handleth us men like tops; many are ready instantly to perish, when behold God is at their backs, and lasheth them up againe with his scourge; he strikes [Page 402] to confirme them, and wounds, to cure them; he pulls them down to see them up againe: he loads them with evills in this transitory world, that he may heape all benefits upon them in the eternall. We are balls, we are tops: it is God that strikes the ball, and whips the top: and this he doth with so many blows, with so many stripes, that we may not only beare our crosse pa­tiently and cheerefully, but likewise constantly. And this is the third man­ner of carrying our crosse, to wit con­stantly. Which constancy and what kind thereof is necessary in adversity, we will now declare.

Sect. I.

IT was an old saying of the Ancients, To keep still the same countenance, is proper to Socrates. Which speech we may somewhat alter, saying: To retain still one and the same minde, is peculiar to a Christian. And this for the most part, is the greatest complaint in the School of Patience, that we be­gin many things well, but end them o­therwise. It is an ill end, when we fi­nish our works before they come to an [Page 403] end. What, I pray, may we thinke of him, who with infinite forwardnesse takes upon his shoulders the crosse of Christ, but finding it more burdensome then he took it to be, leanes it against his neighbours house, and confessing himselfe to faint under his burden, re­quests him to hire a Porter to carry it for him. This man took up his crosse amongst others, but he held not out to the end. So shall you see now and then poore decrepit people take up a burthen of stickes in the forrest to carry home to the fire; but increasing it (as commonly they do by the way) leave it afterward in the plain field: So we at last, having spent all our pa­tience, breake into these complaints: What man living, say we, is able to en­dure such infinite, such intolerable la­bours? Is there any heart in the world that will not breake with these mise­ries▪ What man (albeit he were of brasse) can subsist amongst so many misfortunes? These calamities are too too long, and even endlesse. Thus we faint, languish, and in the end fall with­out recovery.

Who persevereth to the end, O you good men!) who persevereth to the [Page 404] end, shall be saved. The constancie of Christ our Lord, how much and how diversly was it tried on the crosse? If he be the King of the Jewes, say they, if the Sonne of God, let him de­scend now from the crosse, and we will beleeve in him. But, because he was the Sonne of God (as most elegantly answereth Saint Chrysostome) there­fore he descended not from the crosse: whereas surely it had beene as easie for him to have descended from the crosse, as it was to rise out of the Sepulchre. But to the end he might instruct us in patience (saith Saint Augustine) he deferred his power. The children of God are constant, and end no, be­fore they have pronou [...]ced, Consumma­tum est.

They are permitted indeed to pray in these very words: Father, let this cup passe from me; but this must still be added: Neverthelesse, not my will, but thine be done. This bitter cup, (O my God! if it be the blessed will) I purpose to drinke up even to the ut­most dregs.

It is the Gold-smiths Art to know, how long the gold is to be tried in the fire: he takes it not out of the fornace, [Page 405] before it be throughly purged. So, doubtlesse, it belongs not to us to know the times or moments which our Father hath reserved in his own power. We are gold, and God the Gold-smith, who will take us out of the fire when it shall seem good to his divine Majesty.

And behold the obstinate constancy of many men in vile and transitory matters. How often shall you heare them utter these or the like speeches? I slack not, or give over what I have once begun, I mean to go thorow­stitch, I will get the upper hand in whatsoever I undertake; either a man or a mouse, I will either dye or go a­way with the victory, I will take no rest till I bring this about. Such pa­ternes we may daily see of constan­cie.

How comes it therefore to passe, that our constancie in the Schoole of Patience slacketh and fainteth so sud­denly, so easily? You shall finde some will say: I can endure this no longer. Say rather: I will indure it no longer. For surely, you could if you would. But as horses [...]ire in a long journey: so if miseries and afflictions continue [Page 406] long, our patience is jaded: yea, which is more shamefull, sometimes we yeeld to afflictions before they come [...]eer us, desist and fall off from our en­terprises, daily we alter our judgement, and resolve of quite contrary courses, spending our lives in nought but diver­sity of purposes.

For which cause Seneca prudently Seneca de [...]tio Sapi [...]. cap. 1. & v. 20. adviseth us; Look to this (quoth he) above all things, that thou be constant in thy resolutions. It importeth more to stic [...] to thy purposes, then to pur­pose that which is honest. But [...] men make but a sport of their life: o [...] Judgements are not onely erroneous, but also light and variable: we wave [...] to and fro, resolving one while one thing, another while another; reje­cting what we desired, and desiring a­gain what we rejected: between liking and disliking we keep level-coil. No man propounds to himselfe what he would have, or if he do, he fleets from it before it be effected: and so far is he from onely changing it, that [...]e doth but leave it, and take it again, en­tertaining that which before he had condemned and forsaken. Persist then in what thou hast begun, and persevere [Page 407] with patience. Knowest thou the say­ing of Ecclesiasticus; A fool is change­able as the Moon. Such a Lunatick is grievously diseased.

Sect. II.

GOD loves constancie in every good man. And, I beseech you, let us but think, where, and what we are. In this life we passe our novice-ship: for we are novices, and this world, (the middle region between heaven and hell) is the place assigned to doe it in. As we now behave our selves uprightly and constantly, or otherwise, so shall we have alotted us an eternall habitation, either in heaven or hell. God here takes a triall of our constan­cie, and deferres our reward, that he may render it afterward with inte­rest.

With good reason doth Saint Au­gustine wonder, why God, who was so intimate with Jacob the Patriarch, would conceal from him so long, that his son Joseph was yet alive. The good old man pined away with grief, deem­ing his son Joseph torn in pieces, and devoured by wilde beasts. Yet did not [Page 408] God so much as with one word miti­gate his grief What meant he by this? Surely to try the constancie of Jacob. And therefore he doubled his grief, when he bereft him also of his dearly beloved son Benjamin. With how many experiments (I pray) did God try the constancie of Joseph? He was at the age of seventeen sold by his brothers; ten yeers he past in service, where daily his wanton Mistris sollicited his cha­stity; but so constantly did he with­stand her adulterous desires, that nei­ther threats, tears, nor intreaties could vanquish h [...]m; he persisted unmovea­ble in his purposed chastity. Afterward this most modest young man was cast into prison amongst malefactours, where he spent one yeer with the Kings Butler and Baker. After their delivery, he lived yet two yeers longer in that prison, with marvellous con­stancie, patience, and integrity. For referring himself with all innocencie to Almighty God, he neither sought to defend, nor clear himself by decla­ring how the whole matter had passed; but constantly endured the necessity of his imprisonment, comforting him­self with this one onely hope, that Al­mighty [Page 409] God (whose most vigilant provicence he had often notably expe­tienced) was without all doubt infi­nitely more able to release him when his blessed pleasure was, then they to hold him in prison; which evidently appeared afterward: for having layen three yeers in prison, he was brought forth and presented to King Pharao, who made him Vice-Roy over all Ae­gypt. He was then thirty yeers of age, after which time (in that eminent de­gree, next to the Kings own person) he governed Aegypt fourscore yeers. For such is the usuall manner of God, far to exceed mens merits with his re­wards, and infinitely to surpasse their labours with recompences.

Behold the ample honour and dig­nity of constant patience: Whosoever therefore thou art, persevere faithfull even to death, and thou shalt receive the crown of life.

Let us contemplate and consider the whole frame of Nature: What a­vails it a man to learn superficially any Art or Science, if he attain not to such perfection that he may shew himself a skilfull Artist therein? Why strivest thou to run a race, if thou stayest be­fore [Page 410] thou commest to the end? Why frequentest thou the School of Pati­ence, if thou meanest not to be con­stant in learning? He trifles away his time here, who wastes many d [...]yes, weeks, or moneths under the govern­ment of patience, and at last breaks forth into impatience, saying; I have been scholar long enough, I wax wea­ry of these stale and triviall school-points; hence forward I will be mine own man, and resume my liberty. Let all such scholars get them from this School, they lose their time, they [...]ei­ther know, nor profit any thing, though they learn never so much. In vain they begin who persevere not till the end. They want constancy. And what avails it thee to begin, if thou wilt not persevere? All Gods works are perfect. King Salomon merited most commendation, not for that he began to build the Temple, but be­cause he covered it with a roof, and fi­nished it. Salomon built the Temple, and accomplished the work.

Christ, the most patient Master in this School, makes small account of those scholars who are infinitely indu­strious at the beginning, observe the [Page 411] laws and institutions for a time, give some hope of their proficience; but by degrees fall off, neglect the School, give themselves wholly over to sloth; and at last, know no more then old impatience which they brought with them at the first. Avant you loiterers, pack hence unconstant creatures. He gains not here any repute of learning, who hath not carried himself with such applause, that justly he may be said, Curs [...]m consumm [...]sse.

Consummatum est, is the lesson with which this School is first opened, and finally closed; he that learns not this, hath played the trewant in the School of Patience. The Angel in the Apo­calyps, warneth us to hold what we have, that no man may take our crown from us. This Saint Basil declareth in an elegant Oration, where he extolls the constancie of the forty Martyrs, who in the time of Licinius the Empe­rour, at Sebaste, a Citie of Arme­nia, were compelled to stand naked without doors in a frozen pit, and in the sharp and rough winter season, there to be starved to death. These words and mutuall encouragements were heard amongst them all: Let us [Page 412] fight like Champions, and run this race we have undertaken; at the end thereof we shall be crowned. This voice was ratified by celestiall visions. For one of the souldiers that guarded them, saw Angels sent from heaven with nine and thirty crowns, to bestow upon as many of those Christian Champions, which caused him to marvell, and say within himself: Here are forty persons, but where is the for­tieth crown? Whilst he was thus re­volving this in his minde, one of that blessed number, too indulgent to his own life, and not able to endure the torments, stepped into a warm bath adjoyning. Alas, nice and tender Martyr! What doest thou? Shunnest thou to death? Nay, thou runnest into it in this place where thou seekest to avoid it. For soon after, the poor wretch, not able to abide the sudden change from cold to heat, gave up the ghost. O miserable, thrice miserable wretch! Seeking to shun Sylla, he fell into Charybdis. Short and momentary were the pains he feared, whilst he incurred eternall; and all this, because he lost his constancie. But the rest, e­ven to the last gaspe, continued con­stant, [Page 413] well worthy of their crown, which they obtaned by their full per­severance to the end.

Sect. III.

ANd why should not we persevere in the School of Patience? It is even a minute of time that shuts up all our miseries; a short period ends all our griefs; eternall joy insue [...] after our momentary sorrows. We expect that life (saith Tobie) which God is rea­dy to give those, who never change their faith from him. So run (saith St. Paul) that you may win the prize.

Some questioned the Cynick Phi­losopher in this manner: Tell us Dio­genes (quoth they) why being now so old, do you still dwell in your tub, why renounce you not this rigid course of Philosophie? Ridiculous men (answe­red he;) Would you have me to stack and trifle in the end of my r [...]ce, and suffer another to snatch the prize from me? Nay, I will rather mend my pace, and run faster.

And why are not we of the same minde? What greater folly then to faint when we come neer▪ to the mark? It [Page 414] It is almost within our reach, and d [...] we faulter in our course?

O passi graviora! Dabit Deus his quoque finem.
Virg. Aen.

But much more wisely then Dio­genes did St. Francis of Assisium, as it is told of him, who comming neer to the last conflict of death, after he had many yeers before died most reli­giously to himself: Let us begin, O my brothers! (quoth he) to serve our Lord God, for hitherto we haue profited little.

Therefore constantly (O you Chri­stians!) constantly, let us go forward in whatsoever we have happily begun, and cheerfully end this momentary remnant of our journey; whereunto, especially two things may greatly fur­ther us.

First, Let us accuse our selves. In whatsoever we suffer, let us confesse our selves guilty. Let every one answer thus for himself: I have well deserved to suffer this; most justly am I affli­cted. Thou art just, my Lord, and thy judgement upright. Very truly said Saint Augustine: The judgements of [Page 415] God are many times secret, but never unjust. It is an evident signe of small patience, and a faint and languishing constancie, to beleeve our selves to be innocent, and undeservedly punished.

Certainly the brothers of Joseph, the Aegyptian Vice Roy, were not spies as they were taken to be; th [...]y had faithfully paid for the wheat laid to their charge; neither were they guilty of stealing the cup. Neverthe­lesse, they stood not upon their inno­cencie: but said; We well deserve to suffer all this, because we have sinned against our brother; for this reason, comes all this tribulation upon us. Let us, I beseech you, imitate them: and say; With good reason do we suf­fer this, although we be guiltlesse, and innocent of this foul imputation that is cast upon us, by this suspicion and false accusation, proceeding either from malice, or errour. Yet it is not without cause that we suffer, having deserved even this, and a thousand times more, for that we are guilty of. But I (say you) am most innocent, in this matter I am accused of. Admit it be so. What then? Will you therefore professe your self innocent? Call to [Page 416] mind, I beseech you, that some thirty or forty yeares agoe, you committed a grievous sin, for which as yet you have never been punished. Lo [...]! now your creditour presents himselfe, and de­mands satisfaction. And albeit you be not guilty of this crime which for the present is laid to your charge, yet have you long since committed that former fault, and as yet never satisfied for it: for this cause therefore comes this tri­bulation upon thee drink then as thou hast long since brewed.

Sect. IV.

IRene the Empresse, as Paul the Dea­con recounts, being by hir owne ser­vant expelled her Empire, used this manner of speech: I said the, render to Almighty God most humble thanks that he advanced me, being but a Or­phan and unworthy, to the Empire; and whereas he now permits me to be deposed, I attribute it to my sins: howsoever, both in good and ill for­tune, blessed be the name of our Lord, A heavenly speech. This is to carry the same countenance in cleare and cloudy weather, and like the Heliotro­pium [Page 417] or sun-flower, still to have a mans eie fixed upon this glorious sun: And this also advanced him to Para­dise, even before the Apostles them­selves (who all his life before had been a desperate theef) for that from the chair of the crosse he preached and published his own wickednesse: And we indeed suffer justly; whereas the other theefe by his shamelesse suit for liberty, did as it were deny his owne guiltinesse.

When the enemy was at the very gates of Bethulia, and a pitifull hou­ling of all sorts of people heard throughout the whol city, Judith that most chast widdow stepped out amid­dest the thickest of them, to raise their hopes, and wipe away their teares. Let us not, quoth she, be our owne re­vengers: but repute these punishments, even small scourges from our Lord in regard of our sins, whereby we may rather think he corrects us as servants; for our reformation, then that hee sends them for our utter destruction and confusion.

When therefore we are afflicted or punished, let us not impute the fault to others, but our selves, and confesse our punishment much milder then we [Page 418] have deserved at Gods hands, who according to his custome never equall [...] the punishment with the fault. Hence was it that Job so prudently wished that God would vouchsafe to speake with thee, that thou mightest under­stand, how much lesse is exacted of thee, then thy in quity deserveth; Thou art forgetfull of thy manifold sins, but so is not God, Q [...] pa [...]iens est red [...]it [...]r, Who requires lesse then thou owest; Whosoever therefore is in misery let him daily say: I have sinned and doubt­lesse am justly punished; I have well deserved to suffer this; I am put to lesse, then my iniquity deserves; this is too gentle a correction, I have de­servest infinitly more. And this is that first helpe of constancy which I spake off, to wit, the accusing of a mans selfe.

The other is, The confideration of the will and providence of God. All whatsoever we suffer, is by the will of God. He from all eternity not only foresaw; but also was willing that eve­ry one should fall into those miseries which he now falls into; Let us there­fore separate the fault from the punish­ment, the sin from the affliction, and [Page 419] say, God, who is most just, though he be not the author of any sin, yet of all affliction, and punishments he is the principall; and as Divines say, the po­sitive effective cause. It is not by the will, but by the permission of Almigh­ty God, that men commit sinnes which are oftentimes the causes of many mi­series and punishments; But after sin committed, it is his will, because he is just, that pun [...]shment should follow.

It is therefore from God, and by his will and providence that all cala­mities and miseries are fallen upon us. It is the pleasure of God, marke advi­sedly what I say, that we should be op­pressed with those miseries wherewith we are oppressed: whosoever therefore thou art, thou must willingly suffer these things; & for this cause as Sene­ca admonisheth, for that you may rest assured they come from the order and decree of God; This most loving fa­ther breeds his children up severely.

We see sometimes boies play in the streets without the least feare of the rod: but some honest man comes on the suddaine unlooked for, and taking one of them by the eare, leads him a­way from his fellows. No man sees [Page 420] this done, but presently concludes that man undoubtedly to be the boyes fa­ther, and that he leads away his son, making no account what becomes of the rest. So oftentimes while we sport, while we trifle, while we play the wan­tons, we are led away by our good and carefull Father: he interrupts our pa­stimes with afflictions, he pulls and [...]ugs us by [...]he eare: he, I say, one well known unto us, no stranger, but our loving and kinde Father. For (this a thousand times we must inculcate) whomsoever our Lord loveth, he cha­stiseth, and scourgeth every childe he takes unto him. If you live without discipline, you have just cause to feare, that you are rather imputative then lawfull children.

Sect. V.

THere are certaine kinds of wine in Spain, which are harsh and unplea­sant to be drunk in their own countrey; but being transported into another, become very sweet and savoury. So our good God conveyeth us over the sea of [...]ffliction, to the end we may lay aside all sharpnesse and acerbity, and [Page 421] acquire the sweet odour of patience. All this is done by the providence of God. Thus much have I said concer­ning the meanes to make harsh and distastfull wine sweet; this further I will adde.

Hieronymus Cardanus, (a man of Cardan. l. 1. 3. de subtil. mi­hi, pag. 282. much reading) affirmes, it is ordinari­ly experienced, that the sweetnesse of wine is preserved by stopping the hogshead with pitch, both within and without: for then being filled with sweet wine, not racked from the lees, and sunk for the space of a moneth in the bottome of a river, it is defended by the heat of the pitch, & coldnesse of the water, so that for a whole yeare it retaines it strength and sweetnesse.

Even thus God dealeth with us: he sinkes us into the waters of calamitie, lest we should degenerate into ill manners, and become vinegar. Doubt­lesse that King was sunk in this river, who cried out: Deliver me from those which hate me, & from the depthes of waters. But so soon as he was drawne forth of these waters, he congratulates his delivery after this manner: He hath sent from the highest heaven, and ta­ken and assumed me out of many wa­ters.

[Page 422] That which Ludovicus Blosius spake, was so to the purpose, that it see­meth worthy to be witten in great ca­pitall letters of gold. These are the words of that most holy writer: God (saith he) washes some of his speciall friends, whom his goodnesse hath de­termined to adorn with singular gifts, and highly to transforme, not softly and tenderly, but douses them over head and ca [...]s in the sea of bitternesse.

Note this (O my Christian bro­ther!) note this: thou must not look to be washed in rose-water; but to be plunged in the salt and bitter sea of tribulation. This is the Bath thy sweet and loving Father hath prepared for thee from all eternity.

All therefore, as well adversity as prosperity, must be taken as from the hand of God, and so thou must con­stantly persevere to the end. How ma­ny Psalmes did King David compose with this inscription: Psalm [...] [...]que in finem? That is to say; A Psalm to be sung from the very first verse to the last. We have not undertaken to sing in the School of Patience, a Players [...]ig, or nuptiall Song, but a sad fune­rall threne; which without doubt, we [Page 423] sing not well, unlesse we sing it to the end. We shall never want somewhat to suffer.

It is a most true saying: One temp­tation, or tribulation, is no sooner gone, but another comes: and so we Thomas de Kempis l. 2. c. 13. num. 8. & lib 3. c. 20 n. 3. shall have alwayes somewhat to suffer: Yea, even before one conflict be en­ded, another comes unlooked for. We must therefore sing our Threnes in such manner as we may still go on singing The Song of Patience must be sung even to the end.

A reward is promised to those that begin, but given onely to those that persevere unto the end. Judas Iscariot began very well, but ended much o­therwise: his beginning was commen­ded, but his end condemned. Many are ready to begin well, but few end so. The vertue of a good worke (by the o­pinion of Saint Gregory) is perseve­rance, which is onely crowned. In vain is any work done, if it be given over be­fore the end of our life.

Saint Bernard using many speeches to inflame and incite us hereunto; faith, That absolutely without perse­verance no Champion can get the con­quest, nor Conquerous the prize. Per­severance [Page 424] is the true soule and quint­essence of strength, the consummation of vertue, and the sister of patience. Without perseverance your obedience shall obtain no reward, your Almes­deeds no increase of grace, nor your fortitude any commendation. The Divels chiefest drift is alwayes to pre­vent perseverance, which alone a­mongst all other vertues he knowes is to be crowned.

It is the end doubtlesse, not the fight that crownes us. Commend a mans prosperous voyage by sea; but see him first in a safe harbour. It avails but little to take the crosse upon your shoulders, if you carry it not out to the end. Wo be to those who have lost their sufferance. Ah! on couragiously, O you Christians! and constantly, lest the old saying be verified in us: Thou hast begun better then ended, and thy end hath dishonoured thy be­ginning.

Saint Paul taking his leave of those that wept at Miletum for his depar­ture, made this open profession: Tri­bulations and imprisonments are pre­pared for me at Jerusalem: But none of all these I stand in fear of, I esteem [Page 425] my selfe much above my life, so that I may consummate my course. Let us sing after him the same song, every one for himselfe: Let heaven cost me ne­ver so much hatred, persecution, vexa­tion; let my God load me with what­soever calamities he pleaseth, I am rea­dy to do and suffer all, so I may con­summate my course, and say at the end, Consummatum est. I am well assured, the fruit will correspond to the labour, abundant, infinite, eternall.

CHAP. IV. That afflictions are to be born▪ with thanksgiving.

PHIDIAS, an ex­cellent Artizan, most rare for his qualitie in making Statues, could frame them of clay, wax, morter, marble, wood, brasse, Ivory, silver, gold; in a word, of any matter or metall whatsoever: [Page 426] scarcely was there any piece of wood, whereof he could not counterset the God Merc [...]ry. Seneca saith of him; Phidias skill was not to make Statues onely of Ivory: he made them like­wise of brasse: If you had put him to make them of marble, or baser me­terials, he made them as artificially as he could possibly. And surely, if a rough unpolished piece of wood, could have spoken, it would have given infi­nite thankes to this master, vouchsa­fing, with his skilfull hand, to free it from deformity. After the same man­ner God, that all knowing workman, polisheth man by miseries and afflicti­ons, till he reforme him, and mould him a new againe. With good reason therefore should this deformed trunke render humble thankes to his Phidias, who otherwise had never been trans­formed into so goodly a Statue, ha [...] he not lost man [...] a chip, and been roughly and sharply treated by the axe.

We have said, That all adversitie should be patiently, cheerfully and con­stantly endured. To this we adde; fourth manner of taking it, to wit, with thanksgiving, or thankfully. Now it remains to declare, why thanks are [Page 427] to be given for calamities, which other­wise are deemed ungratefull benefits.

Sect. I.

THe ancient Germans were wont to instruct their children by pre­cepts, delivered by certain signes and tokens; amongst others this was one: If at any time thou baitest by the way in thine inne, part not thence till thou hast spit thrice: meaning hereby, that when they were travellers they should take heed they left none of their fur­niture behinde them. Moreover, they commanded them not to point at the stars with their finger; not for that it is an offence to point at the stars; but because they thought that curious fre­quent aspect was hurtfull to their eyes. This likewise was a prudent admoni­tion of theirs: If any thing hurt or vex thee, say, Deo gratias, God be thanked; or, Rependat hoc Deus, God requite this. A golden precept certainly, and agree­able to this our present purpose. What­soever burns thee, what adversity soever happens to thee, what man soever in­jures or troubles thee, be sure to ren­der him as ample thanks, as if he had given thee a liberall reward.

[Page 428] In like manner, sober and dis­creet parents now a dayes teach their children to kisse the rod, wherewith they have been beaten. So shall you see the most towardly scholars in the school give thanks to their Masters af­ter they have corrected them: as if they should say; My most reverend Master, I take it not ill at your hands to be chastised, I have deserved it; and I am the rather joyed and comforted that my Master hath such regard over me, and that he hath not as yet laid a­side all hope and care of me: And why should I think much, or finde my self agrieved? It is the Masters part to correct his scholars when they offend, that so they may be the more wary in time to come. O this is a disposition as excellent as rare, to receive stripes and render thanks! Yet it beseems us all to do so; In all patience and lon­ganimity, with joy and thanksgiving to God our Father, who hath made us worthy to take part in the lot of Saints. And this doubtlesse is to parti­cipate, this is to have our lot amongst Saints: To suffer much, and render thanks that God vouchsafeth us so great an honour.

[Page 429] The divine eloquence of Saint Chrys. tem. 5. hom. 18. ini­tio, c [...]jus in­scripti [...], Quod maxi­mum luc [...]um in tribula tio­nibus est gra­tiarum actio. mihi. p. 165. Chrysostome wonderfully laboured forcibly to perswade all Christians to this. Hear himself speak: This (quoth he) is the will of God, that we should alwayes give thanks; this is the signe of a soul well instructed. Hast thou suffered evill? It is no evill, unlesse thou wilt: Do but thank God for it, and thou turnest the evill into good. Say as Job did: The Name of God be blessed for ever. And what, I pray, hast thou suffered in this nature? Thou hast perhaps been visited with sick­nesse? This is no news, our bodies are mortall, and born to suffer. Thou art pinched with want of money: Admit thou hast plenty; What certainty hast thou? It may as easily be lost as got­ten: Thy enemies calumniate and seek to supplant thee: This is no in­jury to us that suffer it, but to them that do it. The sin is his that commits, not that suffers evill.

What evill soever (therefore) op­presseth thee, give God thanks, and thou turnest the evill into good. And as the same Saint Chryspstome admo­nished: Let us not repine, be vexed, or troubled in temptations. Job by [Page 430] giving thanks, when he was stripped of all his goods, wounded more the divel, then when he distributed them a­mongst the poore; For a far greater matter it is to beare the losse of all with a couragious and thankfull mind, then amidst store of wealth to give alms, as appeared in this just man.

But suppose a suddain fire should consume all thy treasure, and burne thy house to the ground, then call to minde those calamities that fell on Job: give thanks to our Lord, who could, but did not save and prevent all this, and thy reward shall be as great, as if thou haddest distributed it with thine owne hands amongst the poore; Againe reiterating the same: Thou shalt, saith he, have a reward e­quall to him who gives all his goods to the poor, if thou give thanks for the losse of them: and whereas thou Idem [...]o. 4 in 1. ad Thess. cap. 3. [...]um. 3. post med. mighst have gone to southsayers & wi­sards, thou art content rather to lose, then by this means to recover them.

But perchance thou livest in poverty, hunger, want, and infinite other mise­ries and dangers? Remember Laza­rus, environed with extreame poverty, innumerable troubles, forsaken and [Page 431] abandoned by all, and this after he had led so good and vertuous a life. Call to minde the Apostles that lived in hunger, thirst and nakednesse; the Prophets and just men; you shall not find that any of them lived in riches or jolity, but in want, scarcity and tribu­lation. Recollect all this with thy self, and render humble thanks to our Lord, that makes thee partaker of the same poverty; that he is so far from hating thee, that he vouchsafes to love thee: for, sure, he would not have suffered them to endure so much, had he not exceedingly loved them. Nothing can be more acceptable in the fight of God, then thanks-giving: This is the greatest sacrifice, a per­fect oblation. Therefore Saint Paul saith, give thanks in all, for this is the will of God.

The Hebrew youths condemned to the furnace in Babilon, rendred thanks to God in the middest of the flames, as if they had been at a delicious ban­quet. That darke and hideous prison seemed to them a pleasant summer bower and rich Pallace: that pitchy vapour like the sweet and purest dew of Heaven, the flames as gorgeous [Page 432] robes to cloath them and their gyves and fetters like golden chaines and bracelets.

Sect. II.

AND for as much as this we speake off, to wit, that thanks are to be gi­ven to God even in adversity, is a mat­ter of so great importance, it will be expedient to confirme it with most ample testimonies. Saint Chrysostome pursuing this subject which he had un­dertaken, shewes his singular elo­quence therein, and indeed himselfe to be Chrysostome; that is, a golden mouthed oratour, inculcating daily this one thing, as well beseemed him It is therefore most convenient, quoth he, both for rich and poore, as well for sicke as sound, for those that suffer adversity as for others that live in pros­perity; For what marvell is it for a man to render thanks to God while all things go according to his liking; but when he is tosled and tempest bea­ten, and in manifest danger of ship­wracke, then is his patience and equa­nimity most put to the proof? And this was that which made Job so victori­ous, [Page 433] and stopped the mouth of his shamelesse adversary the divell, making it most evident that whilest he was in prosperity he rendred thanks to God, not so much for his temporall wealth, as for the great love he bare to his di­vine Majesty.

This is the most apparent signe and testimony of a gratefull mind, and the truest proofe of wisdome, when a man even in adversity gives thanks and glo­rifies God for all things; not only for his benefits, but even for his punish­ments, for this deserves a far greater reward: By rendring thanks to God in prosperity thou payest only a due debt: but by being thankfull for adversity, thou makest God a debtor to thee; for who receives a benefit, and returns thanks, dischargeth a duty to his bene­factor: but he that requiteth injuries with good turns, makes a debt due to himself. Hence infer, that God when he punisheth, ought as much to be prai­sed, as when he exempteth from pu­nishment; Both of them are argu­ments alike of his care and provi­dence, both of his goodnesse: as much ought he to be praised for exiling A­dam out of Paradise, as for placing [Page 434] him there. It is not for Heaven alone we should be thankfull, but even for hell it selfe, which he made to threa­ten and deter us from sin.

Wherefore, as we do not only com­mend and comply with our Physition when he feeds and nourishes us, but also when he punisheth us with spare diet; not only when he gives us leave to walke abroad and take the aire, but likewise when he confines us to a close chamber; not only when he anoints and foments, but even when he cuts and burns us to the bone, seeing these contrary courses tend all to one end; so ought we to praise God for all things, and so much the more, because the one is God, the other but a man. Events amongst them happen often­times contrary to their expectation, but the works of God never without supreme wisdome and providence. Let us then not only thanke God when he grants our petitions, but even when we suffer the repulse; For God in denying is no lesse our father then in granting our request, and knowes we our selves are utterly ignorant what is fit for us to aske.

Then whether we obtaine our de­sires, [Page 435] or not, we must be thankfull. Gratitude is a great pleasure, great ri­ches, and unexhausted good, an armor of proofe; It will mitigate a mans tri­bulation, to accompany it with thanks­giving. Vertue doubtlesse of herselfe may be subject to many deceipts and illusions: where mercy aboundeth, envy will never be wanting. But the strongest shield and surest defence a­gainst all these incursions, is to give God thanks, and glorifie him in all. Hast thou lost thy money? Be but thankfull and thou gainest thy owne soule, and greater riches thereby, as having had an ampler pledge of Gods favour and good will.

Saint Augustine is of the same opi­nion, Good and bad men, saith he, are like two vessells, the one replenished with pretious spices, the other with stench and rottennesse, which being fanned with the selfe same fanne, the one wherein the spices are, breathes forth a gratefull odour, the other an o­dious and intolerable favour. So good and bad men are both vexed and trou­bled alike, but by the deepe discussion of Gods judgement a great difference is made between the one & the other.

[Page 436] Good men, so soon as any tribula­tion begins to seize on them, like san­ctified vessels, render thanks to God for this chastisement he vouchsafes them: but the proud, covetous and luxurious, blaspheme and murmur a­gainst him, saying; O God! What evill have we done, that we suffer this at thy hands? Hence it often happens, that these miserable wretches entan­gled in the love of this transitory life, are not able to enjoy it; but (which is worse) are compelled to lose the everlasting; where neither grief nor sorrow are to be found: and not be­ing able to avoid present evills, for their sins, fall into eternall torments.

Therefore Saint Gregory saith: They which fear stripes are to be ad­monished, that (if they desire not to be truly miserable indeed) they should rather fear eternall punishment.

The Histories of the ancient Fa­thers report; That there was amongst them a certain man, who without any fault of his became odious, and incur­red all mens displeasure: none would admit him into their society, or so muth as salute him; he could neither borrow book nor bread; and in the [Page 437] evening, when he had ended his stu­dies, was never invited to any of their chambers. Notwithstanding all this, (for which he is much to be commen­ded) he rendered thanks to God. Up­on a time it happened, that this very man comming home from harvest, found no manner of victuals to eat. What should he do in this case? It was in vain to hope for any at his fellows hands: Should he then beg it at Gods? He did so indeed, and from thence was furnished. For not long after, a stranger, with a camell loaden with bread, knocked at the gates. When this holy man perceived the ex­cessive bounty of Gods providence to­wards him, he wept, saying; Am I then my good God (said he) am I un­worthy to suffer a little penury for thy sake? But from that time forward, all his fellows shewed themselves respe­ctive towards him, and, as the same Authour saith, were reconciled to him.

Sect. III.

TObias that excellent old man, so approved for his patience, found himself nothing agrieved, nor any way repined against God for the sad distaster of his blindnesse; but persi­sted, notwithstanding, immoveable in his fear and reverence, giving him humble thanks all the dayes of his life. This is a pattern we should endeavour all we can to imitate. When we are despised, laughed to scorn, and made odious; when we are cast head­long into many miseries, let us render thanks to God: Whereby, moved through his infinite goodnesse, he will either (as it hath been often experien­ced) asswage the rage of our enemies, or largely recompence, by some other means, this evill, how great soever it be.

This is the opinion of Saint Paul, who exhorts us to give thanks in all things; which Saint Hierome consi­dering, saith; The Jews and idolaters know how to render thanks for bene­fits, but the Christians alone for cala­mities and afflictions. Wherfore let us [Page 439] still say, according to the Apostle, in all dangers and miseries, Blessed be God. This is the duty of a Christian.

Of which subject, th [...] third book of the Imitation of Christ, in the fif­tieth chapter, discourseth so notably, that I think it were expedient for all that are afflicted, grieved, or by any means whatsoever molested, to read every day this chapter, or at least some part of it. Out of which, we bring this for our purpose: I render thanks to thee, my Lord God, for that thou hast not spared to afflict me with ad­versity, but hast scourged me with sharp stripes, inflicting punishment, and distressing me both inwardly and outwardly. Thy discipline is upon me, and thy rod it self will comfort me.

A Prelate of great note recounts, that a certain man very remarkable for learning, required of a certain religi­ous Virgin a compendious way to lead a holy life; which she compre­hended in ten documents, whereof this was the fift; That how great soe­ver were the affliction a man suffered, he should render thanks, think himself unworthy of it, and desire to have a greater, and even doubled: which she [Page 440] doubtlesse her self daily practised. And what, I pray, should hinder us from imitating a thing so well worthy imi­tation.

What we have said, may well be de­monstrated by example. A poor mi­serable man hath coughed all night, counted every stroke of the clock; without taking any sleep or rest, till even his very heart strings are broken. It were a brave & bold resolution for this man to say; Giue me, my Lord God, a more vehement cough, to vex me more, for my sins have deser­ved it.

A man tormented with the head­ach, griping of the stomack, the stone, the gout; and yet having these words still in his mouth: Double, good Lord, my pain, so thou double my patience. Which, or where is this man, and we will commend him?

Let me see a man openly jeered and laught to scorn by three or foure mock­king companions, and yet say: O my Christ! how many times hast thou been laught to scorn for me? Set more upon me, to deride and affront me▪ for I have surely deserved it. Is it pos­sible to find any one pray in this man­ner? [Page 441] Some certainly there are, but concealed, who secretly solace them­selves with patience. There are like­wise some, who will pray after this manner: My deare God! it is not one affliction alone I suffer, I am mo­lested with many: but I beseech thee (my Lord) send me greater, augment my miseries: for I am well assured thou wilt withall increase my patience. For the present I yeeld thee humble thankes for these I suffer, and thinke my selfe unworthy to suffer for thee, my God.

Have we ever prayed thus in our lives? or shall we pray so hereafter? O Christians! many times after we have said these or the like prayers, we flatter our selves with a supposed kinde of sanctity; But, alas! how farre are we as yet from true patience? we play the men, nay the gyants, in our owne conceits, whilst we exercise these de­votions; but no man here can rightly judge, none rightly commend, but God himselfe, the onely searcher of hearts, who amongst all other musicall instruments, chiefly commendeth two, the Taber and the Organs; Tynipanu [...] contributati spiritus, Organum laudis, & [Page 442] gratiarum actionis. The Taber of an afflicted spirit, and the Organ of praise and thanksgiving. The mournfull stroke of the Taber is Ah! ah! how painful!, how grievous is this? But forsake me not, O my God! O most milde and patient Jesu! give me pati­ence. This Taber, doubtlesse, is ex­cellently plaid upon, and goes beyond the rarest musicke. The Organ of praise quavers most sweetly. That blessed Saint James, surnamed Interci­sus, being in his martyrdome cut in pieces, was a most skilfull Organist. For every joynt they cut in sunder, hee was heard to say, Deo gratias.

He had here in Job for his Master, who as often as any new disaster was reported, gave to God a new Deo gra­tias. One brings him word, that his Oxen and Asses were driven away by the Sabeans, Job answered, Blessed be the name of the Lord. Another gives him to understand his flockes of sheep were consumed with fire from heaven; again Job answered: Blessed be the name of the Lord. A third man tells him, the Chaldeans had set upon his Camels, and driven them away; Job still perseveres: Blessed be the [Page 443] name of the Lord. Finally, one brings him the dolefull news of his childrens destruction, all slain and buried under the ruines of his house; Job answers as before: Blessed be the name of the Lord: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Behold an Organ of praise, behold a most rare and skilfull Orga­nist, whom God himselfe commends, saying: Hast thou not observed my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth?

Sect. IV.

IT was the manner of the Persians, saith S [...]obeus, when the King com­manded any man, were he never so innocent, to be called, and openly scourged, that the party so punished, should render most ample thankes to the King, that he vouchsafed so graci­ously to remember him. Is it such a matter to be thus in the memory of a King? Have we even stripes in such reverence, when they are laid on at the Kings command? why submit we not our selves in like manner to our most mighty and most mercifull God? Why fall we not prostrate, and adore with [Page 444] humble thankes, those stripes which are no lesse then the price of heaven? This surely all the holiest men have done before us.

Saint Laurence lying on his couch of burning coales, was broyled by de­grees, with a slack and lingring fire; which being done, he rendred thanks. Well mayest thou so (most glorious Martyr) for thou wast a viand provi­ded for the table of the high and migh­ty King of heaven.

Saint Theodore, in the time of Maxi­mian the Emperour, when his sides were torn and pierced thorow, being almost breathlesse, did notwithstan­ding, tune his Organ, and sang: I will blesse the Lord for ever.

Many Saints, treated no better then dogs, have notwithstanding, like faith­full loving Spaniels, the more they were beaten, sawned so much the more upon their master; and to gain his fa­vour, readily offered themselves to suf­fer all afflictions whatsoever. Is it not a remarkable speech of King David, who for Gods sake ranked himselfe a­mongst brute beasts? I am, said he, made a brute beast in thy sight, and I am alwayes with thee.

[Page 445] Rufinus Aquileiensis recounts, that Rufin l. 4. num. 157. & Pelagius l [...] ­bel. 1 num. 10. a good old man amongst the ancient Monkes, cheered up a scholar of his, that was sick, after this manner; Cou­rage my child, let thy corporall infir­mity never trouble thee. It is the part of a good religious man, to render God most humble thankes in his sick­nesse. If thou beest Iron, this fire will scoure off thy rust; if gold, refine thee. If it be the will of God to afflict thy body, what doth it availe to repine or stand against it? Endure it therefore, and humbly beseech God to grant thee that, which may most stand with his will and pleasure.

We must not fail to inculcate even a thousand times that divine admoniti­on of John Avila. One Deo gratias in adversitie, is better then six thousand in prosperity. Questionlesse, it is a high point of spirituall prudence, to be thankfull to God in adversity.

There is great difference between meats that are spitted, and laid to the fire: for if a leane, dry Capon, or Chickens are to be rosted, the Cooke must of necessity oftentimes powre up­on them melted butter; and yet not­withstanding all this, it will be but a [Page 446] poore dry dish of meat to send to the table; but if it be an excellent Goost, a crammed Pullet, a fat Capon, a piece of stall fed Biefe, a well liking Pig, or a speciall fat Turkey; these will be so farre from needing any other basting then that they bring with them, that they will leave behinde them a great quantity of dripping. And these are choyce meats indeed, fit to be served in to a Kings table.

So for all the world is it with those kind of men, who have still been dry and lean in spirit, who have neither minde, nor sense, nor devotion, nor fer­vour, if you lay them to the fire of af­fliction; O what a poore piece of rost­meat shall you finde them! well may consolation, as butter, be powred upon them, but it avails them little, they mourne and lament past recovery. They want the fatnesse of a good spi­rit, bast them never so much, you can­not help them; no comfort can you give them will ever perswade them to patience.

But they who have plentifully fed upon the precepts of Patience, and have wholly devoted themselves to the will of God (being once scorched with [Page 447] the fire of calamity) most of all shew forth the fatnesse of their devotion; their minde and courage is present with them, and undaunted; they are able to comfort both themselves and others, they stick not to submit them­selves to the meanest offices that are, they give thanks for their miseries, and desire their calamities may be increa­sed. Thus do they bast themselves with their own fatnesse. These, doubt­lesse, are dressed and prepared for that great and royall feast, whereunto the guests are invited in these words: Be­hold, I have made ready my dinner, killed my oxen and fatlings, all is rea­dy: come to my marriage.

But as the fat roast meat yeelds a better savour then boyld: so thanks­giving is by those, who are daily roa­sted as it were, with the fire of griefe and tribulation, far more pretious and acceptable unto God, then theirs who combat onely with light inconveni­ences, and sail in a calm and peaceable sea.

Noah, with his companions, after the deluge, wherein the whole world was drowned, celebrated a solemne feast of thanksgiving: for he erected an Altar, [Page 448] selected out of the heards of cattel, and flocks of birds, the choicest victimes, and offered an holocaust. Odora [...]usqu [...] est Dominus odorem suavitatia: And the Lord smelled an odour of sweetnesse.

But think now with what miseries, & how long Noah had been formerly ex­ercised. During a great part of his life, whilst the whole world wallowed se­curely in sin, and sensuall pleasures, he laboured about building of the Arke: though he escaped death, it cost him much more trouble, then if he had died an hu [...]dred times. For, to say nothing else of the tediousnes of the Ark, which was no lesse to him then a ten months sepulchre, what may be imagined more irksome, then to lie all that time, as it were, buried in the dung of beasts. He had no sooner overcome these so great difficulties, but he fel into a new misery: he perceived himself laught to scorn by his own son, insomuch that he was even forced with his owne mouth to curse him, who a little before through the great mercy of God had been preserved from the deluge. Thus God received as a most acceptable sacrifice, Noahs constant patience and thanksgiving, a­midst adversity, and in requitall re­warded [Page 449] him with farre mor ample be­nefits.

Sect. V.

Let us therefore, according as Saint Paul admonisheth, still render thanks for all things. And in truth, no words are oftner to be inculcated in the School of Patience then these; Deo gratias, Benedictus Deus. These alone should be used upon all occasions. But we are so indocible, that we cannot get by heart so much as two words. It was excellently well said of Francis Petrarch; This is the common use, men are quick to receive, but slow to give; Petrarch. l. 2. de utraque fort. dial. 37. the one they do cheerfully, the other heavily; the one in post haste, the other as if they were asleep. We are cōmonly hot and earnest suppliants, till we have obtained our petition; but remisse, and cold, when it is granted.

The contrary course is wont, and ought to be observed in this School of ours; for when the Scholars of Pati­ence see a cup brim full of bitternesse, they pray indeed with Christ, Father, let this Cup passe from me: But those very prayers, how hot & vehement so­ever, are thus by restriction qualified: Let thy will, notwithstanding, not [Page 450] mine be fulfilled. Thus they desire to be delivered, so it may stand with the will of God. But when they render thanks, they do it entirely, without the least restriction, with infinite fer­vour both of minde and voice; after this manner: I render thee, O my God! infinite and immortall thanks, that thou vouchsafest me so great an honour, by sending me somewhat to suffer for thy sake; that thou reckonest me amongst thy children: And what childe is there, I pray, whom the fa­ther corrects not? What man well in his wits (saith Saint Gregory) will be Greg part. 3. Pastoral. ad­mon. 13. fine omni [...]. ungratefull for his chastisement, seeing Christ himself, who lived here without all sin, was not exempted from the scourge?

It is therefore the part of an under­standing man, to blesse & praise God, not only in prosperity, but also in adver­sity. For if through thy patience thou appease God, by yeelding him thanks in adversity, thou shalt both recover that which is lost, with great interest, and besides that, everlasting joy and happinesse.

And be assured of this, that with good reason thanks are to be given to [Page 451] our Father for his chastisements, see­ing his stripes are far better then our enemies kisses. The words of our Fa­ther are well known: I chastise them whom I love, I scourge all my chil­dren. Wilt thou be a childe? Come and receive chastisement. What answer here should children make to so excel­lent a Father? Saint Augustine teach­eth them to answer thus: Thou art no lesse my father when thou chasti­sest me, then when thou makest much of me: the one thou doest to encourage lest I faint, the other to save me, lest I perish. Saint Augustine addeth this in­struction to the same purpose, saying; Aug. tom. 8. in Psal. 98. [...] prope finem, mihi p. 454. Exalt and praise our Lord God. A­gain, Let us exalt him, because he is good. For if he revenge not, but for­sake us, we perish.

Praise then his mercy in prosperity, and his justice in adversity. What a strange childe art thou? When thy fa­ther goeth about to reform thee, thou art displeased: he would not correct thee, if thou didst not displease him: and wert thou so far in his displea­sure, that he hated thee, he would ne­ver go about to reform thee. Render therefore thanks to him that corrects [Page 452] thee, that thou mayest receive an in­heritance from God who reforms thee. When he afflicts one in this world, it is to admonish, not to con­demn him. He bears patiently with sinners, not exercising his anger, but expecting their repentance.

But do we not often give thanks for a poor trifle, which we would as willingly be without, onely because we hope to receive some better gift ano­ther time? For he that is gratefull for the first, deserves to have it seconded. For this cause therefore, he that hath but even the least policy or prudence in him, will strive to be gratefull, even for an ungratefull benefit: for he will reason thus with himself: He certainly that gave this gift, did it out of a good disposition towards me, and should I not take this thankfully, it were the way to deprive me of all future bene­fits. This even reason it self teacheth us: But that which is a light above reason, tells us: That God in this world scatters onely copper and leaden money amongst us; he bestows crowns, but such as are thornie and bloudy; which doubtlesse he doth to this end, that he may ere long [Page 453] give golden Crownes beset with pretious gemmes.

Why therefore do we not, as best beseems us, give thanks to this most loving Father for this lead and thorns, which shortly shall be turned to gold and precious jewells? Let us accept this lead, embrace these thorns, ren­dering no lesse thanks for them, then if they were the greatest wealth and treasure. These are most true pledges and pawns for the gold and precious pearls which he will give us. He that shall be humbled, shall be in glory, and he that shall incline his eyes, shall be saved.

CHAP. V. That afflictions are to be en­tered upon with Premedi­tation.

THere are two tor­turers, Fear, and Grief, which vex & torment this life of ours. The one, or the other is alwayes upon our back. In troubles and adversity, Grief playes his part: In health and prosperity, Fear of loosing that which gives us so great contentment, confounds us. This is the expresse opinion of Saint Au­gustine: Aug. 10. tom de verbis Dom. serm. 41. post. init. mihi p. 62. All this life, to those that understand it, is a tribulation; for ther are two tortures, which though not both at once, yet by turns, tor­ment the minde: their names are Fear, and Grief. When all goes well with thee, thou fearest; when ill, thou grievest.

[Page 455] Seeing therefore we are well assu­red that one of these officers will al­waies seize on us, we must carefully premeditate how to carry our selves towards them. And this is the fift means which availes much to the skil­full bearing of afflictions, to wit, if we enter upon them with Premeditation: we will therefore declare how adver­sity is to be thought on before hand.

Sect. I.

ECclesiasticus carefully admonisheth: Son when thou comest to the ser­vice of God, see thou stand in justice and feare, and prepare thy soul against temptation; prepare it with watching and prayer; prepare it by withdraw­ing thy selfe from all occasions, for he that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith; prepare thy heart by streng­thening it against all the incursions of thy adversaries. For rest assured of this, that so soone as thou beginnest to live well, and honour God piously and chastly, storms on every side will break in against thee; Thine enemies, take this from me, will not be idle.

See therefore thou prepare thy selfe, and know this, that the whole world [Page 456] is full of snares to catch fools in. And least the blandishments of this world should deceive us, Saint Chrysostome Chrysost. tom. 5 hom [...]l. cum Sa [...]toninus & Aureli­anus acts of sent in ex [...] ­ [...]um &c. mi­hi pag 117. & s [...]q. gives us an exact type and figure there­of, saying, that nothing is stable in humane affaires, nothing without al­teration, but the life of man is like a mad outragious sea, full of daily ship­wracks; shipwracks, I say, as strange and new, as perilous. And finally that we may be cautious and circumspect, and consider in what place we stand, this golden Orator saith further, that all places are full of troubles and tu­mults, nothing but rocks, precipices, intricate turnings and windings. All the world is full of terrours, dangers, horrours, suspicions and vexations: every corner full of counterfeits and cousening companions; innumerable wolves every where in sheep skins, so that now a daies a man may live more safely amongst enemies, then with such counterfeit friends; They that yester­day fawned, flattered and kissed your hands, are suddainly become, the day following, wolves and tigres; and of just men, sharper accusers then all the world besides could produce a­gainst you.

[Page 457] Wherefore prepare thy soul to tem­ptation, keep thy station, set a watch before the doreof thy heart; thou livest amidst thine enemies. In a calme ex­pect a tempest, in health sicknesse, in riches poverty, and in prosperity cala­m [...]ty; By this means the patience of Job was much helped; for the feare, quoth he, that I feared, hapened unto me, and what I feared came to passe. Whatsoever is looked for long, lights more favourable at last; and the stroke of any evill thought on before, falls more gently.

Nam laevi [...] ledi [...] quicquid praevidimu [...] an [...]e.
Et praevisa minu [...] tela ferire solent.
The threatning shaft, though it be keene.
Wounds not so deep, when 'tis fore­seene.

The wise man therefore is wont to looke for future evills, and what some men by long▪ suffering make light and familiar, he alleviates by daily thinking thereon; we heare sometimes these speeches of fond and improvident peo­ple: [Page 458] I never imagined this fortune was reserved for me: a wise man knows and considers all that may be­fall him: whatsoever comes to passe, he saies, I knew and foresaw this be­fore hand; all events therefore are to be thought of, and our mind prepa­red and fortified against all that may happen. Thinke on exiles, tor­ments, wars, shipwracks, diseases. Set before your eies the whole state of humane condition: let us anticipate and foresee (if we desire not to be op­pressed on the suddain, or daunted at any thing as strange and unusuall) not only what doth often, but even what for the most part may happen unto us.

It is the mind that makes a mans life either happy or miserable; An e­vil man converts all into evill, even those enterprises which at first were most hopefull: an upright and sincere man, corrects sinister fortune, qualifies sharpe and disastrous accidents, by a moderate and skilfull bearing them. Choose therefore whether thou wilt take thy observation from others, or thy selfe, without partiality, and thou shalt both find & confesse, that nothing how deare soever and desired by [...]s, i [...] [Page 459] any way profitable, unlesse we arme our selves as well against the uncer­tainty of casualties, as the circumstan­ces and events that may ensue thereby; yea unlesse we often and that without repining or complaint, accustome our selves to say in all damages and losses whatsoever: Deo aliter visum est: It hath pleased God to dispose other­wise.

To a minde thus composed, nothing shall fall out amisse, and so surely it may be composed, if it consider but before hand how far the various suc­cesse of things in this world may ex­tend it selfe. If he dispose himselfe to enjoy wife, children and his whole patrimony, not as if he had a perpetui­ty thereof, but with this resolution, not to repute himselfe any whit the more miserable should he be deprived of them.

Plutarch reports that Ulisses, after he had spent twenty yeares in warfare, re­turned to his country, and sitting with his wife Penelope, while she wept and was drowned in teares, he shed none himselfe, nor was sensible of any pas­sion; so well was his minde establish­ed before hand and fortified against [Page 460] her teares: but when he saw his dog was dead, he could not forbeare wee­ping; It was certainly this sudain and unexpected chance that caused those teares; He therefore that would not grieve in adversity, let him fore­see it.

Sect. II.

BUt we many times are so unconside­rate & improvident, that we forget where we are, or whither we go; we wōder & think much to lose any thing, whereas we shall one day lose all. So ill prepared are we, that we even trem­ble at the least alteration; This there­fore we must endevour that nothing befall us unlooked for, and for somuch as all things seem the greater by rea­son of their novelty, by this daily con­sideration we shall in short time be no strangers to any mischiefe that may happen, nor wonder at those chances whereunto we are all indifferently borne, we suffer nothing but what all mankind is liable to. This may I well avouch, seeing whatsoever a man es­capes might have befallen him; And not only the law which is executed [Page 461] upon all, but also that which is made alike for all, may be said to be indif­ferent to all.

Let us be indued with equanimity, and without complaint yeeld all du­ties to mortality: when winter comes, we must be cold: when summer, hot, when unseasonable and unwholesome weather impaires health, we must be sicke: Here we are set upon by one beast, there by another, yea even by man himselfe, the most pernicious of all beasts: Here we see one burnt, there another drowned: The course of these things is not in our power to helpe or alter: thus much only we may do: make a firme resolution to beare these accidents stoutly and cou­ragiously.

We must addresse and compose our minds to this necessity of suffering, we must follow and obey, and suppose all that is done ought necessarily to be Except sin. done. Your best way is to suffer what you can not mend nor change, and without murmuring walke along with God, from whose ordinance all things proceed. He is an ill souldier who followes his Captain sighing and groa­ning. Let us therefore follow our God [Page 462] cheerefully and couragiously, speaking thus unto him: O my Father! lead me whither thou wilt: behold, with­out the least shrinking or delay, I pre­sent my self: vouchsafe, deare Lord, to draw also my rebellious will unto thee, even whether it will or no. Thus let us speak, thus let us live; let no cala­mity find us unprepared. This caused the wise man to bid us not to be un­mindfull of adversity, in prosperity; nor of prosperity in adversity: when thou flowest in riches think of poverty, & the pinching necessity thereof, even amidst thy wealth; From morning to eve­ning the time shall be changed, and all these things are summoned in the sight of God. Art thou a Lord? a go­vernour? It may come to thy turn to serve; Hast thou wealth at will? For all this thou maiest come to beg▪ Art thou strong and healthy? One only feaver, or a far lesse matter may cost thee thy life: Hast thou children? In one day thou maiest lose them all; Hast thou friends? One howre, nay, one moment may deprive thee both of them, and all things else.

Prepare then thy minde to these tem­ptations, that when death shall take [Page 463] away thy children or friends, thou maiest say with that Spartan woman; I knew they were mortall whom I had brought forth: when thy money shal be wasted: I knew it would not alwaies be mine, the use thereof was only mine: when thine honour vanisheth: I was well assured, no honour was eternall in this world.

You shall find some will cast up a world of present businesses and affairs, as a bulwarke between them and fu­ture considerations. These whilest they do little or nothing, would have you thinke they worke wonders: If you perswade them to retirement and spiri­tuall recollection: their answer is, I am not at leasure: If to heare a ser­mon, I am not at leasure; If to con­fesse their sins, I am not at leasures; If to set before their eies the dreadfull judgements of God, I am not at lea­sure; If to think of hell fire which is everlasting, here I have no time for it; If to contemplate heavenly joyes, now my occasions will not suffer me; If to provide for death, I was never lesse at leasure in all my life. And for my part, I thinke they will scarce be at leasure to do it when they die. Thus, miser­able [Page 464] wretches, they have no regard at all of future things; So that most men in this world put forth to sea, and never so mu [...]h as dreame of a tempest.

But when a suddain thunder-bolt falls upon them, an unexpected cala­mity oppresseth them, then shall you see them pitifully daunted, diffident and distrustfull of all helps, and unca­pable of any consolation. This, my deare hearts, this mischiefe you should have foreseen before, and then you should have been lesse damnified thereby.

Sect. III.

THey say if a wolfe chance to see a man first, he strikes him presently dumbe: and the like befalls a wolfe if he be first seen by a man, which Cardanus supposeth to come to passe by reason of the suddain fear, which takes away the voice, or brings a kind of hoarsnesse. Even so if an unlucky chance like a wolfe first behold a man, poor soul, he is presently strucke dumb, and loseth both hope and courage; whereas if he would first behold the mischiefe, he might mitigate and les­sen [Page 465] it. Seneca speaks very fitly to the purpose: in such variety, saith he, of ac­cidents turning and winding up and down, if thou do not repute whatsoe­ver future accidents, as if they were come to passe, thou givest adversity the upper hand of thee, which another by foreseeing dissipates and defeat [...].

It is too late after dangers, to in­struct the mind to Patience in dan­gers. I never thought this would have happened, I never supposed this would have come to passe: And why not, I beseech you? What honour or digni­ty is there not waited upon with ex­treame contempt, with a thousand dis­graces? What kingdome is there in the world which is not reserved for ruine, or contempt, to be trampled up­on by some Lord or other, as also by his base executioner? Neither is the time long before this comes to passe, there is but the distance of one minute of an howre many times, between a kingdome transferred from one King to another; know then by this, that all estates are casuall and uncertain; and whatsoever happens unto others, may befall thee likewise.

It was the saying of Socrates: that [Page 466] as mariners, that saile in calm and qui­et weather, go provided of instruments to serve them in a tempest: so those that are wise make provision in pros­perity for adversity. This if a man would seriously consider, and behold other mens miseries (whereof he hath an infinit number daily before his eies) as if they had a way altogether as open to him, he would long before the blow comes, set a guard upon him­selfe.

It is an ordinary saying, forewar­ned, forearmed; and labours fore­seen, as Saint Gregory saith, are under­gone with more ease. Saint Hierom was altogether of the same minde; be­cause this miserable life, quoth he, is altered and perplexed every day with interchangeable events, let a just man prepare his mind as well for adversity, as prosperity; that whatsoever happens he may bear it with a free and resolute mind; And I pray, my Christian bro­ther, thinke not thy selfe called to the Schoole of Patience to be laid upon a soft couch, or to be cockered with sun­dry delights; thou art deceived; my dearst, thou art deceived; Thou ca­mest to this Schoole, to wrastle, to [Page 467] fight, to be tried, and to be exercised with many incommodities. See then thou prepare thy minde to tempta­tion.

But the best preparation in this re­spect is, to treat often with God in prayer. Hither in all calamities must you have your recourse, heer must you breathe forth all your sighes, hither must you chiefly addresse your selves to have help from heaven. The Apostles pointed out even with their finger, whither they would have you to hasten in all your distresses. For whilst they were amidst the boisterous stormes of the sea, they cried out to Christ, Save us, O Lord! our God, our power, our re­fuge, our helper in all tribulations which do exceedingly assault us.

Here Saint Augustine gives this in­terpretation: There are some refuges, (saith he) that yeeld no succour, a man shall finde himselfe rather dis-inabled then strengthened by them. For ex­ample: Thou strest to some great man in the world, to make him thy potent friend; thou seemest now to have got­ten a secure refuge (a weak one God knowes) for whereas thou hadst not any reason so much to feare or doubt [Page 468] thy cause, now thou art as fearfull of him to whom thou fledst for refuge. For many in flying to these men, fall together with them to whom they have betaken themselves, and so are the soo­ner discovered, who would never have been sought for, had they not shrow­ded themselves under their protection. We have no such refuge, but ours is power it selfe; in flying thither, we are safe and sure from all dangers.

This made King David sa [...] with a mighty spirit: We will not fear there­fore, though the earth be troubled, and mountaiens transferred into the heart of the sea. If God stand on our side, albeit mountaines dash one against a­nother, and fall headlong into the sea, heaven and earth go together, hell it selfe gape wide open, and the whole frame of the world be dissolved: all this ruine cannot affright us, we will not feare.

The Sea-urchin, and the Cuttle▪fish, when they perceive a tempest at hand, mistrusting their own strength, and fea­ring lest by the violence of the waves, they should be dasht against the rocks, lay fast hold of a rock, till the violence of the storm be past. And what is [Page 469] more turbulent then this life? what more tempestuous? One storme be­gets another: the clouds oftentimes are even riveted in the skies.

In such outragious tempests both of sea and winds, let us learn of these poore fishes, to cleave fast to God, that sure and impregnable rock, that every one may answer for himselfe: It is good for me to adhere to God; from whom no violence of calamities, no not whole armies of Divels, nor all the power of hell shall draw me. For thou art my foundation and my refuge. Thou art my patience, O Lord! thou my hope, O Lord! from my youth. Let us (my God) deale it thus be­tween us. I, whatsoever I shall do or suffer, will never shrink from thy crosse; give me, I most humbly beseech thee, sufficient patience to bear it constantly unto the end: for I am well assured, thou sendest [...] us adversity to exerc [...]se our patience, and to enkindle thereby a greater confidence in thee. Place me therefore, my Lord, neer to thee, and let the power of any whatsoever fight against me. I fear not now any crosses whatsoever, no enemies can terrifie me, because thou art my patience.

Sect. IV.

PRemeditation (then) is a shield of Adamant against all adversitie. It is no great wound that all the mis­chiefes in the world can give us, if a­gainst these (as Saint Gregory saith) we be guatded by the shield of Provi­dence. A wise man is not exempted from humane casualties, but from their errours: for all things happen unto him as he imagined, not as he would. And this is the reason why nothing is said to happen to a wise man unexpe­cted: for he providently foresee [...] in his minde whatsoever impediments may fall out. Wherefore you shall often heare him say: I will take that voyage if some accident do not crosse me: I will gea such an office, if I be not pre­vented▪ such a businesse will fall out according to my desire, if no obstacle interpose it selfe; to morrow I will be your guest, if by occasions I be no [...] di­verted; within these two or three dayes, if I be in health. I mean to ex­ercise my selfe in wrastling; the next yeare (if God spare one life) I purpose to build. In fine, on this alwayes he [Page 471] reflects, that something may inter­pose it selfe between him and his pur­poses.

Zeno the Philosopher (arm'd wi [...]h this resolution) when he heard his whole estate was drowned in the sea, answered: Fortune, I applaud thee, now thou bidst me fall more close to my Philosophy.

It was most wisely and learnedly said of Epictetus: Never attempt any thing, before thou hast considered as well things precedent as subsequent; o­therwise thou shalt set upon it rashly, and unadvisedly, as one that hath not duly considered the sequell thereof; and so when afterward any difficulty or troubles occurre, thou wilt basely give it over. Thou desirest (thou saist) to win the Olympian prize. Consider then all circumstances, as well present as future: and having so done, if thou findest any advantage, undertake the enterprise. Thou▪ must be precisely carefull of thy diet: eate no more then will suffice nature, abstain from dainy fare, exercise thy body forcibly at cer­tain hours, accustome it to heat and cold: in any case drink no water, nor wine but springly: to be short, thou [Page 472] must put thy selfe into the hands of some Fencer, to be thy Physition for a time. And after all this, make account to be cut and mangled in the conflict, to hazard the straining of a hand, or putting a leg out of joynt; besides, thou must be almost choked with dust, soundly basted and bruised; sometimes overcome, and foyled in the end.

After all these things considered, undertake the combat, if thou wilt: but if thou carry not thy selfe with this circumspection, take heed thou play not as boyes use to do, sometimes the Wrastler, sometimes the Fencer; one while a Souldier, another while a Tra­gedian: finally, every thing they see, or wonder at. After this manner thou mayst be to day a Wrastler, to morrow a Fencer, the next day a Philosopher, then an Oratour, and indeed nothing in conclusion: but, like an Ape, thou imitatest whatsoever thou seest, pleased now with one thing, now with ano­ther; yet still out of love with that to which thou art accustomed. And all this, because thou undertakest nothing considerately, nothing clearly sifted or examined; but rashly, out of the im­pulsion of a vain and weak desire.

[Page 473] Thou must watch, thou must labour: certain vain affections of thine must be vanquished, thou must forsake and leave thy kindred and acquaintance: suffer thy selfe to be contemned and derided by every boy thou meetest: to Epist. l. 3. dis­sert. cap. 15. distinctu l [...] ­ci [...]. be put to the worst in point of Magistracie, honour, judgement, and all things else. After all these considera­tions, come and spare not: if by these means thou desirest to vindicate to thy selfe tranquility, liberty, and constanty of minde.

Diogenes being asked, What he had learned in Philosophy, answered readi­ly: To foresee adversitie; and, when it comes, to beare it patiently. Dio­genes had good reason to say so, and Anaxagoras made good proofe of it, being apprehended at Athens, received two messages, both heavie and dole­ful: The one declared, That death was denounced against him; to which Anaxagoras answered thus: Nature hath long since decreed the same, both against me, and those that condemne me. The other gave him to under­stand, That his children were dead. His answer was: I was alwayes sure my children were not immortall. [Page 474] These were deadly wounding darts, yet could not wound Anaxagoras, be­cause they were foreseen.

This is Christian Philosophy: That Christ sending his Apostles into the theatre of the world, said: Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. If they have persecuted me, you also will they persecute: They will betray you in their counsells, and scourge you in their Synagogues; you shall be carried before Kings and Pre­sidents for my sake. The houre no [...] comes, that every one that shall kill you, will thinke he doth God good service: but this I have said to you, that when the houre shall come, you may remember that I told you of it.

This the Master hath fore-told, that the Disciples might consider of it be­fore hand, as one that is to take a jour­ney, thinkes of those things which are wont to happen to a man in that case: to wit, foul and tempestuous weather, rough and broken wayes, poore, beg­gerly, and sharking Innes, rude and troublesome companions, scarcitie of money, uncertain weather, winde, rain, wearinesse, and many such inconveni­ences, which doubtlesse would not [Page 475] seem to the traveller▪ so insupportable, if he could truly say: I fore-saw all these things. Contrariwise, the words of those that lament for want of pro­vidence, are: I never expected this chance: who would have thought this? I hoped for much better: you shall ne­ver heare a wise man make these com­plaints.

I have heard a goodly story of an Abbot, whose custome was, before he received any novice into his house, to carry him to the top of a tower, and bid him view as farre as he could with his eyes, and thinke, that if there were as many crosses as could stand between him and the utmost of his prospect, yet would they not be so many, as he must expect to beare. Know this, my son, quoth he, and look for it before hand: Thou shalt evermore have thy will crossed in all things. When thou woul­dest pray, thou shalt labour; when la­bour, pray; when thou hast a minde to sleep, thou shalt be inforced to watch; when thou desirest to watch, thou shalt be commanded to go to bed: when thou hast a desire to speake, thou shalt be enioyned silence; when to be si­lent, thou shalt be commanded to [Page 476] speak. I must deal plainly with thee, thou art often like to heare thy selfe [...]ll spoken of: innumerable faults will be laid to thy charge, besides the daily af­fliction of thy body. When thou shalt think thy selfe to have done well, to have sung thy part skilfully, thou shalt sooner be dispraised and controlled, then commended and applauded. Ac­cusations many times, (and those not alwayes true) shall be brought against thee: No appeale, not so much as to the Court of Chancery, will be admit­ted: all the amends and right thou wilt get, will be thy patience. It may be, thou shalt endure all this, fifty or sixtie yeares, perhaps all thy life. But in case thou meanest not to mortifie thy will, nor to endevour daily to over­come thy selfe, get thee gone, my son, get thee gone, thou wilt finde no en­tertainement there, nor in any other the like place whatsoever.

A most sincere speech surely and a wise. And can any admonition be more properly inculcated to the scho­lars of this sacred schoole then this? Foresee the infinite adversity you are like to endure: Doe you thinke your selves able, or at least, willing to bear [Page 477] it? If so, well; if not, get yee gone, packe yee hence; this Schoole is no place for effeminate persons, droans, sluggards, or loyterers: men that seek their ease, and shun labour, come not here, or if you do, you shall quickly be excluded; here are no such slothfull creatures, Labour and Patience are chief commanders.

Sect. V.

LET every one foresee the future chances and miseries which are in­cident to his state, that he may say with Anaxagoras, I knew this, I fore­saw that, whatsoever happens is no newes to me; Perhaps you will say, I have lost my money, which had I not done, who knows whether I should not have lost my self? I never poses­sed money but with a conceit I should lose it: and would to God with it I had lost my avarice.

But I am poor, poverty I know is no fault: it behoves me therefore to take heed there be none in the poore man himself.

But I have lost my eie-sight, a great part of innocency consists in blind­nesse.

[Page 478] But I am deprived of my friend, I will seek another, and there, where I am sure to find one; the firmest and the choicest friends are in heaven, there I may choose both whom, and as many as I will my self.

But envy will oppresse me: and who, I pray, is free from this annoi­ance, if an unfortunate man, be not, whom few are wont to envy? but I have lost the favour of my country: I knew it alwaies to be unconstant, apt to wast and vanish in a moment, soo­ner then snow against the sun.

But I am cast down by sicknesse, this is no wonder, no prodigie, for a man to besicke who must resolve to die once.

Armed with these and such like co­gitations of future chances, we are re­strained from furious phrensies in ad­versity.

Carneades a Phylosopher of great wisdome and judgement, was of opi­nion that all griefe and discontent in hard and difficult affaires, proceed from this, that the tempest rusheth up­on us unexpected and unprovided for it; So as an improvident cooke i [...] trou­bled at nothing more then when an unexpected company of strangers sud­denly, [Page 479] comes upon him, having neither fire, meat, fruit, hearbs, nor such like necessaries in a readinesse: then shall you see him run about the kitchin, stamp, stare, and scrarch his head, quar­rell with all he meets, stirre and scatter the fire all about, throw the pots, skel­lets, and platters up and downe, thun­der out oathes and execrations against the guests, and amidst these mad fu­ries, make ready their supper, to whom he wisheth plague, famine, and destru­ction in this cholerick ruffle. But much lesse would this Cooke have been sha­ken with this sudden tempest, had he but fore-seen and provided for it be­fore hand: we may, and it is in our power to mitigate such like storms, by foreseeing them, especially by refer­ring them and all things else, to the will and providence of God.

Felicitas, the mother of seven chil­dren, a woman highly commended by Saint Augustine, being a prisoner, and sharply travelling in child-bed, could not with-hold her selfe from s [...]riking and crying out: One of the Jaylours men hearing her cry out in that manner, bitterly scoffing, said: O woman! if thou beest not able si­lently [Page 480] to beare these pains, what wilt thou do when thou shalt be burned, cut, mangled, and torn in pieces? Know what thou sufferest now, is but in jest, then we shall fall to plain ear­nest. Her answer to this was most pru­dent and Christian like. Rest satis­fied, my friend; now I suffer onely for my selfe, but then Christ will suffer in me. And as she said, so it came to passe: for when she was afterward throwne to the wild beasts, she neither shrik't nor cry'd, nor so much as fetcht a sigh. A man would rather have thought she had been taken out to dance, with so cheerfull a countenance did she wel­come death: And all because thou (my Lord) wast her patience.

Just after this manner must we fight, if we look to get the victory. So soon as any tempest of adversitie begins to rise, forthwith let us fly, with all our heart, to God, and wholly submit our selves to his divine will; yea, even drench and ingulfe ourselves therein, be sorry, with all our hearts, that we have sinned and offended him, humbly beg his divine assistance, and firmly purpose never to depart from him in adversity, trusting in him, and commit­ting [Page 481] all things else to his providence. This augments our patience, this is that which makes us bold and fear­lesse.

Vitruvius recounts, that Aristippus, when he was, by the violence of the sea, cast upon the Isle of Rhodes, in a torn and weather-beaten ship, found, after he had a while curiously looked about, certain Mathematicall figures drawn with a compasse upon the shore; whereupon, turning to his companions, Be of good comfort, my friends, quoth he, there is yet some hope: for we may see here have been men.

Whensoever we turn our selves to God in prayer, we read in him the cha­racters of his immense power, and our owne beatitude, written and engraved there. Let us therefore hope well and be consident, even after ship­wrack: let neither losse of money, fame, nor any thing else grieve us, ha­ving heaven it selfe promised us.

What a poore thing is it to grieve at the losse of a few farthings, being to receive a kingdome? why feare we to dye, being to be transfer­red to immortality? After all tempests and shipwrackes, our good God [Page 482] will bring us to a safe and sure haven if (my deare Christian brother) thou doe but offer thy selfe, how poore and miserable soever to his divine good­nesse.

The Acaronites being infested with mice, made images of those creatures in gold, and offered them to God; and found thereby a remedy of that mischiefe. The Israelites likewise, stung by Serpents, were cured by the brasen Serpent: so it goes with us; the very same weapon that inflicts the wound heales it; calamity whilst it oppresseth us, erects us to God-ward, (supposing the fault be not in our selves) if we prepare our soule to temp­tation. For God is clement and mer­cifull, and will remit our sinnes in the day of tribulation; he is the prote­ctour of all that seeke for him in truth.

CHAP. VI. That all afflictions are to be suffered with conformity and resignation to the will of God.

THey say, an Egge swimmes in brine, but sinkes in sweet fresh water. David King of Jerusa­lem, amongst so many publike and privat calamities, amidst the funerals and slaughters of his fr [...]ends, involved in so many miseries and desolati­ons swamme alwaies, as it were, in most salt and brinish waters, with a brave and heroi [...]ke spirit. A man ac­cording to the heart of God, who con­formed and fashioned himselfe most exactly to his divine will and provi­dence in all things. But contrarywise his sonne Salomon was like an Egge drowned in the sweet and fresh pooles of pleasures and delights. It was not [Page 484] for that Salomon knew not the will of God, but because he conformed not himselfe unto it.

In our third part we have set downe five meanes by which all kindes of ad­versities are to be endured. 1. patient­ently. 2. cheerefully. 3. constantly. 4. with thankes-giving. 5. with pre­meditation. the 6. and last, but the most profitable and necessary, is this which followes, to wit, with con­formation of our will to Gods. And allbeit I have already treated of this conformity to the will of God in my five bookes intituled Helitropium, yet I will here in as briefe a manner as I can confirme it, seeing it is so neces­sary for the instruction of patience, but will not make any repetition of that which hath beene said before.

No will either of men or Angels could ever be termed good, or well di­rected, unlesse it were correspondent and conformed to the will of God. And the more fully and sincerely it is resigned, the more perfect and better it is. And consequently the lesse abso­lute and resigned the will is, the more unstable and unperfect. The will of God alone is the square and rule of all [Page 485] wills both in heaven and earth. There is no will praise-worthy, which is not conformed to the will of God.

That most blessed King David of­ten commendeth those that are of an upright heart: Shew, saith he, thy mercy to them that know thee, and thy justice to those that are upright of heart. This, Saint Augustine, a most learned interpreter, explicateth in this manner: They, sayth he, are upright of heart, who in this life follow the will of God. It is the will of God thou shouldest sometimes be sicke, some­times well. If when thou art in health the will of God be sweet and pleasing unto thee, and if sicke, harsh and di­stastefull, thou art not upright of heart: why? because thou wilt not square and direct thy will to the will of God, but rather seekest to pervert and wrest the will of God to thine. His will is straight, thine crooked. Thou must rectifie thy will according to his, not wrest his to thine; and thus doing thou shalt have an upright heart. Doe al! things succeed according to thy hearts desire? Blesse God who comforts thee: Sufferest thou in this world? Blesse God who corrects and [Page 486] tries thee. And by this means thou shalt be upright of heart, saying I will blesse God in all times; for he only is thought to have an upright heart, who wills alwaies that which God wills.

This one document in this respect goes beyond all other precepts; this is the summe and principall effect of all admonitions; the abstract and epitome of holy Scripture: the compendium of all vertues: the chiefest solace in whatsoever griefes; the highest pitch of divine love: the only thing that in­titles the disciples of the crosse to Pa­radise, and advanceth men to the seats of Angels: This one lesson, namely, for man to conforme his will, to Gods will, is all in all, and before all to be learned of all men: For whosoever hath learned this alone in the Schoole of Patience, may in a manner give up schoole, and of a scholar become a master and teacher of others.

This certainly King David might by good right chalenge to himself before all others, being a man so well ac­quainted with the will of God; of which divine knowledge he gave ma­ny most remarkable proofes, but then chiefly, when flying from his son Ab­solon, [Page 487] he willed the Priests to return with the arke, and said: If I shall find favour in the eies of my Lord, he will bring me backe, and shew it me againe, and his tabernacle: but if he shall say to me thou pleasest me not, I am ready prepared, let him do what seemeth good to himself.

Behold here King David, who even in a flight so full of danger and diffi­culty, put to his utmost plunges, when his whole kingdome seemed to lie at stake, was undaunted, and so much himself, that attending resolutely to the will of God alone, yea and to the least signe thereof, he willed only that which God willed. Is it the will of God I should return? It is my will also. Would he not have me return? I will not go backe; Let my Lord do what seemes good in his own sight, I am prepared.

Sect. II.

O Christians! if we could but once sufficiently apprehend this, if we would but deepely imprint it in our minds, the whole matter were abso­lutely effected: calamity perhaps might [Page 488] touch us, but from thence forward should never hurt us, nor affliction op­presse us, nor mortall man be able to annoy us: we should stand invincible, impregnable, fortified only with the will of God, our goods perhaps, our money, our health, our fame might go to wracke; But we should stand: Cities and Kingdoms might fall to ruine; But we should stand; Atlas, and all the world with him might fall to destru­ction; But we should stand; The heavens themselves might be dissol­ved; But we should stand immoveable, as long as this conformity of our will with Gods, should stand in us. This most evidently appeared in Christ at mount Olivet, the day before his passion; For after he had wholly resig­ned his will to his Fathers, he forth­with made towards his enemies, as an innocent lambe goes towards the but­cher to be slaughtered; before he made this prayer, he was all appaled, pusillanimous and troubled at the ap­proach of so horrible a death; but af­ter, when he had absolutely confor­med his will to the will of his Father: Arise, quoth he, come, let us go and throw our selves into the armes of [Page 489] our enemy, and receive his kisses.

This prompt resignation and con­formity with the will of God, makes a man undertake all: he is thereby so strong and mighty, he performs all, so stout and couragious he vanquishes all enemies, so invincible and inexpugna­ble, he gets the upper hand and over­comes whatsoever hee encounters. And therefore the more devoted and ready a man is to accomplish the will of God, the more powerfull and able he is to do or suffer whatsoever he un­dertakes. There is no calamity, no griefe can draw other words from him then these: As it hath pleased our Lord, so is it come to passe, so let it come to passe; for from him is my pa­tience; which Saint Augustine excel­lently well expresseth, saying; what pa­tience could ever hold out so many scandalls, were it not for hope of that which as yet we see not, but expect with patience? My pains and griefes now approach, my rest and quietnesse are likewise at hand: my tribulation now assailes me, and the time will come ere long I shall be clearly purged from it: would you have gold bright and pure before it comes out of the [Page 490] gold-smiths forge? content your self, you shall shortly see it shine in a jewel or golden carcanet: let it a Gods name passe the forge, that, when it is purified, it may come to light. In the forge there is fuell, gold and fire, which the gold-smith blows: the coles burn in the forge, the gold is purged, the one is turned to ashes, the other tried and re­fined. This world is a forge or fur­nace; wicked men are fuell, just men the gold, tribulation the fire, and God the Gold-smith. Wherefore as the Gold-smith pleaseth to dispose of me I am content: my part is to suffer, and his to purifie: let the fuell burn till it even melt and seem to consume me, when it is burnt to ashes, I shall be purged and refined: and why? because my soul shall be subjected unto God.

Behold an intire and perfect con­cordance of the will of man with the will of God: whereof that religious writer spake most truly: There is not, saith he, any sacrifice greater or more acceptable to God, then for a man in all tribulation to conforme himselfe to Gods blessed will and pleasure.

Oftentimes did God, as one would have thought, shew himselfe mutable [Page 491] and unconstant towards Abraham, as if he would do one while one thing, another while another, and crosse and command contrary to his own com­mandments; which he did, doubtlesse, to this end, to increase in so faithfull a servant, this conformity of his will with his Lords. Mark advisedly the minde of Abraham: How often soe­ver God varied his commands, were the labours never so troublesome, that he enjoyned him, the trials and exer­cises never so bitter that he put upon him, Abraham was still ready at eve­ry turn, every the least beck and signe of Gods will, to will or nill the same with God.

Sect. III.

We may observe a great difference between the Scholars of Patience: Some you shall see come to the School bare-headed, and without a hat, bare-foot and bare-leg'd, and without a cloake, after the manner of poore peo­ple; others without any use of feet at all, rather creeping then going to this Schoole: Another sort of them that come indeed on their feet, and in appa­rell [Page 492] decent enough, but without either paper, pen, ink, or books, quite destitute of means to learn: Others accommo­dated well enough with these accom­plishmēts, but not so much as a peny in their purse to pay their master. Others have pay sufficient to entertain their master, but want wit themselves to entertain learning. Finally, there are some great mens sons, who come on horse-back, or in coach to the School of Patience, with much ease, and very commodiously.

Those of the first sort come to this School, without either hat, shooes, or cloak, as being yet impatient, having not so much as learnt to beare adversi­ty patiently: they cannot so much as dissemble or hide their impatience; men without hat or cloake; too appa­rently unperfect.

The other sort creep miserably to this School, some patience indeed they have learned, which would prove none at all, were it not perforce; and fear, or money perswades them to that pati­ence which they make shew of. These, doubtlesse, suffer nothing with a cheer­full heart.

The third sort come indeed to the [Page 493] School of Patience, but utterly desti­tute of all Scholastick furniture, like Scholars that come at all adventures, and ex tempore they will sit, perhaps, an houre or two and hearken attentively; but soon will they wax weary, un­constant, and in fine forsake the School: they have a wandring minde, indocible, and constantly not capable of any thing.

Now some there are that come bet­ter prepared to heare their master, but without stipend to consider him for his pains. The due entertainment and salary which Scholars in the School of Patience should give to their master, is, Thanksgiving in adversity: this many of them, through dulnesse of wit, ap­prehend not; or if they do, regard not. Notwithstanding these bear the shew of constant proficients, and capable e­nough of other School-disciplines; but to render thankes to God for stripes and afflictions, this surely they have not yet learned; and consequently are much hindered by poverty, from pay­ing dues to their maister.

But, perhaps, others there are, that want not so much pay▪ for their ma­sters, as wit themselves; insomuch that [Page 494] they suffer griefe and adversitie with­out all premeditation. This argues a great defect of wit, not to foresee those things which may and are wont to be­fall every man, and to use those poore silly words: I would never have thought it.

Finally, others are carried on horse­back, or in waggons, both to and from the School of Patience; men highly en­riched with divine favours, and who resigne themselves wholly to Gods will in all things; but especially in ad­versitie; which, doubtlesse, works this effect in them, not so much to render them not sensible of the crosse, as to beare it with facilitie, having alwayes a most attentive eye upon the will of God. These do not onely patiently, cheerfully, constantly, but even with thanksgiving, and not without preme­ditation; and, which is the chiefest matter of all, with great conformity of their will to Gods, beare all adversity whatsoever. All things go well with these men, even when they go worst▪ for they are carried safe and sure in the chariot of divine providence. Every one of these have in their mouthes these words: The Lord ruleth m [...], and [Page 495] nothing shall be wanting to me. The Lord is carefull of me. All things cor­respond to these mens wishes; all things sort to their wils, and even be­fore they will it; seeing the main scope of their wills is, To will that which God wills. Are they sick, or ill at ease? they know that this is part of Gods will. Do they undergo la­bours, feares, endammagements? They know th [...]se things usually come to passe, and are rather decretall, then accidentall. Do they behold the hea­vie departure of some of their friends? the immature death of other some of them? They acknowledge life, death, & whatsoever passeth in the course of our life, to be the will of God. Thus they assent to God in all things, they follow God: not upon necessity, nor by compulsion; but willingly, and with all their hearts. They never entertain a­ny thing (how bitter soever it be) with sad or sowre lookes: whatsoever tri­bute is exacted from them in this life, they yeeld it willingly.

For all things which we feare or groan under in this world, are but tri­butes of this life, whereof we must nei­ther hope nor f [...] for immunity. To [Page 496] conclude, these people, who are so ob­serving of the divine wil, do like a skil­full harper, who straineth, setteth up and letteth down the strings of his harp, till he brings them at last to per­fect concordance: So whosoever de­sires to make his will consonant to Gods, must never cease to incite, urge, instruct and correct his own, till it be perfectly subjected to the will of God.

According to that expostulation which the Kingly Psalmist used in sin­gular manner with himselfe: shall not my soule be subject to God? for of him is my salvation. As it hath plea­sed our Lord, so is it done: as it shall be the will in heaven, so be it done. Shall not therefore my soul be subject unto God? The Hebrew hath it: Shall not my soul be silent to God? As if he should have said: In all things that befall me, I am most reli­giously silent, I utter not a word, re­sting most content with Gods blessed will and decree. To God it belongeth to command and governe, to me to o­bey: Thus I go upon sure grounds. But if I finde my will refractory, then I fall to asking that, which that most [Page 497] faithfull servant of God did: Behold, my loving Father, I am in thy hands, under the rod of thy correction, I sub­mit my selfe; strike this backe, this stubborn neck of mine, make my croo­kednesse pliant to thy will, vouchsafe Thomas de Kemp. [...]mit. Christi l. 3. C. 50. me above all things to seeke alwayes after thy will and good pleasure.

Sect. IV.

NEither ought this conformity of mans will to Gods, seeme hard to any one. What have we more in our power then to will or nill? And what is more familiar, or lesse troublesome to a man, then to grant or deny?

Alexander King of Macedon under­tooke the study of Geometry, having a great desire to know how bigge the circuite of the whole earth was, wher­of then he possest but the least part. The precepts which were given him were subtile, and not to be learned without diligent attention, a thing not so easie for a military man, whose co­gitations, for the most part, were wandring beyond seas. This scholar therfore wil'd his master to teach him only some easie observations. His ma­sters [Page 498] answer was, that these precepts were to every man the same, and of like difficulty to all.

I may in a manner say the same, concerning the conformity of mans wil with Gods: these are to al men one and the same, to Will or Nill ought seem to every one of like facility: We are all indifferently both poore and rich of equall ability, without any la­bour or cost of ours, to Will or Nill infinite things: yea, every day we in­finitely Will or Nill. But to Will or Nill many things, is no commenda­tion to us, unlesse both the one and the other be conformable to the will of God: this is vertue, this is praise­worthy indeed.

Palladius and Ruffinus recount a wonderfull story: Paphnutius perswa­ded himselfe he had so profited in the way of our Lord, that out of a sincere and pious curiosity, he besought God to declare unto him whether any man in the world were equal to him in piety of life. The divine goodnesse conde­scended to his request, and comman­ded an Angel to signifie unto him, that there was a poore Piper in a village not farre off, who was altogether his [Page 499] equall in sanctity. Paphnutius stood a­mazed at this message, and musing much with himselfe: Is it so indeed (thought he) hast thou endeavoured so many yeares with so little profit, that thou art only equalled now with a poore minstrell? And forthwith he undertooke, with all the industry he might, to finde out this man, and seri­ously enquired of him, what course of life he led, and what vertues he most practised? The poore man smiling at so curious a question, beganne plainely to confesse the truth: In times past, said hee, I was a theefe and robber on the high way, now a Piper. For my vertues, good man, it is in vain to aske of them; I have none, and therefore can give you no account of their names. Paphnutius persisted still to urge, wishing him at least to tel, whether he had at any time done any good or notable act. Alasse, sir! quoth he, it is lost labour to sift into my conscience; you shall finde it utterly barren and fruitlesse. I have beene a slave to lust and drunkennesse: yet this one thing I remember, that once we tooke a religious woman, to whom my fellowes would have offe­red [Page 500] violence, had not I delivered her, and conducted her safe to the next towne: Another act of mine likewise comes to my minde, seeing you presse me so far, and are pleased to hear, what perhaps is not fitting for me to utter.

Some few years since, I found a fair comely yong woman wandring in the woods, bitterly weeping; and asking the cause of her teares: Question me not, said she, who am the most unfor­tunate woman living: but if you can helpe me to any service, dispose of me at your pleasure; my poore distressed husband, bound for a huge unpayable debt of another mans, lies in prison almost at the point of death: neither have I any hope of his liberty; Three sons of late I had, which now, alas! I can no longer call mine, the creditours having seazed upon them to serve as slaves in lieu of the debt; I my selfe, sought after to be used in the same manner, have fled hither almost con­sumed with hunger and misery, desti­tute of all counsell, helpe or comfort. At this dolefull relation, I, said the minstrell, being ready to commiserate persons so unmercifully handled, sup­posing it to be the blessed will and [Page 501] pleasure of God to give so good an oc­casion and object of charity, brought this poor woman almost famished to my house, where when I had refreshed her with meat, relying on the great goodnes of God, I brought her back to the city from whence she came, & with a sum of money redeemed and set at liberty both her husband and children.

Now, reverend Sir, aske me no more questions, I beseech you, I have given you already a list of all my vertues; I could much sooner have gi­ven you one of my vices.

But I, said Paphnutius, fetching a deep sigh, have understood that thou art no­thing inferiour to me, who inhabit the desert, & afflict my body with rigour & austerity; seeing therefore thou art so much in Gods favour, that scarcely a­ny of his servants are in more, and see­ing a zealous will and desire only to be holy, is the prime sourse and wel­spring of all sanctity, have a care, I beseech thee, of thy selfe; do but once seriously will and desire it, and it is as good as effected; this onely is to be done, deny thy selfe, take up thy crosse, and follow Christ; At this the minstrell, as if he had clearly [Page 502] heard these words spoken and com­manded by God himself, throwing a­way his pipe, which he had then in his hand, performed it presently, and fol­lowed Paphnutius.

Here may I with just cause ex­claime. Take heed; O you scholars! who perswade your selves you have profited so much in the Schoole of Pa­tience; take heed, I say, lest these very punies go beyond you. It is the cu­stome now and then in Schools, to call a petty out of the lowest forme, to tell some blockish scholar of the highest, wherein he hath grossely erred; we may almost see the like in this. Theeves and pipers, scholars of the lowest classe, oftentimes shame those who are high, proud, and impatient.

This man bears away the prise, that wills all as God wills, and nills as he nills. This doubtlesse is the most lear­ned, the most patient, the most singu­lar of all the rest, who hath his will most resigned and united to God; He carries all cleerly before him, who re­signes his will wholly to the will of God. Do but say, I will, and the palm of Patience is thine.

Sect. V.

BUt this mischievous word why, trou­bles many in the School of Patience; why doth God this, why that? Why punisheth he innocents, and dismisseth guilty persons? Why permits he so ma­ny, and such wicked enormities? Why will he have all done according to his will and pleasure? This was the que­stion the serpent asked the mother of mankind in Paradise: why hath God given you this commandment, that you should not eate of all the trees of Paradise?

That, why, proceeding from the ser­pent, must be utterly banished from the Schoole of Patience: it is a seri­ous charge from our master: that it should not be so much as named a­mongst you.

Saint Augustine gives a most exact answer to these serpents, saying; why do thunderbolts strike sometimes the mountaine, and spare the theefe? Be­cause perhaps God expects as yet the theefs conversion, and therefore strikes the mountaine that fears not, to con­vert that man who is capable of feare; [Page 504] thou doest now and then the like, striking the ground when thou givest correction, that thy child may be frigh­ted thereat. But thou answerest me: behold he punisheth sometimes the innocent, and pardons the guilty; what wonder? a good man alwaies and in all places is ready for a good end; but how canst thou possibly know what punishment is reserved, for that wicked person, unlesse he repent him? How much rather would they (who at the day of Judgement shall heare these dreadfull words, go yee cursed into everlasting fire) be consu­med with thunder and lightning? It behoves thee to be innocent. For what matter is it whether a man die by ship­wracke, or by a feaver? we can neither say the one is an il death, nor the other a good; But whether he die by one or other, enquire of what course of life the man is that dies, whither he shall go after death, not by what accident he came to his death; Howsoever it be, live thou in fear, and see thou be good, by what death soever it pleaseth God to take thee hence, let him find thee provided.

Whatsoever therefore, as the same [Page 505] Saint Augustine saith, happens in this world contrary to our will, know it happens not without the will of God, by his providence, by his ordinance, and expresse order; & albeit we neither understand it, nor the end for which it is done, yet let us ascribe so much to his providence, that it is not done without cause. For when we presume to dispute the works of God: as, why did h [...] this, why that, and, he should not have done thus, he hath done a­misse in so doing; where I beseech you, is your praise of God; you have lost your Alleluja. Consider all things in such sort that you may please God, & praise him that made them. When you enter into a Smiths forge, you would not, doubtlesse, presume to find fault with his bellows, his hammers or an­vill; presumest thou not to question a rude smith in his forge, & wilt thou be so bold with God in his workmanship of this world? It is the property of an unskilfull man to reprehend all he sees; you shall have another more skilfull then he, albeit better acquain­ted with the artificer, and consequent­ly might be more familiar, yet know­ing him to be a man that understands [Page 506] his trade, will say; Questionlesse he had some reason to place his bellows rather here then in another place; the workman himself knows why, al­though I do not.

That we may be therefore willing to imbrace the will of so dear and lo­ving a Father, the same Saint Augu­stine encourageth us, and layeth be­fore our eyes the hereditary delights of eternity, saying; Thy God, thy Re­deemer, he that, for thy good, hath brought thee under, and chastised thee, as a father instructs thee. To what end? Mary, to settle upon thee an in­heritance, to which thou art no [...] to succeed by dispossessing thy Father, but by possessing thy Father him­selfe for an inheritance. This is the hope for which thou art instructed, and doest thou murmur? Whither wilt thou go from his Spirit? Admit he should leave thee at thine own liber­ty, and not chastise thee; Say he should suffer thee to blaspheme at thy plea­sure, shalt thou not at l [...]st feel the smart of his judgement? Is it not much better thy Father should afflict, and receive thee; then spare, and for­sake thee?

[Page 507] Dost rejoyce? Acknowledge thy fa­thers cherishing. Art thou in tribula­tion? Acknowledge thy Fathers cor­rection. And remember this, that whe­ther he cherish or correct, he instructs him, for whom he prepares a king­dom.

Moreover, Almighty God, as wit­nesseth the same Saint Augustine, or­dereth and disposeth so of the sins of all men, that all those things, which were objects of delight to them in their sin, may be instruments for our Lord in his punishment. For God said, Be darknesse made, and it was made: yet did he dispose of it when it was made: He likewise permits sins, albeit he commit none, and orders and disposes of them afterward, and by this means executes his will efficaci­ously in all things. But now I request all to mark attentively: for I purpose to make a brief recapitulation of whatsoever I have said before.

Sect. VI.

BEfore the creation of the world, there was nothing but a meer va­cuity; yea, there was nothing else be­sides the most mighty and most merci­full [Page 508] God, who alone was most suffici­ent to himself, and without all things created most blessed and happy, having in himself from all eternity, and to this very instant, the Idea of all things; so perfect, that not one jot, point o [...] tittle, as I may say, was wanting either in his will or understanding. Accord­ing to this Idea of his will and under­standing, he created all things in per­fection; all good, doubtlesse, very good. All which he ceaseth not to go­vern, preserve and dispose every mo­ment in a most singular order.

That end which God from all eter­nity hath prescribed to himself in all things, he acquires from time to time. And which most declares his infinite power and goodnesse; he as carefully directs the least things, as the greatest; he as provident every moment directs every man in particular, as all men in generall; yea, he so tenderly and lo­vingly diverts even the least things be­longing to each man, that there is none of them, but are designed for an excellent end, were it not that the will of man doth prejudice it self, dissen­ting from the supreme will of God.

No one, be he man or Angel, can e­ver [Page 509] alter or hinder what God hath re­gistred from all eternity, what he hath determined to do or permit. He hath numbred and considered the very hairs of all creatures, the sands of the sea, the leaves of the trees; even the least birds, the Sparrows, the Wrens, the motes of the air; all, even all the co­gitations both of men▪ and Angels.

What then canst thou complain of, as if God regarded not thy calamities, as if he did not providently enough govern thee and thy affairs, or give too much liberty to thine enemies, or a­mongst such a multitude of men and matters, neglect thee alone? Foolish man! Wilt thou still be muttering these things to thy self? Know that God disposeth all things in number, weight, and measure, even thy affairs, even the least thing thou takest in hand.

Call to mind, I beseech thee, & consi­der thy life past, and note whatsoever thou wouldest have had, in the whole course thereof, to have happened o­therwise. Observe withall, that even this thing was by God brought most exactly to his own Idea; that is to say, to what hath pleased him from all [Page 510] eternity, so hath it succeeded, so shall it hence forward succeed. Not so much as one jot, or one tittle, hath passed, nor shall passe in time to come, till all be performed according to this I­dea of God.

The sacred will of God shall stand most steadfast and inviolable. And tell me, I pray thee, what availed it thee then, to vex, grieve, and perplex thy selfe in vain, and to trouble others so much? What wilt thou get now by tossing or turmoiling? Let me per­swade thee not to stumble again at the same stone; put on a mind of resigna­tion, submit thy selfe freely and entire­ly to the will of God; mount up into this Chariot of Gods providence; feare nothing, it is impossible to miscarry: without Gods will and permission, the least thought, the least finger, the poo­rest more in the world is not able to stir against thee.

And as well for what is past, as for what is to come, let my perswasion take place: Consider, I beseech thee, what small interest thy will or power hath in any of them: So little, that thou canst seldome foresee what will happen hereafter. Tell me, what kinde [Page 511] of Summer shall we have next yeare? If a dry and barren one, dearth, plague and famine will ensue. What then will it avail thee to foresee or grieve at this? The like may be said of all things else. In very deed thou canst neither obtaine what is good, nor fore­see or shunne what is evill, unlesse it be the will of God; refigne therefore thy will to his.

It is in vaine to vex and trouble thy selfe; to strive or strugle; it is lost la­bour to plot or build, unlesse the will of God concurre thereunto: Thou shalt not prevaile, thou shalt not profit, unlesse thou will that which God willes.

Be sure therefore to performe this; submit thy selfe in all things to the will and pleasure of God. And I most earnestly crave this one thing, that thou wouldest every day serioufly weigh and consider in thy minde, as most certain, That God from all eter­nity hath prepared for thee this crosse, and determined to lay it upon thee, to­gether, with all the circumstances of place, time and persons; and that he hath, according to his infinite wise­dome and goodnesse, squared and pro­portioned [Page 512] it agreeable to thy forces. It remains now only, that thou shouldest be willing to make benefite thereby; and this assuredly will be very great, if thou wilt but resigne and accommo­date thy will to Gods will.

Wherefore, upon every such occasi­on, discourse thus: This, doubtlesse, comes from God, and therefore is for the best. This injury, this disease, this poverty, this trouble or misery, is direct­ly from God, and therefore can import no evill unto me, unlesse my will dis­sent from Gods will. But take heed thou never utter such kinde of words as these: Were it but this or that crosse, it would never grieve me. A poore and idle complaint. This crosse or that crosse, how terrible soever un­to thee, embrace, and for this cause onely, that it is the will of God to ex­ercise thee with this and that, and with no other. See therefore thy will be one and the same with Gods: or if thou wilt follow thy owne, be sure to pe­rish.

Sect. VII.

AS for that pernicious Serpents, Why, as why doth God oftentimes shew himselfe so benigne to those that are estranged from him; and, for the most part, so severe to his servants? &c. We must exactly know this, that it is the most just and upright w [...]ll of God; by adversity questionlesse many thousands of men are corrected & reformed, but scarcely any one by prosperity. Felici­ty is the step-mother of vertue, she flat­ters her favourites, that she may have the more advantage to hurt them.

There are some that seeme happy to themselves, but tis only in their owne opinion, which being false, ad [...] little to their felicity, but much to their misery. For to be ignorant of a mans owne misery, is the height of infelici­ty. Pompey the great deemed himselfe happy. But if we seriously consider the matter, he was never so indeed, no no [...] even then, when he was in a flourish­ing estate esteemed most happy. His end made proofe thereof, being forced to yeeld up his head and life to the ex­ecutioners sword.

[Page 514] Policrates, King of the Samites, was thought in his time the very dar­ling of Fortune, he had never any ad­versitie in his life; heavens, sea and land, all favoured him. All his en­terprises had a facile and happy suc­cesse: whatsoever he hoped for, he rea­ped the fruit thereof; it was no more but wish and have, his will and power were all one. Fortune but once frow­ned upon Policrates, when he had a short pang of griefe; and (forsooth) to appease the Goddesse Nemesis, lest he of all men should be said to be alto­gether exempt from misfortunes, he threw a ring of great value, and much esteemed by him, into the sea. Ne­verthelesse, this he soon after recove­red, it being found in the belly of a Fish which had devoured it. Notwith­standing, at length, he ended all his fe­licity upon a high crosse, whereon he was put to death. For by Orontes, one of the Noble men belonging to King Darius, he was fastened upon a crosse on the top of mount Mycalis, where he was made a miserable, but an eminent spectacle of false and deceit­full felicity.

But these, saist thou, are prophane [Page 515] stories. Behold then, Aman tottering aloft in the aire, neer allied to Poli­crates, enshrined in a monument not much unlike, and altogether as high. Aman had long abounded in wealth, was most h [...]ppy in a wife, and a flou­rishing off spring; friends he had ma­ny, and King Ahashuerus himselfe the principall: Aman had all the world at will. But what, I pray you? The Epi­logue of all this so great felicity was knit up on a gibbet. This was the fa­brick which Aman had built for him­selfe, whether he would or no: So the corn falls with too much ranknesse: So the boughes of trees, over-burdened with fruit, are broken: So the greatest calm at sea, foreshews the fiercest storm. The same may be said of mens lives and manners.

Mens mindes with wealth, ease, and daintie fare, run riot. The Moon ever waneth, when she is come once to the full: and the further from the Sun, the fuller she i [...]; the more you feed and pamper your horse, the lesse tractable will he be to his rider: So man, for the most part, the more he is in prosperity, the further he is from his God.

Hence was it that God in times past [Page 516] complained of his people: I satiated them, and they became adulterers: They were pampered and fattened, and foully transgressed my words. Where felicity reignes, there vertue common­ly is exiled.

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Millan, as Paulinus recounteth, visited a certaine rich man upon the way as he travelled; who, when he had entertained and re­freshed him, as well with pleasant dis­course, as good cheere, he made a long relation of his owne course of life, al­ledging, that he had never had any crosse, or adversity, that all things had succeded, not onely answerable, but e­ven beyond his expectation, before he desired them; yea more then he could desire, so that he never knew what be­longed to calamity. Saint Ambrose was much astonished▪ at this, and forth­with, as if some▪ sudden occasion had called him away, took his leave of that fortunate man and his house both at an instant. The reason he gave to his followers, of this his speedy depar­ture, was this; That he feared the rest of his entertainment would be but bad, in a house so extreamly happy, and with a man who all his life time had [Page 517] never tasted adversity. Wherefore he thought it expedient to flye thence in all haste, lest they together with such an host should be involved in the same ruine. Saint Ambrose had not gone far from thence, before the house with a sudden and unexpected downfall, o­verwhelmed and buried all the inha­bitants.

How much better is it then to dwell with them, who are in this world tos­sed and turmoiled with stormes, to acquire thereby rest and happinesse, where ruine and destruction are not to be feared? Here we lead a life conti­nually infested with temptations, alwayes exposed to great and ma­fold dangers, and till we depart out of this world, are never secure; but this (whether it be known or unknown to those who dream of having their feli­city here) exempts them not from be­ing altogether as miserable. There can be no true felicity subject to errour and perill. He is onely happy, who resign­ing himselfe wholly to the will of God, sits aloft in the chariot of divine providence.

Sir Thomas Moore, a most illustri­ous example of patience, submitted [Page 518] entirely his will to the will of God, af­ter this manner: At his return from an Embassage wherein he was im­ployed beyond seas, and attending the King far [...]om his own house, in the moneth [...] August, word was brought him from his wife, by his son-in-lawes letters, that part of his house, and all his barns full of corn, were by the ne­gligence or some neighbour, burned to the ground. Sir Thomas wrote back thus to his wife in a most Angelicall manner:

Much health and safety (Lady A­loysia;) I understand that our, and some of our neighbours barns are bur­ned: the losse, doubtlesse, of so plenti­full a provision of corn (but that it is the will of God) were much to be la­mented. But seeing it hath so pleased God, we ought surely to take this pu­nishment as from his hand, not onely patiently, but even willingly. Whatsoe­ver we have lost, we have received from our Lord. And seeing it hath pleased him to take it from us again, our Lords will be done. Let us not mur­mur, or repine at this accident, but [...] h [...]c, Christian [...] le­ctor, n [...], no­ [...] take it in good part, and render great thankes to God as well in adversity [Page 519] as prosperity. And if we consider the matter as we should, this losse is a greater benefit from God, then what­soever gain: for how much it impor­teth to our salvation, it is better known to God then our selves.

I beseech you therefore, not to be dismaied, but take with you all your fa­mily to the Church, & give most hum­ble thanks to God, as well for that he hath given us, and now taken from us, as for that which he hath left us. God can with great facility, when he pleaseth, encrease that which remain­eth; and if it seem good to him to take more from us, as it shall please our Lord, so let it be done.

Moreover let enquiry be made what damage our neigbours have sustained, and wish them not to be contristated therewith; for I will never suffer any neighbour of mine to be endammaged by any losse or mischance that may happen to my domesticall estate, tho I should forgo all my house-hold furniture, even to the value of a spoon.

I pray thee, my dear Aloysia, rejoyce with all my children and family in our Lord. All these commodities, and we our selves are in the hands of God, [Page 520] let us depend wholly on his will, & [...] losse shall ever prejudice us. Farewell, from the Court at Woodstocke this 13. of Sept. An. 1529.

O my God! what a sincere resigna­tion was this to thy will? what a letter was this of a true upright hearted man? Here we may see a father of a family, a great proficient in the School of Patience: here was a man, here was a man indeed, who was able, through an entire conformity to the will of God, so sweetly to beare a losse of such im­portance. Behold here an Ostrich, that could devoure and digest iron; His barns were fited, but not his minde. This patience, preserved and firmly fortified.

And see how the infinit liberality of God repaired this losse, as he did the calamities of Job, with manifold increase. In the moneth of September this sorrowfull news was brought to Saint Thomas More, and in October next ensuing he was declared high Chancelour of England; and not only that dignity was conferred upon him, but a new addition also was made to his revenues; whereby he might both reedifie his old barns, and build new if [Page 521] he pleased. This is the usuall manner of God; He bringeth men downe e­ven as low as hell, and reduceth them again.

To this Lord Chancelour of Eng­land, I annex a Prince of Spain, Fran­cis Borgias, the third Generall of the Society of Jesus. This Borgias tooke his journey towards Septimanca, where the Society had a noviceship, and being benighted in the way, a cold piercing winde, a huge driving snow, and the darkenesse of the night inter­cepted his passage.

At last through snow and darknesse, very late in the night, he came to the place; yet was he not here free from the sharpnesse of the weather; for when he was now at the Colledge gates, all the Colledgiates being in bed, and fast in their first sleep, he knocked a­gain and again, and many times, and no man made answer, insomuch that they seemed all rather dead then asleep, and which was another inconve­nience, the house it selfe was far di­stant from the gates; all this wh [...]le the wind blew bitterly, and pierced this weary travailer: hunger afflicted him, snow covered this good father and [Page 522] made him all white, af [...]er long atten­dance, at last th [...] novices awaked and opened the gates: when he was let in so far was he from reprehending or blaming them, or shewing an austere countenance, or giving sharpe words, that he seemed rather full of cheerfull­nesse, and to take comfort therein; the brothers of the society on the other side stood all abashed at their sleepines and negligence, humbly begging par­don of the good father, that they had suffered him in so bitter a cold night to stand so long at the gates; but Borgias, albeit he were almost starved to death, answered with a clear and smiling countenance you have no rea­son, my dear children, to grieve a [...] what hapned to me; for my meditation whilest I stood so attending was this, That even as a great Prince would be delighted to see a bear, a lion, or some such like beast hunted in the chace or baited at a stake, so my God solaceth himselfe to see me, no better then a beast, pelted with soft flakes of snow, which cannot hurt, but some­what efflict and perplex me. It was the will of God, and his providence that this should fall upon me; let us like­wise [Page 523] will that which God wills; and re­joyce when he extends his favour to­wards us, although he please to put up­on us a sharper triall then ordinary.

This is true magnanimity indeed, and the only way to mitigate adversi­ty, by resigning thus our wills to the will of God, with a true conformity, and perfect resignation, without the least contradiction.

But to this Duke of Gandia, I will ad the most renowned Princesse Lady Magdalena Neoburgica, that the ex­amples the newer they be, may the more effectually move us. This Prin­cesse worthy of all praise and happy memory, whom I purpose elsewhere to commend more at large, was sister to Maximilian, that most famous Ele­ctour, and wife to William Neobur­gicus, the most honorable Duke of Wolfangium, she died in the yeare 1628. upon the five and twenty day of September. This most choice and sin­gular Lady, I say, constantly exercised herselfe in all vertuous actions, but a­bove all, her principall endeavour was most exactly to joyne her will with Gods will. All adverse chances, where­of many happened daily, she cheerfully [Page 524] accepted from the hand of God, as speciall favours; she was invincible in suffering couragiously all sinister acti­ons whatsoever for Gods sake. In which Art, by continuall practise, she had at last so inured her minde, that in the foure last years of her life, wherein she happily endevoured to attaine to perfection in this vertue, it was often­times found in a little note-boke of hers, that she conformed her will with Gods, more then an hundred times in a day.

Questionlesse, to live according to the will of God, is a true life indeed, and death to live otherwise: whereof Saint Augustine speaks most elegant­ly, Aug. tom io­sorm de verb. Apost. c. rca med. saying; That certain Philosophers of the Epicures, who lived according to the flesh; and certain of the Stoicks, who lived according to the soul and spirit, contended with Saint Paul the Apostle, who lived according to God. The Epicure said, My chiefest good is to injoy the flesh. The Stoick, Mine to enjoy my spirit and soul. The Apo­stle said; But my chiefest good is to adhere to God. The Epicure erres, the Stoick is deceived, the Christian, who adheres to God and the divine will, [Page 525] can neither erre nor be deceived. For then the soul may be said to live well, when it neither liveth according to the fl [...]sh, nor according to it self, but according to the will of God. For as the soul is the life of the flesh, so is God the life of the soul.

Sect. VIII.

WHy then should we not freely im­brace this one onely will of God, being most assuredly the best, and the holiest; Why should we not rather conform our selves to it of our own accord, then be drawn to it, whether we will or no? Why do we not so firmly and absolutely resolve to ac­commodate our will to his, that we may do or suffer whatsoever is his holy will and pleasure?

Finally, that man is the true scho­lar of patience, and truly patient in­deed, who in all his sufferings, repeats this one saying; I will onely the will of God. God knows what is expedi­ent, both publikely and privately, for his glory and our salvation. But for so much as I am ignorant of this; What can I justly fear, or hope for, what can [Page 526] I more piously rejoyce or grieve for, then for thy will (my God) and the most holy decrees thereof? Let what­soever happen; let heaven and earth go together, let all be turned upside down; let all the world be troubled and confounded, nothing happens (I am well assured) not so much as the least hair from my head, the least sand or stone can fall from a mountain, without thy providence. I have no rea­son then to complain of any thing, or any man in this world: Thy will be done (my God) yea, even my will, since I have so often transformed it into thine.

Here let me intreat thee (gentle Reader) to read, or if thou hast alrea­dy, to read over again, what I have set down in my Book, intituled Heliotro­pium, especially that which I have briefly summoned up in the last Chap­ter of the fifth Book; as likewise that which I deliver in my Aeternitatis pro­dro [...]o, the second Chapter, Sect. 28. and in the third Chapter, Sect. 47. and 49. where I have carefully set forth this conformity of mans will with Gods? Moreover I teach in the fift booke of my Heliotropium, the third [Page 527] Chapter, by what meanes we should in adversity elevate our mindes to God, and with firme and assured con­fidence establish it in him; all which might seem superfluous here to repeate againe.

But to conclude this matter in a word. If you do not either apprehend this doctrine (O Christians!) or, which I feare more truely, may be said, you will not conceive it, you doe but vainely trifle out your time in the Schoole of Patience; you will alwaies fall short of him you undertake to i­mitate you doe nothing; your profit will be none at all; alwaies learning, and never arriving to the know­ledge of that verity you seeke to learne.

Conforme then (to speake in plaine termes) resigne, I say, your will to Gods will, or else you shall be shut forth of this schoole, as non-profici­ents and indocible scholars, without any hope for the time. But if you once possesse your selves perfectly of this document, you shall be for ever hap­py, even amongst the greatest afflicti­ons. They are the words of the eter­nall truth: If any one be willing to [Page 528] performe my will, let him know and understand my doctrine. For whoso­ever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, my sister, and my mother.

THE EPILOGVE, Or Recapitulation of all that hath beene said.

WHAT I have said of the conformity of mans will to the will of God, espe­cially in adversity. S. Augustine most evidently confirms, where he discour­seth concerning the tolerating of wic­ked men, saying: Become milde there­fore and patient, as thou doest when [Page 530] thou understandest that the reason, why evil men flourish, is, because God will have it so. It is his will to spare wicked persons; but those whom he purposeth to reform, he reduceth to re­pentance; the other are never reform'd, nor so much as corrected. He knowes well hereafter how to judge them. But that man is not milde nor patient, who will contradict the goodnesse of of our Lord, his patience, his power, or the justice of the judge.

Who then are called the upright of heart? Mary they who will that which God wills. God spareth sinners, thou wouldest have him destroy them. Thou hast therefore a crooked heart, a depraved will, seeing thou wouldest one thing and God another. It is Gods will to suffer evill men to live, but thou wouldest not have it so. Al­mighty God is patient and beareth with sinners; thou wouldest not tole­rate them. But, as I said before, thou willest one thing, and God another. Convert thy heart, and direct it unto God, because our Lord doth compas­sionate those that are infirme. Hee sees in his mysticall body (his Church) [Page 531] some infirme persons, who at the first apply themselves wholy to their owne will: but finding the will of God to be otherwise, they convert themselves and their heart to entertaine his will, and to follow it.

Seeke not therefore to wrest and draw the wil of God to thine, but con­trariwise correct thine according to the will of God. The will of God is a square and rule not to be altered. As long as there is a straight and direct rule, thou must have recourse to [...]e, thereby to correct thy crookednesse.

But what would men have? It is not enough for them to have their owne will crooked, they would also make the will of God crooked, accor­ding to their owne heart, that God might doe their will, whereas they should do Gods will. Thus farre Saint Augustine.

What shall I say (O you mortalls!) doe you not yet conceive this doctrine of conforming your will to the will of God? which the ancient fathers, which the holy Scriptures so often inculcate. Doe we yet run so confidently of our owne heads, or stand so peremprorily [Page 532] upon our owne opinions, that we dare repine at that which God wills, or will that which God will not? What we suffer, God will have us suffer; there is nothing more certaine then this, and this he willeth for our good, as a singular favour. These favours (saiest thou) I am nothing ambitious of. O thou, whom I can scarcely call man, but rather a beast, ignorant and uncapable of what belongs to heaven! looke I beseech thee, how many even of the Noblity every where, ambiti­ously seeke after labours, so that they may thereby gaine riches and ho­nours. And they hold it a singular fa­vour to obtaine that they seeke after. And doest thou who art to passe through short and easie labours, to the great festivall of overlasting delights in heaven, stand pushing and resisting with thy refractory hornes like a wilde Bull or Stagge at bay? Give [...]are to a wonderfull story, most certainely a­vowed and approved by infallible te­stimony, which Leontius Neopolio [...]. Bishop of Cyprus relateth in this man­ner.

A certain Citizen, whom Leontius [Page 533] calleth Philochristus, gave a good large summe of gold to John, Patri­arch of Alexandria, as an almes to the poore, and affirmed it was all the gold he had, and therefore besought this holy father, that he would be pleased to recommend to God in his prayers a son of his who was absent, and upon condition he might returne safe, he should thinke thi [...] gold very well be­stowed.

But to testifie how serious his peti­tion was, he oftentimes with bended knee submissively made obeisance to the Patriarch, thinking thereby he should sooner obtaine his suite. This childe of his, whom he so earnestly commended, was his only sonne not above fifteene yeeres of age, whose returne he expected in a ship from A­fricke. The Patriarch accepted the gold, and withall his suite, wondring at a minde so noble and generous, that could dispise and set so light so great a summe of mony. Wherefore he wi­shed him all good fortune, and a [...] Le­ontius saith, prayed much for him whilest he himselfe was present, and so dismissed him. Afterward he ceased [Page 534] not to offer up his prayers for him, who had so earnestly begged them; for going forthwith into the Church, and laying the gold under the altar, he ce­lebrated Divine service; & according to his promise praied to God, with all the fervour he could, that he would vouch­safe to restore unto him his son and ship in saftey; some thirty daies after he had thus praied, this liberall citi­zens son died, and the ship fraught with merchandise was cast away; three daies after the sorrowfull news was brought, that his son was dead, the ship with all the merchandise lost, and some few men escaped with the em­pty boate that belonged to the ship.

Consider here the extream and ex­cessive griefe of this poor distressed fa­ther: he had parted with his gold, lost his son, and the ship which he expect­ed: behold the reward of his piety and good disposition; griefe without mea­sure, and not capable of any comfort. How well might then the Kingly Pro­phets saying be applied to this most wofull and afflicted parent: If our Lord had not succoured him, his soul had even dwelt in hell. The losse of [Page 535] such a ship, one would have thought, had been sufficient to have daunted his manlike spirit, besides the untimely death of his son; two wounds, alas! so deadly, that the least of them might have brought him to utter desolation.

When this relation was made to John the Patriarch, the good Prelates grief was little lesse then his whom the heavy disaster did most concerne; whereupon knowing not well what to do, nor whither to turn him, he most earnestly besought God Almighty to yield this sorrowfull father some com­fort, he thought not fit to send for him overwhelmed with griefe, but sent one that was discreet to say thus unto him as in his name, Good Sir, be not de­jected; do not in any wise tax God for want of mercy: take courage, elevate your eies to heaven, and behold there everlasting joyes and delights: our momentary and light tribulation works in us an eternall weight of glo­ry; whatsoever is done on earth is by the most just judgement of God; nor is there any disaster or chastisment so great, that redounds not to our good, if we overcome it by suffering patient­ly. [Page 536] God our most provident Father not only foresaw, but also determined from all eternity what was most expe­dient for us; We, like silly infants, not knowing what is good or bad, of­ten desire and seek after those things which are most hurtfull for us; Be therefore confident in God, in whose hand are thy ship and son.

This doubtlesse was a pious and well grounded consolation: yet scarce­ly could these words penetrate a heart so deadly wounded; wherefore all humane comfort failing, the helpe of God was ready to assist. For the next night John the Patriarch seemed to ap­peare to this afflicted citizen in his sleep, and to utter these words: What troubles thee, my brother, and why dost thou pine away thus with griefe? didst thou not desire me to petition God for thy sons safe return? Behold he is safe for all eternity; & know this for certain, if he had lived, and retur­ned safe to thee he had been everlast­ingly damned; as for thy ship know thus much, hadst thou not obtained mercy by so liberall an alms, she with all the passengers in her had been sunk, [Page 537] and thy brother like wise been buried in the sea, who for thy comfort yet survives. Arise then and render thanks to God, for that thy son is saved, and thy brother restord to theo alive.

Philochristus, waking out of his dream, found himselfe much more lightsome then before, and almost cleared of all his griefe; he ran forth­with to the Patriarch, and threw him­self at his feer, declaring the vision that had appeared to him that night, and how much he had been comforted by those words; for which, quoth he, I yield most humble thanks [...]o God, who for my own good hath exercised me, and shewed himself no lesse a Fa­ther in these his chastisements, then heretofore in his comforts and re­wards. Straightwaies the Patriarch brake forth into these words: Glory be to thee O most benigne and most mercyfull God! Who despisest not the prayers of thy servants; and turning to the citizen: ascribe not this, said he, to my prayers, but to the good­nesse of God, and thy faith.

Let us then learne, O you men of small faith! to trust in God, and not to [Page 538] be daunted in adversity or affliction; Let us learn to suffer adversity not on­ly Patiently, but likewise Cheerfully, and with thanksgiving, Why fear we? Why hang we backe? All is in vain; Let us rest assured, and look for it be­fore hand, that we must suffer much; Let us prepare our minde for things of this nature, and let Patience be accom­panied with constancy; Let us abso­lutely conform our will in all things, great or small, to the will of God.

Pope Pius the first, enduring, with invincible Patience, most grievous and deadly paines of the stone, was heard often to pray thus: Increase, O Lord, my paine, so thou give me more patience; Let us imitate him, and al­beit our minds and bodies be on all sides afflicted, let us confidently say: Increase, my Lord Jesu, my pain, but increase it so, that therewith thou be pleased to give increase of Patience.

Much after the same manner did Saint Francis Xaverius, that famous Preacher to the Indians and Japoni­ans; a man so infinitly desirous of suf­fering, that even amidst greatest dan­gers and difficulties, he was wont most [Page 539] earnestly to beg of God, not to be de­livered out of those miseries, unlesse for his glory he might be reserved for greater. And when he was at Rome in the Infirmary, & knew before hand he was to undergo for Christs sake, ma­nifold labours, want, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, persecutions, perils, treache­ries both by sea and land, with an ar­dent spirit he exclaimed: Yet more, my Lord, yet more. For so great was his confidence in God, that he certainly beleeved, he who had given him that desire, would also give him strength to suffer all. Hence procee­ded those couragious words: Yet more (my good Lord) yet more, let me suffer for thy sake.

Let us also (O you Christians!) let us, I beseech you, attempt something worthy of heaven; and when we shall be in whatsoever miseries, let us, with this blessed man cry out: Yet more, my Lord Jesu, yet more: Increase our pains: for we are confident thou wilt increase our patience.

But I end this whole discourse of Patience with that blessed Martyr Melitho; who, albeit he were the [Page 540] youngest of those fourty brave Chri­stian Souldiers, gave, notwithstan­ding, a notable testimony of his man­ly courage and constancie. His mo­ther, a most resolute Christian wo­man, of a masculine spirit, seeing her son with his thighs broken, and even gasping for life, animated him most couragiously after this manner: Hold out yet, my childe, a little longer, lo! Christ stands ready at the doore, to succour and reward thee: yet, my son, a little longer. He did so, and all inflamed with his mothers encou­ragement, gave up the ghost.

Our good mother Patience, calls upon us after the same manner: Suf­fer (my son) a little, Christ your helper is at hand, and your reward e­ven almost in sight: your paine and griefe will end in a moment: your e­ternall beatitude is even now nigh at hand, which will continue with you for ever. Behold, an infinite company of blessed soules. All these by a little time well spent, have gained immor­tality: By patient suffering, and by dying, they have obtained an endlesse life.

[Page 541] Why do we therefore refuse and feare to suffer? By patience the minde is brought to contemne all afflictions and miseries whatsoever. If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned. This life (saith Saint Chrysostome) Chrysost tom. 5. hom 5. & hom. 62. post initium, is not to be led without misery; but the more our tribulations are increa­sed, the more shall our rewards be am­plified.

Heaven is bought with labour and paines. It is an old saying, Labour goes before meat. So Suidas reports, Suldas, v. 1. mihi pag. 87. that the Souldiers of Cyrus never came to dinner without sweat; which, as a sauce, made them to relish their meat the better, and kept their bodies in health. And would we have that hea­venly feast drop into our mouthes, a­midst pleasure and idlenesse?

And now, to the end we may learn to be better acquainted with that im­mortall life, let us first inform our selves well of this mortall life. Why propose we pleasing and delightfull things to our selves? We are in exile, we live in a wildernesse. There is no living here without innumerable in­conveniences: if thou bearest them ill, [Page 542] they are great burdens: if well, great comforts.

As there is no immortall man (saith Saint Chrysostome) to be found Chrys. tom 5. hom. 67. med. mih [...], p. 363. &▪ priu [...]. 361. in this world, so none without griefe and misery. But he addes for our com­fort: When we are opprest with ad­versity, let us rejoyce. No gene­rous Champion lookes for bathes in the lists, or for a table furnished with wine and dainty meats. This were ef­feminate, not Champion like. He fights with toile and anguish under the hot scorching Sun, besmear'd with sweat and dust.

This is our time of fight and com­bat: and therefore a time for griefes, and bloudy wounds. A Souldier is to be knowne in the battell, a skilfull Pilot in a tempest, a swift Foot-man in the race, and a stout Champion in the lists.

Let us thinke our whole life no o­ther then a combat, there is no rest nor ease to be looked for; neither let us Idem [...]d. [...]om. hom. 62 ever hold our selves, in respect of tri­bulation, ill dealt with: for she must be our teacher. Not in tribulation, but in sin onely is the eyill. It is no [Page 543] sin to suffer, but to do evill.

Nay, as the same S. Chrysostome Chrys. tom. 4. in cap. 1 ad Philip. hom. 4 mihi, pag. 1031. most expresly affirmeth: To suffer for Christ is a free offering, and indeed more worthy admiration, then to raise the dead, or worke miracles: for there I am a debtor to Christ, here I have Christ a debtor to me. Moreover, a Christian in this respect should differ from an Infidell, by suffering all things couragiously; mounting, as it were, with wings, above the reach of hu­mane disasters. A faithfull man is placed upon a Rock, and therefore in­expugnable, what waves soever shall beat against him.

Saint Paul declaring this as a great gift, and a singular favour, saith: To you it is given, not onely to beleeve in Christ; but also to suffer for him. For, according to Saint Gregory, Christ hath not promised to his elect in this world, the joy of delectation, but the bitternesse of tribulation, that by meanes of this bitter potion, as by Physick, they may recover their eter­nall health.

But what needs any further testi­mony? They are the very words of [Page 544] our Lord, the Oracle of eternall truth: He that takes not up his crosse and fol­lowes me, is not worthy of me. Here is no sparing of any, no excep­tion, or prerogative; no priviledge. He is unworthy of Christ, who casts away his crosse, and will not follow Christ. Thy crosse, be it never so hea­vie, must be patiently taken up. The dearest friends of Christ, even his mo­ther, yea Christ himself lived under the same law.

In times past Judith, that widow full of all sincere candor and inte­grity, publickly commended patience with a most elegant oration, saying: But they who have not accepted of temptations, with the fear of our Lord, but have discovered their impatience, and the scorn & reproch of their mur­mur against God, are utterly banished: Let us therfore with humility expect his consolation, because our fathers have been tempted, that triall might be made of them, whether they did truly worship their God. As your fa­ther Abraham was tempted; and after he had been by many tribulations tried, was made the friend of God▪ [Page 545] So Isaac, so Jacob, so Moses: And all the faithfull people who pleased God, passed through many tribulations.

Why strive or struggle we any lon­ger? Thus all have passed: All, all, whosoever they were, that pleased God. Not one is ever to be accoun­ted faithfull, or approved, who is not marked with this brand of Patience and Affliction.

This Oracle of Judith, hath, and alwayes shall stand most assuredly true and inviolable. All the faithfull that at any time have pleased God, have passed through many▪ tribulations. This is to suffer for Christ, this to reigne with Christ. This is the Kings high way to heaven, narrow indeed, and rough, but secure. Let us suffer and endure but a little; succour short­ly will come, doubt ye not, if you do but stand to it in the battell; and re­ward, if you overcome.

FINIS.
Patientiae scriptae,
Initium sit exercendae.

Imprimatur.

Tho. Wykes. R. P. Episc. Lond. Capell. domest.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.