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THE PERFECT PATH TO WORLDLY HAPPINESS;
Mr. HUGH PETERS, lately deceased.
By I. C. Translator of Pineda upon Job, and one of the Triers.
Gusman. lib. I. cap. ii. vers. 4.
London : Printed in the year 1659. Quarto, containing fourteen pages. After they had sung the two first Staves of the tenth Hymn of Larner's twelve
Songs of Sion, to the Tune of, The Knave of Clubs, the Parsun proceeded in his Text as followeth:
Gusman, lib. II, chap. iii. verse 26. the latter Part of the Words.
Beloven, THE scope of this reverend divine is, in these words, to hold
forth unto us the excellency of human wit and policy in this self-seeking and deceitful world. And indeed I hope I have not made a wrong choice of my text, not knowing any one whereon I could better ground the praises of our departed brother here be. fore us; you all knowing how great a disciple of our Author he was, being indeed the very pattern and exemplar of his godly and religious life. But now, to explain the words aright, we shall deal with them as joiners do with court cupboards, and round tables, first pull them asunder, and then put them together again : I use this comparison, that you may know me to be a man of trade, that is to say, one that trades in the word, or, if you will have it other. wise, a holder-forth, according to the last and most sanctified Instilution. First, then, you have an exhortation in these words, Let
us; secondly, the time given us to make use thereof, while we live; thirdly, the thing to which we are exhorted, that is, to make use of our time; and lastly, the supreme reason of this exhortation, for a man's life is ended in a day. Let us, while we live, make use of our time, for a man's life is ended in a day. First, then, of the first, that is to say, of the words, Let us: But here you must give me Icave to excuse the great abuses that have been put upon these two poor innocent monosyllables. I confess they have been crummed thicker than Habakkuk's brown loaf into the porridge of the Cavaliers, commonly called the Common-Prayer Book, when they cry, Let us pray, Let us kneel; but believe it, my be
loved, I have now rebaptized them, and washed them cleaner from that profanation, than ever tripes were scow red from their filth by the nicest huswife in Field-lane. Now, being thus purified, you will find Let us to signify sometimes as much as,
66 Hinder us not,' Quixot the 12th verse 8. “ Hinder me not, fair Dulcina, from the enjoyment of your swect company;" sometimes as much as to say, 66 suffer
2 saith the Reverend Buscon, chap. vii. verse 5, to his master in great affliction, 6 suffer us not to be starved to death,” that is, 6 let us not be starved,” '&c. Yet it is not meant here, as in those places, by way of petition, but is a kind of rousing up of the spirits to a certain action, as when the carmen would heave a great load into their carts, they exhort one another, by crying hey boys; or as, when the coachman would have his horses to go faster than ordinary, he encourages them by saying, stir up, in which sense our learned Gusman uses this expression, Let
US, in this place, as it were a word of incitement, or stirring us up to any undertaking. Some, when they use these words, in this signification, do clap one another on the back, which adds a greater emphasis to them. But he goes on, Let us, saith he, while we live. And here you are to understand two things, what is meant by we, and, secondly, what is meant by the words in general, while we live. Note then, that we is a particle of distinction, which shews you that there is another sort of men to whom our dear Gusman doth deny the precious comforts held forth in this verse; for, my beloved, I would not have you think, that, when he spoke this, he had pigs in his belly, as Calvin, in his comment upon this place, doth erroneously conjecture. By we then is meant the godly, such as I and you are, whom the Lord hath chosen to the enjoyments of this world. The other sort of men here implied are all those who profess to be our enemies, men that would cut off our ears with the paring-shovels of their malice, and whip our backs with the scourges of their fury; for, did not the word intimate this distinction, our deceased brother had not used so many pious and painful endeavours to advance some men, and destroy others, that is, to advance his own godly party, and destroy his wicked foes. Let us, saith he, while we live, that is, while we are in power, while we live in authority, or be in fa. vour with those that govern, whether it be a single person or a commonwealth ; or, if you will have it otherwise, while we are in a thriving condition, while men think us godly and faithful, and consequently trust us with preferments or profit: I say, when the Lord shall put such opportunities and abilities into our hands, then, my brethren, Let us make use of our time; let us take hold of them with both hanıls, and hold them as fast as a mastiff holds a sow by the ear; Let us make use of our time, that is, let us use all endeaa vours, ways, plots, means, manners, tricks, and policies, whether lawful or unlawful, to raise and advance our own ends, whether they be only honourable, or profitable, or both. And when we have attained that which we seek, let us use the same inventions, that the ungodly man may not gain thom from us, and thence take
occasion to triumph over us. The fathers of the order of Indus. try, at the council held at Biscar in the year 1590, made a decree, that every one should keep his own, and get what he could from another, I speak this, that I may not leave you altogether without authority in the explanation of my text, but of this more anon. We shall now proceed to the reason of the words, for a man's life is ended in a day; as much as to say, the life of man is very short'; for, whereas it was formerly above an ell and a nail long, it is now no longer than a span. How vast a while did Methuselah live to enjoy the pains and labours of his youth? But no sooner had our dear brother Mr. Peters got an estate, a little chariot, and an Onesimus or two to wait on him, thinking to comfort himself with the blessings of the creature, but he was snatched away from us, even as a boy snatches a pippin out of an apple-woman's basket. Some, in regard of the shortness thereof, have compared the life of man unto a lilly; but I am clearly of opinion," that it was a mis. take; seeing that of that flower is made a precious oil that prolongeth the days of man by curing festered wounds, and broken pates. Oihers have likened it unto a rose, but with as little rea. son ; for we know that of the rose is made that excellent conserve which is good against the cough of the lungs, one of the greatest enemies to life; I therefore, rather agreeing herein with that great light of the Spanish church Lazarillo de Tornes, shall compare our beloved brother unto marigold, and his ending in a day unto the fading thereof. For as the flowers of a marigold swimming on the top of a mess of porridge, which is the food of the body, is a great, ornament thcreunto, so, my beloved, was he a great ornament to our religion, which is the food of the soul; and even as that closes up at the setting of the sun, so did he end in a day, even in that day that the sun of our region was forced to withdraw himself from Whitehall. Thus much for the exposition. I shall now proceed to the doctrine that creeps out of my text, as a fox creeps out of his hole: That it is the duty of every professor, seeing that he hath but a short while to stay in this world, to make the best use of his time; the particulars of which doctrine I shall labour to make good onto you by reason and example. First, then, that there is a duty that lies upon every professor, we find evident by this, that there is in all men not only a labouring and a panting, but also a tye upon them to look after self-preservation, for, if a child of God be in want, and woeful necessity, as many times they are, the law of nature doth oblige them to seek after maintenance, and not to destroy themselves and their family. Saith Gusman in his second book, c. 3. v. 15, “ Poverty is daily death;" so that he, who avoids not pove, ty, seeks a daily death, and is consequently a daily murtherer of himself; at least he intends it: Now, an intention to sin, without repentance, is a sin as great as the act it. self. This it was that urged the holy Gusman to undertake those many atchievements which he perforined; for saith he in another place, book the first, c. 8. v. 12, “I thought it not my duty to live in idleness :” Therefore, when necessity, the best school-mis
tress of the godly, that maketh magpies to speak, and spaniels to fetch and carry, had made him consider his duty, he was not slack in the exercise thereof; so that, betaking himself to the religious calling of a thief, he stole the cook's silver goblet, the grocer's royals, and cousened the cardinal of his barrel of conserves. Moreover, my beloved, this duty of self-preservation caused our dear sister Agatha, as you may read in the first book of pious Francion, not only to bethink her self, but to bestir her stumps also: Finding herself therefore to be of a well-shaped body, and of comely features, and lovely in the eyes of men, she became an harlot, and was unto the brethren a great comfort in the frail distresses of human nature; whereby she was stored with wealth, and increased in worldly enjoyments. This duty it is that obligeth butchers to preach, and coblers to pray; that teaches them to make profession of religion, and then causeth them to take on them the gainful function of the ministry; whereby they may be the better enabled, after the sweet consolations of boiled beef and bag-pudding, to sing psalms, and rejoice in their families. , All these things our deceased brother knew full well, which made him persist in the performance of this duty until the end. He soon found the sweet gain of preaching, and made such a dextrous use of it, that he was bc. loved of his rulers, and died with the blessing of Job; for I may say of our dear brother, as the text saith of him, that the Lord blessed his latter end more than his beginning. The Lord reward that blessed man who first invented this profitable and advantageous science. Thus much for the first part of our doctrine, that there is a duty lying upon every professor. Now, my beloved, I shall come to tell you what that duty is : "Tis true the words of
my text are so plain, that you may in a manner pick it out of the words, with as much ease as you can pick out the marrow of a leg of mut. ton bone with a skewer, or the wrong end of a spoon; for, say they, Let us, while we live, make use of our time, seeing the life of man is ended in a day. So that here you see what duty that is, that you ought to make use of your time; but, perhaps, you do not know what it is to make use of your time, which is the next thing I shall inform you. Know ye then, my brethren, there are swarms of such men as make profession of religion, who are not all of one trade or occupation; but some follow one thing, some another, according to their several gifts. For some are stitchers of cloth, some are boddice-makers, some are translators, some are soldiers, and fight the battles of the Lord; some are brokers ; some are hewers of wood, that is to say, carpenters; some are drawers of water, that is, victuallers and innkeepers; some are those that gape for state employments; and some, though I deny not that any of these may take the ministry upon them in time, are preachers of the word, as soon as ever they have done playing at trap.- Now, that every one of these professions may profit in their several voca. tions, there are required these nine gifts :
The gift of convenient boldness
The gift of leasing,
And the gift of hypocrisy: I have placed the gift of convenient boldness in the van, and the gift of hypocrisy in the rear, knowing, that a professor cannot well go on upon any enterprise without the one, nor well come off without the other. Now, though a professor ought always to have an inward working of these gifts, yet the perfection of them is required in some sorts of professors more than in others : For example, the gifts of impudence, lying, and cousening, do more properly belong unto those who have trades and occupations of selling and buying. The gifts of ignorance, lying, impudence, in. forming, cousening, and hypocrisy belong unto such as seek pre. ferment, whether civil or military; but all of them together are required to make up a minister of the word. I shall not here stand to tell you in particular how every one of these callings ought, according to their several gifts, to make use of their time; but in general, as a foot-boy skippeth over kennels, skip over those instructions which concern the professors that are of my own livery. First, therefore, that a preaching professor may make use of his time, it is required, that he should be stored with impudence, even as a woodmonger’s wharf is stored with faggots and sea-coal. The uses of it are these two, first, to encourage you to the most desperate enterprises ; and secondly, to make you scorn the reproaches of those that reprove you: As for example, my beloved, if you see one of your enemies seated in a warm living, and that your heart pant and thirst after the same, you ought then to put on your night-cap of devotion, and your garment of hypocrisy, and go unto your superiors and say, yonder is a man who is not of the congregation of professors, who is planted in a rich living; he is a scandalous and disaffected person, and I am more worthy than he, pray put me into his place. If men therefore rebuke you, and call you accuser and devil, then ought you to make use of your gift of impudence, and laugh at them all. Thus did holy Nye throw out unrighteous Juxon out of his parsonage of Fulham : Thus our brother Marshall became possessed of his fat living in the land of Essex. This imboldened our departed brother to hold forth in the pulpit of Whitehall, where so many learned, as the heathen call them, had been before him. What cared they for the reproaches of men, for their hearts were seared with the hot iron of impu. dence, finding themselves at ease and filled with joy? This like. wise imboldened the poor Spaniard, as we find in the book of our dear Gusman, book 1. c. 7. first to beg money, and then, without bidding, sit down cheek-by-jowl, with the ambassador; for, saith he, in the last verse, he was carried away with bravadoes, and an impudent behaviour.