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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EDWARD, LORD DENNY,
BARON OF WALTHAM,
MY MOST BOUNTIFUL PATRON,
GRACE AND PEACE.
Right Honourable :- This advantage a Scholar hath above others, that he cannot be idle ; and that he can work without instruments : for the mind inured to contemplation, will set itself on work, when other occasions fail : and hath no more power not to study, than the eye, which is open, hath, not to see something : in which business it carries about his own library ; neither can complain to want books, while it enjoyeth itself.
I could not then neglect the commodity of this plentiful leisure, in my so easy attendance here : but, though besides my course and without the help of others' writings, must needs busy myself in such thoughts, as I have here given account of to your Lordship : such, as I hope shall not be unprofitable, nor unwelcome to their patron, to their readers. I send them forth from hence under your Honourable name ; to shew you, that no absence, no employment can make me forget my due respect to your Lordship : to whom, next under my gracious Master, I have deservedly bequeathed myself and my endeavours. Your goodness hath not wont to magnify itself more in giving, than in receiving such like holy presents: the knowledge whereof hath entitled you to more labours of this nature, if I have numbered aright, than any of your Peers. I misdoubt not, either your acceptation, or their use. That God, who hath above all his other favours given your Lordship, even in these careless times, a heart truly religious, give you a happy increase of all his heavenly graces by my unworthy service! To his gracious care I daily commend your Lordship, with my Honourable Lady; wishing you both, all that little joy earth can afford you, and fulness of glory above.
in all duty and observance, Non-such, July 3.
As there is nothing sooner dry, than a tear; so there is nothing sooner out of season, than worldly sorrow ; which, if it be fresh and still bleeding, finds some to comfort and pity it; if stale and skinned over with time, is rather entertained with smiles than commiseration : But the sorrow of repentance comes never out of time. All times are alike unto that eternity, whereto we make our spiritual moans: that which is past, that which is future, are both present with him. It is neither weak nor uncomely, for an old man to weep for the sins of his youth. Those tears can never be shed either too soon or too late.
II. Some men live to be their own executors for their good name ; which they see (not honestly) buried, before themselves die: some other, of great place and ill desert, part with their good name and breath, at once : there is scarce a vicious man, whose name is not rotten before his carcase. Contrarily, the good man's name is ofttimes heir to his life : either born after the death of the parent, for that envy would not suffer it to come forth before; or, perhaps, so well grown up in his life-time, that the hope thereof is the staff of his age and joy of his death. A wicked man's name may be feared a while : soon after, it is either forgotten or cursed. The good man either sleepeth with his body in peace, or waketh (as his soul) in glory.
III. Ofttimes those, which shew much valour, while there is equal possibility of life ; when they see a present necessity of death, are found most shamefully timorous. Their courage was before grounded upon hope : that, cut off, leaves them at once desperate and cowardly: whereas, men of feebler spirits meet more cheerfully with death ; because, though their courage be less, yet their expectation was more.
IV. I have seldom seen the son of an excellent and famous man, excellent: but, that an ill bird hath an ill egg, is not rare; children possessing, as the bodily diseases, so the vices of their
parents. Virtue is not propagated : vice is; even in them, which have it not reigning in themselves. The grain is sown pure; but comes up with chaff and husk. Hast thou a good son ? he is God's, not thine. Is he evil ? nothing but his sin is thine. Help, by thy prayers and endeavours, to take away that, which thou hast given him; and to obtain from God that which thou hast, and canst not give : else, thou mayest name him a possession; but thou shalt find him a loss.
These things be comely and pleasant to see, and worthy of honour from the beholder: a young saint; an old martyr; a religious soldier; a conscionable statesman; a great man courteous; a learned man humble; a silent woman; a child understanding the eye of his parent; a merry companion, without vanity; a friend not changed with honour; a sick man cheerful; a soul departing with comfort and assurance.
VI. I have oft observed, in merry meetings solemnly made, that somewhat hath fallen out cross; either in the time, or immediately upon it; to season, as I think, our immoderation in desiring or enjoying our friends: and again, events suspected, have proved ever best; God herein blessing our awful submission with good success. In all these human things, indifferency is safe. Let thy doubts be ever equal to thy desires : so thy disappointment shall not be grievous, because thy expectation was not peremptory.
VII. You shall rarely find a man eminent in sundry faculties of mind, or sundry manuary trades. If his memory be excellent, his fantasy is but dull : if his fancy be busy and quick, his judgment is but shallow: if his judgment be deep, his utterance is harsh. Which also holds no less in the activities of the hand. And if it happen, that one man be qualified with skill of divers trades, and practise this variety, you shall seldom find such one thriving in his estate. With spiritual gifts it is otherwise: which are so chained together, that who excels in one, hath some eminency in more : yea, in all. Look upon faith : she is attended with a bevy of Graces : he, that believes, cannot but have hope ; if hope, patience: he, that believes and hopes, must needs find joy in God: if joy, love of God: he, that loves God, cannot but love his brother: his love to God breeds piety and care to please, sorrow for offending, fear to offend : his love to men, fidelity and Christian beneficence. Vices are seldom single ; but virtues go ever in troops: they go so thick, that sometimes some are hid in the crowd; which yet are, but