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SIMILES, SENTENCES, APOLOGUES, ALLEGORIES,
WITH THEIR SEVERAL APPLICATIONS.
1250. To Appear before God in all Humility,
how High soever our Condition be.
ney, she was mounted on a camel, and rode amongst the
into a posture of all humble and low obeisance. So
1251. How it is that Faith is the First Act
of Repentance. As a prisoner, that lies in hold for debt, if a man should come unto him, and promise him, that he would take order to pay his debt, and thereby discharge him of his imprisonment; he first believes that he is both able and willing so to do it; then he hopes for it; and lastly, he is as it were dissolved into love, ravished with the thoughts of such an unexpected relief; and therefore seeketh to do all things that may please him : so it is with a repenting convert, he first believes that God will do what He hath promised, that is, pardon his sins, and take away his iniquities; then he resteth, that what is so promised shall be performed ; and from that, and for it, he leaves sin, forsaketh his old course of life, which was displeasing, and for the time to come maketh it his work to do that which is pleasing and acceptable in His sight. k. Stock, Doctrine of Repent. Nemo recte possit pænitentiam agere nisi qui
speraverit, &c. Ambros, de Pænit. Lib. i. cap. I.
1252. The Comfortable Art of Spiritualising,
the several Occurrences of the World, and
Observing God's Providences therein. It is storied of Mr. Dod, (a painful preacher in his time,) that intending to marry, but being troubled with fears and cares, how he should be able to live in that condition, in regard that his incomes were but small, enough only to maintain him as a single man; looking out of the window, and seeing a hen scraping for food, to cherish her numerous brood about her, thought thus with himself, This hen did but live before it had the chickens, and now she lives with all her little ones. Upon which, he added this thought also : I see the fowls of the air neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns; and yet my heavenly Father feeds them, Matth, vi. 26. Thus did he, and thus many of God's servants have done before him; and thus did our Blessed Lord and Saviour Himself, who took occasion of the water fetched up solemnly to the altar, from the well of Shiloh, on the day of the great Hosanna, to me. ditate and discourse of the water of life. And so must all of us
S. Augustin., Estie, Dering, Bolton, &c.
do, get this sweet and comfortable art of spiritualising the several occurrences in the world, and observing the Providences of God therein, drawing, like the bee, sweetness from every flower, and turning everything that we hear or see into holy meditation; the omission whereof cannot be, without the neglect of God, His creatures, ourselves. The creatures are half lost, if we only employ them, not learn something of them ; God is wronged, if His creatures be unregarded : we most of all, if we read this great volume of the creatures, and take out no lesson for our own instruction,
T. White's Treatment of the Power of Godliness.
Jos. Hall's Art of Divine
1253. Men hardly Drawn out of Old Customs
and Forms in Religious Worship. It is reported of the King of Morocco, that he told the English ambassador, in King John's time, that he had lately read St. Paul's Epistles, which he liked so well, that were he to choose his religion, he would embrace Christianity: but, saith he, every one ought to die in the faith wherein he was born. So it is with many amongst us, they are persuaded they ought, and are resolved they will live and die in those customs and ways, wherein they were born: and so they may do, nay, so they must do; provided that such customs and forms, whereunto they seem to be so fast glued, be according to the pattern in the Mount, the revealed will of God: but it is to be feared, that such are more addicted to customs than Scriptures, choosing rather to follow what hath been, though never so absurd and irregular, than consider what should be, though never so orthodox and uniform.
Pet. Heylin, Cosmography.
Adeo a teneris assuescere multum est.
1254. The Great Love of Christ to be at an
High Esteem, and why so. THERE is a story of an elephant, which being fallen down, and unable to help himself, or get up again, by reason of the inflexibleness of his legs; a forester coming by, helped him up, wherewith the elephant (a creature otherwise docile enough, by the very instinct of nature) was so affected, that he tamely followed the man up and down, would do any thing for him, and never left him till his dying day. Now so it is, that if there be such love expressed by brute beasts, to those which have done them any good, should not we much more love and prize Christ, that hath done so much for us? For we were fallen, and could not recoves or help ourselves; and Christ hath lifted us up, and redeemed us with His own most precious blood, when we were even lost and undone : let us then think nothing too much to do, too great to suffer, too dear to part withal, for such a Christ, such a Saviour, that thought nothing too much to do, or too grievous to suffer, that so He might accomplish the work of our redemption; He left Heaven for us, let not us think much to lose earth for Him ; He came out of His Father's bosom for us, let not us be unwilling to leave father, or mother, or friends, or anything else, for Him; He underwent sufferings, reproaches, afflictions, persecutions, yea, death itself, for us ; let not us repine at, or be impatient under any trouble or misery we shall meet with here in this world, for His sake, but still be praising, blessing, and magnifying the love of God in Christ Jesus, who hath done so much for us. Æliani Varia Hist. Magnus amoris amor. Christian Love, Wrath, and
Mercy; a Serm, on i Thess. v. 9.
1255. Faith to be Preserved as the Head of
all Graces, and why so. It is observed that the serpent is of all things most careful of his head, because he well knows, though he be cut and mangled never so much in the body, or any part of it, yet if his head be but whole, it will cure all the wounds of the other members. And such wisdom ought all of us to have, to labour above all things to keep our head, our faith, whole and sound, to make sure of that. whatsoever we do; because if anything else receive a wound, if any other of our graces have, as it were, even lost their spiritual strength and vigour, faith will renew them again; but if this once suffer shipwreck, it will cost many a sigh, many a tear, many a groan in the spirit, before it be recovered again : for, without it, all other graces decay and perish, are as in a winter condition of barrenness without it; yet, if it do but appear, there will be a spring tide of all spiritual blessings whatsoever. Ulysses Aldrovand. de Serp. Serpens minimum curat si corpus incidatur, &c.
Chrysost. Homil. 24, in Matth.