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Yet fince your brethren pleased with it be,
Forbear to judge till you do farther fee.
If that thou wilt not read, let it alone,
Some love the meat, fome love to pick a bone.
Yea, that I might them better moderate,
I did too with them thus expostulate :
May I not write in such a stile as this? In fuch a method too, and yet not miss My end, thy good? Why may it not be done? Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none. Yea, dark or bright, if they their filver drops Cause to defcend, the earth, by yielding crops, Gives praise to both, and carpeth not at either, But treasures up the fruit they yield together; Yea, fo commixes both, that in their fruit None can diftinguish this from that; they fuit Her well, when hungry: but if she be full, She fpews out both, and makes their bleifing null.
You fee the ways the fisherman doth take
To catch the fish; what engines doth he make?
Behold! how he engageth all his wits;
Alfo his fnares, lines, angles, hooks and nets:
Yet fish there be that neither hook nor line,
Nor fnare, nor net, nor engine can make thine:
They must be grop'd for, and be tickled too,
Or they will not be catch'd, whate'er you do,
How does the fowler feek to catch his game By divers means? All which one cannot name: His gun, his nets, his lime-twigs, light and bell: He creeps, he goes, he ftands; yea, who can tell Of all his postures? Yet there's none of these Will make him mafter of what fowls he pleafe.
Yea, he must pipe and whistle, to catch this,
Yet, if he does fo, that bird he will mifs.
If that a pearl may in a toad's head dwell,
And may be found too in an oyster fhell;
If things that promise nothing, do contain
What better is than gold; who will disdain,
That have an inkling of it, there to look,
That they may find it? Now my little book,
(Tho' void of all thefe paintings that may make
It with this or the other man to take)
Is not without those things that do excel
What do in brave, but empty notions dwell.
Well, yet I am not fully fatisfy'd,
That this your book will stand, when foundly try'd.
Why, what's the matter? It is dark: What tho'? But it is feigned: What of that? I tro
Some men, by feigned words as dark as mine.
Make truth to spangle, and its rays to shine!
But they want folidness: speak, man, thy mind:
They drown the weak; us, metaphors make blind,
Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writeth things divine to men:
But muft I needs want folidness, because
By metaphors I fpeak? Were not God's laws,
His gofpel laws, in older times held forth
By fhadows, types, and metaphors? Yet loth
Will any fober man be to find fault
With them, left he be found for to affault
The highest wisdom: No, he rather ftoops,
And seeks to find out by what pins and loops,
By calves and fheep, by heifers and by rams,
By birds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs,
God fpeaketh to him; and full happy he
That finds the light and grace that in them be!
Be not too forward therefore to conclude
That I want folidnefs; that I am rude:
All things folid in fhew, not folid be,
All things in parables despise not we,
Left things most hurtful lightly we receive;
And things that good are, of our fouls bereave.
My dark and cloudy words they do but hold The truth, as cabinets inclofe the gold.
The prophets used much by metaphors To fet forth truth: yea, whofo confiders Chrift, his Apostles too, fhall plainly fee, That truths to this day in fuch mantles be.
Come, let my carper to his life now look,
And find there darker lines than in my book
He findeth any: yea, and let him know,
That in his beft things, there are worse lines too.
Am I afraid to fay that holy writ,
Which for its style and phrafe puts down all wit, i
Is every where fo full of all these things,
(Dark figures, allegories) yet there springs
From that fame book, that luftre, and those rays
Of light, that turn our darkest nights to days.
May we but stand before impartial men,
To his poor one I dare adventure ten,
That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better than his lies in filver fhrines.
Come, truth, altho' in fwaddling clouts, I find,
Informs the judgment, rectifies the mind;
Pleases the understanding, makes the will
Submit, the memory also it doth fill
With what doth our imagination please;
Likewife it tends our troubles to appeafe.
Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use, And old wives fables he is to refuse; But yet grave Paul him no where did forbid The use of parables; in which lay hid That gold, thofe pearls, and precious stones that were Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.
Let me add one word more. O man of God,
Art thou offended? Doft thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress ?
Or, that I had in things been more express?
To those that are my betters, as is fit,
Three things let me propound, then I submit.
1. I find not that I am deny'd the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse
Put on the words, things, readers, or be rude
In handling figure, or fimilitude,
In application; but all that I may,
Seek the advance of truth, this or that way:
Denied, did I say? nay, I have leave,
(Examples too, and that from them that have
God better pleased by their words and ways,
Than any man that breatheth now a-days)
Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.
2. I find that men (as high as trees) will write
Dialogue-wife; yet no man doth them flight,
For writing fo indeed if they abuse
Truth, curfed be they, and the craft they use
To that intent; but yet let truth be free
To make her fallies upon thee and me,
Which way it pleafes God: for who knows how
Better than he that taught us first to plow,
To guide our minds and pens for his defign?
And he makes base things usher in divine.
3. I find that holy writ in many places Hath femblance with this method, where the cafes Do call for one thing to set forth another; Use it I may then, and yet nothing smother Truth's golden beams: nay, by this method may Make it caft forth its rays as light as day.
And now, before I do put up my pen I'll fhew the profit of my book, and then Commit both thee and it unto that hand
That pulls the strong down,and makes weak ones stand. This book it chalketh out before thine eyes
The man that seeks the everlasting prize:
It fhews you whence he comes, whither he goes;
What he leaves undone; alfo what he does;
It also fhews you, how he runs, and runs, 'Till he unto the gate of glory comes.
It fhews too who fet out for life amain,
As if the lafting crown they would obtain:
Here also you may fee the reason why
They lose their labour, and like fools do die.
This book will make a traveller of thee,
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;
It will direct thee to the holy land,
If thou wilt its directions understand.
Yea, it will make the flothful active be;
The blind alfo delightful things to fee.
Art thou for fomething rare and profitable?
Or would'st thou fee a truth within a fable?
Art thou forgetful? Or would'st thou remember
From New-year's day to the last of December?