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The Cross. Since Christ embraced the cross itself, dare I His image, th’ image of his cross, deny? Would I have profit by the sacrifice, And dare the chosen altar to despise ? It bore all other sins, but is it fit That it should bear the sin of scorning it ? Who from the picture would avert his eye, How would he fly his pains, who there did die ! From me, no pulpit, nor misgrounded law, Nor scandal taken, shall this cross withdraw : It shall not, for it cannot; for the loss Of this cross, were to me another cross. Better were worse, for no affliction, No cross, is so extreme, as to have none; Who can blot out the cross, which th' instrument Of God, dew'd on me in the sacrament? Who can deny me power, and liberty To stretch mine arms, and mine own cross to be? Swim, and at every stroke, thou art thy cross ; The mast and yard make one, where seas do toss. Look down, thou spy'st out crosses in small things ; Look up, thou see'st birds raised on crossed wings; All the globe's frame, and spheres, is nothing else But the meridian's crossing parallels. Material crosses, then, good physic be, But yet spiritual have chief dignity, These for extracted chemic medicine serve, And cure much better, and as well preserve; Then are you your own physic, or need none, When stillid or purged by tribulation. For when that cross ungrudged unto you sticks, Then are you to yourself a crucifix. As perchance, carvers do not faces make : But that away, which hid them there, do take. Let crosses, so, take what hid Christ in thee, And be his image, or not his, but he. But, as oft alchymists do coiners prove, So may a self-despising get self-love.
And then as worst surfeits of best meats be,
So is pride, issued from humility;
For 'tis no child, but monster ; therefore cross
Your joy in crosses, else 'tis double loss ;
And cross thy senses, else both they and thou
Must perish soon, and to destruction bow.
For if th' eye seek good objects, and will take
No cross from bad, we cannot scape a snake.
So with harsh, hard, sour, stinking, cross the rest,
Make them indifferent; call nothing best.
But most the eye needs crossing, that can roam
And move; to th' other, th' objects must come home.
And cross thy heart : for that in man alone
Pants downwards, and hath palpitation,
Cross those dejections, when it downward tends,
And when it to forbidden heights pretends.
And as the brain through bony walls doth vent
By sutures, which a cross's form present,
So when thy brain works, ere thou utter it,
Cross and correct concupiscence of wit.
Be covetous of crosses, let none fall;
Cross no man else, but cross thyself in all.
Then doth the cross of Christ work faithfully
Within our hearts, when we love harmlessly
The cross's pictures much, and with more care
That cross's children, which our crosses are.
THE ANNUNCIATION AND PASSION.
TAMELY frail body abstain to day; to day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away;
She sees him nothing twice at once, who is all ;
She sees a cedar plant itself, and fall,
Her maker put to making, and the head
Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead ;
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha.
Sad and rejoiced she's seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.
At once a Son is promised her, and gone,
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John ;
Not fully a mother, She's in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy;
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ's story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the farthest west is east)
Of the angels Ave, and consummatum est.
How well the church, God's court of faculties,
Deals, in sometimes, and seldom, joining these ;
As by the self-fixed Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where the other is, and which we say
(Because it strays not far) doth never stray ;
So God by his church, nearest to him, we know,
And stand firm, if we by her motion go ;
His Spirit, as his fiery pillar, doth
Lead, and his church, as cloud ; to one end both :
This church, by letting those days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one.
Or 'twas in him the same humility,
That he would be a man, and leave to be:
Or as creation he hath made, as God,
With the last judgment, but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood's extremes : He shall come, he is gone:
Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,
Accepted, would have served, he yet shed all ;
So though the least of his pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords ;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.
Or as the 's extremes: muld join in one
GOOD-FRIDAY, 1613. Riding WESTWARD. Let man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this, The intelligence that moves, devotion is, And as the other spheres, by being grown Subject to foreign motion, lose their own, And being by others hurried every day, Scarce in a year their natural form obey: Pleasure or business so our souls admit For their first mover, and are whirld by it. Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west This day, when my soul's form bends towards the east, There I should see a sun, by rising set, And by that setting endless day beget ; But that Christ on this Cross, did rise and fall, Sin had eternally benighted all. Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see That spectacle of too much weight for me. Who sees God's face, that is self life, must die ; What a death were it then to see God die? It made his own lieutenant Nature shrink, It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink. Could I behold those hands which span the Poles, And tune all spheres, at once pierced with those holes ? Could I behold that endless height which is Zenith to us, and our antipodes, Humbled below us? or that blood which is The seat of all our souls, if not of his, Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn By God, for his apparel, ragg’d, and torn ? If on these things I durst not look, durst I Upon his miserable Mother cast mine eye, Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus Half of that sacrifice, which ransom'd us? Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye, They are present yet unto my memory, For that looks towards them, and thou look'st towards me, O Saviour, as thou hang'st upon the tree ; I turn my back to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave. VOL. VI.
O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know me, and I'll turn my face.
SLEEP, sleep old sun, thou canst not have re-past
As yet, the wound thou took’st on Friday last ;
Sleep then, and rest ; the world may bear thy stay,
A better sun rose before thee to-day,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth's face, as thou, enlighten'd hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walk'd on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral ;
He was all gold when he lay down, but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulchre been,
And, issuing from the sheet, this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.
A HYMN TO CHRIST, AT THE AUTHOR'S LAST GOING INTO
In what torn ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood;