« 上一頁繼續 »
substance he is nothing, being but only a deprivation, and in his true description a name without a nature: he is seen but in a picture, beard but in a tale, feared but in a passion, and felt but in a pinch: he is a terror but to the wicked, and a scarecrow but to the foolish; but to the wise a way of comfort, and to the godly the gate to life: he is the ease of pain, and the end of sorrow; the liberty of the imprisoned, and the joy of the faithful: it is both the wound of sin, and the wages of sin; the sinner's fear, and the sinner's doom. He is the sexton's agent, and the hangman's revenue; the rich man's dirge, and the mourner's merry day. He is a course of time, but uncertain till he come, and welcome but to such as are weary of their lives : it is a message from the physician when the patient is past cure; and if the writ be well made, it is a supra' sedeas for all diseases : it is the heaven's stroke, and the earth's steward; the follower of sickness, and the forerunner to hell. In sum, having no pleasure to ponder too much of the power of it, I will thus conclude my opinion of it:--it is a sting of sin, and the terror of the wicked; the crown of the godly, the stair of vengeance, and a stratagem of the devil.
Faith is the hand of the soul, which layeth hold of the promises of Christ in the mercy of the Almighty: she hath a bright eye, and a holy ear; a clear heart, and a sure foot: she is the strength of hope, the trust of truth, the honour of amity, and the joy of love: she is rare among the sons of men, and hardly found among the daughters of women ; but among the sons of God she is a conveyance of their inheritance, and among the daughters of grace she is the assurance of their portions: her dwelling is in the church of God, her conversation with the saints of God, her delight with the beloved of God, and her life is in the love of God: she knows no falsehood, distrusts no truth, breaks no promise, and coins no excuse; but as bright as the sun, as swift as the wind, as sure as the rock, and as pure as the gold, she looks towards heaven, but lives in the world, in the souls of the elect; to the glory of election : she was wounded in Paradise by a dart of the devil, and healed of her hurt by the death of Christ Jesus: she is the poor man's credit, and the rich man's praise; the wise man's care, and the good man's cognizance. In sum, finding her worth in words hardly to be expressed, I will in these few words only deliver my opinion of her :-she is God's blessing, and man's bliss ; reason's comfort, and virtue's glory.
i Sic in Orig.
FEAR is a fruit of sin, which drove the first father of our flesh from the presence of God, and hath read an imperfection in a number of the worse part of his posterity: it is the disgrace of nature, the foil of reason, the maim of wit, and the slur of understanding : it is the palsy of the spirit, where the soul wanteth faith, and the badge of a coward that cannot abide the sight of a sword: it is weakness in nature, and a wound in patience; the death of hope, and the entrance into despair: it is children's awe, and fool's amazement; a worm in conscience, and a curse to wicked
In brief, it makes the coward stagger, the liar stammer, the thief stumble, and the traitor start: it is a blot in arms, a blur in honour, the shame of a soldier, and the defeat of an army.
THE BEST MAY SEE THEIR GRACES, AND THE WORST DISCERN
PRINTED BY GEORGE PURSLOWE FOR JOHN BUDGE, AND ARE TO BE SOLD AT THE GREAT
SOUTH DOOR OF PAULS, AND AT BRITAIN'S-BURSE.
THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL AND WORTHY
SIR GILBERT HOUGHTON,
OF HOUGHTON, KNIGHT;
THE NOBLE FAVOURER OF ALL VIRTUOUS SPIRITS; HIGHEST POWER OF HEAVEN GRANT THE
BLESSING OF ALL HAPPINESS TO HIS WORTHY HEART'S DESIRE.
HE worthiness of this subject, in which is set down the difference of light and darkness, in the nature of honour and disgrace, to the deservers of either, hath made me (upon the note of the
nobleness of your spirit) like the eagle, still looking towards the sun, to present to your patience the patronage of this little Treatise of the Worthies and Unworthies of this Age: