OR, TEMPORAL THINGS SPIRITUALIZED.
THE LARK AND THE FOWLER.
THOU simple bird, what makes thee here to play?
Look, there’s the fowler, prithee come away.
Dost not behold the net? Look! there ‘tis spread.
Venture a little farther, thou art dead!
Is there not room enough in all the field For thee to play in, but thou needs must yield To the deceitful glittering of a glass, Between nets placed to bring thy death to pass?
Bird, if thou art so much for dazzling light, Look! there’s the sun above thee; dart upright; Thy nature is to soar up to the sky, Why wilt thou then come down to th’ nets and die?
Heed not the fowler’s tempting, flattering call; This whistle he enchanteth birds withal.
What though thou seest a live bird in his net, She’s there, because from thence she cannot get!
Look, how he tempteth thee with his decoy, That he may rob thee of thy life, thy joy!
Come, prithee, bird, I prithee come away, Why shouldst thou to this net become a prey?
Hadst thou not wings, or were thy feathers pulled, Or wast thou blind, or fast asleep wept lulled, The case would somewhat alter, but for thee, Thy eyes are open, thou hast wings to flee!
Remember that thy song is in thy rise, Not in thy fall; earth’s not thy paradise.
Keep up aloft then; let thy circuits be Above, where birds from fowlers’ nets are free.
This fowler is an emblem of the devil, His nets and whistle, figures of all evil.
His glass an emblem is of sinful pleasure, Decoying such, who reckon sin a treasure.
This simple lark’s a shadow of a saint, Under allurings, ready now to faint.
What you have read, a needful warning is, Designed to show the soul its heavenly bliss, The danger lurking under pleasure’s shape, And how it may this fowler’s net escape.
What is the vine, more than another tree?
Nay most, than it, more tall, more comely be.
What workman thence will take a beam or pin, To make that which may be delighted in?
Its excellency in its fruit doth lie, A fruitless vine, it is not worth a fly!
What are professors more than other men?
Nothing at all. Nay, there’s not one in ten, Either for wealth, or wit, that may compare, In many things, with some that carnal are.
Good then they are, when mortified their sin, But without that, they are not worth a pin!
OF FOWLS FLYING IN THE AIR.
METHINKS I see a sight most excellent, All sorts of birds fly in the firmament:
Some great, some small, all of a diverse kind, Mine eye affecting, pleasant to my mind.
Look how they wing along the wholesome air, Above the world of worldlings, and their care!
And as they diverse are in bulk and hue, So are they in their way of flying too.
So many birds, so many various things, Swim in the element upon their wings.
These birds are emblems of those men, that shall Ere long possess the heavens, their all in all.
They each are of a different shape and kind; To teach, we of all nations there shall find.
They are some great, some little, as we see, To show, some great, some small, in glory be.
Their flying diversely, as we behold, Doth show saints’ joys will there be manifold.
Some glide, some mount, some flutter, and some do, In a mixed way of flying, glory too; To show that each shall, to his full content, Be happy in that heavenly firmament!
THE LORD’S PRAYER.
OUR Father which in heaven art, Thy name be always hallowed; Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; Thy heavenly path be followed:
By us on earth, as ‘tis in heaven, We humbly pray; And let our bread to us be given From day to day.
Forgive our debts, as we forgive Those that to us indebted are:
Into temptation lead us not; But save us from the wicked snare.
The kingdom’s thine, the power is thine.
We thee adore; The glory also shall be thine For evermore.
MEDITATIONS UPON THE PEEP OF DAY.
AT peep of day I often cannot know Whether ‘tis night, whether ‘tis day or no.
I fancy that I see a little light, But cannot yet distinguish day from night; I hope, I doubt, but certain yet I be not, I am not at a point, the sun I see not.
Thus such, who are but just of grace possessed, Oft know not yet, if they be cursed or blest.
THE FLINT IN THE WATER.
THIS flint time out of mind, has there abode, Where crystal streams make their continual road, Yet it abides a flint as much as ‘twere, Before it touched the water, or came there.
Its hardness is not in the least abated, ‘Tis not at all by water penetrated.
Though water hath a softening virtue in’t, It can’t dissolve the stone, for ‘tis a flint.
Yea, though in th’ water it, doth still remain, Its fiery nature still it doth retain.
If you oppose it with its opposite, Then in your very face its fire ‘twill spit.
This flint an emblem is of those that lie, Under God’s word, like stones, until they die:
From God, alas! by wicked lusts estranged, Its crystal streams have not their natures changed.
THE FISH IN THE WATER.
THE water is the fish’s element:
Take her from thence, none can her death prevent:
And some have said, who have transgressors been, As good not be, as to be kept from sin!
The water is the fish’s element:
Leave her but there, and she is well content.
So’s he, who in the path of life doth plod, Take all, says he, let me but have my God.
The water is the fish’s element:
Her sportings there to her are excellent:
So is God’s service unto holy men, They are not in their element till then.
THIS pretty bird, oh! how she flies and sings!
But could she do so if she had not wings?
Her wings bespeak my faith, her songs my peace; When I believe and sing, my doubtings cease.
THE bee goes out, and honey home doth bring; And some who seek that honey find a sting, Now would’st thou have the honey, and be free From stinging; in the first place kill the bee.
This bee an emblem truly is of sin Whose sweetness unto a many, death has been Wouldst thou have sweet from sin, and yet not die?
Sin in the first place thou must mortify.
A LOWERING MORNING.
WELL, with the day I see the clouds appear; And mix the light with darkness ev’ry where; This threatens those who on long journeys go, That they shall meet with slabby rain or snow.
Even while I gaze, the sun doth with his beams Belace the clouds, as ‘twere with bloody streams; Then suddenly those clouds do watery grow, And weep and pour their tears out where they go.
Thus ‘tis when gospel light doth usher in To us, both sense of grace, and sense of sin; Yea, when it makes sin red with Jesus’ blood, Then we can weep, till weeping does us good.
OVER-MUCH NICENESS. “TIS strange to see how over-nice are some About their clothes, their bodies and their home:
While what’s of worth, they slightly pass it by, Not doing it at all, or slovenly.
Their houses must well furnish’d be in print; While their immortal soul has no good in’t.
Its outside also they must beautify, While there is in’t scarce common honesty.
Their bodies they must have trick’d up and trim:
Their inside full of filth up to the brim.
Upon their clothes there must not be a spot, Whereas their lives are but one common blot.
How nice, how coy are some about their diet, That can their crying souls with hog’s meat quiet.
All must be drest t’a hair, or else ‘tis naught, While of the living bread they have no thought.
Thus for their outside they are clean and nice, While their poor inside stinks with sin and vice MEDITATIONS UPON A CANDLE.
MAN’ S like a candle in a candlestick, Made up of tallow, and a little wick; For what the candle is, before ‘tis lighted, Just such be they who are in sin benighted.
Nor can a man his soul with grace inspire, More than the candles set themselves on fire.
Candles receive their light from what they are not:
Men grace from him, for whom at first they care not.
We manage candles when they take the fire; God men, when he with grace doth them inspire.
And biggest candles give the better light, As grace on biggest sinners shines most bright.
The candle shines to make another see, A saint unto his neighbor light should be.
The blinking candle we do much despise, Saints, dim of light are high in no man’s eyes.
Again, though it may seem to some a riddle, We use to light our candle at the middle:
True light doth at the candle’s end appear, And grace the heart first reaches by the car.
But ‘tis the wick the fire doth kindle on, As ‘tis the heart that grace first works upon, Thus both do fasten upon what’s the main, And so their life and vigor do maintain.
The tallow makes the wick yield to the fire.
And sinful flesh doth make the soul desire That grace may kindle on it, in it burn; So evil makes the soul from evil turn.
But candles in the wind are apt to flare; And Christians in a tempest, to despair.
We see the flame with smoke attended is; And in our holy lives there’s much amiss.
Sometimes a thief will candle-light annoy; And lusts will seek our graces to destroy.
What brackish is will make a candle sputter; ‘Twixt sin and grace there’s oft a heavy clutter.
Sometimes the light burns dim, ‘cause of the snuff, And sometimes ‘tis blown quite out with a puff; But watchfulness preventeth both these evils, Keeps candles light, and grace in spite of devils.
But let not snuffs nor puffs make us to doubt; Our candles may be lighted, the’ pufft out.
The candle in the night doth all excel, Nor sun, nor moon, nor stars, then shine so well, So is the Christian in our hemisphere, Whose light shows others how their course to steer.
When candles are put out, all’s in confusion; Where Christians are not, devils make intrusion.
They then are happy who such candles have, All others dwell in darkness and the grave.
But candles that do blink within the socket, And saints whose eyes are always in their pocket, Are much alike; such candles make us fumble:
And at such saints, good men and bad do stumble.
Good candles don’t offend, except sore eyes, Nor hurt, unless it be the silly flies:
Yet none like burning candles in the night, Nor ought to, holy living for delight.
But let us draw towards the candle’s end:
The fire, you see, doth wick and tallow spend; As grace man’s life, until his glass is run, And so the candle and the man are done.
The man now lays him down upon his bed; The wick yields up its fire; and so are dead.
The candle now extinct is, but the man, By grace mounts up to glory, there to stand.
TWO sacraments I do believe there be, Ev’n Baptism and the Supper of the Lord; Both mysteries divine, which do to me, By God’s appointment, benefit afford.
But shall they be my God, or shall I have Of them so foul and impious a thought, To think that from the curse they can me save?
Bread, wine, nor water, me no ransom bought!
GOD gave us clothes to hide our nakedness, And we by them do it expose to view; Our pride and unclean minds, to an excess, By our apparel we to others show.
THE SINNER AND THE SPIDER. Sinner. WHAT black, what ugly crawling thing art thou? Spider.
I am a spider — Sinner.
A spider, aye; truly a filthy creature! Spider.
Not filthy as thyself in name or feature:
My name entailed is unto my creation; My features, from the God of thy salvation. Sinner.
I am a man! and in God’s image made, I have a soul shall neither die nor fade; God has possessed my soul with human reason, Speak not against me, lest thou speakest treason:
For if I am the image of my Maker, Of slanders laid on me, he is partaker. Spider.
I know thou art a creature far above me, Therefore I shun, I fear, and also love thee.
But though thy God hath made thee such a creature, Thou hast against him often play’d the traitor.
Thy sin has fetch’d thee down: leave off to boast:
Nature thou hast defil’d, God’s image lost Yea thou, thyself a very beast hast made, And art become like grass, which soon doth fade!
Thy soul, thy reason, yea thy spotless state, Sin has subjected to th’ most dreadful fate.
But I retain my primitive condition, I’ve all but what I lost by thy ambition. Sinner.
Thou venom’d thing, I know not what to call thee!
The dregs of nature surely did befall thee; Thou wast compos’d o’th’ dross and scum of all.
Men hate thee, and in scorn, thee Spider call. Spider.
My venom’s good for something; since God made it:
Thy nature sin hath spoil’d, and doth degrade it.
Thou art despoil’d of good: and the’ I fear thee, I will not, the’ I might, despise and jeer thee.
Thou say’st I am the very dregs of nature, Thy sin’s the spawn of devils, ‘tis no creature.
Thou say’st man hates me, ‘cause I am a spider, Poor man, thou at thy God art a derider!
My venom tendeth to my preservation; Thy pleasing follies work out thy damnation!
Poor man, I keep the rules of my creation, Thy sin has east thee headlong from thy station.
I hurt nobody willingly; but thou Art a self-murderer! thou know’st not how To do what’s good; no, for thou lovest evil:
Thou fly’st God’s law, adherest to the devil. Sinner.
Thou ill-shaped thing! there’s an antipathy ‘Twixt man and spiders; ‘tis in vain to lie.
Stand off! I hate thee; if thou dost come nigh me, I’ll crush thee with my foot; I do defy thee. Spider.
They are ill-shaped, who are warped ill by sin!
Hatred to God in thee hath long time been; No marvel then indeed, if me his creature Thou dost defy; pretending name and feature.
But why stand off? My presence shall not throng thee, ‘Tis not my venom, but thy sin doth wrong thee.
Come, I will teach thee wisdom, do but hear me, I was made for thy profit, do not fear me.
But if thy God thou wilt not hearken to, What can the swallow, ant, and spider do?
Yet I will speak; I can but be rejected; Sometimes great things, by small means are effected.
Hark then, though man is noble by creation, He is lapsed now to such degeneration As not to grieve, (so careless is he grown,) Though he, himself has sadly overthrown, And brought to bondage every earthly thing, Ev’n from the very spider to the king:
This we, poor sensitives, do feel and see; ]For subject to the curse you made us be.
Tread not upon me, neither from me go; ‘Tis man alone brought all the world to woe!
The law of my creation bids me teach thee; I will not, for thy pride, to God impeach thee.
I spin, I weave, and all to let thee see Thy best performances but cobwebs be:
Thy glory now is brought to such an ebb, It doth not much excel the spider’s web!
My webs becoming snares and traps for flies, Do set the wiles of hell before thine eyes; Their tangling nature is to let thee see, Thy sins (too) of a tangling nature be.
My den, or hole, for that ‘tis bottomless, Doth of damnation show the lastingness.
My lying quiet till the fly is catch’d, Shows, secretly hell hath thy ruin hatch’d.
In that I on her seize, when she is taken, I show who gathers whom God hath forsaken.
The fly lies buzzing in my web to tell How sinners always roar and howl in hell.
Now since I show thee all these mysteries, How canst thou hate me; or me scandalize? Sinner.
Well, well; I will no more be a derider, I did not look for such things from a spider. Spider.
Come, hold thy peace, what I have yet to say, If heeded may help thee another day.
Since I an ugly ven’mous creature be, There’s some resemblance ‘twixt vile man and me.
My wild and heedless runnings, are like those Whose ways to ruin do their souls expose.
Day-light is not my time; I work i’th’ night, To show they are like me who hate the light.
The maid sweeps one web down, I make another To show how heedless one’s convictions smother.
My web is no defense at all to me, Nor will false hopes at judgment be to thee. Sinner.
O spider, I have heard thee, and do wonder, A spider should thus lighten, and thus thunder! Spider.
Do but hold still, and I will let thee see, Yet in my ways more mysteries there be.
Shall not I do thee good, if I thee tell, I show to thee a four-fold way to hell.
For since I set my web in sundry places, I show men go to hell in divers traces.
One I set in the window, that I might Show, some go down to hell with gospel-light.
One I set in a corner, as you see, To show how some in secret snared be.
Gross webs great store I set in darksome places, To show how many sin with brazen faces.
Another web I set aloft on high, To show there’s some professing men must die.
Thus in my ways, God wisdom doth conceal; And by my ways that wisdom doth reveal.
I hide myself when I for flies do wait, So doth the devil when he lays his bait; If I do fear the losing of my prey, I stir me, and more snares upon her lay.
This way, and that, her wings and legs I tic, That sure as she is catch’d, so she must die; But if I see she’s like to get away, Then with my venom I her journey stay.
All which my ways, the devil imitates To catch men, since he their salvation hates. Sinner.
O spider, thou delight’st me with thy skill, I prithee spit this venom at me still. Spider.
I am a spider, yet I can possess The palace of a king, where happiness So much abounds. Nor when [do go thither, Do they ask what, or whence I come, or whither I make my hasty travels; no not they; They let me pass, and I go on my way.
I seize the palace; with my hands take hold Of doors, of locks, or bolts; yea, I am bold, When in, to clamber up unto the throne, And to possess it, as if ‘twere my own!
Nor is there any law forbidding me, Here to abide, or in this palace be.
At pleasure I ascend the highest stories, And then I sit, and so behold the glories, Myself am compassed with, as if I were, One of the chiefest courtiers that be there!
Here lords and. ladies do come round about me, With grave demeanor, nor do any flout me, For this my brave adventure; no not they; They come, they go, but leave me there to stay.
Now, my reproacher, I do by all this Show how thou may’st possess thyself of bliss:
Worse than a spider thou art, but take hold On Christ the door, thou shalt not be control’d:
By him do thou the heavenly palace enter; None e’er will chide thee for thy brave adventure!
Approach thou then unto the very throne; There speak thy mind; fear not, the day’s thine own!
Nor saint, nor angel will thee stop or stay, But rather tumble blocks out of the way.
My venom stops not me; let not thy vice Stop thee; possess thyself of paradise!
Go on, I say, although thou be a sinner, Learn to be bold in faith, of me a spinner.
This is the way true glories to possess, And to enjoy what no man can express.
Sometimes I find the palace door is lock’d, And so my entrance thitherward is block’d.
But am I daunted? No, I here and there Do feel, and search; and so, if anywhere, At any chink or crevice find my way, I crowd, I press for passage, make no stay:
And so through difficulty I attain The palace, yea, the throne where princes reign!
I crowd sometimes, as if I’d burst in sunder; And art thou crush’d with striving? do not wonder.
Some scarce get in, and yet indeed they enter:
Knock; for they nothing have, that nothing venture.
Nor will the king himself throw dirt on thee, As thou hast cast reproaches upon me.
He will not hate thee, O thou foul backslider!
As thou didst me, because I am a spider.
Now to conclude: since I much doctrine bring, Slight me no more, call me not, ‘Ugly thing.’
God, wisdom hath unto the pismire given, And spiders may teach men the way to heaven. Sinner.
Well, my good spider, I my errors see, I was a feel for railing so at thee.
Thy nature, venom, and thy fearful hue, But show what sinners are, and what they do.
Thy way, and works do also darkly tell, How some men go to heaven, some to hell.
Thou art my monitor: I am a feel:
They may learn much, that t’spiders go to school!
MEDITATIONS BEFORE THE SUN-RISING.
BUT all this while, where’s he whose golden rays, Drive night away, and beautify our days?
Where’s he whose goodly face doth warm and heal, And show us what the darksome nights conceal’?
Where’s he who thaws our ice, drives cold away?
Let’s have him, or we care not for the day.
Thus ‘tis with those who are possessed of grace; There’s nought to them like their Redeemer’s face.
ON THE RISING OF THE SUN.
LOOK, look, brave Sol doth peep up from beneath, Shows us his golden face, doth on us breathe; Yea he doth compass us around with glories, Whilst he ascends up to his highest stories.
Where he his banner over us displays, And gives us light to see our works and ways.
Nor are we now, as at the peep of light, To question, is it day, or is it night?
The night is gone, the shadow’s fled away, And now we are most certain that ‘tis day, And thus it is when Jesus shows his face, And doth assure us of his love and grace.
THE SUN’S REFLECTION ON THE CLOUDS IN A FAIR MORNING.
LOOK yonder, ah! methinks mine eyes do see Clouds edg’d with silver, as fine garments be!
They look as if they saw the golden face, That makes black clouds most beautiful with grace!
Unto the saints’ sweet incense of their prayer, These smoke-like curling clouds I do compare.
For as these clouds seem edg’d or lac’d with gold, Their prayers return with blessings manifold.
OF THE MOLE IN THE GROUND.
THE Mole’s a creature very smooth and slick, She digs i’th’ dirt, but ‘twill not on her stick.
So’s he who counts this world his greatest gains, Yet nothing gets but labor for his pains.
Earth’s the Mole’s element; she can’t abide To be above ground; dirt-heaps are her pride; And he is like her, who the worldling plays, He imitates her in her works and ways.
Poor silly Mole! that thou should’st love to be, Where thou, nor sun, nor moon, nor stars, can’st see.
But oh! how silly’s he, who doth not care So he gets earth, to have of heaven a share!
OF THE CUCKOO.
THOU booby! say’st thou nothing but Cuckoo?
The Robin and the Wren can thee out-do.
They to us warble through their little throats, Not one, but sundry pretty tuneful notes.
But thou hast fellows! some like thee can do Little but suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo!
Thy notes do not first welcome in our spring, Nor dost thou its first tokens to us bring.
Birds less than thee by far, like prophets, do Tell us ‘tis coming, though not by Cuckoo.
Nor dost thou summer have away with thee, Though thou a yawling, bawling Cuckoo be.
When thou dost cease among us to appear, Then doth our harvest bravely crown our year.
But thou hast fellows! some like thee can do Little but suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo!
Since Cuckoo forwards not our early spring, Nor helps with notes to bring our harvest in:
And since while here, she only makes a noise, So pleasing unto none as girls and boys, The Formalist we may compare her to, For he doth suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo!
OF THE BOY AND BUTTERFLY.
BEHOLD how eager this our little Boy Is for this Butterfly, as if all joy.
All profits, honors, yea, and lasting pleasures, Were wrapt up in her, or the richest treasures, Found in her would be, bundled up together; When all her all is lighter than a feather!
He halloos, runs, and cries out, ‘Here, boys, here!”
Nor doth he brambles or the nettles fear:
He stumbles at the mole hills; up he gets, And runs again, as one bereft of wits And all his labor and his large out-cry, Is only for a silly Butterfly.
This little Boy an emblem is of those, Whose hearts are wholly at the world’s dispose.
The Butterfly doth represent to me, The world’s best things at best but fading be.
All are but painted nothings and false joys, Like this poor Butterfly to these our boys.
His running through nettles, and thorns and briers, To gratify his boyish fond desires; His tumbling over mole-hills to attain His end, — namely, his Butterfly to gain; Doth plainly show what hazards some men run, To get what will be lost as soon as won.
Men seem in choice, than children far more wise, Because they run not after Butterflies:
When yet, alas! for what are empty toys, They follow children, like to beardless boys.
OF THE FLY AT THE CANDLE.
WHAT ails this fly thus desperately to enter A combat with the candle? Will she venture To clash at light? Away, thou silly Fly Thus doing thou wilt burn thy wings and die.
But ‘tis a folly her advice to give, She’ll kill the candle, or she will not live.
Slap, says she at it; then she makes retreat, So wheels about, and doth her blows repeat.
Nor doth the candle let her quite escape, But gives some little check unto the ape:
Throws up her nimble heels, and down she falls, Where she lies sprawling, and for succor calls.
When she recovers, up she gets again, And at the candle comes with might and main.
But now behold, the candle takes the Fly, And holds her, till she doth by burning die.
This candle is an emblem of that light, Our gospel gives in this our darksome night.
The Fly a lively picture is of those That hate, and do this gospel-light oppose.
At last the gospel doth become their snare, Doth them with burning hands in pieces tear!
UPON THE PROMISING FRUITFULNESS OF A TREE.
ACOMELY sight indeed it is to see A world of blossoms on an apple tree:
Yet far more comely would this tree appear, If all its dainty blooms young apples were.
But how much more, might one upon it see, If all would hang there till they ripe should be!
But most of all in beauty, ‘twould abound, If every one should then be truly sound.
But we, alas! do commonly behold Blooms fall apace, if mornings be but cold.
They too which hang till they young apples are, By blasting winds, and vermin take despair.
Store that do hang, while almost ripe we see By blust’ring winds are shaken from the tree.
So that of many, only some there be, That grow and thrive to full maturity.
THIS tree a perfect emblem is of those Who do the garden of the Lord compose.
Its blasted blooms are motions unto good, Which chill affections do nip in the bad.
Those little apples which yet blasted are, Show, some good purposes, no good fruits bear:
Those spoil’d by vermin are to let us see, How good attempts by bad thoughts ruined be.
Those which the wind blows down, while they are green, Show good works have by trials spoiled been:
Those that abide, while ripe upon the tree Show in a good man, some ripe fruit will be.
Behold then how abortive some fruits are, Which at the first most promising appear!
The frost, the wind, the worm, with time, doth show There flow from much appearance, works but few.
THE thief when he doth steal, thinks he doth gain Yet then the greatest loss he doth sustain!
Come, thief, tell me thy gains, but do not falter, When sum’d, what comes it to more than the halter?
Perhaps, thoul’t say, ‘The halter I defy?’
So thou may’st say, yet by the halter die.
Thou’lt say, ‘then there’s an ends’ no; prithee, hold, He was no friend of thine that thee so told.
Hear thou the word of God; that will thee tell, Without repentance, thieves must go to hell.
But should it be as the false prophet says, Yet naught but loss doth come by thievish ways.
All honest men will flee thy company, Thou liv’st a rogue, and so a rogue will die.
Innocent boldness thou hast none at all, Thy inward thoughts do thee a villain call.
Sometimes when lying warmly on thy bed, Thou art like one unto the gallows led; Fear as a constable breaks in upon thee, Thou art as if the town was up to stone thee.
If hogs do grunt, or silly rats do rustle, Thou art in consternation! think’st a bustle By men about the door is made to take thee:
And all because good conscience doth forsake thee!
Thy case is so deplorable and bad; Thou shunn’st to think on’t, lest thou should’st be mad:
Thou art beset with mischiefs ev’ry way, The gallows groaneth for thee ev’ry day.
Wherefore, I prithee, thief, thy theft forbear, Consult thy safety, pri’thee have a care.
If once thy head be got within the noose, ‘Twill be too late a longer life to choose.
As to the penitent thou readest of, What’s that to them who at repentance scoff?
Nor is that grace at thy command or power, That thou should’st put it off till the last hour.
I prithee, thief, think on’t, and turn betime:
Few go to life, who do the gallows climb.
OF THE CHILD AND THE BIRD ON THE BUSH.
MY little Bird, how canst thou sit, And sing amidst so many thorns?
Let me but hold upon thee get, My love with honor thee adorns.
Thou art at present little worth; Five farthings none will give for thee.
But, prithee little bird, come forth, Thou of more value art to me. ‘Tis true it is sunshine to-day, Tomorrow birds will have a storm; My pretty one, come thou away, My bosom then shall keep thee warm.
Thou subject art to cold ‘o nights, When darkness is thy covering; At days thy danger’s great by kites, How can’st thou then sit there and sing?
Thy food is scarce and scanty too, ‘Tis worms and trash which thou dost cat, Thy present state I pity do, Come, I’ll provide thee better meat.
I’ll feed thee with white bread and milk, And sugar-plums, if thou them crave; I’ll cover thee with finest silk, That from the cold I may thee save.
My father’s palace shall be thine, Yea, in it thou shalt sit and sing; My little bird, if thou l’t be mine, The whole year round shall be thy Spring!
I’ll teach thee all the notes at court Unthought of music thou shalt play:
And all that thither do resort, Shall praise thee for it every day.
I’ll keep thee safe from cat and cur, No manner o’ harm shall come to thee:
Yea, I will be thy succorer, My bosom shall thy cabin be.
But lo, behold, the Bird is gone:
These charmings would not make her yield:
The Child’s left at the bush alone, The Bird flies yonder o’er the field.
This Child, of Christ an emblem is; The Bird to th’ sinner I compare:
The thorns are like those sins of his, Which do surround him ev’ry where.
Her songs, her food, and sunshine day, Are emblems of those foolish toys, Which to destruction lead the way, — The fruit of worldly, empty joys.
The arguments this Child doth choose, To draw to him a bird thus wild, Shows, Christ familiar speech doth use, That sinners may be reconcil’d.
The Bird, in that she takes her wing, To speed her from him after all; Shows us, vain man loves any thing, Much better than the heav’nly call!
OF MOSES AND HIS WIFE.
THIS Moses was a fair and comely man; His wife a swarthy Aethiopian; Nor did his milk-white bosom change her skin, She came out thence as black as she went in.
Now Moses was a type of Moses’ law, His wife likewise of one that never saw Another way unto eternal life; — There’s myst’ry then, in Moses and his wife.
The law is very holy, just and good, And to it is espous’d all flesh and blood:
But yet the law its goodness can’t bestow On any that are wedded thereunto.
Therefore as Moses’ wife came swarthy in, And went out from him without change of skin:
So he that doth the law for life adore, Shall yet by it be left a black-a-moor.
OF THE ROSE-BUSH.
THIS homely bush doth to mine eyes expose, A very fair, yee, comely ruddy Rose.
This Rose doth always bow its head to me, Saying, ‘Come pluck me, I thy rose will be;’ Yet offer I to gather Rose or bud, But ten to one the bush will have my blood.
This looks like a trapan, or a decoy, To offer, and yet snap, who would enjoy; Yea, the more eager on’t, the more in danger, Be he the master of it, or a stranger.
Bush, why dost bear a Rose, if none must have it?
Why dost expose it, yet claw those that crave it?
Art become freakish? Dost the wanton play?
Or doth thy testy humor tend this way?
COMPARISON, This Rose, God’s Son is, with his ruddy looks:
But what’s the bush? whose pricks like tenter-hooks, Do scratch and claw the finest lady’s hands, Or rend her clothes, if she too near it stands.
This bush an emblem is of Adam’s race, Of which Christ came, when he his Father’s grace Commended to us in his crimson blood, While he in sinner’s stead and nature stood.
Thus Adam’s race did bear this dainty Rose.
And doth the same to Adam’s race expose:
But those of Adam’s race ‘which at it catch, Them will the race of Adam claw and scratch.
OF THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN.
WHAT, hast thou run thy race, art going down?
Why, as one angry, dost thou on us frown?
Why wrap thy head with clouds, and hide thy face, As threatening to withdraw from us thy grace?
O leave us not! When once thou hid’st thy head, Our whole horizon darkness will o’erspread.
Tell, who hath thee offended, turn again:— Alas! too late; intreaties are in vain!
The Gospel here has had a summer’s day, But in its sun-shine we, like fools, did play; Or else fall out, and with each other wrangle.
And did, instead of work, not much but jangle.
And if our sun seems angry, hides his face, Shall it go down, shall night possess this place?
Let not the voice of night-birds us afflict, And of our mispent summer us convict.
THE Frog by nature is both damp and cold.
Her mouth is large, her belly much will hold; She sits somewhat ascending, loves to be Croaking in gardens, the’ unpleasantly.
The Hypocrite is like unto this Frog; As like as is the puppy to the dog.
He is of nature cold; his mouth is wide, To prate, and at true goodness to deride, And though the world is that which has his love He mounts his head, as if he liv’d above.
And though he seeks in churches for to croak, He neither loveth Jesus nor his yoke.
UPON THE WHIPPING OF A TOP. ‘TIS with the whip, the boy sets up the top, The whip does make it whirl upon its toe; Hither and hither makes it skip and hop: ‘Tis with the whip, the top is made to go.
Our Legalist is like this nimble top, Without a whip, he will not duty do:
Let Moses whip him he will skip and hop; Forbear to whip, he’ll neither stand nor go!
MUST we unto the Pismire go to school, To learn of her in summer to provide, For winter next ensuing? Man’s a fool, Or silly ants would not be made his guide.
But, sluggard, is it not a shame for thee, To be outdone by Pismires? Prithee hear:
Their works too will thy condemnation be, When at the judgment-seat thou shalt appear.
But since thy God doth bid thee to her go, Obey; her ways consider, and be wise:
The Pismires will inform thee what to do, And set the way to life before thine eyes!
HE wants: he asks, he pleads his poverty, They within doors do him an alms deny.
He doth repeat and aggravate his grief; But they repulse him, give him no relief.
He begs; they say, Begone! he will not hear?
He coughs and sighs to show he still is there They disregard him, he repeats his groans; They still say Nay, and he himself bemoans.
They call him vagrant, and more rugged grow:
He cries the shriller; trumpets out his woe.
At last when they perceive he’ll take no nay, An alms they give him without more delay.
This beggar doth resemble them that pray To God for mercy, and will take no nay; But wait, and count that all his hard gainsays, Are nothing else, but fatherly delays.
Then imitate him, praying souls, and cry:
There’s nothing like to importunity.
THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER.
THERE’ S one rides very sagely on the road; Showing that he affects the gravest mode:
Another rides tantivy, or full trot, To show such gravity he matters not.
Lo here comes one amain, he rides full speed, Hedge, ditch, or miry bog, he doth not heed.
One claws it up-hill without stop or check, Another down, as if he’d break his neck.
Now every horse has his especial guider:
Then by his going you may know the rider.
Now let us turn our horse into a man, The rider to a spirit, if we can:
Then let us, by the methods of the guider, Tell every horse how he should know his rider.
Some go as men direct, in a right way, Nor are they suffered e’er to go astray:
As with a bridle they are governed well, And so are kept from paths that lead to hell.
Now this good man has his especial guider:
Then by his going, let him know his rider.
Another goes as if he did not care, Whether of heaven or hell he should be heir.
The rein, it seems, is laid upon his neck, And he pursues his way without a check.
Now this man too has his especial guider, And by his going he may know his rider.
Again, some run, as if resolved to die, Body and soul to all eternity.
Good counsel they by no means can abide; They’ll have their course, whatever them betide.
Now these poor men have their especial guider; Were they not fools, they soon might know their rider.
There’s one makes head against all godliness; Those, too, that do profess it he’ll distress:
He’ll taunt and flout if goodness doth appear; And those that love it he will mock and jeer.
Now this man toe, has his especial guider, And by his going he may know his rider.
THE SIGHT OF A POUND OF CANDLES FALLING TO THE GROUND.
BUT are the candles down and scattered toe, Some lying here, some there? What shall we do?
Hold! light the candle there that stands on high, The other candles you may find thereby.
Light that, I say, and so take up the pound, Which you let fall and scattered on the ground.
The fallen candles to us intimate, The bulk of God’s elect in their lapsed state; Their lying scattered in the dark may be, To show by man’s lapsed state his misery.
The Candle that was taken down and lighted, Thereby to find them fallen and benighted, Is Jesus Christ: God by his light doth gather Whom he will save, and be to them a Father.
A PENNY LOAF.
THY price one penny is, in time of plenty; In famine doubled, ‘tis from one to twenty.
Yea, no man knows what price on thee to set, When there is but one penny loaf to get.
This Loaf’s an emblem of the word of God, A thing of low esteem, before the rod Of famine smites the soul with fear of death:
But then it is our all, our life, our breath!
THE BOY AND THE WATCH-MAKER. Boy. ‘This watch my father did on me bestow, A golden one it is; but ‘twill not go, Unless it be at an uncertainty:
But as good none, as one to tell a lie!
When ‘tis high day, my hand will stand at nine I think there’s no man’s watch so bad as mine.
Sometimes ‘tis sullen, ‘twill not go at all, And yet ‘twas never broke, nor had a fall.’ Watch-maker. ‘Your watch, though it be good, through want of skill, May fail to do according to your will.
Suppose the balance, wheels, and spring be good, And all things else, unless you understood To manage it, as watches ought to be, Your watch will still be at uncertainty.
Come, tell me, do you keep it from the dust And wind it duly, that it may not rust?
Take heed too, that you do not strain the spring You must be circumspect in every thing, Or else your watch will not exactly go, ‘Twill stand, or run too fast, or move too slow.’
This Boy resembles one that’s turned from sin His watch, the curious work of grace within:
The Watchmaker is Jesus Christ our Lord; His counsel, the directions of his word.
Then, Convert, if thy heart be out of frame, Of this Watchmaker learn to mend the same.
Do not lay ope’ thy heart to worldly dust, Nor let thy graces overgrow with rust; Be oft renew’d in th’ spirit of thy mind, Or else uncertain thou thy watch wilt find.
UPON A LOOKING-GLASS.
IN this see thou thy beauty, hast thou any; Or thy defects, should they be few or many.
Thou may’st too, here thy spots and freckles see, Hast thou but eyes, and what their numbers be.
But art thou blind? There is no looking-glass Can show thee thy defects, thy spots, or face.
Unto this glass we may compare the word.
For that to man assistance doth afford, (Has he a mind to know himself and state;) To see what will be his eternal fate.
But without eyes, alas! how can he see?
Many that seem to look here, blind men be.
This is the reason they so often read Their judgment there, and do it nothing dread.
OF THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
THE love of Christ, poor I, may touch upon But ‘tis unsearchable. O there is none Its large dimensions e’er can comprehend, Should they dilate thereon, world without end!
When we had sinn’d, he in his zeal did swear That he upon his back our sins would bear.
And since to sin there is entailed death, He vow’d that for our sins he’d lose his breath.
He did not only say, voe, or resolve; But to astonishment did so involve Himself in man’s distress and misery, As for, and with him, both to live and die.
To his eternal fame in sacred story, We find that he did lay aside his glory, Stepp’d from the throne of highest dignity, Became poor man, did in a manger lie Yea, was beholden upon his, for bread, Had, of his own, not where to lay his head!
Though rich, he did, for us, become thus poor, That he might make us rich for evermore.
Yet this was but the least of what he did; But the outside of what he suffered.
God made his blessed Son under the law; Under the curse, which like the lion’s paw, Did rend and tear his soul, for mankind’s sin, More than if we, for it, in hell had been.
His eries, his tears, and bloody agony, The nature of his death do testify.
Nor did he of constraint himself thus give For sin to death, that man might with him live:
He did do what he did most willingly, He sung, and gave God thanks that he must die!
Did ever king die for a captive slave?
Yet such were we whom Jesus died to save.
Yea, when he made himself a sacrifice, It was that he might save his enemies!
And, though he was provoked for to retract His blest resolves to do so kind an act, By the abusive carriages of those, That did both him, his love, and grace oppose, Yet he, as unconcern’d about such things, Goes on, determines to make captives kings!
Yea, many of his murderers he takes Into his favor, and them princes makes.
ON THE CACKLING OF A HEN.
THE Hen so soon as she an egg doth lay, Spreads the fame of her doing what she may.
About the yard a cackling she doth go To tell what ‘twas she at her nest did do.
Just thus it is with some professing men, If they do aught that’s good; they, like our hen, Cannot but cackle on’t where-e’er they go, And what their right hand doth, their left must know UPON AN HOUR-GLASS.
THIS glass when made, was by the workman’s skill, The sum of sixty minutes to fulfill.
Time more, nor less, by it will out be spun, But just an hour, and then the glass is run.
Man’s life, we will compare unto this glass, The number of his months he cannot pass:
But when he has accomplished here his day, He, like a vapor, vanisheth away.
UPON A SNAIL.
SHE goes but softly, but she goeth sure, She stumbles not, as stronger creatures do:
Her journey’s shorter, so she may endure, Better than they which do much further go.
She makes no noise, but stilly seizeth on The flower or herb, appointed for her food; The which she quietly doth feed upon, While others range and glare but find no good.
And though she doth but very softly go, However slow her pace be, yet ‘tis sure; And certainly they that do travel so, The prize which they do aim at they procure.
Although they seem not much to stir or go, Who thirst for Christ; and who from wrath do flee Yet what they seek for, quickly they come to, Though it doth seem the farthest off to be.
One act of faith doth bring them to that flower They so long for, that they may, cat and live Which to attain is not in others’ power, Though for it a king’s ransom they would give.
Then let none faint, nor be at all dismay’d, That life by Christ do seek; they shall not fail To have it; let them nothing be afraid; The herb and flower are eaten by the snail.
OF THE SPOUSE OF CHRIST.
WHO’ S this that cometh from the wilderness, Like smoky pillars thus perfum’d with myrrh, Leaning upon her dearest in distress, Placed in his bosom by the Comforter?
She’s clothed with the sun, crown’d with twelve stars.
The spotted moon her footstool she hath made.
The dragon her assaults with ceaseless jars, Yet rests she under the Beloved’s shade.
But whence was she? What is her pedigree?
Was not her father a poor Arnorite?
What was her mother but as others be, A Hittite sinful, poor, and helpless quite.
Yea, as for her, the day that she was born, As loathsome, out of doors they did her cast; Naked and filthy, stinking and forlorn:
This was her pedigree from first to last.
Nor was she pitied in this lost estate, All let her lie polluted in her blood:
None her condition did commiserate, There was no heart that sought to do her good.
Yet she unto these ornaments is come, Her breasts are fashion’d, and her hair is grown; She is made heiress of a heavenly home All her indignities away are blown.
Cast out she was, but now she home is taken, Once she was naked, now you see she’s clad; Now made the darling, though before forsaken, Barefoot, but now, as princes’ daughters shod.
Instead of filth, she now has her perfumes, Instead of ignominy, chains of gold:
Instead of what the beauty most consumes, Her beauty’s perfect, lovely to behold.
Those that attend, and wait upon her be Princes of honor cloth’d in white array Upon her head’s a crown of gold, and she Eats honey, wheat and oil, from day to day.
For her Beloved, he’s the high’st of all, The only Potentate, the King of kings:
Angels and men do him Jehovah call, And from him life and glory always springs.
He’s white and ruddy, and of all the chief:
His head, his locks, his eyes, his hands, and feet, Do for completeness outdo all belief, His cheeks like flowers are, and his mouth most sweet.
As for his wealth, he is made heir of all, What is in heav’n, what is in earth is his:
And he this lady, his joint heir doth call, Of all that shall be, or at present is.
Well lady, well, God has been good to thee!
Thou of an outcast, now art made a Queen And few or none with thee compared may be, A beggar made thus high is seldom seen.
Take heed of pride! remember what thou art By nature, the’ thou hast in grace a share Thou in thyself dost yet retain a part Of thine own filthiness: wherefore beware!
A SKILFUL PLAYER ON AN INSTRUMENT.
HE that can play well on an instrument, Will take the ear, and captivate the mind With mirth or sadness, when it is intent; And music into it a way doth find.
But if one hears that hath therein no skill, (As often music lights of such a chance) Of its brave notes they soon be weary will:
And there are some can neither sing nor dance.
To him that thus most skilfully doth play, God doth compare a gospel-minister, That doth with life and vigor preach and pray, Applying right, what he doth there infer.
Whether this man, of wrath or grace doth preach, So skilfully he handles every word, And by his saying, doth the heart so reach, That it doth joy or sigh before the Lord.
But some there be, which, as the brute do lie Under the word, without the least advance:
Such do despise the gospel-ministry; They weep not at it, neither to it dance.
OF MAN BY NATURE.
FROM God he’s a backslider, Of ways, he loves the wider With wickedness a sider.
More venom than a spider, In sin he’s a confider.
A make-bate and divider; Blind reason in his guider, The devil is his rider.
THE DISOBEDIENT CHILD.
CHILDREN, when little, how do they delight us!
When they grow bigger, they begin to fright us.
Their sinful nature prompts them to rebel, And to delight in paths that lead to hell.
Their parents’ love and care they overlook, As if relation had them quite forsook.
They take the counsels of the wanton, rather Than the most grave instructions of a father.
They reckon parents ought to do for them, Though they the fifth commandment do contemn.
They snap, and snarl, if parents them control, Although in things most hurtful to the soul, They reckon they are masters, and that we Who parents are, should to them subject be!
If parents fain would have a hand in choosing, The children have a heart still in refusing.
They by wrong doings, from their parents gather, And say it is no sin to rob a father.
They’ll jostle parents out of place and power, They’ll make themselves the head, and them devour.
How many children by becoming head Have brought their parents to a piece of bread!
Thus they who at the first were parents’ joy, Turn that to bitterness, themselves destroy.
But wretched child, how canst thou thus requite Thy aged parents, for that great delight They took in thee, when thou, as helpless lay, In their indulgent bosoms day by day?
Thy mother long before she brought thee forth, Took care thou should’st want neither food nor cloth.
Thy father glad was at his very heart, Had he, to thee, a portion to impart.
Comfort they promised to themselves in thee, But thou, it seems, to them a grief will be.
How oft, how willingly, brake they their sleep, If thou, their bantling, did’st but winch or weep Their love to thee was such, they could have giv’n, That thou might’st live, all but their part of heaven.
But now, behold, how they rewarded are, For their indulgent love and tender care!
All is forgot; this love you do despise:
They brought this bird up to pick out their eyes!
ON A SHEET OF WHITE PAPER.
TILLS paper’s handled by the sons of men, Both with the fairest and the foulest pen. ‘Twill also show what is upon it writ, Whether ‘tis wisely done, or void of wit, Each blot and blur, it also will expose To the next readers, be they friends or foes.
Some souls are like unto this blank or sheet, (Though not in whiteness:) the next man they meet, Be what he will, a good man or deluder, A knave or fool, the dangerous intruder May write thereon, to cause that soul to err, In doctrine, or in life, with blot and blur.
Nor will that soul conceal wherein it swerves, But show itself to each one that observes:
A reading man may know who was the writer, And by the hellish nonsense the inditer.
MEDITATIONS UPON AN EGG.
THE egg’s no chick by falling from the hen; Nor man a Christian till he’s born again.
The egg’s at first contained within the shell:
Men afore grace in sins and darkness dwell:
The egg, when laid, by warmth is made a chicken, And Christ by grace the dead in sin does quicken.
The chick at first is in the cell confined; So heaven-born souls at first the flesh may bind:
The shell doth crack, the chick doth chirp and peep, The flesh decays, and men then pray and weep:
The shell doth break, the chick’s at liberty, The flesh falls off, the soul mounts up on high:
But both do not enjoy the self-same plight; The soul is safe, the chick now fears the kite!
But chicks from rotten eggs do not proceed; Nor is a hypocrite a saint indeed.
The rotten egg, though underneath the hen, If cracked, will stink, and loathsome is to men.
Nor doth her warmth make what is rotten sound; What’s rotten, rotten will at last be found.
The hypocrite, sin has him in possession,.
He is a rotten egg beneath profession.
Some eggs bring cockatrices; and some men Seem hatched and brooded in the viper’s den:
Some eggs bring wild-fowls; and some men there be As wild as are the wildest fowls that flee.
Some eggs bring spiders; and some men appear More venomed than the worst of spiders are; Some eggs bring pismires; and some seem to me As much for trifles as the pismires be!
And thus do diverse eggs form different shapes, As like some men as monkeys are like apes.
But this is but an egg; were it a chick, Here had been legs, and wings, and bones to pick.
THE BARREN FIG-TREE IN GOD’S VINEYARD.
WHAT barren here! in this so good a soil?
The sight of this doth make God’s heart recoil From giving thee his blessing, barren tree:
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
Art thou not planted by the water side?
Know’st not thy Lord by fruit is glorified?
The sentence is, Cut down the barren tree.
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
Thou hast been digg’d about and dunged too, Will neither patience, nor yet dressing do?
The executioner is come, O tree, Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
He that about thy roots takes pains to dig, Would, if on thee were found but one good fig, Preserve thee from the axe: but barren tree, Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
The utmost end of patience is at hand, ‘Tis much if thou much longer here doth stand.
O cumber-ground, thou art a barren tree!
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
Thy standing, nor thy name will help at all; When fruitful trees are spared, then thou must fall.
The axe is laid unto thy roots, O tree!
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
WHO falls into the fire shall burn with heat; While those remote, scorn from it to retreat.
Yea, while those in it, cry out, Oh! I burn, Some farther off those cries to laughter turn.
While some tormented are in hell for sin On earth some greatly do delight therein.
Yea, while some make it echo with their cry, Others count it a fable and a lie!