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to be secured, is a man's mind b. He that goes
about to cure lust by bodily exercises alone (as St. Paul's phrase is) or mortifications, shall find them sometimes instrumental to it, and incitations of sudden desires, but always insufficient and of little profit: but he that hath a chaste mind, shall find his body apt enough to take laws; and let it do its worst, it cannot make a sin, and in its greatest violence can but produce a little natural uneasiness, not so much trouble as a severe fasting-day, or a hard night's lodging upon boards. man be hungry, he must eat; and if he be thirsty, he must drink in some convenient time, or else he dies : but if the body be rebellious, so the mind be chaste, let it do its worst, if you resolve perfectly not to satisfy it, you can receive no great evil by it. Therefore the proper cure is by application to the spirit, and securities of the mind, which can no way so well be secured as by frequent and fervent prayers, and sober resolutions, and severe discourses. Therefore,
9. Hither bring in succour from consideration of the Divine presence, and of his holy angels, meditation of death, and the passions of Christ upon the cross, imitation of his purities, and of the Virgin Mary his unspotted and holy mother, and of such eminent saints, who, in their generations, were burning and shining lights, unmingled with such uncleannesses, which defile the soul, and who now follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goes.
10. These remedies are of universal efficacy in all cases extraordinary and violent ; but in ordinary and common, the remedy, which God hath provided, that is, honourable marriage“, hath a natural efficacy, besides a virtue by divine blessing, to cure the inconveniences, which otherwise might afflict persons temperate and sober.
Of Humility. HUMILITY is the great ornament and jewel of Christian religion; that whereby it is distinguished from all the wisdom
• Mens impudicam facere, non corpus solet.
c Danda est opera ut matrimonio devinciantur, quod est tutissimum juven. tytis vinculum. - Plut, de educ. lib.
of the world; it not having been taught by the wise men of the gentiles, but first put into a discipline, and made part of a religion, by our Lord Jesus Christ, who propounded himself imitable by his disciples so signally in nothing, as in the twin-sisters of meekness and humility. Learn of me, for I am meek and humble; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For all the world, all that we are, and all that we have, our bodies and our souls, our actions and our sufferings, our conditions at home, our accidents abroad, our many sins and our seldom virtues, are as so many arguments to make our souls dwell low in the deep valleys of humility.
Arguments against Pride by way of consideration.
1. Our body is weak and impure, sending out more uncleannesses from its several sinks than could be endured, if they were not necessary and natural : and we are forced to pass that through our mouths, which as soon as we see upon the ground, we loathe like rottenness and vomiting.
2. Our strength is inferior to that of many beasts, and our infirmities so many, that we are forced to dress and tend horses and asses, that they may help our needs, and relieve our wants,
3. Our beauty is in colour inferior to many flowers, and in proportion of parts it is no better than nothing; for even a dog hath parts as well proportioned and fitted to his purposes, and the designs of his nature, as we have: and when it is most florid and gay, three fits of an ague can change it into yellowness and leanness, and the hollowness and wrinkles of deformity.
4. Our learning is then best, when it teaches most humility : but to be proud of learning is the greatest ignorance in the world. For our learning is so long in getting, and so very imperfect, that the greatest clerk knows not the thousandth part of what he is ignorant; and knows so uncertainly what he seems to know, and knows no otherwise than a fool or a child, even what is told him or what he guesses at, that except those things which concern his duty, and which God hath revealed to him, which also every woman knows so far as is necessary, the most learned man hath nothing to be proud of, unless this be a sufficient argument to exalt him,
that he uncertainly guesses at some more unnecessary thing than many others, who yet know all that concerns them, and mind other things more necessary for the needs of life and commonwealths.
5. He that is proud of riches, is a fool. For if he be exalted above his neighbours, because he hath more gold, how much inferior is he to a gold mine? How much is he to give place to a chain of pearl, or a knot of diamonds ? For certainly that hath the greatest excellence, from whence he derives all his gallantry and pre-eminence over his neighbours.
6. If a man be exalted by reason of any excellence in his soul, he may please to remember, that all souls are equal; and their differing operations are because their instrument is in better tune, their body is more healthful, or better tempered : which is no more praise to him, than it is that he was born in Italy.
7. He that is proud of his birth, is proud of the blessings of others, not of himself: for if his parents were more eminent in any circumstance than their neighbours, he is to thank God, and to rejoice in them; but still he may be a fool, or unfortunate, or deformed ; and when himself was born, it was indifferent to him, whether his father were a king or a peasant, for he knew not any thing, nor chose any thing: and most commonly it is true, that he that boasts of bis ancestors, who were the founders and raisers of a noble family, doth confess that he hath in himself a less virtue and a less honour, and therefore that he is degenerated.
8. Whatsoever other difference there is between thee and thy neighbour, if it be bad, it is thine own, but thou hast no reason to boast of thy misery and shame : if it be good, thou hast received it from God: and then thou art more obliged : to pay duty and tribute, use and principal to him: and it were a strange folly for a man to be proud of being more in debt than another.
9. Remember what thou wert, before thou wert begotten. Nothing. What wert thou in the first regions of thy dwelling, before thy birth? Uncleanness. What wert thou for many years after? Weakness. What in all thy life? A great sinner. What in all thy excellences? A mere debtor to God, to thy parents, to the earth, to all the creatures.
may, if we please, use the method of the Platonists d, reduce all the causes and arguments for humility, which we can take from ourselves, to these seven heads. 1. The spirit of a man is light and troublesome. 2. His body is brutish and sickly. 3. He is constant in his folly and error, and inconsistent in his manners and good purposes. 4. His la. bours, are vain, intricate, and endless. 5. His fortune is .changeable, but seldom pleasing, never perfect. 6. His wisdom comes not till he be ready to die, that is, till he be past using it. 7. His death is certain, always ready at the door, but never far off. Upon these or the like meditations if we dwell or frequently retire to them, we shall see nothing more reasonable than to be humble, and nothing more foolish than to be proud.
Acts or offices of Humility. The grace of humility is exercised by these following rules.
1. Think not thyself better for any thing that happens to thee from without. For although thou mayest, by gifts bestowed upon thee, be better than another, as one horse is better than another, that is of more use to others; yet as thou art a man, thou hast nothing to commend thee to thy self but that only, by which thou art a man, that is, by what thou choosest and refusest.
2. Humility consists not in railing against thyself, or wearing mean clothes, or going softly and submissively : but in hearty and real evil or mean opinion of thyself. Believe thyself an unworthy person heartily, as thou believest thyself to be hungry, or poor, or sick, when thou art so.
3. Whatsoever evil thou sayest of thyself, be content that others should think to be true: and if thou callest thyself fool, be not angry if another say so of thee. For if thou thinkest so truly, all men in the world desire other men to be of their opinion; and he is an hypocrite, that accuses himself before others, with an intent not to be believed. But he that calls himself intemperate, foolish, lustful, and is angry when his neighbours call him so, is both a false and a proud person.
4. Love to be concealed, and little esteemede : be content al Apuleius de Demon. Socratis. • Ama nesciri et pro nihilo reputari.--Gerson.
to want praise, never being troubled, when thou art slighted or undervalued; for thou canst not undervalue thyself, and if thou thinkest so meanly, as there is reason, no contempt will seem unreasonable, and therefore it will be very tolerable.
5. Never be ashamed of thy birth', or thy parents, or thy trade , or thy present employment, for the meanness or poverty of any of them, and when there is an occasion to speak of them, such an occasion as would invite you to speak of any thing that pleases you, omit it not, but speak as readily and indifferently of thy meanness as of thy greatness. Primislaus, the first king of Bohemia, kept his country-shoes always by him, to remember from whence he was raised : and Agathocles, by the furniture of his table, confessed, that, from a potter, he was raised to be the king of Sicily.
6. Never speak any thing directly tending to thy praise or glory; that is, with a purpose to be commended, and for no other end. If other ends be mingled with thy honour, as if the glory of God, or charity, or necessity, or any thing of prudence be thy end, you are not tied to omit your discourse or your design, that you may avoid praise, but pursue your end, though praise come along in the company. Only let not praise be the design.
7. When thou hast said or done any thing, for which thou receivest praise or estimation, take it indifferently, and return it to God ; reflecting upon him as the giver of the gift, or the blesser of the action, or the aid of the design : and give God thanks for making thee an instrument of his glory, for the benefit of others.
8. Secure a good name to thyself by living virtuously and humbly: but let this good name be nursed abroad, and never be brought home to look upon it: let others use it for their own advantage; let them speak of it if they please ; but do not thou at all use it, but as an instrument to do God glory, and thy neighbour more advantage. Let thy face, like Moses's, shine to others, but make no looking-glasses for thyself.
9. Take no content in praise, when it is offered thee : but let thy rejoicing in God's gift be allayed with fear, lest this good bring thee to evil. Use the praise, as you use your
' Il villan nobilitado non cognosce parentado. * Chi del arte sua se vergogna, sempre vive con vergogna.