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breeds great thirft when it is not nourished with devotion, and watered with mercy.
3. What great pain is taken to get treafure; what care to preferve it; what fear to lose it, and what forrow when it is loft! Alas, is there need of fo great covetoufness in life to encounter with fuch extream nakedness in death? We have not the fouls of giants, nor the body of a whale. If God will have me poor, muft I endeavour to reverse the decrees of heaven and earth that I may become rich? To whom do we truft the safety of our treasures? to ruft, to moths and thieves. Were it not better we fhould in our infirmities depend only on God almighty, and comfort our poverty in him who is only rich; and fo carry our fouls to heaven, where Jefus on the day of his afcenfion did place our fovereign good? Only ferpents and covetous men defire to fleep amongst treasures, as faint Clement faith. But the greateft riches of the world is poverty free from covetoufness.
Seek thee, O invincible God, within the abyfs of thy brightness, and I fee thee thro' the veil of thy creatures. Wilt thou be always hidden from me? fhall I never fee
may fo diffuse itself with more authority and profit a mongst those who may be capable to receive it Your Majefty, having read the original, doth well know that the principal scope of it is to teach the love of God and contempt of this world, with many other principal virtues.
And for the practice of them all, this age could not have hoped for fo rare an example to inftruct all the great ladies of Christendom, as it hath found in your majefty, as well by your admirable fortitude and perfect refignation to God's holy will in all your Majesty's extream afflictions, dangers and preffures at fea and land, as alfo by your Majesty's many facred retirements, in the most holy time of the year, to sprinkle your plea fures (voluntarily) with fome of that gall which was upon our Saviour's lips when he fuffered his bitter paffion and death for our fins. Our great divines affirm, that the prefent fufferings of mount Calvary lead direaly to the future glories of mount Tabor.
And therefore, fince your Majefty hath patiently endured fo many unjuft and rigorous croffes in the mount Calvary of this world, we have reafon to hope that our bleffed Saviour hath prepared for your Majesty a moft glorious crown in the next, which will never have end. And this fhall ever be the inceffant, and fervent Prayer of,
Tour MAJESTY's poor and
For the firft day, upon the confideration of Afbes.
Thou art duft, and to dust thou fhalt return. Gen. 3.
T is an excellent way to begin Lent with the confideration of duft, whereby nature gives us beginning; and by the fame death fhall put an end to all our worldly vanities. There is no better way to abate and humble the proudeft of all creatures, than to reprefent his beginning and end. The middle part of our life, like a kind of Proteus, takes upon it feveral shapes not understood by others; but the first and laft parts of it deceive no man; for they do both begin and end in duft. It is a ftrange thing that man, knowA 3 ing
ing well what he hath been, and what he muft be, is not confounded in himself, by obferving the pride of his own life and the great diforder of his paffions. The end of all other creatures is lefs deform'd than that of man. Plants in their death retain fome pleafing smell of their bodies: the little rose buries itself in her natural sweetness and carnation colour. Many creatures at their death leave us their teeth, horns, feathers, skins; of which we make great ufe others, after death, are ferved up in filver and golden dishes, to feed the greateft perfons of the world. Only man's dead carcafe is good for nothing but to feed worms; and yet he often retains the prefumptuous pride of a giant, by the exorbitance of his heart; and the crufurious rage of his revenge. Surely that man muft either be ftupid by nature, or moft wicked by his own election, who will not correct and amend himself, having ftill before his eyes ashes for his glass and death for his mistress.
2. This confideration of duft is an excellent remedy to curevice, and an affured ram part against temptation. St. Paulinus faith excellently well, that holy Job was free from all temptations when he was placed upon the fmoke and duft of his humility. He that lies upon
upon the ground can fall no lower; but may contemplate all above him, and meditate how to raise himself by the hand of God, which pulls down the proud and exalts the humble. Is a man tempted with pride? the confideration of ashes will humble him. Is a man burnt with wanton love? (which is a direct fire) fire cannot confume ashes. Is he perfecuted with covetousness? ashes make the greatest leeches and bloodfuckers caft their gorges. Every thing gives way to this unvalued thing, because God is pleased to draw the inftruments of his power out of the objects of our infirmities.
3. If we knew how to use rightly the meditation of death, we should there find the ftreams of life. All the world together is of no estimation to him that rightly knows the true value of a juft man's death. It would be neceffary that they who are taken with the curiofity of tulips, fhould fet in their gardens a plant call'd Naple, which carries a flower that perfectly resembles a death's head and if the other tulips please their fenfes, that will inftruct their reason. Before our laft death we should die many other deaths, by forfaking all thofe creatures and affections which lead us to fin. We fhould refemble thofe creatures, facred to