« EdellinenJatka »
SERM. or three outshining us in some slender piece of proXL. _sperity doth raise dissatisfaction in us; while the
doleful state of millions doth little affect us with any regard or compassion : hence so general discontent springeth, hence so few are satisfied with their conditions, an epidemical eyesore molesting every man : for there is no man, of whatsoever condition, who is not in some desirable things outstripped by others; none is so high in fortune, but another, in wit or wisdom, in health, or strength, or beauty, in reputation or esteem of men, may seem to excel him : he therefore looking with an evil or envious eye on such persons, and with senseless disregard passing over the rest of men, doth easily thereby lose his ease and satisfaction from his own estate : whereas if we would consider the case of most men, we should see abundant reason to be satisfied with our own; if we would a little feel the calamities of our neighbours, we should little resent our own crosses ; a kindly commiseration of others' more grievous disasters would drown the sense of our lesser disappointments.
If with any competent heedfulness we view persons and things before us, we shall easily discern, that what absolutely seemeth great and weighty is indeed comparatively very small and light; that things are not so unequally dispensed, but that we have our full share in good, and no more than our
s Inde fit ut nemo, qui se vixisse beatum
Hor. Sat. 1.
Nunquam erit felix, quem torquebit felicior. Sen. de Ira, iii. 31. Vid. ib.
part in evil'; that Socrates had reason to suppose, SERM. that, if we should bring into one common stock all XL our mishaps, so that each should receive his por- Ei ouvevóz-,
καιμεν εις το tion of them, gladly the most would take up their forváv räts
ituzias, own, and go their ways; that consequently it is reaiboth iniquity and folly in us to complain of our
μένως αν τους
πλείους τας 6. If even we would take care diligently to com-airāvice
βόντας pare our state with the state of those whom we are assabir. apt most to admire and envy, it would afford matter.
Magna serof consolation and content unto us. What is the vitus est
magna forstate of the greatest persons, (of the world's princes tuna, &c. and grandees,) what but a state encompassed with in snares and temptations numberless; which, without extreme caution and constancy, force of reason, and command of all appetites and passions, cannot be avoided, and seldom are ? What but a state of pompous trouble, and gay servility; of living in continual noise and stir, environed with crowds and throngs ; of being subject to the urgency of business and the tediousness of ceremony; of being abused by perfidious servants and mocked by vile flatterers ; of being exposed to common censure and obloquy, to misrepresentation, misconstruction, and slander; having the eyes of all men intent upon their actions, and as many severe judges as watchful spectators of them ; of being accountable for many men's faults, and bearing the blame of all miscarriages about them ; of being responsible, in conscience, for the miscarriages and mishaps which come from the influence of our counsels, our examples, &c. of being pestered and pursued with pretences, with suits,
That at worst we are, Extremi primorum, extremis usque priores. Hor. Epist. ii. 2.
SERM. with complaints, the necessary result whereof is to L._displease or provoke very many, to oblige or satisfy
very few; of being frequently engaged in resentments of ingratitude, of treachery, of neglects, of defects in duty, and breaches of trust toward them; of being constrained to comply with the humours and opinion of men; of anxious care to keep, and jealous fear of losing all ; of danger, and being objected to the traitorous attempts of bold malecontents, of fierce zealots, and wild fanatics; of wanting the most solid and savoury comforts of life, true friendship, free conversation, certain leisure, privacy, and retiredness, for enjoying themselves, their time, their thoughts, as they thinkgood; of satiety, and being cloyed with all sorts of enjoyments : in fine, of being paid with false coin for all their cares and pains, receiving for them scarce any thing more but empty shows of respect, and hollow acclamations
of praise'; (whence'the Psalmist might well say, Psal. Ixii.9. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of
high degree a lie ; a lie, for that their state cheateth us, appearing so specious, yet being really so inconvenient and troublesome.) Such is the state of the greatest men ; such as hath made wise princes weary of themselves, ready to acknowledge, that if men knew the weight of a crown, none would take it up u; apt to think with pope Adrian, who made
+ Personata felicitas. Sen. Ep. 80.
Adulandi certamen est, et unum omnium amicorum officium, una contentio quis blandissime fallat. Sen. de Benef.vi. 30.–Vid. optime disserentem. Vid. et de Clem. i. 19.-Et ad Polyb. 26.
u Antigonus. Nescitis amici, quid mali sit imperare, &c. Saturn. apud Vopisc.
this epitaph for himself: Here lieth Adrian the SERM. Sixth, who thought nothing in his life to have befallen him more unhappy, than that he ruleds: such, in fine, their state, as upon due consideration we should, were it offered to our choice, never embrace; such indeed, as in sober judgment, we cannot Nihil diffi
cilius quam prefer before the most narrow and inferior fortune : bene impehow then can we reasonably be displeased with our care. aprica condition, when we may even pity emperors and Vopisc. in
Aureliano. kings, when, in reality, we are as well, perhaps are much better, than they?
7. Further, it may induce and engage us to be content, to consider what commonly hath been the lot of good men in the world: we shall, if we survey the histories of all times, find the best men to have sustained most grievous crosses and troubles y; scarce is there in holy scripture recorded any person eminent and illustrious for goodness, who hath not tasted deeply of wants and distresses. Abraham, the father of the faithful, and especial friend of God, was called out of his country, and from his kindred, to wander in a strange land, and lodge in tents, without any fixed habitation. Jacob spent a great part of his life in slavish toil, and in his old age was in reflection upon his life moved to say, that the days of his pilgrimage had been few and Gen.xlvii.9. evil. Joseph was maligned and persecuted by his
* Hic situs est Adrianus VI. qui nihil sibi in vita infelicius duxit, quam quod imperavit. Lud. Guicciard. P. Jovius in vit.
y Consider what calamities great, powerful, glorious men have endured; Cresus, Polycrates, Pompey, &c. Sen. de Ira, iii. 25.
Oi Tūv 'Eraño ápio Tol nevía 865wv Tapà tárta Tòr Bioy. (Aristides, Phocion, Epaminondas, Pelopidas.) Æl. xi. 9, U, 43. Lamachus, Socrates, Ephialtes, Abel, Noe, &c. Chrys. tom. vi. p. 107.
et tom. V
SERM. brethren, sold away for a slave, slandered for a most
XL. heinous crime, thrust into a grievous prison, where Psal. cv. 18. his feet were hurt with fetters, and his soul came sốngay . Osv in furch into iron. Moses was forced to fly away for his life, aúrou. Socrates, to become a vagabond in a foreign place, to feed Cator Refine sheep for his livelihood; to spend afterward the best cion, &c. of his life in contesting with an obstinately perverse Magnum a exemplum prince, and in leading a mistrustful, refractory, munisi mala f fortuna non tinous people, for forty years' time, through a vast invenit. Vid. Chrys, and wild desert. Job, what a stupendous heap of
i mischiefs did together fall and lie heavy upon him! 27. p. 168. et tom. vi. (Thou writest bitter things against me, he might Or. 10. p. 107... well say.) David, how often was he plunged in Job xiii, 27. 1 Sam. saddest extremity, and reduced to the hardest shifts; xxvi. 20.
being hunted like a partridge in the wilderness by an envious master, forced to counterfeit madness for his security among barbarous infidels; dispossessed of his kingdom, and persecuted by his own most favoured son; deserted by his servants, reproached and scorned by his subjectsy! Elias was driven long to sculk for his life, and to shift for his livelihood in the wilderness. Jeremy was treated as an impostor and a traitor, and cast into a miry dungeon ;, finding
matter from his sufferings for his doleful lamentaLam. iii. 1. tions, and having thence occasion to exclaim, I am
the man that have seen affliction by the rod of his Acts vii. 52. wrath, &c. Which of the prophets were not per1 Cor. iv. secuted and misused ? as St. Stephen asked. The
apostles were pinched with all kinds of want, ha
Υ Νύν και πάλαι εξ ού γεγόνασιν άνθρωποι άπαντες οι τω Θεώ φίλοι τη OTUyű kai ét póxoo kai pupíwr yöporta desvæv, èKampábno ar Bio. Chrys. in Mart. Ægypt, t. v. 522.
Εν τούς πειρασμούς ήνθουν οι δίκαιοι, τους αγίους απαντας ούτως ήγαγεν ο Beds ord Oriews. Chrys. in 2 Cor. Or. 27.