« PředchozíPokračovat »
Yet now, perhaps, some turn of human fate
“For him, through hostile camps I bend my way,
“Think of thy father, and this face behold! See him in me, as helpless and as old ! Though not so wretched : there he yields to me, The first of men in sovereign misery! Thus forced to kneel, thus grovelling to embrace The scourge and ruin of my realm and race : Suppliant my children's murderer to implore, And kiss those hands yet reeking with their gore !"
These words soft pity in the chief inspire, Touch'd with the dear remembrance of his sire. Then with his hand (as prostrate still he lay) The old man's cheek he gently turn'd away. Now each by turns indulged the gush of woe; And now the mingled tides together flow :
This low on earth, that gently bending o'er,
Satiate at length with unavailing woes,
So saying, Mercury vanish'd up to heaven :
To the same age have we both come, the same
He ceased ; and there arose
344.—The Waps of God.
Jonx SCOTT. (DR. John Scott, the Author of The Christian Life,' from which the following is an extract, was born in Wiltshire, in 1638, died in 1694. He was a Canon of Windsor.)
The goods and evils which befall us here are not so truly to be estimated by themselves as by their effects and consequents. For the Divine Providence, which runs through all things, hath disposed and connected them into such a series and order, that there is no single event or accident (but what is purely miraculous) but depends upon the whole system, and hath innumerable causes antecedent to it, and innumerable consequents attending it; and what the consequents will be, whether good or bad, singly and apart by itself, yet in conjunction with all those consequents that will most certainly attend it, the best event, for aught we know, may prove most mischievous, and the worst most beneficial to us, So that for us boldly to pronounce concerning the good or evil of events, before we see the train of consequents that follow them, is very rash and inconsiderate. As, for instance, you see a good man oppressed with sorrows and afflictions, and a bad man crowned with pleasures and prosperities; and, considering these things apart by themselves, you conclude that the one fares very ill, and the other very well; but did you at the same time see the consequents of the one's adversity and the other's prosperity, it is probable you would conclude the quite contrary, viz., that the good man's adversity was a blessing, and the bad man's prosperity a curse. For I dare boldly affirm that good men generally reap more substantial benefit from their afflictions than bad men do from their prosperities. The one smarts, indeed, at present, but what follows ? Perhaps his mind is cured by it of some disease that is ten times worse to him than his outward affliction; of avarice and impatience, of envy or discontent, of pride or vanity of spirit; his riches are lessened, but his virtues are improved by it; his body is impaired, but his mind is grown sound and hale by it, and what he hath lost in health, or wealth, or pleasure, or honor, he hath gained with vast advantage in wisdom and good ness, in tranquillity of mind and self-enjoyment, and methinks no man who believes he hath a soul should grudge to suffer any to'erable affliction for bettering of his mind, his will, and his conscience.
On the other hand, the bad man triumphs and rejoices at the present; but what follows ? His prosperity either shrivels him into miserableness, or melts him into luxury; the former of which impoverishes, and the latter diseases him ; for, if the former be the. effect of his prosperity, it increases his needs, because before he needed only what he had not, but now he needs both what he hath not and what he hath, his covetous desires treating him as the falconer doth his hawk-luring him off from what he bath seized, to fly at new gume, and never permitting him to prey upon his own quarry; and if the latter be the effect of his prosperity, that is, if it melts him into luxury, it thereby wastes his health to be sure, and commonly his estate too, and so whereas it found him poor and well, it leaves him poor and diseased, and only took him up from the plough, and sets him down at the hospitat. In general, while he is possessed of it, it only bloats and swells him, makes him proud and insolent, griping and oppressive;
enrages his lust, stretches out his desires into insatiable feeling, sticks his mind full of cares, and his conscience of guiles, and by all those woeful effects it inflames his reckoning with God, and treasures up wrath for him against the day of wrath ; so that, comparing the consequences of the good man's adversity with those of the bad man's prosperity, it is evident that the former fares well even in his worst condition, and the latter ill, in his best. “It is well for me," saith David, “ that I was afflicted, for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy commandments.” But, on the contrary, when the wicked spring as the grass, saith the same author, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, then is it that they shall be destroyed forever! If, then, in the consequents of things, good men are blessed in their afflictions, and bad men plagued in their prosperities, as it is apparent they generally are, these unequal distributions are so far from being an argument against Provi. dence, that they are a glorious instance of it. For wherein could