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OF MAN'S MORTALITY.
Like as the damask rose you see,
Like to the grass that's newly sprung,
TWO INTERESTING SIGHTS.
In our world there are two very interesting sights; the one is that of the young disciple entering the Church militant; the other is that of the old disciple about to join the Church triumphant.
I spake—from vanity it seem'd to me;
Memory is the treasure-house of the mind, wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved. Plato makes it the mother of the Muses. Aristotle sets it one degree farther, making experience the mother of art, memory the parent of experience. Philosophers place it in the rear of the head; and it seems the mine of memory lies there, because there men naturally dig for it, scratching it when they are at a loss. This, again, is twofold: one the simple retention of things; the other a regaining them when they are lost.
Brute creatures equal, if not exceed, men in a bare retentive memory. Through how many labyrinths of woods, without other clue of thread than natural instinct, doth the hunted hare return to her muce? How doth the little bee, flying into several meadows and gardens, sipping of many cups, yet never intoxicated, through an ocean (as I may say) of air, steer herself home without help of card or compass! But these cannot play an after-game, and recover what they have forgotten, which is done by the mediation of discourse.
First, soundly infix in thy mind what thou desirest to remember. It is best knocking in the nail overnight, and clenching it the next morning.
Overburden not thy memory to make so faithful a servant a slave. Remeniber Atlas was weary. Have as much reason as a camel, to rise when thou hast thy full load. Memory, like a purse, if it be overful that it cannot shut, all will drop out of it.
Marshal thy notions into a handsome method. One will carry twice more weight trussed and packed up in bundles, than when it lies untowardly flapping and hanging about his shoulders.
Thankfulness to God for it, continues the memory; whereas some proud people have been visited with such oblivion, that they have forgotten their own names. Stampilius, tutor to Luther, and a godly man, in a vain ostentation of his memory, repeated Christ's genealogy (Matthew) by heart in his sermon; but being out about the captivity of Babylon, I see (says he) God resisteth the proud, and so betook himself to his book. Abuse not thy memory to be sin’s register, nor make advantage thereof for wickedness.
THE WEAKNESS OF MAN.
There is nothing that creeps upon the earth, nothing that ever God made, weaker than man; for God fitted horses and mules with strength, bees and pismires with sagacity, harts and hares with swiftness, birds with feathers and a light airy body: and they all know their times, and are fitted for their work, and regularly acquire the proper end of their creation; but man, that was designed to an immortal duration, and the fruition of God for ever, knows not how to obtain it: he is made upright to look up to heaven, but he knows no more how to purchase it than how to climb it. Once, man went to make an ambitious tower to outreach the clouds, or the preternatural risings of the water, but could not do it; he cannot promise himself the daily bread of his necessity upon the stock of his own wit or industry; and for going to heaven, he was so far from doing so naturally, that as soon as ever he was made, he became the son of death, and he knew not how to get a pardon for eating of an apple against the Divine commandment.
Through knowledge we bebold the world's creation,
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE AFFECTIONS.
Most wretched man, That to affections doth the bridle lend, In their beginning they are weak and wan, But soon through suff'rance grow to fearful end, Whilst they are weak, betime with them contend, For when they once to perfect strength do grow, Strong wars they make, and cruel batt'ry bend 'Gainst fort of reason, it to overthrow.