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BELIEVE AND LIVE.

Oh! how unlike the coniplex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumber'd plan!
No meretricious graces to beguile,
No clustering ornaments to cloy the pile;
From ostentation as from weakness free,
It stands like the cerulean arch we see,
Majestic in its own simplicity.
Inscribed above the portals from afar,
Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quickening words—BELIEVE AND LIVE.

Cowper.

THE DIFFERENCE OF MEN.

The difference of men is very great. You would scarce think them to be of the same species, and yet it consists more in the affection than in the intellect. For as in the strength of body two men shall be of an equal strength, yet one shall appear stronger than the other, because he exercises and puts out his strength, the other will not stir nor strain himself. So 'tis in the strength of the brain: the one endeavours, and strains, and labours, and studies, the other sits still, and is idle, and takes no pains, and, therefore, he appears so much the inferior.

Selden.

THE POWER OF GRACE.

What man is he that boasts of fleshly might,
And vain assurance of mortality:
Which all so soon as doth come to fight
Against spiritual foes, yields by and by,
Or from the field most cowardly doth fly?
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That though grace bath gainëd victory:
If any sleight we have it is to ill,
But all the good is God's, both power and eke the will.

Spenser.

GENTLEMEN-THEIR DEFINITION

What a gentleman is, 'tis hard with us to define: in other countries he is known by his privileges; in Westminster Hall he is one that is reputed one; in the court of honour he that hath arms. The king cannot make a gentleman of blood, but he can make a gentleman by creation. If you ask which is the better of these two civilly, the gentleman of blood; morally, the gentlenian by creation may be the better; for the other may be a debauched man, this a person of worth.

Selden.

THE FOLLY OF FEARS.

If evils come not, then our fears are vain,
And if they do, fear but augments the pain.

Sir Thomas More.

LABOUR IN VAIN.

O trustless state of earthly things, and slipper hope
Of mortal men, that swinke and work for nought:
Or shooting wide, doth miss the markëd scope.
Now have I found (a lesson dearly bought)
That nis on earth assurance to be sought.

Spenser.

THE EFFICACY OF FAITH.

For my own part, since first my unbelief was felt, I have been praying fifteen years for faith, and praying with some earnestness, and am not yet possessed of more than half a grain. You smile, sir, I perceive, at the smallness of the quantity; but you would not, if you knew its efficacy. Jesus, who knew it well, assures you that a single grain, and a grain as small as mustard seed, would remove a mountain, remove a mountain-load of guilt from the conscience, a mountain-lust from the heart, and any mountain-load of trouble from the mind.

Berridge.

JUSTICE ETERNAL.

It often falls in course of common life,

That right long time is overborne of wrong, Through avarice, or power, or guile, or strife,

That weakens her, and makes her party strong:

But justice, though her doom she do prolong, Yet at the last will her own cause right.

Spenser.

COURT DANGERS.

Golden cups do harbour poison,
And the greatest pomp dissembling,
Court of season'd words hath foyson,
Treason haunts in most dissembling.

D. Lodge.

Courtiers as the tide do rise and fall.

Spenser.

THE EVILS OF LIGHT LITERATURE.

Many works of fiction (says Hannah More) may be read with safety, some even with profit; but the constant familiarity, even with such as are not exceptionable in themselves, relaxes the mind that wants hardening, dissolves the heart which wants fortifying, stirs the imagination which wants quieting, irritates the passions which want calming, and, above all, disinclines and disqualifies for active virtues, and for spiritual exercises. The habitual indulgence in such reading is a silent, mining mischief.

THE DISABILITIES OF POVERTY.

It is in everybody's observation with what disadvantage a poor man enters upon the most ordinary affairs, much more disputing with the world, and in contradiction with the rich, that is the wise; for as certainly as wealth gives acceptance and grace to all that its possessor says or does, so poverty creates disesteem, scorn, and prejudice, to all the undertakings of the indigent. The necessitous man has neither hands, lips, nor understanding, for his own or friend's use, but is in the same condition with the sick; with this difference only, that his is an infection no nian can relieve or assist; or, if he does, it is seldom with so much pity as contempt, and rather from the ostentation of the physician than from compassion for the patient; it is a circumstance wherein a man finds all the good he deserves inaccessible, all the ill unavoidable; and the poor hero is as certainly ragged as the poor villain hanged. Under these pressures, the poor man speaks with hesitation, undertakes with irresolution, and acts with disappointment. He is slighted in men's conversation, overlooked in their assemblies, and repulsed from their doors. In a word, after all you can say of a man, conclude that he is rich, and you have made him friends; nor have you utterly overthrown a man in the world's opinion, till you have said he is poor.

Sir Richard Steele.

PLUCKED OF OUR FEATHERS.

The prosperity of this world is like the shortest winter's day, and we are lifted up on it as an arrow shot upon high; where a short breath doth delight us, but from thence we fall suddenly to the earth, and there we stick fast, either bemired with the dirt of infamy, or starving with cold, being plucked out of our feathers.

Sir Thomas More.

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