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Or ty’d in chains, they in close prison dwell,
And cannot come, although they much desire.
Well, well, say these vain spirits, though vain it is
To think our souls to Heav'n or Hell do go; Politic men have thought it not amiss,
To spread this lie, to make men virtuous so.
Do you then think this moral virtue good?
I think you do, ev'n for your private gain; For commonwealths by virtue ever stood,
And common good the private doth contain.
If then this virtue you do love so well,
Have you no means, her practice to maintain : But you this lie must to the people tell,
That good souls live in joy, and ill in pain?
Must virtue be preserved by a lie?
Virtue and truth do ever best agree ; By this it seems to be a verity,
Since the effects so good and virtuous be.
For, as the Devil the father is of lies,
So vice and mischief do his lies ensue: Then this good doctrine did not he devise ;
But made this lie, which saith, it is not true.
For, how can that be false, which ev'ry tongue
Of ev'ry mortal man affirms for true?
Which truth hath in all ages been so strong,
As, load-stone like, all hearts it ever drew.
For, not the Christian, or the Jew alone,
The Persian, or the Turk, acknowledge this ; This mystery to the wild Indian known,
And to the cannibal and Tartar is.
This rich Assyrian drug grows ev'ry where;
As common in the north as in the east : This doctrine doth not enter by the ear,
But of itself is native in the breast.
None that acknowledge God, or providence,
Their soul's eternity did ever doubt; For all religion taketh root from hence,
Which no poor naked nation lives without,
For since the world for man created was,
(For only man the use thereof doth know) If man do perish like a wither'd grass,
How doth God's wisdom order things below?
And if that wisdom still wise ends propound,
Why made he man, of other creatures, king ; When (if he perish here) there is not found
In all the world so poor and vile a thing ?
if death do quench us quite, we have great wrong, Since for our service all things else were
wrought; That daws, and trees, and rocks should last so long,
When we must in an instant pass to naught.
But bless'd be that Great Pow'r, that hath us
bless'd With longer life than Heav'n or Earth can have ; Which hath infus'd into our mortal breast
Immortal pow’rs not subject to the grave.
For though the soul do seem her grave to bear,
And in this world is almost bury'd quick, We have no cause the body's death to fear;
For when the shell is broke, out comes a chick.
THREE KINDS OF LIFE ANSWERABLE TO THREE POWERS
OF THE SOUL.
For, as the soul's essential pow’rs are three;
reason; Three kinds of life to her designed be, (season.
Which perfect these three pow’rs in their due
The first life in the mother's womb is spent,
Where she the nursing pow'r doth only use; Where, when she finds defect of nourishment,
Sh' expels her body, and this world she views.
This we call birth ; but if the child could speak,
He death would call it; and of nature plain, That she would thrust him out naked and weak,
And in his passage pinch him with such pain.
Yet out he comes, and in this world is plac'd,
Where all his senses in perfection be ; Where he finds flow'rs to smell, and fruits to taste,
And sounds to hear, and sundry forms to see.
When he hath pass’d some time upon the stage,
His reason then a little seems to wake; Which though she spring when sense doth fade
Yet can she here no perfect practice make.
Then doth aspiring soul the body leave,
Which we call death ; but were it known to all, What life our souls do by this death receive,
Men would it birth or jail-deliv'ry call.
In this third life, reason will be so bright,
As that her spark will like the sun-beams shine, And shall of God enjoy the real sight,
Being still increas'd by influence divine.
O IGNORANT poor man ! what dost thou bear?
Lock'd up within the casket of thy breast? What jewels, and what riches hast thou there :
What heav'nly treasure in so weak a chest?
Look in thy soul, and thou shalt beauties find,
Like those which drown'd Narcissus in the flood : Honour and pleasure both are in thy mind,
And all that in the world is counted good.
Think of her worth, and think that God did mean, This worthy mind should worthy things em
brace : Blot not her beauties with thy thoughts unclean,
Nor her dishonour with thy passion base.
Kill not her quick’ning pow'r with surfeitings:
Mar not her sense with sensuality : Cast not her wit on idle things :
Make not her free will slave to vanity.
And when thou think'st of her eternity,
Think not that death against her nature is ; Think it a birth: and when thou goʻst to die,
Sing like a swan, as if thou went'st to bliss.
And if thou, like a child, didst fear before,
Being in the dark, where thou didst nothing see; Now I have brought thee torch-light, fear no
more; Now when thou dy'st, thou canst not hood-wink'd
And thou, my soul, which turn'st with curious eye,
To view the beams of thine own form divine, Know, that thou canst know nothing perfectly,
While thou art clouded with this Aesh of mine.