Joseph Hall (bishop)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Joseph Hall)
Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Joseph Hall (July 1, 1574 - September 8, 1656), English bishop and satirist, was born at Bristow Park, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire.

Contents

Life

Joseph Hall came of a large family, being one of twelve children born to John Hall, agent in the Leicestershire town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch for Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. Hall's mother, Winifred Bambridge, was a pious lady, whom her son compared to St Monica: "What day did she pass without a large task of private devotion? whence she would still come forth, with a countenance of undissembled mortification. Never any lips have read to me such feeling lectures of piety; neither have I known any soul that more accurately practised them than her own."

Joseph Hall received his early education at the local Ashby Grammar School, founded by his father's patron the Earl, and was later sent (1589) to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The college was Puritan in tone, and Hall was undoubtedly under Calvinist influence in his youth. After some early setbacks (his father found it difficult to pay for a university education and nearly recalled him after the first two years) Hall's academic career was a great success. He was chosen for two years in succession to read the public lecture on rhetoric in the schools, and in 1595 became fellow of his college. During his residence at Cambridge he wrote his Virgidemiarum (1597), satires in English written after Latin models. The claim he put forward in the prologue to be the earliest English satirist: "I first adventure, follow me who list And be the second English satirist" gave bitter offence to John Marston, who attacks him in the satires published in 1598.

In the declining years of the reign of Elizabeth I there was an outburst of satirical literature which was felt was to be an attack on established institutions. John Whitgift the archbishop of Canterbury therefore gave an order that Hall's satires,along with works of Thomas Nashe, John Marston, Christopher Marlowe, Sir John Davies and others should be burnt, on the ground of licentiousness; but shortly afterwards Hall's book, certainly unjustly condemned, was ordered to be "staied at the press," which may be interpreted as reprieved (see Notes and Queries, 3rd series, xii. 436). Hall turned his back on verse satires and all lighter forms of literature when he was ordained a minister in the Church of England.

Having taken holy orders Hall was offered the mastership of Blundell's school, Tiverton, but he refused it in favour of the living of Hawstead, Suffolk, to which he was presented (1601) by Sir Robert Drury. The appointment was not wholly satisfactory: in his parish Hall had an opponent in a Mr Lilly, whom he describes as a "witty and bold atheist", he had to find money to make his house habitable and he felt that his patron Sir Robert underpaid him. Nevertheless in 1603 he married Elizabeth Wynniff of Brettenham, Suffolk; their marriage was to last until her death in 1652 and produced a daughter and five sons.

In 1605 Hall travelled abroad for the first time when he accompanied Sir Edmund Bacon on an embassy to Spa, with the special aim, he says, of acquainting himself with the state and practice of the Romish Church. At Brussels he disputed at the Jesuit College on the authentic character of modern miracles, and his inquiring and argumentative disposition more than once threatened to produce serious results, so that his patron at length requested him to abstain from further discussion. His devotional writings had attracted the notice of Henry, prince of Wales, who made him one of his chaplains (1608).

In 1612 Lord Denny, afterwards Edward Denny, 1st Baron Rose, 1st Earl of Norwich, gave him the curacy of Waltham-Holy-Cross, Essex, and in the same year he received the degree of D.D. Later he received the prebend of Willenhall in the collegiate church of Wolverhampton, and in 1616 he accompanied James Hay, Lord Doncaster, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, to France, where he was sent to congratulate Louis XIII on his marriage, but Hall was compelled by illness to return. In his absence the king nominated him dean of Worcester, and in 1617 he accompanied James to Scotland, where he defended the five points of ceremonial which the king desired to impose upon the Scots. In the next year he was one of the English deputies at the Synod of Dordrecht. In 1624 he refused the see of Gloucester, but in 1627 became bishop of Exeter.

He took an active part in the Arminian and Calvinist controversy in the English church. He did his best in his Via media, The Way of Peace, to persuade the two parties to accept a compromise. In spite of his Calvinistic opinions he maintained that to acknowledge the errors which had arisen in the Catholic Church did not necessarily imply disbelief in her catholicity, and that the Church of England having repudiated these errors should not deny the claims of the Roman Catholic Church on that account. This view commended itself to Charles I and his episcopal advisers, but at the same time Archbishop Laud sent spies into Hall's diocese to report on the Calvinistic tendencies of the bishop and his lenience to the Puritan and lowchurch clergy. He was, however, amenable to criticism, and his defence of the English Church, entitled Episcopacy by Divine Right (1640), was twice revised at Laud's dictation.

This was followed by An Humble Remonstrance to the High Court of Parliament (1640 and 1641), an eloquent and forceful defence of his order, which produced a retort from the syndicate of Puritan divines, who wrote under the name of "smectymnuus," and was followed by a long controversy to which Milton contributed five pamphlets, virulently attacking Hall and his early satires.

In 1641 Hall was translated to the see of Norwich, and in the same year sat on the Lords' Committee on religion. On December 30 he was, with other bishops, brought before the bar of the House of Lords to answer a charge of high treason of which the Commons had voted them guilty. They were finally convicted of an offence against the Statute of Praemunire, and condemned to forfeit their estates, receiving a small maintenance from the parliament. They were immured in the Tower from New Year to Whitsuntide, when they were released on finding bail. On his release Hall proceeded to his new diocese at Norwich, the revenues of which he seems for a time to have received, but in 1643, when the property of the "malignants" was sequestrated, Hall was mentioned by name. Mrs Hall had difficulty in securing a fifth of the maintenance (£4oo) assigned to the bishop by the parliament; they were eventually ejected from the palace, and the cathedral was dismantled. Hall describes its desecration in Hard Measure: "Lord, what work was here! what clattering of glasses and beating down of walls! what tearing up of monuments! what pulling down of seats! what wrestling down of irons and brass from the windows and walls..." He goes on to describe vividly the triumphal procession of the puritan iconoclasts as they carried vestments, service books and singing books to be burned in the nearby market place, while soldiers lounged in the despoiled cathedral drinking and smoking their pipes.

Hall retired to the village of Heigham, near Norwich, where he spent his last thirteen years preaching and writing until he was first forbidden by man, and at last disabled by God. He bore his many troubles and the additional burden of much bodily suffering with sweetness and patience, dying on the 8th of September 1656. In his old age Hall was attended upon by doctor Thomas Browne who wrote of him-

My honoured friend Bishop Joseph Hall, Dean of Worcester, and Bishop of Exeter, was buried at Heigham, where he hath his monument, who in the Rebellious times, when the Revenues of the church were alienated, retired unto that suburban parish, and there ended his days: being above fourscore years of age. A person of singular humility, patience and piety: his own works are the best monument, and character of himself, which was also very lively drawn in his excellent funeral sermon preached by my learned and faithful friend Mr. John Whitefoot, Rector of Heigham. (Extract from Browne's miscellaneous tract Repertorium)

Works

Thomas Fuller says: "He was commonly called our English Seneca, for the purenesse, plainnesse, and fulnesse of his style. Not unhappy at Controversies, more happy at Comments, very good in his Characters, better in his Sermons, best of all in his Meditations."

Bishop Hall's polemical writings, although vigorous and effective, were chiefly of ephemeral interest, but many of his devotional writings have been often reprinted. It is by his early work as the censor of morals and the unsparing critic of contemporary literary extravagance and affectations that he is best known. Virgidemiarum. Sixe Bookes. First three Bookes. Of Toothlesse Satyrs. (1) Poeticall, (2) Academicall, (3) Morall (1597) was followed by an amended edition in 1598, and in the same year by Virgidemiarum. The three last bookes. Of byting Satyres (reprinted 1599).

His claim to be reckoned the earliest English satirist, even in the formal sense, cannot be justified. Thomas Lodge, in his Fig for Momus (1593), had written four satires in the manner of Horace, and John Marston and John Donne both wrote satires about the same time, although the publication was in both cases later than that of Virgidemiae. But if he was not the earliest, Hall was certainly one of the best. He writes in the heroic couplet, which he manoeuvres with great ease and smoothness. In the first book of his satires (Poeticall) he attacks the writers whose verses were devoted to licentious subjects, the bombast of Tamburlaine and tragedies built on similar lines, the laments of the ghosts of the Mirror for Magistrates, the metrical eccentricities of Gabriel Harvey and Richard Stanyhurst, the extravagances of the sonneteers, and the sacred poets (Southwell is aimed at in "Now good St Peter weeps pure Helicon, And both the Mary's make a music moan"). In Book II Satire 6 occurs the well-known description of the trencher-chaplain, who is tutor and hanger. on in a country manor. Among his other satirical portraits is that of the famished gallant, the guest of "Duke Humfray." Book VI consists of one long satire on the various vices and follies dealt with in the earlier books. If his prose is sometimes antithetical and obscure, his verse is remarkably free from the quips and conceits which mar so much contemporary poetry.

He also wrote:

Mundus alter is an excuse for a satirical description of London, with some criticism of the Romish church, its manners and customs, and is said to have furnished Swift with hints for Gulliver's Travels. It was not ascribed to him by name until 1674, when Thomas Hyde, the librarian of the Bodleian, identified "Mercurius Britannicus" with Joseph Hall. For the question of the authorship of this pamphlet, and the arguments that may be advanced in favour of the suggestion that it was written by Alberico Gentili, see Edward Augustus Petherick, Mundus alter et idem, reprinted from the Gentleman's Magazine (July 1896).

His controversial writings, not already mentioned, include:

  • A Common Apology against the Brownists (1610), in answer to John Robinson's Censorious Epistle
  • The Olde Religion: A treatise, wherein is laid downe the true state of the difference betwixt the Reformed and the Romane Church; and the blame of this schisme is cast upon the true Authors (1628)
  • Columba Noae olivam adferens, a sermon preached at St Paul's in 1623 - Episcopacie by Divine Right (1640)
  • A Short Answer to the Vindication of Smectymnuus (1641)
  • A Modest Confutation of (Milton's) Animadversions (1642).

His devotional works include:

  • Holy Observations Lib. I (1607)
  • Some few of David's Psalmes Metaphrased (1609)
  • three centuries of Meditations and Vowes, Divine and Morall (1606, 1607, 1609), edited by Charles Sayle
  • The Arte of Divine Meditation (1607)
  • Heaven upon Earth, or of True Peace and Tranquillitie of Mind (1606), reprinted with some of his letters in John Wesley's Christian Library, vol. iv. (1819)
  • Occasional Meditations (1630), edited by his son Robert Hall
  • Henochisme; or a Treatise showing how to walk with God (1639), translated from Bishop Hall's Latin by Moses Wall
  • The Devout Soul; or Rules of Heavenly Devotion (1644), often since reprinted
  • The Balm of Gilead (1646, 1752)
  • Christ Mysticall; or the blessed union of Christ and his Members (1647), of which General Gordon was a student (reprinted from Gordon's copy, 1893)
  • Susurrium cum Deo (1659)
  • The Great Mysterie of Godliness (1650)
  • Resolutions and Decisions of Divers Practicall cases of Conscience (1649, 1650, 1654).

Authorities

The chief authority for Hall's biography is to be found in his autobiographical tracts: Observations of some Specialities of Divine Providence in the Life of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich, Written with his own hand; and his Hard Measure, a reprint of which may be consulted in Dr Christopher Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography. The best criticism of his satires is to be found in Thomas Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. iv. pp. 363-409 (ed. Hazlitt, 1871), where a comparison is instituted between Marston and Hall. In 1615 Hall published A Recollection of such treatises as have been published (1615, 1617, 1621); in 1625 appeared his Works (reprinted 1627, 1628, 1634, 1662).

The first complete Works appeared in 1808, edited by Josiah Pratt. Other editions are by Peter Hall (1837) and by Philip Wynter (1863). See also Bishop Hall, his Life and Times (1826), by Rev. John Jones; Life of Joseph Hall, by Rev. George Lewis (1886); AB Grosart, The Complete Poems of Joseph Hall with introductions, etc. (1879); Satires, etc. (Early English Poets, ed. S. W. Singer, 1824). Many of Hall's works were translated into French, and some into Dutch, and there have been numerous selections from his devotional works.

Full text "Bishop Hall: The English Seneca" from "Our Christian classics: readings from the best divines, with notices biographical and critical" [1]

BISHOP HALL: THE ENGLLSH SENECA.

Dropping down a river — the Rhine or other — as crag follows crag, and castle succeeds to castle, the eye at last grows weary, and beauty itself becomes monotonous. You are glad of a halting-place — a Coblenz or St Goar — where you may disem- bark and rest a while. Our stream runs fast, and in the rapid succession of names and objects which we have already opened, it is hardly to be wondered at if the eye is bewildered and the memory confused. We shall therefore indulge ourselves in an occasional excursion on shore. In other words, instead of skim- ming onwards at an equal rate, and quitting every author after a momentary glimpse, we shall occasionally devote an entire section to some name outstanding and pre-eminent.

Of these little monographs the first is claimed by Dr Joseph Hall, successively Bishop of Exeter and Norwich in the reign of Charles I. Of our Christian classics, he is the earliest who still retains extensive popularity. Hooker's "Polity" is no doubt as valuable to Churchmen in the reign of Victoria as it was in the clays of Elizabeth, and indi\ddual treatises of Sibbs, and a few others, will long continue to be reprinted ; but the author of the " Contemplations" is as dear and delightful a companion to his modern admirors as he was to his rufted and bearded contemporaries. In many other respects a remarkable man, for our immediate purpose he possesses a special value, as a link between two periods widely sundered. Commencing the career of authorship under the good Queen Bess," had he lived four years longer he would have seen the restoration of Charles II. ; and during all that interval his pen was seldom idle. Nor are there many writers who can be perused with equal profit. With his cheerful tone, his playful touches, hig

T


218 BISHOP HALL.

keen insight, and his well-tempered wisdom, the " Old Humphrey" of the seventeenth century, he often exhibits an ethical profundity and a sententious eloquence well entitling him to the name which Sir Henry Wotton gave him, and with which he himself, judging from his admiration of his Roman paragon, would no doubt be greatly pleased — " the English Seneca."

Joseph Hall was born in the parish of Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, July 1, 1574. He was one of the twelve chil- dren of a worthy yeoman who acted as borough-reeve of Ashby, under the Earl of Huntingdon. His mother, a feeble, sickly woman, and long exercised with the sorer affliction of a wounded spirit, lived mainly for a better world, and, as her son records, " it was hard for any friend to come from her discourse no whit holier. How often have I blessed the memory of those divine passages of experimental divinity which I have heard from her mouth ! What day did she pass without a large task of private devotion ? whence she would still come forth with a countenance of undissembled mortifica- tion. Never any lips have read to me such feeling lectures of l^iety, neither have I known any soul that more accurately practised them than her own. Temptations, desertions, and spiritual comforts, were her usual theme. Shortly — for I can hardly take off my pen from so exemplary a subject — her life and death were saint-like."

At a very early age he was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he pursued his studies with great ardour, and was successively elected scholar, fellow, and professor of rhetoric. His pious mother's instructions were not lost ; for not only was the ministry the destination to which he aU along aspired, but he seems to have passed through the perils of a university career unspotted from the world. With character- istic modesty he states — " I was called to public disputations


COLLEGE CAREER. 219

often, \nih. no ill success ; for never durst I appear in any of those exercises of scholarship till I had from my knees looked up to Heaven for a blessing, and renewed my actual depend- ence upon that Divine Hand." Of these disputations one was very famous. The theme was, " Mundus senescit ;" but, as Fidler cannot help remarking, his argument confuted his position, " the wit and quickness whereof did argue an increase rather than a decay of parts in this latter age.

But although himself so correct and inoffensive, he must have been a shrewd observer of other people's foibles ; for at the age of twenty-three he published a volume of satires so wonderful that their appearance forms a marked incident in the histoiy of English literature. In reading them we have always felt it difficult to comprehend how a youth, transferred from a provincial grammar-school to the cloisters of Cambridge, could have seen the world as he describes it ; and it moves no less amazement that, without any other models than Juvenal, Persius, and Ariosto, he should have started into instantaneous existence, not only the founder of a new school of vernacular poetry, but such a master in that style, that followers like Dryden and Pope have hardly excelled him in the harmony of their numbers, and have frequently been constrained to use the poison of envenomed personalities in order to produce the effect for which Hall trusted to the sharpness of his arrows, the precision of his aim, and the strength of his arm.

Of " the volubility and vigour,"' " the harmony and pic- turesqueness," of Hall's couplets, so justly extolled in the " Specimens of the British Poets," Mr Campbell has given as an example the followuig description of a magnificent mansion deserted by its inhospitable owner : —

"Beat the broad gates ; a goodly hollow sound, With double echoes, doth again rel^ound I But not a dog doth bark to welcome thee, Nor churlish porter canst thou chafing see.




220 BISHOP HALL.

All dumb and silent, like the dead of night,

Or dwelling of some sleeping Sybarite ; The marble pavement hid with desert weed, With house-leek, thistle, dock, and hemlock seed.

Look to the tow'red chimneys, which should be The wind-pipes of good hospitality. Through which it breatheth to the open air, Betokening life and liberal welfare ; Lo, there th' unthankful swallow takes her re^t. And fills the tunnel with her circled nest."

Not less vivid and musical is his description of the Golden

y. Age :—

" Time was, and that was term'd the time of gold. When world and time were young that now are old, (When quiet Saturn sway'd the mace of lead. And pride was yet unborn and yet mibred.) Time was, that while the autumn fall did last. Our hungry sires gaped for the falling mast : Could no unhusked acorn leave the tree. But there Avas challenge made whose it might be. But if some nice and licorous appetite Desired more dainty dish of rare delight, They scaled the stored crab with bended knee. Till they had sated their delicious eye : Or search'd the hopeful thicks of hedgy rows, For briery berries, or haws, or sourer sloes : Or when they meant to fare the finest of all. They lick'd oak leaves besprent with honey fall. As for the thrice three-angled beech nut-shell. Or chestnut's armed husk and hid kernel. No squire durst touch, the law would not afford. Kept for the court, and for the king's own board. ] Their royal plate was clay, or wood, or stone, j The vulgar, save his hand, else he had none. • Their only cellar was the neighbouring brook : None did for better care, for better look." Nor could Miss Edgeworth herself have sketched an Irish rabin better than Hall hits off the cottage, with an old barrel for


SATIRES. 221

the chimney, for whicli the poor occupant has to pay a heavy tribute to my lord of Castle Kackrent.

" Of one bay's breadth, God -vvot ! a silly cot, Whose thatched spars are furred -with sluttish soot A whole inch thick, shining like blackmoor's brows, Through smoke that down the headless barrel blows. At his bed's feet feeden his stalled team, His swine beneath, his poidtr}" o'er the beam : A staiTcd tenement, such as I guess Stands straggling in the wastes of Holderness ; Or such as shiver on a Peak hill-side, When March's lungs beat on their turf-clad hide ; Such as nice Lipsius would grudge to see Above his lodging in wild AYcstphalie ; Or as the Saxon king his court might make. When his sides plained of the neat-herd's cake. Yet must he haunt his greedy landlord's hall With often presents at each festival ; With crammed capons every NcAv-Year's morn, Or with green cheeses when his sheep are shorn. Or many maunds-fuU of his melloAv fruit, To make some way to win his weighty suit."

In the first book of these Satires, he pours well-merited ridicule on the poetical affectations of some of his contem- poraries : first, on those " pot-furies" who select heroic themes, and work themselves into tipsy excitement over them : —

" As frozen dimghills in a winter's morn. That void of vapours seemed all beforne, Soon as the sun sends out his piercing beams, Exhale out filthy smoke and stinking steams : So doth the base and the "fore-barren brain, Soon as the raging wine begins to reign."

A translator of Yirgil into English hexameters is quizzed in terms too applicable to some of his modern followers : —

" The nimble dactyles, striving to outgo The drawling spondees, pacing it below : The ling'ring spondees labouring to delay The breathless dactyles with a sudden stay. T 2


222 B18H0P HALL.

Who ever saw a colt, Avaiiton and Avild, Yoked uitli a sluw-foot ox on fallow field, Can right aread how handsomely besets Dull spondees with the English dactilets."

However, there is no indiscriminate mischief in his play.

After jeering at the bombastical knight-errantry of certain

allegorising bards, with the reverence of genius for genius he

pays this graceful tribute to Spenser : —

" But let no rebel satyr dare traduce Th' eternal legends of thy Faery INI use, Renowned Spenser, whom no earthly wight Dares once to emulate, nuich less despite. Sallust of France,* and Tuscan Ariost, Yield np the laurel garland ye have lost ; And let all others -willow wear with me, Or let their undeserving temples bared be."

From the poets the censor passes to the learned professions of his time. Here we have the portrait of the anxious client, " fleeced" by the rapacious lawyer: —

" The crouching client, with loAv-bended knee, And many Avorships, and fair flattery. Tells on his tale as smoothly as him list. But still the huvycr's eye squints on his fist : If that seem lined with a larger fee. Doubt not the suit, the law is plain for thee. Then must he buy his vainer hope with price. Disclout t his crowns, and thank him for advice. So have I seen in a tempestuous stowre, J Some brier-bush shewhig shelter from the show'r Unto the hopeful sheep, that fain would hide His fleecy coat from that same angry tide. The ruthless brier, regardless of his plight, Lays hold upon the fleece he should acquitc,§ And takes advantage of the careless prey, That thought she in securer shelter lay.

    • Quillaume Salluste, Seigneur du Bartas. See ante, p. 205.

t Disburse. t Storm, shock. § Let go, extricate.


PATRONAGE. 223

The day is fair, the sheep would far to feed, The tyrant brier holds fast his shelter's meed, And claims it for the fee of his defence : So robs the sheep, in favour's fair pretence."

Then we have a glimpse of the simoniacal practices of the time, when livings were openly offered for sale by advertise- ments affixed to the door of St Paul's : —

" Saw'st thou ever ' Si (juis' patcli'd on Paul's church door, To seek some vacant vicarage before ? AVho wants a churchman that can service sa}', Read fast and fair his monthly homily, And wed, and bury, and make christen souls? Come to the left side alley of St Paul's," &c.

Next comes the old story of the poor scholar and the purse- proud patron : —

" A gentle sqnire would gladly entei'tain Into his house some trencher- chappelain ; Some willing man that might instruct his sons. And that would stand to good conditions. First, that he lie upon the truckle-l)ed, "Whiles his young master licth o'er his head. Second, that he do, on no default, Ever presume to sit above the salt. Third, tiiat he never change his trencher twice. Fourth, that he use all common courtesies, Sit bare at meals, and one half rise and wait. All these observed, he could contented be To give five marks and winter livery." *

It is certainly not a little remarkable, that one so distin- guished through life for his inoifensivc and conciliatory spirit should have commenced liis career as a satirist; and it is curious that the first publication of one who was destined to

  • Hall's Satires were first brought back to their right place in our litera-

ture by the elaborate criticisms of Thomas "NVarton in the last volume of bis " History of English Poetry."' Thoy have been repeatedly reprinted. The K best edition with which we are acquainted is that of Mr Samuel Weller Singer, 1824.


22i BISHOP HALL.

become a bishop himself should have been deemed so bad that, it was condemned and suppressed by Bancroft the Bishop of London. And yet there is no reason why indignation at evil, or the contempt of folly, along with the caricaturing faculty, should not coexist in minds of the most unquestioned benevolence; witness those gentlest of saints and keenest of satirists, Blaise Pascal and William Cowper.

However acquired, we have no doubt that the habit of minute observation which this juvenile performance indicates was afterwards invaluable to the preacher and moralist; and although it had rendered no other service, the elaboration required in such a poetical effort was eminently conducive to the terse precision which subsequently distinguished his prose. Not only has metrical cadence a great charm for the youthful composer, but probably the exigencies of verse are the best discipline to which the tyro in style can subject himself In- deed, to a young student anything is useful which compels him to write slowly, and weigh the import of words.

Whether or not he was daunted by the ban of the bishop, we do not know ; but with the exception of two or three very ordinary effusions, and an attempt, by no means successful, to versify the first ten psalms, it does not appear that Mr Hall ever followed up his maiden effort in poetry. Busier scenes and graver pursuits awaited him.

In 1601 he was presented to the rectory of Halsted or Haw- stead in Suffolk. His j)atron was the richest commoner then in England, Sir Robert Drury, whose spacious London mansion in Drury Lane afforded an asylum to Dr Donne in the days of his poverty, and was frequented by many of the distinguished scholars and divines of that period. The first years of our author's sojourn at Halsted were signalised by two great events — his marriage, and a continental tour.

Being now settled," he says, " in that sweet and civil country of Suffolk, near to St Edmund's Bury, my first work


MARRIAGE. 223

was to build uj) my house, wliicli was then extremely ruinous ; which done, the uncouth solitariness of my life, and the ex- treme incommodity of that single housekeeping, drew my thoughts, after two years, to condescend to the necessity of a married estate, which God no less strangely provided for me. For walking from the church on Monday in the Whitsunweek, wdth a grave and reverend minister, Mr Grandidge, I saw a comely, modest gentlewoman standing at the door of that house where we were invited to a wadding dinner, and inquir- ing of that worthy friend whether he knew her, ' Yes,' quoth he, ' I know her well, and have bespoken her for your wife.' When I further demanded an account of that answer, he told me she w\as the daughter of a gentleman whom he much re- spected, ]\Ir George WinnifF of Bretenham ; that out of an opinion had of the fitness of that match for me, he had already treated with her father about it, whom he found very apt to entertain it, advising me not to neglect the opportunity ; and not concealing the just praises of the modesty, piety, good dis- position, and other virtues that were lodged in that seemly presence, I listened to the motion as sent from God, and at last upon due prosecution happily prevailed, enjoying the comfort- able society of that meet help for the space of forty-nine years.*' The continental journey soon followed his marriage, and was an affair almost as memorable, and much fuller of anxiety. Even in our own day, notwithstanding all their love of loco- motion, clergymen often "do their travelling" very badly. Infallible at home, they are not sufhciently submissive to official dictators abroad, and, in their superior knowledge, too often insist on entering the wrong boat or carriage, which would be the less to be lamented if they always maintained an edifying magnanimity on finding themselves steaming up the •v^Tong river or shunted into the siding. But to say nothing of sea sickness, which selects its first victims from doctors of divinity, betmxt academic abstraction and scholar-like absence


'^26 BISHOP HALL.

of mind, professional dignity and an uneasy consciousness of an enemy's country, all aggravated by Cambridge French or Oxford German, with, perhaps, an occasional touch of constitu- tional nervousness, we have seldom any difficulty in recognis- ing under their curious disguises our brother " ecclesiastiques," even although the forgotten passport or railway ticket should leave no doubt on the subject ; and we cannot wonder that in the bureaux for lost luggage, so many packages are identified by a bundle of manuscript sermons.

The good Rector of Halsted was no excej)tion. He travelled in the suite of Sir Edmund Bacon ; and although flaunting in a gay-coloured silken doublet, the Jesuits knew very well that he was an English divine. His curiosity and his Pro- testantism together exposed him to serious jeopardy in the streets of Antwerp, where, standing with his hat on his head to view the procession of the host, it was only " the hulk of a tall Brabanter " which screened him from the fanatical ven- geance of the mob ; and his guileless zeal was so often betray- ing him into arguments, in which his Latin and his logic together were so sure to reveal his profession, that Sir Edmund found him a dangerous attendant. He finished off by quitting his party when ready to embark at Flushing, in order to visit a friend at Middleburg, and returned to find that the ship had sailed ; and it was long before he could find another opportunity to regain the shores of England.

The brief record of this journey gives an interesting glimpse of the Spanish Netherlands as they existed in 1G05, when the great conflict which emancipated the Seven Provinces was only half concluded. It is contahied in an epistle to Sir Thomas Challoner : —

" Besides my hopes, not my desires, I travelled of late ; for knowledge partly, and partly for health. There was nothing that made not my journey pleasant, save the labour of the way ; which yet was so sweetly deceived by the society of Sir


CONTINENTAL JOURNEY. 227

Edmund Bacon (a gentleman tmly honourable, beyond all titles), that I found small cause to complain. The sea brooked not me, nor I it ; an unquiet element, made only for wonder and use, not for pleasure. Alighted once from that wooden conveyance and uneven way, I bethought myself how fondly our life is committed to an unsteady and reeling piece of wood, fickle winds, restless waters, while we may set foot on steadfast and constant earth. Lo, then everything taught me, every- thing delighted me ; so ready are we to be affected with these foreign pleasures, which at home we should overlook. I saw much as one might in such a span of earth in so few months. The time favoured me : for now newly had the key of peace opened those parts which war had before closed ; closed (I say) to all English, save either fugitives or captives. All civil occur- rences (as what fair cities, what strange fashions, entertainments, dangers, delights, we found) are fit for other ears and winter evenings. What I noted, as a divine within the sphere of my profession, my paper shall not spare in some part to report.

" Along our way, how many churches saw we demolished ! Nothing left, but rude heaps, to tell the passenger there hath been both devotion and hostility. Fury hath done that there which Covetousness would do with us; would do, but shall not : the truth within shall save the walls without. And, to speak truly (whatever the vulgar exclaim). Idolatry pulled down those walls, not rage. If there had been no Hollander to raze them, they would have fallen alone rather than hide so much impiety under their guilty roof. These are spectacles, not so much of cruelty as justice ; cruelty of man, justice of God. But (which I wondered at) churches fall and Jesuits' colleges rise everywhere. There is no city where those are not either rearing or built. Whence cometh this 1 Is it for that devotion is not so necessary as policy / Those men (as we say of the fox) fare best where they are most cursed. None so much spited of theii* own, none so hated of all, none so opposed


228 BISHOP HALL,

by ours ; and yet these ill weeds grow. Whosoever lives long shall see them feared of their own, who now hate them ; shall see these seven lean kine devour all the fat beasts that feed on the meadows of Tiber.

" At Brussels I saw some English women profess themselves vestals, with a thousand rites, I know not whether more ridi- culous or magical. Poor souls ! they could not be fools enough at home. It would have made you to pity, laugh, disdain (I know not which more), to see by what cunning sleights and fair pretences that weak sex was fetched into a wilful bondage ; and (if these two can agree) willingly constrained to serve a master whom they must and cannot obey. What follows hence ? Late sorrow, secret mischief, misery irremediable.

" I talked there, in more boldness perhaps than wisdom, with Costerus, a famous Jesuit, an old man, more testy than subtile, and more able to wrangle than satisfy. Our discourse was long and roving ; and on his part full both of words and vehemency. He spake as at home, I as a stranger : yet so as he saw me modestly peremptory. The particulars would swell my letter too much ; it is enough that the truth lost less than I gained.

" At Ghent, a city that commands reverence for age and wonder for the greatness, we fell upon a Capuchin novice, who wept bitterly because he was not allowed to make himself miserable. His head had now felt the razor, his back the rod : all that laconical discipline pleased him well, which another being condemned to would justly account a torment. What hindered them 'i Piety to his mother would not permit this which he thought piety to God. He could not be a willing beggar, unless his mother would beg unwillingly. He was the only heir of his father, the only stay of his mother : the com- fort of her widowhood depended on this her orphan, who now- naked must enter into the world of the Capuchins, as he came first into this, leaving his goods to the division of the fraternity


^


JESUITS AND CAPUCHINS. 2'2i)

' — tlic least part whereof should have been hers, whose he wished all. Hence those tears. These men for devout, the Jesuits for learned and pragmatical, have engrossed all opmion from other orders. O hypocrisy ! No Capuchin may take or touch silver. This metal is as very an anathema to them as the wedge of gold to Achan ; at the offer whereof he starts back, as Moses from the serpent : yet he carries a boy TNith him that takes and carries it, and never complains of either metal or measure. I saw and laughed at it, and by this open trick of hypocrisy sus^jcctcd more, more close.

" At Nemours, on a pleasant and steep hill-top, we found one that was termed a married hermit ; appro^dng his wisdom above liis fellows, that could make choice of so cheerful and sociable a solitariness. Whence, after a delightful passage up the sweet river Mosa (Meuse), we visited the populous and rich city of Leodium (Liege). I would those streets were more moist with wine than with blood ; wherein no day, no night, is not dismal to some. No law, no magistrate lays hold on the known murderer if himself list ; for three days after the fact, the gates are open and justice shut ; private violence may pursue him, public justice cannot : whence some of more hot temper carve themselves revenge ; others take up with a small pecuniary satisfaction. O England, thought I, happy for jus- tice, happy for security ! There you shall find in every corner a maumet (image), at every door a beggar, in every dish a priest. From thence we passed to the Spa, a village famous for her medicinal and mineral waters, compounded of iron and copperas ; the vii'tue whereof yet the simple inhabitant ascribes to their beneficial saint, whose heavy foot hath made an ill- shaped impression in a stone of the upper well — a water more wholesome than pleasant, and yet more fiimous than whole- some.

" One thing I may not omit without sinful oversight : a short but memorable story which the graphier <^f that town

u


230 BISHOP HALL.

(though of different religion) reported to more ears than ours. When the last inquisition tyrannised in those parts, and helped to spend the fagots of Ardenne, one of the rest, a confident confessor, being led far to his stake, sung psalms along the way, in a heavenly courage and victorious triumph. The cruel officer, envying his last mirth, and grieving to see him merrier than his tormentors, commanded him silence. He sings still, as desirous to improve his last breath to the best. The \iew of his approaching glory bred his joy; his joy breaks forth into a cheerful confession. The enraged sheriff causes his tongue to be cut off near the roots. Bloody wretch ! It had been good music to have heard his shrieks ; but to hear his music was torment. The poor martyr dies in silence, rests in peace. Not many months after, our butcherly officer hath a son born with his tongue hanging down upon his chin, like a deer after long chase, which never could be gathered up within the bounds of his lips. O the Divine hand, full of justice, full of revenge ! " Let me tell you yet, ere I take off my pen, two wonders more, which I saw in that wonder of cities, Antwerp ; — one, a solemn mass in a shambles, and that on God's day, while the house was full of meat, of butchers, of buyers ; some kneeling, others bargaining, most talking, all busy. It was strange to see one house sacred to God and the belly, and how these two services agreed. The other — an Englishman (one Goodwin, a Kcntishman), so madly devout that he had wilfully housed up himself as an anchorite, the worst of all prisoners. There sat he, pent up for his further merit, half hunger-starved for the charity of the citizens. It was worth seeing how manly he could bite in his secret want, and dissemble his over-late repentance. I cannot commend his mortification, if he wish to be in heaven, yea, in purgatory, to be delivered from thence. I durst not pity him, because his durance was willing, and as he hoped meritorious ; but such encouragement as he had from me, such thank shall he have from God, who, instead of an


THE PEEACHEK. 231

Euge, which ho looks for, shall angrily challenge him with 'Whorequiredthisr"

Our author's appointment to HaLsted was in a few years fol- lowed by his translation to Waltham Holy Cross, in addition to which his rising reputation procured for him the office of chaplain to Prince Henry, and the prebend of Wolverhampton.

Of Dr Hall's abilities as a preacher, as far as printed speci- mens go, we possess ample materials for judging. His worst sermons are those which he preached at court, ov for the court. In the former, he fell under the spell of Bishop Andrewes, King James's Chrysostom, and not only humoured the prevail- ing taste for scriptural conceits, but occasionally indulged in a buflfoonery, in wliich, after all, he was far surpassed by his royal master."" And even that fulsome age supj^lies few stronger

  • These are bard words to apply to so great and good a man ; but it

is our calling to be honest critics, as well as affectionate biographers. Of conceits we may give the following example, from the outset of a sermon on Zcch. xiv. 20, " In that day shall be written upon the bridles (or bells) of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord : and the pots of the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar :" — " If any man wonder whether this dis- course can tend, of horses, and bells, and pots, and bowls for the altar, let him consider that of TertuUian, ' Ratio divina in meduUil est, non in super- ficie.' These horses, if they be well managed, will prove like those fiery horses of Elias, to carry us up to our heaven ; these bells like those golden bells of Aaron's robe ; these pots like that oUa puhnenti of the prophets, after Elisha's meal ; and these bowls like that blessed and fruitful navel of the Chiu'ch, Song vii. 2." And we fear that the following, from the same sermon, is no better than buflfoonery : — " The use of coats of arms and inscriptions must be very laudable, as ancient, since God himself was the first herald. Yea, the very Anabaptists, that shake off all the yoke of ma- gistracy, yet when they had ripened their fanatical projects, and had raised their king Bccold from the shopboard to the throne, would not want this point of honour ; and therefore he must have one henchman to carry a crown and a Bible, with an inscription ; another that carried a sword naked, and a ball of gold ; himself, in great state, carries a globe ot gold, with two swords across. His pressing-iron and shears would have become him better." Al- though preached " at court/' it is possible that this sermon was only heard by Prince Henry ; but, like most of the printed discourses of that day, it could hardly fail to have an eye to the Moecenas of the pulpit, his Sacred Majesty.




\JL<,'.


232 BISHOP HALL.

instances of flattery than his " Holy Panegyric." But aj^art from these failings — not so characteristic of the man as of the times — his discourses possess great excellences. They are sincere, and faithful, and lively. They have never the air of task-work or routine, but are the productions of a man inte- rested in his subject and his audience. Weighty with wisdom at once experimental and scriptural, occasional sentences flash up of a sudden on the wings of wit, and reach the mark in a moment : as when denouncing the " cormorant corn-mongers," who, by hoarding their grain, try to create a dearth in the midst of plenty — " God sends grain, but many times the devil sends garners f ' or satirising the ])Yide of rank without worth — " The chimney overlooks all the rest of the house : is it not, for all that, the very basest piece of the building ?" or remon- strating with those who make the failings of individuals a reproach to the ministry — " But hear you, my worthy brethren : when you see a thief in the candle, don't you presently call for an extinguisher : for personal faults don't you condemn a holy calling." And not unfrequently they glow mth impassioned earnestness. This is the more remarkable when we remember the calmness of si)irit which the preacher habitually cultivated, and the judicial or moderating tone which pervades his ethical writings. But Hall was too well acquainted with human nature, and the ex-professor of rhetoric had studied his subject too thoroughly, not to know that, for the inspiring of emotion or action, something more is needed than a balancing of sen- tences or a see-saw of proverbial antitheses. Accordingly, kindling with his theme, he often allows the man and the Christian to run away with the moraliscr, and even a noble indignation finds an occasional outburst ; as when he exclaims, " Woe to you, spiritual robbers ! Our blind forefathers clothed the Church ; you despoil it : their ignorant devotion shall rise in judgment against your raving covctousness. If robbery, simo]iy, perjury, will not carry you to hell, hope still that you


ELOQUENCE. 233

nitay be saved. They gave plentiful alms to the poor; we, instead of filling their bellies, grind their faces. What excel- lent laws had we lately enacted that there should be no beggar in Israel ! Let our streets, ways, hedges, witness the execution. Thy liberality relieves some poor; it is well: but hath not thy oppression made more'? Thy usury, extorting, racking, enclosing, hath wounded whole villages ; and now thou be- friendest two or three with the plasters of thy bounty. The mercies of the Avicked are cruel. They were precise in their Sabbath ; we so loose in ours, as if God had no day. See whether our taverns, streets, highways, descry any great dif- ference. These things I vowed in myself to reprove : if too bitterly, as you think, pardon, I beseech you, this holy im- patience, and blame the foulness of these vices, not my just vehemency."

Of his more fervid passages, one of the most impressive occurs in his " Passion Sermon :" — " O beloved, is it not ( enough that He died once for us *? Were those pains so light that we should every day redouble them ? Is this the enter- tainment that so gracious a Saviour hath deserved of us by dying 1 Is this the recompense of that mfinite love of His, that thou shouldest thus cruelly vex and womid Him mth thy sins 1 Every one of our sins is a thorn, and ^lail, and spear to Him. Whilst thou pourest down thy drunken carouses, thou givcst thy Saviour a potion of gall : while thou despisest His poor servants, thou spittest on His face : while thou puttest on thy proud dresses, and liftest up thy heart with vain con- ceits, thou settest a crown of thonis on His head : while thou wringcst and opprcssest His poor children, thou scourgest Him, and drawest blood of His hands and feet. Thou h}^)ocrite, how darest thou offer to receive the sacrament of God with that hand wliich is thus imbrued with the blood of Him whom thou receivest 1 In every ordinary thy profane tongue walks, in the disgrace of the religious and the conscionable.

u2


234 BISHOP HALL.

Thou makest no scruple of thine own sins, and scornest those that do. Hear Him that saith, ' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me V Saul strikes at Damascus ; Christ suffers in heaven. Thou strikest ; Christ Jesus smarteth, and will revenge. These are ' what remains' of Christ's sufferings. In Himself it is finished ; in His members it is not. We must toil, and groan, and bleed, that ^ve may reign. This is our warfare ; tliis is the region of our sorrow and death. Now are Ave set upon the sandy pavement of our theatre, and are matched with all sort of evils — evil men, evil spirits, evil accidents, and, which is worst, our own evil hearts ; temptations, crosses, persecutions, sicknesses, wants, infamies, death : all these must, in our courses, be encountered by the law of our profession. What should we do but strive and suffer, as our General hath done, that we may reign as He doth, and once triumph in our ' Consummatum est f God and His angels sit upon the scaffolds"' of heaven, and behold us. Our crown is ready ; our day of deliverance shall come ; yea, our redemption is near, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes, and we, that have sown in tears, shall reap in joy."

In three successive years Dr Hall was employed in as many several embassies by his sovereign. First, he accompanied the Earl of Carlisle on his splendid mission to France ; but being seized with violent sickness, he was sent back from Paris to Dieppe in a litter " of so little ease, that Simeon's penitential lodging or a malefactor s stocks had been less penal." Then, in 1617, he was selected to attend his Majesty himself in his visit to Scotland, to aid in the effort to introduce Episcopacy. The Anglican system could have no sincerer advocate than the man who, at that moment, was its brightest ornament ; but because he made the concessions which the candour of strong conviction is apt to make, and because he attracted to himself the regard and affection which obvious goodness can hardly

  • The S3ats of an amphitheatre.


PARIS, EDINBURGH, DORT. 235

fail to win, lie rcturnedfrom this journey laden with the envy of less popular brethren, and had some difficulty in con\T.nc- ing the king that he had not betrayed the cause. However, after a momentary distiiist, the king's confidence was restored ; and in the following year Dr Hall, now Dean of Worcester, was deputed, along with Bishop Carleton and Drs Davenant and Ward, to attend the Synod of Dort. After tv/o months, the same failure of health which necessitated his return from France hastened his departure from Holland. The noise of a garrison town at night deprived him of sleep ; and after taking- leave of his colleagues in an eloquent Latin valediction, he was thankful to return for the last time to liis native shores.

Diversified by such expeditions, and by his stated attend- ances at court, upwards of a quarter of a century passed peace- fully and usefully at Halsted and Waltham Cross. His sons were growing up good scholars, and promising young men, as, indeed, three of them were destined to become ministers like himself, and one of them a bishop. Through his affectionate assiduity, and especially through his diligence in catechising, his parishioners had attained an amount of Christian intelli- gence and sobriety then unusual in England. And although he himself overtasked a delicate constitution by the writing j out of three sermons a- week, and by a devotion to study which sometimes stinted itself to one meal in the day, his fund of cheerfulness was a constant restorative, occasionally combined with a few hours of piscatorial relaxation on the banks of the Lea. And now he was upwards of fifty years of age, and could no longer escape the mitre with which his high standing had for some time been threatened. Gloucester he resisted with success; but the reprieve was short, and in 1627 he was obliged to become Bishop of Exeter.

Before leavmg that pleasant Wciltham parsonage, let us peep into the study as sketched by the pen of its mdustrious occu- pant in one of his most delightful epistles : — A ^^^rtxf' ^^<^*\'^H


236 BISHOP HALL.

" Every day is a little life, and our whole life is but a day repeated : whence it is that old Jacob numbered his life by days, and Moses desired to be taught this point of holy arith- metic, to number not his years but his days. Those, therefore, that dare lose a day, are dangerously prodigal; those that dare misspend it, desperate. First, therefore, I desire to awake at those hours, not when I will, but when I must : pleasure is not a fit rule for rest, but health; neither do I consult so much with the sun, as with mine own necessity, whether of body or in that of the mind. If this vassal could well sei've me waking, it should never sleep ; but now it must be pleased that it may be serviceable. Now, when sleep is rather driven away than leaves me, I would ever awake with God ; my first thoughts are for Him v/ho hath made the night for rest, and the day for travail ; and as He gives, so blesses both. If my heart be early seasoned with His presence, it will savour of Him all day after. While my body is dressing, not with an effeminate curiosity, nor yet with rude neglect, my mind addresses itself to her ensuing task, bethinking what is to be done, and in what order, and marshalling (as it may) my hours with my work. That done, after some while's meditation, I walk up to my masters and companions, my books ; and sitting down amongst them with the best contentment, I dare not reach forth my hand to salute any of them till I have first looked up to heaven, and craved favour of Him to whom all my studies are duly referred ; without whom I can neither profit nor labour. After this, out of no great variety, I call forth those which may best fit my occasions, wherein I am not too scrupulous of age. Sometimes I put myself to school to one of those ancients whom the Church hath honoured with the name of Fathers, whose volumes I confess not to open without a secret reverence of their holiness and gravity ; some- times to those later doctors, who want nothing but age to make them classical ; always to God's book. That day is lost


A DAY IN WALTHAM PARSONAGE. 237

whereof some hours are not improved in those divine monu- ments : others I turn over out of choice, these out of duty. Ere I can have sate unto weariness, my family, having now overcome all household distractions, invite me to our com- mon devotions ; not without some short preparation. These, heartily performed, send mc up with a more strong and cheer- ful appetite to my former work, which I find made easy to me by intermission and variety. Now^, therefore, can I deceive the hours with change of pleasures — that is, of labours. One while my eyes are busied, another while my hand, and some- times my mind takes the burden from them both. One hour is spent in textual divinity, another in controversy ; histories relieve them both. Now, when my mind is weary of others' labours, it begins to undertake its own : sometimes it medi- tates, and winds up for future use ; sometimes it lays forth its conceits into present discourse, sometimes for itself, often for others. Neither know I w^hether it works or plays in these thoughts ; I am sure no sport hath more pleasure, no work more use. Only the decay of a weak body makes me think these delights insensibly laborious. Thus could I all day (as ringers use) make myself music with changes, were it not that this faint monitor interrupts me still in the midst of my busy pleasures, and enforces me both to respite and repast. I must yield to both ; while my body and mind are joined together in these unequal couples, the better must follow the weaker. Before my meals, therefore, and after, I let myself loose from all thoughts, and now would forget that I ever studied. A full mind takes away the body's appetite, no less than a full body makes a dull and unwieldy mind. Company, discoiu'se, recreations, arc now seasonable and welcome. These prepare me for a diet, not gluttonous but medicinal. The palate may not be pleased, but the stomach, nor that for its own sake ; neither would T think any of these comforts worth respect in themselves, but in their ur>c, in their end, so far as they may


238 BISHOP HALL.

enable me to better things. If I see any disli to tempt my palate, I fear a serpent in that apple, and would please myself by a wilful denial. I rise capable of more, not desirous ; not now immediately from my trencher to my book, but after some intermission. Moderate speed is a sure help to all proceedings ; where those things which are prosecuted with violence of endeavour or desire, either succeed not, or continue not.

" After my later meal, my thoughts are slight : only my memory may be charged v/ith her task of recalling what was committed to her custody in the day ; and my heart is busy in examining my hands and mouth, and all other senses, of that day's behaviour. And now the evening is come, no tradesman doth more carefully take in his wares, clear his shop-board, and shut his windows, than I would shut up my thoughts and clear my mind. That student shall live miserably who, like a camel, lies down under his burden. All this done, calling together my family, we end the day with God. How

j miserable is the condition of those men who spend the time as

' if it were given them, and not lent ! as if hours were waste

creatures, and such as should never be accounted for ! as if

j God v/ould take this for a good bill of reckoning, Item, spent

■ upon my pleasures, forty years !

" Such are my common days ; but God's day calls for another respect. The same sun arises on this day, and enlightens it : yet, because the Sun of righteousness arose upon it, and gave a new life to the world in it, and drew the strength of God's moral precept unto it ; therefore justly do we sing with the 7 /, Psalmist, ' This is the day which the Lord hath made.' Now I forget the world, and in a sort myself; and deal with my wonted thoughts, as great men use, who at some times of theii* privacy forbid the access of all suitors. Prayer, meditation, reading, hearing, preaching, singing, good conference, are the business of this day, which I dare not bestow on any work or pleasure, but heavenly. I hate superstition on the one side.


EPISCOPATE. 239

and looseness on the other ; but I find it hard to offend in too much devotion, easy in profaneness. The whole week is sanc- tified by tliis day ; and according to my care of this day is my blessing on the rest."

The days of Bishop Hall's episcopate were the darkest and most disastrous which have passed over the Church of England, and the good prelate's own position was one of singular diffi- culty. On the one hand, his honest churchmanship and his love of order made him anxious to secure canonical uniformity throughout his diocese ; and such was the success of his mild and judicious administration that, with two exceptions, he secured the compliance of all his clergy. On the other hand, his dislike to the Book of Sports, his disapproval of the absurd et-cetera oath, and his detestation of Popery, led him to throw the sliield of his official protection over those ministers who, like himself, reverenced the Sabbath, kept consciences void of offence, and resisted Romish innovations; and his solicitude for the interests of vital godliness drew forth his direct encou- ragement to week-day lectures and other plans of usefulness, which were highly disapproved by the primate. The conse- quence was, that wliilst the diocese of Exeter was the envy and admiration of the rest of England, its bishop was again and again called to account for his latitudinarian practices, and *'was three several times upon his knees to his Majesty to answer these great criminations." No wonder that even his meek spirit could not bear indignities thus continued, and that he " plainly told the Archbishop [Laud] that rather than he would be obnoxious to these slanderous tongues of his misinformers, he would cast up his rochet."

In 1G41 he was translated to the see of Norwich ; but by this time the proceedings of the king and the primate had brought about an embroilment which no earthly power could extricate, and, as often happens to the most inoffensive adherents of the defeated party, one of the greatest sufferers in the bursting of


240 BISHOP HALL.

the storm was the man who had striven most to avert the catastrophe. On his way to his new diocese, Bishop Hall was y committed to the Tower, along with other prelates, on a mon- strous charge of high treason, which w\as only abandoned by the House of Commons after they had suffered six months' confinement ; and he had hardly reached Exeter when he was overtaken by the Parliamentary " triers," and all that wild work of demolition which, under Parliamentary encouragement, the populace carried on. It was in vain that the bishop removed the heads of the apostles from the stained-glass windows of the cathedral ; and in vain that for her " delinquent " husband Mrs Hall endeavoured to rent such sorry accommodation as was left in the palace. As he has himself described it, —

" It is no other than tragical to relate the carriao;e of that furious sacrilege whereof our eyes and ears w^ere the sad wit- nesses, under the authority and presence of Linsey, Toftes the sheriff, and Greenwood. Lord, what work was here ! What clattering of glasses ! w^hat beating down of walls ! what tear- ing up of monuments ! what pulling doAvn of seats ! what wrest- ing out of iron and brass from the windows and graves ! what defacing of arms I what demolishmg of curious stone-work, that had not any representation in the world, but only of the cost of the founder and skill of the mason ! w^hat tooting and piping on the destroyed organ pipes ! and what a hideous triumph on the market-day, before all the comitry, when, in a kind of sacri- legious and profane procession, all the organ-pipes, vestments, both copes and surjplices, together with the leaden cross wliich had been newly sawn down from over the Green-yard puli3it, and the service-books and singing-books that could be had, were earned to the fire in the public market-place ; a lewd wretch walking before the train, in his cope trailing in the dirt, with a service-book in liis hand, iinitatmg in an impious scorn the tune, and usurping the words of the litany used formerly in the church. Near the public cross, all these monuments of


/ ^' ' A^


/^ 7


^ 'L^'^yrtii L^.y^ ; /f-'^^'/yi


EJECTED FROM HIS PALACE. 241

idolatr}^ must be sacrificed to the fire, not without much osten- tation of a zealous joy, in discliarging ordnance, to the cost of some who professed liow niucli tliey had lunged to sec that day. Neither was it any news upon this guild-day, to have the cathe- dral, now open on all sides, to be filled with musketeers, w ait- ing for the major's return, drinking and tobaccoing as freely as if it had turned alehouse.

" Still yet I remained in my palace, though with but a poor retinue and means ; but the house was held too good for me. Many messages were sent by Mr Corbet to remove me thence. The first pretence was, that the committee, who was now at charge for a house to sit in, might make their daily session there, being a place both more public, roomy, and chargeless. The committee, after many consultations, resolved it convenient to remove thither : though many overtures and offers were made to the contrary. Mr Corbet was impatient of my stay there ; and procures and sends peremptory messages for my present dislodging. We desired to have some time allowed for provid- ing some other mansion, if we must needs be cast out of this ; which my wife was so willing to hold, that she ofl:ered, if the charge of the present committee-house were the thing stood upon, she would be content to defray the sum of the rent of that house of her fifth part : but that might not be yielded : out we must, and that in three weeks' warnmg by Midsummer- day then approaching ; so as w^e might have lain in the street for aught I knew, had not the providence of God so ordered it, that a neighbour in the close, one Mr Gostlin, a widower, was content to void liis house for us.'*

Not only was tlie venerable bishop ejected from his palace, X but his furniture was appraised for sale, the sequestrators " not leaving so much as a dozen of trenchers, or his children's pic- tures, out of their curious inventory." His beloved books would have been dispersed in the general auction ; but knowing how essential they were to their owner, a kind-hearted clergyman

X


242 BISHOP HALL.

came forward and redeemed them, whilst a good gentlewoman did the like service for the rest of his personal property.

From this scene of devastation the bishop retired to Higham, a hamlet in the suburbs of Norwich, Hero he lived the re- maining days of his pilgrimage, in a house still standing, and which those may visit who love to explore the earthly haunts of departed goodness. Here he often preached till he was upwards of fourscore years. Here, after a union of nearly half a century, he closed the eyes of that "comely" help- meet who had brightened his humble Suffolk home, and who had shared so bravely the sorrows of his tempestuous elevation. And here at last, on the 8th of September 1656, and in the eighty-second year of his age, his peace-loving spirit quitted these tents of Kedar, and flew away and was at rest.

Bishop Hall wrote no bulky book, if we except his " Hard Texts" and "Contemplations;" and yet he wrote so many little books, and he kept writing so long, that he may be con- sidered a rather voluminous author. Of his various composi- tions Fuller's relative estimate is well known, and it is nearly correct : " Not unhappy at controversies, more happy at com- ments, very good in his characters, better in his sermons, best of all in his meditations." In this sliding scale the critic has not included his " Cases of Conscience " and his " Epistles," both of which possess a historical interest, as being almost, if not altogether, the earliest efforts in their respective depart- ments of English literature, Notwithstandmg its abundance in the Church of Rome, there was hardly a single specimen of casuistical divinity in the Protestant authorship of these islands when Hall's "Cases" appeared; and it is believed that he is absolutely the first who published in the vernacular tongue a collection of his own letters. It is certainly no mean distinction, and it says much for the mental activity and


HIS WORKS. 243

intellectual ])oldness of our author, that he .should have been to all intents the earliest English satirist, the earliest English casuist, and the earliest publisher of English epistles.

The " Hard Texts," and the polemical treatises against the Romanists and Brownists, and in favour of Episcopacy, pos- sess little permanent value, and rather encumber the modern reprints of a divine who is only pre-eminent in his devotional and practical writings.

At the commencement of this sketch, we gave a tolerably extended notice of Hall's Satires. This we did, because they furnish the best key to the characteristics of our authors mind. A first, a spontaneous, and, if you will, an unguarded effort, they indicate the writer's turn; and it is to the attri- butes of keen insight, lively imagination, happy diction, and pungent moralising there exhibited, that he is mainly indebted for the charm which still invests the works he composed in graver years, and for loftier purposes.

The little brochure entitled " Characters of Virtues and Vices," is in reality a sequel to the Satires in prose. His pecidiar talent comes out most strongly in the portion devoted to vices. The hypocrite "at church will ever sit where he may be seen best, and in the midst of the sermon pulls out his tables in haste, as if ho feared to lose that note, when he writes either his forgotten errand or nothing. Then he turns his Bible with a noise to seek an omitted quotation, and folds the leaf as if he had found it ; and asks aloud the name of the preacher, and repeats it, whom he publicly salutes, thanks, praises, invites, entertains with tedious good counsel. AVlien a rhymer reads his poem to him, he persuades the press. There is nothing that in presence he dislikes, that in absence he cen- sures not. He greets his friend in the street vdtlx so clear a countenance, so fast a closure, that the other thinks he reads his heart in his fiice, and shakos hands with an indefinite invitation of ' When will you come ? ' and when his back is


244 BISHOP HALL.

turned, joys that lie is so well rid of a guest." The envious man "feeds on others' evils, and hath no disease but his neidi- hour's welfare. You shall have him ever inquiring into the estates of his equals and betters, wherein he is not more desir- ous to hear all, than loth to hear anything over-good; and if just report relate aught better than he would, he redoubles the question, as being hard to believe what he likes not.'^ Whom he dares not openly backbite, nor wound with a direct censure, he strikes smoothly with an over-cold praise. He is an enemy of God's favours, if they fall beside himself ; a man of the worst diet, for he consumes himself; a thorn hedge covered with nettles ; a peevish interpreter of good things ; and no other than a lean and pale carcase quickened with a fiend." But many of the better characters are also nobly sketched : for example, the valiant man : — " He undertakes without rash- ness, and performs without fear. He seeks not for dangers, but, when they find him, he bears them over with courage, with success. He is the master of himself, and subdues his passions to reason ; and by this inward victory works his own peace. He is afraid of nothing but the displeasure of the Highest, and runs away from nothing but sin. No man is more mild to a relenting or vanquished adversary, or more hates to set his foot on a carcase. He had rather smother an injury than revenge himself of the impotent ; and I know not whether he more detests cowardliness or cruelty. He talks little, and brags less. The height of his spirits overlooks all casualties, and his boldness proceeds neither from ignorance nor senselessness ; but first he values evils, and then despises them. He is so balanced with wisdom, that he floats steadily in the midst of all tempests. Deliberate in his purposes, firm in resolution, bold in enter^^rising, unwearied in achieving,

  • Is tliis the original of Sir Malachi Malagrowthcr ? — a very i)lea.sant

gentleman, and a good-humoured, saving thai he is so deaf he can never hear good of any one, and so wise that he can never believe it."


SERMON — DIVISIONS. 245

and, howsoever happy in suceess, if' ever he be overcome, hib heart yields last."

Of Hall's sermons we have already spoken ; but there is one excellence which he possessed as a preacher to which wc failed to advert — the frequent skill and dexterity with which he divides his subject. In a discourse on " Why callest thou me goodl" &c., Dr Donne begins by considering "the text, the context, and the pretext, not as three equal parts of the building, but the context as the situation and prospect of the house, the pretext as the access and entrance into the house, and then the text itself as the house itself, the body of the building : in a word, in the text the words, in the context the occasion of the words, in the pretext the purpose, the disposi- tion of liiin who gave the occasion :" on which Coleridge re- marks, " What a happy example of elegant division ! Our great divmes were not ashamed of the learned discipline to which they had submitted their minds under Aristotle and Tully, but brought the purified products as sacrificial gifts to Christ. They baptized the logic and manly rhetoric of ancient Greece." And certainly, if it is needful to introduce into a sermon formal divisions, it is well to make them interesting by shewing the principle on which they proceed, or memorable, by condensing them mto language pithy, terse, and portable. In a sermon on the Transfiguration, Hall has a division, or rather an arrangement of his topics, wliicli we think quite equal to Dr Donne's : — " The circumstances shall be to us as the skirts of the hill, which we will climb up lightly : the time, j)lace, attendants, company; the time, 'after six days;' the place, 'an high hill apart;' the attendants, 'Peter, James, John;' the company, 'Moses and Elias:' Avhich, when we have passed, on the top of the hill shall appear to us that sight which shall one day make us glorious, and in the meantime happy." In like manner his sermon on Rev. xxi. 3 "will climb up these six stairs of doctrine : 1. That here our eyes

x2


24:6 BISHOP HALL.

are full t)f tears ; 2. That these tear« are from sorrow — as death, toil, &c. ; 3. That God will one day free us from tears, and from those things which are the cause of sorrow ; 4. That this freedom must be upon a change, for that ' the first things are passed;' 5. That this change shall be in our renovation : 'Behold, I make all things new;' 6. That this renovation and happy change shall be in our perpetual fruition of the presence of God, whose tabernacle shall be with men."

yf Mr Hallam is impressed with a close resemblance betwixt ^ Joseph Hall and Jeremy Taylor : — " Both had equally pious and devotional tem2:)ers ; both were full of learning, both fer- tile of illustration ; both may be said to have had strong imagination and poetical genius, though Taylor let his predo- minate a little more. Taylor is also more subtle and argu- mentative ; his copiousness has more real variety. Hall keejis more closely to his subject, dilates upon it sometimes more tediously, but more appositely. In his sermons there is some excess of quotation and far-fetched illustration, but less than in those of Taylor. In some of their writings these two great divines resemble each other, on the whole, so much, that we might for a short time not discover which we were reading." "' We confess that we are rather surprised at the close identity which the accomplished critic has discovered in the two divines.

\ Not to mention distinctions of a kind more substantial than style, and which in such a question it would not be fair to adduce, such as the Calvinism of the one and the virtual Pclagianism of the other, they strike us as in many respects remarkable contrasts. It is true that both are scholars, and both delight in learned quotation ; but Taylor is academic, whilst Hall as much as may be divests his erudition of its pedantic wrappings, and adapts it to popular audiences. And both are poets : but the one is as ideal and excursive as the other is usually homely and actual. Jeremy's flight is like y * Ilallani's " Literature of Europe," part 3, chap. 2.


JOSEPH HALL AND JEREMY TAYLOII. 247

that of a swift from the steci)le, high over our liejids, and in pursuit of those "flying gems" which are only found in the loftier regions ; but in his mousing circuits, beating lowly bushes, and keeping near the level in search of substantial game, Joseph reminds us of ]\Iinerva s bird with its unambitious ■wing, and its preference for terra finrui. Though it is only in this one feature that the resemblance holds; for far be it from us to ascribe aught purblind or moping to a man far-see- ing and large-minded beyond most of his contemporaries, and possessed of a fund of cheerfulness larger than is usually vouch- safed to even the happiest Christians. And tliis, too, suggests another obvious dissimilarity. Notwithstanding his eventual "hard measure," Hall had a life of much enjoyment; and, despite Ms bookishness, he had a friendly social nature. No man was better entitled to publish a book " On the Honour of the Married Clergy." But besides the buffetings of his per- sonal lot, Taylor had bitter trials in his children, and the whole make of his mind was ritualistic and contemplative, and shaded with a majestic melancholy. His proper habitat is an academic cloister, or a minster with stained wuidows, and angels hover- ing above the organ. Of Hall we conceive as in a parsonage. His study is very quiet, and very cozy, and awfully mviolable ; but in the next room his daughter is playing on the virginals, and although there are coloured panes in the wuidow, the casement is open, and neither "divhie Ambrose" nor "heavenly Augustine" can prevent the scholar from watching the suspi- cious manoeuvres of George and Eobert, whose kite has got curiously entangled in the ripest branch of their fiither s golden pippin ; and it is with an air of affectionate confidence as well as reverence that yonder old parishioner is coming up the pathway toward the open door.


248 BISHOP HALL.


[The following extracts, " Marah " and " Cana," are from by- far the best known of the writings of Bishop Hall, — his " Con- templations on the Historical Passages of the Old and New Testament." The precursor of many popular works on sacred biography, by Robinson, Hunter, Blunt, and others, it surpasses them all in inventive genius and suggestive fulness ; nor has the first half of that seventeenth century transmitted to us any book at once so interesting and so profitable. A "spicile- gium " of all its wise reflections and pithy apophthegms would be itself a fair-sized volume, but one by no means so attrac- tive and amusing as a volume of the original work.]

Israel was not more loth to come to the Red Sea, than to part from it. How soon can God turn the horror of any evil into pleasure ! One shore resounded with shrieks of fear ; the other with timbrels, and dances, and songs of deliverance. Every main afiliction is our Red Sea, which, while it threats to swallow, preserves us. At last our songs shall be louder than our cries. The Israelitish dames, when they saw their danger, thought they might have left their timbrels behind them. How unprofitable a burden seemed those instruments of music ! Yet now they live to renew that forgotten minstrelsy and dancing which their bondage had so long discontinued ; — and well might those feet dance upon the shore which had walked through the sea. The land of Goshen was not so bountiful to them as these waters : that afforded them a servile life ; this gave them at once freedom, victory, riches, bestowing upon them the remainder of that wealth which the Egyptians had but lent. It was a pleasure to see the floating carcases of then- adversaries ; and eveiy day offers them new booties ; it


MARAH. 249

is no iiiiirvol tlicu if tlieir liearts were tied tu these banks. If we find but little pleasure in our life, wc are ready to dote upon it. Every small contentment glues our affections to that we like ; and if here our imperfect delights hold us so fast that we would not be loosed, how forcible shall those infinite joys be above, when our souls are once possessed of them !

Yet, if the place had pleased them more, it is no marvel they were willing to follow JNIoscs ; that they durst follow him in the wilderness whom they followed through the sea. It is a great confirmation to any people when they have seen the liand of God with their guide. O Saviour, which hast under- taken to carry me from the spiritual Egypt to the land of promise, how faithful, how powerful have I found thee I how fearlessly should I trust thee ! how cheerfully should I follow thee through contempt, poverty, death itself ! " Master, if it be thou, bid us come unto thee."

Immediately before, they had complained of too much water ; now they go three days without. Thus God meant to punish tlieir infidelity with the defect of that whose abund- ance made them to distrust. Before, they saw all water, no land ; now, all dry and dusty land, no water. Extremities are the best trials of men ; as in bodies, those that can bear sud- den changes of heat and cold without complaint are the strongest. So much as an evil touches upon the mean, so much help it yields towards patience. Eveiy degTce of soitow is a preparation of the next ; but wdien wc pass to extremes without the mean, we want the benefit of recollection, and must trust to our present strength. To come from all things to nothing is not a descent, but a downfiill ; and it is a rare strength and constancy not to be maimed at least. These headlong evils, as they are the sorest, so they nuist be most provided for ; as, on the contrary, a sudden advancement from a low condition to the height of honour is most hard to manage. No man can marvel how that tyrant blinded his


250 BISHOP HALL.

captives, when he hears that he brought them immediately out of a dark dungeon into rooms that were made bright and glorious. We are not worthy to know for what we are reserved. No evil can amaze us if we can overcome sudden extremities.

The long deferring of a good, though tedious, yet makes it the better when it comes. Well did the Israelites hope that the waters, which were so long in finding, would be precious when they were found : yet behold they are crossed, not only in their desires, but in their hopes ; for after three days' travel, the first fountains they find are bitter waters. If these wells had not run pure gall, they could not have so much complained. Long thirst will make bitter waters sweet. Yet such were these springs, that the Israelites did not so much like their moisture as abhor their relish. I see the first handsel that God gives them in their voyage to the land of promise, tliirst and bitterness. Satan gives us pleasant entrances into his ways, and reserves the bitterness for the end. God inures us to our worst at first, and sweetens our conclusion with plea- sure.

The same God that would not lead Israel through the Philistmes' land, lest they should shrink at the sight of war, now leads them through the -wilderness, and fears not to try their patience with bitter potions. If He had not loved them, the Egyptian furnace or sword had prevented their thirst, or that sea whereof their enemies drunk dead ; and yet see how He diets them ! Never any have had so bitter draughts upon earth as those He loves best. The palate is an ill judge of the favours of God. Oh, my Saviour, thou didst drink a more bitter cup from the hands of thy Father, than that which thou refusedst of the Jews, or than that which I can drink from thee!

Before, they could not drhik if they would ; now, they might and would not. God can give us blessings with such a tang, Ojii<-^.' that the fruition shall not much differ from the want. So


MA RAH. 251

many a one hatli riches, not grace to use them ; many have children, but snch as they prefer barrenness. They had said before, Oh that we had any water ! Now, Oh that we had good water ! It is good so to desire blessings from God, that we may be the better for enjoyuig them ; so to crave water, that it may not be sauced with bitterness.

Now, these fond Israelites, instead of praying, murmur; instead of praying to God, murmur against Moses. "What hath the righteous done?" He made not either the wilder- ness dry, or the waters bitter; yea, if his conduct were the matter, what one foot went he before them without God? The pillar led them, and not he; yet Moses is murmured at. It is the hard condition of authority, that when the multitude fare well, they applaud themselves; when ill, they repine against their governors. Who can hope to be free, if Moses escape not? Never any prince so merited of a people. He thrust himself upon the pikes of Pharaoh's tyranny. He brought them from a bondage worse than death. His rod divided the sea, and shared life to them, death to their pur- suers. Who would not have thought these men so obliged to Moses, that no dearth could have opened their mouths, or raised their hands against him? Yet now the first occasion of want makes them rebel. No benefit can stop the mouth of impatience. If our turn be not served for the present, former favours are either forgotten or contemned. No marvel if we deal so with men, when God receives tliis measure fi'oni u.«-. One year of famine, one summer of pestilence, one moon of unseasonable weather, makes us overlook all the blessing of God, and more to mutiny at the sense of our evil than to praise Him for our varieties of good : whereas favours well bestowed leave us both mindful and confident, and will not suffer us either to forget or distrust. O God, I have made an ill use of thy mercies, ii I have not learned to be content with thy corrections.


252 BISHOP HALL.

Moses was in the same want of water with tliem, in the same distaste of bitterness; and yet they say to Moses, What shall we drink? If they had seen him furnished with full vessels of sweet water, and themselves put over to this un- savoury liquor, envy might have given some colour to this mutiny; but now their leader's common misery might have freed him from their murmurs. They held it one piece of the late Egyptian tyranny, that a task was required of them (which the imposers knew they could not perform), to make brick when they had no straw; yet they say to Moses, What shall ^Ye drink ? Themselves are grown exactors, and are ready to menace more than stripes, if they have not their ends with- out means. Moses took not upon him their provision, but their deliverance; and yet, as if he had been the common victualler of the camp, they ask. What shall we drink 1 When want meets with impatient minds, it transports them to fury; everything disquiets, and nothing satisfies them.

What course doth Moses now" take 1 That which they should have done, and did not. They cried not more fervently to him, than he to God. If he were their leader, God was his. That which they unjustly required of him, he justly requires of God that could do it. He knew whence to look for redress of all his complaints : this was not his charge, but his Maker's, which was able to maintain His own act. I see and acknow- ledge the harbour that we must put into in all our ill weather. It is to Thee, O God, that we must pour out our hearts, which only canst make our bitter waters sweet.

Might not that rod which took away the liquid nature from the waters, and made them solid, have also taken away the bitter quality from these waters and made them sweet, since to flow is natural unto the water, to be bitter is but accidental 1 Moses durst not employ his rod without a prece23t; he knew the power came from the commandment. We may not ^to- S'.ime on likelihoods, but dep(Mi(l upon warrants : therefore


MARAH. 253

Moses doth not lift up his rod to the waters, but his hand and voice to God.

The hand of faith never knocked at heaven in vain. Xo sooner hath jNIoses shewed his grievance than God shews him the remedy; yet an unlikely one, that it might be mii-aculous. He that made the waters could have given them any savour. How easy is it for Him that made the matter to alter the quality ! It is not more hard to take away than to give. Who doubts but the same hand that created them might have im- mediately changed them ? Yet that almighty power will do it by means. A piece of wood must sweeten the waters. What relation hath wood to water 1 or that which hath no savour to the redress of bitterness 1 Yet there is no more possibility of failing, than proportion to the success. All things are subject to the command of their Maker. He that made all of nothing can make everything of anything. There is so much power in every creature as He will please to give. It is the praise of Omnipotency to work by improbabilities : Elisha with salt, Moses with wood, shall sweeten the bitter waters. Let no man despise the means, when he knows the Author. God taught His people by actions as well as words. This entrance shewed them their whole journey, wherein they should taste of much bitterness ; but at last, through the mercy of God, sweetened with comfort. Or did it not represent themselves rather in the journey, in the fountains of whose hearts were the bitter waters of manifold corruptions ? yet their unsavoury souls are sweetened by the graces of His Spirit. O blessed Sa^-iour, the wood of Thy cross, that is, the application of Thy sufferings, is enough to sweeten a whole sea of bitterness ! I care not how unpleasant a potion I find in this wilderness, if the power and benefit of Thy precious death may season it to my soul.

Y


254 BISHOP HALL.

Carta. \ , i' /^/f ^j Was this, then, Thy first miracle, O Saviour, that Thou wroughtest in Cana of Galilee '? and could there be a greater miracle than this, that having been thirty years upon earth, Thou didst no miracle till now ? that Thy Divinity did hide itself thus long in flesh, that so long Thou wouldst lie obscure in a corner of Galilee, unknown to that world Thou earnest to redeem ; that so long Thou wouldst strain the patient expectation of those, who, ever since Thy star, waited upon the revelation of a Messias ? We silly wretches, if we have but a dram of virtue, are ready to set it out to the best show : Thou, who " receivedst not the Spirit by measure," wouldst content Thyself with a willing obscurity, and concealedst that power that made the world in the roof of an human breast, in a cottage of Nazareth ! O Saviour, none of Thy miracles is more worthy of astonishment than Thy not doing of miracles ! What Thou didst in private. Thy wisdom thought fit for secrecy : but if Thy blessed mother had not been acquainted with some domestical wonders, she had not now expected a miracle abroad. The stars are not seen by day, the sun itself is not seen by night. As it is no small art to hide art, so it is no small glory to conceal glory. Thy first public miracle graceth a marriage. It is an ancient and laudable institution, that the rites of matrimony should not want a solemn celebration. When are feasts in season, if not at the recovery of our lost rib ; if not at this main change of our estate, wherein the joy of obtaining meets with the hope of further comforts 1 The Son of the virgin, and the mother of that Son, are both at a wedding. It was in all likelihood some of their kindred, to whose nuptial feast they were invited so far j yet was it more the honour of the act than of the person that Christ intended. He that made the first marriage in Paradise bestows his first miracle upon a Galilean marriage. He that was the author of matri-


CANA. 255

mony, and sanctified it, doth by His holy presence honour the resemblance of His eternal union with His Church. How boldly may we spit in the faces of all the impure adversaries of wedlock when the Son of God pleases to honour it !

The glorious Bridegroom of the Church knew well how ready mwi would be to place shame even in the most lawful conjunc- tions; and therefore His first work shall be to countenance His own ordinance. Happy is that wedding where Christ is a guest ! O Saviour, those that marry in Thee cannot marry without Thee. There is no holy marriage whereat Thou art not, however invisible, yet truly present by Thy Spirit, by Thy gracious benediction. Thou makest marriages in heaven. Thou blessest them from heaven. O Thou that hast betrothed us to Thyself in truth and righteousness, do Thou consummate that happy marriage of ours in the highest heavens ! It was no rich or sumptuous bridal to which Christ, with His mother and disciples, vouchsafed to come from the further parts of Galilee. I find Him not at the magnificent feasts or triumphs of the great. The proud pomp of the world did not agree with the state of a servant. This poor, needy bridegroom wants drink for his guests. The blessed virgin, though a stranger to the house, out of a charitable compassion, and a friendly desire to maintam the decency of an hospitable entertamment, in- quires into the wants of her host, pities them, bemoans them, where there was power of redress. " "When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said unto him, They have no "s\ine." How well doth it beseem the eyes of piety and Christian love to look into the necessities of others ! They are made for them- selves whose thoughts are only taken up with their own store or indigence. There was mne enough for a meal, though not for a feast; and if there were not wme enough, there was enough of water : yet the holy \irgin complains of the want of wine, and is troubled with the very lack of superfluity. The bounty of oiu: God reaches not to our life only, but to om-


250 BISHOP HALL.

contentment : neither liatli He thought good to allow iis only the bread of sufficiency, but sometimes of pleasure. One while that is but necessary, which some other time were super- fluous. It is a scru^^ulous injustice to scant ourselves where God hath been liberal.

To whom should we complain of any want, but to the Maker and Giver of all things ? The blessed virgin knew to whom she sued : she had good reason to know the divine nature and power of her Son. Perhaps the bridegroom was not so needy, but, if not by his purse, yet by his credit, he might have supplied that want ; or it were hard if some of the neighbour guests, had they been duly solicited, might not have furnished him with so much wine as might suffice for the last service of a dinner. But blessed Mary knew a nearer way ; she did not think best to lade at the shallow channel, but runs rather to the well-head, where she may dip and fill the firkins at once with ease. It may be she saw that the train of Christ, which, unbidden, followed unto that feast, and unexpectedly added to the number of the guests, might help forward that defect, and therefore she justly solicits her son Jesus for a supply. Whether we want bread, or water, or wine, necessaries or comforts, whither should we run, O Saviour, but to that infinite munifi- cence of Thine, which neither denieth nor upbraideth anything ? We cannot want, we cannot abound, but from Thee, Give us what Thou wilt, so Thou give us contentment with what Thou givest.

But what is this I hear ? a sharp answer to the suit of a mother : " O woman, what have I to do with thee ?" He whose sweet mildness and mercy never sent away any suppli- cant discontented, doth He only frown upon her that bare Him ? He that commands us to honour father and mother, doth He disdain her whose flesh He took ? God forbid : love and duty doth not exempt parents from due admonition. >She solicited Christ as a mother, He answers her as a woman. If


CANA. 257

she were the mother of Hia flesh, His Deity was eternal. She might not so remember herself to be a mother, that she should forget she was a woman ; nor so look upon Him as a son, that she should not regard Him as a God. He was so obedient to her as a mother, that withal she must obey Him as her God. That part which He took from her shall observe her; she must observe that nature which came from above, and made her both a woman and a mother. Matter of miracle concerned the Godhead only ; supernatural things were above the sphere of fleshly relation. If now the blessed virgin will be prescrib- ing either time or form unto divine acts, " O woman, what have I to do with thee ? my hour is not come." In all bodily actions His style was, "O mother;" in spiritual and heavenly, " O woman." Neither is it for us, in the holy afiairs of God, to know any faces ; yea, " If we have known Christ heretofore according to the flesh, henceforth know we Him so no more."

O blessed virgin ! if in that heavenly glory wherem thou art thou canst take notice of these earthly thmgs, with what indignation dost thou look upon the presumptuous supci^tition of vain men, whose suits make thee more than a solicitor of Divine favours ! Thy humanity is not lost in thy motherhood nor in thy glory. The respects of nature reach not so high as heaven. It is far from thee to abide that honour which is stolen from thy Ecdeemer.

There is a marriage whereto we are imited, yea, wherein we are already interested, not as the guests only, but as the bride, in which there shall be no want of gladness. It is marvel if in these earthly banquets there be not some lack. " In thy presence, O Saviom*, there is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand arc pleasures for evermore." Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb !

Even in that rough answer doth the blessed \ii*gin descry cause of hope. If His hour were not yet come, it was there- fore coming. When the expectation of the guests and the

y2


258 BISHOP HALL.

necessity of the occasion had made fit room for the miracle, it shall come forth, and challenge their wonder. Faithfully, therefore, and observantly, doth she turn her speech from her Son to the waiters : " Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." How well doth it beseem the mother of Christ to agree with His Father in heaven, whose voice from heaven said, " This is my well-beloved Son ; hear him !" She that said of herself, "Be it unto me according to thy word," says unto others, " Whatsoever he saith to you, do it." This is the way to have miracles wrought in us — obedience to His word. The power of Christ did not stand upon their officiousness ; He could have wrought wonders in spite of them ; but their perverse refusal of His commands might have made them incapable of the favour of a miraculous action. He that can, when He will, convince the obstinate, will not grace the disobedient. He that could work without us, or against us, will not work for us, but by us.

This very poor house was furnished with many and large vessels for outward purification, as if sin had dwelt upon the skin, that superstitious people sought holiness in frecj[uent washings. Even this rinsing fouled them with the uncleanness of a traditional will-worship. It is the soul which needs scouring, and nothing can wash that but the blood which they desi^erately wished upon themselves and their children for guilt, not for expiation. " Purge thou us, O Lord, with hyssop, and we shall be clean ; wash us, and we shall be whiter than snow."

The waiters could not but think strange of so unseasonable a command, " Fill the water-pots." It is wine that we want, why do we go to fetch water 1 Doth this holy man mean us to quench our feast and cool our stomachs ? If there be no remedy, we could have sought this sujiply unbidden. Yet so far hath the charge of Christ's mother prevailed, that, instead of carrying flagons of wine to the table, they go to fetch pail-


CANA. 2.5'J

fills of water from the cisterns. It is no pleading of unlike- lihoods against the command of an almighty power.

He that could have created wine immediately in those ves- sels will rather turn water into wine. In all the course of His miracles I do never find Him making aught of nothmg ; all His great works arc grounded upon former existences. He multiplied the bread, He changed the water, He restored the withered limbs, He raised the dead, and still wrought upon that which was, and did not make that which was not. What doth He in the ordinary way of nature, but turn the watery- juice that arises up from the root into wine ? He will only do this now suddenly and at once, which He doth usually by sen- sible degrees. It is ever duly observed by the Son of God not to do more mii-acle than He needs.

How liberal are the provisions of Christ ! If He had turned but one of these vessels, it had been a just proof of His power, and perhaps that quantity had served the present necessity ; now He furnisheth them with so much wine as would have served an hundred and fifty guests for an entire feast. Even the measure magnifies at once both His power and mercy. The nnmificent hand of God regards not our need only, but our honest affluence. It is our sin and our shame if we turn His favour into wantonness.

There must be first a filling ere there be a drawing out. Thus, in our vessels, the first care must be of our receipt, the next of our expense. God would have us cisterns, not chan- nels. Our Saviour would not be His own taster, but He sends the first draught to the governor of the feast. He knew His own power, they did not : neither would He bear witness of Himself, but fetch it out of others' mouths. They that knew not the original of that wine yet praised the taste : " Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse ; but thou hast kept the good wine until now." The same bounty that expressed


260 BISHOP HALL.

itself in the quantity of the mne shews itself no less in the excellence. Nothing can fall from that Divine hand not exquisite j that liberality hated to provide crab- wine for his guests. It was fit that the miraculous effects of Christ, which came from His immediate hand, should be more perfect than the natural. O blessed Saviour, how delicate is that new wine which we shall one day drink with Thee in Thy Father's king- dom ! Thou shalt turn this water of our earthly affliction into that wine of gladness wherewith our souls shall be satiate for ever. " Make haste, O my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices !"

S^fje ©cto5enarian*0 Sermon.

PKEACHED AT HIGHAM ON SUNDAY, JULY 1, 1655.

It is a true observation of Seneca : " Velocitas temporis," saith he, " This quick speed of time is best discerned when we look at it past and gone j" and this I can confirm to you by experi- ence. It hath pleased the providence of my God so to con- trive it that this day, fourscore years ago, I was born into the world. " A great time since," ye are ready to say, and so, in- deed, it seems to you that look at it forward ; but to me, that look at it as past, it seems so short that it is gone like a tale that is told, or a dream by night, and looks but like yesterday.

It can be no offence for me to say that many of you who hear me this day are not like to see so many suns walk over your heads as I have done. Yea, what speak I of this ? There is not one of us that can assure himself of his continuance here one day. We are all tenants at will, and, for aught we know, may be turned out of these clay cottages at an hour's warning. Oh, then, what should we do, but, as wise farmers, who know the time of their lease is expiring, and cannot be renewed, care- fully and seasonably provide ourselves of a surer and more during tenure ?


OCTOGENAlilAN ISEIIMUN. 2Gl

I remember our witty countryman Bromiard tells us of a lord in his time that had a fool in his house, as many great men in those days had for their pleasure, to whom this lord gave a staff, and charged him to keep it till he should meet with one that was more fool than liimself, and, if he met with such a one, to deliver it over to him. Not many years after, this lord fell sick, and indeed was sick unto death. His fool came to see him, and was told by his sick lord that he must now shortly leave him. "And whither wilt thou go?" said the fool. " Into another w^orld," said his lord. " And when wilt thou come again? within a month?" "No." "Within a year ?" " No." " When then ?" " Never." " Never ? and what provision hast thou made for thy entertainment there, whither thou goest ?" " None at all." " No !" said the fool ; "none at all ? Here, take my staff. Art thou going away for ever, and hast taken no order nor care how thou shalt speed in that other w^orld whence thou shalt never return ? Take my staff; for I am not guilty of any such folly as this."

And, indeed, there cannot be a greater folly, or madness rather, than to be so wholly taken up with an eager regard of these earthly vanities which we cannot hold, as to utterly neglect the care of that eternity which we can never forego. And, consider well of it, upon this moment of our life depends that eternity either way.

My dear brethren, it is a great way to heaven ; and we have but a little time to get thither. God says to us, as the angel said to Elijah, " Up, for thou hast a gi'cat journey to go ;" and if, as I fear, we have loitered in the way, and trifled away any part of the time in vain impertinencies, we have so much more need to gird up our loins and to hasten our pace. Our hearts, our false hearts, are ready, like the Levite's servant, to shew us the world, and to say, as he did of Jebus, " Come, I pray you, let us turn into the city of the Jebusites, and lodge there." Oh, let us have his master's resolute answer ready in our mouths :


262 BISHOP HALL.

" We will not turn aside into a city of strangers," neither will we leave till we have got the gates of God's city upon our backs (Judges xix. 11, 12).

Time is that whereof many of us are wont to be too prodigal. We take care how to be rid of it ; and, if we cannot otherwise, we cast it away ; and this we call pass-time. Wherein we do dangerously mistake ourselves, and must know that time is, as the first, so one of the most precious things that are, insomuch as there are but two things which we are charged to redeem — • Time and Truth.

I find that, in our old Saxon language, a gentleman was called an idle-man ;* perhaps because those who are born to fair estates are free from those toils and hard labours which others are forced to undergo. I wish the name were not too proper to over many in these days ; wherem it is commonly seen that those of the better rank, who are born to a fair inheritance, so carry themselves as if they thought themselves privileged to do nothing, and made for mere disport and pleasure. But, alas ! can they hope that the great God, when He shall call them to give account of the dispensation of their time and estate, will take this for a good reckoning : Item, so many hours spent in dressing and trimming ; so many in idle visit- ings ; so many in gaming ; so many in hunting and hawking ; so many in the playhouse j so many in the tavern ; so many in vain chat ; so many in wanton dalliance ? No, no, my dear brethren ; our hearts cannot but tell us how ill an audit we shall make upon such a woful computation ; and how sure we are to hear of a Serve nequam, Thou evil servant and unfaithful ; and to feel a retribution accordingly.

Let us, therefore, in the fear of God, be exhorted to recollect

ourselves ; and since we find ourselves guilty of the sinful

mispcnse of our good hours, let us, while we have space, obtain

of ourselves to be careful of redeeming that precious time we have

  • Adel-man ; that is, noble-man.


1


MEDITATIONS AND VOWS. 2G3

lost. As the widow of Sarepta, when she had but a little oil I ({vKfd left in her cnise, and a little meal in her barrel, was careful of 'ilii^ttf spending that to the best advantage ; so let us, considering that we have but a little sand left in our glass, a short remain- der of our mortal life, be sure to employ it unto the best profit of our souls ; so as every of our hours may carry up with it a happy testimony of our gainful improvement, that so, when our day cometh, we may change our time for eternity — the time of our sojourning for the eternity of glory and blessedness.

iJHebitations ant( UciiMS,

As there is a foolish wisdom, so there is a wise ignorance, in not prjdng into God's ark, not inquiring into things not re- vealed. I would fain know all that I need, and all that I may ; I leave God's secrets to Himself It is happy for me that God makes me of His court, though not of His council.

I acknowledge no master of requests in heaven but one — Christ, my Mediator. I know I cannot be so happy as not to need Him ; nor so miserable, that He vshould contemn me. I will always ask; and that of none, but where I am sure to speed ; but where there is so much store, that when I have had the most, I shall leave no less behind. Though numberless drops be in the sea, yet if one be taken out of it, it hath so much the less, though insensibly ; but God, because he is infi- nite, can admit of no diminution. Therefore are men niggardly, because the more they give, the less they have ; but Thou, Lord, mayest give what Thou wilt, without abatement of Thy store. Good prayers never came weeping home : I am sure I shall receive either what I ask or what I should ask.

With God there is no free man but His servant, though in the galleys : no slave but the sinner, though in a palace : none noble but the ^drtuous, if never so basely descended : none rich but he that possesseth God, even in rags : none


264 BISHOP HALL.

wise but lie that is a fool to himself and the world : none happy but he whom the world pities. Let me be free, noble, rich, wise, happy to God ; I pass not what I am to the world.

As Christ was both a Lamb and a Lion, so is every Chris- tian : a Lamb, for patience in suffering and innocence of life ; a Lion, for boldness in his innocency. I would so order my courage and mildness, that I may be neither lion-like in my conversation, nor sheepish in the defence of a good cause.

Sudden extremity is a notable trial of faith, or any other disposition of the soul. For as, in a sudden fear, the blood gathers to the heart, for guarding of that part which is principal : so the powers of the soul combine themselves in a hard exigent, that they may be easily judged of. The faithful, more sud- denly than any casualty, can lift up his heart to his stay in heaven : whereas the worldling stands amazed, and distraught with the evil, because he hath no refuge to fly unto ; for, not being acquainted with God in his peace, how should he but have Him to seek in his extremity ? When, therefore, some sudden stitch girds me in the side, like to be the messenger of death, or when the sword of my enemy, in an unexj^ected assault, threatens my body, I will seriously note how I am affected : so the suddenest evil, as it shall not come unlooked for, shall not go away unthought of. If I find myself coura- geous and heavenly-minded, I will rejoice in the truth of God's grace in me, knowing that one dram of tried faith is worth a whole pound of speculative, and that which once stood by me will never fail me : if dejected and heartless, herein I will acknowledge cause of humiliation, and with all care and ear- nestness seek to store myself against the dangers following.

I will not be so merry as to forget God, nor so sorrowful as to forget myself

Augustin's friend, Nebridius, not unjustly hated a short answer to a weighty and difficult question ; because the dis- quisition of great truths requires time, and the determining is


PITHY SAYINGS. 2G5

perilous. \ will <is much hate a tedious and far-fetched answer to a short and easy question. For as that other wrongs tlie truth ; so this, the hearer.

Ambition is torment enough for an enemy ; for it affords as much discontentment in enjoying as in want, making men like poisoned rats, which, when they have tasted of their bane, cannot rest till they drink, and then can much less rest till their death.

Revenge commonly hurts both the offerer and sufferer : as we see in the foolish bee, which, in her anger, envenometh the flesh, and losetli her sting, and so lives a drone ever after. I account it the only valour to remit a wrong, and will applaud it to myself as right noble and Christian that I mioht hurt and will not.

It is commonly seen that boldness puts men forth before their time, before their ability. Wherein we have seen many, that, like lapwings and partridges, have run away with some part of their shell on their heads : whence it follows, that as they began boldly, so they proceed unprofitably, and conclude not without shame. I would rather be haled by force of others to great duties, than rush upon them unbidden. It were better a man should want work, than that great works should want a man answerable to their weight.

The idle man is the devil's cushion, on wliich he taketh his free case ; who, as he is uncapable of any good, so he is fitly disposed for all evil motions. The standing water soon stink- eth ; whereas the current ever keeps clear and cleanly, con- veying down all noisome matter that might infect it by the force of his stream. If I do but little good to others by my endeavours ; yet this is great good to me, that by my labour I keep myself from hurt.

Rareness causeth wonder, and more than that, incredulity, in those tilings which in themselves are not more admirable than the ordinary proceedings of nature. If a blazing star be

z


266 BISHOP HALL.

seen in the sky, every man goes forth to gaze, and spetids, every evening, some time in wondering at the beams of it. Other things more usual, no less miraculous, we know and neglect. That there should be a bird^ that knoweth and notetli the hours of day and night, as certainly as any astronomer by the course of heaven, if we knew not, who would believe ? Or that the loadstone should, by his secret virtue, so draw iron to itself as that a whole chain of needles should all hang by insensible points at each other, only by the influence that it sends down from the first, if it were not ordinary, would seem incredible. Who would believe, when he sees a fowl mounted as high as his sight can descry it, that there were an engine to be framed which could fetch it down into his fist? Yea, to omit infinite examples, that a little despised creature should weave nets out of her own entrails, and in her platforms of building should observe as just pro- portions as the best geometrician, we should suspect for an untruth, if we saw it not daily practised in our own windows. If the sun should arise but once to the earth, I doubt every man would be a Persian, and fall down and worship it ; whereas now it riseth and declineth without any regard. Extraordinary events each man can wonder at. The frequence of God's best works causeth neglect.

His estate is too narrow for his mind, and therefore he ig fain to make himself room in others' afifairs; yet ever in ])re- tence of love. No news can stir but by his door; neither can he know that which he must not tell. What every man ven- tures in Guiana voyage, and what they gained, he knows to a hair. Whether Holland will have peace he knows ; and on what conditions, and with what success, is familiar to him ere

  • From " Characters ofVirtues and Vicch." See ante, page 243.


THE BUSYBODY. 267

it be concluded. No post can pass him without question, and rather than he will lose the news, he rides back with him to appose him of tidings ; and then to the next man he meets he supplies the wants of his hasty intelligence, and makes up a perfect tale, wherewith he so haunteth the patient auditor that, after many excuses, he is fain to endure rather the censure of liis manners in mnning away, than the tediousness of an im- pertinent discourse. His sj^eech is oft broken off with a suc- cession of parentheses, which he ever vows to fill up ere the conclusion, and perhaps would effect it if the other's ears were as unweariable as his tongue. If he see but two men talk and read a letter in the street, he runs to them and asks if he may not be partner of that secret relation : and if they deny it, he offers to tell, since he may not hear, wonders ; and then falls upon the report of the Scottish Mine, or of the great fish taken up at Lynn, or of the freezing of the Thames; and after many thanks and dismissions, is hardly entreated silence. He under- takes as much as he performs little. This man will thrust himself forward to be the guide of the way he kno\vs not ; and calls at his neighbour's window, and asks wiiy his servants are not at work. The market hath no commodity which he priceth not, and which the next table shall not hear recited. His tongue, like the tail of Samson's foxes, carries firebrands, and is enough to set the w^hole field of the world on a flame. Himself begins talk of his neighbour at another's board; to whom he bears the first news, and adjures him to conceal the reporter ; whose choleric answ' er he returns to his first host, enlarged with a second edition; so, as it uses to be done in the fight of unwilling mastiffs, he claps each on the side apart, and provokes them to an eager conflict. There can be no act pass without his comment, which is ever far-fetched, rash, sus- picious, dilatory. His cars arc long, and his eyes quick, but most of all to imperfections ; which, as he easily sees, so he increases with intermeddling. He harbours another man's


26S BISHOP HALL.

servant, and amidst his entertainment asks what fare is usual at liome, what hours are kept, what talk passeth their meals, what his master's disposition is, what his government, what his guests ; and when he hath by curious inquiries extracted all the juice and spirit of hoped intelligence, turns him off whence he came, and works on anew. He hates constancy as an earthen dulness, unfit for men of spirit, and loves to change his work and his place ; neither yet can he be "so soon weary of any place, as every place is weary of liim ; for as he sets himself on work, so others pay him with hatred ; and look how many masters he hath, so many enemies ; neither is it possible that any should not hate him, but who knows him not. So then he labours without thanks, talks witliout credit, lives Avithout love, dies without tears, mthout pity, save that some say it was pity he died no sooner.

THE PLEASURE OF STUDY.

[Writing to a friend of our ov/n, whose correspondence has fulfilled a very extensive and important mission, the late Dr Harris said that to "the pulpit, the platform, and the press," he would be disposed to add as a fourth power of the age, " the post." We question, however, if of the epistles contained in Bishop Hall's six Decades many were actually transmitted before publication to the friends to whom they are inscribed. It would rather appear as if in penning little essays on literary and theological topics, he had chosen to give them a local habitation or an individual interest by con- necting them with some endeared or familiar name. This was the manner of Hall. He was social even in his studies. " T3read eaten in secret " was to him not so pleasant as the morsel wliicli he shared with his nciglibour ; and fc»r those


PLEASURES OF STUDY. 269

lighter or more limited subjects which did not justify <a discus- sion in the great congregation or an appeal to the general public, he liked to secure at least one special listener. But even ^\ithout the excursiveness of actual letters, they are sprightly and pleasant compositions; and although we have already in our biographical sketch given one or two specimens, the reader will not object to another.]

I can wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle ; but of all other, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts. Other artizans do but practise, we still learn : others run still in the same gire, to weariness, to satiety ; our choice is infinite : other labours require recrea- tions, our very labour recreates our sports : we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How mimberless are those volumes which men have written, of arts, of tongues! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world ! wherein every creature is a letter, every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these ? To find wit in poetry, in philosophy profoundness, in mathe- matics acuteness, in history wonder of events, in oratoiy sweet eloquence, in divinity supernatural light and holy devotion, as so many rich metals in their proper mines, whom would it not ravish with delight "? After all these, let us but open our eyes, we cannot look besides a lesson, in tliis universal Book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle? what event doth not challenge his observation'? And if, weary of foreign employment, we list to look home to ourselves, there we find a more private world of thoughts, which let us work on anew, more busily, not less profitably ; now, our silence is vocal, our solitariness popular, and we are shut up to do good unto many. And if once we be cloyed witli our own company, the door of conference is open; here interchange of discourse (besides pleasure) benefits

z2


270 BISHOP HALL.

us; and he is a weak companion from whom we return not wiser. I could envy if I could believe that anchoret, who, secluded from the world, and pent up in his voluntary prison- walls, denied that he thought the day long, whilst yet he wanted learning to vary his thoughts. Not to be cloyed with the same conceit is difficult above human strength ; but to a man so furnished with all sorts of knowledge, that according to his disj)ositions he can change his studies, I should wonder that ever the sun should seem to pass slowly. How many busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night ? What ingenuous mind can sooner be weary of talking with learned authors, the most harmless and sweetest of companions'? What a heaven lives a scholar in that at once in one close room can daily converse with all the glorious martyrs and fathers ? — that can single out at pleasure either sententious Tertullian, or grave Cyprian, or resolute Jerome, or flowing Chrysostom, or divine Ambrose, or devout Bernard, or (who alone is all these) heavenly Augustine, and talk with them, and hear their wise and holy counsels, ver- dicts, resolutions ; yea (to rise higher), with Isaiah, with learned Paul, with all their fellow-prophets, apostles j yd more, like another Moses, with God Himself, in them both ! Let the world contemn us ; while we have these delights, we cannot envy them, we cannot wish ourselves other than we are. Besides, the way to all other contentments is trouble- some ; the only recompense is in the end. To delve in the mines, to scorch in the fire for the getting, for the fining of gold, is a slavish toil ; the comfort is in the wedge — to the owner, not the labourers : where our very search of knowledge is delightsome. Study itself is our life, from which we would not be barred for a world. How much sweeter, then, is the fruit of study, the conscience of knowledge ! in comparison whereof the soul that hath once tasted it easily contemns all human comforts. Go now, ye worldlings, and insult over our


THE «CHOLAll's PAKAD1«E. 271

pcileiicss, our neediiiess, our neglect. Ye could not be so jocund, if you were not ignorant : if you did not want know- ledge, you could not overlook liini that liath it. I'or nie, I am so far from emulating you, that I i^rofess I had as lief be a brute beast as an ignorant rich man. How is it, then, that those gallants which have privilege of blood and birth, and better education, do so scornfully turn off these most manly, reason- able, noble exercises of scholarship 1 An hawk becomes their fist better than a book ; no dog but is a better companion ; anything or nothing, rather than what we ought. Oh, minds brutishly sensual ! Do you think that God made them for disport ? who even in his Paradise would not allow pleasure without work. And if for business, either of body or mind. Those of the body are commonly servile' like itself The mind therefore, the mind only, that honourable and divine part, is fittest to be employed of those which would reach to the highest perfection of men, and would be more than the most. And what work is there of the mind but the trade of a scholar — study ? Let me therefore fiisten this problem on our school gates, and challenge all comers, in the defence of it, that. No scholar cannot be truly noble. And if I make it not good, let me never be admitted further than to the subject of our ques- tion. Thus we do well to congratulate to ourselves our own liappincss ; if other will come to us, it shall be our comfort, l)ut more theirs ; if not, it is enough that we can joy in our- selves, and in Him in whom we are that wc are.

(Cljristfan fHoticraliou.

[The most characteristic feature of Hall's piety was Christian moderation. Striving for the mastery, he sought to be " tem- perate in all things." And he was wonderfully successful. As regards his worldly estate, wc have already seen how well he knew "how to be abased, and how to abound;" and, just


272 BISHOP HALL.

as he had learned to limit his desires, so he had attained the no less difficult ascendancy over his passions. He was a mild, patient, contented man, and he was a tolerant, catholic, fair- minded theologian, who knew his own mind, and held his own opinion, but did not make his brother an offender for a word. With more extremeness in his views he might have had more enthusiastic admirers, for the "meekness of wisdom" is not a popular attribute ; but as Hall's moderation was not the re- sult of either cowardice or lukewarmness, it ought to elevate our esteem for himself. Our extract is from a volume with the above title, and it will answer the additional purpose of shewing the profusion with which he could pour forth his stores of anecdotal illustration. Most of the learned references, mth which the margin bristles, we have thought it better to omit.]

Next to the moderation of our pleasures is that of our de- sires. The true Christian soul, as it can say with David, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is nothing in earth that I desire besides thee;" so it can say with St Paul, " I have learned both to want and to abound, to be full and to be hungry, and in whatsoever state to be therewith content." Our desires, therefore, are both the surest measures of our present estate, and the truest prognostics of our future. Upon those words of Solomon, " As the tree falls so it shall lie," Bernard wittily remarks. How the tree will fall thou shalt soon know by the store and weight of the boughs ; our boughs are our desires, on which side soever they grow and sway most, so shall the soul fall. It was a word too good for him that sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, " I have enough, my brother." Jacob himself could have said no more. This mode- ration argues a greater good than itself; for as nothing comes amiss to that man who holds nothing enough, since " the love of money is the root of all evil" (I Tim. vi, 10), so he that can


MODEKATION. 213

stint his desires is ciiiinon-proof against temptations ; whence it is tliat tlie best and wisest men have still held themselves shortest. Even he that had more than enough could say, Give me not over much. Who knows not the bare feet and patched cloaks of the famous philosophers amongst the heathen ? Plutarch wonders at Cato, tliat being noAV old, and having passed both a consulship and triumph, he never wore any gar- ment that exceeded the Avorth of an hundred pence. It was the wish of learned Erasmus, after the refused offers of great preferments, that he might so order his expenses that he might make all even at his death, so as when he died he might be out of every man's debt, and might have only so much money left as might serve to bring him honestly to his grave. And it was little otherwise, it seems, with the painful and eminent Master Calvin, who, after all his power and prevalence in his place, was found at his death to be worth some fifty pounds sterling, — a sum which many a master gives his groom for a few years' service. Yea, in the very chair of Rome, where a man would least look to meet with moderation, we find Clement TV., when /liS*- he would place out his two daughters, gave to the one thirty pounds in a nunnery, to the other three hundred in her mar- riage ; and Alexander V., who was chosen pope in the council of 1^^^ • Pisa, was wont to say he was a rich bishop, a poor cardinal, and a beggarly pope. The extreme lowliness of Celestin Y., who, iljh ' from an anchoret's cell was fetched into the chair, and gave the name to that order, was too much noted to hold long ; he that would only ride upon an ass, whilst his successors mount on shoul- ders, soon walks on foot to his desert, and thence to his prison. This man was of the diet of a brother of his, Pope Adrian, who /^~2.2. - caused it to be written on his grave, that nothing fell out to him in all his life more unhappily than that he was advanced to rule."' These are, I confess, mere hcteroclites of the

  • Adrian VT. " Niliil siM iu vita iufelicius acoidissC; iiuani (juod iuipe-

lurit."


274 BISHOP HALL.

Papacy ; the common rule is otherwise. To let pass the report which the Archbishop of Lyons made in the council of Basil, of those many millions which, in the time of Pope Martin, came to the court of Eome out of France alone ; and the yearly sums registered in our acts, which out of this island flew thither, above the king's revenues; we know in our

t^^^" "^i^^ what millions of gold Sixtus V., who changed a neatherd's cloak for a Franciscan's cowl (and, therefore, by virtue of his order, might touch no silver), raked together in five years' space. The story is famous of the discourse betwixt Pope

t%ii% r. Innocent IV. and Thomas Aquinas. When that great clerk came to Rome, and looked somewhat amazedly upon the mass of plate and treasure which he there saw, "Lo," said the Pope, " you see, Thomas, we cannot say as St Peter did of old,

  • Silver and gold have I none.' " " No," said Aquinas, "neither

can you command, as he did, the lame man to arise and walk." There was not more difference in the wealth of the time than in the virtue. It was an heroical word of St Paul, "As hav- ing all things yet possessing nothing ; " and a resolution no less, that rather than he would be put down by the brag of the false teachers among the Corinthians, he would lay his fingers to the stitching of skins for tent-making. What speak I of these meannesses, when he tells us of holy men that wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, in deserts, and mountains, and caves of the earth % Yea, what do I fiill into the mention of any of these, when I hear the Lord of life, the God of glory, who had the command of earth and heaven say, " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head ? " He who could have commanded all the pomp and royalty of the whole world would appear in the form of a servant, that He might sanctify a mean and moderate condition to us. It is true, there can be no certain proportion of our either having or desiring, since the conditions of men are in a vast difference ; for that coat wliich


WHERE TO STOP. 275

is too big for a dwarf will not so mucli as come upon a giant's sleeve : and it is but just and lawful for every man to affect so much as may be sufficient, not only for the necessity of his per- son, but for the decency of his estate, the neglect whereof may be sordid and deservedly taxable. It is said of Gregory the Great, that he sharply reproved Paschasius, bishop of Naples, for that he used to walk down to the sea-side, attended only with one or two of his clergy, without that meet port which his place required. Surely, he that goeth below himself dis- parageth his vocation, and whilst he would seem humble is no other than careless. But all things considered, he that can cut evenest between want and excess is in the safest, easiest, hap- piest estate,* — a truth which, if it were duly entertained, would quit men's hearts of a world of vexation, which now they do willingly draw upon themselves ; for he that resolves to be rich and great, as he must needs fall into many snares of sin, so into manifold distractions of cares. It was a true word of wise Bion, in Laertius, who, when he was asked what man lived most unquietly, answered. He that in a great estate affects to be prosperous. In all experience, he that sets too high a pitch to his desires lives upon the rack ; neither can be loosed till he remit of his great thoughts, and resolve to clip his wings and train, and to take up with the present. Very seasonable and witty was that answer which Cyneas, in the story, gave to ambitious PyiThus, when that great conqueror began speech of his designs. Well, said Cyneas, when thou hast vanquished the llomans, what wilt thou thou do ? I will then, said PjTrhus, sail over to Sicily. And what wilt thou do, said Cyneas, when that is won? Then will we, said Pyrrhus, subdue Africa. Well, and when that is effected, what "svilt thou, said Cyneas, then do ? Why, then, said Pyrrhus, we will sit dovra and spend the rest of our time merrily and con- tentedly. And what hinders tlioe, said Cyneas, that without

  • Seneca de Tranquillit.


276 BISHOP HALL,

all this labour and peril thou canst not now do so beforehand ? Certainly, nothing lies cross the way of our contentation but our own thoughts, and those the all-wise God leaves there on purpose for the just torture of great hearts. It was a truly apostolical and divine counsel that the chosen vessel gives to his Hebrews : " Let your conversation be without covetousness ; and be content with such things as ye have;" which unto his Timothy he limits to food and raiment (1 Tim. vi. 8), and backs it irrefragably with a reason fetched from our first and last estate : " For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we shall carry nothing out." Lo, we begin and end with nothing ; and no less than all can sate us while we are. Oh the infinite avarice and ambition of men ! the sea hath both bottom and bounds, the heart of man hath neither. " There are those," as our Bromiard observes, " who in a fair pretence of mortification, like soaring kites, fly up from the earth and cry. Fie, fie ! in their flight, as if they scorned these lower vanities, and yet, when they have done, stoop upon the first carrion that comes in their eye :" false Pharisees, that under the colour of long prayers devour widows' houses ; pharisaical votaries, that under colour of wilful poverty sweep away whole countries into their corban. One plots for a lordship, another for a coronet ; one hath swallowed a crozier, another a sceptre, a third a monarchy, and a fourth all these. Of all the ambi- tions that have come to my notice, I do most wonder at that of Maximilian the First, who, being emperor, affected also to be pope ; and for that purpose, in his letter written to the Baron of Lichtenstein, offered the sum of three hundred thou- sand ducats, besides the pawn of four rich and preciously stuffed chests, together with the sumptuous pall of his princely inves- titure ; whereof, said he, after we are seized of the Papacy, we shall have no further use. Though why not, saitli Waremun- 'lj^\^ dus, as well as Pope Boniface the Eighth, who girded with his sword, and crowned with an imperial diadem, came abroad


HOW LONG? 277

magnificently amongst tlie peoi)Ie, and could openly profess, I am both Caesar and Pope ? Vain men ! whitlier do our restless desires carry us, unless grace and wiser thoughts pinion their wings'? Which if we do seriously affect, there is a double remedy of this immoderation. The first is the due consideration of our own condition, both in the short- ness and fickleness of our life, and the length and weight of our reckoning. Alas ! if all the world were mine, how long could I enjoy if?" "Thou fool, this night shall they take away thy soul," as was said to the rich projector in the parable, " and then whose shall all these things be ? " Were I the great king of Babylon, when I see the hand writing my destiny upon the wall, what should I care for the massive bowls of my cup- board, or the golden roof of my palace? What fool was ever fond of the orient colours of a bubble ? who ever was at the cost to gild a mud wall, or to embroider that tent which he must remove to-morrow ? Such is my condition here : I must alter, it cannot. It is the best ceremony that I could note in all the pack of those pontifical rites, that a herald burns tow before the new pope, in all the height of his pomp, and cries, Holy father, thus jjasscs the glory of the world ! Thus, even thus indeed, the glory passes ; the account passes not so soon ; it is a long reckoning that remains to be made for great re- ceipts ; for we are not the owners, we are the bailiffs or stewards of our Avhole estates. In the day of our great audit, there is not one penny but nuist be calculated; and what can the greatness of the sum (passed through our hands) then avail us, other than to add difficulty to the computation, and danger to the accoimtant? When death shall come roughly to us, in the style that Benedict did to Totila's servant. Lay down that thou bearest, for it is not thine own,t and the great ^Master of the universal family of the world shall call us to a redde rationem

  • ■ " Magnitnclo non hixbet certvim modum." — Sen. Epist. 43.

f " Depone quod poitas, nam non est tuum." 2 A


278 BISHOP HALL.

for all that we have received, woe is me ! what pleasure shall it be to me that I had much?* What is the poor horse the better for the carriage of a rich sumpter all day, when at night he shall lie down -with a galled back 1 I hear him that wished to live Crcesus, wishing to die a beggarly cynic that was not worth his shroud. The cheer goes down well till it come to the shot; when that goes too deep, we quarrel at our excess. Oh our madness to doat upon our future repentance !

(Occasional plcbitations,

[Our specimens we conclude with a few extracts which ex- hibit our wise, devout, and observant author as he might have been seen at home. These " Occasional Meditations " shew how he walked with God, and talked with his own heart in scenes like those through which we ourselves are joassing every day. Like fSturm's " Reflections," St Pierre's " Study of Na- ture," and similar works, in which our youthful days delighted, they teach us how to read " God's great Book ; " and, by the quaint instruction they extract from little things, they shew how a thoughtful mind may hear a sermon in the street-cries of London, and may find a whole museum of lesson-objects in the ornaments of his mantel-shelf and the furniture of his sitting-room. We like the Meditations all the better because they are not overdone. Afterwards the art was carried too far, and books like Brown's " Christian's Journal," Steele's " Tradesman's Calling," and Flavel's " Navigation Spiritual- ised," oppress us by their minuteness, and tire us by their length.]

STfje iProcm»

I have heedlessly lost, I confess, many good thoughts ; these few my paper hath i")reserved from vanishing ; the ex- ample whereof may perhaps be more useful than the matter.

  • " Melius etit minus cgere qu&ni plus habere." — Una ex Reg. Aug.


I


THE DIAL. 279

Oar active soul can no more forbear to think, than the eye can choose ])ut see when it is open. Would we but keep our wholesome notions together, mankind would be too rich. To do well, no object should pass us without use. Everything that we see reads us new lectures of wisdom and piety. It is a shame for a man to be ignorant or godless under so many tutors.

For me, I would not wish to live longer than I shall be better for my eyes ; and have thought it thankworthy thus to teach weak minds how to improve their thoughts upon all like occasions. And if ever these lines shall come to the public view, I desire and charge my reader, whosoever he be, to make me and himself so happy as to take out my lesson, and to learn how to read God's great book by mine.

©n tlje ^frjljt of a I3ial

If the sun did not shine upon this dial, nobody would look at it. In a cloudy day it stands like a useless post, miheeded, unregarded ; but when once those beams break forth, every passenger runs to it, and gazes on it.

O God, while thou hidest Thy countenance from me, me- thinks all Thy creatures pass by me with a Tsilling neglect. Indeed, what am I without Thee 1 And if Thou have drawn in me some lines and notes of able endowments, yet if I be not actuated by Thy grace, all is, in respect of use, no better than nothing ; but when Thou renewest the light of Thy lo\-ing countenance upon me, I find a sensible and happy change of condition ; methinks all things look upon me with such cheer and observance, as if they meant to make good that word of thine, " Those that honour me, I will honour." Now every line and figure which it hath pleased Thee to work in me serve for useful and profitable direction. O Lord, all the glory is Thine. Give Thou me light ; I shall give others information ; both of us shall give Thee praise.


280 BISHOP HALL.


©n a jjFair Prospect.

What a pleasing variety is here of towns, rivers, hills, dales, woods, meadows, each of them striving to set forth the other, and all of them to delight the eye ! So as this is no other than a natural and real landscape, drawn by that almighty and skilful hand, in this table of the earth, for the pleasure of our view. No other creature besides man is capable to apprehend this beauty. I shall do wrong to him that brought me hither if I do not feed my eyes, and praise my ]\Iaker. It is the in- termixture and change of these objects that yields this con- tentment both to the sense and mind.

But there is a sight, oh, my soul, that, without all variety, offers thee a truer and fuller delight — even this heaven above thee. All thy other prospects end in this. This glorious circumference bounds, and circles, and enlightens all that thine eye can see : whether thou look upward, or forward, or about thee, there thine eye alights; there let thy thoughts be fixed. One inch of tliis lightsome firmament hath more beauty in it than the whole face of the earth ; and yet this is but the floor of that goodly fabric, the outward curtain of that glorious tabernacle. Couldst thou but (Oh, that thou couldest !) look within that veil, how shouldest thou be ravished with that blissful sight ! There, in that incomprehensible light, thou shouldest see Him whom none can see and not be blessed ; thou shouldest see millions of pure and majestical angels, of holy and glorified souls ; there, amongst thy Father's many mansions, thou shouldest take happy notice of thine own. Oh, the best of earth, now vile and contemptible ! Come down no more, oh, my soul, after thou hast once pitched upon this heavenly glory ; or, if this flesh force thy descent, be un- quiet till thou art let loose to immortality.


A SPIDER IN THE WINDOW. 281


©n ©ccasfon of a Eeti^breast commtj into f)i0 CJamkr,

nntJ cSinrjinrj.

Pretty bird, how clieerfully dost thou sit and sing, and yet knowest not where thou art, nor where thou shalt make thy next meal, and at night must shroud thyself in a bush for lodging ! Wliat a shame is it for me, that see before me so liberal provisions of my God, and find myself set warm under my own roof, yet am ready to droop under a distrustful and unthankful dulness ! Had I so little certainty of my harbour and purveyance, how heartless should I be, how careful ! how little list should I have to make music to thee or myself ! Surely thou camest not hither without a providence. God sent thee, not so much to delight, as to shame me ; but all in a conviction of my sullen unbelief, who, under more apparent means, am less cheerful and confident. Reason and faith have not done so much in me as in the mere instinct of nature. Want of foresight makes thee more mcny, if not more happy, here, than the foresight of better things maketh me.

O God, thy providence is not impaired by those powers Thou hast given me above these brute things : let not my greater helps hinder me from a holy security and comfortable reliance upon Thee.

0n ©rcasi'on of a <%pitjcv in Ijis OEintJoln.

There is no vice in man whereof there is not some analogy in the brute creatures. As amongst us men, there are thieves by land and pirates by sea, that live by spoil and blood : so is there in every kind amongst them variety of natural sharkers ; the hawk in the air ; the pike in the river ; the whale in the sea ; the lion, and tiger, and wolf in the desert j the wasp in the hive ; the spider in our window.

2 a2


282 BISHOP HALL.

Amongst the rest, see how cunnmgly this little Arabian hath spread out his tent for a prey ; how heedfully he watches for a passenger. So soon as ever he hears the noise of a fly afar off, how he hastens to his door; and if that silly heedless traveller do but touch upon the verge of that unsuspected walk, how suddenly doth he seize upon the miserable booty, and, after some strife, binding him fast with those subtle cords, drags the helpless captive after him into his cave !

What is this but an emblem of those spiritual freebooters that lie in wait for our souls 1 They are the spiders, we the flies ; they have spread their nets of sin ; if we be once caught, they bind us fast, and hale us into hell.

(Bt tje .^{(jl^t of ix %m\ in tfje SttnsTjme.

Such is my best condition in this life. If the sun of God's countenance shine upon me, I may well be content to be wet with some rain of affliction. How oft have I seen the heaven overcast with clouds and tempest ; no sun appearing to com- fort me ! yet even those gloomy and stormy seasons have I rid out patiently, only with the help of the common light of the day: at last, those beams have broken forth happily, and cheered my soul. It is Avell for my ordinary state, if, through the mists of mine own dulness and Satan's temptations, I can descry some glimpse of heavenly comfort : let me never hope, while I am in this vale, to see the clear face of that sun, with- out a shower. Such happiness is reserved for above : that ui)per region of glory is free from these doubtful and miserable A icissitudes.

There, O God, we shall see as we arc seen. Light is .lown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart."


LlGaXfc) BllOUUHT l^■. 26o


©n tlje 2^am ant raatevs.

What a sensible interchange there is in natnre bct^^•ixt union and division ! Many vapours, rising from the sea, meet together in one cloud: that cloud falls down divided into several drops : those drops run together ; and, in many rills of water, meet in the same channels : those channels run into the brook, those brooks into the rivers, those rivers into the sea. One receptacle is for all, though a large one : and all make back to their first and main original.

So it either is, or should be, with spiritual gifts. O God, Thou distillest thy graces upon us, not for our reservation, but conveyance. Those manifold faculties Thou lettest fall upon several men. Thou wouldest not have drenched up where they light, but wouldest have derived, through the channels of their special vocations, into tlie common streams of public use, for church or commonwealth. — Take back, O Lord, those few drops Thou hast rained upon my soul, and return them into tliat great ocean of the glory of Thine own bounty, from whence they had their beginning.

©n ©ccaslou of tl}c ILigMs tvourjlit in.

What a change there is in the room since the light came in ! yea, in ourselves ! All things seem to have a new form, a new life : yea, we are not the same Ave were. How goodly a creature is light ! how pleasing, how agreeable to the spirits of man : no visible thing comes so near to the resembling of the nature of the soul; yea, of the God that made it. As, contrarily, what an uncomfortable thing is darkness I insomuch as we punish the greatest malefiictors with obscurity of dun- geons, as thinking they could not be miserable enough if they might have the privilege of beholding the light : yea, hell


284 BISHOP HALL.

itself can be no more horribly described than by outward darkness. What is darkness, but absence of light ■? The pleasure or the horror of light or darkness is according to the quality and degree of the cause whence it ariseth.

And if the light of a poor candle be so comfortable, which is nothing but a little inflamed air gathered about a moistened snuff, what is the light of the glorious sun, the great lamp of heaven ! But, much more, what is the light of that infinitely- resplendent Sun of righteousness, who gave that light to the sun, that sun to the world ! And if this partial and imper- fect darkness be so doleful, which is the privation of a natural or artificial light, how unconceivable dolorous and miserable shall that be which is caused through the utter absence of the all-glorious God, who is the Father of lights ! O Lord, how justly do w^e pity those wretched souls " that sit in darkness and the shadow of death ; " shut up from the light of the saving knowledge of thee, the only true God ! But how am I swal- lowed up with horror, to think of the fearful condition of those damned souls, that are for ever shut out from the presence of God, and adjudged to exquisite and everlasting darkness ! The Egyptians were weary of themselves in their three days' dark- ness; yet we do not find any pain that accompanied their con- tinuing night: what shall we say to those woeful souls, in whom the sensible presence of infinite torment shall meet with the torment of the perpetual absence of God ?

O Thou, who art the True Light, sliine ever through all the blind comers of my soul; and from these weak glimmerings of grace bring me to the perfect brightness of Thy glory.

We beat back the flame, not with a purpose to suppress it, but to raise it higher, and to diffuse it more.

Those afflictions and repulses which seem to be discourage-


8TIIEET-CK1KS. 28-'>

niciits arc indeed the niercifiil mciteineiits of grace. If God did mean judgment to my soul, he would either withdraw the fuel, or pour water upon the fire, or suffer it to languish for want of new motions ; but now that He continues to me the means, and opportunities, jind desires of good, I shall miscon- strue the intentions of my God, if I shall think His crosses sent rather to damp than to quicken His Si^irit in me.

O God, if Thy bellows did not sometimes thus breathe upon me in si)iritual repercussions, I should have just cause to sus- pect my estate ; those few weak gleeds (^f grace that are in me might soon go out, if they were not thus refreshed ; still blow upon them, till they kindle ; still kindle them, till they flame up to Thee.

©n tlje ^icjl)t of a CTroiM pullmrj off TOool from tijc Bach of

a ,Sj)fcp.

How well these creatures know whom they may be bold with ! That crow durst not do this to a wolf or a mastiff. The known simplicity of this innocent beast gives advantage to this presumption.

Meekness of spirit commonly draws on injuries. The cruelty of ill natures usually seeks out those, not who deserve worst, but who will bear most. Patience and mildness of spirit is ill bestowed where it exi)0scs a man to wrong and insultation. Sheepish dispositions are best to others, worst to themselves. I could be willing to take injuries, but I will not be giiilty of provoking them by lenity. For harmlessness, let me go for a sheep ; but whosoever will be tearhig my fleece, let him look to himself.

©n tj)c 5L]cavi'ng of ll)r ^trcct^rvifs in ILontJou.

What a noise do these poor souls make in proclaiming their commodities! Each tells what he hath, and would have all


286 BISHOP HALL.

hearers take notice of it : and yet, God wot, it is but poor stuff that they set out with so much ostentation. I do not hear any of the rich merchants talk of what bags he hath in his chests, or what treasures of rich wares in his storehouse ; every man rather desires to hide his wealth, and, when he is urged, is ready to dissemble his ability.

No otherwise is it in the true spiritual riches. He that is full of grace and good works affects not to make show of it to the world, but rests sweetly in the secret testimony of a good conscience, and the silent applause of God's Spirit -wit- nessing with his own ; while, contrarily, the venditation of our own worth, or parts, or merits, argues a miserable indigence in them all.

O God, if the confessing of Thine own gifts may glorify Thee, my modesty shall not be guilty of a niggardly unthanltfulness, but, for ought that concerns myself, I cannot be too secret. Let me so hide myself that I may not wrong Thee, and wisely distinguish betwixt Thy praise and my own.

©n t]^e ^igl^t of a JDark Hantern,

There is light indeed, but so shut up as if it were not ; and when the side is most open, there is light enough to give direction to him that bears it, none to others ; he can discern another man by that light which is cast before him, but an- other man cannot discern him.

Right such is reserved knowledge ; no man is the better for it but the owner. There is no outward difference betwixt concealed skill and ignorance, and when such hidden knowledge will look forth, it casts so sparing a light as may only argue it to have an unprofitable being, to have ability without will to g(^od, power to censure, none to benefit. The suppression or engrossing of those helps which God would have us to impart, is but a thief's lantern in a true man's hand.


A FLY IN THE CANDLE, 287

O God, as all our light is from Thee, the Father of lights, so make me no niggard of that poor rush-candle Thou hast lighted in my soul ; make me more happy in giving light to others than in receiving it into myself.

(Bn tlje Pfcarincj of a ^ixjalloto m tje Ctiimntg.

Here is music, such as it is, but how long will it hold ? When but a cold morning comes in, my guest is gone, without either warning or thanks. This pleasant season hath the least need of cheerful notes ; the dead of winter shall want, and wish them in vain.

Thus doth an ungrateful parasite ; no man is more ready to applaud and enjoy our prosperity, but when with the times our condition begins to alter, he is a stranger at least. Give me that bird which will sing in winter, and seek to my window in the hardest frost. There is no trial of friendship but adver- sity. He that is not ashamed of my bonds, not daunted with my checks, not aliened with my disgrace, is a friend for me ; one dram of that man's love is worth a world of false and in- constant formality.

(Dn tlje ^itjtt ^f a i^H himxinij itself fit tfje (Cautilc

Wise Solomon says, " The light is a pleasant thing ;" and so certainly it is ; but there is no tnie outward light which pro- ceeds not from fire. The light of that fire, then, is not more pleasing than the fire of that light is dangerous ; and that pleasure doth not more draw on our sight, than that danger forbids our approach. How foolish is this fly, that, in a love and admiration of tliis light, will know no distance, but puts itself heedlessly into that liamc wherein it perishes ! How many bouts it fetched, every one nearer than other, ere it made this last venture ! and now that }nerciless fire, taking


'2S8 BISHOP HALL.

no notice of the affection cf an over-fond client, hath suddenly consumed it.

Thus do those bold and busy spirits who will needs draw too near unto that inaccessible light, and look into things too wonderful for them ; so long do they hover about the secret counsels of the Almighty, till the wings of their presumptuous conceits be scorched, and their daring curiosity hath paid them with everlasting destruction.

Lord, let me be blessed with the knowledge of what Thou hast revealed ; let me content myself to adore Thy Divine wisdom in what Thou hast not revealed. So let me enjoy Thy light, that I may avoid Thy fire.

0n t\)t ^muintj of tf)e Birtis m a ^prfnrj f^ornmrj.

How cheerfully do these little birds chirp and sing, out of the natural joy they conceive, at the approach of the sun and entrance of the spring, as if their life had departed, and re- turned witb. those glorious and comfortable beams !

No otherwise is the penitent and faithful soul affected to the true Sun of righteousness, the Father of lights. When He hides His face, it is troubled, and silently mourns away that sad winter of affliction ; when He returns, in His presence is the fulness of joy ; no song is cheerful enough to welcome Him.

O Thou who art the God of all consolation, make my heart sensible of the sweet comforts of Thy gracious presence, and let my mouth ever shew forth Thy praise.






Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Joseph Hall (bishop)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools