Discourse of Life
and Death.

Written in French by Ph.


A Tragœdie written also in French

by Ro. Garnier.

Both done in English by the
Counteße of Pembroke.

An engraved circular seal enscribed around the circumference “thou shalt labor for” surrounding a classical figure and banners enscribed “peace” and “plentie” with two doves at his feet. A cherub’s head and wings appears at the top of the circle.

Thou shalt labor for peace plentie

At London,
Printed for William Ponsonby.

A1v A2r

A Discourse of Life and Death,
Written in French by Ph. Mornay.
Sieur du Pleßis Marly

Two female figures flanking the dropped initial capital.

It seemes to mee
strange, and a thing much
to be marveiled, that the
laborer to repose himselfe
hasteneth as it were the
course of the Sunne: that
the Mariner rowes with
all force to attayne the
porte, and with a joyfull
crye salutes the descryed
land: that the traveiler is never quiet nor content till
he be at the ende of his voyage: and that wee in the
meane while tied in this world to a perpetuall taske,
tossed with continuall tempest, tyred with a rough and
combersome way, cannot yet see the ende of our labour
but with griefe, nor behold our porte but with
teares, nor approch our home and quiet abode but with
horrour and trembling. This life is but a Penelopes web,
wherein we are alwayes doing and undoing: a sea open
to all windes, which sometime within, sometime without
never cease to torment us: a weary jorney through
extreame heates, and coldes, over high mountaynes,
steepe rockes, and theevish deserts. And so we terme it
in weaving at this web, in rowing at this oare, in passing A2 this A2v
this miserable way. Yet loe when death comes to ende
our worke, when she stretcheth out her armes to pull
us into the porte, when after so many dangerous passages,
and lothsome lodgings she would conduct us to
our true home and resting place: in steede of rejoycing
at the ende of our labour, of taking comfort at the sight
of our land, of singing at the approch of our happie
mansion, we would faine, (who would beleeve it?) retake
our worke in hand, we would againe hoise saile to
the winde, and willinglie undertake our journey anew.
No more then remember we our paines, our shipwracks
and dangers are forgotten: we feare no more the travailes
nor the theeves. Contrarywise, we apprehende
death as an extreame payne, we doubt it as a rocke, we
flye it as a theefe. We doe as litle children, who all the
day complayne, and when the medicine is brought
them, are no longer sicke: as they who all the weeke
long runne up and downe the streetes with payne of the
teeth, and seeing the Barber comming to pull them out,
feele no more payne: as those tender and delicate bodyes,
who in pricking pleurisie complaine, crie out,
and cannot stay for a Surgion, and when they see him
whetting his Launcet to cut the throate of the disease,
pull in their armes, and hide them in the bed, as, if
he were come to kill them. We feare more the cure
then the disease, the surgion then the paine, the stroke
then the impostume. We have more sence of the medicins
bitternes soone gone, then of a bitter languishing
long continued: more feeling of death the end of our
miseries, then the endlesse misery of our life. And
whence proceedeth this folly and simplicitie? we neyther
knowe life, nor death. We feare that we ought to
hope for, and wish for that we ought to feare. We call
life a continuall death: and death the issue of a living
death, and the entrance of a never dying life. Now
what good, I pray you, is there in life, that we should so A3r
so much pursue it? or what evill is there in death, that
we should so much eschue it? Nay what evill is there
not in life? and what good is there not in death? Consider
all the periods of this life. We enter it in teares,
we passe it in sweate, we ende it in sorow. Great and
litle, ritch and poore, not one in the whole world, that
can pleade immunitie from this condition. Man in
this point worse then all other creatures, is borne unable
to support himselfe: neither receyving in his first
yeeres any pleasure, nor giving to others but annoy and
displeasure, and before the age of discretion passing infinite
dangers. Only herein lesse unhappy then in other
ages, that he hath no sence nor apprehension of
his unhappines. Now is there any so weake minded,
that if it were graunted him to live alwayes a childe,
would make accompt of such a life? So then it is evident
that not simplie to live is a good, but well and
happilie to live. But proceede. Growes he? with him
growe his travailes. Scarcely is he come out of his nurses
hands, scarcely knowes he what it is to play, but he
falleth into the subjection of some Schoolemaister: I
speake but of those which are best and most precisely
brought up. Studies he? it is ever with repining. Playes
he? never but with feare. This whole age while he is
under the charge of an other, is unto him but as a prison.
He only thinks, and only aspires to that time when
freed from the masthership of another, he may become
maister of himselfe: pushing onward (as much as in
him lies) his age with his shoulder, that soone he may
enjoy his hoped libertie. In short, he desires nothing
more then the ende of this base age, and the beginning
of his youth. And what else I pray you is the beginning
of youth, but the death of infancy? the beginning of
manhood, but the death of youth? the beginning of to
morow, but the death of to day? In this sort then desires
he his death, and judgeth his life miserable: and so A3 cannot A3v
cannot be reputed in any happines or contentment.
Behold him now, according to his wish, at libertie: in
that age, wherein Hercules had the choise, to take the
way of vertue or of vice, reason or passion for his guide,
and of these two must take one. His passion entertains
him with a thousand delights, prepares for him a thousand
baites, presents him with a thousand worldly
pleasures to surprize him: and fewe there are that are
not beguiled. But at the reconings ende what pleasures
are they? pleasures full of vice which hold him still in
a restles feaver: pleasures subject to repentance, like
sweete meates of hard disgestion: pleasures bought
with pain and perill, spent and past in a moment, and
followed with a long and lothsome remorse of conscience.
And this is the very nature (if they be well examined)
of all the pleasures of this world. There is in
none so much sweetenes, but there is more bitternes:
none so pleasant to the mouth, but leaves an unsavery
after taste and lothsome disdaine: none (which is
worse) so moderated but hath his corosive, and caries
his punishment in it selfe. I will not heere speake of the
displeasures confessed by all, as quarells, debates,
woundes, murthers, banishments, sicknes, perils, whereinto
sometimes the incontinencie, sometimes the insolencie
of this ill guided age conductes him. But if those
that seeme pleasures, be nothing else but displeasures:
if the sweetnes thereof be as an infusion of wormewood:
it is plaine enough what the displeasure is they
feele, and how great the bitternes that they taste.
Behold in summe the life of a yong man, who rid of the
government of his parents and maisters, abandons himselfe
to all libertie or rather bondage of his passion:
which right like an uncleane spirit possessing him, casts
him now into the water, now into the fire: sometimes
caries him cleane over a rocke, and sometime flings him
headlong to the bottome. Now if he take and followe reason A4r
reason for his guide, beholde on the other part wonderfull
difficulties: he must resolve to fight in every part
of the field: at every step to be in conflict, and at handstrokes,
as having his enemy in front, in flanke, and on
the reareward, never leaving to assaile him. And what
enemy? all that can delight him, all that he sees neere,
or farre off: briefly the greatest enemy of the world, the
world it selfe. But which is worse, a thousand treacherous
and dangerous intelligences among his owne forces,
and his passion within himselfe desperate: which in
that age growne to the highest, awaits but time, houre,
and occasion to surprize him, and cast him into all viciousnes.
God only and none other, can make him
choose this way: God only can hold him in it to the
ende: God only can make him victorious in all his
combats. And well we see how fewe they are that enter
into it, and of those fewe, how many that retire againe.
Follow the one way, or follow the other, he must
either subject himselfe to a tyrannicall passion, or undertake
a weery and continuall combate, willingly cast
himselfe to destruction, or fetter himselfe as it were in
stockes, easily sincke with the course of the water, or
painefully swimme against the streame. Loe here the
young man, who in his youth hath drunke his full
draught of the worlds vaine and deceivable pleasures,
overtaken by them with such a dull heavines, and astonoshment,
as drunkards the morow after a feast: either
so out of taste, that he will no more, or so glutted, that
he can no more: not able without griefe to speake, or
thinke of them. Loe him that stoutly hath made resistance:
he feeles himselfe so weery, and with this continuall
conflict so brused and broken, that either he is
upon the point to yeeld himselfe, or content to dye, and
so acquit himselfe. And this is all the good, all the contentment
of this florishing age, by children so earnestlie
desired, and by old folkes so hartely lamented. Now commeth A4v
commeth that which is called perfit age, in the which
men have no other thoughts, but to purchase themselves
wisedome and rest. Perfit in deede, but herein
only perfit, that all imperfections of humane nature,
hidden before under the simplicitie of childhood, or
the lightnes of youth, appeere at this age in their perfection.
We speake of none in this place but such as
are esteemed the wisest, and most happie in the conceit
of the world. We played as you have seene in feare:
our short pleasures were attended on with long repentance.
Behold, now present themselves to us avarice,
and ambition, promising if wee will adore them, perfect
contentmēent of the goods and honors of this world.
And surely there are none, but the true children of the
Lord, who by the faire illusions of the one or the other
cast not themselves headlong from the top of the pinnacle.
But in the ende, what is all this contentment?
The covetous man makes a thousand voiages by sea
and by lande: runnes a thousand fortunes: escapes a
thousand shipwrackes in perptuall feare and travell:
and many times he either looseth his time, or gaineth
nothing but sicknesses, goutes, and oppilations for the
time to come. In the purchase of this goodly repose, he
bestoweth his true rest: and to gaine wealth looseth
his life. Suppose he hath gained in good quantitie: that
he hath spoiled the whole East of pearles, and drawen
dry all the mines of the West: will he therefore be setled
in quiet? can he say that he is content? All charges
and journeys past, by his passed paines he heapeth up
but future disquietnes both of minde and body: from
one travell falling into another, never ending, but changing
his miseries. He desired to have them, and now
feares to loose them: he got them with burning ardour,
and possesseth in trembling colde: he adventured among
theeves to seeke them, and having found them,
theeves and robbers on all sides, runne mainely on him: B1r
him: he laboured to dig them out of the earth, and now
is enforced to redig, and rehide them. Finally comming
from all his voiages he comes into a prison: and for an
ende of his bodely travels, is taken with endlesse travails
of the minde. And what at length hath this poore
soule attained after so many miseries? This Devill of
covetise by his illusions, and enchantments, beares him
in hand that he hath some rare and singuler thing: and
so it fareth with him, as with those seely creatures,
whome the Devill seduceth under couler of releeving
their povertie, who finde their hands full of leaves, supposing
to finde them full of crownes. He possesseth or
rather is possessed by a thing, wherein is neither force
nor vertue: more unprofitable, and more base, then the
least hearbe of the earth. Yet hath he heaped togither
this vile excrement, and so brutish is growne, as therewith
to crowne his head, which naturally he should
tread under his feete. But howsoever it be, is he therewith
content? Nay contrarywise lesse now, then ever.
We commend most those drinks that breede an alteration,
and soonest extinguish thyrst: and those meates,
which in least quantitie do longest resist hunger. Now
hereof the more a man drinkes, the more he is a thirst,
the more he eates, the more an hungred: It is a dropsie,
(and as they tearme it) the dogs hunger: sooner may
he burst then be satisfied. And which is worse, so strange
in some is this thyrst, that it maketh them dig the pits,
and painefully drawe the water, and after will not suffer
them to drinke. In the middest of a river they are
dry with thirst: and on a heape of corne cry out of famine:
they have goodes and dare not use them: they
have joyes it seemes, and do not enjoy them: they neither
have for themselves, nor for another: but of all
they have, they have nothing: and yet have want of all
they have not. Let us then returne to that, that the attaining
of all these deceivable goods is nothing else B but B1v
but weerines of body, and the possession for the most
part, but weerines of the minde: which certenly is so
much the greater, as is more sensible, more subtile, and
more tender the soule then the body. But the heape of
all misery is when they come to loose them: when either
shipwracke, or sacking, or invasion, or fire, or such
like calamities, to which these fraile things are subject,
doth take and cary them from them. Then fall they to
cry, to weepe, and to torment themselves, as little children
that have lost their play-game, which notwithstanding
is nothing worth. One cannot perswade them,
that mortall men have any other good in this world,
but that which is mortall. They are in their owne conceits
not only spoyled, but altogither flayed. And for
asmuch as in these vaine things they have fixed all their
hope, having lost them, they fall into despaire, out of the
which commonly they cannot be withdrawen. And
which is more, all that they have not gained according
to the accompts they made, they esteeme lost: all that
which turnes them not to great and extraordinary profit,
they accompt as damage: whereby we see some fall
into such despaire, as they cast away themselves. In
short, the recompence that Covetise yeelds those that
have served it all their life, is oftentimes like that of the
Devill: whereof the ende is, that after a small time having
gratified his disciples, either he gives them over to
a hangman, or himselfe breakes their neckes. I will not
heere discourse of the wickednes and mischiefes whereunto
the covetous men subject themselves to attaine to
these goodes, whereby their conscience is filled with a
perpetuall remorse, which never leaves them in quiet:
sufficeth that in this over vehement exercise, which
busieth and abuseth the greatest part of the world, the
body is slaine, the minde is weakened, the soule is lost
without any pleasure or contentment.

Come we to ambition, which by a greedines of honornor B2r
fondly holdeth occupied the greatest persons.
Thinke we there to finde more? nay rather lesse. As the
one deceiveth us, geving us for all our travaile, but a
vile excrement of the earth: so the other repayes us,
but with smoke and winde: the rewards of this being
as vaine, as those of that were grosse. Both in the one
and the other, we fall into a bottomles pit; but into
this the fall by so much the more dangerous, as at the
first shewe, the water is more pleasant and cleare. Of
those that geve themselves to courte ambition, some
are great about Princes, others commanders of Armies:
both sorts according to their degree, you see saluted,
reverenced, and adored of those that are under
them. You see them appareled in purple, in scarlet, and
in cloth of gould: it seemes at first sight there is no contentment
in the world but theirs. But men knowe not
how heavy an ounce of that vaine honor weighes, what
those reverences cost them, and how dearely they pay
for an ell of those rich stuffes: who knewe them well,
would never buy them at the price. The one hath attained
to this degree, after a long and painfull service
hazarding his life upon every occasion, with losse ofttimes
of a legge or an arme, and that at the pleasure
of a Prince, that more regards a hundred perches of
ground on his neighbours frontiers, then the lives of a
hundred thousand such as he: unfortunate to serve who
loves him not: and foolish to thinke himselfe in honor
with him, that makes so litle reckening to loose him for
a thing of no worth. Others growe up by flattering a
Prince, and long submitting their toongs and hands to
say and doe without difference whatsoever they will
have them: whereunto a good minde can never commaund
it selfe. They shall have indured a thousand injuries,
received a thousand disgraces, and as neere as
they seeme about the Prince, they are nevertheles alwayes
as the Lions keeper, who by long patience, a B2 thousand B2v
thousand feedings and a thousand clawings hath made
a fierce Lion familiar, yet geves him never meate, but
with pulling backe his hand, alwayes in feare least he
should catch him: and if once in a yere he bites him,
he sets it so close, that he is paid for a long time after.
Such is the ende of all princes favorites. When a Prince
after long breathings hath raised a man to great height,
he makes it his pastime, at what time he seemes to be at
the top of his travaile, to cast him downe at an instant:
when he hath filled him with all wealth, he wrings him
after as a sponge: loving none but himself, and thinking
every one made, but to serve, and please him. These
blinde courtiers make themselves beleeve, that they
have freends, and many that honor them: never considering
that as they make semblance to love, and honor
every body, so others do by them. Their superiors disdaine
them, and never but with scorne do so much as
salute them. Their inferiors salute them because they
have neede of them (I meane of their fortune, of their
foode, of their apparell, not of their person) and for
their equalls betweene whome commonly frendship
consists, they envy each other, accuse each other, crosse
each other; continually greeved either at their owne
harme, or at others good. Nowe what greater hell is
there, what greater torment, then envie? which in truth
is nought else but a feaver Hectique of the minde: so
they are utterly frustrate of all frendship, ever judged
by the wisest the cheife and soveraigne good among
men. Will you see it more clearely? Let but fortune
turne her backe, every man turnes from them: let her
frowne, every man lookes aside on them: let them once
be disroabed of their triumphall garment, no body will
any more knowe them. Againe, let there be apparelled
in it the most unworthie, and infamous whatsoever:
even he without difficultie by vertue of his robe, shall
inherit all the honours the other had done him. In the meane B3r
meane time they are puffed up, and growe proude, as
the Asse which caried the image of Isis was for the honors
done to the Goddesse, and regard not that it is the
fortune they carry which is honored, not themselves, on
whome as on Asses, many times she will be caried. But
you will say: At least so long as that fortune endured,
they were at ease, and had their contentment, and who
hath three or foure or more yeeres of happy time, hath
not bin all his life unhappie. True, if this be to be at
ease continually to feare to be cast downe from that degree,
whereunto they are raised: and dayly to desire
with great travaile to clime yet higher. Those (my
friend) whome thou takest so well at their ease, because
thou seest them but without, are within farre otherwise.
They are faire built prisons, full within of deepe ditches,
and dungeons: full of darknes, serpents, and torments.
Thou supposest them lodged at large, and they
thinke their lodgings straite. Thou thinkest them very
high, and they thinke themselves very lowe. Now as
sicke is he, and many times more sicke, who thinkes
himselfe so, then who in deed is. Suppose them to be
Kings: if they thinke themselves slaves, they are no
better: for what are we but by opinion? you see them
well followed and attended: and even those whome
they have chosen for their guard, they distrust. Alone
or in company ever they are in feare. Alone they looke
behinde them: in company they have an eye on every
side of them. They drinke in gould and silver; but in
those, not in earth or glasse is poison prepared and
dronke. They have their beds soft and well made: when
they lay them to sleepe you shall not heare a mouse stur
in the chamber: not so much as a flie shall come neere
their faces. Yet nevertheles, where the countreyman
sleepes at the fall of a great river, at the noise of a market,
having no other bed but the earth, nor covering
but the heavens, these in the middest of all this silence B3 and B3v
and delicacie, do nothing but turne from side to side, it
seemes still that they heare some body, there rest it selfe
is without rest. Lastly, will you knowe what the diversitie
is betwene the most hardly intreated prisoners
and them? both are inchained, both loaden with fetters,
but that the one hath them of iron, the other of
gould, and that the one is tied but by the body, the other
by the mind. The prisoner drawes his fetters after
him, the courtier weareth his upon him. The prisoners
minde sometimes comforts the paine of his body, and
sings in the midst of his miseries: the courtier tormented
in minde weerieth incessantly his body, and can
never give it rest. And as for the contentment you imagine
they have, you are therein yet more deceived. You
judge and esteeme them great, because they are raised
high: but as fondly, as who should judge a dwarfe great,
for being set on a tower, or on the top of a mountaine.
You measure (so good a Geometrician you are) the
image with his base, which were convenient, to knowe
his true height, to be measured by it selfe: whereas you
regard not the height of the image, but the height of
the place it stands upon. You deeme them great (if in
this earth there can be greatnes, which in respect of
the whole heavens is but a point.) But could you enter
into their mindes, you would judge, that neither they
are great, true greatnes consisting in contempt of those
vaine greatnesses, whereunto they are slaves: nor seeme
unto themselves so, seeing dayly they are aspiring higher,
and never where they would be. Some one sets
downe a bound in his minde. Could I attaine to such a
degree, loe, I were content: I would then rest my selfe.
Hath he attained it? he geves himselfe not so much as
a breathing: he would yet ascend higher. That which
is beneath he counts a toy: it is in his opinion but one
step. He reputes himselfe lowe, because there is some
one higher, in stead of reputing himselfe high, because there B4r
there are a million lower. And so high he climes at last,
that either his breath failes him by the way, or he slides
from the top to the bottome. Or if he get up by all his
travaile, it is but as to finde himselfe on the top of the
Alpes: not above the cloudes, windes and stormes:
but rather at the devotion of lightnings, and tempests,
and whatsoever else horrible, and dangerous is engendred,
and conceived in the aire: which most commonly
taketh pleasure to thunderbolt and dash into pouder
that proude height of theirs. It may be herein you will
agree with me, by reason of the examples wherewith
both histories, and mens memories are full. But say you,
such at least whome nature hath sent into the world
with crownes on their heads, and scepters in their
hands: such as from their birth she hath set in that
height, as they neede take no paine to ascend: seeme
without controversie exempt from all these injuries,
and by consequence may call themselves happie. It
may be in deed they feele lesse such incommodities,
having bene borne, bred and brought up among them:
as one borne neere the downfalls of Nilus becomes
deafe to the sound: in prison, laments not the want of
libertie: among the Cimmerians in perpetuall night,
wisheth not for day: on the top of the Alpes, thinks not
straunge of the mistes, the tempests, the snowes, and the
stormes. Yet free doubtles they are not whēen the lightening
often blasteth a flowre of their crownes, or breakes
their scepter in their handes: when a drift of snowe overwhelmes
them: when a miste of heavines, and griefe
continually blindeth their wit, and understanding.
Crowned they are in deede, but with a crowne of
thornes. They beare a scepter: but it is of a reede,
more then any thing in the world pliable, and obedient
to all windes: it being so far off that such a crowne can
cure the maigrims of the minde, and such a scepter
keepe off and fray away the griefes and cares which hoveruer B4v
about them: that it is contrariwise the crowne that
brings them, and the scepter which from all partes attracts
them. O crowne, said the Persian Monarch, who
knew howe heavy thou sittest on the head, would not
vouchsafe to take thee up, though he found thee in his
way. This Prince it seemed gave fortune to the whole
world, distributed unto men haps and mishaps at his
pleasure: could in show make every man content: himselfe
in the meane while freely confessing, that in the
whole world, which he held in his hand there was nothing
but griefe, and unhappines. And what will all the
rest tell us, if they list to utter what they found? We
will not aske them who have concluded a miserable
life with a dishonorable death: who have beheld their
kingdomes buried before them, and have in great misery
long overlived their greatnes. Not of Dionyse of Sicill,
more content with a handfull of twigs to whip little
children of Corinth in a schoole, then with the scepter,
wherewith he had beaten all Sicill: nor of Sylla, who having
robbed the whole state of Rome, which had before
robbed the whole world, never found meanes of rest in
himselfe, but by robbing himselfe of his owne estate,
with incredible hazard both of his power and authoritie.
But demaund we the opinion of King Salomon, a
man indued with singuler gifts of God, rich and welthie
of all things: who sought for treasure from the Iles. He
will teach us by a booke of purpose, that having tried
all the felicities of the earth, he found nothing but vanitie,
travaile, and vexation of spirit. Aske we the Emperour
, who peaceably possessed the whole
world. He will bewaile his life past, and among infinite
toiles wish for the rest of the meanest man of the earth:
accounting that day most happy, when he might unloade
himselfe of this insupportable greatnes to live
quietly among the least. Of Tiberius his successor, he
will confesse unto us, that he holdes the Empire as a wolfe C1r
wolfe by the eares, and that (if without danger of biting
he might) he would gladly let it goe: complayning on
fortune for lifting him so high, and then taking away
the ladder, that he could not come downe agayne.
Of Dioclesian, a Prince of so great wisedome and vertue
in the opinion of the world: he will preferre his voluntary
banishment at Salona, before all the Romaine
. Finally, the Emperour Charles the fifth, esteemed
by our age the most happy that hath lived these
many ages: he will curse his conquestes, his victories,
his triumphes: and not be ashamed to confesse that
farre more good in comparison he hath felt in one day
of his Monkish solitarines, then in all his triumphant
life. Now shall we thinke those happie in this imaginate
greatnes, who themselves thinke themselves unhappie?
seeking their happines in lessening themselves,
and not finding in the world one place to rest this
greatnes, or one bed quietly to sleepe in? Happie is
he only who in minde lives contented: and he most of
all unhappie, whome nothing he can have can content.
Then miserable Pyrrhus King of Albanie, who would
winne all the world, to winne (as he sayd) rest: and
went so farre to seeke that which was so neere him. But
more miserable Alexander, that being born King of
a great Realme, and Conqueror almost of the earth,
sought for more worlds to satisfye his foolish ambition,
within three dayes content, with sixe foote of grounde.
To conclude, are they borne on the highest Alpes?
they seeke to scale heaven. Have they subdued all the
Kings of the earth? they have quarels to pleade with
God, and indevour to treade under foote his kingdome.
They have no end nor limit, till God laughing
at their vaine purposes, when they thinke themselves
at the last step, thunderstriketh all this presumption,
breaking in shivers their scepters in their hands, and
oftentimes intrapping them in their owne crownes. At C a C1v
a word, whatsoever happines can be in that ambition
promiseth, is but suffering much ill, to get ill. Men
thinke by dayly climing higher to plucke themselves
out of this ill, and the height whereunto they so painefully
aspire, is the height of misery it selfe. I speake
not heere of the wretchednes of them, who all their
life have held out their cap to receive the almes of
court fortune, and can get nothing, often with incredible
heart griefe, seeing some by lesse paines taken
have riches fall into their hands: of them, who justling
one an other to have it, loose it, and cast it into the hands
of a third: Of those, who holding it in their hands
to hold it faster, have lost it through their fingers.
Such by all men are esteemed unhappie, and are indeed
so, because they judge themselves so. It sufficeth
that all these liberalities which the Devill casteth us
as out at a windowe, are but baites: all these pleasures
but embushes: and that he doth but make his sport of
us, who strive one with another for such things, as
most unhappie is he, that hath best hap to finde them.
Well now, you will say, the Covetouse in all his goodes,
hath no good: the Ambitious at the best he can be,
is but ill. But may there not be some, who supplying
the place of Justice, or being neere about a Prince,
may without following such unbrideled passions,
pleasantly enjoy their goodes, joyning honor with rest
and contentment of minde? Surely in former ages
(there yet remayning among men some sparkes of sinceritie)
in some sort it might be so: but being of that
composition they nowe are, I see not how it may be
in any sorte. For deale you in affayres of estate in these
times, either you shall do well, or you shall do ill. If ill,
you have God for your enemy, and your owne conscience
for a perpetually tormenting executioner. If
well, you have men for your enemies, and of men the
greatest: whose envie and malice will spie you out, and whose C2r
whose crueltie and tyrannie will evermore threaten
you. Please the people you please a beast: and pleasing
such, ought to be displeasing to your selfe. Please
your selfe, you displease God: please him, you incurr a
thousand dangers in the world, with purchase of a
thousand displeasures. Whereof it growes, that if you
could heare the talke of the wisest and least discontent
of this kinde of men, whether they speake advisedly,
or their words passe them by force of truth, one would
gladly change garment with his tenaunt: an other
preacheth how goodly an estate it is to have nothing:
a third complaining that his braines are broken with
the noise of Courte or Pallace, hath no other thought,
but as soone as he may to retire himselfe thence. So that
you shall not see any but is displeased with his owne
calling, and envieth that of an other: readie neverthelesse
to repent him, if a man should take him at
his word. None but is weerie of the bussinesses whereunto
his age is subject, and wisheth not to be elder,
to free himselfe of them: albeit otherwise hee keepeth
of olde age as much as in him lyeth.

What must we then doe in so great a contrarietie
and confusion of mindes? Must wee to fynde true
humanitie, flye the societie of men, and hide us in
forrestes among wilde beastes? to avoyde these unrulie
passions, eschue the assemblye of creatures
supposed reasonable? to plucke us out of the evills
of the world, sequester our selves from the world?
Coulde wee in so dooing live at rest, it were something.

But alas! men cannot take heerein what parte
they woulde: and even they which do, finde not there
all the rest they sought for. Some would gladly doo,
but shame of the world recalls them. Fooles to be ashamed
of what in their heartes they condemne:
and more fooles to be advised by the greatest enemye C2 they C2v
they can or ought to have. Others are borne in hande
that they ought to serve the publique, not marking
that who counsell them serve only themselves: and
that the more parte would not much seeke the publique,
but that they founde their owne particular.
Some are told, that by their good example they may
amende others: and consider not that a hundred sound
men, even Phisitions themselves, may sooner catch
the plague in an infected towne, then one be healed:
that it is but to tempt God, to enter therein: that against
so contagious an aire there is no preservative,
but in getting farre from it. Finally, that as litle as
the freshe waters falling into the sea, can take from
it his saltnes: so little can one Lot or two, or three, reforme
a court of Sodome. And as concerning the wisest,
who no lesse carefull for their soules, then bodies,
seeke to bring them into a sound and wholesome ayre,
farre from the infection of wickednes: and who led
by the hande of some Angell of God, retire themselves
in season, as Lot into some little village of Segor,
out of the corruption of the world, into some
countrie place from the infected townes, there quietlie
employing the tyme in some knowledge and
serious contemplation: I willinglie yeeld they are in
a place of lesse daunger, yet because they carie the
danger, in themselves, not absolutelie exempt from
danger. They flie the court, and a court folowes them
on all sides: they endevoure to escape the world,
and the world pursues them to death. Hardly in this
world can they finde a place where the world findes
them not: so gredelie it seekes to murther them.

And if by some speciall grace of God they seeme for
a while free from these daungers, they have some
povertie that troubles them, some domesticall debate
that torments them, or some familiar spirit
that tempts them: brieflie the world dayly in some sorte C3r
sorte or other makes it selfe felt of them. But the
worst is, when we are out of these externall warres
and troubles, we finde greater civill warre within our
selves: the flesh against the spirit, passion against reason,
earth against heaven, the worlde within us fighting
for the world, evermore so lodged in the botome of our
owne hearts, that on no side we can flie from it. I will
say more: he makes profession to flie the worlde: who
seekes thereby the praise of the worlde: hee faineth to
runne away, who according to the proverbe, By drawing
backe sets himselfe forward: he refuseth honors, that
would thereby be prayed to take them: and hides him
from men to the ende they should come to seeke him.
So the world often harbours in disguised attire among
them that flie the world. This is an abuse. But follow
wee the company of men, the worlde hath his court among
them: seeke we the Deserts, it hath there his
dennes and places of resorte, and iin the Desert it selfe
tempteth Christ Jesus. Retire wee our selves into our
selves, we find it there as uncleane as anywhere. Wee
can not make the worlde die in us, but by dieng our
selves. We are in the world, and the worlde in us, and
to seperate us from the worlde, wee must seperate us
from our selves. Nowe this seperation is called Death.
Wee are, wee thinke, come out of the contagious citie,
but wee are not advised that we have sucked the bad
aire, that wee carry the plague with us, that we so participate
with it, that through rockes, through desarts,
through mountaines, it ever accompanieth us.
Having avoyded the contagion of others, yet we have it
in our selves. We have withdrawen us out of men: but
not withdrawen man out of us. The tempestuous sea
torments us: we are grieved at the heart, and desirous to
vomit: and to be discharged thereof, we remove out of
one ship into another, from a greater to lesse: we promise
our selves rest in vaine: they being always the same C3 windes C3v
winds that blow, the same waves that swel, the same humors
that are stirred. To al no other port, no other mean
of tranquilitie but only death. We were sicke in a chamber
neere the street, or neere the market: we caused our
selves to be carried into some backer closet, where the
noise was not so great. But though there the noise was
lesse: yet was the feaver there neverthelesse: and thereby
lost nothing of his heate. Change bedde, chamber,
house, country, againe and againe: we shall every where
finde the same unrest, because every where we finde our
selves: and seek not so much to be others, as to be other
wheres. We folow solitarines, to flie carefulnnes. We retire
us (so say we) from the wicked: but cary with us our
avarice, our ambition, our riotousnes, all our corrupt affectiōons:
which breed in us 1000. remorses, & 1000. times
each day briing to our remembrance the garlike & onions
of Egipt. Daily they passe the Ferry with us: so that
both on this side, and beyond the water, we are in continual
combat. Now could we cassere this cōompany, which
eats and gnaws our mind, doubtles we should be at rest,
not in solitarines onely, but even in the thicket of men.
For the life of māan upon earth is but a continual warfare.
Are we delivered from externall practizes? Wee are to
take heed of internall espials. Are the Greekes gone away?
We have a Sinon within, that wil betray them the
place. Wee must ever be waking, having an eie to the
watch, and weapons in our hands, if wee will not every
houre be surprised, & given up to the wil of our enimies.
And how at last can we escape? Not by the woodes, by
the rivers, nor by the mountaines: not by throwing our
selves into a presse, nor by thrusting our selves into a
hole. One only meane there is, which is death: which in
ende seperating our spirite from our flesh, the pure and
clean part of our soule from the uncleane, which within
us evermore bandeth it selfe for the worlde, appeaseth
by this seperation that, which conjoyned in one and the same C4r
same person coulde not, without utter choaking of the
spirit, but be in perpetuall contention.

And as touching the contentment that may be in
the exercises of the wisest men in their solitarinesse, as
reading divine or prophane Bookes, with all other
knowledges and learnings: I hold well that it is indeed
a far other thing, then are those madde huntings, which
make savage a multitude of men possessed with these or
the like diseases of the minde. Yet must they all abide
the judgement pronounced by the wisest among the
wise, Salomon, that all this neverthelesse applied to
tomans naturall disposition, is to him but vanitie and
vexation of minde. Some are ever learning to correct
their speach, and never thinke of correcting their life.
Others dispute in their Logique of reason, and the Arte
of reason: and loose thereby many times their naturall
reason. One learnes by Arithmetike to divide to the
smallest fractions, and hath not skill to part one shilling
with his brother. Another by Geometry can measure
fields, and townes, and countries: but can not measure
himselfe. The Musitian can accord his voyces, and
soundes, and times togither: having nothing in his heart
but discordes, nor one passion in his soule in good tune.
The Astrologer lookes up on high, and falles in the next
ditch: fore-knowes the future, and forgoes the present:
hath often his eie on the heavens, his heart long before
buried in the earth. The Philosopher discourseth of
the nature of all other things: and knowes not himselfe.
The Historian can tell of the warres of Thebes and of
Troy: but what is doone in his owne house can tell nothing.
The Lawyer will make lawes for all the world,
and not one for himselfe. The Physition will cure others,
and be blinde in his owne disease: finde the
least alteration in his pulse, and not marke the burning
feavers of his minde. Lastlie, the Divine will
spend the greatest parte of his time in disputing of faith, C4v
faith and cares not to heare of charity: wil talke of God,
and not regard to succor men. These knowledges bring
on the mind an endlesse labour, but no contentment:
for the more one knowes, the more he would know.

They pacify not the debates a man feeles in himselfe
they cure not the diseases of his minde. They make him
learned, but they make not him good: cunning, but not
wise. I say more. The more a man knowes, the more
knowes he that he knowes not: the fuller the minde is,
the emptier it findes it selfe: forasmuch as whatsoever a
man can knowe of any science in this worlde is but the
least part of what he is ignorant: all his knowledge consisting
in knowing his ignorance, al his perfection in noting
his imperfections, which who best knowes and
notes, is in truth among men the most wise, and perfect.
In short we must conclude with Salomon, that the beginning
and end of wisedome is the feare of God: that this
wisedome neuuverthelesse is taken of the world for meere
folly, and persecuted by the world as a deadly enemy:
and that as who feareth God, ought to feare no evill, for
that all his evils are converted to his good: so neither
ought he to hope for good in the worlde, having there
the devil his professed enemy, whom the Scripture termeth
Prince of the world.

But with what exercise soever we passe the time, behold
old age unwares to us coms upon us: which whether
we thrust our selves iinto the prease of men, or hide
us somewhere out of the way, never failes to find us out.
Every man makes accompt in that age to rest himselfe
of all his travailes without further care, but to keepe
himselfe at ease and in health. And see contrariwise in
this age, there is nothing but an after taste of all the fore
going evils: and most commonly a plentifull harvest of
all such vices as in the whole course of their life, hath
held and possessed them. There you have the unabilitie
and weakenesse of infancie, and (which is worse) many D1r
many times accompanied with authoritie: there you
are payed for the excesse and riotousnes of youth, with
gowts, palsies, and such like diseases, which take from
you limme after limme with extreame paine and torment.
There you are recompenced for the travailes of
mind, the watchings and cares of manhoode, with losse
of sight, losse of hearing, and all the sences one after another,
except onely the sence of paine. Not one parte
in us but death takes in gage to be assured of us, as of
bad pay-maisters, which infinitely feare their dayes of
payment. Nothing in us which will not by and by bee
dead: and neverthelesse our vices yet live in us, and not
onely live, but in despite of nature daily growe yoong
againe. The covetous man hath one foote in his grave,
and is yet burieng his money: meaning belike to finde
it againe another day. The ambitious in his will ordaineth
unprofitable pompes for his funeralles, making his
vice to live and triumph after his death. The riotous
no longer able to daunce on his feete, daunceth with
his shoulders, all vices having lefte him, and hee not
yet able to leave them. The childe wisheth for youth:
and this man laments it. The yong man liveth in hope
of the future, and this feeles the evill present, laments
the false pleasures past, and sees for the time to come
nothing to hope for. More foolish then the childe, in
bewailing the time he cannot recall, and not remembring
the evill hee had therein: and more wretched
then the yongman, in that after a wretched life not able,
but wretchedly to die, he sees on all sides but matter of
dispaire. As for him, who from his youth hath undertaken
to combate against the flesh, and against the world:
who hath taken so great paines to mortifie himselfe and
leave the worlde before his time: who besides those ordinarie
evilles findes himselfe vexed with this great and
inncurable disease of olde age, and feeles notwithstanding
his flesh howe weake soever, stronger oftentimes D then D1v
then his spirite: what good I pray can hee have buut onlie
herein: that hee sees his death at hand, that hee
sees his combate finished, that he sees himselfe readie
to departe by death ouut of this loathsome prison,
wherein all his life time hee hath beene racked and tormented?
I will not heere speake of the infinite evilles
wherewith men in all ages are annoyed, as losse of
friendes and parents, banishments, exiles, disgraces,
and such others, common and ordinarie in the world:
one complayning of loosing his children, an other of
having them: one making sorrow for his wifes death,
an other for her life, one finding faulte, the hee is
too high in Courte, an other, that hee is not high enough.
The worlde is so full of evilles, that to write
them all, woulde require an other worlde as great as
it selfe. Sufficeth, that if the most happie in mens opinions
doe counterpoize his happs with his mishaps,
he shall judge himselfe unhappy: and hee judge him
happy, who had he beene set three dayes in his place
would give it over to him that came next: yea, sooner
then hee, who shall consider in all the goodes that
ever hee hath had the evilles hee hath endured to get
them, and having them to retaine and keepe them (I
speake of the pleasures that may be kept, and not of
those that wither in a moment) wil judge of himselfe,
and by himselfe, that the keeping it selfe of the greatest
felicitie in this worlde, is full of unhappinesse and infelicitie.
Conclude then, that Childhoode is but a
foolish simplicitie, Youth, a vaine heate, Manhoode,
a painefull carefulnesse, and Olde-age, a noysome languishing:
that our playes are but teares, our pleasures,
fevers of the minde, our goodes, rackes, and torments,
our honors, heavy vanities, our rest, unrest: that passing
from age to age is but passing from evill to evill, and
from the lesse unto the greater: and that alwayes it is
but one wave driving on an other, untill we be arrived at D2r
at the Haven of death. Conclude I say, that life is but a
wishing for the future, and a bewailing of the past: a
loathing of what wee have tasted, and a longing for that
wee have not tasted, a vaine memorie of the state past,
and a doubtfull expectation of the state to come: finally,
that in all our life there is nothing certaine, nothing
assured, but the certaintie and uncertaintie of death.
Behold, now comes Death unto us: Behold her, whose
approch we so much fear. We are now to cōonsider whether
she be such as wee are made beleeve: and whether
we ought so greatly to flie her, as commonly wee do.
Wee are afraide of her: but like little children of a vizarde,
or of the Images of Hecate. Wee have her in
horror: but because wee conceive her not such as she is,
but ougly, terrible, and hideous: such as it pleaseth the
Painters to represent unto us on a wall. Wee flie before
her: but it is because foretaken with such vaine imaginations,
wee give not our selves leisure to marke her.
But staie wee, stande wee stedfast, looke wee her in
the face: wee shall finde her quite other then shee is
painted us: and altogether of other countentaunce then
our miserable life. Death makes an ende of this life.
This life is a perpetuall misery and tempest: Death
then is the issue of our miseries and entraunce of the
porte where wee shall ride in safetie from all windes.
And shoulde wee feare that which withdraweth us
from misery, or which drawes us into our Haven?
Yea but you will say, it is a payne to die. Admit it
bee: so is there in curing of a wounde. Such is the
worlde, that one evill can not bee cured but by an other,
to heale a contusion, must bee made an incision.
You will say, there is difficultie in the passage: So is
there no Haven, no Porte, whereinto the entraunce
is not straite and combersome. No good thing is to
be bought in this worlde with other then the coyne of
labour and paine. The entraunce indeede is hard, if D2 our D2v
our selves make it harde, comming thither with a tormented
spirite, a troubled minde, a wavering and
irresolute thought. But bring wee quietnesse of minde,
constancie, and full resolution, wee shall not finde anie
daunger or difficultie at all. Yet what is the paine
that death brings us? Nay, what can shee doe with those
paines wee feele? Wee accuse her of all the evilles
wee abide in ending our life, and consider not howe
manie more greevous woundes or sickenesses wee
have endured without death: or howe many more
vehement paines wee have suffered in this life, in the
which wee called even her to our succour. All the
paines our life yeeldes us at the last houre wee impute
to Death: not marking that life begunne and
continued in all sortes of paine, must also necessarily
ende in paine. Not marking (I saie) that it is the remainder
of our life, not death, that tormenteth us:
the ende of our navigation that paines us, not the
Haven wee are to enter: which is nothing else but
a safegarde against all windes. Wee complayne of
Death, where wee shoulde complayne of life: as if
one havyng beene long sicke, and beginning to bee
well, shoulde accuse his health of his last paynes,
and not the reliques of his disease. Tell mee, what
is it else to bee dead, but to bee no more living in
the worlde? Absolutelie and simplie not to bee in
the worlde, is it anie payne? Did wee then feele any
paine, when as yet wee were not? Have wee ever
more resemblaunce of Death, then when wee sleepe?
Or ever more rest then at that time? Now if this be no
paine, why accuse we Death of the paines our life gives
us at our departure? Unlesse also we wil fondly accuse
the time when as yet we were not, of the paines we felt at
our birth ¿? If the comming in be with teares, is it wonder
that such be the going out? If the beginning of our
being, be the beginning of our paine, is it marvell that such D3r
such be the ending? But if our not being in times past
hath bene without payne, and all this being contrarywise
full of paine: whome should we by reason accuse
of the last paines, the not being to come, or the remnant
of this present being? We thinke we dye not, but when
we yeeld up our last gaspe. But if we marke well, we
dye every day, every houre, every moment. We apprehend
death as a thing unusuall to us: and yet have
nothing so common in us. Our living is but continuall
dyeng: looke how much we live, we dye: how much we
encrease, our life decreases. We enter not a step into
life, but we enter a step into death. Who hath lived a
third part of his yeares, hath a third part of himselfe
dead. Who halfe his yeares, is already half dead. Of our
life, all the time past is dead, the present lives and dies
at once, and the future likewise shall dye. The past is
no more, the future is not yet, the present is, and no
more is. Briefely, this whole life is but a death: it is as
a candle lighted in our bodies: in one the winde makes
it melt away, and in an other blowes it cleane out, many
times ere it be halfe burned: in others it endureth to
the ende. Howsoever it be, looke how much it shineth,
so much it burneth: her shining is her burning: her
light a vanishing smoke: her last fire, hir last wike, and
her last drop of moisture. So is it in the life of man, life
and death in man is all one. If we call the last breath
death, so must we all the rest: all proceeding from one
place, and all in one manner. One only difference there
is betweene this life, and that we call death: that during
the one, we have alwayes wherof to dye: and after the
other, there remaineth only wherof to live. In summe,
even he that thinketh death simply to be the ende of
man, ought not to feare it: in asmuch as who desireth
to live longer, desireth to die longer: and who feareth
soone to die, feareth (to speake properlie) lest he may
not longer die.

D3 But D3v

But unto us brought up in a more holy schoole, death
is a farre other thing: neither neede we as the Pagans of
consolations against death: but that death serve us, as a
consolation against all sorts of affliction: so that we
must not only strengthen our selves, as they, not to feare
it, but accustome ourselves to hope for it. For unto us it
is not a departing frōom pain & evil, but an accesse unto all
good: not the end of life, but the end of death, & the beginning
of life. Better, saith Salomon, is the day of death,
then the day of birth, and why? because it is not to us a
last day, but the dawning of an everlasting day. No more
shall we have in that glorious light, either sorow for the
past, or expectation of the future: for all shall be there
present unto us, and that present shall never more passe.
No more shal we powre out our selves in vaine & painfull
pleasures: for we shal be filled with true & substantiall
pleasures. No more shal we paine our selves in heaping
togither these exhalatiōons of the earth: for the heavens
shall be ours, and this masse of earth, which ever
drawes us towards the earth, shal be buried in the earth.
No more shal we overwearie our selves with mounting
from degree to degree, and from honor to honor: for we
shall highlie be raysed above all heights of the world;
and from on high laugh at the folly of all those we once
admired, who fight together for a point, and as litle
childrēen for lesse then an apple. No more to be brief shal
we have combates in our selves: for our flesh shall be
dead, and our spirit in full life: our passion buried, and
our reason in perfect libertie. Our soule delivered out
of this foule & filthie prison, where, by long continuing
it is growen into an habite of crookednes, shall againe
draw her owne breath, recognize her ancient dwelling,
and againe remember her former glory & dignity. This
flesh my frend which thou feelest, this body which thou
touchest is not man: Man is from heaven: heaven is his
countrie and his aire. That he is in his body, is but by
way of exile & confinement. Man in deed is soule and spirit: D4r
spirit: Man is rather of celestiall and divine qualitie,
wherin is nothing grosse nor materiall. This body such
as now it is, is but the barke & shell of the soule: which
must necessarily be broken, if we will be hatched: if we
wil indeed live & see the light. We have it semes, some
life, and some sence in us: but are so croked and contracted,
that we cannot so much as stretch out our wings,
much lesse take our flight towards heaven, untill we be
disburthened of this earthlie burthen. We looke, but
through false spectacles: we have eyes but overgrowen
with pearles: we thinke we see, but it is in a dreame,
wherin we see nothing but deceit. All that we have, and
all that we know is but abuse and vanitie. Death only
can restore us both life and light: and we thinke (so
blockish we are) that she comes to robbe us of them.
We say we are Christians: that we beleeve after this
mortall, a life immortall: that death is but a separation
of the body and soule: and that the soule returnes to his
happie abode, there to joy in God, who only is all good:
that at the last day it shall againe take the body, which
shal no more be subject to corruptiōon. With these goodly
discourses we fill all our bookes: and in the meane
while, whēen it comes to the point, the very name of death
as the horriblest thing in the world makes us quake &
tremble. If we beleve as we speak, what is that we feare?
to be happy? to be at our ease? to be more content in a
momēent, then we might be in the longest mortal life that
might be? or must not we of force confesse, that we beleve
it but in part? that all we have is but words? that
all our discourses, as of these hardie trencher knights,
are but vaunting and vanitie? Some you shall see,
that wil say: I know well that I passe out of this life into
a better: I make no doubt of it: only I feare the midway
step, that I am to step over. Weak harted creatures!
they wil kill thēemselves to get their miserable living: suffer
infinite paines, and infinite wounds at another mans
pleasure: passe infinit deaths without dying, for things of D4v
of nought, for things that perish, and perchance make
them perish with them. But when they have but one
pace to passe to be at rest, not for a day, but for ever:
not an indifferent rest, but such as mans minde cannot
comprehende: they tremble, their harts faile them,
they are affrayde: and yet the ground of their harme
is nothing but feare. Let them never tell me, they apprehend
the paine: it is but an abuse: a purpose to conceale
the litle faith they have. No, no, they would rather
languish of the goute, the sciatica, any disease
whatsoever: then dye one sweete death with the least
paine possible: rather pininglie dye limme after limme,
outliving as it were, all their sences, motions, and actions,
then speedily dye, immediatly to live for ever. Let
them tell me no more that they would in this world
learne to live: for every one is thereunto sufficiently
instructed in himselfe, and not one but is cunning in the
trade. Nay rather they should learne in this world to
dye: and once to dye well, dye dayly in themselves: so
prepared, as if the ende of every dayes worke, were the
ende of our life. Now contrarywise there is nothing to
their eares more offensive, then to heare of death. Senselesse
people! we abandon our life to the ordinarie hazards
of warre, for seaven franks pay: are formost in an
assault, for a litle bootie: goe into places, whence there
is no hope of returning, with danger many times both
of bodies and soules. But to free us from all hazards,
to winne things inestimable, to enter an eternall life,
we faint in the passage of one pace, wherein is no difficultie,
but in opinion: yea we so faint, that were it not
of force we must passe, and that God in despite of us
will doe us a good turne, hardly should we finde in all
the world one, how unhappy or wretched soever, that
would ever passe. Another will say, had I lived till
50. or 60. yeares, I should have bin contented: I should
not have cared to live longer: but to dye so yong is no reason. E1r
reason. I should have knowen the world before I had
left it. Simple soule! in this world there is neither
young nor olde. The longest age in comparison of all
that is past, or all that is to come, is nothing: and when
thou hast lived to the age thou now desirest, all the past
will be nothing: thou wilt still gape, for that is to come.
The past will yeeld thee but sorrowe, the future but
expectation, the present no contentment. As ready
thou wilt then be to redemaund longer respite, as before.
Thou fliest thy creditor from moneth to moneth,
and time to time, as readie to pay the last daye, as the
first: thou seekest but to be acquitted. Thou hast tasted
all which the world esteemeth pleasures: not one of
them is new unto thee. By drinking oftener, thou shalt
be never awhit the more satisfyed: for the body thou
cariest, like the bored paile of Danaus daughters, will
never be full. Thou mayst sooner weare it out, then
weary thy selfe with using, or rather abusing it. Thou
cravest long life to cast it away, to spend it on worthles
delights, to mispend it on vanities. Thou art covetous
in desiring, and prodigall in spending. Say not thou
findest fault with the Court, or the Pallace: but that
thou desirest longer to serve the commonwealth, to
serve thy countrie, to serve God. He that set thee on
worke knowes untill what day, and what houre, thou
shouldest be at it: he well knowes how to direct his
worke. Should he leave thee there longer, perchance
thou wouldest marre all. But if he will pay thee liberally
for thy labour, as much for halfe a dayes worke, as
for a whole: as much for having wrought till noone, as
for having borne all the heate of the day: are thou not
so much the more to thanke and prayse him? but if
thou examine thine owne consience, thou lamentest
not the cause of the widdow, and the orphan, which
thou hast left depending in judgement: not the dutie E of E1v
of a sonne, of a father, or of a frend, which thou pretendest
thou wouldest performe: not the ambassage for
the common wealth, which thou wert even ready to
undertake: not the service thou desirest to doe unto
God, who knowes much better howe to serve himselfe
of thee, then thou of thy selfe. It is thy houses
and gardens thou lamentest, thy imperfect plottes
and purposes, thy life (as thou thinkest) imperfect:
which by no dayes, nor yeares, nor ages, might be
perfected: and yet thy selfe mightst perfect in a moment,
couldest thou but thinke in good earnest, that
where it ende it skilles not, so that it end well.

Now to end well this life, is onely to ende it willingly:
following with full consent the will and direction
of God, and not suffering us to be drawen by the necessitie
of destenie. To end it willingly, we must hope,
and not feare death. To hope for it, we must certainely
looke after this life, for a better life. To looke for
that, wee must feare God: whome whoso well feareth,
feareth indeede nothing in this worlde, and hopes for
all things in the other. To one well resolved in these
points death can be but sweete and agreeable: knowing
that through it hee is to enter into a place of all joyes.
The griefe that may be therein shall bee allaied with
sweetnes: the sufferance of ill, swallowed in the confidence
of good: the sting of Death it selfe shall bee
dead, which is nothing else but Feare. Nay, I wil say
more, not onely all the evilles conceived in death shall
be to him nothing: but he shall even scorne all the mishappes
men redoubt in this life, and laugh at all these
terrors. For I pray what can he feare, whose death is his
hope? Thinke we to banish him his country? He knows
he hath a country other-where, whence wee cannot banish
him: and that all these countries are but Innes, out
of which he must part at the wil of his hoste. To put him in E2r
in prison? a more straite prison he cannot have, then his
owne body, more filthy, more darke, more full of rackes
and torments. To kill him and take him out of the
worlde? that is it he hopes for: that is it with all his
heart he aspires unto. By fire, by sworde, by famine, by
sickenesse: within three yeeres, within three dayes,
within three houres, all is one to him: all is one at what
gate, or at what time he passe out of this miserable
life. For his businesses are ever ended, his affaires
all dispatched, and by what way he shall go out, by
the same hee shall enter into a most happie and everlasting
life. Men can threaten him but death,
and death is all he promiseth himselfe: the worst they
can doe, is, to make him die, and that is the best hee
hopes for. The threatnings of tyrants are to him promises,
the swordes of his greatest enemies drawne in his favor:
forasmuch as he knowes that threatning him death,
they threathen him life: and the most mortall woundes
can make him but immortall. Who feares God, feares
not death: and who feares it not, feares not the worst of
this life.

By this reckoning, you will tell me death is a thing to
be wished for: and to passe from so much evill, to so
much good, a man shoulde as it seemeth cast away his
life. Surely, I feare not, that for any good wee expect,
we will hasten one step the faster: though the spirite aspire,
the body it drawes with it, withdrawes it ever sufficiently
towardes the earth. Yet is it not that I conclude.
We must seeke to mortifie our flesh in us, and to
cast the world out of us: but to cast our selves out of the
world is in no sort permitted us. The Christian ought
willingly to depart out of this life but not cowardly to
runne away. The Christian is ordained by God to
fight therein: and cannot leave his place without incurring
reproch and infamie. But if it please the grande E2 Captaine E2v
Captaine to recall him, let him take the retrait in
good part, and with good will obey it. For hee is not
borne for himselfe, but for God: of whome he holdes
his life at farme, as his tenant at will, to yeeld him the
profites. It is in the landlord to take it from him, not in
him to surrender it, when a conceit takes him. Diest
thou yong? praise God as the mariner that hath had
a good winde, soone to bring him to Porte. Diest
thou olde? praise him likewise, for if thou hast had lesse
winde, it may be thou hast also had lesse waves. But
thinke not at thy pleasure to go faster or softer: for the
winde is not in thy power, and in steede of taking the
shortest way to the Haven, thou maiest happily suffer
shipwracke. God calleth home from his worke, one in
the morning, an other at noone, and an other at night.
One he exerciseth til the first sweate, another he sunneburneth,
another he rosteth and drieth throughly. But
of all his he leaves not one without, but brings them all
to rest, and gives them all their hire, every one in his
time. Who leaves his worke before God call him, looses
it: and who importunes him before the time, looses
his reward. We must rest us in his will, who in the middest
of our troubles sets us at rest.

To ende, we ought neither to hate this life for the
toiles therein, for it is slouth and cowardise: nor
love it for the delights, which is follie and vanitie: but
serve us of it, to serve God in it, who after it shall
place us in true quietnesse, and replenish us with
pleasures whiche shall never more perish. Neyther
ought we to flye death, for it is childish to feare it:
and in flieng from it, wee meete it. Much lesse to
seeke it, for that is temeritie: nor every one that would
die, can die. As much despaire in the one, as cowardise in
the other: in neither any kinde of magnanimitie. It is
enough that we constantly and continually waite for her comming, E3r
comming, that shee may never finde us unprovided.
For as there is nothing more certaine then death, so is
there nothing more uncertaine then the houre of death,
knowen onlie to God, the onlie Author of life
and death, to whom wee all ought endevour
both to live
and die.

Die to live,
Live to die.