The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

A good inheritance

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Gary Brady gives us the meditations that Anne Bradstreet (more here) passed on to her second son, Simon, in 1664:

I. There is no object that we see; no action that we doe; no good that we injoy; no evill that we feele or feare, but we may make some spiritu(a)ll, advantage of all: and he that makes such improvement is wise as well as pious.

II. Many can speak well, but few can do well. We are better Scholars in the Theory then the practique part, but he is a true Christian that is a proficient in both.

III. Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending; a negligent youth is usually attended by an ignorant middle age, and both by an empty old age. He that hath nothing to feed on but vanity and lyes must needs lye down in the Bed of Sorrow.

IV. A ship that beares much saile, and little or no ballast, is easily overset; and that man, whose head hath great abilities, and his heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering.

V. It is reported of the peakcock that, prideing himself in his gay feathers, he ruffles them up; but, spying his black feet, he soon lets fall his plumes, so he that glorys in his gifts and adornings should look upon his Corruptions, and that will damp his high thoughts.

VI. The finest bread hath the least bran; the purest hony, the least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self love. [I guess she would have known that sincere means literally without wax].

VII. The hireling that labors all the day, comforts himself that when night comes he shall both take his rest and receive his reward; the painfull Christian that hath wrought hard in God’s vineyard, and hath born the heat and drought of the day, when he perceives his sun apace to decline, and the shadows of his evening to be stretched out, lifts up his head with joy, knowing his refreshing is at hand.

VIII. Downny beds make drosey persons, but hard lodging keeps the eyes open. A prosperous state makes a secure Christian, but adversity makes him Consider.

IX. Sweet words are like hony, a little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach.

X. Diverse children have their different natures; some are like flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar: those parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their Nature.

XI. That town which thousands of enemys without hath not been able to take, hath been delivered up by one traytor within; and that man, which all the temptations of Sathan without could not hurt, hath been foild by one lust within.

XII. Authority without wisdome is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.

XIII. The reason why Christians are so both to exchange this world for a better, is because they have more sence than faith: they se what they injoy, they do but hope for that which is to come.

XIV. If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes tast of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

XV. A low man can goe upright under that door wher a taller is glad to stoop; so a man of weak faith, and mean abilities may undergo a crosse more patiently than he that excells him, both in gifts and graces.

XVI. That house which is not often swept, makes the cleanly inhabitant soone loath it, and that heart which is not continually purifieing itself, is no fit temple for the spirit of God to dwell in.

XVII. Few men are so humble as not to be proud of their abilitys; and nothing will abase them more than this—What hast thou, but what thou hast received? Come, give an account of thy stewardship.

XVIII. He that will undertake to climb up a steep mountain with a great burden on his back, will finde it a wearysome, if not an impossible task; so he that thinks to mount to heaven clog’d with the Cares and riches of this Life, ’tis no wonder if he faint by the way.

XIX. Corne, till it has passed through the Mill and been ground to powder, is not fit for bread. God so deales with his servants: he grindes them with grief and pain till they turn to dust, and then are they fit manchet for his Mansion.

XX. God hath sutable comforts and supports for his children according to their severall conditions if he will make his face to shine upon them: he then makes them lye down in green pastures, and leads them beside the still waters: if they stick in deepe mire and clay, and all his waves and billows goe over their heads, He then leads them to the Rock which is higher than they.

XXI. He that walks among briars and thorns will be very carefull where he sets his foot. And he that passes through the wilderness of this world, had need ponder all his steps.

XXII. Want of prudence, as well as piety, hath brought men into great inconveniencys; but he that is well stored with both, seldom is so insnared.

XXIII. The skillfull fisher hath his severall baits for severall fish, but there is a hooke under all; Satan, that great Angler, hath his sundry bait for sundry tempers of men, which they all catch gredily at, but few perceives the hook till it be too late.

XXIV. There is no new thing under the sun, there is nothing that can be sayd or done, but either that or something like it hath been both done and sayd before.

XXV. An akeing head requires a soft pillow; and a drooping heart a strong support.

XXVI. A sore finger may disquiet the whole body, but an ulcer within destroys it: so an enemy without may disturb a Commonwealth, but dissentions within overthrow it.

XXVII. It is a pleasant thing to behold the light, but sore eyes are not able to look upon it; the pure in heart shall see God, but the defiled in conscience shall rather choose to be buried under rocks and mountains then to behold the presence of the Lamb.

XXVIII. Wisedome with an inheritance is good, but wisedome without an inheritance is better then an inheritance without wisedome.

XXIX. Lightening doth generally preceed thunder, and stormes, raine; and stroaks do not often fall till after threat’ning.

XXX. Yellow leaves argue the want of Sap, and gray haires want of moisture; so dry and saplesse performances are symptoms of little spirituall vigor.

XXXI. Iron till it be thoroughly heat is uncapable to be wrought; so God sees good to cast some men into the furnace of affliction, and then beats them on his anvile into what frame he pleases.

XXXII. Ambitious men are like hops that never rest climbing soe long as they have anything to stay upon; but take away their props and they are, of all, the most dejected.

XXXIII. Much Labour wearys the body, and many thoughts oppresse the minde: man aimes at profit by the one, and content in the other; but often misses of both, and findes nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit.

XXXIV. Dimne eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short-sightednes, in those that are eyes of a Republique, foretells a declineing State.

XXXV. We read in Scripture of three sorts of Arrows—the arrow of an enemy, the arrow of pestilence, and the arrow of a slanderous tongue; the two first kill the body, the last the good name; the two former leave a man when he is once dead, but the last mangles him in his grave.

XXXVI. Sore labourers have hard hands, and old sinners have brawnie consciences.

XXXVII. Wickednes comes to its height by degrees. He that dares say of a lesse sin, is it not a little one? will ere long say of a greater, Tush, God regards it not!

XXXVIII. Some Children are hardly weaned, although the breast be rub’d with wormwood or mustard, they will either wipe it off, or else suck down sweet and bitter together; so is it with some Christians, let God embitter all the sweets of this life, that so they might feed upon more substantiall food, yet they are so childishly sottish that they are still huging and sucking these empty brests, that God is forced to hedg up their way with thornes, or lay affliction on their loynes, that so they might shake hands with the world before it bid them farewell.

XXXIX. A Prudent mother will not clothe her little childe with a long and cumbersome garment; she easily forsees what events it is like to produce, at the best but falls and bruises, or perhaps somewhat worse, much more will the alwise God proportion his dispensations according to the Stature and Strength of the person he bestows them on. Larg indowments of honor, wealth, or a helthfull body would quite overthrow some weak Christian, therefore God cuts their garments short, to keep them in such trim that they might run the wayes of his Commandment.

XL. The spring is a lively emblem of the resurrection. After a long winter we se the leavlesse trees and dry stocks (at the approach of the sun) to resume their former vigor and beauty in a more ample manner then what they lost in the Autumn; so shall it be at that great day after a long vacation, when the Sun of righteousness shall appear, those dry bones shall arise in far more glory then that which they lost at their creation, and in this transcends the spring, that their leafe shall never faile, nor their sap decline.

XLI. A Wise father will not lay a burden on a child of seven yeares old, which he knows is enough for one of twice his strength, much less will our heavenly father (who knows our mould) lay such afflictions upon his weak children as would crush them to the dust, but according to the strength he will proportion the load, as God hath his little children so he hath his strong men, such as are come to a full stature in Christ; and many times he imposes waighty burdens on their shoulders, and yet they go upright under them, but it matters not whether the load be more or less if God afford his help.

XLII.  I have seen an end of all perfection (sayd the royall prophet); but he never sayd, I have seen an end of all sinning: what he did say, may be easily sayd by many; but what he did not say, cannot truly be uttered by any.

XLIII.  Fire hath its force abated by water, not by wind; and anger must be alayed by cold words, and not by blustering threats.

XLIV. A sharp appetite and a thorough concoction, is a signe of an healthfull body; so a quick reception, and a deliberate cogitation, argues a sound mind.

XLV. We often se stones hang with drops, not from any innate moisture, but from a thick ayer about them; so may we sometime se marble- hearted sinners seem full of contrition; but it is not from any dew of grace within, but from some black Clouds that impends them, which produces these sweating effects.

XLVI. The words of the wise, sath Solomon, are as nailes and as goads both used for contrary ends—the one holds fast, the other puts forward; such should be the precepts of the wise masters of assemblys to their hearers, not only to bid them hold fast the form of sound Doctrin, but also, so to run that they might obtain.

XLVII. A shadow in the parching sun, and a shelter in the blustering storme, are of all seasons the most welcome; so a faithfull friend in time of adversity, is of all other most comfortable.

XLVIII. There is nothing admits of more admiration, then God’s various dispensation of his gifts among the sons of men, betwixt whom he hath put so vast a disproportion that they scarcely seem made of the same lump, or sprung out of the loynes of one Adam; some set in the highest dignity that mortality is capable of; and some again so base, that they are viler then the earth; some so wise and learned, that they seem like Angells among men; and some again so ignorant and Sotish, that they are more like beasts then men: some pious saints; some incarnate Devils; some exceeding beautyfull; and some extreamly deformed; some so strong and healthfull that their bones are full of marrow; and their breasts of milk; and some again so weak and feeble, that, while they live, they are accounted among the dead—and no other reason can be given of all this, but so it pleased him, whose will is the perfect rule of righteousness.

XLIX. The treasures of this world may well be compared to huskes, for they have no kernell in them, and they that feed upon them, may soon stuffe their throats, but cannot fill their bellys; they may be choaked by them, but cannot be satisfied with them.

L. Sometimes the sun is only shadowed by a cloud that wee cannot se his luster, although we may walk by his light, but when he is set we are in darkness till he arise again; so God doth sometime vaile his face but for a moment, that we cannot behold the light of his Countenance as at some other time, yet he affords so much light as may direct our way, that we may go forward to the Citty of habitation, but when he seems to set and be quite gone out of sight, then must we needs walk in darkness and se no light, yet then must we trust in the Lord, and stay upon our God, and when the morning (which is the appointed time) is come, the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.

LI. The eyes and the eares are the inlets or doores of the soule, through which innumerable objects enter, yet is not that spacious roome filled, neither doth it ever say it is enough, but like the daughters of the horsleach, crys, give, give! and which is most strang, the more it receives, the more empty it finds itself, and sees an impossibility, ever to be filled, but by Him in whom all fullness dwells.

LII. Had not the wisest of men taught us this lesson, that all is vanity and vexation of spirit, yet our owne experience would soon have speld it out; for what do we obtain of all these things, but it is with labour and vexation? When we injoy them it is with vanity and vexation; and, if we loose them, then they are lesse then vanity and more then vexation.: so that we have good cause often to repeat that sentence, vanity of vanityes, vanity of vanityes, all is vanity.

LIII. He that is to saile into a farre country, although the ship, cabbin and provision, be all convenient and comfortable for him, yet he hath no desire to make that his place of residence, but longs to put in at that port where his bussines lyes; a Christian is sailing through this world unto his heavenly country, and heere he hath many conveniences and comforts; but he must beware of desire(ing) to make this the place of his abode, lest he meet with such tossings that may cause him to long for shore before he sees land. We must, therefore, be beer as strangers and pilgrims, that we may plainly declare that we seek a citty above, and wait all the dayes of our appointed time till our chang shall come.

LIV. He that never felt what it was to be sick or wounded, doth not much care for the company of the physitian or chirurgian; but if he perceive a malady that threatens him with death, he will gladly entertaine him, whom he slighted before: so he that never felt the sicknes of sin, nor the wounds of a guilty conscience, cares not how far he keeps from him that hath skill to cure it; but when he findes his diseases to disrest him, and that he must needs perish if he have no remedy, will unfeignedly bid him welcome that brings a plaister for his sore, or a cordiall for his fainting.

LV. We read of ten lepers that were cleansed, but of one that returned thanks: we are more ready to receive mercys than we are to acknowledg them: men can use great importunity when they are in distresses, and show great ingratitude after their successes; but he that ordereth his conversation aright, will glorifie him that heard him in the day of his trouble.

LVI. The remembrances of former deliverances is a great support in present distresses: he that delivered me, sath David, from the paw of the Lion and the paw of the Beare, will deliver mee from this uncircumcised Philistin; and he that hath delivered mee, saith Paul, will deliver mee: God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; we are the same that stand in need of him, to-day as well as yesterday, and so shall forever.

LVII. Great receipts call for great returnes; the more that any man is intrusted withall, the larger his accounts stands upon God’s score: it therefore behoves every man so to improve his talents, that when his great Master shall call him to reckoning he may receive his owne with advantage.

LVIII. Sin and shame ever goe together. He that would be freed from the last, must be sure to shun the company of the first.

LIX. God doth many times both reward and punish for the same action: as we see in Jehu, he is rewarded with a kingdome to the fourth generation, for takeing veangence on the house of Ahab; and yet a little while (saith God), and I will avenge the blood of Jezevel upon the house of Jehu: he was rewarded for the matter, and yet punished for the manner, which should warn him, that doth any speciall service for God, to fixe his eye on the command, and not on his own ends, lest he meet with Jehu’s reward, which will end in punishment.

LX. He that would be content with a mean condition, must not cast his eye upon one that is in a far better estate than himself, but let him look upon him that is lower than he is, and, if he see that such a one beares poverty comfortably, it will help to quiet him; but if that will not do, let him look on his owne unworthynes, and that will make him say with Jacob, I am lesse then the least of thy mercys.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 17 August 2010 at 21:07

Posted in Christian living

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  1. […] A good inheritance […]

    Life on the anvil « The Wanderer

    Saturday 21 August 2010 at 22:17

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