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when, as God knows, the cares that are the keys that keep those riches hang often so heavily at the rich man's girdle, that they clog him with weary days and restless nights, even when others sleep quietly. We see but the outside of the rich man's happiness : few consider him to be like the silk-worm, that, when she seems to play, is, at the very same time, spinning her own bowels, and consuming herself; and this many rich men do, loading themselves with corroding cares, to keep what they have, probably, unconscionably got. Let us, therefore, be thankful for health and a competence; and above all, for a quiet conscience.
Let me tell you, Scholar, that Diogenes walked on a day, with his friend, to see a country fair ; where he saw ribbons, and looking-glasses, and nut-crackers, and fiddles, and hobby-horses, and many other gimcracks; and, having observed them, and all the other finnimbruns that make a complete country-fair, he said to his friend, Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no need!' And truly it is so, or might be so, with very many who vex and toil themselves to get what they have no need of. Can any man charge God, that he hath not given him enough to make his life happy? No, doubtless; for nature is content with a little. And yet you shall hardly meet with a man that complains not of some want; though he, indeed, wants nothing but his will; it may be, nothing but his will of his poor neighbour, for not worshipping, or not flattering him : and thus, when we might be happy and quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. I have heard of a man that was angry with himself because he was no taller; and of a woman that broke her looking-glass because it would not show her face to be as young and handsome as her next neighbour's was. And I knew another to whom God had given health and plenty; but a wife that nature had made peevish, and her husband's riches had made purse-proud; and must, because she was rich, and for no other virtue, sit in the highest pew in the church; which being denied her, she engaged her husband into a contention for it, and at last into a law-suit with a dogged neighbour who was as rich as he, and had a wife as peevish and purse-proud as the other : and this law-suit begot higher oppositions, and actionable words, and more vexations and law-suits; for you must remember that both were rich, and must therefore have their wills. Well! this wilful, purse-proud law-suit lasted during the life of the first husband; after which his wife vext and chid, and chid and vext, till she also chid and vext herself into her grave : and so the wealth of these poor rich people was curst into a punishment, because they wanted meek and thankful hearts ; for those only can make us happy. I knew a man that had health and riches; and several houses, all beautiful, and ready furnished ; and would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to another : and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one house to another, replied, “It was to find content in some one of them.' But his friend, knowing his temper, told him, 'If he would find content in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him; for content will never dwell but in a meek and quiet soul.' And this may appear, if we read and consider what our Saviour says in St. Matthew's Gospel; for He there says,— Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And, Blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the earth. Not that the meek shall not also obtain mercy, and see God, and be comforted, and at last come to the kingdom of heaven : but in the meantime, he, and he only, possesses the earth, as he goes towards that kingdom of heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better ;. nor is vext when he sees others possest of more honour or more riches than his wise God has allotted for his share: but he possesses what he has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his very dreams pleasing, both to God and himself.
My honest Scholar, all this is told to incline you to thankfulness; and to incline you the more, let me tell you, and though the prophet David was guilty of murder and adultery, and many other of the most deadly sins, yet he was said to be a man after God's own heart, because he abounded more with thankfulness than any other that is mentioned in holy scripture, as may appear in his book of Psalms ; where there is such a commixture, of his confessing of his sins and unworthiness, and such thankfulness for God's pardon and mercies, as did make him to be accounted, even by God himself, to be a man after his own heart: and let us, in that, labour to be as like him as we can ; let not the blessings we receive daily from God make us not to value, or not praise him, because they be common ; let us not forget to praise him for the innocent mirth and pleasure we have met with since we met together. What would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, and meadows, and flowers, and fountains, that we have met with since we met together? I have been told, that if a man that was born blind could obtain to have his sight for but only one hour during his whole life, and should, at the first opening of his eyes, fix his sight upon the sun when it was in its full glory, either at the rising or setting of it, he would be so transported and amazed, and so admire the glory of it, that he would not willingly turn his eyes from that first ravishing object, to behold all the other various beauties this world could present to him. And this, and many other like blessings, we enjoy daily. And for most of them, because they be so common, most men forget to pay their praises : but let not us; because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him that made that sun and us, and still protects us, and gives us flowers, and showers, and stomachs, and meat, and content, and leisure to go a-fishing
Well, Scholar, I have almost tired myself, and, I fear, more than almost tired
But I now see Tottenham High-Cross; and our short walk thither shall put a period to my too long discourse ; in which my meaning was, and is, to plant that in your mind with which I labour
to possess my own soul ; that is, a meek and thankful heart. And to that end I have shewed you, that riches without them, do not make any man happy. But let me tell you, that riches with them remove many fears and cares. And therefore my advice is, that you endeavour to be honestly rich, or contentedly poor : but be sure that your riches be justly got, or you spoil all. For it is well said by Caussin, 'He that loses his conscience has nothing left that is worth keeping.' Therefore be sure you look to that. And, in the next place, look to your health : and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience ; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of; a blessing that money cannot buy ; and therefore value it, and be thankful for it. As for money, which may be said to be the third blessing, , neglect it not : but note, that there is no necessity of being rich; for I told you, there be as many miseries beyond riches as on this side them : and if you have a competence, enjoy it with a meek, cheerful, thankful heart. I will tell you, Scholar, I have heard a grave Divine say, that God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart; which Almighty God grant to me, and to my honest Scholar. And so you are welcome to Tottenham High-Cross.
Venator. Well, Master, I thank you for all your good directions ; but for none more than this last, of thankfulness, which I hope I shall never forget. And pray let's now rest ourselves in this sweet shady arbour, which nature herself has woven with her own fine fingers ; 'tis such a contexture of woodbines, sweetbriar, jasmine, and myrtle ; and so interwoven, as will secure us both from the sun's violent heat, and from the approaching shower. And being set down, I will requite a part of your courtesies with a bottle of sack, milk, oranges, and sugar, which, all put together, make a drink like nectar ; indeed, too good for anybody but us Anglers. And so, Master, here is a full glass to you of that liquor : and when pledged me, I will repeat the Verses which I promised you : it is a Copy printed among some of Sir Henry
Wotton's, and doubtless made either by him, or by a lover of angling. Come, Master, now drink a glass to me, and then I will pledge you, and fall to my repetition ; it is a description of such country recreations as I have enjoyed since I had the happiness to fall into your company.
Quivering fears, heart-tearing cares,
Fly, fly to courts,
Fly to fond wordlings' sports,
Where mirth's but mummery,
Fly from our country pastimes, fly,
Come, serene looks,
Clear as the crystal brooks,
Peace and a secure mind,
Abuséd mortals! did you know
You'd scorn proud towers,
And seek them in these bowers;
Nor murmurs e'er come nigh us,
Here's no fantastick mask, nor dance,
Nor wars are seen
And wounds are never found,
Here are no false entrapping baits,
Unless it be,