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REMEMBER how uncertain and frail a creature man is, even in his seeming strongest age and constitution of health : even then, a pestilential air, some evil humour in his blood, some obstruction, it may be, of a little vein or artery, a little meat ill digested, and a thousand small occurrences, may, upon a sudden, without any considerable warning, plunge a man into a desperate and mortal sickness, and bring a man to the grave.
Remember, therefore, that you make your peace with God, and walk in his fear in the days of health, and that for very many reasons. First, you know not whether you may not be overtaken with sudden death, and then it will be impossible for you to begin that work. Second, if you have sickness to give you warning of the approach of death, yet you know not whether that sickness may not suddenly take away your senses, memory, or understanding, whereby you may be disabled to make your peace with God, or to exercise any serious thoughts concerning it. Third, but if that sickness give you fair warning, and take not away your understanding, yet your own experience cannot choose but let you know that pain, and weakness, and distraction of mind, and impatience, and unquietness, are the common attendants of a sick bed, and render that season at least very difficult then to begin that greatest, and solemnest, and most important business of a man's life. Fourth, but, if your sickness be not so sharp, but that it leave you. patience and attention of mind for that great business, how do you know whether your heart shall be inclined to it? Repentance and conversion to God is his gift, though it must be our endeavour, and though the merciful God never refuseth a repenting returning offender, yet how can a 'man, that all the time of his health hath neglected almighty God, refused his invitation, and served his lusts and his sins, expect reasonably that God, in the time of sickness, when man can serve his sins no longer, will give him the grace of repentance. Whatever you do, therefore, be sure to make your peace with God, and keep it in the days of your health...
SIR MATTHEW HALE.
Spare not nor spend too much, be this thy care,
CERTAINLY, if a man will keep of even hand, his ordinary expenses ought to be but to the half of his receipts, and if he think to wax rich, but to the third part. .
It is no baseness for the greatest to descend and look into their own estate. Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, but doubting to bring themselves into melancholy, in respect they shall find it broken. But wounds cannot be cured without searching. He that cannot look into his own estate at all, hath need both choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often; for new are more timorous and less subtil. He that can look into his estate but seldom, it behoveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of expense, to be as saving again in some other : as, if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plentiful in the hall, to be saving in the stable, and the like; for he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds, will hardly be preserved from decay.
AMONGST all other things of the world, take, care of thy estate, which thou shalt ever preserve if thou observe three things. First, that thou know what thou hast, what every thing is worth that thou hast, and to see that thou art not wasted by thy servants and officers. The Second is, that thou never spend any thing before thou have it; for borrowing is the canker and death of every man's estate. The Third is, that thou suffer not thyself to be wounded for other men's faults, and scourged for other men's offences ; which is, the surety for another, for thereby mil
lions of men have been beggared and destroyed, paying the reckoning of other men's riot, and the charge of other men's folly and prodigality: if thou smart, smart for thine own sins, and above all things, be not made an ass to carry the burdens of other men.
If any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou hast to spare; if he press thee farther, he is not thy friend at all, for friendship rather chooseth harm to itself, than offeretb it. If thou be bound for a stranger, thou art a fool; if for a merchant, thou puttest thy estate to learn to swim; if for a churchman, he hath no inheritance; if for a lawyer, he will find an evasion by a syllable or word to abuse thee ;* if for a poor man, thou must pay it thyself; if for a rich man, it need not; therefore, from suretyship, as from a manslayer or euchanter, bless thyself; for the best profit and return will be this, that if thou force him for whom thou art bound, to pay it himself, he will become thy
* Sir Walter had woeful experience of the truth of this observation, in the case of the Sherborne estate, granted to him by Queen Elizabeth, which, to gratify the base designs of her unworthy successor, was, through the omission of a single word in the conveyance, thereof, which our illustrious knight, had made to his son, wrested entirely from his family, and conferred upon the Kiag's Scotch favourite, Car, after wards created Earl of Somerset. It may not be improper to remark, that this honourable transaction was brought about by means of an information exhibited in the Court of Exche query by an Attorney-Generals
enemy, if thou use to pay it thyself, thou wilt be a beggar.
SIR WALTER RALEG#.
WHAT virtue soever thou hast, be it never so manifold, if thou be poor withal, thou and thy qualities shall be despised : besides, poverty is oft times sent as a curse of God, it is a shame amongst men, an imprisonment of the mind, a vexation of every worthy spirit: thou shalt neither help thyself nor others, thou shalt drown thee in all thy virtues, having no means to shew them, thou shalt be a burthen and an eye-sore to thy friends ; every man will fear thy company, thou shalt be driven basely to beg and depend on others, to flatter unworthy men, to make dishonest shifts, and, to conclude, poverty provokes a man to do infamous and detested deeds.* Let no vanity, therefore, or persuasion, draw thee to that worst of worldly miseries.
* Human experience obliges us to subscribe to these observations in their fullest extent. They contain a lamentable truth, which ought to be engraven in the minds of all who possess a necessary competence in life, to induce them to avoid the extravagant and dissipated habits of the times, to cherish and preserve the good things with which God has blessed them, and thereby to avoid the temptations and dangers to which men in reduced circumstances are generally exposed. We have a remarkable example of this fact, in the case of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd, who, by gay and expensive courses, unbecoming his situation in life, became involved in difficulties, which led to the commission of an act of felony, for which he suffered a most disgraceful and untimely end.