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Christ's blood's our balsam; if that cure us here,
Him, when our Judge, we shall not find severe ;
His yoke is easy when hy us embrac'd, 161
But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis cast.
Be just in all thy actions, and if join'd
With those that are not, never change thy mind.
If aught obstruct thy course, yet stand not still, 165
But wind about till you have topp'd the hill.
To the same end men sev'ral paths may tread,
As many doors into one temple lead;
And the same hand into a fist may close,
Which instantly a palm expanded shows. 170
Justice and faith never forsake the wise,
Yet may occasion put him in disguise;
Not turning like the wind, but if the state
Of things must change, he is not obstinate:
Things past and future with the present weighs,
Nor credulous of what vain rumour says.
176 Few things by wisdom are at first believ'd; An easy ear deceives, and is deceiv’d: For many
truths have often pass'd for lies, And lies as often put on truth's disguise: 180 As flattery too oft like friendship shows, So them who speak plain truth we think our foes. No quick reply to dubious questions make; Suspense and caution still prevent mistake. When any great design thou dost intend,
185 Think on the means, the manner, and the end :
All great concernments must delays endure;
Rashness and haste make all things unsecure;
And if uncertain thy pretensions be,
Stay till fit time wear out'uncertainty; 190
But if to unjust thing, thou dost pretend,
Ere they begin let thy pretensions end.
Let thy discourse be such that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive.
Instruct the ignorant; to those that live 195
Under thy care good rules and patterns give':
Nor is't the least of virtues to relieve
Those whorn afflictions or oppressions' grieve.
Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love ;
But less condemn whom thou dost not approve.
Thy friend, like flatt’ry, too much praise doth wrong,
And too sharp censure shows an evil tongue :
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; ev’n before friendship truth prefer.
Than what thou mean'st to give still promise less :
Hold fast the pow'r thy promise to increase.
Look forward what's to come, and back what's past,
Thy life will be with praise and prudence grac'd :
What loss or gain may follow thou may'st guess,
Thou then wilt be secure of the success :
Yet be not always on affairs intent,
But let thy thoughts be easy and unbent :
When our minds' eyes are disengag‘d and free,
They clearer, farther, and distinctly see ;
They quicken sloth, perplexities untye, 215
Make roughness smooth, and hardness mollify;
And tho' our hands from labour are releast,
Yet our minds find (ev’n when we sleep) no rest.
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend;
Still seek to learn, yet care not much from whom,
(So it be learning) or from whence it come.
Of thy own actions others' judgments learn ;
Often by small great matters we discern.
Youth what man's age is like to be doth show ; 225
We may our ends by our beginnings know.
Let none direct thee what to do or say,
Till thee thy judgment of the matter sway.
Let not the pleasing many thee delight ;
First judge if those whom thou dost please judge
Search not to find what lies too deeply hid, 231
Nor to know things whose knowledge is forbid;
Nor climb on pyramids, which thy head turn round
Standing, and whence no safe descent is found.
In vain his nerves and faculties he strains
'235 To rise, whose raising unsecure remains. They whoin desert and favour forwards thrust, Are wise when they their measures can adjust. When well at ease, and happy, live content, And then consider why that life was lent. 240 When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thee.
Tho' all alone, yet nothing think or do
Which nor a witness nor a judge might know.
The highest hill is the most slipp'ry place, 245
And Fortune mocks us with a smiling face;
And her unsteady hand hath often plac'd
Men in high pow'r, but seldom holds them fast;
Against her then her forces Prudence joins,
And to the golden mean herself confines.
More in prosperity is reason tost
Than ships in storms, their helms and anchors lost :
Before fair gales not all our sails we bear,
But with side-winds into safe harbours steer :
More ships in calms on a deceitful coast, 255
Or unseen rocks, than in high storms are lost.
Who casts out threats and frowns no man deceives;
Time for resistance and defence he gives;
But flatt'ry still in sugar'd words betrays,
And poison in high-tasted meats conveys:
So Fortune's smiles unguarded man surprise,
But when she frowns he arms, and her defies, 262
OF JUSTICE. 'Tis the first sanction Nature gave to man, Each other to assist in what they can; Just or unjust this law for ever stands; All things are good by law which she commands. The first step, man towards Christ must justly live, Who to uş himself, and all we have, did give. 6 In vain doth man the name of Just expest, If his devotions he to God negiect. So must we rey'rence God, as first to know Justice from him, not from ourselves,doch flow. 10 God those accepts who to mankind are friends, Whose Justice far as their own pow'r extends ; In that they imitate the Pow'r divine; The sun alike on good and bad doth shine ; And he that doth no good, altho' no ill, 15 Does not the office of the just fulfil. Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer ; 'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear: We live not only for ourselves to care, Whilst they that want it are deny'd their share. 20 Wise Plato said the world with men was stor’d, That succour each to other might afford; Nor are those succours to one sort confin'd, But sev'ral parts to sev'ral men consign’d.