« PreviousContinue »
he afcended to Heaven from a Mount; his Foundations are the holy Mountains; and those that he will glorify, fhall most certainly reft on his holy Mountain.
Q. How many Sybils were there, and what were their Names?
A. They were in Number ten; and their Names were, First, Perfica. Second, Lybica. Third, Delphica. Fourth, Cumea. Fifth, Samis. Sixth, Hellefpontica. Seventh, Tiburtina. Eighth, Albunea. Ninth, Erythea. Tenth, Sumana. The first was of Perfica, called Samberta, which, among other true Prophefies, faid, The Womb of the Virgin fhall
be the Salvation of the Gentiles. The second was of Lybica, who prophefied, The Day fhall come, that Men fhall fee the King of all living Things. The third was Themis, firnamed Delphica, becaufe fhe was born and prophefied at Delphos, where the Oracle and Temple of Apollo was; one of her Prophecies runs thus, A Prophet fhall be born of a Virgin.' The fourth was Cumea, born at Campagnia in Italy, whom Virgil mentions in his neids, who prophefied, That God • fhould be born of a Virgin, and converfe among Sinners.' The fifth was Samis, born in the Inle Samos, which faid, 'He being rich, fhould be born ' of a poor Virgin; the Creatures of the Earth 'fhould adore and praise him for ever.' The fixth was called, Hellefpontica, born at Marmifo in the Territory of Troy; fhe prophefied, A Woman 'fhall defcend of the Jews, called Mary, of her 'fhall be born the Son of God, and his Kingdom 'fhall remain for ever.' The Seventh was Tyburtina, because she was born at Tybur, fifteen Miles from Rome; the prophefied, The invisible Word • fhall be born of a Virgin, and converfe among Sinners, and fhall by them be defpifed.' The eighth was Albunea, who prophefied, The Higheft fhall come from Heaven, and confirm the 'Counfel
• Counfel in Heaven, and a Virgin shall be shewed in the Valleys of the Defarts. The ninth was the famous Erythea, born at Babylon, who efpecially prophefied great Part of our Chriftian Religion in certain Verfes recited by Eufebius, the first Letters of every of which Verfes being put together make thefe Words, Jefus Chrift, Son of God, Saviour; these Verfes are tranflated into Latin by St. Augufline, and are excellently well tranflated by Sir John Beaumont, where they may be found among his Poems. The tenth was Sumana, from the Name of the Place where the lived, who prophefied, 'That he should come from Heaven, and
reign here in Poverty.' This laft Sybil is affirm ed to be her who writ the nine Books of the Sybils, which were by an old Woman presented to Tarquinius Superbus, demanding for them a great Sum of Money, which he being unwilling to pay, the old Woman burnt three of them before his Face, afking as much for the other fix; which being denied, fhe alfo burnt three more of them, requiring as much for the three remaining as for the reft; at which he being amazed, gave it. Thefe Books contained manifeft Prophecies of the Kingdom of Chrift, his Name, his Birth, and Death: They were all afterwards burned by the Arch Traitor Stilico; fo that thofe Prophecies now extant, are only fuch as have been extracted out of other Wri tings, wherein mention of them was made.
Q. What is the right End and Method of compofing and reading Books?
A. For compofing and reading Books Men fhould not compofe Books, but of Treasures of hidden Worth and fecret Depth, and that which fhould be profitable to all Men; to young Men Sobriety, to old Men Solace, to poor Men Riches, to rich Men Sufficiency; that they may be fuch Contents to their Owners, as they were to him, who in the midst of his Library faid, "Here am I, H
even, as it were, encompaffed with Heaven itfelf; in my Paradise of sweetest Content, having fo many learned Counsellors ready to inftruct me. I am ever leaft alone, when I feem to be alone, ever leaft idle, when I feem to be idle ; ⚫ infomuch with my continual reading and meditating, my Breaft is made the Library of Chrift.* And for Reading, what doth it profit barely to Spend Time, to run over the Sayings and Writings of learned Men, which formerly was reckoned but to touch the Skin of Words; unless we chew, fwallow down, and digeft the very Juice and Marrow of them, and make it a Part of our felves, in our Knowledge, Practice, and Retention? In the Fruit whereof, we read of fome fo wonderfully capacious, as is not to be parallelled. Claudius, the Emperor, who retained in Memory all the Books of Homer, Salluft, Demofthenes, Avicen, Ariftotle's Metaphyficks: Tully and Seneca, who never heard any Thing material but imprinted it in Memory; So Scaliger writes of himself, That he learned *the Book of Homer in twelve Days, and all the Greek Poets in four Months.'
Q. What Book, next to the holy Scripture, would you chiefly defire, the reft being taken away?
A, Theodore Beza being asked this Queftion, anfwered, Plutarch, for his Lives and Morals; another faid Seneca, whofe divine Sentences are fo
quared by the Rules of Chriftianity, that St. Jerom included him among the Catalogue of divine Writers: Another preferred the Thefaurus Hiftoriarum, being a Compendium of moft Hiftories and worthy Examples.
Q. What Labour, of all other, is most grie
A. The Vulgar fay, the Labour of the Hand; but the Wife fay, that of the Mind, which not only wearies the Body, but dries up the Bones,
and haftens old Age and Death; whereas the other is healthful to both. A certain Woman told King Antigonus, That he was happy because he was a ⚫King.' O Mother, quoth he, If thou didst but know the many Cares that are worn with this Diadem, thou wouldst not take it up from the Dirt; for what are Crowns and Scepters, but Golden Fetters, and fplendid Miseries, which if Men did but truly understand, there would be more Kingdoms than Kings to govern them. Look not on the Splendour of a Crown, but upon the many Cares which accompany it. Fix not your Eyes on the Purple, but upon the Mind of the King, more fad and dark than the Purple itfelf: Look not at the Squadrons of his Guards, but at the Armies of his Moleftations that moleft him. A great Fortune is a great Slavery, and Thrones are but uneafy Seats. For the Care and Pain in Child-bearing no Man doubts, and Experience maketh manifeft the miferable Mother to have Anxiety and Grief of Mind, before, in, and after; and the more that when it is brought forth, it is the Enemy of God and Effect of her Sin; infomuch that one Woman said, 'If it were poffible, she would rather die ten Times in the Wars, than once hazard the Danger of Child-birth. Thus a great Man diftinguisheth these Labours, the Labour of the Husbandman is great, the Labour of the Magiftrate greater, the Labour of the Minifter greatest of all. Yet fince the Vulgar fo lightly efteem this Labour of the Mind, and think that their Labour of the Body should so far extend to maintain the Honour and Leifure of the Mind; I will thus propofe an Example; when Cattle could fpeak, it is faid, the Sheep faid unto their Mafter, We have hard Measure at thy Hands, in that thou takest from us both Wool, Cheese and Lambs, and, without any Allowance, turneft us H 2
<to feek our Living from the Earth; when to thy Dog, that yields thee none of these Comforts, ⚫ thou imparteft thy Bread from thy own Hand :' But then the Dog replied, All this I have, and defervedly it is to me due; for I am he that • preferves you from the Theft of Men, and from the Rapine of the Wolf.' The Sheep, hearing that, were content the Dog should have the greater Allowance.
Q. Who was the most renowned for Memory that we have heard or read of?
A. In former Days Seneca; who writes of himself, That he was able to recite two thoufand
Words after they were once read unto him." And of late, we find Doctor Fuller to be therein moft exquifite, who is reported to walk in any Street in London, and, by the Strength of his Memory, to tell how many, and what Signs they were, from the one End to the other; as alfo, if five hundred ftrange Names were repeated unto him, after the fecond or third hearing them, he would repeat them distinctly, according as they had been read unto him.
Q. What three Things are thofe, which he that often remembers fhall feldom do amifs ?
A. That above there is an Ear that heareth all, an Eye that feeth all, and a Book wherein all our Offences are written. To which may be added a fecond Memento, and not inferior to the first, bebeing St. Anfelm's Obfervation of the laft Day, Where at thy right Hand fhall be thy Sins accufing, at thy left Hand infinite Devils exacting, under thee the Furnace of Hell burning, above thee an angry Judge, within thee thy Confcience * tormenting, without thee the World flaming, where only the Juft fhall be faved; whence to fly fhall be impoffible, to continue ftill intole