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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The True Prosperity
By Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667)
 
From Sermon: ‘Faith and Patience of the Saints’

IS that man prosperous who hath stolen a rich robe, and is in fear to have his throat cut for it, and is fain to defend it with greatest difficulty and the greatest danger? Does not he drink more sweetly that takes his beverage in an earthen vessel, than he that looks and searches into his golden chalices for fear of poison, and looks pale at every sudden noise, and sleeps in armor, and trusts nobody, and does not trust God for his safety, but does greater wickedness only to escape awhile unpunished for his former crimes? “Auro bibitur venenum.” No man goes about to poison a poor man’s pitcher, nor lays plots to forage his little garden, made for the hospital of two beehives and the feasting of a few Pythagorean herb-eaters. They that admire the happiness of a prosperous, prevailing tyrant know not the felicities that dwell in innocent hearts, and poor cottagers, and small fortunes.  1
  And so have I often seen young and unskillful persons sitting in a little boat, when every little wave sporting about the sides of the vessel, and every motion and dancing of the barge, seemed a danger, and made them cling fast upon their fellows; and yet all the while they were as safe as if they sat under a tree, while a gentle wind shook the leaves into a refreshment and a cooling shade. And the unskillful, inexperienced Christian shrieks out whenever his vessel shakes, thinking it always a danger that the watery pavement is not stable and resident like a rock: and yet all his danger is in himself, none at all from without; for he is indeed moving upon the waters, but fastened to a rock: faith is his foundation, and hope is his anchor, and death is his harbor, and Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country. And all the evils of poverty and affronts, of tribunals and evil judges, of fears and sadder apprehensions, are but like the loud wind blowing from the right point,—they make a noise, and drive faster to the harbor; and if we do not leave the ship and leap into the sea, quit the interests of religion and run to the securities of the world, cut our cables and dissolve our hopes, grow impatient and hug a wave, and die in its embraces,—we are as safe at sea; safer in the storm which God sends us than in a calm wind when we are befriended by the world.  2
 
 
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