1621
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Brides Ornaments: Meditat. V. Of Hope.

The Brides Ornaments: Poetical Essayes upon a Divine Subject. [In The Song of Songs, which was Salomons.]

Robert Aylett


The description of "Despaire with bloody knife" in stanza 27 obviously owes something to the Faerie Queene. The stanza lost its archaisms in the 1654 revision. The discussion of ecclesiastical and political affairs at the end of this poem appears to be a source for Milton's "two-handed engine" in Lycidas.



Repentance, Faith, and Hope be graces three,
Which no where but in Israel are knowne:
Of other Vertues some resemblance wee
Do find among the Heathen: which are showne
To them by Natures light, and first were sowne
Most pure, till they corrupted were with sin,
But now they most unlike themselves are grown,
For till Faith, Hope, them to restore begin,
They glorious seeme without, but foule and vile within.

For though of Knowledge, Love, Truth, Patience,
Right, Mercy, Fortitude, Humilitie,
Prudence, Zeal, Temp'rance, Bounty, Obedience,
There doe in them remayne some memorie;
Yet wanting Faith and Hope, like either eye,
Their blinded soules for to direct aright,
In all their actions they doe move awry,
For Faith and Hope like Sunne and Moones cleare light,
Direct repenting Soules which wander else in night.

And though by reading in Dame Natures booke
The Heav'n and Earth's most wonderfull creation,
They upwards to their Maker oft did looke,
And saw his Power and Wisedomes Declaration,
And their owne wretchednesse: Yet Humiliation
For sinne, in them no true Repentance wrought:
For missing these chief Agents of salvation,
The worke could not be to perfection brought;
For without Faith and Hope, Repentance profits nought.

Thou that the Finisher and Authour art
Of ev'ry good and perfect Gift and Grace,
Who look'st not on the worke, but on the heart,
Where ev'ry Vertue holds her seate and place,
Who lately hast me guided in the trace
Of Faith the Mother: now direct aright
My Muse, to follow on the Vertues chase,
And first of Hope Faiths daughter next in sight:
And make my Hope stand stedfast whilst of Hope I write.

Hope is of things to come an expectation,
Which God hath promis'd, and Faith doth beleeve,
For when th' Elect of their Justification
By Faith stand sure: Then Hope doth them releeve
With Patience, to expect till God doth give
All the good things which he hath promised,
So that no crosse affliction can them grieve,
For by this Hope they stand assured,
The day will come their Hope shall be accomplished.

Some, Faith Hopes Mother, some her Sister call,
Howsoe're, betwixt them is so near relation,
That if one faile, the other needs must fall;
Faith brings forth Hope, the Anchor of salvation,
But Faith is nourished by expectation,
A thankfull Daughter to a blessed Dame,
Who nourisheth her Mother in this fashion,
And oft when Faith growes cold, blind, faint, and lame;
Hopes brests, Assurance, Patience, her restore againe.

A blessed paire, like Naomi and Ruth,
Faith doth direct, and Hope goes forth to gleane,
Faith searcheth first, beleeves, and findes the Truth,
Then Hope at Boaz feete expects the meane:
And though at first a small reward shee gayne,
Yet being content Gods leisure for to stay,
She in the end doth to her Hope attayne,
Ruth unto Boaz married is that day,
And now may Naomi in her lap Obed lay.

Hope is so like Faith and so near of Kin,
As hardly we discerne a difference;
Faith is the ground whereon Hope doth begin;
Both have alike assurance, Patience:
From the same Spirit both have influence,
Both saving Graces purge and purifie
The heart and season with obedience:
Both last alike: By both we our selves denie;
Both make our conscience sound: By both for Christ we die.

But Faith is first, for loe, shee is Hopes ground,
Hope onely future sees, but Faith things past:
Faith seales our evidence and makes it sound,
Hope waits till shee possession take at last:
Hope is the Helmet that on th' Head is plac't,
But Faith the Shield doth all the body hide,
And though our Faith oft faint, our Hope stands fast,
From off the Shield ful many a blow may slide
On Helmet: but there farther entrance is deni'de.

Thus have I shew'd how they are different.
The cause now: As of the Words immortall seede
The Spirit begets Faith, to give firme assent
Unto Gods Promises: Ev'n, so indeede,
That Spirit by those Promises doth breede
A lively Hope: whose end is our salvation,
And that we shall have all things which we neede;
In the meane time, we have our conversation
By Faith and Hope with Christ in heav'nly habitation.

Similitudes make plaine and illustrate
Things, that are else mysterious, darke, obscure:
As when th' immortall Workman did create
At first, Man without help, alone and pure,
He made him then a deepe sleepe to endure,
And tooke stuffe from him ere he did awake,
Of which he made for him a helpe most sure.
So the same Spirit that Faith at first did make,
To make now Hope, Faiths help, from Faith doth matter take.

As Body, Spirit, Faith, Lord, Baptisme's one,
So but one true and living Hope we find:
But as her Objects infinite become,
We may distinguish her in different kind.
If heav'nly Objects be to her assign'd,
She like the Object is, Celestiall,
If shee on worldly Objects set her mind,
As doth the Object, shee doth rise or fall,
Loe then, the Object of our Hope is all in all.

We hope for that for us in Heav'n's up laid,
We hope to see Christs glorious Exaltation,
We hope for all things, that Christ for us praid,
We hope in Gospell that brings us salvation,
We hope of all in Christ a restauration:
We hope Soules, Bodies, shall immortall live:
We hope to reape what's sowne in expectation,
The faithfull Pastor hopes his Flock shall thrive,
Faith Author is of Hope, but Hope keeps Faith alive.

When Faith beleeves, Hope hopes 'gainst Sense and Reason.
Gods Promise is her soundest Argument,
His leisure to attend, is her best season,
Though Faith beleeve 'bove Hope shee's content
To hope: Present to her are things absent:
Shee never faints, but holds out to the end,
Shee to encrease and grow is diligent,
Shee's pure and cleane: No shame doth her attend,
By Patience and Experience shee doth daily mend.

Faith's like Elias that by God was sent
Elisha to annoint him to succeede:
Hope, like Elisha, waits most diligent,
And leaves her not, till fiery Charets leade
Faith up to Heav'n: Then Hope stayes in her stead;
Loe then, Faiths Spirit on Hope is doubled found,
And though by Faith our Soules on heav'n now feede,
Hope still sustaynes our Bodies on the ground,
And waits till all that Faith beleeves, shee true have found.

Yea after that our bodies turne to dust,
It seems that Hope still with our soules remaine:
What else doth meane the crying of the Just,
Which for Gods Word lie under th' Altar slaine,
How long wilt thou (Lord) to avenge refraine
Our bloud, on those, that on the earth it spilled?
To whom this answere is return'd againe,
They should rest, till the number was fulfilled
Of those which for the Word, as they were, should be killed.

Hope's subject is each heart, that Christ hath knowne,
And where in glorie he vouchsafes to dwell,
Shee best by Objects is conceiv'd and showne,
For as they doe transcend, Hope doth excell:
All Gods good Promises which one can tell,
Her Objects are, which if one right would reade,
He must begin with that when Adam fell,
Gods Promise to the Woman, that her seede,
Though Serpent bruis'd his heele, should break the Serpents head.

Like this the promise was to Abraham,
All Nations should be blessed in his seede:
And him that King of Israel became
God promis'd one should ne're want of his breede,
To sway great Juda's Scepter in his stead,
Till Shilo came, who was his Lord and Sonne:
Sonne, as his flesh did from his Loynes proceede,
Lord, as the God-head in the flesh did won,
Thus he was David's Christ, Sonne, Lord, and yet but one.

Loe, God perform'd all his good Promises
In Christ his sufferings, birth, and exaltation,
All tending to bring wretched Man to blisse;
But now, behold, new tidings of salvation,
The Gospell shewes, our reconciliation
Is finished: as after shall be showne,
When all in Heav'n and Earth have restauration:
What we beleeve and hope, shall then be knowne,
Hope then shall reap in joy, what shee in teares hath sowne.

For as the promises that God had sware,
In Christs first comming were accomplished:
Ev'n so all those that in the Gospell are,
In's second comming shall be finished:
And since that Good to Adam promised,
Was full foure thousand years ere consummation;
Why then should Hope that's thus experienced,
Faint in lesse then two thousands expectation?
Nearer, than when we first beleev'd, is our salvation.

Oh! had I here Hopes wondrous memorie,
Then should I able be soone to make known,
All's Promises which God cannot denie,
Ev'ry of which Hope doth account her owne.
Behold, in briefe, them all unto thee showne,
All Faith beleeves, (And what doth he distrust?
In whom this little seede of Faith is sowne)
All these, I say, Hope doth together thrust,
And in them puts assured confidence and trust.

Therefore these Vertues alwayes her attend;
Assurance, Confidence, and Patience,
With Perseverance alwayes to the end,
And of Gods faithfulnesse Experience:
These, and the like, are her most sure defence
'Gainst troubles, scoffes, her weaknesse, long delay
Of many Promises, which made long since
Are not accomplished unto this day;
And when shee's like to faint, these her refresh alway.

They that would make faithlesse uncertaintie,
So necessary to attend Hopes trayne,
And on conject'rall probabilitie
Lay Hopes foundation: They demonstrate playne,
True Faith and Hope did ne're in them remayne:
And though like Faith, Hope sometimes waver may,
(As who can to a perfectnesse attayne?)
Yet, Hope encreasing, Doubting doth decay,
Uncertaintie and Hope together cannot stay.

No more then in the Water cold and heate,
For as the heate all coldnesse doth expell,
So Hope all doubting out of us doth beate.
I grant, that as in luke-warme Water dwell
Both heat and cold, so in the hollow Cell
Of unsound, luke-warme Libertines false mind,
Uncertaintie and wav'ring Hope doe dwell:
But this no true and stedfast Hope we find,
Else true and feign'd Hope should not differ in their kind.

Though Hope hath many an open Enemie,
None wrong her more then her familiar Friends,
As Merits, Doubtings, false Securitie
In civill honest dealing: who depends
On these quick-sands, more danger him attends
Then if he split on Rocke of fierce Despaire,
Or to distrust Gods promises intends,
Because so long a finishing they are:
Civill Defection hazards more then open Warre.

Oh! who can point out all the subtilties
Satan doth use this Lady to depose;
How he all worldly Objects doth devise,
That shee may in them confidence repose;
And thereby may her heav'nly Object lose?
Who are more miserable, Satan sayes,
Than those on things to come their Hopes repose?
And who live longer and more joyfull dayes,
Then they whose Hope on wealth and Princes favours stayes?

As Jewes two Theeves did hang on either hand,
Whenas they crucifi'd the Lord of Life,
So two extremes on either side Hope stands,
And both of them have each with other strife:
On left hand stands Despaire with bloudy knife,
On right Presumption bold doth over-weene.
Hope, oftentimes may save Despaires life:
Presumption railes, and thinketh in her spleene,
If Hope could others save, shee nould endure such teene.

Hope is like Jacob that went out but poore,
Yet free from danger unto Arams Land;
But when he doth returne with Wives and store,
Laban pursues behind: Esau with band
Of full foure hundred doth before him stand:
But Angels as Companions him attend,
And ev'n with God he wrestles hand to hand,
Who doth from churlish Laban him defend,
Nor suffers cruell Esau Jacob to offend.

So when our Hope, alas, is faint and poore,
It forward walkes most free from all tentation:
But when it gets some strength, Despaire before,
Behind, Presumption seekes our supplantation,
Loe then Gods promises of our salvation,
Like Angels are to comfort us at hand,
We wrestle with the Spirit by supplication,
Whereby we are inabled to withstand
Despaire, Presumption proud, and all the devils band.

Men in this World, are like to ships at Sea,
Which stormes have beaten and the waves have tost,
That, when they come to harbour in the Lea,
Cast Anchor out: where if they find the coast
Consist of quick-sands, all their labour's lost;
Loe! then Hopes Anchre there can get no hold,
So they with stormes and waves againe are tost:
But if they finde firme Land, then they grow bold,
No winde, stormes, waves, can beate them from their Anchre-hold.

Faith as the Sunne, and Hope is as the Moone,
In Heav'n both glorious Lamps this World to light,
So in mans soule Faith, Hope, like two lights shone,
Their little world towards blisse to guide aright.
As Moone doth borrow from Sunnes glorious light,
So Hope from Faith: And as when Sunne to shine
On Moone forbears, shee's scarce discern'd by sight;
So when Hope wants Faiths glorious light divine,
Shee wanes like Moone, and all her beautie doth decline.

Hope signifies a constant expectation
Of some good thing to come, from such a one
Of whose Love, Pow're, and Truth a firme perswasion
We have that all we wait for shall be done:
Loe, first hope onely is of things to come,
It is no hope to hope for things we see:
Next in her selfe hope confidence hath none,
Last, all our hope and refuge is to flee
Unto Gods grace, pow're, wisdome, Truth, which certaine bee.

Here in examples may my Muse transcend:
For whatsoever things are writ of old,
Are for our learning and instruction pend,
That we, through Patience, comfort may behold
In Scriptures: And have hope for to lay hold
On all Gods Promises and Dealing kind,
By him shew'd to our Forefathers of old,
And those which to our owne times are assign'd,
Last of all, those which we within our selves doe find.

These three may breede in us experience,
Experience Hope, Hope maketh not asham'd;
Loe first th' examples all have reference
To hope, which I in Faiths Discourse have nam'd,
Kings, Prophets, Judges, Martyrs all enflam'd
With Love, in Hope and Faith most firme doe stand;
Without the one, the other may be blam'd,
Both able are Hels malice to withstand,
For if one faints, the other lends her helping hand.

This generall briefe narration shall serve,
For all Hopes noble famous acts of old.
Now if you will be pleased to observe,
Whilst I th' examples of our times unfold,
And those our forefathers have us told;
God never hath so dealt with any Nation,
In giving temporall blessings manifold,
In our deliverances 'bove expectation,
Lastly, in yeelding us such meanes for our salvation.

He sets us in a blessed Land, where flow
Hony and Milke, and all good things abound,
The Plough-man reapes the Crop which he doth sow:
Here Peace and Plentie ev'ry where are found;
Here dreadfull trump of warre doth never sound,
No leading here into captivitie,
Here no complayning in our streets is found,
Here' health of body with prosperitie,
And all these lasted have beyond mans memorie.

I hope here is for us sufficient ground,
To trust in God for all things temporall;
How many plots hath Hell and Rome out found,
Us to betray to bondage spirituall:
Yet God hath us deliver'd out of all,
Besides that secret cruell trayt'rous broode,
Priests, that themselves Catholique Champions call,
Shee hath provok'd to make her quarrell good,
Great Kings to open warre and shedding innocent blood.

Witnesse th' Armada huge of Eightie eight,
Which breathed nought but cruell desolation,
And was invincible in Mans conceit,
Whom nought could satisfie but th' extirpation
Of Protestants, and all the English Nation:
Home-treason, forraine warre us to betray
To Popish, cursed, hellish machination:
Nought could the Pharoahs crueltie allay,
Till Death, Hell, and Destruction swept them all away.

This quail'd the spite of Egypt: but of Rome,
Though pow'r grow weake, her spite growes yet more strong; When force and open warre doe vaine become
Shee seekes by treason to maintayne her wrong:
Loe, Jesuites and Seminaries throng
In Court, Church, Citie, and in every Place;
To low seedes of Sedition us among,
To bring Prince, Counsell, Prelate in disgrace:
To credit Superstition, and the Truth out-face.

How many were their plots cursed Treason
Devis'd against our late dread Soveraigne Queene?
Impatient to expect the time and season,
When shee should hence goe and no more be seene:
That time they look'd to wreake their spitefull teene,
On opposites of Popes Supremacy,
Oh! this a bloody day had surely beene,
Had not the Lord us succour'd from on high,
And whence we hop'd for least, did us most helpe supply.

Loe, whilst shee liv'd shee seem'd a weake defence,
A Woman to defend so great a Nation
From secret treasons violence,
Fill'd all the World with joy and admiration:
But when by her most happy commutation,
Shee leaves this Earth: Behold, that providence,
Which made this weake Sexe strong for our salvation;
Brings in a stronger and more sure defence,
With Gladnesse, Plentie, Peace, without all violence.

Oh! that my Muse were able here to flie,
The high pitch of my Soveraignes commendation,
Who Solomon like in all his Royaltie,
Brought Peace and Plentie to this happy Nation:
At whose most blessed, glad Inauguration,
No Shimei barkes, nor Sheba lifts his hand,
But all him meete with joyfull saluation,
God save King JAMES, sole Monarch of our Land,
And set thy seate as fast as our late Queenes did stand.

This was a gracious worke of Providence,
A thing unparallel'd, before not seene.
But can this stop the Dragons virulence?
No it encreaseth more his spite and teene;
For the same cause he hated our late Queene,
He doth Faith's great Defender now infest,
But against Love, Faith, Hope is all his spleene,
And all that will not tall downe to the Beast;
With those that Antichristian supremacy detest.

Many a cursed plot and cruell treason
Hath beene attempted 'gainst our gracious King,
Before and since the happy time and season,
God him in peace to rule this Land did bring;
But never yet was hammer'd such a thing,
By Pope, Turke, Jesuite, or in Hell below,
As was the powder plots fierce lightening,
Which in one instant all should overthrow,
King, Counsell, Nobles, Citie, Commons, Priests up blow.

Oh barbarous wretches! cruell instruments
Of Death and Ruine to their native Nation!
What heart of steele or flint that not relents
To apprehend the dreadfull desolation,
(Besides of men) of that faire habitation,
Those seates of Justice, Houses for devotion,
Great Britains glorie, Strangers admiration:
Shame is reward, Gods wrath the bitter potion
Of all that had their heads in this most hellish motion.

But leave them to their punishment and shame.
Behold a worke no older than the yeare,
Wherein Gods Love to us (blest be his Name)
No lesse than in the former doth appeare:
I meane our Soveraignes sicknesse, who was neere
To the last act of all mortalitie,
But when all physicke fayl'd, God did him cheere,
His health restoring with prosperitie,
And adding length of dayes to him that look'd to die.

Nor onely doth this Antichristian Bore,
Seeke to roote up the Vine of Gods right Hand;
But there be Foxes, little Foxes store,
Which 'gainst her bloming Grapes in ambush stand;
Those that against Church-governement doe band,
Churches illiterate Vermine, who disclose
Their envie to the Prelates of our Land,
When against their Succession they oppose,
Tithes, Prayers, Order, Titles, Ceremonies, Clothes.

These humorous Novellists have oft assay'd,
From her youth up, our Church unto this day:
But never hath their subtiltie prevayl'd
Church discipline to alter, though I say,
Martin their spite and malice did bewray,
When be in scoffes and rayling spent his wit,
Not savouring of the Spirit, which should pray
For Kings and those that at the Sterne doe sit;
And not ranke Martinisme in Rulers faces spit.

These first, as Thomas-like, some great Man rose;
To whom great multitudes themselves combine,
And Judas-like like Church tribute did oppose,
But they are perisht: And our fruitfull Vine
Yet prospers still and yeelds abundant Wine:
Which proves it planted is by by Gods owne Hand,
For were't Mans policy, not power Divine,
Shee never could such furious Beasts withstand;
But long since had destroyed beene out of this Land.

Was e're in Israel knowne or Inda's coast,
So long peace and such plentie temporall?
Can any of the Nations like us boast,
Deliverances from bondage spirituall?
Our God, who did us out of bondage call,
Protects our Leaders by his power divine,
Gainst Hell, Pope, Jesuites, Sep'ratists and all:
And lest our Faith and Hope faile or decline,
Loe, in Prince Charles new hope, and all that Princely Line.

But some may say, What's this to spirituall Hope
These were deliverances temporall:
But who knowes not, by there Hell and the Pope,
Sought the destruction of the Spirit and all?
Loe, Faith and Hope now banisht from the stall
Of Romes foule Beast, for aide flyes to our Land,
Where Prince, Priests, People joyne together all,
In the defence of Faith and Hope to stand,
And in their quarrell spend their lives, their goods and land.

Here both have dwelt safe neare a hundred yeare;
Since they from Rome were banisht to this Land;
Where many Saints have lost their bloods most deare,
Whilst constantly in their defence they stand,
And though, for neare sixe yeares, Romes cruell hand
Did in this Land true Faith and Hope assaile;
Yet since Elizabeth did all command,
The Champions of true Faith did never faile,
But 'gainst close treason and force open did prevaile.

And though we lately lost the likeliest Prince
That ever liv'd, Faith and Hope to defend,
Yet loe, our Hope is more encreased since,
By Royall Charles, whom God doth seeme to send,
Like Charlemaine his Church secure to shend
'Gainst Antichrist, Hell, Schisme, and Saraceen;
And all from us that would Hopes Anchre rend.
But here my Muse in order should begin,
To melt away in teares for losse of Anne our Queene.

Most peerelesse Lady! Nobles surest friend,
The Peoples safetie; Clergies firme defence,
Who constantly did Faith and Hope defend
'Gainst subtile Schisme and Papists virulence:
Church Patronesse 'gainst the violence
Of covetous Sacrilege and griping hands,
Who spoile Church-livings under false pretence,
It 'gainst the thrift of true Devotion stands;
That Churchmen should have large possessions, goods, and lands.

But as when Death from Sonne and Father rent
A carefull Mother, and a faithfull Wife,
Isaac Rebecka brought to Sara's Tent,
To comfort both the Sonnes and Fathers life,
So we doe hope, our Prince will take a Wife
Into his Mothers Tent, who shall begin
Like her to comfort Sonne and Fathers life.
But soft, my Muse, this thread too long doth spin,
Now will I sing of Hope that ought to be within.

These presidents of Gods grace, Faith, Truth, Love,
Pow'r, Wisedom, Prudence, and dealing kind
With those that trust in him, us well may move
Unto a stedfast Hope; which if we find
Within the secret Closet of our mind,
It is the earnest that to us doth prove,
Here all things needfull shall be us assign'd,
And we shall have Hopes end, ev'n Heav'n above,
Where Faith and Hope shall leave us in the armes of Love.

But Faith and Hope implicit, generall,
Brings us not to this blessed Habitation:
It must be inward, lively, spirituall,
With true particular right application
Of all Christs merits wrought for our salvation:
Else with untemper'd mortar stones we lay,
And build upon unsound and weake foundation;
Fie on the Clerkes that so abuse the Lay,
(They understand not what they hope, beleeve, or pray,)

Which thus would seale up all in ignorance,
That they might seale their Pardons unto all;
Thus they their state doe mightily advance,
By binding or by loosing them that fall:
Mortall offences and sinnes veniall,
Differ not in their nature but their pay:
As sinnes abound, their Markets rise and fall,
So wide to Heav'n they open now the way,
That loe, the richest men with most ease enter may.

The rellish and true taste of Faith and Hope,
They turne to ignorance and superstition:
Gods written Word that wont to be their scope,
Must now give place and to his vaine tradition.
Their inward Hope is honour, wealth, ambition,
And how they may all earthly Kingdomes sway,
Emp'rours and Kings to them must yeeld submission,
Else they their Subjects licence them to slay,
Thus Peters keyes, like Swords, cut all out of their way.

How doe these foule flagitious crying sinnes
Transport my Muse from holy Meditation,
Which erst in Hope above the Seraphims,
Tooke sweet delight in heav'nly Contemplation!
(Hath shee too long staid in this deviation?)
Loe, now shee doth to Hope returne againe,
To heav'nly Hope, and glorious expectation,
Which firme and stedfast ever shall remayne,
Till her in Loves high Court her Saviour entertayne.

See here, how graciously our God doth deale
With his, in sending them such enemies;
Else would Worlds vaine entising pleasures steale
Away our hearts to all impieties:
Such trialls doe the Vertues exercise,
Of all that set on God their confidence,
The greater ills that wicked men devise,
The faster we doe cleave to our defence:
So Hope becomes most firme by such experience.

And therefore I might better here complayne
Of too much Ease, Peace, and Securitie,
Luke-warmnesse, hollow Dealing: these doe trayne
More soules to Hell, than Popes hostilitie.
Loe Satan not by force, but subtiltie,
Made our first Parents guiltie of transgression,
Whom Priests and Jesuites follow cunningly,
In plotting by auricular Confession,
Against States, Treason, and against poore Saints oppression.

O let me with here more than I can hope,
All Envie, Malice, Av'rice laid aside,
We would make Heav'n the Object of our hope,
And Faith and Truth may ever be our Guide:
Thus from Gods Statues we shall never slide,
Thus We, Pope, Sep'ratist shall meete in one:
Whom Truth doth joyne, no Power can divide,
Oh! why should Flesh of Flesh, and Bone of Bone
Differ: where God and Christ, Faith, Baptisme, Hope is one.

Would our owne willing be, but to confesse
Their errour, and returne unto the right,
Aband'ning wilfull, peevish, singlenesse,
And censuring things whereof they have no light,
Oh, would they strive with all their force and might,
To hold Spirits Unitie in bond of Peace,
And not thus with indifferent things to fight;
Touch, taste not, handle not, which doe encrease
Schismes and Divisions, which are Enemies to Peace.

So long and hot hath beene this fervent strife
For Apples, things of order, decencie,
That we, alas! neglect religious Life,
Faith, Hope, Repentence, Joy and Charitie:
Of things indifferent judge indifferently,
The smaller things, the greater consequence
There is, we should with all Humilitie
Yeeld unto them unfeign'd obedience:
Not we the Law: The Law must rule our Conscience.

Now could I, with Compassion, Prayers, Teares,
Beseech you all as to a common flame,
To lend your Hands, your Heads, your Hearts, your Eares,
And all your aide and helpe to quench the fame:
'Tis to our Church a foule reproach and shame,
Christs Coate that is without Seame to divide,
When we in substance all doe hold the same:
Lets humbly in one Hope, Faith, Love abide,
And not fall out for shells, to make whose peace Christ di'de.

But they say Ceremonies now are dead,
Why should we them againe then vivifie?
I grant all were in Christ accomplished,
Which his last Sacrifice did typifie:
But those of Order and of Decencie,
Doe for our imitation still remayne,
As Ephods, Offrings, Tithes, Prayers, Prophecie,
Kneeling: such a Devoition true maintayne,
The first we doe forebeare: The last we doe retayne.

But now I stray from Hope, but not from Peace,
Which is the thing I hope for and desire,
What shall our strife for Ornaments encrease?
Whilst Adversaries in our gates conspire
To burne our Townes, and blow us up with fire,
Now by our Hope that up in heav'n is laid,
I instantly your publique and your private aid,
That Rulers not for feare, but conscience be obaid.

Hope still pricks on my Muse in this discourse,
In hope hereby Peace to our Church to gayne.
But method here doth stop here farther course;
Who preacheth Order, Order must maintayne,
Hope must not passe her Mother Faith in trayne,
Lest I doe hope for more than I beleeve,
For which if I doe pray, I pray in vaine;
God without Faith no prayers doth receave,
Hope, Prayer, without Faith, doe oft poore soules deceave.

Thou then that art of Faith and Hope the Spring,
I blesse thy Name for this sweet Meditation,
This light of Hope which thou to me dost bring,
Oh let true Faith direct my Supplication
Unto my Hope thy holy Habitation,
That Port of blisse, purchas'd by thine owne Blood,
Spent on the Crosse to finish our salvation:
This is my Hope, This is my heav'nly Food,
On this faire Hope to rest, I hold my chiefest good.

And here, I hope, I may have leave to rest,
And stop my Muse a while from following
The Vertues praises, late so readie prest,
In Loves high Court, for my true welcomming:
Yet, by Gods grace, I promise here to sing
Of all their praises, in their ranke and place;
If this mine entrance and first hanselling,
Shall but obtayne amongst those Readers grace,
Who, by these Vertues aide, hope to behold Loves face.

[pp. 99-116]