Copyright
Thomas Fuller.

Fuller's thoughts online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryThomas FullerFuller's thoughts → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


1 E R I <! Y^\

LIBRARY ,,y

UNIVERSITY OF I /

CALIFORNIA^/



Udtgtous ILrte j&eties



FULLER'S THOUGHTS



W&z WitliQiow iLife Series



THE CONFESSIONS OF
ST. AUGUSTINE

Edited by Temple Scott

With an Introduction by Alice Meynell

Fcap. 8vo, parchment, 3s. 6d. net.

{Second Edition.)



MEDITATIONS AND VOWS

By Joseph Hall

Edited by Charles Sayle

Fcap. 8vo, parchment and cloth
3s. 6d. net.



FULLER'S THOUGHTS

Edited by A. R. Waller

Fcap. 8vo, parchment and cloth
3s. 6d. net.



GRANT RICHARDS

48 LEICESTER SQUARE



FULLER'S
THOUGHTS

EDITED BY

A. R. WALLER



*



LONDON

GRANT RICHARDS

1902



LOAN STACK



Edinburgh : Printed by T. and A. Constable



SV413I. F%5 1^02 Mted



'40££r-



Next to Shakspeare, I am not certain whether
Thomas Fuller, beyond all other writers,
does not excite in me the sense and emotion
of the marvellous ;— the degree in which any
given faculty or combination of faculties is
possessed and manifested, so far surpassing
what one would have thought possible in a
single mind, as to give one's admiration the
flavour and quality of wonder! Wit was the
stuff and substance of Fuller's Intellect. It
was the element, the earthen base, the
material which he worked in, and this very
circumstance has defrauded him of bis due
praise for the practical wisdom of the thoughts,
for the beauty and variety of the truths, into
which he shaped the stuff. Fuller was in-
comparably the most sensible, the least
prejudiced, great man of an age that boasted
a galaxy of great men. He is a very
voluminous writer, and yet in all bis
numerous volumes on so many different
subjects, it is scarcely too much to say, that
you will hardly find a page in which some
one sentence out of every three does not
deserve to be quoted for itself— as motto or
as maxim. God bless thee, dear old man I
may I meet with thee!— which is tantamount
to— may I go to heaven!

Samuel Taylor Colbridqb.

July, 1829.



429



CONTENTS




GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES




PAGE


DEDICATION,


3


PERSONAL MEDITATIONS, .


5


SCRIPTURE OBSERVATIONS,


22


HISTORICAL APPLICATIONS,


37


MIXT CONTEMPLATIONS,


54


GOOD THOUGHTS IN WORSE TIN


IES


TO THE CHRISTIAN READER,


7i


PERSONAL MEDITATIONS—




I. Curiosity Curbed, ....


74


II. Deceived, not Hurt,


75


III. Nor Full, nor Fasting,


75


IV. Strange and True,


76


V. Blushing to be Blushed For,


77


VI. A Lash for Laziness, .


78


VII. Root, Branch, and Fruit, .


79


VIII. God Speed the Plough,


8o


IX. Cras, Cras,


8o


X. Green when Gray,


8i


XI. Miserere,


8a



CONTENTS



XII. Monarchy and Mercy, .

XIII. What Helps not Hurts,

XIV. Always Seen, Never Minded,
XV. Not Whence, but Whither,

XVI. Storm, Steer On, .
XVII. Wit Outwitted, .
XVIII. Hereafter, .
XIX. Bad at Best, .
XX. Compendium Dispendium,

SCRIPTURE OBSERVATIONS—
I. Prayer may Preach,
II. The Vicious Mean,

III. Store no Sore,

IV. Line on Line,
V. O ! the Depth,

VI. Self, Self Hurter, .
VII. Gad, Behold a Troop Cometh,
VIII. Out Means, in Miracles,
IX. Military Mourning;,
X. No Stool of Wickedness, .
XI. By Degrees, .
XII. The Best Bedmaker,

XIII. When Beg;un, Ended,

XIV. Too Late, Too Late,
XV. Lawful Stealth, .

XVI. Text Improved, .
XVII. The Royal Bearing:,
XVIII. None to Him,
XIX. Humility,



MEDITATIONS ON THE TIMES-
I. Name-General,
II. Woful Wealth, .

III. A New Plot,

IV. Providence, .



83
84
84
85
86

87
88
88
89



90
91
92
93
94
95
95
96
97
98
99
ioo
100
101

102
103
104
104
105

107
107
108
109



CONTENTS


ix




PAGE


V. Coals for Fagot, ....


no


VI. Fugitives Overtaken, .


III


VII. Both and Neither,


112


VIII. Fed with Fasting,


112


IX. Bare in Fat Pasture, .


"3


X. Much Good do you,


114


XI. The Use of the Alphabet, .


• "5


XII. The Good Effect of a Bad Cause,


"5


XIII. The Child-Man, ....


n6


XIV. Worse Before Better, .


. 117


XV. All Sin, all Suffer,


n8


XVI. Eat Worthily, ....


n8


XVII. Devotions Duplicate, .


120


XVIII. Law to Themselves, .


120


XIX. A New Disease, ....


121


MEDITATIONS ON ALL KIND OF PRAYERS-




I. Newly Awaked, ....


123


II. Family Prayer, ....


123


III. Self without other Self,


124


IV. Groans,


125


V. Ejaculations, their Use,


126


VI. Their Privilege, ....


127


VII. Extemporary Prayers, .


128


VIII. Their Causeless Scandal,


128


IX. Night Prayer, ....


129


X. A Nocturnal,


130


XI. Set Prayers,


131


XII. The Same Again,


132


XIII. Mixt Prayers, ....


133


XIV. Take your Company Along,


133


XV. Prayer must be Quotidian, .


134


XVI. The Lord's Prayer, . . . .


135


XVII. All Best


136


XVIII. Ail Manner of Prayer,


137


XIX. To God Alone,


137



x CONTENTS


OCCASIONAL MEDITATIONS— page


I. Love and Anger, 139


II. Upwards, Upwards,






139


III. Beware, Wanton Wit,






140


IV. Ill Done, Undone,






141


V. Apace, Apace,






142


VI. Always the Rising Sun,






143


VII. Charity, Charity, .






144


VIII. The Sensible Plant, .






145


IX. Christ my King, .






146


X. Tribulation, .






146


XI. Beware,






147


XII. The First-Fruits, .






148


XIII. The Recruit,






149


XIV. The Mongrel,






150


XV. Edification, ....






ISO


XVI. Mad, not Mad, .






iSi


XVII. The Deepest Cut,






152


MIXT CONTEMPLATIONS IN BETTER


TIMES


DEDICATION, 157


TO THE COURTEOUS READER, . . 159


MIXT CONTEMPLATIONS ON THESE TIMES—


I. Play an After-Game, .... 160


II. Miraculous Cure, .






161


III. Hand on Mouth, .






162


IV. At Last,






. 163


V. Mistaken,






164


VI. Truth, ....






. 165


VII. After-Born, .






. 165


VIII. A Heap of Pearls,






. 167


IX. Silent Sadness,






167



CONTENTS


xi




PAGE


X. Lost and Kept,


168


XI. All,


169


XII. Good Accountant, .


170


XIII. No Tittle of Title, .


171


XIV. Freely, Freely


172


XV. Cry without Cause, and be Whipt


, 173


XVI. Spring: Began, ....


173


XVII. The Hand is All, .


175


XVIII. All Tongue and Ears, .


176


XIX. Give and Take,


176


XX. Charity, Charity,


178


XXI. But one Favourite, .


179


XXII. Calmly, Calmly,


180


XXIII. Try and Trust, ....


180


XXIV. Alike, but Contrary,


181


XXV. Chasma, Phasma, .


182


XXVI. Share and Share-Like, .


183


XXVII. Natale Solum Dulcedine, etc.,


184


XXVIII. Seasonable Prevention, .


185


XXIX. Wolf in a Lamb's Skin, .


186


XXX. Various Fancies,


187


XXXI. Made Loyal, ....


188


XXXII. Attend, Attend,


189


XXXIII. No Remedy but Patience, .


190


XXXIV. Pottage for Milk, .


191


XXXV. Moderate may Meet,


192


XXXVI. What, Never Wise !


192


XXXVII. Recede a Tittle,


193


XXXVIII. Beat Thyself, ....


194


XXXIX. Without Blood,


I9S


XL. Against the Hair and the Flesh,


195


XL I. A Freewill Offering,


106


XLII. A Good Anchor,


197


XLIII. Eyes Bad, not Object, .


108


XLIV. Ever, Never, ....


198



xii CONTENTS




PAGE


XLV. Hear me Out, ....


199


XLVI. Mons Mobilis, ....


200


XLVII. Not Invisible, ....


201


XLVIII. Best Race, ....


201


XLIX. Feed the Lambs, .


202


L. Name and Thing, .


203


MIXT CONTEMPLATIONS ON THESE TIMES—


I. All Afore,


205


II. True Text. False Gloss,


206


III. Foul Mouth Stopt, .


207


IV. Atoms at Last,


208


V. An 111 Match, ....


209


VI. Down, Yet Up, ...


210


VII. Caleb, all Heart, .


211


VIII. Fie, for Shame,


212


IX. Little Loud Liars, .


213


X. Name General, ....


214


XI. Apt Scholars, ....


215


XII. All Well Wearied, .


216


XIII. O, Inconstancy!


217


XIV. Recovered, ....


217


XV. Gratitude,


218


XVI. The Heir,


219


XVII. Sad Transposition, .


220


XVIII. Bird in the Breast, .


221


XIX. Fair Hopes, ....


222


XX. Riddle Unriddled, .


2M


XXI. No Record to Remain, .


223


XXII. All or the Present, ...


224


XXIII. Courtesy Gaineth, .


225


XXIV. Moderation, ....


226


XXV. Preparative, ....


227


XXVI. Revenge with a Witness,


228


XXVII. A Gnat, no Gnat, .


229


XXVIII. Silence Awhile,


230



CONTENTS


xiii




PAGE


XXIX. Send Humility, .


. 231


XXX. Rather Fold Over than Fall Short, 231


XXXI. No Man's Work, .


. 232


XXXII. Three Make up One, .


• 233


XXXIII. Sero, Sed Serio,


. 234


XXXIV. By Degrees, .


• 235


XXXV. Good Augury, .


. 236


XXXVI. Subtract Not, but Add, .


• 237


XXXVII. Send such Music, .


• 237


XXXVIII. By Hook and by Crook,


. 238


XXXIX. Without Care no Cure, .


• 239


XL. Keep your Castle, .


240


XLI. Too much Beneath,




. 241


XLII. Patience Awhile,




242


XLIII. In the Middle, .




• 243


XLIV. Amending,




. 244


XLV. Too much Truth,




. 244


XLVI. As it Was,




• 245


XLVII. Not So, Long, .




. 246


XLVIII. Thank God, .




. 247


XLIX. Can Good Come from Ignora


nee ? 248


L. Trusting Maketh One Trusty,


. 249


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE,


• 253


TABLE OF DATES, ....


• 254


NOTES AND INDEX OF WORDS,


. 256



i



GOOD THOUGHTS
IN BAD TIMES



TO
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

THE LADY DALKEITH,

Lady Governess to Her Highness the
Princess Henrietta.

1WTADAM, it is unsafe in these dangerous days for
any to go abroad without a convoy, or, at the
least, a pass ; my book hath both in being dedicated to
your honour. The apostle saith, Who planteth a vine-
yard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? l I am one of
your honour's planting, and could heartily wish, that
the fruit I bring forth were worthy to be tasted by your
judicious palate. However, accept these grapes, if
not for their goodness, for their novelty: though not
sweetest relished, they are soonest ripe, being the first
fruits of Exeter press, presented unto you. And if ever
my ingratitude should forget my obligations to your
honour, these black lines will turn red, and blush his
unworthiness that wrote them. In this pamphlet your
ladyship shall praise whatsoever you are pleased but to
pardon. But I am tedious, for your honour can spare
no more minutes from looking on a better book, her
infant Highness, committed to your charge. Was ever
i i Cor. ix. 7.



EPISTLE DEDICATORY



more hope of worth in a less volume ? But O ! how
excellently will the same, in due time, be set forth,
seeing the paper is so pure, and your ladyship the over-
seer to correct the press! The continuance and in-
crease of whose happiness here, and hereafter, is desired
in his daily devotions, who resteth

Your honour's in all

Christian service,

THO. FULLER.



GOOD THOUGHTS IN
BAD TIMES

PERSONAL MEDITATIONS

I

T ORD, how near was I to danger, yet escaped ! I
was upon the brink of the brink of it, yet fell not
in ; they are well kept who are kept by thee. Excellent
archer! Thou didst hit thy mark in missing it, as
meaning to fright, not hurt me. Let me not now be
such a fool as to pay my thanks to blind Fortune for
a favour which the eye of Providence hath bestowed
upon me. Rather let the narrowness of my escape
make my thankfulness to thy goodness the larger, lest
my ingratitude justly cause, that, whereas this arrow
but hit my hat, the next pierce my head.

II

T ORD, when thou shalt visit me with a sharp disease,

I fear I shall be impatient ; for I am choleric by my

nature, and tender by my temper, and have not been

acquainted with sickness all my lifetime. I cannot



6 GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES

expect any kind usage from that which hath been a
stranger unto me. I fear I shall rave and rage. O
whither will my mind sail, when distemper shall steer
it ? whither will my fancy run, when diseases shall ride
it ? My tongue, which of itself is a fire, 1 sure will be
a wildfire, when the furnace of my mouth is made seven
times hotter with a burning fever. But, Lord, though
I should talk idly to my own shame, let me not talk
wickedly to thy dishonour. Teach me the art of patience
whilst I am well, and give me the use of it when I
am sick. In that day either lighten my burden or
strengthen my back. Make me, who so often, in my
health, have discovered my weakness presuming on my
own strength, to be strong in my sickness when I solely
rely on thy assistance.



Ill

T ORD, this morning my unseasonable visiting of a
friend disturbed him in the midst of his devotions :
unhappy to hinder another man's goodness. If I my-
self build not, shall I snatch the axe and hammer from
him that doth ? Yet I could willingly have wished, that
rather than he should then have cut off the cable of his
prayers, I had twisted my cord to it, and had joined
with him in his devotions ; however, to make him the
best amends I may, I now request of thee for him
whatsoever he would have requested for himself. Thus
he shall be no loser, if thou be pleased to hear my
1 James iii. 6.



PERSONAL MEDITATIONS



prayer for him, and to hearken to our Saviour's inter-
cession for us both.

IV

r ORD, since these woful wars began, one, formerly
mine intimate acquaintance, is now turned a
stranger, yea, an enemy. Teach me how to behave
myself towards him. Must the new foe quite justle
out the old friend ? May I not with him continue some
commerce of kindness ? Though the amity be broken
on his side, may not I preserve my counterpart entire ?
Yet how can I be kind to him, without being cruel to
myself and thy cause ? O guide my shaking hand, to
draw so small a line straight; or rather, because I
know not how to carry myself towards him in this con-
troversy, even be pleased to take away the subject of
the question, and speedily to reconcile these unnatural
differences.



T ORD, my voice by nature is harsh and untuneable,
and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can
my singing of psalms be pleasing to thy ears, which is
unpleasant to my own? yet though I cannot chant
with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had
rather chatter with the swallow, 1 yea, rather croak
with the raven, than be altogether silent. Hadst thou
given me a better voice, I would have praised thee
1 Isaiah xxxviii. 14.



8 GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES

with a better voice. Now, what my music wants in
sweetness, let it have in sense, singing praises with
understanding. 1 Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart
(therein to make melody), 2 and I will be contented with
my old voice, until in thy due time, being admitted into
the choir of heaven, I have another, more harmonious,
bestowed upon me.

VI

I" ORD, within a little time I have heard the same
precept in sundry places, and by several preachers,
pressed upon me. The doctrine seemeth to haunt my
soul ; whithersoever I turn, it meets me. Surely this
is from thy providence, and should be for my profit. Is
it because I am an ill proficient in this point, that I
must not turn over a new leaf, but am still kept to my
old lesson: Peter was grieved because our Saviour
said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? 3 But
I will not be offended at thy often inculcating the same
precept: but rather conclude, that I am much con-
cerned therein, and that it is thy pleasure, that the nail
should be soundly fastened in me, which thou hast
knocked in with so many hammers.

VII

I" ORD, before I commit a sin, it seems to me so
shallow, that I may wade through it dry-shod from
any guiltiness : but when I have committed it, it often
1 Psalm xlvii. 7. 2 Ephes. v. 19. 3 John xxi. 17.



PERSONAL MEDITATIONS



seems so deep that I cannot escape without drowning.
Thus I am always in the extremities: either my sins
are so small that they need not my repentance, or so
great that they cannot obtain thy pardon. Lend me,
O Lord, a reed out of thy sanctuary, truly to measure
the dimension of my offences. But O ! as thou re-
vealest to me more of my misery, reveal also more of
thy mercy : lest if my wounds in my apprehension gape
wider than thy tents, my soul run out at them. If my
badness seem bigger than thy goodness, but one hair's
breadth, but one moment, that is room and time enough
for me to run to eternal despair.



VIII

r ORD, I do discover a fallacy, whereby I have long
deceived myself. Which is this: I have desired
to begin my amendment from my birthday, or from the
first day of the year, or from some eminent festival, that
so my repentance might bear some remarkable date.
But when those days were come, I have adjourned my
amendment to some other time. Thus, whilst I could not
agree with myself when to start, I have almost lost the
running of the race. I am resolved thus to befool myself
no longer. I see no day to to-day, the instant time is
always the fittest time. In Nubuchadnezzar's 1 image,
the lower the members, the coarser the metal; the farther
off the time, the more unfit. To-day is the golden
opportunity, to-morrow will be the silver season, next
day but the brazen one, and so long, till at last I shall
1 Daniel ii. 33.



io GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES

come to the toes of clay, and be turned to dust. Grant,
therefore, that to-day I may hear thy voice. 1 And if
this day be obscure in the calendar, and remarkable in
itself for nothing else, give me to make it memorable
in my soul, thereupon, by thy assistance, beginning the
reformation of my life.



IX

I" ORD, I saw one, whom I knew to be notoriously
bad, in great extremity. It was hard to say
whether his former wickedness or present want were
the greater; if I could have made the distinction, I
could willingly have fed his person, and starved his
profaneness. This being impossible, I adventured to
relieve him. For I know that amongst many objects,
all of them being in extreme miseries, charity, though
shooting at random, cannot miss a right mark. Since,
Lord, the party, being recovered, is become worse
than ever before (thus they are always impaired with
affliction who thereby are not improved), Lord, count
me not accessary to his badness, because I relieved
him. Let me not suffer harm in myself, for my desire
to do good to him. Yea, Lord, be pleased to clear
my credit amongst men, that they may understand my
hands according to the simplicity of my heart. I gave
to him, only in hope to keep the stock alive, that so
afterwards it might be better grafted. Now, finding
myself deceived, my alms shall return into my own
bosom.

1 Psalm xcv. 7.



PERSONAL MEDITATIONS



T ORD, thy servants are now praying in the church,
and I am here staying- at home, detained by
necessary occasions, such as are not of my seeking,
but of thy sending : my care could not prevent them,
my power could not remove them. Wherefore, though
I cannot go to church, there to sit down at table with
the rest of thy guests, be pleased, Lord, to send me a
dish of their meat hither, and feed my soul with holy
thoughts. Eldad l and Medad, though staying still in
the camp (no doubt on just cause), yet prophesied as
well as the other elders. Though they went not out to
the spirit, the spirit came home to them. Thus never
any dutiful child lost his legacy for being absent at the
making of his father's will, if at the same time he were
employed about his father's business. I fear too many
at church have their bodies there, and minds at home.
Behold, in exchange, my body here and heart there.
Though I cannot pray with them, I pray for them.
Yea, this comforts me, I am with thy congregation,
because I would be with it.



XI

T ORD, I trust thou hast pardoned the bad examples
I have set before others, be pleased also to pardon
me the sins which they have committed by my bad
examples. (It is the best manners in thy court, to heap
requests upon requests.) If thou hast forgiven my
1 Numb. xi. =6.



12 GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES

sins, the children of my corrupt nature, forgive me my
grandchildren also. Let not the transcripts remain,
since thou hast blotted out the original. And for the
time to come, bless me with barrenness in bad actions,
and my bad actions with barrenness in procreation,
that they may never beget others according to their
likeness.

XII

I" ORD, what faults I correct in my son, I commit
myself: I beat him for dabbling in the dirt, whilst
my own soul doth wallow in sin : I beat him for crying
to cut his own meat, yet am not myself contented
with that state thy providence hath carved unto me :
I beat him for crying when he is to go to sleep, and yet
I fear I myself shall cry when thou callest me to sleep
with my fathers. Alas ! I am more childish than my
child, and what I inflict on him I justly deserve to
receive from thee: only here is the difference: I pray
and desire that my correction on my child may do him
good ; it is in thy power, Lord, to effect that thy
correction on me shall do me good.

XIII

I* ORD, I perceive my soul deeply guilty of envy.

By my good will I would have none prophesy

but mine own Moses. 1 I had rather thy work were

undone, than done better by another than by myself:

1 Numb. xi. 28.



PERSONAL MEDITATIONS 13

had rather thy enemies were all alive, than that I
should kill but my thousand, and others their ten
thousands of them. My corruption repines at other
men's better parts, as if what my soul wants of them
in substance she would supply in swelling-. Dispossess
me, Lord, of this bad spirit, and turn my envy into holy
emulation. Let me labour to exceed them in pains,
who excel me in parts : and knowing that my sword,
in cutting down sin, hath a duller edge, let me strike
with the greater force ; yea, make other men's gifts to
be mine, by making me thankful to thee for them. It
was some comfort to Naomi, that, wanting a son
herself, she brought up Ruth's child in her bosom. 1
If my soul be too old to be a mother of g;oodness,
Lord, make it but a dry-nurse. Let me feed, and
foster, and nourish, and cherish the graces in others,
honouring their persons, praising their parts, and
glorifying thy name, who hath given such gifts unto
them.

XIV

T ORD, when young, I have almost quarrelled with
that petition in our Liturgy, Give peace in our
time, O Lord ; needless to wish for light at noonday ;
for then peace was so plentiful, no fear of famine, but
suspicion of a surfeit thereof. And yet how many
good comments was this prayer then capable of ! Give
peace, that is, continue and preserve it ; give peace,
that is, give us hearts worthy of it, and thankful for it.
1 Ruth iv. 16.



14 GOOD THOUGHTS IN BAD TIMES

In our time, that is, all our time: for there is more
besides a fair morning- required to make a fair day.
Now I see the mother had more wisdom than her son.
The church knew better than I how to pray. Now I
am better informed of the necessity of that petition.
Yea, with the daughters of the horse-leech, 1 1 have need
to cry, Give, give peace in our time, O Lord.

XV

r ORD, unruly soldiers command poor people to open
them their doors, otherwise threatening to break
in. But if those in the house knew their own strength,
it were easy to keep them out, seeing the doors are
threatening-proof, and it is not the breath of their
oaths can blow the locks open. Yet silly souls, being
affrighted, they obey, and betray themselves to their
violence. Thus Satan serves me, or rather, thus I serve
myself. When I cannot be forced, I am fooled out of
my integrity. He cannot constrain, if I do not consent.
If I do but keep possession, all the posse of hell cannot
violently eject me: but I cowardly surrender to his
summons. Thus there needs no more to my undoing
but myself.

XVI

r ORD, when I am to travel, I never use to provide
myself till the very time ; partly out of laziness,
loth to be troubled till needs I must ; partly out of
1 Prov. xxx. 15.



PERSONAL MEDITATIONS 15

pride, as presuming all necessaries for my journey will
wait upon me at the instant. (Some say this is
scholars' fashion, and it seems by following; it I hope to
approve myself to be one.) However, it often comes
to pass that my journey is finally stopped, through the
narrowness of the time to provide for it. Grant, Lord,
that my confessed improvidence in temporal, may make
me suspect my providence in spiritual matters. Solomon
saith, Man goeth to his long- home. 1 Short preparation
will not fit so long a journey. O let me not put it off
o the last, to have my oil to buy, when I am to burn
it. 2 But let me so dispose of myself, that when I am to


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryThomas FullerFuller's thoughts → online text (page 1 of 14)