Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
Of the Practice of Patience
By Jeremy Taylor (16131667)
From Holy Dying
NOW we suppose the man entering upon his scene of sorrows and passive graces. It may be he went yesterday to a wedding, merry and brisk, and there he felt his sentence, that he must return home and die (for men very commonly enter into the snare singing, and consider not whither their fate leads them); nor feared that then the angel was to strike his stroke, till his knees kissed the earth, and his head trembled with the weight of the rod which God put into the hand of an exterminating angel. But, whatsoever the ingress was, when the man feels his blood boil or his bones weary, or his flesh diseased with a load of a dispersed and disordered humour, or his head to ache, or his faculties discomposed; then he must consider that all those discourses he hath heard concerning patience and resignation, and conformity to Christs sufferings, and the melancholic lectures of the Cross, must all of them now be reduced to practice, and pass from an ineffective contemplation to such an exercise as will really try whether we were true disciples of the Cross, or only believed the doctrines of religion when we were at ease, and that they never passed through the ear to the heart, and dwelt not in our spirits. But every man should consider God does nothing in vain; that He would not to no purpose send us preachers, and give us rules, and furnish us with discourse, and lend us books, and provide sermons, and make examples, and promise His Spirit, and describe the blessedness of holy sufferings, and prepare us with daily alarms, if He did not really purpose to order our affairs so that we should need all this, and use it all. There were no such thing as the grace of Patience, if we were not to feel a sickness, or enter into a state of sufferings.