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Poem by Anne Bradstreet
Meditations Divine and Moral
A ship that bears much sail, and little ballast, is easily overset; and that man, whose head hath great abilities, and his heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering. The finest bread has the least bran; the purest honey, the least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self-love. Sweet words are like honey; a little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach. Divers children have their different natures: some are like flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar. Those parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their nature. Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish. The reason why Christians are so loath to exchange this world for a better, is because they have more sense than faith: they see what they enjoy, they do but hope for that which is to come. Dim eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short- sightedness, in those that are the eyes of a Republic, foretells a declining State. Wickedness comes to its height by degrees. He that dares say of a less sin, Is it not a little one? will erelong say of a greater, Tush, God regards it not. Fire hath its force abated by water, not by wind; and anger must be allayed by cold words and not by blustering threats. The gifts that God bestows on the sons of men, are not only abused, but most commonly employed for a clean contrary end than that which they were given for; as health, wealth, and honor, which might be so many steps to draw men to God in consideration of his bounty towards them, but have driven them the further from him, that they are ready to say, We are lords, we will come no more at thee. If outward blessings be not as wings to help us mount upwards, they will certainly prove clogs and weights that will pull us lower downward.
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