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Why, what's the matter? It is dark ! What though?
But it is feigned. What of that I trow?
Some men, by feigned words, as dark as mine,
Make truth to spangle, aud its rays to shine!
But they want solidness. Speak, man, thy mind!
They drown the weak; metaphors make us blind.

Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writeth things divine to men :
But must I needs want solidness, because
By metaphors I speak? Were not God's laws,
His gospel laws, in olden time held forth
By shadows, types, and metaphors? Yet loath.
Will any sober man be to find fault
With them, lest he be found for to assault
The Highest Wisdom : No; he rather stoops,
And seeks to find out what by pins and loops,
By calves and sheep, by heifers and by rams,
By birds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs,
God speaketh to him; and happy is he
That finds the light and grace that in them be.

Be not too forward, therefore, to conclude
That I want solidness, that I am rude :
All things solid in shew, not solid be ;
All things in parable despise not we,
Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive,
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.

My dark and cloudy words, they do but hold
The truth, as cabinets enclose the gold.

The prophets used much by metaphors
To set forth truth; yea, whoso considers
Christ his apostles too, shall plainly see
That truths to this day in such mantles be.

Am I afraid to say that holy writ,
Which for its style and phrase puts down all wit,
Is every where so full of all these things,
(Dark figures, allegories,) yet there springs,
From that same book, that lustre, and those rays
Of light, that turn our darkest nights to days.

Come, let my carper to his life now look,
And find there darker lines than in my book
He findeth any ; yea, and let him know,
That in his best things there are worse lines too.

May we but stand before impartial men,
To his poor one I dare adventure ten,
That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better than his lies in silver shrines.
Come, Truth, although in swaddling-clouts I find,
Informs the judgment, rectifies the mind;
Pleases the understanding, makes the will
Submit; the memory too.it doth fill
With what doth our imagination please ;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.

Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use,
And old wives' fables he is to refuse;
But yet grave Paul him nowhere did forbid
The use of parables, in which lay hid
That gold, those pearls, and precious stones, that were
Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.

Let me add one word more: O man of God !
Art thou offended? Dost thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress ?
Or that I had in things been more express ?
To those that are my betters, as is fit,
Three things let me propound, then I submit :

1. I find not that I am deny'd the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse
Put on the words, things, readers, or be rude
In handling figure or similitude
In application; but all that I may
Seek the advance of truth, this or that way.
Denied, did I say? Nay, I have leave,
(Examples too, and that from them that have
God better pleased, by their words or ways,
Than any man that breatheth now-a-days)
Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.

Why, what's the matter? It is dark! What though?
But it is feigned. What of that I trow?
Some men, by feigned words, as dark as mine,
Make truth to spangle, aud its rays to shine!
But they want solidness. Speak, man, thy mind!
They drown the weak; metaphors make us blind.

Solidity, indeed, becomes the pen
Of him that writeth things divine to men :
But must I needs want solidness, because
By metaphors I speak ? Were not God's laws,
His gospel laws, in olden time held forth
By shadows, types, and metaphors ? Yet loath.
Will any sober man be to find fault
With them, lest he be found for to assault
The Highest Wisdom : No; he rather stoops,
And seeks to find out what by pins and loops,
By calves and sheep, by heifers and by rams,
By birds and herbs, and by the blood of lambs,
God speaketh to him; and happy is he
That finds the light and grace that in them be.

Be not too forward, therefore, to conclude
That I want solidness, that I am rude :
All things solid in shew, not solid be;
All things in parable despise not we,
Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive,
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.

My dark and cloudy words, they do but hold
The truth, as cabinets enclose the gold.

The prophets used much by metaphors
To set forth truth; yea, whoso considers
Christ his apostles too, shall plainly see
That truths to this day in such mantles be.

Am I afraid to say that holy writ,
Which for its style and phrase puts down all wit,
Is every where so full of all these things,
(Dark figures, allegories,) yet there springs,
From that same book, that lustre, and those rays
Of light, that turn our darkest nights to days.

Come, let my carper to his life now look,
And find there darker lines than in my book
He findeth any, yea, and let him know,
That in his best things there are worse lines too.

May we but stand before impartial men,
To his poor one I dare adventure ten,
That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better than his lies in silver shrines.
Come, Truth, although in swaddling-clouts I find,
Informs the judgment, rectifies the mind;
Pleases the understanding, makes the will
Submit; the memory too it doth fill
With what doth our imagination please ;
Likewise it tends our troubles to appease.

Sound words, I know, Timothy is to use,
And old wives' fables he is to refuse ;
But yet grave Paul him nowhere did forbid
The use of parables, in which lay hid
That gold, those pearls, and precious stones, that were
Worth digging for, and that with greatest care.

Let me add one word more: O man of God!
Art thou offended? Dost thou wish I had
Put forth my matter in another dress ?
Or that I had in things been more express ?
To those that are my betters, as is fit,
Three things let me propound, then I submit :

1. I find not that I am deny'd the use
Of this my method, so I no abuse
Put on the words, things, readers, or be rude
In handling figure or similitude
In application ; but all that I may
Seek the advance of truth, this or that way.
Denied, did I say? Nay, I have leave,
(Examples too, and that from them that have
God better pleased, by their words or ways,
Than any man that breatheth now-a-days)
Thus to express my mind, thus to declare
Things unto thee that excellentest are.

2. I find that men (as high as trees) will write
Dialogue-wise ; yet no man doth them slight
For writing so: indeed, if they abuse
Truth, cursed be they, and the craft they use
To that intent; but yet let truth be free
To make her sallies upon thee and me,
Which way it pleases God; for who knows how,
Better than he that taught us first to plough,
To guide our minds and pens for his design?
And he makes base things usher in divine.

3. I find that holy writ, in many places,
Hath semblance with this method, where the cases
Do call for one thing to set forth another :
Use it I may then, and yet nothing smother
Truth's golden beams : nay, by this method may
Make it cast forth its rays as light as day.

And now, before I do put up my pen,
I'll show the profit of my book, and then
Commit both me and it unto that hand
That pulls the strong down, and makes weak ones stand.

This book, it chalketh out before thine eyes
The Man that seeks the everlasting prize :
It shews you whence he comes, whither he goes ;
What he leaves undone ; also what he does :
It also shews you how he runs and runs,
Till he unto the Gate of Glory comes.

It shews too who set out for life amain,
As if the lasting crown they would obtain.
Here also you may see the reason why
They lose their labour, and like fools do die.

This book will make a traveller of thee,
If by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;
It will direct thee to the Holy Land,
If thou wilt its direction understand;
Yea, it will make the slothful active be;
The blind also delightful things to see.

Art thou for something rare and profitable ?
Or wouldst thou see a truth within a fable ?

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