Saturday, December 18, 2010

"The Shakespeare of the divines”, the nick name given to Jeremy Taylor, is clearly illustrated in this following piece. It is from his book “Holy Dying”, where he calls us to prepare for death as we live. It is a sobering and highly practical book. I’ll help set the context by this paragraph --- “Since we stay not here, (on earth), being people but of a day’s abode, and our age is like that of a fly and contemporary with a gourd, we must look somewhere else for an abiding city, a place in another country to fix our house in, whose walls and foundation is God, where we must find rest, or else be restless for ever.”

Now the following piece is on the brevity and vanity of life, admittedly a difficult read but worth it.

“It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood, from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and dead paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror of a three day’s burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and at first it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven as a lamb’s fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and at night having lost some of its leaves and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and every woman, the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonor, and our beauty so changed, that our acquaintance quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror, or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursing, that they who six hours ago tended upon us either with charitable or ambitious services, cannot without some regret stay in the room alone where the body lies stripped of its life and honor. I have read of a fair young German gentleman who living often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friend’s desire by giving way that after a few days’ burial they might send a painter to his vault, and if they saw cause for it draw the image of his death unto life: they did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and backbone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change, and it will be as bad with you and me; and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? What friends to visit us?”

Top picture by James Pan, bottom picture by Facundo Jose.


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Fred,

Two lovely photos and they contrast each other.One that of a stunning beautiful youngster and the other a shriveled old woman waiting to say good bye to this world.The young woman looking forward to life with great expectations,for the opportunities,joys and thrills that lie ahead,the other looks despondently as though she is fed up with her lot.The young one wants to look her best and the other is not interested in how she looks any more.

The quote from Jeremy Taylor is a gripping read.It expounds very clearly and succinctly the state of affairs of man and woman in this world.The comparison of the rose with the human is very revealing and drives home the point he wants to make with the sharpness of a razor.

We are dust and to dust we have to return but our soul is indestructible and everlasting for which we have to find eternal peace and heavenly happiness in the company of God and his angels.

This is a magnificent post and I read it with rapt attention and the message firmly impressed in my heart.

In the mean while I would like to thank you for the wonderful comment in my blog-MY THOUGHTS,MY INSPIRATIONS.I have reproduced the same in my other blog-A MAN ON THE MOVE.

I wish you and you family the tidings and joys of this season and a wonderful Christmas.May Infant Jesus bless you all and keep you in HIS care.

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
It gratifies me that you appreciate this quote like I did. I too read it with "rapt attention". Your impressions about the women in the photos are a joy to read as well.
Yes, Christmas is almost upon us and I hope you and your family enjoy it to the fullest. Great Christmas photos on your recent post.
God bless,