George Herbert: "The Church-porch"
Day 13: Morning
|Who keeps no guard upon himself, is slack,
And rots to nothing at the next great thaw.
Man is a shop of rules, a well truss'd pack,
Whose every parcell under-writes a law.
Lose not thy self, nor give thy humours way:
God gave them to thee under lock and key.
Who keeps no watch over himself is lazy. He decomposes
at the next major thaw. Man is a shop of rules [a tool or rule for any purpose],
a well tied pack, whose every package subscribes to a law. Do not lose yourself
or give control to your emotions: God gave them to you under lock and key.
Watch over yourself. A man, or woman, is like a tool box, neatly locked and partitioned. Each carefully segregated and assigned definite tasks. He has a tool for every purpose, and a rule for every tool. But there are no rules helping them work together. He carries a tool box of rules with him to solve the daily encounters. He uses these commandments to make sense of the day. He uses the rules to establish and maintain relationships of all kinds, personal, family, business, social and political. He guards himself with these rules and establishes health. Rules hold him together. Without them he will deteriorate to nothing. They maintain him and give him purpose and protection. He decides the time and usefulness of each tool to improve his spiritual life, his relationship with people and God.
Without these rules we would lose ourselves. When we give in to our emotions, feelings and other pressures opposed to the commandments, we are lost. The tendencies of our body take over. These humors are a Pandora's box of troubles which God has given us as part of our nature, but a part that must be under control. If we refuse to exercise these tools, we reject our contract with God to be responsible for ourselves.
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