[Crusaders' Gate, Jerusalem]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 8: Evening


Art thou a Magistrate? then be severe:

If studious, copie fair, what time hath blurr'd;

Redeem truth from the jawes: if souldier,

Chase brave employments with a naked sword

   Throughout the world. Fool not: for all may have,

   If they dare try, a glorious life, or grave.

     If you are a Judge, then be strict. If a student, preserve what time forgets; save the truth from the jaws (of the past). If you are a soldier, seek good employment throughout the world. Do not fool around; everyone, if they dare to try, can have a glorious life or death.

     What good is a judge that does not perform his duty; a student who clouds the truth he learns; a soldier who does not fight for a just cause. Whatever your job on earth is, do it well. Although temptations encourage easy going and half hearted endeavors, the job needs to be done. Do it right. If you take pay, give the money's worth. If you choose to do it without payment, do it because it needs to be done. Do it magnificently. You can have an admirable life and an honorable death. The impetus is on "severe," "redeem truth," and "brave employment" implying a strict direction, clear objective and strong character. This is not a lenient, easygoing approach. Life is serious business. "Chase brave employments with a naked sword Throughout the world" makes it a continuous battle. You can never sheath your sword. This could apply to our lives and dealings in this sphere, always ready, ever doing.

     Spirituality encompasses all living, every corner of business in this life. For it is the business of the Christian. Always equipped. Always hostile to the vice within yet compassionate to the sinner. We become so militant to the corruption around us that we neglect the manageable evil and the possible good.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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