Another Quotation

Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus.
See The Works of Thomas Adams (1862; reprint Eureka, Calif.: Tanski, 1998), 3:224


Christ in all the Scriptures

“Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus.”
The Works of Thomas Adams (1862; reprint Eureka, Calif.: Tanski, 1998), Vol 3:224.


That Elusive Quotation

In his thesis Vincent Cabell Flanagan says

In the nineteenth century ... Adams had several advocates. The most notable of them was Robert Southey. Just about two hundred years after Adams began to publish, Southey, apparently while gathering material for his voluminous works on church history and the lives of churchmen, was caught by the quality of Adams' expression. The earliest of Adams' works were copied into Southey's explanatory notes and commonplace books. 
It must be noted, however, that from a relative standpoint the record of Southey's interest in Adams is not particularly impressive; Adams is but one of several seventeenth century divines in whom Southey indicated interest. Alexander B. Grosart, the ubiquitous nineteenth-century editor, is apparently responsible for giving currency to a dictum on Adams attributed by him to Southey which for almost a century has been cited by one critic after another, but without authentication. As this dictum appears in Grosart's article on Adams in the DNB it reads, 

[Thomas Adams] ... a divine who was pronounced by Robert Southey to be ‘the prose Shakespeare of puritan theologians ... scarcely inferior to Fuller in wit or to Taylor in fancy,’ ... 

Grosart cites no specific work of Southey's as a source, and those who have continued the use of the quotation have cited none. This group includes John Brown (who, like Southey, wrote a biography of John Bunyan), whose edition of a selection of Adams' sermons, published in 1909 and reprinted in 1927 by the Cambridge Press, carries a binder's stamping in gold leaf on the front cover which reads, "The prose Shakespeare of Puritan Theologians". 
A general survey of Southey's letters and his prose which has been judged to be pertinent has failed to disclose the sources of the specific quotation Grosart offers. Even so, it is of course unwise to challenge the authenticity of the quotation without making an exhaustive search through all of Southey's prose works, notes, and letters. As mentioned above, there are indications in Southey's works of a limited interest in Adams, but if the words which Grosart attributed to Southey are actually contained in a work by that poet, the quotation pulled out of context suggests that Southey's appreciation of, and interest in, Adams was greater than the bulk of Southey's prose would indicate. For example, in Southey's chapters "James I," and "Charles I. Triumph of the Puritans," in his Book of the Church (1824), Southey makes no reference to Adams. Nevertheless, the attention which several nineteenth-century editors and commentators devoted to Adams and perhaps even that of twentieth-century critics may well reflect the result of the currency given to the comment

In his footnotes Flanagan reveals that he had examined The Life and Correspondence of the late Robert Southey ed C C Southey Selections from the letters of Robert Southey ed J. W. Warter (4 vold, 1856) The Correpsondence of Robert Southey with Caroline Bowles ed Edward Dowden (1881); Omniana (ed Robert Southey) (2 vols 1812); The Life of Wesley (2 vols 1820); The Book of the Church (2nd ed 2 vols 1824); Vindiciae Ecclesiae Anglicanae (1826); Thomas More or Colloquies on the progress and prospects of society (2 vol 1822); The Life of John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress (1830); etc and found nothing.
In another interesting footnote he says that a similar complimentary phrase was applied by nineteenth century critics to John Donne and Jeremy Taylor. Mrs Simpson notes that "Coleridge loved Donne's prose. His highest praise is given to a sentence which he describes as "Worthy almost of Shakespeare" (op cit, p 290) and Edmund Gosse in his biography of Jeremy Taylor writes "It is in this extraordinary vitality and organic growth of his metaphors that Taylor is really what he is so often called, “the Shakespeare of English prose ..." In a footnote Gosse identifies his source: "This epithet was first applied to Jeremy Taylor ... by William Mason, the biographer of Gray" (Jeremy Taylor (1904), p. 219).

He also notes that Thomas Smith notes in his introduction to the Adams volumes in Nichol's Series of Standard Divines, the first volume of which is dated l861, that Adams "has been styled the Shakespeare of the Puritans" (I, xi). He does not identify the source of the phrase. 
Angus in his memoir of Adams in the third volume of this series, which appeared in 1862, in commenting on the style of Adams, writes: "For fancy we may, after Southey, compare him with Taylor, for wit with Fuller". (III, xxii). In concluding his memoir Angus acknowledges both his debt and the publisher's debt to Grosart (see below, p 135).


Paxton Hood on Puritan Adams 4

It was an absurd fashion of speech, here are two illustrations of this most singular mode; from both sermons I leave out, as too long, the more ludicrous of similar passages from the text “Take thou thy son," etc.

Not to preface away any more tyme, please yew to call to mind these four generalls observable in the text.
1. Victima, the Hoast or Sacrifice; described here by a double name. 1. Proper, Isaak. 2. Appellative, or a name of relation, Sonne; which likewise is further illustrated by two other attributes; the one taken ab electione divina, the other ab afleclione humana. 1. Unigcnitus, his onely sonne; there's God’s inscrutable election. 2. Dilectus, his beloved sonne; there's Abraham’s deerest affection.

2. Sacerdos, the Priest which was to ofl'er up this sacrifice. The person not exprest, but in the word Tolle, Take thow. God speakes to Abraham: The Father must bee the Priest and Butcher of his own sonne. .
3. Altare, the Altar or Place where this was to be offered; set downe 1, Generally, the land of Moryah. 2, Specially super uno montium, one particular mountayne in that land.
4. Ritus, the Rite and Manner of sacrificinge, or the kind and quality of the sacrifice: Holocaustum, it must bee an whole burnt ofl'ringe.
Again, from the text, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them,” &tc.
In which Prayer and Supplication of his these six thinges are observable.
l. Quando, the tyme when. When hee was hanginge now on r. the Crosse, and ready to yield up the Ghost; Tune, then Jesus sayd.
2. Quis, the party prayinge. Dixz't Jesus, it was Christ Jesus.
3. Cui or ad Quem, the object to whome his prayer is directed; and that is God his Father.
4. Quid, the matter and subject, or thinge for what he prayed; which is Pardon and Forgivenes.
5. Pro quibus, for whome hee prayeth; Illis, them, his Enemyes.
6. Quare, the ground and reason of his petition; which was theyr Ignorance; for they know not what they doe.
The Tyme, when: the Persons, who; the Person, to whome; the Persons for whome; the Thinge, for what; and the Cause, wherefore.
In a state of transition from the times which produced these curious formularies was the age when Thomas Adams began to preach. He must have been contemporary with Bishop Andrewes and Dr. Donne. I love Bishop Andrewes, but his style, almost through every line of it, abounds with strange readings and words, thus, “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel ? Let Him be arrayed in scarlet, it is His due. His “Doctor’s weed”
On the birth of Christ at Ephrata
Even so, Lord, saith our Saviour, for so is thy pleasure. And since it is His pleasure so to deal, it is His further pleasure (and it is our lesson out of this Bethlehem minima). Even this, ne minima minimi, that we set not little by that which is little, unless we will so set by Bethlehem and by Christ and all. He will not have little places villified, little Zoar will save the body, little Bethlehem the soul, nor have, saith Zacherie, (dies parvus - little times - despised, unless we despise this day, the Feast of Humility. Nor have one of these little ones offended. Why? for, Ephrata may make amends for, parvula, ex te for in.
How quaint and singular reads the following: - 
Will ye now to this inglorious Signe heare a glorious Song; to this cratch of humilitie, a hymne of caelestiall harmonie? If the Signe mislike you, ye cannot but like the Song, and the Queer (choir) that sing it. The song I shall not be able to reach to, will ye but see the Queer?and that shall serve for this time: For, by all meanes, before I end, I would deal with somewhat that might ballance this Signe of His low estate. This the Evangelists never faile to doe; Ever, they look to this point carefully: If they mention ought, that may offend, to wipe it away streight, and the Scandall of it, by some other high regard. See you a sort of poore Shepherds? Stay, and ye shall see a troope of God's Angels. Heare ye one say, layed in the crotch below? abide, and ye shall heare many sing, Glorie on high, in honour of Him that lyeth in it.
Vidisti vilia (saith St. Ambrose) audi mirisiea: Were the things meane you have seen?
Wonderful shall they be, ye now shall heare and see both. Vilescit praesepe, ecce Angelivis cantibus honoratur: Is the Cratch meane? Meane as it is, it is honoured with the musike of Angels, it hath the whole Queer of Heaven to sing about it. This also will prove a signe, if it be well looked into; a counter-signs to the other: That, of His humilities,- this of His glorie.
Lancelot Andrewes illustrates the monastic method in a Protestant Church, listen to him intently, bring to his words what you will certainly meet in them, a spirit of prayerful devotion; forgive the quaintness of the preacher for the holiness which shines through all his words, and you will not listen in vain. His sermons will bear modern adaptation, if the mind adapting them and using them be itself informed and filled with ardent and seraphic reverence for the great truth of the Incarnation ; for indeed there is the glow of a seraph about him - quaint as he is the aureola of a saint shines over him; cloistral and monastic, his sermons are wholly free from the wider inspirations of thought and worldly knowledge, they are narrow in their range but they are intense; the live coal from off the altar has given to all his faculties a pure flame; but even as a coal presents strange and grotesque faces in the fires, so with the ardours of his style, they are as grotesque as they are holy; fancies in words took him captive, often it must be admitted very pleasantly. Thus Christ the Conqueror coming from Edom and from the grave.
And comming backe thus, from the debellation (defeat) of the spiritual Edam, and the breaking up of the true Bozra indeed, it is wondered, Who it should be. Note this that nobody knew Christ at His rising; neither Mary Magdalen nor they that went to Emmaus. No more doth the Prophet here.
Now there was reason to aske this question, for none would ever think it to be Christ. There is great oddes; it cannot be He.
1. Not He: He was put to death and put into His grave and a great stone upon Him not three days since. This Fame is alive and alives like. His Ghost it cannot be: He glides not (as Ghosts, they say, doe) but paces the ground very strongly.
Not He: He had His apparell shared amongst the souldiers; was left all naked. This Partie hath gotten Him on glorious apparell, rich scarlet.
Not He: if He come, He must come in white, in the linnen He was lapped in, and laid in his grave. This Partie comes in quite another colour, all in red. So the colours suit not. To be short, not He; He was put to a foile - to a foule foilc - as ever was any : they did to Him even what they listed; scorned and insulted upon Him. It was then the houre and power of darknesse. This Partie, whatsoever He is, hath got the upper hand, won the field  marches stately, Conquerour-like. His the day sure.
The following little extract illustrates the refreshing way Andrewes had of pressing out comfortable truth in his barbarous Latinities.
There was then a new begetting this day. And if a new begetting, a new Paternitie and Fraternitie, both. By the hodiƩ genuite of Christmas, how soone Hee was borne of the Virgin's wombe. Hee became our brother (sinne, except) subject to all our infirmities ; so to mortalitie and even to death it selfe. And by death that brotherhood had beene dissolved, but for this dayes rising. By the hodie genuite of Easter, as soon as Hee was borne again of the wombe of the grave, Hee begins a new brother-hood, founds a new fraternitie straight; adopts us (wee see) anew againe, by His fratres meos; and thereby, Hee that was primogenitus ad mortius, becomes primogenitus inter multos fratres: when the first begotten from the dead, then the first begotten in this respect, among many brethren. Before Hee was ours : now wee are His. That was by the mother's side ; so, Hee ours. This is by Patrem vestrum, the Father's side; So wee His. But halfe-brothers before; Never of whole bloud, till now. Now, by Father and Mother both, Fratres germanie, Fratres fraterrimi, we cannot be more.


Paxton Hood on Puritan Adams 3

Spotted Salamander
The mind of Puritan Adams did not express itself in the copious and sonorous eloquence of Hooker, nor had his fancy the solemn, quaintly gargoyled style and thoughtfulness, the subtle paradoxical of Sir Thomas Browne; for, as we have already said, he was a preacher, and he evidently thought constantly of his audience; but in his sermons will be found many of the best characteristics of all the wit of Fuller, and the allegoric lights of Bunyan, and much of the out-of-the-way learning and radiant fancy of Jeremy Taylor. His method and style of treating a text or subject are altogether his own; a style, however, adopted and found very taking since his day. We cannot commend it. Thus in his sermon, “A Generation of Serpents,” from the text, “Their poison is like the poison of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear,” he expounds eleven characters -
1. The Salamander, the troublesome and litigious neighbour, whoever loves and lives in the fire of contention.
2. The Dart, that is, the angry man.
3. The Dipsass, the drunkard. This serpent lives altogether in moorish places: the serpent in the fens, the man at the ale-house.
4. The Crocodile, the hypocrite.
5. The Cockatriee, said to kill with its eyes - the courtesan.
6. The Caterpillar, or the earthworm, emblem of the covetous.
7. The Asp, the traitorous seminary.
8. The Lizard, an emblem of the slothful.
9. The Sea Serpent, the pirate, a very common character in Adams' day.
10. The Stellion, the extortioner.
ll. Draco, the great red dragon.
Sometimes his illustrations are of the very queerest. Thus he speaks of the wonderful making of the tongue: -
To create so little a piece of flesh, and to put such vigour into it: to give it neither bones nor nerves, yet to make it stronger than arms and legs, and those most able and serviceable parts of the body.
Because it is so forcible, therefore bath the most wise God ordained that it shall be but little, that it shall be but one. That so the paruity and singularity may abate the vigour of it. If it were paired, as the arms, legs, hands, feet, it would be much more unruly. For he that cannot tame one tongue, how would he be troubled with twain!
Because it is so unruly, the Lord hath hedged it in, as a man will not trust a wild horse in an open pasture, but prison him in a close pound. A double fence bath the Creator given to confine it - the lips and the teeth - that through those bounds it might not break.
A certain quaint and frequently happy ingenuity characterises all the sermons and the writings of Adams. We have before noticed his resemblance to Herbert: the quaintness of the good parson of Bemerton is found in abundance here, not less than his piety. Churchman as he was, we do not find, indeed, the same temple-er stillness, or carved imagery of thought. Herbert’s life was secluded, lonely, and hermetic; that of Adams was passed apparently for the most part in London. Herbert, too, was a more intense ecclesiastic; his fervours were monastic; and although his poems are not organ-like airs, they are notes from a choir, a strange piercing song. Adams was a man of action, interested in all that went on in the great world; and quaint as he is, his quaintness is rather that we notice in the carved oak traoery of some domestic hall or ancient manor, than the writhing gargoyles, or the dim forms of ancient church window. He did not, like Herbert, invite his fancies in to stay and converse with him; he followed them out; and even while he followed one, a host started up, and we sometimes think he chases them all in rather undignified gait or mood. Yet there are some notes, and they are very frequent, which remind the reader of George Herbert or more aptly Jeremy Taylor.
Men and brethren, let us be thankful. Let our meditations travel with David in the 148th Psalm, first up into heaven. Even the very heavens and heights praise Him. And those blessed angels in His court sing His glory. Descend we then by the celestial bodies, and we shall find the sun, moon, and all the stars of light praising Him. A little lower, we shall perceive the meteors and upper elements, the fire and hail, snow and vapour, magnifying Him, even the wind and storms fulfilling His word. Fall we upon the centre -  the very earth. We shall hear the beasts and cattle, mountains and hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, extolling His name. rl'he chirping birds still sing sweet psalms and carols to the Creator’s praise, every morning when they rise, every evening when they go to rest. Not so much as the very creeping things, saith the Psalmist, noisome dragons, and crawling serpents in the deeds, but they do, in a sort, bless their Maker. Let not man, then, the first-fruits of His creatures, for whose service all the rest were made, he unthankful.
And the following is very sweetly expressed: - 
Pride, fraud, drunkenness, is as Mount Seir to the lovers of them. But, alas 1 how unsafe : if stronger against, and further removed from, the hand of man, yet nearer to God’s hand in heaven, though we acknowledge no place far from God or from His thunder. But we say, it is not always the safest sailing on the top of the mast. To live on the mountainous height of a temporal estate is neither wise nor happy. Men standing in the shade of humble valleys, look up and wonder at the height of hills, and think it goodly living there, as Peter thought Tabor. But when, with weary limbs, they have ascended, and find the beams of the sun melting their spirits, or the cold blasts of wind making their sinews slack, flashes of lightning, or cracks of thunder, soonest endangering their advanced heads, then they confess (checking their proud conceit) the low valley is safest. For the fruitful dews that fall fast on the hills stay least while there; but run down to the valley: and though, on such a promontory, a man further sees, and is further seen, yet, in the valley, where he sees less he enjoys more!
There is so much comfort in sorrow as to make all affliction to the elect, a song in the night. Adversity sends us to Christ, as the leprosy sent those ten. Prosperity makes us turn our backs upon Christ and leave him, as health did those nine (Luke xvii.) David’s sweetest songs were his tears. In misery he spared Saul, his great adversary; in peace, he killed Uriah, his dear friend. The wicked sing with grasshoppers, in fair weather; but the faithful (in this like sirens) can sing in a storm. When a man cannot find peace upon earth, he quickly runs to heaven to seek it. Afflictions sometimes maketh an evil man good, always a good man better.
We could imagine the author of the Urn Burial had the following in his mind in a famous passage: 
No, they that are written in the eternal leaves of heaven, shall never be wrapt in the cloudy sheets of darkness. A man may have his name written in the chronicles, yet lost; written in durable marble, yet perish; written on a monument equal to a Colossus, yet be ignominious ; written on the hospital gates, yet go to hell ; written on his own house, yet another come to possess it. All these are but writings in the dust, or upon the waters, where the characters perish so soon as they are made. They no more prove a man happy than the fool could prove Pontins Pilate a saint, because his name was written in the Creed. But they that are written in heaven, are sure to inherit it.
But it was the age of strange conceits; and absurdities inwrought themselves with every department of taste, the age had not recovered from the grotesque freaks of the Elizabethan time. From those outrageous leaps, and acrobatic displays of genius, even Shakespere is not free, and the architecture of the time, like the speech, we know abounds with strange displays; allegoric lessons were constantly offering their teachings from classic forms and allusions, and essays on the wisdom of the ancients were written in a way which often to us seem ludicrous enough, graceless and tasteless in the different departments of domestic architecture. The pulpit of those times has often been found in harmony with the taste which only employed the power of its genius
To raise the ceiling’s fretted height,
Each panel in achievement's clothing,Rich windows that exclude the light,And passages that lead to nothing.
And quaintness and queerness did assuredly inspire not only many of the lines of the poets and designs of the architects, but the plans and conceptions of the preachers too. Few could preach without interlacing the English with little bits of Latin, - to our ears and eyes it seems the merest pedantry - purposeless, for nothing is illustrated, and nothing proved. ....

Paxton Hood on Puritan Adams 2

More from Edwin Paxton Hood Lamps, Pitchers, and Trumpets; lectures ... on the vocation of the preacher. Illustrated by anecdotes, ... of every order of pulpit eloquence, from the great Preachers of all ages 1867
... But while he performed this task well, it required a loose and rapid manner and tongue to give effect to the delineations. He draws with a bold hand the pictures of the manners of the times. Indeed, it is impossible to read Adams attentively without feeling that the writers whose names we have just mentioned, not only knew, but felt themselves beneath the influence of his portraitures. He is, perhaps, rather a divine moralist than a theologian. He follows no thought out in the spirit of Aquinas and the schools, or even in the spirit and manner of St. Augustine. He is a man of quick impulses, and often seems to be mastered by words and forms. He never ventures into the region of abstract thought; is never tormented by the causes of things. He is a preacher, and as such, he holds up the mirror to his hearers. He is never far from them in heights or in depths. There is often a cheerful, easy garrulity about him. He preached in stirring times, and he knew how easily to turn the popular feelings by hints and references to the political events of the day. He lived and preached in the day of the gunpowder plot; preaching from the text, “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads,” he exclaimed, “They love fire still: they were then for faggots, they are now for powder. If these be Catholics, there are no cannibals.” The point of many of his allusions lay in the memory, and, therefore, in the ready sympathy of the people.
Of illustrative aphoristic words the reader may take the following: -

A beast hath one kind of eye, a natural man two, a Christian three. The beast hath an eye of sense; the natural man of sense and reason; the Christian of sense, of reason, and faith. To want the eyes of angels is far worse than to want .the eyes of beasts.
Riches are called bona fortuna, the goods of fortune; not that they come by chance, but that it is a chance if they ever be good.
Philip was wont to say, that an ass laden with gold would enter the gates of any city; but the golden load of bribes and extortions shall bar a man out of the city of God. All that is to follow is like quicksilver; it will be running.
Not seldom a russet coat shrouds as high a heart as a silken garment. You shall have a paltry cottage send up more black smoke then a goodly manor. It is not, therefore, wealth, but vice, that excludes men out of heaven.
There are some that “kiss their own hands ” (Job xxxi. 12) for every good turn that befals them. God giveth them blessings, and their own wit or strength hath the praise.
It is usual with God, when he hath done beating his children, to throw the rod into the fire. Babylon a long time shall be the Lord’s hammer to bruise the nations, at last itself shall be bruised. Judas did an act that redounds to God’s eternal honour and our blessed salvation, yet was his wages the gallows. All these hammers, axes, rods, saws, swords, instruments, when they have done those offices they never meant, shall, for those they have meant, be thrown to confusion. .
The five senses are the Cinque Ports, where all the great traffic of the devil is taken in.
When the heart is a good secretary, the tongue is a good pen; but when the heart is a hollow bell, the tongue is a loud and lewd clapper. Those undefiled virgins admitted to follow the Lamb have this praise, “ In their mouth was found no guile."
Ask the woman that hath conceived a child in her womb will it be a son? Peradventure so! Will it be well-formed and featured? Peradventure so! Will it be wise? Peradventure so! Will it be rich? Peradventure so! Will it be long-lived? Peradventure so! Will it be mortal? Yes, this is without peradventure, it will die!

The following passage upon the almost casual expression in 2 Peter i. 17 - "Such a voice" - well illustrates how a word caught him, and often carried him away upon a stream of learned and gorgeous fancy and discourse :—
such a voice
Tully commends voices: Socrates’ for sweetness; Lysias’ for subtlety; Hyperides’ for sharpness; Aeschines’ for shrillness; Demosthenes‘ for powerfulness; gravity in Africanus; smoothness in Loelius - rare voicesl, In holy writ, we admire a sanctified boldness in Peter; profoundness in Paul; loftiness in John; vehemency in him and his brother James, those two sons of thunder; fervency in Simon the zealous. Among ecclesiastical writers, we admire weight in Tertullian; a gracious composure of well-mattered words in Lactantius; a flowing speech in Cyprian; a familiar stateliness in Chrysostom; a conscionable delight in Bernard; and all these graces in good Saint Augustine. Some construed the Scriptures allegorically, as Origen; some literally, as Jerome; some morally, as Gregory; others pathetically, as Chrysostom; others dogmatically, as Augustine. The new writers have their several voices: Peter Martyr, copiously judicious; Zanchius, judiciously copious. Luther wrote with a coal on the walls of his chamber: Res et verba Philippus; res, sine verbis Lutherus; verba, sine re Erasmus: nee res nee verba Carlostadius. Melancthon had both style and matter; Luther, matter without style; Erasmus, style without matter; Carlstadt, neither the one nor the other. Calvin was behind none, not the best of them, for a sweet dilucidation of the Scriptures, and urging of solid arguments against the Anti-Cliristians. One is happy in expounding the words; another in delivering the matter; a third for cases of conscience; a fourth to determine the school doubts. But now put all these together: a hundred Peters and Pauls; a thousand Bernards and Augustines; a million of Calvins and Melanchthons. Let not their voices be once named with this voice: they all spake as children. This is the voice of the Ancient of Days. (Commentary 2 Peter) 
Thus he rang the changes very effectively on a word, as in

Dust, the matter of our substance, the house of our souls, the original grains whereof we were made, the top of all our kindred. The glory of the strongest man, the beauty of the fairest woman, all is but dust. Dust, the only compounder of differences, the absolver of all distinctions. Who can say which was the client, which the lawyer; which the borrower, which the lender; which the captive, which the conqueror, when they all lie together in blended dust?
Dust; not marble nor porphyry, gold nor precious stone, was the matter of our bodies, but earth, and the fractions of the earth, dust. Dust, the sport of the wind, the very slave of the besom. This is the pit from whence we are digged, and this is the pit to which we shall be resolved. “Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return again," Gen. iii., 19. They that sit in the dust, and feel their own materials about them, may well renounce the ornaments of pride, the gulf of avarice, the foolish lusts of concupiscence. Let the covetous think, What do I scrape for? a little golden dust,- the ambitious, What do I aspirc for? a little honourable dust; the libidinous, What do I languish for? a little animated dust, blown away with the breath of God’s displeasure.
Oh, how goodly this building of man appears when it is clothed with beauty and honour! A face full of majesty, the throne of comeliness, wherein the whiteness of the lily contends with the sanguine Of the rose; an active hand, an erected countenance, an eye sparkling out lustre, a smooth complexion, arising from an excellent temperature and composition ; whereas other creatures, by reason of their cold and gross humours, are grown over, beasts with hair, fowls with feathers, fishes with scales. Oh, what- a workman was this, that could raise such a fabric out of the earth, and lay such orient colours upon dust! Yet all is but dust, walking, talking, breathing dust; all this beauty but the effect of a well concocted food, and life itself but a walk from dust to dust. You, and this man, or that woman, is never so beautiful as when they sit weeping for their sins in the dust: as Mary Magdalene was then fairest when she kneeled in the dust, bathing the feet of Christ with her tears, and wiping them with her hairs; like heaven, fair sightward to us that are without, but more fair to them that are within. The dust is come of the same house that we are, and when she sees us proud and forgetful of ourselves, she thinks with herself, Why should not she that is descended as well as we bear up her plumes as high as ours ? Therefore she so often borrows wings of the wind, to mount aloft into the air, and in the streets and highways dasheth herself into our eyes, as if she would say, Are you my kindred, and will not know me? Will you take no notice of your own mother?  To tax the folly of our ambition, the dust in the street takes pleasure to be ambitious.
(Commentary 2 Peter) 

Paxton Hood on Puritan Adams 1

This is from Edwin Paxton Hood Lamps, Pitchers, and Trumpets; lectures ... on the vocation of the preacher. Illustrated by anecdotes, ... of every order of pulpit eloquence, from the great Preachers of all ages 1867

THOMAS ADAMS has been called the Shakspeare of the Puritans. In no sense does this convey any idea of the place he occupies; but perhaps he was the Herbert - the George Herbert - of the pulpit. There is scarcely a name the age to which he belonged has preserved which is so surrounded by an atmosphere of oblivion as his. He is now to us a voice out of a cloud - at best a shade, and nothing more: “no man knoweth his sepulchre;” there is no likeness of him; nothing is known of his parentage; nothing can be gathered of his life, or his manner of life; over his grave “the iniquity of oblivion,” as Sir Thomas Browne would say, “ has blindly scattered her poppy.” He is, doubtless, found in the register of God; but all about him, if we may trust the industry of those who have sought to perpetuate his works, has passed from the record of man. Our folio edition of his collected works bears the imprint of the year 1629. He was alive in the year 1658, when the two sermons were published included in Dr. Angus’s edition. He can be traced from pulpit to pulpit, but this is all that can be gathered of him.
In 1612 he was preacher of the Gospel at Willington, in Bedfordshire; in 1614 he was at Wingrave, in Buckinghamshire ; in 1618 he held the preachership of St. Gregory’s, under St. Paul’s Cathedral, and was “observant“ chaplain” to Sir Henry Montague, the Lord Chief Justice of England; in 1629 he published the folio collection of his works, now reprinted; in 1633 he published the well-known Commentary on the Second Epistle of Peter; then he vanishes from sight. Hints there are of his being sequestrated during the period of the Revolution and Protectorate - possible, even probable. In 1653 he was living in a “decrepit and necessitous old age,” and most likely died before the period of the Restoration.
Through what an eventful period he lived we have seen; through what changes of events and princes. His sermons have all the marks of the transition age; they have all the mannerisms of the Puritan theology; while in his ideas of government he had all the traces of absolute Toryism. Like most of the Low Church party of the present day, he held no doubt to Puritanism in doctrine, and Whitgiftism in Prelacy, rubric and general Church symbolism. Hence, he not only indulges in ample eulogy upon Queen Elizabeth and her thrice blessed memory, but floats with almost all the preachers and writers of his age in flattering homage to James, and to the doctrine of the divine right of kings. Puritan Adams, no doubt, suffered by being what he must have been, a popular preacher. Had Hooker been under the necessity of delivering his Ecclesiastical Polity in discourses at St. Paul’s Cross, had George Herbert been a city preacher, or Sir Thomas Browne one of the divines of his day, in no instance should we have had the rich, and rare, and peculiar gems they have contributed to our language.
Adams is very popular, but his style is often very rugged. He speaks to the populace, and his fancies and conceits, his anagrams and conundrums of speech, are frequently a snare to him throughout his discourses. He is usually rather pretty than powerful. Instances of bad taste are abundant in his writings; are they not also said to be abundant in the writings of men of his times, far greater than he? Moreover, he was a preacher of an extinct order; for sermons on manners have now gone quite out of date, and his were such. In the pulpit he portrayed character; we cannot say after the manner of Bishop Earle, and Overbury, and Butler, since he preceded these writers. Thus, the portrait of the inconstant and unstable man, like many another such a sketch, justifies this remark :—

He would be a Proteus too, and vary kinds. The reflection of every man’s views melts him; whereof he is as soon glutted. As he is a noun, he is only adjective, depending on every novel persuasion; as a verb he knows only the present tense. To-day he goes to the quay to be shipped for Rome  but before the tides come, his tide is turned. One party thinks him theirs ; the adverse theirs; he is with both—with neither; not an hour with himself. Because the birds and beasts be at controversy, he will be a bat, and get him both wings and teeth. He would come to heaven but for his halting. Two opinions (like two watermen) almost pull him apieces, when he resolves to put his judgment into a boat, and go somewhither: presently he steps back, and goes with neither. It is a wonder if his affections, being but a little lukewarm water, do not make his religion stomach-sick. Indifference is his ballast, and opinion his sail ; he resolves not to resolve. He knows not what he doth hold. He opens his mind to receive notions, as one opens his palm to take a handful of water: he hath very much, if he could hold it. He is sure to die, but not what religion to die in l he demurs like a posed lawyer, as if delay could remove some impediments. He knows not whether he should say his Paternoster in Latin or English; and so leaves it, and his prayers, unsaid. He makes himself ready for an appointed feast; by the way he hears of a sermon; he turns thitherward; and yet, betwixt the church-gate and church-door, he thinks of business and retires home again. He receives many judgments, retains none: embracing so many faiths that he is little better than an infidel. He loathes manna, after two days’ feeding, and is almost weary of the sun for perpetual shining. If the Temple Pavement be ever worn with his visitant feet, he will run far to a new teacher. ... His best dwelling would be his confined chamber, where he would trouble nothing but his pillow. He is full of business at church, a stranger at home, a sceptic abroad, an observer in the street, everywhere a fool. (From The Three Divine Sisters)